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The constant renewal of religions as a factor of human development / Непрерывное обновление религий как фактор человеческого развития
Ключевые слова: новая религиозность, интенции, обновление религий, осевая эпоха, трансцендирование, харизма, особенности религиозного абстрагирования, персонализация, религиозные онтологии, кризис традиционных религий
Дата направления в редакцию: 24-01-2017
Дата публикации: 06-02-2017
Abstract. Religiousness is rooted in the mental nature of a human. Initially, the nonreligious belief forms from the complex of the original intentions in hum consciousness. This can be the source for religious belief, as well as other spiritual forms. Transformation of the original intentions into religious belief is justified by the peculiarities of initial alienation alongside the processes of personalization. As a result, emerges a special mental world and special ontology of religion. The author believes that the constant renewal of religions in form of continuous manifestation of the new cults and sects is a sustained historical process. Its intensity rapidly grows in the era of drastic changes as a sign of their profoundness. Religiogenesis is a mental symptom of the epochal revolutionary changes in people’s relation towards the environment, which signifies a global adjustment of their lifestyle. Such eras create the new values and behavior, which transcend the routine, and mobilize people towards the radical transformations of their life. They originate the revolutionary idealists, reformers, and Charismatics, as well as capture attention of large audience over the short time. The first of them is the “Axial Age” (K. Jaspers). Then, the outburst of religious Protestantism (XVI-XVII centuries). It can be called the “Second Axial Age”, which creates a new system of values of the radical individualism. Humanity enters the third era of the Axial Age in the second half of the XX century. Current events in the religious sphere represent the best proof of radicalism of what is taking place. The renewal of religiousness is the “laboratory” of the new feelings and values, and later leads to conceptualization of the other spiritual abilities of a human.
Keywords: peculiarities of religious alienation, charisma, transcending, Axial Age, renewal of religions, intentions, new religion, personalization, religious ontologies, crisis of traditional religions
As is well known, many countries have recently experience "new religions".
This started in Japan after the Second World War and continued in West-Europe and in the USA in the 60-70 years of XX century [1.438-441]. These developments point to the crisis of traditional religions, which are not able to adapt to new circumstances. It also found that modern religious update has many similarities with classical precedents birth of world religions. In this article we will discuss the following issues, namely the psychological causes of permanent relevance of religion, particularly religious transcendence and the specifics of the main epochs in the history of religious renewal.
Religion is deeply human phenomenon and is rooted in our nature [2.8-42].
We believe that the original secular aspirations implanted in our soul as a complex of certain intentions and turn to religious faith through a specific historical and cultural processes of abstraction, personalization and transcendence. Accordingly, human psyche includes some intentions which can be a basis of possible religious development. These intentions are not originally religious and they can develop in non-religious spiritual forms.
Religious faith is a total transformation of the original is not a religious belief that organically included in the instinct of self-preservation as it is an essential aspect. Not religious faith is a desire for survival. We are aware of it, in contrast to the self-preservation instinct. Faith in yourself and faith in others is the essential foundation of human existence, the mental-psychological support of self-preservation.
The fundamental desire for existence is embodied in some natural orientations of the human psyche. There are orientations of avoidance of suffering, security search, the desire for love, significance, anxiety and hope of positivity. Some of these orientations can acquire a religious character. They become religious through specific synthesis, transcendence and personalization.
A religious generalization is different from scientific or philosophical generalization. Religious generalization is imaginative and emotional. I mean first of all the meeting experience with unusual natural phenomena and experience altered states of consciousness. Consciousness makes summarizing these situations. Consciousness ultimately creates a "supernatural", but not as a reflection of his altered state, but as an alternative to daily life. Thus we create a supernatural but unconsciously in acts of transcendence when the unusual becomes the new reality.
A source of transcendence is the limits of human experience and their frontiers that are dark zones of our mind. Religious transcending is a combination of processes of religious abstracting that generates transcendental objects from the dark zones and of substantiating that establishes these new ideal objects as real. In its turn the religious generalization forms these new specific mental entity as a reflection of extraordinary experiences.
