The article “Spiritual life and the survival of Christianity” highlights comparisons and contrast in the 18th century and modern day Christian church. The history sheds light on the issue of secularism and how it has encroached on the church threatening its core. The relationship between secularism and the eighteenth century time is particularly important because it is during this century in history that secularism gained foothold and became accepted as an alternative to religion.
The century is remembered in history as the first non Christian century. Christianity is highlighted from the modern and ancient perspectives with emphasis given to the present day church in the US and Europe. The article tries to show the roots of the today’s attitudes towards Christianity and how the eighteenth century contributed to them.
The emphasis given to the Christians in the US is especially important because it sheds light on how American Christian principles came up and how the American culture acquired its secularism through Christianity. The article does show how culture was “pure”, so to say before it was penetrated by Christian values.
After the penetration, thinkers found themselves enslaved by the Christian values and traditions that it was difficult to use a language free from Christian influence. That is why the eighteenth century was alive with antitheist campaigns keen on eliminating all Christian vales. What’s more, it’s the elite who led these attacks but after all was done; Christianity still maintained strong influence on people’s culture.
The article contains information deeply detailing the important role that Christianity played in making the existent culture in the US and Europe and how early scholars contributed to the advancement of secularism without bothering religion, in this case Christianity. This was done through the art of benign atheism that was led by Marx and Freud.
For instance, Marx believed that curtailing Christians’ belief in their God was an unnecessary distraction of communists from their course. Freud on the other hand believed that it was a waste of time to argue for or against religion since no one had produced a rational though for or against religion.
Despite modern culture drawing heavily from Christianity and other religions like Islam, culture has evolved separately and has almost become a religion on its own. Believers have become non-attached to religion and seem to have adopted the attitude that God doesn’t matter any more.
The main point driven by this article is that the secularism that has been adopted by people is more detrimental to the Christian religion than was the antitheism sentiments that characterized the eighteenth century. There are growing tendency by people to treat religion especially Christianity as just another part of civilization same as industrialization and agrarian revolution.
Religion in the past especially in the eighteenth century was handed down as a tradition but that is not the case any more. Control that society exerted over people through religion is long gone and people are nowadays responsible for their destinies and they determine their attitudes instead of the common communal approach.
Important questions are raised although subtly. The author wonders if religion and especially Christianity is slowly becoming extinct. Also, if religion is slowly giving in to the demands of culture and if it is headed into an eventual collaboration with culture through compromising of its basic tenets.
There are questions too about whether there will be potential conflict between culture and religion. Will that be the end of civilization and who and what will be responsible in case such an eventuality comes to be? Is there any thing(s) that can be done to save the situation? If yes, what can be done and if no why can’t something be done to save the notion.
There is a need to start a reconstruction of values that have collapsed due to advancement of civilization and the decline of Christianity. There is also a need to change people’s thinking to believe in the power of the church and the entire Christian principles. At the same time it is important to recognize that the world is constantly changing and tolerance and accommodation of other people’s views necessary (Fahlbusch and Bromiley 2000, 195).
Learning to respect human beings different ways of expressing their gratitude and appreciation is needed if peace is to be maintained in the world. Unlike the ancient times that were dominated by explicit antitheism, today’s onslaught on Christianity is manifested in the corruption of Christian ideals to suit people’s needs and fantasies. The trend is present in all levels of society nowadays.
The 21st century can easily turn out to be one of the most anti-Christian centuries like the eighteen century was. Vigorous activism that is present these days may stem steep decline of the church in the short run but not in the long rum. Again, today’s scholars are more sophisticated than Marx and Freud of the eighteenth century. They are therefore not likely to relent in their effort to directly attack religion especially Christianity with the sole aim of distracting the remaining few faithful followers.
Fahlbusch, Geoffrey and Bromiley, William. The encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5. New York: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000.
Louis, Dupre. “Spiritual life and the survival of Christianity.” The Free Library (1998). http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Spiritual+life+and+the+survival+of+Christianity.- a021202870