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Document Details :
Title: A Theological Faculty as a House with Many Mansions
Subtitle: On the Institutionalization of Theology in Pluralistic, Secular Society
Author(s): VROOM, Hendrik M.
Journal: Studies in Interreligious Dialogue
Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Date: 2008
Religious pluralism requires that theology be organized in a different way: confessionally and pluralistically, dialogically and contextually, faithful to religious organizations and accountable in the public domain. Religious pluralism is changing the Western world. The transmission of the Christian faith is less self-evident than it has been for centuries. People are free to form their own opinions and ‘choose’ their way of life. Because pluralism affects the basic values of society which find their support in worldview traditions, religious pluralism is one of the main political problems of the “secular” state as well. Faculties of theology can be organized more adequately as a house “with many mansions” for religions with common rooms, exchange and debate, instead of gradually becoming departments of descriptive religious studies. A public interreligious dialogue on values and political issues will be supported by such an institution and prevent accountability for views of life from disappearing from the public realm into the private. Students can be educated in pluralistic theological faculties of universities that reflect social realities in an atmosphere of respect, integrity, dialogue and accountability. The first section of this contribution describes the changing situation in the European (EU) culture, the second the consequences of pluralism for churches, the third the crisis of traditional theology, and the fourth points to the perspective of a pluralistic but confessional institutionalization of theology/ies.