Religion of the Future?

25 – 30 April 2016   print this page

Course directors:

Mislav Kukoč, University of Split, Croatia
Rudolf J. Siebert, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, United States
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:

Religion and Enlightenment

This year we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our international course on the Future of Religion in the Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik . Throughout the past 4 decades we explored every year in many most productive papers and heated discussions the evolution and revolutions, or pro-volutions, of the world religions, or pro-ligions, and their paradigm changes: from the original traditional, differentiated union of the sacred and the profane, through their modern disunion and all its many culture wars, toward their possible future reunion. We observed again and again, that the modern antagonism between the religious and the secular produced splits also inside the religious communities, between those believers, who insisted on revelation and tradition in their pure form, on one side, and other believers, who were willing and able to open themseleves up to secular modernity and its enlightenment movements and consequent revolutions, or pro-volutions,on the other. We also observed again and again, that the modern antagonism between the sacred and the profane caused contradictions also in the secular civil society and constitutional state between enlightened people, who considered religion to be a childhood affair of the human species, which was to be cancelled as fast as possible, so that men could grow up, and thus aimed at a totally secularized society, on one hand, and others, who were still open for the old world religions and their ethical values, and ready to supersede them not abstractly, but concretely, i.e to critizice, rationalize, demythologize, de-demonize, and symbolize them, but in this process also to preserve, whatever was good in them, and thus to elevate and fulfill them in the form of a secular humanism, understood as religion in inheritance, on the other. In our Dubrovnik discourse of the past 40 years, believers open for the modern enlightenment movements met with enlighteners still open for religious faith in discourse not closed up fundamentalistically, or positivistically and naturalistically, in order to discuss alternative futures of religion, and finally decided, to speak about not only the future of religion, but also about a possible religion of the future : a religion of reason and freedom, on which believers and enlighteners could possibly agree, so that the present often bloody culture wars and the consequent mutual terrorism in the Near East, and really all over the globe, could come to a peacful end, and the great world religions would no longer have to defend themselves against secular Modernity and Post-Modernity, and modern, enlightened people would no longer have to defend themselves against the onslaught of religion. At stake is, of course, not only the future of religion and the religion of the future, but also the future of the enlightenment and the enlightenment of the future, and the prevention of utter barbarism: both need to be rescued through reconstruction, before they can be truely reconciled. We defined religion as the longing for the utterly Other than the horror and terror of nature and history; as the longing for perfect justice and unconditional love; as the longing that the murderer shall no longer triumph over innocent victim, at east not ultimately. We defined enlightenment as the exit of man from his own being underage, for which condition he himself is guilty and responsible; as the attempt to free people from their fears, and make them into masters of their fate; as positing Ego, where Id is; and as making conscious what is un-and sub-conscious.


Thus, our new discourse of 2016 embraces both sides of the modern antagonism between the sacred and the profane, the religious and the secular, faith and autonomous reason, revelation and enlightenment. Religious as well as secular people have an ethics, which may motivate them in discourse: a communicative or discourse ethics. All religious people share the Golden Rule. Many enlightened people share the translation and rationalization of the Golden Rule, i.e. the categorical imperative, or the communicative ethics, or the principle of the apriori of 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 new discourse wants once more to bring together religious and secular people, who are interested in the question, what the religion and the enlightenment of the future, and their new interrelationship, may possibly and probably look like, on the basis of 40years of research into the future of religion in the IUC, with the practical intent of cooperation concerning the solution of the present often bloody and in any case most painful national and international culture wars. We want to explore, what a new religion and a new enlightenment may contribute to the moral improvement of indviduals and nations: to a spiritual, as well as political, and economic revolution, or pro-volution. We share the conviction, that there can be no peace among nations without peace between the religions and the modern enlightenment movements. There can be no peace between religion and secular enlightenment without discourse between them. There can be no discourse between the religions and the enlightenment movements without foundational research in them concerning their mutual interpretation of reality, and their mutual orientation of action. What may the future new religion and the future new enlightenment, and their global ethos possibly and probably look like? Please, see our website : http: //www.rudolfjsiebert. org/.

