Year of publication
- Was ist Religion? : Thesen zu einem dialektischen Religionsbegriff mit Anmerkungen zur selbstentfremdeten Religionsbetrachtung (2012)
- Unity of Buddhism and Hinduism : in experience and teachings of the Dalai Lama (2005)
- The Dalai Lama, in exile since 1959 in Hindu majority India, has continuously been taking a firm stand on giving importance to an inter-religious dialogue and interaction. He has made it absolutely clear that Buddhism represents just one of the many religious ways open for mankind. Nonetheless, he has always referred to the bond shared between Buddhism and Hinduism as a very special one and has experienced it as a religious tie. Both these religious streams belong to what is known as Bharatiya or Indo-genous Dharma. The Dalai Lama does not restrict his care for nurturing this common bond to a mere academic talk. In fact he has been taking active part in promoting this kind of inter-religious dialogue and has been showing a fiery political commitment as well. He thus took active part in the second World Hindu Congress organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad held in Prayag-Allahabad in the year 1979. According to official reports, the organizers in their welcome speech for the Dalai Lama were frank enough to admit that 2500 years ago, the Kashi Pandits (Kashi also known as Varanasi) had stopped Siddharta Gautama Buddha from entering the Vishwanath temple. It was also mentioned that for all these years, there has never been any letup in the conflict between Sanatani Hindus and Bauddhas, despite the fact that later on Shakya Muni was rewarded the status of avatara by Hindus. The fact that these very Kashi Pandits had invite one of the highest religious authorities of Buddhism - the Dalai Lama- to this congress should be seen as "a positive step towards reconciliation." The Dalai Lama was thus pleasantly surprised to see that the highest rung of the religious body of Hindus publicly acknowledged the divine status of Siddharta Gautama Buddha and recognized the presence of the Dalai Lama as a valuable contribution towards the reconciliation between the two religious streams. ...
- Thesen zum interreligiösen Dialog und zur protestantischen Apologetik (1997)
- Prolegomena Protestantische Theologie in der Nachfolge Martin Luthers hat allein Gesetz und Evangelium zum Gegenstand. Ihre Aufgabe besteht allein in der Unterscheidung der beiden verba Dei. Als ars practica hat sie für jede Epoche existenzrelevant herauszufinden, was hier und jetzt heißt: 1. Erlösungswille Gottes, d.h. was Christum treibet und im Unterschied dazu 2. Erhaltungswille Gottes, d.h. was das Gesetz treibet. Das Evangelium ist allein Sache des geistlichen Regiments. Das Gesetz ist allein Sache des weltlichen Regiments.
- The religion of the ISKCON Vaishnavas in the perspectives of diacritical theology (1997)
- In Germany, theological studies on the Hindu religion of the International Soci-ety of Krishna Consciousness and its Vaishnava theology are still only just be-ginning. Previously this relevant task was left mostly to religio-political polemics, resulting in a politically highly problematic research deficit which seriously impeded the necessary social and clerical confrontation with these new religious impulses in the German society. But theological passiveness and polemic activ-ism actually reduce the chances for religiously relevant analyses and socially acceptable solutions of philosophical and spiritual problems. Ignorance rather than dialogue, and polemics inimical to dialogue, have directly or indirectly stabilised the destructive forces in the new religious communities for decades, and consequently favoured a diminution and isolation of reformative tendencies. Due to an increasing respect for the freedom of religion as a human right, the profane alliance of the aggressive forces of both sides has recently ended, and a public, and differentiating, discussion of participants and persons concerned has cautiously started, reinforcing a freer and more competent inter-civil dialogue about spiritual affairs. Clear signs may be seen, not only of a reform within the ISKCON religion, but also in the churches setting about discussing the multi-religious topic on a higher level. A so-called broader theological research, partly transcending the border-lines of Christianity, is developing in the universities, and the free science of religion in Germany is receiving a surprising impetus. It was the suppression of the science of religion that had been impeding a constructive discussion in society of the new religious situation in Germany. The rejection of an inter-civil dialogue of spiritual affairs, however, contradicts an effective democracy which subsists on the continuous confrontation of free citizens with their common culture, especially with the ultimate questions of human existence. But the success of this inter-civil confrontation is solely guaranteed if the participants in the dialogue respect their mutual freedom as citizens and take the mutual dialogue among citizens for granted. This is the only way to attain a reasonable range of solutions concerning the ends of our existence and its proper means. As a contribution to this inter-civil dialogue a theological analysis is to be made of the religious culture practised by citizens of this country engaged in the ISK-CON religion and from there desiring to exert an impact on our civil culture. I. Subject and Aim of Diacritical Theology Because of the diffuse understanding of theology it is necessary to explain what it is, where it should and should not be engaged. Theology is not a religious ideology of a particular community that argues the interests of social organisations, but a universal science. It is not limited to a certain religious culture or form of society but is committed to its specific subject (1). Such an autonomous theology has the task of discrimen inter legem et evangelium—the diacritical analysis of Law and Gospel according to the description of its function by Martin Luther. We will follow these basic categories of diacritical theology and explain them here (2).
