The religion of the ISKCON Vaishnavas in the perspectives of diacritical theology

  • 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).

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Author:Edmund WeberGND
Parent Title (German):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur
Series (Serial Number):Journal of religious culture = Journal für Religionskultur (11)
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Part of Periodical
Year of Completion:1997
Year of first Publication:1997
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2007/10/09
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Institut für Wissenschaftliche Irenik
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 29 Andere Religionen / 290 Andere Religionen
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht