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Author Topic: Is Orthodoxy as State Religion Unfair? (Rant + Questions seeking answers)  (Read 8697 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« Reply #90 on: March 09, 2011, 07:11:28 PM »

So the ones that I have spoken certainly did bite.

LOL. I think you two are meaning two different things by "bite", one like a dog biting a person and one like a fish biting a hook.
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« Reply #91 on: March 09, 2011, 07:14:21 PM »

I have a severe mistrust of the state, so why would I trust it in terms of anything relating to religion?

That's the only reason that I kind of believe in a separation of Church and state, because if the state gets involved, it's going to mess up the Church. The state leaders will just use it as a tool for their own policies and agenda. Let's look at Soviet Russia and how Stalin temporarily brought in the Church to strengthen patriotism.

I'd just rather not touch this with a 10 foot pole. There are benefits, but it can get pretty dicey.

Well, the Church wasn't messed up by the Byzantine or Russian Empires... Sure there were some hard times, but they were always overcome.
Ehh, sorry, let me put this another way. The CHURCH itself wasn't messed up, but leaders can just take it or leave it at their own convenience, using it to suit their agenda. That's all. I don't like the idea of the Church being used as someone's political platform, especially when they in their hearts do not believe in the faith.
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« Reply #92 on: March 09, 2011, 07:14:35 PM »

No one should be forced into any religion (or lack thereof) even if it is the state religion.

I don't think anyone in this thread has suggested otherwise, so I don't know what augustin's problem is.
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« Reply #93 on: March 09, 2011, 07:16:26 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

I will repeat a question I asked before that went unanswered:

I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

What exactly is Biblical or Orthodox about Democracy? Undecided
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« Reply #94 on: March 09, 2011, 08:06:51 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

I will repeat a question I asked before that went unanswered:

I would say that the most "Biblical" and most "Orthodox" of systems are a Monarchy/Empire and Democracy (though not the American style of Democracy necessarily).

What exactly is Biblical or Orthodox about Democracy? Undecided

Democracy is neither Biblical nor Orthodox.

When the Greeks voted to reject the foreign imposed monarchy in 1975, they did not vote to reject Greek Orthodox Church as State Religion.
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« Reply #95 on: March 09, 2011, 08:11:28 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).
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« Reply #96 on: March 09, 2011, 08:39:18 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force, especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.
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« Reply #97 on: March 09, 2011, 09:41:39 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 09:44:29 PM by SolEX01 » Logged
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« Reply #98 on: March 09, 2011, 09:46:54 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.
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« Reply #99 on: March 09, 2011, 09:56:40 PM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

Did I ever say that? I don't think I ever did...

In my honest opinion, we definitely do need to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy. This definitely doesn't mean that you convert by force.

It seems today that we aren't actively trying to evangelize in non-Orthodox nations. (of course, a few exceptions like Central America) It seems Orthodox Churches refuse to touch Western European nations, or even Islamic Nations. (or even Hindu/Buddhist ones)
From what I've seen, it seems that our Orthodox Churches even have "deals" with other Christian groups like the Roman Catholics where we agree not to actively proselytize in their countries. I say to heck with those deals (if they actually exist), they aren't bringing anyone to Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."

When Noah was building the Ark, did he just sit around and refuse to warn others? Did he focus on only saving himself? No he didn't.
The Church is the Ark of Salvation, if people won't listen to her message, then that's their problem. But it is our job (with the help of the Lord) to bring as many people to the Ark as possible.

No one can deny that the world is not getting better, it's getting worse. The waters are rising fast, and many of us are drowning. If we are on the Ark, we need to help pull them aboard, not just sit around and stare at them while they drown, that is just sadistic.

As for the Church & State thing. As I said, I don't think it should occur in non-Orthodox majority states. But even so, it should be our job to make those countries Orthodox (or more Orthodox).
This anti-Church/State idea comes from the West, and more specifically from the United States, which is NOT a Christian nation, and many of it's ideals were more founded in deism than Christianity.

Should a nation founded by Freemasons and Deists be a model for Orthodox Christians? Or should we follow the model of nations/empires founded and run by Orthodox?

Regarding the whole issue of the government "enforcing" certain "laws"... You must recognize that in the Byzantine Empire, it was often the Emperor who called the Councils. If someone violated the canons or doctrines of the Church, the Church can excommunicate them, but it was the Empire that handed out further "punishment" which often included exile, which the Church couldn't do.

You also cannot use the argument that "a few bad apples makes the whole orchard rotten". Just because there were some Emperors that were evil doesn't make the whole idea of an Orthodox State wrong. That is just stupid. Using that argument, you could further argue that the Orthodox Church shouldn't have hierarchy because there are often evil and heterodox Bishops (and even Priests). It makes no sense to argue with that.

