Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #52 --- Prejudice

Quotations on Prejudice (Set No. 2)

Where does prejudice begin? How does it work? Where does it end? Precisely what is prejudice? The Christian moralist sees it as the very essence of evil in the guise of respectability. A psychiatrist sees it as a maladjustment of the personality which damages all of society as well as the person afflicted by it.

The underlying emotions of prejudice are those of hate and destruction. ... All too often [people] are unconscious of their prejudice, and that they are living under its influence. They allow their estimation of others to be determined by their prejudices. Their prejudice might be that of occupation. ... Other common prejudices are encountered because an individual holds a divergent political view, or he belongs to an ethnic group speaking a different language, or a culture with strange customs. ...

We allow prejudice to get the better of our reason. If, for instance, you should take a prejudice against a man, you will find that he will never do right in your opinion. You will even perceive a taint in his highest motives. This may be attributed to the powerful neutralizing effect of prejudice. The most convincing arguments are rendered useless and unavailing. ...

Prejudice is put to the test of experience when men must share the same burdens, dangers and sufferings. Under such circumstances they soon realize that political, religious and ethnic differences are only superficial prejudices which are not really bound to the soul.

—Malcolm H. Prouty, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., July 7, 1963.

Prejudice blinds the mind, darkens the understanding, paralyzes the will, perverts the judgment and sees everything through a false and distorted medium. Prejudice comes between a man and his neighbor, between a man and the truth, between a man and his God.

—George Edward Walk, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 13, 1905.

A Christian should bring his prejudices under the sway of God's will. After the initial experience of public profession of faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, there should follow the long, tedious process of being converted. This does not happen by sudden thrusts anymore than one is educated by inordinate spurts of time and effort. To synchronize one's will and way with the divine pattern requires love and allegiance over an extended period of time. There are no "90-day wonders" in the Christian fold.

Prejudice when left unheeded in the life of a recently converted Christian will outgrow any other phase of the new life. Prejudice is the slant of the mind and heart to the left of the facts. It is an opinion formed without the facts either in hand or mind.

God never has been able to do anything of an extraordinary nature through a person who refuses to rid his mind of prejudice. Tragically, many religious people equate their prejudices with religious conviction. Nothing could be more erroneous in nature or a bigger insult to God than to impute one's prejudices to a "Thus saith the Lord" status.

The Lord says no such thing! And the sooner churchgoers get this fact through their hard, hard heads, the sooner society will enjoy the relief from ignorance's burden.

God is no party to anyone's prejudice. Nor is He remotely the source of any such ridiculous and self-limiting sins. Instead, prejudices grow from early conditioning, home environment, association with people of like persuasion, superstitions, fear and religious illiteracy.

It is possible, for instance, to read the Bible through the glasses of preconceived notions, or sectarian narrowness, or creedal legality and miss the wondrous meaning of its universal appeal and nature. Some folks permit the Bible to say only what they want said, much as a tutor, prompting a fledgling actor on every other line from behind the curtain. ...

Many worldly sinners who cannot even name the books of the Bible presume to speak omnisciently about the Bible while summarily dismissing its telling truth to their skeptical lives. Prejudice cannot see the light because it vows that the darkness in which it walks and stalks is the only "true light."

—Roy O. McClain, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 26, 1965.

Prejudice precludes us from exercising our free agency in righteousness. It destroys the operation of love, patience, justice, hope and mercy. ...

Hypocrisy and prejudice usually go hand in hand; therefore self-examination is usually very tardy, and justice presumptuously set aside.

The man who commits his way unto the Lord that he may be directed, is he who keeps a strict and careful check upon his judgments–lest he be enticed by prejudice.

Prejudice is incapable of doing a righteous act, just as assuredly as a fountain cannot give forth sweet water and bitter at the same time and place.

The religious man who spreads false reports of others in ignorant prejudice may imagine that God will be very pleased to forgive his errors, but I am inclined to believe that prejudice is in a very large degree inexcusable, because it is easily discernable. ...

