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Author Topic: A Crackdown on Russian Protestants  (Read 7835 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: November 25, 2009, 02:08:16 AM »

I don't know if this has been posted before, but here is a video from the New York Times:

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/04/23/world/1194817098599/a-crackdown-on-russian-protestants.html
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 02:08:32 AM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
augustin717
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 03:12:51 AM »

On the long run the Russian authorities deal with the Protestant as they should.
The NYT report is very biased. They probably start with the assumption that all countries should "enjoy" the religious hodge-podge of the USA. Why should there be any Protestant missionaries in Russia?
Why should America export its religious confusion abroad?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 03:13:33 AM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 03:39:40 AM »

I don't think government should have any role in this. If people are converting over to protestantism, it's probably because the Orthodox Church in Russia needs to educate it's own better. It will serve to  sharpen the Orthodox Church in Russia if the govt steps aside.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 03:39:54 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2009, 04:00:02 AM »

The Orthodox Churches survived and stayed the majority Churches in Eastern Europe not so much by "educating their own better" ,  as by forging a very strong link between those peoples' national and religious identities. And I want the various national Orthodox Churches to stay strong and monopolize the religious life of the historically Orthodox peoples . That's why the intervention of the state in favour of the Church is not bad, as long nobody is actually done any physical harm.
If Protestantism were to make significant inroads in these countries, that would mean, beyond the religious loss, a huge cultural loss and historical amnesia, far worse, I think, than what was done by the former Communist regimes.
But, thanks be to God, that such is not the case, yet.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2009, 05:02:08 AM »

On the long run the Russian authorities deal with the Protestant as they should.
The NYT report is very biased. They probably start with the assumption that all countries should "enjoy" the religious hodge-podge of the USA. Why should there be any Protestant missionaries in Russia?
Why should America export its religious confusion abroad?

 I totally agree with you.  And I'm American.
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2009, 05:17:48 AM »

I don't think government should have any role in this.
This cannot be a blanket rule, for example, Article 3 of the Constitution of Greece states that "The prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ." This gives the Church of Greece precedence in the Greek Constitution over any other faith, and the government is obliged to maintain this precedence.
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2009, 06:39:49 AM »

Why should there be any Protestant missionaries in Russia? Why should America export its religious confusion abroad?
Why should there be any Byzantine missionaries in Russia? Why should Roman empire export it's religion abroad? Damn that Vladimir for destroying Russia! Damn those Cyril and Methodius for destroying Russian culture!
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2009, 08:04:50 AM »

Why should there be any Byzantine missionaries in Russia? Why should Roman empire export it's religion abroad? Damn that Vladimir for destroying Russia! Damn those Cyril and Methodius for destroying Russian culture!

St Cyril and Methodius were bringing truth in their missionary activities. St Vladimir may have forced people into baptism on pain of death, but he was doing it for their salvation. Meanwhile, Protestant bodies present in Russia are spreading lies and drawing people away from Orthodox. Your comparison is risible.
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2009, 10:58:22 AM »

Why should there be any Byzantine missionaries in Russia? Why should Roman empire export it's religion abroad? Damn that Vladimir for destroying Russia! Damn those Cyril and Methodius for destroying Russian culture!

St Cyril and Methodius were bringing truth in their missionary activities. St Vladimir may have forced people into baptism on pain of death, but he was doing it for their salvation. Meanwhile, Protestant bodies present in Russia are spreading lies and drawing people away from Orthodox. Your comparison is risible.

Let the people decide. Orthodoxy has suffered when it has been an arm of the state or been the state religion. Persuasion and not coercion is the true Christian approach and should therefore be the Orthodox approach.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2009, 11:33:12 AM »

Why should there be any Protestant missionaries in Russia? Why should America export its religious confusion abroad?
Why should there be any Byzantine missionaries in Russia? Why should Roman empire export it's religion abroad? Damn that Vladimir for destroying Russia! Damn those Cyril and Methodius for destroying Russian culture!
The faculty of choosing-a religion, in this case- is not the highest good man can aspire to.
It depends on the religion that one chooses. That's what gives moral content to the act of choosing.
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2009, 12:10:45 PM »



St Cyril and Methodius were bringing truth in their missionary activities. St Vladimir may have forced people into baptism on pain of death, but he was doing it for their salvation.

