We are all God’s creation. God put us on this Earth for His purpose. Each and every one of us has been gifted with life. God intended for us to enjoy that life and respect the lives of others. God intended for us to be united in respect and love for each other. He intended to see compassion, kindness, love, charity, and generosity throughout all humanity.
In the Book of Acts, it speaks of the Holy Spirit descending and inhabiting the souls of the Apostles and disciples, making them all of one accord. The Book of Acts speaks of the Word of God being spoken in all the languages and tongues of all nations so that all could understand and know God’s love for humanity and the obligation humanity had to love their God, love their neighbor, and even love their enemies as they would love themselves and want to be loved.
Humanity has so quickly and so easily found ways to break that accord and to refrain from loving each other. Humanity has divided itself on the basis of race, culture, religion, nationality, ethnicity, language, politics, sexual orientation, and gender expression. We divide ourselves from each other for a whole variety of reasons and with a variety of justifications. So much so that we lose sight of the most basic, most fundamental truth there is– we all are human and we all have the right to life, the right to be free of oppression and persecution, and the right to be productive and to have fulfilling pursuits and equal opportunities to meet our goals and ambitions.
Hate and greed and fear have reared their ugly heads into our lives now. We no longer trust our neighbors as we once did. We no longer respect or even care about those that may be different from ourselves. We have become so suspicious or cynical or discriminatory. We have ignored facts and have put our faith more in myths and negative stereotypes and baseless conjecture and opinions. Ignorance has been enabled to flourish where intelligence should be preferred.
It has gotten to the point where anger and hatred have more accurately taken over fear. People now lash out at what they don’t understand or don’t like or approve of personally. Rather than respect the rights and spaces of others, people have imposed and intruded upon others in hopes of converting people to their way of thinking and believing.
Cultural, political, theological, and other divides exist because of fear– fear that their culture, their politics, their theology, and their beliefs and ways of life are under attack and being threatened with extinction. There is fear of the unknown and feat of change. As civilization and societies develop and adapt and change to meet the needs of people, certain values and customs and ways of thinking tend to adapt or change. It is adaptation… it is development and progress, it is evolution at work.
But conflict arises as people try to come to terms with these adaptations and changes. There are those that look forward to change and evolution and development– they see it all as reflections of a changing, developing, constantly adapting society– a natural progression of things. Others resist change, preferring the status quo and finding security in ways that seemed fixed and permanent. They have a strong attachment to customs and traditions and institutions because that is what they know and for them, that is what defines who they are and what they will be even as time passes.
I don’t see anything inherently wrong with maintaining traditions and customs and having a deep bond with one’s heritage and past. It is when tradition, custom, and one’s past hinders the discoveries and advancements of the present that I begin to cringe. It is when the ways of the past prohibit the development of new ideas, new concepts, and new discoveries and new perspectives that I worry that we are enabling our pasts to dictate with too much power and authority how we should approach the present and future.
We cannot thrive as a humanity if we lock ourselves within boxes or confine our identities to rigid terms or strict dichotomies or binaries. Most of the world around us is not in black or white– but rather an explosion of color reflecting diversity and nuance and creativity and beauty and uniqueness. God created and enabled these colors and diversities to exist. He welcomed a broad spectrum of ideas, concepts, beliefs, theologies, cultures, languages, and so on. To disrespect the beauty of all of God’s creations is to disrespect God. To disrespect the diversity found within humanity is to disrespect God’s plan.