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Author Topic: Is western Christianity the origin of modern unbelief?  (Read 4472 times) Average Rating: 0
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The young fogey
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« on: November 19, 2002, 10:22:07 AM »

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Seraphim,

"It's my theory that it is errors like this, which have been one of the biggest reasons why atheism as a modern phenomenon, was born in the heart of western Christendom.

With all of this said, I guess I agree, and disagree with you Dan.  I agree, that very often the Latins are given a bad shake for the wrong reasons (and when this happens, it's often indicative of problems within the Orthodox world itself).  However, I think you're mistaken, in so far as I think that the seemingly "little things" and wrong orientations in Roman Catholicism have had big consequences for the Roman Catholic faithful."

Thank you for a very thoughtful post.  I suspect you are right, but if we leave who will save them?  

More to the point:  I teach Comparative Religions as one of my vocations since leaving the United Methodist ministry.  One of the things I ask the students to consider is the cosmogeny and eschatology of each of the various religions/worldviews we study.  Clearly, Hinduism and paganism is general see reality in a completely cyclic way.  On the other extreme are Western Rationalists dominated by Deism and Protestantism.  This rationalism stems in part of the Enlightenment but also from the nonsense of scholastic nominalism.  It means that Cosmogeny and Eschatology are viewed in a straight line.  The great events of old when God influence humanity directly took place long ago and will take place again sometime in the future with often catestrophic results.  It is surprising that 1/2 of all RC's speak of the Eucharist as symbolic?  This view is basically the "Real Absence" as one wit has coined.

The Christian view is that yes we are going someplace from the work of a gracious God to the work of a gracious God.  With constant encounters with God, with God being birthed in us through Theosis, we move in Christ toward Christ.  We live at once on two planes of existence...divine and human.

Dan Lauffer

Awesome! This deserves a thread to itself. It seems there were problems in the West that produced many modern wrong ideas, from denying the Real Presence (Berengarius, then the Protestants) to out-and-out atheism. PC, what is passed off as a catholic faith and morality today, is a knockoff of Christianity — western Christianity with Christ removed?

So...

Was Alexis Khomiakov right that Catholics, Protestants and secular humanists are all really on the same team? Is Roman Catholicism the world's oldest Protestant church? (Hardline Orthodox view.)

Or despite the problems in western Catholicism that may have caused today's endemic unbelief, does it still share enough in common with the other apostolic churches that it is not Protestant? (Something approaching the Catholic view.)

The only really different thing about Catholicism is ‘the Pope thing’; the rest of the differences are of theological school/language/approach.

There are the issues of historicity (where Catholics fall back on ‘development of doctrine’) and unfairness to the Christian East, but for now I ask:

How on earth could that be blamed for today’s mess? Pius IX was acting against liberalism so how could he be blamed for it?
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2002, 10:43:16 AM »

Was not the East the hotbed for heresy and heterodoxy in the first millenium?  And was it not because that it was in the East that all the deep theological and philosophical debates were being held?  Over the past 500 or so years, the "deep" theological and philosophical debates were held instead in the West, and it was these debates which led to the "Enlightenment" and modern day atheism.  The Western Church itself cannot be blamed for atheism because it has tried, however successfully or unsuccessfully depending on one's theological POV, to combat the philosophical theories that were against traditional Christian thought.  Did they sometimes go overboard with the scholasticism?  Sure.  But when the other side is using ONLY a scholastic approach to arguing their point, it is natural to try to argue using that same approach to argue one's own point.
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2002, 10:51:49 AM »

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Was not the East the hotbed for heresy and heterodoxy in the first millenium?

It sure was. But interestingly, even those groups once thought to be heretics on obscure points of Christology — the Assyrians and those we now call Oriental Orthodox — all teach the truth about the Eucharist.
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2002, 11:10:43 AM »

Thankfully, they do!  But as far as I know never used a rigorous scholastic approach to arguing much of anything.  Even this eastward-gazing Latin will admit that Scholasticism led to the debates.  Berengarius of Tours' non-orthodox ideas about the Eucharist (and other things) sprang from his rationalistic nominalism, which is scholasticism by another name.  He never denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, just the transubstantion, to use a Latin theological term.  It seems to me that his repeated retractions of his retractions come from some deep seated pride and some psychological "martyr's complex".  The whole controversey seems to be indicative of the Western view of "either/or" instead of "both/and", which, of course, springs from, you guessed it, scholasticism.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2002, 08:00:27 PM »

I believe that this is very much a phenomenon of the modern western world: its materialism, its rationalism, its antropocentrism and the denial of sin are a result of the western thinking that generated in Western Christianity, but not of Western Christianity itself.

