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Author Topic: Why do people leave Christianity, or lose faith?  (Read 10023 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 24, 2010, 09:20:12 PM »

or lose faith in God?
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 09:30:47 PM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2010, 09:42:00 PM »

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Doubting that divine aspect is a key part that causes people to lose faith in 'organised religions' and venture at it on their own. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2010, 09:52:22 PM »

Because it's hard sometimes. (I'm guilty)
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 09:55:21 PM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.
Created?
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 10:09:54 PM »

Doubting that divine aspect is a key part that causes people to lose faith in 'organised religions' and venture at it on their own.

Well, I suppose more often than not I would not doubt the reality of the "divinity" of the organism, but rather the exclusivity of its parameters as defined by official Church teaching. I honestly have no doubt of God's existence at this point, nor the "supernatural" or "divine", if I'm supposed to juxtapose that against the material, which I don't.

Anyway, when doubts creep in for me, it's not if there is God, but rather which God. Many times the definitions seem artificially constructed.

But I do have faith, and in all honesty I really do believe in Jesus Christ as the source of my existence. He is everything to me.
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 10:10:40 PM »

Created?

Mainly dogmatically defined truths, the canons, et cetera.
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2010, 10:16:15 PM »

Doubting that divine aspect is a key part that causes people to lose faith in 'organised religions' and venture at it on their own.
I honestly have no doubt of God's existence at this point, nor the "supernatural" or "divine", if I'm supposed to juxtapose that against the material, which I don't.

Anyway, when doubts creep in for me, it's not if there is God, but rather which God. Many times the definitions seem artificially constructed.
That is, more or less, along the lines of what I meant.  Someone might be a theist or a deist, but in terms of X church and its teachings, they view them as mere opinions rather than divine 'Truth'.  No more valid than another church or faith or an individual's personal view of spirituality.
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2010, 10:20:20 PM »

For some it's the Christians that ascribe to Christianity that make them lose faith.

For several members of my family, it was bad experiences with a few priests (unfortunately.)
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2010, 10:29:16 PM »

Just as there are many folks who deny God, there are just as many reasons as to why.  Here are a few that come to mind;

 1.  Sometimes people look to Christianity as a talisman or good luck charm and when it doesn't deliver, they lose heart and leave. 

 2.  Sometimes the company we keep can slowly chip away at our faith.  Peer pressure, via our friends and colleagues, really do have an influence over us.

 3.  I've come to suspect that there's a correlation between a person's childhood and their weltanschauung.  As one example, a person who grew up with parents who professed a loving God, but who were ill-tempered and quick to administer punishment, might grow up rebelling Christianity, when in fact, they're actually (and subconsciously) rebelling against their harsh upbringing.  To an extent, this was my particular case when I left Christianity years ago.  Once I discovered the true reason for my rebellion, I was able to work through a lot of problems.  I still have some things to work through (I think my temper probably comes to mind)...

 4.  Pride and other illnesses of the heart.

 5.  Perhaps the most important and overarching reason?  Satan himself.  Let us pray to never forget that he roars like a lion, roaming the earth looking for souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8 ).  Brothers and sisters, truly, though he cannot read our minds (thank God!), he knows our weaknesses and uses them to break us.
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2010, 10:30:44 PM »

For several members of my family, it was bad experiences with a few priests (unfortunately.)

Put not your trust in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation. Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2010, 11:16:57 PM »

Doubting that divine aspect is a key part that causes people to lose faith in 'organised religions' and venture at it on their own.

Well, I suppose more often than not I would not doubt the reality of the "divinity" of the organism, but rather the exclusivity of its parameters as defined by official Church teaching. I honestly have no doubt of God's existence at this point, nor the "supernatural" or "divine", if I'm supposed to juxtapose that against the material, which I don't.

Anyway, when doubts creep in for me, it's not if there is God, but rather which God. Many times the definitions seem artificially constructed.

But I do have faith, and in all honesty I really do believe in Jesus Christ as the source of my existence. He is everything to me.
I know what you mean, I don't doubt the existence of God, only which God.
so far I'm looking in the camp of my ancient ancestors religio Romana (fake gods created by heaven's and earth's copulation), hinduism, and orthodoxy, (and maybe just becoming a jew).
one thing that may be true , we might not even know about the true religion, we're just clinging to the one the closest to the true God.

I also doubt organized religions (beliefs) like atheism, agnosticism, and deism.
 to agnostics:if God were real he'd reveal himself right?
to Atheists: your world view is a religion, and there's a lot of censored evidence against evolution in the universities.

so far the only thing I doubt about the Bible now is, the time of Judges, which makes me think that the Jews made up Judaism to justify their conquest of Israel
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2010, 11:45:37 PM »

so far I'm looking in the camp of my ancient ancestors religio Romana (fake gods created by heaven's and earth's copulation), hinduism, and orthodoxy, (and maybe just becoming a jew).
one thing that may be true , we might not even know about the true religion, we're just clinging to the one the closest to the true God.

Funny you should mention the Religio Romana, I have a good friend who was very much into the whole Nova Roma movement.  She is mostly focused on the religious beliefs and practices of ancient Rome, and is quite dedicated to it now.  Some of the events they used to host were a blast to attend, whether re-enactments of battles or daily life, or information on religious practices.  Nova Roma has become fairly inactive around these parts, but a number of the ex-members still get together every now and then for religious feasts/celebrations. 
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2010, 12:28:59 AM »

or lose faith in God?

Funny you ask. I just got done reading something by G.K. Chesterton, and he said something many decades ago that might answer your question.

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/Eugenics.html (Eugenics and Other Evils by G.K. Chesterton 1922)

From chapter 3: TRUE HISTORY OF A EUGENIST (after talking about capitalism, industrialism and what it has done to both the rich and poor in England)
Quote:
Quote
"I repeat that up to a point the profiteer was innocent because he was ignorant; he had been lured on by easy and accommodating events. He was innocent as the new Thane of Glamis was innocent, as the new Thane of Cawdor was innocent; but the King --- the modern manufacturer, like Macbeth, decided to march on, under the mute menace of the heavens. He knew that the spoil of the poor was in his houses; but he could not, after careful calculation, think of any way in which they could get it out of his houses without being arrested for housebreaking. He faced the future with a face flinty with pride and impenitence. This period can be dated practically by the period when the old and genuine Protestant religion of England began to fail; and the average business man began to be agnostic, not so much because he did not know where he was, as because he wanted to forget. Many of the rich took to scepticism exactly as the poor took to drink; because it was a way out. But in any case, the man who had made a mistake not only refused to unmake it, but decided to go on making it. But in this he made yet another most amusing mistake, which was the beginning of all Eugenics."









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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2010, 12:38:40 AM »

Just as there are many folks who deny God, there are just as many reasons as to why.  Here are a few that come to mind;

 1.  Sometimes people look to Christianity as a talisman or good luck charm and when it doesn't deliver, they lose heart and leave. 

 2.  Sometimes the company we keep can slowly chip away at our faith.  Peer pressure, via our friends and colleagues, really do have an influence over us.

 3.  I've come to suspect that there's a correlation between a person's childhood and their weltanschauung.  As one example, a person who grew up with parents who professed a loving God, but who were ill-tempered and quick to administer punishment, might grow up rebelling Christianity, when in fact, they're actually (and subconsciously) rebelling against their harsh upbringing.  To an extent, this was my particular case when I left Christianity years ago.  Once I discovered the true reason for my rebellion, I was able to work through a lot of problems.  I still have some things to work through (I think my temper probably comes to mind)...

