Religion integral to cultural excellence

I believe that at the time of discovery the Europeans had the superior cultural system. I would add that, as far as I can see, they still do have the superior culture. But why is it that European or western culture is so far superior to all others? The answer is to be found in the religious beliefs that lie at the base of all culture.

Re. April 11 column by Michelle Stirling-Anosh, headlined The white man won the global lotto:

I believe that at the time of discovery the Europeans had the superior cultural system. I would add that, as far as I can see, they still do have the superior culture. But why is it that European or western culture is so far superior to all others? The answer is to be found in the religious beliefs that lie at the base of all culture.

The natives of North and South America lived at one with their environment because their religious beliefs allowed them to make no distinction between themselves and the world around them.

So although they lived on a continent that was rich in resources that could have been used to their benefit, they were unable to do so.

This is why, when the Europeans discovered the Americas, it was for them like going back in time.

Back to a world of stone tools and barter. Back to a level of cultural existence in which all memory of your society would disappear through the decaying process of the soil.

There are no native Parenthons, roads or aqueducts that have stood the ravages of time.

There is no Plato, Hippocrates, Rousseau, Milton, Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, John Calvin, Martin Luther, etc.

When it comes right down to it we have to ask, what has native culture given the world that has been of benefit to all of mankind?

The ancestors of the Europeans had also gone through the same stage of cultural and technological development. They too came from a world in which religion consisted of pantheism, animism and fables. But what had changed their lives was their encounter with Christianity, which teaches that this world is here to be developed for man’s good and God’s glory.

That man, although he is a part of this world, is more than the sum total of this world. That, without man applying his intellectual abilities to the things of this world, the world remains undeveloped and can never reach its full potential.

There is more than a little bit of irony to be found when Stirling-Anosh points to western civilization as being responsible for overpopulating the world and thereby polluting it, when one considers that the native population is the fastest growing population group in Canada.

If a human life is a human life, I would then think that no ethnic group that grew by more than its natural death rate would be exempt from being guilty of over populating and overburdening the Earth.

Today, in both Canada and in the United States, some of the most underutilized and sparsely settled land is land that is set aside as native reserves. I know because I live right next door to a reserve that has land that remains in an undeveloped state. Yet it has one of the lowest population densities of any settled area.

Unfortunately, for the Earth and the people who live on it, the West lacks the moral conviction of belief in the correctness of its own existence. Yet it is the West and Christianity that we need the most if this world is to get better.

The Christian West has been the most productive human society that ever existed. Productive not only in terms of material goods but also in terms of improving our notions of justice, equality and individual responsibility.

If all cultures become equal, then the liberals cannot really oppose any other culture since all cultures are legitimate.

When all cultures become equal, then it is no longer wrong to jail people without a fair trial, to forbid women to drive or vote, to use child labour, to forcibly take body organs from prisoners, to have all of a country’s wealth go to a few royal people, etc.

The truth is that for all of the bad that the Christian West has done, it has done more good.

This truth is not wasted on those who live outside our borders and is why North America is such a desired destination by immigrants.

No one who does not live in North America grows up dreaming of making a life for him/herself in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Thailand, or even Russia.

Everyone wants to come here even though their ancestors may have been wronged by the West at some time in history. So a passport from the U.S. or Canada is highly prized.

Do I wake up every morning wishing that I had been born native? My response is that I do not wish that.

You see, I was born black and I still am black. Yet, as a black person, I can be thankful for slavery, in spite of the evils that were committed under it because I live in the best region on this Earth.

I guess that I could go back to Africa, but would I?

When I look at African history prior to colonialism and at what it is now during this post-colonial period, I would have to say I am glad that my ancestors were brought to the United States.

Africa today, just like the reserves in Canada, is not a place where you or I want to live and the reason is not because of outside forces of western oppression being at work there.

Julian Ross Hudson


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