4 May

Intellectual apostasy and Christian witness

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Ken Myers
Published: 05/04/15

Harry Blamires on unfashionable beliefs about the ends of human beings

“For Christians, it can be a stimulating business nowadays to come to grips with specific social corruptions precisely because the assault upon injustice, cruelty, and poverty carries with it the public support of leading elements in our secular civilization. But the fact that it is respectable and fashionable nowadays to be socially conscious does not prove it the most urgent priority of Christian witness. It may by contrast be a forbidding task to turn from the social to the intellectual front, and to attack established modes of thought which have the backing of academic circles with their vast intellectual authority and influence; but the formidableness of the challenge ought surely not to deflect us from taking it up. Indeed the formidableness of the challenge is the measure of its importance. If the change in the temper of our culture is such that we Christians can enjoy being in the vanguard of social progress in the struggles against material injustice, it is also such that we are tempted to shrink from the mental fight, for the prospect of espousing causes which the established and fashionable intellectual circles of our time tend to regard as obscurantist and fanciful is neither attractive nor invigorating. In short, the twentieth-century Christian social gospel for the world in its practical manifestations is now in tune with powerful currents of thought outside the Church; but the Christian’s unchanging understanding of man’s nature and vocation is at loggerheads with established thinking. Is it not therefore incumbent upon us to adjust our priorities, and to strive to counter intellectual apostasy with the same buoyancy and relish with which we confront social injustice?”

—from Harry Blamires, Where Do We Stand? An Examination of the Christian’s Position in the Modern World (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1980)

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