Explain religious teaching about equality with particular reference to gender, race & disability.

Katie Hanlon
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Katie Hanlon
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Explain religious teaching about equality with particular reference to gender, race & disability.
1 Equality is the state of being equal concerning rights, opportunities and status, in particularly gender equality implies that men and women should receive equal treatment (unless there is a sound biological reason for different treatment) and race equality refers to equal regard and treatment for all races. Christains oppose predujice and discrimination because they believe in the equality of all people, no matter what race or gender.
2 RACE
2.1 In Christianity, many people see Jesus as someone who promoted racial harmony. He proved he was against discrimination as he associated himself with groups considered to be outcasts such as the poor and tax collectors, despite the fact this discouraged people to believe he was the Messiah. He also ignored Jewish ideas on pollution by sharing a cup with a Samaritan. The idea that God loved the world so much he sent Jesus to lay down his life makes Christians believe that the world is all one race, it just consists of different ethnicities. The New Testament teaches 'there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ' again suggesting the human race is seen as one and no one should be treated unequally because of it. Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and Trevor Huddleston are all examples of Christians that stood out against racism.

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  • -Jesus association with groups -'Neither Jew nor Greek...' suggests human race as one -Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu & Trevor Huddleston
2.2 In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two 'racial groups': the Jews and the Gentiles, God's intention was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations, however the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles, Jesus put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility. Christians follow this teaching as it is another example of how Jesus was against discrimination and seeked equality. The Golden Rule is another example Christians follow that promotes racial harmony, 'Treat others as you would wish to be treated' proves that one race shouldn't be considered differently just on the colour of their skin. The parable of the Good Samaritan links with this concept as it teaches to treat everyone with kindness and compassion, the general idea of agape concerning self-sacrifical love also helps Christians to support equality.
2.3 Most Christians would oppose racism, however there is a tiny minority called the Dutch Reform Chuch in South Africa who use the bible to argue that white people are superior to other races. Other Churches condemn them for this. It is called the apartheid system
3 GENDER
3.1 There are many different attitudes within Christianity to the roles of men and woman. The bible can suggest that women should take a submissive role and that men are superior. St. Paul said women should be obediant to their husbands and cover their hair because it is beautiful and should not be viewed by other men and remain silent in Church and in the New Testament he wrote 'The man is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of the Church.' The Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church have a traditional view, that woman are not allowed to become priests, the reason being is that Jesus' apostles were all men. Protestant Churches have within them a mixture of conservative and liberal views about the role of woman in Christian ordained ministry.
3.2 The quote 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female...' was written by St. Paul and would infer that man and woman were equal. Women were regarded as important to Jesus and Paul, both had good friendships with women and Jesus first appeared to woman such as Mary Magdalane after the resurrection. Fundamentalist Christians tend to take the view that women should take a submissive role to men. They would not say that woman are less valuable to God than men but that God has given them a different role in life. More liberal Christians claim that Jesus and Paul lived over 2,000 years ago when the role of women was very different, they believe the message of the bible needs to be understood very differently now when men and women have equal rights. Ultimately, the attitudes to the role of men and women are dependant upon which Christian tradition is followed.
4 ISLAM
4.1 In Islamic teachings, muslims also believe in equality for gender and race. Allah does not tolerate any superiority of one experience over another, an example is when Satan is being dispelled from God's kingdom of special mercy due to his pride over Adam, satan- 'i am better than he, you created me from fire, and you created him from clay, Allah replied 'then get out of here, for verily you are outcast'. The holy prophet Muhammed said 'all people are equal, as equal as the teeth of a comb.' Some muslims are not in favour of racial equality, this is demonstrated in the Darfur war in Sudan with Muslim arabs purposely killing the black Africans.
5 ABILITY
5.1 Historically within religions there has been association of outward physical conditions with the inner spiritual health, with mental disabilities seen to be 'demonic'
5.2 Golden rule- 'treat others as you would like to be treated', agape, The Christian application of love that is indiscriminate
5.3 Jesus focused his life on being with those who needed healing, such as the healing of Jairus' daughter. This could also be understood as highlighting all disabilities should be rectified
5.4 In the Gospel of John, the disciples asked Jesus why a man was blind, he reply was 'neither this man or his parents have sinned, it is to show the work of God can be displayed on his life' Jesus goes on to heal this man, to show the power of God inside of him, could be used to prove the existence
5.5 Some Christians believe the fall of man influenced ability. After Adam and Eve sinned, mankind inherited the sin nature, and with it, it is believed some humans developed it. Jesus died to take away the eternal consequences of sin, to make it possible to go to heaven, however, the physical conseqyences are still within us. The bible also says that God will make a new earth, where there is no sickness or disease of any kind which would suggest it was Adam and Eve who inflicted sin in the world that is shown through mental disability.

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