Ethnocentrism is the problem of thinking that your own sub-culture is right and that other sub-cultures are wrong. It’s a problem that leads to prejudice, bigotry, imperialism, even genocide. And it’s not completely avoidable. As much as you tell yourself that someone else acts differently because he was raised differently, you can’t always prevent feelings of impatience and judgementalism. And it’s even worse when you (and/or the other person) think you’re dealing with issues of absolute truth, not relative opinions, and won’t give in.

Ethnocentrism also blinds people to spiritual truth. We decide that people in developing countries are still “developing,” so they still have a simpler, more naive faith. Except for one problem: faith is evidence and substance, reality and proof (Hebrews 11:1). People who have experienced God know what they’re talking about. They are not simple or naive. It’s naive to think otherwise.

Not only do we think our own culture is the center of the universe, we think our own time period is the center of history. I call that “tempocentrism”. Every generation thinks it’s the smartest generation. We always tend to confuse knowledge (what you know) with wisdom (what to do with it). Except for one problem: while knowledge is more common now than it was then, wisdom seems to be less common now than it was then.

2 thoughts on “Ethnocentrism

  1. Ethnocentrism is just a belief that a certain ethnic group is more correct than another based on their own standards. With that being said, here’s the problem with relativism. When a firm believer in relativism makes the argument that there are no absolutes, he is at the same time making an absolute statement.

    Most scientific fields are based on absolutes, and many believe that physical evidence is the only way to prove or disprove an argument. Well, with the limited knowledge that our world possesses, how can we try to make arguments to try and disprove something that is considered infinite, such as God?

    If there is in fact a God, the absolutes are set by him, and anyone who is in contention with that is utterly and totally wrong. To make an argument that there is no God is trying to prove something without physical evidence. Just because they didnt find O.J. guilty, doesnt mean he didnt do it.

    Christianity is not ethnocentric because the standards that Christians live by is set by an infinite being that cannot be disproved

  2. True, the Bible is not ethnocentric, but our interpretations of the Bible can be ethnocentric. Ethnocentrism applies to sub-cultures and sub-sub-cultures too: Cajun barflies vs. Cajun altar boys. Ethnocentrism may even be the main dynamic of denominational prejudice. Forget about predestination or consubstantiation: is their church service louder than mine? More formal than mine? Then I don’t like it! So we end up adding and subtracting from the Bible based on our cultural prejudice – and that is very bad.

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