Defining Bigotry Down

How do you define bigotry? What about this?

Students in my class who openly proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion, as some of you did last class, portrayed precisely what religious bigotry is. Bigots—racial bigot or religious bigots—never question their prejudices and bigotry. -Huffington Post

Do you agree with this definition? If you do, then you’ve just fallen for the oldest trick in the book —this is nothing more than the old canard, “has God really said?”

Bigotry is not the failure to examine what you believe. It’s the belief that someone else is less of a human than you are, less worthy of your respect and care, less worth listening to, because of something they are or something they believe. Bigotry is calling the Boy Scouts of America bigots because they refuse to admit homosexual leaders. Bigotry is spray painting a Chick-Fil-A with graffiti because you don’t agree with their support of the traditional family.

Bigotry is founded on more than “ignorance of others.” It’s also founded on ignorance of reality and truth; it’s a denial of the truth, in fact. For instance:

The purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to struggle intellectually with some of life’s most difficult topics that may not have one right answer, and try to come to some conclusion about what may be “the better answer” (It typically is not the case that all views are equally valid; some views are more defensible than others).

Bigotry relies on a view of life that says people are no more than the color of their skin, that every person’s content of belief and course of action are unchangeable from birth. Bigotry relies on a view of life that says men are no more than animals, with little capability to make moral judgements. In other words, bigotry relies on a reductionists view of human nature combined with a belief that people have no worth beyond their physical worth.

In other words, the only worldview that really supports bigotry in its fullest extent is the naturalistic worldview founded on evolutionary thought.

Bigotry relies on thinking that there is no truth beyond my truth —that there is more than one truth, so you can’t tell me what truth is, but I’ll be happy to tell you what truth is, because I know (and you don’t). That all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

So long as we allow those who hate Christianity, who hate moral absolutes, to define bigotry down, to change the definitions of words like some Cheshire cat, we will lose the argument every time.

Comments are closed.