 4.  Pride and other illnesses of the heart.

 5.  Perhaps the most important and overarching reason?  Satan himself.  Let us pray to never forget that he roars like a lion, roaming the earth looking for souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8 ).  Brothers and sisters, truly, though he cannot read our minds (thank God!), he knows our weaknesses and uses them to break us.

I agree!








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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2010, 12:47:26 AM »

Just as there are many folks who deny God, there are just as many reasons as to why.  Here are a few that come to mind;

 1.  Sometimes people look to Christianity as a talisman or good luck charm and when it doesn't deliver, they lose heart and leave.  

 2.  Sometimes the company we keep can slowly chip away at our faith.  Peer pressure, via our friends and colleagues, really do have an influence over us.

 3.  I've come to suspect that there's a correlation between a person's childhood and their weltanschauung.  As one example, a person who grew up with parents who professed a loving God, but who were ill-tempered and quick to administer punishment, might grow up rebelling Christianity, when in fact, they're actually (and subconsciously) rebelling against their harsh upbringing.  To an extent, this was my particular case when I left Christianity years ago.  Once I discovered the true reason for my rebellion, I was able to work through a lot of problems.  I still have some things to work through (I think my temper probably comes to mind)...

 4.  Pride and other illnesses of the heart.

 5.  Perhaps the most important and overarching reason?  Satan himself.  Let us pray to never forget that he roars like a lion, roaming the earth looking for souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8 ).  Brothers and sisters, truly, though he cannot read our minds (thank God!), he knows our weaknesses and uses them to break us.

I agree!








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Me too. Good answers Gabriel.

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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2010, 12:50:03 AM »

I know friends that leave the church or simply do not choose a faith because they are afraid that A-They will be wrong or B- They are afraid of messing up and going to hell.
They don't want anyone teasing them or any rules to follow.
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2010, 05:49:44 AM »

While I think it's obvious there are many reasons people lose faith and I agree that all the ones mentioned are probably quite common, in my own thinking and experience I'd say a major one is a desire to get out from under the "yoke" of God.  The idea that there is Someone or something out there to whom we're accountable is not appealing to many.  And so they reason their way out of faith-  that way they can do things their way, be their own boss without fear of punishment. 

Some religious people say that they can't stand the idea of all of life being meaningless- and therefore they could never be atheists.  But from another perspective, if our actions have no lasting significance it means our mistakes aren't that big of a deal either.  This sentiment is summarized nicely I think in a quote an atheist friend of mine has on Facebook, "No religion has brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of atheism." I think this is a motivating factor for many, whether they realize it or not.  This desire to be out from under the "yoke" of religion biases them to only look at a certain amount and type of argument and evidence, quickly dismiss religion and God on those grounds, and then be glad to be rid of the whole thing.

Of course though, people have biases compelling them to believe in God as well.

As for your own religious journey, I'd say you should look long and hard at Jesus Christ.  If He is who the Church has taught that He is, then Christianity is really your only option.  And the evidence for the historicity of Jesus and his life and ministry is quite overwhelming especially compared to some other historical figures- religious or otherwise.  There are lots of readable books in discussion/debate format between conservative Christian (primarily protestant) scholars and liberal scholars. These can give you a general feel for the historical debate around the life and person of Christ.  Always remember to look at the underlying presuppositions behind those arguments.
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« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2010, 08:41:30 AM »

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, "not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence".
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2010, 10:37:34 AM »

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, "not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence".

I think it was the Fashioner and Sustainer of the Cosmos who said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Come home, Justin. The time is short.

"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
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« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2010, 11:57:38 AM »

I am going to share a sermon by Father Thomas Moore (great name for a covert priest, no?). It is a bit long but may be germane to this topic. (BTW, contrary to Father Thomas I find church attendance to be way above normal).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I have been reflecting lately why so many members of Holy Apostles only come to Church on Sundays, and then often late. It is easy for me to get resentful and feel rejected or that what is so important to me is unimportant to you. It feels like putting a lot of time and energy into giving a gift to someone and seeing the disappointment on their face because it is not the gift they want. My reaction is a good example of our continuing self-centeredness from infancy, and the perception that the world revolves around me. I ask for your forgiveness for my personalizing this as if I was the reason you might come to Church.

Obviously the only reason to come to Church is to know God, and therefore the truth about ourselves in relation to Him and each other. This is salvation: “Love God, and your neighbor as yourself”. This gives me more insight and hopefully compassion on why we may consciously or unconsciously stay away from the services of the Church. It rattles our cage. There is something about all real relationships that reveal the world does not revolve around us and we need to make room for the other. In my experience each of the services of the Orthodox Church confronts the comfort of our little worlds, and demands us to break out of them and be transformed.

However, we spend a lot of time convincing ourselves and others that our way of perceiving the world is the correct one, and if everyone else would just realize it and would just listen to us, everything would be ok. Thus we spend so much energy attempting to control our world and everyone else that comes into our orbit, that we resent any efforts that might make us realize how systemically wrong we are, and that we are the ones who need to change at a very fundamental level. Yet in that very act we know deep in our hearts that it leaves us utterly alone, isolated and miserable. Thus we chose to be lonely rather than vulnerable. We chose “the certainty of misery over the misery of uncertainty”. We chose control over love. Since God is love, we have a kind of push/pull relationship with Him and His Body, the Church. We know we need love so we are willing to “try” being loving up to a certain point which each of us decides is our comfort zone. Real spiritual life, as any real relationship, continually confronts and pushes us out of our comfort zone and into the reality of relationship with the other who is always uncontrollable and a deep mystery-just as we are to ourselves.

Thus, I am more and more convinced that those who come to
church rarely or late are really conflicted about their relationship
with God. Initially we come to strike a deal in which we hope if we come and do something “He wants” He will return the favor by giving us what we want. It is obvious this is no relationship at all but rather another merchandise exchange like those which consume so much of our energy in relation to the world and each other.

However the more we enter into the reality of God, the more we realize the relationship is going to change us and although we know our lives are not working, we don’t really want to change, we want everyone else to. Thus the initial stages of attraction to the spiritual life disappear, and we are faced with a long term submission to a process of being healed ourselves. While we may give lip service to this, it really goes against our inner fallen passions and our adversary will give us all the excuses we need to avoid this confrontation with our own true reality. I very strongly urge you to push past this demonic temptation to comfort and sleep which is really the desire for death.

I am aware of the difficulty of keeping up this struggle to be truly alive. It is tiring, intense, and often painful. Thus the Church in it’s wisdom gives us alternating cyclical periods of intense personal confrontation and ecstatic joy. I want to encourage you to enter into the deepening seasons, or else we will not experience the freedom of love in the celebratory ones. One cannot eat candy all the time and live. Use this Lenten period to break out of your cage of self deception and desire to control others. Let us pray truly that God would “take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk” by having the courage to come to the services in which we are confronted with how each of these passions control so much of
our daily lives and keep us from the joy of His resurrection and our freedom. It takes planning, strategy, and commitment to defeat the adversary in ourselves. We will not enter His victory if we lackadaisically only come when we feel like it. It is not too late though.

Use this Lenten period to face yourself and to realize how much
we need our Savior to roll away the stone which keeps us dead in our prisons of self absorption. Your servant in Christ, Fr. Thomas"
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« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2010, 12:39:10 PM »

I think it was the Fashioner and Sustainer of the Cosmos who said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Come home, Justin. The time is short.

I'm sure such words would truly strike an agnostic with worry.  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2010, 12:42:29 PM »


 to agnostics:if God were real he'd reveal himself right?


