June 10, 2009
Russian Orthodox Church opposed the secular monopoly for social world order
Moscow, June 10, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate believes that the secular humanistic society model should not be imposed on the world as the only correct and forward-looking.
"In my view, the secular project has been exhausted. It gives people no vigor, it fails to inspire them in emergency, and it is unable to teach them self-denial and self-control," head of the Synodal Church and Society Department Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said at a Moscow conference dedicated to relationships between religion and the state.
According to him, demographic data, psychological tests and sociological research "convincingly show that secular ideology deprives the society of many benefits inherent to a society with a strong religious motivation."
"Today, there are many examples when a society with a strong religious motivation proves to be no less, and even much more efficient than a society based on its secular identity," Father Vsevolod said.
"In fact, today we can see that the pursuit of "civil religion" and "universal human values", and the priority of material life over the end purpose of existence proved to be a failure for many people, in particular, in the West."
Father Vsevolod stated that "the existence of groups with different attitudes which put the main emphasis on their worldview, different models of society, family, and local communities based on different attitudes is a real fact."
He thinks that this trend in society development should be given a special focus and "it would be reckless for both politicians and intellectuals to ignore this phenomenon."
Fr. Vsevolod believes that today we need "to proceed from attempting to unify the humanity", impose a single model of state and society and the relations of the state, society and religion as the only correct, we need to proceed from all the above to the situation where different models of society, family and local communities "are considered equal".
"Both in Russia and in the world, there are communities which live under the Islam law which they consider the supreme law. Orthodox believers treat the religious law as supreme which they cannot deny even under death threat. This is evidenced by the lives of Russia's New Martyrs and Confessors and the history of the early Christian years. This kind of law is also supreme for the followers of Judaism," Fr. Vsevolod said.
At the same time, "only a minor part of the world's population treats as the most important the priorities of material life and worldly comfort which form the basis of humanist ideology."
"The secular humanistic model of social structure is just one model, one system of law, and its followers can no longer explain why it should become universal," the priest said. According to him, the current economic crisis has raised serious doubts about the last argument of secularism adepts, i.e., its eternal economic efficiency.
In closing, Fr. Vsevolod said that none of the social models, neither Orthodox, nor Islamic, should become a ground for dialogues.
"Today's ground for dialog is the willingness of different models representatives to discuss future without any precedent conditions and claiming progressiveness," the priest said.