Our Current Research Topic: Religious Exits

The quest for exits out of our established cultural, social and political orders has become an ubiquitous existential mood characterizing our times and is, therefore, one of the most urgent topics in contemporary society. The sense of living in a world without escape presses the urge to exit. An exit can manifest in alienation, destruction, or the potential to transform world orders. In this last scenario exits become redemptive and the pressure to exit discharges itself in the creation of an immense number of exit strategies into alternative worlds. Not only can these alternative worlds often resemble new forms of religion, but against this background also traditional forms of religion can be interpreted as exit strategies. Understood as exit strategies, religions and religious practices are ambivalent as they can enforce destructions, but are also capable of radically opening established orders, insofar as the world of transcendence contains neither a definite territory nor an immovable order of time.

By means of leaving world-immanent orders religions can lead radically beyond the given and enter into alternative worlds that carry the spark of political utopias within them. Religious exit strategies can envision an alternative political order that goes beyond the socio-political and symbolic paradigms of a limited world order. We invite scholars to reflect on the ambivalent character of religious exit strategies and are interested in exploring the productive potential of exits for conviviality in times of crises as well as the risk of turning into a naïve withdrawal from the world.