Modern Russian Family In The Scope Of Religious Values


The article is devoted to the study of the influence of religious values on the life of Russian families. Most of the modern studies aimed at studying the influence of religiosity on various aspects of family relationships in Russian families have been carried out in the context of Orthodoxy and Islam. Families belonging to other faiths, particularly Protestant families, remain insufficiently studied. The article presents the results of a study of the influence of religious values on various aspects of family relationships in Protestant families (in comparison with Orthodox and secular families). The study involved 190 families, including 64 Protestant families, 62 Orthodox families and 64 secular families. The study was conducted using a questionnaire followed by a content analysis of the answers based on the classification of religious values, which are used to indicate the words “God”, “service”, “righteousness”, etc., and secular (“good”, “culture”, “Justice”, etc.). The following research questions were formulated: What is the nature of the influence of religious values on the functioning of Russian families? Are there differences in the nature of the influence of religious values on the functioning of Protestant and Orthodox families? The results of the study showed that religious values influence the life of Russian families, depending on which religious group the family identifies with. In Orthodox families, religious values are important as a separate, special aspect of family life, not directly affecting its daily life. In Protestant families, religious values are decisive for almost all aspects of family life.

Keywords: Orthodox familiesProtestant familiesReligiosityvalues


Values as significant objects for an individual or social group are one of the key factors that determine the behavior of the bearer of value. With a variety of classifications of values, we can distinguish religious values and secular values. Secular values arise and function in the context of society, culture and art. Secular values include vital values health, life, well-being, etc.), social (relationships, family, social success, status, etc.), moral (kindness, justice, honesty, love); aesthetic (beauty, harmony, style, fashion, etc.); political (ideology, human rights, legality, etc.). Religious values are formed within a certain religion and are defined by such concepts as God, religious faith, spirituality, holy scripture, salvation from above, sin, church, grace, etc. (Teplykh, 2017). If the study of the influence of secular values on family functioning is quite widespread (Drabkina, 2001; Eidemiller & Justitskis, 1999; Kharchev, 1981; Leontyev, 1998; Obozov, 1979; Varga & Medkova, 2003), the role of religious values in the life of modern Russian families, identifying themselves with various religious groups, has not been studied enough.

Problem Statement

Religiosity and religious values and their impact on family relationships are currently of interest to specialists in the field of sociology, psychology, cultural studies, and philosophy. In psychology, interest in the study of religiosity arose relatively recently, and as early as the beginning of the 20th century, religiosity and its impact on human personality were studied by individual researchers (Shorokhova, 2014). Beginning in the 60s of the 20th century, religiosity began to be studied in terms of its impact on internal well-being and level of satisfaction with life, the impact on human values, its development in the process of life (Allport & Ross, 1967; Achinovich, 2013; Fowler, 1981; Gladding et al., 1981; Helminiak, 1987; King & Roeser, 2009; Krylov, 2012; Mchedlov, 2006). In Russia, in the 70s of the last century, studies were conducted, within which the role of the family in the formation of religiosity in the child was studied. (Duluman, 1968; Soloviev, 1979; Vasilevskaya, 1972). Modern psychological research has examined the impact of religiosity on child-paternal relationships (Chumakova, 2014), the formation of religiosity in a child's upbringing (Ufimtseva, 2014), and the self-awareness of adolescents from religious families (Perevoznikova, 2000).

Studies aimed at studying religiosity, religious values and their influence on various aspects of family relationships in Russia were carried out mainly in the context of Orthodoxy and Islam (Chumakova, 2014; Murtazina & Minullina, 2013; Perevoznikova, 2000; Shorokhova, 2019; Ufimtseva 2014). Other groups of modern religious families remain poorly studied. For example, there are practically no data on the functioning of Protestant families, despite the fact that, according to statistics, 3 million people identify with this denomination in modern Russia (Lunkin, 2014), which indicates a fairly widespread prevalence of Protestantism values in modern Russian societies. Identification with the Protestant denomination presupposes a pronounced specificity in the manifestation of one’s religiosity and religious values, which is why comparative studies aimed at revealing the specificity of religiosity and the influence of religious values in Orthodox and Protestant families are relevant and cause scientific interest.

Describing the specifics of Protestant religiosity in comparison with Orthodox, which, due to the prevalence of Orthodoxy in Russia, is studied more often than others, a number of rather significant differences should be noted. In the context of Orthodoxy, religiosity is seen as an internal process, spiritual work. In the Orthodox tradition, the ideal of Christian life is monasticism, and everything related to everyday life and worldly needs becomes insignificant (Lurie, 2000; Sventsitskaya, 1988). One of the main goals in the life of an Orthodox Christian is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. The church service, the sacraments, the clergy are of great importance. Separating the sacred and the secular, Orthodox Christians do not describe everyday life in religious terminology (Makarov, 2011). In Protestantism, on the contrary, the emphasis is on the equal dignity of all believers before God. The leaders of the Reformation “sanctified” everyday life, equalizing secular activity and church ministry (Althaus, 1972; Luther, 1994). An exemplary Christian in Protestantism is a good family man, a burgher, a virtuous and hardworking person. Later, in the teachings of the Puritans, pious family life and hard work become the most important aspects of Christian ministry. The unwillingness to work for the Protestant is a sign of the absence of God's blessing, grace, and is regarded as a refusal to carry out Christian ministry (Weber, 1990).

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated:

Do religious values influence various aspects of family relationships and the system of ideas about family life in Russian families?

