CREATE GOD – The Chicago Crusader
There is an ugly truth why some segments of white American society are so fierce in their defense of creationism. Simply put, that reason is white supremacy.
But without a critical examination of creationism in the context of those religious cultures that support and espouse it, one can easily ignore the racism that is at its core and the tribal ethics that have infused it into life.
If we look through the dawn of time to the earliest organized societies, we find that tribalism guided religious iconography for millennia. Seemingly alone and afraid in a world they did not understand, ancient humans envisioned a benevolent and protective deity who would shelter them and make sense of their world. To make these protective deities identifiable and easier to understand, they were given human qualities. Another word for creating a deity in his human image is “anthropomorphism”. This word is derived from a combination of two Greek words: anthropos, “human” and morph “form”. And by creating deities in the form of humans, humans were therefore in the form of gods.
Throughout human history, religious iconography has often attributed human qualities to divine beings. But this attribution varied from group to group, or more concisely, from tribe to tribe, sometimes even creating different versions of the same god. For this reason, throughout the world, deities were not generically human, but were attributed the qualities of the peoples of the tribes who worshiped them. Thus, the gods became not only anthropomorphic, but also ethnomorphic. For this reason, depictions of the Hindu god Brahma do not resemble Brad Pitt, nor do depictions of Olorun, the creator god of Nigerian culture, resemble Charlton Heston.
During the Middle Ages, Christianity was safely the dominant religion in Europe, having eliminated older beliefs such as those held by Druids and worshipers of Isis. And with domination comes control. God, Christ and the angels were all depicted as having European features and pale skin. From the end of the 13th century, the devil was represented as being black in color. The writings of the monk Cesaire of Heisterbach Abbey from this period contain references to the devil and demons as having black skin.
The Book of Genesis account of “In the beginning…” was transformed into a Eurocentric account with Adam and Eve as fair-skinned people giving birth to the human race. This article of faith in its European ethnomorphic form is as much a religious dogma to many American Christian creationists as the Ten Commandments are.
It has been, and continues to be, a heresy to suggest that the world’s darkest people – who many creationists say bear Cain’s mark – were created in the image of God. It would eliminate light-skinned people from the apex of God’s divine plan, or at the very least, relegate them to sharing God’s grace with those whom Western culture has enslaved and devalued.
This hoarding of God’s goodness has been reinforced by the fact that art, history, culture, and religion are all derived from what people know best. The famous Renaissance artists Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael never articulated a saint or an angel as having the appearance of an Asian or an African because the historiography which informed their vision of the world, and therefore their sense of the cosmological, was restricted by their European tribe.
Anthropologists tell us that a “tribe” is, in part, a form of human social organization based on a collection of small groups with political integration and defined by traditions of descent, language, culture and ideology. communes. Europeans often avoid the term “tribe” in favor of “nation” or “kingdom” when describing their social organizations and ascribing lesser degrees of civilization to tribal units. But a tribe by any other name is still a tribe, and tribal behavior is a determining factor when a common language, culture, and ideology controls it.
European tribal ethics are clouded by racism on many levels and in many ways. And when he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, from the end of the 15th century, he found fertile ground where he was able to crack down with the genocide of the original inhabitants and the importation of enslaved labor. from Africa. It is not by chance that European priests got off the ships with the first Spanish adventurers; and each subsequent wave of settlers brought with them their ethnocentric gods. Importing their version of creator and redeemer affirmed their privilege to claim whatever they walked – in the name of their god.
We should not attempt to deny the fact that religion has been used to justify many forms of racist evil that landed on America’s shores as this society marched into its present existence. This racism still exists in America’s DNA. It is so deeply rooted in American ethics that, in many black churches across this country, the image of a white Jesus is the center of attention. And some black practitioners do not more rigorously reject the common practice of portraying Adam and Eve as fair-skinned people of European appearance, as they gave birth to the human race, despite scientific evidence that early humans and ancestors of all of us, were inhabitants of Africa and had dark skin.
It is unlikely that many white Americans will come to see their god as anything other than a white anthropomorphic deity, as creationism, coupled with a white Adam and Eve created in the image of their god, secures their place in the world. top of the hierarchy. of all things. But it is important that people of good conscience lead their lives understanding that this is a version of a god that tribalism, born of white supremacy, created.
Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist practicing law in Virginia. His previous comments can be found at https://oblayton1.medium.com/