Unity Needs a Unifier
Unity seems to be a value in vogue these days, and with good reason. Unity supposes a lack of hatred, violence, and dissonance among those who are unified. It follows that if everyone were unified there would be relative peace, harmony, and love (and the flower children could rest in peace). But the mere possibility of a positive unity relies in two important ways on a unifier.
The character of the unifier determines the relative benefit or detriment of the unity for those who do not share it.
Depending on what unifies people, they may become a benefit, a detriment, or neither to those who do not share their belief in the unifier. For instance, to use the one of the most overused examples of evil in recent history (for good reason) Hitler unified a significant number of people. However, that unity was founded on being a horrendous detriment to the parts of the world and the population who did not share their ideals and beliefs (and in this case they didn’t give many people the option of being included). Some people are unified in their love for Fat Tire (a Colorado microbrew–not so micro anymore though). This is not a unity that either benefits or hurts the population at large. It probably doesn’t matter to most people. Then there is unity behind a cause like fighting cancer. This unity leads people to care for each other, organize fund raisers, and share the importance with others. They are a benefit to society, even for theirs who don’t share in that unity. The character of the unifier makes a huge difference.
The unifier must be strong enough to overcome (not eradicate) diversity.
There is great diversity that exists among the people of the world. If a unifier is weak then eventually the unity will be fractured when issues of disagreement come into play. For instance, the people above who are unified in their enjoyment of Fat Tire could easily be splintered apart when they find out that some of them are for immigration reform and others are against it (how’s that for throwing in a hot button issue!). If any group is going to remain unified their unifier must be strong enough to overshadow the diversity that exists among them.
Is Jesus a unifier that leads to a benefit for the whole world, even those who don’t share the belief in him? Is he a strong enough unifier to overcome diversity (and even use it to intensify beauty)?
Can a commitment to a doctrinal statement be as strong a unifier as Jesus? Can the label of Christianity be a strong unifier when any commitment to Jesus as the way the truth and the life is minimized?