What does Christianity say about prejudice and discrimination?

Christians believe that all humans are made in the image of God. Therefore any action that devalues a person is an insult to God who created and loves that person.

At the centre of the Christian faith is the belief that Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross to atone for the sins of all people everywhere.

In John it states:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

Throughout the Gospels, there is a great emphasis on the idea that Jesus' message is meant for all people, from every walk of life:

  • He was born as an outsider among the poorest and rejected (Luke 2:7-8).
  • In the birth story, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds (Luke 2:8-9).
  • The foreign wise men (magi) came to worship him (Matthew 2:1-12).
  • Jesus cured the lepers (Mark 1:40-45), the blind (Matthew 20:29-34), the possessed (Mark 5:1-20), the foreigner (Mark 7:24-30) – all of whom were despised by society but accepted by Jesus.
  • Women had lower status in the society of the time, yet they were important to Jesus, so much so that the first appearances after the resurrection were to women (Matthew 28:1-10).
  • When he was asked Who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Samaritan, a member of a dispised community in Jesus' time, helped his fellow man when others failed to do so (Luke 10:30-37).

In the first Christian community, one issue that concerned them was who could legitimately become a Christian. The conclusion that Christianity was a faith for anyone, regardless of race, social status or gender is based on this verse from Acts:

God has no favourites but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him.Acts 10:34-35

This idea is reinforced in St. Paul’s teaching in Galatians when he said:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:28

In the Epistle of James found in the New Testament, it says that Christians who treat the poor in a different way to how they treat the rich have made themselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that (James 2:4).