Author Topic: Converting from atheism  (Read 831 times)

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Offline Turtle

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Converting from atheism
« on: August 08, 2016, 09:17:50 PM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert. However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for? Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 09:31:25 PM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert.
Glory be to God! :D

Quote
However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for?
Do you have a parish to attend? If so, talk to the priest, there are variations on how they'll proceed with you.

Quote
Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?
I've actually heard a very intelligent and experienced layman saying he was happy for not having belonged to any other faith before being Orthodox, since this wouldn't lead him to particular mannerisms. I've heard a priest complaining about people who brought things from other faiths in, too. Don't worry about that.
Die Erde steht in Ewigkeit. (Ec 1:4b)

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 10:07:52 PM »
First thing to do is find a good local parish and speak with the priest. Maybe even call him first to explain your background. The first few Divine Liturgies you attend will probably be rather confusing, so it helps to have someone help guide you through them, and the priest can help with that. The people who explained the liturgy to me the first time I attended have become very dear friends of mine.

In all honesty, I have heard several priests say that converting from nothing is easier than converting from another faith or even another Christian community, because so much must be unlearned in order to learn it correctly. I came from a Baptist background, and I know for me that was definitely the case.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 10:08:32 PM by TheTrisagion »
The term planet earth is an innovation which has arisen in recent centuries with the error of heliocentrism.

If one wants to confess a pure doctrine of Orthodoxy, they should be careful not to refer to the earth as a planet, unlike the current Pope as well as Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew, who regularly speak in error when they refer to our planet earth.

Offline benjohn146

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 10:08:55 PM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert.
Glory be to God! :D

Quote
However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for?
Do you have a parish to attend? If so, talk to the priest, there are variations on how they'll proceed with you.

Quote
Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?
I've actually heard a very intelligent and experienced layman saying he was happy for not having belonged to any other faith before being Orthodox, since this wouldn't lead him to particular mannerisms. I've heard a priest complaining about people who brought things from other faiths in, too. Don't worry about that.

I second everything that RaphaCam said!
St Makarios, pray for us.

Offline Svirsky

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2016, 10:11:43 PM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert. However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for? Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?

Thanks be to God. As someone who had also basically been an atheist till I converted to Orthodoxy (it's a little more complicated than that though), I would concur with the others on finding a priest and explaining your desire to convert. The most important thing to be aware of at this point is to be patient in all things because it may very well be a long time till you're fully received, and you'll have a lot of learning you have to do. This time is also when you learn how to put Orthodoxy into practice, so take time to establish habits like daily prayer, going to Liturgy and other services, and living out other daily aspects of Orthodox life. It's best to learn these early so that you don't struggle with them once you've entered the Church. Your priest is especially important in your formation as you don't want to burn-out, and he has the experience to tell you what pitfalls to avoid and what things to pursue. That said, the process isn't too hard or intimidating, just use your best judgement and listen to your priest.

I would say that converting from atheism generally has more benefits than converting from something else. For one, I never had to struggle with Orthodox theology and devotion regarding the Theotokos as former Protestants on here have, and you're not trying to unlearn entire theologies and mindsets from your previous religion. I can really only think of two issues that you might have. First, you very likely will struggle with bouts of atheism for a while, but I doubt this is particularly unique to just former atheists. Over time, they will become less severe and less frequent, but the struggle between doubt and faith probably never goes away for anyone. Another issue you might face is that you might hold mindsets that don't exactly cohere with Orthodoxy, and this will cause some problems at first, but converts from other faiths face the same issue. Furthermore, they often times have to overcome the same beliefs as you did. Over time though, your beliefs will change, and you'll become more accustomed to an Orthodox outlook on things. For instance, I was apart of the New Atheist movement for a while, so I had a bit of Scientism (which is terrible in all respects) and the like to unlearn. Anyway, don't worry too much as everything will come with time - just be patient.


Offline IXOYE

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2016, 10:59:50 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Turtle!

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 02:15:25 AM »
Find local Orthodox Church and talk to the priest


Just avoid clergy involved in the pan heresy of ecumenism.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 02:17:06 AM by Vanhyo »

Offline Indocern

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 03:13:24 AM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert. However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for? Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?

You must say to the priest to baptize you and chrismate you. But for chismation you must to fast, that's all and you will need to give some money to the priest.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 03:33:50 AM by Indocern »

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2016, 06:28:40 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 06:28:57 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2016, 09:23:10 AM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert. However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for? Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?

