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Theologians are fast coming to realize, if sociologists are not, that if religion is to survive there must be an effective coordination between the vertical and horizontal -- i.e., the theological and sociological -- relationships of man, and this volume is both a reflection of that realization and a first step toward that coordination. The author begins with the assumption that any ""great society"" in America must be a free society, and the general purpose of his work is, within that context, to examine some areas in American society which are either not free or indeed obstructive of freedom and to see whether and how religious forces can effect that freedom or remove those obstacles. The first two chapters are introductory and deal with the general relations of religion with society, especially under their political and economic aspects; succeeding chapters treat of such areas of concern: church-state relations, religion and education, law and morality, racial and religio-ethnic minorities, the struggle against poverty and war. Nelson actually has little to say about any of these problems that has not been said before; the value of his book lies in the fact that he presents a synthesis of areas of social concern which allows the reader to recognize patterns not only of difficulty but also of solutions. The reader may have some reservations with respect to some of the author's conclusions, particularly in the final chapter on ""Consensus, Dialogue, and the Ecumenical Impact,"" but they are reservations which will stimulate thinking about very important problems on the part of a mature, socially concerned Christian audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1966
Publisher: Sheed & Ward