International Symposium on Youth and Faith Tendencies in the 21st Century


The International Symposium on Youth and Faith Trends in the 21st Century organized by Pamukkale University Faculty of Theology and Institute of Islamic Sciences with the support of Denizli Governorship, Denizli Metropolitan Municipality and Turkish Religious Foundation started with the opening ceremony held at Denizli Metropolitan Municipality Nihat Zeybekci Congress and Culture Center.

Rector Kutluhan: "Our main goal is to talk about everything, provided that we respect beliefs. If we respect each other's beliefs, we can understand each other better."

Rector Kutluhan noted the following in his speech: "Our university is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. We are doing our celebrations by determining 30 themes. Our Faculty of Theology and Graduate School of Islamic Sciences contributed to these celebrations with the theme "Youth and Faith Tendencies in the 21st Century". I would like to thank our professors and staff who contributed to the preparation of this international symposium, as well as our Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Directorate of Youth and Sports, Provincial Directorate of National Education, Provincial Directorate of Family and Social Services, Provincial Mufti's Office, Turkish Religious Foundation, Gaye Foundation and NGOs. Our symposium will be held today and tomorrow in a total of 20 sessions with very valuable invited speakers who are experts in 120 subjects. Today, we will make the opening of the Islamic Sciences Conference Hall, which has been brought to our University, in Yatağan at noon. I would like to thank Mr. Osman Zolan, our Mayor of Metropolitan Municipality, who brought the Conference Hall to our university. Universities are places where universal knowledge is produced, taught and lived. Their aim is to raise individuals who are beneficial to society. The definition of a healthy individual in the World Health Organization is as follows; a person is in a state of physical and mental well-being. While physical well-being requires physical activity and nutrition, hygiene and environmental cleanliness, faith has an important place in the realization of spiritual well-being. In this symposium, the discussions on faith, which date back to the past and continue today, will be discussed in a scientific manner and will be revealed in all its dimensions. Our main aim is to talk about everything, provided that we respect beliefs. If we respect each other's beliefs, we can understand each other better. If we understand each other better, we can create a stronger society. Therefore, in our symposium, it will be seen that issues related to human, life and social life in every dimension of faith will be discussed."

President Prof. Dr. Erbaş: "I think this symposium is an important work in terms of understanding what the developments in our age mean for youth and how they surround youth."

The last speech of the Opening Program was the speech of the President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş, a member of the Honorary Board of the Symposium, who participated in the program online. President of Religious Affairs Prof. Dr. Ali Erbaş stated the following: "Today, the communication environment, which develops and changes at an extraordinary speed, includes all kinds of identities, cultures and habits into social circulation at the same speed. Young generations are especially affected by changes that cause cultural conflict and identity crisis. I think that this symposium is an important work in understanding what the developments in our age, which has quite different opportunities and problems compared to the past, where elements such as consumer culture, digitalization, artificial intelligence technology prevail, where inclusive upper identities weaken, what they mean for youth and how they surround youth. With the postmodernization experienced, the fragmentation of truth, the preference for a life based on pleasure and speed, the increase in selfishness, the weakening of religious and national identities, the differentiation of value preferences, and the loss of the sense of trust are the dominant features of the age we live in. At the same time, there is also a search for meaning and truth. At this point, how can we eliminate this chaos, losses and deprivations that threaten individuals and societies, how can we reside in a virtuous life equipped with our universal values, and what ways can we apply to introduce new generations and young minds to this life? How can we reach their hearts and minds, taking into account the conditions of the age we live in? How can we bring together the excitement and idealism in their potential with the life-giving principles of Islam in a stronger way? How can we combat the currents, ideologies and structures that threaten the values and beliefs of young people and push them to despair and pessimism? How can we make our youth, whom we see as the spirit of the times, strong for a bright future in the shadow of the chaos created in all kinds of media? These and similar questions and issues stand before us as matters that we urgently need to address. I hope that this comprehensive scholarly study will yield useful results in this sense. Understanding the youth and doing something about it will only be possible by taking into account the psychosocial effects of time on people. In this framework, the attitudes of young people towards religion and belief and the actors affecting these attitudes should be well identified. In this context, I would like to thank all our professors, scholars and researchers who contributed to the symposium with their papers and discussions, opinions and suggestions. I believe that the opinions, thoughts and suggestions to be put forward during the symposium process will contribute to what we have realized as the Presidency of Religious Affairs."

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