Practical component of religious lifeworld (the case of orthodox Christians)

In modem science, the problem of the criteria of religiosity is still urgent. The complexity and diversity of the phenomenon of spirituality (religiosity), scholarly conceptualization of the given phenomenon from viewpoints of various theological perspectives, various operationalizations of the term “religiosity determine methodological complications for comparing religiosity even within one world religion, for instance, Christianity. The first level of our project on studying modern Christians (Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical), based on interview materials, was the attempt to maximally understand and describe interconfessional peculiarities of spirituality; the second — to indicate and quantitatively measure those aspects and peculiarities of spiritual life that could become a foundation of the universal criteria of religiosity that could be used in studying both Orthodoxy and Protestantism. To solve this matter, we proposed the term “religious life world” that we see as a structure of interconnected religious knowledge, beliefs, and practices, which allows us to integrally study the consciousness and behavior of people in the sphere of spiritual life. The given model, according to the level of expression of various components (knowledge, beliefs, and practices), is able to provide a study of various types of religiosity. In the given article we are to look at the peculiarities of the practical component of religious life world of Orthodox Christians and analyze the connection between the participation of people in exclusively church practices and services that go a bit beyond the necessary minimum of “normative piety”. Such services can be seen as the indicator of the changes in daily life caused by religious involvement. The target group of our research is the people who not just identify themselves with Orthodoxy or Protestantism, but actually practice their faith, i. e. attend liturgies, participate in sacraments of church, services etc. The questionnaire survey had been conducted in May-July of 2013.154 Orthodox and 68 Protestants took part in the survey. Most of the Orthodox were women (73,4%), the average age — 39,5 (38,4 for women and 42,4 for men). Due to Cronbach’s Alpha we conducted the a posteriori analysis of the reliability of the scales characterizing the way of life of an Orthodox Christian. In our data for the five components of B-Index (reduced to the five-point grading scales) a took a value of 0,770, and 0,787 for raw values (and 0,829, based on Cronbach’s Alpha based on standardized items). In the first and second cases the frequency of reading the Bible turns out to be the point that minimally correlates with the total result, but, nevertheless, in the course of distancing from the given point the value of a does not increase. One has to note that the components mentioned above (В-Index, as well as the frequency of confession, attending liturgy, frequency of participating in contribution, in which the respondents participate) are closely connected with one another — the value of a, based on the standardized points, is 0,897, which points at a quite high level of reliability of the scale that reflects practical religiosity. The list of services in the questionnaire (oriented primarily at the comparative interconfessional research) probably failed to completely reflect the diversity of ministries that characterize this or that confession as a whole and particular Orthodox or Protestant communities. Nevertheless, the final data indicate that participation in church sacraments and rituals is not closed within itself but, to the contrary, increases the level of active service to one another inside and outside the church, depending on the increase of intensity of “practical religiosity” of Orthodox Christians. The results of the research can be used for a further development and approval of the methodological tools of sociological investigation of religiosity and individual spirituality.

For citation: Divisenko K.S., Tupakhina O.V., Belov A.E. Practical component of religious lifeworld (the case of orthodox Christians). St. Petersburg Sociology Today. 2014. N. 5. P. 199-216.