Resource Persons and Participants

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 2016, and that you can join us in our 40th international course on the Future of Religion: Religion of the Future, 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 2016. 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 2015/ 2016, 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 the Golden Rule superseding the horrible motive of retaliation and revenge- eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc, - which makes the whole world blind, and by the categorical imperative, and by the principle of the apriori of the universal communication community of the discourse ethics, and by a global ethos, built on these religious and secular principles, and by an international law, which is rooted in them and will, therefore, never be without mercy and the power of at-one - ment, and of reconciliation. All ethics and legality must - in order to have real motivating power - ultimately be rooted in the insatiable longing of people for the utterly Other than what is the case in nature and history, for the X-experience, and for the ultimate Reality.

Martyrs of Freedom

In this year's discourse, we shall especially remember the men and women, who in the present conflicts in the Near East, and in Africa, and in Europe, and elsewhere, stood up and were brave in the many, recent culture wars between religion and modern, secular enlightenment, and have confessed and witnessed, and became martyrs of freedom for a more reconciled world. 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 and Vanini, and many so called witches, and heretics, and atheists had done. We remember the young American woman Kelly Mueller, who had spent her life in caring for the poor, the sick, and the wounded people in 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 pilote, bombed Raqqa, the capital of the new Islamic State, or Caliphate, where she was held captive. If ISIS wants really to revive the Arabic Empire Paradigm, including the Umaijadic Caliphat of Damaskus from 661 to 750, and the Classical-Islamic World Religion Paradigm, including the Abbasidic Caliphate 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 January 2015, and then again many others in December 2015: either because they practiced the freedom of speech, or simply because they were modern Europeans. The ISIS attacks happened, symbolically enough, in Paris: the city of the great secular bourgeois, and then socialist enlightenment movements and revolutions. We remember the pious Shiite Sheik Nimr al- Nimre, who was brutally executed by the Sunni-lead Saudi - Arabian Goverment on January 5, 2016, together with over 40 other martyrs, and whose violent death rocked the whole Mideast. All that happens, while in the enlightened secular world of the West global stock plunges in the midst of fears of a new financial catastrophe like that in 2008. Democracy changes into plutocracy. Fascism, or corporatism, including nationalism and racism, rises once more its ugly head in Europe and America. Social advancement slows down. A vicious cycle of wealth and power threatens capitalism. In January 2016, in the nearby Flint, Michigan, the portrayt of an American city, residents died as a result of an outbreak of Legionaires desease, linked to the city's lead - contaminated drinking water: in addition to the 9000 children who have been put at risk for lead poisoning. The city's spiraling public health disaster is the result of its move in April 2014, to draw the drinking water from the polluted Flint River, in order to save money, after the Detroit water department demanded higher rates in the aftermath of the Detroit bancruptcy. In America by-weekly mass shootings make Wallstreet see gold in gun companies, and in gun production, and in massive gun sales. The theodicy, the defense of the highest Wisdom of the Creator against the accusation, which reason makes against it on the basis of the counter-purpose and counter - teleology in the world, this apology of the cause of God, which neither religious people, nor enlighteners can perform adequately any longer, at least not theoretically, becomes more and more unbearable in all these events and cases, and in many others.


We hope very much, that our friends from our sister course on Religion in Civil Society in Jalta, Republic of Crimea, particularly Tatiana and Alexandra, will be able to be with us again. Hopefully, we also shall be able again to participate in our sister course in Jalta in November 2016. 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 Adolf Hitler. A Second Cold War would contradict any global ethos, religious or secular! It would be the opposite of all the peace work we have done for decades in Dubrovnik, and in Jalta, and elsewhere, in theory and in 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 the religious and the secular, faith and reason, revelation and enlightenment as well as of personal autonomy and universal, i.e. anamnestic, present, and proleptic solidarity. Our new discourse on the future of religion and the religion of the future, aims ultimately at Post-Modern alternative Future III, which can not come about without such kind of discourse, and the connected praxis.


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, Friede between the Abrahamic and all other living world-religions, on one hand, and the modern secular enlightenment movements, on the other, 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. Our new discourse may help you, to complete your paper, and to make it ready for publication after you return home.


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 40 years, and reflects very much our common interests and efforts, and 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 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 produced an excellent review of the Manifesto, which will be published soon. Professor Michael Ott and I have authored a 40 Anniversary book, entitled The Future of Religion: Creator,Exodus, Son of Man and Kingdom. It sums up the history of our course, and all the work we have done in the past 40years.The book has been published by Sanbun Publishers in New Delhi, India. It is available: see E-mail : sanbunpublishers@hotmail.com. Copies will be available in Dubrovnik as well in April 2016. We hope very much, that we can also publish the papers of our 39th and 40th, and further discourses in a later publication. Professor Dustin Byrd, Olivet College, Michigan, has generously volunteered to produce a fifth 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 and the religion of the future, not only with each other, but also with a broader, even global audience of interested scholars. Please, see our website http: //www.rudolfjsiebert, org/.


