25 / FUTURE OF RELIGION


Toward a Global Ethos

27 April – 1 May 2015   print this page

Course directors:

Rudolf J. Siebert, Western Michigan University, United States
Mislav Kukoč, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Francis Brassard, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Denis R.Janz, Loyola University, New Orleans, United States
Dinka Marinović-Jerolimov, Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia
Gottfried Küenzlen, University of Bundeswehr München, Germany
Michael R.Ott, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, United States


Course description:

We are writing this letter to you, in order to invite you wholeheartedly to our 39thinternational course on the Future of Religion: Toward a Global Ethos, to take place in the Inter-University Center for Post-Graduate Studies (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from April 27 - May 1, 2015. We invite you to our discourse, because we are convinced that you as a scholar are most competent to contribute to the clarification, understanding, explanation, and comprehension, and praxis of our new topic:Future of Religion: Toward a Global Ethos, embracing both sides of the modern antagonism between the sacred and the profane, the reliigious and the secular.Religious as well as secular people have an ethics, and share the Golden Rule, and the categorical imperative, and the principle of the aprioriof the unlimited communication community, and strive for personal autonomy and universal, i.e. anamnestic, present, and proleptic solidarity, in the on-going crisis-loaded transition situation between Modernity on one hand, and Post-Modernity, on the other.Our discourse wants to bring together religious and secular people with the practical intent of cooperation concerning the solution of the present all too bloody national and religious conflicts.There can be no peace among nations without peace among religions. There can be no peace among religions without discourse among them. There can be no discourse among the religions without foundational research in them concerning their interpretation of reality, and their orientation of action: i.e. their ethics, and their ethos, and its universality. Please, see website http: //www.rudolfjsiebert. org/.

Resource Person or Participant

We hope very much, that you can follow our invitation, and that you can come to the IUC in beautiful Dubrovnik in the last week of April 2015, and that you can join us in our 39th international course on the Future of Religion: Toward a Global Ethos, and that you can present a paper to us out of the center of your own presently on-going research-activities, interests, competence, and teaching, and in the framework of the general thematic of 2015. Of course, you are also very welcome, if you do not want to be a resource person and to read a paper, but rather prefer to appear as a participant, and thus contribute as such to our, to be sure, very lively discourse. Our course will be part of a very rich IUC Program of courses and conferences in the Academic Year of 2014/ 2015, with some of which we may inter-act. Dubrovnik and the IUC are, indeed, alive and well, and have been rising again like the mythical Phoenix Bird out of the ashes, and have been growing again, in spite of all the tragic events of the past decades. We shall read our papers and discuss in the hope, that in all parts of the world the Jus or Lex Talionis will be replaced by justice: that the Golden Rulewill supersedethe horrible motive of retaliation and revenge: eye for eye,tooth for tooth, etc,which makes the whole world blind.We shall aim at theGolden Rule, which is present not only in the three Abrahamic Religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - but also in all the other living world religions in one form or the other. Ithas found its secular inversion, and translation, and rationalization in the categorical imperative, and in the principle of the apriori of the universal communication community of the discourse ethics, and of a global ethos, built on these religious and secular principles, and of an international law, which is rooted in them and will, therefore, never be without mercy and the power of at-onement, and of reconciliation. All ethics and legality must - in order to have motivating power - ultimately be rooted in the insatiable longing of people for the utterly Otherthan the horror and terror of nature and history, for the X-experience, for the ultimate Reality.In this year's discourse, we shall especially remember the men and women, who in the present conflicts in the Ukraine, and in the Near East, and in Africa, and in Europe, and elsewhere, stood up for, and have confessed and witnessed, and became martyrs for a global ethos, rather than for racism, nationalism, or sectarianism. We think, e.g., of the young Jordanian pilot, who was shot down by ISIS over Syria during a bombing run, and was then, on January 6, 2015, burned alive in a cage, while bravely standing up and praying, as once Jordano Bruno andVanini, and many so called witches and heretics. We remember the young American woman Kelly Mueller, who had spent her life in caring for the poor, the sick, and the wounded peoplein all parts of the world, and who was then kidnapped by ISIS in Aleppo, and was then killed on February 5, 2015, as so called collateral damage, by a Jordanian F 16 bomber, who in retaliation and revenche for the burned Jordanian pilotebombed Raqqa, the capitalof the new Islamic State,where she was held captive. If ISIS wants really to revive the Arabic Empire Paradigm, including the Umaijadic Caliphat of Damaskus from 661to750, and the Classical-Islamic World Religion Paradigm, including the Abbasidic Caliphat of Bagdad from 750-1258, they must conquer both: Syria and Iraq, Damaskus and Baghdad.They are close to both cities. But the war may, nevertheless, take a long time, depending on the resistance. We also think of the Charlie - journalists, and the Jewish people in the cosher store in Paris, who all were murdered by ISIS people in revench for Mohammed in December 2014: either because they practiced the freedom of speech, or simply because they were Jewish. The theodicy problem becomes more and more unbearable in all these cases, and in many others. We hope very much, that our friends from our sister courseon Religion in Civil Societyin Jalta, Republic of Crimea, particularly Tatiana and Alexandra, will be able to be with us. Hopefully, also we shall be able again to participate in our sister course in Jalta in November 2015.In the past decade, Tatiana has edited one book each year, which contained all the research work of the Jalta course resource persons. There must not be any Second Cold War ! Its ending would probably be more tragic, than that of the first one, in the face of the availability of 77 000 nuclear weapons in the East and in the West. At present, not Europe as such, but one which would act as proxi of the American World, is a danger for the Slavic World, after the Crusaders, Napoleon, and Hitler. Today - February 6, 2015 - the German Chancellor and the French President are visiting Kiev and Moscow.That is indeed a sign of hope! Today - February 9, 2015- German Chancellor Merkel meets with President Obama in the White House, in order to ask him not to send military, lethal aid to Kiev. That is a good idea! A Second Cold War would contradict any global ethos! It would be the opposite of all the peace work we have done for decades in Dubrovnik, and Jalta, and elsewhere, in theory and praxis, and which we would like to continue into the future. In any case, at the end of Modernity, there is no way back into the Middle Ages, not to speak of Antiquity, for anybody anywhere, but only foreward into Post-Modernity. Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Modernity are concretely superseded into Post-Modernity: either toward post-modern alternative Future I - the totally computerized, robotized signal society; or toward post-modern alternative Future II- the entirely militarized drone society; or to post-modern alternative Future III - a society, characterized by the reconciliation of personal autonomy and universal, i.e. anamnestic, present, and proleptic solidarity. Our search for a global ethos aims ultimately at post-modern alternative Future III, which can not be without such ethos.

