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Author Topic: A Return to Modesty  (Read 5206 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jennifer
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« on: April 23, 2003, 02:54:58 PM »

I picked this up at Barnes & Noble last weekend.  It's from a female perspective but it's interesting none the less.  I haven't finished it yet but I think the author raises some good points.  Her primary argument is that the lack of modesty in the way women dress has leads to increased sexuality of young teenage girls and leads to anorexia and self mutilation and promiscuity.  

It's a fairly controversial book in feminist circles.  I don't think she goes so far as to blame women for the acts of men, i.e. she was wearing a short skirt so she deserved to be raped.  Although that's a natural extention of her argument which bothers me.  

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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2003, 04:14:39 PM »

I think that there has to be some link between the way women dress and sexual habits -- but the link is complex.  A woman who is dressed in a sexually attractive way certainly does not invite crimes such as rape to be committed against her person.  At the same time, someone who dresses in a sexually attractive way will attract others sexually (sounds almost oxymoronic to state it that way), and will almost certainly insert sexual thoughts into the minds of others around them.

I'm not sure that it leads directly to teenage promiscuity, however, at least not on the individual level.  I'm sure that some of the teenage girls who are engaged sexually are not the most sexually provocative dressers themselves.  However, on a more society-wide level, I think that the general level of immodesty in the culture can, and probably does, lead to an increased sexualization of the self-image and thought process of individuals in that culture, and this effect can lead to promiscuity among men and women.  I think that this is largely because we are a "titillation culture", at this stage.  And I certainly think that the causes of anorexia and other eating disorders can be fairly linked to the supermodel/actress culture of overly thin women creating impossible examples for the vast majority of women, in addition to hyper-sexualizing the expectations of both women and men.

I think that the counterargument that "women dress that way to feel good about themselves not to attract others" is really hogwash.  I think that most women who dress in a sexually attractive way do so to attract attention ... they may not wish it to go further than that, but they certainly want to be looked at and admired by men.  Again, this is not an invitation to crime -- crimes are always crimes regardless of the circumstances.  However, leaving the crime issue aside and focusing on the issue if whether the way a woman dresses impacts male behavior (ie, giving a woman attention, perhaps flirting with her, perhaps sexually desiring her) the answer has to be "yes", and to the extent that women try to argue that this is not the case they are, in my opinion, hiding their heads in the sand.

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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2003, 04:34:45 PM »

I think we live in an overly sexualized culture that turns women into sexual objects and women's fashion demonstrates this.  Of course others might say that women are "empowered" when they use their dress to "manipulate" men.  But what I find troubling with that argument is that women should not have to be sexual to be empowered.  Of course all of us are sexual and I think that we go too far when we say that women should dress asexually.  I don't think modesty means being unattractive or even hiding women's sexuality.  Many women who are victims of sexual violence dress in a way to hide their sexuality.  That's just as unhealthy as the 14 incest victim who wears short skirts because she thinks that sex is the only way to control men.  

But speaking as one of the few women here, I do think that we dress provocatively because it makes us feel good about ourselves.  We're socialized to want male attention and when we receive it we feel good about ourselves.  

Speaking as a woman I think that men don't understand that women really are naive about how the way we dress affects them.  First,women aren't taught the same lessons our grandmothers were about the cow and the milk and how a nice girl doesn't put herself in a situation where she might be taken advantage of.  Second, while we are the not asexual Victorian stereotype who hates sex, I don't think that we are physically affected by visual images as men are.  I've caught glimpses of pornography before and I don't get it and I don't think that I'm different from other women in this regard.  So we think that if we can turn it off (not think about sex when we see an attractive man) why can't men.  

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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2003, 04:56:58 PM »

Jennifer --

You raise some fine points.

To me at least it seems important that the male attention is what makes women feel good -- they want male attention in order to feel good about themselves and so they dress in a way that encourages that attention.  In a sense, isn't that a concession to the idea that women understand well that the way they dress has an impact on men?  After all, it is the very attention that men give them that encourages women to dress a certain way so that they can feel good about themselves.  I think, at least on one level, if only a subconscious one, there is an understanding of the visuality of the male sex drive, because it is that tendency to notice and pay attention to women that women are trying to generate when they dress in a certain way -- if only ultimately to make themselves feel good about themselves by means of attracting that attention.

I agree that clothing should not be asexual.  I'm not an advocate of the idea that everyone should dress like Mennonites, either.  But I guess to me there is a difference between dressing (1) attractive without being frumpy and (2) sexy.  Some of it has to do with how tight the clothing is, some of it has to do with the cut (necklines, hemlines), the choice of footwear and the like.  There's a line somewhere between attractive and sexy, and I guess my own view as a man is that when that line is crossed a woman sort of knows that she's going to be "turning men on" (or I guess I would say that she should know, given that at this point I think most mature women realize the impact that clothing choice has on the male libido).  I suppose the last point is an important one as well ... I guess I think (perhaps wrongly, I don't know) that a 26 year-old woman, for example, may have more of a clue as to the impact of her clothing choice on men than a 15 year old does.  I think that the 26 year old probably has a better clue, and so when she dresses a certain way, it is more likely that it is being done to insert sexual attraction into the equation.  That's one reason why I always hate it when women -- usually succesful, driven, strong women -- inject sexuality into business meetings by dressing too sexily -- I see it as a power play, trying to use their sexuality to their own advantage in an arena where it isn't appropriate (at least not to me).

I know that women are not visually stimulated like men are.  Perhaps that's one reason why male fashion tends to be less overtly sexual than female fashion?  I think on this point, more mutual understanding between the genders is called for, because on this point it seems that we're pretty different.  :-)

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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2003, 05:19:08 PM »

I'm not an advocate of the idea that everyone should dress like Mennonites, either.  But I guess to me there is a difference between dressing (1) attractive without being frumpy and (2) sexy.  

Now this is one of the my biggest complaints regarding praxis.  There is this former CSB parish in town and I have yet to see any of the females of that parish NOT dress like a Mennonite (with those horrible overall-like dresses.  gunnysack? and scarves on their heads).  They're not monastics for crying out loud.  I'd like to actually see what they look like.
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2003, 05:55:40 PM »

Good thread, Brendan and Jennifer - I've said my piece on my blog.

Of course NOBODY 'deserves to be raped' but there is a dollop of truth to 'if you advertise you'd better be prepared to sell' (owing in part to the sex drive God gave us, and also in part to fallen human nature) - something I'm sure a lot of American girls learn the hard way on 'spring break' and suchlike. Feminism (not fair play, equal pay - the I-hate-men-and-will-do-what-I-damn-well-please-including-kill-my-baby variety) is a crock. Of course women dress sexy to attract men (preferably a strong man who can take good care of a woman, which is what women really want), and some abuse that by teasing men - sex is power. (Such are among the type known colloquially as b*tches.)

And yes, speaking as a healthy man attracted to beautiful women, of course men are visually oriented. Example: porn for women = 'romance novels', which don't use pictures and involve using the imagination. Porn for men, whether normal or homosexual, is almost always pictorial and looks amazingly the same no matter the kind (reason I know this: I once worked in a city bookshop whose stock included unsavoury stuff).

