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Author Topic: Apostasy  (Read 10549 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 16, 2007, 09:40:39 AM »

I've split this topic from the original thread, "Orthodox Name"

http://www.orthodox.ws/forum/index.php/topic,13084.0.html

in order to allow continued discussion on Apostasy and how to bring people back into the Church.  This is not intended to be a smear thread on any poster, nor a place for idle gossip.  I've modified this post, in that I posted the full original post in the quotation box below rather than just the snippet that was originally there, so people can see the full post that led to this discussion.

If you feel this action is misguided or harmful, please PM me.

- Cleveland, Global Moderator.


I recently converted to Islam, so I won't be baptized in the Orthodox Church. My fiancee is being baptized in the Antiochian Orthodox Church on Friday (depending on how the priest is feeling - he's on chemotherapy), and hopefully insha'Allah we are getting married on Friday too (before the baptism). However, this priest told my fiancee that she could keep her name (Seeta) and add the Orthodox name Maria to it, becoming "Seeta Maria". However, Seeta is the name of a Hindu "goddess", so that would mean that it would be totally forbidden in Orthodoxy (to my knowledge). This priest has done some things in the past that aren't Orthodox, such as sending me to a Roman Catholic priest for confession, allowing me (a catechumen) and a Roman Catholic to serve at the altar, not using the proper catechumen service, etc. Is he wrong again on this, because the name is that of a Hindu goddess, or can she still be Seeta?

I know that some saints had names of pagan gods, but my understanding is that they were martyred before they could receive baptism and take a new name.
So does that mean you will kill your wife on Friday night since she will be converting to Christianity? Isn't that what the Qur'an commands, that you personally stone her for that action.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 07:18:54 PM by cleveland » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 09:49:05 AM »

P.S. - If I may ask ... How did you get from this:

Quote
The Muslims have a stand outside the cafeteria with Islamic literature and books about their false "prophet" Mohammed (may he roast in hell) to lead people into their evil religion. It occured to me yesterday "These Muslims are spreading their lies, but what are we Orthodox Christians doing to spread the true faith of Holy Orthodoxy? Absolutely nothing!"
 

Which you posted HERE on August 13, 2007 to recently converting to Islam in just two short months?
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 09:52:59 AM »

Seeta's name is the least of your problems (in fact, it is not a problem at all).
You have renounced Christ- I think that's a bigger problem. Considering that 2 months ago you were trying to convert Muslims to Christianity at your University ( http://www.orthodox.ws/forum/index.php/topic,12505.msg169851.html#msg169851 ), I have come to the conclusion that you are what I call a "Spiritual Tourist". Only, you've done more damage to yourself than most. The salvation of those born into the Islamic Faith is in the hands of God, but you, a Christian, have publicly renounced Christ. You have denied Him before men. You are lost. You are the most wretched of all souls, and I have worked in Prisons.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2007, 10:03:09 AM »

I would say that we should be compassionate to Scott and not take what he says as an indication of what he ultimately believes or where he stands because he could change again. Something else in his life is causing him to hop around so instead of batting at the symptoms (hopping around) he needs to address the root. We can't help him in that since we don't know him so I suggest we simply ignore any attempted provocations on his part and also answer his questions succinctly without indulging too much in idle chatter about Holy Things.
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2007, 10:20:48 AM »

Something else in his life is causing him to hop around so
Tough cheddar. We've all got problems. We've all got stressors. All of us, each one of us, must take responsibility for what we say. There are no "idle words"- we will be held to account for everything we have said. It doesn't matter what's "behind" what he's said, the fact is, he's said it, and said it publicly. The Thief was saved with one sentence: "Lord, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom", and Judas was lost with one sentence “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?”
I will not have mercy on him, and nor will God unless he takes responsibility for what he has done. I refuse to molly-coddle him.
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2007, 10:37:34 AM »

I will not have mercy on him, and nor will God unless he takes responsibility for what he has done. I refuse to molly-coddle him.

These two sentences make me very sad.  You do not know, nor can you  know, the state of his soul or even his innermost thoughts.  Charity demands that we treat one another (even those who do not believe) with kindness.  If you have no mercy in your heart you should expect to receive none yourself.  "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Those are not idle words and Christ never said to forgive only those who "deserve" it.

