Religion and the Challenge of European Identity

Course Description

Course description

To what extent does religion contribute to shaping people’s identity and or/divide them in Europe
today? Religion has played an important role in the development of European culture and identity,
as evidenced by impressive church buildings as well as by religious themes in classical European
art and music. The traditional concept of a "Christian" Europe has been both challenged and
enriched by Islam and Judaism as well as by substantial criticism of the established churches.
Today, the considerable drop in religious observance and belief has led many Europeans to
embrace a "post-Christian" identity, while the presence of immigrant communities is making the
continent more multi-cultural. Nevertheless, Christian churches continue to be officially supported by
several European states, and movements encouraging a re-revitalization of religion have gained
attention. In this course, we will address key questions and problems concerning religion in Europe,
and will also engage in critical analyses of art and music.

This course aims to help students critically evaluate religion and its impact on culture and identity.
Participants will be equipped to analyze religious beliefs and institutions, and to identify both positive
and negative aspects of the religion’s role in Europe. They will improve their ability to engage in
informed discussion about music, art, ecumenical relations, politics, history, and current debates.
Furthermore, students will be encouraged to develop and defend their own opinions about religion
and its place in Europe's cultural and political future.

The course is designed for undergraduate students from different countries and with different
academic and religious backgrounds who are interested in exploring and discussing the role of
religion in Europe. A good command of English and the willingness to actively participate in the
course are expected.

Final exam (60%) and active participation in class (40%)

Lucas Kent Ogden (Mag. Theol., Tubingen), originally from northern California, studied religion and
theology in the United States, France, Switzerland, and Germany. He is currently completing a PhD
in Protestant theology in Tubingen, while also teaching for the faculties of law and of American