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, from 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 40th international course on The Future of Religion: Relgion of the Future in the IUC Building, from April 25-30, 2016. 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 has also continued 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 sides according 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, 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 of Exodus and Kingdom, as well as the secular hope for alternative Future III - a more reconciled society, based on a global ethos.


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.


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 will participate in the Rome event, in order there to present our critical theory of religion or dialectical religiology. You are very much invited, to join us.


As far as OSI support is concerned, unfortunately, the IUC has not yet managed to replace it with a similar foundation. At the moment the IUC has only the modest IUC support, with which they can fund one participant per course according to the criteria that are listed at: http://www.iuc.hr/iuc-support.php. The IUC would be happy to help resource persons and participants in finding more convenient accommodations. Lately many of the resource persons and participants stay in the nearby monastery, which offers the most convenient prices that could be found in Dubrovnik. Since nuns do not speak English, nor do they have an e-mail address, all the reservations are done through the IUC.


Please, allow me to make a few more concrete suggestions concerning the form and content of our discourse on The Future of Religion: Religion of the Future in April 2016. One reason for such suggestions is to constitute further continuity among our discrete past 39 courses, on one hand, and the coming 40th discourse, our Course-Anniversary, this 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 books The Future of Religion: Toward a Reconciled Society and 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 his Toward a Radical Interpretation of the Abrahamic Religions: In Search for the Wholly Other. New Delhi, Sanbun 2013; and by his The 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 Rudolf J. Siebert/ 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; and by the most recent book of Rudolf.J.Siebert and Michael Ott, The Future of Religion: Creator, Exodus, Son of Man and Kingdom. The other reason for the following suggestions is to indicate the possible direction, which our new international discourse on the Future of Religion: The Religion of the Future may, or could, or should take, when we meet in Dubrovnik from April 25 - 30, 2016. 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, about, and for the turbulent, 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 Post-Modern alternative Future I - the totally administered society, as predicted by Huxley, Orwell, Kafka, Flechtheim, Horkheimer, Adorno, Fromm, Marcuse, etc., or Post-Modern, 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-based and -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 more recent 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 2016.


This year's discourse is devoted to the project of the new religion and enlightenment of the future. There will be no survival of a civilized human species without the reconciliation of a new religion and a new enlightenment. That is our presupposition! Our main question is, how such a new religion and enlightenment can possibly come about in the face of a large plurality of diverse, positive, historical religions and secular enlightenment movements, and their different moral codes? How can specific good reasons be given for the transformation of the tradtional religions and enlightenment movements? Can it be founded on empirical fact, and data, and experience alone, or does it also need judgemeny and insight as well? We must ask, if religion and enlightenment, and their interpretation of reality and moral orientation of action, are at all needed for a humane, non-barbarous future? Is autonomous human reason sufficient for such transformation of religion and enlightenment, and its 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 and enlightenment are needed, what should be their specific contribution to the moral improvement of individuals and nations? Whatever the contribution, it will presuppose a coalition of believers and enlighteners, 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, ( Wendel Wilkie ), 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, and terrorizing against each other forms of religion and secular enlightenment movements and their forms of ethics and social ethics. This one world needs the reconciliation of a new religion, and a new enlightenment, and a new ethos, rooted in both. This one world does not need a unity religion, or a unity enlightenment, not to speak of a religious or secular ideology, the word understood in the critical sense of false consciousness, masking of racial, national, or class interests, necessary appearance, or simply untruth. But it may very well need a few binding and connecting religious and enlightenment norms, values, ideals, and goals: as e.g. the Golden Rule, the categorical imperative, or the principle of the apriori of the unlimited communication community.

