venerdì 12 febbraio 2016

HOW THE WEST REALLY LOST GOD di Mary Eberstadt cap 2

HOW THE WEST REALLY LOST GOD di Mary Eberstadt cap 2
2 What Is the Conventional Story Line about How the West Lost God? What Are the Problems with It?
  • Le teorie precedenti. Over the years, as indicated, many learned and influential people have bent their powers to tracking the receding God. Our purpose in this chapter is to listen to what they have to say and to see whether it all adds up.
  • 1 . “What caused secularization? People stopped needing the imaginary comforts of religion.”
  • Religion is akin to “opium,” as Marx put it
  • Sigmund Freud: "religion derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires... Christianity is rooted in fear and superstition. Its purpose is to serve as a giant pacifier against the hunger pains of mortality
  • Dawkins Harris France... In sum, for the new atheists—as for others standing outside the tent of belief, and wondering how it ever got put there—the most common answer to the question of “why religion?” seems to be that there is something about that tent that is comforting to those inside it. It is something that people have somehow devised to make themselves feel better... atheists prefer to designate themselves as “Brights”—a word plainly implying that believers are by contrast either “Dims” or “Dulls
  • The w before us is this: If we don’t have an adequate explanation for why people believe in religion in the first place, how can we have one for why they stop?
  • 2. :What caused secularization? Science and the Enlightenment and rationalism.”
  • The late Christopher Hitchens, for example, closes his 2007 manifesto God Is Not Great: How Religion Spoils Everything, with a chapter calling for “The Need for a New Enlightenment
  • Charles Alan Kors argues that the changes ushered in by Enlightenment science ultimately transformed not only science, but the entire theological world as well
  • British historian Hugh McLeod identifies three problems with this way of explaining secularization
  • First, he observes, the masses were not part of the Enlightenment
  • Second, eighteenth-century elites were actually more likely to be rational Christians than they were atheists or freethinkers.
  • Third, he notes, “those who seek to trace a continuous line from Voltaire to twenty-first-century atheists also tend to overlook the fact that the first half of the nineteenth century saw a revival of more conservative forms of Christianity both among intellectuals and among the aristocracy and bourgeoisie more widely
  • if the theory from enlightenment were true, we would also expect from the theory that the better-off people are, the less likely they are to practice religion... but... Christian religiosity, in at least some significant places and times, has in fact been more concentrated in the upper classes than in the lower, and more likely among the educated than among those who are less so.
  • Robert D. Putnam’s and David E. Campbell’s American Grace, mentioned earlier, similarly refutes the notion that religiosity in the United States is a lower-class thing
  • Charles Murray Coming Apart: .... The upper 20 percent of the American population, he summarizes using data from the General Social Survey, are considerably more likely than the lower 30 percent to believe in God and to go to church.
  • Wilcox has documented the “faith gap” between the better-educated and the people who are less so... Americans with college degrees are more likely than those with high school diplomas alone to attend church on Sunday.
  • 3. . “What caused secularization? The world wars did.”
  • The horrors of the Holocaust alone, the deliberate murder of six million Jews, including by people who also called themselves Christians, would seem to more than justify despair about the incorrigible darkness of the human heart
  • In an intriguing essay alluded to earlier, for example, reviewing the role of religion during that war in the British, American, and Canadian armies, historian Michael Snape concludes that the soldiers of all three nations “were exposed to an institutional process of rechristianisation during the Second World War
  • 4. . “What caused secularization? Material progress did. People got fat and happy and didn’t need God anymore.”
  • It is also a thought that pops up frequently in the pastoral literature created by contemporary religious leaders
  • Arthur Simon, evangelical pastor and founder of the charity Bread for the World, is also author of a book called How Much Is Enough? Hungering for God in an Affluent Culture.
  • Pope Benedict XVI has vigorously and repeatedly condemned what he calls the “idol” of consumerism
  • Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. They have explored in fine detail the connections between privation and religious belief. According to their model, the poorer and less secure people are, the more they “need” religion
  • one would expect religiosity to decline as one climbs the social ladder in the advanced West—and instead, as we have seen, the opposite appears to be the case,
  • Christianity has coexisted comfortably, even exuberantly, in materially comfortable surroundings ... from ancient Rome to Renaissance Florence to the gated communities and megachurches of the United States today
  • But the ultimate limitation of the explanation from material wealth is one shared by the other going theories for secularization: i.e., there are too many exceptions to be explained
  • Why is the United States of America, by any measure, more religious than the economically comparable nations of Europe—a problem known in the specialized literature as “American exceptionalism”? Why are women more religiously observant than men? Why is 1960 such a pivotal year for religious observance and practice, as nearly all observers agree; what is it that makes Christianity seem to go off a cliff after that point? Current theories of Christianity’s decline cannot answer these questions—meaning that the truths of each going version of the theory are partial, and not complete.
  • ...
  • Un segnale del perchè manca una teoria della secolarizzazione... the constantly expressed frustration on the part of nonbelievers and anti-believers at Christianity’s apparently unfathomable persistence in the modern world.... Sam Harris seems similarly to believe that most other people are inferior to atheists in understanding... Michel Onfray, for example, seems to blame the plodding majority of humanity for just not getting it
  • the new atheists are markedly inferior to the great thinkers of modernity, whose understanding of the impulse toward religiosity was immeasurably more nuanced and empathetic....
  • Émile Durkheim, to make a long story ridiculously short, believed that religion contained deep truths
  • Sigmund Freud, for his part, argued similarly in Civilization and Its Discontents that society requires sacrifice on the part of individuals and repression as the price for civilization.44 Thus, though he was also a signatory of sorts to what has been dubbed the “comfort theory” of the origins of religion
  • Max Weber... believed in the original variant of the “Protestantism” explanation for secularization visited earlier