Avainsana-arkisto: laestadianism

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittinen valta tutkimuksen kohteeksi


Lapin yliopiston yhteiskuntatutkimuksen laitoksen johtajan, PhD, YTL Mika Luoma-ahon johtama tutkimushanke sai Suomen Akatemialta 375 000 euroa rahoitusta lestadiolaisuuden poliittista merkitystä koskevaan tutkimukseen. Tutkimuksen otsikkona on Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto. Tutkimushanke käynnistyy tammikuussa 2010 ja kestää kolme vuotta.

Lestadionismi – poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto

Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena on politisoida lestadiolaisuuden teologiaa ja toisaalta tehdä näkyväksi lestadiolaisen uskon harjoittamisen politiikkaa, todetaan tutkijoiden laatimassa tutkimushankkeen kuvauksessa.  Tutkijoiden olettama on, että kaikista suomalaisen kansanuskonnon muodoista lestadiolaisuus on puhtaan teologisin ja poliittisesti kaikkein julkilausutuin.

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittisuutta on tärkeää tutkia, koska herätysliikkeen rooli tietyillä alueilla ja tietyissä puolueissa saattaa olla erittäin merkittävä. 

Lestadiolaisuus on myös kiinnostava poliittinen liike, koska siinä missä maallinen politiikka sulkeistaa uskonnon usein henkilökohtaisten maailmankatsomusten piiriin, lestadiolaiset ajattelevat aivan toisin. Heille valtiolla on teologinen merkitys: se on ”esivalta”, joka merkitsee itse Jumalan valtaa ja auktoriteettia maan päällä. Tässä suhteessa lestadiolaisuutta voidaan verrata  islamin valtiokäsitykseen.

– Lestadiolaisuutta pitää tutkia tänään, koska liikkeestä ei ylipäätään ole ajankohtaista yhteiskuntatieteellistä tutkimusta eikä poliittista analyysia , Mika Luoma-aho sanoo. Tutkijoiden olettama on, että kaikista suomalaisen kansanuskonnon muodoista lestadiolaisuus on puhtaan teologisin ja poliittisesti kaikkein julkilausutuin.

Lestadiolaisuus on Suomessa merkittävä yhteiskunnallinen vaikuttaja, sillä luterilaisen kirkon suurimpana herätysliikkeenä sen vaikutus ulottuu noin 100 000 kannattajan lisäksi heidän lähipiiriinsä, kuten sukulaisiin, ystäviin, koulu-, opiskelu- ja työtovereihin sekä työyhteisöjen verkostoihin. Voidaan arvioida että liikkeen vaikutuspiirissä elää ainakin 300 000 – 600 000 suomalaista. uudella tutkimushankkeelle on sosiaalinen tilaus, sillä lestadiolaisuuden yhteiskunnallista merkitystä ja vaikutusta 1900-luvulta tälle vuosituhannelle ei ole  juuri lainkaan tutkittu. (Ks. esim. Lestadiolaisuus.info.)

Lestadiolaisuus ei ole tavanomaisessa mielessä poliittinen liike, sillä se ei ole organisoitunut omaksi puolueekseen, vaan liike toteuttaa tavoitteitaan parlamentaarisen poliittisen järjestelmän sisällä vaikuttamalla tiiviin yhteisöllisen uskonnollisen toimintansa rinnalla oikeisto-keskustaan lukeutuvissa puolueissa, valtion ja kuntien hallinnossa, muissa julkisen sektorin organisaatioissa, elinkeinoelämässä sekä erilaisissa talous- ja elinkeinoelämän järjestöissä. Erityisen merkittävä vaikutusvalta lestadiolaisella liikkeellä on seurakuntien päätöksenteossa ja kirkon hallinnossa. Aktiivinen yhteiskunnallinen vaikuttaminen on historiallisesti kuulunut liikkeen perinteeseen, mutta se ei ole koskaan pyrkinyt kumoamaan eikä kyseenalaistamaan vakiintuneen vallan asemia.

