The Challenges of a New Religiosity

From Mirada Global and Razón y Fe magazine:

At the beginning of the third millennium, the secularist prophecy —backed by Weber and Durkheim— about the decline and vanishing of religion and faith has not been fulfilled. Even more, it would seem that we are very far from it. But everything is not as before: faith in the great churches shifting to a different kind of religiosity, which enhances individualization. And not only individualization, we are also the witnesses of the phenomenon of the syncretism between different religious horizons: everyday and in a natural way, people mix different aspects of religions, generating something different, new, sometimes with more or less sense.


Religions –and especially the more elaborated ones- contain the seeds of individuation. In the big religions we can see there is a process from the religion as a link, cohesion and social control, towards the individual and personal meeting with transcendence. The relationship —the path to illumination or salvation— that the individual establishes with the divinity becomes the fundamental part. In the West, for instance, Christianism has been a vehicle of individuation through the search of the personal relation with God (1). Thus, different movements and spiritual families, as well as mystics, have been emphasizing the idea that one must walk one’s own path in order to find God. Obviously, this hasn’t been an easy process because the opposite movement has also happened: the demand of living faith not from one’s own individuality, but from the institution and from what society demands.

Read the rest here. Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Beth Cioffoletti
7 years 4 months ago
This article rings very true to me, perhaps especially the paradigm of Etty Hillesum, who found her way to a personal transcendent God in spite of organized religion.

I think that the key is to be open to reality as it is - seeing what is there and responding as a whole human being.  I definitely resound with the idea that CHurch and State, religion and marketplace, must be kept separate.

In his later years, Thomas Merton wrote about a "religionless religion" - not in the sense that God was absent or unacknowledged, but one did indeed act "as if God did not exist".  The individual conscience triumphs.  Bonhoeffer says the same thing.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Alan Jacobs has dedicated most of his career to bridging gaps not only between Christians and non-Christians but also between disciplines and audiences.
David J. MichaelApril 23, 2018
 Pope Francis greets an elderly woman as he meets with people in a poor neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, in this July 12, 2015, file photo. Pastoral care of the poor and those in need has been emphasis of the pontificate of Pope Francis. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis has brought the legacy of the great saint of Assisi to the very heart of the church’s proclamation to the modern world.
Robert W. McElroyApril 23, 2018
Cuba’s new leader may feel he has to show public fealty to the older generation of the country’s revolutionary leaders.
Philip BrennerApril 23, 2018
It takes us a while to celebrate the Resurrection.
James Martin, S.J.April 23, 2018