Secular Nations under New Gods: Christianity’s Subversion by Technology and Politics
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.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 448 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.4in x 9.0in
"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
"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
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
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 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
Subjects and Courses