Abstracts (enlisted following the chronological order of the program)

Prof. em. Dr. Christofer Frey: Religious practice and concept of humanity. An anthropological discussion of religious practice and its ambivalences.

Prof. Dr. Isolde Karle:The corporeal as challenge for church services and pastoral care
The lecture traces the simultaneous increase of suppression and appreciation of the corporeal in the modern world and determines its effects on the lifestyles of modern individuals and religious church practice. Special attention is paid to sexuality, which can hardly satisfy the expectations concerning meaning and identity that are placed upon it. As churches traditionally have an ambiguous relationship with sexuality, it seems all the more important to reach an ethically and practical-theologically useful orientation.

Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Gräb:„Religion, a Matter for Humans“ (Johann Spalding, 1797)
Enlightened, contemporary theology does not condition the personhood of man on the acceptance of theological positing, but rather explains why it benefits people if they understand themselves as religious. According to enlightened theology the meaning of religion is that it gives dignity to people, which they do not have to earn and which therefore cannot be entirely lost. Religion facilitates a way of life that is characterized by serenity, frankness and gratitude. What this means for Christian religion can be explained with reference to the Protestant Doctrine of Justification.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Bauer: What is man? - Anthropological perspectives from a neurobiological point of view.
The need for affection, social acceptance and affiliation proved to be a neurobiologically grounded basic human motive. However, this does not mean that humans are „good“. One precondition for the competency in relationships is the ability for empathy, which is based on the system of mirror neurons. Nevertheless the prosocial orientation of humans requires more than being able to feel what others feel.

Dr. Annette Müller: "What do I want, and how can I keep myself from getting there?“ Stories of boldness and self-obstruction
The writing workshop makes room for experimentation in order to put down in writing experiences, observations, reflections and fictions. The aim is to compose miniatures that illuminate the continuum between freedom and (self-) restriction with the aid of creative writing methods. Furthermore a voluntary presentation of the results is planned.

Dr. phil. Andreas Mussenbrock: A new question of the meaning of being – potentials and limitations of analyses of existence
„The message of the country path is now distinct. Is it the soul that speaks? Is it the world? Is it God?“ – With these three questions Heidegger varies in his short work „The country path“ the central question of his thinking, namely the „question of the meaning of being“. The workshop is for all those, who are ready to take the country path and let themselves be taken along by its question of meaning and being as a question of God, the world and humankind.

Dr. med. Dr. Phil. Dr. phil. h.c. Ronald Grossarth-Maticek: Relationship with God, health and innovations. The religious effects on human life. Results of prospective interventional studies
In many aspects of life a loving relationship with God has great effects on health, complex thinking and creative problem solving skills. It stimulates humanism, human kindness, love of nature, general tolerance and forgivingness. These qualities stand in contrast with an accusing, intolerant interpretation of the relationship of god and humans.
Within the framework of a multidisciplinary preventive medicine aspects concerning the relationship of god and humans were recorded amongst other things from numerous different prospective studies that were conducted between 1973 and 2007, in which about 38 000 men and women were interrogated.

Prof. Dr. Bent Flemming Nielsen: Corporeal oblivion? – querying the Protestant concept of religion.
The reformatory insistence on the inwardness of belief – in connection with a deeply inherited skepticism about ritual and magic – has led to a corporeal oblivion within Protestant self-conception. Nevertheless the corporeal plays an indispensable role in liturgical practice. Starting from the rift between theory and practice, the lecture attempts at making anthropological as well as ritual-theoretic suggestions concerning a revision of the conventional perception.

Dr. Gunnar Kristjánsson: The religious significance of nature in the Lutheran culture of belief in Iceland.
Many different components are interwoven in the Icelandic culture of belief. First of all Iceland is an island, whose inhabitants have always been in close contact with the sea. The same is true for their relationship with the land. In addition to that Lutheranism shaped the Icelanders’ faith experience. Even today both, nature and Lutheranism, influence their religious experience. The lecture discusses how this occurs.

Bishop Dr. Michael Bünker: Protestant customs in Austria
Much of what is practiced in congregational life can be described as customs. The personality-forming and community-building function of „customs“ can be seen from many examples in Austrian Protestant communities. It is worth taking a look at the theological relevance of this widely unnoticed phenomenon.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wilfried Engemann: Appearing as a human being. Anthropological implications of religious practice.
The religious practice of Christianity is basically a matter of the personhood of man. Thus religious belief should not expect anything of humans that contradicts their personhood or reproaches them for being human. Religious belief rather includes the experience of appearing as human beings. It is a category of passionate personhood. However, Christian culture of belief sometimes conveys the impression that one has to choose between being either wholly human or religious. The lecture highlights anthropological focuses of religious practice and discusses the implications for a contemporary theology and church.

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