I think that such harsh condemnation and such a overwhelming lack of charity is unlikely to help anyone.  Not the OP, not others who read this thread and certainly not yourself.

We have been asked a question and while it is true that his fiancee's name is the least of the issues at hand I think we would do better to discuss this in a kind tone rather than hellfire and damnation (which you seem all to willing to call down on another).

In Christ,
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2007, 10:46:28 AM »

It is true that what MichaelArchangelos has done is a huge concern, for he has denied Christ.

However, although this grieves me, so does the statement made that mercy cannot be extended to him.

I cannot order people what to do, or what not to do. I can only try to love, and while I am confined by my humanity I can only try to love boundlessly in pale imitation of our Lord.

Therefore, I think the best way to approach this is to love MA, even though most of us will not accept what he has done. Let him ask his questions, and through the love we extend to him by our answers this Truth will help draw him back, as long as he chooses to love in return...for love is on our side, yes?
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2007, 10:49:45 AM »

Those are not idle words and Christ never said to forgive only those who "deserve" it.
Here is what Christ actually said:
"Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matt 10:33)

I think that such harsh condemnation and such a overwhelming lack of charity is unlikely to help anyone.
Again, Christ said:
"Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matt 10:33)

In Christ,
Do you mean the same Christ Who said:
"Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matt 10:33)?

Call it "tough love", but I love Scott too- enough to want to try and make him see the gravity of what he has done.
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2007, 10:50:24 AM »

These two sentences make me very sad.  You do not know, nor can you  know, the state of his soul or even his innermost thoughts.  Charity demands that we treat one another (even those who do not believe) with kindness.  If you have no mercy in your heart you should expect to receive none yourself.  "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Those are not idle words and Christ never said to forgive only those who "deserve" it.

I think that such harsh condemnation and such a overwhelming lack of charity is unlikely to help anyone.  Not the OP, not others who read this thread and certainly not yourself.

We have been asked a question and while it is true that his fiancee's name is the least of the issues at hand I think we would do better to discuss this in a kind tone rather than hellfire and damnation (which you seem all to willing to call down on another).

In Christ,

Not that I want to belabor this point anymore, but ozgeorge is one of the more pastoral people you'll meet on this site.  But apostasy, which is the leaving of the faith after having been in it, is very serious.  And apostasy to a religion which actively persecutes our own is worse on a human level.  Having full knowledge of the Truth and then rejecting it is the sin of the pharisees - and Christ, the above-merciful God, calls them whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones, and broods of vipers.  One must be careful - rejection of the Spirit is called the "unforgivable sin," precisely because it leads one not to repent; only in asking forgiveness can we find it, and only in seeking repentance can we be blessed with it.

So don't think that George says what he does with a light heart or an eager disposition; he probably has neither.  But one must be made aware of the serious consequences of their actions, because everything that we do in life, no matter how small, impacts us and the people around us.
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2007, 10:51:21 AM »

Now OzGeorge, if I'd been damned to hell for all the thoughtless and naive things I'd done as a 22 yo, I never would have gotten my head on straight eventually.

Michael - If you ever find yourself, the triune God will forgive anything (though I doubt your new friends will be so understanding).  But please, if you desire a peaceful and happy marriage, don't drag your fiancee through your spiritual flip-flopping.  If you really love her and if Islam is as understanding and accomodating as you believe, you would not put her spiritual life at risk until you have matured in whatever new faith you finally decide to follow.  
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2007, 10:52:04 AM »

ozgeorge,

Clearly this is not the place to continue this discussion as I believe it can only harm the OP and anyone reading such uncharitable conversation.  Thus I am declining any further participation.

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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2007, 10:59:14 AM »

all the thoughtless and naive things I'd done as a 22 yo,
Tina, may the sins of our youth be forgiven, but how can they be if we renounce, deny and reject Him Who takes away the sins of the world?
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2007, 11:03:58 AM »

Tina, may the sins of our youth be forgiven, but how can they be if we renounce, deny and reject Him Who takes away the sins of the world?

Because even those who renounce Christ and reject Him can (and are) led back to Him.  It happens.  I know because it happened to me.  We cannot know what is in his heart or where he will be 2 months from now, let alone 2 decades from now.   And the truth is that if he repents and comes back to Christ, he will be forgiven even this most grievous sin. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2007, 11:09:07 AM »

And the truth is that if he repents and comes back to Christ, he will be forgiven even this most grievous sin. 
I know. Which is why I am calling him to repentance by making him see the gravity of what he has done by renouncing Christ.
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2007, 11:14:22 AM »

I know. Which is why I am calling him to repentance by making him see the gravity of what he has done by renouncing Christ.

