INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE : DO RELIGIONS HAVE A SIGNIFICANCE FOR EUROPE?

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8th-10th January 2016 (Mala dvorana, Lisinski Concert Hall, Zagreb) PROJECT (THEMATIC) DESCRIPTION
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INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE  : DO RELIGIONS HAVE A SIGNIFICANCE FOR EUROPE?
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The history and progress of thought, society and mentality, as well as numerous changes that have affected the European continent, underline the need of intensive reflection on dialogue and coexistence with the aim of undertaking more fruitful and peaceful action for the well-being of the present and future generations of mankind. By this we mean attempting to make a crosssection of the rich but also intricate interpersonal relations in order to point to mutual encounter and cooperation as part of the construction of values and respect of human rights and freedoms in spite of a certain exclusiveness that can occur within each affiliation, including the religious one. The South East Europe region, which Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – as spaces of historically rich and complex coexistence – belong to, also confirms the postulate that in a globalized world any dialogue, including the interreligious one, is not just an arbitrary choice, but a real and essential need. The key objective of the conference is therefore to try to observe in what fashion the relationship between religion and society is expressed, as well as the ones between the past and present, and religious and political determination and direction. Bearing in mind a better and more complete grasping of reality, we start from the belief that today's age is in strong need of dialogue through familiarization, understanding and action with the aim of eradicating violence and exclusionary tendencies at the expense both of many individuals and entire social groups.   Given that the dominant mentality of modern Western history and culture hinging on scientific and technical activities claims that "agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy (...) which corresponds to democratic forms of political life, those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends"1, the question of coexistence of religious views and their presence in social movements becomes vital. Such an environment gives rise to complex human relationships which have strongly marked in particular the recent history of the Old Continent. In this regard, a special place in the reflection on society should be left to the relationship between faith and culture, religion and politics, education and action both private and public, as well as to the issue of dialogue in the complex question of the promotion of human rights and rights of vulnerable minorities on the one hand, and of the promotion of understanding and solving of the problem of violence in the name of religious views in as much as such views gain political importance on the other. On the basis of the aforementioned, the following question arises: Do religions have a significance for Europe? Under this aspect we wish to look at society in its basic features in order to point out, in a more systematic and thorough manner, the understanding and interpretation of human activity that are often subject to various calculations  and economic burden of society, which may consequently result in very complex and often violent misunderstandings. Starting from the situation in Southeast Europe, we wish to  reflect, through three thematic sessions, on the current state of society on the European soil and focus our attention on that issue.  

The presentations and panel discussion will discuss the following topics:  

1  State of Affairs in the Old Continent - Perception of dialogue in general after the 1960s  - Current condition and status questionis in Southeast Europe - Relationship between religions and political structure in each society -The question of religious sectarianism and political options of individual states – whether the similarities and differences between them can be expressed - Relationship between faith and culture 

2  Meeting of societies - Challenges based on theocracy, democracy and pluralism  - Inculturation and human rights - Religions and international law  - Relationship between education and societal development  - Can religion help build a better society and better value standard, or do they represent a sort of an obstacle? 

3  Rights of religious minorities in South-Eastern Europe a.  Relations between Islam and Christianity, Muslims and Christians b.  Ecumenical Issues and Challenges  

A number of local and foreign institutions will participate in the organization of the conference, and the abovementioned topics and issues will be presented and discussed by various thinkers and experts. 

Srećko Koralija OP, Project Manager and Regent of Studies 

 

1   cf. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, no. 46  

 

(15 August 2015)