What does Arnold say about Christianity in Culture and Anarchy?
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Arnold clarifies his definition of culture by tracing its origin to curiosity or “scientific passion” (the desire to see things as they really are) and to morality or “social passion” (the desire to do good). Christianity, as he saw it, is like culture in that it also seeks to learn the will of God (human perfection) and make it prevail. Culture goes beyond religion, however, as interpreted by the Nonconformists in that it is a harmonious expansion of all human powers. In even sharper terms, culture is opposed to utilitarianism, which Arnold considered “mechanical” because it worshiped means rather than ends. In fact, anything—materialism, economic greatness, individual wealth, bodily health, Puritanism—that was treated as an end except that of human perfectibility was to Arnold mere “machinery” that led to anarchy. Only culture, the harmonious union of poetry (the ideal of beauty) and religion (the ideal of morality), sees itself as a means that preserves the totality of the individual. Culture looks beyond machinery; it has only one passion—the passion for “sweetness” (beauty) and “light” (intelligence) and the passion to make them prevail. With such a passion it seeks to do away with social classes and religious bias to make the best that has been thought and known in the world (right reason) the core of human endeavor and institutions.