In Russia, Muslims and Non-Orthodox Christians Get More from Their Religion than Orthodox Do, New Study Says
September 2 – Russians who identify as Orthodox say they get far less from
their religion than do those who identify as other Christians or Muslims
concerning confidence in the future, support from their faith, and
encouragement to support others, according to a new study by sociologist Yana
Roshina of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.
says this reflects two things. On the one hand, those who identify with
Orthodoxy seldom know as much about their religion as do those who join other
faiths. Instead, they take religion less seriously and view it as a cultural
marker about being Russian rather than as an independent matter of belief.
on the other, many who do identify as Orthodox are nonetheless put off by the
archaic ideas about social life and the individual often promoted by Orthodox
priests and the hierarchy. Such people may identify as Orthodox for political
reasons, but they do not accept what the church as an institution is promoting.
the most important findings of Roshina’s study are the following: First, “the
most tolerant are the non-Orthodox Christians,” with 91 percent of them saying
that religious makes them tolerant to the weaknesses of others. Only 82 percent
of Muslims say that; and only 67 of Orthodox do.
“74 percent of non-Orthodox Christians say they receive support by other
believers from,” 72 percent of Muslims say the same; but only 28 percent of
Orthodox say that they do.And while
non-Orthodox Christians and Muslims look forward to an afterlife (65 and 73
percent respectively), only 35 percent of Orthodox do.
strictly hierarchical and authoritarian nature of the Orthodox Church, Eduard
Ponarin, another scholar who participated in the study, explains much of this.
People are alienated from the hierarchy as well as by its “conservative
policy.” Moreover, Orthodox congregations are larger, and often priests don’t
know their parishioners well.
and Muslim congregations in contrast are smaller, more democratic, and united
by a sense that they are minorities and thus must provide greater support to
fellow members, Ponarin adds.