Sunday, December 18, 2011

Post Secular?

In the relatively brief period I have been here in Ukraine and trying to understand what is going on around me, one of the columnists on the web site RISU (Religious Information Service of Ukraine) whom I enjoy reading is Andrew Sorokowski. I am eager to recommend his most recent article "Are we in a post-secular age?" (see Sorokowski).

The author often takes as his point of departure a statement made by a leader within the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church community, in this case the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Fr. Boris Gudziak, and elaborates or dwells on affirmations made by the same.

This particular article's analysis of Ukrainian West and Ukrainian East religiosity in the face of past persecution and long-term, ongoing secularization in society goes far beyond the usual assessments one or at least I have been able to hear or read to date. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough or not reading the right people? In any case, I am grateful for this find and pass it on for your attention and comment.
I share the author's assessment that by far "indifference" would be characteristic of people almost everywhere here in the face of the God question; it is simply not an issue. Scripturally, this world is in a way B.C. sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. Christ, our Light, hasn't dawned on them as yet.

The so-called "seekers after meaning in life" have set the bar none too high for themselves. In any case they are looking for something easier than what the Gospel has to offer. Here's a quote from the article:

"For those who do search for meaning, notes Fr. Gudziak, there are few ready answers. At first this may seem untrue. After all, modern society offers a broad array of answers: all kinds of religions, philosophies, and life-styles purport to answer the question of the meaning of life. One can find web-sites, support groups, and T-shirts for just about any creed, or the absence of one. But if we are speaking of true answers, indeed there are few. Christianity does not provide an answer to every question; rather, it suggests answers to a few big questions, leaving us to figure out the rest. It tells us who we are and why we are here, but it does not tell us, for example, why God permits evil. Contrary to a popular perception, the Church does not do our thinking for us, but gives us enough understanding to attack the questions that remain unanswered. A university like UCU provides students with the intellectual tools of the Christian tradition that will enable them to find their own answers to the big questions."

Let me know your thoughts or better suggest a better reading list than the one I've got so far!

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