Are there differences in various aspects of family relationships and representations in the religious families of Protestants and Orthodox Christians?

Purpose of the Study

The daily life of Orthodox Christians and Protestants can vary quite significantly. In this regard, the hypothesis was formulated that there are differences in the influence of religiosity on various aspects of family relationships: in the Orthodox tradition, religiosity is considered as an internal spiritual process of searching for truth and piety, and everything related to external (social and public) life, has no pronounced mediation of religious values shared by the family; in Protestantism, on the contrary, everyday life is sacralized, and religious values are decisive for almost all aspects of family functioning (parent-child and marital relationships, ideas about family happiness, the goals of raising children, ideas about social success, etc.). Verification of this assumption was carried out during an empirical study, the purpose of which was to identify the specifics of the influence of religious values on various aspects of family relationships in modern Russian families.

Research Methods

An empirical study was conducted using questionnaires. The questionnaire included 6 open-ended questions (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
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The answers were processed by the content analysis method based on the classification of values: 1) secular, to indicate which, the words are used: "good", "culture", "justice", etc.; 2) religious: “God”, “ministry”, “righteousness”, etc.

The study involved 190 married couples with children under 18 years of age with no more than 20 years of married life, including 64 Protestant families, 62 Orthodox families and 64 secular families from different cities of Russia (St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh). The sample of Orthodox families was made up of families who identify with Orthodoxy, are church-going and have an active religious life. The sample of Protestant families included families who identify with Protestantism. The sample of secular families united families that did not identify with a particular religious group. When forming the sample of Protestant families, the emphasis was not placed on active religious life because in Russia if a person identifies with Protestantism, it means that one leads an active religious life. In the sample of Orthodox Christians, this emphasis is important because a person can identify themselves as Orthodox Christian, but not attend a church and not lead an active religious life, which is confirmed by recent research (Pronina, 2012). Most respondents from a group of Protestant families began attending Protestant churches and began to identify with Evangelical Protestantism at a young age before marriage.


An empirical study described values that mediate various aspects of the family functioning of Protestant, Orthodox Christian, and secular families (Table 02 ).

According to the results, in a secular group of families in all aspects of the analysis of family relationships, such moral, social and aesthetic values are presented as: “love”, “understanding”, “successful career”, “culture”, “development”.

In the Orthodox Christian group of families in such categories as “Notions of family life and family happiness”, “Notions of social success” and “Aims of upbringing in parent-child relationships” - following social and moral values prevail: “love”, “everyone is healthy”, “reputation”, "Family", "relationships." And only in the category “The notion of religiosity and its importance to the family” there are religious values such as: “life in the church”, “sacraments”, “Scripture”, “God”.

Religious values are represented in the group of Protestant families in all presented categories of family relationships: “personal relationships with God”, “success in ministry”, “there is Christ in the family”.

Based on the results obtained, some features of the influence of religious values on various aspects of family relationships in Russian families can be characterized.

Table 2 -
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In the group of secular families, secular values have more influence on family life than religious values: in various aspects of family life, vital, social and moral values prevail, which is quite natural. The fact that religiosity is not the main component of the identity of Russians, among whom secular families are predominant, is confirmed by other studies (Miklyaeva & Rumyantseva, 2011).

 In the group of Orthodox Christian families, religious values are presented only in the category “The notion of religiosity and its importance to the family”, all other categories are dominated by social, vital, and moral values. Based on these data, we can conclude that, on the one hand, religious values and religious life are important for family life (regular church attendance, participation in the Sacraments, observance of rites, etc.), but on the other, they do not have a significant impact on the daily life of the family, which is governed mainly by secular values (Lurie, 2000; Sventsitskaya, 1988). At the same time, it should be noted that other studies provide evidence that this feature of religiosity of Orthodox Christian families affects the formation of religious values in children and adolescents (Perevoznikova 2000; Ufimtseva, 2012), respectively, religious values in Orthodox Christian families have a certain influence in parent-child relationships.

In Protestant families, religious values influence most aspects of family life and family relationships and are represented in all categories of analysis of family relationships: the system of ideas about family and family happiness, social success, and the goals of upbringing in parent-child relationships. The influence of religiosity in Protestant families on parent-child relationships has been studied and described in Western literature (Petts, 2014; Wilcox, 1998). On the one hand, with such a significant influence, there is a clear structure and clear rules for interaction in the family at different levels, but on the other, there may be formal subordination to dogma, and as a result – tight boundaries, authoritarianism and decline adaptability of the family system. Accordingly, the way religious values influence family relationships and how they are embedded in family life is determined by many factors that are interesting for further study.


Orthodox Christian and Protestant religious families have quite significant differences in how religious values affect family life. In Orthodox Christian families, religious values are important as a separate, special aspect of family life, and their impact on family life is connected with a clear division into the sacred (church attendance, participating in the Sacraments, fasting, etc.) and the everyday side of life.

In Protestant families, religious values are decisive for almost all aspects of family life. For a Protestant, a godly family life is a form of service to God, and the family matters as a home church.

The results and conclusions made on the basis of this study are important in understanding the specifics of the influence of religiosity and religious values on the lives of Russian families. At the moment, the problem of the influence of religiosity and religious values on family life is a poorly studied problem, which is a promising area for further research.


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Cite this article as:

Vlasikhina, N. V. (2021). Modern Russian Family In The Scope Of Religious Values. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1144-1150). European Publisher.