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The Orthodox Nationalist: Inter-Racial Marriage – TON 110117


Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson presents a summary of the ancient Orthodox conception of race-mixing for this week’s podcast.

Mixing the races is unnatural. While not directly a theological matter, it is a moral one. It is not a theological issue because terms such as “race” had no reference thousands of years ago. “Race” was not a separate category, abstracted from all else. There certainly were “races,” but these were not scientific categories in our modern sense.

The Israelites condemned race mixing but they did not have the modern conception of race in mind. Race was intrinsically connected with faith, adherence to the law, family life and an underlying, foundational culture. Most of the time, religious practice derives from a specific ethnic category, but conversion is always permitted. At the same time, the Old Testament sought to preserve the tiny Israelite people on both racial and religious grounds since these were never really separated. Race -- in isolation -- did not exist. Only the modern world takes important areas of human life such as economics or theology and treats them as separate from ethnicity or family.
God says to Joshua in the context of military victory over the pagans:
"For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.
The ancient book of Tobit, part of the Old Testament from the Patristic period, preaches racial doctrine. Here, Tobit is giving his sacred deathbed speech to Tobias, his son:
"Beware of all whoredom, my son, and chiefly take a wife of the seed of thy fathers, and take not a strange woman to wife, which is not of thy father’s tribe: for we are the children of the prophets, Noe [Noah], Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: remember, my son, that our fathers from the beginning, even that they all married wives of their own kindred, and were blessed in their children, and their seed shall inherit the land. Now therefore, my son, love thy brethren, and despise not in thy heart thy brethren, the sons and daughters of thy people, in not taking a wife of them…." (Tobit 4:12-13).
Church doctrine on race was always undeveloped because these were not issues. The church from ancient times has always been clear that race, culture, religion and tradition are all one and the same. The conception of racial and ethnic belonging was always taken for granted and rarely became an issue. Of course, outliers exist. God has crated races and ethnic groups as the extension of the family. To destroy a family is worse than to destroy a person. How much more sinful is it to destroy a race?

Presented by Matthew Raphael Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: Inter-Racial Marriage – TON 110117


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