Uses and Abuses of Religion in European Narratives of Crisis

Guest lecture by Professor Jayne Svenungsson, Lund University

This paper examines how European narratives of crisis have been related to religion in different eras by different factions and with varying purposes. It first takes a look at some tendencies in the pre- and interwar era, where
religion is used both as part of a conservative, nationalistic narrative of crisis and as part of a progressive anti-nationalistic narrative of crisis. Secondly, it revisits some of the post-war debates, in which religion – or the biblical legacy – is commonly depicted as the root of the ideological perversions that had caused Europe’s recent crises. Yet at the same time, religion was also made claim on as a constructive force in the building of post-war Europe,
not least by the founding fathers of the European Union. Thirdly, the paper seeks to map the contemporary European landscape with regard to religion in various political and cultural discourses. Like in previous eras, religion is today made claim on for various and often conflicting purposes. Against this backdrop, the paper ends by briefly pondering the critical role of theology in contemporary Europe.

All are welcome!

Organized by the CEMES research Group Religion and Modern European Cultures