I believe Vatican II seemed to reconcile this material secular world with the religiosu world and in this case, westenr catholics have become more westernized, more protestantized and more willing to accept the "culture of death" than the Eastern Orthodox. Our communities seem to be more traditional (in spite of some Bishops' vies about contraception and divorce, it is impossible to deny that there are abuses sometimes)

If there was a general acceptance of a secular education a secular regime, why not a secular mass? secular worship? this phenomenon is seen through the present status of the Latin Church: vandalizing temples through remodelation, removing images and icons from Churches, modern architecture and the scandalous liturgical abuses.
One World Church, One World Religion? One World Government?

This phenomenon is not christian at all, it is opposed to christianity, including Western Christianity.



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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2002, 11:13:41 AM »

Quote
I believe that this is very much a phenomenon of the modern western world: its materialism, its rationalism, its antropocentrism and the denial of sin are a result of the western thinking that generated in Western Christianity, but not of Western Christianity itself.

Good answer!

Quote
I believe Vatican II seemed to reconcile this material secular world with the religiosu world and in this case

That was a mistake.

Quote
westenr catholics have become more westernized, more protestantized and more willing to accept the "culture of death" than the Eastern Orthodox.

Proving that Quotation No. 2 describes a mistake.

Quote
Our communities seem to be more traditional (in spite of some Bishops' views about contraception and divorce, it is impossible to deny that there are abuses sometimes)

However, lest chauvinistic Orthodox get puffed up, it's the integral Catholics in the US who take the heat, willingly, for standing up to the culture of death, including doing such unfashionable activity as Operation Rescue nearly 10 years ago. Among Eastern Orthodox, converts and people who a few generations ago were Catholic — namely Johnstown and the OCA — make an appearance at the yearly national march for life, which is wonderful. But the other EOs are AWOL. Indifferent. I don't see the self-righteous little groups obsessed with calendars doing anything. Once was in a room with a hysterical Russian-American frothing about the evil commie pinkos taking over churches in Palestine, but when I mentioned that the hospital down the road from where we were sitting kills babies, she literally couldn't care less. 'They're only going to do it anyway!' Maybe it's owing to their not being Russian, Greek, you-name-the-ethnicity babies. Who knows.

I'll admit I don't do active prolife work anymore and in a way the contemplative Orthodox are right that the secular world is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, but I've done my part and to this day a small part of my site is perpetually 'carrying a sign'.

Quote
If there was a general acceptance of a secular education a secular regime, why not a secular mass? secular worship? this phenomenon is seen through the present status of the Latin Church: vandalizing temples through remodelation, removing images and icons from Churches, modern architecture and the scandalous liturgical abuses.

One World Church, One World Religion? One World Government?

This phenomenon is not christian at all, it is opposed to christianity, including Western Christianity.

By George, you've got it.

The PC types' one world church, one world government — the bastard of catholicity.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2002, 11:15:50 AM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2002, 05:50:05 PM »

Quote
However, lest chauvinistic Orthodox get puffed up, it's the integral Catholics in the US who take the heat, willingly, for standing up to the culture of death, including doing such unfashionable activity as Operation Rescue nearly 10 years ago. Among Eastern Orthodox, converts and people who a few generations ago were Catholic — namely Johnstown and the OCA — make an appearance at the yearly national march for life, which is wonderful. But the other EOs are AWOL. Indifferent. I don't see the self-righteous little groups obsessed with calendars doing anything. Once was in a room with a hysterical Russian-American frothing about the evil commie pinkos taking over churches in Palestine, but when I mentioned that the hospital down the road from where we were sitting kills babies, she literally couldn't care less. 'They're only going to do it anyway!' Maybe it's owing to their not being Russian, Greek, you-name-the-ethnicity babies. Who knows.

I'll admit I don't do active prolife work anymore and in a way the contemplative Orthodox are right that the secular world is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, but I've done my part and to this day a small part of my site is perpetually 'carrying a sign'.

