«Index of faith»: how much is actually in the Russian Orthodox

© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite in fotosencibilizace procession in the Kirov region«Index of faith»: how much is actually in the Russian Orthodox© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite in photovacation of Skripunov

About one-third of «Orthodox» Russians do not believe in God — evidenced by the relentless statistics. At the same time, various groups and then offered to make Christianity the state religion. In their arguments they refer to opinion polls according to which the Orthodox count themselves among the «80 percent» of the population of Russia.

While the voice of the faithful is getting louder — today they are active participants in virtually all social processes, and the heated debate on the construction of new churches or mosques, the teaching of religion in schools and ban abortions do not arise out of thin air.

About how many in Russia actually believers and is their quality than quantity — in the material RIA Novosti.

Ran up the cent

From year to year, sociologists unanimously record growth in the number of believers. For example, since 1991 more and more Russians began to trust in God in everyday life. The same can be said about the confidence of the Russian Orthodox Church and religious organizations in General (VTSIOM data).

Institute of sociology a few years ago tried to measure the level of religiosity compatriots and found that 79% consider themselves to be Orthodox, 4% — Muslims, and 9% «believe in some higher power». The number of atheists, scientists said, is reduced.

The most recent data are the famous American Pew research center. According to him, 71% of Russians profess Orthodoxy (in 1991 there were 37%) and 75% of Russia’s population believe in God. The study also provides data about Muslims — their 10%.

Sociologists have noticed an interesting detail: in Russia and Eastern Europe the vast majority of believers connect their worldview with national identity. Moreover, in Russia, according to American scientists, national identity is tied to Christianity, even Muslims and atheists.

«For the sake of ideology»

«What kind of statistical mirror of the Orthodox «make up» of 130 million — is unclear. In the best case under a traditional, one might even say, the Church’s understanding of religion falls within the 4-8% of the population of Russia, which is from five to 12 million people,» — says a senior lecturer of the philosophical faculty of Moscow state University, theologian Pavel Kostylev.

In fact, there is a «substantial gap» between those who consider themselves Orthodox «identity» and those who, in particular, observe fasting, go to Church and communion.

«Unfortunately, we can state that the thesis of 70, 80, 100, 130 (underline) millions of Orthodox plays a purely ideological role. Similarly occur, for example, 20 million Muslims — depending on who, when and why mention the Russian religiosity and religious composition of Russia», — the expert notes.

People just see for themselves in Orthodoxy value, and therefore referred themselves to him. Another thing, when we are talking about of the pilgrims ‘ churchliness, believes Deputy Chairman of the scientific Council polls, head of the Commission of the Public chamber of Russia on the harmonization of interethnic and interfaith relations, Iosif Diskin.

Similar situation with Muslims in the country, according to the Council of Muftis of Russia, more than 20 million: not all of them, for example, fasting in the month of Ramadan. But these numbers often become an argument in the property requirements.

«We have, among other things, a secular state, which is intended to protect the interests of both the agnostics and the atheists, and believers. So when turning with the requirement to provide land (near the chapel. — Approx. ed.), let’s see, what are the dimensions of the registered communities. Often believers do not have enough space,» said Diskin.

«Part of civilization»

In the Russian Orthodox Church do not see a big problem in the fact that the Orthodox, according to statistics, 80% God of them believe only two-thirds, and observe fasts and go to Church only 4%.

«Any company that conducts opinion polls, using his method of calculation. This technique, which can stand the whole scientific school, yielding results that often do not coincide», — said the Deputy head of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on relations of the Church with society and the media Vakhtang Kipshidze.

«I do not think that this figure (80%) raises some questions. And here’s why: in many countries, not only in Russia, people associate themselves with a particular religious denomination, religious community, not only in strictly doctrinal, but cultural. Perhaps, in any country where for a long time — centuries or millennia — there is one or the other religious community, belonging to it is including civilizational in nature. So when a person calls himself Orthodox, he only shows that the Orthodox civilization is a value that is part of his identity,» he says.

Quantity or quality?

However, in this context, the question arises: do we really need to have a lot of believers? Perhaps confessions is much more important to have a small but faithful flock, rather than public popularity.

«It is wrong to build the opposition between quantity and quality (of the believers. — Approx. ed.) only on formal assessments. Can a person decades to go to Church and knows all the rites, participate in the sacraments. But if he does not become cleaner, kinder, and holier than, this is not to say that divine grace it effective. For example, the so-called «index inchurched», which was coined by the sociologist Valentina Chesnokova, or the Church itself the criterion — they are all external markers. And informative markers known only to the priest, who works directly with the person, watching it over time. Therefore, a significant increase in the percentage of those who regularly observes posts, participating in services, and so on, is not a reflection of the quality of faith itself,» — explains the rector of the Pyatnitsky representation of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, associate Professor of the Moscow theological Academy, Archpriest Pavel Velikanov.

The results of the Synodal period (from 1721 till 1917. — Approx. ed.), as well as events during and after the revolution, according to the cleric, a good show, «that no external forms, nothing to say». At the same time, the Church has a certain attitude towards those people who call themselves Orthodox, but do not lead an appropriate lifestyle.

«We look at them primarily as people who are open to interaction, open to pastoral care. It is a potential congregation — maybe they intend to come to the temple, they have no conscious prejudices against the Church. Accordingly, it is the part of our citizens, which at any moment may become active members,» adds FR.

But how to calculate this «potential flock» is not clear yet. In any case, studies on this topic are published with a caveat: all figures are provisional.

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