He mentioned that many former communist countries countries specifically mentioned the importance of religion in their new constitutions. For instance, Erdo's home country of Hungary explicitly recognizes "churches, denominations and religious communities […] are entities of prominent importance, capable of creating values and communities."
The cardinal noted that in the West, humanity is witness a "shaking of the anthropological foundations of democracy."
"Western democracies presume that politicians and parties present and defend their political programs on a rational basis and that mature and responsible citizens make their choices and elect people using rational arguments," he said.
"Today, this sounds like a utopia…the picture of reality has become very complicated."
"There has to be a lot of trust for someone to believe the basic premises of a political program, so that the elected body, based on a democratic majority, can count on the trust of that society. It seems to be a vicious circle. We have to place our trust in somebody in anticipation, in order to let such a decision pass, in which we can trust," he added.
Erdo expressed concern about the effect that scientific advances will have on human rights without a religious moral framework regulating society. He said that technological advances are moving quicker than legal morality can keep up, and that this is a new challenge humanity will be facing.
"But the discoveries open new levels of reality, so the description of facts needed for moral evaluation and legal treatment are falling behind," he said.
Despite this, Erdo believes that humans "cannot grow weary" of maintaining "basic moral values," and that these need to be applied to new situations as well.
Erdo said that the West's Judeo-Christian heritage is centered on a belief in a benevolent God, and the hope that a Creator seeks to communicate with humanity. That communication drives trust.
"And this, beyond giving a basic moral point of view, gives something extra, which is even more important. It generates trust both in the individual and in the community," said the cardinal.
"It generates trust that even though our cognitive abilities cannot keep up with the fullness of reality, we can always somehow reach the necessary knowledge and cognitions…the weakness of our recognition is not a reason to give up our pursuit of the truth."
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The Bampton Lectures in America were created in 1948, and feature talks from theologians, scientists, and artists.