Believe to the end, even if all men were astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness.

Fr. Zossima, in The Brothers Karamazov

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It is not religious belief that creates division and conflict but hostility toward religion and religious belief that produces both division and conflict.

Man by himself is more than sufficiently capable of division, conflict and violence; religion need not be the scapegoat.

The point is: hostility to religion, dismissing faith and disparaging belief and Believers creates greater space for violence and evil.  We are, sadly, in the United States and the West at this troublesome junction: a period of greater godlessness.

We live in an age of growing unbelief and it manifests itself daily.

Do you need examples?

Notre Dame. Yes – Our Lady’s University, invited Texas pro-abortionist Wendy Davis to speak on campus this Monday, The Feast Day of the Annunciation – the celebration of the angel appearing to Mary to tell her of her blessed pregnancy and Mary’s willing acceptance of God’s mysterious will for her and for the world.

In this, Mary said “yes” to God and to life for herself and all the world then, and that would come to be.  She did so because she believed.

In her speech, Ms. Davis observed that she aborted her child as an act of love. Not much belief there.

Or how about those who assembled to march, after the terrorist murders in Paris, to stand for “freedom of expression” without particular notice that those targeted and killed at the Paris deli were murdered because they were Jews, because they believed.

Not much belief in that either.  Rather, the state dignitaries and others in the march worshiped a tenet of the secular state but not the more vital and fundamental proposition of freedom of religion and religious belief.

As the secular state grows in power and scope religious belief is abandoned.  In that setting we are consecrated to the state rather than to God and we willingly and uncritically conform to that proposition day-to-day, transaction to transaction until belief is lost, and with it the predicate to faith and full human development.

Sadly, the secular state presently attacks belief and, in this, fosters aggression, division and destruction.  It separates religious belief from civic life.  It does not see the damage of doing so.

Religion made private is but a stop along the way to religion exiled, outlawed.

Religious belief is as public as breathing – it is innately human and innately cultural. Its absence reduces the human person and experience – the experience of being human. Then, abortion becomes an “act of love.”

You wish to believe – then protect the conditions of belief, reject what would steal belief from you –

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”

Lk 1:38