To me, that's absurd. IMO a forced "conversion" is no conversion at all. You cannot force people into salvation. Please tell me this was not Orthodox belief? (someone, anyone?) I realize there are some things not disclosed in catechumen classes, or in mainstream Orthodox writings, but was this really the belief of the Church at that time? If not, where did Prince Vladimir ever get such an idea that forcing people to "convert" was a good idea? Just curious.


edited to emphasize my opinion, not anyone elses.

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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2009, 12:21:53 PM »

This is where something called "historical context" comes into play.  Prince Vladimir was living in the late 10th century.  A people's religion was the religion of their king, period.  There was no "freedom of conscience;" there was no concept of "religious freedom."  This was a non-negotiable part of life in 10th century Europe.  It seems incredibly wrong to us nowadays, but, back then, this was normal, right, and the way things were done.  Its implementation has little to do with Orthodoxy or religion in general, but with political thinking at the time.  Your king's gods were your gods, period.
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2009, 01:16:49 PM »

This is where something called "historical context" comes into play.  Prince Vladimir was living in the late 10th century.  A people's religion was the religion of their king, period.  There was no "freedom of conscience;" there was no concept of "religious freedom."  This was a non-negotiable part of life in 10th century Europe.  It seems incredibly wrong to us nowadays, but, back then, this was normal, right, and the way things were done.  Its implementation has little to do with Orthodoxy or religion in general, but with political thinking at the time.  Your king's gods were your gods, period.

Thank you for the answer!

I personally don't "buy" it, (at least totally) because obviously the Church went right along with this implementation. I wonder if Church leaders spoke out against this? 10th century Europe or not, it's clearly against the teachings of Jesus Christ. What happened to the "obey God rather than man" stance the early Church took against Emperor worship? That was certainly just part of "life in 1st and 2nd century Rome" and in fact it was normal, right, and the way things were done, but the Christians refused. Or at least enough of them did that we have writings etc on the subject. Did the 10th century Church do something similar? I reckon they didn't because now the Church was on the winning team. (I hate to be so cynical here but that's my assumption)

I do get that there are always historical contexts to many things like this, but sometimes I feel like Catholics/Orthodox use the "historical context" as a scapegoat to basically justify anything wrong done in the past, even if it was clearly against the teachings of Christ, because "oh those stupid dark age people just didn't know better"....when in fact I DO believe they knew better, or at least had the opportunity to know better because, well weren't Christ's teachings everywhere?

I get what you're saying, and I do understand that, to a degree, but I just cannot help but see it as wrong none the less. The teachings of Jesus were as available then as they are now, or they should have been, seeing as how this was the CHURCH baptizing people..shouldn't the priests, Bishops and Patriarchs have known better? I realize Prince Vladimir would not have, nor the Pagan people of Russia, because Christianity was all new to them, but the 1000 year old Church should have been aware they were doing wrong. At least that's how I see it.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and you're right, there is a historical context to it all that I sometimes forget, but still, it doesn't sit well . . . .

hope you understand what I mean.
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2009, 01:23:08 PM »

I'm afraid this cracking down on Protestants is only a sign of weakness and insecurity on the part of the ROC. A secure person is willing to let people be who they are, and doesn't need to force anyone.  A union of Church and State does not usually produce a nation of strong and faithful believers. History will repeat itself.
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2009, 01:36:12 PM »

Like it or not, Ortthodox Churches have been in some sort of a union with the state for most part of their history. That's why there are lands where Orthodoxy is the established faith, and not an exotic community like the Amish.
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2009, 02:06:28 PM »

I'm not sure if that has really led to larger quantities of dedicated Christians. The thing is, if you antagonize people, they are going to fight back and become bitter, and stronger in their determination to prove themselves right. If you are kind to people, they might even start to respect you and understand that you have something worthy of consideration.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2009, 02:39:18 PM »

I get it, I mean I understand how annoying protestant missionaries are and I would much prefer the Russian Orthodox Church who's greatest intrusion into into the average Russian's daily life is the annoying ringing of church bells. But you think the Russians would have learned by now...suppressing ideologies is not a healthy element of a stable state, this was a major contributing factor to the fall of their late empire.

Plus, why are they concerned? 2/3rds of their population is either Atheist, Agnostic, or non-religious and non-Orthodox Christians make up a whopping 2% of the country's population...are they really that threatened by an ideology held by 2% of the population?
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2009, 03:10:04 PM »

Quote
are they really that threatened by an ideology held by 2% of the population?

