OverviewChristianity And Modern Thought
The eighteenth-century Age of Enlightenment returned to "natural" religion, those "truths" that can be arrived at by rational observation of the "created world." This was a first step in allowing changes of fashion in modern secular philosophy and political assumption to drive new thinking in Christian theology. Theologians were prompted to fresh thinking by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant. Friedrich Schleiermacher continued the challenge into the nineteenth century. Søren Kierkegaard called for a move away from believing "propositions" to living the Christian life. Charles Darwin's work on the Origin of Species forced Christians to think radically about the story of the Creation told in Genesis. Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and Karl Rahner are leading theologians of the twentieth century who have attempted modern restatements of the faith that allow for the changed philosophical infrastructure. "Process theology" (Alfred Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne) postulated that God is changeable and challengeable—a process, not a substance. Don Cupitt and others have experimented with the idea of the "death" of God. Postmodernism, a multiple and shapeless movement emerging after World War II, and the "deconstruction" of language and forms (Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida) have undermined old certainties.
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