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To Change the WorldThe Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity Today$
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James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.001.0001

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The Challenge of Faithfulness

The Challenge of Faithfulness

Chapter:
(p.197) Chapter One The Challenge of Faithfulness
Source:
To Change the World
Author(s):

James Davison Hunter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730803.003.0015

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

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