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By David Archard, Trevor A. Hart, Visit Amazon's Nigel Rapport Page, search results, Learn about Author Central, Nigel Rapport, , Paul Gifford

2000 Years and past brings jointly one of the most eminent thinkers of our time - experts in philosophy, theology, anthropology and cultural thought. In a horizon-scanning paintings, they appear forwards and backwards to discover what hyperlinks us to the matrix of the Judaeo-Christian culture from which Western cultural id has evolved.Their plural reflections increase looking out questions on how we stream from previous to destiny - and approximately who 'we' are. What do the catastrophes of the 20th century characterize for hopes of development? Can put up - Enlightment humanism and its idea of human nature live on with out religion? If the 'numinous magic worldwide capitalism' is our personal mammoth shadow forged out of the country, does that shadow supply desire adequate of a communal destiny? Has the fashionable, secularized West now outgrown its originating religion matrix? usually debatable and infrequently visionary, those seven new essays ask: how will we inform - and rewrite - the tale of the typical period? brought through Paul Gifford, and mentioned in a full of life dialogic end, they upload their precise voices to a debate of profound and pressing topicality.

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The ‘Decline of the West’ (Spengler’s title) was fuelled in Europe by the drive for self-destruction. The age that began in 1914 and whose end we do not know – perhaps it ended with the end of the East–West conflict in 1989 – became what W. H. Auden called ‘the age of anxiety’. The Second World War of 1939–45 continued the modern world’s nihilistic work of annihilation. Disguised under those misused symbols of hope ‘the Third Reich’ or ‘the Thousand Years’ Reich’, in Germany ‘the final solution of the Jewish question’ was pursued at Auschwitz, while the peoples of eastern Europe were exterminated through labour and hunger.

3 If so – and this is my second conclusion – the prospects of Enlightenment humanism are poor. It has always claimed to be Christianity’s successor, and in the last analysis it is merely that. Enlightenment humanism embodies a conception of humankind as a peculiarly privileged species that derives not from science but from religion – more particularly, from Christianity. In any truly naturalistic view, humans are a species of animal. There is no more reason to expect progress from them than there is to expect it from whales or tigers.

9 Later, Marx and other radical Enlightenment thinkers did the same. 10 Not all liberal thinkers are as hubristic as those who lately announced the end of history. Even so, the very idea of a universal history is a Christian inheritance. In which other culture could Francis Fukuyama’s pronouncement have been made11 – or taken seriously? The Christian inheritance to the Enlightenment was a combination of two elements, neither of which can be found in pre-Christian European thought – the affirmation that the hope of salvation belongs to all 41 john gray humans, and the belief that the salvation of the species is worked out in history.

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