Bridging the cultural gap
The Iranian crisis has underscored one of the biggest challenges confronting the human race: how to establish understanding relations between peoples of different cultures.
A well-known commentator on international affairs, in a recent article in this newspaper, noted that the cultural gap is accentuated by a historical gap. n1 He said third world countries like Iran and advanced industrial countries of the West are centuries apart in their political, social, and economic development.
n1 Charles W. Yost, The Christian Science Monitor,m December 7, 1979.
This fact, he added, "explains their almost total failure to understand each other and the amazement of each that the other should be so obtuse and irrational."
What can we do to help bridge what this writer called "a cultural chasm of several hundred years"?One important thing is to understand that man is the expression of God, and to let this understanding govern our own attitudes and actions regarding other peoples and countries.
God, the divine Mind, is supreme in the universe; He governs all that truly exists. Reality consists of God and His perfect, spiritual creation. Matter, with its limits and divisions, is not the form or substance of God's universe. Therefore man as God created him does not possess a material mind of his own but is the expression of the one source of all intelligence, the one Mind. All God's sons and daughters dwell within the embrace of His infinite love.
To the extent that one holds firmly, through prayer, to the fact that God is the only Mind and that God's universe is intact and indivisible, not split into parts, he will witness the unifying operation of Mind in his own thought and life, making him more understanding of others' viewpoints. And, like the ripples going out on a pond when a stone has been thrown into it, the effect will be far- reaching. When the divine idea, or Christ, is understood, it touches and transforms all human consciousness.
Christ Jesus was the great demonstrator of the unity of God and man and of the absolute supremacy of Mind. He saw beyond ethnic, cultural, or social labels. A Roman centurion, a Samaritan woman, a prostitute, alike felt the touch of the Christ, as a result of the Master's pure thought and impartial love.
His disciple Peter was called upon to abandon his own narrow views of race and society when God instructed him to meet with the Roman centurion, Cornelius. In deep humility Peter was able to say: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." n2
n2 Acts 10: 34, 35.
The notion of a fractured world split into millions of private minds pulling in different directions is not accurate. The universe and man are God's offspring, all with one cause and source -- God. Christ, Truth, shows us this and establishes the possibility of unity in the world. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, "Truth is the power of God which heals the sick and the sinner, and is applicable to all the needs of man." n3
n3 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 259.
Drawing its inspiration from God, Christly prayer reaches out compassionately to all mankind. It can never be irrational or obtuse. With the intuition imparted by Spirit, it perceives the sensitivities and needs of those of different races and creeds. It acknowledges Mind's ability to supply the ideas that will ameliorate and heal any situation.
Recognition of the ever-presence of divine Love and of the brotherhood of all God's children can bridge any cultural gap or obliterate any ethnic or social barrier. Acknowledgment of the omnipotence of Mind can melt frozen attitudes and open channels of communication where contact seemed impossible.
The more dedicated and consistent we are in our love for God and man, the more evidence will we see in human affairs of the great fact that God is the only real power of the universe.