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Author Topic: Eradicate Fundamentalism In All Its Forms  (Read 1600 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 21, 2010, 07:51:07 PM »

Frankie boy (Frank Schaeffer) is at it again. Shocked Since he is Orthodox, I wonder what his fellow parishioners and his priest and bishop think of his writing?

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The next great task for the human race is to wean ourselves off literal interpretations of religion. We need to eradicate fundamentalism in all its forms.

Atheism is no help. Human beings are spiritual and look for meaning. Science holds answers but not "THE" answer we look for and long for. Family life and love -- continuity of relationships -- come closest for fulfilling our longing for purpose.

As I argue in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) the answer to fundamentalism, literal-minded religion and all the horror and absurdity they create is to work on the evolution of religion: reject false certainties rooted in myth and embrace myth as a window into the unknowable.

Clearly the issue for any sane Christian believer (or any believer in not just religion but any human construct, including science) is how to decide what parts of the moral teaching of the Bible (or Koran, or scientific theory) to edit or discard and what to live by....
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2010, 09:35:51 PM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 10:08:47 PM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.


Agreed!


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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 11:16:13 PM »

When I first read Dancing Alone, it seemed that he was wound too tight. I guess the coil finally snapped.
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 12:00:03 AM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

I know it's been a while since I've been involved in Orthodox Canon Law, but if I recall properly, isn't it up to his Bishop to make that determination? Or has the Orthodox Church reversed two thousand years of canonical tradition and implemented Latae Sententiae excommunication in the last couple years? If he has been formally excommunicated (rather rare for offenses other than Schism, last I checked) perhaps you can offer details as to when the proceedings took place?
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2010, 01:51:58 AM »

Nothing about this guy is appealing. Oh, and Orthodoxy is a lot of things, but it's not whatever it is he wishes it was.
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2010, 12:13:06 PM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

I know it's been a while since I've been involved in Orthodox Canon Law, but if I recall properly, isn't it up to his Bishop to make that determination? Or has the Orthodox Church reversed two thousand years of canonical tradition and implemented Latae Sententiae excommunication in the last couple years? If he has been formally excommunicated (rather rare for offenses other than Schism, last I checked) perhaps you can offer details as to when the proceedings took place?

Orthodoxy is not just membership in a group. If you profess unorthodox beliefs, you are not Orthodox, regardless of your canonical standing before a trial.  For people who publicly profess a heresy, excommunication is a formality.
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2010, 01:10:10 PM »

The problem with people who convert to Orthodoxy from Western churches, especially those of the Evangelistic persuasion, is that it is very difficult for them to completely rid themselves of their Western mindset.  I suspect that this is one of Frank Scheffer's problems, but since I have problems of my own in that regard, I shall not comment further.
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2010, 01:32:39 PM »

The problem with people who convert to Orthodoxy from Western churches, especially those of the Evangelistic persuasion, is that it is very difficult for them to completely rid themselves of their Western mindset.  I suspect that this is one of Frank Scheffer's problems, but since I have problems of my own in that regard, I shall not comment further.

My personal suspicion is not so much that Frank Schaeffer is too attached to a "Western" mindset but that he is too attached to a "Schaeffer" mindset.  The biggest problem here is that he is unable to let go, not of any particular Protestant/Fundamentalist mindset, but of the mindset that Fundamentalism (as expressed by his father) has left him harmed. 

The question of his conversion could, I suppose, be raised: Did he convert to Orthodoxy because he was convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy or because Orthodoxy was the furthest thing from his upbringing he could find?  It is because I have my own problems in this regard that I raise the question: certainly my initial attraction to more "catholic" worship was a reaction against the radical Protestantism (Southern Baptist) of my upbringing, and had I converted thirteen years ago I would be more worried about my motivations (as opposed to having recently converted where I am merely wary of this tendency).  Ridding myself of my "Western" mindset has been the easy part, it is the reactionary mindset I have to watch out for.  And the reactionary mindset is not Western, it is as old as the Serpent.
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2010, 02:03:51 PM »

The problem with people who convert to Orthodoxy from Western churches, especially those of the Evangelistic persuasion, is that it is very difficult for them to completely rid themselves of their Western mindset.  I suspect that this is one of Frank Scheffer's problems, but since I have problems of my own in that regard, I shall not comment further.

