Confessional education in secular contexts

Confessional education in secular contexts

The society, in which we are living, can be considered as postsecular (Habermas 2006, Casanova 2009). One such evidence for the postsecular is the upheaval of epistemological monopoly. Instead, there is a competition between different faiths and epistemological truths. The secular norm has thus become one of many perspectives. The education within and by religions is thereby no longer about training the community of believers but also to manifest the religion in a competition with other religions and secular perspectives. Education becomes a way to position a religion. At the same time, the debate on confession in public society has become increasingly harsh, and the tolerance for other perspectives has diminished. This is particularly the case of confessional educations within the educational frameworks of the West European states. In some countries, confessional elements of education has been outsourced to the religions, in other countries such elements have been banished, whereas in some countries a normative system is implied for everyone. But confessional education also takes place in professional training such as those for ministerial work. In many Western European countries such education is made in cooperative effort between state and society, often at the ordinary universities. This cooperation has, however, been criticised more and more, since it is understood as either negative state interference of religious practice, or as positive state favourisation of religious practice.

This project aims at investigating how especially Christianity as confession is expressed in education in Western Europe ‒ not only in schools but also at universities – interpreted from a postsecular perspective.