It has been a long journey that dated back almost two years ago in April of 2013 when we first started reading Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. And now we have come to its conclusion.
Please read the remainder of Chapter 25, the last chapter of the book, where we will cover: A Cultural Revolution from the Sixties, Old-Time Affirmations, and Freedom: Prospects and Fears.
Please answer one of the following questions.
- Describe the rise of ‘secularization‘ throughout the world beginning more or less in the 1960s. Why do you think Europe became so secularized after having been the center of Christendom for many centuries? How did views about the institution of marriage change in the USA in contrast with the rest of the world? How did the role of families change during this time and how did the Catholic Church react to these changes?
- How did attitudes about homosexuality and abortion change during the 1960s and 70s? What of feminism and the sexual revolution? What was the reaction from Catholic and Protestant Churches like to these issues? How did the notion of Church authority change?
- Discuss the involvement of Evangelicals back into politics after the election of Jimmy Carter as U.S. President in 1977. Discuss the reasons for the formation of the ‘Moral Majority‘ and the alliance between the Republican Party and conservative Evangelicals.
- How did America form such a close alliance with the state of Israel? What part did Evangelicals in the U.S. affect foreign policy in the Middle East during the 1980s with its strong support for Israel? Why were they so interested in Israel? What toll did U.S./Israeli relations have upon the ancient churches of the Middle East?
- Discuss the importance of Pope John Paul II in world politics. How was he instrumental in the fall of Communism in Europe? What was his stance with Vatican II and what reforms did he carry out while he was in the Vatican? What do you think was the weakest part of his papacy and why?
- Discuss how the Russian Orthodox Church changed after the collapse of Communism in Soviet Russia in 1991. How was Mikhail Gorbachev involved in the revival of religion throughout the Soviet Union? How did Orthodoxy handle the radical changes of the 20th century? What was the overall impact?
- Discuss the changes that occurred in the Anglican Church, especially in Australia, and the Church’s handling with homosexuals and gay clergy.
- What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of ecumenism that MacCulloch lists? What happened when Evangelicals started entering Russia during the 90s and its relations with the Orthodox Church? What about Pentecostalism in Latin America and its contacts with Catholics?
- Discuss how the traditional doctrine of Hell has steadily been jettisoned by Protestant and Catholic Churches. Do you agree with MacCulloch’s assessment that this is the case? Why or why not?
We will submit in the coming couple of weeks.