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theotokos
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« on: June 04, 2009, 07:36:15 AM »

Are icons used during a liturgy in a Greek Orthodox Church? If yes, what it is used for and does it tell us in the Holy Bible to use icons in a liturgy?
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2009, 08:16:26 AM »

The Bible tells us about the Good News (Gospel) of salvation. The Old Testament tells us of creation, the fall, sin, and God sending the Law and Prophets to show us our need to be restored to us. It tells us of Christ who was to come. The New Testament tells us of His Incarnation, ministry and the economy of our salvation. It contains epistles dealing with specific issues and proclaiming the Gospel. It is not a manual for how to be a Christian, and we insult it if we treat it as such. It is the proclamation of the faith, not a detailed instruction book. God speaks to us through the Bible, but is not the only way He speaks to us. During the 40 days He spent with His Apostles and Disciples between His Resurrection and Ascension, Christ taught them the inner life of the Church that complements the public proclamation of the Bible, including the Liturgy in it's earliest form. After the Holy Spirit came upon them in Pentecost, the Apostles understood all this and went out establishing churches as they were taught. All this did not need to be written down in the Bible, it was and is lived. The proof that the faith and liturgical life of the Orthodox Church is biblical is that it is the only system that fits perfectly with the Bible. Anyone who lives it will see this. Parts of the Bible that just didn't make sense under other systems are revealed in a beautiful unity when looked at from the Orthodox perspective. It can be further proved by any look at history. the Early church was liturgical, and icons used from the beginning. Either Christ failed in that the Church He established went astray right away after He Ascended, or this is how He chose to establish His Church. (obviously the latter)

As for icons, many object on the basis of the OT commandment not to make graven images. But God's instructions for how to make the Tabernacle included the cherubim on the ark, that is, depictions of the heavenly! Archaeology also indicates that there were many more holy images involved in Jewish worship. The commandment was about not worshiping images as God, not against any depictions.

Icons are used liturgically. They are carried in processions, they are venerated (bow before them), the are kissed. This can all seem like too much, like worship. But this is a cultural misunderstanding. If you observe a culture where it is perfectly normal to prostrate before someone if you have offended them, to kiss your parents hands out of respect, etc., suddenly these actions don't look like worship, but normal respect being paid to the icon, and to the saint or event present to us in the icon as would be paid to a parent or any fellow human being.
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 11:12:59 AM »

In 10 commandments it says
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

In orthodoxy we are worshiping the saints, isn't that wrong. I'm not trying to throw brown gooey stuff at orthodoxy don't get me wrong here, I'm just trying to learn what is wrong and right. Why do orthodox people worship saints if our Lord has told so "You shall not bow down to them or worship them"  Huh

Please refrain from using words that can not be said on US network television. This is the at least the second time that you have used this word and continued use of it can result in action against you.
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2009, 11:28:14 AM »

In orthodoxy we are worshiping the saints...
What exactly do you mean by the word "worship"?
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 11:35:23 AM »

What exactly do you mean by the word "worship"?
If icons are used in a liturgy and people kiss them, that's worshiping.
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2009, 11:38:07 AM »

If icons are used in a liturgy and people kiss them, that's worshiping.
How do you figure that? Would you kiss a picture of a loved one that has passed away? Would you allow someone to break, or tear, or destroy a picture, or an item of a loved one that has passed away? Would these actions constitute worship?
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 11:41:16 AM »

Those ones are not worshiping for sure but using them in the church and in the liturgy is worshiping (for me). If it's not then please tell me what is worshiping and what's not. I'm really confused. Undecided
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2009, 11:52:24 AM »

Those ones are not worshiping for sure but using them in the church and in the liturgy is worshiping (for me). If it's not then please tell me what is worshiping and what's not. I'm really confused. Undecided
The Saints are our family, if you are an Orthodox Christian. We have them in our worship as a remembrance to us of their holy lives, their constant prayer for us, and their constant love for us. This is the same if I remember my grandmother who has passed away. I may kiss her picture, but I don't worship her. We, as Orthodox, don't put a barrier between our lives in the world, and our lives in the Church. They are one and the same. We come to Church and kiss the icon BECAUSE it is a picture of a loved one in our life. Nothing more than that. The saints, to us, are very special, but they are not God. We show the saints repect, as we would our parents, or grandparents here on Earth. I hope this helps.
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2009, 11:56:52 AM »