The True Religion

For Immanuel Kant, the greatest bourgeois enlightener, in his transcendental Philosophy of Religion, under such circumstances of revolutionary transition from the old to the new religion of reason and freedom, it could not be of any use, to dispute miracle stories or interpretations after the true religion has once come into existence, as the bourgeois enlighteners had done, and after it could now and into the future maintain itself through good reasons alone, which in its beginning needed to be introduced through aids - like miracles. Otherwise, Kant had to assume, that the mere believing and repeating of inconceivable things - what everybody could do without thereby necessarily being or ever becoming a morally better human being - would be a way, or even the only one, to please God well. Kant argued against and disputed such procedure with all his power. According to Kant, it could very well be, that the person of the teacher of the alone for all the world valid religion of the future, his appearance on earth as well as his removal from it, his life full of good deeds and suffering, were all sheer miracles, and that even the history, which was supposed to authenticate and certify the narratives of all those miracles, may itself also still be a miracle - a supernatural revelation. In this case, the enlightener could let all these miracle stories rest on their own value and validity. He could even still honor the covering and wrapping, which had served to start publicly a new religious teaching, the authentication and certification was nevertheless based on a documemt and a deed, which was preserved indestructibly in every human soul and reason, and which did not need any miracles. This was alright, if people did not make the use of these historical pieces of religious news or messages into a part of the new religion of the future, and if their knowledge, believing, and confessing were something valid for themselves, through which the believers could make themselves pleasing to God. What, however, concerned miracles in general, it was obvious, that rational human beings, inspite of the fact that they were not supposed to renounce them, should, neverheless, never want to let them come up in their praxis. That meant, that the rational men admittedly believed, that there were such miracles, as far as the theory was concerned, but that in their daily business, in praxis, they did not state any. Therefore, wise governments have admittedly at any time conceded, and they have even accepted legally under the public teachings of religion the opinion, that in the distant past miracles had indeed happened, but that new miracles were, nevertheless, not allowed in the present or future, in order to protect thereby against miracle workers the newly arranged public oder and peace in civil society, state, and history.

Universal Religion

The enlightener Kant assumed in his Philosophy of Religion a religious teacher, of whom a history - or at least the universal not fundametally disputable opinion - said, that he had first of all publicly delivered and expressed a pure, for all world comprehensible - natural- and penetrating religion, the teachings of which, as being preserved for us, we ourselves could, therefore, examine and test. This teacher did this even against the pig-headedness and in defiance of a dominant troublesome and tiresome statuary church faith, which did not have a moral intent for its purpose. The slave service of this church faith could serve as example for every other mainly merely statuary faith, which was universal in the world at the same time. The enlightener found out, that this teacher, had made this universal religion of reason and freedom into the highest unremittable condition of every new genuine religion of faith, and that he had now added certain statutes, which contained forms and observances, which were supposed to serve as means to bring about a church, which was to be grounded on those principles. After all this, the enlightener could, nevertheless, not dispute and deny, inspite of the accidentality, and contigency, and arbitrarness of the teacher's orders and arrangements of the latter, which aimed at such church, the name of the true universal church, and for himself the reputation, to have called the human beings into unification into this church, without wanting to multiply and increase the faith with new annoying and pestering arrangements, or also wanting to make out of the before him first of all set up orders, particular holy and for all for themselves, as religious pieces, obligating actions.

The True Church

After this descripion, the enlightener Kant could in his Philosophy of Religion not miss the person, who could be admired, esteemed, respected, and worshipped, admittedy not as the founder of the religion, which was purified from all statutes, rules and articles of association, and which was written into the hearts of all people, - because this religion of reason and freedom was not of arbitrary, historical origin as had been all other previous historical, positive religions - however, nevertheless, as the founder of the first true church. In order to authenticate, and to certify the dignity of the founder, as divine messenger, the enlightener wanted to present some of his teachings from Rabbi Jesus's so called Sermon on the Mount, as doubtless and certain document of a religion in general. The new religion would not only criticize, but also preserve, elevate, and fulfill the old positive religions. It may be with the history of religion as it wanted to be, - because in the idea of religion itself lay already the sufficient ground and reason for its acceptance -, and they could, of course, be no other than pure teachings of reason. This was so, because these pure teachings of reason were alone those, which proved themselves, and in which, therefore, also the authentication and certification of the others rested preemminently.

