Deutsch Intern
    Chair of Religious Education

    Religion and Human Rights


    Dipl.-Theol. Tobias Benzing, Dipl.-Päd. Marion Reindl, Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz


    Multiculturalism, Plurality and social cohesion:
    Societies worldwide and also in Germany are becoming more and more plural and multi-cultural. People of different origin, cultural background and religion are living together in these societies. They all have their own values, norms, traditions and attitudes. This may lead to severe problems in what may be called the social cohesion of these societies. Societies may on the one hand break up in competing and conflicting groups or on the other hand lead to such a degree of individualization that people get more and more segregated from and foreign to each other. In order to avoid both de-personalisation and polarisation strengthening societies’ social cohesion is an important goal.This may be realized by supporting their members’ sense of belonging, trustfulness, similar values and distributive justice within the society. Human Rights may serve as a basis for living together, the rule of law, and functioning of society. To assure the application and universal acceptance of Human Rights it is not only indispensable that they are supported by political and judicial authorities. It is also essential that Human Rights are promoted by socials forces, e.g. by religion(s) that still – even in so-called- secularised societies- function as ethical and moral authorities and also by the individuals who are members of those societies and can support them with their personal values, attitudes and deeds.

    Research questions

    Does religion in terms of personal religious attitudes and religious behaviour of students on the one hand and do personal values of these students on the other hand have any effect on their attitudes toeards human rights and what kind of effect can be observed?
    To be more specific, this leads to the following research questions:

    1. What are the attitudes of students with Christian, Islamic or non-religious background towards religious symbols and contents and in which way does religion play a role in their daily life?
    2. What are the attitudes of students with Christian, Islamic or non-religious background towards human rights?
    3. Which kinds of values are relevant for the students?
    4. What are the effects of religious attitudes and praxis on the one hand and personal values on the other hand on the pupils’ attitudes on human rights?


    This project aims to clarify to what extend religion as a social force is able to support human rights’ application or to what extend it is even opposed to their application. In this context the study does not only focus on formal religious affiliation but on the content of faith, religious praxis or religious experiences. Likewise the attitude towards the students’ own religion and the religion of others is analysed. Taking personal values of the students into consideration as  another independent variable may give an insight into how far these individual norms have a relevant impact on the attitudes to social norms like human rights. Furthermore these data may also provide information in how far values act as a kind of moderator variable between religiosity and human rights attitudes.
    This information can lead to a deeper comprehension of young people’s interests and attitudes towards the research topics and thus lead to theological and educational theory building. This in turn could offer a basis for conceptualizing educational programmes e.g. in religious education that deal with those topics.

    Method and research population

    This research project has a quantitative-empirical design and is realised with Christian, Muslim and non-religious pupils of forms 10 and 11.


    This project is sponsored by the DFG