Oneness and Diversity Resources

Terminology

RACE

The idea that the human species is divided into distinct groups on the basis of inherited physical and behavioral differences. Genetic studies in the late 20th century refuted the existence of biogenetically distinct races, and scholars now argue that “races” are cultural interventions reflecting specific attitudes and beliefs that were imposed on different populations in the wake of western European conquests beginning in the 15th century.

RACISM

  1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

  2. A policy, system of government, etc., that is associated with or originated in such a doctrine, and that favors members of the dominant racial or ethnic group, or has a neutral effect on their life experiences, while discriminating against or harming members of other groups, ultimately serving to preserve the social status, economic advantage, or political power of the dominant group.

ETHNICITY

  1. A social group that shares a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like;

  2. Biblically, this references a tribe, nation, or people group.

CULTURE

The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.

ONENESS

In Scripture, oneness is both a gift and a command. Through union with Christ, diverse people (ethically, socio-economically, culturally) are brought together as members of God's family, citizens of God’s kingdom, and as a place where God dwells. Yet oneness is also something we must intentionally pursue: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:3)

DIVERSITY

  1. The inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, etc.

  2. Biblically speaking, God's heart for diversity is reflected in creation (Gen. 1:21-28), redemption (Gen. 12:1-3, Matt. 28:19), and restoration (Rev. 7:9).

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