Henry Van Til, a Professor of Bible at Calvin College, Michigan, died in 1961 and is best known for a single thing he once said: “Culture is religion externalized.”
It’s a truism, on a par with “What you say and do reveals your personality.” There’s no way to deny it.
If our Western culture today is our religion externalized, our Christianity is in deep trouble. Look at our culture–rampant lawlessness among our supposed lawmakers, same-sex pseudomarriage, transgenderism, lies heaped upon lies, ultra-violent video games, sex robots: I could make a longer list, but it’s starting to depress me. No wonder radical Muslims think Western culture is like ripe fruit on the tree, ready to fall into their laps if they keep on shaking the tree.
This is why I spend so much time reporting on culture developments–culture rot and culture collapse, if you will. Because if we can’t maintain our culture, nothing we can do politically will make the slightest difference. Kill the culture, and the culture will kill you right back.
For a thoughtful essay on this subject, courtesy of George Grant, see https://christianculture.com/discover/what-is-culture-religion-externalized/
For the time being, and to come, it’s something to think about.
4 comments on “Something to Think About”
“Culture is simply a worldview made evident.”
That is a wonderful statement. Our current culture seems to be filled with worship for technology and disdain for humanity. The sexual immorality of our culture is one of its greatest hallmarks. The prosperity of the past has washed away, pretty much in lockstep with the decay of our collective moral fiber.
I think the worst thing about our current culture is its rejection of reality. Not just a particular aspect of reality, but the whole idea that there is a reality at all, that it can be known, and that it cannot be evaded. Postmodernism and deconstructionism have put everything up for grabs. If I was born a woman (pardon me, I mean “assigned a female gender at birth”) but want to be a man, all I have to do is say “I am a man,” and hey presto! I am a man — and have always been a man — unless I decide tomorrow that I want to be a woman again. Or a cauliflower. Or a fire hydrant.
Approved “victim” groups scream about being silenced, and bully everyone who disagrees with them into silence … or the hospital.
Doctors look at the unborn baby that they’ve just aborted, and say “That’s not a baby,” even while fitting the limbs and torso back together into a self-evident baby to be sure no parts have been left inside the mother. (Pardon me, she isn’t a mother, because she’s decided she doesn’t want the baby and therefore it’s not a baby and she’s not a mother.)
I, too, could go on … But we know there IS a reality, and His name is Jesus. He has won the victory over death.
It is so sad, to say the least. Finney once said, (paraphrasing in part) ‘if
the world is wicked…the pulpit is responsible for it.”
He has a point, although each individual is responsible for the self, the truth is that the pulpit has been churning out mostly anecdotes, psychology, etc for some years. Preaching hell and repentance, and such is verboten these days.
We should stick with the our culture.
But it should be transformed whenever it is required.