In the days of vastly differing worldviews, the accepted thing is to divide truth and acknowledge that others might not think like you do. In theory, this should work, but in practice it falls apart.
1. My actions will impact you.
Under the guise of tolerance, we have separated our realities from each other. We encourage each other to find our own “truths” and live lives accordingly. We try to divide existence into different islands, each of us content on our own. What you do should not concern me. What I want is mine to pursue. My dreams are my right to claim. Your choices should not be of my interest.
This is a dangerous path to take, not least because it is based on the false assumption that our lives are completely separate from others’.
No one is truly independent of anyone else. What we do or don’t do will impact those around us. Even seemingly private decisions will affect others. So, when we make these decisions, we cannot make them while standing on our separate islands.
We are creatures of connection and communication. My choices will affect others in my life, particularly those closest to me. My relationships are influenced by the decisions I make on a daily basis.
This is not a particularly profound statement to make, but somehow it has dropped out of common consideration. This is something we know to be true because we see it manifest in all our lives. Thus it becomes a responsibility to remember this in our self-focused culture.
2. Ignorance is not the solution.
The solution to differing worldviews is not to ignore each other and call it tolerance. Separation leads to self-centeredness, pride, and greed.
When we sit on separate islands, we isolate ourselves. We become selfish, thinking of our own agendas and how others will affect us. Our priority becomes centered on ourselves. We do not love each other properly when we live in our own subjective realities.
There will be certain beliefs and truths that we don’t agree on. But the solution is not to stay apart, avoiding each other and claiming open-mindedness.
3. The solution is love.
The golden rule that spans the major world religions is to love your neighbor as yourself.
In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis writes that heaven’s philosophy is this: “Things are to be many, yet somehow also One. The good of oneself is to the good of another.”
This is love. Love binds, love connects, love brings together. Love does not allow for separate definitions of morality, each contingent on our own selfish motivations.
We should not shy away from engaging with one another. We cannot always be holding others at an arm’s length, scared of letting someone get too close. Too often, the fear of how someone else’s agenda might influence our own keeps us from meaningful relationships.
Our actions do affect others.
Opinions will always vary, and everyone is certainly entitled to their own. I’m not calling for everyone to lay aside their worldviews and only follow mine. What I’m trying to convey is that dividing our truths is a convenient but dangerous way of avoiding the real truth.
What works for me should work for you too, because it will affect you. No man is an island; we were made for communication and connection. If we really want to love and serve those around us, then we should engage with each other and recognize that there can only be one truth, one reality, one morality.
We might not agree on what that reality is, but if we can agree that it exists, then we’ll be able to leave behind this idea of separate truths and recognize that what we do will affect others.
Let’s make sure that those actions are drenched in love.