As for the line between attractive/not frumpy and 'sexy' in a sinful sense (what traditional Catholics call an occasion of sin), yes, it exists. Kind of like that US Supreme Court judge said back in the early 1970s about pornography, 'I can't define it but I know it when I see it'. It's the line between desire and lust, both related to sex, of course, but very different feelings: the former is from God and is good, and inspires men and women to care about each other and take care of each other (in short, it's related to love) and the latter is just using somebody and discarding them.

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There is this former CSB parish in town and I have yet to see any of the females of that parish NOT dress like a Mennonite (with those horrible overall-like dresses.  gunnysack? and scarves on their heads).  They're not monastics for crying out loud.  I'd like to actually see what they look like.

I'm a moderate here - I like that kind of dress IN CHURCH but don't demand or even promote 'Mennonite fashion' otherwise.
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2003, 07:39:40 PM »

Brendan, I think women understand that men notice them when they dress a certain way but I don't think that women understand how affected men can be by how we dress.  We simply do not have those sorts of reactiosn.  I think women are somewhat naive about the extent of their power over men in this context.  I think that we know that we get their attention if we dress in a certain way but I don't think that we realize that they may act on it.  Two out of every five women are victims of sexual violence.  Many of these women are victimized multiple times.  I think women are genuinely surprised when men act in that way.  I think dressing provocatively is kind of a naive, teasing kind of a way.  Women instinctively sense their power over men in this regard and they might push it to limits but when a man acts on it, we're shocked because we didn't think it would go that far.  Does that make sense?  

And I think that part of the problem is that many women in this society are socialized to want male attention over anything else.  We see that as the ultimate sign of our 'feminity.'  I think there are many women who don't feel good about themselves if they're not being told by a man that they're valuable.  

But with that said, I think that every woman, regardless of her virtue or self esteem or whatever, enjoys a man's attention and will try to get a man's attention sometimes.  I don't know if that's nurture or nature.  It makes us feel good about ourselves.  But hopefully we have other ways to make us feel good about ourselves.  Some women don't know any other way.  

As for those women who inject sex into work situations, I agree that they're (maybe subconsciously) using their 'sexuality' to assert power over men.  But in their (my) defense, women often don't know how to be powerful without sex.  Most of us weren't taught any other way.  Furthermore,  I think many women are 'skittish' to say the least about men because so many have been raped or molested.  Power is a kind of protection.  

But men also assert their power in those sorts of situations.  They just do it differently.  Men are stronger and bigger than women.  Do men understand how women can be scared by their size?  I've seen men use their size to intimidate smaller women in work situations.  I don't know it's conscious.  

But I always detect a bit of dislike of women when men try to make women dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I think that men are often scared of women.  A woman in a burka isn't as frightening because all the signs of her womanhood are covered up.  Women have figures and I don't think there's anyone wrong with it being seen.  

What is CSB?  
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2003, 07:53:21 PM »

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But I always detect a bit of dislike of women when men try to make women dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

-ÿ -à -+-Ç -ü-+-¦-¦-¦-¦-é: -É-£-ÿ-¥-¼! (Amen!)

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What is CSB?

Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, a now-defunct group whose churches are now in the OCA, Serbian and Bulgarian churches in America. They were an amalgamation of two groups, the monastery that ROCOR hieromonk Fr Seraphim (Rose) founded and a former New Age group, the Holy Order of MANS (I know a former member of this!). After Fr Seraphim died (as a member of ROCOR), his monastery merged with the MANS group, which had dropped New Age and adopted Orthodox beliefs and practices; at that time (1988) they also left ROCOR and went under some crackpot, not really Orthodox bishop (former Greek Orthodox priest). But a couple of years ago they basically disbanded and rejoined real Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2003, 11:42:09 PM »

I plan on picking this book up as I am very interested in this subject. Jennifer, I want to say that I agree with you on most of your points but there are a few areas I disagree with.

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Speaking as a woman I think that men don't understand that women really are naive about how the way we dress affects them.  First,women aren't taught the same lessons our grandmothers were about the cow and the milk and how a nice girl doesn't put herself in a situation where she might be taken advantage of.  Second, while we are the not asexual Victorian stereotype who hates sex, I don't think that we are physically affected by visual images as men are.  I've caught glimpses of pornography before and I don't get it and I don't think that I'm different from other women in this regard.  So we think that if we can turn it off (not think about sex when we see an attractive man) why can't men.  


I agree here that some women are naive. But there is a portion of women out there who know what they are doing when the dress for attention. As for women not being addicted to porn easily, that is changing now with cyberporn and the anonymity it brings with it. I think in the next few years they will be stories about women addicted to porn. But I do agree for the most part that porn is a mostly a male thing. I was reading a study once on sexual addictions and the gender differences between it. Men typically get addicted to cyberporn while a woman will more likely use chat rooms to find sex and then engage in sexual activity with another person. The woman is doing for this for the sake of getting some love and attention. This does not excuse any the addiction just as there are no excuses for men addicted to porn.

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And I think that part of the problem is that many women in this society are socialized to want male attention over anything else.  We see that as the ultimate sign of our 'feminity.'  I think there are many women who don't feel good about themselves if they're not being told by a man that they're valuable.  

I agree with you here Jenny. I would add that our society socializes us to be together. If we are not in a relationship with a man or a woman, then something is wrong with us. That is the message we get from society. We are berated with images from society about how great it is to being together. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, but celibacy should not be looked down upon. For instance, it is a bigger stigma I think for a man not to be married than a woman. If a man chooses not to get married, then some people think he is gay or weird. This thought pattern can sometime occur within Christian circles. I might add too, that the church sometimes can act like a social club for the elderly and married couples. You are treated like a pariah if do not match the clique. Jennifer, many men do not feel good about themselves if they don't have a woman to love them. Again, society tells us this. If we are not out there in a relationship or 'scoring' with women, then something is wrong with us.  For men and women, I think we are looking for the same thing. We all want to be loved by somebody unconditionally. Contrary to the open of others, we were created that way, to be together.

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I agree that clothing should not be asexual.  I'm not an advocate of the idea that everyone should dress like Mennonites, either.

I have always liked the way the Mennonites practiced this concept of dressing modestly. I think they do it in a classy way.  There is a great diversity of dress among Mennonites. While many Mennonites dress conservatively and modestly, they also dress with a sense of class and dignity. In other words, I have seen some real fashion disasters on people in general while I have yet to see a Mennonite press dress horribly.  This goes for the guys and the girls. Don't think for one minute that only the women are the ones who must dress modestly.  One of my male friends is a Mennonite. He typically is always dressed in dress pants with a button dress shirt. Sometimes he will wear a sweater over his shirt, but that is typically how he dresses. Modesty is practiced for both sexes.

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But I always detect a bit of dislike of women when men try to make women dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I think that men are often scared of women.  A woman in a burka isn't as frightening because all the signs of her womanhood are covered up.  Women have figures and I don't think there's anyone wrong with it being seen.  

