Socio-Cultural Heritage Of Religion In The Context Of Educational Potential


The article is devoted to the theoretical substantiation and practical realization of the educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion. The research deals with the issues of secularization and authorization of Western society, the ratio of religion and culture as the key sense-forming spheres in human life. Special attention is paid to the phenomenon of socio-cultural heritage as a special interdisciplinary category. The socio-cultural heritage of religion is considered in the context of the value-semantic paradigm of personal development, as a systemic quality of the individual, determined by his involvement in social relations, formed in joint activities and communication. Education and culture are considered as two components of a single process of socialization and inculturation, that is, the adaptation of a person to life in society and his familiarization with the values of human culture. The article concludes that the effectiveness of the implementation of the educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion will be achieved if the socio-cultural heritage of religion is considered as a multidimensional, having the quality of complexity of the concept of interdependent and complementary values. Cultural heritage in this act as the basis of an equal dialogue between the teacher and students, facilitating the introduction of the latter to the essence, values and meanings.

Keywords: Educational potentialvaluessecularizationreligionatheism


The current situation in the world, often suggest to thinking about the concepts of "cultural heritage" and "religion". Scientists began to openly recognize that the current society is experiencing a deep moral and value crisis relating to culture, traditions and social life. This leads to the study of the problem of socio-cultural and historical heritage of religion as an instrument of the educational process.

In this case religion translates its own values for the formation of moral behavior and education of the young man. The leveling of religious traditions becomes the cause of youth dehumanization and loss of value meaning, which entails spiritual impoverishment and a crisis of moral consciousness.

Problem Statement

For thousands of years, society has shaped a specific mentality in humans. It was based on a negative attitude to all kinds of innovations. In such circumstances, even if the material needs are met at an average level, the attitude to the introduction to the deep, fundamental spiritual values, among which are ethical norms, faith in God, in man as the highest value, etc., was developed.

These values are translated into modern society, as well as outstanding works of art, literature, etc. The gap between traditional and man-made society can lead to negative consequences.

Religious ideas and trust, traditional values, norms and tolerant attitude become an important part of the socio-cultural heritage of religion, which has a significant impact on the formation of the educational potential of young people.

In modern conditions, religion is considered as one of the institutions of socialization of young people, as being a specific form of culture, it is closely included in the social and social structure.

The problem of spiritual crisis, which affected not only Russian but also Western society, is linked with the fate of Christian heritage in the modern world.

Religion is declared the main offender of the crisis of culture and the brake on its development, and the progress of society is represented as a complete liberation from the religious component. The way out of the spiritual crisis caused by anthropogenic civilization is possible on the ways of religious renewal and actualization of fundamental values for modern culture (Demina, 2014; Dzhishkariani, 2017).

Questions of faith, just like atheistic unbelief, are presented in modern society without proper interpretation. Modern man does not take anything for granted, does not obey the forces of tradition, but rather critically assesses the world in which it exists.

Almost everywhere today there is an unexpected rise in traditional religiosity: the flourishing of Islamic culture, the revival of Shintoism in Japan, the emergence of powerful religious fundamentalism in Israel, India, the United States and Russia. How global interaction of cultures will be carried out, what ideas and values will be taken as a basis, will depend on the way of their implementation in the real existence of peoples and States.

In this situation, it is extremely important to pay attention not only to religiosity, but also to atheism as its reverse side.

Research Questions

1.1. Secularization and atheism of Western society: historical and philosophical background

Long time, local researchers was not peculiar to the understanding of atheism outside Marxism, which saw in him "the failure of the halo of sanctity with the social relations" and thus the overcoming of religious faith (Engels, 1978).

Despite the fact that today atheism in Russia has lost its ideological status, there are still a number of problems (the emergence of atheistic consciousness, the motivation to refuse to believe, the relationship between atheism and science, etc.).

