Diversity vs. Control: The Great Conflict

“Why did God make us all so different if he wanted us all to be the same?” — Mary, Saved

One of the things the students in my Editorial Techniques class learn is that when you’re an editor–and a serious writer, for that matter–you never stop looking for story ideas. And so it was that when Shelly and I recently visited the EMP Museum in Seattle (right before our Alaska cruise) that I caught a statement that had a profound impact on me.

The museum focuses on popular culture, specifically rock music, science fiction, fantasy and horror. We visited because they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Right before we left, however, we went into the wing dedicated to fantasy. There was one video playing that talked about the conflict of good versus evil, focusing a lot on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The video interviewed George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, upon which the HBO series A Game of Thrones is based. In the video, he made a generalized statement that caught my attention: “Good is essentially about diversity, while evil is essentially about control.”

Like I said, it is a very generalized statement, but I thought there was a lot of truth in the statement. And I felt that statement could be carried over to a lot of other situations. It seems like whenever we as people get nervous about our situation, or about other people, we either want to (1) make everyone like us; or (2) control everyone. If we can’t do either one, we strike out against them.

You see this in wartime. You see this in politics all the time, especially in this year of the presidential election (how I wish it wasn’t so!). And unfortunately, we even see it in the realm of religion.

The Bible says God made us in His image, but too often we try to make God in our image. And everyone else who is different than us is not in the image of God. That’s obvious, right? And if they’re not in the image of God, then we are right and they are wrong. Or so the logic goes.

It’s human nature to feel uncomfortable around anyone that’s different than you. That’s why it’s always a benefits for kids to grow up where they can interact with other kids who are from different races and preferably other religions as well. I’m happy that I teach at a university that is diversified and promotes diversity. It’s a strength we should strive for; it’s not something we should avoid in the United States.

We can’t learn by doing things always the same way, and we aren’t likely to learn surrounded by the same people all the time. So let’s open up our hearts and minds and learn to accept and grow more and more like God intended us.