The Church, in the broad sense of the word, should not be the ultimate authority in all matters without exception. A church hierarch cannot be a universal specialist in all vectors of life of modern society. Teaching morality to members of society is certainly useful, but giving guidance in specific directions is a road to impasse.
Let’s look at some examples.
The Russian Orthodox Church is, in fact, a department of the FSB of the Russian Federation, overseeing the “work” of all religious organizations of the country. It works harmoniously with the leadership of the Modernized Russian Empire.
The ROC considers free-thinking in such a serious and responsible area of state activity as faith and religion to be unacceptable. What if today they pray to the wrong God and tomorrow they say that they are pacifists? Or that for reasons of conscience they do not want to serve in the army and go to war as Jehovah’s Witnesses. No, religions and gods may be different, but the principle of unity in the Russian Orthodox Taliban has not been abolished.
And what do they want – to choose God for themselves? But let these Hizbuttahrirovts from Crimea sit for 10-15 years – immediately understand who in Russia God is and how to pray to him.
Turning to the East, in a completely different country, with a different seemingly political situation, departing from the principle of separation of church (mosque) from the State leads to the same pernicious results. We’re talking about Iran now. Since 1979, the Shiite Ayatollah regime has been tightening the nuts more and more when it came to power. The country’s room for manoeuvre is shrinking. Religious voluntarism pushes the poor Persians further from common sense, forcing them to live for decades under economic sanctions, to participate in an unnecessary arms race, to fight both with their neighbors and with their own people, to build the structure of the executive, legislative and judicial power for the needs of religious fanatics. And the people are simply tired and have no opportunity to become an active participant in decision-making in the country. People go to mass protests, they’re arrested, they’re tried, they’re executed. Who to appeal to in such a situation? The feedback between government and society is completely lost, and the authority of religion is diminished.
Today’s Afghanistan is also not very pleasant to remember. When the author tries to imagine the condition of an ordinary Muslim Tatar from Kazan (with a good education, a normal job and a salary, with access to all the modern benefits of civilization – science, art, medicine, tourism, the Internet, etc.) who would be placed under conditions of strict religious control in the conditions of Afghanistan, the only thing that comes to mind is the comparison with domestic animals, which are left to the role of reproduction and service of the man.
Modesty and meekness of wives is a good thing for adherents of any religion, as is abstinence from alcohol for men, but if it is imposed and controlled by the state in tandem with religious functionaries, then good is not to be expected.
Do not think that only Islamic clerics can be criticized. Christianity in its time, too, guided by the best motives of fighting anti-systemic heresies, created a structure that almost devoured Christianity itself. I’m talking about the Inquisition working hand in hand with secular authorities. Inquisition courts sentenced another “witch” to “humane execution” without bloodshed. And the state executive bodies have already taken over the organization of the autodafe – execution of the sentence: firewood, fire, executioner, protection of public order during the “event”, etc. Here medieval European-Catholics far surpassed Muslims in obscurity and cruelty. Praise Allah, Islam has managed to avoid such a shameful road to truth, in the countries of the Muslim East there were no fires where witches are burned. Praise be to Allah, there was no abhorrent practice of selling indulgences that absolve one from a committed sin.
But the difficulties were experienced by everyone, both the Shintoists and the Jews and the Protestants and all the others… So far there was no understanding that the church power should occupy a special position in the life of the state – stand aside, be an example and measure of goodness and goodness, evaluate and point out mistakes. And as soon as it took on administrative powers or stood in the way of servicing the improper affairs of the state, it turned out very badly for the church, for the state, and for the people.
There is another example of the Soviet Union, where for 70 years a single state religion prevailed — faith in Communism and its prophet Vladimir Lenin, whose mummy still defiles the earth in our current capital, Moscow. And what’s the end? And there is no more such country – the USSR, there is no religion of Communism, there is no Soviet people. All the peoples have dispersed to their homelands and are waiting for the possibility of final liberation. The state monopoly on religion has collapsed.
The author’s model of the relationship between religion and the world would look like this: on one big street of a big city there is a mosque of Sunni Muslims, and next to it – Shiites, and nearby – an Orthodox church, a Catholic church and a Jewish synagogue. All believers go to their own temple, no one hinders anyone: they do not get involved in other people’s affairs or allow themselves to be interfered with, respecting another’s religion and loving their own. Secular power is elective, and during elections it is sometimes the case that Jews and Catholics vote for a Muslim candidate because they consider the candidate to be the most knowledgeable in the affairs of their country (or city) and least prone to pocketing public money. And in other elections, for the leadership of the country’s parliament, the votes of Muslims coincide with the aspirations of the Orthodox, although no one agreed on this, just like life experience and common sense suggest.
The State, on the other hand, allows churches and denominations to perform religious rituals, but imposes a number of requirements in accordance with the country ‘ s laws protecting the rights of citizens (minors, women). The author does not see in such a model the possibility of infringing the rights of believers by the State machine or a competing denomination.
It seems acceptable to think that proving the superiority of one’s religion to an Inverite is a pernicious business, and it is better to avoid this question in communication. The main thing is to respect the neighbor and not to climb without demand into his garden even with the most noble purpose. You will say that this is impossible, and I will give you my traditional example from Crimean religious life: the Russian occupation authorities took the temples of Orthodox Ukrainians by force, and then the Muslim-Kyrim offered them their temples for prayers and rituals. So the most important thing is to respect a man like yourself, even though he prays to God differently than you do. There will be respect and understanding on his part.