Politik und Religion

Politics and religion share a long history and are in a relationship of tension and dependence. From time immemorial, there has been a mutual influence. The relationship between politics and religion, however, is not only observed in empirical studies, but is also the subject of much theoretical reflection. For example, in A Secular Age, Charles Taylor describes the philosophical and moral terrain of the modern world as a collision between three major camps: (1) secular or „exclusive humanists,“ (2) postmodern or „neo-Nietzschean“ anti-humanists, and (3) „devotees of transcendence.“  According to Taylor, two parties always „ally against the third on an important issue.“ Exclusive humanists-who continue the Enlightenment project of advancing a politics and ethics within a completely disenchanted or immanent framework-are united with neo-Nietzscheans in their opposition to religious modes of thought and in their goal of ridding society „of the illusion of a good beyond life“ and relegating ideas of transcendence „to the status of a past illusion.“ It turns out, however, that the „camp of the unbelievers“ is deeply divided – over the nature of humanism and, even more radically, over its value.“ The anti-humanists (who, in Taylor’s view, have exerted a greater influence on history and culture over the past century than many realize) have exercised an „immanent counter-enlightenment“ on liberal conceptions of human nature and rights, which they characterize as oppressive forms of essentialism and masks for pure power purposes. In addition, the relationship between politics and religion is also constantly evolving and reshaping, as José Casanova’s recent research shows. They deal with globalization and religion, as well as the dynamics of transnational religion, migration, and increasing ethno-religious and cultural diversity. His research on religion and globalization has taken an ambitious comparative perspective that includes Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and Islam. Emilio Gentile also clearly sees the interconnectedness of politics and religion. He argues that in the last two centuries politics has often taken on the features of a religion, claiming for itself the prerogative of defining the fundamental purpose and meaning of human life. Secular political entities such as the nation, the state, the race, the class, and the party became the focus of myths, rituals, and commandments, and gradually became objects of faith, loyalty, and worship.

As it turns out, the topic of politics and religion is not only of great topicality, but also encompasses a wide variety of areas, from security policy to state theory to socio-political issues. In the context of discussions with experts, these aspects can be discussed at the Bruno Kreisky Forum and brought closer to an interested audience.

Programmr Politics and Religion 2023