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Author Topic: How has becoming Orthodox from Roman Catholic changed you?  (Read 29388 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 13, 2010, 03:10:24 PM »

Can I also add a question to this?
How has your experience of your relationship with Jesus Christ changed since you converted? I am just curious as to what it is like for a convert.

And MODs, don't worry, I am not asking for the sake of debate. I am genuinely curious.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 03:11:02 PM by Papist » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 04:06:18 PM »

How has your experience of your relationship with Jesus Christ changed since you converted? I am just curious as to what it is like for a convert.

I'm also a little curious about this and other kinds of day-to-day issues. Especially if you were formerly Byzantine Catholics who share the same liturgical and spiritual tradition with the EO's.
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 08:43:08 AM »

I have not been Chrismated as of yet, so I’m a little timid about writing this. . .especially since I’m in the process of learning what the differences are. . .but I can tell you the immediate differences.  The rest, I’ll have to come back in a few years and see what’s different.
 
The biggest thing for me is that I get the WHOLE Catholic . . . the WHOLE WHOLE CHURCH.  I never felt, as much as I tried and tried that I could ever become someone who truly walked her faith – because the support just wasn’t there, the writings weren’t there, the prayer wasn’t there. . .the praise wasn’t there.   It was like, I gathered with the body of Christ, only I only had an eyeball. . .or an ear. . .or a leg. . . dismembered and decapitated.  

One part of the body cannot function without the rest of the body. . .and this is what I experienced. . .something that LOOKED like Christianity, but it didn’t hold its fullness nor its power.  

I would go into mass. . .and experience the hour of mass – and find myself always wanting more. . .another hour. . .and it just wasn’t there.  I do miss the Stations of the Cross – but Pascha in the Orthodox Church?  Wow.  This for me was a LIVING experience that I SHARED in.  What a huge blessing.  It made dying in Christ with Christ . . .that much more real to me.
This is the only thing I’ve missed as everything else is that plus that much more.  

My relationship with My Lord . . . has become facetted.   The way a true relationship with a true person SHOULD BE.  I understand many of the things I really wondered about concerning my own life and the seasons I’ve gone through.  I don’t respond to those as a blind man groping around . . . instead I can in a sense of wonder, praise Him for . . . being the perfect most merciful judge and lover of my soul.  Ah, I’m healing. . . in Him.  I took Him for granted in so many different ways. . . now?  I’m aware of this sin. . .and offer it to Him in repentance. . .and what does He do?  He pulls me closer to Him.  I’m awed at His love.  

The reason my relationship has become facetted is because I have the writings of the Fathers – something I never had before.  I have a culture that understands and supports that we are ALL sinners and have fallen short of His glory. . . a culture that leaves the judgment up to Him who is the perfect Judge.  

I finally have true support from every Christian that’s ever lived . . .I have the WHOLE.  I have the TRUE CATHOLIC. . .and my understanding, from the heart. . .is completely different from what I had before.  I am pulled closer to Him.  

Day to day issues -  More was added to my day (prayer, services and responsibilities to the church), and my office was completely changed around to accommodate my prayer corner on the East Wall – and I’m buying more books. . .’cause there’s just an never ending supply!! Smiley My office smells like Frankincense and Myrrh – I love the smell . . . and there is often more food in the house for my hubby to munch on.   These have not been issues – they’ve been much needed and very appreciated changes.  There are a lot of changes. . .from what was before. . .as I was not active in any church for several years before I entered the Orthodox Church.  I was looking for a church . . . but had pretty much given up on the Southern Hospitality of the Bible-Belt in the USA.  
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 08:43:37 AM by quietmorning » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 03:20:52 PM »

I feel so much closer to the Orthodox faith (than I did to my RC faith) because Orthodoxy, to me is much closer to the heart.  Even the prayers in the RC religion seem to me to be so ....mental (without emotion). Orthodoxy brings in all life in their prayers, it seems to me; I love that aspect.

However, there are practices that I do miss:  the Rosary is one of them, but I say the rosary anyway (as well as the Jesus Prayer).  I also miss my former devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux; I still hold her close to my heart. 

I don't think God minds that I still say the rosary with great love and that I still love St. Therese.  But I'm so happy being Orthodox!  I feel like I'm home.
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coptic orthodox boy
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2010, 04:34:48 PM »

Well, I am no longer Catholic nor Orthodox, but I will give my experience.

