What is religion beyond dogma

It is part of the tragedy of established religions that most of their attempts to speak in everyday communications have now become dull and irrelevant. Sometimes I think: It would be better to sift through the systematic nature of religion and denomination, that is, to search through their dogmatic antiquarian bookshops and take some things out of circulation. Should one not agree that religion primarily has to do with practicing a way of life that prepares us for what will happen to us: for mortality and the need to deal with separations, for the need to deal with contingency, with “joy and hope, sadness and fear” (Gaudium et spes 1)?

In the 21st century, the hallmark of religion, especially in the ecclesiastical setting, is largely a dogmatic dualism and, linked to it, a notorious loss of sense of reality.

Religions want to show that we can rely on forces that come unavailable as well as surprising and that are given to us in gestures of human mindfulness and affection. Trust in the reality of life, in the reality of the divine in the midst of everyday life, could serve as a source of knowledge.

In the 21st century, however, the hallmark of religion, especially in the ecclesiastical setting, is largely the opposite: a dogmatic dualism and, associated with it, a notorious loss of sense of reality. It seems to be inscribed in the Church system itself. Not only people who lead a religious life outside and beyond the two large Christian churches can hardly do anything with the truth claim of a rigid catalog of beliefs and customs.

The long triumph of dogma over the subject

Since the early councils, dogmatic doctrines with an irrefutable claim to truth have been used as instruments to protect the “given” form of church authority from changes. But can something be true because it is “officially” decreed? Instead of constantly developing the profile of church teaching and sharpening it in the Jesuan style of mediation, it is dogmatically sanctified and defended with administrative means. This shows the massive limits of the church's ability to communicate and engage in dialogue. The crisis of church communication with the public arises from the unredeemed knowledge that today people see themselves as subjects to whom the knowledge and shaping of reality is left to themselves. There is no longer any heteronomous “divine” or “ecclesiastical” reason that can be defined independently of one's subject status to be approved, neither in questions of faith and morals, nor in the design of ecclesiastical processes and regulations. Rather, these are revealed to him from their assignment to the human being as a person: “The origin, carrier and goal of all social institutions is and must be the human person” (Gaudium et spes 25).

I need the other and their resistance to overcome the blind spot of my own position, just as my counterpart needs my resistance to find the truth.

In this way, however, people no longer see themselves called only in responsibility for obedience to church norms, but also in responsibility for shaping them. That is precisely where the decisive factor lies Expansion of the idea of ​​participation and his necessary, unfortunately not yet taken for granted, acceptance in dealing with one another. The form of organization that determines it was and is not genuinely interested in the effective participation of those who think differently. Where it says dialogue, there is no dialogue - with a view to an actual openness in the result.

This requires thinking and feeling beyond the usual, the system, in short: out of the box.

The obvious conclusion from the conviction of one's own “gifted” integrity to the absurdity of the positions of others has become a customary church law. I need the other and their resistance to overcome the blind spot of my own position, just as my counterpart needs my resistance to find the truth. The position of the other is part of the whole truth. This requires thinking and feeling beyond the usual, the system, in short: out of the box. There is always a painful, dramatic process in the experience of loyalty and contradiction, power and powerlessness. “Synodal processes” and “pastoral paths”, as they exist on the Catholic side in many places, experience this drama in such a painful way. The energy that is in such processes is necessary to loosen the deeply rooted structural hardening of the church and - in the long term - to break through.

Dogmas can provide guidance

It could actually be very simple. The dogmatic constitution on the Church "Lumen Gentium" of the Second Vatican Council has for (almost) 60 years emphasized the fraternal service of the entire Church to the unity of all people. The document calls the Church clairvoyant and farsighted as a medium, as a universal sign of salvation, which not only has the baptized in view, but also those who are raised in their own way through the practice of their life "to participate in the divine life" ( LG 2). Dogmas could serve as a guide in this regard if they not only knew how to categorize people's experiences with God, the God of Jesus Christ, but also to actualize them appropriately. Then they would have dogmas Function of a Christian symbol system, which enables people to interpret the radical openness of the world with a view to their own unique existence and to make it meaningful, in order to make the world habitable as a place where hope can be drawn despite all possible threats.

The truth of a path lights up when my life and that of others succeed, when it develops and matures into a freedom-loving, fraternal communication culture.

The church could accompany people to such a hope and “make them believe”. "Faith is: standing firm in what one hopes for, being convinced of things that one does not see" (Heb. 11: 1). Content-related disputes about the clarity of terms and the binding nature of symbolizations would then be one common struggle for truth when the individual becomes subject before God and no longer the distinction of deviants. The truth of a path lights up when my life and that of others succeed, when it develops and matures into a freedom-loving, fraternal communication culture.

From dogma to person

A rethink in the communication behavior of the church requires a change in attitude. Subject-oriented and subject-based communication means that the preaching of the church does not center in itself, but in the individual becoming subject. The congregation, the worship service, the religious education must create spaces and atmospheres in which people can perceive and experience their lives as a unique divine call. The pastoral theologian Stefan Knobloch refers to the formula "propter nos homines" in the Great Creed, that "the whole salvation economy of God was staged for the sake of man, for the sake of the individual in the singular, for the sake of his indefensible individuality"1.

