Friday, August 3, 2012

"...A Time of Unsettlement" Charles Gore

This quote was written by Charles Gore in 1907.

We need to revisit our history in Christianity.  There is much to remember.

“…There are a great many people whose convictions on religious subjects are very far from solid.  They would confess that they have very little religious experience, or perhaps spiritual sensibility.  They do not read more on such subjects than a newspaper review or a magazine article.  Thus, when they hear of every traditional belief being questioned by men of apparent learning and integrity, their convictions, such as they were, even on quite fundamental subjects, are quite undermined. How shall they decide where learned men disagree?

          Again, there are others—and those a great number—who are disgusted by the unworthiness of the Christianity which they see around them.  They are alienated by the divisions among us Christians, by our bitterness or pettiness, or by the worldliness of orthodox believers.  The Christian churches seem to them to make no serious struggle against the forces which enslave masses of men in social and moral degradation, and to exhibit no real likeness of Jesus of Nazareth.  A great many men, that is to say, disbelieve in current Christianity because they desire something more like Jesus Christ.

          And there are others who hold their religious convictions piously and fervently, and who yet add to the prevailing skepticism: for they are distressed because questions are even raised about subjects of such sanctity.  They resent altogether the atmosphere of free inquiry, and by their nervousness and apparent distrust of the power of truth to prevail in the open field, they do more than they suspect to propagate the opinion that the Christian religion is an old-fashioned superstition which cannot bear investigation.

          In such an age of religious unsettlement it is as well to remember that, after all, it is to ages of such mental ferment as ours, and not to ages of mental stagnation, that we owe our great debts of gratitude for the works of religious construction.  It was from an age of universal intellectual ferment and unsettlement that there emerged the solid structure of the catholic creeds; it was in an atmosphere of serious unsettlement the Butler and other in the eighteenth century relaid the intellectual foundation on which Wesley and Simeon and Pusey and Newman built their works of spiritual recovery.  If religion is 'the pearl of great price’ we must not expect to win it cheaply, and intellectual trouble is no more to be resented than pain of body." (p. 2-4)

Charles Gore (1907) The New Theology and the Old Religion: Being Eight Lectures, Together with Five Sermons.

No comments: