Assault, Dover Beach, Forty Years discussed on The Thinking Atheist


Dover beach and other poems of its era resonated with me as a young college student because i was beginning to move through my own nineteenth century in my liberal arts education begun learning about the geological and biological sciences philosophy critical thinking and intellectual history all of which posed problems for my faith much as they had for the intellectuals of arnold era and i to found my emerging downs deeply disturbing now forty years later i have a different perspective on these nineteenth century struggles rather than experiencing them personally as a christian i look on them as a historian specializing in the study of religion even though i myself am no longer at sea i can empathize with those who have been wracked with doubt and uncertainty forced to reconsider and even abandoned their faith not simply since the rise of modernity but throughout history in the first four christian centuries the religion of the roman empire came under assault by those proposing a new faith declaring that only the worship of the god of jesus could be considered true religion as christianity spread it destroyed the other religions in its wake religions that had been practiced for millennia and that we're simply assumed everywhere and by everyone to be good and true but christians insisted they were evil and false for those reluctant to accept these claims or even those unsure of what to believe this transition was no less agonizing than that victorians living centuries later the christian revolution proved far more massive and its triumph far more in during than the skepticism that emerged as a counterforce in the nineteenth century even though many victorians experienced radical doubt or left the faith altogether the christian tradition did not disappear there are still two billion christians in the world by way of contrast in antiquity when christianity succeeded and taking over the roman empire any pagan religions left in its wake were merely isolated and scattered vestiges of ancient superstition.

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