We should remember, though, that cradle Orthodox people are just as prone to the so-called "Western" mindset, even in Greece and Russia.
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2010, 02:10:52 PM »

What would be problematic with Schaeffer's position, from an Orthodox perspective? Isn't it true that not all scripture (especially OT) is followed literally today? If so, is the problem that Schaeffer doesn't manifest proper reverential and respectful attitude towards scripture as a whole, even those parts of scripture that Christians (or Jews) do not take literally?
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2010, 08:14:18 PM »

I have more of a problem with his general "sour grapes" approach, as well as his readily admitting in this article that all religions are human constructs, presumably including Orthodoxy in this without any clarification. Not that I have a problem with saying that Orthodoxy is a human construction, as long as we do not isolate it from the fact that it is also a Divine construction.

The Church is the Body of Christ, and she exists in two natures, not one. She is a Divine/Human organism. This doesn't have to be an either/or thing, as if human ideas cannot be guided or influenced by the hand of God. Heresy/Heterodoxy is that which seeks to emphasize one aspect of Truth at the expense of another.

May God have mercy on us all, but especially on his annoying servant Frank Schaeffer.
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2010, 08:58:34 PM »

I see a great deal of projection going on here in the interpretations being provided for Schaeffer's remarks. Having gone a bit further afield (for he isn't on my reading list, for better or worse) I am not convinced that he would agree to the words being put in his mouth; I think it entirely possible that you are taking a bit of hyperbole in his anti-fundamentalism more seriously than you should.
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2010, 10:32:48 PM »

Schaeffer admits lifting text from the Wikipedia page on apophatic theology, yet he admits lifting text from the Wikipedia page on apophatic theology.  So he's hack, but he's an honest hack?

Why isn't he selling this through Regina?
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2010, 01:05:17 PM »

Once it's separated from its historical, Protestant context, the word "fundamentalism" becomes largely useless as it can be used by anyone against everyone who holds to some principle that isn't viewed as favourable.
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2010, 08:47:28 PM »

The term fundamentalist seems to have become a word used to discredit anyone who is genuinely and thoroughly conservative or traditional in a religious context.
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2010, 10:14:20 PM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

 Agreed, Father. 
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2010, 10:17:38 PM »

I see a great deal of projection going on here in the interpretations being provided for Schaeffer's remarks. Having gone a bit further afield (for he isn't on my reading list, for better or worse) I am not convinced that he would agree to the words being put in his mouth; I think it entirely possible that you are taking a bit of hyperbole in his anti-fundamentalism more seriously than you should.


 Read his works and you'll understand the frustration.  In just the snippit of quote provided, he alludes that the Koran is every bit as acceptable as the Holy Bible.  No Eastern Orthodox can say that and still be Eastern Orthodox. 
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2010, 10:56:37 PM »

Read his works and you'll understand the frustration.  In just the snippit of quote provided, he alludes that the Koran is every bit as acceptable as the Holy Bible.  No Eastern Orthodox can say that and still be Eastern Orthodox. 

No, he does not say that. What he says (if you follow the parallelism through) is that for a Muslim moral judgement involves the same issues of interpretation of the Koran as moral judgement for Christians involves with respect to the Bible. You probably want to deny that for Orthodox Christians those issues arise at all (and in my opinion, you would be incorrect to do so), but in any case he is not saying anything about the validity of any religious text in this passage.
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2010, 11:07:52 PM »

No, he does not say that.

 You're right and I was wrong; he didn't say that. Embarrassed  Still, though, I agree with Fr. Anastasios' assessment.  
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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2010, 12:05:39 AM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

I know it's been a while since I've been involved in Orthodox Canon Law, but if I recall properly, isn't it up to his Bishop to make that determination? Or has the Orthodox Church reversed two thousand years of canonical tradition and implemented Latae Sententiae excommunication in the last couple years? If he has been formally excommunicated (rather rare for offenses other than Schism, last I checked) perhaps you can offer details as to when the proceedings took place?

