The Monist 60 (2):269-277 (1977)

The debate over religion and, more especially, Christianity, seems today as far from being finished as ever. To be sure, Christianity has sharply declined in the West and its fundamental doctrine, belief in God, has become for many incredible or even scarcely intelligible. Yet there is also a sense in which the West cannot help being Christian, for Christianity has so deeply entered into our history and institutions that even when it is explicitly rejected, it still continues to shape thought and action in ways of which we may not be aware. Furthermore, there is nothing ready to take the place of Christianity. This is the dilemma of the West at the present time. Christianity has come to seem more and more remote from the life and ethos of a secular technological society, yet according to some scholars it was Christianity itself which motivated the rise of science and technology, and as the Christian vision has faded, modern society feels itself strangely threatened with emptiness. Some look for a new secular faith that will bring purpose into a post-Christian world, as did John Dewey in his little book, A Common Faith, first published in 1934. But synthetic philosophical creeds never attain to the power that belongs to historical religions, sculpted through centuries of concrete history. The same remark would apply to Karl Jaspers’s “philosophical faith” as adumbrated in the book known in English as The Perennial Scope of Philosophy but originally published in 1948 with the German title, Der philosophische Glaube. In any case, one cannot read either Dewey or Jaspers without recognizing that there is a good deal of residual Christianity in their philosophies.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
Categories No categories specified
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI monist197760210
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