Sekai no Hikari: Light of the World

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Our Differences

on May 30, 2013

        Humans. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. But those differences pale in comparison to the depth of personality each individual shows. And everyone is different. This, in some ways, is the basis for relativism. But it can also be a support for Christianity.

        Relativism is the belief that each person or group of people has their own truth. In other words, truth is not the same for everyone. Or, as a relativist I know put it, “truth is in a constant state of flux.” However, relativism is often used as a basis by spiritual designers for their own brand of spirituality, therefore, each relativist will probably have their own idea of what relativism really is.

         The relativist, in general, looks at the world and sees all the different faiths that are in it. He or she can’t figure out which is true, and knows they can’t all be true at the same time. Therefore, he or she proceeds to attack the concept of truth itself, claiming that truth is relative to each person.

        The reason for all these differences of faith and theology is simple. In my experience, I have noticed that some humans tend towards certain values. To phrase this differently, each person has things they think are most important. Environmental factors can play a part in this, but a person is biased just by being born. For instance, some people are extremely compassionate, and they think mercy is an important virtue. I call this “the grace side.” Conversely, some people think that morals and righteousness are very important. I call this “the justice side.” These two values are on a spectrum. They both are good in general, but can be bad if carried too far. There are other spectra like this: individuality and community, tolerance and tough love, love for self and love for others, etc. Each person is made by God differently, so they land on different parts of these spectra naturally.

        What relativism seeks to do with these spectra is to devalue their importance. They say things like, “It only matters if you want it to,” limiting the impact of the different virtues by creating dividing lines. A person, thus, is restricted to their own whims and they only hear what they want to hear in light of their truth.

        However, Christianity fits with every virtue out there. In essence, it’s in the middle of all the spectra. Yet, at the same time, it provides a barrier that relativism doesn’t provide: it protects against evil. If relativism were true, everyone could make up their own truth that’s convenient for them, even if it were evil. However, Christianity, with its laws that tell us what to do, and the one true God who never changes and is completely good, makes sense in light of these seemingly conflicting virtues.

        And, with God as the one, absolute truth, and Jesus as the mediator and example to all of us, and us as the beloved creation, everything falls into place. Our differences make sense, and enhance our relationship with God and others. I know I have learned to be a better human, Christian, and servant to God and others by talking to other people who are more compassionate than me, and this includes non-Christians. It’s just because they’re different than me, and I, by God’s grace, am open to learning. Christianity doesn’t create annoying dividing lines like relativism does. Instead, God helps us see where we are strong, where we are weak, and where others can help us. By learning from the examples of others who are better at something than us, we learn different views on the Gospel, and our relationships are refreshed every day.

        I want to conclude with a quote: 

                “It is important to draw wisdom from many different places. If we take it from only one place, it becomes rigid and stale. Understanding others…will help you become whole.”    Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender

        This applies to us as Christians, even though we already know the basis for the whole truth. Others’ unique points of view will help us uncover the many facets of the truth in God’s world.

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2 responses to “Our Differences

  1. Shannon Evans says:

    Beautifully written Christina!

  2. nanasaved says:

    True that. Our differences and uniqueness is a testament to God’s infinite creativity. Check out this author by the name of Dag Heward-Mills who is an excellent and simple writer. http://www.daghewardmills.org/shop/categories/Paperbacks/All-English-Books/

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