Habermas, Juergen. Reason and the Rationalization of Society (London: Heine-mann, 1984); Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 1989); The New Conservatism: Cultural Criticism and the Historians' Debate (Cambridge, MA.: The MIT Press, 1990). Habermas, a professor of philosopher at the U. Frankfurt, is a leading thinker on the topic of the social construction of reality. In Reason and the Rationalization of Society he argued that human social systems serve a higher function than pragmatism in "colonizing the lifeworld" and influencing our values and beliefs. In The New Conservatism Habermas addressed the significance of the Holocaust and the Nazi extermination camps as a factor in creating "our posttraditional world." He agonized over the "fallibility of knowledge and the conflict of interpretations" (p. 259) and identified Soren Kierkegaard as a critical resource for resolving the contemporary problems of identity and meaning through "a radicalized inwardness" (pp. 259-261).
Hall, Douglas John. An Awkward Church: Theology and Worship Occasional Paper No.5 (Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Church, USA, 1993). A prof. of Christian Theology on the Faculty of Religion at McGill U. in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Hall argues that Christianity has become too closely identified with "the cultural establishment" of "Modernity": "We must learn to distinguish the Christian message from the operative assumptions, values and pursuits of our host society" (p. 15). Hall calls for an "intentional disengagement" of the church from culture in order to allow "a meaningful engagement of that same dominant culture" (p. 14). He identifies four cultural bridges for that engagement in "four human quests" which are common both to the believer and the unbeliever, the quests: "for moral authenticity;" "for meaningful community;" "for transcendence and mystery;" and "for meaning" (pp. 22-27). Only as Christians honestly expose themselves to "the cold winds of the late 20th century," will they earn credibility for a genuine Christian witness. He concludes by asking us "to rediscover the possibilities of littleness," as in Christ's call to be "little flocks: salt, yeast, light" (p. 28).
Hammond, Phillip E., ed. The Sacred in a Secular Age (Berkeley, CA: U. California Press, 1985).
Hardison, O.B., Jr. Disappearing Through the Skylight: Culture and Technology in the Twentieth Century (New York: Viking, 1989).
Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1989).
Hauerwas, Stanley. A Community of Character: Toward a Constructive Christian Social Ethic (Notre Dame, IN: U. Notre Dame Press, 1981); The Peaceable Kingdom (Notre Dame, IN: U. Notre Dame Press, 1983); After Christendom? (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1992). Professor of Theological Ethics at the Divinity School, Duke U. (formerly at U. Notre Dame), Hauerwas' purpose in A Community of Character is "to reassert the social significance of the church as a distinct society with an integrity peculiar to itself" (p. 1). "The church… stands as a political alternative to every nation, witnessing to the kind of social life possible for those who have been formed by the story of Christ" (p. 4). He concurs with Solzhenitsyn's critique of liberalism: "We must take courage from Solzhenitsyn's example and clearly say that the problem with our society and politics is its sinful presumption that man is born to be happy, when he clearly has to die. A truthful politics is one that teaches us to die for the right thing, and only the church can be trusted with that task" (p. 86).
Hauerwas uses the story, Watership Down, by Richard Adams, as an example of the power of story to build and sustain a community: "A people are formed by a story which places their history in the texture of the world" (p. 15). "The most basic task of any polity is to offer its people a sense of participation in an adventure. For finally what we seek is not power, or security, or equality, or even dignity, but a sense of worth gained from participation and contribution to a common adventure" (p. 13). Elsewhere Hauerwas has characterized individualism as "that fictional denomination called autonomous moral agents."
In A Passion for Truth A. McGrath associates Hauerwas with "postliberalism" and with "the post-liberal evasion of truth claims," such that questions of the historical reliability and objective status of Scripture and its authority are avoided and never addressed (pp. 155ff.).
