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Margaret Manalo

on 18 January 2016

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Modernity and Religion
BY: Margaret, Amber, Julliane & Clarissa
Like everything else, religions shift and change with time
Christianity faced many changes with the end of the Middle Ages and through modern times.
During the 16th and 17th century, all areas of life in Europe slowly began to develop on their own, slowly separating from the church and religion.
Politics, economics, the sciences, and ethics looked less and less to the Bible or the Church for direction. Instead of looking towards the teachings of the Bible and the church, people were encouraged to find for themselves the reasons why things are the way they are.
Science (not religion) began to provide the foundation of "truth".
-In the eighteenth century many focused on questioning traditional authority and structures, on reason and scientific knowledge, on the individual, and on scientific freedom.
-The movement is referred to Enlightenment or Age of Enlightenment. The French and American Revolution arose from this movement.

The Enlightenment, Humanism and Secularism
The 16th and 17th centuries saw:
GEOGRAPHIC and ECONOMIC changes during the 16th & 17th centuries include:
A Closer Look
The Anglican Church or the Church of England is an example of a national church with its administrative centre in the country of its origin. Historically, many national churches had connections to the state government. In contrast, in modern times, many churches have no connection to the state; the United Church of Canada is an example. Its spiritual and administrative centre is in Rome, and all Catholic churches throughout the world are interconnected.
The breakup of the unity of the Western Christian Church
The founding of new Protestant churches.
The Peace of Augsburg, which determined that European rulers could decide on an official religion for the state and all people in it.
An outburst of journeys of discovery by Europeans in search of lands previously unknown to them.
Trade in these lands, new goods, and a greater appetite for wealth.
A new type of economy that eventually evolved into what we now call capitalism.
Changes in POLITICS were also taking place
First nation states began to break the power of kings and emperors. They made citizens question whether kings and emperors received their power from religion or God. This is when democracy was first noticed.
Of this world; not religious or sacred; "secular comes from the Latin word meaning "of the time"; the term comes from the contrasting belief in God being eternal, existing outside of time.
King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France
The most dramatic example of political changes during this time period was the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during the french revolution. During this time, power belonged to the people; religion and politics changed forever.
In the last 500 years, religion underwent a drastic transformation that we now call modern times
The main topic of this chapter is about what happened to us, as modern people, and what happened to religion as it affects us in Canada
There has been no official state religion in Canada since Canada's Confederation in 1867, but recently most Canadians believe Canada to be a Christian nation
Canadian life was heavily influenced by Christianity in the 1800s and half of the 1900s
As a result people tended to agree about what was right and wrong

Our legal and ethical systems are largely based on Judaeo- Christian teachings
We hear major public figures asking God to bless this country
Several provinces have Catholic schools
The landscape is dotted with churches
However, the influence of Christianity has lessened over the past 50-60 years
The idea that individuals should be able to decide for themselves what is right and wrong; which is known as secular humanism
Laws no longer require stores and other businesses to close on Sunday to reflect the Christian belief
Popular culture reflects an increasingly secular world that often downplays and mocks religious standards
Many people in Canada say that they have no religion. Prior to 1971, only 1% of Canadians had no religion. By 2001, that percent rose by 16.2%
There have been many responses to modernity, especially when it became secularist and atheistic
Tension rose between the Catholic Church and modernity
This is because modernity tried to find explanations for things and tried to govern without referring to God

An example of when the Catholic Church opposed modernity is when it opposed scientific discoveries made by astronauts in the 16th and 17th century
The Catholic Church has also had positive reactions:
For example, when Pope John XXIII declared his desire to hold an ecumenical council to bring the Catholic Church into our time
This became the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)
There are two documents that spoke of the need to update the Church in the face of the challenges of modernity
This document was made not only for Catholics, but for all people
This document reflects on the way humans see themselves today
It reflects on the wonder we feel about our discoveries, power, anxiety and the questions about the meaning of our striving and destiny of everything
Points to the capacity of humans to sin and to abuse these immense gifts
Speaks at length about atheism
Warns against seeing the gift of reason and freedom outside of God's attachment to us
A Closer Look
The Constitution says:
Modern atheism often takes on a systematic expression which, in addition to the other causes, stretches the desires for human independence to such a point that it poses difficulties against any kind of dependance on God.

