Less Than Believing and Belonging: Weak Inclination Towards Spirituality in Estonia
The presentation focuses on Estonians who are not regular participants in spiritual or esoteric seminars but have only some generally positive attitude towards spiritual principles. These weakly inclined people could be just readers of some spiritual books and internet news portals for general interest, or members of a thematic group in social media. They belong to the ‘fuzzy fidelity’ or ‘nones’ and are usually left unexplored. However, this group of people is especially relevant in Estonian context because they compose the ‘religious majority’. Weak inclination also exemplifies the flexible nature of spiritual milieu that allows constant and mutual cultural influences. For some scholars of religion this feature seems to weaken the social significance of the spirituality as it is too easily becoming “co-opted by the cultural mainstream and trivialized by the mass media” (Bruce 2000: 233). I will argue that (alternative) spiritualities are, in any case, strongly related to wider societal values and increasingly influence societal mainstream. The presentation is based on the analysis of qualitative interviews and representative survey data aiming to map the values and orientations the spirituality cultivates.