Responsibilities and Aims of the Eugen Biser Foundation
Founded in Munich in 2002, the Eugen Biser Foundation (EBF) numbers many distinguished figures among its members, serving on its board of trustees, executive committee or council, and who support its aims in a multitude of other ways.
The Foundation, which engages with a wide spectrum of human existence from a Christian perspective and with Christian values, above all promotes dialogue and understanding with other faiths, ideologies and cultures, and the interests of freedom, tolerance and peace.
I. Principal interests
- From a Christian source, intensifying inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue with the other monotheistic religions (e.g. Judaism and Islam), ideologies and cultures.
- Contributing to the development of a common basis for the tolerant, peaceful co-existence of all religions and nations, both at national and supra-national levels.
- Preserving, developing, perpetuating and disseminating Eugen Biser’s theological and philosophical works and related themes, by means of scholarly studies, such as dissertations and doctoral theses, lectures, seminars and publications. Disseminating Christianity’s core values and impulses.
- Encouraging inter-Christian reconciliation and ecumenism.
- Analysing spiritual and religious developments in all aspects of the human experience, in all its forms, from that of the individual to family life, to society as a whole.
- Organising lectures, symposia and seminars on themes relating to the Foundation, in co-operation with high-schools, academies and other educational and cultural organisations, as well as in industry.
- Granting the € 5000 Eugen Biser Award.
- Increasing access to the library of philosophical, theological and scholarly religious sources and reference-works assembled by Biser, alongside his archive of scholarly works. The Foundation funds the Library’s expansion.
II. World peace determines our future.
Promoting peace, and thus reducing wars, conflicts and terrorist aggressions, must count among the most important duties of the world religions.
The world religions must also find a way of engaging in peaceful dialogue among themselves, in mutual tolerance, without abandoning their independence. Such understanding among the world’s religions is of far greater importance to successful economic, social and political development than is currently recognised in our largely secularised world.
Biser’s theology and the EBF have set themselves the goal of intensifying dialogue with the theistic religions, non-believers and the adherents of other philosophies, and making a joint effort to strengthen their social and political bases for peaceful co-existence. The Foundation acts socio-politically in providing answers to modern society’s concerns.
III. Christian responsibilities
Eugen Biser’s theological approach strongly emphasises Christianity’s responsibility for the world. To be a Christian is to exist in and for this world.
Consciousness of Christian values rests on that Christian responsibility, always and everywhere to accentuate human dignity.
This, above all, forms the basis of those human rights which find expression in freedom, equality and brotherhood, as well as their consequences for inter-human relations. They give rise to the ethical foundations for co-existence in society and commerce. In this context the Foundation is planning to establish an institute which will promote the required values.
All dialogue conducted from Christian roots and responsibilities is without limit and therefore of exceptional importance to peace among the peoples. Dialogue doesn’t set borders, but rather brings all peoples together.
IV. Christian existence amid the reality of life.
Eugen Biser wants to guide Christianity out of the ice of dogma in which it has increasing become frozen over the past centuries, and back into the realities of life. He also wants to rediscover the loveability of Christianity, which, according to the philosopher Immanuel Kant, distinguishes it from all other religions. From its beginnings, Christianity has been a therapeutic religion, directed at healing those who are threatened by mortality and tormented by fear, and above all a mystical religion, which, through the "indwelling" of its founder, lives in the hearts of his people.
Biser’s theology seeks an answer to humanity’s perpetual search for the meaning of life, convinced as he is that this quest wakens our consciousness of God. Discovering the relationship between a belief in God and seeking the meaning of life is therefore an urgent imperative.
The dissemination of Eugen Biser’s theology helps reduce the loss of faith and guide people back towards authentic Christianity. To that extent that also has socio-political implications beyond the experience of the individual.
In cultural terms the Foundation is concerned with updating the religious heritage of the contemporary cultural scene and its required cult of personality, which it sees as developing personhood into an elaborated personality.
V. Implementing the Foundation’s goals
The Foundation pursues its aims in various ways:
- By engaging in dialogue with Islam and Judaism, by furthering ecumenism, publicising inter-European developments, the "Forum for Believers and Non-believers", the Eugen Biser Award and a number of media projects.
- The Islam Project is concrete evidence of the Foundation’s work. In asking how peace can be achieved, we first must address the question human dignity. That whole complex of problems must first be examined in the Christian world, and answers found. Eugen Biser’s theology is emphatically achieving this. On that basis one can engage in dialogue with Islam, which must then itself establish how a human being’s ranking as a person is to be anchored in the Koran and in the Islamic tradition. Only a positive outcome to this possibly extensive dialogue on the dignity of man as a person will create the right conditions for exploring existing social and political problems during the continuation of the dialogue - with the aim of contributing to building a common basis for all peoples to live together in peace.
- The Foundation promotes Eugen Biser’s theology, both on the scholarly and on the pastoral levels. This encompasses publishing his works, developing a comprehensive bibliography and further elaborating his ideas, with help and doctoral theses, teaching theses and specialised publications. It also oversees collecting and transcribing his sermons, producing television series, video and DVD collections and teaching materials for religious education.