Contemporary Challenges Essay Example
Contemporary Challenges Essay Example

Contemporary Challenges Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1364 words)
  • Published: August 25, 2021
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As society continues to rapidly grow with groundbreaking advances in science and culture, it’s hard to not to bring question into everything the world once believed. Almost every aspect of the world is broken down into a scientific standpoint, and there seems to always be some kind of debate regarding cultural significance.

Now more than ever, society is living in a postmodern world because there is no longer a consensus on reality and how we perceive it in either a Christian worldview or a modern humanist worldview. Is there any place for a biblical, Christian worldview in this infinitely changing world?

From as long back as Christianity’s birth under the Roman Empire, the progression of Christianity has had to overcome several obstacles in order to prove their purpose of existence in the world. With that, Catholic churches have also endured several tests of exis


tence and purpose when it comes to overcoming intellectual, social, and political challenges . Prior to the 1900, some major challenges that Christianity and the Church had to overcome include the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, and liberation theology.

As time went on, modern science was merly founded through the essence of apprehension and disregard for tradition. As stated in the book, “Scientific method demanded that knowledge be verified by experiment, not simply accepted on faith from tradition”(382). By this, it can be interpreted that The New Science attempted to explain events in nature with factual laws that could be tested mathematically or experimentally in order to solidify causes of events.

The world was thought to be a working machine that was governed by mechanical principles. Ultimately, this idea of the world working as a machine remove

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the purpose of God in the world because the world simply revolved on its own. Suddenly, nature could be explained through factual laws, and began to eliminate any presence of God, spirits, or souls.

This was a major challenged that posed Christianity because it doubted the teachings of religious leaders such as Jesus Christ. After all, the teachings of Christ were passed on to his apostles, and were then handed down through the tradition in faith. As a way for Christians to address this situation, they created a new form of mechanical philosophy. Deism, a new religious phenomenon, believed that God designed and started the “world-machine”. After creating this perfect world, God no longer intervened in the universe because he was a perfect creator that produced a perfect creation.

However, Deism rejected much of Christian beliefs such as prophecies, miracles, special providence, incarnation, and resurrection because they believed God had given his people everything they had needed in nature. Essentially, Deists based religion purely based on nature and reason. Although Deism did not last very long, it still has important influences to this day. The New Science is crucial to contemporary challenges to Christianity because it was one of the first oppositions of Christianity. For the first time in history, believers in the Christ began to question their faith because they were suddenly given factual evidence.

However, it is important to realize that science and Christianity are rather different from one another and should not be thought to be at war with one another. In attempt to erase conflicts between the two entities, they should be viewed as entirely separate endeavors, with different purposes, methods, and bodies of

knowledge. This view emphasizes that science is a system of knowledge about the world and its behavior, whereas religion is about morality, God, and the afterlife.

After the developments of The New Science and Deism, converged the Enlightenment period. The Enlightenment, also referred to as the age of reason, was a philosophical movement that took place during the late 17th and 18th century.

Characteristics of the Enlightenment period include and placed emphasis on scientific methods, religious tolerance, universal education, liberty, and progress of separation between church and state. The Enlightenment philosophy was quite skeptical of the Catholic Church, monarchies, and hereditary aristocracy. Followers of the Enlightenment relied solely on rationalism, and denied any other route to reality and truth.

They dismissed the need to resort to mystical revelations in the form of superstition, ignorance, and repressive authority to understand why things happen the way they do. As stated in the The Christian Theological Tradition, by Catherine A. Cory and Michael J. Hollerich, “ Enlightenment philosophers promoted a religion that was simple rational, virtuous, and non supernatural, in which Jesus was a great moral teacher but not the incarnate Son of God” (383). This created a major disagreement between traditional Christianity and Enlightenment philosophers because both groups disagreed on the nature of humanity.

Catholics believed that the humans were born with sin, while the Enlightenment thinkers believed that humanity was naturally inclined for good. The only evil that could be achieved in human society was the ignorance, superstition, and fixed political and religious authority. It’s important to emphasize that Enlightenment demonstrators were strong promoters of liberty and freedom of political and religious authoritarianism. The Enlightenment was a critical period in

history because it ultimately lead to the French and American revolution.

The founding fathers implemented many ideas of the Enlightenment period in the Declaration of Independence and gave less power to the government and more power to the people. The French Revolution ultimately eliminated the monarchy and established a form of Republican government. The Enlightenment ideas still have lasting permanent remarks on modern society today. For one, religion is not forcefully coerced, and the diversity of religion has become widely accepted. A large amount of intellectual atheists suddenly became respected by others. Additionally, the Enlightenment period helped the government to run solely on human wants and needs, and has created a continuous skepticism on myth, miracles, and resurrection.

Unfortunately for the Christian church, the Enlightenment period ended the monolithic nature of the church, and ruled out the credibility of what is recorded in the Bible because the book with filled with various account of miracles and supernatural events. However, the Enlightenment period did have some positive impact on the church because it led to more religious freedom for Catholics and others.

Liberation theology was a movement in Christian theology developed by Latin American Roman Catholics. An emphasis was placed on liberation from social, political, and economic oppression. The Catholic church was often seen to support political and economic leaders who dismissed and oppressed their people.

Due to the idea that Christ suffered, the poor were taught that it was their obligation to suffer and obey their authorities because they would receive a place in heaven. As a result of the Second Vatican Council, a gathering to renew the religious life of the church into the modern world, church leaders

in Latin America began to support the poor against their leaders in order to challenge those leaders to take responsibility for the nations poverty.

Liberation theologists ultimately aimed to liberate both the oppressors and the oppressed. They also encouraged those who are in a situation of oppression to use theological reflection in order to come to a rationalized decision. Liberation theology as ultimately lead to the movements of feminist theology and black theology.

Feminist theology is the study of how women relate to the divine and the world around them as equal creations in the image of God. It was developed out of an awareness of gender stereotypes, cultural, and political pressures of the role of women in churches. The goal of feminist theology is to shape the Christian tradition in ways that value both genders and to heal the harm that has been done to women in the name of Christianity.

Even today, feminists in Christianity are thought to carefully bring awareness to traditions and beliefs that often omit women. Still seen today, women are still working hard to resolve the issue of a women’s role in Christianity. Due to the idea of tradition in scriptures and basic principles, the case of women’s role in the church is something that will not be easily resolved. In order to resolve the ongoing tension of a women’s part, it is sometimes best to “rewrite” tradition in order to work towards a Christianity that is life-giving to all people.

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