I was born into a Protestant (Methodist, but my mother was born a Catholic).  To make a long story short, I was accepted into the Catholic church on the Easter Vigil of 2001 (I believe) at the age of 15, after completing RCIA and receivng my parents permission.
As a Catholic, I was the most devoted to God compared to any other time of my life, and would consider my spirituality strongly "Franicscan" with a pinch of "Carmel"; I focused more on writings on interior prayer (specifically the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila) in the place of formal theology (most of the Christological and Trinitarian debates I knew little about until I delved into Orthodoxy).  During the summer I would make it to Daily Mass and during the school year I would go to Eucharistic Adoration after school for about two hours daily.  I recited the Rosary around ten times a day (at least 15 decades before the tabernacle daily), as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy once per day and, or course, the Stations of the Cross on Friday.  Every Saturday I would make it to Confession.  If it sounds like I didn't have much of a social life, you guess correctly; but I didn't care too much for a social life at the time since I considered it a waste of time.  Due to my love of Francis of Assisi, and a call to the religious life, I was strongly considering the religious life after high school.  I was in contact with three Franicscan Orders (all reform Orders): the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculata, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and a reform order which broke away from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the Franciscan Friars of teh Primitive Observance (I was strongly considering this Order before converting to Orthodoxy since I felt they most fathly lived out the Rule of Franics as he originally wanted it to be followed).
When I finally was received into the Orthodox church on my 18th birthday, I had to leave a lot of my "Franciscan" practices behind (Eucharistic adoration, daily reception of the Eucharist, etc.) but I felt I made the right choice leaving the Catholic church for Orthodoxy.  To better understand my faith, I joined this website; I have learned much through this forum and the more I learned about Church history and the Christian faith in general, I eventually lost my faith.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 04:36:07 PM by coptic orthodox boy » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 04:49:38 PM »

Well, I am no longer Catholic nor Orthodox, but I will give my experience.

I was born into a Protestant (Methodist, but my mother was born a Catholic).  To make a long story short, I was accepted into the Catholic church on the Easter Vigil of 2001 (I believe) at the age of 15, after completing RCIA and receivng my parents permission.
As a Catholic, I was the most devoted to God compared to any other time of my life, and would consider my spirituality strongly "Franicscan" with a pinch of "Carmel"; I focused more on writings on interior prayer (specifically the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila) in the place of formal theology (most of the Christological and Trinitarian debates I knew little about until I delved into Orthodoxy).  During the summer I would make it to Daily Mass and during the school year I would go to Eucharistic Adoration after school for about two hours daily.  I recited the Rosary around ten times a day (at least 15 decades before the tabernacle daily), as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy once per day and, or course, the Stations of the Cross on Friday.  Every Saturday I would make it to Confession.  If it sounds like I didn't have much of a social life, you guess correctly; but I didn't care too much for a social life at the time since I considered it a waste of time.  Due to my love of Francis of Assisi, and a call to the religious life, I was strongly considering the religious life after high school.  I was in contact with three Franicscan Orders (all reform Orders): the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculata, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and a reform order which broke away from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the Franciscan Friars of teh Primitive Observance (I was strongly considering this Order before converting to Orthodoxy since I felt they most fathly lived out the Rule of Franics as he originally wanted it to be followed).
When I finally was received into the Orthodox church on my 18th birthday, I had to leave a lot of my "Franciscan" practices behind (Eucharistic adoration, daily reception of the Eucharist, etc.) but I felt I made the right choice leaving the Catholic church for Orthodoxy.  To better understand my faith, I joined this website; I have learned much through this forum and the more I learned about Church history and the Christian faith in general, I eventually lost my faith.


Thanks for sharing. Your story is interesting, intriguing and shocking at the same time. Do you think that if you had never encountered Orthodoxy, you'd steel be a believer?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 04:54:51 PM by Michał » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 05:02:41 PM »

To better understand my faith, I joined this website; I have learned much through this forum and the more I learned about Church history and the Christian faith in general, I eventually lost my faith.

?
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 05:07:42 PM »

I have learned much through this forum and the more I learned about Church history and the Christian faith in general, I eventually lost my faith.

Fwiw, while it wasn't due (primarily) to anything I read online, I am with you regarding the idea that learning more and more about Christian history and the Christian faith is what led me to losing faith. Or, as my priest and wife put it at the time, I was reading too much for my own good  police
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 05:17:12 PM »

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.  Ecclesiastes 1:18
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 06:09:45 PM »

I'm technically neither Catholic nor Orthodox, but I am an inquirer into both. I'm 15 years old, and I have an account on both these forums and the Catholic forums. I have felt for a while now like something is missing from my life, and that I need to be a Christian. My mother was raised Catholic and I've attended a few Masses, but I was disappointed at how short they were, even though I enjoyed the time there. There is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in my town but I'm too nervous to go, even though I really want to, because I'm not Ukrainian. I know that they accept people into ethnic parishes, but I'm just afraid the culture barrier will be too great.
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 07:51:17 PM »

Well, I am no longer Catholic nor Orthodox, but I will give my experience.

