I pointed in the last post on this topic to an article from nytimes.com about religion in the modern world. The article points out that the truth claims of religion have been limited by modernity.
I see two points in the article. First, in modern, diverse democracies, multiple truths are accepted as legitimate. In the absence of any broad shared Truth (capital T truth) we use tolerance as a way to live together. In the good old days, we could condemn a heretic because they rejected a truth that was universally accepted. In the more complicated modern world no one has the authority to say that someone's take on Truth is wrong. This is the 'practical' problem of religion in modern society - our diverse society just can't function without a very broad and deep tolerance of multiple Truth systems.
Is anyone still reading? The second limit on religious truth claims in the modern world is not practical but substantive: science and history have decimated traditional religious views, at least in the realm of the 'revealed' religions.
These are two distinct problems and I won't deal with either of them here! I will deal with them both eventually.
Let me just say two things: first, I don't have a definitive answer to these problems. I struggle with this essential problem often, constantly, but I have been unable to resolve it in a way that the philosophically trained part of me finds satisfactory.
Ultimately the part of me that continues to need and affirm my relationship to the Holy One simply trumps my philosophical impulses. To those reading (?) who are inclined toward rationalism - or rather those whose rationalism is totalizing - that will sound ludicrous. And I can actually empathize with, I can inhabit, that view.
I feel very much of two minds. It is as though there are two distinct consciousnesses within me that really should not be able to live together but do. And their cohabitation (!) is not due to their harmony. It is due ultimately to my emunah that there is something true but unresolved in their cohabitation.
Ultimately I believe that this philosophically trained part of me is blind so something that is more elemental and true. What that is, and why that is, cannot, by necessity, be explained rationally. Nor can I convince anyone of it.