By Philip Kennedy
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Extra info for A Modern Introduction to Theology: New Questions for Old Beliefs
The imperial stamp Theodosius I placed on Christianity and its government in is currently fading in a dramatic fashion around the world. The point is well made by the contemporary theologian Douglas John Hall: To say that Christianity in the world at large is undergoing a major transition is to indulge in understatement. What is happening is nothing less than the winding down of a process that was inaugurated in the fourth century of the common era. To the great shift that began to occur in the character of the Christian movement under the Roman emperors Constantine and Theodosius I, there now corresponds a shift of reverse proportions.
A major ambition of this book is to probe why conventional Christianity appears to be collapsing or radically mutating in those parts of the world where it scrutinized its doctrines and practices at the highest levels of university research; and why it appears to be blossoming in fetid favelas and among people living in penury. Even where it is ﬂowering among people dogged by poverty and disease, it has a great deal to achieve in combating widespread illiteracy, inaccessibility to education, superstition, witchcraft and ancestor worship.
It has lost its cultural hegemony in central Europe. In the capitalist and industrialized citadels of the west, it has lunged into a sociologically well-documented downward spiral of institutional detumescence. Fewer and fewer parents want their children to be initiated into the Church gathered to celebrate the memory of Jesus, the one called Christ – of whom more later. Christian church buildings in the west appear to many, it may be said, more as museums or mausoleums than as vitally functioning centres of worship.
A Modern Introduction to Theology: New Questions for Old Beliefs by Philip Kennedy