Is Multiculturalism Wrong?
by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 1:39pm
A RECENT INQUIRY: I was surprised to see you include multiculturalism in the category of (possible) wicked precursors to the second coming of Jesus in your book, “The Faith Once for All,” p. 534. One of my professors teaches that multiculturalism is a matter of social justice and human dignity, as in the case of the civil rights movement. This sounds like a good thing. Why do you associate it with wickedness?
MY REPLY: This question refers to my discussion of the “the nature of the last days,” according to Scripture, in “The Faith Once for All,” pp. 532ff. Here I describe three main characteristics of the end times. First, it will be a time of great FALSEHOOD. Second, it will be a time of great WICKEDNESS. Third, it will be a time of PERSECUTION. Are we in such a time? Concerning this issue I defend a concept I call “deliberate ambiguity.” I.e., the Biblical teaching about the precursors of the second coming is ambiguous enough to allow every age to identify world conditions that may possibly qualify as signs of the imminent return of Jesus. In the book I list various such contemporary elements that could well be indicators that his return will be soon. One such element is the prevalence of the idea of multiculturalism.
But here we must acknowledge that this term itself is somewhat ambiguous. If by “multiculturalism” one is referring (1) to the CIVIL right (but not necessarily the MORAL right) of all cultures to express their beliefs and traditions in their own unique ways, and (2) to every person’s responsibility to respect that right, then I can accept what some call multiculturalism. Even if I seriously disagree, e.g., with the way some Muslim cultures treat women, or the way those in Hindu culture “worship” cows, I cannot physically force such cultures to change these beliefs and practices. I must acknowledge and tolerate their existence. This does not mean that I have to approve of them, however, and it does not prevent me from trying to convince them that these practices are wrong.
When I use the term “multiculturalism,” however, I am referring to the common idea that there are NO elements within any given culture that can be legitimately criticized and considered to be wrong; and that all cultures must be respected, accepted, and tolerated as equally valid at all levels–including their religions and their beliefs as such, especially their views of God and salvation. Under such conditions all attempts to proselytize are considered to be wrong. As I am using it in this latter sense, multiculturalism is just another form of relativism, i.e., a denial of the concept of absolute truth. I see relativism in general as one of Satan’s most effective and most destructive tools, and its dominance in recent decades may well be a sign that we are living in the “end times” when the “doctrines of demons” will prevail (1 Tim. 4:1). To the extent that one’s concept of multiculturalism embraces relativism, to that extent it is Satanic.