Christianity’s effect on culture is like a ham bone in a soup, parts of it being absorbed and giving off flavor.  It does not act like a lever on can just pull and change someone or something.  Almost all the worthwhile things of the faith are piloted, not disseminated.  We like levers and information (hey this is on the internet right, their nirvana?).  Some good things about the faith follow below:

Abstinence from alcohol (for the sake of those who can’t handle it).  I have high respect for Christians who swear off alcohol.  A lot of times these Christians are branded as legalistic tea-teetotalers.   I do not see it that way as those in the faith who abstain from alcohol are giving the most benefit for those in that  community who cannot handle it.  Even if someone is brought up in a dry home and gets their start drinking in their twenties rather than their teens this reduces their chance of alcoholism pretty significantly.  There is also the issue of all the time drinking at bars sucks up which you could be doing more interesting things with.

Caring about other people at the expense of yourself.  This is pretty simple concept but in a culture that worships the self and markets the idea that happiness can only happen when things have been fine-tuned to one’s specifications, it’s going against some pretty strong headwinds.  When you truly love someone sacrificially you often lose a part of yourself to them.  You will be less happy if you give more than you take, it’s not what marketers of altruism want to hear but it’s true.  But you will probably live a more meaningful existence.

Showing thankfulness.  Being grateful is seen as a sign one is deferring to those in power.  Viewing every context as a power struggle is something we have been conditioned to do.  But often one has to decide between doing the benevolent thing and the empowering thing.  Society is programming you to be ungrateful because 70% of the economy relies on selling you crap you don’t need (deferring to the marketers in power).

Integrity.  This is perhaps the thing that can only be learned by inculcation, not dissemination.  It’s probably the virtue you lose the most for, particularly in this culture.  This is because the lie is generally the empowering thing that makes you look better than you really are and everybody’s lying so the truth will keep you behind.  Authenticity is prized as an ideal but in the rhythm of everyday life you have to be so inauthentic to be anything that in practice authenticity is looked upon as strange.

Viewing things as a ministry.  Some people make art and give it away because they view it as reflecting their faith so they want it to have as much exposure as possible.  Others open up their house to people.  Some view their work as a calling and do a better job at it than the pay and respect warrant.  This is a good thing because it’s anti consumeristic.

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