I guess, having been close to Scott's position twice in my life, I cannot see that being cruel is going to be the way to bring him back to the Church.  I guess I just prefer to follow Fr. Chris' advice.  I don't generally "get" the idea of so-called tough love.  It often to me seems to be an excuse for cruelty and the venting of anger.
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2007, 11:16:57 AM »

I guess, having been close to Scott's position twice in my life, I cannot see that being cruel is going to be the way to bring him back to the Church.  I guess I just prefer to follow Fr. Chris' advice.  I don't generally "get" the idea of so-called tough love.  It often to me seems to be an excuse for cruelty and the venting of anger. 

Not that I want to belabor this point anymore, but ozgeorge is one of the more pastoral people you'll meet on this site.  But apostasy, which is the leaving of the faith after having been in it, is very serious.  And apostasy to a religion which actively persecutes our own is worse on a human level.  Having full knowledge of the Truth and then rejecting it is the sin of the pharisees - and Christ, the above-merciful God, calls them whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones, and broods of vipers.  One must be careful - rejection of the Spirit is called the "unforgivable sin," precisely because it leads one not to repent; only in asking forgiveness can we find it, and only in seeking repentance can we be blessed with it.

So don't think that George says what he does with a light heart or an eager disposition; he probably has neither.  But one must be made aware of the serious consequences of their actions, because everything that we do in life, no matter how small, impacts us and the people around us.
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2007, 11:18:25 AM »

I recently converted to Islam, so I won't be baptized in the Orthodox Church.
Assalaamu alaykum, ya akhi. With no judgements whatsoever, I would be very interested to hear your story/reasons of conversion.  Since I was a practicing Muslim for almost ten years, I will probably be able to identify with you on this issue perhaps a little more than others. PM me if you're uncomfortable in a public setting.

 Fi' aman Allah,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2007, 11:27:24 AM »

Tina, may the sins of our youth be forgiven, but how can they be if we renounce, deny and reject Him Who takes away the sins of the world?

Oh I certainly see your point and I can almost agree with your feelings on this issue.  One harder, more cynical part of me says, yup he's fodder for demons, but then I feel compelled by the broader mercy of God to say he's not entirely lost.  If St. Paul could find glorification after his persecution of Christians, there has to be hope for even the most virulent atheist, muslim or heretic, or even a mixed-up kid who's searching for truth somewhere (provided they find the truth before their time is up.)  

I'm getting too old to remember the idealism of youth and how mis-guided it can be when you don't have the perspective of experience.  And everyday by my words and actions I deny Christ, so I have to be careful I don't step in front of a bus before I've had a chance to repent.
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2007, 11:27:53 AM »

I don't generally "get" the idea of so-called tough love.
Here is an example of it from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
"A brother said to Abba Anthony: 'Pray for me.' The old man said to him: 'I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God."

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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2007, 11:31:28 AM »

What a tragedy! I know what George wrote is very frank, but we must be frank when the stakes are as high as they are here, in this matter of apostasy.

Michael, you are in my prayers.

I would suggest that Islam and Christianity are so incompatible that these kinds of mixed marriages never work without one converting to the other's faith. Seriously consider whether it is a wise thing to go through with this right now. Allow more time for spiritual reflection.

May God have mercy on us all.
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2007, 11:32:43 AM »

Here is an example of it from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:
"A brother said to Abba Anthony: 'Pray for me.' The old man said to him: 'I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God."



Whatever you say, ozgeorge.  Again though, I will prefer to err on the side of charity and follow the advice of Fr. Chris.  I am neither Jesus Christ nor a Church Father and I feel myself inadequate to the task of judging someone's eternal fate.  Preferring to offer them love and truth in kindness and pray for them.

You can condemn all the people you feel comfortable condemning.  Fortunately I am not bound to agree with you.
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2007, 11:35:15 AM »

You can condemn all the people you feel comfortable condemning. 
He has condemned himself. I'm just pointing that out.

