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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 22, Issue 2, 2012

Civilization and Religion

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo
Pages 115-132

Potential of Christianity for the Civilization. Revival in the III Millennium. On Spirituality. Ever Ancient, Ever New
Christian Spirituality in the III Millennium

The division of Christianity into two: Orthodox Christian and Western Civilizations by Arnold Toynbee should be understood to describe not a difference of creedal belief but different spiritualities. Christian spiritualities are the animating forces for the material disposition of religious resources and the motivation that patterns individual behavior. The past offers many examples of how spirituality provides discipline to believers to overcome conflictive social pressures and follow doctrinal obligations. The monastic orders recast the evangelical counsel to holding material goods in common during the Middle Ages and groups like the Franciscans, Jesuits, Methodists, Quakers, etc. have performed similar functions. Despite the erosion of institutional resources since the Enlightenment and contemporary secularism, Christianity has produced various new spiritualities. For the III Millennium, it appears the two major characteristics of Christian spirituality include the discipline to “let go” that rejects the dystopia of contemporary society; and the embrace an earth spirituality that extends respect for life to the environment and an equitable distribution of material resources.

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