Subculture vs Counterculture


“If there’s a legitimate indictment of the Church today, its that we’re subculture rather than counterculture.”
– Jay Howard, quoted by Daniel Rodesh in “Surviving the Subculture,” Sep/Oct 08 Issue of Relevant Magazine.


Let me explain a little the difference between subculture and counterculture.  A subculture accepts the general norms of the society it is in; it attempts to be part of that society, but may have its own aspects, norms, additions.  A counterculture rejects the ideas of the general society; their main purpose is to make a statement against what people view as the “norm,” and attempt to change it.

Should Christianity be subculture or counterculture?

Obviously Jay Howard, in the quote above, believes that being a subculture has been a negative thing in our society.  I would have to say that it may be a negative thing now, but it probably wasn’t in our nation’s formative stages.  Today our culture has rejected many of the values that Christianity brought to our society.  In many ways they have rejected God’s truth for a lie.  Homosexuality, excessive alcohol, promiscuity, which are all condemnable according to the Bible, have become common place, an accepted American way of life.  

In our earliest history Christianity as a subculture was just a way of saying that we were tolerant of others choosing to worship the way they wanted too.  After all, our country was founded on such freedoms.

In many ways Christianity should be a counterculture, standing up to the things we see that we believe are morally and ethically wrong.  Being counterculture is difficult.  It takes a lot of work, and it makes a lot of people angry.  But Christ said that if the world loves us, we are not true followers of His way.  I think we should constantly be on the lookout for ways that we can challenge unTrue ideas that have become cultural norms.  It is the way that we will show how we stand apart from the rest of our culture.


3 Responses to “Subculture vs Counterculture”

  1. 1 allison

    true. but subculture isn’t necessarily a bad thing. because according to christianity when our country was originally established the subculture was christianity… everyone was christians. the counterculture was drugs, and homosexuality, etc. i think today people are constantly trying to be a counterculture… they don’t want to be the norm. they want to be “an individual.” even tho that rarely works out to be the case. not to mention that christianity has a long history (in general) of being the counterculture. so i dont think being the counterculture is the question anymore. i think we need to now define what it is exactly we’re trying to do. what kind of counterculture are we trying to be?

  2. 2 daniellephilippi

    absolutely! subculture is not necessarily a bad thing. there are some very good aspects to our society, i believe, so therefore maybe we don’t really even want to be a “counterculture”

  3. I agree with your percieved notions of the role Christianity plays in our current culture as that of what some people may consider an antagonistic force, a counter culture. I don’t mean to say that we are to be harassing or bugging people by any means, but scripture does tell us to be light and salt, and if you think about salt, while it can be used to flavor bland dishes, it can also be irritating! We are a light in a culture that is shrouded in darkness, hopefully, in the way we live, we can shed light on the wickedness of this current age. I believe it goes farther if one lives the truth, rather than speaks it with their mouth alone. God bless!

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