I'll never be a defender of the rationalism that has made a mockery of much of Roman Catholicism.  But you sure have a point here.  I can barely stomach the chatter about old calendarists when compared to the non-involvement of Orthodox in the fight to end abortion.  Don't the Orthodox have any compassion for the innocents?  Condemn the non-ethnic adults to hell if you wish but why won't you defend the innocent?

Dan Lauffer
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2002, 05:56:16 PM »

I have often noticed the dearth of Orthodox support for the Fight for the Unborn.  Why is that?  Is there any specific reason?
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2002, 06:34:49 PM »

[Don't the Orthodox have any compassion for the innocents?  Condemn the non-ethnic adults to hell if you wish but why won't you defend the innocent?]

We do Dan.  You just don't take the time to research before you condemn.  Metropolitans Herman and Nicholas along with 'Orthodox Christians For Life' march in Washington every year.  Are your Byzantine Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic Bishops with them?

I have an Orthodox Catholic friend who has been arrested countless times for demonstrating and trying to stop abortion.

Here are some Orthodox Catholic web site regarding the Orthodox Catholic views on abortion.  I can supply more if need be.

http://www.stmichael.org/OCL/OCL.html

http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/abortion2.htm

http://aggreen.net/pro-life/pro-life.html

Orthodoc


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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2002, 07:33:44 PM »


For a modern day Orthodox Catholic Icon against abortion access -

http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/abortion.htm
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2002, 09:25:02 PM »

Zoe for Life

www.incommunion.org/incommunion/kappos.asp

Thank you, Ms. Kappos.

btw: I know--for a fact--that OCs within the GOA are actively involved in anti-abortion diakonia. I would hate to see OCs labeled solipsistic slackers.

Abdur
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2002, 10:06:57 PM »

Schultz,

Quote
Was not the East the hotbed for heresy and heterodoxy in the first millenium?

In a sense yes, because  (as you mention) all of the major houses of learning and most of the centers of power were "eastward".

However, it is not simple heresy that is the issue here, but rather "atheism" and total disbelief.  That is something which I think is different than heresy; it's not simply a wrong way of understanding God, but taking a fotress mentality against the whole notion of God and revelation altogether.

Quote
Over the past 500 or so years, the "deep" theological and philosophical debates were held instead in the West, and it was these debates which led to the "Enlightenment" and modern day atheism.

Yes, but what is it about western errors that could lead not simply to heterodoxy, but outright rejection of God...even hate for God, which I've found endemic in professed "atheism."

Quote
The Western Church itself cannot be blamed for atheism because it has tried, however successfully or unsuccessfully depending on one's theological POV, to combat the philosophical theories that were against traditional Christian thought.

Some would argue however, that it is not in the realm of propositional truth, but in something more "gut level" that one finds the genesis of atheism in western (heterodox) Christianity.  By this I mean, something in the common experience of Christianity in the west, which could lead to (over time) such a sick reaction.

I'm not proposing that there is some one shot, straightforward "reason" for this; rather it is the cumulative result of an outlook and type of piety which ends up creating an image of God which is totally false, thus leading to skepticism and even disgust on the part of those of an inquisitive (and troubled) spirit.

Quote
id they sometimes go overboard with the scholasticism?  Sure.  But when the other side is using ONLY a scholastic approach to arguing their point, it is natural to try to argue using that same approach to argue one's own point.

However, which came first; the arid western Christian scholasticism, or the arid atheistic scholasticism?

Seraphim
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2002, 10:17:45 PM »

Serge,

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It sure was. But interestingly, even those groups once thought to be heretics on obscure points of Christology — the Assyrians and those we now call Oriental Orthodox — all teach the truth about the Eucharist.

Exactly; and that's because we're dealing with entirely different problems when we speak of post RC western heterodoxy, as opposed to earlier heresies.   Skepticism seems to be at the root of western heterodoxy, the skepticism seemingly "increasing" with the passage of time and multiplication of sects.  Of course in our day this is changing (as many evangelical Protestant sects are abandoning the rationalism and skepticism of classical Protestantism), but perhaps that just goes hand in hand with the intellectual/moral crisis/collapse which is occuring in western civilization as a whole.

Seraphim
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2002, 11:04:57 AM »


However, which came first; the arid western Christian scholasticism, or the arid atheistic scholasticism?

