Are we at the Zenith of the Secular Age?

The Telegraph on the new Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Some consider the slide of religion to be inexorable; yet Bishop Welby senses this may be the zenith of the secular age. The Church, he said in Nottingham on Thursday, will have a greater role in future because of the failure of the very institution that has sought to supplant it: the state. ‘We are at the greatest moment of opportunity for the Church since the Second World War,’ he said. ‘The state has run out of the capacity to do the things it had taken over since 1945′.”

Interesting take by Archbishop Justin Welby. Of course, we need to define the role of the Church going forward, but…

Thoughts?

Post By Joel Watts (10,052 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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6 thoughts on Are we at the Zenith of the Secular Age?

  1. I believe the church will have a greater role in the future, and defining that role is key. However, it is short-sighted to say that the “secular age” is over – or believe that current, world-wide political and fiscal strife mean that the church will have an automatic void to step into.

    The church has worked effectively as an insurgent and counter-cultural group before, and that’s how it is going to have to exist going forward. The world’s understanding of the itself is much too different to facilitate a resurgence on-par with Constantine.

    The new archbishop sounds a bit naive.

  2. maybe we are at the zenith of the west? or the developing world? i notice we tend to be in decline in a number of significant areas in the west, church, society, economy, state, etc. yet those in no western areas seem to be on the rise?

  3. ‘The state has run out of the capacity to do the things it had taken over since 1945′.

    He’s talking about the UK, of course, not the US which doesn’t yet even have a National Health Service.

  4. i disagree. he said what one says when one is trying the stop the hemorrhaging of people flooding out of the church. it’s the same thing a company spokesperson says after the company misses an earnings forecast, it’s ceo and senior management have all been indicted for fraud, and the stock price is falling like a a rock in a rock slide.

    it’s what you say when you desperately want people to believe that you’re still relevant and worth giving money to on a regular basis.

  5. When faced with a society that is fast-moving in a direction that makes himself irrelevant, it’s not surprising that he’d try to convince people otherwise. I doubt he’d have any qualms making claims that aren’t based in fact, he is after all head of the CoE. Anti-gay Christians in America have been making similar claims. Society is obviously moving against them and history will remember them as bigots, but they are currently claiming that there will be a grand religious revolution after gays get equality and society will move in their favor after people realize that gay marriage killed the dinosaurs. Birds are modern day dinosaurs, so once gays start getting married over the country, we’ll face a mass extinction of the entire class Aves and people will realize that the bigots were right all along.

    People who know they are becoming irrelevant want nothing more to have you believe otherwise. That’s all this is.

  6. Seems you guys have not been able to keep up with the times. I guess you haven’t heard of David Cameron’s Big Society policy? Basically the PM is trying to legislate the creation/maintenance of British communities by people volunteering their time to organize themselves in community groups, youth providers, social action, social enterprises, etc. All this because the British government has cut the financial support to social services across the board, from schools, to mental health services, to relief services. So the government is trying to push this idea that we should take care of each other.
    But the thing is that the churches and parishes have been filing in the void since before the recession. This fact has been recognized by social services and even the socialist party in Britain. So Justin is correct in saying that the churches will fill in the void left by the government, which in this case is what is meant by secular, it is not an attack on secularists or secularization. So I don’t know where you got your idea that this is about being irrelevant, and I would like to see the data that shows the haemorrhaging of people leaving that you speak of Bob. And I don’t know where you got the anti-gay comments from V P.?
    Calling some things irrelevant because you don’t agree with it them doesn’t make them so, especially since what this issue here is a about social work and not religious participation.
    Speaking of issues you know little about only makes you look ignorant, especially since the UK is not the US.

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