Thursday, March 11, 2010


According to Brian McLaren's latest book (see my review here and here), dualism is a product of our Greco-Roman history. I wasn't around then, so I guess I'll take his word on it.
Basically, dualism is the philosophy that things can be divided into two groups—not more, not less.
It reminds me of the quote: "There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't" – Robert Benchley

...and most of us do.
--good and evil
--us and them
--the haves and the have nots
--the majority (culture, language, etc.) and everyone else.

(I've touched on this kind of thinking before.)

I guess we come by a dualistic/binary view of life honestly enough. The human body has two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears.
--left and right
--right and wrong
--my way or the highway.

But it really tends to segregate us.
We like to pigeon-hole, to categorize, to stereotype, and to separate.
The people who are like me—and those who aren't.
The unspoken idea is that, 'Me and my kind are OK. We're normal. We're right.' And anything else doesn't really matter because they aren't normal or right.

I'd like to propose two alternative ways of seeing people.
--as only one group. We are all human. Equally loved by God. Equally underserving. Equally wonderful.
--as an infinite number of groups. You are unique. So am I. The more characteristics you notice about yourself, the fewer people you find that are just like you. And don't just consider the externals like size, hair color, or handedness, but things like passions, abilities, character and personality.

If we stop looking at people in the dualistic like-us-or-different, and begin to celebrate both our oneness and our uniqueness, we will better see people as God does.
Paul had this figured out. Galatians 3:28 says: “In Christ's family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal.”
Jesus tore down the wall that separated us into various groups.

It's not easy to lose this dualism. It's tied to our pride of place, nationality, status or whatever else.
But we have Christ's example—He set aside the things that made him different and became one of us. We will need to do the same.
Perhaps we need to radically change the song 'Give Thanks' so it says: 'Let the rich say I am poor, let the strong say I am weak.' Maybe then we won't tend to look down on people that are different than us.


Eruesso said...

Great post! Well said.

Luke said...

you are either right or wrong. since i'm either a dualist or not, i'm guessing you're right.

i think. ?



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