Seraphim

I don't deny that the "arid western Christian scholasticism" came first.  Of course it did.  And I don't like it, either.  But to say that western Christian thought CREATED atheism is going too far.  

Indeed, hardline atheism predates the birth of our Lord.  Around 420 BC in Greece, the theory of materialism was developed promoting the concept of atoms as the basic unit of matter. Of course gods have no place in a purely materialistic universe. Democritus pushed this theory very far, and distinguished between reality and perception. He is said to be one of the originators of many sciences, including epistemology, mathematics, philosophy.

Epicurus (341-270 BC) was a materialist and probably the first philosopher to develop the argument from evil :

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"


He could be considered to be the first atheist, although our records of the time are not conclusive. We know of Epicurus' teaching mostly through the writings of Lucretius. Epicurians had no belief in the afterlife, and adopted a fairly deistic view of gods.  

Another current of thought that lasted for a long period of history was Stoicism, which preached an early form of panthenism. The universe was considered as a living thing, gods and souls considered as material objects part of the universe.

It was not the Western Christian world who sowed the seeds of atheism, but the ancient Greek world, via the Arabs.  The Arab World, having preserved Greek writings through the centuries, inspired the humanist movement in Europe. Humanism was the inspiration for atheism, which would come later.

Of course, once humanism took hold, and the Church reacted against it, a huge pissing contest (please forgive the expression) occurred, and humanists took advantage of our fallen nature.  You can still be a good person, they said, but you don't need to fast, you don't need to pray, you don't need to give thanks to the Lord.  Then along comes Luther, Calvin, Zwingili and their ilk and the whole world gets turned upside down.  The western Church reacted against these movements, using scholasticism in an attempt to "reason with the reasoners".  However, there are just some things you can't "reason" and those things take "faith".  You can't argue faith with someone who doesn't have any.
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2002, 04:18:48 PM »

Schultz,

You make some good and strong points, here is my take on it:

That poem by Epicurus is not an atheist poem; it is an agnostic poem. Agnosticism is simply ambiguous as to the role of the Creator, much as that poem expresses, while atheism is unequivocal about the non-existence of deity.

Many modern materialist philosophers only mention Greek predecessors as people with foresight to their own philosophy. But since these materialist philosophers were a marginal minority in their own day they did not have the kind of immediate impact on western society as did other currents of Greek thought. Some Greek philosophers were not great in their own day and only become ‘great’ by modern retrospective fans. According to The Origin of Materialism by George Novak modern materialism traces its roots to men like Feurbach (who wrote books dealing with Christianity) directly while it is only inspired by ancient Greek Philosophy (in other words there is no direct continuity with it)

The deist movement which not a few patriots of the American Revolution adhered (including none other than Tom Paine) argued that after the Creation God takes a back seat in human affairs. Once you make that concession an extreme secularism is both possible and the most logical outcome.

In my understanding, Sola Scripitura developed from Protestantism wishing to abolish the doctrines of the most sacred Ecumenical Council decisions by taking out their teachings. They would search over the scripture for some ‘proof’ of contradiction with the decisions of the Church Fathers. They acted as if Christian theology is equivalent to scientific discovery; its supporters claimed that they have "uncovered the truth about Christianity." They started saying "what has been taught by the Rome and (by extension) Orthodoxy (the church of the East) was all false".    

But you introduced another chicken or egg metaphor that should seriously be considered. Did the rationalist first inspire the proto-protestant movement into adopting their method of discourse and thereby prompt Rome into developing scholasticism to defend itself against the reformation? Or was it that Rome’s Scholastic insistence gave birth to the discourse method of Protestantism which is an extreme version of scholasticism?

Yes, some reformation folks had rationalist arguments but some of the rationalists and most of the early scientist started off their arguments by references to religion.  We can not forget the practice of trying to ‘prove’ Biblical narrative; trying to find proof that the flood actually happened, going over Saints lives and finding some of them to be too ‘mythical’ for acceptance (like St. George), chemistry like arguments concerning the Eucharist; these are things that Western Christians started and not something that rationalist put on them. Rationalism did not just appear from no where (no philosophy does) but is an outcome of situations prevalent in western Christian society.