The Saints are our family, if you are an Orthodox Christian. We have them in our worship as a remembrance to us of their holy lives, their constant prayer for us, and their constant love for us. This is the same if I remember my grandmother who has passed away. I may kiss her picture, but I don't worship her. We, as Orthodox, don't put a barrier between our lives in the world, and our lives in the Church. They are one and the same. We come to Church and kiss the icon BECAUSE it is a picture of a loved one in our life. Nothing more than that. The saints, to us, are very special, but they are not God. We show the saints repect, as we would our parents, or grandparents here on Earth. I hope this helps.

That was a perfect explanation. Thanks a lot, I really appreciated it. I think that way too, but protestant friends of mine always come with lines from the old and new testament and try to tell me that I'm wrong.
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2009, 11:59:51 AM »

That was a perfect explanation. Thanks a lot, I really appreciated it. I think that way too, but protestant friends of mine always come with lines from the old and new testament and try to tell me that I'm wrong.
Glad I could be of service. Please feel free to continue to ask questions. It is the best way to learn.  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 12:28:39 PM »

Those ones are not worshiping for sure but using them in the church and in the liturgy is worshiping (for me). If it's not then please tell me what is worshiping and what's not. I'm really confused. Undecided

Orthodox theology distinguishes between worship, which should be directed only to the Holy Triniry, and veneration, which is for everyone and everything venerable.

The second commandment is againts idols, not icons. Please note that God himself commended Moses to make two golden cherubim to be an ornamentation over the Ark of Covenant.

Please, listen to these podcasts about icons, they might be very helpful:
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/icons1_092604.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/icons2_100304.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/iconhistory_101004.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/light1_102404.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/light2_103104.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/ourlife/veneration_110704.mp3
http://audio.ancientfaith.com/specials/lent/stt009sunoforth_pc.mp3
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2009, 12:33:27 PM »

Yes Our Life in Christ is an excellent show to listen to. Very informative, AND entertaining.
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2009, 12:53:40 PM »

The Saints are our family, if you are an Orthodox Christian. We have them in our worship as a remembrance to us of their holy lives, their constant prayer for us, and their constant love for us. This is the same if I remember my grandmother who has passed away. I may kiss her picture, but I don't worship her. We, as Orthodox, don't put a barrier between our lives in the world, and our lives in the Church. They are one and the same. We come to Church and kiss the icon BECAUSE it is a picture of a loved one in our life. Nothing more than that. The saints, to us, are very special, but they are not God. We show the saints repect, as we would our parents, or grandparents here on Earth. I hope this helps.

That was a perfect explanation. Thanks a lot, I really appreciated it. I think that way too, but protestant friends of mine always come with lines from the old and new testament and try to tell me that I'm wrong.
If they have a problem with it, ask them to explain how GOD tells Abimelek to have Abraham pray for him (Gen. 20:7) and tells Job's friend's to have him pray for them (Job 42:7-9).  How is it that God Himself vindicates Moses before both Aaron and Miriam, both of whom God did speak through? (Moses was too humble to assert his honor: Num. 12:2-15).  How is it that Christ sees the Faith of the paralytic's friends and says that HIS sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20; contrast John 5:7,14)?
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2009, 12:55:26 PM »


VERY GOOD!

Well said! 
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2009, 02:59:19 PM »

Are icons used during a liturgy in a Greek Orthodox Church? If yes, what it is used for and does it tell us in the Holy Bible to use icons in a liturgy?

The entire interior of the Orthodox Church is decorated in icons. There is no getting around them.



We do not worship the icons any more than you worship the American flag when you put your hand over your heart to say the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem. Sure, the body language may be different, but the intent is the same: to demonstrate love and respect for what the object represents.

Kissing the icon and crossing ourselves in front of it shows our deep love and respect for the person being depicted.

Saluting the flag shows love and respect for the country.

