“Atheism, faith, meaning of life in the post-Christian era”
On Saturday afternoon, March 17, 2018 there was an event on the occasion of the Orthodox Book Exhibition of the Holy Metropolis in cooperation with EN PLO Publications in the Spiritual Centre on the following topic: “Atheism, faith, meaning of life in the post- Christian era” based on the book: “The illusions of the Atheists” by David Bentley Hart (EN PLO Publications).
Main speaker of the event was Mr. Stavros Zoumboulakis, author and president of the Executive Council of the National Library and the book institution “ARTOS ZOIS”. The event was opened by Protopresbyter father Themistoklis Mourtzanos, General Prelatic Warden of the Holy Metropolis of Corfu, who conveyed also the paternal wished of his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios.
Mr. Zoumboulakis noted that Western Christianity is undergoing a big crisis, because of the fact that the modern part of atheism operates in anti-institutional terms, stems from a fear against Islam, which has led to the repetition of rhetorical aggressiveness against Christianity.
On the other hand, a search for spirituality is observed in the Europe today without religion though and at the same time there is a strong syncretism. In other words, there are people who believe in Christ but not in the Resurrection of the dead and there is a confusion in European society.
Our age is characterized as post-Christian, only for the European world, because in America, Africa and Asia there is a strong adherence to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. This should concern us, mainly because Orthodoxy does not seem to invest so much in missionary work. This is opposed to the last commandment of Christ “Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you.
The speaker also pointed out that today in Greece there is a sociological Christianity, Christianity of identity, traditions and customs, which acts as a mound in this society’s atrocities. Moreover, all “trends” come to our country with a certain delay, where this is an advantage because we are witnessing the dead-ends of the absence of life meaning in Europe. On the other hand, we should expect it to come here and we must prepare accordingly.
Additionally, Mr. Zoumboulakis emphasized the need to change our speech, i.e. not to use heavy theological words against the state and the society but try to approach the concepts that people have, depositing the testimony of the Church but in a modern way.
There is also a strong need to make our language more understandable. Moreover, pastoralism needs to be done not only extensively, but intensively pastoral, that is to say constitution of communities with warm faith and prayers, even within great parishes.
In Roman Catholic reality the institution of spiritual guidance has ceased to work because people do not tolerate the concept of hierarchy. We still see that in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, churches remain closed and open only for birthday parties and open only for birthday parties or for concerts, not for worship. In Europe in many countries, a worshipping community has stopped existing. This must be a matter of concern for us and not be complacent as Orthodox.
In the end, the speaker pointed out that Islam poses a great risk to which we must be fortified. Christianity with actual love and faith in Resurrection must be applied.
Then a dialogue with the audience followed.