While of course Arabs were the ones who spread science and philosophy during the Middle Ages; to claim from this that they are the ones sort of responsible for unbelief will stick you into a position hard to get out of. If that is the case then why is the modern Arab world not in unbelief or why is it not secularizing? In fact, I have noticed that modern Arab (and other non-Arab Muslim) scientists, engineers and professionals are still, more times than not, devout Muslims and believers while their western Christian equivalents (scientists, etc.) are usually always unbelievers. It shows that the tendency to not believe is something that was born within western Christianity and not something that came from without.


God Bless
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2002, 04:39:09 PM »

Aklie,

You have brought up some excellent points as well, particularly emphazising that modern atheism is "an outcome of situations prevalent in western Christian society".  I think that's the key there...the society.  While the religion of western Europe most certainly had much to do with the shaping of the society, many other factors did as well.  The society as a whole, I believe, was not prepared for the sudden appearance of the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers.  These ideas must have seemed strange indeed from the viewpoint of a 15th century university student, who was among the first people of Western Europe to read the ideas of, say, Epicurus in one thousand years.  

However, I think it is fallacy to isolate "western Christianity" as the "root cause" of humanism and its progeny deism, agnosticism and atheism.  As Dan Lauffer pointed out a few days ago, the Church did its darndest to combat these philosophies.  However, thanks the medieval and feudal baggage the Church had burdened itself with, the words from the pulpit went unheeded.  One of the few things keeping traditional Christian philosophy at the forefront was the monarchial institutions of Western Europe.  There were self avowed Deists and Atheists and Agnostics in Europe, but they were very much the fringe.  All that changed with the success of the American Revolution, led by, as you pointed out, a number of Deists.  The Monarch, put in place by Divine Right, became supplanted for the State.  And, admittedly, jumping ahead, we have, less than a hundred years later, the State being supplanted for God via Marxism.

I guess my point is that while Western christianity, through its use of rigorous scholasticism, had a PART to play in the emergence of atheism, it alone cannot be held responsible for it.  A number of factors, from economics to nation building politics, led to the rise of atheism and the ultimate proclamation of the State as God.
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2002, 05:21:47 PM »

I guess my point is that while Western christianity, through its use of rigorous scholasticism, had a PART to play in the emergence of atheism, it alone cannot be held responsible for it.  A number of factors, from economics to nation building politics, led to the rise of atheism and the ultimate proclamation of the State as God.

OK,

I agree totally now. It should be seen as the society as a whole and not just the Church. In fact the whole reformation can be looked at sociologically and make perfect sense (as to why it happened). If one looks at world history it can be discerned that reform-like movements arose in other parts of the world but did not go anywhere to the extent that they did in Europe. In Ethiopia, it was called the Stephenite heresy and because the society was different it went nowhere. There was also a rationalist philosopher named Zara Yaqob (the philosopher NOT the King with the same name who came earlier and was a devout Christian) in the 17th Century. He wrote a very rationalistic and deistic ‘Treatise.’ While many modern Ethiopian brag about him as ‘a forerunner of rationalism’ and consider him a hero he was considered a nut case when he actually lived and only recruited one pupil (sort of like those Greek materialists). So these same tendencies in different parts of the world led to different outcomes because the structure of the society was different.  

That is why simple Christian peasants and villagers in the east and in the west a Mexican or Italian grandmother have way more truth than some cigar holding theologian sitting in a university with all his sophistry.  

God Bless
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2002, 11:28:22 PM »

Schultz,

Quote
I don't deny that the "arid western Christian scholasticism" came first.  Of course it did.  And I don't like it, either.  But to say that western Christian thought CREATED atheism is going too far.

I don't recall anyone saying anything about western heterodoxy "creating" atheism; only that modern atheism (as a phenomenon of recent centuries) is a side effect/consequence of western heterodox-Christian thought.

Quote
Indeed, hardline atheism predates the birth of our Lord.  Around 420 BC in Greece, the theory of materialism was developed promoting the concept of atoms as the basic unit of matter. Of course gods have no place in a purely materialistic universe. Democritus pushed this theory very far, and distinguished between reality and perception. He is said to be one of the originators of many sciences, including epistemology, mathematics, philosophy.

I don't dispute much of what you've written here (about Epicureanism and Stoicism); however, given what the discussion is about, I don't see how it's relevent.

However, classical athiesm is an interesting subject for other reasons, since I think it shows (as in history repeating itself) where contemporary atheism/materialism is going.  Many talk about the "new science" and where philosophical/scientific materialism are going in our age (about how "science and religion" are allegedly melding), when all they are talking about is old pantheism revisited.

