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Faith: Diversity is how God made us. Embrace it.

By Ray Hassen
Special to the American-Statesman
Ray Hassen is a retired high school science teacher, and longtime member of the Baha’i faith.

Intelligence, creativity, love, kindness, generosity, patience and so forth are like rays of sunlight shining out from our soul. They are not the soul itself but are among the souls powers. 

Each of us has a unique combination and expression of these qualities. They shine out in this world whenever there is a convergence or unity between our physical being, our spiritual awareness and the environments in which we operate.  Thus, whenever physical and social circumstances allow, it becomes possible to express them. Otherwise they remain hidden or even suppressed.   

These apply equally to all humanity, which is especially important to appreciate at this critical juncture in our social and spiritual evolution. We need a paradigm shift in how humanity looks upon and values these qualities because our future depends, to a large extent, on the human ecosystem we build and operate within. 

When we see these qualities in others we are seeing the presence of God within them; we are seeing aspects of the image of God in which we have been created.  We are seeing that “trust,” that source of wealth that God has placed in each of us. 

Perhaps one of the roles of God’s divinely sent prophets and teachers is to increase our capacity for seeing and responding to these divinely entrusted realities of the soul. Perhaps one of our responsibilities in life is to nurture and encourage these qualities in others and within ourselves. Perhaps this is why God created us all, one for another, to such a degree that our inherent and necessary mutual interdependence becomes a manifestation of our oneness and unity. 

We need one another. Our social evolution toward oneness and unity is partly an evolution toward recognizing and practicing this essential unity. Globally speaking, this is the challenge of the age in which we live because our diversity, though absolutely essential to our survival, is currently not appreciated for the goldmine it represents.  This diversity is our greatest source of wealth for building our future together on this planet. 

Oneness then becomes seeing the light we each uniquely radiate. Each of us has unique gifts and talents. Each of us expresses this “trust” in unique ways. Like waves of the sea, each of us represents a distinct wave or wave pattern. 

When the waves of all humanity blend together, we do not lose our individuality but instead create a combined effect such that new and unpredictable, even unimaginable, outcomes result — new capacities, new inventions, new discoveries, unique creative ventures, new social realities, new solutions to the problems facing mankind — things we could never have imagined or produced if we lived disassociated from one another. This is why unity is needed, why reciprocity and cooperation are essential.  Our survival depends upon them. 

Unity in diversity is not a luxury. Reciprocity and cooperation are not optional. They are absolutely necessary. They are essential to our survival and to our material and spiritual progress as a species. 

All the problems that mankind faces are symptoms of one essential problem — that we have yet to recognize and practice the oneness of mankind. Embracing the oneness of mankind means embracing diversity and welcoming cooperation. 

This is a principle that is ubiquitous in nature. The greater the diversity the more healthy, stable and rich the ecosystem. This principle of unity in diversity must be understood and cultivated within the human ecosystem if we are to see any real progress in solving all the challenges facing mankind.   

Ray Hassen is a retired high school science teacher, and longtime member of the Baha’i faith. Doing Good Together is compiled by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, .