I disagree here, and I hope that I do not offend anyone, including you Jennifer by my comments. I like women in dresses. As a man, I like how dresses can highlight a woman's figure given if she has curves. Lips Sealed Going back to the Mennonite dress, you can sometimes..well it's Lent and maybe I should not discuss it on this board(okay, I actually know some Mennonite women and it is nice to see how lovely their figures are Lips Sealed) Sometimes if a woman wears a white dress shirt or even a plain white shirt, you can see their braziere unless they are wearing a t-shirt underneath. Lips Sealed Alright, I have said enough. I hope that I have not offended or tempted anyone.
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2003, 12:06:30 AM »

      I have read this book. While Wendy Shalit is a good writer, her arguments point toward puritanism when you get right down to it, along with a "glorious" return to the Victorian age. She does make good points on how the cheapening of the sexual act makes us worse off, etc. etc., as well as criticizing the women's "liberation" movement. However, her observations are not so much based on empirical evidence as they are based upon her life experiences at Williams College and what she has seen in TV and books. Perhaps related is the fact that she hasn't written any books since this one was written about five years ago.

      This book is a paradigm shift in some circles, including feminists who vehemently hate it for questioning the "liberation" and bringing up the obvious point that licentious MEN gain when women abandon modesty. But I don't think it's necessarily primary reading for Orthodox Christians on the subject (I believe she is Jewish). The book's genre is "women's studies." If you do have the extra time, it is a decent page-turner and will point you in the direction for decent, fruitful courtship.

My 2 and 3/4 cents.

Matt

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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2003, 09:05:08 AM »

"Two out of every five women are victims of sexual violence.  Many of these women are victimized multiple times.  I think women are genuinely surprised when men act in that way."

And they should be, because no matter what she is wearing there is never an excuse for committing a crime.

"And I think that part of the problem is that many women in this society are socialized to want male attention over anything else.  We see that as the ultimate sign of our 'feminity.'  I think there are many women who don't feel good about themselves if they're not being told by a man that they're valuable."

This is a fair point.  I think it is culturally unfortunate.  

"But men also assert their power in those sorts of situations.  They just do it differently.  Men are stronger and bigger than women.  Do men understand how women can be scared by their size?  I've seen men use their size to intimidate smaller women in work situations.  I don't know it's conscious."

I have heard this, and I understand that it may be the case.  As a man who is fairly small (5'6") I can't imagine that my size is particularly intimidatingt, but what I have heard is that the physicality of men, the body language, etc., can be intimidating to women.  If so, it's pretty unconsciously done, in my view .... I certainly have never used my size or physicality to intimdate another person consciously (but then again I can't speak for others).  A larger issue, I think, is that men will generally relate to men differently than they relate to women .. whether at work or elsewhere ... and that in itself can be pretty intimidating to women, I think.

"But I always detect a bit of dislike of women when men try to make women dress like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I think that men are often scared of women.  A woman in a burka isn't as frightening because all the signs of her womanhood are covered up.  Women have figures and I don't think there's anyone wrong with it being seen."

I don't disagree, and I'm not suggesting that the Mennonite or Islamic model is the norm.  I guess the way I see it is that there is a middle ground between Laura Ingalls Wilder, on the one hand, and Mariah Carey, on the other -- another way of saying that there is a difference between attractive/not frumpy and overtly sexy.

Does anyone think different styles of dress are appropriate depending on one's marital status?  In other words, is it appropriate for a single woman who is looking for a mate to dress more attractively than a married women (for whom consciously trying to attract men other than her husband may be inappropriate)?

Brendan
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2009, 04:06:21 AM »

Modesty and purity are essential for the emotional, physical, and spiritual well being of girls, women, and society in general. I have a 5 year old daughter, and I have already set the standard for how she is to dress. Her shoulders must be covered up to her neck. If she wears a dress it must come down to her ankles, and she must wear shorts or pants underneath it. If she wears pants they must be loose, and she must wear a shirt that covers her waist and bottom. No tight fitting clothes of any kind. No makeup, lipstick, or earrings.

I set these standards now, so that I won't have to argue with her when she's 11, 12, 13 or older. I affirm her natural beauty and emphasize how gorgeous she is without any extra adornments or "cute" clothes. I strive to lavish her with fatherly affection and consistent discipline. I emphasize that her beauty comes from God. She is my Princess, and I tell her that a true Princess conducts herself in a righteous and modest manner. I don't allow her to look at Barbie dolls and cartoon characters as role models. I show her icons of the Holy Virgin, and tell her that's what true beauty looks like.

My daughter is a happy, kind, and outgoing little girl. I know that we have a long way to go and there will be many challenges ahead. But by setting the guidelines early on, I believe parents can save themselves much aggravation and prevent a lot of heartache in the long run.


Selam
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2009, 05:07:51 AM »

But by setting the guidelines early on, I believe parents can save themselves much aggravation and prevent a lot of heartache in the long run.


Selam

As long as you remember, we are all prodigals at some point in our lives. And sometimes it simply doesn't matter what guidelines have been set. I hope that you will always love your daughter as you do now, even if she isn't happy, isn't kind and has a mood on that affects the entire USA. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 08:44:08 AM »

Modesty and purity are essential for the emotional, physical, and spiritual well being of girls, women, and society in general. I have a 5 year old daughter, and I have already set the standard for how she is to dress. Her shoulders must be covered up to her neck. If she wears a dress it must come down to her ankles, and she must wear shorts or pants underneath it. If she wears pants they must be loose, and she must wear a shirt that covers her waist and bottom. No tight fitting clothes of any kind. No makeup, lipstick, or earrings.

I set these standards now, so that I won't have to argue with her when she's 11, 12, 13 or older. I affirm her natural beauty and emphasize how gorgeous she is without any extra adornments or "cute" clothes. I strive to lavish her with fatherly affection and consistent discipline. I emphasize that her beauty comes from God. She is my Princess, and I tell her that a true Princess conducts herself in a righteous and modest manner. I don't allow her to look at Barbie dolls and cartoon characters as role models. I show her icons of the Holy Virgin, and tell her that's what true beauty looks like.

My daughter is a happy, kind, and outgoing little girl. I know that we have a long way to go and there will be many challenges ahead. But by setting the guidelines early on, I believe parents can save themselves much aggravation and prevent a lot of heartache in the long run.


Selam

Hi Gebre,

I am so happy for you that you are raising a "happy, kind, and outgoing little girl." I can't begin to tell you how these words stir many wonderful memories in me - exactly because my daughter fit this description 100% when she was little. Maryana was a truly amazing child: always wide open, radiant eyes, always a smile on her face, always ready to dance or recite poetry (she had a fantastic memory and would easily remember hundreds of lines of Ukrainian poetry read to her). She was the life of every kids' party, and she was never a troublemaker - parents of the kids with whom she played always told us that she has a positive, calming influence on her little friends.

We never enforced any strict dress code for her though. Or any other strict code, for that matter. And she was just "naturally good." She never swore, never smoked or got drunk or high as a teen, never behaved promiscuously with boys. She went through a phase of being a rather typical nasty, tense, angry American teenager - but only very briefly, between the age of ~16 and ~19. Yet, even in those difficult years, she graduated from her high school with top grades, was admitted to Tulane, and earned a steady GPA 4.0 at her university. And again, we, her parents, never noticed that she would become habitually swearing, or sexually promiscuous, or abusing alcohol or nicotine or drugs. We did not need to teach her not to do all that - she just developed her own internal moral code, a very strict one, but coming from herself, from within her.

