Is Stereotyping a Sin?
|According the Apostle Paul, "Cretans are ALWAYS liars, evil beasts, and idol gluttons."|
I once commented that Somali immigrants smell bad. As soon as I said this, a girl angrily denounced me for “racism.” She accused me of sinfully generalizing an entire group of people.
Was my statement morally wrong? Was it sinful for me to generalize in this way?
The Apostle Paul did not think so. In Titus 1:12-13 he wrote:
“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idol gluttons. This testimony is true. For which cause reprove them sharply that they may be found in the faith.”Paul acknowledged that ethnic Cretans had some moral problems. He further knew that had been the “victims” of negative stereotypes. Rather than condemn this language, however, the inspired writer affirmed the generalizations and acted upon them.
There could hardly be a more stunning refutation of the idea that negative generalizations are wrong.
What makes Titus 1:12 especially nauseating for liberal Christian is that Paul not only affirmed a negative ethnic stereotype but approved one that claimed Cretans were "always" liars, evil beasts, idol gluttons.
Paul never corrected the “always” part. The apostle assumed it was acceptable to stereotype an entire ethnic group; even if the language wasn’t necessarily precise.
Modern Christians often feel like we have to trip over ourselves in conversation to make sure we don't offend any people groups, but we shouldn't, and there's an inspired apostle to prove it.