Friday, November 21, 2008

Culture and Chrstian Faith

In First Things today, it was asserted that Christian faith cannot live without culture. This is true, but the question is, what kind of culture, if there is one, or is there a diversity of culture.

Culture represents the values we hold most dearly and those values are the things that we will live and die for. I think that question needs to be asked and answered, "is Christian faith about belief, belonging, or behavior"? Is there a "Christian culture"? And is Christian faith an exclusivist faith or it is just a reflection of culture itself?

I think that tradition is part of culture, which also adheres to religon and religon's "values". Muslims adhere to a strict culture that is defined by their law, which impacts their culture, in dress, and behavior. On the other hand, the West for the most part, has freedom of conviction and conscience in form of worship, which leads to diversity within culture. Is Christian faith about conformity to the Law, as in Muslim culture, or is Christian faith about diversity and freedom of expression?

The Laws that we hold to are the laws that define our identity as they are things that protect our values. Values cannot be uniform, unless one wants to limit a liberal society. A liberal society is based on reason and not "revelational texts", like theocracys are. I think that whenever a government is defined by "god", we have problems, because it lends itself to justify predjuidice and exclusivity, which undermines universal ethical decision-making. Humans, not "god" are the creators of governments, and the humans who lead the government are responsible as to the type of government that exists and how it governs. Therefore, good government is most important and good governement is only as good as it is limited.

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