Indeed, atheism as such is only "virtual" as I once saw it described; if taken to it's logical conclusion, it becomes some form of pantheism (if by "theos" we can mean simply the "absolute".)

Seraphim
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2002, 12:46:44 AM »

I don't believe atheism by its strict definition, that is, "there is no God", really exists anywhere at all.

If God made man without a soul, then true atheism would be possible. But since man has a soul he is by his perfect nature a spiritual being with an inherent need to worship and believe in something greater. History and sociology makes this quite clear.

What I believe is happening today is not so much disbelief in God, but more like God being overshadowed by secular humanism which seems to just bury the notion of God. God has now been made in the image of man. This is why you see a laughing Jesus, “artwork” which defames the image of God, great blasphemy, and purposeful evil.

Man has now not only eaten from the tree of knowledge, he has devoured it. The contempt for moral absolutes with which this society systematically flushes itself down the toilet has left man with only himself to worship.

Even religion, by in large, is just another means for man to please himself. It has become just another consumer product, packaged in a thousand different flavors, marketed, and advertised, all for the purpose of making you feel good. This is why a hallmark of the many western heresies is that it is “easy”.

God is still their, but only as a menace; This is not atheism, this is unbridled narcissism.


« Last Edit: November 22, 2002, 12:50:34 AM by OrthodoxyOrDeath » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2002, 10:48:01 AM »

OoD,

You make a very good point.  "Classic atheism", that there is no God, has been generally supplanted by either State worship or a cult of personality, where the individual is the highest authority and a god unto himself.
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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2002, 11:46:55 AM »

OoD,

   Very well stated.  Man is now god.  Must be lonely for Man.

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« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2002, 02:52:43 PM »

And shouldn’t the question of this thread be reversed? The humanism which has so infected the West can be traced directly to the period when the Western heresies were created. After all, isn’t papalism a form of humanism? Perhaps Orthodoxy never found firm roots among the barbarian peoples.

I recall Justin Popovich wrote a nice article that dealt with this.
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« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2002, 03:02:05 PM »

I'm at a loss to understand how "papalism" is a form of humanism.  Can you spell it out for me?
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« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2002, 03:39:19 PM »

I'm at a loss to understand how "papalism" is a form of humanism.  Can you spell it out for me?

OK, I've been studying a lot about the Papal claims and the Orthodox response, so I want a crack at this.

As I understand it, the Orthodox position is as follows.  A man, the Pope, has usurped the place of Christ as the Head of the Church.  It was a completely unnecessary move since Christ promised He would be with us always (Matt 28:20), and if the Head of the Church is with us, we do not need a vicar.

The current monarchical Papacy constitutes, therefore, a replacement of God by man - in other words, humanism.

Did I get this right?
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2002, 04:07:39 PM »

Quote
OK, I've been studying a lot about the Papal claims and the Orthodox response, so I want a crack at this.

As I understand it, the Orthodox position is as follows.  A man, the Pope, has usurped the place of Christ as the Head of the Church.  It was a completely unnecessary move since Christ promised He would be with us always (Matt 28:20), and if the Head of the Church is with us, we do not need a vicar.

The current monarchical Papacy constitutes, therefore, a replacement of God by man - in other words, humanism.

Did I get this right?

I think you’ll find a lot of Orthodox writing that says that but it’s kind of a back formation. AFAIK the schism didn’t happen because some big bad Pope declared himself God’s viceroy and the righteous, blameless Byzantines reacted. It was a gradual estrangement for political reasons in the early Middle Ages and I suspect such rhetoric was written after the fact to explain what happened.
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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2002, 04:11:36 PM »

NDHoosier - that's basically the idea.

Moreover, my point is that the european peoples have always demonstrated a penchant for humanism.

I wish I had time today, but I want to point out one example. The western churches started with the theological rebellion of Frankish popes, not Greek popes, the most notable of which was Nicholas I, a Frank, and Pope John VIII, a Greek. Pope Nicholas was given the anathema and pope John VIII, his successor, later agreed in 879.
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« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2002, 04:14:09 PM »

Friends:


If I may interject,  there is no such thing as "papalism" in the Catholic Church.

We have the "papacy."


AmdG

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