Having been an agnostic, and still sometimes flirt with that, the answer I'd give is maybe, maybe not. Smiley

 Or maybe He did reveal Himself, but we're just too dumb to figure out or discover which faith He revealed Himself within? Or maybe He doesn't need to reveal Himself at all, maybe the Revelation is in the human heart, in Nature, or all of these things or none of these things. One form of Agnosticism doesn't really deny that God "might" have revealed himself, only that as fallible human beings we likely cannot figure out which religion is correct.

Quote
to Atheists: your world view is a religion, and there's a lot of censored evidence against evolution in the universities.

I prefer the term "non-Theism" to atheism. I think it is a more accurate term because "Atheism" carries a lot meaning culturally that is not always intended. I tend to differentiate between non-theists and atheists because generally speaking atheists tend to have more certitude that they KNOW there is NOT a God, (which is much closer to a religious view in a way) while non-theists simply lack a belief in God. The atheist/nontheist might argue that most people are in fact non-theists, when it comes to Zeus, Ares, Apollo...a non-theist simply lacks belief in any including YHWH.


As far as "censored evidence" in science and evolution...that's simply not true. I guess in one sense indeed some things are "censored" but simply because in science some things are just plain WRONG and scientists don't want to teach things that are wrong. It's demonstrably false to say that the world is flat...yet there are people who still believe it is flat. In fact these flat earthers give "evidence" and cry that the "universities won't teach this, they are censoring us"...well yeah, because it's just plain wrong. It's been falsified. And that's that. If one wants to call that censoring then so be it. But once you know how science has come to the conclusions of evolution, it's practically impossible to believe it's not true. However considering some Church fathers also thought taking Genesis literally was absurd, I find this doesn't conflict with my Christian faith at all.

Anyhow, as for the bigger question being asked here....I think most reasonable people (not those on the extreme fringe) who doubt and even become non-theists is because of the multiplicity of religions around the world. And how difficult it is to determine which religion is true. Like you, I agree if there is a God He probably would reveal Himself in some way. The problem is there all dozens of major religions based on Revelation, and no real unbiased method for determining which is true. Are they all true? Of course that contradicts most revealed faiths) Are none true? Maybe God exists and just hasn't revealed Himself yet? I actually find the Jewish explanations quite convincing that God has allowed all these different faiths to teach people in ways that they could handle. Or as they might say of Christianity/Islam...those religions brought Monotheism to most of the world far better and faster than Judaism could ever have done. But I think this is a reason many people become agnostic/atheist because it does seem kind of hopeless that we could ever know which religion is true, because in the end they all require some sort of "faith" to accept.

But I still believe in God, and still cannot find a better revelation of the way God intends the world to be outside of Jesus Christ. So I still have faith. Like Alveus alluded to, I personally doubt the whole "Church" thing and "organized religion" a LOT...but I still come back to Jesus even in my times of most serious doubt.

Lastly I think a large percentage of people become atheist due to the problem of suffering in the world. And I don't think that should be overlooked as a major reason people lose faith all together.


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« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2010, 01:03:58 PM »

Having been an agnostic, and still sometimes flirt with that, the answer I'd give is maybe, maybe not. Smiley

 Or maybe He did reveal Himself, but we're just too dumb to figure out or discover which faith He revealed Himself within? Or maybe He doesn't need to reveal Himself at all, maybe the Revelation is in the human heart, in Nature, or all of these things or none of these things. One form of Agnosticism doesn't really deny that God "might" have revealed himself, only that as fallible human beings we likely cannot figure out which religion is correct.

I find it is all too common that people just don't understand the many groupings within Agnosticism.  As you said, there are those who believe that a finite mind could never understand a divine revelation (never commenting on if said revelation has or will occur), so it merely isn't worth worrying about.  There are those you just see no proof either way and choose to remain sceptical.  Then there are those who look at the world around them, fail to see a god or gods taking care of its creation, so view debates about an absentee supernatural power to be rather pointless.  Some choose to live their lives assuming their is a god but not believing it to be certain, using spiritual or religious instruction as a moral framework.  Then you have those who are unsure of the existence of a god, and choose to live under the assumption that their likely isn't one (usually finding their way to secular humanism, but not always).

In addition to all that, that are those who might believe there is 'something more' than just what we see, might even go as far as ending up being pandeists or believing that souls dwell within all things, but remain agnostic to the thought of any sort of god that we see in the major world faiths.
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« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2010, 01:06:28 PM »

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« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2010, 01:22:15 PM »

To me, a much more important question is, why so many people from my own heritage or background (urban intellectual families of the former USSR) never acquire any faith. Virtually all of them look at faith as something stupid, unworthy of a human being to have. 100% of my family (except myself) and 100% of my firends are like that, regardless of where they now live, in Ukraine or here in the US or in Australia or in Western Europe.
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« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2010, 02:06:06 PM »

To me, a much more important question is, why so many people from my own heritage or background (urban intellectual families of the former USSR) never acquire any faith. Virtually all of them look at faith as something stupid, unworthy of a human being to have. 100% of my family (except myself) and 100% of my firends are like that, regardless of where they now live, in Ukraine or here in the US or in Australia or in Western Europe.

I've found there tends to be 4 camps.
1)  People look towards religion for comfort/hope, but many within the USSR were taught to look for such feelings elsewhere (public service, work, etc.).  They did, and they continue to find relief within that which they can see with their eyes, feel with their hands, etc.
2)  Some have remained very socialistic in their thinking, and see that such a system could do much more for people (in terms of their daily needs) compared to relying on a deity or a church.
3)  Then you have the more arrogant types, who view religion as inherently plebeian.  As Christians once viewed various pagan groups as barbarous and uncouth, they view modern religions as something primitive and ultimately unnecessary.
4)  Lastly, you have those who view various branches within Christianity as ultimately anti-intellectual.  Some have had bad experiences with Orthodox clergy, others fundamentalist Protestants, etc.  I remember one Professor saying he would sooner beseech Thoth over the Christian God, since at least the Egyptians appreciated knowledge and wisdom of the world.

Anyway, that is merely what I have witnessed working with some people (grad students and professors) from Russian, Ukrainian and Polish backgrounds.
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« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2010, 02:35:12 PM »

To me, a much more important question is, why so many people from my own heritage or background (urban intellectual families of the former USSR) never acquire any faith. Virtually all of them look at faith as something stupid, unworthy of a human being to have. 100% of my family (except myself) and 100% of my firends are like that, regardless of where they now live, in Ukraine or here in the US or in Australia or in Western Europe.

I've found there tends to be 4 camps.
1)  People look towards religion for comfort/hope, but many within the USSR were taught to look for such feelings elsewhere (public service, work, etc.).  They did, and they continue to find relief within that which they can see with their eyes, feel with their hands, etc.
2)  Some have remained very socialistic in their thinking, and see that such a system could do much more for people (in terms of their daily needs) compared to relying on a deity or a church.
3)  Then you have the more arrogant types, who view religion as inherently plebeian.  As Christians once viewed various pagan groups as barbarous and uncouth, they view modern religions as something primitive and ultimately unnecessary.
4)  Lastly, you have those who view various branches within Christianity as ultimately anti-intellectual.  Some have had bad experiences with Orthodox clergy, others fundamentalist Protestants, etc.  I remember one Professor saying he would sooner beseech Thoth over the Christian God, since at least the Egyptians appreciated knowledge and wisdom of the world.

Anyway, that is merely what I have witnessed working with some people (grad students and professors) from Russian, Ukrainian and Polish backgrounds.

