Patrons in 2016: European
Cardinal Rainer
Maria Woelki
Contact Us facebook twitter flickr Deutsche Fassung

What use is freedom?

The cry and the desire for freedom can be traced throughout history, and determine current events in the world. This is especially visible now in the people who come to our country fleeing poverty, dictatorships and violence. With our deliberately pointed title, we wanted to draw attention to the fact that the question of freedom is not closed when all the obstacles have been removed, but, in fact, is intensified:

What do we try to achieve with our opportunities? How do we use our freedom? How do we spend our own lives, our daily routine, our free time? How do we live relationships in our families and at work? In society?

To ask these questions on an even deeper level: why and for what purpose are human beings given the capacity for freedom? Does it lead to a duty, a responsibility to discover? Or is it something disruptive, since freedom always comes with a risk?

Our society assumes free choice as the basis of the legal system and of coexistence. But despite this, precisely that basic assumption (freedom!) has in recent years been called more and more into question and explained away as an illusion, especially through the results of brain research, sociology and psychology. Are we really free? Many aspects of our lives may be predetermined – but does freedom really equal independence?

The Rhine Meeting 2016 aims to take up the aspects of this subject which challenge us in everyday life. In the world of work, we search for the possibilities for individual creativity. In the area of the law, which is based on the assumption of personal freedom and responsibility, we ask if there are limits to the capacity for freedom. News from the war zones throughout the world, and the debate about integration of immigrants in this country raise the problem of freedom of religion. In the face of all these apects, what is the meaning of the provocative Gospel phrase, “the Truth shall set ye free”? This proposition brings forth questions and can act as a working hypothesis.

We will not only hear theoretical discussions, but also the experiences of those who, for professional or personal reasons, have dealt explicitly with these questions.


Sign up for our Newsletter


06 Nov 2016

The Rhine Meeting 2017 will show an exhibition of photos by Barbara Klemm.

05 Nov 2016

The editor of the reformed journal Ecclesia, Dr. Huib Klink, has confirmed his participation for 2017.

04 Nov 2016

The Presentations 2016 by Prof. Dr. Russell Ronald Reno and John Waters are online.

17 Oct 2016

Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide, director of the Centre for Islamic Theology at the University of Münster, has confirmed his participation for 2017.

02 Oct 2016

The catholic archbishop of Moscow, Dr. Paolo Pezzi, has confirmed his participation for 2017.