how to believe in the Resurrection?

how to believe in the Resurrection?

During the proclamation of the Creed, often, when stating one's faith in the resurrection, the volume of the voices of the audience becomes a murmur. And for good reason: only 58% of people declaring themselves Catholic believe in the resurrection of Christ, 10% in the resurrection of the dead (1)! Even among practitioners, a third say they are skeptical of the resurrection of Jesus (2).

More broadly, the Resurrection seems to have become a confused notion, as evidenced by Agnès Charlemagne, responsible for youth ministry, author of How to talk about spirituality with teenagers (ed. Salvator): “I'm going to resurrect myself,” a young girl, just confirmed, told me, explaining to me that she was going to live another life in a dog, then in a man…! » she says. Many people believe in the Resurrection but do not know how to talk about it, Agnès Charlemagne also regrets: “Today the Resurrection is akin to a distant concept, rehashed during the Creed, but not shared out loud. »

“From the beginning, the resurrection of Christ was difficult for the apostles to believe. »

This difficulty in believing is not new. “From the start, the resurrection of Christ was difficult for the apostles to believe,” explains Father Guillaume deMenthière. Some doubted until the day of Pentecost. The Gospels clearly underline this resistance. »Today, in a way, we would be better placed to believe, thanks to the Gospels and the testimonies of the apostles who died as martyrs while announcing the Resurrection. The fact remains that we belong to a secularized society, the result of progressive dechristianization, dating back at least to the 18th century.

According to the historian Guillaume Cuchet, author of How our world stopped being Christian (ed. Seuil), France, the leading Catholic country in the 19th century in demographic terms, saw its numbers of practitioners plummet in the mid-1960s: whereas in 1965, 94% of this generation was baptized within three months after birth, today there are only 30 to 35% baptized between birth and the age of 7.

The desire for eternity is still there

This secularization is accompanied by a rise in the power of the scientific explanation of the world, even by a scientism that is hardly compatible with faith in the Resurrection. “Science offers us only one obvious thing about death: the decomposition of bodies,” explains Jacques Arènes, himself a mathematician and psychoanalyst. For our society, the idea of ​​a glorious resurrected body is particularly complicated to think about. Believing requires moving to another mode of thinking, which is demanding. »

However, this rationalist domination is not so clear. Thus 64% of declared Catholics believe in miracles(1). Likewise, more than 30% of French people believe in life after death(3). Even if in this area, Buddhist beliefs, and particularly reincarnation, are increasingly gaining ground.

Reincarnation, which postulates that the soul migrates into another body, goes hand in hand with this “very current conception of a clear separation of spirit and body. »

“In the minds of children, the idea of ​​having six existences gives one more chance of succeeding in life,” says Agnès Charlemagne. Furthermore, reincarnation, which postulates that the soul migrates into another body, goes hand in hand with this “very current conception of a clear separation of mind and body”, underlines Jacques Arènes. According to him, the Christian vision of an intimate relationship between the soul and the body, the basis of faith in a resurrection of the body, is weakening: “in our time, the latter is thought of more as an envelope of the spirit. So it is hard to believe that we will be resurrected with him. »

Another difficulty specific to our time: to think about the Resurrection, we must think about death. However, this is less present than before in daily life. Previously, for example, the door of a building struck by mourning was draped with a black curtain. “Parents no longer take children to funerals,” notes Agnès Charlemagne. The 21st century places us in the illusion that life has no end. »

“The desire for eternity is still there. »

Added to these major social trends are developments in the Church: the weakening of preaching on the Resurrection from the mid-1950s to favor subjects of social justice could explain part of the current misunderstanding of the Resurrection. Strengthening the training of believers would then be one avenue. Just like the discussion with non-believers, now lacking religious culture. “The desire for eternity is always there,” concludes Agnès Charlemagne. It must be awakened and faith will be given in addition! »

(1) CSA survey- The World of Religions s of 2007.(2) Survey The life -Opinioin Way of 2013.(3) IFOP survey- Pilgrim 2018.

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