To judge from the public voice and countenance of religion in America at least, there is a preoccupation in religion with happiness at the expense of meaning. But between the two poles of happiness and meaning there is considerable distance. This chapter accepts the problem of meaning as more urgent than the problem of happiness. For over against the hopeful prescriptions for the integration of the personality and of social life through religion there stands the experience of disintegration of the structure of past confidence. Desperately, theologians wrestle with ancient symbols to wrest from them new significance or reference, or attempt to revivify their lost meaning and powers of evocation. In these critical times theological thought attempts to referee the contest between the lost soul and the powerful chaos of world history. In an intellectual landscape scarred by war, diplomatic failure, economic uncertainty, and a wide variety of psychic traumata, theologians probe the private egos, society, and even language itself to reestablish meaning. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "2. Meaning as a Problem in Contemporary Religious Thought. Pt. XXIII: Theological Meaning." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 4-7.