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Dear visitor,

it is usually adopted to divide spirituality as the basic sign of humanity into two types: religious and secular. The basis of the former is the faith in the omnipotence of God (Supreme Being generally), while the latter is based on the faith in the omnipotence of the human intellect. Theology is a theoretical substantiation of the religious spirituality; the secular one is grounded by science. Religious studies are the scientific discipline. Yet, in contrast to other sciences, it stays much closer to religion. Of course, the secular and religious spiritualities are not completely isolated from each other. They always interpenetrated but it is never seen so prominently and comprehensively as in the religious studies.

In a certain sense, it can be stated that the religious studies neutralize the extremes (opposition) of the religious and secular concepts about universe, human nature and life, etc. This reconciliation is due to an objectivity of the scientific approach to study religion thus avoiding the religious or secular extremes. The religious studies thus contribute to the formation of a Weltanschauung that is tolerant both to religion and atheism. Especially for this reason, it is considered with certain alertness by both religious organizations and atheistic part of the scientific community. This is one of the reasons for a very difficult adaptation of the religious studies into Russian secondary and higher education schools. However, it is obvious that the society should form such personal mentality that adequately reflects the role of religion in the spiritual life of the human race. This must be not a mentality of a fight between science and religion but that of their collaboration and union. Neither theology nor atheism can provide this effect.

The spiritual life of the modern Russian society is altered by a general ideological uncertainty and by absence of clearly pronounced goals of the national development. The mentality formation of the young generations is altered especially ruinously. However, any society may not exist in such conditions for a long time; this illness must be overcome. The religious studies will undoubtedly play a positive role in this process.

Yours faithfully,
Alexey N. Shvetchikov

Ph.D., Docent,
Director of the Russian State Inter-College Centre for Religious Studies

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2005 Russian State Inter-College Centre for Religious Studies
2005 St Petersburg State University of Technology and Design