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Religious Studies - Internal Dynamics and Interrelationships

Religious StudiesReligion is everywhere: despite many predictions foretelling a drop in the significance of religions, and contrary to the increasing number of church leavers in Europe, interest in religion is growing worldwide, and its significance in everyday life and in politics is unabated. Research into religion at the Ruhr-Universität therefore does not deal exclusively with individual issues, but looks at religion in an interdisciplinary context, both in terms of its own dynamics and against the background of social development.

Boundary between the religious and the non-religious

One research topic is the dynamic and controversial borderline distinguishing the religious from the non-religious, the secular. What determines this boarder historically and within different cultural traditions? How does it move and what functional changes does it undergo? Here, pre-formulated theories are not projected onto the empirical findings as a reply to these questions. Rather, developments which have led to the differentiation between the religious and the secular are reconstructed.

The historical dimension plays a significant role for religion-related research at the Ruhr-Universität. Over and above this, the scientists carry out cultural comparisons based on the assumption that the current importance of religion results from the increasing contact between different cultures and social constellations. The focus is on the three major traditional complexes that predominantly shape the debate on cultural identity and the recognition of difference: the Christian-dominated world, the Islamic-aligned cultures and the religious flows within the Sino-Asian cultural area.