Over the last forty years, religion has forcefully re-entered the public space; those who predicted its demise have been proven obviously wrong. The turning point was 1979, when Karol Wojtyla challenged communism, Margaret Thatcher (a conservative Christian) embraced liberalism, Deng Xiaoping combined Confucianism and atheism to open China up to the market economy, and Ayatollah Khomeini engineered a spectacular modern revolution. Religious faiths, in which 85% of humanity identify, have been compressed into a “super-religion” that both incorporates them and increases their influence. Super-religion unleashes superpowers that challenge old and new authorities. We are thus in the hands of God: genuinely so, for those who believe, and metaphorically so, for those who do not and yet acknowledge super-religion’s impact on the world.
Marco Ventura teaches Canon Law and Ecclesiastical Law at the University of Siena, heads the Bruno Kessler Foundation’s Centre for Religious Sciences in Trento, and is a member of the OSCE’s expert panel on freedom of religion or belief.