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Believing, Belonging, And Adapting: The Case Of Religious Modernism

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Chapter Summary

Modernism, in short, can be regarded as a religious position that involves believing, belonging, and adapting. Adaptation, closely associated with pleas for reform and a reformulation of traditional creeds and dogmas, determined the modernist view on the relation between the Church and contemporary culture. Now there are many definitions of modernism , stemming from both the nineteenth century itself and from later decades. Much has been written about the issue of defining modernism , a complicated matter. This chapter mentions the seminal study on Roman Catholic modernism by Alec Vidler, who pointed out that the writings of the modernists represent independent attempts to adapt the received system to the exigencies of modern knowledge and culture. Other prominent historians of modernism share this view, for instance William R. Hutchison, who states that adaptation is the first and major characteristic of American Protestant modernism.

Keywords: adapting; believing; belonging; Church; contemporary culture; Roman Catholic modernism



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