The Unity of Mankind
We live on a planet of conflict. No one on the planet is immune to the problems of terrorism, car bombings, suicide attacks, biological terrorism, kidnap, rape, and the like. The problems that beset mankind are very different than they were in the past. Science, communication, and technology have made it so that there is no necessity of people dying of starvation--we have the capacity to feed every man, woman, and child on this planet. Ecological problems are enormous, but we have the capacity to stop what is causing the damage and ultimately repair it. God has provided for mankind in marvelous ways, and we have the capacity to meet our needs physically.
The problems that divide us are problems that are rooted in greed, egos, and selfishness. Whether the claimed cause is political, religious, racial, or historical differences it is the selfishness and greed for power, control, or money that drives the conflict which threatens us all. The statements that we have made here are not just assumptions thrown out so that the author's opinions can be considered facts. There is enormous evidence to show that we are all the same in every way. Genetic studies show that all humans have common genetic characteristics in their mitochondrial DNA. This is significant because mutations of mitochondrial DNA are much less common than other DNA. If we all contain common DNA sections there can be no doubt that we all have a common ancestor. Like it or not, we are all brothers and sisters. The racial characteristics that may cause us to look different are environmentally controlled. It is simple to show that any racial characteristic offers advantages for the individual in the climate that their ancestors lived in. Darker skin offers advantages over lighter skin in equatorial areas, and the reverse is true in colder areas at higher latitudes. Eye color also offers advantages based upon the latitude at which the individual lives. Hair texture and density offers specific survival advantages in some ecosystems. God did not equip us just to live where you live, but rather we have been designed to live in a wide range of environmental areas.
Attempts to relate race to I.Q. or technological prowess to European peoples have been proven to be false. IQ tests that are not culturally biased show no evidence at all that there is any variance in intelligence among various racial groups. Archeological studies continue to show that incredible technological skills were present among all ancient cultures, not just those in Europe. Evolution has been used to suggest that there will always be violence and strife for man as man strives to be more fit. The "survival of the fittest" idea has been used to justify slavery, war, and a host of violence against people considered to be less fit. Ultimately, however, these artificial criteria of who is fit and who is not have been discarded as people saw the futility of their claim of superiority. Richard Dawkins in Out of Eden gave a disturbing view of the evolutionist's credo: "In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won't find any rhyme or reasoning to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music (Out of Eden, Basic Books, New York, 1992, page 133)." How can a rational human being suggest that there is no such thing as good and evil? How can anyone maintain that the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl is not evil? There are those who claim that racial struggle is inevitable. Is such pessimism the only possible answer for the future?
It is also obvious that no violence-based religion can offer any solutions to the problems we face in the world today. When the Koran tells its followers "Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme" (The Spoils 8:37-41) and "When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them" (Repentance 9:4-7), it leaves it up to the reader to determine who is the enemy. One might wonder how Sadam Hussein could attack the Kurds who share most of his religious beliefs with war, gases, and violence, but any religion that advocates killing your enemy in a military way is going to create enemies even among fellow believers. The history of every religion in which violence was an approved method to reach an end is that the violence ultimately spread to members of that religious sect attacking each other.
It is obvious as you dig into the cause of man's violence problem that no solution rooted in force will ever solve the problem. What is necessary is a system that teaches tolerance and allows people to get to learn what others are like. I remember that one year in my physics class I had two AFS students assigned to my class--one from Israel and one from Egypt. I was warned by the Americn Field service (AFS) staff that there might be problems between the two young men and that I should keep them apart. My class has numerous laboratory exercises in which all of the students had to work together to solve the problems I gave them. One day in December I looked in the back of the room and saw my two AFS students arguing in the back of the room. My heart leaped to my throat and I charged to the back of the room expecting to have to break up a fight. When I got close enough to hear what was being debated, it was the best way to solve the problem I had given them. I was visibly relieved and said to them, "I sure am glad you're not arguing politics." One of the students looked at me and said "Oh, we're way beyond that." Working together in a positive environment broke down the prejudice and hatred of the past, and to this day these two young men are good friends.
For peace and unity to be achieved, there has to be an attitude that says "I will love you even if you don't love me. I will go the second mile with you. If you do something ugly to me I will not retaliate. As much as it depends upon me there will always be peace." This is what real tolerance is--not the wishy-washy acceptance of every crazy idea out there, but the willingness to not be the instigator of ugliness and hatred.
Another earmark of bringing about the unity of mankind is to totally stay out of the political arena. As long as we embrace political ideology as a major basis of how we are going to treat people and who we are going to accept or reject, there will be conflict. That which is political needs to be kept in politics--not in religion. When religion gets added to politics there is inevitable conflict and control problems. A politician's morals and values may have a religious root, but when the church starts telling the government how to function, history tells us that the result is disastrous. In the same way, when the government starts telling religion what to do and how to do it, there is a high probability that persecution of those who do not conform to the religious instruction will follow. History has proven this over and over again. We truly must give the government what belongs to the government and to the Church what belongs to the Church. One of the standing jokes at Notre Dame University when I was a student there during the John F. Kennedy era (the first Roman Catholic to be president) was "Eating meat on Friday used to be a sin, now it is a federal offense." Everything from blue laws to requiring students to recite creedal prayers has shown the problems of mixing Church and state.
To stop the estrangement of mankind, there must be a system that encourages service, benevolence, and loving care for others no matter what their circumstances in life. We will never have peace on Earth until mankind is universally willing to look after his fellow man. A system that emphasizes service to others and caring for others can eradicate hatred and eliminate violence. Compassion for all people--whatever their race, sex, religious views, political ideology, or even their sin is a key to bringing healing
The world must also have a moral system that works. This cannot be a system of "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" because there are always new temptations and sins out there that may not fit accepted definitions. Moral systems can only work when they deal with attitudes. You cannot stop murder until you eliminate hate. You cannot eliminate destructive sexual practices until you can get people to learn not to think about aberrant sexual behavior. You have to think it before you can do it, and moral systems that treat the symptoms and not the diseases will never work.
I hope that by this time you have noticed something interesting about the dialogue in this article. The things I have suggested that will bring about unity among all peoples of this planet are exactly what Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount! Jesus not only prayed for unity and commanded it of His followers, but He also gave us the way to achieve it! Loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, going the second mile, washing other people's feet, avoiding hate, refusing to think about illicit sexual activities--these are the things that will bring peace and love to this planet. Our Lord also told us that there would always be wars and rumors of wars, because greed and selfishness will continue to be used by Satan to rip and tear at the fabric of society, but the wisdom of the teachings of Jesus and the fact that they alone bring us the potential for peace is a strong apologetic for the acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun03.