Fortunately I am not bound to agree with you.
That's OK.
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2007, 11:42:28 AM »

Well, Gabriel, this is what he has written on his MuslimSpace profile:

I'm a new revert to Islam from Christianity. I had investigated Islam in 2004, but was then baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in October 2005. I was received as a catechumen in the Eastern Orthodox Church in November 2006, and finally found my way back to Islam in 2007 through Islam Awareness Week at university. I studied Islam again for a few weeks and then took the Shahadah on Friday 21 September 2007.

You can read his whole story on his blog. This is part three, which tells of his most recent turn to Islam:

http://muslimspace.com/JibriilScott/blog/18454

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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2007, 11:49:10 AM »

I had investigated Islam in 2004, but was then baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in October 2005.
Hmmmm... Renounced his Baptismal Promises after only 2 years....
There's fidelity for you......
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2007, 12:00:39 PM »

He has condemned himself. I'm just pointing that out.

By MA's words at this very moment, but would you agree it is not a binding, irrevocable condemnation, if he at some point repents?
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2007, 12:48:33 PM »

This clears some things up.

Seeta, however, was quite upset when she heard about my conversion. I had told her that I would wait until exams are over to convert, and that I would convert just before I married her in an Islamic ceremony. However, I convinced Seeta to come to the mosque with me, and I let Melissa comfort her. After the Tarawih prayer, Seeta and I had a long conversation with Dr. Ghazi, where he explained Islam to Seeta. He showed her the absurdity of the Trinity and how Jesus (عليه سلام) was a human being. We talked long into the night, and Dr. Ghazi told Seeta that if she died in the state she was now, she would go to hell. At around 2am, Seeta placed her hand on the Qur’an and declared the Shahadah. She took the name Saliha.

We then went to the mosque kitchen to have some food for our suhuur (pre-dawn) meal. Saliha didn’t eat a lot, and Dr. Ghazi told her that she must eat more, because as a Muslimah, she now was obliged to fast. She didn’t eat more, and the next day, she told me that fasting was really hard. She is very thin, almost anorexic, and her stomach has shrunk a lot, so she can’t hold a lot of food. When she broke her fast, she couldn’t eat a lot and she felt quite sick. I rang her the next morning when I had my suhuur meal, and she told me that she couldn’t fast and that she didn’t want to be Muslim. I told her I would ask Dr. Ghazi about the fasting, and I asked her to still be Muslim. However, later that day, she told me that she wanted to be an Orthodox Christian again, and she renounced Islam. I later found out that she had been in contact with Joanna, who hates Islam and believes that the Qur’an is from Satan. Seeta and I agreed that we can still get married, and that our children will be raised as Muslims, they will not be baptized and the only religion they will learn is Islam.

I ask any Muslim who reads this to make du’a to Allah to guide Seeta back to Islam.


http://muslimspace.com/JibriilScott/blog/18454
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« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2007, 01:19:12 PM »

This clears some things up.

Seeta, however, was quite upset when she heard about my conversion. I had told her that I would wait until exams are over to convert, and that I would convert just before I married her in an Islamic ceremony. However, I convinced Seeta to come to the mosque with me, and I let Melissa comfort her. After the Tarawih prayer, Seeta and I had a long conversation with Dr. Ghazi, where he explained Islam to Seeta. He showed her the absurdity of the Trinity and how Jesus (عليه سلام) was a human being. We talked long into the night, and Dr. Ghazi told Seeta that if she died in the state she was now, she would go to hell. At around 2am, Seeta placed her hand on the Qur’an and declared the Shahadah. She took the name Saliha.

We then went to the mosque kitchen to have some food for our suhuur (pre-dawn) meal. Saliha didn’t eat a lot, and Dr. Ghazi told her that she must eat more, because as a Muslimah, she now was obliged to fast. She didn’t eat more, and the next day, she told me that fasting was really hard. She is very thin, almost anorexic, and her stomach has shrunk a lot, so she can’t hold a lot of food. When she broke her fast, she couldn’t eat a lot and she felt quite sick. I rang her the next morning when I had my suhuur meal, and she told me that she couldn’t fast and that she didn’t want to be Muslim. I told her I would ask Dr. Ghazi about the fasting, and I asked her to still be Muslim. However, later that day, she told me that she wanted to be an Orthodox Christian again, and she renounced Islam. I later found out that she had been in contact with Joanna, who hates Islam and believes that the Qur’an is from Satan. Seeta and I agreed that we can still get married, and that our children will be raised as Muslims, they will not be baptized and the only religion they will learn is Islam.