Prejudice is always unreasonable. ... Prejudice is always to be dreaded as a vicious evil; as a rule, that which a prejudiced person cherisheth, he obtained with an ulterior motive; and that which he lacks is through being too indifferent to search that he might know the truth.

Prejudice is of such a wicked nature that it hates to see truth prevail and would willingly suffer some loss for a miscarriage of justice. It enters into every phase of human life and activity.

Prejudice is so deceptive, that even those who suffer under it most resent the imputation, yet resist all approaches to have the truth explained to them on the pretext of being satisfied with what they think they have.

Prejudice is usually ignorance of the person, place or thing; therefore, the only way to rid ourselves of prejudice is to examine all things and cleave to the good, or place ourselves in a position to give reason for our judgment, without ever closing th door to greater knowledge on the subject.

Knowledge will increase stability, even though we are compelled to give up many previously cherished opinions which are dear ones.

Prejudice must vanish when knowledge enters, because judgment and truth will destroy it.

—Samuel Martin, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, April 4, 1929.

May we personally lay aside prejudice so that all who come into our lives are treated fairly as individuals instead of oppressively as groups.

—William McDonald, The Times, Shreveport, La., Sept. 22, 1990.

Prejudice is unreasoning, and when it is violently aroused, measures the most absurd become possible and acts the most unjust may be expected. ... [There are the] foes to true liberty, [who are] reckless defiers of justice, ... tramplers upon the rights of men, ... promoters of the worst features of monarchism, ... the forerunners of a force hostile to popular government, ... revolutionary adventurers hungry for spoil, the expected result of their unhallowed conspiracy.

—Charles W. Penrose, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 10, 1881.

Prejudice gets the better of their judgment. ... They imagine evils which they never see, that which they report as facts. ... In the next place they are looking for evil and hunting for something strange and shocking to narrate. ... What they fail to witness, some wag or scamp pours into their willing ears, and they write it up or peach it down for their own veritable experience.

—Charles W. Penrose, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 15, 1881.

Racism is one of the fruits of the sin nature. It is one of the fruits of the flesh. It starts out with thinking more of ourselves than we ought to and thinking less of others than we ought to.

It always has been--first and foremost--a problem of the heart and a problem of the mind.

Prejudice cannot be dismissed by legislation. You can deal with conduct or how people treat each other. But you can't deal with character or attitude.

Prejudice is basically a spiritual problem. It won't be solved by legislation. And that's not to say we don't need laws that will remove legal discrimination. That's a step. But that will not remove prejudice and stereotyping.

—Richard Land, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., Feb. 11, 1993.

Because a person does not hold the same convictions as you on any topic or is engrossed in different habits does not mean that the individual is narrow. Too many of us are prone to ridicule or criticize unjustly because we have not become acquainted with the facts. An open mind results in personal improvement and advancement.

An individual who becomes prejudiced on any subject, avoiding facts which will not align themselves with his thoughts cannot intelligently inform himself on the progress of humanity, its needs or problems. Before you pass sentence, always learn the truth of both sides. It is easy to be influenced and become set in your opinion if you have only obtained the facts of one school of thought. How often have you been present for an argument and witnessed an individual deny the facts, presented with accuracy, by his opponent? Many times the person has become enraged when he has seen his common judgment about to be influenced by the careful thoughts given by his friend. Such a person is not open to conviction. He has shut himself up in a small world, and is destined to remain surrounded by only a few who are unlearned and make themselves miserable because of prejudice.

One cannot hold certain prejudices for any length of time and not create hate. Hate is certain to follow prejudiced views, and when it does there is little or no hope for the recovery of fairmindedness on the part of the individual so affected. If you find that you are beginning to become set in your beliefs, and do not want to listen to facts, though they may hurt your sensitive feelings, it's time to check up on yourself. Don't tread too far into the dangerous path of prejudice, for sooner or later you will be hating other persons, their ideals, thoughts, and privileges.

