Wednesday, January 13, 2016

‘The role of religion in our world,’ Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

What is the role of religion in our modern society? Does it have a role or is it marginalised? I think it’s fair to say that religion has taken a central role, especially since 9/11, where a war of religions, of ideologies, of cultures has become central to politics, news and discussions worldwide. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew explained, in a talk he gave in Oxford (November 2015), the positive and profound role religion places in our modern world. He stated:

‘There is a vital sign of our times at the beginning of this new millennium, and that is what we might call “the return of God” – that is to say, the reevaluation of the function and responsibility of religion in the public square. Religion today comprises a central dimension of human life, both on the personal and the social network. No longer can religion be relegated to a matter of individual preference or private practice.
Religion is becoming increasingly meaningful and momentous in appreciating the past, analysing the present, and even assessing the future of our world. In our day, religion claims a public face and a social profile; and it is invited to participate in contemporary communal discourse.’[1]

[1] Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch, ‘Creation Care and Ecological Justice: Reflections,’ Koinonia, New Series No.66, Allsaintstide 2015, p.42.

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