The Victorian Crisis of Faith as Crisis of Vocation

  • Jeffrey von Arx


Much of the understanding we have of the Victorian crisis of faith is shaped by the literature of conversion and reverse conversion: autobiographical accounts like Newman’s Apologia, barely concealed autobiography like Froude’s Nemesis of Faith, or novels of conversion like Mrs Humphry Ward’s Robert Elsmere. These personal or personalised accounts focus on the crisis of faith as an issue of conscience and intellectual integrity: the protagonist must ask whether it is ethical to assent to religious doctrines that one has ceased to believe. The answer, of course, in good conscience can only be no, and yet the decision to abandon the creed in which one was raised is always a process of agonised soul-searching and deeply-felt personal loss.


National Politics Christian Belief Religious Doubt Good Conscience Early Impression 
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Copyright information

© Richard J. Helmstadter and Bernard Lightman 1990

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  • Jeffrey von Arx

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