To a European the study of contemporary American theology is highly important. America is one of the two political, cultural and spiritual poles (Russia being the other), around which oscillate the main currents of the life and thought of Western Europe.

For a long time America was of no concern to the spiritual vision of a European. Indeed, Europe looked down upon an America it considered immature and culturally undeveloped. The “Yankee” did not appear to be a cultured inhabitant of Western Europe. Fie seemed solely concerned with the dollar. He appeared to have little understanding of spiritual life. Since the last World War, however, the European’s attitude has changed. Personal contact with Americans has led to a better understanding and appreciation. In any case, the economic and political life of Western Europe must take America into account. The luxury of ignoring the existence of this great power in the West is no longer permissible. Nor, for that matter, can we Europeans ignore Russia and the Far East.

Present-day American theology is still predominantly liberal or modernistic in character. In the past, this was not the case. Once America was the land of the Pilgrim Fathers. The public life bore a Christian stamp in all social expressions. American theological faculties, for example, at Harvard, were fortresses of orthodox Christianity and orthodox theology.

Retreat From Orthodoxy

The spiritual powers now in control of American life cannot be called Christian. In philosophy, the Pragmatism of which William James is the spiritual father has exercised a great influence for many years. Its modernized form is found in the Behaviorism of John Dewey.

Pragmatism is closely connected, in some respects, with ...

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