Religion, politics and challenges of contemporary European identity
Abstract. The question of modern European religious identity surpasses its spiritual and ecclesiastical boundaries and firmly dwells within the political sphere. This is precisely why this is a topic of great interest for the scientific discipline of politology of religion. It has been widely accepted in the European secular narrative that religion has lost its cohesive role and power, but faced with new temptations it could regain some of its vitality and importance. Such signs are visible and easily detectable even in some of the member states of the European Union such as those belonging to the Visegrád Group, but also in the wider European scale. In our opinion, it is precisely the question of identity that has found itself in the main stream of political, geopolitical, and even security and economic temptations of Europe, and even of Western civilization itself. The question of religious identity has thus become the focus of interest of many political, religious and other thinkers, who recognize the acuteness of this problem. All this is eloquently reflected, not only in the self-understanding of modern Europe, but also in its attitude towards the issue of the growing Islamic element on its own territory, its relationship with the Islamic world, (Baudrillard, 2002: 162) and, also, with China, the United States and especially with Russia. In that sense, as a paradigm of such relations, understanding and misunderstanding of the European Union with other geopolitical factors on a global level, can serve the fact that, on July 4 2020, constitutional changes came into force in Russia, which clearly determine this great power as a state based on Christian foundations (Bilbija, 2020). Although this, of course, does not disqualify this world power as a society based on the separation of Church and State, nor does it in any way violate the principle of equality of all traditional religious communities on its territory, we will see that this concept is essentially foreign and ideologically unacceptable for today's European Union and much of the Western world. Namely, as we will see, the modern Europe (or more precisely – the European Union) builds its ideological matrix not on the foundations of its own Christian heritage, but on the foundations of agnostic secularism and liberalism, as inaugurated by the French Revolution, which places our topic in the domain of politology of religion.