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Faith, reason, and education Print E-mail
By Christopher Dawson   
Monday, 28 May 2012

Now the Christian world of the past was exceptionally well provided with ways of access to spiritual realities. Christian culture was essentially a sacramental culture which embodied religious truth in visible and palpable forms: art and architecture; music and poetry and drama, philosophy and history were all used as channels for the communication of religious truth. Today all these channels have been closed by unbelief or choked by ignorance, so that Christianity has been deprived of its natural means of outward expression and communication.

It is the task of Christian education to recover these lost contacts and to restore contact between religion and modern society — between the world of spiritual reality and the world of social experience. Of course this is not what is usually meant by education, which is usually confined within the narrow limits of schools and examinations. But instruction cannot achieve much unless it has a culture behind it, and Catholic culture is essentially humanist in as much as there is nothing human which does not come within its sphere and which does not in some way belong to it.

Thus Christian culture is a very rich and wide culture: richer than modern secular culture, because it has a greater spiritual depth and is not confined to a single level of reality; and wider than any of the oriental religions because it is more catholic and many-sided. For the average modern man, however, it is more or less a lost world and one from which even the modern Catholic has been partially estranged by his secular environment and tradition.    

 

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