serious journalists frequently descend to crude
and superficial generalizations in speaking of the
shortcomings of religion, and often prove inca-
pable of realizing that not all believers – or reli-
gious leaders – are the same. Some politicians
take advantage of this confusion to justify acts
of discrimination. At other times, contempt is
shown for writings which reflect religious con-
victions, overlooking the fact that religious clas-
sics can prove meaningful in every age; they have
an enduring power to open new horizons, to
stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the
heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a
certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlight-
ened to dismiss certain writings simply because
they arose in a context of religious belief ? These
writings include principles which are profoundly
humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious sym-
bols and teachings, they have a certain value for
257. As believers, we also feel close to those
who do not consider themselves part of any
religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth,
goodness and beauty which we believe have their
highest expression and source in God. We con-
sider them as precious allies in the commitment
to defending human dignity, in building peaceful
coexistence between peoples and in protecting
creation. A special place of encounter is offered
by new Areopagi such as the Court of the Gen-
tiles, where “believers and non-believers are able
to engage in dialogue about fundamental issues
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