Hauerwas, Stanley and William H. Willimon. Resident Aliens (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1989); Where Resident Aliens Live (Nashville, TN.: Abingdon, 1996). W.H. Willimon, a colleague of Hauerwas's at Duke U., is Dean of the Chapel and prof. of Christian ministry. In their book, Resident Aliens, they continue the theme of Hauerwas's earlier work, including a critique of the liberal church which has lost its distinctive identity, e.g.: "The church is the dull exponent of conventional political ideas with a vaguely religious tint" (p. 38); "We have no stake in saying something new. That is a favorite game of academia and is of little use to a church more interested in saying something true than something new" (p. 170).
In Where Resident Aliens Live they take up the challenge to be more specific in defining and developing a practical model of a 'resident alien church.' The result of this effort is very similar to the vision of R. Clapp in A Peculiar People. Like Clapp, they acknowledge a strong dependence upon the thought of John Howard Yoder (pp. 21, 44); advance a strong critique of "Constantinian Christianity" (pp. 25, 30).; identify "the enemy" of Christians with the secular state (p. 34); advocate pacifism (pp. 43-44); and assert that the Christian 'practices' of baptism and the Eucharist are central to the distinct, 'political' identity of Christians (pp. 97,118). The authors express the heart of their concern in the following question: "How can the church be enculturated as a people capable of surviving in a culture that tempts us to forget that we ourselves, as the church, are a culture? How can our culture be an alternative to the cultures in which we find ourselves?" (p. 39).
Part of the answer, they suggest, is as simple as "attending Sunday worship," which in the current culture has become a "subversive practice" which communicates to one's pagan neighbors: "We want a different world than the one you serve" (p. 97). One of their most helpful insights is captured in a reference to Lesslie Newbigin: "We agree with Lesslie Newbigin that today's Western church ought to feel like missionaries in the very culture we thought we had devised" (p. 24).
Henry, Carl F. H. Twilight of a Great Civilization: The Drift toward Neo-Paganism (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1988). The founding editor of CT magazine, a former Long Island newspaper reporter who was converted in 1933, and author of a major, 6-volume theology entitled, God, Revelation and Authority (1976-1983), Dr. Henry originally delivered the chapters of this volume as essays and addresses. Except for the first chapter, "The Barbarians Are Coming," which dates back to 1969/1970, the remainder of the collection date between 1986-1988. In 1947 Henry criticized the withdrawal of evangelicals from "the public arena" in The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamental-ism, and called upon Christians to 'relate Biblical truths to crucial contemporary concerns."
Much of that theme is continued in Twilight, although the tone is more ominous, e.g.: "We live in the twilight of a great civilization, amid the deepening decline of modern culture…[and] much of what passes for practical Christianity is really an apostate compromise with the spirit of the age" (p. 15). Henry asserts that "theologians [are] an endangered species" because they are prone: (1) "to champion the tradition of their elders," like the Pharisees, rather than championing "the word of truth;" (2) to equate their "schematic system or speculative philosophy" with the living Word of God; and (3) to contain their message within "ghettos of faith," rather than "unleash[ing] it into the world for which it was intended" (pp. 51-54).
Henry argues that the Church is "counter-culture" in challenging both "corrupt practices and alien beliefs," and also "the notion that a good society and just state can in fact be permanently sustained by unregenerate human nature" (p. 117); "Christianity is above culture, not anti-culture nor pro-culture as such," and "instead of there being one universally ideal Christian culture, legitimacy may even be claimed for varieties of Christian culture, simply because the Church is transnational and transracial" (p. 118). He concludes: "The Christian task in the world includes that of calling to account the cultural milieu in view of God's revealed Word, and that of exhibiting the New Society's regenerate community life reflecting the wisdom, righteousness, and joy of serving the one true God" (p. 117).
More recently Henry published an article in First Things entitled: "Natural Law and a Nihilistic Culture" (January, 1995). Ironically, Henry defines natural law so broadly and ambiguously as to separate it from general revelation. Thus, while he valiantly defends the latter elsewhere (see God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 1: "God's revelation in nature penetrates the very mind of man even in his revolt," p. 400), Henry here argues against a doctrine of natural law (see Henry's critics and his response in First Things, "Correspondence," "On Natural Law: Carl F.H. Henry & Critics," pp. 2-8, April, 1995; and J. Budziszewski in Written on the Heart, p. 236, n. 4; p. 239, n. 21; and pp. 208-212.