Tutkimushanketta voidaan pitää tervetulleena nykyisessä globaalissa tilanteessa, jossa uskonnollisen vallankäytön muodot ovat nousseet uudella tavalla keskeisiksi myös yhteiskunnallisessa ja poliittisessa mielessä.  Suomessa on juuri tänä vuonna käyty esimerkiksi vilkas kansalaiskeskustelu lestadiolaisuuden vallankäytöstä ihmisoikeuksian kannalta.

Lestadiolaisen herätysliikkeen vaikutusvalta ulottuu nykyisin varsin syvälle suomalaiseen poliittiseen päätöksentekoon, puoluekenttään ja muuhun yhteiskunta- ja  talouselämään, mutta täysin läpinäkymättömällä tavalla.  Tähän mennessä ei ole julkaistu tutkimustietoa lestadiolaisuuden vaiikutusvallasta ja merkityksestä suomalaisen yhteiskunnan vallankäytössä enempää teologisesta kuin yhteiskunnallisestakaan näkökulmasta. Suomen Akatemian rahoittama tutkimushanke vastaa siksi merkittävään yhteiskunnalliseen tarpeeseen.

Tutkimushankkeen blogi.

Tutkimussuunnitelmasta englanniksi:

Finland’s Christian Right  (Mika Luoma-aho)

Suomeksi: Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto maallistuvassa Suomessa

Mika Luoma-aho ja tutkijaryhmä: Lestadionismi-hanke ei ole teologinen, vaan yhteiskuntatieteellinen. Kotimaa24 18.3.2013. (Vastine uskonnonopettaja Valma Kukon tutkimushanketta koskevaan kritiikkiin.)

Lisää aiheesta:

Political dimensions of the Laestadianism in the research focus funded by Academy of Finland

Saarenpäälle ja Luoma-aholle Suomen Akatemian tutkimusrahoitus (Lapin yliopiston tiedote)

Tutkimusrahaa tietoyhteiskunnan ja lestadiolaisuuden tutkimiseen (Yle)

Jouko Talonen 1988. Pohjois-Suomen lestadiolaisuuden poliittis-yhteiskunnallinen profiili 1905–1929. The sociopolitical profile of the Laestadian movement in northern Finland between 1905-1929. Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen seura. SKHS toimituksia, 144.  Väitöskirja.

Aini Linjakumpu: Lestadiolaisuus suomalaisena ääriliikkeenä. Kaltio 2000:1.

Lestadiolaisuus ja politiikka. Lestadiolaisuus.info.

Johanna Kouva: Laestadianism in Finland. University of Tampere.

Lestadiolaisuuden tutkimus. Lestadiolaisuus.info.

Keskustelua lähihistorian tutkimuksesta (Kuusamo 18.4.2009)

SRK:n johtokunta teki hengelliseksi naamioitua puoluepoliittista työtä

SRK.n kerjuukirje SYT:lle 12.2.1965

Mika-Luoma-aho  kertoo tutkimusintresseistään Lapin yliopiston esittelysivuilla.

Leena Vähäkylä: Lestadiolaisuus vaikuttaa kriiseistään huolimatta. Tietysti.fi: uutta tieteen ääreltä. 11.1.201. (Mika Luoma-ahon haastattelu tutkimushankkeen tuloksista.)