I was born into a Protestant (Methodist, but my mother was born a Catholic).  To make a long story short, I was accepted into the Catholic church on the Easter Vigil of 2001 (I believe) at the age of 15, after completing RCIA and receivng my parents permission.
As a Catholic, I was the most devoted to God compared to any other time of my life, and would consider my spirituality strongly "Franicscan" with a pinch of "Carmel"; I focused more on writings on interior prayer (specifically the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila) in the place of formal theology (most of the Christological and Trinitarian debates I knew little about until I delved into Orthodoxy).  During the summer I would make it to Daily Mass and during the school year I would go to Eucharistic Adoration after school for about two hours daily.  I recited the Rosary around ten times a day (at least 15 decades before the tabernacle daily), as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy once per day and, or course, the Stations of the Cross on Friday.  Every Saturday I would make it to Confession.  If it sounds like I didn't have much of a social life, you guess correctly; but I didn't care too much for a social life at the time since I considered it a waste of time.  Due to my love of Francis of Assisi, and a call to the religious life, I was strongly considering the religious life after high school.  I was in contact with three Franicscan Orders (all reform Orders): the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculata, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and a reform order which broke away from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the Franciscan Friars of teh Primitive Observance (I was strongly considering this Order before converting to Orthodoxy since I felt they most fathly lived out the Rule of Franics as he originally wanted it to be followed).
When I finally was received into the Orthodox church on my 18th birthday, I had to leave a lot of my "Franciscan" practices behind (Eucharistic adoration, daily reception of the Eucharist, etc.) but I felt I made the right choice leaving the Catholic church for Orthodoxy.  To better understand my faith, I joined this website; I have learned much through this forum and the more I learned about Church history and the Christian faith in general, I eventually lost my faith.


Thanks for sharing. Your story is interesting, intriguing and shocking at the same time. Do you think that if you had never encountered Orthodoxy, you'd steel be a believer?

Who knows.  I had my doubts even while Catholic, but Orthodoxy forced me to really read (and attempt) to understand the teachings of the Church Fathers.  The more I read, and the more I discussed, the less sure I became of what was truly orthodox which eventually led to my disbelief.  Most, if not all postitive relationships are based on trust; once one no longer trusts that God is a God of love and compassion (and instead, comes to believe he is a schizophrenic and sadistic psychopath) there is little reason to believe.   
I think it is fair to say that if I had joined one of the Franciscan Orders listed above, my chances of encountering new (to me)/controversial ideas (e.g. universial salvation) would have been limited.  I thank many posters on this forum (GiC, Asteriktos, and a former poster who is now a priest, Fr. Wassen) for helping me think outside the box of strict, orthodox teaching; concerning the posters listed: one is a strict atheist, one isn't quite sure what to believe (and with him I can most relate), and one is an Orthodox priest (OCA).  The more I read the posts of certain atheist/agnostic posters on this web-site, the more confident I become in my belief that there is no God (at least, the God of the Abrahamic faiths).   
I feel it is worth stating that although I enjoyed my Christian experience (and still love and respect certain aspects of Christian culture, for example Gregorian chant and Byzantine architecture), I am embarrassed (and ashamed) with regards to how much pain I caused my parents while I was considering the religious life.  It was quite selfish (and I can only imagine the pain of the mothers' whose sons have "abandoned" the world for such places as Mt. Athos), but thankfully is in the past. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 09:30:34 PM »

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 09:42:55 PM »

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.

I agree with this for the most part. 
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2010, 12:36:14 AM »

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.

Couldn't have said it better myself!
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2010, 07:46:18 AM »

I think that for many people, Orthodoxy is a termination point in their investigations. They have done much research into different religions and have 'painted themselves into a corner' so to speak, by eliminating, one by one, all the competing faiths which they determine to be invalid. So I think for many people, their mindframe is "Orthodoxy or bust". That's my take, anyways.

I don't know. There seems to be quite the populace who are very willing to believe in God without going to church.  I was one.  I refused to be in a church that did not reflect what I believed - so I didn't go.  Orthodoxy was the first 'practice' that actually coincided with what I believed on so many levels that it actually made it safe to 'go back into the water.'
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2010, 08:15:15 AM »

The more I read the posts of certain atheist/agnostic posters on this web-site, the more confident I become in my belief that there is no God (at least, the God of the Abrahamic faiths).   

Admins, please take note.

I'm sorry that you have lost your faith in God.

Oftentimes the "knowledge" we accumulate  is not real knowledge- it is an array of information that we apprehend in a distorted manner, which we are unprepared for and which we misinterpret. The internet, in this case, has often been a curse for new Orthodox. We have the phenomenon of "knowbetterdoxy," people whose extensive reading in certain areas has given them a very skewed picture and boosted their pride, so that they think, perhaps subconciously, that they know better than the living Church. Some of these people become "super-correct" and look for schismatic "traditionalist" groups; some of them become ultra-modernists; some of them lose their faith entirely. They think they have attained some higher understanding when in fact they've only succumbed to their lopsided, deceptive reasonings. And, lest anyone accuse me of being obscurantist, I'm not opposed to acquiring knowledge of the faith and the Church's history, but it must be knowledge that is profitable to us and which we are prepared to receive. The idle curiosity that we often engage in can be very dangerous.

