Humanism and Religion in a diverse Europe

According to the secular narrative, human progress is caused essentially by the ‘Enlightenment’ values, often seen in contrast with traditional, religious and christian values, particularly in Europe. Modern intellectuals understand progress not just in technological terms, but also in wider moral terms: the decline of child mortality, or homicide, the abolition of slavery, torture, or the death penalty, the rights of women, etc, are systematically understood as ‘progress’ caused by rationality, science and secularity. Alternatively, this view is contested by a religious -christian and catholic in particular- understanding of human flourishing; in this context: not only there are deeper reasons for human progress, but there’s also a dark side and even some seeds of human decay associated with the so called secular ‘progress’, especially to the extent that God and the religious inherent dimensions of human life are left behind and forgotten.

Enlightenment thinkers can share with believers the quest for common and universal values, typical of world religious, and religious representatives can recognize some ‘genuine achivements’ of human progress. Nevertheless, questions about God, the limits of rationalism, or the role of christianity in Western culture, including an ‘enriching vision of human sciences on the religious question’, are still disputed.