School of Arts and Sciences ILIA STATE UNIVERSITY


Mysticism as a means of rescuing religion from fundamentalism


Religions are deemed as cultural phenomena providing salvation. However, in certain circumstances, religion may face a threat of becoming a danger for individuals as well as a society at large. Paradoxical it may sound, in that case it is religion that may require to be rescued. The form religion acquires when it becomes a danger for humans is fundamentalism. How can humans be rescued from fundamentalism? The question has become especially relevant in Georgia in the light of recent developments. In many cases, strengthening secularity is seen as a solution. The speaker will argue that although secular state building is essential, it is insufficient for completely solving the problem. It is important to encourage such form of religious practices that place more focus on personal, direct, i.e. mystical experience of God. Being free of violent manifestations characteristic of fundamentalism, it leads to the core of religious life that every religious element, secondary to it, including a dogma, a ritual and a canon, seeks to cultivate, but which, if isolated from mystical experience, may turn any religious ritual into a form of fundamentalism. Thus, reintroduction of mystics into the centre of religious life can be seen as a way of escaping religious fundamentalism.

speaker: Zurab Jashi

Date: 17:00 June 23, 2021

Languages: Georgian, English

Format: Online, Facebook Live

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