Two literary thinkers ponder sin and belief in a disenchanted world
by Prof. Terry Eagleton
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There are more Christians in the United States than in any other country in world history, but much of Christianity makes us queasy. Many of our megachurch preachers choke on the word sin, and when politicians talk of "evildoers" they seem to be speaking a dead language. It's easy to forget, in this sunny state of theological affairs, that for most Anglo-American believers the concept of evil was once as close at hand as a taxicab on Fifth Avenue or Piccadilly Circus. We hailed it not only to navigate the twists and turns of war and crime but also to reckon with our personal calamities. Evil explained things. From the Great Flood forward it has helped us to make sense of the otherwise unsensible: genocide, injustice, and the sickness unto death.
A few years ago I reviewed an Oxford University Press series on the
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