I ask any Muslim who reads this to make du’a to Allah to guide Seeta back to Islam.


http://muslimspace.com/JibriilScott/blog/18454

I see that when he wrote this text he felt the same way about Islam as we feel about Orthodoxy. The fact that he hasn´t himself volunteered this information on this forum makes me abstain from further comments but personally I feel like praying for them both.
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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2007, 01:40:52 PM »

I feel like praying for them both.

Best course of action at this point.  Our friend hasn't been online since just after the 2nd post (1st reply) in this thread, so our hashing it out is only for ourselves at this point.  But we should definitely pray for him, regardless of our position or plan for reconciling him to the Truth.
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2007, 04:10:02 PM »

Seeta's name is the least of your problems (in fact, it is not a problem at all).
You have renounced Christ- I think that's a bigger problem. Considering that 2 months ago you were trying to convert Muslims to Christianity at your University ( http://www.orthodox.ws/forum/index.php/topic,12505.msg169851.html#msg169851 ), I have come to the conclusion that you are what I call a "Spiritual Tourist".

Well, from his blog, it seems that he went from non-believer to Wiccan to Hindu to Hare Krishna to brief flirts with Judaism and Islam to Catholicism to Feeneyite Catholicism to Orthodoxy to True Believer Orthodoxy to Islam. As St. Thomas More says to the alternating Torquemada-Luther figure William Roper in Robert Bolton's A Man for All Seasons, "We must pray that when your head stops spinning your face is to the front again!"
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2007, 04:31:46 PM »

I am quite concerned about Seeta.  From the passage that MA wrote she was taken to people with only one point of view and talked at for a long time and late at night and, imho, worn down to agree with them. 

" We talked long into the night, and Dr. Ghazi told Seeta that if she died in the state she was now, she would go to hell."

That is intimidation and fear, not belief. Sad

"She is very thin, almost anorexic, "  That is not a description of a happy secure young woman, taken along with other things that he wrote. 

I am concerned about MA as well, but is *this* what one does with a person whom one loves and is planning to marry?  I've seen enough cases of like this in my 51 years that it's setting off alarms.

Yet, *WHY* has Michael/Scott asked this question on, from what I"ve seen, 3 different EO fora?  What could he be looking for?  Sometimes the "why" is important, I think.

Ebor 
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2007, 04:38:27 PM »

Ebor - very good points.
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2007, 05:26:10 PM »

I am quite concerned about Seeta.  From the passage that MA wrote she was taken to people with only one point of view and talked at for a long time and late at night and, imho, worn down to agree with them. 
" We talked long into the night, and Dr. Ghazi told Seeta that if she died in the state she was now, she would go to hell."
That is intimidation and fear, not belief. Sad
"She is very thin, almost anorexic, "  That is not a description of a happy secure young woman, taken along with other things that he wrote. 
I am concerned about MA as well, but is *this* what one does with a person whom one loves and is planning to marry?
Muslim men abusing women? Who'd have thunk it?  Roll Eyes

Yet, *WHY* has Michael/Scott asked this question on, from what I"ve seen, 3 different EO fora?  What could he be looking for?  Sometimes the "why" is important, I think.
When someone commits murder-suicide, the "why" is irrelevant.
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2007, 05:51:52 PM »

When someone commits murder-suicide, the "why" is irrelevant.

Actually it is most most relevant.  Don't you think there are some deeper issues involved when someone has dramatically shifted between three religions in a very short span of time?  And the likelihood that this last decision is going to last for any length of time is slim. 
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2007, 05:56:24 PM »

From his blog on his early life:

Quote
In fact, to this very day, my father remains an atheist. My mother had been brought up in the Presbyterian Church, but she never went to church and didn't seem to follow the faith.
http://muslimspace.com/JibriilScott/blog/18452

His father disappears after this point.  He doesn't seem to know him that well.
Also, he listens to his mother's instructions but thinks whatever he wants.  This is dangerous for any child.
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« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2007, 05:59:11 PM »

By MA's words at this very moment, but would you agree it is not a binding, irrevocable condemnation, if he at some point repents?
Let's see what the Scriptures have to say:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. " (Hebrews 6:4-6)

