Ask The Pastor — Do Genes Affect Culture?

Dear Pastor Bret,

Genes affect culture, Bret? Are you serious?

Bojidar Marinov

My Dear friend Bojidar,

Yes, genes affect culture. The great Rushdoony taught this idea himself.

“Ah, yes … uh, true, God has created the diversity of mankind and therefore each of the Christian cultures will begin with the sovereignty of God and the authority of His Word but there are areas where their particular talents and diversities will be expressed, so that, even as I, for example, have aptitudes in certain areas while a very dear friend of mine has aptitude in another area and is every bit as zealous for the Sovereignty of God as I am but when he talks in the area of sciences he loses me in about the second or third sentence. But he is applying the word of God in the context of his situation. Now that’s a little more extreme than cultures or nations, but there is no question that different peoples have different aptitudes and abilities. We tend today, just as I.Q. tests are today artificially constructed so that they will eliminate sexual differences (women will come out ahead in most fields except the two I mentioned) and racial differences because their are variations. People of one ethnic background will have marked abilities in one area and not as marked in other areas, but they don”t want to believe that there are these differences you see, therefore they try to eliminate them. Well, in a Godly culture we will consider those as blessings of God to be developed.”

R. J. Rushdoony
Lecture — The New Absolutism — 44:00 minute mark

Note, here Bojidar that the great RJR recognized that people of different ethnic backgrounds have different strengths and based on those differing strengths that are accounted for, in part, by their genetic inheritance, it is fairly obvious that genes affect culture. I am surprised that you would be surprised over such a simple idea Bojidar.

To suggest that individuals and peoples are only different because of the propositions they think is to deny our human-ness and the concrete families, places, and times that God has ordained for us. When Christ called me and set me apart He called me and set me apart as a “McAtee.” My Christian faith has not obliterated my “McAteeness.” I am, to be sure, a new man in Christ, but the new man that I am remains me. My memories are not erased. My genetics are not altered. The nurture and nature of my existence is what is redeemed.

I am my Father’s and my Grandfather’s son. Now, they were not Christian and I am Christian but I still retain, often-times most unfortunately, their strengths, their weaknesses, their predilections, and dispositions. That is part of what it means to be human. No matter how much I put off the old man and put on the new man created in the image of God at the end of that sanctification process it is still a McAtee who has been sanctified. It is not good anthropology to suggest that who God has created us to be by nature and nurture is obliterated by belief(s). It is my conviction that when we seek to obliterate our concrete human-ness with Christianity we become gnostic by the affirmation that the propositions that a person thinks in their head is alone what makes them what they are. I am not just the propositions I think, though I am never less then that. I am also part of a family, and part of a people. Now, to be sure the propositions I think (my beliefs) will completely re-arrange the way I lean into life (I sure hope that people would see a difference between me and my Father and Grandfather) but that leaning will still be done as a McAtee, as a descendant of white Scot-Irish Europeans, and as a son of the West. Good Christian, non-gnostic anthropology requires me to think this way.

So yes, seriously Bojidar, genes affect culture. Anyone who denies this is flirting with gnosticism.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

13 thoughts on “Ask The Pastor — Do Genes Affect Culture?”

      1. Might I suggest that the fact you and your father had a similar situation is not “proof” of the underlying premises of geneticism. For genetics to hold true, the human genetic code must hold *and initiate* activities within the human body. But . . . if the human gene takes its instructions from yet another part of the human body, then the causal chain does not begin with DNA.

        You might be interested in reading why some biologists are dumping the Darwinian implications of genetics in favor of another view of the human genetic code, which though important in the scheme of things, itself is not the initiator of the human condition. If that biology holds, and I think it is much, much closer to Scripture than geneticism, then the “central dogma” of Crickean genetics is not the whole story, and as it is presented, is misleading.

      2. For anyone to suggest that some conditions of illness are not passed on genetically is something that defies my ability to comprehend Ian. There is nothing Darwinian to observe that inbred Royalty, for example, have genetic predispositions to certain illnesses. Heart disease or diseases like sickle cell anemia, or diabetes are known to run in family lines.

        And I was not seeking to speak in terms of absolute proof. I was saying and am still saying, that, generally speaking, illnesses are genetic. Can illness arrive from elsewhere? Most certainly but to say that there is no relation between illness and genetics is curious to me.

        I affirm a mind body connection, though I thoroughly dismiss books like Neil Anderson’s “The Bondage Breaker,” and other books that want to suggest that I can heal myself of cancer (as one example) by just thinking the right thoughts.

  1. And you read Marx. Can you say . . . “Communism”?

    I didn’t say there was “no relation” between illness and genetics. What I suggested is that if the human gene in fact receives its instructions from elsewhere, it cannot be the cause. Perhaps it is just a conduit for signals that come from elsewhere

    So what do the bioligists tell us? If you don’t want to read the Lipton book I referred you to, try Sapolsky’s “Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.” I look forward to reading your review.

  2. Hodge’s point is irrelevant. A match (an external cause) starts a fire when held to dry tinder and burns out when held to the same material if soaking wet. What was the cause of the fire? The igniter or the condition that made ignition possible? Genetics as cause or genetics as conduit–what difference does it make? None for the purpose of this discussion. Similarities whether familial or racial are there whether or not genes are initiators or receptors.

  3. “Hodge’s point is irrelevant” to what and to whom? Are you going to prosecute the igniter or the condition in the case of arson? The question is can ignition take place without an igniter, and that’s the heart of the genetics debate.

    It makes a lot of difference medically, to take one example, if you’re trying to cure diabetes, which has a suggested family pattern. But the family pattern does not mean genetics is the issue. Are you going to go to the source to cure the problem or the conduit? And if there are two MDs, one offering to treat the conduit and the other offering to treat the cause, I think I know which one will be selected.

  4. “to what and to whom?”

    Irrelevant to this discussion.

    “Are you going to prosecute the igniter or the condition in the case of arson?”

    Intent has nothing to do with this. I repeat, similarities whether familial or racial are there [and verifiable by anyone with eyes] whether or not genes are initiators or receptors–or not involved at all. It matters not one whit when the real issue of this discussion are the cultures built by particular groups. Western Europeans, Orientals and Equatorials each build cultures characteristic of the group. Racial identity is real and what’s more is God ordained. Whether the root cause of racial and familial similarity is genetic or something external to the gene that acts on it, or something else entirely a-genetic is of no matter. The issue is group similarity.

    “if there are two MDs, one offering to treat the conduit and the other offering to treat the cause, I think I know which one will be selected.”

    Yes indeed. Perhaps someday it will be discovered that sickle cell anemia is caused by presently undetectable energy waves transmitted by aliens. Who knows?

  5. Mark, We seem to be talking on different subjects here. My initial question to Bret was on the cause of illness, not on the broader genetic issues with which I quite agree.

    1. Ian,

      Apologies for thinking that your comment on illness was somehow connected to the point of the original post.

      I will take advantage of your kind offering on diabetes. There is a great deal of that in my family and I intend on forwarding this to those I love who have diabetes.

      1. Bret,

        No apology needed. By all means pass it on to your family members. That’s my gift to you and your family. But ask them to send their friends to http:///

        Diabetes is on the increase. Even in cats and dogs. But not kangaroos. Maybe this helps. 🙂

        And now read Lipton’s “Biology of Belief” doing what you’re so good at – sifting out the trash. Ignore his new age trash, and look at the biology. Then line that up with Scripture and see what you end up with.

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