Next to the Power of God, Culture May Be the Most Powerful Force in the Universe

Imagine trying to convince a typical Palestinian young man that a woman has a right to choose how she dresses. Odds of getting him to agree are right at zero. It would be equally as futile to attempt to convince a typical American college student to adopt suicide bombing as a career choice.

The difference in perspective of these two young men is not genetic. Had they accidentally been switched at birth in all likelihood they would have adopted the alternate perspectives.

This example and countless others demonstrate that to a great extent culture determines the worldview, attitudes, values, and ultimately the behaviors of human beings.

Those in Western countries, considering themselves to be products of the Enlightenment, might argue that their worldview and lifestyle choices flow out of empirical evidence and reason, the scientific method. Myriad examples could be marshaled to demonstrate that this is not the case. For example, what rational analysis has enabled our culture to justify killing our own babies while glorifying saving whales and protecting snails? Or what analytical process has led to the conclusion that in regard to the use of shower rooms the rights of biological men who feel like women should take precedence over the rights of those who actually are women?

We might assume that as evangelical Christians we are immune to the influences of culture. Just as the secular community is sure that their worldview and related behaviors are shaped by data and rational analysis, so evangelicals possess a high level of certainty that their perspectives are molded by Scripture.

Is that the case? That is the topic of tomorrow’s post.

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