Mika Luoma-aho

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2002;
  • Yhteiskuntatieteiden lisensiaatti, Lapin yliopisto, 2000;
  • Lapin yliopistossa vuodesta 1999 lähtien, kansainvälisten suhteiden yliassistenttina vuodesta 2002;
  • opettaa yleistä politiikan teoriaa ja poliittisen ajattelun historiaa kansainvälisten suhteiden pääaineopiskelijoille
  • tutkii protestanttista poliittista teologiaa ja Edmund Burkea sekä laatii julkaisua Martti Lutherin poliittisesta symboliikasta.
Mainokset

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Kategoria(t): 2000-luku, Conservative Laestadianism, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, fundamentalismi, historia, ihmisoikeudet, kiellot, kirkko, laestadian, laestadianism, lähihistoria, luterilaisuus, normit, norms, pietismi, politiikka, retoriikka, SRK ry., tutkimus, vallankäyttö, yhteisö

Political dimensions of the Laestadianism in the research focus funded by Academy of Finland


The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society has recently decided to fund a new research project on Laestadianism from the political point of view:  Laestadian-ism: Political Theology and Civil Religion in Secularizing Finland. The project  will be managed  by Dr. Mika Luoma-aho (Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Lapland), to the tune of 375,000 Euro over the period 1 January 2010 through 31 December 2012.

The research project is welcome and important  in this global situation. We need more understanding about both national and international religional movements, especially about their societal and political roles and impacts.  It is expectable that the results of the project will be appreciated by the researcers and the field of the practice in the society, especially in Finland where the Laestadian movement is a largest, powerful separatistic movement in the The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Project description: ”Laestadianism is a form of fundamentalism”

”Laestadianism is the largest revivalist movement within the Finnish Lutheran Church. Our project aims to provide current, empirically oriented and theoretically innovative analysis of the political aspects of laestadianism.

Laestadianism is a form of ’fundamentalism’ that poses no challenge to other Christian denominations or religions, just as it does not in any way aim to subvert the establishment. Quite the contrary: Laestadians have long practiced their religion within the confines of the national Lutheran Church; they have traditionally taken an active role in civil society; and they continue to organize themselves politically through the Finnish parliamentary system. What we see in laestadianism is Finland’s Christian Right: it embodies and represents much of what goes under Christian reaction in this country.

Laestadianism is not a political movement in the conventional sense of the term: it does not have its own party or a political platform. Our project will make the political aspects of laestadianism discernible by approaching it from two conceptual angles.

We will (I) politicize the history of Laestadian theology and (II) make explicit the politics of practicing the Laestadian religion today. This we will do (i) by approaching laestadianism as a tradition of political theology; and (ii) by framing laestadianism as a form of civil religion.

Our hypothesis is that among the varieties and intensities of civil religion we may identify in Finnish politics today, laestadianism embodies its purest theological expression and most explicit political articulation.

Laestadianism is important, because there are regions in this country, parties in its political system, where the role of the movement is noteworthy. It is also an interesting movement in itself, because while secular political life sees religion often in personal terms, there is a politically active and outspoken movement in this secular age that believes otherwise. The Laestadians believe that the state has a very specific theological meaning: it is government established by God and in its proper functioning his rule and reign are in stake [sic]. There is a sharp contrast between the world-views of laestadianism and that of the secular majority of ’Finns’.

There is a desperate need for political research on the Laestadian movement. Our project will provide up-to-date information on its political history, religiously structured view of social life, and political significance in Finland today. This information is needed to overcome prejudice in society. Furthermore: we will use this information ourselves in contributing to current debates on the relationship between organized religion and the institution of the secular, national state.

The project already has a blog, ”Laestadian-ism”:

http://laestadian-ism.blogspot.com/

According to it, Laestadianism is ”based on the heritage of a Sami botanist and preacher Lars Levi Laestadius” (1800-1861). ”In our research we combine current theoretical literatures on political theology and civil religion with an empirically oriented approach to the movement in Finnish society. This weblog will be updated with current information on project events and public relations, commentary and analysis on issues touching the laestadian movement in Finland and elsewhere, as well as debates on political theology and civil religion in general.”

About the research design in English:

Finland’s Christian Right  (Mika Luoma-aho)

In Finnish:

Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto maallistuvassa Suomessa

Read more:

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittinen valta tutkimuksen kohteeksi

Saarenpäälle ja Luoma-aholle Suomen Akatemian tutkimusrahoitus (The press release of the University of Lapland, 7.10.2009.)