Maryana did go through a phase of... well, not really "immodesty," but of a certain "weirdness" in her manner of dressing. She wore some oversized, baggy clothes. She pierced her eyebrow, and she colored her hair bright red or sometimes green. But that never lasted long - and again, not because we, her parents, told her that she should not do it, but because she herself understood that this is superfluous, not needed for a person like her. By the age of 20-21, she got rid of the piercings and of the baggy clothes and of the strange paint on her head.

Right now, Maryana is a Ph.D. student at Harvard, continuing to keep her usual GPA 4.0, working a lot as a teacher's assistant and on her thesis in the library. She looks wonderful - no weird stuff, all normal, modest, clean-cut, healthy. She is very happily married, and, generally, lives a good, productive, healthy and highly moral life. I admire her and look up at her; she is my wonderful friend, companion, co-conversationalist, advisor, counselor, judge.

I am not saying that the parents never should impose any rules on their children (in dress and otherwise), but I can tell you that my wife and I did NOT impose any rules - and yet raised a wonderful person. It is not impossible then. On the other hand, there are plenty of examples when imposing strict rules on children led to tragedies, to truly broken, wasted lives.

Children are different, families are different. We should look closely at our kids, study them, understand them - and then we will all be fine, good Lord willing...
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2009, 03:00:30 PM »

Modesty in work situations is essential, I think.  Women are often naive regarding this, I completely agree.  Women tend to see clothing as something to make them look good and to enhance their good points while hopefully, minimizing their flaws.  There is a line though.  A line between looking good and being respected, and a line between looking like you're after a sexual encounter and not gaining respect. 

I once saw a student teacher in tears because she was being sexually harassed by students.  What the boys were doing and saying to her was completely inappropriate- however- this young woman was very pretty and dressed way too provocatively.  Males of a certain age, combined with peer pressure, lack of decent role models, and still learning appropriate social skills are going to act on what they see right or wrong (wrong in this case).

This is why I take my husband with me when I go shopping.  He hates it, but his opinion of when the line is crossed has been indispensable to me.  Plus, I think it's a good idea for all fathers to be dragged along by their wives for clothes shopping when girls are involved.  All dads seem to have a knack for knowing when their little girls don't need to be wearing certain things.

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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2009, 05:04:30 PM »

Forgive me if I sounded like I was bragging or claiming to be an expert in raising children. Ridikkulus: Of course I will love my daughter unconditionally, and I anticipate that all 3 of my children will experience many trials and tribulations throughout their lives. Perhaps they will rebel against me and maybe even turn away from the Lord at some point. But my confidence is in Christ and the Church, and I trust in the power of their baptism.

Heorhij: Congratulations on rasing such a wonderful sounding daughter. It sounds like whatever you did worked well, and I imagine that you were abundant with your love and consistent in your discipline. Of course I am anxious to learn whether or not she has survived Tulane and Harvard with her Orthodox Faith and biblical values intact. I hope she has.

I simply described how I choose to raise my daughter, but I cannot tell you how to raise yours. All I can say is, "Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it." [Proverbs 22:6]

Another reason I give my daughter these guidelines for modesty is for the benefit of others as well as for her own good. I don't want my daughter to grow up and dress provacatively and cause offense to men. And even as a child, I want to protect her as much as possible from the leering eyes of  pedophiles and perverts. 

Let's all pray for each other and for our families and our children. They are the greatest blessings we have on this side of heaven!

Selam
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« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2009, 06:08:15 PM »

Heorhij: Congratulations on rasing such a wonderful sounding daughter. It sounds like whatever you did worked well, and I imagine that you were abundant with your love and consistent in your discipline. Of course I am anxious to learn whether or not she has survived Tulane and Harvard with her Orthodox Faith and biblical values intact. I hope she has.

Thank you, dear brother. My wife and I indeed had a pretty strong presence in Maryana's life. Like I said, we never set any rules for her, none whatsoever - and yet, she always knew, what was it that we liked and what was it that we did not like, and she minded us. Even during the years of her teenage rebellion, she would smirk and frown at something her mom would say to her, and then, lo and behold - suddenly it would turn out that she listened to her mom and did just what her mom asked her to do! She was always extremely concerned to not hurt or offend us, and for that we really thank God everyday - that she grew up so sensitive and loving. I hope and pray that she will be as tactful, loving, careful with her husband. So far, things are good in their young family (they have been maried for one year and one month).

AS for her faith... it's difficult. She was baptised Orthodox in infancy, but she was born in 1984 in Ukraine, when it still was a part of the Soviet Union. My family as well as my wife's family were not practicing any religion - rather, just secular humanists. So, Maryana was, essentially, raised secular humanist. She says that she does not believe in any god or gods, and that people who do believe, always seem weird or sick or silly to her. Her mom is, actually, pretty much the same way, and so is her husband and all his family (he was baptised Roman Catholic, but says that he only attended a Catholic parish to play basketball). When they visit us or we visit them, Maryana always likes to challenge me with a pretty sharp debate, trying to show me how "stupid" my religious beliefs are (I always weasel out - hate to debate my own kid:)).

Yet, on the other hand, Maryana has an extremely strict moral code, is impeccably honest, decent, moral, clean, and helpful to friends and neighbors. And, amazingly, when I, during her wedding, gave her her little baptismal icon as a gift, she grasped it, hugged and kissed me and thanked me very emotionally, and this little icon is still on the wall of their bedroom in Boston.   


Let's all pray for each other and for our families and our children. They are the greatest blessings we have on this side of heaven!

Most definitely! That's the best thing we can do...
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« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2009, 10:26:09 PM »

Heorhij:
Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to hear your own story of conversion.

As for your wonderful daughter, I'm always amazed by the secular humanists who strive to live moral lives. I never quite get why they are so concerned with morality and goodness. I think it reveals that in the depths of their heart they know that God is real.

I think you are wise not to debate your daughter about these matters. Simple gestures like the icon you gave her will communicate spiritual truth more profoundly than arguments attacking her beliefs (or lack thereof.)

I had the opposite problem, I used to debate my dad all the time (he is pretty much agnostic) and it was always nasty. For years he would make me feel so stupid, but eventually I began to win the arguments. He no longer had any answers, but he was no closer to the Faith. Fortunately, I learned years ago to stop debating him and just focus on loving him.

But your daughter's education brings up another interesting issue. Just as I have rules and standards for my children's attire and conduct, I also have standards regarding their education. I try as much as possible to make sure that my children are taught the right things and not brainwashed with pseudo science and secular humanist propaganda. And even if my children qualify for schools like Harvard and Tulane, I would not permit them to go to such colleges. But that's just me. I care more about my children's souls than about the prestige of saying, "My child went to Harvard." (Please understand that I am in no way judging others or implying that this is what motivated you. I imagine you felt it was best for your daughter to make her own decision regarding college, especially since she demonstrated such excellent character during the years you raised her.)

I will pray for a blessed and fruitful marriage for her. Thanks again for sharing.

