V. I. Melnikov
It is possible that due to its internal and external contradictoriness as well as its global significance, religion, as an object of study, has been attracting attention of science and philosophy for years. As the result a new interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary science – religious science – was established . Due to the peculiarity, difficulty and multi-layered structure of its phenomenon as well as its immensity and a peculiar amorphousness, indefiniteness of the notion of religion its study is, as a rule, of a descriptive and ascertaining character [36, 111] that does not allow to get to know its laws, to predict its development, and, hence, a possibility to rule its influence over the society to a full extent. Therefore it is not possible to set a complex of conceptions and laws that influence religion’s state and condition of development in a given country, period of time, in a global scale. At present time such a task at is not even set. To a large extent it is caused by the imperfectness of the main widely-spread method of religion’s study that prevents to outline its general contours. Thus, as a rule, well-known theories and classifications of religion study its separate fragments only; this leads to distorted local results. They do not set a task of creating a model of the whole religious space with all its elements, interconnections and interdependencies. Namely, the whole complex of factors influencing the state of religious communities, dynamics’ perspectives of some confessions, likeability and perspectives of peculiar confessions’ ways of unification or splitting up, processes and factors of revision of some outdated church dogmata, causes, sources and processes of creation of new religious trends etc. are not studied simultaneously.
It is likely that for a modern religious study it is an impossible task, though this trend will provide possibility to rule religious processes in some way in the future, first of all in order to keep all the best that religion provides and can provide, and to neutralize (or liquidate) to some extent inter-and inner-confessional hostility, to reduce spiritual and emotional oppression that religion exerts over psychic of believers and misrepresentation of the picture of the world presented by natural studies.
These goals can be reached only by comprehensive study of the main problems of religion, such as, first of all, – understanding the essence of religion’s phenomenon, its origin, features and conformity to natural laws and perspectives of its existence and development.
One of the possible ways of the above-mentioned problems’ solution is to drastically change religion’s methodology of study, in particular, to refuse from by-elemental study using apparatus criticus and relating dependencies created in order to solve some particular narrow tasks referring to some parts of religion only (e.g., conceptions and laws of biology, psychology, sociology, political science, ethnography e.a.).
The goals set can be reached in a considerably simpler way by further specialization of apparatus criticus of religion study’s research and by use of the known methodological concepts common to all sciences. Further unification of research’s methodology will allow to apply more general laws referring to the other well-studied fields of knowledge of both natural studies’ and humanities’ in order to solve problems of religion.
Should this be done, religion’s problems will be revealed in all their completeness and integrity, as if taken from a research space; in a similar way lengthy and slightly outlined geological structures of the Earth are revealed by photo-space researches, while being not noticed by usual surface geological-topographic methods. For all this generality and capabilities of research method will conform to the range and generality of a problem under study, in our case – religion.