Author Topic: Help! What should I do, if anything?  (Read 2036 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Help! What should I do, if anything?
« on: October 16, 2007, 10:15:03 PM »
Hey y'all,

 I have a religion professor who continually makes comments about how the Catholic church 'invented' the concept of the Holy Trinity.  He also makes other antagonistic remarks like, "The Bible says 'No Graven Images' yet many Christians go right ahead do whatever the hell they want.  When we get to Christianity, I'm debating on whether or not I should engage him on his assertions or just let them slide?  I feel as though I should say something... It seems as if he's got some issues and his knowledge on the Eastern Churches are virtually nil. Thanks in advance.  :)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 10:24:04 PM by Jibrail Almuhajir »
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline BrotherAidan

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,568
  • OC.net
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 10:45:41 PM »
Perhaps you could approach him privately and kindly inform him that there is another whole Church that is generally not widely known in the west

You might mention that the Greek (separate yourself from the Latin Church at this point) Fathers did indeed use some language and philosohical categories of Greek thought to define the trinitarian revelations they encountered in Jesus' life and ministry
but that that they did not coldly "invent" that doctrine so much as hammer it out to define what they experienced in the gospels. Also that it took several ecumenical councils to get it right.
So you could say, in one sense you are agreeing with him on the process, in one sense you are disagreeing with the conclusion he draws.

[sometimes not reacting and approaching someone like this who is caustic in trying to evoke a reaction may get the person to actually re-think their position]


Regarding the no graven images you might mention that it is lengthy to explain but that the 7th ecumenical council dealt with precisely this issue. Briefly explain the iconoclasts. Briefly explain that the incarnation of the Son of God in Christian theology made the use of images acceptable because the human person of Christ, in Christian theology, is the image of the Father. So if a man could be God's image and likeness, so can icons - painted images.

(Don't sound like you are trying to convert him, only that, granted this aspect of Christian dogma, the other aspect follows. The approach would be that if one accepts this aspect of Christian dogma A, dogma B logically follows). You may personally disagree with dogma A (the incarnation). But those who believe it are not being inconsistent or hypocritical when they move on to dogma B (icons).

Don't debate... educate.

See, there are so many reactionary anti-Catholics and anti-Evangelicals out there; being Orthodox gives you a whole different platform for addressing some of these issues from outside their usual hang-ups and issues.

You gotta use that to your advantage. We are just exotic enough to make some of these skeptics accept us as an "eastern' religion and thereby unwittingly give Christianity another hearing.

Don't blow it with western style apologetics.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 10:49:45 PM by BrotherAidan »

Offline serb1389

  • Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
  • Global Moderator
  • Merarches
  • ******
  • Posts: 8,580
  • MichaĹ‚ Kalina's biggest fan
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2007, 07:32:54 AM »
I agree with BrotherAidan.  It sounds like your professor has taken a position against Catholicism, so distancing yourself away might be the best option. 

I would say that the approach he (BrotherAidan) layed out is very good. 

p.s. you should DEFINITELY say SOMETHING.  I would say that just the fact that you had a THOUGHT to say something, is inspired by God.  Most people wouldn't have cared...

I got nothing.
I forgot the maps
March 27th and May 30th 2010 were my Ordination dates, please forgive everything before that

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,382
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 08:04:01 AM »
Thanks BrotherAiden. Your post is some of the best advice I've seen here. I think its an excellent approach.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline pensateomnia

  • Bibliophylax
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,360
  • metron ariston
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 09:55:25 AM »
Or maybe just remind him that the very same God who commanded "no idols" in Exodus 20 also commanded Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 25 to make images of cherubim to adorn a liturgical vessel called The Ark of the Covenant. Obviously, the original command doesn't mean that ALL liturgical or religious images are banned -- only idols of foreign gods that one worships.

"Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upwards, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking towards the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the covenant, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites."
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 09:56:04 AM by pensateomnia »
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline admiralnick

  • Cardinal, Editor for Photogalleries
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,880
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 10:10:09 AM »
I confirm that Brother Aidan's theory is a good one, I've found from much PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that raising your hand in class and contradicting the professor in a firey discussion is not the best way to handle things. As one who has fought many professors, I only had one who listened to my opinion during my firey rage. So stay calm, stick to what you know and let the Holy Spirit guide the truth from your lips.

-Nick
The ORIGINAL: "NULL"

Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 10:48:38 AM »
This is not an answer to Gabriel's question, but, rather, a comment... I sometimes find it extremely difficult to deal with people who make it a goal of their life to shock and insult Christianity. Gabriel, if your professor is one of those types, then I am not sure that even kind private talking to him or your attempts to educate him will change anything. Maybe just stay away.
Love never fails.

Offline lubeltri

  • Latin Catholic layman
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,795
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 11:35:12 AM »
It also may not help that at the time your professor thinks the doctrine of the Trinity was "invented," the Greeks and Latins were all in the one Catholic Church. It's like the Da Vinci Code. I don't think the exotic allure of an Eastern flavor is something that will change his mind. Nicaea was a council composed mostly of Eastern bishops, after all. The Catholic Church in communion with Rome is just a bigger, more visible target.

You will just have to confront him with facts, though even that may not be enough. It often isn't---some people have an implacable, visceral, emotional hatred of Christianity, and it is of diabolical inspiration.


Offline Heorhij

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,576
    • Mississippi University for Women
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 11:52:08 AM »
some people have an implacable, visceral, emotional hatred of Christianity, and it is of diabolical inspiration.

Exactly...  :-[
Love never fails.

Offline Simayan

  • Site Supporter
  • High Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2007, 01:37:43 PM »
We are just exotic enough to make some of these skeptics accept us as an "eastern' religion and thereby unwittingly give Christianity another hearing.

That always seems to work for me :)

In response to your question, though, I would suggest talking to him in private.

Most people have never even heard of it, so when I bring it up to some insane History/English teacher, they sit down and shut about Christianity for the rest of the semester for fear of looking like a moron.

For example, my current English teacher (who is also an Episcopal priestess...) likes to lump all of Judeo-Christianity into one entity, preaching that all we care about is sin and damnation. Then she'll go off on a tangent such as: "What's very cool in Hinduism and Islam is that they teach about forgiveness and repentance."

For one, who the heck says "Very cool" in a semi-formal lecture when they're 45? And second, when has Islam shown to be a religion of forgiveness?

In her eyes, you're either a corrupt Catholic who pays for absolution of sins, or a snake-handling Evangelical wacko in the Bible Belt. I've been slowly introducing Orthodoxy into my writing pieces, yet she hasn't really caught on. I think I might have to have a private discussion with her soon, as well.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 01:39:43 PM by Simayan »
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."

Offline John of the North

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,533
  • Christ is Risen!
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2007, 03:03:42 PM »
It also may not help that at the time your professor thinks the doctrine of the Trinity was "invented," the Greeks and Latins were all in the one Catholic Church. It's like the Da Vinci Code. I don't think the exotic allure of an Eastern flavor is something that will change his mind. Nicaea was a council composed mostly of Eastern bishops, after all. The Catholic Church in communion with Rome is just a bigger, more visible target.

Maybe the point is not to change the prof's mind, but to take a stand for our beliefs.

Besides that, my definition of the "Catholic Church" is certainly not in communion with Rome! And although Rome may be a bigger, more visible target, that might also be due to the fact that outside of the Diaspora, the Orthodox church has suffered under distinctly hostile powers in many areas for centuries.

Of course all that is irrelevant, as the concept of the Holy Trinity is something that all Christians should defend.
"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

Offline lubeltri

  • Latin Catholic layman
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,795
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 03:17:12 PM »
Besides that, my definition of the "Catholic Church" is certainly not in communion with Rome!

