The One and the Many

There is always a struggle to see what we share with those strangers who are our neighbours. How can we find truth and love in these conflicts with our multiplicities?

Dale Appleby

Some in the social sciences have observed the decline of the old seventeenth century liberal theory that individual reason and individual need could explain all aspects of the social order. Instead of a universal human nature shared by all people, 'culture theory' said that there were multiple ways of being human, all of which could only be understood in their context. Religion replaced by rationalism. Rationalism replaced by multiple and equally valid ways of being human.


Emma Kowal deals with some of these issues in her discussion of indigeneity and how White anti-racists are struggling with the basis of why they think they can help 'close the gap' (see the book review and interview with the Webbs in this issue).  

Anglicans are also struggling with the issue. Some in the church seem to agree that there are equal and valid “multiple ways of being human”. This clash between a biblical perspective and alleged culturally sacrosanct ways of living will not be resolved easily.

Mark Thompson introduces us to some of the issues involved in standing up, on the one hand, and standing against what seems a dominant ideology, on the other hand. Some of us are confused about indigenous matters and others are confused about how to deal with the power of the lobbies that seem to want to replace traditional (universal) practices with a multiplicity of niche rights; to replace one set of alleged oppressive power relations with another set.

What to do? Ben Underwood reminds us of the great benefits of meeting together as Christ's church, at least as the Anglican reformers saw it. Here is strength and wisdom for the godliness needed.  And this issue has some interesting books reviewed, as usual.