The use of icons goes back to the Old Testament when God commanded Moses to include images of the Cherubim in the tabernacle. (Exodus 25:18.) Although we pray in front of the icons, we do not pray to the icons. We pray to and worship God, and God alone. We ask the saints to pray for us, just as you may ask a friend to pray for you in times of need. St. James tells us in his Gospel that "the prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16) Since as Christians we believe the soul lives on forever, doesn't it make sense to ask for the prayers of those who have run the race before us?

I find it interesting that you would choose the username Theotokos, choose to use an icon of the Theotokos as your avatar, then come on the board and attack us for our use of icons and accuse us of idolatry.

Me thinks you have some more reading to do before you come on here and start accusing us of false worship.

Might I suggest you pick up a copy of Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and spend some time on goarch.org, oca.org, and antiochian.org?
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2009, 03:42:12 PM »

I find it interesting that you would choose the username Theotokos, choose to use an icon of the Theotokos as your avatar, then come on the board and attack us for our use of icons and accuse us of idolatry.

Don't jump to conclusions. I don't think she means any harm in what she is saying and I don't see that she is attacking us but rather is confused and looking to learn about why we venerate icons in the Orthodox Church Orthodox Church. I don't see anything that she has said mean spirited. She lists her faith as "wants to be Orthodox" so I don't think that she is here to attack the Church but rather to learn more about it and there is nothing wrong with that.


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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2009, 03:46:03 PM »

Theotokos,

I understand where you are coming from and for many who have been reared in a Western Christian mindset, especially modern Evangelicalism (which I don't know if that is where you came from), they view icons as idolatrous.  Keep in mind also that icons are not just limited to the pictures of Christ, the Theotokos, the Saints and feasts of our Lord, but other icons are the Holy Scriptures (you will see that we bow down before it and venerate the Gospels as well) as well as your brothers and sisters with you in the church.  As we do not believe that the saints who have reposed are separated us, we believe it is appropriate to greet them with a "holy kiss" so to speak as we would our friends and relatives who are fellow believers.

Your friends may well keep up their attempts on you to dissuade you.  Arguing scriptural proof texts will do you no good simply because the Scriptures are and never have been intended to be an absolute rule book on the Christian faith.  They lead us to Christ, pure and simple.

Oh, one last thing, welcome to the forum, Theotokos.  
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2009, 04:14:04 PM »

(which I don't know if that is where you came from)

She wrote somewhere that she used to be a Muslim and she lives in Turkey.

BTW I was told that any service in a Church cannot be started without at least one icon and one candle lit with real fire.

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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2009, 07:21:42 AM »

I find it interesting that you would choose the username Theotokos, choose to use an icon of the Theotokos as your avatar, then come on the board and attack us for our use of icons and accuse us of idolatry.

Me thinks you have some more reading to do before you come on here and start accusing us of false worship.

Might I suggest you pick up a copy of Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and spend some time on goarch.org, oca.org, and antiochian.org?

Thanks a lot for the links, and the big explanation you made. I think you misunderstood me. I'm not trying to accuse you from false worship. I just want to know the reason of everything made in Orthodox Church. I've never had an aim to attack orthodoxy, because I want to be an orthodox. That's why I came here, and I ask what I wonder about. I hope I made it clear.
Thanks a lot again. angel
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« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2009, 07:26:50 AM »

Theotokos,

I understand where you are coming from and for many who have been reared in a Western Christian mindset, especially modern Evangelicalism (which I don't know if that is where you came from), they view icons as idolatrous.  Keep in mind also that icons are not just limited to the pictures of Christ, the Theotokos, the Saints and feasts of our Lord, but other icons are the Holy Scriptures (you will see that we bow down before it and venerate the Gospels as well) as well as your brothers and sisters with you in the church.  As we do not believe that the saints who have reposed are separated us, we believe it is appropriate to greet them with a "holy kiss" so to speak as we would our friends and relatives who are fellow believers.

Your friends may well keep up their attempts on you to dissuade you.  Arguing scriptural proof texts will do you no good simply because the Scriptures are and never have been intended to be an absolute rule book on the Christian faith.  They lead us to Christ, pure and simple.

