Ekaterina Korostichenko 1, Yaroslav Klimov 2
  • 1 Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Goncharnaya str., 12/1, Moscow, Russian Federation 109240
  • 2 Ryazan State University, Svobody str., 46, Ryazan, Russian Federation 390000

Humanism: The “Third Denomination” or “Leading Culture”

2022, vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 250–273 [issue contents]
After the unification of Germany in 1990, German society became less religious. There is a significant part of the population that does not consider itself belonging to any religion/religious community (Konfessionslos). They do not have a single, integral worldview. However, they are mostly non-religious, and their number has been steadily growing in recent years (now about 40% of the population). Under these conditions, the secular organizations operating in the country seek to attract the interest of this group by offering alternatives to religious culture and worldview. The paper examines the two most influential concepts of secular humanism promoted in Germany, as well as the organizations that promote them. The concept of humanism as a “third denomination” implies the unification of Konfessionslos under the auspices of the German Humanist Union, which represents its members and helps them to cultivate a secular worldview. The concept of humanism as a “leading culture” suggests radically changing the status quo, proclaiming the values of humanism and Enlightenment at the state level, starting their dissemination in schools, and depriving religious organizations of existing privileges. The study examines the prerequisites for the emergence of both concepts, their possible connections with other secular traditions, and the prospects for their success concepts in the future. In particular, an attempt is made to reconstruct the identities of the Konfessionslos in order to determine their role in the processes of secularization. It is shown that the basics and features of the concepts are closely related to the practice of those organizations promoting them. Additionally, the theses of S. Schröder on different types of organizations are critically considered. It is shown that the composition and moods of citizens who do not belong to religious organizations or to convinced believers play a great role in the potential success of the concepts. We describe previous studies of this population group, and show the need for a more thorough study. Finally, we draw conclusions on the relationship of competing concepts and their position in the general logic of secularization processes.
Citation: Korostichenko E., Klimov Y. (2022) Gumanizm: «tret'ya konfessiya» ili «vedushchaya kul'tura» [Humanism: The “Third Denomination” or “Leading Culture”]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 2, pp. 250-273 (in Russian)
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