What is a life without faith

Funkkolleg 2018/2019

Author: Elena Griepentrog

Without God nothing is missing: life without religion

In terms of numbers, they can by no means keep up with the Christian churches, but the atheists or people who by definition live without religion form a colorful and multi-layered scene. On the one hand, they organize themselves in associations: some are mild and tolerant, others quite aggressive.

What do atheists and religious critics believe in?

There are ideological communities that consciously rely on rationality and have high ethical standards. However, the vast majority of people who do not belong to any religion are not organized. In addition to professing atheists, there are also many gradations, e.g. people who are formally church members but do not believe in God. Or people who believe in an indefinite higher power, in rebirth or an all-determining fate.

What alternatives do the atheist and religion-critical associations offer? What society do you imagine? What do you believe in

↑ to the top

Broadcast as a podcast

Download Funkkolleg Religion Macht Politik (05), MP3 audio format, 24:40 min., 45.1 MB

Broadcast in hr-iNFO: 01.12.2018, 11:30 a.m.

↑ to the top

Additional material

  1. Non-religious people, atheists, non-denominational people in Germany
  2. The relationship between state and church in Germany

1. Non-religious people, atheists, non-denominational people in Germany

Internet presences of the following associations:

Humanistic Association of Germany, online at: http://www.humanismus.de/

International Association of Non-Denominational and Atheists, online at: https://www.ibka.org/de

Free Religious Congregation Berlin, online at: http://www.freigeistig-berlin.de/

Giordano Bruno Foundation, online at: https://www.giordano-bruno-stiftung.de/

The information page of the Religious Studies Media and Information Service e.V. (REMID) offers a very good overview of various directions in the field of non-denominational, free religious, atheists and other world views.

REMID: Membership numbers: Organized non-denominational groups, online at: https://www.remid.de/info_zahlen/konfessionsfrei/

REMID: From agnosticism to secular: A compilation of non-religious worldviews, online at: https://www.remid.de/blog/2018/11/von-agnostizismus-bis-saekular-eine-zombination-zu-nichtreligioesen-weltanschauungen/

A manual article by the religious scholar Christel Gärtner gives a good, concise overview of atheism, from the Enlightenment criticism of religion to organized atheism since the 19th century:

Gärtner, Christel: Atheismus, in: Staatslexikon (law-economy-society), published by Görres-Gesellschaft and Herder Verlag, Freiburg and others: Herder. P. 430-434, online at: https://repositorium.uni-muenster.de/document/miami/ce99706b-7bde-442f-83de-ce9b30bb7344/gaertner_2017_atheismus.pdf

An article in the Tagesspiegel discusses the results of an EMNID survey on the religious - and non-religious! - Beliefs of the population and asks what beliefs and values ​​people have who do not belong to any denomination or religion.

Uwe Lehnert: What does someone believe who does not believe? Tagesspiegel, October 14, 2017, online at: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/atheismus-heute-was-glaubt-jemand-der-nicht-glaubt/20443404.html

The so-called “new atheists” are very aggressively pursuing an anti-religious course and are thus going public. While international authors like Richard Dawkins represent neo-atheist positions in front of a large audience, in Germany the Giordano Bruno Foundation with its founding member and board spokesman Michael Schmidt-Salomon is known to the public.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (March 22, 2009): The Agenda of New Atheism, online at: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/giordano-bruno-stiftung-die-agenda-des-neuen-atheismus-1926867.html

WDR 5 (May 11, 2018): Sobering? - the new atheism, online at: https://www1.wdr.de/mediathek/audio/wdr5/wdr5-das-philosophische-radio/audio-ernuechternd—der-neue-atheismus-100.html

↑ to the top

2. The relationship between state and church in Germany

Some of the non-denominational groups and organizations, especially those from the neo-atheist direction, such as the Giordano Bruno Foundation, criticize the constitution of the relationship between state and religion in Germany - and in particular that the two large churches are too much compared to other worldviews Would also have an influence on social and state decisions and institutions.

Political scientist Ulrich Willems, who conducts research at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster, has identified some key challenges for religious policy in Germany in a new issue of the magazine “Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte” of the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

In particular, he emphasizes the pluralization of the religious landscape, which has led to Muslims in particular, but also those without religious affiliation, increasingly demanding appropriate integration into the religious and political order. It is about such specific things as funeral rituals or diet and clothing regulations. However, the political parties treat religious policy as a stepchild, which means that privileges for the large churches continue to be granted without reflection, while religious minorities and non-denominational groups have to accept disadvantages.

Willems, Ulrich (2018): Stiefkind Religionspolitik, in: From Politics and Contemporary History, Issue 28-29, online at: http://www.bpb.de/apuz/272099/stiefkind-religionspolitik?p=0

In the same issue, the state church lawyer Hans-Michael Heinig puts religious law in Germany in a historical context in order to better understand the current dynamics and challenges:

Heinig, Hans Michael (2018): State and Religion in Germany. Historical and current dynamics in religious law, in: From Politics and Contemporary History, Issue 28-29, online at: http://www.bpb.de/apuz/272101/historische-und-aktuelle-dynamiken-im-religionsrecht

In the media recently, current cases in particular were discussed in which the application of church labor law is at issue - for example, whether remarried people can still be employed by church-based Catholic employers:

Deutschlandfunk (day by day, 12.09.2018): Church labor law before the ECJ. "The judgment seems a bit undifferentiated to me," online at: https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/kirchliches-arbeitsrecht-vor-dem-eugh-mir-erscheint-das.886.de.html?dram:article_id=427879

Deutschlandfunk (day after day, 25.10.2018): No denomination, no position at the Diakonie - the decision, online at: https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/endung-zum-kirchlichen-arbeitsrecht-keine-konfession-keine.886.de.html?dram:article_id=431394

A scientific statement on this topic from the German Institute for Human Rights:

Müller, Sebastian (2015): Church self-determination and individual labor law, Policy Paper, German Institute for Human Rights, online at: https://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Publikationen/Policy_Paper/Policy_Paper_29_Kirchliches_Selbstbestungsrecht_und_individuelles_Arbeitsrecht.pdf

Additional materials as PDF for download

↑ to the top