Herberg, Will. Protestant-Catholic-Jew: An Essay in American Religious Sociology (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1955/1983). Late professor of Judaic Studies and Social Philosophy at Drew U., Herberg captured some lasting insights in this classic. He asserted that the majority of Americans share a "common faith" and a "common religion," which he defined as "democracy" and "idealism" (p. 78); "the American Way of Life" (p. 81). It is a highly "individualistic" faith which stresses "self-reliance, progress, and self-improvement" (p. 79). "It is…best understood as a kind of secularized Puritanism, a Puritanism without transcendence, without sense of sin or judgment" (p. 81).
Ultimately, Herberg argued, this "common faith" is barren and idolatrous, "faith not in God but in faith"--"worshiping our own worshiping" (p. 84). Genuine "Jewish-Christian faith," he said, "is God-centered," and recognizes "self-idolatrization" as "original sin" (p. 254). Herberg concluded that "Americans at one and the same time are the most religious and most secular of nations," because "their religion has little to do with their politics or business affairs." Therefore: "The witness to authentic Jewish-Christian faith may well prove much more difficult…" (pp. 270-71).
Hesselgrave, David J. Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991). A missionary who spent twelve years in Japan, Hesselgrave is prof. of mission and director of the School of World Mission & Evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Building on Norbert Wiener's model of communication in The Human Use of Human Beings (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954), as well as the work of others, Hesselgrave has developed a comprehensive paradigm and disciplined approach to the study and practice of cross-cultural communication which involves seven cultural components, or "dimensions." The paradigm was originally inspired, he says, by the following comment of Kenneth Burke in his A Grammar of Motives and a Rhetoric of Motives (Cleveland: World Meridian, 1962): "You can persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his" (Burke, p. 579).
Originally published in Practical Anthropology 19 (January-February, 1972), Hesselgrave's para-digm incorporates the following elements: (1) "Worldviews—ways of perceiving the world;" (2) "Cognitive Processes—ways of thinking;" (3) "Linguistic Forms—ways of expressing ideas;" (4) "Behavioral Patterns—ways of acting;" (5) "Social Structures—ways of interacting;" (6) "Media Influence—ways of channeling the message;" (7) "Motivational Resources—ways of deciding." Hesselgrave contends that these seven dimensions together form a distinctive "cultural grid or screen," and "collectively influence the message and the way in which the respondent will decode the message" (p. 163). Most of the current text is devoted to unpacking these dimensions in the context of religious pluralism, addressing such diverse world views as: "the Naturalist; the Tribal; the Hindu-Buddhistic; a Chinese; Other Monotheistic; and the Worldviews of Syncretism and Multireligion" (pp. 193-285).
One of Hesselgrave's contributions to church and culture is his "Contextualization Continuum," which identifies three basic approaches toward culture within the church: (1) "Orthodoxy," which he identifies with the pursuit of "Apostolic Contextualization" and a "didactic method of teaching truth;" (2) "Neo-orthodoxy" and "Neo-liberalism," both of which tend toward "Prophetic Contextualization" and a "dialectic method of discovering truth;" and (3) "Liberalism," with a "Syncretistic Contextualization" and a "dialogic method of pursuing truth" (p. 145). Hesselgrave favors three of the five categories which Niebuhr lays out in Christ and Culture as holding the greatest "value… from a biblical point of view;" i.e. those of: "Christ against culture;" "Christ and culture in paradox;" and "Christ as Transformer of culture." He also expresses the conviction that "quite possibly" there is value in the model of "Christ above culture" (p. 116).