Thank you, Nebelphade... I am just wondering then, why am I so weird? Strictly speaking, philosophically, "God is" is as much of a foundational axiom as "the objective world beyond "me" exists." Arguments like, "there is no God because no one sees Him/her/them/it" are as naive as they can be. And if one chooses to take, as a foundational axiom, that "God is," then why not Christ, Who is God and man like myself?... "I just don't understand it..." (Francis McDormand in "Fargo")...
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« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2010, 03:14:52 PM »

Thank you, Nebelphade... I am just wondering then, why am I so weird? Strictly speaking, philosophically, "God is" is as much of a foundational axiom as "the objective world beyond "me" exists." Arguments like, "there is no God because no one sees Him/her/them/it" are as naive as they can be. And if one chooses to take, as a foundational axiom, that "God is," then why not Christ, Who is God and man like myself?... "I just don't understand it..." (Francis McDormand in "Fargo")...

I suppose many will ridicule various axioms based on the theorems built from them.  You appear to subscribe to and practice a very open and healthy version of Christianity, but it is a version many rarely or never see.  Faith should be something with which helps one to transcend the finite, yet more often than not, it is a limit and a bottleneck.  You don't have to look around much to see individuals whose minds or/and hearts have been limited (I'd even go so far as saying crippled) because of their faith.  I'm unsure of what brought you back to Christianity, but there must of been a theorem, no matter how small and insignificant that you saw worth building upon.  Some will ignore that theorem, some will have never discovered it, some may of viewed it as unnecessary, while others might have reached an equivalent one through different axioms.  Ultimately, it lead you to Orthodoxy, even though there are some branches and leaves you wouldn't mind pruning, or maybe a branch worth exploring.

Another problem is that the Church will treat certain theorems as axioms.  Individuals will go back to what they see as the true foundational axioms and are able to derive the Church's 'axioms', but there is an entire derivation tree open to them as well.  So many branches, why is one more valid than the next?  I know many people of a variety of faiths, from Muslim to Christian to Hindu to Sihk to Pagan, etc.  Some started with similar axioms, some started with different axioms, some followed similar paths and then branched off, and some had no chance of ever intersecting.  I also know many with non-faith, and from those 'naturalistic' axioms, the same things happen.  We have a forest with an infinite amount of trees, and an infinite amount of graphs; it is hard for us to see past our branch and hard for others to see our branch within the forest, let alone on a tree where we can be an exponential distance away.

Not sure that helps or even made sense.  I have just come to realise that I must be spending too much time with graph and tree theory, since it is seeping into other facets of my life.  laugh
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« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2010, 09:18:32 AM »

Just as there are many folks who deny God, there are just as many reasons as to why.  Here are a few that come to mind;

 1.  Sometimes people look to Christianity as a talisman or good luck charm and when it doesn't deliver, they lose heart and leave. 

 2.  Sometimes the company we keep can slowly chip away at our faith.  Peer pressure, via our friends and colleagues, really do have an influence over us.

 3.  I've come to suspect that there's a correlation between a person's childhood and their weltanschauung.  As one example, a person who grew up with parents who professed a loving God, but who were ill-tempered and quick to administer punishment, might grow up rebelling Christianity, when in fact, they're actually (and subconsciously) rebelling against their harsh upbringing.  To an extent, this was my particular case when I left Christianity years ago.  Once I discovered the true reason for my rebellion, I was able to work through a lot of problems.  I still have some things to work through (I think my temper probably comes to mind)...

 4.  Pride and other illnesses of the heart.

 5.  Perhaps the most important and overarching reason?  Satan himself.  Let us pray to never forget that he roars like a lion, roaming the earth looking for souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8 ).  Brothers and sisters, truly, though he cannot read our minds (thank God!), he knows our weaknesses and uses them to break us.
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« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2010, 07:19:01 PM »

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, "not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence".

Who was he talking to?


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« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2010, 07:37:23 PM »

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, "not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence".

Who was he talking to?


Selam

I think the quote is from an interview in which Bertrand Russell was asked something like, "What will you say if, after you die, you find that God does exist and He asks you why you didn't believe in Him?" to which Russell responded, "Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence."
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« Reply #32 on: March 27, 2010, 01:01:06 AM »

To me, a much more important question is, why so many people from my own heritage or background (urban intellectual families of the former USSR) never acquire any faith. Virtually all of them look at faith as something stupid, unworthy of a human being to have. 100% of my family (except myself) and 100% of my firends are like that, regardless of where they now live, in Ukraine or here in the US or in Australia or in Western Europe.

What did the school system, and the government of the former USSR teach your generation?








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« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2010, 01:29:15 AM »

Christianity is often presented as something either too easy or too difficult. God is presented as either a benevolent Grandfather in the sky who requires nothing from us, or as an eternal tyrant whom we can never hope to please.

I believe in God because I have no other explanation for why my life is so abundant with undeserved blessings. The sins and evils I have committed in my life should have resulted in my death or imprisonment. And yet, I have been given so much that I do not deserve- my family, my health (survivor of 2 heart attacks), and my baptism into the Faith.

One of my best friends in the world has become agnostic. He used to be such a devout Christian, but now he disbelieves. Unlike me, he has led a very good and honest life. He is liked by everyone and is one of the most generous people I know. But he has suffered greatly in so many ways. I can understand why he doubts God. He did all the right things, and yet it seems God only rewarded him with suffering. Why? And yet I did all the wrong things, and God has blessed me with so much.

I don't understand God, but I know that He is real and that my life is in Him. I don't know why I believe while others so much better than me don't. I don't know why I still sin so much even after I have been given so much.

I miss my friend dearly. We still keep in touch, but our realtionship is not the same. I used to rely on him so much for spiritual encouragement, but now we don't have much to talk about. And I know that's so selfish of me. I don't want to preach to him, and I don't want to judge him. In fact, I'm much less concerned about his soul than I am about my own. But I really miss the depth of Christian fellowship we used to have. I wish he could learn about Orthodoxy, but I'm not the one to tell him.

OK, sorry for rambling. My spirit is a bit low tonight. Demons attacked me in my dreams last night, but I chased them away with the Jesus Prayer. And yet instead of being more vigilant in my spiritual fight when I arose for the day, I was much worse. Pray for me please.

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."


Selam
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« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2010, 03:47:58 AM »

Some people are leaving Catholicism because of the disgusting and abominable scandals and coverups recently exposed.
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« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2010, 03:25:58 PM »

Some people are leaving Catholicism because of the disgusting and abominable scandals and coverups recently exposed.
Right, that and Protestant fundamentalists. However, I would like to offer an alternative view which I've thought about. Most people seem to think in terms of whether God exists, and which god is the right one. I think this is the wrong place to start.

Perhaps we should say that ALL gods are nothing more than the result of a person mistaking external events or internal thoughts for divine beings--the "short circuit between the heart and the brain" that Fr. John Romanides speaks of. Orthodox Christians and Jews do not worship God or gods (theoretically, at least), but rather deny the existence of all gods, worshipping instead the uncreated Logos, the "ego eimi o on," which became incarnate. We can use the word "God" to refer to the Trinity, but that does not mean that the Trinity is actually a god. In fact, saying that God is actually a god is in direct violation of the axiom of apophatic theology.

I apologise if this post sounds a bit jargony. Thoughts?

Also, does this make Christians (Orthodox, at least) a type of atheist?
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« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2010, 03:02:57 AM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
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« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2010, 01:50:35 AM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?
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« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2010, 01:57:02 AM »

Just as there are many folks who deny God, there are just as many reasons as to why.  Here are a few that come to mind;

 1.  Sometimes people look to Christianity as a talisman or good luck charm and when it doesn't deliver, they lose heart and leave.  

