Don’t all humans value the same, basic things? How can I trust my brain, if it’s affected by my culture so much? Do people in the rest of the world worry about these things, or is THAT part of my culture, too?!
What’s true? What’s “right?” What’s good?
These types of questions are being thrown in my face constantly, now that I’ve asked God to reveal my biases. Considering how much I love to dissect issues, it’s amazing that I’ve relied on things “everyone knows” so many times in the past. Turns out, as the article “We Are Not the World” makes quite clear, “common sense” doesn’t make it very far outside our own communities.
Others have very different, unspoken values.
Thus, as God has worked to strip away even my most basic prejudices, I’m looking at everything in a radical new way. From government and politics, to family structure, to church practices and the Bible. I’ve forced myself to re-examine issues I thought were settled long ago.
And, along the way, I’ve had the chance to confront many Scriptures which used to embarrass me.
What’s with all the polygamy in Scripture? Isn’t it a sin to have multiple wives? How could God order Israel to wipe out entire nations, even women and children? Did God forget to command all the early Christians to free their slaves, or does He not realize that all men are created equal? (Our Constitution says so! Duh!) And, by the way…um…”women should be silent in church?”
Yet, what if the problems we have with Scripture and the places it embarrasses us the most have more to do with our cultural values than with Absolute Right and Wrong? What do we make of other cultures still existing, which allow for the practice of polygamy, slave ownership…unequal treatment of women?
We say these countries are “still developing.” They haven’t reached our level of progress just yet. But, my goodness, how arrogant that is! We consider our own practices “advanced,” while assuming all others need to learn from us? C.S. Lewis calls this “chronological snobbery.” This is an excellent, short explanation of that silliness: “The Spirit of Our Age.”
Anyway…NOW you’re basically caught-up on the background for this blog.
Each of my future posts will relate back to the root questions: How much of what we value in the west truly is “better” than what others value? And how much is pure, WEIRD, American bias?
I’m pretty excited about this new concept, and I hope my old readers will be, too. And, of course, I hope to pick up some new followers along the way…
Together, let’s peel back the layers of these Cultures at War.