Contemporary Christian Theology

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Contemporary Christian Theology

Contemporary Christian Theology


The Enlightenment usually means a willingness to judge all things by the light of reason in opposition quickly to "darkness" of Christian revelation. This is an important issue that will decide the divorce between the rational society and Christian thought. Benedict XIV (1740-1750) tried to reconcile the Church with the ideas emerging from the establishment of chairs of mathematics, chemistry, surgery and was recognized by the Encyclopaedists. He condemns against the Spirit of the Laws of Montesquieu and the Freemasons. Pius VII subscribed to the encyclopaedia. Clement XIII opposed the encyclopaedia to the index pushed by the French clergy who thinks it contains anti-Christian germs (that was more than the seeds for articles of Holbach) (Michael, 2009, 26). The philosophers of the Enlightenment were not inherently atheistic but deistic: a natural religion in accordance with reason and excludes any revelation (the "great watchmaker" of Voltaire). This period had influenced the Christian theology to an extent that the church showed contempt towards this shift towards intellectualism. However despite all the opposition, Christianity was influenced by this new history of thinking and reason and rational which is now rooted firmly in the Christian theology. This paper discusses the background of the enlightenment project and its influence on Christian theology.

The Enlightenment Project- Background

The enlightenment project is not a movement but a cluster of ideas attitudes, and conceptions that were dominant in Europe in the 18th century. Many philosophers argue that it began with the peace of Westphalia in 1648 and ended with the Kant's critique of Pure reason in 1781, whereas others would date it from 1650-1800. This was a time when people thought they were no longer in need of a religious perspective to explain the universe. With the power of the reason, they believed that they could understand and explain the world better than superstitious ideas (Fisher, 2008, 89). This kind of thinking came up for many reasons, but two are most significant. First as human abilities in the scientific discovery grew and science as a discipline was introduced, it meant to be the study of God's creation and God himself. People's confidence began to overtake the need of reflection upon God and need for god to answer what quotations were impossible to answer. People found themselves more able to answer the question about the nature of reality through the scientific discoveries and endeavours (Fisher, 2008, 89). They lived in hopes that the abilities or other advances will; allow for the question about the nature of reality, this impact was soon in the ideologies and theology of Christianity as discussed in the next section.

Secondly, due to many conflicts based on religion, religion itself came to be questioned. In general Christianity that dominated the region, from which the enlightenment project emerged, taught peace in place of conflict. Many of the conflicts were religious disputes and Christianity was used to endorse them (Macquarrie, 1975, 145). Therefore, the contradiction between the call for peace by Christianity caused people to ...
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