Tale of Two Cultures: Where Do the Culture Wars Come From?
The impact on our lives of two major cultures is immeasurable—indeed, it is epic.
People’s Choices Cause Patterns in History
As we shall see, in order to deal with the effects of such pervasive cultural influences, it is useful to understand patterns of history. Choices have consequences which create patterns in the overall big picture of history. These patterns help us to understand the rich symbolism or types in the Bible. In other words, from patterns of history we can garner a Biblical Worldview—a more eternal perspective.
City of Zion
Like Charles Dickens’ classic Tale of Two Cities, this story in Genesis also provides a memorable contrast. The story of the first city begins with God’s creation of Adam. The seventh son of Adam was a prophet named Enoch. He was a very good man who “walked with God.” (Genesis 5:24) Bible scholars tell us that Enoch built a beautiful city named Zion.
We don’t know much about that city, because Enoch was so good, and so were the people of the city of Zion, that God simply transferred Enoch, and his entire city, up to heaven. However, the term “Zion” is mentioned repeatedly throughout biblical history. “Zion” refers to certain places in both the Old World and the New World; it also means a certain kind of people—being pure in heart. Enoch and his city of Zion remain a model way of life for all people of the Judeo-Christian culture, who believe in God as their Creator and spiritual Father, and that His plan is the surest way for happiness.
City of Babylon
The other city, Babylon, came somewhat later. Built by a man named Nimrod, it started out as Babel. To avoid being scattered worldwide (Genesis 11:4), the people built a very tall tower. Then God did what the people feared most—He confounded their languages. So they stopped building the tower, because they couldn’t understand each other. And they were scattered.
The city of Babel became Babylon, one of the oldest cities in the world. Isaiah and other prophets used “Babylon” to refer to the ways and cultures of the world. The Tower of Babel represents “confusion”. Babel itself is a play on words in Hebrew. (Maybe God has a sense of humor!) Babylon is the symbol of opposition to the Judeo-Christian culture.
The Tale of Two Cultures Lives on in Today’s Culture Wars
We’ve discussed the causes of these two influential cultures. What are their effects?
The Judeo-Christian culture (AKA Zion culture) has not changed. It is still based on biblical values of delayed gratification and absolute truths. Its effects appear to be time-tested. Those who abide by God’s commandments enjoy greater liberty, protection, and prosperity.
Babylon, built on worldly doctrines, is found in philosophies of men, such as secular humanism and multiculturalism. Observing the choices and consequences of its followers, Babylon’s effects of chaos, bondage, and misery do not appear to match its utopian promises.
Patterns in History
What are some important choices that people have made in history? What do the consequences of those choices mean to you? For example, the United States and her European allies won World War 2. If America had not been victorious, how might your life be different today?
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