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Southern Presbyterian Distinctives

The root of our English word "culture" is the' Latin "cultus", which to the Romans signified worship of the divine. This reminds us of the foundation of culture which is so often forgotten in our day. As Russell Kirk and others have noted, "culture arises from the cult; that is, people are joined together in worship, and out of their religious association grows the organized human community," (America's British Culture, p. 1).

Culture implies far more than a common food, dress, or accent. It implies a common way of life, common standards, a common worldview if you will. But this commonality Is founded ultimately not upon economic status, race or nationality, but, as our word indicates, a common faith. Christopher Dawson puts it this way, "It is clear that a common way of life involves a common view of life, common standards of behavior, and common standards of value, and consequently a culture is a spiritual community which owes its unity to common beliefs and common ways of thought far more than to any unanimity of physical type.... Therefore from the beginning the social way of life which is culture has been, deliberately ordered and directed in accordance with the higher laws of life which are religion." (Ibid., p.2)