Four More Years: Good or Bad?

I’ve been offline the past couple of days as I have been in a coaching session where there was limited internet access. This means that I haven’t tracked the response to Obama’s re-election to the extent I normally would. However, I bumped into Andrew over lunch (who was in the same building though engaged in another activity) and he made the observation that all the British God-blogs he had read were positive about the Obama victory, while the American ones were all negative.

This is a drum I bang to the point of annoyance, but I think the difference in American and British reaction to the Presidential election is just another example of the powerful impact of culture on the way we think – an impact so powerful that generally we are blind to it.

So, for an American to say, “We don’t want to go down the European road of socialised medicine” makes complete sense in that cultural context; but in a British context it seems a risible statement. The British and American commentators might be apparently very similar – in age, ethnicity, educational history, and so on. We even share what is to large extent a common culture – we speak the same language (almost), we watch the same movies; and in this case we are even narrowing it down further by talking about Christians on both sides of the pond. Yet the vast gulf between British and American culture is very evident when it comes to politics.

At the least, I think this should make us very cautious about our assumptions, because they tend to be rooted in our presuppositions, and more often than we would care to admit our presuppositions are born out of the culture we have been raised in, rather than objective judgment or careful hermeneutics. When it comes to politics it is always worth holding up a mirror to our assumptions, and honestly assessing if we can justify what we see.

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