1.2. Religion and culture as sense-forming spheres in the life of society

Modern society is characterized as open, secular, devoid of the once universally recognized spiritual power, a dominant and unifying religious doctrine. Thus, Western atheism completed its development, but did not become an alternative to the Christian faith.

In this regard, the problem of relations between religion and culture, from mutual influence and interpenetration, is of particular importance.

The Phenomenon of the socio-cultural heritage of religion

The socio-cultural approach reveals the objective unity of social and cultural in the world and in the religious system. Religion together with other spheres of spiritual life participates in the formation of a unified system of cultural values.

In this regard, we can talk about the value-semantic paradigm. In the context of the value-semantic paradigm of personal development, the phenomenon of personality cannot be considered outside the socio – cultural environment of a person, i.e. only as a systemic quality of the individual, determined by his involvement in social relations, formed in joint activities and communication, and the person-as an individual as a subject of social relations and conscious actions.

Educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion.

As a socio-cultural phenomenon, education is associated with the social and cultural codes of a society. Social and cultural production and reproduction of personality types, social groups, societies and civilizations are carried out through the educational paradigm. By destroying these paradigms, it is possible to destroy a social community, a system without the use of armed violence.

Modernity is characterized by an educational crisis, both in Russia and in the world as a whole. The current crisis of education raises the question of the need to find and implement new educational paradigms. As a socio-cultural phenomenon, the paradigm of education has a dialectical effect. On the one hand, the paradigm of education is an expression of a certain socio-cultural orientation of the development of a society, a culture. On the other – it is a means and space of reproduction of society and culture (Loktev, 2015).

Purpose of the Study

Theoretical substantiation and practical realization of the educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion.

Research Methods

The theoretical and methodological basis for the study of the educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion are the system, complex, socio-cultural approaches.

The system approach allowed to define the phenomenon of socio-cultural heritage of religion as one of the tools of the educational process.

The complex approach allowed to investigate the structure of interdependence of heterogeneous (different) initial components of social action of religious orientation.

Socio-cultural approach became the basis for understanding the relationship between religion and culture in the spiritual crisis of society


Secularization and atheism of Western society: historical and philosophical background

The concept of "atheism" in many of its variations has historically always been closely related to the nature of religious and philosophical teachings of a certain historical era. Consequently, atheism was often considered together with the philosophical teachings of deism and pantheism, opposition to theism, with such vague psychological and personal characteristics as free thinking. In the framework of the history of atheism studied the trends of religious, social, political life, economic and revolutionary movements, sectarianism.

There are a number of works devoted to the study of secularization as a process “through which religious thinking, practice and religious institutions lose their social significance” (Feuerbach, 1955, p.451).

Atheism as a social phenomenon of "liberation from Christianity" had prerequisites in Christianity itself. First, it grew out of criticism of Judeo-Christian cosmology, second, it was a response to the final rationalization and proof of Western Christian theology, third, it accumulated in itself the idea of freedom and dignity of each person.

Strengthening and expanding the function of atheism in modern society was due to socio-economic changes affecting the most developed countries of Europe. The break with economic traditionalism, on the one hand, has significantly increased the tendency to doubt the sanctity of religious traditions. On the other hand, this did not mean the complete elimination of the domination of the Church in everyday life, but only the replacement of the previous form of domination by another, which strictly regulates all human behavior in society. Atheism, which initially arose from doubts about the adequacy of the Church's regulatory role to maintain the integrity of society, then became a form of protest. Thus, atheism in all its diversity was a convincing interpretation of modern secularization.

Secularization is most clearly seen in countries with a Western European hierarchy of values. At the same time, there was a cultural model that contributed to the secularization and rationalization of spiritual life. The very speech about God implied a metaphysical question of being and at the same time maintained interest in it. The cultural situation of our time is the most radical form of secularization of the "life world" of man and society.

