NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Paradoxes of religious self-determination

Ksenia Kolkunova

While analyzing statistical data the researcher of a religious situation collides with a number of problems. Our attention will be turned on rather new problem. In a modern society people answers in questionnaires about religious sights, that are visibly incorrect or made on purpose. In England and Wales such a phenomenon was noted in 2001 Census, when 0.7 per cent of population identified their religion as «Jedi» []. In Russian Federation there was no question of religious identity in 2002 Census, but in our country wide publicity was received by young residents of Perm who described their nationality as «elf» and «hobbit» []. We suppose that these answers represent some tendencies in young people. Example of social networks in Internet [, a Russian copy of] is even more illustrative; users can freely express their religious belonging. This freedom leads to unexpected results. Quite a number of people identify themselves as «Cthulhu follower», «pagan», «peasant» (which in Russian is a misspelled «Christian»), or «author?s religion». Freedom of self-determination shows different aspects of religiosity in modern society
- religious illiteracy, lack of succession or tradition;
- independence from church, dogma, ceremonial
- self-expression by means of religion.
On the one hand, refusal of traditional understanding of religiosity can be regarded as a result of secularization, but on the other hand, in this new, original religiosity we can see passing to postsecular era.