La sociologie de la religion comme Théorie Critique (L'Ecole de Francfort)
AbstractThe critical social theory and philosophy of the " Frankfurt School " and its followers within German Sociology analyses religion within dialectic framework of religion as ideology, as utopical thinking and as part of social change. Theodor W. Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, two of the founding fathers of the Frankfurt School and up to now of great influence not only within German sociology, in their essays dealing with religion, too — religion never was the main topic of any of their writings —, tried to show that religion especially in its present " neutralized " (Adorno) form is part of the ideo logical glue that keeps our one-dimensional, totalitarian so ciety together and going. Max Horkheimer, besides Adorno the second founding father tha restablished the Frankfurt School in Germany after World War II, unlike Adorno and Marcuse discussed religion explicitly in his writings several times and always concentrated on the positive aspects of religion. Religion for him is a possible dimension of autonomy against the the overwhelming forces of social control. For Horkheimer religion and Critical Theory itself converge in the desire for a totally different future. This emphasis on the positive-utopical aspects of religion is combined with a critical theory of evolution by Jürgen Habermas and Rainer Döbert. These recent representatives of the old critical tradition try to include Webers point of view, too, who, in short, had tried to show how religion is a way of developing human rationality. Habermas and Döbert view religion as a " cogni tive potential " in society, that — in terms of its ethics and view of life — has developed fundamental norms of an universalistic ethic and thus is a prerequisite of human progress and emancipation. Finally it has to be stated that the theo retical, speculative-philosophical " leg " of the Critical Theory of religion is as oversized as the empirical leg is under developed. Only recently a generation of critical theologians, inspired by the ideas of the Critical Theory, started to analyse structure, organization, ideological ties and political involve ment of the churches in Germany by empirical means and to compare the results self-critically with the emancipatory possibilities of religion as indicated by Horkheimer or Haber mas .