Center for Religion and Contemporary Society

The Center for Religion and Contemporary Society (CRCS) aims to clarify the position and role of religion and spirituality within the modern context of ambivalent and contested meaning.


A tree in a field in early morning

The meaningful moments before euthanasia

In the ritualisation of euthanasia Iline Ceelen investigates the most impactful moments before death.

stapel boeken

The added value of spiritual care in high schools

This study sheds light on spiritual care options for high school students, based in part on meaningfulness aspects of well-being issues among these youth.

Main lines of research

The CRCS studies religion and spirituality following four interrelated themes:

  • Resilient societies and the good life
  • Contingency and meaning
  • Death and remembrance
  • Cloisters

The CRCS analyses these issues within Christianity, Islam, Asian and Indigenous religions and among the religiously non-affiliated, as well as through cross- religious comparative studies. CRCS aims for empirically informed theory development on contemporary religion and spirituality, while taking into account the historical and scriptural origins of present-day religion. The center therefore aspires to contribute to robust and empirically based theory on the roles and functions of religion in contemporary society.

Way of working

At a societal level we investigate the controversial position of religion in the public domain and the partial and differential role of religion in social cohesion. At the institutional level we focus on the diminishing and at the same time changing role of religion in defining public values in among other things education, health care and public policy. At the personal level we investigate the role of religion regarding the forming of personal meaning, in particular in moments of insecurity and distress.


The valorisation of our academic work is vital to us. We do this by working with professionals in religious communities, education, care and politics. Societal impact and knowledge also play a significant role in our efforts to reach a more general audience through public lectures and contributions to the media and exhibitions.


To find answers to these questions, the CRCS closely cooperates with social sciences, law and medicine. This multidisciplinary approach offers new insights into possible theory formation on religion and spirituality. The Center for Religion and Contemporary Society encompasses three chairs: Comparative religious studies, Empirical and practical religious studies and Islam studies.


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