Is Unity in Diversity Possible?

In Genesis 1:27 mankind is created in the image of God, instilling him with the spirit of God as a citizen of His kingdom. Unfortunately, in Genesis 3 mankind chooses disobedience, corrupting his nature and creating a divide between him and God, and a new trajectory for the nature of mankind.

Cultural diversity is a growing challenge as globalization pushes differing cultures closer together (Kumar & Pandey, 2012). This has given rise to the notion cross cultural unity is an endeavor worth pursuit. Unfortunately, it is my personal belief, and an unpopular one, that seeking complete cultural unity is a fool’s errand that is theoretically noble, but practically impossible.

Cross cultural unity has often been initiated by cultural groups fighting for rights, recognition, and resources. Such endeavors as missions work has been wrapped in an agenda of proselytizing while business endeavors have productivity and profitability as the driving purpose behind unity. As Christians, we look to Paul’s metaphor of “the body of Christ” as a model for unity (Lingenfelter, 2008), however, the assumption here is a body of Christ followers who are in close relationship with the Creator and a revitalization of mankind’s initial nature as a reflection of his Creator, which has eliminated selfish ambition, agendas, and need for recognition (1 Cor. 12:14-20). As human beings, living separate from our intended nature reflective of the Creator, we naturally seek out familiar structures in social relationships that benefit us, distorting the diversity of God’s creation to familiar structures that we expect others to fit into.

The global assumption in the pursuit of unity in diversity is that mankind has within itself the ability to achieve such a reality, but as long as mankind exists outside of relationship with the Creator and His nature of selfless embrace and love for others, mankind will seek fruitlessly.

References

Kumar, G., & Pandey, J. (2012). How Indian and Western Teacher Trainees Differ in Their Perception about Values? Journal of Human Values, 18(1), 73–84. http://doi.org/10.1177/097168581101800106

Lingenfelter, S. G. (2008). Leading cross-culturally: covenant relationships for effective Christian leadership. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic.

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