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Restless SecularismModernism and the Religious Inheritance$
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Matthew Mutter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221732

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221732.001.0001

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Conclusion: Evil and the Adequacy of the Earth

Conclusion: Evil and the Adequacy of the Earth

(p.204) Conclusion: Evil and the Adequacy of the Earth
Restless Secularism

Matthew Mutter

Yale University Press

This chapter contends that modernists find themselves entangled in a distinctly secular version of the “problem of evil.” As secularists they want to affirm the abundance of the immanent, material world, but this very world seems to resist the desires and needs specific to human personhood. This leads, in different writers, to a critique of “secular humanism” or to a valorization of the world as a scene of conflict. The chapter suggests, however, that Auden’s Christian understanding of secularity is able to elude this problem of evil by relinquishing the expectation that the material world satisfy the desires proper to embodied persons.

Keywords:   Evil, Affirmation, Conflict, Aesthetics, Problem of Evil, Immanence, Transcendence

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