The Complete Religion

The enlightener Kant thought of a new complete religion, which could be put before, presented, and submitted comprehensively and convincingly to all human beings through their own reason. Beyond this, this complete religion made illustrative, through an example, its possibility and even necessity, to be the archetype of the imitation for all human beings - inso far as men were able to follow it. This happened in such a way, that neither the truth of those teachings, nor the respect, and reputation, and dignity of the teacher needed any other countersignature or proof, - or that in addition scholarliness or miracles, which were not everybody's thing and to everybody's taste, were required or demanded. When in the early teachings occur appeals and references to older religious legislation and models, as if they were supposed to serve as confirmation and acknowledgement, then they were given not for the truth of the thought teachings themselves, but only for the introduction among people, who were hanging completely and blindly on to the old historical, positive religions and statuary faith positions. That introduction had always to be much more difficult among men, whose heads being filled with statuary faith sentences, and who, therefore, had become for the new religion of reason almost not susceptible, than when it had to be brought to the reason of uninstructed and untaught, but nevertheless also unspoilt human beings. Therefore, it must also not surprise, disturb, and astonish anybody, when he found a talk, lecture, delivery, or rendering, condescending to the old religious prejudices, beimg mysterious for the present time, and in need for a careful exegesis and interpretation: inspite of the fact, that they always let shine through a genuine religious teaching, and that at the same time they often expressively pointed and refered to it, which was understandable for every man and which had to be convincing without all expenditure of scholarliness.


In the perspective of the critical theory of religion, or dialectical religiology, derived from the critical theory of society of the Frankfurt School, it is important to notice, that Georg W.G.Hegel, Kant's greatest disciple, as well as the first critic of the dialectic of enlightenment, spoke in his dialectical Philosophy of Religion about the polemical, and revolutionary, or pro-volutionary, theory and praxis of the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth, and his community, in terms of the Kantian Christology, and during or immediately after the great bourgeois enlightenment and revolution in France. In this context, Hegel saw toward the end of his Philosophy of Religion, the realization of the Christian community, after he had considered its genesis, and origin, and its existence, in its spiritual life fallen into the internal conflict, rift, gulf, and dissonance between the first estate of the immediate and impartial religion and faith, on one hand, and the second estate of analytical understanding, of the so called educated people, of the reflection, and of the enlightenment, on the other. But Hegel did not want to speak at the end of his Philosophy of Religion about the downfall of the Christian community, since as Christian theologian and philsopher he remembered, that the kingdom of God had been founded for eternity, and that the Holy Spirit as such lived eternally in his community, and that the gates of hell could and would not overpower the church. Hegel did not want to end his Philosophy of Religion with speaking about the passing away of the Christian community, and thus with a tragic dissonance. As a matter of fact, Hegel ended his Philosophy of Religion with the dialectical reconstruction of the cosmolgical, teleological, and particulary ontological prooves for the existence of God, which his great teacher Kant had completely deconstructd, on the bases of his dialectical Science of Logic, the first new logic after Aristotle. However, Hegel could not help it.The dissonance between the sacred and the profane, faith and reason, revelation and enlightenment was present in reality. Informed by the historian Edward Gibbon, Hegel compared the situation of the Modern World, in which he found himself, and lived, and thought, with similar conditions in the World of Antiquity Already in the late Roman Empire the universal unity had disappeared in the religion. The Divine and the Holy was profaned. The general political life was at a loss and helpless, and without great deeds and without confidence. Thus reason took refuge alone in the form of private right, including property,contract and punishmemt for crimes against them. That what was in and for itself - family, society, state, history -, had been given up and the particular well being of the individual had been elevated into the main purpose. Likewise also in the modern civil society and state of the beginning 19th century, the moral opinion of the individual, the very private opinion and conviction, had made themselves into what was alone valid. The mania and addiction of private right and pleasure, and consumption, was the order of the day. Thus, as in the late Roman Empire the time was fulfilled and God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adoped as sons, so in the modern world the time was now fulfilled, that the justification through the dialectical notion, - the self-particularization and the self-alienation, and the self-singularization and the self-reconciliation of the Universal, the sublation of the incarnation of the Logos into the form of a new dialectical theology and philosophy, became a universal need, to which Hegel's speculative philosophy, following Platon's and Proclos's mystagogie, this concrete supersession of mythology, or speculative perception, or being in thinking, or self-enjoyment, or dialectical look, view, and experience, responded. Now, in the immediate consciousness of the people living in the reality of modern, antagonistic, civil society, the unity of the interior and the exterior was no longer present. Like in the late Roman World, so now nothing was justified any longer by religious faith in the more and more secularized modern civil society, state, and history, from one culture war to the next, from one mass murder to the next. The harshness of an objective command, an external insistance, the power of the church, or of the state, could here no longer accomplish anything.For this, the decay had gone too far and deep in the modern family, civil society, state, history, and culture. When the Evangelium was no longer preached to the lower classes, and when the salt has become tasteless, and when all religious and moral foundations have quietly been taken away, then the poor people, for whose reason, which remained thickset and stocky, the truth could only be in the sensuous, mythical representation, did no longer know, how to help the metaphysical urge and longing of their interior The lower classes, the poor people stood still closest to the infinte, intrinsic pain of the trinitarian God. But since the bourgeois enlightenment had perverted the love, which reconciled the most painful antagonism between the sacred and the profane, between God and himself, and nature, and man, between the Infinite and the finite, between revelation and autonomous reason , into a love and into an enjoyment without all pain, the poor people saw themselves left, deserted and abandoned by their teachers. Those teachers had admittedy helped themselves through analytical understanding, reflection, and enlightenment, and had found their satisfaction in the finitude, in the subjectivity and its virtuosity, and precisely thereby in the vanity. But that substantial core of the people could not find its satisfaction in such shallow, vain enlightenment, and its dialectic.


