Psychological rebellion. Why the Russian Orthodox Church is losing its authority in society

Psychological rebellion. Why the Russian Orthodox Church is losing its authority in society

13 June, 13:35
Сергей Белановский
Many citizens of Russia do not like the extremely conservative position taken by the Russian Orthodox Church in relation to domestic violence and domestic tolerance.

Sergey Belanovsky, sociologist

Recently, I began to notice that among the educated part of the Russian population there is (and, perhaps, increasing) negativism towards the ROC. This can be seen, in particular, from the statements on the social network. I am not going to agitate either for or against, but I draw attention to the fact that there is a certain emotional overlap in this negativism. Perhaps mutual.

The origin of this overlap needs to be studied. It would seem, who cares who believes in God and who does not? Incidentally, in the 1980s and 1990s, the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia increased noticeably. Priests liked to be elected deputies. It was believed that they were “neither left nor right”, but carriers of morality and an unbiased attitude to social problems. The authority of Christianity in general has increased. Audiences of Protestant preachers (we must pay tribute to their effective rhetoric) gathered full houses.

According to my observations, the negativism I am talking about has increased markedly in the last decade. Why? The issue requires research. I can only put forward some hypotheses.

The first thing that comes to mind is an analogy with the beginning of the 20th century, when the intelligentsia fought for atheism. The reason, quite clearly formulated, was that the church ideologically supported the royal power. Today's ROC also supports the authorities in everything...

But it seems to me that there is also a non-political component in the negativism towards the ROC. In Russia, and not only in it, since the 1970s, sociologists have noted the growth of tolerance, moral tolerance, which, perhaps, can be interpreted as "everything is allowed." True, this does not apply to aggression and violent crimes. In the United States, as early as the 1960s, the sociologist Riesman wrote of a "long-term trend of loss of militant spirit" that made stories like the West Side less likely to emerge. In Russia (perhaps with the exception of the 1990s) the same trend is observed in relation to domestic violence (war is different). Fighters against domestic violence appeal to individual cases, but not to statistics and objective data.

The ROC takes an extremely conservative position with regard to everyday tolerance. This, I suppose, can cause an internal psychological rebellion.

I do not want to take any position in this moral dispute. As a sociologist, I put forward a hypothesis about an irresistible trend in the growth of tolerance. The ROC and other religious groups are trying to resist this. These conservative values groups are not numerous. But they maintain a high birth rate. Somewhere I read an interesting demographic article, which says that the high birth rate among such groups and its sharp drop among the unchurched in the foreseeable future promises the first a demographic victory.

But I started with the growing negativism of the Russian intelligentsia towards the ROC. I see two reasons: the church's unconditional support for any actions of state power and the disagreement of the broad masses of the population with the conservative position of the church. I think this could be a topic for interesting research. But if Russian pollsters decide to do it, the results will be politicized and classified, which means there will be no sense from them.

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