Unity by conformity is the belief that if everybody “sings from the same hymn sheet,” we’ll have peace. Many rich globalists, for instance, believe that if we can get everybody driving electric cars (or no cars at all), get everybody on a digital currency, everybody on a social credit score system, everybody vaccinated, everybody on net zero carbon emissions, everybody off fossil fuels, everybody off meat, and there is total control over what everybody does, says, thinks, eats, etc., then everybody will be safe and happy, and the planet won’t die.
The trouble with forcing such unity by conformity, however, is that it results in protest and sometimes outright revolution. And how can unity by conformity be possible anyway, when we differ so widely because of age, experience, natural gifts, emotions, the culture we live in, and the deep desire to be free to choose?
To create unity in the real world, then, is going to involve an amazing amount of love, patience, adjusting, reasoning together, and listening without interruption. All very difficult for those who believe that their ideas and opinions come from the gods.
And Christianity hasn’t helped much on this score either, with each denomination requiring compliance to its own set of beliefs and traditions to create unity. It can get rather heated, therefore, when some in a denomination begin to question their church’s practices and beliefs. Unity can quickly go out the window when conformity is resisted.
But Scripture, in its usual beautiful, simple way, explains how unity is possible among people with many contrasting views. It’s loving others as we are loved. Or as John put it in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”
The capacity to love is the key. If I can love people regardless of how different or unloveable they may be, conformity is no longer needed. I’m no longer dependent on similar interests, or a compatible personality to get along. And nor was Jesus when he died for us. He “died for all,” 2 Corinthians 5:15, regardless of what we’re like. But it took his death to convince us of that. So is it a little bit of dying on our part that convinces someone of our love too?
Like when differences could seriously divide us, “keeping my thoughts between myself and God,” Romans 14:22. A little bit of me may die having to do that for someone, but that’s what Jesus did for us; he died. And the reason he died was that we “no longer live for ourselves” as well, 2 Corinthians 5:15. It’s not unity by conformity, then; it’s unity by dying.