Aini Linjakumpu: Lestadiolaisuus suomalaisena ääriliikkeenä. Kaltio 2000:1. (Laestadianism as the Extremist Movement in Finland.)

Lestadiolaisuus ja politiikka. Lestadiolaisuus.info. (Short summaries of some articles collected in the Finnish general and Laestadian media)

Johanna Kouva: Laestadianism in Finland. University of Tampere.

Mika-Luoma-aho  in the website of the University of Lapland.

Jätä kommentti

Kategoria(t): 2000-luku, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, fundamentalismi, historia, in English, kirkko, laestadianism, luterilaisuus, norms, pietismi, politiikka, tutkimus

I left the Conservative Laestadian movement (in ten years)


KiellettyDVDOpas-S

Leaving the strict confines of Conservative Laestadianism can be a shock. 

A young woman who has abandoned her faith speaks of confusion at what happens next.

*    *    *

I can remember exactly how I felt on that day. The weather was very beautiful in Helsinki. I walked on the sunny street with my head held high, and smiled at people walking by. I felt incomprehensible joy.
     

It was me walking there, and nobody else. I was 25 years old, and it was my issue and nobody else’s what I was doing with my life and what I was thinking. The powerful feeling of liberation came from something that was very small, but which had great symbolic significance for me. I was wearing makeup for the first time in my life.
     
The feeling came back to me when I saw Kielletty hedelmä (“Forbidden Fruit”), a film by Dome Karukoski, which tells about the departure of two young girls from the Conservative Laestadian movement.
     
My own departure lasted ten years.
     
I grew up in a Conservative Laestadian family in North Ostrobothnia (Finland). Our everyday lives did not actually differ much from those of our non-Laestadian neighbours, except that we had no television, we did not run our lawn mowers in Sunday, and on Sundays we attended services with the other Laestadians of the village.
At the services speakers read the Bible and interpreted it. The sermon usually took an hour. Then we sang hymns and Songs of Zion. After the singing we got refreshments.
     
The lectures repeated that the Kingdom of God is a good and safe place to be. The “Kingdom of God” is a term with which the Laestadian community calls itself. The outside world is corrupt and insecure. We were warned not to establish very close relations with “people of the world” because they might jeopardise our faith. Losing one’s faith was the worst thing that could happen, because then you would go to hell.
     
Contrary to what some other children said, I never took hell very seriously. However, I did feel that losing the faith would be very sad. On the other hand, there were many advantages to living as a person with faith, the biggest of which was that you got to go to heaven.
     
It was a good idea to preserve the faith by staying away from alcohol, dancing, movies, competitive sport, makeup, hair dye, sex, and so on. There was no official list of things that were not appropriate for a person of faith, but I gradually learned from what adults were saying what the things were that I was expected to stay away from.
     
Abstinence was not especially difficult, when there were many people around you living the same way. I did not actually refuse anything, I simply stayed far away from things that did not apply to me. In retrospect I thought that the Laestadians largely visualised their faith on the basis of what they do not do.
     
At school I would have liked to go to dance lessons, but the physical education teacher guided the Laestadian girls to go for a walk. I saw this as self-evident.
     
The third and most important way to protect the faith was not use one’s own sense of reason. We were told that reason can take our faith away. If one’s reason or experiences conflict with faith, one needed to become humble and to see the blessings of the common line of the congregation.
     
At about the age of 15 I noticed that I had started to think differently from what had been taught.
     
For instance, I began to wonder why Laestadians would go to heaven and others would go to hell. I also wondered why I should not enjoy the music of Aretha Franklin. It seemed unlikely that God would appreciate only the classics.
     
However, it was very important for me not to hurt the feelings of any other Laestadian with my views. It was emphasised at services that those who violate the unity of the congregation act against God. This is why I shared my thoughts with very few people.
     
I tried to clarify to myself what the Laestadian way of life was based on. Other practices, such as total abstinence from alcohol, had emerged in the late 19th century. Negative views toward television and popular music, for instance, had come up in the 1950s and 1960s. The linkage of these practices with God, faith, and morality began to feel inconceivable to me. I wanted to distinguish between cultural habits and faith.
     
For me, faith meant Christian thoughts of how a person can experience redemption through faith. I thought that I could be a Laestadian as long as I believed that. Even in sermons it was emphasised that a desire for faith was enough.
     
At the same time I was quite knowledgeable that on the practical level it was not possible to separate practice from faith. If I were to go to a service with makeup on, my friends would be shocked. The makeup would communicate to the others that I am no longer a Laestadian.
     
As I did not want to leave the Laestadian community, I committed to observing practices that I felt were without foundation.
     
I was headed for a great conflict.
     
No open discussion had been held within the movement about the true significance of cultural practices, and it is not happening even now. Privately, Laestadians have many opinions about lifestyles, but according to the public Laestadian line, things like not having a television is a “fruit of the spirit”, or a sign that a person is a believer of the right kind.
     
It was emphasised at services that it is not about rules, but rather the fact that a Laestadian wants to operate in a certain way. I recall how I preferred to speak about desires, rather than rules. I was pained to read newspaper articles about things that Laestadians “were not allowed to do”. The question was about what I wanted to do or to choose!
     
But whose desire was it really all about?
     
I was not asked what I wanted, or what I felt was important. For instance, the negative stance on birth control was taken in the late 1960s at a meeting of preachers, where only men were present.
     
I knew already at the age of 13 that I did not want to be the mother of a big family. It was not until I was over the age of 20 that I said out loud that I cannot stand the idea of a big family. My friends answered that “you can’t know in advance what it will be like”.
     
I was supposed to simply trust that God would give me exactly the right number of children, even if I did not use birth control.
     
I knew that my mind could not handle such an experiment. I simply did not want to become pregnant reluctantly. My thoughts did not find resonance, because they resounded with the voice of reason, not that of faith.
     
Some felt that faith is that people are encouraged to push their reason aside in big matters. For me rejecting reason would have been an abandonment of my own psyche.
     
I was not ready to bend at all in the birth control question, or to hide my opinions. The security of the Laestadian community began to turn into insecurity.
     
At the age of 25 I decided to leave the community. it was the most honest and most sustainable solution.
     
However, the most difficult days were still ahead. Leaving Laestadianism takes place by telling about it to one’s family and friends. I had the words of the father of my friend in my mind: “For one’s own child to leave the faith is worse than the child’s death.”
     
I could not cause such great sorrow to people close to me without going into a state of protective shock. Emotionally numb, I told my family and my friends: “I no longer have the faith.”
     
I will never forget those moments. I remember the expressions on the people’s faces, the silence, the first words.
     
My decision briefly shook the basic sense of security of people close to me. A few of them were also in shock.
     
It is a few years since the event, and I have good relations with my family. My decision nevertheless raises such deep emotions in my family that I cannot write about it under my own name. I also want to protect my family from the talk that the publication of this article will raise in the Laestadian community.
     
Leaving a religious movement is often described as a liberation from stressful rules. That is certainly the case to some degree. I was liberated from representing people other than myself. I was able to go to an Alko to buy a bottle of rum for a cake, and I didn’t have to explain to other Laestadians why I was doing it.
     
I was also able to think freely whether or not I believe in God, and if so, what kind of a God I believe in.
     
The film Kielletty hedelmä describes well how liberation is not merely a positive experience.
     
Instead of liberation I mainly experienced confusion. When nobody was defining my limits on my behalf, then where are those limits, and do they exist at all. This phase included some comical excesses.
     
I took full advantage of being able to have a different opinion about things. I might tell my colleague at work that her idea was “complete crap”. At times I would hurt people, and at other times amuse them by being rude and blunt.
     
