Religion: Visible Signs

Protestantism may be perishing for lack of adequate religious symbols. So writes Quaker Author Douglas Steere, professor of philosophy at Haverford College, in the current issue of the quarterly Religion in Life.

The first Protestants, Steere says, deliberately swept away many of the outward forms of Christianity. Emphasis on visible authority and external practices had brought the Roman Catholic Church, they thought, to Pharisaism and travesty; they hoped to avoid the same pitfall by stressing an inward spirituality. Instead of relying on liturgical formulas and the "outward priestly act of the sprinkling of holy water," they hoped to permeate each moment of...

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