Basic Assumption: The only thing that exists is matter which is evolving and eternal.
Implications: When a group forms, they decide, based on their own perceived needs, what kind of values and behaviors will be useful for the survival of the group. If the condition or situation changes, there is no compelling reason why the cultural elements can’t also be changed. Morality is simply what the group wants it to be.
Basic Assumption: The universe contains both material and immaterial parts. Spirits exist in a separate place from physical beings, but they interact with each other in a symbiotic relationship.
Implications: The world and life are not moving toward a higher destination so the tendency is simply to live life one day at a time and accept things the way they are. Left to themselves, animistic cultures tend to remain living in primitive circumstances with very little societal advancement.
Far Eastern Thought
Basic Assumption: The cosmos is composed of an impersonal substance and everything that exists is formed from substance. God is everything and everything is god.
Implications: The primary impact of Far Eastern Religion on culture is to promote passivism.
Basic Assumption: There is an infinite and transcendent God who is Creator and Sustainer.
Implications: Theism basically lends itself to an impact on culture that is both moral and positive, but most forms result in a legalistic approach to living life and the development of culture. The moral order ought to be a certain way because it is written in the law or put forth by the prophet. The way things ought to be are specifically prescribed.
Basic Assumption: There is a personal, infinite, transcendent God who is Creator and Sustainer.
Implications: Relational Revelation lends itself to an impact on culture that is both moral and positive. It does all of this in a way that puts a priority on a personal relationship with God as the motivation for fulfilling the purposes of God. It is not just the end result that matters. The means by which the outcome is brought about is also vital. The means are conveyed by personal instruction from God to individual human beings.
© 2006 Freddy Davis