A successful premiere: for the very first time since it was founded, Hof University of Applied Sciences organised a New Year’s lecture that was open to everyone. 250 guests ensured that even the university’s “Audimax” could no longer cope with the crowds and the lecture had to be transferred to another room at short notice. After a welcoming address by Vice President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Valentin Plenk, Carsten Stark, Professor of Economic and Organisational Sociology, then spoke on the topic of “Civil religiosity in liberal societies” and the question of whether modern and enlightened societies could not completely do without religion.
As he used the science fiction series “Star Trek” to explain this, a number of Star Trek fans appeared in costume alongside numerous representatives of religious organisations. Several extracts from the series were used to discuss how necessary the religious component of a political culture is for a democratic community to function. Various episodes of the series, which has been successful since 1966, deal with deities, mysticism and spiritual experiences. As a result, it became clear that religion remains an indispensable part of many people’s lives. It is true that it is becoming more individualised and the importance of church institutions is decreasing. However, spirituality is not disappearing and the awe of the inexplicable universe remains.
“What a society perceives as good, right and desirable – its own utopia, so to speak – is ultimately fuelled by religion.”Prof Dr Carsten Stark
The lecture was followed by a get-together for visitors in the university foyer. There will be another New Year’s Lecture at Hof University of Applied Sciences next year.