Dependance on God, the document says, is seen as the equivalent of thwarting freedom, as if humans and God are in some sort of competition. Against these views, the document affirms that recognizing God is not hostile to human dignity
This is a landmark document
The Church had never announced that everyone has the right to religious freedom, but the constitutional law had already recognized this right
This right is accepted as an official teaching of the Church
The Church can not allow faith to be forced because the matter of freedom is too important (Freedom is a gift from God)
Freedom is a matter for the government, not only for the Church
Modernity, or modern times, refers to history that started around the 1500's and continues on to the present date
Along with this new era came shifts in the ways of thinking and acting that changed the world into the world today
The era started with the journey of exploration and led to globalization
The idea that people, countries and businesses throughout the world are interconnected and interdependent because of developments in politics, economics, communication, science and technology, and ethics
The Church played a major role in all areas of people's existence
They formed the center of life and was the basis of meaning and morality in European countries
It was unthinkable for someone to not believe in God (500 years ago)
This lack of belief is becoming more common in today's era
A Closer Look
The Declaration states:
It is in accordance with their dignity as persons that all [people] should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth.... However, [people] cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom
"In God We Trust"
One example of separation was the separation between religion and the government in the USA.
The first Amendment to the U.S constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." and Thomas Jefferson later referred to that as the "separation of church and state." "In God We Trust" was made the official motto of the US in 1956, and it appears on all currency.
More and more aspects of life are now being considered as secular.
In modern times, people are beginning to emphasize growing in a scientific way of knowing; which means obtaining knowledge through:
> what can be seen in the MATERIAL world

> what can be proven through OBSERVATIONS

> what can be understood through REASON
It is becoming more acceptable that people should not accept anything as true unless they had observable and measurable reasons to hold something to be true.
From the sixteenth century to the present, scientists, theologians and Christians have often been at odds about the age of the world, evolution, and ways of interpreting the Bible.
The Religious Reply to the Beliefs of Secular Humanists
Religious reply: Modern Times and Secular Life

Secular humanists speak from a modern perspective and their belief system is a fact of modern times.
They are deeply influenced by modernity and has acknowledged developments in these times.

The Catholic Church does not reject modernity.
Church does not accept that human beings must remove God from their lives (secular) in order to flourish.
Their view: individual rights are best respected through faith in God.

Religious Reply: Religion in the Twenty-First Century
Research does not support the secular humanist belief that religion is in decline in the twenty-first century. Problem: how to define religion
• Religion and politics, religion and science and technology all began separately (modern times).
The West has many religions when having one dominant religion.
Four classifications of religion today:
Organized religion, religious movements sects and cults, state religion, and folk religion
These show how religions have branched out in different directions, just as sciences, politics, economics, and other spheres have done.

Religious Reply: Humans Search for What Religion Offers
Organized Religion
Such as: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism have their own well-developed systems of rituals and beliefs.

Organized religion continues to grow in modern era –evidence by the new religion formed in mid 1800s (Bahai faith).

