Wednesday 23 October 2019

“Culture is religion externalised"

This is profoundly true. Alice Smith tweeted it. She is apparently a descendent of Adam Smith.
If you think that culture can be separated from religion, you need to investigate the meaning of the word ‘culture’.
“Culture is religion externalised.”

The internet says someone called Joe Boot said it first. I wish I had coined it.

I have said repeatedly that economics is based on culture and culture is based on religion. Religion and culture are not, as Marx taught, produced by economics.

Religion cannot, however, be the only factor, or Protestant Jamaica would be as prosperous and law-abiding as C of E agnostic Hampshire or ex-Lutheran Jutland.

Someone replied to Miss Smith:

atheist's god is the state even though they refuse to admit it...


  1. “Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics."

    Charles Peguy

  2. Tout commence en mystique et finit en politique.

    Péguy, Notre jeunesse, 1910

  3. “Culture is religion externalised.”

    True up to a point, but not always in a straightforward way. Religion creates culture which creates economics but there's a feedback loop happening as well. The economics will change the culture to some degree and the culture will then change the religion to some degree.

    In the West this feedback loop slowly undermined the religion until all that was left of it was the shell - the emotionalism, the virtue-signalling, the desire to do good works (or to be seen to do good works), the desire to be seen to be moral. But the core - the actual faith in God, the sense of Sin as something real that actually mattered, the idea of repentance - had largely vanished.

    We were left with an emotional feelgood cultural Christianity which is now influencing the culture in a negative way.

    And the economics altered the culture slightly. Capitalism, the worship of money and consumerism all degraded the culture and encouraged materialism. That in turn had an effect on religion. We ended up with Christians who thought they really could serve both God and Mammon.

    It's always a two-way street. Christianity did not decay from within. It was undermined by the culture and by economics. The proof of this is that all religions have declined. Even Islam. Mind you in the case of Islam it's partly deliberate undermining by the West.