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Protestantism in the Present World-Situation

Paul J. Tillich
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Sep., 1937), pp. 236-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2769026
Page Count: 13
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Protestantism in the Present World-Situation
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Abstract

Protestantism today faces a crisis all over the world. This is not so much a crisis of religion in general as of Protestantism in particular, and it is due to the peculiarities of Protestantism as a religious attitude of individual protest against human absolutism and of individual moral responsibility. The present social situation in the Western countries is marked by a disintegration of the older moral standards and social groups which has accompanied the economic crisis of late capitalism. This has resulted in a general and far-reaching social and psychic insecurity which in turn has expressed itself in a rejection of individual moral responsibility and in the flight into collectivistic totalitarianism. The protesting and individualistic attitude of Protestantism is completely opposed to this development, and to insure its continued existence it must seek new forms of adaptation. Neither a clinging to old dogmas nor an imitation of Catholic dogmas and practices will enable Protestantism to continue to live as Protestantism. To do this the Protestant prophetic critical attitude must be expressed in all movements as a resistance against the self-deification and self-absolutization of man, and will depend for its realization on the work of small, well-integrated orders or fellowships.

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