The Church has decreed that those who apostasize can indeed be received back after a period of repentance (Canons 8, 10, and 14 of Nicea), however repentance from apostasy is rare and extremely difficult. The Scriptures have several accounts of people who apostasized, but not one of them is recorded as having returned to the Church. For example, look at the example of Demas. Demas was a fellow labourer with St. Paul in his ministry:
"Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you." (Colossians 4:14)
"Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers." (Philemon 23-24)
Yet by the time St. Paul writes to Timothy, we learn:
"for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia." (2 Timothy 4:10)
 
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« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2007, 07:26:52 PM »

I'm going to follow my first inclination, and that is to lock the thread for the moment.  It seems like it is a thread revolving too much around a person and his personal life, which we try to stay away from (a la Matthew).  I'll discuss it with the mods and, if they think I'm being unreasonable, we'll unlock it.  Sorry folks.

If you think I am erring in my locking of the thread, please PM me.  I appreciate the input.

- Cleveland, Global Moderator


This was my original moderatorial note in this thread, which I left in the old one.

This thread is now unlocked - but with a short leash.  Please limit discussion to the approach needed to bring Apostates back into the faith, the meaning of Apostasy, and its consequences.  If you wish personal dialog with MichaelArchangelos about his particular situation, PM him.
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« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2007, 11:49:43 PM »

Whatever you say, ozgeorge.  Again though, I will prefer to err on the side of charity and follow the advice of Fr. Chris.  I am neither Jesus Christ nor a Church Father and I feel myself inadequate to the task of judging someone's eternal fate.  Preferring to offer them love and truth in kindness and pray for them.

You can condemn all the people you feel comfortable condemning.  Fortunately I am not bound to agree with you.
Would you call St. John the Forerunner unkind for rebuking Herod for his sins and for calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers?  Would you call Jesus unloving for telling the Pharisees they were like whitewashed tombs, full of the bones of dead men?  How do you not judge ozgeorge with such words as you have used for essentially doing the same thing?  Are you not implying that he's not qualified to proclaim the same deadly serious call to repent?

If someone is about to walk off a cliff and fall 100 feet or more to his death, do you use words that appear kind in their soft and gentle tone to encourage that someone to make an about face?  Do you keep silent for fear that you're not qualified to speak out?  HEAVENS NO!  You shout as loudly and urgently as you can, and with no regard for your authority to do so, to warn the person of where he's headed, and you command him to turn around immediately.  This is what I see ozgeorge doing.
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« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2007, 12:24:23 AM »

Quote
How do you not judge ozgeorge with such words as you have used for essentially doing the same thing?  Are you not implying that he's not qualified to proclaim the same deadly serious call to repent?

I think it is insanity that any poster on this board would be compared with Christ Himself or even the saints.  These are the moral and pastoral guidance that ought to be left to those whom God has entrusted - namely the clergy.  The point where most lay people are at, really doesn't give them the moral authority to do anything other than kindly state the obvious teaching of the Church (that conversion to Islam would be a grave situation) and to offer our prayers. 

Quote
If someone is about to walk off a cliff and fall 100 feet or more to his death, do you use words that appear kind in their soft and gentle tone to encourage that someone to make an about face?  Do you keep silent for fear that you're not qualified to speak out?

Depends.  I'd attempt to communicate to the person in a manner in which they are likely to understand, rather than a manner that makes me feel smug about myself- full well knowing that I am doing nothing to help - just to see them fall off anyway. 

These types of people are a regular side show on the Orthodox convert scene.  Multiple ones have been through here and the ecafe.  I've seen my share go through the parishes that I have attended.  We know the type: say Roman Catholic to SSPX, to ROAC to ROCOR to Mathewites to SCOBA to whatever is next all in a span of 18 months or so.  Other examples of a once true believer Orthodox person now spouting off like a fundamentalist convinced of atheism.  These people that are making MAJOR religious changes every few months are not afraid of some message board poster telling them they are going to hell - in fact they probably relish it, it just gets them more excited about their new found hobby. 
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« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2007, 12:40:46 AM »

I think it is insanity that any poster on this board would be compared with Christ Himself or even the saints.
How am I making that comparison?

Quote
These are the moral and pastoral guidance that ought to be left to those whom God has entrusted - namely the clergy.  The point where most lay people are at, really doesn't give them the moral authority to do anything other than kindly state the obvious teaching of the Church (that conversion to Islam would be a grave situation) and to offer our prayers.
How is ozgeorge doing anything more than this?

Quote
Depends.  I'd attempt to communicate to the person in a manner in which they are likely to understand, rather than a manner that makes me feel smug about myself- full well knowing that I am doing nothing to help - just to see them fall off anyway.
And how are you able to discern that ozgeorge is offering his call to repentance merely so he can feel smug about himself?

Quote
These types of people are a regular side show on the Orthodox convert scene.  Multiple ones have been through here and the ecafe.  I've seen my share go through the parishes that I have attended.  We know the type: say Roman Catholic to SSPX, to ROAC to ROCOR to Mathewites to SCOBA to whatever is next all in a span of 18 months or so.  Other examples of a once true believer Orthodox person now spouting off like a fundamentalist convinced of atheism.  These people that are making MAJOR religious changes every few months are not afraid of some message board poster telling them they are going to hell - in fact they probably relish it, it just gets them more excited about their new found hobby. 
Yeah, I know what you mean.  As far as the specific situation addressed earlier in this thread, I'm not sure how much we can really call it apostasy.  Can we call someone an apostate from Orthodox Christianity if one has not yet been received into Communion with the Orthodox Church?  Even for those who have been baptized, chrismated, and communed, only God knows how thoroughly each one of them has incorporated the Faith into their own lives and how culpable they really are of apostasy.  Many of our canons regarding apostasy were drafted to determine how our bishops were to respond to those who had denied Christ in the face of deadly persecution, something that most of our "apostates" have never faced--if anything, apostasy NOT motivated by persecution is possibly even worse, since such a one cannot use the excuse of "I did it to save my [physical] life."
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« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2007, 01:05:57 AM »

How am I making that comparison?

You said: "Would you call St. John the Forerunner unkind for rebuking Herod for his sins and for calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers?  Would you call Jesus unloving for telling the Pharisees they were like whitewashed tombs, full of the bones of dead men? ... This is what I see ozgeorge doing."

Quote
How is ozgeorge doing anything more than this?
And how are you able to discern that ozgeorge is offering his call to repentance merely so he can feel smug about himself?

It isn't just George in this thread.  On of the first responses from Arimethea was a snide remark about Islam.  George said "Muslim men abusing women? Who'd have thunk it?  " (The insert quote thing where it links to the post isn't working right, otherwise I'd use that).  At least from my perspective that looks like nothing more than taking cheap shots for one's own pleasure rather than anything constructive.  To first remark, I'd point out that the Christian God seems to like human sacrifice (see Judges 11:30-39) and while many Islamic societies have serious problems in their treatment of women - domestic violence, male alcoholism and other problems causing great turmoil for women are prevalent in certain Orthodox societies (even those undergoing some proclaimed great religious revival).  My point here - cheap shots are easily spun around and will likely have no value at all in convincing somebody of something.   

Quote
Yeah, I know what you mean.  As far as the specific situation addressed earlier in this thread, I'm not sure how much we can really call it apostasy.  Can we call someone an apostate from Orthodox Christianity if one has not yet been received into Communion with the Orthodox Church?  Even for those who have been baptized, chrismated, and communed, only God knows how thoroughly each one of them has incorporated the Faith into their own lives and how culpable they really are of apostasy.  Many of our canons regarding apostasy were drafted to determine how our bishops were to respond to those who had denied Christ in the face of deadly persecution, something that most of our "apostates" have never faced--if anything, apostasy NOT motivated by persecution is possibly even worse, since such a one cannot use the excuse of "I did it to save my [physical] life."

*Sigh*...obviously to someone who is changing between religions every few months (and between rigid forms thereof - i.e ones that condemn him to hell for such a switch) what you wrote above is entirely meaningless. 
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« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2007, 02:09:35 AM »

Someone who changes faiths as one would change clothing may have a bipolar disorder or another mental illness.
I have seen a close family member, who is bipolar, swing in many directions over the years on a variety of issues and beliefs.

