Ever since the birth of civilization, there has been a religious factor closely embedded in the leadership of human societies. Leaders of religious groups had huge influence and real power in many forms of government throughout history and the function of religious and secular leader was often combined in one single person. But in the last couple of centuries we have been witnessing a process of separating religion from state, society, education, science, ethics, and other aspects of everyday life. This process is called secularization.

Secularism has its intellectual roots in ancient Greece and Rome, with philosophers like Epicurus and Marcus Aurelius. The idea was spread more widely during Enlightenment with thinkers like John Locke, Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine. We must also not forget about Martin Luther, who inspired the topic of this conference. Around the world an intense secularisation process was present in many periods, for example during French Revolution and French Third Republic, during the reign of Joseph II in Holy Roman Empire, during Kulturkampf under the German chancellor von Bismarck, and also in all communist regimes, from Yugoslavia, through Soviet Union, to China.

Nowadays secularism is still an ongoing process in the most of the world. It doesn’t happen only in matters concerning the state, education, and science, but also in human mentality. Today the fastest growing “religion” is no religion, as general development is leading a lot of people to leave organised religion. But atheism is not required for secularisation, because the process can be inspired anti-clericalism, not by only by anti-religiousness. Criticizing the clergy does not equal criticizing religiousness. For example, the Freemasons were viewed by the Church as a principal source of anti-clericalism, yet one cannot join the Freemasons, if one is not religious, although it doesn’t matter which religion.

This workshop will focus on any process, event, or person, that contributed to separation of the Church as an institution from various facets of civilised world. I listed only a few examples and guidelines, but secularisation is a surprisingly broad subject. If you would like to prepare a 10-15 min presentation about something related to it and debate if secularisation is turning the world for the better, this workshop could be perfect for you.

Workshop leader: Domen Kodrič (ISHA Maribor), Tamara Pataki (ISHA Berlin)
Contact info: nemod.cirdok@gmail.com