- The privileged religion of Saint Francis of Assisi (1998)
- The popularity of St. Francis (1182/3-1226) in our days is overwhelming. He has become a modern hero - not only of Catholics but also of Protestants, non-Christians and even atheists. Nevertheless, the question may be raised whether the modern portrayals of St. Francis do justice to the historical person. In order to get a more solid answer we will analyze various documents which were ap-proximately known to and approved by St. Francis himself, particularly his Tes-timony, his Song of Brother Sun, the Unapproved Rule, the Approved Rule, the Admonitions, and the Letter to the Faithful Ones I. We will not even use the legendary reports of his disciples. From the very beginning the devotees of St. Francis made of him a typical convert. This biographic mutilation has remained en vogue until today. - In his Testimony he tells his real story in a few brief words: "While I was in sins it appeared to me extremely bitter to look at the lep-ers. And the Lord himself brought me among them and I gave alms to them. When I was leaving them that what appeared bitter to me was to me exchanged for (converted into) sweetness of the soul and the body. And afterwards I stopped for a moment and then I left the world." Therefore, his life can be divided into three periods: 1) the life in 'sin' or the 'world'; 2) the short period of the conversion, of a short stopping and of the leaving the 'world'; and 3) his exis-tence outside the 'world'. ...
- The presence of the Holy in the Lilanukarana (2001)
- The people of Braj1 are attracted by the Holy in many ways. But nowhere is its attraction per-ceived as strongly as in the public performances of the lilas of Krisna – the lilanukaranas. Although by their aesthetic constitution these dramatic performances are a mixture of song, theater and dance, they do not belong to the genre of folkloric entertainment, for in their very essence they are revelations of the Holy. Thus in Braj the Holy is not at all considered a nirguna entity concealing itself from the world. On the contrary, it reveals itself plainly and unmistakably. This revelation is fully authentic because in its essence the Holy is saguna, i.e. possessed of form. This, however, further means that the lilanukarana do not present something mundane as sacred, nor do they present a 'substitute religion' – for they offer the experience of the Holy moving among and with the lilanukarana, as their equal, freely and naturally, without fear of touch by the creature. And this unconcern for possible worldly contamination allows the Brajbasis to meet the Holy without fear, and in intimate friendship.
- The Hindu Buddha according to the theology of the Bengali Vaishnava Acharya Bhaktivedanta Swami (1999)
- In the broad Indian religious culture we find two basic concepts of the inner structure of the Holy. The Advaita religion believes in the 'not-two' will say absolute 'oneness' of the ultimate reality. The Dvaita religion yet believes in 'two' will say the dual structure of the whole. Nevertheless, the latter one is no radical dualism because it recognises nothing to be outside the last reality. It is a kind of 'dualist monism' and insofar fundamentally different to West Asian and European moderate or radical dualism. The Dvaita religion experiences the inner structure of the Holy as everlasting dynamic relation of the whole and its parts. As a rule, the representation of the whole is the personal God, mostly called Bhagavan. The representations of the parts are the soul or jivas. Mostly following the idea the whole being a personal God the Dvaita religion is something like theism; yet, it is an Indian or Hindu theism teaching that the Godhead comprises within herself souls and matter, too. By the way, many of the jivas aren't conscious of their role within the Holy. They erroneously take themselves for empty monads and believe that they would get their realisation only by implementing themselves with 'matter'. Experiencing in this concern the uselessness of matter, the maya energy of the Godhead, they can get the true consciousness of their role as divine co-players in the inner divine play or lila. ...