That was why, out of respect, I made the distinction---otherwise I would have just said "Catholic Church," which is what we (i.e., those who are in communion with Rome) call ourselves.




Modified to clarify the meaning of the pronoun 'we'. Fr Chris
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 03:52:14 PM by FrChris »

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 05:59:10 PM »
These are some wonderful, wonderful ideas that I can use.  I knew I could count on y'all. ;)
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2007, 11:46:06 PM »
Well, here's an update.

I did speak with my prof about my concerns with his 'history' and 'knowledge' re: the Roman Catholics and Orthodox, Icons, and the Trinity.  He sort of dismissed me in a polite manner saying, "Yes, yes, I speaking of the Catholic Church as in the 'One Holy Catholic Church'.  I'm aware of the division between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches."  Now we're discussing Christianity in class and he's totally bashing us all, speaking only about the divisions and how Constantine brought this little upstart cult into the spotlight ONLY to unite the failing empire; not because he truly believed.

These things bother me, but what really bothers me is that at the beginning of each religion he said he'd be teaching about it as if he were a follower of said religion.  Now that we're talking about Christianity, he's totally veered from his original stand and only mocking us.  So my question now is- should I call him on this in public, private, or just forget about it altogether?  I have an A+ in the class so that's not holding me back.  I just don't want to miss an opportunity to totally humiliate him.  Just kidding. :D  I don't want to miss an opportunity to speak to him about Christ.

 In Christ,

 Gabriel
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 11:52:55 PM by Jibrail Almuhajir »
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Offline Rowan

  • Lurker, Writer, Science-lover, yada yada yada...
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 159
  • -- Defying Gravity --
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2007, 12:01:30 AM »
Sounds like he gets his history from TV  :P

I'd say, if you have a prepared answer, speak up during class: if for nothing else, for the sake of your classmates.

Pray pray pray! :)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:8; St Paul

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 38,934
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2007, 12:11:07 AM »
Or maybe just remind him that the very same God who commanded "no idols" in Exodus 20 also commanded Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 25 to make images of cherubim to adorn a liturgical vessel called The Ark of the Covenant. Obviously, the original command doesn't mean that ALL liturgical or religious images are banned -- only idols of foreign gods that one worships.

"Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upwards, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking towards the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the covenant, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites."

You might also mention that the ancient synagogues we have dug up include images (e.g. Dura Europas in Syria).  So the Jews couldn't have objected too much.

Of course the icons of the catacombs predate Constantine.

Further, on the muslim side of things, Islam had images up until around 60 years after the Hegira.  And according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad preserved an icon of the Theotokos and Our Lord in the Kaabah.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline GabrieltheCelt

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,014
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox OCA
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2007, 12:35:48 AM »
Further, on the muslim side of things, Islam had images up until around 60 years after the Hegira.  And according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad preserved an icon of the Theotokos and Our Lord in the Kaabah.
I told him about the icon in the Kaaba and he was surprised.  I also made him stammer a bit in class when, a few classes after he told us Muslims forbid images, he showed us a film on Islam that had hundreds of Turkish depictions of Muhammad and other notables.  I said, "Those were some nice images in the film."  He mumbled something about different sects. ::)  But I don't want to trip him up, otherwise I will have lost the real battle.  I think I might ask him why he dislikes Christianity so much and when he asks what I mean, I'll bring up what he said about teaching us as if he were a member of each religion.  This will give me an opportunity to maybe talk to him about Christ.  Thoughts? 
"The Scots-Irish; Brewed in Scotland, bottled in Ireland, uncorked in America."  ~Scots-Irish saying

Online scamandrius

  • Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,562
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek in exile
Re: Help! What should I do, if anything?
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2007, 02:13:19 PM »
I think I might ask him why he dislikes Christianity so much and when he asks what I mean, I'll bring up what he said about teaching us as if he were a member of each religion.  This will give me an opportunity to maybe talk to him about Christ.  Thoughts? 

Do you plan to do this during class or one-on-one?  Be careful.
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene