Jesus Was White, Christianity is Good, and Other Myths Some Believe


As you may or may not recall, Megyn Kelly appeared on Fox News back in 2013 and claimed that Santa Claus was white and "Jesus was a white man too." She seemed quite upset over the perfectly understandable desire to have Santa symbols be more inclusive. I noticed it at the time but dismissed it as the usual sort of drivel one expects to hear on Fox News. I found myself thinking about it again after seeing Bombshell, although I had a somewhat different reaction to it then.

What on Earth would lead someone to go on national television in 2013 to insist that Jesus was a white man? Was it nothing more than simple racism or white supremacy? Did it happen at the urging of her bosses who wanted her to deliver a talking point to appeal to their viewers? Perhaps both. Kelly has never struck me as a stupid person. Assuming she's ever given the matter any real thought, it would have to be obvious to her that Jesus, if he existed at all, was not white. Many Christians have little difficulty acknowledging this. Perhaps she had never given the matter any real thought. If so, I suspect she's not alone. But the question remains: why bring it up at all?

Atheists are fond of asking one another which religion they find most absurd or implausible. While there are many good answers to that question, I always come back to the notion that it would have to be a religion that demands its adherents accept "truths" that are not merely demonstrably false but that have actually been shown to be false. The Jesus as a white man probably isn't the best example of this category. I'd probably look to the Mormons or Scientologists for that. But the Jesus was white claim may not be far behind.

If I had to pick the most likely reason for Kelly spewing this particular nonsense, I'd have to say that she was probably attempting to support the notion that white is good, better than all alternatives, by associating it with Jesus. Clearly, this is exactly the sort of thing many Fox viewers are desperate to hear. And let's be honest here and acknowledge that white Christians are extremely gifted at this sort of thing.

Consider how pervasive the association between "Christian" and "good person" remains. If you follow more than a handful of atheists on Twitter, you have undoubtedly seen that this has been so effective that many atheists continue to promote this message by suggesting that people are not "real Christians" the moment they do anything bad just like Christians want them to! But Mike Pence is a real Christian and so is Pat Robertson. One does not cease being a Christian the moment one commits a bad act; Christians have been committing bad acts for as long as there have been Christians. If we atheists can't figure this out, what hope is there for everyone else?

Every group of people is bound to have its hypocrites (i.e., people who claim to believe what others in the group believe but act in ways that seem inconsistent with their claimed beliefs). This may make them hypocrites but it doesn't magically erase the fact that they are part of the group or may believe much of what others in the group believe. To understand Christians, take a look at how they behave. Anybody can claim to believe whatever they want. If we are serious about understanding them, we have to look at their behavior.