This is one of several articles (083) (084) (085) in which we have been discussing the possibility of harmony within a community of religious diversity. We have asked if it is possible to have community unity in such a setting. We have given three possible ways for unity to exist in the face of that diversity: 1) If everyone says let's set aside those teachings which divide us and just love one another, harmony can exist; 2) If everyone in the community has a deep sense of personal significance and security so that differing personal opinions do not ruffle feathers harmony can occur; and 3) If those who have no strong convictions are willing to go along with those who do, and if those who do are all of the same group, harmony can exist. We have shown (085) that the first possibility won't work in reality.
We want to show why the second one is also unworkable in reality. The issues of personal significance and security cannot be divorced from fundamental doctrinal theses. The vast majority of people derive their sense of importance and security from their abilities. If they have the ability to do something better than someone else, they feel superior to them. If they feel superior, they have a sense of significance. Likewise, if they have the ability to control others, they have a sense of security. Security comes from being able to control the future. If I can control other people, I can control what they might do to me in the future. I am secure. Thus, for most people, significance comes from being superior in ability and being more powerful in controlling. This concept, shared by the vast majority of people on the planet, is destined to create conflict and chaos. Too many wanna-be-chiefs and not enough wanna-be-Indians. Thus, it is impossible for everyone in any community to have a deep seated sense of significance and security. Someone is going to be less skillful and less powerful and less satisfied. Dissatisfied people are not conducive to community harmony.
On the other hand, the Bible says that people who are loved by God are significant (how can you get more significant than to be loved by the Greatest Lover in the universe?) and it also says that those who are known and loved by God are safe (how much more secure can you be than to have God committed to your safety?). But, few are those who believe that God genuinely loves them. I am not speaking here of those who claim to believe; I am speaking of those who genuinely believe. There is a vast difference. The true test of belief is in the reactions that occur in the day to day world of constant action/reaction. Those who say that they are loved and known of God, but who react angrily when insulted, and fearfully when threatened, are not really believing what they claim. Hypocrites have a hard time claiming faith, living unbelief, and getting along with the people in their community who disagree with them. Thus, community harmony cannot exist on the basis of a common sense of significance and security: it doesn't commonly exist. Only those who have entered into a personal relationship with the God who loves and preserves those who believe have a deeply held sense of significance and security.