scientific atheism

Theology in Contemporary Russian Academia

«Scientific Atheism» as a Case for Discussion (Responses of the Volume’s Authors to Reviews)

In their reactions to A. Kyrlezhev’s and M. Shakhnovich’s reviews, the authors of the volume under discussion provide further clarifications of key methodological issues. They stress that the volume pursued academic goals rather than engaging in a wider public debate. Speaking of the Soviet science of religion, they prefer the concept of «extreme science» instead of «pseudoscience» or «normal science in extreme conditions». The volume focused on creating a framework of understanding the phenomenon and did not claim to cover the variety of archival materials.

The Post-Soviet Transition and the Science of Religion

This text is an extended review of the volume «Science of Religion, Scientific Atheism, Religious Studies. Current Problems of the Science of Religion in 20th-21st centuries Russia » (editor K. Antonov, 2014). The review emphasizes the need of de-Sovietization of the religious studies that in the Soviet times existed under the rubric of «scientific atheism ». The volume’s authors were right to present the Soviet religious studies as an amalgam of scientific and non-scientific approaches and practices.

The Ethos of the History of Science: a Reconstruction of Religious Studies in Soviet Russia

The paper provides a review and reflections on the book «The Science of Religion, Scientific Atheism, Religious Studies: Issues of the Scientific Study of Religion in Russia in the Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Century» (Ed. by K. M. Antonov, Moscow, 2014). The author of the review critically examines the volume in terms of the basic principles of the study of the history of science.

Ordinary Death in the Soviet Union: the Material and Spiritual in Atheist Cosmology

The paper deals with the problem of death as approached by the Soviet atheist ideologists. In particular, it explores the attempts by Party ideologists to substitute religious death rituals by new “socialist rituals.” The author draws upon the work of a special Commission on the study and introduction of “socialist rituals” created in 1969 under the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The Soviet Civic Rituals as an Alternative to Religious Rites

The paper explores the history of the invention and introduction of rituals during the so called Khrushchev Thaw period, when the authorities were concerned with the creation and introduction of new socialist rituals and holidays, consonant with Soviet secularized sensibilities of the postwar period. The idea goes back to the 1920s but the systematic policy started in the Khrushchev period when many new rites were created such as wedding ceremonies or registration of the newborn, as well as “popular” and professional holidays.