Therefore politicians as well as media experts are a special target group of this long-term project. Today this platform is active as association with twenty six members, that have to a large extent official functions in their own religious communities. Its charter of emphasizes that both is at stake, the search for God or the last reality - freely chosen by each person, and the dialogue between religion and society. Spirituality and socio-political commitment are connected in this initiative that is strongly shaped by the Reformed Regional Church.
In Lausanne the situation is quite similar.
The members of the association are private individuals. Here too the Reformed Church gives financial and non-material support. It is the avowed aim of the statutes to further - without tendencies of syncretism or proselytism - the living together of different religious communities as well as that of various groups within a religion. Thus statements on public conflicts, contributions to the value discussion in Swiss society, but also inter-religious actions, such as commemoration ceremonies for the memory of Pope John Paul II's inter-religious prayer in Assisi in the year , belong to the activities of the association.
Among the German-Swiss initiatives for the integration of religious minorities - giving to them good advice in dealing with the authorities and improving their acceptance in the society - two projects are to be particularly emphasized: The project "House of Religions - Dialogue of Cultures" in Berne, and the "Zurich Forum of Religions". Canton, federation and also the Regional Churches support it financially. The forum sees itself as neutral partner between the religious communities, and as their connecting link to society and state.
In practical questions, as for example residence permits for pastors, one co-operates with the IRAS.
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What is more, the forum is a platform for inter-religious meetings, and offers an education program for a broad public. A meeting with the Dalai Lama in summer on the occasion of his stay in Switzerland, and several evening lectures on Islam count to the remarkable initiatives of the forum. But also introductions to Christianity for non-Christians, ecumenical contacts to the Orthodox Churches present in Zurich, religious advanced training for administration secretaries of the canton, or special offers for young Muslims belong to the wide range of basis work that is done here for the civil society.
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The eleven-storey, multi-functional building has the ground plan of a L, and consists of two parts: The flats let for rent and the offices are to bring in the money with which the multi-religious cult rooms in the other part, the foot of the L, are financed. Using this 'stock' by letting flats and offices in the vertical part of the L to private individuals, may also in the future bring money for the maintenance of the House of Religions. It is designed with cult rooms for different religions, libraries, public areas, a cafeteria and a kindergarten - on three floors of the building.
The city Berne wants to issue the planning permission in these months, and seems willing to put a site at the disposal of the House of Religions at a reduced interest.
While some negotiate about hundreds of details in the planning stage - so for example Hindus and Muslims cannot allow flats above their prayer rooms, the prayer in the mosque has to be directed toward Mekka -, others are working on the operational conception. That the churches - in view of sufficient cult rooms in the city Berne - want to do without a special Christian prayer room seems strange. For the established religious communities are not to shift their parish activities into these cult rooms - as also the local Rabbi affirms.
Rather the House of Religions is to become the exemplary place of inter-religious learning in a multi-religious society and in a religiously neutral state, where the Christian churches - like the other religions - have to become a part. The association has its origin in the Bernese discussion platform "Round Table of the Religions", where since representatives of the Abrahamitic religions and of the Hindus and Buddhists meet.
On 23 June Berne gave the municipal "Integration Award " to the association. The eulogy read:. This dialogue expressly involves also non-religious value concepts Enlightenment, human rights etc. This openness is exemplary. For in spring the first course "Presentation and Mediation in the Intercultural and Inter-religious Dialogue", carried by both institutions, could be completed with a degree.
Eighteen participants from different religious communities learned with the help of three modules. Finally also the "Institute for Intercultural Co-operation and Dialogue" is to be mentioned here. It is the only Swiss institution for dialogue that is totally initiated and carried by Muslims.
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Since above all young Turks organize with the help of this association conferences and seminars and offer lectures. Thereby they involve not only Christians but also Jews in the dialogue, and take as a theme the living together in the Swiss society. At different places of Switzerland in training centres for intercultural communication, for mediation in conflicts, for development aid, missionary actions It seems characteristic for most initiatives that they modify the secularization thesis somewhat, and are led from a socio-political motivation which lets them take the factor religion seriously.
The objectives are always the peaceful and just living together of the societies, states and cultures in a globalized world. Since one gradually realizes after the devastating religion critique of the modern age that religions are not to be understood only as unimportant superstructure or private decoration but that they endow sense and identity to all social groups, also national and religious organizations found to a new co-operation within this range.
Religions are - in the view of their peace-promoting task - called to account, and of their healing potential should be made use. In contrast to this their confronting side is to a large extent faded out, and mostly the truth question is explicitly evaded. One rather presupposes tacitly for this socially acceptable and popular level of inter-religious co-operation that all religious systems are to a large extent equivalent. Distorted forms of religion, such as fundamentalism and sects, are differentiated from it.
Also the evaluation and classification of religion by an enlightened and human world view that is sociopolitically supported by the human rights and a democracy founded on the rule of law,.