You said: "The more I read the posts of certain atheist/agnostic posters on this web-site, the more confident I become in my belief that there is no God."

This is exactly how it is. The reasoning follows the spiritual understanding. For whatever reason, you started with the belief in atheism and then found the reasonings to support it. Without revelation and real spiritual understanding, discursive reasoning is a very malleable tool. You can have a boat that functions very well but that doesn't mean you are sailing in the right direction. That's why people have been able to find seemingly airtight rationalizations for all kinds of contradictory beliefs. True reasoning can only begin when we recognize that discursive reasoning is not our highest faculty, and we allow our spiritual senses to guide us.
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2010, 10:53:58 AM »

it must be knowledge that is profitable to us and which we are prepared to receive. The idle curiosity that we often engage in can be very dangerous.

What criteria do you propose to meet those two conditions?
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2010, 07:54:14 PM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2010, 08:00:38 PM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.
What a difficult palce to find yourself. Do you think you possibly put too much stock in being 100% correct in order to be in God's will?
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 10:55:17 PM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.
What a difficult palce to find yourself. Do you think you possibly put too much stock in being 100% correct in order to be in God's will?

Now, no.  I no longer believe in the Christian God and now I welcome new ideas which force me to understand why I do/think they way I do. 
As a Christian, being 100 % sure was probably impossible; but with my eternal soul hanging in the balance, it most certainly was of utmost importance to be as sure as possible.  Everything I did was scrutinized (e.g. "Protestant parents invited me to their Christmas church service: if I go, is it a sin and should I confess?; if I don't go am I being uncharitable and should I confess? Or "Is entering my old Catholic church, as an Orthodox Christian, a sin?  I just want to see the Tridentine Mass, something I never experienced while being a Catholic, but these guys are heretics and St. Paul and the Fathers clearly don't want me to associate with heretics." Or "Wow, this Orthodox church is beautiful: look at all the icons, the censers, vestments, etc.  But I wonder what St. Lawerance would do (and I wonder if God wants me to do the same) if he entered this church?  Perhaps God wants me, as he wanted St. Lawerance, to take and sell these pricey items and donate the money to the poor." Or "If I were to become the President of the U.S.A., is the concept of freedom of religion compatible with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth?"  Or this scenerio which I pondered often near the end of my run with Christianity, "Interesting, I just found out that biologists believe that Homo Sapien Sapiens may have procreated with Neanderthals.  This does present a problem for me however.  Were Neanderthals a hominid with or without a soul?  If they were with a soul, then were they descendants of Adam and Eve and were they in need of Christ's redemptive act?  If they were without a soul, and were nothing more than an animal, and I happen to be a descendant of a homo sapien sapien and a Neanderthal, than am I completely human and do I have a soul?").  Such questions I could never answer, and I never trusted any priest enough to put my complete trust in his opinion on the matter.
Now, as an agnostic/humanist, I no longer have this mental load to carry.  I no longer have to attempt to understand and believe the "supernatural" in the very natural world.  I know I am probably creeping GiC out since I keep bringing him up, but just reading a lot of his current posts (with regards to atheism and humanist philosophy) I can't help but think to myself, "By golly GiC, you have articulated so well what I currently, and honestly, believe." 
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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2010, 11:53:57 PM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.

So your reason for leaving Christ is because you couldn't find neat and easy answers to your questions. What's the real "cop out" here? Some of these questions are just as well left alone; some of them don't have definitive answers comprehensible to ordinary men; some of them are just idle curiosity borne of an urge to be correct about everything. Trying to find a potted answer to all your questions isn't real spiritual struggle- it's a distraction, a form of escapism. Of course it's easier to find your answers when you cut yourself loose from the Church. When the only authority is yourself, the convenient answers to everything are quick in coming (though they have a funny fluidity to them, according to circumstances). I remember- I was an atheist most of my life.  Eventually, I hope, you'll find that the real burden, the one that carries no reward, is that of unbelief, of closing yourself to spiritual realities and the Truth that is beyond yourself. As an atheist, I continually caught glimpses of these realities, through art, through nature, through friendship, and I found myself painfully closing myself to them because they didn't fit with my "principles". I realized that atheism did nothing for me, except imbue me with a sense of being right about everything, which turned out to be hollow. Reason, cut off from higher spiritual realities, is moldable like a piece of clay. It can create countless, seemingly coherent and foolproof ideologies, according to the whims of the wielder and the passions to which he is a slave. Finding a clear, simple answer to a spiritual question, based on your personal reasoning, doesn't really solve it; it just closes you off from a real understanding of it, which may not be entirely apprehensible to rational faculties.
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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2010, 11:55:47 PM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.
What a difficult palce to find yourself. Do you think you possibly put too much stock in being 100% correct in order to be in God's will?

