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Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures

Item Number: 652

Catalog Code: CHCRCU-H

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Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures

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Average Rating: This item received 3 stars overall.

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Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Forward by Marcello Pera

Written by Joseph Ratzinger shortly before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures looks at the growing conflict of cultures evident in the Western world. The West faces a deadly contradiction of its own making, he contends.

Terrorism is on the rise. Technological advances of the West, employed by people who have cut themselves off from the moral wisdom of the past, threaten to abolish man (as C.S. Lewis put it)—whether through genetic manipulation or physical annihilation.

In short, the West is at war—with itself. Its scientific outlook has brought material progress. The Enlightenment’s appeal to reason has achieved a measure of freedom. But contrary to what many people suppose, both of these accomplishments depend on Judeo-Christian foundations, including the moral worldview that created Western culture.

More than anything else, argues Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, the important contributions of the West are threatened today by an exaggerated scientific outlook and by moral relativism—what Benedict XVI calls "the dictatorship of relativism"—in the name of freedom.

Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures is no mere tirade against the moral decline of the West. Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI challenges the West to return to its roots by finding a place for God in modern culture. He argues that both Christian culture and the Enlightenment formed the West, and that both hold the keys to human life and freedom as well as to domination and destruction.

Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI challenges non-believer and believer alike. "Both parties," he writes, "must reflect on their own selves and be ready to accept correction." He challenges secularized, unbelieving people to open themselves to God as the ground of true rationality and freedom. He calls on believers to "make God credible in this world by means of the enlightened faith they live."

Table of Contents:

  • The Crisis of Cultures
    • Reflections on Cultures That Are in Conflict Today
    • The Significance and Limits of Today's Rationalistic Culture
    • The Permanent Significance of the Christian Faith
  • The Right to Life
    • Why Men Must Not Give Up the Fight
    • The Law of the Jungle, the Rule of Law
    • We Must Use Our Eyes!
  • What Does It Mean to Believe?
    • Faith and Everyday Life: A Fundamental Human Attitude
    • Can Agnosticism Be a Solution?
    • The Natural Knowledge of God
    • "Supernatural" Faith and Its Origins
    • Development of Premises
      • Faith is anchored in What Jesus and the Saints See
      • The Verification of Faith in Life
      • Faith's "I", "you", and "we"

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Review Provided By TiberRiver.com - THE Catholic Book Review Site

This item received 3 stars overall. It's Better to Live as If God Exists, Even for Those Who Aren't Sure He Does

Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures is a very intellectual, academic book in its approach to treating different theological questions as well as in the type of philosophical questions raised by science and technology. Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI first delivered this lecture at the School of Catholic Culture in Santa Croce, in Bassano, Italy, not too long before he was elected pope.

Most of the piece focuses on the tendency in Europe to move away from traditional Christian values towards what Pope Benedict XVI describes as a “modern Enlightenment philosophy,” which insists beliefs should be able to be proven through mathematics and science.  This decomposition of morality and ethics leads to a violation of the very freedom of the individual it presumes to protect, when the rights and preferences of certain people reign while those in poverty, w Full Review...

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