Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds Even in terms of religious matters, the circumstances we are living in are quite challenging. Up to a few decades ago, it seemed secularisation processes were bound to happen, and religions could not therefore survive unless they would play but a marginal role. On the contrary, at the beginning of the new millennium, we witnessed a true “return of religion”. Religions have come back, both as places for spiritual reflection that could provide the overall guidance and the values that ideologies could no longer produce and as movements or establishments that could affect the public sphere as catalysts of history. Now, if we go into the details of the matter, in the religious sphere
Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds we can find at least three attitudes, quite often interlaced, which live together in society: firstly (1), a deep and consistent indifference to religious experiences, especially in the global West; secondly (2), in the same areas, individuals being aware that they have a multitude of cults and rites, all on a par with each other, they can choose from (an actual plurality in the religious sphere); and lastly (3), a way of experiencing religious phenomena that is endorsed and expressed in the inflexible ways of the different forms of fundamentalism. Of course, all such ways of relating to religious experiences go hand in hand with people’s traditional ways of living their faith, although less and less widespread.
Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds However, what is really new in the current scenario is these three dimensions: indifference, plurality and fundamentalism. So, first we have to keep this situation in mind. We must remember that religions are not marginal and that their proactive role in society cannot be reduced to a fundamentalist understanding. We have to keep all this in mind if we want religions, the world’s religions, to really play a proactive role in promoting a peaceful coexistence among humans. This is the intention that inspired the project of the set of videos that I am going to introduce now.
Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds Five figures or experts of the world’s main religions will be involved in these videos. Each one of them will describe their religions, and answer the same questions. What is new about this project in fact is the perspective that each speaker takes. In their presentations, they are going to show that every religion has lessons and behaviours that encourage people to relate, connect with and love other humans, not to withdraw into themselves or to provoke conflicts. In other words, there is no fundamentalism at the heart of any religion.
Skip to 3 minutes and 44 seconds Quite the opposite: the experience of all the people who practice a religion, if they want to stand by its underlying principles, is one that inspires them to be open, to be accepting of others, to talk with others.
Skip to 3 minutes and 59 seconds That’s why we called this series of videos: Religions from the inside. Possibility and reality of interreligious dialogue. This should come as no surprise. The word that European languages use to describe this kind of spiritual experiences – and that applies to both Western and Eastern contexts, with an inevitably far-fetched translation – is actually “religion”. We know that in the European languages the etymology of the word relates to the concept of “relationship”, of “bond” (religio/religamen).
Skip to 4 minutes and 40 seconds What the word “religion” actually conveys is a double relationship: the relationship between the human being and what the “divine” means; and then the relationship between humans, and between humans and the world, which is actually governed by such primary relationship with the divine. It is an experience that is made by all religions, each one in its own way.
Skip to 5 minutes and 28 seconds This is proved by a specific discipline, the one I am practising myself now: philosophy of religion.
The world’s religions scenario and our course
“In terms of religious matters, the circumstances we are living in are quite challenging. Up to a few decades ago, it seemed secularisation processes were bound to happen, and religions could not therefore survive unless they would play but a marginal role, confined to the sphere of the individual’s private conscience. On the contrary, at the dawn of the new millennium, we witnessed a genuine ‘return of religion’ “. (A. Fabris)
Professor Adriano Fabris, the course designer, gives an illustration of the course and explains what will be the leitmotiv of the course.