Oh, one last thing, welcome to the forum, Theotokos. 

Thanks a lot for everything. I used to be a Muslim, but when I was 16 I became a Christian, by heart(I didn't get baptized or anything) I read the Holy bible since then. Now I'm 18 and I have the right to convert according to Turkish laws. And I'll do it, and join to an orthodox church. I have some protestant friends around me, and when we talk about icons, they always say that I was serving to devil, not to our Lord... Cry Anyways, besides my personal stuff. Thanks a lot again. I really appreciated your help.
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« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2009, 07:28:49 AM »

If they have a problem with it, ask them to explain how GOD tells Abimelek to have Abraham pray for him (Gen. 20:7) and tells Job's friend's to have him pray for them (Job 42:7-9).  How is it that God Himself vindicates Moses before both Aaron and Miriam, both of whom God did speak through? (Moses was too humble to assert his honor: Num. 12:2-15).  How is it that Christ sees the Faith of the paralytic's friends and says that HIS sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20; contrast John 5:7,14)?
Wow, that's very well said! Thanks a lot for reminding me. I really appreciated it.
May God be with you. Wink
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« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2009, 09:19:53 AM »

Hey theotokos, I can identify with some of your problems having been Protestant of Protestants, I walked into the Church of the Holy Nativity 13 years ago and was very judgmental over the iconography- and now I enjoy painting them- or at least representations of them (how's that for irony). Coming as you do from a muslim background I should think you would be heavily sensitive concerning images since that clearly goes against islamic teachings; even as the protestant throws up the 2nd commandment to show you why we shouldn't use images or venerate them. It also seems that any formal act directed to an object equals worship; thus a protestant or muslim will observe the Orthodox kiss an Icon or cross themselves and decry the act as worship. Interestingly, the muslim will journey to Mecca and hope to get as close to the Kabah as they can, or go to the Al Asqa mosque, and the protestant will salute his countries flag sometimes saying a very liturgical pledge towards it- and yet both will tell you that despite these formal, liturgical, or even physical acts that they are not worshipping these things- so what are they doing? Whether they want to use the word or not they are in fact venerating these things with the idea that the honor they bestow passes to the protoype. We can't really get away from veneration, and that's not a bad thing, it just depends on what we're venerating. Do people sometimes cross a line? It's possible, but even the most iconoclastic protestant is not free from the danger of worshipping something other than God.
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« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2009, 09:55:51 AM »

Do people sometimes cross a line? It's possible, but even the most iconoclastic protestant is not free from the danger of worshiping something other than God.
I totally agree with that. Even though I come from a muslim background. Neither me nor my family is not strictly religous and ladies don't wear head scarf in my family from the first generation to now  Smiley, I've not read Quran for once. I just know really small parts of it. Yes, Islam is really sensitive when it comes to image, but my concern was not because of that. It was from things that my protestant friends said to me. Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2009, 10:31:51 AM »

An interesting thing I've noticed is that I have never met a Protestant who has followed the 2nd commandment literally:

"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth..."

A literal interpretation of that means you can't draw anything. If you drew stick figures as a kid then you have broken this commandment. If Protestants were truly Sola Scriptura, they cannot draw anything in or out of church.
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2009, 10:50:31 AM »

An interesting thing I've noticed is that I have never met a Protestant who has followed the 2nd commandment literally:

"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth..."

A literal interpretation of that means you can't draw anything. If you drew stick figures as a kid then you have broken this commandment. If Protestants were truly Sola Scriptura, they cannot draw anything in or out of church.

I just say well said.. laugh
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2009, 01:33:52 PM »

Is it not dangerous to convert to Christianity in Turkey?
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2009, 02:05:25 PM »

I find it interesting that you would choose the username Theotokos, choose to use an icon of the Theotokos as your avatar, then come on the board and attack us for our use of icons and accuse us of idolatry.

Me thinks you have some more reading to do before you come on here and start accusing us of false worship.

Might I suggest you pick up a copy of Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and spend some time on goarch.org, oca.org, and antiochian.org?

