I have had the opportunity to travel some over the past 35 years, and have been able to observe and experience a variety of cultures during that time. There are many similarities to be found in different cultures, and each culture also has its’ own distinctive aspects. As a general rule, there is not a right culture or a wrong culture, or a good and bad culture. Each culture may have aspects that seem strange to others, but perfectly natural to those who are a part of the culture.
Culture shaped by broken humans
One really great thing about being able to observe other cultures is the chance to learn and appreciate new things. Food, music, attitudes, priorities, and practices in each culture can be both fascinating, enjoyable, and helpful. In fact, I believe all cultures have their own unique way in which the glory of God is revealed to the world.
With all that said, I have recently come to an understanding about the cultures of the world. They are all broken. Your culture, my culture, all cultures, they are all broken. Cultures are shaped and formed by the humans - humans who are broken and fallen. There are not good or right cultures and bad or wrong cultures, there are only fallen, broken cultures.
culture shaped by the word of God
I think this is important for us to realize, because we tend to think that our culture is superior to others. We think our way is the right way or the best way, as opposed to other cultures. We begin to think of ourselves as superior and others as inferior. But even worse is that as we understand our culture to be good and right, we begin to function as if our culture is God Himself.
We understand our way of doing life as the right way, and that makes it more difficult for us to be corrected by the Word of God.
The truth we need to understand is that any culture is only correct in so far as it corresponds to the Word of God. In any and every way that our culture is not consistent with scripture, our culture is wrong. It doesn’t matter how natural and normal it seems, when our culture is not biblical, it is wrong and reflects only the fallen nature of humanity, not God’s purpose for human life and relationships. We need to make sure we don’t confuse the various aspects of our culture to be the same thing as God’s design for us. The Bible is to shape us and our culture, not the other way around.