An interesting sideline in Alister McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism is the story of the impact of secularism on modern theology.
As a movement atheism reached its zenith around 1970. Communism was still power and Western intellectuals and some theologians were happy to join the bandwagon.
McGrath writes, “Convinced that nobody (well, nobody who really mattered, that is) could believe in a transcendent God anymore, revisionist theologians launched a makeover of their faith. Ideas such as eternal life, Resurrection, a ‘God out there’, and any sense of the mysterious were unceremoniously junked as decrepit embarrassments.”
The outcome of this retreat from the historic Christian faith in the face of modernity was the dramatic collapse of the mainline denominations from 1955 to 1995.
The mainline denominations assumed that the mood of the 1960s represented a permanent shift in Western culture. As it happened, the mood passed after a decade.
A movement that had tried to make God relevant to one social grouping ended up making the same God irrelevant to just about everyone else.
To their horror, it has been those forms of Christianity that are both anchored in the Scriptures and responsive to their culture that have since flourished.
I wonder if there are any parallels today as we face a postmodern culture?