Tadie, Andrew A. and Macdonald, Michael H., eds. Permanent Things Toward the Recovery of a More Human Scale at the End of the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995). The editors of this volume are Dr. Tadie, a professor of English and director of the Faith & and Great Ideas program at Seattle U.; and Dr. Macdonald, a professor of European Studies and Philosophy, and director of the C.S. Lewis Institute at Seattle Pacific U. The seventeen essays were presented at a conference hosted by these two universities in 1990. The theme, "permanent things," was T.S. Eliot's term for universal truth and moral standards, for "sacral order" and "objective good" (pp. xii-xvi). The essays investigate the contemporary relevance of Eliot (1888-1965) and five other Christian, British writers who also resisted relativism: G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936); C.S. Lewis (1898-1963); Charles Williams (1886-1945); Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957); and Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966).
For example, in an essay on Chesterton, Kent R. Hill, President of Eastern Nazarene College, discovered the following insights: "For Chesterton, 'It is the idea of fatherhood that makes the whole world one. And the converse is also true.' The modern, secular world, with its refusal to recognize the authority of the Father, cannot produce anything but orphans alienated from each other as well as from God" (p. 97); "Almost seventy years ago Chesterton predicted optimistically that: 'men will more and more realise that there is no meaning in democracy if there is no meaning in anything, and that there is no meaning in anything if the universe has not a centre of significance and an authority that is the author of our rights'" (p. 117).
Thiemann, Ronald F. Constructing a Public Theology: The Church in a Pluralistic Culture (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1991).
Thomas, George M. Christianity and Culture in the 19th Century United States (Chicago, IL: U. Chicago Press, 1988).
Tillich, Paul. Theology of Culture, ed. Robert C. Kimball (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1959). The son of a Lutheran pastor, Tillich (1886-1965) fled Germany in 1933 to become prof. of philosophical theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York, gaining citizenship in 1940. Moving next to Harvard Divinity School (1955-1962) and then the Divinity School at the U. Chicago (1962-1965), Tillich's central ambition was "to bridge the gap between Christian faith and modern culture" (ODCC). His theological method was to "correlate" Christian answers with cultural questions. Whereas Schleiermacher claimed to identify a bridge, or 'point of contact' between the believer and unbeliever, in man's sense of "total dependence;" Tillich identified a similar dimension of human experience which he called the "ultimate concern." In his Theology of Culture Tillich proposed the thesis that there is a "religious dimension" in every sphere of "man's cultural activity" (p. v). He explained: "Religion as ultimate concern is the meaning-giving substance of culture, and culture is the totality of forms in which the basic concern of religion expresses itself… religion is the substance of culture, culture is the form of religion… There is no cultural creation without an ultimate concern expressed in it" (p. 42).
Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America, ed. J.P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1969; orig. pub. 1835-1840). A French author, statesman, political philosopher and historian, Tocqueville (1805-1859) wrote this classic study after a visit to the United States in 1831. His insights into the unique features, inner logic, and ultimate ramifications of the American way of life have proved exceptionally perceptive and enduring. E.g.: "The woof of time is every instant broken, and the back of generations effaced. Those who went before are soon forgotten; of those who come after, no one has any idea… Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart" (p. 508). Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart took its name from Tocqueville's use of this expression, "habits of the heart," to refer to the American religious mores which formed the American character (p. 287). In the preface of Habits (1985), Bellah praised Tocqueville's work as: "the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the relationship between character and society in America that has ever been written" (p. xlii).
Tournier, Paul. The Whole Person in a Broken World, trans. John and Helen Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1947/1964).
Toynbee, Arnold J. A Study of History. Vol. 5. (London: Oxford University Press, 1948); An Historian's Approach to Religion (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1956). Director of Studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and Research Prof. of International History at the U. of London (1925-1955), Toynbee (1889-1975) has been regarded, with Oswald Spengler, as one of the two greatest interpreters of the 20th century. Like Spengler, Toynbee denied the evolutionary theory of inevitable progress, and asserted that civilizations rise and fall in cycles. Spengler, in his two-volume Decline of the West (1918; 1922), contended that Western civilization had reached the point of irreversible decay. Toynbee contended that all civilizations were destroyed from within, but that decay could be reversed by creative new attempts to meet current challenges. Factors of decay which Toynbee identified in A Study of History include the rejection of morality, antinomianism, irrationalism, fragmentation, escapist entertainment, the acceptance of a meaningless determinism, guilt caused by moral abandon, promiscuity, and "the triumph of a mass mind." Remarkably, Toynbee identified "the fatherhood of God" as essential to the unity and viability of a civilization: "if the divine father of the human family is left out of the reckoning, there is no possibility of forging any alternative bond of purely human texture which will avail by itself to hold mankind together…the brotherhood of Man presupposes the fatherhood of God" (p. 495).