Orthodoxy is not just membership in a group. If you profess unorthodox beliefs, you are not Orthodox, regardless of your canonical standing before a trial.  For people who publicly profess a heresy, excommunication is a formality.

That would be a canonical opinion of which I'm not familiar. Can you cite any of the Ecclesiastical Jurists in support? From what I've seen, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos seemed to be sticklers for canonical due process.
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« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2010, 01:06:01 AM »

The term fundamentalist seems to have become a word used to discredit anyone who is genuinely and thoroughly conservative or traditional in a religious context.

It seems to me that Schaeffer is particularly focusing on Protestant Fundamentalism, although he does seem to criticize taking a literal view of scripture in other non-Christian faiths.

he is not discrediting anyone who is conservative or traditional like you said. In fact, Catholic and Orthodox do reject limiting ourselves to only one's personal interpretations of the Bible, which is the idea of fundamentalism. And it seems to me that Protestantism is less traditional than Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Further, this is unrelated to political conservatism, although evangelicals, being individualists in their interpretations, are in fact drawn to "conservative" ie. individualistic-based US economic politics as opposed to more caring, society-oriented, approaches.
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« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2010, 01:22:46 AM »

Quote
The next great task for the human race is to wean ourselves off literal interpretations of religion. We need to eradicate fundamentalism in all its forms.
Perhaps this is right. Orthodoxy uses traditional church interpretations of verses, not the Fundamentalist individualist-based interpretations. From our perspective, it is a task to wean people onto Orthodoxy, and that means off of Calvinist-based Christianity and other religions that use literalist-only interpretations- the Sadducees in Israel for examples used a literalist-only interpretation style.

Quote
Atheism is no help. Human beings are spiritual and look for meaning. Science holds answers but not "THE" answer we look for and long for. Family life and love -- continuity of relationships -- come closest for fulfilling our longing for purpose.
This is consistent with an Orthodox position.
Quote
As I argue in my book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) the answer to fundamentalism, literal-minded religion and all the horror and absurdity they create
Please read my posts on Calvinism to see how Calvinism did generate certain abuses.

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...is to work on the evolution of religion: reject false certainties rooted in myth and embrace myth as a window into the unknowable.
Of course. The church does evolve, it changes- you can find trends of change in Orthodoxy, such as nowadays we pray with nonOrthodox, and there is also a question over whether to accept Catholic baptisms (only Greeks don't accept Catholic baptisms now). We should reject false certainties yes. And yes, certain Old Testament myths do serve as a window into the unknowable.
It's my opinion that Pritcha o Ione, the Parable[?] about Jonah was in fact a parable or midrash. I read that Nineveh did historically not accept Israel's God like it says in the story about Jonah. However, it appears that Jonah's story is very valuable as a parable to explain spiritual phenomena, and Jesus spoke of it that it would be given as a Sign to the generation in his time.

Quote
Clearly the issue for any sane Christian believer (or any believer in not just religion but any human construct, including science) is how to decide what parts of the moral teaching of the Bible (or Koran, or scientific theory) to edit or discard and what to live by....
Sure, this is a big task for Christians. Jesus told us he overcame the Old Testament. Henceforth we do not have to follow many Old Testament laws. For instance, He stopped a prostitute's death. But he did not go through and explain which each of the Old Testament laws he overcame. It is our task as a Church, based on Jesus' approach of love and forgiveness, to decide how to deal with the Old Testament, especially many of its harsh eye-for-eye rules.

Meanwhile, there are many passages in the New Testament we can look at in another way than first hits the eye, like details in different Gospels that appear to technically contradict eachother.

Thanks Frank for helping us think critically about the Old Testament and keep an open, inquiring mind about what we see in the New. Best wishes for your journey in Orthodoxy.