I would be, if I were them...
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2009, 03:24:30 PM »

It occurred to me that rather than forcibly expel Protestantism (which probably won't work in the long run), the ROC could employ a much more effective counter-method; publishing and disseminating material to every parish as to why Protestantism is wrong.  I would imagine that there are some country (and maybe city as well) priests who might not know how to address Protestants.  I believe that if the ROC were to address the issue of Sola Scriptura and make it available to every parish, then people could make a more informed decision.  I have a booklet in my library called Preaching Another Christ: An Orthodox View of Evangelicalism by St. Theophan the Recluse (a bishop from 19th century Russia), so the information and material is already out there.  We just need to do a better job of spreading the message, IMO.
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2009, 03:57:31 PM »

I get it, I mean I understand how annoying protestant missionaries are and I would much prefer the Russian Orthodox Church who's greatest intrusion into into the average Russian's daily life is the annoying ringing of church bells. But you think the Russians would have learned by now...suppressing ideologies is not a healthy element of a stable state, this was a major contributing factor to the fall of their late empire.

Plus, why are they concerned? 2/3rds of their population is either Atheist, Agnostic, or non-religious and non-Orthodox Christians make up a whopping 2% of the country's population...are they really that threatened by an ideology held by 2% of the population?

Less than 2% of the population of your beloved Roman Empire was Christian at one point.  We see how well that turned out for them Wink
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2009, 05:23:52 PM »

I'm afraid this cracking down on Protestants is only a sign of weakness and insecurity on the part of the ROC. A secure person is willing to let people be who they are, and doesn't need to force anyone.  A union of Church and State does not usually produce a nation of strong and faithful believers. History will repeat itself.

agreed.
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2009, 06:13:40 PM »

This is where something called "historical context" comes into play.  Prince Vladimir was living in the late 10th century.  A people's religion was the religion of their king, period.  There was no "freedom of conscience;" there was no concept of "religious freedom."  This was a non-negotiable part of life in 10th century Europe.  It seems incredibly wrong to us nowadays, but, back then, this was normal, right, and the way things were done.  Its implementation has little to do with Orthodoxy or religion in general, but with political thinking at the time.  Your king's gods were your gods, period.
This was true with the Franks as well.








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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2009, 06:23:58 PM »

I'm afraid this cracking down on Protestants is only a sign of weakness and insecurity on the part of the ROC. A secure person is willing to let people be who they are, and doesn't need to force anyone.  A union of Church and State does not usually produce a nation of strong and faithful believers. History will repeat itself.

agreed.

I agree as well. The Church for the first 3 hundred and 60 something years thought the same. We live in a day and age much like the early Nicene and pre-nicene world. And so, it would be a good idea to help the faithful know why they believe what they believe, as well as knowing why protestantism is wrong.....because the protestants ain't gonna stop doing what they are doing.

It doesn't look good overhere when stuff like that happens, just like it never looks good when talking to protestants when the Greeks and Armenians rumble during Holy Pascha. They show it on their blogs and they talk to us about it.

It just doesn't look good, and it's not good. To refuse to teach your people what they should believe will only hurt them in the long run, for the different kinds of protestants will be more than happy to seek them out like red meat. For they are just the kind of people they are looking for...........trust me!









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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2009, 06:27:02 PM »


To refuse to teach your people what they should believe will only hurt them in the long run, for the different kinds of protestants will be more than happy to seek them out like red meat. For they are just the kind of people they are looking for...........trust me!


Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2009, 06:33:00 PM »

It occurred to me that rather than forcibly expel Protestantism (which probably won't work in the long run), the ROC could employ a much more effective counter-method; publishing and disseminating material to every parish as to why Protestantism is wrong.  I would imagine that there are some country (and maybe city as well) priests who might not know how to address Protestants.  I believe that if the ROC were to address the issue of Sola Scriptura and make it available to every parish, then people could make a more informed decision.  I have a booklet in my library called Preaching Another Christ: An Orthodox View of Evangelicalism by St. Theophan the Recluse (a bishop from 19th century Russia), so the information and material is already out there.  We just need to do a better job of spreading the message, IMO.


I don't think augustin717 wants the ROC to teach their people anything. At least, that's what it seemed like in his posts. He needs to understand that such things will only make the ROC look like the """evil""" Roman Catholic church in the eyes of alot of protestants, and that will just make them even more eager and happy to bumrush Russia with misssionaries.