Texts

Please, prepare your paper out of the material of your present research, in the horizon of our specific theme of this year, and in the context of the present economic, political, historical, and religious situation, and in direction of our common goal-alternative Future III: Shalom, Salaam, Peace, Friedeamong the Abrahamic and all other living world-religions, as well as among the nations, in which they are situated.Our texts must not be perfect. Nobody is perfect! You can still complete your paper to the level of publication-maturation after you have presented it, and after we have discussed it together, and after you have returned home. Our discourse may help you, to complete your paper, and to make it ready for publication after you return home.

Books

Professor Michael Ott has completed the collection of our research papers once more for a third volume, following the late Professor Reimer’s excellent first volume - The Influence of the Frankfurt School on Contemporary Theology. Critical Theory and the Future of Religion. Dubrovnik Papers in Honor of Rudolf J. Siebert. Lewiston, New York, Queenston, Ontario, Canada, Lampeter, Dyfed, Wales, United Kingdom, and his own most outstanding second volume The Future of Religion: Toward a Reconciled Society, which has appeared with the publisher Brill in Holland and with the publisher Haymarket in 2007/2009 in England. Michael has worked once more very hard for the new third volume,entitled The Dialectic of the Religious and the Secular.We are most grateful to him, and all contributors. We thank Michael for having volunteered once more with his great publishing talent and experience, to bring out our third volume. My own three volume Manifesto of the Critical Theory of Society and Religion: The Wholly Other, Liberation, Happiness and the Rescue of the Hopeless, which is very much based in our discourses in Dubrovnik through the past 39 years, and reflects very much our common interests and efforts, has come out with the publisher Brill in Leiden, Holland, in 2010, can also be of help to us in our present and future discourses. We celebrated the arrival of the Manifesto during our discourse in April 2012 with an excellent presentation by Professor Dennis Janz, in the framework of our work done in the past almost 4 decades, which it reflects.Our gratitude goes to Professor Dennis Janz for his excellent review of the Manifesto in Mike's third volume. Also Professor Reimon Bachika from the University of Kyoto, Japan, has prepared a review of the Manifesto, which will be published soon.We hope very much, that we can also publish the papers of our 39th discourse in a later publication. Professor Dustin Byrd,Olivet College, has generously volunteered to produce a fourth volume of our more recent papers. You may send your paper to him after you have presented it to us in Dubrovnik.We always wanted to share our findings about the possible futures of religion not only with each other, but also with a broader, global audienceof interested scholars. Please, see website http: //www.rudolfjsiebert, org/.

