In the 1994 Merrian-Webster Dictionary, "Variety" is defined as "the state of being varied...diversity." I know I risk the charge of being negative, or putting myself against the old adage: "Variety is the spice of life," but I often find variety to be a cause of personal irritation. I'm convinced, in regard to some things - variety has no inherent value.
I remember when Doritos chips first came out (not that long ago!). I used them to transport melted Velveeta Cheese (with Ro-tel Tomatoes) into my mouth. They were tasty (if not nutritious) and perfectly functional for the purpose of getting the cheese dip to its' destination. It was a simple task in those day to visit the Grocery store, go to the chips/snacks section and pick up a bag of Doritos. Have you done that lately? Today there is Nacho-Cheese Doritos, Ranch Doritos, Tangy Nacho-Cheese, Onion Doritos, Green (Avocado) Doritos and Jalapeņo Doritos. Sometimes the inventory doesn't even include plain Doritos chips. An outrage!
To fuel my irritation, I checked this "spice of life" the other day and found: Eight kinds of Yogurt, five varieties of Oreo cookies, eight different kinds of canned tomatoes, two different lengths of hot dogs, and five different grains of flour! I didn't have time to visit the pudding or deodorant sections.
Whatever happened to plain old stuff? The answer is, the competitive demands of the market place. This celebrated diversity I find so irritating may amuse you. But there is a serious point I'm headed for.
The same demand for diversity has taken over the world of religion. Diversity is distinguished above substance. Variety is sought, at the expense of truth.
What if you took the Bible, read it and followed it? Just let God tell you what to believe, teach and practice. Learn of His Son who died for you, and respond to Him just as instructed by His apostles. I know the concept of one right religion is militantly protested in our culture. But the simple truth is, God has gone to tremendous lengths to make Himself and His will known to us. Don't you think He expects us to respond?
Finally, all of this stress on variety in religion takes on an extremely serious tone when you consider the New Testament view of variety.
"Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them." Hebrews 13:6.
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 10.1; January 2003