Deutsch Intern
    Chair of Religious Education

    Ideas of God from catholic pupils at secondary schools in the mirror of their socialisation

    Ideas of God from catholic pupils at secondary schools in the mirror of their socialisation

    A qualitative empirical-theological research


    Dipl.-Theol. Christian Höger; Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz.


    The study proceeds from two immediate, practical-theological problems:
    Catholic pupils at 12th and 13th classes at secondary schools in Western Germany are living in a pluralistic society and thinking in individual different ways about God. Their stiles of belief are influenced by various instances of socialisation (family, peer-group, media, religious knowledge lessons at school, catholic church). Because of this multiplicity teachers of religious knowledge lessons need empirical-founded information, to be able to plan learning in the classroom in a way, that is orientated by the interests, questions and experiences of their pupils.
    In the moment an important practical-theological question relating to the thematic “God” is unsolved: To what extent is it possible to find connections between theological traditions of faith and individual patterns of belief?


    What values do the pupils believe to be very important for their lives and which role plays the thematic “God” here?
    What are the pupils ideas of God like? That means: Are they believing in the existence of God or a higher power? How are they imagining the divine? In which way are they using traditional philosophical ways of thinking God?
    How, why and with which personal consequences had their ideas of God changed in their former life?
    Which contribution make different instances of socialisation to this process?
    What aims and substances belonging to the thematic “God” do the pupils believe to be useful for catholic knowledge lessons in the 12th and 13th class at secondary schools?


    Preparations of religious knowledge lessons in the 12th and 13th class belonging to the thematic “God” shall get stronger connected to the interests, experiences and questions of the learners, without neglecting essential theological substances.
    Instead of measuring the uncoupling of young peoples individual ideas of God from Christian traditions – proceeding from an idea of secularisation in mind –, it seems to be very promising to look more detailed for bridges in the empirical worldviews to some theological constructions.


    Data-collection: 20 focussed interviews with pupils; Theoretical Sampling and analysis of the transcribed data by using “Grounded Theory” (see Strauss, A./Corbin, J.: Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. 1990).


    The project is sponsored through a graduation scholarship by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation.


    Ziebertz H.-G. (2001, ed.), Imagining God - Disappearance or Change? Münster
    Ziebertz H.-G. (2001, ed.), Religious Individualization and Christian Religious Semantics, Münster
    Ziebertz H.-G.,Schweitzer F.,Häring H. und Browning D. (2001, ed. The Human Image of God, Leiden