International Journal for the Study of New Religions, Vol 3, No 1 (2012)

Dialogue or Confrontation? New Religious Movements, Mainstream Religions and the State in Secular Estonia

Ringo Ringvee
Issued Date: 3 Aug 2012

Abstract


The article focuses on the relations between the state , mainstream religions and new religious movements in Estonia from the early 1990s until today. Estonia has been known as one of highly secular and religiously liberal countries. During the last twenty years Estonian religious scene has become considerably more pluralist, and there are many different religious traditions represented in Estonia. The governmental attitude toward new religious movements has been rather neutral, and the practice of multi-tier recognition of religious associations has not been introduced. As Estonia has been following neoliberal governance also in the field of religion, the idea that the religious market should regulate itself has been considered valid. Despite of the occasional conflicts between the parties in the early 1990s when the religious market was created the tensions did decrease in the following years. The article argues that one of the fundamental reasons for the liberal attitude towards different religious associations by the state and neutral coexistence of different traditions in society is that Estonian national identity does not overlap with any particular religious identity.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsnr.v3i1.93

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