“realistic about religion”

7 04 2010

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From the review of a new movie on Lourdes taken from Titusonenine

It has become a tired debating point to think abut religion as being a battle between belief and practice, doxa and praxis. Lourdes brilliantly shows that religion is more usually not about either belief or practice, but an assortment of endless varieties of both…

Many characters in Lourdes don’t seem to have strong views on what they do or don’t believe. The way they relate to doctrine is just not primarily a matter of acceptance or rejection. Belief is therefore less a question of which are true and more one of which matter and why. So, for instance, many pilgrims are sceptical about whether miracles have actually occurred in Lourdes, but what matters to them is that they nonetheless believe God’s grace is somehow at work there. Others are indifferent to most, if not all, of the specifics of Christian belief, but embrace the compassion and support they feel at the shrine…

To respect religion properly we need to appreciate how different people relate to different beliefs in different ways, and that constant, sober piety is the exception, rather than the rule. It was a local priest who once told my father, “the problem with most people is that they take religion too seriously.” Rather fewer Catholics than you might think would be shocked or surprised by that. The rest of us need to understand better why they’re not.



3 responses

8 05 2010

To be honest, I don’t really know what “an evangelical and protestant perspective” is either. I appreciate, however, your help.

Kind regards,

8 05 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I don’ t really know what you mean from an “evangelical and protestant perspective”. I have not read Pelikan’s book, but I have provided book recommendations along these lines:


In terms of the general question, I think people get too caught up with the “theory” behind Marian piety, often neglecting the practice. In that regard, I can only offer what I have said here, and leave it to the reader to work out the rest.


7 05 2010

Have you read Jaroslav Pelikan’s ‘Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture’? If so, what did you think of it? Did you find it a useful cyclopedia of Mary amongst various cultures? If not, would you be able to recommend some works on Mary, especially from an evangelical and protestant perspective? Thanks for your time and attention in this regard.

Kind regards,

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