Culture: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business) M-W.com
Culture is very important to all people. Wherever we come from in the world, we come from a particular culture. We are proud of our culture and what it represents to the world.
Here in America we take great pride in our cultural diversity. Culture matters very much to us. We are the great American melting pot. In America you can remain who you are, continue your customs, philosophies, and religion, yet be an American. What a great concept. I say concept because its not as much of a reality as we would like to think. The truth is, we are constantly engaged in culture war. One culture or the other feels that their culture is more important than another and should be respected and lauded over others. America is actually divided up into a myriad of cultures, sub-cultures, and communities and everyone has a bias and an agenda. If you don’t think so, look around, take in all the changes that have occurred in America in recent decades. Our “collective culture” isn’t what it once was. It has changed drastically in a relatively short amount of time. It will change again in the not so distant future as well. Thanks to technology the world is a much smaller place than it once was, thus all cultures have much greater reach and affect than ever before. Cultural change around the world will come relatively fast and furious compared to times past.
The Bible tells us there was a time when all the people of the world had one culture and one language, and that needed to change. Genesis 11:6-9 Says this; And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (ESV) God saw the power of human culture, and He intentionally altered it. This one culture had fostered a great arrogance among the people of the post-flood world. Such arrogance could not be tolerated.
Cultures of the world today have the same affect on us. People cling to their culture out of a sense of pride. Their culture represents who and what they are, and they represent their culture. In many cases one’s culture stands in the way of seeing a different way. To choose something different, a different way of life is turn one’s back on their heritage. Culture has a deep rooted influence our conscience. This influence colors our view of the world and what is right and wrong and so on. Cultural views have always been and will always be an obstacle for the advancement of the cause of Christ, the gospel message. An obstacle, but not an insurmountable one. Cultural differences were overcome by the early church and can be overcome today.
True Christianity, following the teachings of Jesus, and his Apostles is “the counter culture”, in that it is a culture unto itself and is extremely influential. In future articles I will examine what this means and why it is so important to spread this culture far and wide.
© 2015 Leo J. Woodman