Question 227:

When people knew very little about themselves and about the world religion was a very helpful tool. Now new realities that were previously unknown are being researched and explained almost daily. For how many years will religions still be valid? Can these religions also survive our century?



Religions are not about the provision of information about humanity and the world. This is the task of science and sociology.

Religion in general (historically speaking, apart from any value-judgment) can be described as mans relations with the holy; subjective religion is veneration and adoration, which become objective religion when embodied in creed, word, actions (gestures, dance, ablutions, blessings, sacrifice, sacrificial meal), and law. These relations are only possible insofar as the holy appears to man. But religion is the human response to this epiphany and as such is subject to corruption, like all things human, indeed more so than other human things, because through religion man wins a share in the holy, thus reaching the height of his power ? but a power both to surrender to the God of all holiness, and also to exploit the name of God, taking over the holy in order to justify himself. (Karl Rahner/Herbert Vorgrimler, Concise Theological Dictionary, ed. Cornelius Ernst, tr. Richard Strachan. Freiburg, Herder/ London, Burns & Oates, 1965, art. Religion). The study of religions in the past and the present leads us to the insight in a certain ambiguity and a twofold possibility of religion, which in actual religions are usually both present. There is therefore the decay and the revival of religions. The decay of religions, or of a single religion, has been forecast repeatedly, if generally erroneously.

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