In An Historian's Approach a relativistic perspective dominates. For example, Toynbee warned against: "the fanatical vein in the traditional spirit of Judaism and Christianity" (p. 254), and called for a less "exclusive-minded" approach to religion. Belief in one's religion as "the only true and right religion, or belief "that the truth which has been revealed to us is the whole truth," are the results of "self-centeredness" and "symptoms of Original Sin" (pp. 284-285). Toynbee asserted: "The missions of the higher religions are not competitive; they are complementary. We can believe in our own religion without having to feel that it is the sole repository of truth. We can love it without having to feel that it is the sole means of salvation"—and prophesied: "A time may come when the local heritages of the different historic nations, civilizations, and religions will have coalesced into a common heritage of the whole human family" (pp. 298-299)
Tracy, David. Plurality and Ambiguity: Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987).
Troeltsch, Ernst. The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches (1912; Eng. Trans. 1931) 2 vols., trans. Olive Wyon (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960). Troeltsch (1865-1923), a liberal Protestant theologian and philosopher who followed in the tradition of Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and A. Ritschl , taught that Christianity, like all other religions, grew out of a primal, universal religious feeling or instinct. In The Absolute Validity of Christianity, first published in 1902, Troeltsch embraced an evolutionary perspective. Denying Christianity's claim to finality, he asserted that: "To be historical and relative is identical;" yet, he said: "It is the loftiest and most spiritual revelation we know."
In The Social Teachings Troeltsch asserted: "Nowhere does there exist an absolute Christian ethic" (p. 1013); and concluded: "The truth is—and this is the conclusion of the whole matter—the Kingdom of God is within us" (p. 1013). Nevertheless he identified four "permanent ethical values" in the history of the Church: (1) "a [unique] conviction of personality and individuality," based upon "its personalistic Theism;" (2) an "indestructible [basis]" for "Socialism" in "its conception of a Divine Love;" (3) a solution for "the problem of equality and inequality" in "the mutual sense of obligation;" and (4) a "great and noble" source of "charity, or active helpfulness" (pp. 1004-1005). Troeltsch contended that the original Christian message entailed two complementary but potentially opposing ideals dealing with "the Kingdom of God" : (1) individualism, with a call for inward purity; and (2) universalism, with the claim of universal equality before God. Troeltsch contended that Christianity developed two primary sociological expressions: the "Church-type," emphasizing universalism; and the "sect-type," stressing individualism. According to Troeltsch, the former, which is best represented by Roman Catholicism, preserves tradition, but tends to compromise with "the world;" the latter, which is best represented by Protestantism, rightly protests against abuses, but tends toward subjectivity and a "spirit of intolerance" (pp. 1006-1010).
Troeltsch disagreed with Weber's thesis in that he thought Western civilization and capitalism arose not only from the positive emancipation of cultural forces from the papacy, but also from the negative emancipation of cultural forces from religious authority altogether, leading to a spiritually impoverished, "secularized" society. Troeltsch labeled the social ethic of Protestantism in the early part of this century "ascetic Protestantism," defined by its emphasis on liberty, individual vocations, peaceful reform, and the separation of Church and State. He believed that this ethic had run its course and was being replaced by a "radical individualism" based upon Darwin and scientific progress.
Perhaps Troeltsch's most important and helpful contribution was his perspective on the practical value of the Christian belief in a future Kingdom of God. In a remarkable passage near the conclusion of The Social Teachings he asserts: "The Christian Ethos gives to all social life and aspiration a goal which lies far beyond the relativities of this earthly life, compared with which, indeed, everything else represents merely approximate values. The idea of the future Kingdom of God…does not, as short-sighted opponents imagine, render this world and life in this world meaningless and empty; on the contrary, it stimulates human energies, making the soul strong through its… certainty of an ultimate, absolute meaning and aim for human labour. Thus it raises the soul above the world without denying the world… This idea creates a perennial source of strength for strenuous activity, and a certainty of aim, both of which make for simple health and soundness of mind…The life beyond this world is, in very deed, the inspiration of the life that now is" (pp. 1005-1006).