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Christianity & American Culture

Organized religion should not update its myths, symbols, and rituals to be more relevant in a changing world and culture. Religion either represents an expression of some deeper truth or it does not, and if it does, that truth has been shaped through the centuries and needs to be presented in its original form. Religion might rephrase its message without changing it, or find ways to express its message in relevant terms, but the underlying truth has to remain stable.

This is a problem many face today, though. Many Christians today find a conflict between Christianity and American culture. American culture has developed along secular, scientific, and non-disciplinary lines that many Christians find contradictory to their faith. The conflict is seen in political action taken by fundamentalist churches in particular to try to redirect the course of American culture in this "cultural war." Yet, much of American culture has a religious base or source related to the Protestantism, and specifically to the Puritanism, of our ancestors in New England. Many of the ideas accepted in American culture can be traced back to this earlier period in our history, ideas such as the work ethic.

Traditional American culture was closely allied with religious institutions. The churches were key sources of power and support for the battle against Britain in the American Revolution, for instance, and would continue to affect American life through directly and in a massive way through the nineteenth century (Jackson 86-91). Many of the elements of religion in America derived from the nature of Protestantism in general and from the kind of Protestantism that developed in the American nation. One important element was the fact that unlike in Europe, Protestantism in America was not in protest against a present or past Catholicism but was instead involved in building a new culture of its own (Miller 84-85).

Recently, though, there have been re...

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Christianity & American Culture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:47, May 28, 2020, from