Religious actors and bodies from within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark have increasingly adopted interreligious dialogue as an instrument dealing with changes of the religious landscape due to immigration, religious radicalisation and secularisation. Without any formal body representing the entire church, interreligious dialogue emerges from a variety of initiatives. Whereas these can be divided between religious leaders’ versus people-to-people’s dialogue, I will argue that both models are characterised by being decentralised and culturalised while dealing with the simultaneous subjectivity and representation of the individual believer.
Empirical research on the practice of interreligious dialogue delivers inspiring results for a practical-theological reflection. The contribution thus discusses the question of what theological and social science research can learn from each other. The author presents four exemplary theses on the Catholic understanding of the nature, aims and methods of interreligious dialogue, and puts them into a mutual dialogue with the empirical results of this study. The results demonstrate that interreligious dialogue only exists within different social and political contexts that should be recognised theologically as “incarnated” forms of dialogue. The diverse social and political functions of interreligious dialogue can be interpreted as dimensions of the evangelizing mission of the Church. In turn, social science research on interreligious dialogue should take “inside” dimensions into academic consideration such as aspects of theological self-understanding, the question of truth or the missionary dimension of interreligious dialogue.
From the various contingent cases of interreligious dialogue (IRD) across European countries presented at the conference, a systematic cross-regional comparison and system-theory informed analysis is suggested from a cultural study of religion understanding. Along the coordinates of system integration, social integration and cosmopolitanism (as developed in political sciences by U. Beck, E. Grande, N. Sznaider) an interpretation of the specific way of governance is proposed and delineated from other explanations like IRD as part of a neoliberal regime or a type of secularism. The paper concludes how IRD initiatives, besides other effects, form cosmopolitan values of open coordination, risk management, and mutual recognition and by this contribute to their institutionalization. Cosmopolitanism is favoured as policy paradigm for religious diversity as it allows for multi-level communication in-between global localities, changes perspectives with marginalized and draws conclusions from that for regulating diversity without regulating individuals.
On the basis of the articles presented in the thematic issue of the ‘Journal of Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Societies (JRAT)’, this article reflects upon the structures of Interreligious Dialogue (IRD) in Europe. On the one hand, it proposes to have a closer look at regional patterns of religions in public space, at sub-national patterns of IRD-activities as well as different social forms of IRD-activities. On the other hand, it makes the point that research has to critically re-assess concepts such as the Dialogue-Movement as well as religious plurality for the study of IRD-activities.
Interreligious dialogue (IRD) has been one of the vehemently debated topics in Turkey since the late 90s. Many socio-political factors played a significant role in the proliferation of IRD discussions within the academic circles in this period. The multifaceted and complex nature of the term also attracted a wide audience outside the academia, and particularly, politically motivated organisations. Correspondingly, the term became one of the reference points for their propaganda goals.
Facing the complexity of the issue, this paper aims to disclose the evolution of IRD in Turkey by seeking answers to the question “how has the term IRD been perceived by Turkish scholars?” by providing insights about the major milestones in the discussions. The article concludes with an analysis of the main trends in the related discussions as follows: IRD as (1) a necessity for social welfare, (2) an instrument for religious propaganda, (3) and as part of dialogic relation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has always been a multi-religious polity. While inter-religious relations were not always easy, the heterogeneity seems to be inherent to Bosnia. Significant resources were invested in the 1990s to alter that reality. The damage has been done but efforts have been made by various local and international actors to repair it. This article offers a brief account of the history of formal inter-religious dialogue in Bosnia, its main actors, and features. Major issues, types of dialogue, accomplishments and challenges lying ahead are also considered.
This article starts by giving an overview on religion in contemporary Sweden and a historic background on IRD-organisations and IRD-activities in the country; followed by a more in-depth description of contemporary IRD, presenting both national and local IRD-organisations and IRD-activities. The article ends with an analysis of how IRD-organisations and IRD-activities relate to the sociocultural context in Sweden, which shows the importance of the increase in religious plurality in Sweden and the Church of Sweden’s still dominate position, in the establishment and upholding of IRD-organisations and IRD-activities in the country. Another sociocultural context influencing is the highly secularised Swedish society together with the secular state. This leads both to a delay in establishment of IRD-organizations in Sweden, and later on, for the establishment of these IRD-organizations and for IRD-activities, if the aim of these are less religious and foremost social.
The article sketches the overall layout of the thematic issue of the ‘Journal of Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Societies (JRAT)’ on Interreligious Dialogue (IRD) in context. It argues that an analysis of interreligious dialogue activities in their socio-cultural contexts helps to counterbalance the long-standing individualistic bias of IRD-research. First, it presents a systematic description of the present state of the art that distinguishes two strands of IRD-research. Second, it argues for a European comparison, based upon most recent findings from the ‘SMRE – Swiss Metadatabase of Religious Affiliation in Europe’. The article is based on the research “Intercultural and interreligious dialogue to promote the culture of peace in unaccompanied foreign youth and minors (MENA) in Barcelona and Melilla” (RTI2018-095259-B-I00 / MCIU / AEI / FEDER, EU) and closes with references to the structure of the present volume of JRaT to facilitate such a comparison.
With regards to the religious situation, Germany still is a highly divided country. This draws our attention to the specific characteristics of IRD-activities in the eastern parts of Germany. Based on literature review and mapping exercises, we will argue, firstly, that the interreligious dialogue scene in East Germany is characterized by a comparatively low density of activities that are primarily embedded into major religious and state-related organizational structures. Secondly, we will discuss potential explanations of this lower dialogue level with regards to present-day socio-cultural differences and asymmetries between East and West Germany. Thirdly, we argue that the case of East Germany gives evidence to pay particular attention to numerically smaller religious groups within IRD as well as religiously unaffiliated parts of society. Consequently, we have to rethink the conceptualization of IRD in view of secularization as the dominant tendency in many European countries.
This article proposes secularization theory as a tool to better understand the rationale of IRD-activities. To make this point, it starts with a review of present-day secularisation theories. On this basis, the article presents an analysis of the concept of the secular used in the context of the so-called ‘1893 – World’s Parliament of Religions’. In a final step, the author argues that IRD-activities have to be understood on the basis of an implicit juxtaposition of ‘the religious’ and ‘the secular’. They try to present a ‘religious voice’ as a response to a context perceived as being secular.