You can judge the health of a civilization by the culture it creates and consumes.
At the height of Roman corruption, the Empire created and consumed a culture of death and decadence. The bloodlust of the games and the bodily lusts of sexual deviancy led Rome down the rutted road of long decline and prolonged decay. By the time Rome fell to the barbarian hordes she had already committed spiritual suicide.
What Rome forgot, and perhaps we've never known, is the truth that culture is a better indicator of a civilization's spiritual condition than are public opinion polls asking about our belief in God. Culture is what people make in the world, to make sense of the world. If we go back to the beginning of culture, to the creation of culture, we discover that God made the natural world and gave it meaning -- He called it good.
But then God made man and woman in His image and called it very good. When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden they were to cultivate God's good creation into something very good. To take grapes and make wine. To take wheat and make bread.
This is the meaning of culture -- to bring about human flourishing by doing as God did, by making the good into the very good.
I thought about this as I watched the 85th Annual Oscars. The award ceremonies for musicians and moviemakers provides an undiluted jolt of what these cultural shapers value most. A sort of cultural Red Bull. And if the millions of viewers of the Grammys and Oscars is any indication, then these shows also tell us something about what the people value. So, as a cultural event, what did the Oscars say about human flourishing in America today?
[Read the rest of the article at The Black Sphere.]