Every day that problems confront you, seek the facts. Diagnose every presentation of these facts. Carefully weigh every argument, before you launch yourself into an undertaking. Give the other man the benefit of the doubt. He is human, deserves consideration, and is entitled to his own views. Because your neighbor is of a different religious or political affiliation than you is no reason why he should not be respected. If his views on topics of the day are different, listen in sometime, and you may find that you have been benefitted by his utterances. Wisdom and progress come from the exchange of ideas.

—Howard D. Strother, The New Era, Eunice, La., July 6, 1937.

Jesus was not a religious bigot. ... He had a universal heart that went out to all classes of men. He labored against a great religious prejudice–that salvation was for a certain race only. He still labors against a great religious prejudice–that salvation is for a certain class only.

Religious bigotry is the damning sin of the world. Intolerance still is a thing to be deplored. ...

People are not to be judged by their race of their religious inheritance, but by the quality of their lives. Jesus could see good in a Gentile and a follower of Jesus must see good in a Jew. The Master could see great faith in a SyroPhoenician woman. He could see noble qualities in a centurion. ...

Jesus was a great equalizer. The more you study His character and teachings the more you believe in the brotherhood of man. The nearer you come to the heart of Christ, the greater your love for people who are beneath you in the social sphere. The Christian religion puts us on the same plane. Worldly ambitions endeavor to destroy that plane of equality. ...

Christianity in the heart reaches down only that it may lift up.

—William M. Woodfin, Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., April 1, 1933.

Prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support. Like a gigolo it lives off the accumulated capital of other naive minds, never entering into the labors from which is profits. Prejudice is a parasite, a blood sucker. Posing as independent thought it cannot sustain itself.

The acid test for prejudice is reason. However, prejudice avoids a contest with rational thought, even at the cost of becoming absurd. The prejudiced mind prefers not to deal with facts and logic. These only serve to confuse the issue. It is much easier to appeal to other prejudices, emotional triggers, personal opinions and carefully structured plans of self-interest.

A favorite mental gymnastic used in the support of prejudice is generalization. This is typified by condemning all members of a profession because one individual disappointed you, or rejecting a race of people although you know the thinking of only a few of their representatives. "Republicans are stingy" or "Democrats are spendthrifts," "Roman Catholics are regimented," and "Protestants are bigoted;" these are typical generalizations.

Prejudice thrives in the darkness of a closed mind. The prejudiced person rarely supposes that any position other than his own could have merit. Unwillingness to consider conflicting evidence is, at the same time, the strength and weakness of prejudice. A closed mind is relatively strong because it will not entertain combat; it is weak because it fears to test itself against opposition. The prejudiced mind, by its very nature, lives under the threat that it may not be correct.

—Browning Ware, Beaumont Enterprise, Beaumont, Texas, March 20, 1964.

Prejudice is the child of ignorance. It is an opponent to all progress. Prejudice stands in the way of justice. It impedes the action of mercy. Prejudice takes the beautiful away from our sight. It separates the sweet sounds from our ears. Prejudice leads to death. The sunbeam today is traveling 93 million miles to get to this earth. It comes to us in a direct line, 93 million miles. On entering our room, if it strikes a flaw in the window pane, it will fall obliquely upon the floor. A truth may come from God. ... If on entering our minds, it is deflected by prejudice, that truth will fall as error upon our souls. The open mind and heart are the children of intelligence. They uphold justice, distill in dews of mercy and sympathy upon human life. The open mind and heart see the beautiful and hear the sweet. And when a message from God comes to the open mind and heart it is not deflected, but its radiant beam warms and develops the soul. Let prejudice sit in your judgment seats and it will condemn the innocent and set free the guilty. But let an open mind and an open heart, seeking understanding, sit in the judgment seat and they will weigh well and impartially the witness that is given, and they will deal justice to the guilty but vindicate those who are sinless and falsely accused.

—Alma O. Taylor, Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 18, 1916.

Prejudice is evil because it is dishonest. To oppose--or support--why cause or issue for any other reason than its demerits--or merits--is dishonesty in its most vicious attire.

What are the symptoms of prejudice? While there are many, one of the common is the inability to see one thing good--or evil--in a person, a cause, an organization, an issue, or whatever the subject under consideration.

