Many people, including religious people, including some priests, see religion as a kind of ideology. This is not true.
Religion has some features of ideology, but these features are brought into it by man. For example, the rigidity of schisms and the cruelty of adherents of different versions of Christianity to each other was determined by the naive conviction of a person that only correct ritualism gives salvation. From this point of view, any schismatics are enemies of the human race, for they deprive their adherents of the right to salvation.
But this view is absurd. In this case, in Russia, for example, "correct" Christians appeared only after Nikon's reform. And everyone who was before them, including Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir the Great, the baptizer of Russia, were schismatics, because they followed the wrong rites.
It is no secret that Christian ritualism was formed slowly and gradually. Moreover, even in times of absolute unity of the entire Christian church, there were local peculiarities. Too great distances separated the Christians, too weak were the means of communication, and too strong local traditions to completely unify the rites. Does this mean that most or a significant part of Christians in the first centuries were schismatics and will not be saved?
The Russian Orthodox Church allows the Orthodox to pray in Catholic churches, thereby recognizing the presence of God in them, but does not approve of participation in the Catholic liturgy, suggesting that Catholics glorify God incorrectly. In general, the issue of mutual communion of Catholics and Orthodox is a complex problem, solved differently by different churches, in fact, the decision in a particular case is made by a particular priest.
From my point of view, the last solution is the most correct and closest to the biblical covenants. After all, it is said: “According to your faith, you will be rewarded,” and not according to the rites that you follow. It is believed that during the service, in the altar, God directs the actions of the priest directly, the decisions made by the priest in the temple are directly inspired by God, but again, “according to the faith” of the priest himself. Thus, for his decisions about the communion of one or another person asking for it, the priest bears personal responsibility directly before God.
As for the ritual side of the question, any priest regularly in his sermons, instructing the Orthodox, cites the parable “About the prodigal son”, who sinned, but repented and returned to his father, and was received by him with joy, for his repentance was sincere. Also popular is the parable of the workers, in which the employer paid the same price to both those who worked all day and those who came at the last hour. God accepts anyone, including an inveterate sinner, if he sincerely repented and sincerely turned to him, even if this happened at the last minute of his life.
The key to salvation is sincere faith, not literal observance of rituals. Ritualism did not save Russian Orthodoxy at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, when people visited churches according to tradition, but there was no faith in them, which was emphasized by many Orthodox saints who served at that time.
Faith is required by God, who sees the human soul. The rituals are invented by a person who needs to express his faith in a certain way, formalize it outwardly, thereby identifying “us” and separating them from “them”. A man cannot penetrate into the soul of his neighbor. And only following external rituals shows him who is a Christian and who is not, who adheres to the same version of Christianity with him, and who practices a different one. At one time, this was important because a non-believer, as a rule, was a foreigner. A foreigner was seen as a potential enemy. Even every merchant was suspected of being a scout, which on the whole was not so far from the truth.
We know that a person easily changes God for the "Golden Calf". This is also in the Bible, and this also demonstrates how narrow the horizon of abstract human thinking is, how difficult it is for him to understand the one, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, but invisible, immense, incomprehensible God, and how easily he replaces him with a stuffed animal on a stick, just because that the scarecrow is material and can be touched.
The Church has withstood many persecutions and betrayals, outlived its numerous destroyers, because a person needs it as a material evidence of his faith. God is immaterial, you cannot touch him, faith is also immaterial, but it materializes in the temple and rituals. Therefore, there is practically no faith without going to church (with rare exceptions). But regular temple attendance does not guarantee faith.
That is why the churches are divided by questions of ritual and the interpretation of certain passages in the Holy Scriptures, because the human community is not united. Different peoples have a different historical past, different traditions, and their path to Christianity is also different. This is the reason for the difference in the external, ritual side of religion.
