In Christianity and the Machine Age, Eric Gill attempts to prove thatChristianity is true. To answer this question, Gill turns not to philosophers,theologians or archaeologists, but to his own consciousness. If there be God,if there be Christ, it is to man, to the individual man that he calls.
(Gill, 219) Gill bases his argument on the presumption that the truth is thecorrespondence of thought with thing. In Christianity thought and thingcorrespond. It is in that sense that we say Christianity is true, is thetruth. (Gill, 219) Gill says that what he knows of Christ corresponds withwhat he knows and desires and loves as a human. Gill also asserts that he has noreason to suppose that he is any different in kind or in powers or inexperience from other men.Order now
(Gill, 219) Gill says it follows that sinceChristianity is true for him, it must then also be true for all men. Accordingto Gill, those who do not accept the truth of Christianity are simply wrong. Gill continues, asserting that Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and all other faithsare lesser because they are more partial, less profound, and therefore lesswidespread. (Gill, 219) This is a poor argument considering that Christianswere a minority group for thousands of years. While Gill does not feel thatother faiths are untrue, he says that the only faith with a clear view ofreality is Christianity.
Observe, for example, an object under a microscope. Attempt to get it into focus. But, unless the object be absolutely flat, youwill get one level in focus and not another. You will not be able to see it allat once, and you will perhaps pass some levels altogether. (Gill, 219) Thismetaphor is an excellent way to explain why so many differing religions existwhen there is only one Truth.
Gill does not, however, provide any reason toassume that Christianity is seeing the truth any more clearly than the othermajor world religions. The argument that Christianity is more correct because itaffirms more sets Christianity as the lowest common denominator. This doesnot prove that the truth as seen through the Christian microscope is anyclearer that when the truth is viewed through any other religionsmicroscope. Gills point about denials is well made, however. Theonly thing to beware of is denial. It is on the plane of denials that we fallfoul of one another.
(Gill, 219) I agree with Gill that it is more productiveto examine the commonalties than the conflicts when comparing religions. Gills purpose in attempting to answer such a profound question is tied to hisdefinition of proper work in the Age of Machines. Christianitymust implysomething as to the object of human life and the object of human work. (Gill,220) Gill says that if Christianity is removed from the process of work, thework(wo)man will be lowered to a subhuman condition by degrading labor andfocusing on profit-gaining ends.
For Gill, this is the true threat of theMachine Age. The effect of the Machine Age is to secularize human life, toabolish the Christian criterion of holiness, understood both morally andintellectually. (Gill, 235) Gill does allow that machines may help toalleviate some of the suffering that exists in the world, but he has noconfidence that the influence of capitalist industrialism will be overcome. The spirit which has animated merchants and industrialists and financiersfrom the beginning of the Machine Age, whether in big business or small, is notthe provision of social amenity or the relief of suffering, but theaggrandizement of themselves. (Gill, 235) For Gill the only hope for humanitylies in the creation of a Christian world, a world based on Christian faith,ruled by Christian thought, and moved by a Christian will. (Gill, 236) Iagree with many of the values and ideals that Gill espouses.
It is obvious thatsomething must change, particularly with regard to the overemphasis on theprofit motive. I do, however, disagree with his notion that these ideals canonly be applied through the template of Christianity. Christian leaders haveshown themselves to be no more fair or humane than non-Christians. Neither hasthe influence of Christian religious leaders, particularly Catholic leaders,been proven superior. If fact, the countries most deeply entrenched inindustrial capitalism are predominantly Christian. Any challenge to the statusquo, whether issued by a Buddhist or a Christian, would be an excellent start inthe effort to change the way the world views work and working people.
Gillspresumption that only Christianity holds the answer is misguided.Religion