The contributions of religions in the formation of Europe‘s „identity“ cannot be exaggerated. From the infusion of moral codes and educational principles to the productive tensions between the heritage of antiquity and Christianity as well as the bloody intrafaith conflicts which have devastated vast regions over centuries in the early modern period and also led to the creation of a substantial tradition of a(nti-) religious thought from the Enlightenment onwards.
Today, Europe is proud to have overcome most of these strives – with different models, ranging from strict laïcité to cooperative alliances between states and religious bodies. Still, Europe is not „done“ with religions – far from it. Whereas the significance of religious practice and doctrine is on the decline in large parts of Europe‘s societies, new forms of piety and even zealotism are on the rise in others.
For more than one decade questions as to the proper relation between religions and the state, the (counter-)dynamics of “secularization“, the roots of religious violence and the compatibility of “Islam“ with European constitutions and “values“ have been discussed in public with much vigor. All too often, however, these discourses suffer from minds already made up or, worse, closed to rivaling perspectives.
As the climate for productive discussions on religion in Europe gets rougher, it is more than ever vital for academia to create spaces where distinct views get into touch and urgent topics can be addressed in a free and earnest manner.
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Marie-Luisa Frick, Department of Philosophy,
Michaela Neulinger, Department of Systematic Theology,
Download the programm : https://www.uibk.ac.at/theol/plakatarchiv/el-tell-me-europe-programm.pdf