The Impact of Religion on Character Formation, Ethical Education and the Communication of Values in Late Modern Pluralistic Societies
The goal of the project is to evaluate the sources and potentials of character formation and moral education in late modern pluralistic societies. Most people today think of pluralistic societies as a multitude of free and equal individuals and a multitude of groups and institutions, each with very different political, moral, religious, and professional interests and orientations. They think of the sundry associations, interest groups, parties, lobbies, and social movements that often rapidly flourish and fade around a common cause, especially when aided by modern technology and various social media. Some see in this texture of “plurality” an enormous potential for colourful and creative development and a robust expression of human and cultural freedom. Others see a chaotic individualism and radical relativism, which endangers normative education, moral character formation, and effective cultivation of enduring values or virtues.
The sources of much of this normative coding and moral education in late modern pluralistic societies are the deep and powerful “social systems” that are the pillars of every advanced culture. The most powerful and pervasive of these are the social systems of law, religion, the family, education, the market, the media, politics, the academy, health care, and defense. The actual empirical forms of each of these powerful social systems can and do vary greatly even in the relatively homogeneous societies of the late modern West. But these deeper social systems in one form or another are structurally essential and often normatively decisive in individual and communal lives. The second of our ten planned consultations will deal with the impact of religion on character formation, ethical education and the communication of values in late modern pluralistic societies.
Prof. Dr. Michael Welker
Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie (FIIT)
Tel.: +49 (0)6221 543393