In many situations I felt like an outsider. Maria, one of the main characters of Kielletty hedelmä, orders her first drink in a bar, saying “Two … something with alcohol in it”. The scene is as if it were straight from my life. I still have to concentrate in a bar to remember what kinds of drinks actually exist.
     
Maria, the more reckless of the girls in the film, is eager to break through the boundaries set up by Laestadianism (concerning alcohol, makeup, sex, dance) but finally, in the grip of great emotion, she wants to reform.
     
The more cautious Raakel observes Maria’s experiments from a distance. Raakel is like I am. Like Raakel, I first went through disengagement from Laestadianism in my mind. I lost my faith in the ways of thinking that maintained the boundaries.
     
I have many Laestadian friends who have thought the same thoughts that I did, but who do not want to leave the community. For some of them, the mystery of the faith is important, and for others, it is the sense of community. Some, for their part, say that they are there out of force of habit, or because they do not want to disappoint their parents. These are all understandable reasons.
     
I also know one person who claims to be part of the “leftist wing of Laestadianism”, women who define themselves as “Laestadian feminists”, and even one “Conservative Laestadian atheist”.
     
The subcultures are not seen in public. The old men who speak in the name of the revival movement, on the other hand, appear to be blissfully ignorant of the diversity that exists inside Laestadianism. For that reason, they can give statements leaning on sharp polarisations, and claim that the Laestadian community is a a unified group of people who think alike.
     
Kielletty hedelmä depicts the unravelling of a world picture focussing on duality. Maria urges Raakel to drink alcohol, saying “you have to understand what all of this is”.
     
When Raakel asks what it all is, Maria says “Nothing, Just ordinary!”
     
According to Conservative Laestadian doctrine, Maria has lost the ability to recognise what is sin.
     
Recognising the ordinary was a relief for me. The Laestadian world was not inherently good, and the rest of the world was not inherently evil. It was also not the case that the Laestadian world would have been insignificant, and that life outside would have been exciting to the point of intoxication.
     
There is just one world common to us all. Some things are good, and some things are bad. Most of them are somewhere in between.
     
*     *      *
Author: Anna-Stina Nykänen, Helsingin Sanomat.
First published in Finnish; in print 22.3.2009. (Exceptionally, this article was published anonymously in Finnish.)
Comments welcome, please contact the Freepathways network: verkosto@luukku.com, or you can also write your comment in the blog.
Artikkeli julkaistiin alkuaan Helsingin Sanomien sunnuntainumerossa 22.3.2009, suomenkielisen tekstin löydät täältä.
 
Read more:
 
 
 
Leanne Waldal: How does “sweetie” become shunned? (On ostracism after leaving Leastadian church; also interesting comments)
Bible_Warning PIEN

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Kategoria(t): concept of sin, Conservative Laestadianism, forbidden things, get rid of, Helsingin Sanomat, identiteetti, identity, in English, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, laestadian, laestadianism, norms, secession, sin

The only way to get into heaven / Ainoa tie taivaaseen…


lintu-pilvissa

A Laestadian dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates.
St. Peter says, ”Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.”
”Okay,” the Laestadian says, ”I married the only woman I ever kissed and we had 13 children and 60 grandchildren, all still in the church.”

”That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, ”that’s worth three points!”

”Three points?” he says. ”Well, I went to June meetings every year, repented every Sunday, never drank a drop of whiskey and never watched TV.”

”Terrific!” says St. Peter, ”that’s certainly worth a point.”

”One point? Golly. How about this: I never turned on the radio in my car, even when I was alone, and have never used the internets.”

”Fantastic, that’s good for two points,” he says.

”TWO POINTS!!” the man cries, ”At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!”

”Come on in!

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Kategoria(t): armo, erehtymättömyys, heaven, helvetti, huumori, iankaikkinen elämä, joke, kadotus, laestadian, laestadianism, opilliset kysymykset, pelastus, taivas, tuomitseminen, ulossulkeminen, uskon perusteet, vallankäyttö