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Reactions against the discontents of modernity or postmodernity are not new. Its shallowness, heavy materialism and meaninglessness had all been subject to severe criticisms since the German idealist reaction to the Enlightenment. The thinkers after Kant had to experience the uneasy mixed feelings of admiration and deep frustration before his monumental work. For a while Hegelian thinking held sway among the intellectuals, but then, starting from the mid-19th century materialism (and Marxism) began to establish itself as an attractive alternative side by side with other currents of thought. Nietzsche, who had already declared the dead of God in 1882, developed one of the severest criticisms of the modern European society labeling his age as one of decadence and nihilism. Simmel, Weber and Sombart were also developing a sociology which was largely critical toward the modern life. Heidegger published his Being and Time in 1927 where he criticized the contemporary situation of man as boredom due to the forgetfulness of the question of Being as a result of his being too much sunk into the everyday hodge-podge of the materialist modern world. (1) But, perhaps with the exception of Heidegger, despite their critical attitude none of the aforementioned 19th century figures called for a return to the earlier forms of life. They rather preferred to look forward, seeing faith as a thing of the past properly belonging to an age before Nietzsche's declaration of God's death. (2) So that, during this time and after, until the mid-20th century calling for a return to faith seemed out of place at least among serious scholars. However, the years leading to 1968 in France and its aftermath, especially in connection with the rise of phenomenology, structuralism, and post-structuralism, display a kind of weariness in connection with the well-established modernist theories including Marxism. It was largely the bunch of theoretical approaches generally referred as postmodern that proved to be quite capable and effective in their critique and destruction of the modernist idea(l)s and reduced them to myths that no longer could maintain their credibility. The destruction of those ideals were so effective and complete, at least in the theoretical plane, that in 1979 Lyotard was writing on the loss of our capacity to believe in the metanarratives that held the modernism together:

Religion & Spirituality
December 22
The Academic Society for the Research of Religions and Ideologies (SACRI)
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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