Monotheisms challenged by history



Religions are put to the test in our pluralistic societies. The absolute to which they refer does not seem to fit well with the demands for the autonomy of contemporary man. The freedoms of thought, conscience, to believe or not to believe, even to blaspheme, allow vigorous debates, sometimes even fighting. Many believers feel marginalized in a society where the social and cultural fabric seems on the verge of being torn apart. In this context, the exchange is saving. This is the exercise in which the 28e edition of the Rencontres d’Averroès, including The cross is partner (1).

The debates will open by questioning the sacred texts of the great monotheisms. The Hebrew Bible, the Gospels – and the other writings of the New Testament -, the Koran have crossed the centuries and have never ceased to be consulted and interpreted. Henceforth, the reading of believers can no longer ignore scientific research. The production of these corpora has been historicized, placed in their original contexts, including those of the fixation of the canonical versions. In Jerusalem, Rome or Cairo, the faith of some of the faithful was not necessarily disturbed. But for many, across Europe and the Mediterranean, a distance has widened towards these great tales of divine revelation. In fact, the knowledge of science, the achievements of reason lead to nuance, invite caution in the affirmation and interpretation of a revealed truth.

This is all the more important when these references are used to understand the daily. The Mediterranean, which borders Marseille, is a symbol of contemporary challenges. Its shores, its ports, the flows that cross it, form a lively geography which inevitably raises the question of the other, of the meeting, of the choice between confrontation or dialogue. The figure of the migrant, of the exile, is permanently embodied from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. Faces of hope and despair, of the rage to live and the challenge to death, of fear and confidence, of daring and dependence on the networks that carry them. This reality of migratory flows shakes the societies of the north shore, which draw on their spiritual or philosophical resources to advocate, who, the welcome, who, the withdrawal.

→ DEBATE. Why has the death toll in the Mediterranean doubled this year?

Marseille illustrates these tensions, which have strewn its modern history. The city is woven from a web of memories and representations. Its horizons extend as far as Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean. Religions rub shoulders there and rub shoulders under the statue of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. The Rencontres d’Averroès feed on such a breeding ground. Placed under the patronage of Ibn Rushd (Arabic name of Averroes), theologian, jurist and philosopher of the Andalusian Middle Ages, they are organized as a moment of debate, transmission and intellectual and cultural exchanges. Thierry Fabre, their designer, is deeply inspired by the humanist choices of Albert Camus who, between Algiers and Paris, had put down his luggage in Lourmarin, not far from there. The project is “Make a common world”, beyond disagreements. A noble ambition.

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