What should you never doubt in life?

religion: And what do you doubt?


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Julia Kloeckner

The minister allows herself to criticize her church

What you believe depends on what you are familiar with. Faith was born in my cradle, the church was in the village, on Sundays I went to church, and as long as I was a child, the parish church of St. Martin in Guldental was the size of a cathedral for me. As a small child, I always wanted to go to the front of the first bench to see the celebrants. I would have liked to have become an acolyte, unfortunately that wasn't allowed at the time. I then went to the children's school and later became a lecturer.

Although I studied theology, I would say: You can't learn to believe. But faith helps me to accept my limitations.

There were a few crosses at home. When I became State Secretary in 2009, I was given a very beautiful cross made of vine wood, which I was blessed by Cardinal Lehmann and hung in my parliamentary group chairman's office in Mainz. Now it has accompanied me to Berlin. For us politicians, the subject of religion is very exciting at the moment - the religious has become very political. But we should not rediscover the Christian faith for fear of alleged Islamization. Churches are not closed because they are overcrowded. I don't suddenly have to cling to Christian symbols because others believe and document something else. Belief has to come from within and not in the function of demarcation.

I usually encounter doubts in the form of people who doubt what I say or believe. Christian politicians are also often accused of being the extended arm of the church. That's nonsense. Enlightened Christianity is compatible with our Basic Law. Fundamentalism is not. Many currents in Islam still have a long way to go. One thing is clear: religion can never stand above the law in a democracy. I am amazed at the reluctance of left-wing church critics towards fundamentalist Islam. As a conservative institution, the Catholic Church has always been criticized by progressive feminists, certainly not without good reason. But they fully understand patriarchal structures in fundamentalist Islam. Two standards are used here. We have to free ourselves from the sender of a message, because the statement is what matters. And if this is misogynistic, then it must be criticized, regardless of the cultural background behind it. Imagine if the Church today stipulated that girls were not allowed to take swimming lessons or cover their hair, there was something really going on, and rightly so. With some church representatives, I am amazed that they are more concerned with day-to-day politics such as wind power or genetic engineering than with traditional pastoral care and the question of why the churches are so empty. Nevertheless, I remain generally benevolent towards my church, but also critical. Since I pay church tax, I take the liberty of asking her questions. For example: When are mixed denominational couples finally allowed to go to the Lord's table together, or remarried divorced couples? When are women ordained as deacons?

My personal belief has not yet been fundamentally shaken. However, since my father is now on his last path, his condition is constantly deteriorating, I feel a restlessness. “Your will be done!” That sounds so easy. But it is not.

Julia Klöckner, 45, is Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture. The CDU politician grew up on a vineyard in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Mouhanad Khorchide

The Islamic scholar rediscovered the Koran

I have paid dearly for my own view of the God of Muslims. As a young professor in Münster I wanted to reform Islam through a new discovery of the loving, merciful God, for which I received death threats and was under police protection for a long time. It all began very mundane with health insurance in Saudi Arabia. I was excluded because my parents, Palestinian refugees, were treated as second-class people: no insurance, no real estate, no studies. At the same time, we were told about the moral decline of people in the West who are not Muslims and therefore worthy of condemnation. My family eventually moved to Austria so that I could study - there I had health insurance from day one. I thought: Is God so unjust that unjust Muslims go to heaven, which is closed to righteous non-Muslims? Now I was rebelling against the image of God I had grown up with. In doing so, I discovered a God of love and closeness, in the Koran itself, when I finally read it with an open mind. God met me as a merciful one. That was the redemption. For me today, faith means above all trust. And that definitely includes criticism. It deepened my relationship with God. I would immediately subscribe to the sentence of the sociologist Navid Kermani that you are not a good Muslim if you do not quarrel with your faith. The Islamic scholar Al-Ghazali already said in the 12th century: Whoever does not doubt cannot sincerely believe in God.

Mouhanad Khorchide, 46, teaches Islamic studies in Münster. Among other things, he published "God believes in people" (Herder Verlag).