Correlatively, these same
influences have driven peoples more deeply into their own
cultural heritages in order to preserve their identities,
based on their distinctive religious roots. They struggle to
find ways of living these afresh in new interactive times.
This is can be a matter of a clash of civilization, East and
West, but it is also, and more hopefully, the issue of the
reunion of Europe and the world after a long imposed
These twin challenges
enable us to see more clearly into the real task and
opportunity which we confront, namely, to delve more deeply
into the roots of our civilization(s) and to understand
these afresh. We must reconceive our cultural roots not in a
mutually alienating, but in a relational manner. It has
always been true that the person who can relate is the one
who is most human and most successful. We need now to learn
to draw deeply upon our cultures and their religious roots
and find the ways in which these can bind us together and
render our lives more successfully humane in this period of
change, even in the face of new alienation.
Austria has long
played the role of link between East and West. Its own Franz
Brentano opened the way to appreciating human interiority
and thus the road to the world of values and culture. This
is being carried forward by the founding of the Department
of Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religion of
Salzburg University and the international Council for
Research in Values and Philosophy (www.crvp.org).
Hence it is appropriate that this first conference on living
together in a global age attending especially to the
relation of East and West Europe be cosponsored by them with
the cooperate of the Institute of Sociology of the
University Linz and St. Virgil’s Education Center, Salzburg.