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Title: Faith in conflict : a study of British experiences in the First World War with particular reference to the English Midlands
Author: Bell, Stuart Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 8160
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis addresses the question, ‘How did the First World War affect the religious faith of the people of Britain?’ The ways in which wartime preachers, hymn-writers, diarists and letter-writers expressed their faith are examined. For the vast majority, the War was both a military and a spiritual conflict of right against might and the rhetoric of a Holy War was popular. Questions of divine omnipotence and providence troubled many, the standard response being that war was a consequence of God’s gift of free will. The language of sacrifice dominated public discourse, with many asserting that the salvation of the fallen was ensured by their own sacrifice. Prayers for the dead became widely accepted in the Church of England. Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy promoted the belief that God shares in human suffering. However, there is little evidence that his advocacy of divine impassibility was influential subsequently. Wartime ecumenical activities and attitudes are analysed, the hopes for Christian unity of the 1920 Lambeth Conference are discussed and the naïve optimism of many bishops is contrasted with the reality of ecclesiological differences. The conclusion is that the War’s influence on people’s faith was limited and reasons for this are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BL Religion ; D501 World War I ; DA Great Britain