Neuigkeiten

Samstag, 22.09.2018

Impulse - Wahrnehmungen - Verköstigungen. Ein interreligiöses Projekt: Naturschutz als Band der Religionen

Sa 22.09.2018 // 16 – 19 Uhr // Workshop // Kapuziner Klostergarten Münster

Freitag, 29.06.2018

Ethik des Lebendigen - Vom Umgang mit Nutztieren

Fr 29.06.2018 // 18 Uhr // bis So 01.07.2018 // ca 14 Uhr // Tagung // Kloster Stift zum Heiligengrabe // Heiligengrabe

Samstag, 03.03.2018

Impulse - Wahrnehmungen - Verköstigungen. Ein interdisziplinäres Projekt: Die Synergie aus Ökologie und Spiritualität

Sa 03.03.2018 // 16 - 19 Uhr // Workshop // Kapuziner Klostergarten Münster

Mittwoch, 06.12.2017

Die Würde der Tiere - Vortrag und Symposium

Mi 06.12.2017 // 9 - 17 Uhr // Vortrag im Rahmen des Symposiums „Kulturlandschaft im Wandel – biodivers oder artenarm?" // LVR-Freilichtmuseum Lindlar

Freitag, 15.09.2017

Was die Natur uns predigt - BeSINNungstage InNatura

Fr 15.09.2017 // 16:00 Uhr bis So 17.09.2017 // 14:00 Uhr // Schnupperwochenende im Haus Mariengrund // Münster

Samstag, 09.09.2017

Impulse - Wahrnehmungen - Verköstigungen. Ein ökumenisches Projekt: Für eine ökologische Reformation.

09.09.2017 // 16 - 18 Uhr // Workshop // Kapuzinerklostergarten Münster

Personal Greeting by Klaus Müller // Excerpts from the Yearbook 2014

Personal Greeting by Klaus Müller

for the yearbook of the Institute of Theological Zoology, 2014

Dear members of the board of trustees of the Institute of Theological Zoology, Dear Dr. Hagencord, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You might wonder why the holder of the chair for Basic Philosophical Issues of Theology at the Catholic-theological faculty at the WWU Münster is presenting a message of greeting to you.

The reason can easily be explained: The dissertation by DR. RAINER HAGENCORD, the head of the Institute of Theological Zoology, was supervised by Prof. Norbert Sachser from the department of biology and me from the Catholic-theological faculty. Thus his dissertation is a biological-theological work and that is the reason why it really contributes to an interdisciplinary orientation, an often overblown demand claimed by many faculties, but which has seldom enough been realized.

Even before the dissertation was finished, Dr. Hagencord and me, we hatched the very first vague plans for the Institute of Theological Zoology, and besides, also its name. The name follows Aristotle: Zoologica is the title of one of his most interesting works, but hardly ever read. So we set the Zoologica philosophica next to the Zoologica theologica. The fact that the name has sometimes given rise to irritation did not do great damage to the cause. Quite the reverse.

Now you might wonder why a philosopher is interested in animals. Again it is quite easy to explain, but nevertheless a bit complicated. The reason why is that for quite a while I have noticed that it is obvious that the paradigm of instrumental and functional rationality, which  experienced an immense and up to then unthought peak in the late modern age, is coming to an end. The price for that cannot be paid any more.

But giving up this paradigm also means: accepting that phenomena which were previously ascribed only to human beings can also be found somewhere else: consciousness, mental abilities, qualities of feeling, welfare. The behavioural biology has already ventured forth into exciting dimensions. If that is true, the previous image of man and the image of the whole world is set to a change. Then we will have to accept that there are phsycic dimensions and mental abilities also outside of human beings, in some cases perhaps even characteristic of inorganic structures. Thus we approach a very old way of thinking, which goes back to PLATO and which reached a new climax in the classical philosophy of Idealism, and two centuries later it was rediscovered just by  the analytical philosophy of the 20th century, allegedly anti-metaphysical  and being dry as a bone: the panpsychism. Panpsychism does not mean at all that every stone and every tree is ensouled and that I have to embrace them all (I would rather leave that to esoterics). It only means that I believe that there are also mental structures outside of human beings. For sure, especially certain species will come into question when attributing mental structures. But that insight has completely changed my attitude to the whole animal world. In a new way, I feel a close relationship to animals.

This also alludes to theology. The theological counterpart of panpsychism is panentheism. According to this monistic approach to the theory of God, God sets all things into existence. But they remain part if Him because he is the infinite power. Due to their intense relation to the origin, they mirror something of the process of being set free into existence from which they evolved. That is their determination and autonomous individuality (being aware of oneself means being free as a creature). Being really free also means that there is the possibility that the creature might decide on his own - according to his individuality – not to comply with what is demanded. Then one refuses to be oneself. That causes disorder in the whole creation where everything is related to each other and depends on each other. This disorder is the cause of misery and as far as the moral side is concerned, it causes the evil in the world.

But due to the fact that all creation along with its freedom is part of God, God himself is directly affected when freedom is denied and thus He is affected by the disorder resulting from it. So He suffers from the misery and the evil as well. So God runs a high risk with his creation. But he hopes that he might guide the beings who are denying freedom on the right path with the help of the love that has created everything. And by doing so, He disempowers all suffering and the evil. You might guess that God would not have risked creation and its history of freedom, if he did not trust in his love being stronger than suffering and the evil. Thus also animals and even their possible sufferings find their place in theology. The Fathers of the Church, despite their being high-class, would never have imagined this possible.  Some things, they pride themselves on, will soon prove meaningless. That is why the Institute of Theological Zoology stands for a fundamental paradigm shift. But such a change does not proceed without pains and polemics. In a decade or perhaps two, all people who are willing to reflect about it will see clearly that these ideas are foundational ones.