Secular Nations under New Gods: Christianity’s Subversion by Technology and Politics

By Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2018

The ongoing political muscle-flexing of diverse Christian communities in North America raises some deeply troubling questions regarding their roles among us. Earlier analyses including Herberg’s Protestant, Catholic, Jew showed that these three branches of the Judaeo-Christian tradition correspond to three forms of the American way of life; while Kruse’s One Nation Under God showed how Christian America was shaped by corporate America. Willem H. Vanderburg’s Secular Nations under New Gods proceeds based on a dialogue between Jacques Ellul’s interpretation of the task of Christians in the world and Ellul’s interpretation of the roles of technique and the nation-state in individual and collective human life. He then adds new insight into our being a symbolic species dealing with our finitude by living through the myths of our society and building new secular forms of moralities and religions. If everything is political and if everything is amenable to discipline-based scientific and technical approaches, we are perhaps treating these human creations the way earlier societies did their gods, as being omnipotent, without limits. Vanderburg argues that until organized Christianity becomes critically aware of sharing these commitments with their societies, it will remain entrapped in the service of false gods and thereby will continue to turn a message of freedom and love into one of morality and religion.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.4in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Ever since Max Weber's study of the role Protestantism played in our civilization, the role of Christianity in our world has been much debated. This work is addressed to those interested in a return to the Biblical message as opposed to what institutionalized Christianity has made of it.

Secular Nations under New Gods: Christianity’s Subversion by Technology and Politics

By Willem H. Vanderburg

© 2018

The ongoing political muscle-flexing of diverse Christian communities in North America raises some deeply troubling questions regarding their roles among us. Earlier analyses including Herberg’s Protestant, Catholic, Jew showed that these three branches of the Judaeo-Christian tradition correspond to three forms of the American way of life; while Kruse’s One Nation Under God showed how Christian America was shaped by corporate America. Willem H. Vanderburg’s Secular Nations under New Gods proceeds based on a dialogue between Jacques Ellul’s interpretation of the task of Christians in the world and Ellul’s interpretation of the roles of technique and the nation-state in individual and collective human life. He then adds new insight into our being a symbolic species dealing with our finitude by living through the myths of our society and building new secular forms of moralities and religions. If everything is political and if everything is amenable to discipline-based scientific and technical approaches, we are perhaps treating these human creations the way earlier societies did their gods, as being omnipotent, without limits. Vanderburg argues that until organized Christianity becomes critically aware of sharing these commitments with their societies, it will remain entrapped in the service of false gods and thereby will continue to turn a message of freedom and love into one of morality and religion.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.4in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Vanderburg’s approach to evaluating Christianity and liberating it from the grasp of politics and technique is unique. Certainly those that share Vanderburg’s goal have not adopted his comparative interdisciplinary method."


    Noah Toly, Director of the Center for Urban Engagement and Professor of Urban Studies and Politics and International Relations at Wheaton College

    "The erudition of the author is irreproachable. Like the preceding monographs of Willem H. Vanderburg, Secular Nations Under New Gods targets a rather large public of persons interested in comprehending the technological society and the upheavals of our epoch. This time, this public can be extended to a confessing Christian readership."


    Frédéric Rognon, Professor in the Faculté de Théologie Protestante at the Université de Strasbourg
  • Author Information

    Willem H. Vanderburg is the founding director of the Centre for Technology and Social Development and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

  • Table of contents

    Preface

    Introduction
    A Secular Way of Life in Search of Spirituality?
    Where Are We and What Have We Done?
    Seeing and Listening
    People of a Time, Place, and Culture
    People of a Time, Place, and Universal Technical Order
    People of the Word

    1 The Possibility and Impossibility of Living a Secular Life
    How Secular Have We Become?
    Language, Swearing, and the Sacred
    A Creation for Freedom without a Sacred
    A Creation for Love without Eros

    2 The Roots of a Non-secular Life: Religion and Morality as Symptoms of Evil
    Uprooting and Re-rooting the Creation’s Fabric of Relationships
    The End of Secular Human Life
    God's Covenant and Humanity's Life Support
    The Beginning of Human History
    A New Beginning without God

    3 Language, Myth, and History
    Making a Name
    The Word, Human Words, and Cultures
    Socially and Historically Naming Ourselves
    Culture and Revelation
    The Subversion of Symbolization

    4 Born Neither Free nor Equal, but Loved
    An Enslaved Humanity
    The Flesh and the World
    A World Ruled by Principalities and Powers
    The Demonic Powers
    The Satanic Powers
    Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse
    The City as the Seat of the Powers

    5 The Law, the Spirit, and the Kingdom of Heaven
    The Law and the Jewish People
    The Law of Freedom
    The Spirit
    The Kingdom of Heaven

    6 Christianity in the Grip of Vanity and Chasing after the Wind
    Why Give the Last Word to Qohelet?
    Vanity and Myths
    Wisdom and Myths
    God and Our Myths

    Epilogue

    Notes

    Index

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