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Learning Goal: I’m working on a religion discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.Occasionally history obeys Newton’s third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This week’s readings cover liberal and conservative trends in American Christianity. The first trend is a continuation of the liberal Protestant tradition, and its response to “higher criticism” of the Bible, the challenges presented by Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and the social gospel movement. The second trend is in some respects a rejection of these developments, as evidenced by Fundamentalist, Holiness, and Pentecostal movements. While many Christians always believed in the ultimate truth and authority of the Bible, now it was under attack and required a defense. As you will see, these groups felt called upon to defend the authority of the Bible, the divine origins of humanity, and the active presence of God in the world. Write an essay that captures some facet of this conflict between liberal and conservative Christians. For example, you might discuss what “higher criticism” was revealing about the history and composition of the Bible. Then, you might discuss how Christian fundamentalists responded to these developments with their own ideas and counterarguments. Other topics include the social gospel movement, Darwin’s The Origin of Species, differing views of human nature (naturally good vs. naturally sinful but redeemable), and spiritual gifts (e.g. speaking in tongues, faith healing, and prophesizing). These are just some of the conflicts you might address in your essay.

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