Chapter

The Challenge of Faithfulness

James Davison Hunter

in To Change the World

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730803
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777082 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.003.0015
The Challenge of Faithfulness

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Two overriding characteristics of our time are difference and dissolution. The problem of difference bears on how Christians engage the world outside of their own community, while the problem of dissolution bears on the nature of Christian witness. Pluralism creates both a fragmentation among worldviews and the social structures that support these worldviews. These are social conditions that make faithfulness difficult and faithlessness almost natural. For pluralism creates social conditions in which God is no longer an inevitability. There are key aspects of contemporary life that take us into radically new territory; into a social and cultural landscape that has very few recognizable features from cultures, societies, or civilizations past. The negative aspect of difference and dissolution is that they present conditions advantageous for the development of nihilism: autonomous desire and unfettered will legitimated by the ideology and practices of choice.

Keywords: difference; pluralism; dissolution; Peter Berger; plausibility structures; syncretism; George Steiner; place of absence; nihilism; post-Christian culture

Chapter.  6959 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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