Just another thought.... Undecided
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« Reply #41 on: October 18, 2007, 07:13:39 AM »

Spiritual Tourists.....It would have been much better for them had they never heard the Gospel, than to hear it and make promises to Christ only to break them later.
I'm starting to think we should extend the catechumenate for adult converts to a minimum of 5 years rather than months to weed out the Spiritual Tourists. If they still hang around after 5 years, let them be received. That way, when difficulties arise later on, they are far less likely to go running back to whence they came like a dog returning to it's own vomit. Orthodox Christianity is a Way of Being- not something one can "take a break from" whenever one feels like it. Those received into the Church make clear and public promises to Christ, and they should be held as accountable as anyone who declares a promise to God publicly.
I wish laity would take their Baptismal promises as seriously as they expect clergy and monastics to take their public promises to God.
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« Reply #42 on: October 18, 2007, 08:43:41 AM »

Oh, my.

First off, of course what Jibriil (out of respect I tend to call people what they want to be called) did is objectively wrong: apostasy indeed.

Second, I agree he's immature and unstable (given his youth and track record I agree this conversion won't last) - I won't try a dime-store diagnosis at a distance but suffice it to say he's young. Having been online for 13 years I've seen this pathology play out repeatedly.

That said, there's the third point. Before one attacks him consider that in good Western Catholic moral theology there are three criteria for a mortal sin, grave matter, sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. All we can judge is the first; as for the other two literally God only knows.

Fourth, I wrote recently when OC.net members faced losing family or friends over changing churches that a former friend, someone I considered family, turned on me and lied about it three years after I made such a change, and ended up saying to me many of the things thrown at Jibriil here. Needless to say it didn't endear this person's church to me. Ironically I love that church even though I'm not a member - in spite of people like him.

Fifth, I agree with Ebor that Seeta is being bullied and brainwashed.

Sixth, isn't it interesting that Jibriil is a convert 'spiritual tourist' and Seeta IIRC a born Muslim? Isn't that the way of it much of the time? Like with RCs and Orthodox - wonderful born members offline, lots of crazies online.

Seventh, we can't control Jibriil's life but one can read his testimony and see how the failings of Christians contributed to his decision: members of true-believer splinter sects adding to this young man's confusion.

I don't think an Orthodox priest in good standing would send one of his catechumens to an RC priest for confession and absolution! Counselling perhaps. There are respected priests of that kind, fine Christians, who wouldn't try to steal prospective Orthodox or other Christian sheep. So IMO no problem, if that's what it was.

Great St Thomas More quotation, lubeltri.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2007, 08:44:22 AM by The young fogey » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: October 18, 2007, 08:57:24 AM »

Just an interjection---can one reject Christ who has never accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior?  As a catechumen one may be a student on route to the knowledge and understanding of Christ but if one leaves the catechumenate unbaptized, can they be termed an Apostate?

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« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2007, 08:58:06 AM »

Would you call St. John the Forerunner unkind for rebuking Herod for his sins and for calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers?  Would you call Jesus unloving for telling the Pharisees they were like whitewashed tombs, full of the bones of dead men?  How do you not judge ozgeorge with such words as you have used for essentially doing the same thing?  Are you not implying that he's not qualified to proclaim the same deadly serious call to repent?

Big surprise here ...  I think there is  HUGE difference between St. John the Baptist and any poster here.  There is an even larger difference between Jesus Christ and any one poster here.  I further believe that the great and holy saints, not to mention our Lord, can "get away" with things that the laity should never say.

I also think that there is a huge difference between St. John and Jesus facing the Pharisees and calling them to repentance and the full discharge and living of their calling and vocation as religious leaders and what ozgeorge said to an obviously unstable young man that he doesn't know.

Last I checked I am entitled to hold my own opinion.  And yes, perhaps I am implying that he (and everyone else here) is not "qualified" to issue a call to repent in such a tone as he used.

Maybe Jesus can judge the souls of others and speak to them in such a way as to deny them mercy and charity.  But I am not Jesus and I cannot presume to know.

I can also say that as someone who was baptized as an infant, raised in a Protestant house and chose atheism for many years of my young adult life all of the hellfire and damnation yelling of those who wished to show me the error of my ways did nothing to bring me back to a belief in God.  I simply do not believe that anyone should ever speak in such a way to someone they do not know.

You don't have to like my opinion, nor I yours.

But since the OP hasn't been back since ozgeorge's "call to repentance" it would seem that such harsh treatment was unhelpful in this situation.
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