Institutul Teologic Biblic „Sfântul Andrei” (Rusia) organizează în perioada 12-15 decembrie 2018 Conferința Internațională „Religie și naționalism- O reflecție teologică” ce se va desfășura la Moscova. Participanții care doresc să susțină un referat pe subiectul ales, sunt rugați să trimită un sumar până pe data de 1 octombrie, la una din adresele de e-mail ale institutului: firstname.lastname@example.org sau email@example.com.
THEME OF THE CONFERENCE
Nationalism, understood as a striving for nation’s selfdetermination in political, cultural and other spheres, is rather a modern phenomenon. Although some early examples of it can be found in ancient history, the prevailing model of sociopolitical being before the modern era was universalistic and usually took the form of empires which brought under one rule different peoples with different languages, cultures and often different religions. The latter factor, however, began to cause serious problems already in antiquity when certain religions sought to become dominant and tried to suppress other religions, often forcing their adherents to convert to the “only true” faith. These state religions of empires, nonetheless, normally were not perceived in ethnic or national terms, so all those who accepted the dominant official faith were usually considered equal in religious sense regardless of their ethnicity, language and cultural peculiarities. With the formation of nation states in Europe religion was often seen as the basis of national identity, as a central point around which nation should be built. Identification of religion with the national and an attempt to clothe it in national or ethnic dress, however, brings a religion such as Christianity to selfcontradiction since Christianity has universalist claims as a faith open to everyone and transcending all boundaries, including ethnic and national ones. That is why, for example, the emergence of “national” Orthodox churches led to a significant transformation of Orthodox ecclesiology, with the idea of “national church” replacing that of “local church”. This sometimes gave rise to unacceptable tendencies such as phyletism condemned by the 1872 Synod in Constantinople and the 2016 PanOrthodox Council in Crete. Some extreme forms of nationalism in the 20th century led to horrific consequences and thus proved to be very dangerous. Nationalism is closely linked with violence, and this is one more reason why religion should not allow to identify itself with the national or ethnic, especially today when we can witness growing nationalisms in different part of the globe and attempts to exploit religion as part of “national identity”. The idea of nation and nation state remains prevailing in the sociopolitical reality of the contemporary world. Indeed, today one can hardly think this reality in other terms despite the fact that the idea of nation is mainly a modern development and that in today’s globalized world it is becoming somewhat vague, as we can see in the case of supranational associations such as the European Union. Like any ideology, nationalism is a transient historical phenomenon and hardly will always be prevailing all over the globe. Moreover, nationalism does not seem to be compatible with the central message of religions such as Christianity, Islam or Buddhism that have universalist claims and essentially do not define themselves in ethnic or national terms. But are these claims really substantiated? Can religion indeed transcend national limitations and exist in forms that are not determined by or derived from the concept of nation? Or, to put it theologically, is there such thing as “Christian nation” or “Muslim nation”? Can a nation have a religious mission with which God has invested it? And is not the idea of religious “national mission” actually a totality that suppresses free individual efforts to serve God in one’s own way? What can theological reflection on the relation between religion and nation suggest here? These are the main issues to be discussed at the forthcoming conference.