Dec 9, 2009

"and nothing remained"

I'm not meant to be posting today, but there is so much exciting stuff I've found in the last couple of days I feel a need to share a smidgeon.

“It is come, I know not how, to be taken for granted, by many persons, that Christianity is not so much a subject of inquiry; but that it is, now at length, discovered to be fictitious. And accordingly they treat it as if, in the present age, this were an agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing remained, but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals, for its having so long interrupted the pleasures of the world.”

This complaint was written, not by me (though I too appreciate the tasteful use of commas and semi-colons), but by another churchperson, also of Anglican extraction. In 1736. A guy called Joseph Butler wrote this: well before the so-called Victorian crisis of faith; eons before Dawkins; before Darwin, before anthropological study attempted to relativise all religions, before higher criticism, modernism and postmodernism and serious investigation into the historical accuracy of the biblical record, over 250 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and my own entrance into the world.

Also just prior to the 18th Century 'First Great Awakening' – the revival that swept through Britain and the U.S., arguably giving birth to that behemoth of modern day religion, evangelicalism.

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