Today we had a tour to Bolgary, site of the ancient capital of the Volga Bolgars. Neat archaeological sites. I like the trip more, though, just for the exposure to the Russian countryside. Picture The Shire, but on a massive scale.
Our tour guide, Natalya, was Russian Orthodox. She's a good tour guide. On the other hand, her private conversation with me about Tajiks who come to Tatarstan was dismaying. Pretty darn racist, from my point of view. From the humanist point of view, of course, such an attitude is distressing. By world view I am a liberal Christian, and from the Christian point of view that attitude is even more distressing. Part of the Christian path is learning to treat everyone as your neighbor, generally; to reshape your own heart in the presence of God so that you wish well for all and even at times make decisions that sacrifice yourself for your neighbor's benefit. To see someone who claims to be a Christian and has so far to go on that path... well, in short, it makes me sad. No one who seriously tries to walk with God ever achieves perfection this side of the grave, of course. We all fail in ways that distress both ourselves and others. Encounters like this, I think, should make us more determined to seek perfection in ourselves and to be beneficial to others who are still having difficulty on that path.
Don responds: Yeah, I do think that. More specifically I think that racism is the default value in all ethnic groups. It takes a special kind of raising/education to overcome it.