Christianity and Modernity
Chapter One Religion in the Modern World In the comparatively recent past, many people assumed that religion in general had entered a period of terminal decline. The alleged reasons given for this were various. Some, for example, claimed that the long process of cultural secularisation, in which life is understood only from a human point of view, was in the final stages of its displacement of religion. Others pointed to the growth of materialism (whatever was meant by that). Yet others, pointed to the seemingly inexorable overall decline in Church attendance. And so on. Some, or all, of this might yet prove to be true, but at the moment, at least, it is far from self-evidently so. Indeed, ‘religion’ in general is very much back in the news. One central reason for this is the ever ongoing conf lict in the Middle East. There one group of people, who are of identical genetic stock, who occupy two countries and who profess three religions are seemingly incapable of resolving their disagreements. Whilst many, the majority, of those who profess these three religions do so amicably with the other two, there are significant numbers who do not do this. They exacerbate their dif ferences and, invariably, cite them to thwart international peace initiatives thereby hindering peaceful co-existence. As a result, repeated attempts by the United States to get Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders are rebuf fed. Neither Israel nor Palestine have for- mally recognised each other’s legitimacy as states and...
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