Hi Turtle, and welcome. If you don't mind saying, what country do you live in? Not that it's a major concern, but I think churches in different countries have a different slant toward receiving converts. Here in the US, most of the converts come from a Protestant evangelical background, and a lot of the convert literature and rhetoric is aimed in that direction. Coming from a similar background to you, I found this a bit off-putting and the priests did not seem equipped to relate to someone who was a non-believer. I suspect countries of the former Soviet Union have more experience with converts from atheism and non-Christian religions.

In any case, though, the process shouldn't be anything especially strenuous or different. Like others said, the first thing is to talk to a priest.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2016, 09:25:00 AM »
Find local Orthodox Church and talk to the priest


Just avoid clergy involved in the pan heresy of ecumenism.

Turtle, I'm going to give you some advice right now that will save you a lot of headaches (hopefully). Ignore any talk about the "pan heresy of ecumenism". This kind of stuff comes from people with a very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.

Offline Indocern

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2016, 10:09:03 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.

Maybe it is so, just in all our churches they get money for baptism, but for chrismaton they don't.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2016, 10:35:35 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.

Maybe it is so, just in all our churches they get money for baptism, but for chrismaton they don't.

No sacrament should EVER be for sale.  In our churches, we do not get paid for baptism.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 10:36:01 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline Indocern

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2016, 10:52:12 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.

Maybe it is so, just in all our churches they get money for baptism, but for chrismaton they don't.

No sacrament should EVER be for sale.  In our churches, we do not get paid for baptism.

This is very good but in our churches we pay and for wedding.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 10:59:26 AM by Indocern »

Offline Elisha

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2016, 11:04:36 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.

Maybe it is so, just in all our churches they get money for baptism, but for chrismaton they don't.

It might be customary in YOUR parish to given a small honorarium to the priest for baptizing a new baby, but this is NOT something a new convert would EVER have to worry about.


Find local Orthodox Church and talk to the priest


Just avoid clergy involved in the pan heresy of ecumenism.

Turtle, I'm going to give you some advice right now that will save you a lot of headaches (hopefully). Ignore any talk about the "pan heresy of ecumenism". This kind of stuff comes from people with a very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.

+1.  Vanyon, this subject would not even be on Turtle's radar.  Why would he even have a clue?

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2016, 11:05:04 AM »
I can understand if there is a custom or even expectation that the priest/ parish be compensated, but if it really is a case where you need to pay otherwise no wedding, baptism, etc. then that's a serious problem.

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2016, 11:09:07 AM »
No...you do not "need" to give some money to the priest.  If this is a requirement, it is the heresy of simony.

Maybe it is so, just in all our churches they get money for baptism, but for chrismaton they don't.

No sacrament should EVER be for sale.  In our churches, we do not get paid for baptism.

It's not necessarily about selling sacraments but rather giving the priest a proper substinence. I assume if someone doesn't have the money services are offered to the poor for free. Our priests are university-educated and receive livable wage as it should be but I assume that is rather rare situation in the Orthodox world. Not ideal but life rarely is.

Anyway, I guess this thread is not the right time and place for a discussion like this.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 11:10:18 AM by Alpo »
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2016, 11:15:16 AM »
Our priests are university-educated and receive livable wage as it should be but I assume that is rather rare situation in the Orthodox world. Not ideal but life rarely is.

A fair point. A lot of priests have to work another job to earn a living.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2016, 11:27:54 AM »
Anyway, I guess this thread is not the right time and place for a discussion like this.

this is NOT something a new convert would EVER have to worry about

this should be the focus.  for purposes of conversion, it is against Church dogma to demand payment for the mysteries of the Church.  Whether it happens or not is besides the point.  A donation to the priest for his services is a different matter altogether. 

Fr. Thomas Hopko shared a story in one of his podcasts where upon visiting a family, an irate husband gave the priest a check, to which Fr. Tom rejected it.  A priest's job is spiritual well-being.  To introduce money into this discussion is out of bounds and irrelevant. 
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

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Offline Alpo

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2016, 11:36:26 AM »
Anyway, I guess this thread is not the right time and place for a discussion like this.

this is NOT something a new convert would EVER have to worry about

this should be the focus.  for purposes of conversion, it is against Church dogma to demand payment for the mysteries of the Church.  Whether it happens or not is besides the point.  A donation to the priest for his services is a different matter altogether. 

Fr. Thomas Hopko shared a story in one of his podcasts where upon visiting a family, an irate husband gave the priest a check, to which Fr. Tom rejected it.  A priest's job is spiritual well-being.  To introduce money into this discussion is out of bounds and irrelevant. 

