Unity and Diversity in the Religious Traditions

A worldview that contemplates an essential unity in relation to the deep nature of human beings’ consciences and, at the same time, a great diversity of capabilities, is certainly not something new.

Millennia ago this same general notion, about the decisive importance of a clear perception, as well as a fair equation and a harmonization of the differences between human beings, was affirmed by the great classic of Chinese philosophy, the I Ching, which is considered one of the oldest books known. We read there:

“Above the sky, below the lake: the image of the CONDUCT.
Thus, the superior man discriminates between high and low and thus strengthens the minds of the people
“The sky and the lake show a difference in altitude inherent to the essence of the two, which, therefore, does not arouse envy.
So, among men, there are necessarily differences in level. It is impossible to achieve universal equality. However, what matters is that the differences in level in society are not arbitrary and unfair, because in that case envy and class struggle would inevitably follow.

If, on the contrary, the differences in external level correspond to differences in internal capacity, and the internal value is the criterion for determining the external hierarchy, tranquility will reign between men and society will find order.” (I Ching: Book of Changes, Richard Wilheim, p. 56; emphasis added)

This view is present in virtually all major religious traditions, although even within those traditions it has been corrupted in countless ways, such as the caste system of Hinduism, or the stratified order of Christianity-related feudalism, among so many other examples.

In fact, this degeneration that occurred in the field of religions is an important aspect for understanding the origins of the perception flaws that are dominant in world thought today (including here science and philosophy) regarding the nature and capabilities of human beings. An analysis of these issues would take us far beyond the limits that we set out in this work.

However, the fact that we do not analyze in this work the processes and consequences of the degeneration of religious interpretations does not mean that we cannot examine, synthetically, the socio-philosophical misconceptions currently dominant, which are the central premisses of Liberalism and Marxism.

Despite this great degeneration that occurred in the field of religious thought, a foundational knowledge about human unity and diversity is present, as we said above, in the great religious traditions, although today it is, as a rule, covered by thick layers of superstition and of idolatry.

Bearing in mind this warning, let us see, even so, some quotes extracted from the texts of various religious traditions, with the purpose of showing, through the comparative method, the ancient existence of this knowledge of the two fundamental aspects mentioned above – unity and diversity. For, as it is written in one of the Vedas (from the Hindu tradition): “The truth is one, but the wise speak of it under many names”.

These quotes are mere examples, among a very large number of other passages that can be found in these religious traditions. They have been grouped into the “Unity” and “Diversity” aspects to facilitate the visualization of these two central aspects. The sequence of religions follows only the alphabetical order.

“In Essence (in the Absolute) there are no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no hearing, no smell, no taste, no touch, no mental process, no objects of this mental process, no knowledge, no ignorance. There is no destruction of objects or cessation of knowledge, nor cessation of ignorance.

In the Essence (in the Absolute) there are no Four Noble Truths: there is no Pain, nor cause of Pain, nor cessation of Pain, nor Noble Path that leads to the cessation of Pain. There is no decay or death, nor destruction of the notion of decay and death. There is no knowledge of Nirvana, there is no obtaining Nirvana, nor non-obtaining Nirvana.” (Maha-Prajna-Paramita)


“Few men reach the other side of the river; most of them are content to remain on the same margin, going up and down.” (Dhammapada, 49a)

“The fool can associate with a sage all his life, but he perceives as little of the truth as the spoonful of the taste of the soup. The intelligent man can associate with a sage for a minute and perceive both the truth and the taste of the taste of the soup.” (Dhammapada, 64-65)

“Behold this world, adorned like a royal coach! The fools are perched on it, but the wise are not bound by it.” (Dhammapada, 171)

“May big, small and medium do all the best they can.” (Játacas, 121)



“God is love; he who remains in love remains in God, and in him God remains.” (John 4:16)

“Mind who says ‘I love God’, but hates your brother. Whoever loves God also loves his brother”. (John, 4: 20-21)

“From one blood He made all human generations.” (Acts, 17:26)

