To say that Eastern and Western cultures misunderstand one another is the understatement of the millennium. While Christianity and Islam are monotheistic, these religions (and the ways in which they are acculturated) are quite distinct from one another. The cultural mores, ways of worship, and degrees of cultural-social fusion are all variant from one another.
Understanding that we really don’t understand one another is the first step toward making space and time for a dialectical interaction between unique cultural motifs. There is a real danger in comparing religions and the cultures they infuse, as the variations and deviations can be numerous and diverse. This, in itself, makes comparing Christianity and Islam a precarious exercise, for what does one really mean when generalizations for religions are used? Before launching into religious variations and derivations, it is important to highlight a central theme, which is that each cultural motif is a unique, idiosyncratic entity, or life-form, of that civilization. It embodies the lifeblood of that culture’s core characteristics and even personality. To speak of an American motif is to capture that unique characterization of integrated core qualities. These can include fierce independence, candor, rugged individualism, humor, the pursuit of the American dream, and in times of crisis—emergence of heroic patriotism.
It is the particular flavor and degree of integration of these core characteristics that articulates American motifs. For example, the concept of being a down-to-earth person, not obsessed with formality and pomp and circumstance, adds a flavor of being a “real person” in the American motif.
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Publication information: Book title: Creating Cultural Motifs against Terrorism:Empowering Acceptance of Our Uniqueness. Contributors: Don J. Feeney Jr. - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 79.
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