Rationalism and fideism in the discourse of Ukrainian Protestantism


  • Tetyana Levchenko Університет державної фіскальної служби України




modern Ukrainian Protestant theology, fideism, rationalism, dignity of human personality, Christian humanism


The article analyzes the forms of rationalism and fideism proposed by Ukrainian Protestant theologians at the beginning of the XXI century. It turns out that these forms of rationalism and fideism were made possible by overcoming the anti-intellectualism that was characteristic of Protestantism in Soviet times. The opposition of tendencies to rationalism and fideism is connected with the positioning of Ukrainian Protestants in the postmodern times. Proponents of de facto rationalism propose to reconstruct the modern religious worldview, re-synthesizing elements of liberal and fundamentalist concepts. The study shows that hopes for the restoration of the modern worldview in the face of the challenges of the early XXI century contain elements of utopianism. Proponents of Fideism suggest taking full account of the real state of affairs in the postmodern era and recognizing the impossibility for Christians to use modern rationalism in all its forms. At the same time, faith acquires special significance as an expression of the personal relations of the holy people with God.

Ukrainian Protestant rationalism in the article is analyzed on the example of the work of Sergei Golovin as the most consistent expression of this worldview. It has been proven that his ideas depend on the concepts of Norman Geisler, a prominent Protestant theologian. Golovin, imitating Geisler, believes that the Christian worldview should be the final superstructure over the foundation of classical logical rationalism and the ontology of being. This logic comes from classical Thomism. Golovin's rationalism is the rationalism of formal logic. Golovin's first controversial proposal is to reduce the paradoxes and contradictions contained in the Bible. Such a reduction contradicts the biblical studies of the beginning of the 21st century, and therefore can no longer be convincing for professional theologians. For ordinary believers, this reduction is an obscure rationalization of the image of God they have in reading the Scriptures. The second controversial proposition is to convert people first to logical rationality as the ideological foundation of humanity, and then to their conversion to Christianity. Such a proposal is largely outdated, because in the twentieth century it became clear that rationality in itself can be an instrument of any worldview and does not ensure the preservation or rehabilitation of humanity. By comparing it with theological practices of restoring humanity through the ethics of accepting another, the author argues that the restoration of humanity is possible through recourse to the potential of existentialist spirituality, theology of interpersonal communication, and other practical strategies of Christian theology. The biggest shortcoming of Sergei Golovin's rationalism is the proposal to build his own "scientific creationism", which denies the basic scientific theories of today. The most successful element of Golovin's system was social ethics, which offers the idea of ​​a modern state governed by the rule of law as one that can be deduced from the spirit and letter of the biblical commandments.

The fideism of Ukrainian Protestant theology is born from the understanding that the ethical acceptance of others and love for them is possible only on the basis of personal faith. The challenges of the beginning of the 21st century require the acceptance of another, but individuals and communities lack the natural strength to accept such. And only faith and faith-generated love help to be open to others. Also, the post-capitalist economy of mutual gift, proposed by theologians and Christian communities, is based only on personal faith. It has been proven that the fideism of Ukrainian Protestant theology is closer to the ideas of postconservatism than the concepts of postliberalism.

It has been found that radical protection of individual rights and humane treatment of others is common to the rationalism and fideism of modern Ukrainian Protestant theology. It is these ideas that are important for understanding what humanity is, which should be a prerequisite for being a true Christian. 


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