“First, unity without diversity! Then, conflict without community!” — The Mortimer J. Adler Collection by Mortimer J. Adler
Adler’s quote is a good reminder for beginning a new year.
Sadly it describes, in the worse way, my world – a legalistic society where you must believe what I believe to be accepted.
My country is more divided than I’ve ever seen it. On one side there are pious woke progressives seeking to rewrite history and our very DNA and on the other side alarmed hypocritical conservatives clinging to how things have always been, not so much because they believe it but because they want to hold on to power.
I have not given up hope and step into a new year with great concern but believing that there are truly thoughtful and honest souls on both sides of the issues of our day who are sincerely trying to make our nation and our world a better place.
What is the answer?
This I know, it will not be a simple answer. It will not include us just parking our brain at the door and blindly believing and doing what we’re told.
Unity at the expense of truth destroys real community as quickly as anything.
But there has got to be a place where real tolerance is allowed. Tolerance that says, “I strongly disagree with you and here is why”, but also, “I equally defend your right to disagree with me and I am willing to listen to your reasons until I understand.”
Finally, Adler reminds me of the importance of good philosophy.
Adler was an educator and philosopher who wrote these words in the mid-20th century but they are just as applicable today as they were then.
Good philosophy (and theology) is like that for it deals with the deeper and timeless questions and issues of life.
Perhaps that is why there is so much conflict without community today. We have abandoned good philosophy and theology and instead chosen to live in the shallow, ever-changing moments of now—fascinated with the breaking news of the day, the most current information, and the latest trend. As a result, we forget that in reality, the town criers of our day may have different bells and whistles to proclaim the news and set the agenda of the day, but in reality there is nothing new under the sun.
Thus we never learn from the past and are doomed to make the same mistakes as our elders but now with more effective and deadly technology and with more devastating results.
The ONE THING: What to do? Again it is not simple. But this I am determined to do in 2023, I shall remained true to my deeply believed (and confirmed) core values but I shall also be willing to listen more and seek to understand better those who just as strongly disagree, for I am convinced that that is the starting point to having a viable and truly progressive and beneficial community, church and nation.
And as for the daily news…I plan to do what I did in 2022…mostly ignore it.