Monday, August 04, 2008

The racist views of Charles Kingsley

Charles Kingsley, the author of "The Water Babies" was the first clergyman to support Charles Darwin. He tried to meld Darwinism with his own blend of Anglicanism and ended up with 'Muscular Christianity'. Kingsley taught that humans evolved from apes and later received a divine spark which enabled us to progress towards God's pattern of perfection - what Teillhard de Chardin called Point Omega. This idea led him to believe that some ape-like humans did not receive the divine spark and their evolution had ceased. Among these were the Australian Aboriginal who, exactly like the African Negro, could not take in the Gospel. All attempts to bring them to a knowledge of the true God had failed utterly. They were poor brutes in human shape.

These racist words upset John Paton, the missionary to the South Pacific islands. He knew these 'poor brutes' personally. He told how thousands of cannibals were transformed into wise, loving people by believing the Bible's message of salvation through faith in Jesus. Many went on to be preachers and teachers. They did not need to be dismissed as animals, they needed to know that they were created in the image of God, that sin had marred God's image in them, and that Jesus had come to save them from their sin.

Ironically, he said, those who seem least able to accept the gospel today are those with white skin. The gospel is the same for all. It teaches that all humans have the same origin. We are all created in God's image. We have the same origin and we have the same problem: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". Our rebellion against God has defaced and defiled his image in us. If we all have the same problem we all have the same solution: faith in a perfect life, a sacrificial death and a divine resurrection. The Gospel embraces the rich and poor, genius and mentally disabled, infant and elderly, male and female of every nation or shade of skin. Scripture says we must all be saved by the blood of one man, Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God who is himself divine. With his blood he purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

adapted from an article by Charles Whitworth.

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