Agreed.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Vanhyo

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #20 on: August 09, 2016, 01:09:15 PM »

Quote
Turtle, I'm going to give you some advice right now that will save you a lot of headaches (hopefully). Ignore any talk about the "pan heresy of ecumenism". This kind of stuff comes from people with a very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.
The saints of our Holy Church who spoke negatively about ecumenism must also have "very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.", also i can't think of single saint that supported this pan heresy, but hey, what do i know ? Luckily the ecumenists are here to enlighten everybody.


Quote
+1.  Vanyon, this subject would not even be on Turtle's radar.  Why would he even have a clue?

I wish him to have the best - a pastor as a guide, not a wolf.

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2016, 01:25:19 PM »

Quote
Turtle, I'm going to give you some advice right now that will save you a lot of headaches (hopefully). Ignore any talk about the "pan heresy of ecumenism". This kind of stuff comes from people with a very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.
The saints of our Holy Church who spoke negatively about ecumenism must also have "very narrow and limited understanding of Orthodox history and tradition.",

Which saints? Like Saint Nikolai of Zica who participated in the WCC?

Someone new to Christianity is trying to enter the Orthodox Church and immediately you want to pile on needless anxieties on him and make it more difficult. Shame on you. 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 01:26:26 PM by Iconodule »

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2016, 01:36:04 PM »
Thread locked pending moderator review.

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Offline Thomas

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2016, 04:35:49 PM »
Beloved in the Lord,

It seems that some people who chose to argue rather than answer Turtle's request as an Atheist wishing to convert have forgotten the Purpose of the Convert Issues Forum. Please abide by these rules or just do not post on the Convert Issues Forum. You can argue  or debate all you want in the Private forums but not here in the Convert Issue forum. To refresh your memory, here again is the Convert Issues Forum Purpose:

The purpose of the Convert issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted could ask their questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. Many of those posting in this area are ignorant of Orthodox teachings and are using this forum to understand what are the basic teachings and practices of the Orthodox churches. Due to the simplicity of many of their requests and responses, direct and simple answers with sources if possible are most helpful.

If the moderators find that the discussions become faith or jurisdiction debates, the topic will be split and sent the appropriate OC.Net forum to continue the discussion or debate. As a poster, You may also ask that a topic be split so that a private discussion can be established to go into detail about the issues that you feel adamant about and wish to debate or discuss. The convert forum is not a place for combative debate or argument. 

Thank you for your following these guidelines to the edification and spiritual growth of the forum inquirers, catechumen, and newly converted.

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Offline Shamati

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2016, 05:05:23 PM »
I am in a very similar situation!

Go to the local orthodox church that is closest to you (regardless of what national variety it is) & explain that you're an unbaptized former atheist that would like to convert because you are (or are becoming?) convinced of christianity.

You'll have to attend for some time though, & remember that you're ultimately there for the sake of your eternal soul & God, not for the hanging out primarily :)

I would also recommend acquiring an orthodox prayer book & start reading the morning & evening prayers every day to get in the rhythm.

Offline Turtle

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2016, 02:17:55 AM »
If you don't mind saying, what country do you live in?

I am from the US.

Offline Turtle

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2016, 02:20:37 AM »
I am in a very similar situation!

Go to the local orthodox church that is closest to you (regardless of what national variety it is) & explain that you're an unbaptized former atheist that would like to convert because you are (or are becoming?) convinced of christianity.

You'll have to attend for some time though, & remember that you're ultimately there for the sake of your eternal soul & God, not for the hanging out primarily :)

I would also recommend acquiring an orthodox prayer book & start reading the morning & evening prayers every day to get in the rhythm.

Thank you for the advice. Do you have any recommendations for a good prayer book?

Offline Shamati

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2016, 11:18:13 PM »
I am in a very similar situation!

Go to the local orthodox church that is closest to you (regardless of what national variety it is) & explain that you're an unbaptized former atheist that would like to convert because you are (or are becoming?) convinced of christianity.

You'll have to attend for some time though, & remember that you're ultimately there for the sake of your eternal soul & God, not for the hanging out primarily :)

I would also recommend acquiring an orthodox prayer book & start reading the morning & evening prayers every day to get in the rhythm.

