Religion as a Factor of Morality and Intercultural Dialogue
basic research project supported by Slovenian Research Agency
The central problem of our research is the role of religion as a factor of morality and intercultural dialogue. The project begins with a thesis that ethics of (i) solidary personalism and (ii) dialogic universalism is the ethics, which can be an appropriate basis of inter-culturality. The former claims that every person is (epistemically and ethically) transcendent; while the latter defends respect for uniqueness and individuality and at the same time harbors a belief that all people have something in common and that dialogue and solidarity are sensible choices. Solidary personalism and dialogical universalism form an intellectual horizon which grounds this. The relationship between religion, morality, and intercul. dialogue must thus be investigated within aspects of human relationships, including answers to ultimate questions, concerning the meaning, interpersonal empathy, dialogue and respect for human transcendence (otherness). Christianity and other religions stress the importance of dialogical openness, which reveals human vulnerability, dependence on others and on deeper foundations. A common basis of spirituality is a good starting point both for dialogue of religion and secular society as well as interrel. dialogue and comprehensive societal cohabitation.
Aims and goals of the project
The goal of the project is to apply theological concepts, categories and models to the subject of intercul. dialogue (narrowly) and to the question of a dialogical and inclusive society (broadly). The key research question is thus what spirituality can be a basis of peaceful, dialogical and intercul. attitude. A key goal is thus to investigate elements of culture, which is dialogic and intercul. and their relation to religion(s), while addressing some key new aspects of the debate (e.g. responsibility of relig. communities for the common good; rationality and ethical aspects of relig. commitment; relation between religion and spirituality; the role of religion in public sphere; a common ethical denominator of religions and traditions; intersubjectivity as a foundation for intercul. dialogue; intercul. theology and philosophy of sensuality, empathy, and peace; gender and forms of spirituality; the relation between culture, ethics, and dialogue). We will use methodology of theology and (intercul.) philosophy and concepts (e.g. mimetic desire and scapegoat, anxiety and existential stadia, man as a being of symbols, religious commitment, etc.) both for forming new theoretical insights and for explanation of some concrete events and processes in Slovene and European history and present times.
The project thus represents an original investigation of ideas, concepts, models and theories of (Christian) theological, philosoph., anthropolog. and cultural traditions and contemporary thought (personalism, Stein, Kiekegaard, Girard, Bellinger, Irigaray) in order to present a current understanding of the moral significance of religion (especially interculturalism) and to design a suitable (theological and philosophical) foundation of dialogical, intercultural and inclusive culture.
Results of the project will represent an important contribution to theology and philosophy of intercul. dialogue and will create new perspectives on topics of dialogicality, intersubjectivity, tolerance, global ethos, interfaith and inter-relig. dialogue. At the same time they will significantly contribute to the social development through presenting the necessity of understanding religion as a factor of morality, intercul. dialogue, and establishing a basis for resolving social tensions and overcoming the social crisis. The project will bring together leading Slovenian researchers, which will by internat. cooperation with institutions and individuals, by attendance at international conferences and publications further assert themselves, enable further joint projects and scient. cooperation, which will have important impact for the discipline, development of staff and raising funding.