The Political History and Presence of Religions in Europe
From the very beginning the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is connected to political circumstances of the respective place and time. Up to the present different concepts of politics that can be found between but also within religions have influenced the political landscape of Europe. A glance into the history of political enforcement and representation can show how the three monotheistic religions have been politically communicating up to the present. In this context questions of the relation between a secular state and religious communities have to be addressed as well as modes of theologically defining the place of religious communities in a secular Europe. What laws and orders of the secular state can be accepted by a religion in relation to its own ethical responsibilities? How can absolute claims of a religion in a pluralistic society be addressed in a way that meets the requirements of religious and civil tolerance? The former primate of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams, talking about the possibility of introducing sharia in certain parts of the British society and British law offices employing experts of sharia law – both instances hint at a blurring of the borders connected to the political realm and the political agency of religions. Is the complete abstinence of religions from politics an alternative way? And how could it be realized? In which way can the political presence of religions in the Europe of the 21st century be a productive part of the society?
Questions like these should be discussed in the 2nd part of the "Triennial of Religion".