Comparative Analysis Of Studies Of The Specifics Of Religions

Abstract

The comparative analysis of the studies of modern students’ religiosity in high school of Russia and in Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, in particular is the subject of this research. Globalization and informatization are two main pillars on which modern society is developing nowadays. Such processes are accompanied by the formation of a special sociocultural space. Characteristic for it is the blurring of cultural boundaries, the fragmentation of the value system. Young people are most affected by these phenomena. Traditional society has inherited religious values and traditions from the information society. However, it is quite difficult for the younger generation to adopt them in the process of socialization. To identify the causes of this situation, the authors made an attempt to study the results of studies of religiosity of modern students by conducting a similar study of their own. As a result, it turned out that the conclusions of the studies coincide in the following main positions: modern students have a very weak idea of the essence of religion; believing students make up about 50% of the total number of respondents; deeply religious observing religious practices a little more than 4%; most believing young people are not interested in religious and church practices; in the students' view, religious traditions are not an obligatory element of axiological culture. The obtained results inevitably confess that it is necessary to improve the integration of secular and religious education in Russia.

Keywords: Globalizationmoral valuesreligionreligious consciousnessreligiositystudents

Introduction

Religious consciousness is a form of consciousness. In the scientific literature, it is considered as a phenomenon that evolves in accordance with a change in the sociocultural space in society (Agapova, 2014; Kushchenko, 2016).

However, unlike scientific or political consciousness, it is more inert and able to maintain traditionalism for many millennia. Specificity is given to it by its main component – religion.

The concept of “religiosity” derived from the category of religion shows the state of consciousness of a social subject in the aspect of faith. Religiosity denotes the degree to which religion has an effect on the subject, reflects the trends and patterns of religious activity.

The second phenomenon that is dialectically interconnected with religion is culture. Turning to the scientific literature, which reveals the dialectics of these two phenomena, we can see that each type of culture can correspond not only one, but even several types of religion. Moreover, changes in culture affect changes in religion and vice versa (Pivovarov, 2011; Pushkin, 2019; Rozanov, 2008).

Due to the complexity of this relationship and the trends in the development of religion in the literature, a fairly large number of approaches to the definition of religion have developed. We will be interested in those of them which determine the relationship of religion and consciousness.

According to Engels religion is defined as a specific fantastical form of social consciousness which appears in the mind of people because they cannot oppose the external forces that dominate them in their daily live (Marx & Engels, 1991). In approximately the same interpretation the relationship between religion and consciousness is described in modern dictionaries and encyclopedias (The Modern Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language, 2008).

Speaking of religion as a form of social consciousness, we must not forget about individual consciousness. Psychological science studies it most deeply (Kochneva & Grishina, 2019; Misyurov, 2019). The categorical apparatus of psychology allows us to define individual religious consciousness as the ability of the human psyche to build protection from the dangers of the outside world. The power of persuasion and faith is sometimes stronger than real circumstances for a person. Freud studied this phenomenon, defining religion as a means of protection against individual neurosis (Freud, 1991).

However, in the study of religious consciousness, one cannot but take into account the dialectics of individual and social consciousness. Religious individual and social consciousness are not isolated phenomena; they are also dialectically related. This relationship and the laws of its development have long been studied in the philosophical sciences (An et al., 2017; Dubrovsky, 2011).

Summarizing the numerous works of philosophers and religious scholars, several common features in assessments and definitions can be distinguished. First of all one should pay attention to is the fundamental role of religion in managing public life. This fact is substantiated by studies of the historical aspects of the development of religious consciousness. The second feature of philosophical approaches in understanding religious consciousness is that, as a rule, its essence is determined regardless of any denomination, i.e., philosophy is interested in this phenomenon as a whole.

Problem Statement

Summarizing the many aspects of the study of religious consciousness in philosophical, theological, sociological, political and other sciences, it can be noted that the opinions of scientists are divided into three main positions. One is that religious consciousness is a consolidating principle; spirituality is the basis of morality, worldview; religiosity forms a way of life and thought, determines the psychology of people. Another position is diametrically opposite. Its supporters argue that religion is a deception for the people, serves as a brake on the development of society. The third point of view is that in the modern “digital” society it is necessary to find a balance between all forms of spiritual consciousness that make up the core of culture. Therefore, it becomes necessary to compare the understanding of religion by modern youth and the scientific community in order to identify patterns of development of religious consciousness in the modern sociocultural space.

Research Questions

The subject of the study is the religiosity of modern students

Purpose of the Study

The main goal of the research is comparative analysis of ongoing studies of students' religiosity and the identification of the main trends in the formation of religious consciousness in the context of the globalization of socio-cultural space.

Research Methods

When carrying out the study, methods of analysis, comparison, generalization, analytical review, questionnaire, an informal interview method were used.

Findings

We consider the existing studies of the religious consciousness of modern youth. In the context of the development of the information society the culture takes on a mosaic character (Gryaznova et al, 2020a).

The basis for the research lies in the globalization and informatization of the educational space (Gryaznova et al, 2020b; Yashkova et al., 2020).

