Authors: Dr Marko Nikolić, Research Fellow, Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dragana Petrović-Rađenović, M.A., Deputy Director of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA)
Editors’ note: This text is the Abstract of one of the introductory presentations at the final conference of the DaNet Conference Series, that was held on December 13, 2012 in Budapest under the title “Fruitfully to live together – People to People – Partnership“.
Danube–Balkan Region is the area of “monotheistic fragmentation of Common Sky” or “God’s surveillance“ of different faiths, beliefs, societies, nations and states. During communist period in Former Yugoslavia religious communities were politically and socially marginalized and supposed to be used for ideological purposes. Practice and experience related to political supremacy and inspection of religious issues led its contemporary research to dilemma if religious communities represented subjects of integration or division, separation and “competitiveness”. The question is of importance within European integration process. It is out of question that “Truly Source”, essence and nature of religious (especially Christian one) is nonviolent, peaceful and “vertically integrative”. If assessed, understood and implemented correctly, religion communities and their values could be a sort of important “strategic partner” to the states and essential pillars in the European integration process of the whole Region and Western Balkans.
Religion, Society and Politics
The phenomena of “monotheistic religion” is a totality of belief in God, spiritually–institutional system and sum of rituals interdependent with social circumstances. ((Milan Vukomanović, Sveto i mnoštvo–izazovi religijskog pluralizma, Čigoja, 2001.)) Its position and role in modern societies is to be defined a “vertical sociability” ((Георгије М. Мандзаридис, Социологија хришћанства, Хришћански културни центар, Београд, 2004, стр. 9.)) and alternative to secularism. It is an “original wisdom and perspective” of progress and development. ((Радован Биговић, Црква и друштво, Хиландарски фонд при Богословском факултету СПЦ, Заједница Свети Никола, Париз, Београд, 2000. година.)) In fact, ideals of justice, rule of law and human rights are secular surrogates of religious representing bridge-pillar of modern “triangle-relations” that link religions, societies and politics. That’s why “vertical position” and religious influence in social and political sphere is so important. Despite that contemporary scientific research of religion is “inner-separated” and dominated by secular and anthropological supremacy, lacking theological basis and approaches. The result is still present mystification of religious issues and their often misuse in social and political life. Modern science is supposed mutually to enrich “methodologies of belief and rational and critical assessment” in comparative way, pretending to achieve more comprehensive understanding and constructive implementation of religious values in practice.
Inter–Religious (Inter–Christian) cooperation and dialogue in Danube–Balkan Region
Inter–religious cooperation considers common religious efforts and activities in solving various interdisciplinary problems. It is possible at least to indicate its theological, social, political and anthropological aspect. ((Николић Марко, Екуменски односи Српске православне и Римокатоличке цркве од 1962-2000. године, Службени гласник, Београд, друго издање, 2012.)) For modern secular science and society focal aspect of inter–religious (inter–Christian) cooperation is its social engagement and influence. In that sense religion communities have been “vertically” cooperating to promote and create society based on essential religious values implemented through justice, rule of law, human rights and fight against organized crime, corruption and poverty. Their testimony is above all ethically based and oriented. Main pillar and instrument of inter–religious cooperation is inter–religious dialogue.
In Danube–Balkan Region (particularly in Province of Vojvodina) as well as whole Western Balkans this kind of cooperation is not much intensive but consistent, promoting forgiveness, reconciliation and building common future and living space. Theoretically and methodologically the concept is generally based on “unity of diversity” formula as an civilisational objective. One of the starting premises is to enrich dominant secular goals and approaches of the EU and states through promotion equal status of religious communities within civil society, despite strong presence and influence of states. The intention is largely conditioned by juridical (constitutional) and political implementation of the State–Church Separation Principle. Basic obstacles for inter–religious cooperation in the Region are atheistic influence and heritage, “state fear” related to “common religious front” against it and war conflict divergences and consequences in inter–religious dialogue. Despite Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church as well as Islam and Jewish Community show different position and “care” towards national issue in European integration context, their common activities in political sphere are dominantly related to comprehensive crisis prevention, management and post–conflict rehabilitation.
Inter–religious cooperation and dialogue in Danube–Balkan Region, despite “negative insider examples”, have had till now very positive impact on the Region’s European integration process. Since all Balkan States mission statement is to become full members of the EU, states are supposed to include religious “value–critical”, ethical, educative, peaceful and “vertically–integrative” contribution. At least not to ignore and pretend to understand it more “scientifically”, comprehensively and applicably. “Truly Integration” then would be much closer and more available…