By Eliot, Thomas Stearns
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Extra info for Christianity and culture : the idea of a Christian society and Notes towards the definition of culture
It is from this point of view that I look at the question of the preservation of languages-I am not interested in languages in an advanced state of decay (that is to say, when they are no longer adequate to the needs of expression of the more educated members of the community). It is sometimes considered an advantage, and a source of glory, that one's own language should be a necessary medium for as many foreigners as possible: I am not sure that this popularity is without grave dangers for any language.
I do not overlook the possibility that Britain, if it consummated its apostasy by reforming itself according to the prescriptions of some inferior or materialistic religion, might blossom into a culture more brilliant than that we can show today. That would not be evidence that the new religion was true, and that Christianity was false. It would merely prove that any religion, while it lasts, and on its own level, gives an apparent meaning to life, provides the framework for a culture, and protects the mass of humanity from boredom and despair.
To be in a position to reject this error, as with the other, requires us to take a distant view; to refuse to accept the conclusion, when the culture that we see is a culture in decline, that culture is something to which we can afford to remain indifferent. And I must add that to see the unity of culture and religion in this way neither implies that all the products of art can be accepted uncritically, nor provides a criterion by which everybody can immediately distinguish between them. Esthetic sensibility must be extended into spiritual perception, and spiritual perception must be extended into esthetic sensibility and disciplined taste before we are qualified to pass judpment upon Notes towards the Definition of Culture 103 decadence or diabolism or nihiliim in art.
Christianity and culture : the idea of a Christian society and Notes towards the definition of culture by Eliot, Thomas Stearns