Invitation

Thus, we - the Director, Professor Rudolf J. Siebert, Western Michigan University, and the Co-Directors, Professor Mislav Kukoc, University of Zagreb, Professor Gottfried Künzelen, Emeritus, from the University of the Federal German Army, Munich, Professor Denis Janz, Loyola University, New Orleans, Professor Michael Ott, Emeritus,deom Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, Dr. Dinka Marinovic-Jerolimov, Institute for Social Research Zagreb, and the Coordinators Professor Tatiana Senyushkina, Taurida National University, Simferopol, Ukraine, Dr. Goran Goldberger, Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, and Professor Dustin Byrd, Olivet College, Olivet, Michigan 49076,USA, invite you very personally in the name of the IUC, to join us as resource persons or participants in our 39th international course on The Future ofReligion: Toward a Global Ethos in the IUC Building, from April 27, 2015-May 1,2015. We chose this year's course title once more in a democratic procedure. It grew logically out of the texts, and the contexts, and motivations of our previous discourses on the Future of Religion. This year’s theme is certainly once more of highest actuality considering the present world situation: characterized by the so-called war against terror, which unfortunately also continues under the Obama Administration in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Africa, and elsewhere, and by the Ukrainian civil war, which are continually fought on both sidesaccording to the cruel Jus or Lex Talionis, without any real peace, or liberation, or redemption in sight, as the possible result of the praxis of the Golden Rule, in personal, national, and international affairs: a praxis, driven by the yearning for the totally Other, for perfect justice, for unconditional love, and by the longing, that the murderer shall not triumph over the innocent victim, at least not ultimately, and by the hope for liberation and happiness, and the rescue of all the hopeless victims of society and history, who have never had their day in court.The present dissonance and antagonism between the religious and the secular, and the consequent ongoing culture wars threaten the religious expectation ofExodus and Kingdom, as well as the secular hope for alternative Future III - a more reconciled society, based on a global ethos.

Addresses

In case you have any further questions, please address them to the IUC, to me, or to the co-directors at the following addresses and through the following media: Prof. R. J. Siebert - RSieb3@aol.com -http://www.rudolfjsiebert.org 630 Piccadilly Road, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49006, USA. Tel.: 269-381-0864 / Fax: 269-381-1935.Secretariat of the Inter-University Center, Don Frana Bulica 4, HR 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia, Tel.+385 20 413626/7 /Fax +385 20 413628.Please, also contact either Hotel Argentina (Tel + 385 20 440 555 / Fax + 385 20 432 524), Hotel Lero (Tel. + 385 20 411 455 / Fax + 385 20 432 501), or any other hotel or private pension of your choice in Dubrovnik for room and board. Hotel Lero is the less expensive one. Hotel Argentina is the most expensive one. Most of us will probably stay at Hotel Lero. You can get a lower hotel price, if you make your reservation through the IUC Secretariat as early as possible. You may also get inexpensive rooms in the IUC.

Rome

The Loyola University in Chicago is once more organizing a Meeting on its Campus in Rome, Italy, on the critical theory of society of the Frankfurt School, shortly after our Dubrovnik event. You are aware, that we have developed out of the critical theory of society of the Frankfurt School our own Critical Theory of Religion or Comparative, Dialectical Religiology.We have invited the members of the Rome event to join us in Dubrovnik. Some of us may participate in the Rome event, depending on financing. You are very much invited, to do so as well.

