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Reader’s Comment: The culture of Europe could not survive the loss of Christianity


In response to Dr Campbell Campbell-Jack: The Left turns on Trump for defending its right to speak out, Coniston wrote:

T.S. Eliot: Notes towards the Definition of Culture, first published 1948. This excerpt was from a broadcast talk Eliot made to Germany in 1946.

“….I am talking about the common tradition of Christianity which has made Europe what it is….It is in Christianity that our arts have developed;….that the laws of Europe have – until recently – been rooted. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance……I do not believe that the culture of Europe could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian faith…..If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism….

“To our Christian heritage we owe many things besides our religious faith. Through it we trace the evolution of our arts, through it we have our conception of Roman Law which has done so much to shape the Western World, through it we have our conceptions of private and public morality. And through it we have our common standards of literature…..The Western world has its unity in this heritage, in Christianity and the ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome and Israel, from which, owing to two thousand years of Christianity, we trace our descent…..No political and economic organisation…..can supply what this cultural unity gives…..In a world which has seen such material devastation as ours, these spiritual possessions are also in imminent peril.”

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