Selam
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2009, 02:41:57 AM »

While perusing the Orthodox Christian Information Center, I came across this gem by +METROPOLITAN Philaret Voznesensky (+1985)

Modesty and Will

Our Lord Jesus Christ, instructing His disciples and apostles, imbued in them the necessity of observing purity of heart and thought. From the thought and from the heart proceed our sinful impulses: "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart," says the Saviour; "and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies" (Matt. 15:18-19).

The Saviour pointed to this farther with the following words:

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 27-28). This law of the psycho-political nature of man is well-known to contemporary perverters, who are consciously striving to corrupt our youth. We remember how in Russia those who prepared the revolution, and then the communists, began the spiritual weakening of that nation by imbuing the youth with shamelessness and depravity. Special circles were organized for this, which spread contempt for the ordinary laws of morality. Such propagation of "free morals" which surrounds us now more than ever, is frequently being spread even among school age children.

In our days, as in pre-revolutionary times in Russia, this propagation has the definite goal of corrupting contemporary society. This is an old method. History is filled with examples of nations which perished from the spread of depravity; The Lord turned Sodom and Gomorrah. Babylon fell. The Roman Empire perished. The free West could be subjected to this same corruption... What do we see in the life which surrounds us? Indecency and shamelessness in clothing; shameless kissing and embracing on the streets and in public places; shameless advertisements, filthy pornographic literature... All of this dissoluteness and perversion pours into life in an immense wave. Truly, there is no less shamelessness now, if not more, than in pagan times when the Holy Apostles and their successors had to exhort Christians with especial zeal in the observance of modesty.

Man's nature is such that the sins of the flesh, the active role belongs on the one hand to the male sex, while on the other, the temptation comes from women. Because of this, Christian cultures everywhere established customs which helped the preservation of good morals, as well as modest dress for women, so that the exposure of the latter should not evoke sinful thoughts and tempting inclinations in anyone. The more elevated the spiritual culture, the more modest was the dress of the women.

Modesty in dress is our first line of defense. It must guard the purity of women and keep men from the temptation of sinful desires. Meanwhile, the evocation of precisely these feelings characterizes contemporary fashion.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 The essay in its entirety can be read here-

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/modestyandwill.aspx
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2009, 03:29:44 AM »

^^I should also point out that this is something I hope to emulate one day; for now, it's such a struggle dressing and even behaving modestly.  Undecided 
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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2009, 03:30:07 AM »

While perusing the Orthodox Christian Information Center, I came across this gem by +METROPOLITAN Philaret Voznesensky (+1985)

Modesty and Will

Our Lord Jesus Christ, instructing His disciples and apostles, imbued in them the necessity of observing purity of heart and thought. From the thought and from the heart proceed our sinful impulses: "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart," says the Saviour; "and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies" (Matt. 15:18-19).

The Saviour pointed to this farther with the following words:

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 27-28). This law of the psycho-political nature of man is well-known to contemporary perverters, who are consciously striving to corrupt our youth. We remember how in Russia those who prepared the revolution, and then the communists, began the spiritual weakening of that nation by imbuing the youth with shamelessness and depravity. Special circles were organized for this, which spread contempt for the ordinary laws of morality. Such propagation of "free morals" which surrounds us now more than ever, is frequently being spread even among school age children.

In our days, as in pre-revolutionary times in Russia, this propagation has the definite goal of corrupting contemporary society. This is an old method. History is filled with examples of nations which perished from the spread of depravity; The Lord turned Sodom and Gomorrah. Babylon fell. The Roman Empire perished. The free West could be subjected to this same corruption... What do we see in the life which surrounds us? Indecency and shamelessness in clothing; shameless kissing and embracing on the streets and in public places; shameless advertisements, filthy pornographic literature... All of this dissoluteness and perversion pours into life in an immense wave. Truly, there is no less shamelessness now, if not more, than in pagan times when the Holy Apostles and their successors had to exhort Christians with especial zeal in the observance of modesty.

Man's nature is such that the sins of the flesh, the active role belongs on the one hand to the male sex, while on the other, the temptation comes from women. Because of this, Christian cultures everywhere established customs which helped the preservation of good morals, as well as modest dress for women, so that the exposure of the latter should not evoke sinful thoughts and tempting inclinations in anyone. The more elevated the spiritual culture, the more modest was the dress of the women.

Modesty in dress is our first line of defense. It must guard the purity of women and keep men from the temptation of sinful desires. Meanwhile, the evocation of precisely these feelings characterizes contemporary fashion.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 The essay in its entirety can be read here-

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/modestyandwill.aspx

Thank You GabrielTheCelt! This is a needed reminder in these liscentious times. While interpretations and definitions of modesty may be culturally relative to a certain degree, God's standard of holiness and purity is not. Let us err on the side of holiness rather than allowing society to set the standards.

Selam
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2009, 07:21:34 PM »


Heorhij:
Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to hear your own story of conversion.

You are welcome, brother, but there hardly was a conversion... I just felt attracted to everything that was about Christ since my rather early days, irrationally, sort of, because it was just so beautiful. Maybe it was also a rebellion thing, a "forbidden fruit" kind of thing, as I really hated my Soviet school and all those Young Pioneer and Young Communist League stuff. If I were born in a Christian family in a country where Christianity was not oppressed, I really don't know how I would turn out - very likely just like my daughter, a militant atheist.
 
In the USA, where I moved in 1990 as a postdoc, I wandered a lot - listened to Evangelical Protestants (eek - no), then to Jehovah's Witnesses (was attracted at first by what seemed to be their un-conventional non-conformist reading of the Bible, but then totally repelled when visited their Kingdom Hall and heard their well-scripted "discussions"), then to modernist ultra-liberal aging hippie Presbyterian Church (USA) (was actually baptised there and even elected their elder for a year, but quit because could not stand their constant "social hour" chat-chat-chat and their habit of shopping for yet another minister every few months). Gradually realized that I am actually looking for the CHURCH, and the only place where I instantly feel the Church is an Orthodox parish. I am a total sucker for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. I love it, and I love the otherworldly mystery and beauty of the Sacraments - all this (and actually ONLY this) makes me believe that Christ is real, heaven is real, saints are real and really there with Him, and that there really will be another world, another (and better) reality some day after His return. But I am a terrible Orthodox in that I do not really lead a disciplined love, I am lazy in prayer, I am sinful, passionate, selfish, and awfully sceptical about a whole lot of stuff that I read in patristic sources (sometimes to the point of hating it).

As for your wonderful daughter, I'm always amazed by the secular humanists who strive to live moral lives. I never quite get why they are so concerned with morality and goodness. I think it reveals that in the depths of their heart they know that God is real.

I don't really know... I heard from some of them that they just don't consider it worthy of a decent human being to be a "contractionist." They despise us because it seems to them that we, out of fear, confusion, various psychological complexes imagine for ourselves a kind of "contract" between us and the deity. We feel protected by this "contract," with its restraints on our sin and its rewards for trying to live less sinfully. They, on the other hand, know that there is no deity and no supernatural restraints or punishments or rewards - everything ends when we die, - but it's just ugly and "unbecoming" of a decent human to do evil things to other humans.