A rethink in the communication behavior of the church requires a change in attitude.

The basic mandate of church communication in all its facets and forms of communication is to work on this. Such a communication mandate basically has Jesus' invitation to the note-taker to “stand up and stand in the middle” (Mk 3,3) to repeat with regard to each individual: “What is your name?” (Mk 5,9). I am interested in your life, in your need, in your joy. Not in an anthropocentric fixated on the individual, but in opening up the theocentric of every human life. The empathetic encouragement to put oneself in the middle can be taken as a sign of the mission church, especially pastoral communication has for the individual: namely to enable him and her not to be challenged and condemned by others and by their own self-doubts to define or to make it small based on one's own failure and guilt story, but rather to measure and accept one's own life in its deeper, divine dimension with the help of the solidarity gaze of others.

Person-centered communication

A change in attitude in communication not only requires a clear option for the life of the individual, but also a different structure of pastoral and educational work based on a new form of encounter, advice and support for people puts. In the perspective and attitude of person-centered communication2 this is already happening - more or less consciously - at different levels of pastoral and school practice.

A change in attitude in communication, however, requires a different structure of pastoral and educational work, which relies on a new form of encounter, advice and support for people.

The person-centered approach (PzA) assumes that everyone has the ability to develop constructively and to solve their problems independently. Provided that the person experiences himself in relationships in which it is possible for him to show himself and "to be who he really is" - and to discover more and more of his possibilities and abilities in the process.

Person-centered communication promotes becoming a subject. She accompanies people in their everyday activities by strengthening their independence, by clarifying their internal and external conflicts and by improving their ability to ascertain their own goals and paths3 . It promotes and accompanies the inner growth of a person through a constructive Relationship offer. The interpersonal relationship is also seen as important in church communication, but is often understood as an instrument, so to speak as a precondition for the actual catechetical or homiletic work, as a to-do. The relationship here is above all a means to an end.

The interpersonal relationship is also seen as important in church communication, but here the relationship is above all a means to an end.

The PzA means something completely different, because in him the encounter and the relationship itself is the beneficial, the healing agent. With the PzA, Carl Rogers has the primary importance of the real relationship as a central healing factor4 stresses, regardless of whether this relationship is therapeutic, advisory or educational in nature. Person-centered communication wants to show that it is the direct relationship from person to person that defines the essence of wholesome and beneficial developments.

Public officials and experts are not in demand, but authentic, empathetic people.

That is the basic one Paradigm shift, that church communication needs. Public officials and experts are not in demand, but authentic, empathetic people. Not helpers who presume to know better than others, but people who are ready to fully engage with their expertise in the world of another, to understand and accompany him, and who remain what they are: searching, vulnerable fellow human beings struggling to succeed in their own lives.

Relationship takes precedence over content

Understand person-centered communication in the field of action of the church Communication as a basic culture of encounter5, as a lifelong encounter between individuals and groups on the horizon of the promise of divine presence. A specifically Christian style of communication would therefore not consist in preaching and securing dogmatically sealed worlds of faith, but in remembering and visualizing the life of Jesus as an offer of solidarity in shaping one's life, in which relationship takes precedence over content: “What is your name? - Put yourself and your concerns in the middle. ”A new solidarity in the small and distracted could arise. It would be a recollection of a biblical, a Jesuan legacy: “I was naked and you gave me clothes; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me ”(Mt 25, 36).

if one's own impotence and also the anger and anger over the true state of the church are allowed to discharge, these will gradually be able to transform into grief, which is necessary if anything is to become healthy and new at all.

Church communication could make Christ himself perceptible as a “personal incarnation of an atmosphere of love” (Hermann Schmitz), which concerns people with absolute seriousness in an atmosphere that is shown in solidarity words and gestures, such as biblically especially in the parables and miracle stories can be studied and practiced.

Against this background, church institutions and their representatives must first recognize their own internal communication mandate: “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel ”(Mk 1:15). Those who bear responsibility in the church should first have the message of the philanthropic God Jesus Christ be told to themselves. This would have an equally revealing and liberating effect, which is initially painful for many. Because only when one's own impotence and also one's anger and anger over the true state of the church are allowed to discharge, they will gradually be able to turn into grief, which is necessary if anything is to become healthy and new at all. Only such disillusionment should be beneficial. It could lead to the discovery that the Spirit of God wants to magnify the small and inconspicuous, but disempower the powerful and abusive.

“The process of becoming oneself, the struggle in the struggle and losing and starting again, the flight from oneself and the courage to deal with one's own forces of destruction, is to be understood theologically as a process in which God himself is always new and different The world comes as a process of God's reality as it is present in every life. In the contingent subjectivity of people, God gives himself to people and surrenders himself to the human. "6