Religion and culture as sense-forming spheres in the life of society

The relationship between religion and culture is complex and ambivalent. Religion acts as a specific cultural force, which, on the one hand, pulls a person out of the routine way of action and opens for him other life and semantic horizons, which inevitably leads to a change in the norms of behavior, philosophical ideas, artistic forms.

Any religious view of the world is based on the opposition between the sacred and the profane. The two areas in which a religious person lives are mutually exclusive and mutually complementary, which can be a source of conflict both in the religious system and in the whole culture (Smirnovа, 2007).

Religious consciousness, with its orientation to absolute truths, is, on the contrary, conservative in nature. In other words, there is a perception that religions preserve the social heritage that has developed in the traditional society, and translate it into modern culture, thereby acting as a powerful force opposed to the processes of globalization. However, this view is not entirely true (Pronina, 2015).

First, because the new European culture has pushed religion into the private sphere, depriving it of the role of the main mechanism of social inheritance (Astapov, 2015).

Secondly, religions preserve the social heritage that was characteristic of the era of their formation. Therefore, the values of traditional culture are only those religions that have formed in traditional society. World religions, because of their cosmopolitan charge, do not generally come into conflict with the processes of globalization; on the contrary, this situation is one of the factors of their revival, although in a transformed form. It is no coincidence that Western authors speak about the 21st century as the era of post-secularism (Habermas, 2008).

The ritual side of religion, as well as its canonical foundations are perceived as a cultural heritage. However, in modern conditions of globalization, religion becomes a means of interaction and dialogue. The religious component becomes necessary in the solution of some state relations both inside and outside. In scientific use increasingly use the concept of multiculturalism, which is directly related to the concept of “ethno-culturalism” (Selezneva, 2013).

In cultural inheritance two main lines are quite clearly shown. The first is continuity in the interpretation of cultural heritage: what is selectively preserved and used from generation to generation continuously.

The second line of the relation to heritage breaks off continuity; it can be called discrete. This definition of the concept of "cultural heritage" outlines the boundaries of the subject field of its study. The transition to the socio-scientific knowledge of this field begins with the allocation of the theoretical foundations of its conceptualization – a set of initial assumptions. Initial assumptions about the cultural heritage are the ideas about the world, nature, man in the world, which allow to describe and understand how the elements of socio-cultural experience acquire the value status and are transferred in this capacity from one generation to another.

The formation of new cultural codes, of course, has its source cultural heritage, but the development of new programs "set of cultural values of the past", relevant to solving the problems of the modern era, cannot be arbitrary. To understand what is possible and what is not, it is necessary to study the mechanisms of inheritance (Selezneva, 2013).

The Phenomenon of the socio-cultural heritage of religion

Being integral multifaceted and multidimensional phenomena, culture, cultural origin and socio-cultural dynamics cannot be studied with the help of any one direction. To understand their meanings and meaning in the life of man and society requires an integrative approach that combines both rational and irrational ways of knowing human existence.

They reflect different sides of the person's perception of the world and himself as his active, intelligent, creative, transforming force. In accordance with this, it is necessary to consider the development of civilization, culture and education not separately, but as a joint co-evolutionary process, and talk about socio-cultural origin as co-directional socio-cultural changes in the life of society, taking place against the background of its relations with nature, religion, education.

The use of models of post-non-classical science allowed researchers to fully comprehend the similarity of the processes of development of various socio-natural systems, to identify their General patterns and to put forward the concept of universal evolutionism (Ignatovа, 2012).

Socio-cultural approach points to the most important feature of spiritual traditions, which is their value character, expressed in the fact that the content of any spiritual tradition is a significant value for the life of the individual, society and the state.

The value character of spiritual traditions is their main feature and largely determines the motives and actions of people. Spiritual traditions as the basis of social ontology are inseparable from the life of society and are a form of transmission of socio-cultural code for the life of society and the legitimization of power.