For Hegel and his disciples, their dialectical, philosophical knowledge had resolved this dissonance between the religious and the secular, revelation and enlightenment. It had been the very purpose of Hegel's whole Philosophy of Religion, and maybe of his whole dialectical philosophy, to reconcile reason with religion, and to recognize religion in its manifold formations as internally universal and necessary, and to find again with the help of his mystagogie in the Revealed Religion, in Christianity, as the Absolute Religion and Religion of Freedom, the truth and the notion, and the Idea of all world relogions. However, Hegel had to admit, that this philosophical reconcilation of the sacred and the profane was itself only a partial one, without external, sociological universality. It was the program of Hegel's dialectical Philosophy of Religion, and maybe of his whole speculative philosophy, particularly his Science of Logic, his Logos theology, to reconcile the two antagonistic estates in the Christian community in a new third estate of dialectical philosophy, notion and rationality, as a new separate shrine and sanctuary, the servants of which constituted a new isolated priesthood, which was not allowed to go together and cooperate with the modern antagonistic bourgeois society, and which had to guard and watch the possession of the dynamic, trinitarian Truth; the God, who was reconciled with himself and with nature, and to whom indviduals and whole nations had to elevate themselves: all was not only kabala, but all finite reality reflected non-panteistically, pan-entheistically the trinitarian Infinity. However, Hegel did not know, how the external, temporal, empirical, present, bourgeois, civil society of the beginning of the 19th century could possibly find its way out of this modern antagonism and dissonance between the sacred and the profane, the religious and the secular, and how it could and would possibly form and constitute itself in the future, and he left this task to the bourgeoisie itself, which had produced the conflict in the first place, and to the workers, did not consider it to be the immediate, practical thing, affair, business, matter, or task of the dialectical philosophy.It is still the task of the civil society of the 21st century.


The critical theorist and musicologist, Theodor W. Adorno, informed by Kant and Hegel, as well as by Marx , Nietzsche and Freud, stated in his discourse with the Christian intelectuals, Eugen Kogon, the author of the famous book, The SS State, and Walter Dirks, Europe's most honest journalist, about Revelation and Autonomous Reason at the University of Münster in 1958, that when he listened to the Matthew-Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach, or to great music in general, then he believed to know, that that what this music said, could not be the untruth. But Adorno could not believe, that this truth could once more appear in the old forms of the traditional, historical, positive religions. This truth had to be concretely superseded into new religious forms: the religion of the future. The very fact , that the present positive religion goes together so well with the in civil society dominant postivism, the metaphysics of what is the case, reminded Adorno of his teacher and friend Walter Benjamin's abyss-like smiling characteristic of theology, which today was nota bene small and ugly, and which could in any case not let itself be seen any longer in public. A new revolutionary theology had to be developed. According to Adorno, nothing of theological contents could continue unchanged into the future. All theological comtents will have to expose themselves to the test, to migrate into the secular, the profane enlightenment. But this migration, or negation, will not be abstract, but rather concrete: religion will also be rescued, elevated and fulfilled in the new enlightenment, which will no longer regress into positivism, and mythology, and ideology. Decisive was the break with the social models of the great world religions, on one hand, and the antagonistic high level commodity exchange societies of today, on the other. These old relogions were formed in accordance with manifest agrarian conditions, or at best according to the simple commodity economies of city states. The Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine, wrote rightly once, that in Judaism and Christianity village air was dominant. The new religion must free itself from such village air. Truth has a time core. It is not really close to all times. Also religious texts depend on contexts. In the face of the powerlessness of religious categories today, Adorno saw no other possibility, than the most extreme asceticism concernig any revelation faith, the most extreme faithfulness toward the image prohibition, far beyond even of that, what it once meant for Moses and Kant. What according to Adrno believers and enlighteners had in common already today, was that simple thing: that in all seriousness no man in this world should be hungry any lomger; that in all seriousness no wars should happen any longer; and that in all seriousness no people should any longer be sent into concentration camps. This ethos also the new religion and enlightenment of the future would share. According to Adorno, there was present in Chrisianity something, which even the Greek Religion of Fate and Beauty, and the whole wisdom of the Greeks, did not yet have: namely, the awakening of the person, the subject, the notion of man, which really appeared only with the concept of rescue, redemption and salvation. This notion of man, as peson, has to be translated into the new religion and enlightenmen of the future. Only those religious notions will survive into the religion and enlightenment of the future, which are able to migrate into the secular discourse of the expert cultures, and through them into the communicative rationality and praxis of the life world, and even into the istrumental rationality and action of the economic subsystem, characterized by the medium of money, and of the political subsystem, characterized by the medium of power. Adorno's great student, Jürgen Habermas, who explored religion and enlightenment in the public sphere between civil society and constitutional state, and who moved between religion and naturalism, and who was conscious and aware, that something was missing in secular, enlightened, antagonistic, civil society, and who shaped the notion of the post-secular society, asked for new translators of the old positive religions toward a possible new religion and enlightenmemt of the future.

