Are scientific and historical discoveries a threat to Christianity? In the nineteenth century a group of men and women, focused principally around Oxford, believed that they could meet this challenge by using a framework of philosophical idealism being championed by Thomas Hill Green at Balliol College. Reflecting the ever-expanding British Empire, these privileged, influential and optimistic Christians believed they could fill the universe with Christ-centered spiritual meaning. But their mission was undermined by a failure to take seriously the rapid changes in fin de siecle culture. The rise of early media, new developments in analytic philosophy, questions about 'progress' and the development of militant nationalistic rhetoric, all undermined the comfortable world of academic privilege and romantic idealism. The Church signally failed to respond to this changing culture, and still faces the consequences today.

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