Catholic World News

Americans' blending of disparate religions seen as a threatening 'a sense of the sacred'

December 11, 2009

A new Pew Foundation survey finds that a remarkable number of Americans adopt their own blend of different religious beliefs and practices. “As a scholar of religion, I am supposed to simply observe all this without rendering any judgment,” comments Stephen Prothero in the Wall Street Journal; “but I can't help feeling that something precious is being lost, perhaps something as fundamental as a sense of the sacred.” He continues:

Harvard philosopher George Santayana once observed that "American life is a powerful solvent," capable of neutralizing new ideas into banal clichés. I worry that this solvent is now melting down the sharp edges of the world's religions, bending them toward purposes other than their own.”


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  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 13, 2009 12:29 PM ET USA

    This is part of the New Age, I am spiritual, movement really a worship of self because the self is calling all the shots regarding belief. Klaus Berger points out that criticisms of the failings of the Church from this sector is like looking in the mirror because there's a refusal to look at the divine and seek what God wants and then in the root meaning of humility bending the knee to the ground. St. John of the Cross says: Learn to love as God wishes to be loved and abandon your present state.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Dec. 12, 2009 8:11 PM ET USA

    Perhaps Islam in Europe will b a good thing. After all, Islam might force (or inspire) Europe to re-embrace their Christian heritage in order to survive. The current relativism, atheist materialism and nihilism are things that cannot last forever because those things are self destructive in the end. You're right, climate change is almost a religious phenomenon!

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Dec. 12, 2009 6:29 PM ET USA

    Serious religious belief is ridiculed as "superstition" and the spiritualism of the Church of Climate Change is going mainstream. Only Islam and the other faiths which keep their sharp elbows are going to survive this blender.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2009 9:43 AM ET USA

    The article is an excellent one.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Dec. 12, 2009 8:09 AM ET USA

    I think the "sense of the sacred" has not only been lost, it's been deliberately subverted and attacked by many in our culture who try to influence things. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that many religions are not ompatible at all, in any way shape or form, and so trying to marry ideas like "karma" and "reincarnation" with Christianity are completely wrong and misguided. Maybe real solid religious education is lacking so people don't understand that some things are not compatible.