Overcoming Our Cultural Attachment Syndrome

Most people live under the assumption that their culture represents truths. Those born into a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia are convinced that Islam is true. Children born into a liberal American family and attend a typical liberal American college tend to embrace a liberal worldview.

This attachment to one’s culture seems to be rooted in an innate sense of ownership. This is “my culture,” and therefore I interpret any attack on it as an attack on me.

This does not mean that we are consigned to blindness to the errors of our culture, as evidenced by a small minority of people that objectively analyze their cultures, identify flaws, and advocate for the truth. The prophets in Scripture provide examples.

Attachment to one’s culture is not especially destructive if the culture is essentially good. Though not perfect, America’s culture prior to the 60s, rooted largely in a biblical worldview, represents a rather wholesome example.

However, many cultures across the globe include glaring errors that result in warped lifestyles and the attendant suffering. For example, think of how many cultures promote the mistreatment of women.

This inclination to embrace and defend one’s culture holds important implications for our own society. The current American culture has been shaped largely by the 60s and the Baby Boomer generation. Because of this identification, Americans tend to think of the Boomer culture as representing that which is good and true. Even though the Boomer culture is almost exclusively antithetical to Christianity, even Christians tend to embrace it, identifying it as their own. This came home to me the other day in a conversation with several very committed and active Christians in their mid-40s. In discussing their perspective on the hippie movement, they saw it in basically positive terms.

Over the weekend I finished reading a book entitled The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe. Although the title may make it appear to be a spoof, it is a serious book describing the activities of Ken Kesey, who may have been the prime mover of the American drug culture. Though Timothy Leary was a spark plug for that culture on the East Coast, his influence was somewhat confined. Kesey was on the ground in the San Francisco scene priming the pump in the mid-sixties, and from the perspective of Tom Wolfe Kesey cast a very large shadow in the promotion of the LSD culture.

I would not recommend this book to anyone just because the content is ungodly in the extreme. I would not have read it myself except that I felt that it was important for the research that I am doing.

Reading the book reminded me of the depths of depravity out of which our current culture has sprung. Not only was Kesey’s personal life comprised of one extended drug trip, but it was devoted to propagation of ungodliness and lawlessness of all types.

During the formative years of the drug culture a commune formed in and around his property in the San Francisco area. His wife and children were there with him and the others. One of those others was a young girl who was assigned the name Mountain Girl. Kesey started having sexual relations with her, despite the presence of his wife and children. At one point in his life he fled to Mexico to avoid the law. While there he started living with another girl to whom he gave the name Black Maria. After a while his wife, children, and a Mountain Girl, along with others from his commune came down to Mexico to live with him. So there they were together: Kesey’s wife and children and the two girls with whom he was having sexual relations.

The utter sleaziness of this scene represents one of the salient characteristics of the 60s culture. Rather than being an anomaly, it is embedded in the essence of what the Boomer culture is about. Keys is like merely personified the sexual revolution, a major component of the Boomer culture.

Until America in general, and American Christians in particular, acknowledge the evil of the Boomer culture and rise above their cultural attachment syndrome, this nation will continue in its precipitous decline.

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