 2.  Sometimes the company we keep can slowly chip away at our faith.  Peer pressure, via our friends and colleagues, really do have an influence over us.

 3.  I've come to suspect that there's a correlation between a person's childhood and their weltanschauung.  As one example, a person who grew up with parents who professed a loving God, but who were ill-tempered and quick to administer punishment, might grow up rebelling Christianity, when in fact, they're actually (and subconsciously) rebelling against their harsh upbringing.  To an extent, this was my particular case when I left Christianity years ago.  Once I discovered the true reason for my rebellion, I was able to work through a lot of problems.  I still have some things to work through (I think my temper probably comes to mind)...

 4.  Pride and other illnesses of the heart.

 5.  Perhaps the most important and overarching reason?  Satan himself.  Let us pray to never forget that he roars like a lion, roaming the earth looking for souls to devour (1 Peter 5:8 ).  Brothers and sisters, truly, though he cannot read our minds (thank God!), he knows our weaknesses and uses them to break us.

I agree!








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Me too. Good answers Gabriel.

"Lord have mercy on us."


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Personally I say Kýrie eléison all day  and sometimes sing it to myself in Greek because the saying is odd to people if I were to say it in English.

I want someone here to sing Lord have mercy in the supermarket, and then sing it in Greek.
and you'll see what I mean. People will think you're crazy if you hum Lord have mercy to yourself in public, but here no one understands what Kýrie Eléison means.  Grin
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« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2010, 04:13:25 AM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
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« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2010, 04:14:17 AM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
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« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2010, 10:05:40 AM »

There are many reasons given within the New Testament for why people loose faith.
The Apostles address this reality in almost every New Testament book, Gospel or Epistle and even the Apocalypse. 

Today, words like apostasy or heresy are not politically correct.  Today we use words which strike terror into the hearts and minds of modern man with much more fear: fundamentalism, fundamentalist, literalism and literalist are commonly thrown about as words to smite down the religious fanaticism of those who do not conform to modern religious scientism.  Being an apostate or heretic can actually be a means to improve your social standing, especially if you can convert loss of faith into an economic benefit without actually abandoning the Church. 

Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many grows cold.  I suspect that for most moderns the task of keeping the little faith they possess is an extraneous occupation; who has time for it.  Who wants to tell anybody that their loss of faith is a moral choice which begins with what you entertain yourselves; whether that entertainment be purely sensual or intellectually profound.  Who dares apply faith without works is dead to the deadening of a soul which was once enlightened?  Fundamentalist?  Literalist?  Fanatics? 

Looking for an explanation for loss of faith in the philosophical meanderings of unbelief is like trying to pick up the clean end of a turd. 

john
 
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« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2010, 10:31:42 AM »

Why do people leave Christianity, or lose faith? or lose faith in God?
I've not contemplated leaving Christianity, but I definitely dumped two denominations in my journey to Orthodoxy.  My reason?  Inconsistency.  Once human thought enters one's theology, it is prone to inconsistency.  If you try to resolve that inconsistency through human reason, then you are at risk of having your belief system become centered around what you WANT to believe is true.  Unfortunately, entire faiths have been built on this flawed logic.  Disgust with that is how I found Orthodoxy; I'm sure it causes others to flee altogether.
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« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2010, 05:09:02 PM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
I can only see two or three possibilities: one they were crazy madmen, or two they actually saw the resurrection.
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« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2010, 05:53:58 PM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
I can only see two or three possibilities: one they were crazy madmen, or two they actually saw the resurrection.

All twelve of them were crazy madmen, plus Mark and Paul and Barnabas and Luke and James the Brother of the Lord and a whole slew of other people. And all the bishops who have followed them in a direct line of succession to this day don't mean a thing Wink.
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« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2010, 08:05:01 PM »

I think some young people lose faith because we are told in not so many words that people without religion have lives that are full of fear, hardships, and despair because of that. It is implied that we will be "happier" and "more fulfilled" in life if we "start out right" in the Church. When we see that not all people within the Church live full lives, and not all people without the Church end up alone and miserable, it challenges us to see our real reasons for remaining in the Church. I think that sometimes there is no reason some see to stay, especially since they don't see how they'll be good enough, so they'll go to hell (like Lauren_Elisse said). It is also easy to become jaded by the politics, and if you can foster relationships better outside the Church, then that's another factor. Burnout is another factor.

Whatever the case, it is a complicated one.
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« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2010, 10:00:48 AM »

  Each of us is being saved by escaping the evil generation in which we live, being entangled by the snares which are the snares of our generation.  If the righteous are barely saved, how shall the wicked be saved.

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« Reply #47 on: April 04, 2010, 05:53:47 PM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
I can only see two or three possibilities: one they were crazy madmen, or two they actually saw the resurrection.

All twelve of them were crazy madmen, plus Mark and Paul and Barnabas and Luke and James the Brother of the Lord and a whole slew of other people. And all the bishops who have followed them in a direct line of succession to this day don't mean a thing Wink.
I still can't get the secular mundane reason why the apostles made up a new religion.
Like Muhammed and Joseh Smith I can give a secular reason why they made a new religion.
Muhammed wanted to be king of Arabia, and Joseph Smith started a new religion so he could practice polygamy.
But I still can't figure out why the apostles did what they did according to worldly logic.
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2010, 09:53:26 AM »

Or gave up their lives willingly for the faith that they had.

Muhammed fled many times until he had the ability to fight those who were his enemies. Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith both went out of life after having discharged  their own guns at the mob coming to them.

Compare this to Jesus who told the Apostle Peter to put away his sword and allowed the guards of the Temple to arrest Him, the Romans to beat him and Crucify Him. Or look at the case of the Apostles and their disciples witnessed even to the point of their death the reality of Life after Death and the Resurrection of their Lord. This obviously flies in the face of how "The World" would respond to such violence against a person.

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2010, 01:36:28 PM »

I still can't get the secular mundane reason why the apostles made up a new religion.
[...]
But I still can't figure out why the apostles did what they did according to worldly logic.
You are assuming people view early Christianity as something more than just Judaism 2.0.
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« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2010, 10:44:10 AM »

I know to many, myself included at times, most aspects of the faith seem constructed rather than delivered, if one is intellectually honest with oneself.

But with Orthodoxy, I suppose that whenever things seem "created" by the Church, that is acceptable because the Church is a divine/human organism.

Yeah, I feel that too.. Sometimes, I feel like Christianity's Story is just a bunch of role-playing dramas to give people hope. But that wouldn't be true! If it were why did it claim a life? And why did He who's life was claimed, claim it back? That is the most astounding part of Christianity.

Sometimes, I feel tempted to become agnostic (as I was before) -- it's simply more convenient -- there's so much spiritual and moral pressure in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox groups.
If Jesus weren't real, then why would the Apostles make up a whole new Religion?
Someone please honestly try to give me an answer as to why, if Jesus wasn't a real person.
Just speculation, I expect the answer  «¡because he really was true!».
but what would a skeptic say, as to why they created a whole new religion?

Yeah, why would they? Judging from the fact that they were Jews and Jews were stoned for such insidious things -- if Jesus weren't the True Messiah.

I just said I felt tempted -- I mean, look.. It's like the whole world is trying to erase Jesus' memory from the world.
I can only see two or three possibilities: one they were crazy madmen, or two they actually saw the resurrection.

