Baylor sociologist George Yancey to put forth Christian-centric model for race relations


Sociologist George Yancey has studied race relations and anti-Christian attitudes in the United States for much of his career. A professor at the Institute for Studies of Religion and Sociology at Baylor University, over the years he’s published research on institutional racial diversity, racial identity, atheism, cultural progressivism, and academic bias — in 2017, while Yancey was still at the University of North Texas, Christianity Today described him as the “only researcher studying Christianophobia at a secular university.”

It’s this expertise that Yancey will bring to Chautauqua 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy, part of the Interfaith Lecture Series theme of “Race and the American Religious Experience.”

Yancey has developed a Christian model for race relations that moves beyond colorblindness and antiracism, that focuses on unity instead of polarization, which he writes about in Beyond Racial Division. Other books include Beyond Racial Gridlock, There is no God — which  assesses atheism in the United States, and One Faith No More: The Transformation of Christianity in Red and Blue America. His book The Antiracists: Understanding Progressive Racial Activism, is forthcoming from Temple University Press.

In a 2021 conversation with Aaron Shamp of Boundless, the young adult ministry of Focus on the Family, Yancey considered why the church was just as divided as the rest of society on questions of colorblindness and antiracism.

“I think the church has adopted these ideas out of the world without subjecting them to a Christian critique. Some Christians say, ‘Just be colorblind.’ It sounds good, so many believers go along with that idea. Others say antiracism is the way to go, so they ascribe to that idea,” he said. “But when we act out of ideas adopted from the world, we ignore the character needed to do the difficult work of racial reconciliation. If we aren’t secure in the gospel’s promise of forgiveness in Christ, then we will be hesitant to embrace mutual responsibility and evaluate our hearts and lives.”

What the church has not done, Yancey told Shamp, is ask the “hard question.”

“What is it about our Christian faith that gives us a different answer than the rest of the world? Is there something about our Christian faith that gives insight that other paradigms are lacking? We have not asked these sorts of hard questions, so instead we adopt the world’s answers and end up just as polarized as everyone else,” he said. “When we decide that we’re going to really look to elements of our faith to move forward in new and refreshing ways, then we will have something to offer the rest of the world. Until then, we don’t have anything to offer that they can’t find for themselves in secular sources.”

Tags : Baylor UniversityBeyond Racial DivisionBeyond Racial Gridlock There is no GodGeorge YanceyInstitute for Studies of Religion and Sociologyinterfaith lectureinterfaith lecture previewOne Faith No More: The Transformation of Christianity in Red and Blue AmericaRace and the American Religious ExperiencereligionSociologyThe Antiracists: Understanding Progressive Racial ActivismUniversity of North Texas

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