Suggestions

Please, allow me to make a few more concrete suggestions concerning the form and content of our discourse on The Future of Religion: Toward a Global Ethosof 2015. One reason for such suggestions is to constitute further continuity among our discrete past 38 courses on one hand, and the coming 40th discourse, our course-anniversary, next year, on the other. In fulfilling this task of continuity, we are greatly supported by Professor Reimer's book The Influence of the Frankfurt School on Contemporary Theology. Critical Theory and the Future of Religion. Dubrovnik Papers in Honor of Rudolf J. Siebert; and by Professor Ott’s new booksThe Future of Religion: Toward a Reconciled Societyand The Dialectic of the Religious and the Secular; and by Professor Siebert’s Manifesto of the Critical Theory of Society and Religion: The Totally Other, Liberation, Happiness, and the Rescue of the Hopeless;as well as by his most recent publications The Evolution of the Religious Consciousness toward alternative Futures, New Delhi:Sanbun 2013; and by his The Development of Moral Consciousness toward Global Ethos, New Delhi:Sanbun 2013; and by hisToward a Radical Interpretation of the Abrahamic Religions:In Search for the Wholly Other. New Delhi, Sanbun 2013; and by hisThe Realization of Harmony in Religion, Philosophy and Science, in St. Peterburg:GWA (Global Harmony Association) 2014; and by his The World Religions in the Global Public Sphere:Towards Concrete Freedom and Material Democracy,New Delhi:Sanbun 2014; and by his Early Critical Theory of Religion: The Island of Happiness.New Delhi: Sanbun, 2014; and by the cooperative work of Siebert, Rudolf J./ Michael Ott/ Dustin J. Byrd. ”The critical Theory of Religion:From Having to Being, ” in Critical Research on Religion. 2013.April. Vol. 1; Issue 1. The other reason for the following suggestions is to indicate the possible direction, which our new international discourse on the Future of Religion: Toward a Gobal Ethosmay, or could, or should take, when we meet in Dubrovnik from April 27- May 1, 2015. The few suggestions may indicate the possible theoretical framework, methodology, level, and goal for the texts, that we shall produce in writing or orally in and for the new world-situation, and toward the goal of further human emancipation as reconciliation on the long road of humankind from animality to post-modern, global alternative Future III: the reconciled, free, just, and therefore peaceful society, instead of alternative Future I - the totally administered society, as predicted by Huxley, Orwell, Kafka, Flechtheim, Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm, Marcuse, etc., or alternative global Future II - the entirely militarized society continually engaged in conventional wars and civil wars, and in drone strikes, with their terrible collateral damages, and in the preparation of ABC wars, and their consequent environmental disasters,maybe in the framework of a collission of religion-guided civilizations, as predicted by the late Samuel Huntington - a disciple of Carl Schmitt, Adolf Hitler’s main jurist and general council, and political theologian - and a former Pentagon advisor during the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The following suggestions are, of course, only that - suggestions - and you may feel entirely free, to follow your own dialectical imagination and creativity, and to move in other directions as well, inside, of course, of the wider framework of the general thematic of 2015.

Survival

This year's discourse is devoted to the project global ethos. There will be no survival of the human species without a universal world ethos. That is our presupposition. Our main question is, how such a global ethos can possibly be justified and well founded in the face of a large plurality of diverse, particular religious and secular ethical codes? How can specific good reasons be given for a universal ethical code. Can it be founded on facts and data? We must ask, if religion is at all needed for such justification? Is autonomous human reason not sufficiant for such justification and legitimation without any religious revelation. That, precisely, has been the general content of all our discourses on the future of religion in Dubrovnik since 1975. If religion is needed, what should be its specific contribution to a universal world ethos? Whatever the contribution of religion, it will presuppose a coalition of believers and non-believers, who are able to connect revelation and autonomus reason: Moses and Kant, Jesus and Marx, Mohammed and Freud. In recent decades, it has become always clearer, that the one world, in which we all live, has only then a chance of survival, if in it no longer exist spaces of different, contradictory, antangonistic and mutually exclusive and struggling against each other forms of ethics.This one world needs the one ethos.This one world does not need a unity religion, or a unity enlightement, not to speak of a religious or secular ideology, the word understood in the critical sense. But it may very well need a few binding and connecting norms, values, ideals, and goals: e.g. the Golden Rule, the categorical imperative, or the principle of the apriori of the unlimited communication community.

