Atheism

   Under the Soviets, and particularly the failed seminarian Joseph Stalin, Russia was transformed from a deeply religious and superstitious country into a model of state atheism with enforced secularism, restriction of religious practices, and eradication of the clergy. During the 1920s, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) supported the work of the Union of Godless Zealots, who actively campaigned against the practice of Russia’s principal faiths: Eastern Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. By the late 1970s, most Soviet citizens gave little thought to organized religion, though many continued to practice their faith at the risk of political persecution. Strict atheism was an absolute prerequisite for admission to the apparatchik class and the CPSU; however, some secretly practiced their faith. Under perestroika, however, a religious revival began, resulting in the widespread embrace of religiosity in the postSoviet period.
   Many politicians gravitated toward the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1990s, including Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and Yury Luzhkov, while Muslim and Jewish groups blossomed. The rehabilitation of faith, however, has not eradicated atheism in contemporary Russia. According to recent estimates, less than one-quarter of the population consider themselves to be practicing Christians, while only 7 percent of Russians are observant Muslims. Less than half of all Russian citizens “believe in God,” compared to 79 percent of Americans.
   Lack of religion does not, however, preclude spirituality (dukhovnost’ in contemporary Russia, and many people embrace various aspects of nonscientific beliefs such as faith healing, neo-paganism, and so forth. Identification with a particular religious community has emerged as an important part of economic life in post-Soviet Russia, particularly as a tool for forging alliances and developing social networks. Since 1991, there have been some minor attempts, such as those by the Moscow Society of Atheists, to revive organized or “scientific” atheism in the country; however, the strong protections afforded by the Constitution of the Russian Federation to religious freedom (or freedom to have no religion) dampen the need for such groups, although the recent creep of pro-Orthodox sentiment into the education system is of concern to some nonbelievers.
   See also Holidays.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Atheism — Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, [The Oxford American Dictionary defines atheist as a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or gods. New York: Avon Press, 1980.] or the… …   Wikipedia

  • Atheism — • That system of thought which is formally opposed to theism Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Atheism     Atheism     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Atheism — A the*ism, n. [Cf. F. ath[ e]isme. See {Atheist}.] 1. The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being. [1913 Webster] Atheism is a ferocious system, that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atheism — 1580s, from Fr. athéisme (16c.), from Gk. atheos without god (see ATHEIST (Cf. atheist)). A slightly earlier form is represented by atheonism (1530s) which is perhaps from It. atheo atheist. Ancient Gk. atheotes meant ungodliness …   Etymology dictionary

  • atheism — [n] belief that no God exists disbelief, doubt, freethinking, godlessness, heresy, iconoclasm, impiety, infidelity, irreligion, irreverence, nihilism, nonbelief, paganism, skepticism, unbelief; concept 689 Ant. belief, godliness, piety, religion …   New thesaurus

  • atheism —    Atheism is belief that there is no God. It is sometimes defined as lack of belief in God, but this would include agnostics, who are best kept separate.    See agnosticism; theism    Further reading: Berman 1987; Flew 1993; Le Poidevin 1996;… …   Christian Philosophy

  • atheism — ► NOUN ▪ the belief that God does not exist. DERIVATIVES atheist noun atheistic adjective atheistical adjective. ORIGIN from Greek a without + theos god …   English terms dictionary

  • atheism — [ā′thē iz΄əm] n. [MFr athéisme < Gr atheos, godless < a , without + theos, god: see THEO ] 1. the belief that there is no God, or denial that God or gods exist 2. godlessness atheistic adj. atheistical atheistically adv …   English World dictionary

  • atheism — /ay thee iz euhm/, n. 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. 2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings. [1580 90; < Gk áthe(os) godless + ISM] * * * Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings.… …   Universalium

  • Atheism — Athéisme L’athéisme est une attitude[1] ou une doctrine[2] qui ne conçoit pas l’existence ou affirme l’inexistence de quelque dieu, divinité ou entité surnaturelle que ce soit, contrairement, par exemple, au déisme, au théisme et au panthéisme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Atheism — a condition of being without theistic beliefs; an absence of belief in the existence of gods, thus contrasting with theism. This definition includes both those who assert that there are no gods and those who have no beliefs at all regarding the… …   Mini philosophy glossary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.