I try as much as possible to make sure that my children are taught the right things and not brainwashed with pseudo science and secular humanist propaganda. And even if my children qualify for schools like Harvard and Tulane, I would not permit them to go to such colleges. But that's just me. I care more about my children's souls than about the prestige of saying, "My child went to Harvard." (Please understand that I am in no way judging others or implying that this is what motivated you. I imagine you felt it was best for your daughter to make her own decision regarding college, especially since she demonstrated such excellent character during the years you raised her.)

Honestly, I don't know about "pseudo-science." I am a university science teacher myself (a biologist), and I absolutely KNOW that what is taught in science classes in US universities is SCIENCE, not "pseudo-science." The label "pseudo-science" was, I am afraid, invented by people who do not understand what science is. As for secular humanist propaganda, well, there is plenty of ANTI-humanist ("consumerist") propaganda everywhere in the USA. To that kind of propaganda, I know, and thank God, my daughter seems to be completely immune.

I will pray for a blessed and fruitful marriage for her. Thanks again for sharing.

Thank you again, dear brother. She will begin to prepare for her Ph.D. "prelims" this coming fall, and she hopes to be done with her thesis in about a year. Then, she says, she will try to give us, her aging parents, a grandchild. Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2009, 02:59:06 AM »



Heorhij:
Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to hear your own story of conversion.
You are welcome, brother, but there hardly was a conversion... I just felt attracted to everything that was about Christ since my rather early days, irrationally, sort of, because it was just so beautiful. Maybe it was also a rebellion thing, a "forbidden fruit" kind of thing, as I really hated my Soviet school and all those Young Pioneer and Young Communist League stuff. If I were born in a Christian family in a country where Christianity was not oppressed, I really don't know how I would turn out - very likely just like my daughter, a militant atheist.
[/quote]


Does your daughter understand that militant atheism is the "religion" that led to the horrendous atrocities that you miraculously survived? It is one thing to be an atheist, but it becomes very dangerous when you begin to view the God-fearing as "creepy" or irrational. -GMK-

In the USA, where I moved in 1990 as a postdoc, I wandered a lot - listened to Evangelical Protestants (eek - no), then to Jehovah's Witnesses (was attracted at first by what seemed to be their un-conventional non-conformist reading of the Bible, but then totally repelled when visited their Kingdom Hall and heard their well-scripted "discussions"), then to modernist ultra-liberal aging hippie Presbyterian Church (USA) (was actually baptised there and even elected their elder for a year, but quit because could not stand their constant "social hour" chat-chat-chat and their habit of shopping for yet another minister every few months). Gradually realized that I am actually looking for the CHURCH, and the only place where I instantly feel the Church is an Orthodox parish. I am a total sucker for the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos. I love it, and I love the otherworldly mystery and beauty of the Sacraments - all this (and actually ONLY this) makes me believe that Christ is real, heaven is real, saints are real and really there with Him, and that there really will be another world, another (and better) reality some day after His return. 


That is a beautiful description of your journey. Indeed the Liturgy is a divinely powerful thing. Perhaps in our materialistic and escapist society, the Liturgy is all that is truly real. I have a dear Catholic friend who frequents the Greek Orthodox Church because he loves the Liturgy there. -GMK-



But I am a terrible Orthodox in that I do not really lead a disciplined love, I am lazy in prayer, I am sinful, passionate, selfish, and awfully sceptical about a whole lot of stuff that I read in patristic sources (sometimes to the point of hating it).

You summarize my own spiritual life very well! -GMK-


As for your wonderful daughter, I'm always amazed by the secular humanists who strive to live moral lives. I never quite get why they are so concerned with morality and goodness. I think it reveals that in the depths of their heart they know that God is real.

I don't really know... I heard from some of them that they just don't consider it worthy of a decent human being to be a "contractionist." They despise us because it seems to them that we, out of fear, confusion, various psychological complexes imagine for ourselves a kind of "contract" between us and the deity. We feel protected by this "contract," with its restraints on our sin and its rewards for trying to live less sinfully. They, on the other hand, know that there is no deity and no supernatural restraints or punishments or rewards - everything ends when we die, - but it's just ugly and "unbecoming" of a decent human to do evil things to other humans.

Yes, I am very aware of the atheistic arguments. But if there is no God, then there cannot be evil. What we think of as evil is merely the invention of subjective human opinion. In fact, if there is no God and no heaven or hell, then the most merciful thing to do is to kill others and spare them the suffering of life and the pain of this world. I think that the atheists are the most naive  idealists around! To pretend that life is worth living if God does not exist seems pretty delusional to me. Thus, that's why I doubt if all these supposed atheists are really atheists in the depths of their hearts.Wink -GMK-



I try as much as possible to make sure that my children are taught the right things and not brainwashed with pseudo science and secular humanist propaganda. And even if my children qualify for schools like Harvard and Tulane, I would not permit them to go to such colleges. But that's just me. I care more about my children's souls than about the prestige of saying, "My child went to Harvard." (Please understand that I am in no way judging others or implying that this is what motivated you. I imagine you felt it was best for your daughter to make her own decision regarding college, especially since she demonstrated such excellent character during the years you raised her.)

Honestly, I don't know about "pseudo-science." I am a university science teacher myself (a biologist), and I absolutely KNOW that what is taught in science classes in US universities is SCIENCE, not "pseudo-science." The label "pseudo-science" was, I am afraid, invented by people who do not understand what science is. As for secular humanist propaganda, well, there is plenty of ANTI-humanist ("consumerist") propaganda everywhere in the USA. To that kind of propaganda, I know, and thank God, my daughter seems to be completely immune.


I won't get into a debate with you about science and evolution. I'm sure that you'd win. (You probably already know the other threads where this topic is being hotly debated.) All I know for certain is that extremely intelligent biologist disagree about evolution. I have a few friends who are biologists and who I respect equally for their intelligence. Some of them are professors. A few of them are evolutionists, and some are Creationists. But I personally don't base my conviction on their arguments, I trust the teaching of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. And the Church teaches that the earth is only 7,000 years old. So that's enough for me. (Of course the Church is not at odds with science, and if the evidence ever comes forward to PROVE evolution then I imagine the Church will adjust accordingly.) -GMK-

I will pray for a blessed and fruitful marriage for her. Thanks again for sharing.

Thank you again, dear brother. She will begin to prepare for her Ph.D. "prelims" this coming fall, and she hopes to be done with her thesis in about a year. Then, she says, she will try to give us, her aging parents, a grandchild. Smiley
[/quote]

That sounds great! I hope you and your family continue to find joy in each other, and I hope that you continue to see Our Lord in the Divine Liturgy. Thanks so much for sharing your story! It's quite fascinating. Maybe one day you can write a book about your life. I'm sure that it could help a lot of people find the Orthodox light.

By the way, if you are at all interested in reading my own journey to Orthodoxy you can read it here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20150.0.html (Reply #15)

Selam
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« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2009, 09:19:34 AM »



Heorhij:
Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to hear your own story of conversion.
You are welcome, brother, but there hardly was a conversion... I just felt attracted to everything that was about Christ since my rather early days, irrationally, sort of, because it was just so beautiful. Maybe it was also a rebellion thing, a "forbidden fruit" kind of thing, as I really hated my Soviet school and all those Young Pioneer and Young Communist League stuff. If I were born in a Christian family in a country where Christianity was not oppressed, I really don't know how I would turn out - very likely just like my daughter, a militant atheist.