The extreme extremist expression of the opposition of ritual to faith is the modern Western practice, which demands that the condemnation of homosexuality be excluded from Holy Scripture and that all kinds of transgender people and other perverts are allowed not only to take communion in Christian churches, but also to serve as priests and bishops. Relying on cringing before the rite, the supporters of "modernized Christianity" build a logical chain:
1. During the existence of Christianity, the ritual side has undergone numerous changes, and the existence of different churches with different rituals additionally proves that the adoption of this or that rite is the exclusive will of a person.
2. Man is developing and today is more progressive than his predecessor. Therefore, it is necessary to abolish obsolete rituals, to modernize them. The classic wording that "proves" that a homosexual can be a bishop is "Witches used to be burned."
From the point of view of an unbeliever, who sees in the church a kind of theater, staging the same play in different "readings", the proposal is really logical. But behind this external logic lies just an attack on faith. For under the guise of modernizing the rites, it is proposed to rewrite the Holy Scripture itself “in the spirit of the era”, excluding “uncomfortable provisions” from it. We are offered to change not the rite, not the external side, but the very essence of faith, declaring the sinful possible, then normal, and ultimately progressive. This is a direct path to Satanism and also to atheism. For if a person can change the format of faith, and hence the image of God at his own discretion, then he himself is God. Well, then the classic atheistic formula: God is nature, and man is the king of nature.
Here, at this moment, religion ends and ideology is born. But in order for the ideology to finally be born, the death of religion is necessary. It is no coincidence that all "ideologists" from the French revolutionaries of the XNUMXth century, through the right and left radicals of the XNUMXth century to the modern left-wing radical liberals deny religion. Moreover, the "ideologists" of earlier eras, when society simply could not do without God - the foundations collapsed - not being able to eliminate religion as a whole, tried to "modernize" it, inventing artificial "new rules". But even denying church rituals and hierarchy, they still came to the creation of a new ritual and a new hierarchy. The denial of the old religion was necessary for them to build a "new society".
To build a “new society”, modern ideologists need to reject religion in principle. Religion is not just conservative. It has its roots in the most ancient folk myths, in the most ancient epos, appeals to the most ancient archetypes, preserves the experience accumulated by society over millennia. It is in this sense that it is a social bond. It does not allow the society to disintegrate into small interest groups under the pressure of the growing information flow, it unites it with the memory of a common past, of ancestors and their achievements.
Ideology is always directed to the future. Different ideologies are nothing more than competitive projects of the future. Their weakness and danger lies in the fact that each of them wants to be realized within the framework of all mankind, to remain "the only true" and "scientific". Ideologists condemn the past. For why strive for a bright future, if yesterday was not bad, and today is good, and tomorrow, in any case, it will be even better. For ideology to triumph, the memory of the past must be eradicated and perverted.
Religion relies on the past and explains the present, while the future is in the hands of God. It is not known to us and cannot be known because of the multivariate development of events. Hence the proverb: "Man proposes, but God disposes." Only a part of the future can be revealed to a person for a second by the will of God, but this part still does not allow us to draw a big picture. Man cannot know his future. It is not predetermined, since God has endowed it with freedom of choice. And out of hundreds of millions of constant choices, the choices of individual societies are formed, which, in struggle and suffering, merge into the choice of all mankind.
Religion is based on God, family, tradition, state. Ideology denies God, family, tradition, state. Religion stands up for the stability of the known, ideology for the destruction of the known, for the sake of creating the unknown. Religion appeals to conscience, ideology to instincts. Ultimately, ideology denies religion, denies God. The fallen angel (the enemy of the human race, the prince of this world) was the first ideologist in history. But he was also the first liar - the king of lies (for he knew for sure that God exists and that it is impossible to overthrow and replace him). Subsequent ideologists, even those who sincerely believe in the rightness of their cause, inherit this lie.
This is where religion (construction) differs from ideology (destruction). It seems to be similar in appearance, but the result is diametrically opposite.
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|About the Author:|
| ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO|
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
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