In his 1956 essay “The Challenge of Secularism,” the English historian Christopher Dawson notes how the “consciously anti-religious ideology” of Communist education—an education that effectively works to eradicate religious faith from the entire populace—“is only completing the work that the liberal state began.” For, as Dawson continues,  “already in the nineteenth century the secularization of education and the exclusion of positive Christian teaching from the school formed an essential part of the program of almost all the progressive, liberal and socialist parties everywhere.”

Dawson, a Catholic with a grounded faith in the veracity of Christianity, believed that Christians must counter such claims with a response that demonstrates the truth of their faith in age of growing skepticism and disbelief.  Himself an academic who held the Chauncey Stillman Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard University, Dawson believed in the essential role of the academy in countering this wave of secularization.  Indeed, as Dawson writes, “today the intellectual factor has become more vital than it ever was in the past.”

On Wednesday evening, 11 November, at 7:30 pm , the Christopher Dawson Society, a student group that explores the relation between religious belief and intellectual inquiry within the Western intellectual tradition, will explore at  “The Challenge of Secularism.”  The meeting, at the Alexander Hamilton Institute, is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Those who intend to participate should read Dawson’s “The Challenge of Secularism” and another article by Dawson, Os Guinness, or someone similar that you believe complements Dawson’s article, available here andhere.