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Religious crisis?

Religious crisis?

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Published by Convivium Press
The theologian María Clara Bingemer, from the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offers her reflections about the crisis of Religion. Read more at www.conviviumpress.com
The theologian María Clara Bingemer, from the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offers her reflections about the crisis of Religion. Read more at www.conviviumpress.com

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Published by: Convivium Press on Jul 17, 2011
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07/17/2011

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NOTESONSPIRITUALITYFOROURTIMES
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Ourcontext—variouslyidentifiedas«modernity»,«late-modernity»,«hyper-modernity»,or«post-modernity»—issomewhatlikequicksand.Wearenotonlyfacingatimeofchanges,but,asthefinaldocumentoftheAssemblyoftheLatin-AmericanBishopsheldinAparecidasays,weareconfrontinganepochalchange,andthismeanssignificantchangesforhumanlife,itsconfiguration,itsmeaningandself-understanding,alongwithafeelingofenormousun-certainty,insecurityandanxiety.Oneofthegreatestimpactsofthecurrentchangesisnodoubtitseffectonreligion.IfduringtheAgeofEnlighten-ment,humanrationalitybecameincreasinglyvisibleandachievedthestatusofafundamentalprinciplegoverninghumanlife,whatweseetodayisquitedifferent.Modernityisbeingreplacedbyanewstateofaffairs,whichhumanknowledgeisstillfarfromhavingdeeplyassimilated,anditisconcretelyinthetwentiethcenturythatthisprocessappearedmoreclearly.Religionsufferstheconsequencesofthisnewpost-modernworldview.Fromamodernperspective,forsomethingtobeconsideredlegitimateandtrue,itmusthavegonethroughaprocessofrationalcomprehension.Thiswasseenastheantidoteforthefanaticism,superstitionandintolerancethatreligionhasbeenaccusedoffosteringoverthe years.Today,humanbeingsconsiderthemselvesasautonomousandemancipated.Scienceandtechnologyresolvetheirproblems,replacingbeliefs.Theindividualisthecenteroftheuniverse,ofphenomenaandevents,somehowre-placingGodhimself.Humanbeingsalonearetheonesresponsibleforfindinghappinessandmeaninginlifethroughtheirthinkingandreasoningcapabilities.Inasimilarwaythattheocentrism,atthebeginningofthemodernera,fellintodeepcrisisandlostitspowertoex-plaintheworld,thesamesuchprocessisnowunderwayregardingCartesianrationality.Thiscrisisappearsasasymptomof thebirthof anewera:theoneinwhichwenowlive.Withallutopiasnowcollapsed,certaintiesgoneandabundantmeanstoachievescarceandpoorlydefinedends,thecontemporaryhumanbeingisseeking«peakexperiences»,experiencesthatcangivetheirlivesmeaningandconveywhetherlifeisstillworthliving.Faith,beliefor«religiousorganizations»,withtheirperpetuallyinsufficientmessagesabouthumanbeings,arenolongerthebestmeansofcommunicatingthesepeakexperiences.AsZygmuntBaumansays«Havingdisconnectedthedreamofpeakexperiencesfromthereligiously-inspiredpracticesofself-negationandwithdrawalfromworldly attractions,wefeelobligedtoconnectthisdreamtothedesireformundanegoodsanddeployitasafuelforanin-tenseconsumerism».
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