“(Man) is a ‘belief-ful’ creature; he does not and cannot live in a faith vacuum. The decisive question is not whether faith is a necessary condition of human life but rather in whom or in what that faith reposes. If he does not trust the living God, false gods and fake divinities preempt Yahweh’s place. It is the same with society, the human collectivity. The cultural enterprise rests invariably on a secret or explicit faith. Behind every socially entrenched morality some underlying life-and-world view presumes to identify what reality is, and what aspects of reality are considered sacred. Such collectively held beliefs and values establish the coherency of any culture. Shared convictions are what give a cultural enterprise its stability. Widespread loss of confidence in its integrating frame of commitment and action is a signal that a given society is culturally ailing, perhaps even terminally ill. Any generation lacking convictional assurance about the nature of reality is not only snared in its doubts but drifting towards nihilism and despair. The times of social breakdown are those in which the populace defects from what it has long thought to be ultimately real and sacred, and is unsure what if anything to put in its place….When society as a whole lacks consensus on what is true and sacred, then that culture is surely staggering toward intellectual chaos, spiritual deterioration and moral ruin.”
Carl F. H. Henry
God, Revelation and Authority — Vol 1 pg. 156
1.) God and Faith are inescapable categories. Every individual you meet and every culture you could probe has some kind of faith in some kind of God or god concept at the center of their understanding of reality and the nature of things. Debate with pagans, sophisticated or otherwise, must endeavor to locate their god and their faith. Every Evangelical and apologetic encounter is thus not only a call to the God of the Bible but at the same time is a demand to flee from the god who holds are conversation partner(s) captive.
2.) All cultures are inherently religious. Cultures are produced by some cultus replete with all the kinds of categories one expects to find in standard religions. Somewhere in all cultures resides the faith practitioner (whether he is called the Priest, Shaman, Medicine Man, Psychologist, or Guru). Somewhere in all cultures you will find the Church where the initiates are indoctrinated (whether they’re called the government schools, the re-education camps, the Temple, or the local lodge). Somewhere in all cultures there will exist the taboo and the sacred as informed by the cult that drives the culture. Somewhere in all cultures you will find sacraments, Holy Days, Holy writings, and means of atonement.
All of this is evidence that man can’t get away from God. The counterfeit exists as a means in order to distort the real and so avoid man’s accountability to God. The counterfeits owe their origin to the real and are the consequence of man’s rebellion against God. In point of fact their existence which mocks God’s reality is a tribute to the reality they can’t escape.
3.)All cultures are coherent or else they couldn’t exist as viable cultures. Incoherent cultures only exist where one finds civil unrest as varying coherent cultures all vie for preeminence. Not to beat a dead horse but this is why multi-culturalism is really a plan for a mono-culture. True multi-culturalism would result in the war of all against all until one culture put all other cultures down. Since in order for cultures to survive their must be unanimity individuals that don’t subscribe to the cultural collectively held beliefs and shared values will be ostracized. This may mean closed doors for professional advance. In some cultures it means bearing a heavier tax burden (think jizya tax). In some cultures it may even mean incarceration (think of the gulags).
4.)In our culture the dangers of cultural Marxism brought in by the Frankfurt school continue to work to undermine confidence in the historic roots of Western Culture. This program has been aided and abetted by existentialism and its steroid offspring called post-modernism. All of these continue to cause a widespread loss of confidence in the integrating frame of commitment of Western Culture.
5.)A close look at American Universities will reveal that we currently are in a state of intellectual chaos. A close look at our churches and seminaries will reveal that we currently are in a state of spiritual deterioration. A close look at much of our high profile leadership will reveal that we are in a state of moral ruin. All of this is evidence, as Henry notes, of a society that lacks consensus on what is true and sacred.
6.)People don’t like to talk about Metaphysics, ontology, or epistemology but there is nothing more important in any culture then the way a people answer questions about the nature of reality and the source of authority.
7.)Because all these things are true, if God doesn’t send Reformation the West is toast.