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Ending tribalism

From the January 2014 issue of The Christian Science Journal

While I was in Africa recently, I heard someone say, “God loves everyone in the Western world more than us.” Believing this would create a pall of hopelessness that would hover over our lives. And this view isn’t just held in Africa. Often we hear things like, “If I just lived somewhere else, I’d have a job, or a better life, or more opportunities for happiness.”

We read in the Bible that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). In other words, God loves all His/Her creation equally. He doesn’t play favorites! He doesn’t love one group of people more than another. God fills all space. Since God is Love, Love fills all space. It would be absurd to think that there is something outside of “all” that wasn’t loved, because “all” is unequivocal.
All is all.

The thought that God might play favorites can be based on a sense of tribalism. “Those people, that party, this nationality is better/worse than we are” forms a reasoning that leads to sharply divisive, and even dangerous attitudes. Many challenges facing us today are a result of this kind of tribalistic thinking, found, not just in Africa, but in many countries, including the United States. If you think about it, we have “tribes” all around us. For example, cliques at school: “The popular kids,” “the athletes,” “alumni tribes” after graduating from college, etc. And then there are all those other tribes—ethnic, political, and religious.

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