Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Theology and Culture" Reaction

As I was reading the article, I had trouble formulating my own opinions on much of what Long was saying. I found myself not entirely positive I agreed with certain conclusions. Subsequently, I was unable formulate an appropriate, reasonable, explanation as to why many of his assertions didn't sit well with me. First of all, the discussion over a definition for culture seemed inadequate to me. Words have definitions, and precise ones at that. While our interpretations of a given word (let's use culture... duh) can be different, in the end, culture means one thing. Can the meaning change? Certainly, but if it changes for one person, it changes for everyone. At first glance, this might seem like a glaring fallacy, but consider this - if the word "queer" can change meanings, and subsequently definitions, it doesn't make either meaning false. Arguably, it means you've created a homonym. They are different words, but context gives them meaning. "That party was queer," if uttered by my grandmother, would mean the party was strange. But if any of my classmates said the same phrase, it would mean something entirely different.
Because of this, I reject the notion that a word can have two meanings, or different definitions. If it does, it means you have two distinct words. Therefore, I would assert that culture is indeed difficult to define, but that does not mean that, used by a theologian or a botanist, it is granted a different meaning.
I agree that culture and religion are infused together - abandoning definitions and battles over semantics, we can see practical examples as to why this is true. For instance, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism in their present forms are incompatible with American culture. They would not, and could not, flourish here.

1 comment:

  1. A definition of culture that just came to mind ... "A non-physical environment inhabited by certain people, often but not exclusively, from a certain geographic, linguistic, religious, or historical background."