Thanks a lot for the links, and the big explanation you made. I think you misunderstood me. I'm not trying to accuse you from false worship. I just want to know the reason of everything made in Orthodox Church. I've never had an aim to attack orthodoxy, because I want to be an orthodox. That's why I came here, and I ask what I wonder about. I hope I made it clear.
Thanks a lot again. angel

My apologies then.

I would still reccomend those websites, as they will be useful to you. Also, if you are able to, get in touch with an Orthodox priest to help you on your journey to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2009, 02:26:57 PM »

An interesting thing I've noticed is that I have never met a Protestant who has followed the 2nd commandment literally:

"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth..."

A literal interpretation of that means you can't draw anything. If you drew stick figures as a kid then you have broken this commandment. If Protestants were truly Sola Scriptura, they cannot draw anything in or out of church.

Including the Jesus Movie.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_(1979_film)
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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
theotokos
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« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2009, 02:39:17 PM »

Is it not dangerous to convert to Christianity in Turkey?

Why should it be so? There are stict Muslims here, that's true but they don't really do bad stuff to us. Yes, they don't want us to be Christian but real Muslims who know well about their religion well are being tolerant. Because being tolerant is one of the most important things in Islam.
Could you please explain why do you think like that? Huh
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ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·
Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2009, 05:13:22 PM »

Could you please explain why do you think like that?Huh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontic_Greek_Genocide

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_genocide

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Turkey
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Andrew21091
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« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2009, 06:56:49 PM »

Because being tolerant is one of the most important things in Islam.
Could you please explain why do you think like that? Huh

I would beg to differ seeing the thousands of Christians who have been martyred by Muslims and many were under the Turkish yoke as Alveus Lacuna has posted. Persecution of Coptic Christians is still going on in Egypt to this day and the situation is even worse for the Assyrian Christians in Iraq and Iran who have nearly been wiped out.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 06:58:16 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2009, 07:06:54 PM »

Could you please explain why do you think like that? Huh

The Quran orders that anyone who converts from Islam should be killed. "For the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'" (4:52:260). "A man embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism. Mu'adh bin Jabal came and saw the man with Abu Musa. Mu'adh asked, "What is wrong with this (man)?" Abu Musa replied, "He embraced Islam and then reverted back to Judaism." Mu'adh said, "I will not sit down unless you kill him (as it is) the verdict of Allah and His Apostle" (9:89:271)

A lot of Islamic countries uphold this law such as Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania in others, usually it is the faithful that uphold the law.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2009, 07:56:33 PM »

Also, they (Islamic adherents) interestingly enough do not speak of 'converts' but rather 'reverts' to Islam, as they see Christians and Jews as people who have abandoned their earlier faith of Islam.  So I wonder how Sharia deals with those who are not Muslims or Christians; just plain old secular people.  I am sure all nominally religious people are de facto Islamic, just as in Greece they are de facto Orthodox.  Still though, I wasn't sure if our poster Theotokos has any official religious status in Turkey, and whether that status endangers a person seeking to join Christianity.  Perhaps s/he can clarify?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 07:56:54 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
theotokos
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« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2009, 03:10:53 AM »

I wasn't sure if our poster Theotokos has any official religious status in Turkey, and whether that status endangers a person seeking to join Christianity.  Perhaps s/he can clarify?
Well, it says Islam on my official id card, but I'm 18 now and I'm allowed to change it.
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ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·
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« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2009, 03:49:49 AM »

Well, it says Islam on my official id card, but I'm 18 now and I'm allowed to change it.

So everyone in Turkey is considered Islamic by the government unless they specifically state otherwise?  That seems like quite an assumption, but again, the 'Orthodox lands' do the same thing.
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theotokos
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« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2009, 03:53:02 AM »

So everyone in Turkey is considered Islamic by the government unless they specifically state otherwise?  That seems like quite an assumption, but again, the 'Orthodox lands' do the same thing.
As long as you don't specify, you are Islamic. That's why it seems like 99% of Turkey is Muslim. Still majority is Muslim, but the must know that there are Christians too.
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ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος. ἀποστυγοῦντες τὸ πονηρόν, κολλώμενοι τῶ ἀγαθῶ·
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