Christian Religious Studies Notes


What is Impartiality?
Impartiality is a principle of justice that states that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.
What is partiality?
Partiality means to deny somebody his or her entitlement because of certain reasons such as religion, tribe, race, sex, political, belief, etc. Partiality also brings discrimination. A person may suffer partiality because of his or her social status, i.e for not being educated or for being people. Uneducated people are discriminated against at times and what belongs to them is given to others because they cannot read or write. Likewise, poor people also suffer discrimination because of their socio-economics class and no one wants to identify with them. in our society, the poor are treated differently from the rich. This should not be because we are all created equally by God. Partiality is a sin against God because it is an act of social injustice. As a result, many people have been denied their fundamental human right.
On the other hand, impartiality is the opposite of partiality. It means to release to people what belongs to them without any condition being attached to it. It also means to give equal treatment to everybody whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated. This is what God wants us to be practicing. Jesus said: “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and prophets.”
If we do according to this law, partiality and discrimination of any kind will no longer exist in our society. We will have a just and balance society because we will not do to others what we ourselves will not take. There will be peace, unity and progress.
St. James perceived partiality in the church during his time and exhort Christians to shun partiality and embrace impartiality instead.

St. James discovered the problem of partiality in the early church where there was discrimination against the poor. He wrote a letter to correct this social evil.
James started his letter by urging the Christians not to show partiality by respecting one man above another. He said a genuine Christian should avoid this. He also spoke against giving room for class distinction in their midst. They should not hold the rich people more important than the poor when both of them are invited to a public function. Some of them attend appropriately to the rich people who are well dressed by offering them the best seats when they come to their assembly, but ask the shabbily dressed persons to sit on the floor or stand somewhere. James warned such people to stop this act; it makes them to be biased and partial judgment.
James made them to realize that God has chosen the poor of this world and made them rich in faith and also to be the heirs of the kingdom of God, which is promised to those who love God. James condemned the act of despising the poor people in their midst in an attempt to honour the rich. He said it is the same rich people who oppress them in return and drag them to court where they could not get right justice. It is also the same rich people who blaspheme the worthy name of the Lord by which they are being called.
In conclusion, James called on all Christians to observe the royal law which says: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If they continue with the respect of persons through partiality, they commit sin and are convicted by the law. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, but fails in one point is also guilty of all. Anyone who kills, but does not commit adultery has broken the law. As Christians, our thoughts and actions must correspond with the laws of liberty. Any Christians who refuses to show mercy to the afflicted will receive God’s judgment without mercy.
The Significance of St. James’ Teaching on Impartiality
The teaching of James on impartiality has relevance on our society today. Partiality is now the order of the day. There is widespread of social injustice all over our society,. People now discriminate on the grounds of religion, tribe, race or sex before appointments can be offered. This has also affected the award of contracts. Due process is no longer followed for promotion of workers; it now depends on who you are and who you know. There is partiality in the distribution of social amenities in our society. There is favouritism in the admission of students into colleges and higher institutions. The judges are now corrupt and as a result, they show partiality in their judgment. Even in some churches, the wealthy people are respected, while the poor ones are despised. In some organizations there is tribalism in which all the employees are from the same tribe and they do not employ people from other tribes. Nepotism is also the order of the day in our society.
We as Christian should promote impartiality in our society by condemning partiality, favouritism, tribalism and nepotism and speak out against them publicly. We should join hands together o fight against these social evils until we win. We can also make use of the media like newspaper, television and radio to fight against the government workers who are involved in tribalism, nepotism and favourism. In order to promote impartiality, we should treat people from every tribe as equals. We should also respect the fundamental human rights of people.

  1. Distinguish between the following; partiality, nepotism, tribalism and favouritism.
  2. As Christians how should we treat our fellow Christians?
  3. State the “Golden Rule” of the bible.
  4. Describe the negative effects of the following nepotism, favouritism, and tribalism.

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