Contemporary social sciences challenged Christian anthropology by trying to provide an account of human existence that did not need to appeal to divine, biblical, or ecclesiastical authorities. It is important to note that the social sciences were not by necessity antithetical to Christianity. Indeed, there were many social scientists that identified themselves as Christians. In fact, the social sciences have increased our understanding of human life and Christians should welcome such things.
However, in providing an anthropology that does not need to appeal to revelation, the issues that are important in Christian anthropology have become irrelevant in the modern view. Sin, atonement, life after death, are understood as somehow beside the point insofar as they help humanity understand the behavior of a particular group of people. To ask whether such Christian theological notions are true is not even a proper question.
In modernity, the primary question about religion is not whether the claims made are true, but what impact upon humanity does religion have? It seemed inevitable, therefore, that over time a patronizing attitude toward religion developed among more than a few social scientists. Since humanity was in the process of growing up (so they said), religion was valuable as it provided a sense of security for those who still needed to explain the world in supernatural terms. Religious faith was a positive thing for immature humanity. Now that humanity has matured, religion is no longer needed as a crutch. Others, such as Freud and Feuerbach went even further arguing that religion was neurotic, preventing humanity from reaching its full potential.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the discipline of theology is no longer given the same respect as other disciplines in the modern university. It has a different, and by the standards of modernity, an outmoded methodology.
Of course, modernity does not get the last word....