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Skye Jethani

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Have we clothed our faith with the forms of our American culture to the point that our Christianity has morphed into something entirely different - a folk religion altogether consumerist in spirit and content?

 
Skye Jethani

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Faith must now get what is essentially the form of mediation. It itself is already this form implicitly, for it is knowledge of God and of his character, and this knowledge is in itself a process, a movement-is life, mediation. It is involved in the very nature of the freedom which is the inner characteristic of faith, that it should not be what we at first called substantial, solid unity, that it should not be idea; in freedom I exist on the contrary as that activity in the affirmation which is infinite negation of itself. Now if we should wish to give to mediation the form of an external mediation as the foundation of faith, then such a form would be a wrong one. This mediation, of which the basis is something external is false. The content of faith my indeed come to be my means of instruction, miracle, authority, etc. These may be the foundation of faith as subjective faith. But it is just in giving this position to the content whereby it assumes the character of a basis for me, that we go on a wrong track; and when faith is reached, this externality must drop away. In faith I make that my own which comes to me thus, and it ceases to be for me an Other. Immediate faith may be so defined as being the witness of the Spirit to Spirit, and this implies that no finite content has any place in it. Spirit witnesses only of Spirit, and only infinite things are mediated by means of external grounds. The true foundation of faith is the Spirit, and the witness of the Spirit is inherently living. Verification may at first appear in that external formal manner, but this must drop away. It may thus happen that faith in a religion has its commencement form such testimony, from miracles, that is in a finite content. Christ Himself, however, spoke against miracles, He reproached the Jews for demanding them of Him, and said to His disciples, “The Spirit will guide you into all truth.”

 
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
 

And in a boy like Bigger, young, unschooled, whose subjective life was clothed in the tattered rags of American "culture," this primitive fear and ecstasy were naked, exposed, unprotected by religion or a framework of government or a scheme of society whose final faiths would gain his love and trust; unprotected by trade or profession, faith or belief; opened to every trivial blast of daily or hourly circumstance.

 
Richard Wright
 

Spirit is knowledge; but in order that knowledge should exist; it is necessary that the content of that which it knows should have attained to this ideal form, and should in this way have been negated. What Spirit is must in that way have become its own, it must have described this circle; then these forms, differences, determinations finite qualities, must have existed in order that it should make them its own. This represents both the way and the goal-that Spirit should have attained to its own notion or conception, to that which it implicitly is, and in this way only, the way which has been indicated in its abstract moments, does it attain it. Revealed religion is manifested religion, because in it God has become wholly manifest. Here all is proportionate to the notion; there is no longer anything secret in God.

 
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
 

Today's age of politicized and intolerant Christianism seems to me to be one of those moments when Christianity has estranged itself most thoroughly from the priorities and spirit of its founder. But this will pass. Christianity will survive Christianism. Some true followers of Jesus will recover their faith from Caesar's grip at some point.

 
Andrew Sullivan
 

For fifteen centuries the religion of the Western world has been Christianity, Western Christianity, and there is no other religion now known or even imaginable that could take its place. But it is simply an historical fact, which we must deplore but cannot change, that only a small part of our population today, 12 or 15 per cent., really believes that Christ was the son of God, that the soul is immortal, and that our sins will be punished in a future life. That means that the religious instinct, which is a part of our nature, finds in the majority of our people no satisfaction in an unquestioning faith; so that those frustrated instincts are available for exploitation by any halfway clever scoundrel, as the shysters and punks who now occupy the majority of our pulpits well know. When faith is lost, what Pareto calls the religious residue in a people becomes its most vulnerable point, its Achilles heel. It is the unsatisfied need for an unquestioning faith in a superior power.

 
Revilo P. Oliver
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