The development of traditions in the historical space is promoted by non-traditional ways of its transmission, which are determined by the modern realities of the development of society. If such methods are not available, the tradition begins to turn into a conservative element that inhibits the progressive development of society (Shevchenko, 2011). Thus, the socio-cultural approach when considering the spiritual traditions of modern society allows us to identify the value basis of spiritual traditions, their structure and dynamics of change in the process of social development.

Educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion.

In modern culture there is a confrontation of religious and scientific ideas. It is necessary to search for a social mechanism of synthesis of these important spheres of human life. The most obvious for their convergence is the social integration of the Institute of religion in the education system.

In the field of education, a person is for a long period of his life, when fundamental character traits, moral qualities and values are laid and institutionalized. At the same time, everything happens under the influence of both the personality of the teacher and organizational forms of education: pre-school institutions, secondary schools, higher education.

Hence, the sociology of education studies the whole set of hierarchical and interpersonal relationships of the student and the teacher, especially the professional work of the teacher, the conditions and lifestyle of the student. Organizational principles of the educational process, types of control and consolidation of knowledge do not remain aside (Marshak & Sergeev, 2009).

However, the rigid determination of spiritual and material principles in culture, the increasing priority of "human" in cultural activity and socio-cultural proper allows a number of researchers to put forward new conceptual definitions of culture, where "spirituality" covers the cultural environment.

Kapto (2005) in the unique edition of "encyclopedia of the world" writes: "culture is spiritual, historically determined by a set of living conditions, spiritual values, ideas, knowledge, achievements of society in the field of education, enlightenment, education, science and art, as well as the process of creation, transmission, distribution and consumption of spiritual wealth” (p. 297).

Education as an element of culture fulfills an important goal-the reproduction of socio-cultural life. The educational function of culture involves the education of a full personality through a system of symbols, customs and traditions. At the institutional level, the phenomena of "culture" and "education" are so closely linked that it is impossible to draw a demarcation line and answer the question of where "one" ends and "the other" begins, which institution is exclusively "cultural" and which is exclusively "educational".

The use of the educational potential of socio-cultural heritage implies its actualization. The educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion is not only in the acquisition of students ' knowledge about the subjects and phenomena of religious culture (religious buildings, images of saints, Scriptures), but also in the formation of certain values.

One of the forms of actualization of the cultural heritage of religion are the educational programs developed by the teacher, which are divided into game, interdisciplinary, virtual, synthetic, as well as special methods of their preparation such as, for example, literary-fiction, comparative-descriptive, popular science, theatrical performances, etc.

In the conditions of higher professional education universal values become the object of awareness and appropriation of personality. The assimilation of knowledge occurs at the level of personal meanings, if the cognizable norm enters the context of the individual's activity and acquires a psychologically dual meaning. If moral norms connect in the consciousness of the subject of meaning with the reality of the objective world, then the personal meaning connects them with the reality of life in the modern world


The existence of a single cultural and educational space in the modern world suggests the need to realize the educational potential of cultural heritage. Education and culture should be considered as two components of a single process of socialization and inculturation, that is, the adaptation of a person to life in society and his familiarization with the values of human culture (Weber, 2001).

The effectiveness of the implementation of the educational potential of the socio-cultural heritage of religion will be achieved if the socio-cultural heritage of religion is considered as a multidimensional concept with the quality of complexity of interdependent and complementary values.

The specificity of the educational activity of the teacher is that it is based on the development of the socio-cultural heritage of religion through its actualization through modern pedagogical technologies and educational activities. Cultural heritage in this regard acts as a basis for an equal dialogue between teachers and students, facilitating the introduction of the latter to the essence, values and meanings.


The article was supported by RFFI. Grant 19-014-00001 a «Management of social transformations in the context of global processes and problems».


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Cite this article as:

Bezrukov, V. I., Veselov, A. A., & Lukashina*, E. V. (2019). Socio-Cultural Heritage Of Religion In The Context Of Educational Potential. In S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 143-150). Future Academy.