All twelve of them were crazy madmen, plus Mark and Paul and Barnabas and Luke and James the Brother of the Lord and a whole slew of other people. And all the bishops who have followed them in a direct line of succession to this day don't mean a thing Wink.
I still can't get the secular mundane reason why the apostles made up a new religion.
Like Muhammed and Joseh Smith I can give a secular reason why they made a new religion.
Muhammed wanted to be king of Arabia, and Joseph Smith started a new religion so he could practice polygamy.
But I still can't figure out why the apostles did what they did according to worldly logic.

Good point!  Grin

Its very well established that the Apostles died for this new religion of theirs. I believe no other religion could claim that (I think).
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« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2010, 03:44:51 PM »

I can attest to having cultural and political reasons for rejecting Christianity. I was born and baptized Orthodox, but my father had a falling out with the Church and my mother did not want to "force" a view on to my siblings and I, so we grew up without a household faith. Living where we lived, there was plenty of animosity towards Christianity. Multiculturalism seemed to promote every faith but Christianity. Out of all my classmates, few had faith. Many were interested in the neo-pagan religions or atheism. I followed in those footsteps and tried out neo-paganism, atheism and looked into other religions. None fit. I stuck with atheism for years, especially during some of the hardest parts of my short life. I thought God was a crutch for the weak willed. I could get through it without God, and I thought I did. But I had the nagging and saddening feeling of loneliness and emptiness and residue from those hard times. I tried to fill that with various things: national pride, nature loving... sin. None worked. So, one day not too long ago, I just threw up my hands and prayed. Since then, its been a slow, but wondrous journey that I plan to continue through all things, both good and evil.
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« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2010, 04:17:37 PM »

I can attest to having cultural and political reasons for rejecting Christianity. I was born and baptized Orthodox, but my father had a falling out with the Church and my mother did not want to "force" a view on to my siblings and I, so we grew up without a household faith. Living where we lived, there was plenty of animosity towards Christianity. Multiculturalism seemed to promote every faith but Christianity. Out of all my classmates, few had faith. Many were interested in the neo-pagan religions or atheism. I followed in those footsteps and tried out neo-paganism, atheism and looked into other religions. None fit. I stuck with atheism for years, especially during some of the hardest parts of my short life. I thought God was a crutch for the weak willed. I could get through it without God, and I thought I did. But I had the nagging and saddening feeling of loneliness and emptiness and residue from those hard times. I tried to fill that with various things: national pride, nature loving... sin. None worked. So, one day not too long ago, I just threw up my hands and prayed. Since then, its been a slow, but wondrous journey that I plan to continue through all things, both good and evil.

Glory to God!

Thank you for sharing this with us. My prayers are with you. And now that you are praying, please pray for me too! Wink


Selam
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« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2010, 04:38:20 PM »

I can attest to having cultural and political reasons for rejecting Christianity. I was born and baptized Orthodox, but my father had a falling out with the Church and my mother did not want to "force" a view on to my siblings and I, so we grew up without a household faith. Living where we lived, there was plenty of animosity towards Christianity. Multiculturalism seemed to promote every faith but Christianity. Out of all my classmates, few had faith. Many were interested in the neo-pagan religions or atheism. I followed in those footsteps and tried out neo-paganism, atheism and looked into other religions. None fit. I stuck with atheism for years, especially during some of the hardest parts of my short life. I thought God was a crutch for the weak willed. I could get through it without God, and I thought I did. But I had the nagging and saddening feeling of loneliness and emptiness and residue from those hard times. I tried to fill that with various things: national pride, nature loving... sin. None worked. So, one day not too long ago, I just threw up my hands and prayed. Since then, its been a slow, but wondrous journey that I plan to continue through all things, both good and evil.

Glory to God!

Thank you for sharing this with us. My prayers are with you. And now that you are praying, please pray for me too! Wink


Selam

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« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2010, 05:04:24 PM »


I still can't get the secular mundane reason why the apostles made up a new religion.[/quote]


Well I wasn't going to reply because I didn't want to be seen as trying to "wreck" anyone's faith here, but everyone seems to be playing under the assumption that the Apostles were either lying, lunatics, or madmen. (a version of the liar, lunatic, or Lord argument about Jesus). However there are other possibilities than just those 3. The simplest one involving the Apostles is that they were simply just wrong!

It's probably true that no sane person would make up a story then be willing to die for it. That doesn't mean that the only other alternative to the faith being true is that the apostles were insane. The third possibility is that they were perfectly rational sane people who truly believed what they said, but in fact were just flat out wrong. (ie: what they believed was simply false)

Maybe they had "visions" of Jesus, like many people have "visions" of their recently deceased relatives, but considering their circumstances, and cultural worldview (Late 2nd Temple Judaism, which was pretty Apocalyptic) they interpreted these visions as actual bodily appearances, and in fact were willing to die for their belief. Or in fact, it's possible they never did interpret these appearances as bodily Resurrection, but the people who became Christians later on were the one's who interpreted it that way. before someone asks "what about the body? where's the body?" in response to that, well there are about a dozen other pretty sound and historical possibilities to that question. Bart Ehrman gives a good example that maybe some (say 2) family members of Jesus (who were not followers of his before the Cross) were in fact upset that members of the Sanhedrin had buried Jesus. (a rational concept that makes sense given that they might not have spent that much time with Jesus during His ministry but still loved Jesus and didn't want his body in the hands of the "enemies" who handed  him over to Pilate to be put to death) And maybe these family members went to the tomb in the middle of the night, "stole" (rightfully claimed?) the body...but while sneaking the body through the night, some Roman soldiers happened upon them, (possibly some who knew of Pilate's orders about guarding the body?) killed the family members....and not knowing what to do (and not get themselves in trouble with Pilate) took the now 3 bodies, and threw them into Gehenah's trash heap. Within 3 or 4 days the bodies would have been unrecognizable. But the Apostles go to the tomb, see it "empty" and assume "he rose from the dead"...they then have "visions" to support such a belief. (or vice versa, or whatever)

There are plenty of other examples as well, all make sense. (though they probably aren't true, and in fact Ehrman does NOT believe that above scenario is what actually happened, he just says it's possible from a historical POV)

The main point being the Apostles could just have been wrong, and not in any sense evil madmen out to trick the world into believing a new religion. In this scenario they would have very readily went to their deaths for a falsehood, but of course assuming it was all true.

The fact that people are willing to die for a religion doesn't make the religion true. hundreds of thousands of Jews died in the 2 revolts against Rome...during the second revolt they fought and died because they thought the Messiah had finally come, yet that belief didn't make it true.


Quote
Like Muhammed and Joseh Smith I can give a secular reason why they made a new religion.
Muhammed wanted to be king of Arabia, and Joseph Smith started a new religion so he could practice polygamy.


That's a vast caricature of Muhammed, and really isn't accurate at all. Particularly in his early life. I know little of Joseph Smith, but the scenario seems dubious considering he created an entirely new and complex religion. Seems like a bad way to go if all he wanted was to practice polygamy. Neither of those are really secular views of those religious founders, but in fact they are specifically Christian views of those founders and those faiths. A secular view would out all faiths on equal ground, and in fact I don't think any secular historians suggest Muhammed wanted to be "King of Arabia" at all. Rather I think the accepted view is that he was likely an epileptic who had "religious visions". (which is their same view of St. Paul btw)

I'm not trying to argue against Christianity, only point out that there are indeed other options available than just the "liar, lunatic, or lord" argument. I'm not saying I agree with them, but some of them are pretty sound.



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« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2010, 05:08:04 PM »

Good point!  Grin

Its very well established that the Apostles died for this new religion of theirs. I believe no other religion could claim that (I think).

