التعددية الدينية في عصر التعددية

كان انتخاب البابا بينيدكت السادس عشر والحرب ضد الإرهاب من الأسباب التي جلبت اهتماماً غير مسبوق بالدور الذي يلعبه الدين في العالم. ولقد نشأ اهتمام خاص
(في حالة الإسلام على وجه التحديد) بالرد على التساؤل الذي أثير حول ما إذا كانت بعض التعاليم الدينية المحددة متوافقة مع مؤسسات وقيم الديمقراطية الليبرالية. لكن اقتصار التركيز على المعتقدات والممارسات يؤدي إلى إغفال سؤال قد يكون أكثر أهمية إلى حد بعيد: كيف تُـعْـتَـنَق المبادئ والتعاليم الدينية وكيف تُـمَـارَس؟

على الرغم من كم الأدلة الهائل الذي يثبت العكس، إلا أن العديد من الناس ـ حتى من غير علماء اللاهوت وأصول الدين ـ صاروا يخشون أن يكون العصر الذي نعيش فيه الآن عصراً علمانياً. ولكن بعيداً عن اتسام عصرنا بصفة العلمانية، فقد شهد هذا العصر عدداً ضخماً من حالات تفجر العواطف الدينية. إن العصر الحديث لا يقل تديناً عن أية فترة تاريخية سابقة، بل إنه في بعض الأماكن من العالم أكثر تديناً من عصور سابقة.

هناك استثناء من هذا التعميم، وهو استثناء جغرافي سياسي: فقد شهد غرب ووسط أوروبا انحداراً حقيقياً للدين، الذي أصبح مقوماً مهماً من مقومات الهوية الثقافية الأوروبية. أما الاستثناء الآخر فهو سيكولوجي، وهو يشمل فئة ضئيلة نسبياً من أهل الفكر على مستوى العالم، لكنها في الواقع فئة مؤثرة وذات نفوذ. ولقد أصبحت العلمانية في نظرهم لا تمثل حقيقة واقعة فحسب، بل صارت تشكل التزاماً إيديولوجياً بالنسبة لبعض أفراد هذه الفئة على الأقل.

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