Does your daughter understand that militant atheism is the "religion" that led to the horrendous atrocities that you miraculously survived? It is one thing to be an atheist, but it becomes very dangerous when you begin to view the God-fearing as "creepy" or irrational. -GMK-

I would agree if you added, "repentant," "humble," self-denying" and "loving the neighbor" to the "God-fearing." But the thing is, many atheists, like my daughter, and her husband, and her husband's parents, simply do not see among us, believers, anyone who is truly repentant, truly humble, truly self-denying and truly willing to give our lives for the sake of another person. Our sins cross all this out, blot all of this. And this is definitely not the atheists' problem, but ours (or "mine").

I am very aware of the atheistic arguments. But if there is no God, then there cannot be evil. What we think of as evil is merely the invention of subjective human opinion. In fact, if there is no God and no heaven or hell, then the most merciful thing to do is to kill others and spare them the suffering of life and the pain of this world. I think that the atheists are the most naive  idealists around! To pretend that life is worth living if God does not exist seems pretty delusional to me. Thus, that's why I doubt if all these supposed atheists are really atheists in the depths of their hearts.Wink -GMK-[/color]

You see, but very often what we, believers, take as "God's will" turns out to be evil. Christopher Columbus, most definitely a believer, a devout Roman Catholic, enslaved and executed thousands of "Indians" because he sincerely believed that it was God' will. Later settlers from Europe exterminated Native Americans, took their land and shoved those who survived in "reservations" against their will - and again, because they, the European settlers, believed that they are doing God's work, their Christian duty. Same thing in Australia. And then slavery, brutal slave trade... and now these idiotic (forgive me) "cultural wars, where good Christians misinterpret works of true art like Ang Lee's "Ice Storm" and lump them into one heap of what they take as "Godless entertainment..." So much evil came to the world, and continues to come to the world because of us believers, because of our sins. We are just way, way too self-serving; and this serving of the self manifests as racism, aggressive wars, attacks on fine arts or science, etc.
 

I won't get into a debate with you about science and evolution. I'm sure that you'd win. (You probably already know the other threads where this topic is being hotly debated.) All I know for certain is that extremely intelligent biologist disagree about evolution. I have a few friends who are biologists and who I respect equally for their intelligence. Some of them are professors. A few of them are evolutionists, and some are Creationists. But I personally don't base my conviction on their arguments, I trust the teaching of my Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. And the Church teaches that the earth is only 7,000 years old. So that's enough for me. (Of course the Church is not at odds with science, and if the evidence ever comes forward to PROVE evolution then I imagine the Church will adjust accordingly.) -GMK-

Biological evolution is a valid scientific theory, so it does not NEED to be "proven." Scientific theories stand until they are DISproved and replaced by other, better theories. Aristotle's mechanics was replaced by Newton's mechanics, and then Newton's mechanics was replaced by Einstein's mechanics and by the quantum mechanics. That's how science develops. There is no other way that scientists know of. Our subjective "beliefs" hardly even have a place in the development of natural sciences (even though some philosophers argue that they do, but that's highly questionable). If you have any better scientific theory than the current theory of biological evolution, you are absolutely free to offer it to the world. Yet, of course, to be recognized as a scientific theory, it must exclude the supernatural (by definition - natural sciece operates only with what's natural, physical, tangible, measurable etc.), and it must be a fitting framework for factual observations, hypotheses, and predictions.

As for literal 7,000 years - if this teaching is correct, then the colossal data obtained by radiometry is wrong. Similarly, if we take literally Christ's words that there is no need to wash hands because whatever comes into your body goes out, then we have to dismiss the whole science of microbiology and succumb to infectious diseases...

By the way, if you are at all interested in reading my own journey to Orthodoxy you can read it here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20150.0.html (Reply #15)

Thank you so much, dear brother, I will most definitely read your story.
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« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2009, 05:40:52 PM »

Does your daughter understand that militant atheism is the "religion" that led to the horrendous atrocities that you miraculously survived? It is one thing to be an atheist, but it becomes very dangerous when you begin to view the God-fearing as "creepy" or irrational. -GMK-
I would agree if you added, "repentant," "humble," self-denying" and "loving the neighbor" to the "God-fearing." But the thing is, many atheists, like my daughter, and her husband, and her husband's parents, simply do not see among us, believers, anyone who is truly repentant, truly humble, truly self-denying and truly willing to give our lives for the sake of another person. Our sins cross all this out, blot all of this. And this is definitely not the atheists' problem, but ours (or "mine").


I agree with you. Our practice rarely matches our profession, and I am most guilty of this myself. That is why I said earlier that I think you are wise not to engage in debates with your daughter. It is hard to be humble when debating a point, and authentic love is the most profound apologetic for spiritual truth anyway. It is interesting that you say, "Our sins cross all this out, blot all of this." I understand what you mean, but if unbelievers are waiting for Christians to be perfect then they shall never find God. The beauty of the Christian faith is, "Christ Crosses out our sins, and blots them all." Smiley


You see, but very often what we, believers, take as "God's will" turns out to be evil. Christopher Columbus, most definitely a believer, a devout Roman Catholic, enslaved and executed thousands of "Indians" because he sincerely believed that it was God' will. Later settlers from Europe exterminated Native Americans, took their land and shoved those who survived in "reservations" against their will - and again, because they, the European settlers, believed that they are doing God's work, their Christian duty. Same thing in Australia. And then slavery, brutal slave trade... and now these idiotic (forgive me) "cultural wars, where good Christians misinterpret works of true art like Ang Lee's "Ice Storm" and lump them into one heap of what they take as "Godless entertainment..." So much evil came to the world, and continues to come to the world because of us believers, because of our sins. We are just way, way too self-serving; and this serving of the self manifests as racism, aggressive wars, attacks on fine arts or science, etc.



I couldn't agree with you more. Many of my evangelical friends cannot fathom why I am not pro-America, why I am a pacifist, why I don't vote, and why I don't share their enthusiasm for so-called "Christian" entertainment. I view America through the lens of Christ and His teachings, and I make the same assessment as you do here. And the inhumanity and evil are not limited to the past, for today we slaughter the unborn child in its mother's womb with governmental approval. 


Biological evolution is a valid scientific theory, so it does not NEED to be "proven." Scientific theories stand until they are DISproved and replaced by other, better theories. Aristotle's mechanics was replaced by Newton's mechanics, and then Newton's mechanics was replaced by Einstein's mechanics and by the quantum mechanics. That's how science develops. There is no other way that scientists know of. Our subjective "beliefs" hardly even have a place in the development of natural sciences (even though some philosophers argue that they do, but that's highly questionable). If you have any better scientific theory than the current theory of biological evolution, you are absolutely free to offer it to the world. Yet, of course, to be recognized as a scientific theory, it must exclude the supernatural (by definition - natural sciece operates only with what's natural, physical, tangible, measurable etc.), and it must be a fitting framework for factual observations, hypotheses, and predictions.

As for literal 7,000 years - if this teaching is correct, then the colossal data obtained by radiometry is wrong. Similarly, if we take literally Christ's words that there is no need to wash hands because whatever comes into your body goes out, then we have to dismiss the whole science of microbiology and succumb to infectious diseases...


