Diversity. We are constantly exhorted to embrace it. At the movie theater, we are treated to a video of a man playing a piano with all keys playing the same note, then switching to a normal piano. After a lengthy dose of this, we are given the words “Be together, not the same.” This musical metaphor is but one tool used to convince us that diversity is a good thing, superior, or in the case of a piano, essential. Would not be music otherwise.
But is diversity always a good thing? Let’s look at other metaphors. Oil and water don’t mix, yields nothing useful. A nationally syndicated columnist used a barrel of fine wine and a barrel of sewage. Put any quantity of wine into the sewage and you change nothing, but put just a tiny bit of sewage into the wine and you change it completely into sewage. Obviously, a chemical metaphor doesn’t work. The tag line would read, “Don’t be together — you’ll ruin everything!”
The best example, however, is language. Aside from culture, the most significant impediment to human understanding is language. If you are a pilot flying a commercial airliner in international travel, you have to possess a minimum fluency in the English language, because that is the worldwide language of air traffic control. Think about it. Controllers on the ground directing the flow of aircraft and pilots flying airplanes with millions of passengers must speak the same language, or chaos would result. There have, in fact, been incidents where one or the other of these two humans have misinterpreted instructions due to accent or other factors, causing hazardous results and deaths.
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Having said that, one must acknowledge that language diversity has some good points in art and music, for example. Poetry, some French songs, and Italian opera simply would not be the same without it. Japanese curse words sound infinitely more sinister and cutting when spoken, even when one has no idea what they mean. (My next door neighbor when growing up was an ex-WWII Pacific Theater Marine who tried to teach some to me).
We certainly have seen examples where two cultures, like oil and water, do not mix very well. Just go to any UGA/Georgia Tech football game. More seriously, I saw a video of a group of Christians peacefully demonstrating at a Muslim gathering up North, I forget where. A near riot occurred, with bricks, etc., being thrown at them, and the local police telling them to leave because “they” were causing a safety issue. But who were throwing the bricks? Many other examples exist, too many to list.
One must choose one’s metaphors carefully. Freedom of association is a fundamental human right. Forcing people to “be together, not the same” is as wrong as forbidding it.
It could be argued that a nation’s greatest strength is the assimilation of its immigrants. Seems that is not happening as much lately. A reaction to that is arguably somewhat responsible for Britain voting to leave the EU. I believe most Americans would support immigration if new arrivals learned English and assimilated like the European immigrants did in times past. They treasured their cultures, of course, but they united as Americans.
Beware the tricks
Bill Cummings ask in his June 26 column, “Was James really the blood brother of Jesus … or was he a cousin, (to preserve the virginity of Mary) as many Roman and Orthodox Christians believe.” What preposterous questions.
Mary agreed to be God’s spiritual bride and the marriage was spiritually consummated by the Holy Spirit. Understand this, its earthly consequence, ancient Jewish customs and wedding rituals (the three “C”) and you understand the term “Ever Virgin Mary.”
And Cummings’ July 3 column, “A little chutzpah goes a long way” are as always cunningly deceptive and purposely misleading like the story about the inn keeper who charged three travelers $10 each for a single room. Feeling generous, the inn keeper sent his son to return $5 to the travelers. Knowing $5 couldn’t be monetarily divided successfully between the three, the son gave each a dollar and pocketed the remaining two. The originally 30 dollars paid minus the three returned makes the total paid 27 dollars; add the two the son kept and the total is now 29 dollars paid. What happened to the dollar?
Keep this story in mind when reading any of Cummings’ columns that deals with Christian Scripture.
Travis L. Middleton,