Monday, July 15, 2019
The Author takes as a starting point the thesis of Toynbee, that a civilisation comes into being as a reaction to an extraordinary challenge. Moving on from there, he perceives such a challenge in what happened on 11th September 2001, and foresees the overturning of the present civilisations that confront one another on earth. History contains great examples of interactions between civilisations: for example, between Islam and the West.
Today it is necessary to create the conditions that will allow civilisations to put together their best elements, without being closed or inflexible. However, it is certain that the final result will not be a universal and homogeneous civilisation. The various components will continue to give and to take, to integrate with one another and to diverge, to invent new synthesis and assume new identities. No synthesis will be complete without the religious dimension: the growth of fundamentalism, with all the harm it is causing, still represents the power of religious feeling in peoples, much greater than interest in profit and well-being. The Christian contribution, in the present situations of conflict and of coming together, does not consist in withdrawal from the situation out of "respect for others", but in offering the best of its convictions born out of faith, so as to lead to a reciprocal enrichment.
Source: AD GENTES 7 (2003)1, pp. 61- 80.