Volume 7, 2007
Philosophy of Culture(s)
Theoretical and Practical Analysis of a World Problem
The paper is an attempt to understand the nature of political religion using Russian Orthodoxy as an example. Political religion is different from the use of religion for political purposes: from "public religions" seeking to be a part of a pluralistic society; from "civic religion" (sacralization of political processes and institutions) and from fundamentalism. Contrary to fundamentalism, political religions aim not at revitalizing the past, but at addressing the most vital issues of modernity. Politicization of Orthodoxy in Russia may seem unlikely due to obvious political passivity of the Russian Orthodox Church and to the fact that people in Russia are rather religiously indifferent and theologically ignorant. But the paper demonstrates that political activity is typical not for the leaders of an institutionalized religion but for a religiously minded intelligentsia. Global experience also shows that politicization is most likely to occur in an area where people have just returned to their semi-forgotten religious beliefs and where the majority of population does not observe the rituals and does not know the fundamentals of religion. Growing number of people who identify themselves as Russian Orthodox, having, at the same time, no sufficient knowledge of this religion provokes the emergence of mediatory ideologies, which are Pan-Slavism (the idea of a union of all Orthodox Slavic nations) and Eurasianism (the idea of a union between the Orthodox and the Islamic world). From the fundamentalist viewpoint both ideologies should be defined as heretic. Pan- Slavism is heretic because it views Orthodoxy as a kind of Slavic tribal religion and strips Orthodoxy from its universalism. Eurasianist vision of Orthodoxy is so broad that any difference between "Orthodoxy" and "non-Orthodoxy" disappears.