Monday, May 12, 2008

"Christ Against the Multicultralists"

I ran across an article on a religious themed blog I often read with the above title. I was mainly curious because I wanted to know what was meant by "multiculturalist." My interpretation from the article is that it is one who believes that truth is relative to culture. What one truth is in one society may not be the same to another.
Multiculturalism might seem like a harmless game of cultural tourism mixed with a little detective work, with the crime (sexism and racism) always being the same, but it is actually much more serious than that. Liberal professors assume that you, the student, come to their classes believing in universal truths, and they think that it is their job to get you to leave such baggage behind. Since professors these days do not believe in human nature, they think that the most important thing they can do is to teach you that all values are relative. And they do this by trying to convince you that you do not understand other cultures because you are trapped in your own.
The author argues that such a belief is anti-Christian. Christ, who lived and died about 2000 years ago is in no way apart of the same society or culture that any of us are a part of today, and therefore his teachings would not be relevant to us. Here's is the more credible defense of such a position:
A central part of education is learning how to argue by testing your own ideas about human nature against the ideas found in great books and the ideas espoused by your teachers and fellow students. Christians believe, for example, that because we are created in the image of God, every single person is of infinite worth, but Christians also believe that humans are fallen creatures, in need of grace and forgiveness. Christians are thus able to appreciate both the majesty and the misery of human actions. That is a powerful framework for questioning what you read and hear. What Christians do not believe is that every culture has its own truths and that the only way to learn about another culture is to refrain from seeking the universal truth.

To return to the central truth of Christianity, Christians believe that God experienced the totality of the human condition by becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ. That is, God did not need to become incarnate in each one of us in order to understand every one of us. Each one of us can experience a personal relationship with Jesus because Jesus was completely one of us. If cultural relativism is true, then Christianity is doomed, because God became incarnate in a very specific person at a particular time and place. From the perspective of multiculturalism, God could not have understood what it means to be human by becoming a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. It follows that if God did understand man by becoming a man, then multiculturalism is a lie.

Applying this truth to the world of higher education, we can say that every human life is, in principle, sufficient for the discovery of every truth. You don’t need new experiences to become educated; you just need deeper ways of understanding your own experience.

Thankfully the institution I attended was a private one espoused by the beliefs that are central to my religion. I feel like I did, and will continue to have a desire to better understand my current situation in life, my standing before God and the stewardships with which He will continue to bless me.

In the end the author's main counsel is for those entering "higher" education for the first time, as well as for those who perhaps have been misled to believe it is something else all together:
Christianity inspired and informed the highest achievements of Western culture in order to challenge people to think about the eternal things, like heaven and hell, God, grace, forgiveness, and death. A college education should immerse you in the highest achievements of Western culture in order to give you the tools to enrich your experiences and refine you moral judgments. Education in this sense is about coming to know yourself, not because you construct your own reality, but because your nature is the same as everyone else’s.

Original article by Stephen H. Webb, May 6, 2008.

Address written for entering students of Wabash College, Class of 2012.

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