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Das helle Licht der Wissenschaft
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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
East Germany is one of the most secularized regions in the world. The paper argues that this... mehr
Das helle Licht der Wissenschaft
East Germany is one of the most secularized regions in the world. The paper argues that this development was the result of not only a political conflict, fought with repression and pure power, but also an ideological conflict. The institutional conflicts between churches and the state were intertwined with ideological conflicts, above all the devaluation of religion by {! scientistic} arguments. Since the second half of the 19th century numerous organisations engaged in the promotion of science as an explicit counterpart to traditional religion. During the existence of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), this movement took off in the country’s institutions.The article outlines this development by focussing on the Urania. Founded in 1888 to provide scientific knowledge without an anti-religious agenda, in 1954 the Urania was resurrected in the GDR to propagate the “ScientificWorld-View.” The Urania tried to combine popular scientific themes (astronomy, aerospace) with a particular interpretation referring to the {! Wissenschaftliche Weltanschauung}. The article analyses the program and work of the Urania until the end of the GDR. Finally it presents research results to show how this promotion of scientism contributed to the East German secularization process on an individual level.