Recently two Berkeley sociologists investigated the relation of belief to the practice of religion. They concluded “that a demythologized modernism is overwhelming the traditional Christ-centered faith,” in some segments of the Church, and that traditional belief lies beneath all other forms of commitment, attendance at church, the practice of prayer, and Christian charity. Need we appeal thus to the surveys of sociology to demonstrate the obvious? Can we expect evangelism to make any impact when the Church gives the impression that it is not sure of its Gospel? Can we expect a congregation to gather to worship an empty sky? Or to bother much about a church that produces the theology, or, if you will, the theothanatology, of Harvey Cox? “We shall have to stop talking about God for a while … until a new name emerges,” said this “brilliant young theologian,” as Bishop Robinson described him. You will agree that such doctrine makes a prayer meeting farcical and giving for Christian missions a patent waste of money. And the response of the average secular man to such surrender is simple derision, or, as Housman put it,
Why then, ’twere iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool’s errand to the grave.
We have a proclamation to make to this decade and this century. We must charge our spokesmen to deliver it, with authority and conviction. We must demonstrate, one and all, that there is one happy breed who can find zest for life, health of mind, and creativity in self-control, chastity, and the age-old values of Christianity. Only then shall we permeate society, and win a distracted mankind to Christ. ...1
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