Pluralistic Society

Over the ages, different cultures have evolved in various regions of the earth and in spite of increasing globalization they continue to thrive. There have been great political movements that were aimed at eliminating disparity in human society, but they had limited success. Current global statistical indices show that levels of human development, longevity, health, illiteracy, poverty and hunger, continue to be grossly different across the 200-odd nations of this world.

Imagine a world in which all human beings look alike, wear the same attire, speak the same language, eat the same food, live the same way! It may perhaps be convenient to have a uniform society as some of the prevailing problems may become more manageable or even disappear. But it would deprive us of the pleasure of creativity, the motivation to experiment, the thrill of discovery, and such other basics of life.

The Biblical image of God is one who loves his children as they are. He has given them free will and he does not expect all of them to behave in an identical manner. The concept of plurality of cultures is acceptable to him and he is not planning to eliminate it. This is clear from the book of Revelation, which gives us some glimpses of the process of God’s judgement. John, the author of Revelation, describes his vision of a multitude “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” standing before the throne of judgement. (Rev. 7:9 KJV)

John depicts several instances of the gathering of such diverse multitudes during the end times. (Rev. 5:9, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6) Recent Bible translations prefer words like “every nation, tribe, people and language”, but the idea of pluralism is maintained. These words give an indication that even after death, individual identity would not be lost, and moreover, the culture, lifestyle, language, and such characteristics of nations would also be retained. Ethnic background may perhaps be one of the considerations on which God’s judgement would be based! People may perhaps be allowed to present their defence on the basis of their own laws and in their own language!

In our present world, a pluralistic society poses many problems, but the best thing about it is that it allows and encourages freedom of thought. In fact, freedom of thought is God-given and no type of society can take it away.

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