Some persons resort to prejudice in an attempt to strengthen their stand on an issue. They feel that an admission than an other side of the issue has merit is to weaken their argument. In their attempts to sell their position, they feel that a one hundred percent right issue is easier to see than one only 99 per cent right.

Some persons are prejudiced from habit. So long have they looked for only evil--or good--that that is all they see.

In either case, prejudice must be classified as dishonesty.

It's true that we recognize prejudice for what it is, that we classify it along with other types of immorality. It is immoral to the same extent that dishonesty is immoral.

Some persons unconsciously are prejudiced. When we fail to find a morsel of good--or evil--in any early organization, person, or issue, it's time to do a little soul searching.

—H.M. Baggarly, Tulia Herald, Tulia, Texas, Oct. 26, 1961.

A prejudice is a dislike, hostility, or aversion based on a faulty and fixed generalization.

The prejudiced person is insecure, fearful, and disorganized. His prejudice often is a subconscious way to achieve status by projecting his fears and anxieties onto others. He despises himself. Since he cannot consciously master life's conflicts, he represses his instincts and natural impulses.

He cannot tolerate human weaknesses because he has failed to accept and live with his own impulses. He requires order, structure, stability, and definiteness. He cannot tolerate ambiguity.

He must label or categorize people as being in either of two categories. This causes him to see groups as either all good or all bad. There are no shades of gray. He must "know the answers" and is afraid to say, "I don't know."

His exaggerated and ethnocentrism causes him to compulsively and unquestionably conform to his "in-group."

He is conventional and conservative. He projects his problems onto things and performs "out there."

He blames his failures on "scapegoats." His authoritarian personality structure causes him to admire and submit to powerful persons and to scorn those on a status level below his. He has little insight into his own personality. He is mentally rigid, thinks in terms of stereotypes, has a closed mind, and can't take self-criticism.

Nonprejudiced people are friendly, trustful, respectful, and have approving attitudes towards others, regardless of the groups to which they belong. Such tolerant individuals have been classified as democratic, productive, and fully functioning personalities. These persons are secure. They feel accepted and loved. ...

Their mental flexibility is revealed in their rejection of two-valued thinking. They do not divide the world into the wholly proper, or those for them and those against them, or the completely right (saints) and the completely wrong (sinners).

They can tolerate ambiguity and indefiniteness. They can freely say, "I don't know." They are not interested in labels and stereotypes; a person is a person.

Liberal and positive views toward justice, progress, and mankind are central to them. They are able to accurately "size up" people. This empathy enables them to react to the unique characteristics of individuals rather than to react to them en masse.

Nonprejudiced persons have self-insight. They are self-critical and are aware of their capabilities and shortcomings. They do not blame others for their own weaknesses.

They desire personal freedom of thought and action rather than external institutional anchorage. They have a sense of humor, since a person who can laugh at his foibles is unlikely to feel greatly superior to others.

They are secure and relaxed; they trust themselves and others. Having achieved self-love, they are capable of loving others. They have built inner securities which free their lives from intolerable threats and repressions, and from the need to cling to institutions.

—Lynn Weldon, Stride, Independence, Mo., March 1962.

Behold how much poison is created by one small prejudice.

—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 6, 1943.

Most of us are much more sensitive on the subject of our own prejudices than we are on the subjects of our real convictions.

—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., March 16, 1944.

Prejudices are rarely much more than hateful wishes.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 3, 1941.

Bigotry is belief in need of brake linings.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 7, 1922.

Man sometimes describes God from the square root of his own prejudices.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Aug. 11, 1927.

Hell is perhaps not so hot as the prejudices that stir it.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Oct. 12, 1927.

The bigot always uses isolated texts to break the windows in other people's houses.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 31, 1924.

The hate of a bigot is thicker than that of a hippopotamus.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 9, 1925.

Prejudice always carries a chain.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, March 25, 1926.

One of the human difficulties of life is to refrain from bitter comebacks when our prejudices are assailed.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 18, 1935.

There is some good in everybody. The trouble comes from having to dig through our prejudices to find it.

—Jack Warwick, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, March 31, 1941.

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