People want more than just freedom and choice. They want to belong, they want community rooted in something shared and they want to find meaning beyond themselves.
What’s it about?
Nick Spencer argues that the positive effects of the West’s Christian history are downplayed and that it still has role to play in people’s lives.
How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values:
- One view of Christianity is of it as a revolutionary idea. A voluntary basis for human association; the coming together of people in love rather than blood or shared material objectives.
- Christianity also emphasized individuality, through everyone’s unique relationship with God.
- Out of this came the modern world: a belief in equality as the proper basis for a legal system and the assertion of personal liberty stemming from inalienable natural rights.
- The Church was not sin free, says Mr. Spencer, but too often the sins of the establishment, both then and now, mean the communal, educational, creative and psychological benefits of Christendom are overlooked.
- Shorn of its establishment baggage, Mr Spencer argues, Christianity still has much to contribute toward dignity, freedom and equality.
- Not everyone in the West is disenchanted with religious faith and the end of religion is overstated.
People still want more than just freedom and choice. They want to belong, they want community rooted in something shared and they want to find meaning beyond themselves.
Having arrived at the secular self we kept on searching.
Take Away Points and Context
- Since the early years of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment, when a few brave philosophers attacked the hypocrisy of the established Church, religious views have been on decline in Europe and America (more so in Europe).
- Many authors have declared the triumph of secular man, the evils of religion, and promoted the merits of Science vs. God.
- Mr Spencer’s book offers a counter point, reasserting how much the West owes Christianity. And how much Christianity still has to offer.
By Nick Spencer.
SPCK; 190 pages; £9.99.
How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values. Comments welcome below.