Higgins, Kathleen Marie. Nietzsche's Zarathustra (Philadelphia, PA: Temple U. Press, 1987). An assistant professor of philosophy at the U. Texas, Ms. Higgins is a contemporary proponent of the Nietzschean worldview. She explains the Nietzschean view of religion: "The real threat to the ability of human beings to find meaning in life stems not from the death of God but from the tendency of many to persist in demanding an otherworldly ground for meaning" (p. 78).
Himmelfarb, Gertrude. On Looking into the Abyss: Untimely Thoughts on Culture and Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994); The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995). Prof. emeritus of history at the Graduate School of the City U. of New York, Dr. Himmelfarb's research has focused on the Victorian period, and included distinguished studies of Darwin and John Stuart Mill. A self-professed "agnostic," in the first volume she evaluates Nietzsche's prophetic vision of nihilism in Thus Spake Zarathustra, once the 'death of God became universally acknowledged. She concludes that Nietzsche was correct: "The beasts of modernism have mutated into the beasts of postmodernism—relativism into nihilism, amorality into immorality, irrationality into insanity…" (p. 6).
Like Fukuyama, Himmelfarb believes that liberal democracy is not self-sustaining (pp. 74-75); "absolute liberty…tends to corrupt absolutely" (p. 106). Liberty, as demonstrated recently in the Soviet Union, depends upon "the revival of religion—and religion not purely as a matter of private belief…but as, in Tocqueville's words, 'the first of our political institutions'," (p. 101); "A liberty that is divorced from tradition and convention, from morality and religion, that makes the individual the sole repository and arbiter of all values and puts him in an adversarial relationship to society and the state—such a liberty is a grave peril to liberty itself" (p. 106).
One of the "remedies" to nihilism is "religion itself—or, rather, a plurality of religions, religions that tolerate one another and that are themselves not merely tolerated but respected, and not merely as a private affair but as an integral part of public life" (p. 120). The author foresees an impending, "despotic" tribalism emerging, against which humanity must "call upon all their resources…tempered and elevated by religion as well as by all the other resources of civilization" (p. 121). She concludes the first volume with a scathing critique of postmodernism (pp. 131-161), defining it as "a far more subversive form of relativism, a relativism so radical, so absolute, as to be antithetical to both history and truth" (p. 131). Its ultimate aim, she says, is: "to liberate us all from the coercive ideas of truth and reality" (p. 137). She argues that postmodernism cannot distinguish between "fiction" and "history" (p. 146), and that it is ultimately "dehumanizing," since it denies any "common history," and therefore any "common humanity" (p. 154). She concludes: "Postmodernism entices us with the siren call of liberation and creativity, but it may be an invitation to intellectual and moral suicide" (p. 160).
In The De-Moralization of Society the author addresses not so much the loss of social morale as the "divorce" of social policy from "any moral criteria" (p. 243). She traces the current public discussion of "values" to an interview in 1983 in which Margaret Thatcher affirmed "Victorian values" (p. 3). She observes the wide gap between Victorian "virtues," understand as objective moral standards, and the relativistic view of "values" today. She credits Nietzsche and the sociologist, Max Weber, for inspiring and popularizing the idea that values are all "subjective and relative" (p. 11). As in the first volume, she again affirms that "Nietzsche's predictions about the fate of a morality divorced from religion" have come to pass (p. 220). Without using the term explicitly, Himmelfarb concludes by calling for a moral "reformation" of society: "For the promotion of moral values, conservatives have always looked to individuals, families, churches, communities, and all the other voluntary associations that Tocqueville saw as the genius of American society. Today they have more need than ever to do that as the dominant culture…becomes increasingly uncongenial" (p. 247); "If [the Victorians] could retain and even strengthen an ethos that had its roots in religion and tradition, it may be that we are not as constrained by the material circumstances of our time as we have thought…Today, confronted with an increasingly de-moralized society, we may be ready for a new reformation, which will restore not so much Victorian values as a more abiding sense of moral and civic virtues" (p. 257).
Hirsch, E.D., Jr. Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1987).
