Tips for Today from Yesterday

[Carl F. H.] Henry’s response to the cultural challenges was two-pronged. Not only did he call for fundamentalist social and political involvement; more basically he also saw it as crucial to reassess the entire ideological basis on which Western civilization rested. In his book Remaking the Modern Mind in 1946, he argued that philosophical-religious concerns were indeed the pivotal issues of the day. The past three decades, he wrote at the outset, “mark the end-time of an age.” Modern Western culture had collapsed because the philosophical premises on which it was based had proved too flimsy to support the weight of civilization. These were the premises of humanism, or the “secular philosophy of humanism or naturalism,” as Henry’s mentor Gordon Clark put it in the forward. The roots of this philosophy could be found in the Renaissance, and, according to Henry, its basic assumptions had dominated Western philosophy for the past 350 years, the same period during which the West rose to dominate world civilization. But now the presuppositions that were the ultimate outgrowth of humanism were all under fire: “the inevitability of human progress,” “the inherent goodness of man,” “the ultimate reality of nature,” and “the ultimate animality of man.” Christians, therefore, were not to despair at the crumbling foundations of Western culture or to act as though the entire world were at an end. Rather, they should seize the opportunity to build a new world mind for the forthcoming era.

          – George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism, p. 78


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