Baha'i News -- Beautiful things can happen when different cultures come together

The Olympian, Olympia Washington
Saturday, April 13, 2002

Beautiful things can happen when different cultures come together

God must love uniqueness and diversity because he created so many different varieties of everything. Yet all creation appears to be in unity: balanced to fit into an ecological, electromagnetic, spiritual design.

For example, the blizzard seems to be chaotic to the traveler, blowing snowflakes this way and that. Examine the snowstorm from the satellite or with the microscope, and logical, beautiful patterns are discerned. Understanding the beauty and logic of unity and diversity is one of the keys to harmony in the world.

We can see the apparent chaos of various religions of the world from different perspectives as well. Sometimes even the same religion differs greatly in its practice from one culture to another.

Yet each religion is very beautiful when examined closely, and each one makes sense when seen from the point of view of the social and spiritual development of humankind. All of these religions contribute to the spirit of the people each in its time and place.

Each one has been necessary to bring humanity to this point in its spiritual and social evolution. In this way, the unity of all religions as part of one divine plan is like the view from the satellite, making sense out of chaos.

As each snowflake is different, each culture is different. When cultures come together, sometimes they clash, then finally melt together into something new and different. This is what is happening now: The cultures of the world are meeting and coalescing into something new and full of exciting possibilities for the future.

How do we reconcile diverse opinions without the terrible destruction we see between peoples of different views?

One of the tools Baha'is use is a system we call consultation. It is marked by the search for the truth. It is distinguished from traditional habits by the spiritual element of prayer and by the practice of giving up one's own personal attachments to the ideas presented for consultation, instead of defending them "to the death."

We also apply spiritual principles pertaining to the matter under discussion. After frank and inclusive conversation in order to discover the facts, we seek the unity of consensus, failing that, a majority vote.

We say "from the clash of differing opinions, comes the spark of truth." The decision of the group is then adopted as the policy of the group. When all the members of the group follow decisions completely, it quickly becomes obvious if the solutions are right or wrong. In this way, factions do not develop and unity is preserved.

Whether we realize it, there is a divine plan at work in the world. This plan will bring about an end to much of the corruption and destruction that bring us sorrow. Practicing consultation and welcoming diversity as part of finding the best way to peace and understanding are keys to improving our world and our happiness. The people of diversity must also become the people of unity.

This week's perspective was written by Richard Young, a member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of Thurston County. Perspective is coordinated by Associated Ministries in cooperation with The Olympian. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Associated Ministries or The Olympian.

©Copyright 2002, The Olympian

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