Language, Race and Nation
I have received a reply from Rob West of the Christian Council of Britain in response to my queries about his theology. In particular he has pointed me to a leaflet he has written (which you can find here) entitled "Are Nations Abolished?". Can I suggest that you have a read of it to see where West is (and isn’t) coming from.
I think I take seriously West’s claim that he is not arguing a segregationist theology, but I still have the following questions (just for starters):
- Genesis 11:7-9 reads as follows : Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
How do we move from a confusing of the tongues by God to the establishment of nations as being divinely inspired? The two are not in any sense linked – for example my family comes from Austria which shares the same language as Germany, yet has in many ways a completely different cultural and political identity. Equally, some nations are long established with multiple languages and cultural groups (eg Switzerland). Surely if the confusion of tongues and the establishment of nations were linked then the two would correlate?
- Would it not be more Biblical to argue that the Genesis account observes the creation of nations by humans themselves (eg Genesis 10)? There is absolutely no indication in the Genesis 10 text that the nations are specifically ordained as such by God, rather that they simply occur.
- Given this, do we not therefore observe in the world cultural and national divisions which are man-made, though divinely permitted and utilised? For example, Romans 13:1 tells us that the "authorities" have been established by God, but that is not the same as to argue that the nations in which the authorities have power are themselves specifically created and maintained as separate by God. The word "exousia" which here is translated as "authority" is also used by Jesus in Matt 28:18 to refer to his authority, in 2 Cor 10:8 by Paul to refer to his authority and can also be used in the context of personal rights (eg 1 Cor 8:9).
- To be a pedant, is not "British" as a notion of racial distinctiveness itself an ambiguous term? Do you mean actual Britons (Bretons?) or Picts or those with Viking heritage or an Angle, Saxon or Jutish background? Surely given your original thesis you should therefore be arguing for the reversion of this island to the racial kingdoms of the 7th and 8th Century which derived themselves from the immigrant (invading) communities of the previous centuries?
What do we think? Do feel free to comment, but please have the courtesy to read Rob West’s paper and to respond to the arguments he makes rather than simply labeling him "racist" without engaging with what he actually says.