Like I said, this is not the place to debate evolution. I'm sure you'd win anyway, at least in the minds of those who already agree with you. I don't question that it's a valid THEORY; I just have a problem with those who are fundamentalist zealots about a theory which they have turned into a religion. True science is objective and open to the facts, and it does not incubate itself in a caccoon of ad hoc and auxiliary hypotheses in order to protect itself against the onslaught of reason that may contradict a beloved theory. Evolution is not a threat to my faith at all. The main problem I have is that it fails to meet the objective criteria of the scientific method as layed out by Karl Hampel in his book "The Philosophy of Natural Science." However, I'm sure you will not agree with me on this. So we can just agree to disagree on this issue.



Thank you so much, dear brother, I will most definitely read your story.


It's a bit lengthy, but I hope you enjoy it.

Selam
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 06:03:03 PM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2009, 11:21:06 AM »

Modesty and purity are essential for the emotional, physical, and spiritual well being of girls, women, and society in general. I have a 5 year old daughter, and I have already set the standard for how she is to dress. Her shoulders must be covered up to her neck. If she wears a dress it must come down to her ankles, and she must wear shorts or pants underneath it. If she wears pants they must be loose, and she must wear a shirt that covers her waist and bottom. No tight fitting clothes of any kind. No makeup, lipstick, or earrings.
Well, to each his own, but it seems to me that this is a lot of concern for a five year old, who isn't choosing her own clothing anyway. Really, who in their right mind is going to be sexually attracted to a five year old? I have a toddler myself, and certainly we do not dress her provocatively (so do so is, in our opinion, rather evident of mental illness). On the other hand, we're not really concerned about young boys with very few hormones at this stage being attracted to her, who also has very few hormones. We're just not into a strict dress code, because we do not feel that it is developmentally appropriate for pre-pubescent children. I appreciate that you are being proactive, but I'm concerned that you are just giving your daughter more against which to rebel when her mind develops to the point at which she begins to desire independence. She's going to do some exploring of identity, and part of that is going to be doing the very opposite of the things you most hold dear. She needs this rebellion to become a healthy adult; a healthy self-identification is essential for intimacy in adulthood (and by intimacy I in no way mean merely sexual intimacy).

I'm not trying to tell you how to be a parent; I barely know myself. But I do know children, and I know the current research, and my experience tells me that you may be setting yourself and your daughter for troubled times ahead. I hope this has been of some help to you.
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« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2009, 12:39:22 PM »

With all due respect, I'm a bit worried about this extreme strictness and concern about such a young girl's clothing. I grew up in such a way myself, and it led to a lot of unnecessary pain, suffering and feelings of deep inadequacy-which took years to shake off. Probably your daughter will be okay and I'm sure you're a good father, but my life was quite ruined.
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« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 05:39:51 PM »

Modesty and purity are essential for the emotional, physical, and spiritual well being of girls, women, and society in general. I have a 5 year old daughter, and I have already set the standard for how she is to dress. Her shoulders must be covered up to her neck. If she wears a dress it must come down to her ankles, and she must wear shorts or pants underneath it. If she wears pants they must be loose, and she must wear a shirt that covers her waist and bottom. No tight fitting clothes of any kind. No makeup, lipstick, or earrings.
Well, to each his own, but it seems to me that this is a lot of concern for a five year old, who isn't choosing her own clothing anyway. Really, who in their right mind is going to be sexually attracted to a five year old? I have a toddler myself, and certainly we do not dress her provocatively (so do so is, in our opinion, rather evident of mental illness). On the other hand, we're not really concerned about young boys with very few hormones at this stage being attracted to her, who also has very few hormones. We're just not into a strict dress code, because we do not feel that it is developmentally appropriate for pre-pubescent children. I appreciate that you are being proactive, but I'm concerned that you are just giving your daughter more against which to rebel when her mind develops to the point at which she begins to desire independence. She's going to do some exploring of identity, and part of that is going to be doing the very opposite of the things you most hold dear. She needs this rebellion to become a healthy adult; a healthy self-identification is essential for intimacy in adulthood (and by intimacy I in no way mean merely sexual intimacy).

I'm not trying to tell you how to be a parent; I barely know myself. But I do know children, and I know the current research, and my experience tells me that you may be setting yourself and your daughter for troubled times ahead. I hope this has been of some help to you.


Thanks for your opinion. My standards are admittedly much higher than most everyone I know, with one possible exception. A friend of mine has 7 daughters, from age 10 to college age. They all wear long loose dresses down to their ankles, and they keep their heads covered with scarves. No makeup or jewelry of any kind. My friend is Catholic, and has raised them in his Catholic faith. His daughters are some of the most confident, happy, and intelligent girls I have ever met. So, it seems to be working well for him. I have my own standards, which are not quite as strict as his, but I like how my children are doing thus far.

My parents are always expressing the same concerns as you. Yet on the other hand they are constantly telling me how great my kids are, and how happy they seem. Well, there is a correlation between firm discipline, high standards, abundant love and affection, and happy, successful children. The world will tell you otherwise, but I don't let the world tell me how to raise my children.

If I ever notice my children becoming less happy or showing signs of rebellion, then I will not automatically assume that it's the result of my high standards or strict morals. Instead, my first instinct will be to try to spend more quality time with them and shower them with more affection and encouragement. Discipline and strictness without love, time, and affection will almost always result in rebellion. And the same is true with a Laissez Faire approach. If you think that you will prevent rebellion by allowing your kids to "do their own thing," but you neglect to invest time and affection, then they will probably still rebel.

Finally, we must understand that there are numerous sick people in our society who are child sexual predators. What? Should I allow my little five year old to dress like Brittany Spears and then justify it by saying, "Well if someone lusts after a five year old, then that's their problem not mine"? God forbid that I should be so unconcerned about my child's safety and welfare! Our society is full of naive parents who unintentionally offer their children up as prey for the pedophiles. I shall do my best not make this mistake.

Again, I thank for your opinion. I know you mean well.

Selam
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« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2009, 08:52:53 AM »

Quote from: Gebre Menfes Kidus
My standards are admittedly much higher than most everyone I know
I for one do not consider strictness to be the same as high standards. One can have high standards without being strict, and one can strictly require low standards. In addition, all of the standards you have mentioned regard only the outward appearance; you have said nothing about how you expect your daughter to behave (much more important, in my opinion). Nor do you mention anything about boys. It is possible that you do not have sons, but if you do, are you as concerned about their dress? After all, research shows that sexual predators are more likely to abuse boys than girls. And are you concerned about members of your family? Children are most likely to be sexually abused by a family member. See, I just don't see that your fears are rooted in reality, and I am concerned that your daughter will begin to see this more clearly as she grows up.

Quote
If you think that you will prevent rebellion by allowing your kids to "do their own thing," but you neglect to invest time and affection, then they will probably still rebel.
I never said that. What I said was that you may be setting yourself up for hardship later on. Rebellion is a natural part of the teenage years, brought on by a desire for independence which is essential to functioning as an adult. Teenagers will rebel, full stop. It's biological. But you do not need to make it worse through emotional repression.

Anyway, as I say, to each his own. I hope it works out well for you, for your children's sake.
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