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Post-Enlightenment Culture Decorum History Value Religion says The kingdom of God is within you and culture in like manner places human perfection in an internal condition in the growth and predominance of our humanity proper as distinguished from our animality Matthew Arnold Culture and Anarchy To what in your opinion does Matthew Arnold give primacy culture or religion Arnold gives primacy to culture in Culture and Anarchy especially in the chapter entitled Sweetness and Light However we must firstly decide what Arnold means by culture a word that has so many connotations yet is so hard to define precisely The difficulty inherent to this word is due to its relative nature What one person calls culture another may view as mere vanity or elitism by the same rationale what someone else calls culture may be described as mere middle-class populism Ultimately there is no empirical definition that can fully describe all aspects of it and to further the complexity of this linguistical problem culture is always changing Therefore in order to come to the decision that Arnold gives culture primacy over religion we must accept his definitions as a subjective truth relative to his time Arnolds first definition of culture is that it is the fruit of genuine scientific passion By this he means the thirst for knowledge the desire to improve our understanding of the world we live in He leaves no space for religion in this view of culture and so it could be argued that culture is superior to religion However this is an over-simplified description of culture a fact that Arnold immediately recognises and amends Therefore the evidence provided by this initial definition for the primacy of culture is by no means conclusive Arnold modifies his definition of culture to a study of perfection He envisions this as a combination of scientific research and morality Culture moves by the force
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