Quran 14:4 and multiculturalism

What is the biblical perspective on multiculturalism?

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Chris Lee, Neo-Evangelical Protestant Christian, ecclesiology, apologist, M.Div. GCTS
I don’t think the Bible outright addresses the issue of multiculturalism, but H. Richard Niebuhr did write a book, “Christ and Culture." There are five paradigms:

1. Christ against culture — there are times where specific elements of culture or a culture itself is antithetical to Christianity. For instance, until the Edict of Toleration by Constantine, Christianity and the Roman Empire were at odds in many ways.

This also occurs when Christianity is a minority within a larger culture that isn’t even nominally Christian. So to be Christian is to be very different — and a Christian cannot accept these things in culture that are against his or her beliefs. And some of the downsides of this belief is often “circling the wagons" and an “us vs. them mentality."

2. Christ of Culture — there are times when cultures are aligned with Christianity. When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and in certain red states of the USA, being Christian was consonant with the general culture.

Unfortunately this also leads to nominalization among some other problems. If Christianity is the official religion, then people just put “Christian" in front of their titles (e.g., “I’m a Christian plumber" or “I’m a Christian fisherman") — but were people really Christians or were they just going along with culture?

3. Christ above culture — there are those who believe our faith has nothing to do with culture and is above culture so to speak — or that is impossible to separate human culture from the grace of God. So culture is neither good nor bad.

This tends to be the paradigm within the Catholic Church. The upside is that this view tends to balance both Christians being involved with culture and yet God as outside of culture, sustaining it. The main downside is that cultural elements can become syncretized within Christianity (e.g., you can worship your family idols as well as worship God).

4. Christ and Culture in Paradox — while there is cooperation within culture and Christianity, there exists also conflict between culture and Christianity.

Niebuhr himself though that this position is static and that the Christian loses the voice to say anything meaningful in/to culture — since this view would just accept culture as is.

5. Christian transforming Culture — an extension of the fourth view, but deliberately, Christians have sought to change elements that are unChristian or antithetical to their beliefs.

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