Religion in Our Times

Religion in Our Times

Religion in Our Times

Religion in Our Times

Excerpt

This book was undertaken at the request of the publisher. There was, he believed, a place for a history of American religious life in our own times -- a history not exactly brought down to date but trying to get into some kind of order and perspective, movements and events which most of us remember or of which we have heard from those who shared them. He was, I suspect, led to ask for such a book through his observation of the place which books dealing in the same way with phases of our social and political life since the beginning of the century had made for themselves. Since religion is so significant and creative an aspect of the life of any period, it seemed to deserve something of its own.

The writers who have been of late appraising American life either by way of criticism, analysis or remembrance had been strangely negligent of religion as an historical and social force. Some dramatic incident, like the Dayton trial, has for a page or two focused their attention, but the vaster and far more significant drama of religion in its action with the forces which are recasting the modern mind has been left unconsidered and, I suppose, for the best of reasons. The action is not yet complete; the forces involved are so imponderable, and it has been so largely a drama of faith and doubt confined to what is more hidden than revealed in the life of a generation. How can it all, with its undetermined issues, be made into history now or ever?

Probably it cannot, but the more evident ways in which religion has sought to readjust its own life to changing conditions, to find new motivations for its age-old task, can, even now, be a little told. Perhaps the reader will see through and behind it all some play of more elusive forces whose . . .

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