I don't think he understands how such things are looked down upon overhere. In the long run it's only gonna hurt more than help.







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« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2009, 06:51:09 PM »

C'mon! We (American Convert Orthodox) are so fickle! Any number of things which go against living a free Chrsitian life in America, we run to our polling stations to fight it. If we had more power than that, we'd use it.
 So the Russian Orthodox try to do something which they feel goes against their fiber and allow their church to fight for them. What's wrong with that? If we had a Christian State Church over here, you can bet there'd be no abortion at all, no gay marriage at all, and every prosecuted drug addict would live on an island like Catalina.
It seems there is a distressing thought process over in America between Converts that touts a negative light on Cultural Orthodox Countries not having freedom of conscience. The people used their freedom of conscience to have a state church. If they didn't, people in general are volitile enough to change that. Revolutions - remember.I don't fault the Russians.
 But I agree with the Gabby da Celt too, we need to fight through education more. It helps to have a foundation for the laity. Maybe they will use it to convert the Protestants who keep running over there to "help".   
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« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2009, 07:01:44 PM »

Free market Christianity, FTW! Wink Cheesy
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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2009, 07:12:50 PM »

Free market Christianity, FTW! Wink Cheesy
Why not?!! laugh
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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2009, 07:38:31 PM »

This is where something called "historical context" comes into play.  Prince Vladimir was living in the late 10th century.  A people's religion was the religion of their king, period.  There was no "freedom of conscience;" there was no concept of "religious freedom."  This was a non-negotiable part of life in 10th century Europe.  It seems incredibly wrong to us nowadays, but, back then, this was normal, right, and the way things were done.  Its implementation has little to do with Orthodoxy or religion in general, but with political thinking at the time.  Your king's gods were your gods, period.

Thank you for the answer!

I personally don't "buy" it, (at least totally) because obviously the Church went right along with this implementation. I wonder if Church leaders spoke out against this? 10th century Europe or not, it's clearly against the teachings of Jesus Christ. What happened to the "obey God rather than man" stance the early Church took against Emperor worship? That was certainly just part of "life in 1st and 2nd century Rome" and in fact it was normal, right, and the way things were done, but the Christians refused. Or at least enough of them did that we have writings etc on the subject. Did the 10th century Church do something similar? I reckon they didn't because now the Church was on the winning team. (I hate to be so cynical here but that's my assumption)

I do get that there are always historical contexts to many things like this, but sometimes I feel like Catholics/Orthodox use the "historical context" as a scapegoat to basically justify anything wrong done in the past, even if it was clearly against the teachings of Christ, because "oh those stupid dark age people just didn't know better"....when in fact I DO believe they knew better, or at least had the opportunity to know better because, well weren't Christ's teachings everywhere?

I get what you're saying, and I do understand that, to a degree, but I just cannot help but see it as wrong none the less. The teachings of Jesus were as available then as they are now, or they should have been, seeing as how this was the CHURCH baptizing people..shouldn't the priests, Bishops and Patriarchs have known better? I realize Prince Vladimir would not have, nor the Pagan people of Russia, because Christianity was all new to them, but the 1000 year old Church should have been aware they were doing wrong. At least that's how I see it.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and you're right, there is a historical context to it all that I sometimes forget, but still, it doesn't sit well . . . .

hope you understand what I mean.

1) Where did Jesus talk about freedom of religion?  Not saying it's not there, I just can't think of anything.

2) The church also didn't speak out (not universally at least) against slavery and misogyny.

3) Are we to think this is essentially what happened when the Bible talks about whole households being baptized?  The master of the house accepts Christianity and so everyone else joins too.  The case of the conversion of nations is just this writ large.

4) Are we really sure that people were forced to convert on a large scale in Russia or anywhere else?
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2009, 08:06:33 PM »

Ap. Paul wrote both about freedom of religion (1 Tes 4, 12) and against slavery (2 Tes 3, 10-12).
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2009, 09:00:16 PM »

If we had a Christian State Church over here, you can bet there'd be no abortion at all, no gay marriage at all, and every prosecuted drug addict would live on an island like Catalina.

If the United States of America had an official state church, then it wouldn't be the same Unites States of America with the same principles, namely freedom of conscience.  This religiously pluralistic environment has allowed us to encounter and convert to Orthodoxy.  Do you think that all of those Eastern Europeans would have immigrated here if they would have had to abandon their religious identity?
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« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2009, 09:07:09 PM »

If the United States of America had an official state church, then it wouldn't be the same Unites States of America with the same principles, namely freedom of conscience.  This religiously pluralistic environment has allowed us to encounter and convert to Orthodoxy.  Do you think that all of those Eastern Europeans would have immigrated here if they would have had to abandon their religious identity?

