Religion and Civil Society
This project aims to reach a deeper understanding of the place of religious faith and religious institutions in the life of modern societies, using a number of complementary methodological and disciplinary approaches, in particular philosophy, history, and sociology.
We think that analysing in detail how religion has retained its cultural and political significance and how religious formats have continued to affect the political realm in the modern era constitutes one of the key issues in the study of religion nowedays. Each of our researchers contributes, from the strength of his or her own disciplinary perspective, to this broad goal.
In order to reach a balanced understanding of the contribution of religious faith to modern social life, a number of questions need to be tackled: first, we must ask largely empirical questions, in particular
to what extent, if any, is it accurate to speak of modern society, as some historians and sociologists have suggested, as the culmination of a process of “secularization” in which “Christendom” was replaced by a “post-Christian” dispensation?
how does religion actually inform modern identity and self-understanding? Next, we must embark on a normative study of the proper place of religion in a free society
in a society of plural religious and moral commitments and deep disagreement over questions of justice and the good, what role can and ought religion to have in sustaining the culture and norms of a free society, and what relation can and ought it to have with other parts of society, such as the family, the economy, voluntary associations, and the State?
To analyze these questions the project has been organized into two sub-projects: “Political theology” and “Spheres of freedom and religion”. The first one has the character of a diagnosis; the second one a normative character. That is, the first tries to testify the transferences between the sacred and the profane in different historical periods; the second tries to elucidate the normative way to deal with the relationship between religion and the political. This different perspective is what justifies the organization of the project in two different subprojects.