What any one of us might consider “normal” thinking is influenced by the culture around us. The field of psychology has been prying open the box of cultural influence that remained in the realm of sociology and anthropology for a long time. Where it will eventually lead is fascinating to contemplate.
How would you answer this question: Which two of the follow three have the closest relationship: a panda, a monkey or a banana?
In western culture the most common answer is the panda and monkey. This analysis comes from seeing both as animals. But in eastern cultures the most common answer is the monkey and banana. Why is this?
People who study cultures say eastern cultures have what is called a “holistic” understanding of life. Each issue is seen in its context. Food and living things are a package. Religion, values and human behavior are all related–each needs the other.
It seems to me this plays out in religion as well. The main western religion, Christianity, is about individuals and their sins. Various sins of individuals are spotlighted, abortion and homosexuality.
If we take these two, the sins favored currently by conservative Christians, and put them in context we might see them differently. Some humans are attracted to the same sex. So do some from the animal world. Abortions are chosen by women in the context of their lives and the lives of their children.
We would do well to consider the Eastern concept of context.