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One of the biggest U.S. bestsellers of the 20th century, a Christian reflection on the modern world’s political and social crises, is almost unknown among Christians today. It was number one on The New York Times bestseller list for 13 consecutive weeks in 1952 because it is a powerful personal story of good, evil, despair, and redemption. The story is told with a literary beauty that can be compared without hyperbole to that of Augustine’s Confessions. But it is also worth recovering today because it would provide us with a fresh vantage point for thinking wisely about the problem of the gospel and modern politics.
In Witness, Whittaker Chambers used the lens of his amazing life story to show that the modern world has gone badly wrong because it has turned its back on God. He was diagnosing the crises of the 20th century, especially the confrontation between a smug, materialistic liberal democracy and the monstrous totalitarian systems of communism and fascism. But his diagnosis of how spiritual complacency creates political chaos provides just as much clarity about the crises of the early 21st century, like the breakdown of the moral consensus within liberal democracies into fragmented and polarized extremes on the Left and Right.
Complacency - Chaos
Spiritual complacency creates political chaos.
From global wars and genocide to the persistence of poverty in a world of plenty, Chambers described how the modern world has unleashed unprecedented political troubles. All these ills are the political expression of a decline in socially functional religion. In practice, if not always in theory, we believe that there is no rationality higher than the human mind and no morality higher than the human will.
Regnery - History - Pp
Regnery History (2014). 718 pp. $19.99.
For all its technical and economic marvels, the modern world does not provide people with the two things they really want most:...
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