How will atheism develop in the future?
Europe's Religion: The Future of Faith
Religion doesn't die, it changes. Not only are “new religions” and new religious movements emerging, but the old religions are also changing and taking on new political and cultural roles. But where is our western Christianity today, what shape does it take, what is its vision for the future?
I am not surprised that claims such as Britain is a Christian country or Europe is a Christian continent cause excitement. On the one hand, they are supported by many historical and sociological arguments. Ultimately, the secular character of society is itself a fruit of Christianity, and in a sense even European atheism is a Christian phenomenon.
On the other hand, claims like “Britain is a Christian country” or “Europe is a Christian continent” must provoke the question: What do you mean by that? And what conclusions do you draw from this? What form of Christianity could help make our world a better place for everyone to live - both Christians and non-Christians, believers and atheists?
Religious symbols can become sources of violence
We have seen how the power of religious symbols can become a destructive force and a source of violence when coupled with political interests. We must therefore ask ourselves: How can the power of faith help create a culture of mutual respect, a civilization in which differences are perceived not as a threat but as an asset? What progress should religion make so that we can enjoy a culture of sharing instead of fear of the clash of civilizations? What can religions (and especially Christianity) contribute to shaping the globalization process so that it becomes a culture of communication?
Today, it is not only the countries of Central and Eastern Europe who are looking with great concern at the attempts of the Kremlin rulers to rebuild the old Soviet empire, which was ruled by a combination of old-fashioned Russian imperialism and the doctrine of “scientific atheism”. While the ideology of “scientific atheism” died long ago in Russia, the old Russian nationalism and imperial dreams are still very much alive.
During the Second World War, when Stalin, one of the cruelest persecutors of the faith in human history, realized that the Russian people were not ready to die for the communist ideology of "scientific atheism", he tried the Orthodox religion and to save his empire to harness Russian patriotism. In the spectacle that we are now attending, former KGB agents kiss icons of Christ and the Mother of God. Will the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church have the moral steadfastness to say to the current rulers in the Kremlin: You must first drive away the evil spirits of Dostoevsky's "demons" from your minds and hearts before you can offer your gifts in the house of God?
What happens to a society with no spiritual roots?
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