Demography and Theology … An Incipient Dialogue?

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On Feb 27th, 2013, the Forum for Liberation Theologies welcomed Frans Willekens, a well-known professor of demography formerly in Groningen and soon in Rostock. He brought a well prepared introduction on the relations between demography and theology. The main conclusion of the meeting is certainly that a deeper going conversation between demographers and theologians should be pursued: both sciences will gain from the interaction. There were serious questions about the Westen character of demography and the political interests involved, particularly when claims are being made about countries of the TwoThirdsWorld. In this context also, the possible ideological (ab)use of religious perspectives in political endeavours was discussed. There were critical exchanges on the official roman-catholic views on marriage and celibacy, as can be found in the letters of St Paul and in texts as “Humanae Vitae” (especially #11). There were also serious ethical and moral reflections. But the most important lesson learned is: demographers and theologians have to come to improve the mutual understanding and interaction of one another’s sciences and scientific methods. This is a forum that calls for further interdisciplinary exploration.

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