This volume (in Russian) brings together papers delivered at a series of seminars on religion and globalization in Eurasia, which were sponsored by the Carnegie Moscow Center and organized by its program on Ethnicity and Nation-Building. The program is co-chaired by Alexey Malashenko, a scholar-in-residence with the Carnegie Moscow Center, and Martha Brill Olcott, a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment.
During the 2003—2004 academic year, the Ethnicity and Nation-Building program paid particular attention to the correlation between the development of world religions and the process of globalization. The book considers seven major religious trends: Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, Protestantism, Russian Orthodoxy and paganism. Each chapter except the first focuses on a specific religion — its current state and its development under the modern pressures of globalization.
The book opens with an introduction by sociologist Sergei Filatov. The author gives a general overview of globalization's influence on the religions in Eurasia and their reaction to this new force. While Filatov accepts the perception of globalization as “Americanization,” he does not see it as destroying religious values; on the contrary, the author argues that this external pressure heightens religious influence and the importance of common religious values in a community. While Filatov acknowledges the secularizing effect of globalization in Eurasia, he also notes the lesser extent of this effect as pertains to Islam. Among the main consequences of globalization mentioned in the chapter are the diminishing importance of ceremony in all religions, the spread of tolerance and the importance of social service and charity.
The subsequent chapters examine particular religions and confessions. In his discussion of Russian Orthodoxy, author Anatoly Krasikov illustrates that debates on globalization in the Orthodox Church amount to debates on human rights. Krasikov considers the Church's negative reaction to globalization in light of the historically close relationship between church and state: as globalization brings the destruction of some state institutions, the Church supports the state in the battle against such consequences.
Alexei Yudin, author of the article on Catholicism, writes that the discussion on globalization in the Catholic Church is fundamentally different. It is concerned mostly with the issue of modernization. For more than half the 20th century, the Catholic Church vehemently argued against the ideas of modernization; only after the Second Vatican Council in 1962 - 1965 were most of the contradictions ironed out. Currently, Catholicism is relatively acceptant of globalization, although aware of its negative aspects, such as the growing gap between rich and poor, the loss of cultural identity and other commonly cited side effects.
The chapter on Protestantism reflects the results of five years' research, including a study of Russian Protestant communities - a new and unusual component for this kind of publication. The author, Roman Lunkin, emphasizes the fact that, unlike most Christian groups, Protestant churches are not in the position of observers of globalization but are active participants in this process. Lunkin demonstrates that the spread of Protestantism is closely connected with the spread of market economy and democratic values. The explanation, he argues, lies in the universality of Protestants' worldview and values, which allows Protestantism to adapt easily to any national culture.
The next article, by Alexander Ignatenko, deals with Islam. While many scholars of Islam either support the idea of an intrinsic connection between Islam as a religion and the activities of Muslim extremist groups or deny the existence of such a connection, Ignatenko argues that such discussions are misguided and lack the analytical precision necessary under current circumstances. In attempting to lend greater scientific credibility to contemporary Islamic studies, Ignatenko suggests four approaches to research: to scrutinize all political groups that call themselves Islamic; to consider the activities of such groups as a reflection of current dynamics in Islam; to pay greater attention to their spiritual leaders; and to examine their positions and activities in the context of particular elements of Islamic religious heritage.
Hinduism and Buddhism
Another world religion, Hinduism, is considered in the article written by Boris Knorre. The author points out that trends among Hindus outside of India demonstrate the existence of an alternative “globalizational Hindu project,” which can be referred to as Hindu liberalism. While this type of Hinduism supports globalization, Hinduism inside India mostly opposes the process and its by-products. In India this fuels fundamentalism and a return to forgotten traditional Hindu values and traditions.
In the following chapter, author Alexander Agadjanyan discusses Buddhism. Agadjanyan argues that the Buddhist approach to globalization is less radical than those of other religions. Buddhism, in its development, presents “soft” alternatives to globalization. At the same time, Buddhist communities do not actively support the process of globalization. As a result, the religion keeps itself at a distance from globalization, taking a position of “alternative spirituality.”
Finally, paganism and its responses to globalization are examined in the article by Anastasia Koskello. The author's main aim is to examine a number of modern pagan religions and to identify the correlation between their spread and the process of globalization. The main concept in the pagan worldview is that of “origin”; in other words, for adherents of pagan religions, their thoughts and actions must be defined by a sense of origin, of belonging to a certain family. It would seem then that the spread of pagan religions and the process of globalization should be mutually exclusive as the former implies a renaissance of “original” identity, while the latter implies the destruction of social identities. Paradoxically, the author argues, one outcome of globalization has been the preservation and spread of pagan practices. Koskello concludes that, in most cases, pagan reactions to the challenges of globalization are extreme: one of these extremes manifests itself in anti-globalism, nationalist socialism and fascism, while the other leans toward a radically pro-globalist view or a radical brand of support for democracy and liberalism.
Full text of the book is available in Russian.