World of Faith and World of Disbelief: Expansion and Reduction of Religiosity

World of Faith and World of Disbelief:
Expansion and Reduction of Religiosity

Baranovsky V.G.,

Academic Director, Center for Situation Analysis, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 627742 |

Naumkin V.V.,

President, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences,

elibrary_id: 71351 | RESEARCHER_ID: R-9576-2019

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2018.06.02

For citation:

Baranovsky V.G., Naumkin V.V. World of Faith and World of Disbelief: Expansion and Reduction of Religiosity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No. 6. P. 8-31. (In Russ.).


The growing prevalence of religious commitment and the advancement of secularism are the two parallel tendencies, though in confrontation with each other, that underlie the contemporary world development. In many parts of the world, including its Islamic segment, there is an expansion of the “Zone of Disbelief”. However, simultaneously, a process of some sort of religious renaissance is underway, which is related to the need of reviewing the routine socio-ecclesiastical values and behavioral stereotypes, likewise the search of a spiritual dimension, so typical of our high-tech reality. One of such tracks invokes an appeal to the traditional religions or a formation of new religious trends. In this context, especially given the exacerbating conditions of other problematic aspects pertinent to the societal development, the most versatile and staggering “discharges” become highly likely. The rampage of right-wing and left-wing extremism is periodically in evidence across the political spectrum in Europe and Latin America. Also, in some parts of the Islamic world, and not only in the Middle East, a powerful impetus is given to religious radicalism, which entails largely dramatic and broad-ranging consequences. Controversial tendencies linked to the religious factor are woven into the not-less-controversial fabric of globalization. While objectively creating the prerequisites for a dialogue of religions, likewise for rapprochement of various denominations within one and the same religious doctrine, at the same time it overshadows their conserving, identifying function. And this forms a part of the resistant reaction of society through revitalization and activation of particularism. The religious world is confronted with the erosion of values and their desecration. A dual process of expansion and-reduction is in place – when the quantity indicators of the area of religiousness can be on the increase, while its quality indicators can be subject to readjustment. Although in certain religious traditions, inner heterogeneity remains a serious factor of tension (the Sunnis-the Shiites), overall, the World of Faith is becoming less rigid – including in connection with the perception of elements belonging to other cultures and customs. Similar tendencies are witnessed in the World of Disbelief. The reasons and prospects for the ongoing upsurge of radicalism in the Middle East should be viewed within the context of more fundamental and longer-term processes underway both regionally and globally. And, by all means, with due account for the vigorous, but contradictory globalization trends, as well as apparently inexhaustible relevance of religious factors for the evolution of society.

religion; Islam; Middle East; radicalism; ISIS; prognosis; globalization; politics; migration; secularism; fundamentalism.


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Content No. 6, 2018

Рост религиозности и наступательное движение секуляризма; две параллельные и вместе с тем противостоящие друг другу тенденции современного мирового развития. Во многих частях мира, в том числе и в его исламском сегменте, происходит расширение “зоны неверия”. Но одновременно идет процесс религиозного ренессанса, связанный с характерным для высокотехнологичной эпохи запросом на переосмысление рутинных социально-духовных ценностей и поведенческих стереотипов, поиском духовности. Одним из направлений становится обращение к традиционным религиям или формирование новых религиозных течений. На этой почве, особенно в сочетании с обострением иных проблемных обстоятельств развития социума, возможны разнообразные сотрясающие его “выбросы”. Вспышки право- и леворадикального экстремизма периодически возникают на политическом поле Европы и Латинской Америки. А в некоторой части исламского мира, не только на Ближнем Востоке, мощный импульс получает религиозный радикализм, причем с весьма драматическими и широкими по масштабам последствиями. Противоречивые тенденции, связанные с фактором религиозности, вписаны в не менее противоречивый контекст глобализации. Создавая предпосылки для диалога религий и для сближения между разными течениями в рамках одного религиозного направления, она одновременно оттеняет их консервирующую, идентифицирующую функцию, что становится частью резистентной реакции социума через оживление и активизацию партикуляризма. В религиозном мире сталкиваются с эрозией ценностей и их десакрализацией. Идет двуединый процесс “экспансия-редукция”, когда может происходить расширение количественных параметров ареала религиозности наряду с корректировкой ее качественных параметров. Хотя в ряде конфессий внутренняя неоднородность остается серьезным фактором напряженности (сунниты–шииты), в целом “мир веры” становится менее ригидным, в том числе и в связи с восприятием элементов иных культур и традиций. Аналогичные тенденции обнаруживаются и в “мире неверия”. Причины и перспективы наблюдаемого всплеска радикализма на Ближнем Востоке надо рассматривать в контексте более фундаментальных долговременных процессов в регионе и в мире и обязательно с учетом как мощных, хотя и противоречивых глобализационных трендов, так и очевидной неисчерпанности религиозных факторов в эволюции социума.

&rft.issue=6&rft.spage=8&rft.epage=31&rft.tpage=8-31&rft.number=&rft.year=2018&rft.issn=0321-2017&rft.shorttitle=&rft.subject=религия; ислам; Ближний Восток; прогнозы; радикализм; ДАИШ; ИГИЛ; глобализация; политика; миграции; секуляризм; фундаментализм& V.G.& V.V.">

See also:

Habermas J.,
Religion, law and politics. – On political justice in a multicultural World-Society. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No2

Mirsky G.I.,
Islam and a Nation: the Near East and Central Asia. – Polis. Political Studies. 1998. No2

Grinin L.Ye., Korotayev A.V.,
Political Aspects of Contemporary Islamism. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No6

Malakhov V.S., Letnyakov D.E.,
Religious Politics of Post-Soviet States: Between Path Dependence and Governmentality. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No4

Malakhov V.S., Letnyakov D.E.,
Shimmering Secularism: Religion in Russian Public Space. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No1



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