Erwin Fischer Award 2001: Dr. Karlheinz Deschner honored

The laudatory was held by Professor Dr. Ludger Lütkehaus.


Photo: the laureate

This year the probably best known critic of the churches, Dr. Karlheinz Deschner, got the Erwin-Fischer-Award. He got the award during a festivity that took place within a gathering of the members of IBKA on September 22, 2001 in the Bildungszentrum at Bielefeld.

After a short musical intermezzo the chairman of the executive board of IBKA, René Hartmann, greeted Mr. Deschner, the laudator Professor Dr. Ludger Lütkehaus and a great number of guests - between them Dr. Dr. Joachim Kahl, Professor Dr. Dieter Birnbacher, Professor Dr. Franz Buggle, Professor Dr. Herrmann-Josef Schmidt, Ursula Schmidt-Losch, Klaus Hartmann (Deutscher Freidenker-Verband) und Jürgen Springfeld (Landesverband NRW im Humanistischen Verband). Last year's award winners Professor Dr. Johannes Neumann and his wife, Frau, Dipl.-Psych. Ursula Neumann, could not take part because of illness.

This evening's top subject was the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 in the USA as especially critics of religion are concerned if people hallucinate that they were martyrs or redeemers, begin a "holy war" and in reaction to this are threatened with a "crusade". The leaders of the various religions deny strictly any connection between the terror and their doctrine. Even the pope suddenly speaks of the "true islam" (by the way: how can the pope accept a religion as true if it contradicts the "real true" christianity?) which had nothing in common with these attacks and even the German Federal Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, thinks it necessary to say that this assassination - even as it was done in the name of Allah - had nothing to do with religion.

In spite of that church services (Christian services only) are held in the schools and, as René Hartmann said, nearly no pupil could afford to stay away.

Thanks to the "Nestor of the critics of the churches" as the chairman of the executive board of IBKA called Karlheinz Deschner in his arguments for the prize, we know very well, that religions, here shown in the christian religion, can indeed cause very much harm. This is exactly the reason why the IBKA honours Deschner's "pioneering work" and we do also not forget to thank the private sponsors - above all Herbert Steffen - who enabled Deschner to do this untiring work.

Especially the assassinations born out of irrationalism - and the irrationalism of some reactions - which alarmed the world showed how important it is to strengthen the international cooperation of secularists. In Germany it was Erwin Fischer who acted as a lawyer for the separation of church and state. It is also meant as an honour for him that the IBKA give away this prize.


Photo: Prof. Dr. Lütkehaus in front of the audience

The laudatory was held by Professor Dr. Ludger Lütkehaus. He, too, mentioned the terrorist attack and showed the logic behind the motto "Similar deeds may revenge similar actions but from this the same is born again: the eternal comeback of the bad similars." From René Hartmann's arguments for giving away the prize the laudator picked up the aspect of enlightenment and called Deschner the most outstanding critic of christianity. In his laudatory Lütkehaus compared Deschner with Voltaire and emphasized that a single person had put an institution in its place. Lütkehaus's example for Deschner's enlightening work was the persecution of Christians. For this he quoted the best known encyclopedias. In his works Karlheinz Deschner had shown the perversion of history that the exchange of the culprits with the victims, that these were persecuted by the Christians. At the end Professor Dr. Lütkehaus remarked, that some good Christians had messes read in favour of Karlheinz Deschner to ensure that he could bring his work to an end. Lütkehaus agreed "Deschner is worth a service!"

After Deschner had got his prize - the document was made by the artist Ms. Etthöfer from Margetshöchsheim - he began to read. But first he commentated the terrorist attacks in the USA. Deschner mourned the victims, too, as each victim was one too much - as well as every "witch" that was burned. But he also asked if there were people who might be glad about this reason for a counter-attack with a lot more dead people and he missed the minute of silence for the 36,000 children that die every day.

From the seventh volume of his "Criminal History" Deschner read out about the slaves' mission in the 13th century. The mission by sword and the mission by word were combined as it is also stated in the "Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte" ("Textbook of church history"). Deschner is very well known for his way to describe the bloody history from the victims' point of view and this was what he did now. He proved this with numerous quotations, most of them from Christian sources. After this Deschner read some aphorisms on politics, history and religion. One example: history written from the rulers point of view: "Theologists teach that even God could not alter the history. The historian can." At the end Deschner remarked that he thought very gratefully of Erwin Fischer, who was a close friend to him.

After the official festivity had ended the award winner, the guests and the members of IBKA still talked until late in the night.

The literary works of Karlheinz Deschner

1956   Die Nacht steht um mein Haus
1957 Was halten Sie vom Christentum?
1957 Kitsch, Konvention und Kunst
1958 Florenz ohne Sonne
1962 Abermals krähte der Hahn
1964 Talente, Dichter, Dilettanten
1965 Mit Gott und den Faschisten
1966 Jesusbilder in theologischer Sicht
1966 Das Jahrhundert der Barbarei
1968 Wer lehrt an deutschen Universitäten?
1968 Kirche und Faschismus
1969 Das Christentum im Urteil seiner Gegner, Band l
1970 Warum ich aus der Kirche ausgetreten bin
1970 Kirche und Krieg
1971 Der manipulierte Glaube
1971 Das Christentum im Urteil seiner Gegner, Band 2
1974 Das Kreuz mit der Kirche
1974 Kirche des Un-Heils
1977 Warum ich Christ / Atheist / Agnostiker bin
1981 Ein Papst reist zum Tatort
1982 Ein Jahrhundert Heilsgeschichte, Bd. l
1983 Ein Jahrhundert Heilsgeschichte, Bd. 2
1985 Nur Lebendiges schwimmt gegen den Strom
1986 Die beleidigte Kirche
1986 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band l, Die Frühzeit
1987 Opus Diaboli
1988 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 2, Die Spätantike
1989 Dornröschenträume und Stallgeruch
1990 Woran ich glaube
1990 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 3, Die alte Kirche
1991 Die Politik der Päpste im 20. Jh.
1991 Der Anti-Katechismus (mit Horst Herrmann)
1992 Der Moloch
1994 Die Vertreter Gottes
1994 Ärgernisse, Aphorismen
1994 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 4, Frühmittelalter
1994 Was ich denke
1995 Weltkrieg der Religionen: Der ewige Kreuzzug auf dem Balkan (mit Milan Petrovic)
1997 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 5, 9. und 10. Jh.
1997 Oben ohne
1998 Die Rhön
1998 Für einen Bissen Fleisch
1999 Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 6, 11. und 12. Jh.
1999 Memento
2001 Alles für die Miezekatz (mit G. Amanshauser, H. Boetius)