John Bennett, in his general introduction to this series of booklets on contemporary religion, has named "secularism" first on his list of the four most serious problems of our time. By secularism he means "the organization of life apart from God." It takes but a glance at contemporary Russia (where the "anti-God" campaign is quite open) or at nationalist countries (where the totalitarian state is beginning to take the place of God) or at the indifferent thousands in our own great cities and great universities to realize that secularism in this sense is very widespread. This is not to say that all secularists are "godless" people. If God is real, it is impossible to organize life apart from him. Even the professed enemies of God may bear unconscious witness to him, if they organize their lives about some really significant cause or ideal; and such people may be far less godless than some who loudly profess belief in God and yet live essentially self-centered lives. What is plainly happening in our time, however, is that the Christian idea of God is losing the central and authoritative place it has hitherto held in Western civilization and is being replaced by new objects of popular trust and devotion, which are to all intents and purposes new gods.
The spread of secularism and the rise of new gods have focused the floodlight of critical inquiry upon the problem of God in our generation, as never before during the whole Christian era, since the downfall of paganism. In previous periods of intense religious question-