NRP 58 "Religions, the State and society"

The religious landscape in Switzerland is undergoing profound changes at all levels of society. Demands by immigrant groups for participation in public life challenge society to reflect on its own religious and cultural identity and national foundations.

The newly emerging religious groups do not yet have the necessary infrastructure (communal structures, trained clerics, mosques and temples, educational institutions) that would allow them to conduct their religious life on stable basis, to provide their members with the necessary support, to become reliably integrated in Switzerland, and to be equal to the danger of becoming the instrument of radical movements.

The Christian churches are required to engage in dialogue with a society that is largely estranged from religion but also with other Christian groups that do not share their views on modern Christian identity. Individuals have to take self-responsibility in dealing with subject of religion. Religion today is a matter of choice; with so many alternatives, choosing has become a necessity.
The state faces the task of examining its relations with the religious groups in Switzerland today and deciding whether and how laws on religion should be adapted to the new multireligious and multicultural environment.

Facts & figures

Overall funding

CHF 10'000'000


3 Years

President of the steering committee

Christoph Bochinger, Lehrstuhl für Religionswissenschaften II, Bayreuth

Implementation Officer

Xavier Pilloud, Virtù Public Affairs, Bern

Programme coordinator

Christian Mottas, SNSF

Submission of preproposals

11 September 2006