The Bible is telling us not only does particularism (a focus on one people/tradition) not preclude universalism, it is in fact the only vehicle by which the world can achieve common purpose! Can 7 billion individuals morph into one way of life, one ideology, one religion? Probably not. Can thousands of “tribes” unite together in common purpose and common destiny? Perhaps. This is the “Abrahamic” vision. A world in which Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and every other spiritual pathway dedicated to the notion of a One God/Spirit/Power/Force that binds us all together, work and walk together as they beat their “swords into plowshares.”
We need not dilute our unique religious traditions to achieve a united world; just the opposite. The deeper we delve into our texts and the stronger our connection is to the Infinite, the more likely it is that we will feel the pull of the Spirit that surrounds us and flows through us all.
Rabbi Avi Poupko serves Congregation Ahavas Achim, Newburyport.