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Then, in the West, a noonday crisis occurred as Christianity clashed with modernity, with secularization and a popular belief in “the death of God” characteristic of this ongoing phase.

http://halik.cz/cs/tvorba/clanky-eseje/clanek/220/

Does a native speaker find the above sentence OK? I have the problems with the passage in bold. I would use (a) … belief in “the death of God”, so characteristic of this ongoing phase; (b) … belief in “the death of God”, which is characteristic of this ongoing phase. I found the sentence unclear. Or am I wrong and everything is all right?

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    The phrase itself is fine, but it isn't entirely grammatical as written. It looks like this is a transcription from a lecture by a non-native speaker, though, and so not unusual. – Andrew Nov 15 '17 at 22:44
  • What do you mean that "it isn't entirely grammatical as written"? – bart-leby Nov 15 '17 at 22:50
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    It should be "... with secularization and a popular belief in "the death of God" that are characteristic of this ongoing phase". As written it's unclear what the speaker wants to say is characteristic. It's still too wordy, but it makes more sense. – Andrew Nov 15 '17 at 23:01
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I think the original sentence sounds fine. Both options (a) and (b) change the meaning a little bit, I think. In particular, I think option (b) says that only belief in “the death of God” is characteristic of the phase, and leaves secularization hanging.

I would consider splitting the sentence up to make it easier to digest.

Then, in the West, a noonday crisis occurred as Christianity clashed with modernity. Secularization and a popular belief in “the death of God” were characteristics of this ongoing phase.

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