Thank you for the advice. Do you have any recommendations for a good prayer book?
There are many different prayerbooks but the Jordanville prayerbook is the one I perceive to be the most beloved of the English prayerbooks.
Physical copy: http://bookstore.jordanville.org/9780884651758
Online version: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

I recommend getting a physical copy, but it's better to begin with the online version than nothing at all :) This prayerbook is so famous that orthodox prayerbooks translated into Swedish are corrected against it & have their prayers arranged in the same order. It comes from a Russian orthodox prayer book, which differs slightly from the Greek Orthodox.

Orthodox prayerbooks are different from Catholic ones, which contains many prayers arranged after specific topics or addressed to specific saints & persons of the Trinity or the Trinity etc.
Orthodox prayerbooks are arranged in 'rules' like the breviary, but for morning & evening worship with general prayers for during the day.

So just like when reading the old breviary you know you're praying the same prayers of many saints, arranged in the same order as they read it. It's a very powerful & user-friendly way of making prayerbooks as it encourages regularity; praying the same ancient rule each day & evening.

Anyway, when you convert you should allow your spiritual father / priest to adapt your prayer rule or at least ask him about his recommendations.

Best of luck! & plz keep me in your prayers, I will keep you in mine
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 11:23:27 PM by Shamati »

Offline sprtslvr1973

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2016, 02:31:52 PM »
I am a former atheist (unbaptized, never a member of any religion). Over time, I have been convinced of Christianity, and after a good amount of research and discussions, I strongly believe now that Orthodoxy is the correct church and want to convert. However, I do not know what steps I should take to start the process of joining the church. How should I proceed? What should I look out for? Also, would being a full convert cause additional problems that someone converting from a Christian background would not face?

Glory be to God!

I always hear how increasingly appealing and popular atheism is these days. What made you decide to seek the divine?
"Into thy hands I commend my spirit"- Luke 23:46
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:24

Offline Svirsky

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2016, 03:22:30 PM »
I am in a very similar situation!

Go to the local orthodox church that is closest to you (regardless of what national variety it is) & explain that you're an unbaptized former atheist that would like to convert because you are (or are becoming?) convinced of christianity.

You'll have to attend for some time though, & remember that you're ultimately there for the sake of your eternal soul & God, not for the hanging out primarily :)

I would also recommend acquiring an orthodox prayer book & start reading the morning & evening prayers every day to get in the rhythm.

Thank you for the advice. Do you have any recommendations for a good prayer book?

Besides the Jordanville Prayer Book, mentioned earlier, you could also consider the Old Orthodox Prayer Book and HTM's A Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians. All of these are fairly well known, but you could also consider a number of other prayer books from here. That said, there's not too many differences between prayer books, so don't fret too much.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2016, 03:28:47 PM »
A big question is whether you want your prayer book in "Elizabethan" English or contemporary English.

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #31 on: August 17, 2016, 04:39:58 PM »
Do you have any recommendations for a good prayer book?

Some more alternatives to the classics can be found here.
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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2016, 10:04:59 PM »
I am in a very similar situation!

Go to the local orthodox church that is closest to you (regardless of what national variety it is) & explain that you're an unbaptized former atheist that would like to convert because you are (or are becoming?) convinced of christianity.

You'll have to attend for some time though, & remember that you're ultimately there for the sake of your eternal soul & God, not for the hanging out primarily :)

I would also recommend acquiring an orthodox prayer book & start reading the morning & evening prayers every day to get in the rhythm.

Thank you for the advice. Do you have any recommendations for a good prayer book?

One decision to make is what Orthodox tradition you want to follow (Eastern or Oriental), and within those traditions, what national church or specific rite you find most edifying.

I am just going to give you my opinion on some of the prayer books from different rites I have in ,y library:

I myself like the Coptic Agpeya on the OO side, and on the EO side, Praying With the Orthodox Tradition (which is actually not a traditional prayer book, but it has an illuminating forward by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware; the prayers in it are disused prayers taken from ancient Byzantine Rite manuscripts).  Also, a very satisfactory approach to daily prayer comes in the form of A Psalter for Prayer, which is similiar to the Agpeya, but has all the Psalms from the Coverdale Psalter corrected against the Septuagint, whereas most English language Agpeyas use the KJV (even though the "official Bible" of the Coptic Church is essentially the late Bohairic Coptic translations of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament).   A Psalter for Prayer also features prayers to be said after the Psalms.

Volume 1 - Akathists, of the series Akathists, Canons, Odes and Other Services is very helpful for praying these beautiful Akathists.  It has a larger collection than what is found in the Jordanville prayer book.

