Catechesis in Contemporary Culture: Unbelief and Religious Indifference

Authored by Brian Pizzalato in Issue #31.1 of The Sower

In 2004 the Pontifical Council for Culture published, Where is Your God? Responding to the Challenge of Unbelief and Religious Indifference Today. This document deals primarily with unbelief and religious indifference which have secularism as their cause, and a new subjective, emotive religiosity as its consequence. In this article we will explore the problem of unbelief and religious indifference. In following issue of The Sower we will deal with this new emotive religiosity.

The phenomenon of unbelief in current culture is different than the militant atheism, and atheistic regimes, of the past. It is different in the sense that ‘often one becomes a non-believer not through choice at the end of a long inner struggle, but it just happens de facto, because “that’s what everybody else does” ’ (Where is Your God? I.1).

The Council identifies different causes of this new kind of unbelief and religious indifference.

The first cause mentioned is the rise of scientism, with its ‘vision of the world without any reference to God…’ (I.2.1). Notice, however, that the document does not say that the problem is the rise of science, but scientism.

A second cause is connected with the atheism of the past. The atheistic regimes have fallen, but ‘the underlying anthropological model has not disappeared, indeed it has become stronger taking on the philosophy inherited from the enlightenment’.

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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