The task of science to discover and communicate reasons to hold something to be true started a new movement called RATIONALISM.
Definition: The attitude of accepting reason as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, and conduct.
An early example of conflict between scientists and theologians was in the case of Galileo.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian astronomer who made many discoveries and was the first to study celestial bodies using the telescope.
In 1633, Galileo was ordered to Rome to stand trial on suspicion of heresy.
Galileo's Heliocentric View
Using empirical evidence, Galileo defended the view of the universe as revolving around the sun, not the earth.
Before Galileo, the heliocentric view (sun-centred) had been rejected by the Church and was unproven by observable and measurable methods.
Eventually, the Catholic Church forced Galileo to withdraw his heliocentric view (at least publicly). He spent his last years of life under house arrest.
Later after his death, Galileo's heliocentric view overtime was and still is seen as true.
A belief or practice that is contrary to doctrine.
Agnostics and Atheists
Ever since the start of rationalism, people in modern times have increasingly questioned the existence of God (agnostics) and have often questioned the need for religion because God and religion cannot be known empirically.
Many believe there is not a measurable, observable reason or cause for God's existence, therefore it became possible for some individuals (atheists) to act and think as if God did not exist.
From the ancient Greek word meaning "not to know"; a person who believes that God may not exist, but that humans cannot know it with any certainty.
From the ancient Greek word meaning "no God"; a person who does not believe in God, or in any other higher power in reality.
Fast Fact
During the 18th century, church authorities accepted the fact if heliocentrism. In 1992, the Church publicly accepted that it had been wrong about Galileo.
A Closer Look
In hindsight, the Church now realizes that it confused biblical truth and scientific truth. During Galileo's time, the Church did not know how to deal with a source of truth that seemed to contradict biblical truth. It took until the 20th century before theologians began ti make clearer distinctions between biblical and scientific truth.
Expanding Knowledge and Worldviews
At the same time that science was expanding knowledge of the world and focusing many thinkers on the material world, exploration and trade were expanding the world that Christian Europeans knew, exposing them to new ideas and ways of living, and leading the way for colonial expansion and immigration.
These changed led to the multicultural and religiously diverse reality we have today.
Early explorers had to overcome the "fear of the unknown" and concerns about what could happen to them while they were isolated from the rest of the world. One of the things they feared was sea monsters.
Immanuel Kant
He was a German philosopher who was the first to explore the limits of reason. He argued that scientific knowledge and religious knowledge are distinct. "Science cannot say anything about God" was Kant's conclusion.
4) What does Agnostic mean?
5) What does Atheist mean?
6 Who defended the view of heliocentrism? When was the heliocentric view publicly accepted?

Galileo Galilei defended the view of heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was publicly accepted in 1992.
1) What was the Church's major concern about modernity?
2) How does
The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World
define atheism?
3) According to the Catholic Church, why is having religious freedom important?

From the ancient Greek word meaning "not to know"; a person who believes that God may not exist, but that humans cannot know it with any certainty.
Comes from the ancient Greek word meaning "no God"; a person who does not believe in God or in any other higher power or reality.
The Church's major concern was that modernity was making society become more secularist and atheistic
The constitution says that modern atheism stretches the desires for human independence to such a point that it poses difficulties against any kind of dependence on God
Over time the development of different philosophies occurred as well as the different movements and aspects:
Having religious freedom is important because it s a gift from God. The church can never allow faith to be forced because God calls freely and people must respond only in freedom.
The philosophy or worldview on the importance of human life, reason, and justice.
In our modern times, although rarely seen, instances like this may occur on a daily basis to those who publicly display their religion. Many religions are being discriminated against and are not accepted by all. If you were ever caught in a scenario like this one portrayed...
The dignity of the human person
The goodness of the human body
The accomplishments of the human mind
The affirmation of moral conscience
The excellence of liberty
Affirms human dignity and the importance of ethics.
• For humans to know that there is a God who loves and takes care of them, and that they can pray to God anytime, makes humans feel less alone in the struggles of life.
-Comforting to know that in death they will be welcomed into God’s house.
• Romanticism: the power of feeling and was filled with music, art, and literature that evoked emotions of attachments not to reason, but to the nature and beyond nature to the cosmos.
-feeling takes us beyond order, structure, and rationalism: allows us to touch a realm of freedom and beauty that brings us deep joy and fulfillment.
MUSIC: concerts bring forth feelings of sharing in a common beauty and a common humanity.
• People are looking for wholeness, peace, joy, and health.

