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Publication Details

Dimensions of Christian Activity

(Original title: Dimenzie kresťanskej aktivity)
Filozofia, 25 (1970), 3, 239-253.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
Activity is one of the basic atributes and characteristics of man. It cannot be restricted, it may only be directed. There are no essential differences between Christians and nonchristians in their trying to secure the essential qualities of life in a society. Differences are more obvious in their social, cultural and political activity. The notion „Christian activity“ is understood to be every activity partaken by Christians (not only cult activity) that is not of specific Christian character in appearance and results. The Christian church particularly displays a consciousness, a hidden imagination, for the direction of events and the meaning of their activity. Every society is faced with the problem of integrating social groups as well as with the problem of providing for their working activity. But a social space cannot be offered to any group as a „vacant space“ that is to be filled only by their activity. The space is developed through the presssure of all the social groups and its dimensions depend on the whole potentiality of acting subjects as well as on a place given them legally in a social system. The study of the potentiality of Christianity today as well as the place given to its institutions in a socialist state are the subjects for this paper. Christianity is in a somewhat difficult position in contemparary modern societies which has been brought about by the process of secularisation. As a result, Christianity has attempted ta take on a new attitude towards society. This is in order to absorb the secularised social structures or infuse them with Christian ethics. It has thus counter-ballanced the „supernatural“ position suitable in an age where the church dominated the world but which is out of place today. It has transfered from a position of domination to a position of service. This is the fundamental change in the social function of Christianity. If the attempt to penetrate social structures is to be sucessful it must be done by participation. Not to participate through church institutions (views differ), but through single Christians working through secular institutions. The place of religous structures in a socialist society is determined by what religous activity the state acknowledges and values as a contribution to the society. This again depends on what is the meaning of a socialist state or socialist movement at all and an the place and meaning of man in it. The Marxistic conception of socialism may be briefly characterised as a movement that persistently tries to free man totally and where the rebuilding of society is conceived as a basis for that emancipation. The meaning of a socialist state lies in the fact that it realises and directs social processes consistent with its fundamental goal, whilst it cannot provide absolute freedom as it is itself only a tool of compulsion. For this reason a socialist state must be continually democratised to such an extent that the basic antagonistic class contradictions dissappear. A state cannot afford to be violent in solving its relations with Christians and their institutions much less now that they no longer stand for a class interest. To widen freedom and democracy is of significance at a stage of prosperity and therefore cannot be regarded as a purpose in itself. However their restriction weakens the integration of a society and produces opposition and groups liable to the most extreme expressions of protest. Besides, the isolation of Christians provokes sentiments of exclusiveness, killing activity and inhibiting the change of their consciousness.
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