By Spencer D Gear PhD
(photo Israel Folau courtesy The South African)
I came across this excellent secular article by Harry Richardson in The Pickering Post, ‘Israel Sparks a Holy War’, 21 April 2019
I consider it to be an excellent well constructed defence of Folau from a secular source. In the article, he makes it obvious he is not supportive of supernatural Christianity.
I’d like to pick up on one of Richardson’s comments: ‘Nowhere in the Bible does it say that equality is a virtue. Tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity don’t get a mention either‘.
How does this statement line up with biblical content?
- If equality is not a virtue, how do we interpret Adam & Eve being made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) and after the Fall, human beings were still said to be in God’s image (Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7) and likeness of God (James 3:9). Does that mean the Bible teaches equality by all of us being made in God’s image?
For an explanation of the meaning of human beings being made in God’s image, see: ‘What does it mean that humanity is made in the image of God (imago dei)?’ (Got Questions 2019)
- What about the warning against prejudice/favouritism in James 2 (NLT)?
- Equality as a virtue is taught in Rom 2:11, ‘For God does not show favoritism’. Human beings demonstrate inequality but God doesn’t.
- As for tolerance, it is a Christian virtue. As a foundation for life and the nations, it is the belief that the truth will come out eventually. This is a Christian understanding of tolerance: ‘Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love’ (Eph 4:2). In fact, the Christian advocates much more than tolerance. We are told to love our neighbours and our enemies (Mark 12:31; Luke 6:27-36);
- Is inclusiveness a biblical virtue? Yes it is (see Gal 3:28 for believers). What about for unbelievers? See Mark 2:15-17 (NLT).
- Diversity is promoted in the multiplicity of gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12; Eph 4:11-12; Rom 12:6-8).
I think Richardson should take a couple Bible courses such as ‘Introduction to the New Testament’ and ‘Survey of the Bible’. He doesn’t know his Bible well enough to make an informed comment like he has made.
Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 July 2019.