People are willing to die for all sorts of things they feel strongly about.  Freedom, democracy, national/regional pride, their particular version of 'the truth' (can be religious or non-religious), etc.

NorthernPines said it all much better than I.
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« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2010, 10:33:15 PM »

Bart Ehrman ...

Stop reading this crap and go to Great Vespers.

There's a lot of wonder, beauty and life in this world, and not one single drop of it comes from this bitter windbag.
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« Reply #57 on: April 17, 2010, 01:33:58 PM »

The third possibility is that they were perfectly rational sane people who truly believed what they said, but in fact were just flat out wrong. (ie: what they believed was simply false)

Maybe they had "visions" of Jesus, like many people have "visions" of their recently deceased relatives, but considering their circumstances, and cultural worldview (Late 2nd Temple Judaism, which was pretty Apocalyptic) they interpreted these visions as actual bodily appearances, and in fact were willing to die for their belief.
Then "simply wrong" is not a possibility--they were insane.
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« Reply #58 on: April 18, 2010, 09:28:05 AM »

The third possibility is that they were perfectly rational sane people who truly believed what they said, but in fact were just flat out wrong. (ie: what they believed was simply false)

Maybe they had "visions" of Jesus, like many people have "visions" of their recently deceased relatives, but considering their circumstances, and cultural worldview (Late 2nd Temple Judaism, which was pretty Apocalyptic) they interpreted these visions as actual bodily appearances, and in fact were willing to die for their belief.
Then "simply wrong" is not a possibility--they were insane.
No, people who die for wrongly held beliefs are not necessarily insane. I read a story a few days ago of a soldier who refused deployment because he does not believe our President is a U.S. citizen. Obviously, his is an incorrect belief. Nevertheless, he was willing to be court-martialed for his refusal to follow orders. Now would we call him insane? Certainly not. His is a very rational belief based upon false information.

So it is certainly possible that the apostles could have had false information. I personally doubt so many of them would have had such similar visions, but that's my personal view. At any rate, my faith is not based on what happened millenia ago, but on what I have seen and experienced God doing right now. An empty tomb is a nice addition to the evidence that He is risen, but there's plenty more evidence than that.
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« Reply #59 on: April 18, 2010, 11:57:08 AM »

Quote
But I still can't figure out why the apostles did what they did according to worldly logic.

In the realms of religion, worldly logic need not apply.  Wink
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« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2010, 03:00:44 PM »

Quote
But I still can't figure out why the apostles did what they did according to worldly logic.

In the realms of religion, worldly logic need not apply.  Wink

laugh
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« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2010, 03:19:35 PM »

Well I wasn't going to reply because I didn't want to be seen as trying to "wreck" anyone's faith here, but everyone seems to be playing under the assumption that the Apostles were either lying, lunatics, or madmen. (a version of the liar, lunatic, or Lord argument about Jesus). However there are other possibilities than just those 3. The simplest one involving the Apostles is that they were simply just wrong!

It's probably true that no sane person would make up a story then be willing to die for it. That doesn't mean that the only other alternative to the faith being true is that the apostles were insane. The third possibility is that they were perfectly rational sane people who truly believed what they said, but in fact were just flat out wrong. (ie: what they believed was simply false)

Maybe they had "visions" of Jesus, like many people have "visions" of their recently deceased relatives, but considering their circumstances, and cultural worldview (Late 2nd Temple Judaism, which was pretty Apocalyptic) they interpreted these visions as actual bodily appearances, and in fact were willing to die for their belief. Or in fact, it's possible they never did interpret these appearances as bodily Resurrection, but the people who became Christians later on were the one's who interpreted it that way. before someone asks "what about the body? where's the body?" in response to that, well there are about a dozen other pretty sound and historical possibilities to that question. Bart Ehrman gives a good example that maybe some (say 2) family members of Jesus (who were not followers of his before the Cross) were in fact upset that members of the Sanhedrin had buried Jesus. (a rational concept that makes sense given that they might not have spent that much time with Jesus during His ministry but still loved Jesus and didn't want his body in the hands of the "enemies" who handed  him over to Pilate to be put to death) And maybe these family members went to the tomb in the middle of the night, "stole" (rightfully claimed?) the body...but while sneaking the body through the night, some Roman soldiers happened upon them, (possibly some who knew of Pilate's orders about guarding the body?) killed the family members....and not knowing what to do (and not get themselves in trouble with Pilate) took the now 3 bodies, and threw them into Gehenah's trash heap. Within 3 or 4 days the bodies would have been unrecognizable. But the Apostles go to the tomb, see it "empty" and assume "he rose from the dead"...they then have "visions" to support such a belief. (or vice versa, or whatever)

There are plenty of other examples as well, all make sense. (though they probably aren't true, and in fact Ehrman does NOT believe that above scenario is what actually happened, he just says it's possible from a historical POV)

The main point being the Apostles could just have been wrong, and not in any sense evil madmen out to trick the world into believing a new religion. In this scenario they would have very readily went to their deaths for a falsehood, but of course assuming it was all true.

The fact that people are willing to die for a religion doesn't make the religion true. hundreds of thousands of Jews died in the 2 revolts against Rome...during the second revolt they fought and died because they thought the Messiah had finally come, yet that belief didn't make it true.


Assuming the historical accuracy of the Gospel narrative (apart from the Resurrection itself, of course), the problem with the above theory is that from the moment our Lord was buried Pilate had a guard on the tomb and the Roman seal on the door.  We now have to assume that anyone stealing the body would have to be willing to take on a group of battle hardened Roman centurions, certainly not something one would expect from 2-3 grief stricken members of a family.  Next, we would have to assume said soldiers were undisciplined enough to either waltz away from the tomb they were guarding or fall asleep (as the Sanhedrin bribed the soldiers later on to say).  Finally, these same 2 or 3 would have to move an incredibly large stone. 

Occam's Razor never applies to any of the Resurrection hoax theories.  The only theories that really apply are- 1) the Gospel narrative is false or highly embellished (either in the Mohammedan theory where Christ was not crucified, or a more secular theory which implies that the Body was not placed under the type of guard the narrative states, the tomb was not sealed with as heavy a rock as stated, or Jesus was just dumped in the trash head of Gehenna to begin with, etc).  2) Jesus never existed at all, the Apostles themselves were invented or it was all folklore on the level of King Arthur or Robin Hood, or 3) The liar, lunatic, or madmen theory.

However, if everything aside from the Resurrection in the narrative is true , then the only reason to doubt the Resurrection itself is because it invokes a supernatural explanation.  All theories which take into account the veracity of the Gospels in most other respects but try to explain away the Resurrection as a hoax involve scenarios which are just a little too over the top, telling one far more about the mind of the theorist than the event itself.

Although, I would admit, one could make an excellent pop-corn flick out of some of them.  "Coming this summer: One man full of guilt- 'I tell you, I never knew him!'  They've frightened his friends.  They crucified his Lord.  They've sealed away the body.  Now, he's going to get Him back.  Simon is... The Rock!"  Cue clips of 300 style fight sequences, Ocean's 11 style heist scenes, and Brad Pitt in a robe.  "Starring Brad Pitt, and real life brothers Owen and Luke Wilson as the Sons of Thunder!"  Owen (as St James), lugging a shrouded object, to Luke (St John), who is shooting arrows at Roman centurions from inside a tomb-looking structure "Could you quit playing around and give me a hand here?  This thing's heavier than you'd think!"  Cue exterior shot of Herod's Temple exploding.  "June 2010 be ready for The Greatest Heist Ever Pulled!  Directed by Robert Rodriguez based on a story by Dan Brown"

(I apologize if the above might seem impious to some, but I hope it puts these theories into proper perspective)

The third possibility is that they were perfectly rational sane people who truly believed what they said, but in fact were just flat out wrong. (ie: what they believed was simply false)

Maybe they had "visions" of Jesus, like many people have "visions" of their recently deceased relatives, but considering their circumstances, and cultural worldview (Late 2nd Temple Judaism, which was pretty Apocalyptic) they interpreted these visions as actual bodily appearances, and in fact were willing to die for their belief.
Then "simply wrong" is not a possibility--they were insane.
No, people who die for wrongly held beliefs are not necessarily insane.

