Religion is a long-standing factor in politics and its impact on social and political processes has been growing lately. It can be observed in certain Muslim countries, where religious parties and movements are active and often enjoy electoral success, as well as in Europe, where the increasing visibility of religion in politics is often related to the strengthening of nationalist and populist ideologies.
Religious and secular parties alike can exploit religious beliefs to their advantage, as the lines between ideology and religion are blurred. Ruling elites often use religious ideology (and, more broadly, traditional values) in order to increase their control over society and to bolster their public image. Given this, some claim that the world has entered a ‘post-secular’ epoch, in which the surge of religion in politics and the ideologisation of religion often contribute to rigid worldviews and increase the potential for conflict.
Among the questions to be addressed:
- What are the causes of the increasing influence of religion in politics and its exploitation by secular forces?
- What is the nature of modern secularism? Is this phenomenon common to all societies?
- What can be done to prevent the radicalisation of religion?
- What are the key tasks of inter-civilisational dialogue in the context of a ‘post-secular’ era?