I converted to Orthodoxy in a country that has an official state church.
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« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2009, 09:23:00 PM »

I converted to Orthodoxy in a country that has an official state church.

One soon to be disbanded, no doubt.  And tell me, what if you had chosen to do that 150 years ago?  How would the good king's representatives have taken the news?

The change came about by way of the influx of new ideas, but where did those come from?

In what year did a freedom of religious conscience become legal?
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« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2009, 10:33:44 PM »

One soon to be disbanded, no doubt.  And tell me, what if you had chosen to do that 150 years ago?  How would the good king's representatives have taken the news?

The change came about by way of the influx of new ideas, but where did those come from?

In what year did a freedom of religious conscience become legal?

I'm not talking about 150 years ago. I'm simply saying that it's possible for a state to have an official religion without restricting the religious freedoms of others. Finland has two state churches: one Lutheran, one Orthodox.
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« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2009, 11:06:34 PM »

If we had a Christian State Church over here, you can bet there'd be no abortion at all, no gay marriage at all, and every prosecuted drug addict would live on an island like Catalina.

If the United States of America had an official state church, then it wouldn't be the same Unites States of America with the same principles, namely freedom of conscience.  This religiously pluralistic environment has allowed us to encounter and convert to Orthodoxy.  Do you think that all of those Eastern Europeans would have immigrated here if they would have had to abandon their religious identity?
Until the Soviet Revolution, when did all these Orthodox come a runnin' to escape persecution from their opressive countries?
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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2009, 01:40:05 AM »

At the end, the only "persecution" these people suffer is not even worth its name: not being able to proselytize as much as they would  like.
And contrary to their claims, they proselytize quite aggressively when given the chance. I've seen that.
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« Reply #36 on: November 26, 2009, 02:20:07 AM »


If the United States of America had an official state church, then it wouldn't be the same Unites States of America with the same principles, namely freedom of conscience.  This religiously pluralistic environment has allowed us to encounter and convert to Orthodoxy.  Do you think that all of those Eastern Europeans would have immigrated here if they would have had to abandon their religious identity?
Why do you automatically suppose they would have to give up their Religious identity to immigrate to this supposed ficticious country we're talking about?
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« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2009, 02:32:14 AM »

Why do you automatically suppose they would have to give up their Religious identity to immigrate to this supposed ficticious country we're talking about?

Well, they wouldn't necessarily, but if our constitution had a clause built in proclaiming that the American Church would be the "prevailing" church, then limitations of those freedoms could certainly be put into place if the immigrant churches started to grow beyond an "acceptable" level as interpreted by the government and state church.

Anyway, this is all conjecture.  I was merely pointing out the irony of converts supporting religious suppression, as their conversion was mainly possible because of our society's principles extolling free religious exchange and freedom of conscience.  Certainly Russians are free to convert to Protestant sects in the motherland (peace be upon her Wink) if they want to, but the government isn't exactly making it that easy for them.
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« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2009, 03:22:48 AM »

And why should the government make it that easy for people to embrace heresy?
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2009, 03:34:50 AM »

And why should the government make it that easy for people to embrace heresy?

 I think Alveus Lacuna is simply pointing out, dear brother, that because Jesus Christ gives everyone freewill to either choose Him or deny Him, certainly all man made governments, especially those who purport to be Christian, should extend the same courtesy to it's people.  I'm like you Augustin- I don't like Protestantism creeping in and wreaking havoc on our Orthodox brothers and sisters!  But, we must let everyone make their own choices, don't you agree?  I'll use myself as an example (something else Alveus Lacuna touched upon); I'm a convert born and raised in America.  Now suppose America put restrictions on Eastern Orthodoxy because America sees herself as a Protestant nation?  It's very likely that I never would have heard of Eastern Orthodoxy had that been the case.  So I, as a convert, should be careful about placing a ban on other faiths.  But don't misunderstand me, brother Augustin; just because we allow other views, doesn't mean we should give up and roll over. 
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2009, 06:55:33 AM »