A way of thinking and approaching the world that separates religion from any other areas of life.This belief is that governmental practices and institutions should exist separately from religion. It is generally, the principle of promoting secular ideas or values in the public or private settings over religious ways of thought.
The belief that governmental practices and institutions should exist separately from religion. It is generally, the principle of promoting secular ideas or values in the public or private settings over religious ways of thought.
The rejection of the influence of religion in other areas of life (examples: schools and public life).
This is the process of separating public institutions and popular culture from religious institutions and philosophies.
Organized Religion around the World
Christianity is practised in countries throughout the world. Organized religions, such as Christianity, have given a form to their beliefs and practices through art, buildings, books, rituals, and so on.
Religious Movements, Sects, and Cults
• New religious moments have appeared in modern times when the faith and practices of the organized religions were seen as out of step with modern life.
-they formed splinter groups or sects that responded to some spiritual, political, or social need which are known as religious movements.
Fundamentalist Movements
Fundamentalism: A form of religion in which groups or subgroups with a strict interpretation of religious scripture hold those beliefs as absolute authority and beyond human interpretation or adaptation.
• People break off from the traditional religions to respond to secular challenges to create fundamentalists branches.
• They see themselves as radically at odds with secular culture and globalization.
Ex. Modesty for women in Islam –wearing a burka
• Fundamentalists believe that religious truth is to be found solely in their own religious movement.
• Fundamentalist attitudes exist in all organized religions –Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
Ex. Christianity stresses a strict or literal interpretation of the scriptures and reject the value of other religions or beliefs.

Sects and Cults
• They are religious reactions to the challenges of modernity.
• Negative movements –different from organized religions due to breaking away from them.

Religious cults:
headed by charismatic leaders who claim either to have divine nature or to receive divine revelations.
-controlled harshly, leaving them physically and psychologically vulnerable.
-followers are put under constant pressure to accept the worldview of the leader.
-the worldview: the belief that the end of the world is near and that all people outside the cult are a threat or are evil.
-people in late teens or 20s join cult in personal search for happiness and belonging.
-feel supported and carried by the cult and its stronger leader and so they are ready to accept the full package of teachings and indoctrination when they are vulnerable.
-they break off relationships with friends and family

This episode of Boy meets World shows how easy a person who feels "lost" and "vulnerable" can get sucked into this private society. A cult makes a person feel like they belong somewhere and makes a person believe that they are the only ones who can protect them from the evilness of the world.
Religion once unified these areas of life: Politics, Economics, Sciences, Ethics. These areas are now seen as separate and religion is one of the many social systems.
Christianity in Modern Times
The Interrelationship of Religion and Other Spheres of Life
State Religions
• Third form of religion today is politicized religion
-The state and its laws authorize and privilege the beliefs and practices of a particular religion.
-This particular religion sets the agenda for the nation, making religion an arm of the state, or the state an arm of religion. – set rules for people who follow religion which is unavoidable
- Religion is linked to other social systems-politics, economics, and ethics

Since the social functions of politics, economics, science, and ethics are independent in many ways, they overlap with another function. Religion speaks to issues in other areas. The church continues to let its voice be heard whenever it feels that human dignity, human life and justice are at steak. Examples include:
- Economics, the church speaks out about harm to the poor.
-Politics, Catholics would speak out if the Canadian government were to reinstate capital punishment.
Over time people have realized that religion has become one social system among others, as they say that religion is declining. But, religion is not on a decline.
Folk Religion
• Most ancient or traditional religion that exist beside practices of organized religions or religious movements.
• Practices go back to pre-Christian times
• Organized religion opposed them but they survived and remained popular
• Tied closely to a religious feast and they remained ways of living the mystery attached to the feast
Ex. Halloween, aspects of Christmas (lights, Santa, gifts), Easter (Easter bunny, eggs) new years eve (fireworks), valentine’s day, thanksgiving, groundhog day

Religious Reply: Secular Humanism Is Itself a Belief
• Secular Humanism has certain values and beliefs
• Many Secular humanists believe that their view is more scientific and rational than Christianity is.
-They believe that there is no God and that humans are totally free-control of their own thought processes and fully responsible for themselves.
• But Secular humanism is no more rational than faith in God.
-Both depend on a belief that is not scientifically proven.
• Secular humanism is no more empirical evidence for its point of departure (there is no God and humans are entirely free) than Christianity has for its point of departure.