Now, no.  I no longer believe in the Christian God and now I welcome new ideas which force me to understand why I do/think they way I do. 
As a Christian, being 100 % sure was probably impossible; but with my eternal soul hanging in the balance, it most certainly was of utmost importance to be as sure as possible.  Everything I did was scrutinized (e.g. "Protestant parents invited me to their Christmas church service: if I go, is it a sin and should I confess?; if I don't go am I being uncharitable and should I confess? Or "Is entering my old Catholic church, as an Orthodox Christian, a sin?  I just want to see the Tridentine Mass, something I never experienced while being a Catholic, but these guys are heretics and St. Paul and the Fathers clearly don't want me to associate with heretics." Or "Wow, this Orthodox church is beautiful: look at all the icons, the censers, vestments, etc.  But I wonder what St. Lawerance would do (and I wonder if God wants me to do the same) if he entered this church?  Perhaps God wants me, as he wanted St. Lawerance, to take and sell these pricey items and donate the money to the poor." Or "If I were to become the President of the U.S.A., is the concept of freedom of religion compatible with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth?"  Or this scenerio which I pondered often near the end of my run with Christianity, "Interesting, I just found out that biologists believe that Homo Sapien Sapiens may have procreated with Neanderthals.  This does present a problem for me however.  Were Neanderthals a hominid with or without a soul?  If they were with a soul, then were they descendants of Adam and Eve and were they in need of Christ's redemptive act?  If they were without a soul, and were nothing more than an animal, and I happen to be a descendant of a homo sapien sapien and a Neanderthal, than am I completely human and do I have a soul?").  Such questions I could never answer, and I never trusted any priest enough to put my complete trust in his opinion on the matter.
Now, as an agnostic/humanist, I no longer have this mental load to carry.  I no longer have to attempt to understand and believe the "supernatural" in the very natural world.  I know I am probably creeping GiC out since I keep bringing him up, but just reading a lot of his current posts (with regards to atheism and humanist philosophy) I can't help but think to myself, "By golly GiC, you have articulated so well what I currently, and honestly, believe." 
It seems that your approach to Christianity was a very scrupulous one. Not even I, as a traditionalist Catholic, believe that God holds us to the standard that you were holding yourself to.
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2010, 12:46:24 AM »

I never was a RC in the strict sense, but, being born in a RC country, I was baptized, went to cathecism, first communion and that was basically it. In my teens I became a Kardecist, later a searcher, for some months a generic Christian and finally Orthodox.

I can say that my experience was the opposite of coptic orthodox boy. The more I learned, the more I studied, the greater my faith in the God of Abrahan, Isaac and Jacob having sent His Son to die for us, resurrecting and sending His Spirit thus making those who receive it part of His Body which is what we currently call "the Orthodox Church" became clearer and clearer and able to receive my faith.

The one thing I had to overcome was the skeptica demand for ultimate truth. I simply realized that to call for ultimate proofs in the name of reason is what is unreasonable. With the possible exception of mathematical equations nothing can be proved to such a degree. Concerning the resurrection in particular, our claim is that it was a historical fact. So it cannot produce more evidence than any other historical fact. The demand to prove it with the same degree of evidence for what happened yesterday is absolutely unreasonable.

My conversion, thus, was first intellectual and only afterwards in the heart. I could see with the eyes of reason first that principle of Christianity in general that is the Incarnation and Resurrection, and then among the groups which claim to be the church, that the Orthodox was the only one that is the real thing.
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2010, 12:54:02 AM »

Fabio, my experience is similar to yours. At one point, one realizes that the Cartesian demand for absolute certainty is irrational in itself and impossible to achieve anywhere except for the field of mathematics. However, there are excellent and rational reason to believe in God and to believe that Christ did, in fact, rise from the dead. once one has come to those conclusions, it is incumbent upon such a person to seek out the Church that Jesus has established. Now, I believe that that is the Catholic Church. You believe that it is the Eastern Orthodox Church. Although I disagree with your conclusion, I believe, from what I can tell that you are truly seeking Christ, as I hope that I am.  Thus, I don't see a reason to become as scrupulous as Coptic Orthodox boy, when it comes to trying to untangle the mess that is schism amongst Christians. Is is important to try? Absolutely. Should we be branch theorist ecumenists? Absolutely NOT. But I think that the God of infinite mercy understands our struggle.
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2010, 02:43:02 AM »

Papist my friend, I have come to reel you in before you receive an admonishment. I understand you sincerity but I don't think this thread is appropriate for you, nor me, to say the least. Please don't feel offended by my words. Let's go have an ice cold,smooth one...yeah, that's the ticket  Smiley. Vieni qui fratello, vieni qui


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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2010, 04:01:14 AM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continuously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues multiple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.

"*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?"

You'll know.

"*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?"

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Those outside of the Church will be judged by God.

"*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?"

Everything which God ordained for Israel in the OT was the ultimate act of love - because it allowed the Lion of Judah, Jesus the Christ to come into the world as a Man... and to enter into death, and to defeat death for all of us.

