Decline of Religion: A view from 1904

In 1904 R. H. Tawney (the author of famous books such as “The Acquisitive Society”,1921) made a note that, as a result of his voluntary work at Toynbee Hall, he was seeing the decline of religious observance, the fact that “one of the great social forces of history is gradually and reluctantly drifting out of the lives of no inconsiderable part of society”. He attributed this to squalid conditions and the “ethical atmosphere” of the times (he was referring to the uncaring and self-centred ethos of unregulated capitalism, a topic he was to address in his influential books).

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