Intercultural Understanding

If you want to understand the culture of a specific area or people, you need to understand the religious traditions present in and influential on this specific region.

We tend to distinguish religion and culture, faith and 'a way of life.' But are they so different? Is it possible to separate religion and culture? Can you understand American culture, be it movies, culturally myths, or public discourse, without knowing about Christmas, the Bible, and the very assumption concerning what religion is? The same is true for other cultures. To understand cultural myths, beliefs, and habits, it is important to know their history and intellectual traditions.

Studying cultures is less about exotic food and clothing as it is about understanding the cultural codes as well as the history and the religious traditions that shape them. What stereotypes do we have about other parts of the world? What stereotypes do others have about us? How can we arrive at a common understanding? These are the very topics we discuss in religion classes at Luther.