The actions of the Israelites were tame compared to the norm in those days. Infanticide, child sacrifice and other abominations unto false 'gods' were everywhere... 

Most importantly though - everything the Israelites did allowed the Messiah from the Israelite tribe of Judah to be born.

Through Judah came the Saviour of the World; the Christ; Jesus... and in His coming defeated death itself - for everyone, including those who died in the conquest of Canaan. Those in the grave were presented with Christ, God Himself and were able to accept Him.

Anyone who was persecuted and killed by the Israelites was persecuted for His Name; for His Glory; for His Coming... Were they enemies for our sake - for the sake of the world? Were they blessed in being cursed? Only God knows for sure I guess.

We can all eventually look forward to physical death... but physical death becomes insignificant in the context of eternal life in Christ.

"*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?"

While these are stimulating things to ponder... ultimately they are irrelevant to your salvation. Worry about your soul first and foremost. Trust and pray sincerely that through your faith and witness, all will be revealed to you in time.

Test the spirits. All spirits that do not confess that Jesus is the Christ; that He is the Eternal Son of God come in the flesh are not of God. Do you feel in your heart that these "miracles and revelations" are of God?

If they are or are not of God - does this relate in any way to your ultimate salvation? No. So I believe these things must be put into perspective. Look at the big picture; the bottom line...

Are you being saved from the curse of death - or not?

I hope I haven't spoken out of turn here... It's unfortunate to see the resident atheists here affecting your frame of mind as they do...

The paradox is this:

As long as you reject God intellectually, He will forever remain hidden from you... Accept Him and He will reveal Himself and His truths to you. Trust in Him - not in regurgitated Communist atheist propaganda.

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« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2010, 06:00:52 AM »

I became Orthodox in 2009 and was passionate about it for a while. In August this year I officially went back to the Roman Catholic Church.

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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2010, 06:16:06 AM »

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?


Though question... The will of God is that anyone should be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.. Truth for me is a way of life, a way of living, not just a concept...

*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?


It`s hard to reconcile Christian teachings with secularism.. christianity and secularism are two different things.. the society is in many ways incompatible with the christian life because it spins around wickidness and lies.. the proper solution is to stick to the christian way of life, always try to do the right thing, be truthfull and just firstly with yourself and then with the others while not isolating yourself completely from the society.. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to Christ what belongs to Christ.

*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?


The Old Testament still remains.. The Law is still in action , but now it has been added a spiritual serving unto it... God was just than as He is just now.. God was merciful than as He is mercifull now.. He is always prepared to forgive and leave aside His punishment... See Ninive..

*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.

The answer is God can work wherever He wants... There is no problem in liking philosophies from non-orthodox people.. Paul even quote from the philosophy of pagan greeks in his epistles..
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2010, 06:17:21 AM »

I became Orthodox last year, and have since reverted to Catholicism.

I am much happier since I left the Orthodox Church, to be honest. I feel closer to God and I feel that my sacramental relationship with God is better facilitated by Catholicism.
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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2010, 06:29:17 AM »

God is wherever love is..

1John 4:7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1John 4:12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1John 4:16 (..)God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

1John 2:3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s loveb is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.


1John 4:4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2010, 06:35:31 AM »

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*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?


Whatever you do have love.. "Many are forgiven unto this women because she loves much"
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2010, 06:38:35 AM »

I became Orthodox last year, and have since reverted to Catholicism.

I am much happier since I left the Orthodox Church, to be honest. I feel closer to God and I feel that my sacramental relationship with God is better facilitated by Catholicism.

Interesting. Would you be willing to share a few more details about your experiences and how you feel Catholicism improves your relationship? If you would rather not share it on the public forum you can pm me if you like.
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2010, 06:44:41 AM »

All churches fell under the spiritual adulter and people are becoming more deprived of the grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit.That is why people lose their faiths, when they see that even the EO is not perfect(most of it) and when people are so graceless... Is hard to find hope without a true believer,in faith,word and work.This is the truth the EO is involved in the whoredom of Ecumenism.. Because of wicked ierarhs grace is rarified into the Church..
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2010, 07:55:03 AM »

I became Orthodox last year, and have since reverted to Catholicism.

I am much happier since I left the Orthodox Church, to be honest. I feel closer to God and I feel that my sacramental relationship with God is better facilitated by Catholicism.

Interesting. Would you be willing to share a few more details about your experiences and how you feel Catholicism improves your relationship? If you would rather not share it on the public forum you can pm me if you like.

I often felt quite uncomfortable in Orthodoxy. So much of the talk, in sermons and in general parish fellowship, was about how much better Orthodoxy is compared to all other denominations. The anti-Catholic attitudes were intense and disgusting.

Furthermore, I disliked how the parish I attended, and every other parish, was just an ethnic community. I felt out of place and I found it tedious having to explain why I was coming to an Orthodox parish when ethnically I don’t belong there.