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« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2010, 09:50:32 AM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

I know it's been a while since I've been involved in Orthodox Canon Law, but if I recall properly, isn't it up to his Bishop to make that determination? Or has the Orthodox Church reversed two thousand years of canonical tradition and implemented Latae Sententiae excommunication in the last couple years? If he has been formally excommunicated (rather rare for offenses other than Schism, last I checked) perhaps you can offer details as to when the proceedings took place?

Orthodoxy is not just membership in a group. If you profess unorthodox beliefs, you are not Orthodox, regardless of your canonical standing before a trial.  For people who publicly profess a heresy, excommunication is a formality.

That would be a canonical opinion of which I'm not familiar. Can you cite any of the Ecclesiastical Jurists in support? From what I've seen, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos seemed to be sticklers for canonical due process.

This reminds me of the militant atheist Soviets who were well versed in the canons so that the could undermine the Church in the eyes of the people. Some things never change.
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« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2010, 11:15:38 AM »

That's the key; he is no longer Orthodox.  Even if he attends an Orthodox Church (does he? that is not certain to me), he is not Orthodox.  I would hope he has been excommunicated for the good of his soul and others around him, but beyond that, what else can his priest or bishop do?  He can be a fool if he wants.  I suppose it would be nice if they would publicly denounce his heresy though.

I know it's been a while since I've been involved in Orthodox Canon Law, but if I recall properly, isn't it up to his Bishop to make that determination? Or has the Orthodox Church reversed two thousand years of canonical tradition and implemented Latae Sententiae excommunication in the last couple years? If he has been formally excommunicated (rather rare for offenses other than Schism, last I checked) perhaps you can offer details as to when the proceedings took place?

Orthodoxy is not just membership in a group. If you profess unorthodox beliefs, you are not Orthodox, regardless of your canonical standing before a trial.  For people who publicly profess a heresy, excommunication is a formality.

That would be a canonical opinion of which I'm not familiar. Can you cite any of the Ecclesiastical Jurists in support? From what I've seen, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Aristenos seemed to be sticklers for canonical due process.

This reminds me of the militant atheist Soviets who were well versed in the canons so that the could undermine the Church in the eyes of the people. Some things never change.

Yes, yes, I spent years studying Canon Law and Roman Ecclesiastical Law just so I can 'undermine the Church in the eyes of the people'. Roll Eyes

You can go back through my post history if you'd like, I know at some point I made the same arguments about latae sententiae and ferendae sententiae excommunication in Orthodox Canon Law when I was Orthodox.

Those arguments won't change, regardless of my religion or lack thereof, because they're not based on belief but on objective analysis of a system of law (and a well developed system of law at that, from the several councils to the Basilika of Leo IV to the Ecclesiastical Jurists to the recorded Imperial case law, which became fairly well documented (for the time) in the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries).

So if you object to my arguments, offer a retort from the perspective of this system of law, it would be far more useful to the discussion than some irrelevant trivia about the Soviet Union coupled with an ad hominem.
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« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2010, 02:52:33 PM »

He's a complete moron hes very vocal on the Balkans. He thinks Russia is an Orthodox power that will take on the role of being defender of all Orthodox countries "as it has shown with regards to Kosovo". LOL morooooooooon
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« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2010, 01:09:10 PM »

Schaeffer appears still to be Orthodox. From his book Patience with God:

"Nuanced interpretations of religious faith within the Christian tradition are not inventions of modern-era higher critical or biblical criticism studies that have their origins in the context of the rationalism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centurues. Rather, some of these subtle and complex approaches hark back to the beginning of the Christian era. In the writings of the Church Fathers in the third to sixth centuries one finds an allegorical, non-literal, what today's evangelical/fundamentalists would denounce as "liberal" or "touchy-feely," even "relativstic," approaches to faith and the Scriptures." [19]
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2010, 10:11:33 PM »

Good quote.

In the eyes of the Pharisees, Jesus had a "liberal" or "touchy-feely," even "relativstic" approach to the OT laws, since he picked wheat and healed people on the sabbath.
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