In this respect the view of the comparative religious studies and of the pluralist theology of religion found a wide resonance in Swiss society, and supports many initiatives in form of a pragmatic co-operation. Also many members of the traditional Regional Churches got accustomed to a pluralism of religions and consider it in the meantime also as normative world view, without seeing any longer tensions to a Christian claim to truth resp. To this development of a popular and directly socio-politically practised inter-religious dialogue corresponds on the other hand the formation both of Catholic and of Reformed and Evangelist Free Church circles that had a strong upswing in the last years in Switzerland.
They see the dialogue projects only as functionalization and flattening of religion, up to a sellout of Christianity.
Summary Bibliography: Fritz Leiber
While t h e y for this reason do not get involved in the inter-religious discussion, many Muslim and Buddhist groupings, which for their part also stand by the claim to truth which at bottom contradicts to a pluralism of religions , take part in it for pragmatic reasons. Just so they can improve socially, politically and legally their situation, whereby the appropriate Christian communities - due to their historically grown social privileges - do not pursue such interest. The inter-religious dialogue of some theologically and scientifically trained representatives of the Regional Churches and of Jewish communities presents a quite different picture.
They pursue their interests often differentiated and on different levels: They engage themselves from social conviction in the meeting of religious communities, and cooperate in a religiously pluralist society for the sake of pragmatic reasons. Besides they often see themselves as citizens of an enlightened civil society. At the same time they are aware that dialogue and communication are not only a sociological order of the day, but are also deeply fed from a Biblical concept. Dialogue, the etymology of which means "by the word", belongs to the basic principle how the Bible understands divine and human activity.
Thus for them dialogue is theologically filled, and stands as alternative to the encounter with the others "by force". On the other hand the representatives of the established religious communities often hold also to their missionary work and to their claim to truth, but they take them - from strategic reasons - not always as themes. When it is done nevertheless, as for example by Kurt Koch in view of an inter-religious event. The one year's training programme imparts basic knowledge about religions, gives the oportunity to meet representatives of various religions, enables to classify the phenomenon 'religion' sociologically, to acquaint oneself with different models of dialogue, and to work with such a model in order to develop inter-religious sensitivity.
There a lot of dialogue experiences can flow in, since both bodies responsible for the project have already a longer history. The Foundation World Ethos is not only active throughout the the world, as for example at the Parliament of the World Religions , but accomplished in Switzerland already many offers in the field of adult education. The Lassalle-House cultivates since the Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and attached thereby from the outset a central value to the spiritual experience.
Zen meditation became a central place of the dialogue. In the last five years also the dialogue between the Abrahamitic religions has been greatly extended, so that in a multi-religious, four-day conference on "Mysticism and Peace" could be accomplished in co-operation with the "Museum for World Religions" in Taipei and the "Elija Institute" in Jerusalem. The special emphasis in the Jewish-Christian discussion of the Lassalle-House, that understands itself as center for spirituality, inter-religious dialogue and social responsibility, can be seen also in the current project.
It applies the Jewish 'Lehrhaus' training house tradition, similarly as Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber sought to realize it, to the inter-religious dialogue. Social and cultural education work about Islam and the Arab world is also offered by the "Paulus Akademie" in Zurich, that is maintained by the Catholic Church. Finally is referred to two university projects that influence directly the society beyond the university walls.
Under the title "Vertical Ecumene. The idea and vision of the "Vertical Ecumenism" come from Othmar Keel, the in the meantime retired exegete for Old Testament at the University Fribourg. Keel suggests for the breaks in the just mentioned historical development a kind of sozio-cultural psychotherapy by memory work between the religious communities as well as between those who are responsible for the educational and cultural policy. Only so the mutually caused injuries could be healed, and those things that are sup- or repressed and projected outward could be integrated.
Beside scientific book series also the university collection in Fribourg with The in opened exhibition is to become part of a planned museum that will get its symbolically important place in a tower of the old part of the town. While the construction of this museum is still in the planning phase, there have been twelve exhibitions already at different places at home and abroad since This novel enterprise might greatly enrich the knowledge about the historical growth of the three Abrahamitic religions and their effect on the globalized world.
It be mentioned here even if it does not pursue directly a inter-religious aim, but wants to be a platform for a project-related, interdisciplinary argument in the mentioned range of topics and to establish for this a master training course. The thematic main focus is directed at the training of Imams in Switzerland, at the Islamic financial world, the imparting of religious values, the future ability of the ideologically neutral state, the early diagnosis of religiously caused conflicts as well as at projects that are concerned with the structures of religious legitimation or destabilization of power and rule.
Too great he was to be the lord of ages; Too far his realm to be ever exhausted. Even so, one day a god may choose labor To be like the mortals, sharing their fate. For it is decreed that all shall recognize each other. And language hold sway once silence has returned. Yet where the Spirit liveth we venture forth.
Contending for the best. Thus I judge it best —When the painter has at last achieved his likeness And stepped, masterful, from his workshop, lord of love only— That equity reign All the way from earth to heaven. Man has experienced much since the dawn. Ever since speech began, and mutual notice; But song follows apace. And the vision of time, divinely unfolding.
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Sign of the Spirit, lies before us, bonds of aUiance Fastening his might to the powers of nature. Not him alone, but the unborn generations This token proves: just as in plants Mother Earth, and air, and light will join together.