Christianity and the Radical Transformation of Culture

May 10, 2018 by

by Paul Krause, Crisis Magazine:

Man is not a body of mass in motion with the aim of peaceable consumption as modern anthropology suggests. Man does not live on bread alone; man is, as the ancients knew, a social animal. However, the great revelation of Christian anthropology is that man is also a cultural animal. Culture, rooted in the Latin word cultus, means life. Culture means life because cultus embodies the two great principles of life: care and praise—which are two of the first commandments given by God to humanity after creation and both wrapped up in the first of the Ten Commandments. A culture that abandons care also abandons praise. Conversely, a culture that abandons praise will abandon care. As a result, the slow march toward nihilism and nothingness, which is death, commences.

It should not be a surprise to Christians that we live in precarious times. The culture of death is all around us. What is worse, our culture—if we can even call it a culture—celebrates death over life, it celebrates nihilism over truth, and it celebrates destruction over care and stewardship.

Cult is not a negative word in its proper understanding and original definition. But as Thucydides and George Orwell both noted, language dissipates and dies when ideological conflict brews and sways man to embrace fanatical abstraction in pursuit of the millennium. Cult simply means praise. This, in turn, inculcates the praise of life (when it is right praise)—the praise of the life-creating and life-giving God who is the center of the Christian religion.

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