World Peace

There can be no world peace without religious peace. We know the double face and the ambiguity of all world religions, and of all enlightenmet movements. There is good and bad religion.There is not only the dialectic of religion, but also the dialectic of enlightenment We have no illusions, or delusions. We are disenchanted. Always self-criticism must go ahead of criticism. Self-critically religious people and enlighteners must expose themselves to the truth question.They must be aware of the religious and secular fortress-, making-light or playing-down,-or embracing strategies, and tactics. They must differentate between religion or enlightenment on one hand, and ideology, understood critically as false consciousness,masking of racial, national, or class interests, shortly untruth, on the other. Believers and enlighteners must as true humanists measure everything through the humanum, as the fundamental criterion for all religions and traditional and modern enlightenment movements.

Religious Peace

Together we shall explore, how a religious person from one religion can speak at all in an adequate way about another religion, or sbout a secular Modernity or Post-Modernity. We shall try to find out, how the three great religious stream systems of humanity, of Near Eastern,, Indian and Chinese orgin, can at all be brought in contact with each other, as well as with the modern enlightenment movements, without being mixed up with each other. We want to participate in a research project toward the concretization of a comparative, and even oecumenical, dialecical religiology for peace. The discourse among the world religions, and between them and the enlightenment movements, must for peace's sake no longer remain the task merely of specialists in different academic disciplines. The discourse must take place on all levels of intellectual and spiritual life. In the future, the credibility of all world religions and all enlightenment movements will depend on the fact, that they emphasize more what unites them, and less what separates them.Humankind can afford always less, that the religious people and the enlighteners on this earth rake and stir up wars against each other, instead of founding and contributing to peace; to instigate fanaticism, instead of searching for reconciliation; to practice superiority, instead of initiating discourse.

Oecumenical Paradigm

Since the end of World War I, hundred years ago, a new post-colonialist, post-imperialist, post-modern macro-paradigm, or world constellation has started: and thereby a polycentric world, which is most closely interconnected through new communication technologies, which we use daily. This polycentric world has at the same time become a transcultural, and multi-religious, and multi-philosophical world. In this world, the ecumenical discourse amomg the world religions, and between them and the modern enlightenment gains a new weight. This post-modern world needs for peace's sake more than ever also the global religious as well as philosophical communication, without which a political agreememt will ulrimate;y not be possible.The motto of the Kairos, of the present hour, is therefore:

to begin with the global religious and philosophical understanding,communication, and agreement here and today.

To this motto our 39th Dubrovnik discourse is committed. We intend to push foreward and to promote, as energeticall as possible, the inter-religious and inter-philosophical understanding and communication in the local, regional, national, and international public sphere. We try to seek the oecumenical understanding and communication with all grous and on alllevels. The Post-Modern Paradigm can be signified on the religious level as Oecumenical Paradigm in all living world religions. This inter-religious and inter-philosophical discourse embraces politicians, businessmen, scientists, and generals; churches, theology, religiology, and religious education in families and schools; the different world religions and enlightenment movements.There can be official and in-official discourses, as well as scientific and spiritual dialogues.There can be the everyday dialogues in the everyday life world of all modern systems of human condition, and action systems around the globe. Because of the complexity of the inter-religious and inter-philosophical discourse, it happens, that for the mutual understanding on alllevels not only good will and open attitude are demanded, but also - depending on the level - also solid knowledge. Today,such knowledge is unfortunately still missing to a large extend: not at least and not at last on the scientific religiological and theological level, where precisely the foundation problemtic has not be caught up with. Our discourse will try to catch up with thisproblematic at least to some extend.

Comments and Objections

We hope very much, that those few concretizing suggestions about a global ethos in the world religions and humanistic movements may give us some general orientation for our own preparatory work for our new international course. You can make your own comments and objections to those suggestions, and to this general orientation, when we come together in Dubrovnik in the last week of April 2015. We hope very much, that you shall be able and willing to come to our discourse, and that you shall, if possible, present a paper, concerning aspects of our general theme, shortly unfolded in the above suggestions and orientation, or not. The general theme is broad and gives you much freedom to adjust your paper to it. If you have a hard time to connect your paper to our general theme this year, we shall do that for and with you in our argumentative discourse. Please, let me or the IUC know as soon as possible, if you shall join us in Dubrovnik, and if you like to give a paper during the last week of April, available to us in the IUC building. Please, tell us also, if you desire to give your paper at a specific day and hour, and how much time you would like to have. I shall do what I can, to give you as much time as possible. We shall meet in the IUC Bulding on Mondat 27, 2015, at 10.00 a.m. See you then!

I am with all my best wishes for you and for your dear family, and for your good work, your