The fact is that education, upbringing and training are the first step in the socialization of an individual. Namely, from the moment of birth, and then in the family, child care facilities, school, secondary or higher educational institution, the formation of personality begins, within which the foundations of the worldview are laid. Here are examples of the results of research by scientists showing the main trends in the development of religious consciousness in Russia. For example, Mchedlov, Shevchenko, Gavrilov believe that Orthodoxy in our country today is more a sign of ethnic than religious: “Denying their religiosity in the outlook of self-identification, many respondents (about 20 %), however less, consider themselves adherents of traditional religious associations” (Chart 2 “The Structure of Confessional Orientation of Respondents”, par. 2).

In our opinion, this trend leads to the fact that religion does not begin to act as a factor in uniting the inhabitants of one country, but on the contrary, as a factor in the separation of people by type of religion. Other researchers hold this opinion (Toshchenko, 2010).

In research Yakovenko points out that, on the contrary, religion, being a tradition, contributes to the transmission and preservation of moral values in modern information culture (Yakovenko, 2012).

In St. Petersburg, a sociological study was conducted on the basis of several universities on the religiosity of youth. The results were as follows. Deeply religious students turned out to be only 4.5 %. A much larger number of students who believe in God, but do not observe religious rites – 47 %. 32.7 % of respondents believe that there is some generalized beginning of the world, but not God. Adhering to an atheistic worldview turned out to be 15.8 % (Klinetskaya, 2015).

A study of the results of the study shows that in general, believers among modern youth are almost 50 %. Moreover, the degree of religiosity of young people depends on many factors and affects the formation of worldview and behavior. So, deeply religious people argue that achieving the goal should not justify the means, while atheistically minded people have a different opinion. Modern youth is precisely aimed at achieving results at all costs.

In order to summarize the results of studies of the specifics of the religious worldview of youth in various universities, we conducted a similar study on the basis of Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University. The study was conducted on the basis of questionnaires and informal interviews. 100 people were interviewed. The first part of the study was devoted to the analysis of students' lifestyle. In particular, we were interested in such an indicator as churching. In other words, we were interested to know what place in the lives of our students who consider themselves to be believers is occupied by such activities as attending church, communion, fasting, prayer, etc. These practices characterize the influence of the church and religion on the young’s lifestyle and thoughts of generations. The processing of the results showed that less than 40 % of people who consider themselves to be believers follow all church practices.

To confirm and clarify the obtained data, we used the interview method, which allowed the survey participants to express their point of view on religion more clearly. In particular, the following questions were asked:

  • How do you define religion?

  • What is your idea of God?

  • Does faith in God and church rites have a connection?

  • What are the reasons for people turning to God?

The answers to the first question can be divided into two main groups. The first group includes answers reflecting that in the worldview of modern youth the concept of “religion” is identified only with the phenomenon of the church, and its observance of established rules and canons. The second group includes opinions according to which religion is a system of value guidelines that govern relations in society. It should be noted that the answers reflected only one interpretation of the concept of religion in the scientific literature – as the basis of spirituality and human control.

In the question of the idea of God, the respondents answered mainly according to three positions. The first is when God is the Source, Protector. The second is that God is the management of everything and everything. According to the third position – God is a Mentor, Love.

Interpreting the relationship of faith and God, most respondents said that there is no direct relationship. For those who answered in this way, the main thing was not to observe church canons and rituals, namely faith. In such answers, the main motive was as follows: “If you believe, then it is not necessary to go to church. God is everywhere, he is always with us. You can communicate with him outside the church”.

Answering a question about the reasons for a person turning to God students mainly called hopelessness, despair, trouble and, the last but not the least, the reason was called – joining the faith in the family.

Summarizing the results, we can see that modern students have a rather specific idea of religion, God and their relationship. The following feature can be noted in the answers: God and religion are two little interconnected phenomena. You can believe it, but rituals are not necessary. This position is at variance with the understanding of this relationship in the scientific literature.

The third part of our study was devoted to the analysis of the students' position regarding their attitude to the influence of religiosity on the formation of value orientations. In this case we used the method of Chesnokova who proposes a scale of values, including the following positions: a) love of life; b) individuality of self-development; c) the value of human relations; d) love of God (Chesnokova, 2005).

The processing of the results showed that the values of social communication take the first place, the values of love come in second, the values of individual development are in third place, and only in fourth place are religious values.

Given that modern youth does not live in a traditional society, in the sociocultural space of information civilization, the place of religious values in the axiological culture of a modern young man is justified.

Conclusion

The current research showed the following:

  • Modern youth do not have a true understanding of the essence of religion; for the most part, it is blurry and superficial. Religious consciousness does not have a basis; if it manifests itself, then it is scattered fragments in the worldview of modern youth.

  • The formation of religious values is influenced by the informational socio-cultural space and globalization processes. As a result, even the strengthening of the position of Orthodoxy in our country is not able to preserve the traditional system of values. Efforts are needed on the part of secular social institutions for the socialization of personality.

  • To preserve the traditional system of values and spirituality in the youth environment of modern Russia, the integration of the system of secular and religious education, upbringing and training is necessary.

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27 February 2021

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Gryaznova, E. V., Goncharuk, A. G., Kartavykh, M. A., Ageeva, E. L., & Maltseva, S. M. (2021). Comparative Analysis Of Studies Of The Specifics Of Religions. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 342-347). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.02.02.44