Hjalti Hugason: Church in Crisis – Icelandic Church and Modernity
In the 20th century the National Church of Iceland met new challenges in the growing influence of positivism and related movements in society, including literature and education. This led to a crisis in relations between church and state, but the National Church had already started to become isolated from society in the late 19th century. Many leaders in the National Church tried to meet these challenges by maintaining liberal theology and spiritualism, which sought to meet positivism with new historical criticism and proof of the immortality of the soul. Policies of this kind seem to have shaped the religious beliefs of Icelanders until the last decades of the 19th century. After World War II the National Church turned away from this course and put more emphasis on its traditions, e.g. in liturgy. The analysis deals with the question whether this paradigm shift will end the relationship between church and nation at the beginning of the 21st century.
Keywords: church history, secularisation, liberal theology, spiritism, clerical romanticism