Pagans and Christians in the City: Culture Wars from the Tiber to the Potomac (Emory University Studies in Law and Religion)

December 15, 2018 - Comment

Traditionalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and other cultural developments in the US wonder why they are being forced to bracket their beliefs in order to participate in public life. This situation is not new, says Steven D. Smith: Christians two thousand years ago in the Roman Empire faced similar challenges and questions.Starting with T.

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Traditionalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and other cultural developments in the US wonder why they are being forced to bracket their beliefs in order to participate in public life. This situation is not new, says Steven D. Smith: Christians two thousand years ago in the Roman Empire faced similar challenges and questions.

Starting with T. S. Eliot’s claim that the future of the West would be determined by a contest between Christianity and “modern paganism,” Smith argues in Pagans and Christians in the City that today’s culture wars can be seen as a contemporary reprise of the basic antagonism that pitted pagans against Christians in the late Roman Empire. He looks at that historical conflict and explores how the same competing orientations continue to clash today. Readers on both sides of the culture wars, Smith shows, have much to learn from seeing how patterns from ancient history are reemerging in today’s most controversial issues.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Analyzing the “Culture Wars” This book takes as its starting point a statement by T. S. Eliot to the effect that people are better off living in a Christian society than a pagan one. A hefty chunk of the book is taken up with defining what is meant by “Christian society vs. pagan society.” The author comes down on a basic definition of “transcendent religion (acknowledging or at least open to a God and objective ultimate good beyond the universe and in eternity) vs. immanent religion (finding ultimate good in this world…

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