Hitchcock, James. What is Secular Humanism? Why Humanism Became Secular and How It Is Changing Our World (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1982). Hitchcock, a professor of history on the faculty of St. Louis University, believes that "the ultimate stakes" in the current culture war "are nothing less than the moral foundations of society" (p. 17). Hitchcock argues that secular humanism is a betrayal of genuine humanism, and therefore dehumanizing. He defines secular humanism as that type of humanism which "sets man apart from God," and which "promote[s] a way of life that systematically excludes God and all religion in the traditional sense" (p. 10). He identifies this movement with the American Humanist Association and its journal, The Humanist, and points out that it has been granted legal status by the U.S. Supreme Court (Torcaso v. Watkins, 1961). He begins by asking: "why is it so hard to establish the existence of a secular humanist movement?," and answers: "Part of the answer is that secular humanism has in certain ways become a privileged and ubiquitous point of view, and it is in the interests of its adherents to deny…the cohesiveness and influence of their philosophy, in order not to provoke challenges" (p. 7); although they are in a minority, "they are situated in strategic places in society" (p. 115). Hitchcock critiques the historical bias of secular humanists against religion, e.g.: "When they want to invoke the specter of murderous intolerance they talk about either the Catholic Inquisition or the 'witch-burnings' carried out by both Catholics and Protestants. Rarely is there reference to the 'Committees of Public Safety,' which implemented the Reign of Terror in the name of humanity" (p. 41). Thomas Reeves, commenting on this passage in his book The Empty Church concurs with Hitchcock, and adds: "Tomas de Torquemada, the infamous grand inquisitor in 15th century Spain, had ordered the execution of some two thousand [over many years], which is minor league compared with the actions of Robespierre and his friends [who killed an estimated 20,000 in a single year]" (p. 233, n.17).
Hitchcock observes that there is "a tendency on the part of…politicians, Protestant as well as Catholic, to ignore religious considerations once in office, as though the Constitution requires that public officials be secularists. In practice, many politicians tend to deny religious values any meaningful role in public life" (p. 62). Furthermore, there has been a pattern in church history of attempts to reconcile Christian faith and modern culture ending in a compromise which "dampen[s] religious fervor and undermine[s] religious belief" (pp. 116, 136). Hitchcock concludes by predicting that: "By the end of this century, many of the liberal churches will no longer call themselves Christian and will make no special effort to keep alive Christian traditions in doctrine, worship, or ethics…Thus, as the third millennium of the Christian era begins, Christians will be fewer in number than they are now, but it will be a precious designation because claimed only by those who truly believe in Christ's name" (p. 138).
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, or the Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil (1651) (New York: Collier Books, 1962). Hobbes (1588-1679), an English philosopher and political theorist, was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and tutored both the Prince of Wales and Charles II. Hobbes reacted against the Puritan exaltation of conscience and the Roman Catholic emphasis on papal authority, both of which claims he considered as threats to secular authority and public security. Consequently, Hobbes developed a radical view of unrestrained monarchy, arguing that the state was superior even to the church, and must be entrusted to decide religious issues. Although much of his treatment of Christianity in Leviathan appears orthodox (Part III), Hobbes' philosophy was materialistic, and his ethics hedonistic. Hobbes' pessimism is apparent in this passage from the conclusion of Part II: "the condition of mere nature, that is to say, of absolute liberty, such as is theirs, that neither are sovereigns, nor subjects, is anarchy, and the condition of war" (p. 261). One of Hobbes' greatest concerns was to resolve "the difficulty of obeying God and man both at once." His solution was to interpret "faith" in terms of civil "obedience." Hobbes asserted that civil obedience was "necessary to salvation": "The laws of God therefore are none but the laws of nature, whereof the principal is, that we should not violate our faith, that is, a commandment to obey our civil sovereigns, which we constituted over us by mutual pact one with another" (pp. 425-426).
