This article in the Wall Street Journal, is worth pondering: “Whispers of Faith in a Postmodern World.”
“Among our national pastimes, there is none more persistent than the ritual lament over the decline and fall of the arts. The death of the novel . . . the end of painting . . . if an art form exists, we’re willing to believe it has seen better days.
“Religious believers are equally prone to this sort of thing, and they often give it their own spin. One version goes like this: Whereas in the 20th century there were literary giants who grappled with faith — T.S. Eliot, Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor—our own time is devoid of distinguished writers exploring religious themes.
“That perception is encouraged in the media. In The New Republic in 2008, Ruth Franklin noted that “the absence of God from our literature feels so normal, so self-evident, that one realizes with shock how complete it is.” Last month in a New York Times Sunday Book Review essay entitled “Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?,” Paul Elie suggested that “if any patch of our culture can be said to be post-Christian, it is literature.”
“Really? From where I stand, things don’t look that way. That is in large part because for the past 24 years I have edited Image, a journal that publishes literature and art concerned with the faith traditions of the West. Our instinct when launching the publication was that the narrative of decline was misguided, but we honestly didn’t know if we could fill more than a few issues.”
Reflection on the myth of secularization can help us move beyond the “culture wars” our sister and brothers to the south so regularly engage in.
A related discussion on CBC Ideas last November is also worth some time: IDEAS.