Orthodox Christianity and Post-Soviet Experience
2. Religion between Universal and Particular: Eastern Europe after 1989
Religion vs. Global Culture: To Resist or to Accept?
This chapter will attempt to summarize some recent religious developments in Eastern Europe1 with one specific perspective in mind: to investigate the ways how religions of this area in the post-Cold War era have responded to the advance of “global culture”.
Responding to global culture – or to whatever we can call a trend thereto or an expression thereof – means to revisit a religion’s eternal claim to represent the universal while being constantly bound to a particular entity: community, ethnos, polity, or tradition. In the past, universal and particular have been always dialectically linked in the history of religions. They might simply ignore this distinction as a problem, as in isolated tribal communities whose particular gods were the only conceivable source of universal order; they might have tried to cultivate a certain universal divine space that would overcome particular regional preferences while at the same time tolerating them, as in classical Greco-Roman oecumene; they might have posited a hierarchy of access to the ultimate universal truth, with a particular community being clearly marked as having an exclusive mission to be the God’s people, as in the Judaic theology of covenants; they might have established an imperial expanse combined with exclusive dualistic regime of messianic warfare with infidels, as in classical Islam or medieval Christianity; or to postulate a more inclusive universalism recognizing particularities as only accidental, outer forms of an essential inner unity, as in modern...
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