World Peace

To be sure, there can be no world peace without peace between the religious and the secular, between faith and reason, between revelation, and enlightenment. We know the double face and the ambiguity of all world religions, and of all enlightenment movements. There is good religion and its dialetic: love turning into crusades, or counter-crusades; truth turning into the ideology of slaveholders, feudallords, or billionairs. There is good enlightenment and its dialectic: integration turning into desintegration; rationalization turning into irrationality. We have no illusions, or delusions! We are disenchanted. Always the self-criticism of believers and enlighteners must go ahead of the criticism of others. Self-critically religious people and enlighteners must expose themselves to ideology- and mythology- critique, the truth question. Both must be engaged in idology: the destruction of idols. Both must be aware of the religious and secular fortress-, making-light, or playing-down,- or embracing strategies, and tactics. Believers and enlighteners must as true humanists measure everything through the humanum, as the fundamental criterion for the religion and the enlightenment of the future.

Discourse for Peace

Together, we shall explore, how a traditional religious person can at all speak in an adequate way about a new religion, or how a traditional enlightened person can at all speak about a new enlightenment in 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 the new religion and the new enlightenment. We want to participate in a research project toward the concretization of a comparative, and even oecumenical, dialecical religiology of peace. The discourse between the world religions, on one hand, and the enlightenment movements, on the other, about the religion and the enlightenment of the future 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 and terror against each other, instead of founding and contributing to peace; to instigate fanaticism and terrorism, instead of searching for reconciliation through a new religion and a new enlightenment; to practice superiority, instead of initiating discourse, understood as future-orientated remembrance of human suffering, with the practical intent to diminish it.


Since the end of World War I, almost 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 between the world religions 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 enlightenment communication, without which a political agreement will ulrimately not be possible. The motto of our 40th Anniversary is to avoid violence through avoiding, what Mahatma Ghandi has called the seven sins:

The Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.

To this motto our 40th Dubrovnik discourse is committed. We intend to push foreward and to promote, as energeticall as possible, the inter-religious and inter-philosophical enlightenment understanding and communication in the local, regional, national, and international public sphere. We try to seek the oecumenical understanding and communication with all groups, and on all levels. The Post-Modern Paradigm can be signified on the religious level as Oecumenical Paradigm in all living world religions and enlihtenment movements. This inter-religious and enlightenment 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 enlightenment discourse, it happens, that for the mutual understanding on all levels not only good will and open attitude are demanded, but also - depending on the level - also solid religious and enlightenment 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 and philosophical level, where precisely the foundation problemtic has not been caught up with. Our discourse will try to catch up with this problematic at least to some extend and as much as possible.

Comments and Objections

We hope very much, that those few concretizing suggestions about the religion and the enlightenment of the future, and a global ethos, 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 2016. 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 Building on Monday 25, 2016, 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,


Rudolf J. Siebert

Professor of Religion and Society

IUC Course Director and Yalta Course Director,

Director of the WMU Center for Humanistic Future Studies