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Throes of Multiculturalism

Tue, Nov. 22, 2016 Posted: 07:21 AM


I feel the discomfort of the family of the United States Vice President-elect following a theatre act, at which Mike Pence was lectured on inclusion, diversity and the fears of some segments of American society. President-elect Donald Trump predictably demanded an apology from the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" a day after an actor delivered a well targeted missive on values and which also reminded the world of the fractious aftermath of the recent 2016 election. We are thankful for Pence in that all he received from the aggrieved protagonist was a lecture at the theatre, Abraham Lincoln was not so fortunate.

Culture has been defined as the “the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.” I heard a respected thinker recently describe culture as the collection of memories, past experiences, and teachings of yesterday that create the norms of today's behaviour. It suggests culture is neither right nor wrong, only that perspectives differ and efforts to unify culture or impose a culture and its values are intrinsically futile. Race is linked to culture to the extent that similar races share the same memories, experiences and learnings of the past but this is again not always so. When you observe multiculturalism, you are immediately struck by how extremely different the reactions and perspectives of people can be …depending on their memories and indoctrinations. Many are irritated with outcomes oblivious of the fact that the lens through which they see things can distort reality … a reality that evokes a completely different reaction from those seeing differently.

But is multiculturalism a good thing? In the Old Testament, the Bible, God warns the Jews not to mix or inter-marry so as to preserve their culture and ways. Mixing up of cultures is presented as not just toxic, but reiterated as a recipe for spiritual disaster … because God’s people will be lured by inter-marriage to forget the God of their fathers and will abandon His laws for strange ways. The Bible is not helpful to the cause of diversity. In the New Testament we see the emergence of the New Creation …neither Greek nor Jew. This New Man has exchanged the former tribe for the family of Christ, has a renewed mind, a new identity, the mind of Christ and is no more governed by past memories which shape culture. The New Man is given a vision of who he or she is ... from the word of God.

1Peter_2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Rom_12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Tit_3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

The mind that is not renewed by the Holy Ghost is in trouble. That mind is shackled to memories, regrets, victories and distorted interpretations of history that manufacture ticking bombs waiting to explode when the right fuse is lighted. All cultures are inherently self-centred and products of desperately wicked hearts who will take advantage of the vulnerable, whether they be Native Americans in the 1800s, African Americans or babies in the womb. All cultures harbor injustices and carry hurts that cannot be mended by fair speeches, and which are only temporary assuaged when treated for a while only to recede into the bitter shadows of angst when a threat is perceived. To advocate multiculturalism as a solution for our peace without accepting the challenges it poses to society, is to ignore the Bible lessons from the first example of multiculturalism observed amongst those who sought to build the Tower of Babel, only for God to confound their language … creating a pluralism in thinking which eventually scattered noble enterprise. No one is advocating that we abandon or disregard all memories, culture, racial differences and tribes … but only that we understand the potential minefields and drawbacks they could constitute to our progress.

2Co_5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

In Christ, there is a new experience beyond the corruptions of our memories and cultures. A kingdom that is neither leftist nor right-wing …neither black nor white … a holy nation. Put the pains and distortions of the past behind and look forward, pressing forward to new things in the Kingdom of God. There are many good things that the renewed minds of men are yet to conceive. Begin with repentance, a change of mind… allowing scriptures to shape your thoughts. Scriptures like the one below.

Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

olabode ososami