Lastly, you can go the route of a complete Horologion for the Eastern Orthodox tradition, which contains the entire Divine Office as would be served in parishes.  The Unabbreviated Horologion by Holy Trinity Monastery (which also publishes the aforementioned Jordanville Prayerbook and A Psalter for Prayer) is the best of these, but also of interest is the Old Rite Horologion published by the Church of the Nativity; they also publish an Old Rite Prayerbook.  These are particularly interesting because they contain the prayers and services of the Russian Orthodox Church before the Nikonian reforms and subsequent schism of the 17th century, which are still jsed by the so called Old Believers, as well as by the canonical Russian Orthodox Church in special parishes; the Old Rite is of interest because it represents a more ancient form of the liturgy, and is much longer and more intense than any of the other Eastern Orthodox rites; I think only the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition has services of comparable length and intensity.

My own Syriac Orthodox church has a beautiful prayerbook called the Shimo, which you can obtain an English translation of by Bede Griffiths, containing prayers for every day of the week except Sunday; this book is expensive however and the prayers are long.  The website Syriac Orthodox Resources (http://sor.cua.edu) hosts a translation of the highly abbreviated version more often used by the laity these days.

Lastly, the Antiochian Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia both have substantial Western Rite communities which have their own prayer books, which tend to reflect in the case of the Antiochians high church Anglican or Roman Catholic praxis corrected against Eastern Orthodox tradition, whereas in the latter, more of an attempt to recover the prayers and services of the Roman church before the Great Schism of 1054.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2016, 10:06:14 PM by wgw »

Offline Shamati

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2016, 05:02:05 PM »
I believe he means the eastern orthodox because in the west, when someone is intrigued by orthodoxy, it's almost always the eastern orthodox tradition because the stories about the life of the saints of eastern orthodoxy are much more widespread than the saints of the non-chalcedonian churches & because of the proximity of eastern Europe to western Europe vs Egypt & Ethiopia to Europe.

It's easy to become bogged down in an endless investigation of whether A, B or C is the True Church & one can spend a lifetime researching the relevant documents. This very counter-productive.

Just visit the church that is closest to you. If it happens to be a russian or a romanian church, go there anyway. Although you should visit the one which uses english as its language if possible. Just like the first generation of orthodox russians had have greek priests serving Divine Liturgy & administering the sacraments, so too we are sometimes in need of visiting a diaspora church because orthodoxy is still an immigrant religion in the west.
Same applies to an oriental orthodox church if that's the tradition you're inquiring into.

Western churches still sing "Kyrie Eleison" because the first churches in the Latin west were greek & Liturgy was celebrated in greek for centuries & Kyrie Eleison became a part of the language of worship in its original greek in all latin & subsequent germanic speaking protestant churches.

1: establish an absolute certainty with your rational intellect that there is indeed an All Powerful God who is the cause of all that is & is the only Necessary Being upon which all other "contingent beings" depend.
2: establish as much certainty as it's possible to achieve with reason that the claims of christianity is true; that Jesus really was crucified & rose from the dead & that his apostles' were willing to die for this witness - one of which (Saint Paul) was an orthodox jew who left his comfortable life working for the Jerusalem rabbinate for a life of suffering witness, persecution & martyrdom in a sect he himself had persecuted.
I believe the "minimal facts approach" is good for former atheists & seculars: http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2013/the-minimal-facts-of-the-resurrection/
3: Convinced of God & that Jesus really did Rise from the Dead, find the Church the gospels & epistles' say He started.

Such a Church must be "pure in doctrine" (reading the modern & ancient church fathers; their teaching & mindset should be the same) & be governed in ways we can attest in the Bible; by councils such as the Jerusalem council in the Acts of the Apostles.
It should also have many saints because salvation is a process of theosis: union with God..

Whether you want to use Old English or modern english is a personal choice. Some say that modern is better because it's more natural for us to get into the prayers with the language of our daily lives. But others say the archaic language is better because it's separate from the profane secular language we use every day & more befitting to speaking with God.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 05:09:21 PM by Shamati »

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Re: Converting from atheism
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2016, 07:25:49 PM »
If you don't mind saying, what country do you live in?

I am from the US.


Then here is the resource for finding a church in your area:

http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/directories/parishes

Welcome to the forum! :)

All I would add is that the Body of Christ is a living organism made of living people, and we must meet those people and interact with them -- and, ultimately, learn to live with them -- if we want to learn about the Church. Of course, as we know the departed to still be living, in eternity, we also seek to learn to know the ancient Church thru its writings and the habits passed down to us. At any rate, do visit several parishes if you have the chance -- be open and ask questions -- be patient. :)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 07:26:47 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy