View of Four Young Women Conversing While Sitting at Table in a Garden
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Religious diversity is part of today’s world. Religion still shapes thought and action of many people and therefore remains a considerable social force around the globe. Adherents of different religions as well as many non-believers live alongside one another. Consequently, one of the main challenges the world faces today is finding a way for people of different cultural and religious backgrounds to coexist peacefully within any given society.

If we want to live together in diversity and freedom, we need a better understanding of religions and their relevance for the development of our societies. We have to recognize their progressive potential as well as possible areas of conflict. Knowledge of religions also reduces prejudices and promotes mutual understanding and trust – a key aspect of social cohesion. This is why Bertelsmann Stiftung conducts the Religion Monitor as a scientific contribution to successfully respond to growing religious diversity.

Twice already, in 2007 and 2013, more than ten thousand people in many different countries were asked about their personal religious attitudes and the relationship of religion and society. At present, a third survey that will be conducted in selected European states is being prepared.

The focus areas of the Religion Monitor 2016 will be the internal diversity of various religious denominations and non-religious groups, and the relationships between them. Another priority are ideas and concepts of democracy and the role religion should play in society.

The Religion Monitor is an interdisciplinary project that Bertelsmann Stiftung designs, conducts and analyses together with scholars of religion, sociologists and psychologists from Germany and abroad. Apart from international comparisons, the Religion Monitor also provides in-depth analyses of particular countries and topics.