Reinhold Niebuhr “Our Secularized Civilization,”

Category : Politics

Unqualified optimism on the present state or future prospect of religion in modern civilization can emanate only from a very superficial analysis of modern life. In America such optimism is justified by the undeniable prestige of the church in the popular mind and the vitality of the institutions of religion. In Europe optimism is not even supported by these facts. Yet America is in many respects more pagan than Europe, which means that the vitality of the institutions of religion is not in itself a proof of authentic religious life. The fact is that we are living in a completely secularized civilization which has lost the art of bringing its dominant motives under any kind of moral control.

Source: Christian Century (22 April 1926)

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