Moving Forward by Reclaiming the Past – The Christian Criticism of Life

In the introduction to his book The Christian Criticism of Life (Abingdon-Cokesbury 1941), Lynn Harold Hough argues that, if we are to regain the meaning of a civilized life for the future, then we must recover the past.  To this end, Hough proposes a thorough study the great thinkers of the past through the lens of the Christian religion. He sees it as the business of the Christian, “to keep the mind of the world alive” (17).  Another way of putting it, he claims, is to say “that civilization is Christian, and that when it ceases to be Christian it ceases to be civilization” (17).  This is really quite revolutionary given some recent varieties of so-called Christian anti-intellectualism.  Hough’s call is for Christians to embrace the life of the mind as a part of a life that honors God.  He expects Christians to be cultural leaders in the humanities, and thinks that, to be a true cultural leader, one must be Christian, a daring and invigorating claim to say the least. I dare say there is only a minority of Christians who see it as their vocation to keep the world thinking on its toes. 

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