I also had a few problems in regards to theology and practice in Orthodoxy.

First of all, Catholicism is far better at facilitating my sacramental relationship with God. Confession is available every day in the Catholic Cathedral and some churches here, and weekly at all other Catholic parishes. In comparison, at my Orthodox parish confession was only available once per year, and it was conducted without any privacy at all… and most people didn’t even go. When I converted to Orthodoxy I had to make a confession, and some of the ‘cradle’ members of the parish commented that they had never been to confession in their lives. I believe that I should be going to confession before I partake of the Eucharist – Catholicism facilitates this, Orthodoxy doesn’t.

There’s also the problem of the Liturgy only being on Sundays in most Orthodox parishes. As a Catholic now I can receive the Eucharist every day. I also love Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, the Summa Theologia, the Tridentine Mass and many Catholic saints whom the Orthodox Church refuses to recognise.

Now, as a Catholic, I feel that my relationship with God is stronger because I can more regularly go to confession, receive communion, and I can pray in groups where I am accepted without any awkwardness. It was always awkward going into Orthodox parishes because I am obviously not of their ethnic backgroup. Also, most people at the various Orthodox parishes were only their for family or cultural reasons… I did not meet any young people, at all, who were attending Liturgy independently of their parents. They only went to church if their parents dragged them along. By comparison, in the Catholic Church there are many young people who are there for their own sake, independently of their parents. It’s nice to meet other young people who are interested in religion and God on a serious level.

Many Easterners criticised Catholicism as being far too ‘scholastic.’ That really only applies to the Dominicans and their spirituality and theology. The spirituality and theology of the Carmelites is very contemplative and hesychastic. The Franciscans have their own brand of spirituality as well. The Orthodox Church insists that there is only one way of thinking and worshipping and pursuing a relationship with the Trinity, and anything else is heretical. The Catholic Church is mature enough to appreciate that there are different valid ways to approach God, in terms of our theology and our spirituality. I like this ‘unity in diversity’ that is present in Catholicism. I certainly did not see anything like it in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2010, 08:31:45 AM »

For Coptic Orthodox Boy:  May I give a small/humble  suggestion?  I feel you are too much in your head about all of this.  You need to 'pull down your thoughts---your analyzing---and place them in your heart.  How do you do this?  Instead of thinking/typing thoughts, etc...just go somewhere quiet and SIT by yourself.   Don't ask yourself any questions, don't analyze, just concentrate on your heart and what you are feeling.  Sit still for as long as you can.  Do this as often as you can.  You might be surprised at what you will discover.  Right now, your thoughts, your analyzing everything, your 'talking online' is like a heavy curtain blocking out all Light.   You are blocking out the Light/Love  of God.
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« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2010, 08:40:13 AM »

First of all, Catholicism is far better at facilitating my sacramental relationship with God. Confession is available every day in the Catholic Cathedral and some churches here, and weekly at all other Catholic parishes. In comparison, at my Orthodox parish confession was only available once per year . . . and most people didn’t even go. When I converted to Orthodoxy I had to make a confession, and some of the ‘cradle’ members of the parish commented that they had never been to confession in their lives. I believe that I should be going to confession before I partake of the Eucharist – Catholicism facilitates this, Orthodoxy doesn’t.

I believe that some Orthodox jurisdictions consider the prayer before the Eucharist to be enough (especially when said sincerely and after reflecting upon one's sins and regretting them):
I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. And I believe that this is thine own immaculate Body, and that this is thine own precious Blood. Wherefore, I pray thee, have mercy on me, and pardon my trespasses, voluntary and involuntary, in word, or in deed, in knowledge and in ignorance, and make me worthy without condemnation to partake of thine immaculate Mysteries unto forgiveness of sins and unto life eternal. Of thy mystical supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of thy mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief will I confess thee, remember me, O Lord, in thy kingdom. Not unto judgment nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto healing of soul and body.
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Feanor
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« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2010, 08:59:41 AM »

I have thought about that too, but then I think: What is the point of confession? Confessing ones sins to a priest has always been an important part of Christian teaching and praxis in the East and the West, and it has always been quite soundly understood that confession is for the absolution of sins. It can't be done just by sincerely being repentant. Repentance, of course, is the first step, but to be 'cleared' of our sins, so to speak, we need confession. My Orthodox priest often said this to me when I was being catechised, that confession is very important and absolutely necessary. I found it ironic that he only made time to hear confessions on Easter Saturday.
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« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2010, 09:02:45 AM »

Iconodule

Thank you for your reply. 
It's fair to say me leaving Christianity due to my inability to answer certain questions was a cop out.  I won't try to justify leaving the church (since no explanation will satisfy a practicing Christian), or explain it too much other than the more I read into philosophical and theological debates the less I believed. But now I can honestly say life is much more enjoyable and fulfilling (for me at least) as a non-believer. 

