I. The Bible and Bias

Bias -- that perennial bugbear of progressive ideology -- is said to be alive and well in modern America, at least in certain sectors of it. Racial bias, gender bias, class bias -- all are to be found in unenlightened and recalcitrant individuals, and also in social structures and institutions. So we are told. Bias is the new unforgivable sin, and removing it is the predominant moral imperative of our time. It must be exposed and eliminated wherever found. This is accomplished by three means -- anti-bias regulations, mandatory re-education (aka "diversity training"), and public shaming of perpetrators. The convenient thing about bias is that it does not have to be proven, but merely alleged, before corrective actions are taken. All that is necessary is for some aggrieved group or individual to "take offense" at another person's statement, or to demonstrate "disparate impact" of the opponent's action. Then the well-established pattern of bias-baiting gets under way: expression of outrage, appeal to moral absolutes, well-choreographed media blitz, declaration of victimhood, identification and vilification of opponents, the launching of of economic sanctions against the perpetrator, and finally capitulation of the target individuals or corporation. It is all so predictable that the process could be patented.


But what does the Bible have to say about bias? The anti-bias crusade (fatwa?) is a quasi-religious movement, in that it invokes moral sanctions even if it doesn't explicitly quote the Bible. In fact, the Bible believer has frequently been the target of bias accusations. This means that the Christian should carefully consider the causes and cure of bias before joining the parade of bias-slingers.


And right away we get into a serious problem in the book of Genesis. For it is God Himself who creates gender bias with the creation of Adam and Eve. Eve is taken out of Adam, and is made like him, but not identical to him. Both of them are made "in God's image," which distinguishes them from all the rest of creation, but Eve is made a helpmate to Adam. So much for unisex. Yet in at least one respect, Adam and Eve are not like God, in that He is infinite and they are finite in all their attributes: knowledge, power, natural ability, lifespan. Finite means limited, and limited means biased. Adam and Eve are similar but different, and it is in these differences that we find the basis of their respective biases. They look at life from different viewpoints. Bias is hard-wired into them, and this is God's doing.


But not all God-engendered bias is biological. In Genesis 11, in reaction to mankind coming together to build the Tower of Babel, God confuses the speech of the people and separates them into different language groups. These then become different societies and cultures. The consequence of God's action is to fragment the human community and increase social conflict and misunderstanding. Each language group develops its own rituals, religion, social structure and customs -- the components of bias. Ethnic bias, like the gender bias of Gen 2, is a result of human finitude, human limitations. Unlike gender bias, it derives more from "nurture" than "nature." Nevertheless, it is likewise God-ordained and universal. There is no such critter as an "unbiased" human being.


The Biblical reality is that God intended for each of His human creations to be raised as a member of just one of a vast number of mutually competitive and sometimes hostile groups. No one is omniscient -- no one possesses a magic key of understanding all other cultures and languages. The ideal of universal tolerance is delusional. The suppression of bias by modern secularists is a denial of human nature and of human culture as revealed to us by the Bible and by reason. Bias is the starting point of our journey to God and to genuine human community. It cannot be programmed away, it cannot be legislated away -- because we always remain limited, partial and broken. As long as we are aware of the last three factors, our bias will not be toxic to ourselves or others. The greatest antidote to bias is humility. It is when people see only others' limitations and not their own, when they claim "objectivity" for their own beliefs and ascribe bias only to their opponents, that bias threatens communication and cooperation. This is the point we have reached in America today -- the use of bias as a weapon of intimidation against ideological enemies.


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