I really think those Orthodox who live in non-Orthodox countries need to visit Orthodox countries before deciding on this question. Its very different in a country where Orthodoxy is seen as part of the cultural identity. By analogy, imagine a protestant Church taking the Vatican City to the Hague for denying them the right to establish a protestant Church next to St. Peter's Basilica. And yet, protestants are not denied the right to establish churches in Orthodox countries, merely they are being denied the right to "evangelize" (read "spread heresy") among the young on university campuses etc.
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2009, 10:03:15 AM »

To me, that's absurd. IMO a forced "conversion" is no conversion at all. You cannot force people into salvation. Please tell me this was not Orthodox belief? (someone, anyone?) I realize there are some things not disclosed in catechumen classes, or in mainstream Orthodox writings, but was this really the belief of the Church at that time? If not, where did Prince Vladimir ever get such an idea that forcing people to "convert" was a good idea? Just curious.

St Vladimir's glorification as a saint was mainly due to his forcing all in his vicinity into the Dniepr to be baptized on a cold January day. This event is lovingly reenacted each year by Ukrainian faithful. While one can quibble about the "infallibility" of Orthodox saints, the fact that St. Vladimir has been praised for over a millennium for his actions suggest pretty strongly that this is all okay with the Church.
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« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2009, 11:30:50 AM »

St Cyril and Methodius were bringing truth in their missionary activities. St Vladimir may have forced people into baptism on pain of death, but he was doing it for their salvation. Meanwhile, Protestant bodies present in Russia are spreading lies and drawing people away from Orthodox. Your comparison is risible.
You seem to have missed my point. augustin717 was arguing that Protestant missionary activity is wrong because Orthodoxy is part of Russian culture. I found that as a bad argument since also Orthodoxy is an import to Russia. That would have been a decent argument if augusting717 would have tried to argue for original Russian religion but now it was kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. Orthodoxy was as big "cultural loss" and "historical amnesia" as Protestantism would be.
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2009, 11:56:54 AM »


1) Where did Jesus talk about freedom of religion?  Not saying it's not there, I just can't think of anything.


Hmm, well there are the Gospels accounts for starters. Smiley

Like, the beatitudes, or how about when he told the Apostles not to lord it over others like the gentiles (ie: the Roman Empire) do. When Jesus was on trial before the Sanhedrin He kept silent, in fact Christ's entire life was one of letting people CHOOSE Him or reject Him. Not once did Jesus say, "well, you're going to choose me whether you like it or not!" Of course Jesus never used the phrase "freedom of religion" because it had not been invented yet, but Paul wrote that God calls all, but compels NO ONE! Even the OT which is full of things that seem confusing or show God as being "harsh", God starts right out in the Mosaic Covenant saying "I set before you life and death, CHOOSE life."



Quote
2) The church also didn't speak out (not universally at least) against slavery and misogyny.

The Church didn't, but Jesus did. The fact that the first witnesses of the Resurrection were women. I just don't agree with your points here. Are you supporting the idea that doctrine develops and evolves over time, and what was "right" in 10th century is now "wrong" today?

Quote
3) Are we to think this is essentially what happened when the Bible talks about whole households being baptized?  The master of the house accepts Christianity and so everyone else joins too.  The case of the conversion of nations is just this writ large.


Your comparing baptizing children to forcing entire nations into baptism? Wow...that's a leap I just cannot take.


Quote
4) Are we really sure that people were forced to convert on a large scale in Russia or anywhere else?

Well, everyone else seemed to think this indeed happened in Russia. Obviously if you read my first post in the thread, I was shocked as I'd never heard it, but I'm also not shocked that it did.

Anyways, we'll just have to agree to disagree I guess....

happy thanksgiving
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2009, 11:58:17 AM »

To me, that's absurd. IMO a forced "conversion" is no conversion at all. You cannot force people into salvation. Please tell me this was not Orthodox belief? (someone, anyone?) I realize there are some things not disclosed in catechumen classes, or in mainstream Orthodox writings, but was this really the belief of the Church at that time? If not, where did Prince Vladimir ever get such an idea that forcing people to "convert" was a good idea? Just curious.

St Vladimir's glorification as a saint was mainly due to his forcing all in his vicinity into the Dniepr to be baptized on a cold January day. This event is lovingly reenacted each year by Ukrainian faithful. While one can quibble about the "infallibility" of Orthodox saints, the fact that St. Vladimir has been praised for over a millennium for his actions suggest pretty strongly that this is all okay with the Church.


That's what I was afraid of...LOL!
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