The Theologian Profession In The Information Society: Hopes And Prospects

Abstract

The subject of the current research is the analysis of the specific of the theologian profession in the information society. Method of analysis, generalization, comparison, analytical review of the literature and dialectic method were used in this study. The information society expresses in the devaluation of spiritual values which the education system is particularly sensitive to. Special attention to the problem of Russia’ education system and the problem of its transformation is paid in this research. A modern graduate today has competencies, the priorities of which are mobility, the ability to quickly socialize and adaptation, the ability to “make” money. Spirituality, a system of values and traditions, norms of morality and morality most often do not fit into the informational sociocultural space of simulacra, characters, brands, images, etc. Analysing the various points of view of modern scholars and theologians, the authors try to describe the basic characteristics of a professional who combines secular and religious competencies, faith and knowledge. The authors, as a result, found out that the quality of modern education today is determined not by the informational, but by the value component. By the consideration of life and deeds of the righteous men, analysing sacred texts and fulfilling the Commandments a specialist in theology is able to make a remarkable contribution to the preservation of traditional universal values.

Keywords: Educationmythreligionspiritualitysciencethe ology profession

Introduction

Russia is going through a time of change today. Like many countries of the world, we are witnessing the development of the information society. This stage of civilizational development is accompanied in our country by a situation of systemic crisis. Overcoming the crisis is a rather complicated process. The introduction of modern information technologies in all spheres of life indeed has positive and negative consequences. The technological effectiveness of almost all types of activities is increasing. Cultural boundaries are being eroded, traditional values are disappearing, and the system of education and culture is far from improving. Problems in the education system, especially the problems of the spiritual component are of particular concern. After long oblivion, theology has been introduced into the system of scientific knowledge and education in our country. Special hopes are laid on it precisely for the revival of spiritual education the lack of which leads to the loss by a man his spiritual essence.

Problem Statement

In modern society, fundamental changes have taken place compared to traditional society. The traditional society was formed, and existed much longer than the information society. Over a centuries- old history, mankind has gone from myth-making to a scientific worldview. Today we single out the main types of worldview that have formed as special types of cognitive activity: everyday consciousness, myth, religion, art, philosophy, science. What is important, each of these worldviews does not leave without a trace, existing to this day in different manifestations and relationships.

In the current situation of informatization of all spheres of public life, the development of information culture in our country, the profession of the theologian is reviving, which in a special way combines such types of worldview as religion, philosophy, art and science (Gryaznova et al., 2020; Orekhovskaya et al., 2019).

It is possible that theology in the conditions of the information society will be able to withstand the negative influences of the myths of information reality in which modern man lives and socializes.

Research Questions

At various stages of civilizational development, each of the types of worldview takes a more important position than the others existing in this period. Moreover, each type of worldview is in conflicting relationships with each. At the same time, not only the initial worldview phenomena develop, but also new ones are generated, like a kind of symbiosis of two or more types of worldview. For example, the historical development of human spirituality leads to the separation of myth and religion, but in the future the myth does not die off, but appears in the religious consciousness in a certain way, and in some cases continues to exist as an independent way of knowing the world (Grigorieva et al., 2017).

A myth in scientific literature is defined as a symbolic worldview, a system of symbols. Often a myth appears as a legend or a tradition. So, Bart notes that:

A myth can be everything covered by discourse ... Everything can serve as a bearer of a mythical word – not only written discourse, but also photography, cinema, reporting, sports, performances, advertising. The myth is not determined either by its subject or by its material, since any material can be arbitrarily endowed with a meaning: if an opponent is handed an arrow to challenge the duel, then this arrow also turns out to be a word (Barth, 2008, p. 266).

In this view, the myth can be extended to any cultural phenomenon. It is in this understanding that it is a means of constructing images of reality, and extending to areas that would seem to be far from myth-making – politics, science, education, not to mention the forms of worldview closer to it – religion, philosophy, art, etc.

Myth and religion have fundamental differences. Religion, in contrast to myth, is based on dogma. Dogma is definitely not characteristic of the myth. Faith, which is the basis of a religious worldview, in turn distinguishes both myth and science and itself from each other. Science as a special type of worldview has knowledge, to be more precise, knowledge of laws. However, the phenomenon of faith has a place to be in science. According to Lectorsky, faith is just an insufficiently substantiated statement (Lektorsky, 2006).

Religious faith is an indisputable fact, while scientific faith is a precursor to scientific knowledge, for example, belief in a hypothesis, the result of an experiment, etc. Such faith can be questioned or even refuted if it does not receive the necessary evidence. In this case some would agree with the Weingartner's position which states that religious faith always excludes knowledge (Weingartner, 1996).

Thus, it can be seen that both science and religion, even in our time, cannot be completely freed from the presence of some signs of myth in them (Sharonova et al., 2018).

The reason for this is the very essence of a person who, by nature, is trying to combine reality and meaning. But myth, religion and science have fundamental differences from each other – this is a different attitude to the relationship of faith and knowledge (Chugunova et al., 2018; Kalimullin, 2019).

In the conditions of the development of the information society, we observe an interesting picture when myth, religion and science begin to interact in a special way in the framework of the socio- cultural information space. For example, a myth, being one of the forms of collective thinking, becomes a tool for manipulating consciousness on the part of the media, network communities. According to

Cassirer the myth “…is always there, lurking in the dark and waiting for its hour and opportunity” (2008, p. 280).

Perhaps the most obvious example of the mythologization of the consciousness of modern man is the creation of all kinds of political myths, the main purpose of which is to legitimize power institutions and structures in the country. Moreover, in modern society mythologization manifests itself when it refuses religion. Exploring this issue, Eliade quotes Jung’s words according to which the world he lived in was in deep crisis with Christianity and was in search of a new myth that would let him find new spiritual sources and helped to refresh its creative forces (Eliade, 1996).

In times of crisis in society, paradoxically, it is a myth, not religion or science that comes to the aid of a person in questions of avoiding the negative manifestations of reality. Even in the modern society of information technology, the “knowledge society”, mythology becomes the most acceptable, based on the phenomena of branding, image, simulacra, etc. They fill the life of a modern person with new values, attitudes, change the processes of identification and representation. Such a return of modern man to myth can be explained by his desire for simpler forms of interaction with reality, which becomes difficult to understand due to its information overload, multilayered, ambiguous, lack of keys for interpretation. The simplest thing here is to return to the system of symbols and images (Gryaznova et al., 2020; Kuznetsova et al., 2020). The difference between the mythology of the information space and the space of the archaic society is that the characters of modern myths are far from passive. Now, not only the individual consciousness of a person is able to “revive” symbols and give them meaning. Modern “heroes” of information myths are really active, live their own lives in the sociocultural space and interact with social actors, influencing their behavior and motivation.

The consequences of the spread of mythological thinking in modern society are far from ambiguous. Negative trends towards the primitivism of life for modern man can be observed in all spheres of life.

The most striking manifestation of such a process can be seen in the education system (Balashova et al., 2018; Eliade, 1996; Grigorieva et al., 2017). Consumer society requires the modern person to quickly enrich oneself at the lowest cost. Therefore, young people are not interested in gaining knowledge, putting efforts into it, it is important for them to get a diploma as soon as possible, and preferably a few, and start earning on it. Primitivism in education is manifested in the fact that the teacher is no longer the owner of knowledge; he is a conductor in the information space. It is much easier to switch to a testing system, to simplify the process of obtaining knowledge as much as possible. The educational process is relegated to the last plan; the teacher is no longer up to higher matters. The profession of a teacher is depreciating.

The situation is similar in medicine, in the field of culture, etc. But problems in these areas begin with education (Gutsu, et al., 2020).

As a result, we have a decaying system of values, the loss of traditions, and the depreciation of vitally important traditional professions that support the process of socialization of an individual. As a result, education trains specialists who must be able to live in the space of information quasi-entities. A quasisubject is an information object capable of playing the role of a real person or any other social subject. First of all, these are manipulators, some legislators of lifestyle. Who are they or what are they? Mythical information characters that firmly enter the life of a modern person, subjugating their consciousness to themselves.

As practice shows, modern pedagogy is no longer able to cope with this situation; it itself falls under its influence. Science, in fact, is the source of the creation of the information space. Its task is to discover new things, create comfortable conditions for human life. She is unable to resist the negative consequences of her discoveries and inventions. Art moves into digital space. It reflects the values of modern society, creating new trends and directions that are different from their traditional forms. Modern digital art reflects the essence of digital information reality, its characters and plots.

Purpose of the Study

Based on the study of the opinions of modern scholars and theologians on the problem of the revival of theological education in Russia, determine the specifics of the professional activities of a modern theologian.

Research Methods

The main research methods were used: analysis, generalization, comparison, analytical review of the literature, dialectic method.

Findings

What worldview is able to withstand such rapid changes in the cultural values of the information society? Perhaps this is religion and philosophy. We are most interested in religion, because it is she who preserves the traditional system of values. In a situation of destruction of the cultural core of modern society, religion preserves the traditions of art, morality, confessional relations, social relations in society, spiritual education and upbringing.

It is probably no accident that in our country during the period of the systemic crisis, the scientific community turned to theology. In 2019, it was introduced into the range of scientific specialties. This process was prepared and well thought out, however, like any action, especially a new one; it is not without problem zones (Arinin, 2013; Kalimullin, 2019; Lektorsky, 2006).

No matter how clearly the passport of theology is prescribed as a scientific specialty, questions remain – what specialists should prepare new theological educational programs? What should be paid

special attention when determining the types of professional activities of a theologian, etc. (Faizrakhmanov et al., 2018).

Turning to the draft educational standard of higher education – undergraduate in the direction of preparation 48.03.01 Theology, one can see the following areas of professional activity of theological graduates: “Education and science; Culture and art; Administrative and office activities; Mass Media, Publishing and Printing” (The official website of the Federal state standards ..., 2019). Judging by the standard, the theologian should receive an education that will allow him to participate in almost all areas of activity. It is especially important that he gets the opportunity to be ready to solve the problems of professional activity of the following types: “research; pedagogical; educational; expert and analytical; representation and intermediary; social and practical; organizational and management” (The official website of the Federal state standards ..., 2019).

It is likely that theologians, by participating in the pedagogical process, will help preserve the value system (Divnogortseva, 2019; Larionov, 2018). It would not be bad if the certified theologians would help modern educators in the education of the younger generation precisely from the point of view of religious values. This does not mean at all that their task will be to bring the disciples to faith in a particular denomination. But educational work in educational institutions by the example of the life and work of the righteous, the observance of the commandments aimed at good deeds, will not bring harm. Rather, on the contrary, it will expand the student’s worldview, which in modern conditions is limited to the myths of the information space. Yes, even the most modern young teachers who find themselves in the paths of information networks and gadgets would benefit from cooperation with people who know the Word of God (Grigorieva et al., 2017; Lektorsky, 2006; Markovа, 2019).

Conclusion

The study showed that in the development of the information society, scientists, educators and theologians are joining forces to find solutions to the integration of theological and secular education. At the state level, regulatory documents are being developed for the effectiveness of such integration. The specifics of the profession of a modern theologian is defined as a set of competencies that allow such a specialist to take part in the formation and preservation of spiritual principles in human society.

Discussion remains the introduction of theological disciplines at various levels of vocational education in the training of personnel of various profiles and specialties, especially where specialists are trained whose work is connected with the spiritual world of man. Our next study will be devoted to the quality and specifics of theological education.

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27 February 2021

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Gryaznova, E. V., Vorokhobov, A. V., Goncharuk, A. G., Maltseva, S. M., & Semikopov, D. V. (2021). The Theologian Profession In The Information Society: Hopes And Prospects. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 348-354). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.02.02.45