No, but people who have grief-induced visions of dead people are, at least temporarily.  I believe this is what S.A.Bros. meant.
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« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2010, 03:43:30 PM »

Quote

Although, I would admit, one could make an excellent pop-corn flick out of some of them.  "Coming this summer: One man full of guilt- 'I tell you, I never knew him!'  They've frightened his friends.  They crucified his Lord.  They've sealed away the body.  Now, he's going to get Him back.  Simon is... The Rock!"  Cue clips of 300 style fight sequences, Ocean's 11 style heist scenes, and Brad Pitt in a robe.  "Starring Brad Pitt, and real life brothers Owen and Luke Wilson as the Sons of Thunder!"  Owen (as St James), lugging a shrouded object, to Luke (St John), who is shooting arrows at Roman centurions from inside a tomb-looking structure "Could you quit playing around and give me a hand here?  This thing's heavier than you'd think!"  Cue exterior shot of Herod's Temple exploding.  "June 2010 be ready for The Greatest Heist Ever Pulled!  Directed by Robert Rodriguez based on a story by Dan Brown"


 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh very impious
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 03:44:30 PM by Rufus » Logged
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« Reply #63 on: April 19, 2010, 02:59:04 AM »

But I really miss the depth of Christian fellowship we used to have. I wish he could learn about Orthodoxy, but I'm not the one to tell him.

Selam

You don't have to tell him.  There's only so much you can say, but there's no limit in what you can do.

Be a god that he may believe in God.  Maintain a strong relationship with him for the sake of friendship.

I believe in a my friend's friend is my friend mentality.  If I maintain a relationship with God, I am all the more an advocate to my friends.
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« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2010, 04:02:51 AM »

But I really miss the depth of Christian fellowship we used to have. I wish he could learn about Orthodoxy, but I'm not the one to tell him.

Selam

You don't have to tell him.  There's only so much you can say, but there's no limit in what you can do.

Be a god that he may believe in God.  Maintain a strong relationship with him for the sake of friendship.

I believe in a my friend's friend is my friend mentality.  If I maintain a relationship with God, I am all the more an advocate to my friends.

Thanks. You are right.

The reason I said that "I'm not the one to tell him" is because I have influenced him so many times before in leading him to erroneous Christian beliefs. Now I think he realizes that he is much smarter than I am (which is true), and therefore I don't want to try to "teach" him anything anymore. However, since our friendship was rooted and centered in Christ, there isn't much we can talk about in depth these days.

I have never been good at "small talk." I guess I feel that life is too short and that I'm here for a purpose, so I don't really know how to cultivate superficial friendships. But you are absolutely right that we can be a good and faithful friend to anyone without necessarily having to talk or "preach."

I'm afraid this reveals a major character flaw I have: I am good with profound words, but lacking in profound actions.

"Lord have mercy on me a sinner."


Selam
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« Reply #65 on: April 19, 2010, 12:41:07 PM »



I'm afraid this reveals a major character flaw I have: I am good with profound words, but lacking in profound actions.

"Lord have mercy on me a sinner."


Selam

I think we all have that character flaw. Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #66 on: April 19, 2010, 04:31:46 PM »



I'm afraid this reveals a major character flaw I have: I am good with profound words, but lacking in profound actions.

"Lord have mercy on me a sinner."


Selam

I think we all have that character flaw. Lord, have mercy.

yeah.
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« Reply #67 on: May 05, 2010, 05:57:02 AM »

To me, a much more important question is, why so many people from my own heritage or background (urban intellectual families of the former USSR) never acquire any faith. Virtually all of them look at faith as something stupid, unworthy of a human being to have. 100% of my family (except myself) and 100% of my firends are like that, regardless of where they now live, in Ukraine or here in the US or in Australia or in Western Europe.

I've found there tends to be 4 camps.
1)  People look towards religion for comfort/hope, but many within the USSR were taught to look for such feelings elsewhere (public service, work, etc.).  They did, and they continue to find relief within that which they can see with their eyes, feel with their hands, etc.
2)  Some have remained very socialistic in their thinking, and see that such a system could do much more for people (in terms of their daily needs) compared to relying on a deity or a church.
3)  Then you have the more arrogant types, who view religion as inherently plebeian.  As Christians once viewed various pagan groups as barbarous and uncouth, they view modern religions as something primitive and ultimately unnecessary.
4)  Lastly, you have those who view various branches within Christianity as ultimately anti-intellectual.  Some have had bad experiences with Orthodox clergy, others fundamentalist Protestants, etc.  I remember one Professor saying he would sooner beseech Thoth over the Christian God, since at least the Egyptians appreciated knowledge and wisdom of the world.

Anyway, that is merely what I have witnessed working with some people (grad students and professors) from Russian, Ukrainian and Polish backgrounds.

Thank you, Nebelphade... I am just wondering then, why am I so weird? Strictly speaking, philosophically, "God is" is as much of a foundational axiom as "the objective world beyond "me" exists." Arguments like, "there is no God because no one sees Him/her/them/it" are as naive as they can be. And if one chooses to take, as a foundational axiom, that "God is," then why not Christ, Who is God and man like myself?... "I just don't understand it..." (Francis McDormand in "Fargo")...

I don't think you're "weird" Heorhij. Of the few people I know who have immigrated to the United States from Ukraine, Russia, or Poland within the last 10 years, all but 2 are practicing Orthodox Christians, and all have received their college education in the aforementioned countries. I do know one girl who is 22 who immigrated here 4 years ago. So although she was not educated under "Soviet" Russia, she received her primary education in the Russian Federation. She's not a practicing Orthodox Christian, but she does believe that there is a God, and her Grandmother is an Orthodox nun in Russia.
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« Reply #68 on: May 11, 2010, 11:57:36 PM »

When I was young my family went to church.  Just before I started going to school we moved to a new house that was far from our old church.   My mother was not willing travel the distance to our old church. So we searched for a new church.   I do not remember how many protestant churches we tried but it was allot.  None of them were right for my mother, so we as a family stopped going.

I don't know the exact reasons I was very young.   But I did not stop believing in God and later I found my own bible and tried to read it.  I the old English very difficult to read so I stopped.

When I moved out of my house I tried a few local protestant churches of various denominations but they were all doing the same thing and it did not feel like worship to me.  I noticed that many of them were actively changing to retain the youth and the fact that they were changing really turned me off. 

I decided that I would continue on my own and when I found a girl to marry, I would consider her belief system as long as it was the same God.   That is my story of me losing the protestant faith. 

Recently I married my wife and I have liked Orthodoxy from the first Liturgy I attended.  The more I learn about orthodoxy the more I wonder why people remain protestant.  I think soon I will ask our local priest to help me begin the journey to officially becoming orthodox.
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« Reply #69 on: May 12, 2010, 02:33:04 AM »

Welcome to the forum Russell!
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