About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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What's Wrong With Multiculturalism?


To start, I don't claim to have all the answers on this matter, and I know there is more to be said.  I point out  only one aspect to this subject.


In Canada, we have been familiar with multiculturalism for quite some time, and so has Europe .  The United States is now getting familiar with this trend as well.  One reason why Canada is multicultural is because our nation is comprised of two official languages, English and French.  We've had our struggles over the years, but we've managed to co-exist in peace. 


Multiculturalism has taken on a broader definition than simply two cultures co-existing.  In short, multiculturalism is now the process by which one immigrates to a nation and has the legal right to exercise his distinct cultural differences in his new nation.     


The United States has boasted of being the melting pot of the world.  People who immigrate to the U.S. traditionally adopt the American way as their own, and why not?  That's why they came to America in the first place.  They wanted to be Americans because they liked what America offered them. That's changing.      


Multiculturalism, along with her cousin tolerance, has become the norm in the western world.  In much of the rest of the world, this is not the case.  Herein lies a problem for many in the west.  When people immigrate from these nations, they don't share the same multicultural mentality, although they gladly benefit from it.  


The chancellor of Germany recently admitted that multiculturalism hasn't worked in her nation.  Those of the Muslim persuasion who have relocated to Europe are happy with multiculturalism because it allows them to live in a wealthy nation, and live as their religion dictates.  Herein lies another problem for the west. 


One difference between Christianity and Islam is how they view religion in relation to the state.  For the Christian, their first allegiance is, or should be, to the Kingdom of God , and not to the state. The state and the Kingdom of Gad are two separate and sometimes opposing identities.  Not so with orthodox Islam.  Islam sees itself as a theocracy.  Islam is the law of the land in Muslim dominated nations.  Therefore, when Muslims immigrate to the west, grow in numbers and gain influence, it only makes sense to them that these western nations adopt Islamic theocratic law.  That's why the chancellor of Germany says multiculturalism has failed, or in my words, "has backfired". It's accomplished the opposite to what it was meant to accomplish.  All cultures don't become equal.  It's Darwin 's theory of evolution.  The strong survive and rise to the top, thus ending the experiment in multiculturalism.     


Multiculturalism and tolerance sounds great on the surface. There are some good aspects to it.  Harmonious co-existence is what we all want.  Multiculturalists probably liked President George Bush senior's idea of a kinder gentler America, although they would have taken a different path to get there.  So far multiculturalism hasn't produced a kinder gentler society.  It's created a lot of tension.  Multiculturalists await the day when my generation dies off so the youth who aren't so culturally entrenched can live harmoniously in a multicultural world.    


All that being said, I've been asking myself, "does the Bible say anything about multiculturalism"?  Part of the answer is found in Genesis 11 where all mankind spoke one language.  Genesis 11:2 says that man moved west with the hope of urbanizing himself into cities.  Verse 4 gives us the reason for this urbanization.  Man wanted to "make a name for himself".  In the name of self-promotion, man built the first city with a tower. something God didn't like. 


I don't think God is unhappy with cities and towers.  If He was, we should smash down the thousands of church building steeples that extend upward across our skylines.  God also wasn't afraid of man climbing a tower and hopping a fence into heaven as I seem to recall my Sunday school teacher suggesting.  It was what this tower symbolized that bothered God.  He was unhappy with man making a name for Himself and becoming the center of God's world.  In Genesis 11:6 God said, "if as one people speaking one language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." 


It was God's will to confuse our language which helped the formation of distinct cultural communities.  God knew that we were capable of doing almost anything.  Cultural differences were meant to inhibit us from doing anything we could think of in the name of self-promotion. 


We learn a couple of things here.  By God's own admission, man is capable of doing pretty well anything.  We've come a long way since Babel. Humanistic aspirations that motivated us to build the tower of Babel bothered God back then, and it still bothers Him today. 


Ever since Babel, we have been undoing what God did when He separated us into distinct cultural communities.  Technical advances in computers, communication, world travel, and more, have contributed to undoing Genesis 11.  According to the Futurist view of prophetic history that I adhere to, man will succeed in undoing Genesis 11 for a brief time at the end of this age.    


I don't believe Christians should oppose multiculturalism based on any bias and prejudice.  Multiculturalism sounds like the kind and gentle way to go, but it's just one more thing that dismantles God's will for fallen man as seen in Genesis 11.  With all social trends, we should always ask, "what does the Bible say"?  Whether right or wrong on this issue, this is my present thinking, as limited as it might be.  Feel free to add more. 

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