Western man’s predicament in the last half of the twentieth century is viewed more and more as a mirror of humanity’s universal and continuing malady. In place of the one-time comfortable evolutionary speculations that linked man’s plight to an animal ancestry and inheritance, the newer appraisals emphasize rather man’s loss of spiritual relationship to the eternal world. While modern evaluations may produce novel conceptions of “original sin” and may even infuse into the notion of spiritual lostness something quite alien to the West’s inherited religious tradition, psychologically they often suggest a firmer sensitivity to the truth
In a recent issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Paul Tillich, Harvard theologian, contributes a widely read article on “The Lost Dimension in Religion.” If we affirm that many of his sociological observations are pointed and trenchant, we do not therefore concede that Professor Tillich’s analysis of the modern man’s predicament is adequate. And we must take special note of the unsatisfactoriness of his theological conclusions. What his veneration of existential symbolic categories, and his repudiation of Judeo-Christian religion in its historic sense have in common with the revival of the Christianity that Harvard Divinity School professes to promote, and for the training of whose ministers that great university was founded, it is difficult indeed to see.
Professor Tillich laments the loss of the religious dimension in life—the passionate inquiry into the meaning of existence and the willingness to receive painful answers. Contemporary man is not gripped by this concern for the infinite and ultimate. Instead, control and transformation of nature, absorption with the routines of life whereby man ...1
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