I’ve gotten a little behind on blogging (sorry Qualls!) but not for lack of interest. If anything, this course is getting increasingly interesting for me, I’m going to be pretty upset when its over and done with… typical nerd problems.
For my first “catch up” blog posting, I wanted to talk about the article that was sent out last week about Russian Orthodox activists and their protest at a museum. The article, written by Gabriela Baczynska, talks about how religious activists associated with the Russian Orthodox Church put up banners and leaflets that were against the evolution theory at a museum named for Charles Darwin. The author noted that the movement, while peaceful, was surprising in how bold it was.
However, I wonder how much of an actual movement this protest represents. Yes, this was a grand gesture of the church’s negative opinion regarding secular traditions, but is this the sentiment of a majority of Russian Orthodox Christians within Russia? Or is this merely a small faction of the faith creating a publicity stunt? Through further research, I found a quote from an interview of Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin about the protest. Chaplin refused to condem the activists, saying that “…it was a little more agressive than it needed to be.” Granted, the original article also states that “About two-thirds of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox and the church has gained influece since the 1991 collapes of the Soviet Union…”
What can one draw from the vague phrase “gained influence”? What does that actually entail? And with the statistic of two-thirds calling themselves Russian Orthodox, does that mean every person included in the study is as devout as those who staged this protest? How does one measure devoutness in religion? It isn’t a black and white study, there are too many gray areas to consider when discussing religion.
That’s why I don’t put too much faith in statistics such as these, because there are so many aspects of studies not factored in; it is too general of a topic. All these are questions that I hope to answer with my research paper on Russian Orthodoxy in the Soviet Union. Reading articles such as this make me want to pursue the topic further, and try and gain some answers. One fact can definitely be drawn from this event however; that conditions between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government are far from ideal, and tension between the two groups is fairly noticeable.