The Myth of Progress, Part 1: Christianity and Classical Culture, Episode 17

In this episode of Christianity and Classical Culture, we begin a two episode miniseries examining the Myth of Progress. Why is modern culture ugly? How is this related to progress? How is “progress” properly defined? How do we see it in art and architecture? What are some cities that demonstrate an ordered an organic growth?

Original Air Date: November 30, 2017
Show Run Time: 59 minutes
Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming
Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner


Christianity and Classical Culture℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved and any duplication without explicit written permission is forbidden.


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4 Responses

  1. Jacob Johnson says:

    Childhoods End by Arthur Clark is pretty explicitly an allegory of the idea of “progress” and men becoming gods. What was said here about the Christian millennium is interesting. It reminds me of the debate about the correct translation of aoen for Matthew 28:20, and the position taken by proponents of “aquarius.”

  2. Robert Reavis says:

    Mr. Johnson,
    People should not be interpreting or debating these things on their own or privately as if “any question is a good question.”— Or that any answer is as good as any other. St Jerome was a saint who happened to be a great scholar. This idea that Christians are required to answer the world’s every question on a pass fail bases is absurd. The work and or arguments between Mother Theresa and angry detractors like Christopher Hitchens are not important after their respective deaths and neither will every question from the New Age be in the future. The God of Abraham Isaac etc. is the God of the living not the dead.

  3. Jacob Johnson says:

    Thank you for your insight on this matter Mr. Reavis. I agree completely that man is not supposed to know everything or capable of doing so. My point in bringing this up here is not to encourage this type of debate but to note that it relates to the idea of what power-seeking men call progress.

    I know these things are undertaken by very bad people with a malevolent agenda, but they also occur in various Sunday schools and bible studies with sincere but misguided and ill-informed people. I know I cannot hold an intelligent opinion on these matters because I lack the religious literacy to begin to do so, but information that points to who the bad actors are is of interest to me.

  4. Robert Reavis says:

    Mr. Johnson,
    I quite agree with you and was only restating what Christians have always taught about progress.

    ” But someone will perhaps say: is there no progress of religion in the church of Christ? Certainly there is progress, even exceedingly great progress [plane et maximus]! For who is so envious of others and so hateful toward God as to try to prohibit it? Yet it must be an advance [profectus] in the proper sense of the word and not an alteration [permutatio] in faith. For progress means that each thing is enlarged within itself, while alteration implies one thing is transformed into something else. It is necessary, therefore, that understanding, knowledge, and wisdom should grow and advance vigorously in individuals as well as in the community, in a single person as well as in the whole church, and this gradually in the course of ages and centuries. But the progress made must be according to its own type, that is, in accord with the same doctrine, the same meaning, and the same judgment [eodem sensu eademque sententia]. (23.54; trans. Guarino)

    If the communion of saints over the ages means anything it means love is of more importance than knowledge in this world but also is a means of understanding and knowing God more fully who is the same, yesterday, today and eternity.