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The Ironic Inconsistency of Cultural Neutrality

I read this today, and the blatant inconsistency jumped off the page. See if it does the same for you:

“Thus the difference between a [belief] system driven by paganism and one driven by Christianity does not consist primarily in rightness or wrongness of many of the things that pass away [i.e. musical forms or other “cultural” mores or practices], but in the value and power assigned (or denied) to them by that system.”

And later, this author speaks of

“The near paradox of having a Christian worldview and making art on that basis, yet understanding that the art on its own is incapable of fully communicating that worldview . . .”

In other words, this author is arguing that the belief system of a culture must be completely divorced from what it produces. But then later he says,

“It is only a secular or paganized culture that chooses to divide people on the basis of their artistic preferences and choices.”1

Does anyone else notice the contradiction here?

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

  1. All quotes from Harold Best, Unceasing Worship, 176, 177-178, 181. []