Secular Humanism
-Secular humanists believe that the dignity of the human person, human life, and happiness are achieved through human reason and effort alone.
-They reject the belief that God or the supernatural plays a role in moral reflection and decision making.
-Secular humanism is a worldview that shares many humanist beliefs with Christian humanism, but it has general beliefs rather than faith-based beliefs.
Secular Humanism: General Beliefs
- The main concern is for this life, not for hereafter.
-Life is a constant , progressive search for objective truth.
-The main concerns of human are fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both individual and humankind.
-To find solutions to human problems and answers to human questions.
-With reason, an open exchange of ideas, goodwill, and tolerance, humans can build a better world for themselves and future generations.
- Each individual must weigh and test dogmas ideologies, and traditions - not simply accept them on the word of an outside authority( Church or the Bible)
-Ethics conduct is based on workable individual, social, and political principles.
-Ethics can be evaluated by how useful they are in enhancing human well-being and individual responsibility.
Secular Humanism's Beliefs
Religious Reply: Secular Humanists Are Neither More Authentic nor Free
• Humans tried to be authentic, to be true to themselves, to create their own meaning for life, to authorize themselves to do what is right. But how do we determine what is right and good?
-We need to look to an authority.
• Secular humanists must turn to role models, to the past, to tradition, to what others hold out to be right and good.
Ex. Modern governments, laws and schools.

Christians have always searched and continue to search for the meaning of life in the Bible. They find meaning, authority, and authenticity in the Bible and in the Church.
• A person’s authentic self-existed through relationship God and with the community of the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI on Faith and Reason

• Pope Benedict has spoken of faith and reason a number of times. Faith, he says, is compatible with human reason, but is not based on human reason. Reason is a gift to all humans, religious or not. The Church values this gift, but is not limited by it.

Religious Reply : Ethics Based on Reason Are Insufficient
• To find moral guidance, Christianity draws on the inherent dignity of the human person as being in the image of God, and turns to the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus gave.

• Secular Humanism draws more on principles such as:
-the universality principle: follow a rule only if you think it should apply to all humans.
-the utilitarian principle: actions are moral why they are useful; that is when they contribute to human happiness.

Although the Catholic Church never endorsed the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration Human Rights, the Church
-has praised the efforts to arrive at declarations of human rights and freedoms and praised the declaration itself
-has created its own statement of human rights, based on the dignity of each person as the image of God.

7) What does Fundamentalism mean?
8) Which of the four classifications of religion sets the agenda for the nation, making religion an arm of state, or the state an arm of religion?
9) What are examples of practices that are associated with Folk Religion?

Fundamentalism: A form of religion in which groups or subgroups with a strict interpretation of religious scripture hold those beliefs as absolute authority and beyond human interpretation or adaptation.

State Religion
Halloween, Carnival, Valentine's Day, aspects of Chrismas etc.
Belief: Secular Humanism is about Humans Coming of Age
- Many thought that this is the era of religion coming to an end.
-Religion would necessarily disappear as a way of understanding human life and meaning.
-Giving up religion was part of this new, enlightened time, where only the rational and the scientific counted.

Belief: Religion Provides a sense of Security
-Life ends with death and that it takes courage to let go of the security that religion provides.
-Humans without the promise of reward in an afterlife should work to improve our lives and others lives around us.
-They believe that there is nothing bigger than us to guide us on our way in a life that is often difficult.
-It takes more courage to accept life without God than to live with faith in a loving God.
Belief: Secular Humanism Values Authenticity
-we need to express ourselves as individuals.
-all of us have our own way of realizing who we are-this is the task of life.
- people are seen as individuals before they are seen as part of a community.

Belief: Secular Humanism is Based on Human Reason
- Observable facts, scientific knowledge, and reason
-Questioning authority, rules, and regulations
-The individual and his or her freedom.
Belief: Ethics Should Be Based on Reason
-Ethics based on utilitarianism- the idea that what is ethical must be useful to the individual, contributing to the person's well- being and greatest happiness and pleasure, not necessarily to the common good.
- The human rights tradition- including the ideas that all humans have a number of inherent rights and freedoms.
Fast Fact:
Most of the current ethical theories of secular institutions such as the Canadian government, corporations, schools, and universities are in attempt to apply reason to human actions
10) How does secular humanism define authenticity?
Being "authentic" means being true to yourself as an individual.
11)What does Humanism mean?
A philosophy or worldview that upholds the importance of life.
12) What does Secularism mean?
A way of thinking and approaching the world that separates religion from other areas of life.
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