“Truly I say to you, how much you did to one of these my little brothers, you did to me.” (Matthew, 25:40)


“Because that is how it is [the Kingdom of Heaven] as a man who, when he was gone, called his servants and gave them his goods. And he gave one five talents, and another two, and the other gave one, each according to his ability, and left immediately.” (Parable of the Talents, Matthew, 25: 14-15)

“Behold, the sower went out to sow. When he sowed, a part of the seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it. Another part fell in the rocky places, where there was not much land; soon it was born, because the land was not deep, and when the sun came out, it was burned; and because it had no roots, it dried up. Another fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew and choked it. Another fell into the good land and bore fruit, with grains that yielded a hundred by one, another sixty, another thirty by one. He who has ears to hear, hear.” (Parable of the Sower, Matthew, 13: 3-8)



“God has produced the good in us.” (Analects, VII)


“The superior man thinks of his character; the inferior man thinks about his position. The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior, which is profitable.” (Analects, IV)

“Good and bad government depend on the leaders. Positions are to be entrusted, not to the prince’s favorites, but only to capable men. Functions must be entrusted, not to vicious men, but to men eminent for their virtues and talents.” (Chu-King, VIII, II, 5)



“True knowledge is to see an unchanging life in all beings, and to see the Inseparable One in separate beings.” (Bhagavad-Gita, XVIII)

“To love all things, big or small, as God loves them, that is true religion.” (Upanishade Hitopadexa)


“The world of men, under the control of the illusion of these three qualities of nature [“gunas”], does not understand that I am superior to them, and I remain intact and immutable in the midst of countless events and changes. This illusion is very strong, and its veil is so dense that it is difficult for human eyes to penetrate it. Only those who turn to Me and let themselves be illuminated by the flame behind the smoke, overcome the illusion and reach Me.
Evildoers and fools do not seek me, nor those who have low thoughts, nor those who see, in the vast spectacle of nature, only the game of forces, without a director; nor those who extinguished the spark of spiritual life in themselves and became fully materialistic.
There are four classes of people who turn to Me: – the unhappy, those who investigate the truth, the kind and the wise.” (Bhagavad-Gita, VII)



“The people! Serve Allah, who created you, you and those who preceded you. He made the earth for your seat and the sky for your canopy. And it makes rain fall from the sky to produce the fruits with which you support yourself.” (Quran, 2:20)


“Speak to men according to their mental abilities; if you talk to them about things they cannot understand, they may fall into error.” (Hadith or Mohammed’s Maxims, 143)



“Don’t we all have the same Father? Didn’t the same God create us?” (Malachi, 2:10)

“All wisdom comes from God, and with Him is and has always been, before all the centuries.” (Ecclesiastical, 1: 1)


“When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; but when the wicked are in power, the people groan.” (Proverbs, 29: 2)

“Among men, four types of character are distinguished. The neutral, who is the one who says: – ‘what is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours’. The rustic, which belongs to the one who says: – ‘what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine’. The saint, who belongs to the one who says: – ‘what is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours’. And the wicked one, who says: – ‘what is mine is mine, and what is yours is mine’.” (Parent Maxims, 5:13)



“All men are brothers; everyone receives the blessings of the same heaven.” (Kurozomi Kyo, proverb)


“For all things, big or small, the right man must be found, and they will be well managed.” (Nihongi or Chronicles of Japan, ch. 22)



“There is something that existed before the beginning of earth and heaven, and its name is Tao [the great universal principle, synthesizer and harmonizer of “Yin” and “Yang”]. Man adapts to the land; the land adapts to the firmament; the firmament adapts to the Tao; Tao adapts to its own nature.” (Tao-Te-King, 25)

“The Tao is nameless and hidden, and yet, all things are accomplished in it.” (Tao-Te-King, 41)


“It is easy to follow the great Tao, but the people roam the paths.” (Tao-Te-King, 53)

(Arnaldo Sisson Filho. What Is Wrong With Politics?Chapter 2)