Saint Iaint
I thank you for your replies.  I see a parallel between your justification of God's actions in the Old Testament with the justification of American Evangelicals have with regards to the actions of the state of Israel against the Palestinians (essentially Israel is justified in all its acts because the Jews have to rebuild the Temple so Jesus can return in glory, etc, etc, etc).   A number of years ago I asked this question ore in depth on this forum, you are welcome to read it if you wish (it is titled "OT vs. NT" I believe).

Concerning the private revelations of certain Catholic saints, contrary to what you have stated, they do have major importance on my eternal soul; specifically the revelations of Mary to the three children at Fatima and her revelations to Bernadette at Lourdes.  I am not trying to misquote Catholic doctrine, but it is my understanding that the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary (as it was revealed in these two cases and how it is currently taught by the Catholic church) is needed for salvation.  As a Catholic I didn’t know too much about Fatima (and now as a non-believer I know even less), but I did have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and to St. Bernadette.  After converting to Orthodoxy I struggled with explaining these two revelations; although I read and more or less agreed with the Orthodox P.O.V. I always had my personal doubts (i.e. “What if when I die I truly left the true church (the Roman Catholic church) and while I stand before the judgment seat of Christ I am condemned to eternal hell for rejecting the Immaculate Conception of Mary”).
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Feanor
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« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2010, 09:07:32 AM »

The Orthodox believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states.

Catholic theology extends this to say that 'therefore, she must also have been free of original sin.' Orthodox don't believe in original sin. So what? They still believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the Immaculate Conception is about.

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« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2010, 09:21:28 AM »

I have thought about that too, but then I think: What is the point of confession? Confessing ones sins to a priest has always been an important part of Christian teaching and praxis in the East and the West, and it has always been quite soundly understood that confession is for the absolution of sins. It can't be done just by sincerely being repentant. Repentance, of course, is the first step, but to be 'cleared' of our sins, so to speak, we need confession.

Actually, the form, frequency and understanding of the mystery of confession was varying and changing throughout the centuries and places. The fact that today in the Orthodox Church there are different approaches to it, is due to various historical circumstances, etc. Are all of these approaches equally (a) beneficial, and (b) valid? Well, I think that as for (a): it depends (probably one practice may be very beneficial for one person, while not so much for someone else), and as for (b): yes, if a given practice is blessed by the bishop in whose diocese it takes place.
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« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2010, 09:22:10 AM »

The Orthodox believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states.

Catholic theology extends this to say that 'therefore, she must also have been free of original sin.' Orthodox don't believe in original sin. So what? They still believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the Immaculate Conception is about.



Can't say that was my understanding on the subject (that essentially both churches proclaim the same belief, except for Original Sin).  If it were, why is this one of the touchy topics when Catholics and Orthodox Christians engage in ecumenical dialogue?
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« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2010, 09:25:17 AM »

I have thought about that too, but then I think: What is the point of confession? Confessing ones sins to a priest has always been an important part of Christian teaching and praxis in the East and the West, and it has always been quite soundly understood that confession is for the absolution of sins. It can't be done just by sincerely being repentant. Repentance, of course, is the first step, but to be 'cleared' of our sins, so to speak, we need confession.

Actually, the form, frequency and understanding of the mystery of confession was varying and changing throughout the centuries and places. The fact that today in the Orthodox Church there are different approaches to it, is due to various historical circumstances, etc. Are all of these approaches equally (a) beneficial, and (b) valid? Well, I think that as for (a): it depends (probably one practice may be very beneficial for one person, while not so much for someone else), and as for (b): yes, if a given practice is blessed by the bishop in whose diocese it takes place.

Perhaps that is so. I'm not trying to convert Orthodox or change their beliefs. However, I need regular confession. I need it.
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« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2010, 09:27:41 AM »

The Orthodox believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states.

Catholic theology extends this to say that 'therefore, she must also have been free of original sin.' Orthodox don't believe in original sin. So what? They still believe that Mary was sinless for her entire life. That's what the Immaculate Conception is about.



Can't say that was my understanding on the subject (that essentially both churches proclaim the same belief, except for Original Sin).  If it were, why is this one of the touchy topics when Catholics and Orthodox Christians engage in ecumenical dialogue?


I think Orthodox Christians misunderstand the IC. An Orthodox nun once told me "the Catholics believe that St Anna conceived the Virgin Mary without any involvement from Mary's father, St Joachim. That's rubbish, the Theotokos was conceived naturally." The Catholics believe that the Theotokos was indeed conceived naturally, by means of sexual intercourse between her parents. However, they believe that from her conception she was free of sin, including original sin.
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« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2010, 09:29:04 AM »

Orthodox don't believe in original sin.

We certainly believe in the original (i.e., the first) sin and its consequences (to which we refer as original or, more preferably, ancestral sin).
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« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2010, 09:30:39 AM »

So what's the problem with the Catholic doctrine, then?

I really think that there is no problem.
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