Holl, Karl. The Cultural Significance of the Reformation, trans. Karl and Barbara Hertz and John H. Lichtblau (New York: Meridian Books, Inc., 1959). Holl (1866-1926), a Lutheran prof. of church history at Tuebingen and Berlin, was a respected historian who specialized in patristics and Luther research, and who sought to combat widespread and sometimes militant atheism. He believed that Luther made a weighty, decisive contribution to secular culture with his vision of "Christian love" as the fruit and goal of justifying faith. The sinner who is saved by grace is obligated to share God's grace with his neighbor: "Thus love sets a still higher goal for human relationships than the mutual benefits to be derived from cooperation for the common good or the greatest happiness…Luther thus demanded that the effects of Christian love become manifest in man and the secular order" (pp. 28-29). Although Luther, like Augustine, emphasized the distinction between the "two kingdoms" of heaven and earth, he also developed a strong, positive view of their interrelationship: "according to Luther work toward… an idealized [secular] society is a Christian duty" (p. 29). Holl contended that "culture is only created by one who knows a still higher value," and that Luther had identified two evangelical values of lasting significance for culture: "a new concept of personality and a new concept of community" (pp. 29-30).
Overlapping at some points with Max Weber's analysis, Holl delineated three elements in Luther's "concept of personality": (1) the elevated "sense of individual responsibility" associated with "freedom of conscience, the right of personal conviction in religious matters;" (2) "the certainty that work is worthwhile, that it really serves God and one's neighbor, call[ing] forth… complete inner joy in work;" and (3) a new view of "calling" as "the 'call' of God exclusively in secular duties" (pp. 30-35). Luther's "concept of community," according to Holl, opposed the Catholic and Augustinian notion that self-love is a prerequisite for neighbor-love by denying self-love altogether: "It was a break with self-love; in place of the individual ego, the community became primary; only within it did the individual find himself and indeed find himself as a serving member" (p. 37).
Hunter, George. How to Reach Secular People (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1992). A professor on the faculty of Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, Hunter asserts that the hopelessness in the postmodern context presents a unique opportunity for sharing the Gospel. He contends that the opportunities are greatest for lay people: "It is even more important to recover the apostolate of the laity," he says, "than the apostolate of the clergy;" "The laity have a better opportunity than the clergy to reach undiscipled people… Church laity have many more bridges to undiscipled people than church professionals could ever duplicate" (pp. 113-114).
Hunter, James Davison. Culture Wars. The Struggle to Define America. (New York: Basic Books/Harper Collins, 1991). A professor of sociology and religious studies and project director of the Post-Modernity Project at the U. Virginia, Dr. Hunter defines the current "cultural conflict" as the "political and social hostility rooted in different systems of moral understanding," resulting from "differing worldviews" and "cherished assumptions about how to order our lives together in this society" (p. 42). The contemporary culture war is ultimately a "matter of moral authority" (p. 42), as well as "a struggle over national identity" (p. 50). Hunter argues that "theological pluralism" is much less divisive than "moral pluralism," since without a moral consensus there is no basis for a liberal society (pp. 311-321). He concludes by calling for renewed "public discourse" about morality, seeking to establish "a common life" based upon a common "moral order;" and for public recognition that historically religion has been the primary "source of the moral obligation that underlies public life" (pp. 320-325).
Hutchison, William R., ed. Between the Times: The Travail of the Protestant Establishment in America, 1900-1960 (New York: Cambridge U. Press, 1989). Hutchison is prof. of North American religious history at Harvard Divinity School. In this vol. he and a dozen other historians examine the response of mainline churches to growing secularization and religious pluralism from 1900-1960: "an epochal and quite fundamental transition… from Protestant America to pluralist America" (p. vii). What was lost was Protestant "hegemony" or "custodianship" over America's "moral structure" and "the religious content of national ideals" (p. viii). The authors are critical of American Protestantism for its "institutional defense and self- perpetuation" (p. 306), but see hope if these barriers can be overcome. Hutchison concludes: "Liberal-conservative alliances, powerful in the 1st years of this century, could easily become so again" (p. 308).