Humanity and Religion.
Anthropological issues and perspectives in the Christian culture of belief


International conference of the Department of
Practical Theology and Psychology of Religion, Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Vienna
9 – 12 April 2014



We are looking forward to welcoming you to Vienna on 9 April 2014!

           Theological criticism and the attendance of a society's religious practice ultimately serve humanity and personhood. Religious practice is advisable only if and when it contributes to a culture of belief which promotes an individual's humanity and their experience of freedom and love. Societal analyses of the last three decades show that it has become ever more challenging for individuals to live their lives as free people, embodying this freedom as well as giving and receiving affection. This development poses critical questions with a view to present Christian practice. Does it accommodate personhood and humanity? Or are we faced with having to choose, grotesquely, between being either human or religious?

            This conference on „Humanity and Religion“ focuses on the resources of our culture of belief which allow people to be human rather than something other or possibly more than human. This comprises an analysis of aspects of Christian practice (specific customs and practices of services and sermons, forms of spirituality, etc.) which convey actual reproaches where being human is concerned. Another issue are (mostly implicit) instructions of belief which discredit living a self-determined life and, with it, adopting one's own free will. Such „messages“ pervade the ensemble of Christian symbols (art, hymns, prayer, architecture, etc). Even human dignity is disregarded. However, human dignity must be taken into account as the non-negotiable basic principle not only for the ethical discussion of medical, pedagogic or political proposition but also for the substantiation, organisation and design of religious practice.

            The topic of our conference calls for an increased dialogue between (Practical) Theology, (Practical) Philosophy, Psychology of Religion and Neurobiology. The very issue of this topic has evolved from the discourse between these disciplines in recent years. It is time to take stock.

 Univ. Prof. Dr. Wilfried Engemann


This conference is sponsored by Wien Kultur, Essl Museum and the Protestant Church of Austria.

Corporate Communications | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1  | 1010 Vienna