If a group is small enough, say a group of American Christians in a small town with a charismatic founder, they can go awry. Why?
Connection to the globe shows our peculiar institutions. The little group in one place, in one time, with one leader caught in that place and time, decide that they know all …when all they are doing is explaining what they wish to be as if it were so. This rapidly grows weird.
Any sensible person hesitates over anything weird. Christians know we will spend eternity with every tribe and nation. We can love our own folk, but do not think they are the “best” or the only ones with something worth seeing, hearing, or experiencing. If all the tribes, nations, and peoples are heard, understood, and given full liberty, then we would see the very Image of God in our world.
Instead, jingoism is our temptation, or despair in truth our lot. The first error is to make a god of monody, when reality is a polyphony. God is sufficient for all expressions, but we are not. Instead, we get the glory of learning, wondering, and then seeing that many songs, words, languages, give us the fully rounded version of goodness, truth, and beauty.
All great cultures fail in some ways: the United States was born in slavery, Aztec culture had human sacrifice. The peculiar institutions of any culture are signs of decadence, while the commonality is a vision of what can be.
Think about it.
Do not be hasty.
We should encourage conversations, wherever we can: warfare without death!
Recently, a critic suggested that if we had a global discourse that my world view would suffer. He said:
At least you are firm in your own opinion and I certainly agree nothing is new under the sun. Yet what i vice and what is virtue is differ greatly from place to place. Put a Christian, Buddhist, and a Aztec priest together, and see how far they agree on anything. I’m sure that be a fun little conversation to have.
After many such conversations, though immediately I have yet to find someone who defends human sacrifice, I have found Christianity can contain all the truths found in every worldview I have found. My stupid, narrow, foolish views on Christianity were challenged, but not the system itself.
The system was big enough, rational enough, to contain multitudes within one- E pluribus unum: out of many one.
How could this be?
Christianity asserts the God of monotheism, so Christianity has a first cause big enough to contain all the other beings. The greatest possible being, if He exists, is greater than any other being after all! Yet any worshipper of this great Being is not always right, so even if we get some things right, we must listen to others. They may have seen some critical detail correctly that we have missed. The god of the Aztecs may be bloody, but his temples may contain some beauty and from that beauty we can learn.
One need not condone human sacrifice to see other truths that a culture with human sacrifice may have found despite this one evil. Oddly, moral relativity ends up narrowing the world not broadening it. If we are unsure of the basics, then we must fear some foreign point of view, lest horrors result when we discover their own peculiar institutions. The Christian is not afraid, because based on reason and revelation, we are quite sure that murder is wrong. We will not engage in blood sacrifice, so then we can look at another culture without fear. We shan’t sacrifice humans on altars, but we can see the wonderful art, some aspect of God captured there, any moral virtues our own culture misses.
The Spanish could learn from the Aztecs, the Aztecs from the Spanish.
So Christianity suggests. . .