Once consciousness produced the supernatural as a different reality a person begins to continuously compare it with the surrounding reality. Man constantly compares these two realities, as he originally committed to liberation from suffering in the material world. Thus, imagination, strong emancipatory passion created a new ontology of both worlds.
There are the physical world and a transcendent world. The first of them is a place of suffers and evil. The second, by contrast, is a place of emancipation and good. Thus, religious ontology is based on a substantiating of dualistic-abstract ethical principles that symbolize and personalize pictures of the world instead of common descriptions . Religious ontology has peculiar empirical grounds certified by personal feelings of theophany. Theophany is unusual experiences are considered a manifestation of the supernatural [4.406].
Such feelings are "facts" and evidence of God's being. Religious virtuosos are able to produce the feelings, and other believers empathize with their conditions in peculiar groups. Prayer and divine service cultivate, model and support the conditions. Religious ontology is a picture of the world created by the mind that is influenced by a memory of the conditions. Thus, charismatic leaders of religious movements implanted unusual pictures of the world as an everyday ontology in the minds of people.
Finally, continuous updating of religions is caused by excess of personal self-actualization. I mean its extreme low points and high levels. People of extreme low level of personal self-actualization can be named "poor in spirit". They are passive and suggestible. It is a "flock". The second lesser part is active, nonconformist and mesmeric. It is "herdsmen". Such is two immanent anthropological parts of every religious community.
Continuous updating of religions is a constant phenomenon of history. Every generation always starts again and strives to live as if it is the first time. Each new generation is not satisfied with the legacy of the past and wants to live with his mind. It also can be said that every generation needs self-dependent experiences of the religious. It postulating a progressive living revelation. Persons who constantly produce the new postulatings and the living revelation are named charismatic leaders or religious gifted people.
People in their history playing the same religious pieces, in which the roles of "prophets" and "flock" are permanent. They together make age-long scene of renewable religious performance. Religious charismatic leaders and their "flocks" are social-immanent subcultures of any societies. This is characteristic of all societies, from ancient magicians to contemporary gurus. We can say that religion is relevant to some of the people who want to relive the experience of a real meeting with the supernatural. Thus, religious traditions are likely to have fixed the conservative form of the anthropological phenomenon.
Religious gifted charismatic people have innate abilities and ethical pathos of metaphysical orientation. They sincerely feel themselves as if they are among creatures beyond the physical world. Psychics of suggestible people are empathized with such extraordinary self-image. Suggestible people feel this like a "theophany".
Such living religious experience of communication with the theophany is high-powered hypnotic force which attracts people who need a real emotional trustworthiness of Supernatural.
Most traditional religions do not satisfy such needs of some people, because traditional religion strictly prohibit the continuation of the living revelation. It leads to a constant appearance of new sects and religions are headed by religious gifted people. They are represented by 2 types. It is a "living God" or divine mediator-prophet.
Religious radicalism is an immanent phase of development of every transcendent religion. Agents of new religions are religious charismatics or people of extreme vitality when their vitality changes into ethical pathos of transcendental orientation. Primordial sorcerers and magicians were forerunners of religious charismatics.
Continuous updating of religions is a permanent process in history but we can observe its sharp rise in key epochs of human development. It is periods of radical anthropological changes. They can be named "axial epochs".
The first of them is a time which was noted by Karl Jaspers. [5.40, 33]. It is the period from VIII to III centuries B.C. when a transition to agricultural civilization and town life was finished. This meant the emergence of a new quality compared to the previous existence of a natural style. People at that time were able to compare the old and new life. The experience of such inexplicable comparisons begat the idea of the transcendent. It was a mental revolution.
The specifics of the first forms of transcendental religions are the intellectual marginality of charismatics-populists and the "shock of abstracting" when the discovering of a transcendental world in the mind was felt as a real act going on in daily occurrence. Classical great religions and great metaphysical systems of a speculative ancient philosophy originated from this idea.
