Meet your great-grandfather Isaac. Or Ishmael. Or maybe even both…
How do you determine who ethnically is a “white person” and who is not? Are Jews considered to be white? What about Greeks and Italians? And though Central and South Americans typically have tan skin, why is it there something about them still seems sort of white, as opposed to a person from India or China? These are some of the “side effect” questions that will be answered as I explain my theory on the origin of race and religion.
No, this theory doesn’t start with Adam and Eve. Nor does it start with Noah and his family repopulating the world after the Great Flood. It starts 20 generations after Adam, and 10 generations after Noah, with Abraham (the father of the Jewish and the Arab people), being promised by God that he would have a son in his old age. After waiting and having no sign of this coming true, Abraham’s wife Sarah convinced him to sleep with their Egyptian maidservant Hagar, in order to have a son to carry on the family lineage. At age 86, Abraham goes with his wife’s plan (like the way Adam ate the fruit after Eve convinced him to) and has a son with his maidservant- the son is named Ishmael. However, 13 years later Abraham’s wife Sarah gets pregnant with a son, as God promised, and this son is named Isaac.
Abraham eventually sends away his maidservant Hagar and his son Ishmael into the wilderness (Genesis 21:14), and raises Isaac his as true first-born son. Today, thousands of years later, it is through Ishmael that Arabs and Muslims link their heritage through. Accordingly, Jews and Christians trace through heritage back to Isaac. Now we are in the meat of my theory.
As generations passed and both families migrated from their Middle Eastern homelands, the descendants of Ishmael moved south and east- to Africa, Asia, and America (becoming the Native American Indians in North America and the Aztec Indians in Central and South America). In fact, the angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael “will live east of all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12). Meanwhile the descendants of Isaac moved north and west- to Europe, Russia, and eventually to America (killing off, running off, or marrying the Native American Indians).
Notice how today the countries that are represented by the descendants of Ishmael are generally practice religions that do not involve the Judeo-Christian God (worshipped by Christians, Catholics, and Jews) but instead are tied Hinduism, Animism, Taoism, Buddhism, Communism (Atheism) and Islam. And of course the descendants of Isaac are matched to the Christianized nations: For example, Scotland is mainly Protestant, Ireland is mainly Catholic, and England is mainly Anglican (Presbyterian).
Almost 2,000 years ago thanks the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys to preach Christ where the Jews had already settled (in Europe, specifically the Mediterranean areas) and also the birth of Christianity as a whole, the countries that were already familiar with the Judeo-Christian God were basically the first to get introduced to Jesus as the Messiah. As far as all the Ishmael-descended areas, like modern day Africa and Asia that were less familiar or not familiar at all with Christianity, they were not and have not typically been as generally open and accepting to “our God” as Isaac’s descendants.
I do believe that whether or not a nation (or individual person) is a descendent of Isaac has much to do with their religion, race, and culture. However, there are obviously exceptions. One of them is Russia, which had been mainly Christian up until the point of its embrace of Communism. Another exception is African-Americans, whom most identify with Christianity, as opposed to most Africans living in Africa.
And then there’s the “half breed” nations that make up Central and South America. For the most part, their blood is mixed of Indigenous Americans (Native American, Aztec, etc.) who migrated from Asia through modern day Alaska, and European lineage from those who “discovered” America. So in essence, the inhabitants of modern day Central and South America are half Isaackian, half-Ishmaelese; though they have accepted the religious beliefs of Isaac’s descendants (largely Catholic). Read more about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas
Yes, I did just now make up and use the words Isaackian (to describe the descendants of Isaac who are prone to believe in the Judeo-Christian God) and Ishmaelese (to describe the descendants of Ishmael who typically do not). And now that you hopefully understand what those terms represent, I will begin using them frequently.
What started much of this thought process was when I recently began “Climbing the Family Tree” and realized that so many of my ancestors had last names that are Jewish (Schell, Klaar, Ullman, Wiseman, Vite) yet there is no solid proof that I actually am- only family rumors and tradition. If I assume that none of the people in my family tree were Jewish, well, still, I have Jewish names in my family tree. So that got me thinking, Jewish people and “white people” are essentially the same thing, coming from the same common ancestors. Whereas someone who is Japanese (Ishmaelese) wouldn’t have last names in their family tree that would resemble a Jewish last name.
So going back to one of the questions I asked in the beginning, are Jewish people considered to be white? Yes. Though their homeland is Israel and though they are a Middle Eastern people group, they blend in with us Americans so well. And that’s part of my fascination with pointing out which celebrities are Jewish. Half the casts of Friends and Seinfeld are Jewish (The Ethnic Backgrounds of the Cast of Friends and Seinfeld) as well as The Wonder Years (The Ethnicity of the Cast of The Wonder Years), but the fact that most of us don’t know which ones are or aren’t shows that despite most of us being a mix of European blood, those Middle Eastern descended Jews are still our cousins.
Of course ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of us descended from Isaac or Ishmael or how much blood we have of either (I’m around 12.5% Ishmaelese); it just predicts the tone of our skin and our traditional religion, according to my theory. By no means do I see the Isaackians as superior to Ishmaelese for the fact that I myself worship the Judeo-Christian God. But what I do recognize is what God himself proclaimed to Abraham regarding Isaac and Ishmael:
But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac, and I will establish my everlasting covenant for his descendants after him,” (Genesis 17:19).
“As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation,” (Genesis 17:20).
What’s most important from those verses I just quoted is that God promised to establish his covenant through the line of Isaac. In other words, the savior of the world would come in the form of a Jew. Not to mention that the Isaackians coincidently would hold the responsibility of sharing their God with the Ismaelese- that’s why Christian missionaries exist. That’s why Christianity is now the largest religion of the Ishmaelese country of South Korea, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea#Religion
We all have the same great-grandparents at the tops of our family trees. I try to imagine how different the world would be if Abraham wouldn’t have had a son with Hagar, if he just would have waited another 13 years for his own wife to become pregnant. But he jumped the gun and changed the course of history (for him, it was the future) forever. Though if he didn’t, I wouldn’t exist, being that my grandmother is Mexican. Not only would I have not written this and you wouldn’t have read it, but there wouldn’t have been any of this to write about.
And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on race and religion, why not read my perspective on being a dad? That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view. I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant. I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below: