Have I Been Socially Constructed?

Throughout history certain things have remained true among all civilizations. Every civilization has its culture, customs, and religion, and when at war, the civilization that overpowered the others usually exerted their power over the defeated civilizations by bringing them underneath their own culture, customs, and religion. For one well-known example, take Rome. When Rome conquered many nations, extending the “pax romana” across most of the known world, they brought Roman culture, customs, and religion (they brought their Hellenism with them) along with them.

That begs the question: do I simply believe in what I believe because the of the culture I grew up in? Have my beliefs been socially constructed?

Have you ever asked these questions? I’m sure most of you have, it would do you good to ask them now. There are two ways of answering this question, a bad way, and a good way.

The bad way answer (the humanist answer) goes like this: “Yes, we’ve all been socially constructed no matter where we grew up. One boy thinks a raven is holy in one culture while another boy shoots and eats ravens because they just taste good. This means there is no such thing as Truth, only ideas interpreted through our own contexts.”

The good answer (my answer) goes like this: “Yes, we’ve all been socially constructed no matter where we grew up. One boy thinks a raven is holy in one culture while another boy shoots and eats ravens because they just taste good. This implies that in order to find out what Truth is, we must seek to get outside of ourselves (remove ourselves from the equation) and examine which idea (whether ravens ought to be worshiped or eaten) is better than all the others.”

I’m aware that the example of a raven is silly, but it is honestly an idea that is out there. Some cultures really have worshiped them while others have eaten them. You can really see how this plays out when you apply a huge idea to the mix – religion. One culture says this god is true, another says this god is better, while another says their god created all the others…this can cause quite a mess. Do not fret: simply ask the question and examine the answer: which religion is best on their own? Or another way to put it: which truth is really True? When this is done, I think it is clearly seen that Christianity rises above all the others for one simple fact: all other religions tell you what man is to do to get to paradise, Christianity tells man what Jesus did to bring them to paradise (because we cannot do enough to get there).

I know certain responses could be made here, but my hope in giving you this post is to put in your hands a good argument that will stand up in the classroom, workplace, or friendly conversations.

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Man’s Need for Religion as a Proof (not Dis-proof) for God

Throughout history certain things have remained true among all civilizations. Every civilization has its culture, customs, and religion; and it is through these things that the people gain (and share) an understanding of who they are. Now, a lot could be said about culture and customs of different peoples, but in this post I’m concerned with man’s seemingly constant need of religion. Each civilization that has ever existed, has had a religion. I am aware that “religion” could be defined in numerous ways here, but civilization has had its own things, places, or people, that they worshiped, visited, or followed because of a vast number of reasons (one of those reasons including being such a strong atheist).

There are two ways to respond to this reality of man’s need for religion:

The humanist see’s this reality and says, “See, because each civilization has had its own religion unique to those people, religion must be a man-made thing. This clearly portray’s that “god” did not exist until mankind said he (or she) did.” In this line of thinking, man’s need for religion proves itself to be a reason for the dis-proof of God, and that man created “God”. This line of thinking, is wrong and unhelpful.

The Christian (can I say the “correct” understanding here? I think I can!) understanding is very different. Christians see (or ought to see) this reality and say, “See, because each civilization has had its own religion unique to those people, religion must be a natural part of mankind’s makeup. Man was created to worship something, and seeing all people have done it all over the earth, proves that a God does exist out there. After all, if a God didn’t exist, why would men seek to worship something at all? Would we be concerned with the divine if it did not exist?”

Bottom line: Rather than seeing man’s need for religion as a dis-proof of God’s existence, I think it is both reasonable and rational to believe that man’s need for religion throughout all of history, proves that God really does exist.

Have I Been Socially Constructed?

Throughout history certain things have remained true among all civilizations. Every civilization has its culture, customs, and religion, and when at war, the civilization that overpowered the others, usually exerted their power over the defeated civilizations by bringing them underneath their own culture, customs, and religion.

For one well-known example, take Rome. When Rome conquered many nations, extending the “pax romana” across most of the known world, they brought Roman culture, customs, and religion (they brought their Hellenism with them) along with them. That begs the question: do I simply believe in what I believe because the of the culture I grew up in? Have my beliefs been socially constructed?

Have you ever asked these questions? I’m sure most of you have, it would do you good to ask them now. There are two ways of answering this question, a bad way, and a good way.

The bad way answer (the humanist answer) goes like this: “Yes, we’ve all been socially constructed no matter where we grew up. One boy thinks a raven is holy in one culture while another boy shoots and eats ravens because they just taste good. This implies that there is no such thing as Truth, only ideas interpreted through our own contexts.”

The good answer (my answer) goes like this: “Yes, we’ve all been socially constructed no matter where we grew up. One boy thinks a raven is holy in one culture while another boy shoots and eats ravens because they just taste good. This implies that in order to find out what Truth is, we must seek to get outside of ourselves (remove ourselves from the equation) and examine which idea (whether ravens ought to be worshiped or eaten) is better than all the others.”

I’m aware that the example of a raven is silly for sure, but it is honestly an idea that is out there. Some cultures really have worshiped them while others have eaten them. You can really see how this plays out when you apply a huge idea to the mix – religion. One culture says this god is true, another says this god is better, while another says their god created all the others…this is messy! Do not fret: simply ask the question and examine the answer: which religion is best on their own? Or another way to put it: which truth is really True? When this is done, I think it is clearly seen that Christianity rises above all the others whereas all the other religions tell you what man is to do to get to paradise, Christianity tells man what Jesus did to bring them to paradise (because we cannot do enough to get there).

I know certain responses could be made here, but my hope in giving you this post is to put in your hands a good argument that will stand up in the classroom, workplace, or friendly conversations.