I think that the second "axial age" was in the XVI - XIX centuries which were called "modernization." It was a transition from a restricted relative production (agriculture as a control of natural increase of plants) to a real production as systematic transformation of nature when society becomes autonomous from nature. It occurs "anthroposphere", which is reflected in the idea of "transcendental reality" of Kant, as well as in the idea of a "second nature" of Marx.
The second "axial epoch" generated new radical values, such as idealist individualism, activity, innovation, and creativity in life style. Upgrading these time religions legalized the idea of "vocation" and "special vocation," which became the basis of Western ethos, expansionism and globalization. The religious reflection "of the second axial age" was represented in the Reformation.
In this regard, it should be clarified that there is a difference between philosophical and religious reflection. Religion is a reaction of feeling (anxiety, confusion) on the threshold of something whereas philosophy is a reaction of reflectiveness to a completion of something. Therefore, we can see the gap between the new religious movements in the Reformation and later philosophical ideas of German transcendentalism. Although they both expressed the same thing.
Religious change the second "axial age" was different than the first "axial age" of religious origin. Main forming groups who determined the specific of Protestant religions was a category of active enterprising and individual oriented people. Average social strata of the urban population, which was called by Aristotle "the foundation of human stability and the state", has become the main agent of the new religiosity while the core of the genesis of the monotheistic religions of the first "axial" era were the lower classes. This layer has radically changed the spirit of medieval Christianity.
The ideology and values of the Reformation were formed by earnest and responsible representatives of the middle classes but not demagogic populists. These founders had some special characteristics that distinguish them from the rich and the poor: self-discipline, a strong motivation to achieve, and self-confidence. [6.279]
These characteristics became chief both in a system of new religious values and in the mentality of the forming industrial society. Religious life of the Reformation, therefore, was organized by these people called "saints" . The collective charisma of these persons is the main specific of the second epoch of religious update.
I think that the "third axial epoch" have started in the second part of the XX century. Some anthropological grounds produce an urge to renovation of religious experience, among them:
- Immanent reproducing of the mythological phase of mankind's intellectual development in childish minds
- Irrationality of our nature that always demands wonders and chances
- Immanent reproducing of evolutionary proportion 1:1:3 between altruists, egoists and conformists, when usually altruists become organizers of idealistic agencies in society including many religious groups in history.
Peculiarities of the last century determine a new social format of new religious feelings and ideas. This format assembles a series of factors, such as:
- Market unification of most of Earth’s territories, and globalization of war and peace
- Deep mental and cultural diversification of the social milieu
- Development of mass-media that provides an unprecedented real synchrony of many world events
- Leading role of science nowadays, rejuvenation of the most important social spheres, and the feminization of present society
- Worldwide increase of educational level and an appearance of the "new masses"
- Rapid devaluation of traditional and new ideas, featuring disorientation and fear of the unknown.
We can say that there is a new quality of human development.
People have reached a satisfactory level of production and consumption and are now engaged in deep scientific knowledge itself (genetic engineering, artificial intelligence) and in space affairs. This means that humanity is beginning to transition to a new state of existence, where people will be able to control his body and mind.
Perhaps they will be able to develop the practice of building your body and your mind.
Accordingly, modern religious update is a laboratory of new feelings and values that will later be conceptualized more rationally by philosophy, morals and the sciences.
Why traditional religion does not satisfy some people and what they are looking for new religious communities?
Traditional religions have some features that aggravate their contemporary condition, among them:
- Authoritarianism, conservatism and hegemony
- Absence of a first-hand religious communication with God
- Dispersion of many traditional religious functions that are taken away by psychoanalysis, the occult and pseudo-health organizations.
Social-psychological causes reflect a contradiction between high individualistic ambitions of the "new masses" and a reality of equality standards in Western countries that generates a religious existentialism as mass feelings.
Also people seek for a solution of their problems. New religious communities are able to satisfy two human necessities. The first of them is necessity for a living religious experience or a deep-emotional dialogue. The second of them is a passion for live experimentation which manifests itself in many ways. Metamorphoses of religious experience give to people strong unusual feelings which are sharply contrasted with daily existence. That also is attracted to people who have experience of turning points of their life, for example it is age crises, particularly.
