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Saving FaithMaking Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of the Secular Age$
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David Mislin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453946

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453946.001.0001

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Twilight Faith

Twilight Faith

The Embrace of Doubt as the Embrace of Diversity

(p.14) 1 Twilight Faith
Saving Faith

David Mislin

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at how the seemingly rampant skepticism of the Gilded Age led many Protestants to reexamine the nature of doubt. Drawing on two theological ideas—the “person of Jesus” as the fundamental element of Christianity and the progressive nature of revelation—these liberals effectively created the category of the Christian doubter. This strategy provided the theological template for liberals' reconsiderations of other forms of religious diversity. Liberals renounced their conception of the church as an exclusive club whose teachings are needed to be accepted by prospective members in order to join. They supported these views with evidence from the emerging field of the psychology of religion, as university psychologists provided scientific proof that religious commitments were rarely free of ambiguity.

Keywords:   Gilded Age, liberal Protestants, person of Jesus, Christianity, revelation, Christian doubter, psychology of religion

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