THE ROAD TO SECULARISM: SIX MAJOR CULTURAL EVENTS

(Adapted from George Hunter’s How To Reach Secular People)

 

1. Secularization began with the Renaissance

 

a. Directed people away from God and the world to come to humanity and human progress.

b. Recovery of ancient Greek philosophy--Christian world view no longer the only one--Humanism.

c. Humanism emerges as a major competitor to Christian truth claims.

 

2. Breakup of Christendom with the Protestant Reformation

 

Church turned from management of society to inward renewal and theological matters.

 

3. Nationalism

 

a. Fragmented Europe

b. Wars, state Churches, world wars, problem of evil.

 

4. Scientific Revolution

 

a. Challenged Christendom’s prescientific assumptions about the universe and humanity.

b. Six major thinkers: Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Marx, and Freud.

 

5. The Enlightenment

 

a. Built upon the Renaissance

b. The ground of all the world’s religions is a common “Natural Religion” present in human nature--Deism

c. Science, technology and education will deliver inevitable progress.

d. Doubt about Christian truth claims, demythologization of Jesus Christ, Christianity replaced by modern beliefs and causes--a new faith in progress and human potential

 

6. Urbanization--result of the Industrial Revolution

 

Urbanization amplifies the Enlightenment’s thrust towards secularization of the West--dislocation of the family structure--sensory overload--stress.

 

 

 

Dr. James Strauss, Professor Emeritus, Lincoln Christian Seminary