The liberal attack on religion

"The overtaking by history of the antireligious attitude of liberal­ism is so well known that a brief indication will be sufficient. The liberal attack was directed against dogmatism and the authority of revelation. If only these influences on thinking and public life could be removed, then the free human being would order society rationally with his autonomous reason.

"However, if in practice Christianity is successfully driven out of men, they become not rational liberals but ideologues. The undesirable spiritual order is replaced not by liberalism but rather by one or the other of the emotionally as-intensive ideologies." -- Eric Voegelin, Collected Works


  1. What liberalism is this referring to? General liberalism or modern American liberalism?

    1. Whenever a political theorist uses "liberalism" you should think the broad movements from the 1820s to today.

    2. I'm not familiar with movements starting in the year 1820. I do know that anti-religious sentiment was around well before then in the forms of Thomas Paine, the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson, and so on. Are you saying general liberalism is only 190 years old?

    3. Yes, give or take. First use in English is from 1815. Liberalism was formed as a middle way between reaction and revolution.


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