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The Religio-political Functions of the Present-day 'Kirchentags' in West-Germany in the Context of Post-modern Societies

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The following article analyzes a social phenomenon, which has considerable influence in- and outside the church in West Germany: the Protestant (and partly the Catholic) 'Kirchentag' ('church-gathering'). The theoretical background of the analysis is the discussion of whether and to what extent modern societies are indeed secularized ones. The Kirchentag serves as a forum where the participants try to interrelate spirituality with socio-political responsibility. They are highly interested in fundamental questions concerning the future of nature and mankind but they are by no means fundamentalists - quite the contrary. The findings demand for a more careful handling of the thesis of secularization, which sometimes seems to serve more as a legitimation of certain theological demands than as a description of social reality at a sociological level. They are an invitation to reflect on the theological criteria which we use when we define ourselves as 'secularized'.


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Affiliations: 1: Sociology of Religion at the Technical University of Braunschweig; 2: Reformed Church in Hannover


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