The European Centre for Religious Studies investigates and teaches religions and worldviews at an academic level. The Centre is a collaboration of Belgian and international colleagues studying religion in an interdisciplinary way.
The objectives of the Centre are purely scientific. At the same time, the Centre pays attention to dialogue between people from different cultural backgrounds, as a meeting place for practitioners from various disciplines related to the study of religions and philosophies. Comparative research implies interdisciplinarity.
The social relevance of this research requires that the results be made available to other researchers, students and interested parties. In doing so, the Centre contributes to a better understanding between religious communities, with answers to questions and problems that arise from our rapidly developing and increasingly pluralistic society, in which diverse philosophies meet.
The Centre aims to achieve its objectives through the scientific production of its members and, more specifically, by publishing a scientific journal and organising scientific meetings, lectures, study days, colloquia and congresses.
Activities to publicise the results of scientific research to a wider audience are complementary to this, always inspired by the same spirit of constructive pluralism and tolerance.
The members of the Centre are academically active and carry out research in the field of the (comparative) study of religions and philosophies of life, on a non-denominational basis, according to the historical-critical, philosophical, anthropological and/or sociological method. Any form of dogmatic bias is thereby avoided.
We understand religion in the broad sense (as opposed to the more limited concept of religion) as any worldview that unites people: the study area thus includes both the world religions that arose from the biblical tradition (Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in all their forms), the ancient polytheistic religions and mythologies, and religions from continents other than Europe (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, shamanism, traditional African religions), as well as the various forms of liberal humanism.
The various religions and worldviews are studied as a phenomenon, both diachronically and synchronically: as a human behaviour, basically without value judgement and without pronouncing on its possible metaphysical character. The research centre therefore does not enter the field of theology, nor does it have a particular philosophical orientation, even though philosophical or theological texts will naturally be the subject of research.
The research centre respects the absolute academic freedom of research of its members, in a spirit of pluralism.