The modern religious crisis reflects the beginning of these radical changes beforehand. It appears intuition that humanity will face serious radical transformations. These feelings implicitly define the modern outlook of "new religions". For example, it is a promise of metamorphosis of selected people into divine creatures which are declare by many sects.
It can be also said that a modern stage of the religious update reflects some main characteristics of a contemporary society. It is democracy and complicated cultural-mental differentiations in social structures. The customary religions are based on traditions of strict subordination, authority and ideological unity therefore they can't adequately satisfy the diverse needs of different groups.
Another cause of the religious crisis and the religious genesis is an absence of living forms of religious experience. I mean that customary religions put a ban on an activity of persons who can feel yourself as joining to a supernatural world or feel as the embodiment of God. "Today, communication with God is a mere historical fact textually apprehended, namely as a revelation which accomplished once and for all". Accordingly, the traditional religion "can no longer ask the Lord to comment on the present". [8.168-169]
"As soon as the secularization of religion evolves and becomes more and more a personal matter, liberal churches and justify their activities intellectuals lose their ability to act appropriately in a specific religious offerings". [9.968].
New religious movements can suggest such forms of experience of transcendent revelation to people who always in any society crave to get it. Charismatic individuals are magnetic core of many contemporary religious movements. Some of them announce that they are prophets whereas others are convinced that they are a God's embodiment. In any case their sincere belief regularly starts new religious update.
The third cause of the modern religious crisis can be named "dispersion of identity" of religions. I mean that traditional basic functions of religion are usurped by some unreligious communities. For example, a function of consolation is often assumed by psycho-analysis or diverse communities which suggest developing spiritual forces of people. The occult-mystic communities strive to capture a function of communication with hidden religious powers.
The cardinal problem in the modern religious update is extremism of many new religious movements [10.10-11].
Why is this happening? There are three reasons for this: rather, it is forced by the traditional religions and it is an unfavorable social climate, and with it the internal causes of religious renewal.
As to the final reason we can say that every new social movement seeks to establish itself through a sharp distinguished from the social environment, and therefore there is radicalism. It is in the nature of things.
In every religion there are different stages in their development. Each new religion tends to emphasize its uniqueness and dignity. This phase of proselytism. After that, it becomes a traditional religion or it turns into an extremist sect. It all depends on the degree of hostility of the surrounding society, including the nature of the relationship of other faiths. [11.95-103].
The unity of the processes of origin of religions in the history confirmed by the large similarity of religious propaganda in ancient times and in our day. Recruiting includes several phases, such as:
- A phase of imprinting or "active involving in," which offers an experience of new feelings and strange conditions like extraordinary abilities and immortality, love, care, an authentic understanding, and a deep spirit development
- A phase of negation that means isolation, a breaking off of previous social relations, a devaluation of former values and senses, and a feeling of uncertainty of the world reality
- A phase of building of a corporate mind or forming of a deep emotional-psychological dependence of neophytes on their religious group and leader that originates from specific conditions, including:
- Forced collectivism
- Manipulating personal surroundings
- Obligatory active missionary work
- Cult of the founder
- Strong "frontier control"
- A phase of establishing extraordinary conditions of mind as a new format of sect life.
New sense structures and supported style of communication between leaders and their flock function here, among them:
- A doctrine characterized by ethnic dichotomy and striving for transcendence of social bases
- A forming of peculiar dialects that have particular codes.
Communication between the leader and his group is based on the leader's charismatic ability to organize periodic collective trances that give feelings of strong wonder and excitement, loss of self, and the ecstasy of uniting with the group. Rational methods of self-defense from outer and inner enemies are also practiced in sects, such as:
- Screening and stopping of thoughts
- Measuring out truth in doses (levels)
- Cultivating of fault and fear feelings.
Modern democratic society should strive to normalize its attitude towards new religious movements. There is a need for permanent dialog and correct public discussion. In this case many new religious leaders go over to the collaboration and these movements may become to evolve into new respectable live forms. Take, for example, Protestant movements and religious communities of XIX century which had been passed such way.