It is admirable that in Russia today, Orthodoxy HAS to be taught in the schools. They also encourage the teaching of Islam and Judaism. They can also teach about Roman Catholicism and others. But they are required to teach Orthodoxy to the students.

I think it is also good that the Patriarch of Moscow is an advisor to the President & Vice President. It is also good that both are seen regularly at Church services, and regularly with the Patriarch. Are they honest in their faith? We don't have any right to judge that. But it shows that Russia truly is Orthodox, and that Orthodoxy is truly the right faith, and others are not even close to equal with it.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Church & the State were close, but the Patriarch didn't (or wasn't supposed to) meddle in political affairs, and the Emperor wasn't supposed to meddle in Church affairs.

Are we declaring a jihad? No... Are we declaring war? No... Why is that? Because war has already been declared on us. The world wants to destroy us, and the world is commanded by it's master. To quote the famous Orthodox publication, we seek "Death to the World". We wish to slay the passions. The powers of evil are warring against us, and wish to annihilate us. They use violence, deceit, hatred, and many other methods (including secularism) against us to lead us away from God.

Of course, I think all of us know this, and I'm probably just preaching to the choir, but I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.
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« Reply #100 on: March 09, 2011, 10:43:45 PM »

Christ came and established the Church, not a earthly kingdom or government.  If Christ's kingdom is not of this world, the Church has nothing to do with this world either.  On the subject of politics being mingled with religion, that is an opinion based on worldly philosophies.  On the subject the Church being mingled with politics would be a blasphemy.  No Orthodox empire was successful, and always incorporated unChristian methods.  Have you noticed how the Church is at her best in fact when it was suppressed by the government, and worse when it controls government?

I think there is some misunderstanding here. I agree that the life of the Church should not be dependent upon civil powers. I agree that it is at the very least dangerous if not totally unacceptable for Church officials to wield political power. But the Church's role in the State in this way is not really what we are addressing here. Rather, we are addressing the State's role in the societal propagation of Orthodoxy.

The State can do whatever it wants, but what we can learn from history is the Church's readiness in some places to hail victorious and "ordain" Orthodox leaders when Orthodoxy becomes state religion.  So, while the State can do whatever it wants, when it touches Orthodoxy, the Church undoubtedly mingles with it.

I'm not sure that the sort of "mingling" you are talking about is actually wrong (though we haven't gotten into great detail).

P.S. I understand that there is a long-standing tradition of the Coptic church resisting mingling with the State, particularly beginning with Pope Saint Dioscoros I, but this happened largely because of the State falling away from Orthodoxy, and when the State actually was Orthodox, the Coptic church was much warmer with the government.

I'm not placing a blame on an EO/OO thing.  Yes, I'd say that the EO/OO split seemed to solidify my firm belief that the Church mingling with the state is blasphemy, but even before the split.  Take Constantine for instance.  It's apparently necessary that an emperor has to convene religious councils, and Constantine was the first.  Can we not convene a council on the merits of it being a holy council among clergy?  No, we had to depend on the emperor.  And for conduct, imperial judges.  And we even encouraged and sought out the banishing and punishing of heretics.  It may sound a bit anachronistic, but to be honest, the Milan announcement was of a freedom of religion, not an establishment of religion.  In any case, the idea was there, but a lot of clerics seem to have wanted more.

In addition, Constantinople allowed the emperor (and empress) places in the altar (except St. John Chrysostom).  The emperor seemed to have held a very special "equal to clerical" position that merited their places inside the altar.  To me, the emperor is nothing but a layman who has no right to enter the altar.

When the government begins to acquire a way to form a state religion, the church seems to look to the state to become a major leader.

Now, forgive me for sounding as if this is an anti-EO comment, but when I hear EO's praying for "Orthodox Russian empire" to return, the way the emperor for an EO sounds no different in power than the Pope of Rome for RC's.  Of course, not all EO's are like this (OCA and Antiochian Orthodox I believe hold a very anti-state view), but it kinda bothers me a bit that the emperor seems to hold a very important theological place in history.  We should learn from history that if anything, the Holy Spirit is inspiring us that Orthodox governments are failures and border-line heretical.
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« Reply #101 on: March 09, 2011, 10:52:48 PM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.
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« Reply #102 on: March 09, 2011, 10:59:59 PM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.
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« Reply #103 on: March 09, 2011, 11:46:39 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....
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« Reply #104 on: March 09, 2011, 11:53:09 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....

Huh? what??? I never said anything about taxes.
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« Reply #105 on: March 09, 2011, 11:54:00 PM »

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

Orthodoxy is about redemption for the whole of creation, restoring it to what it was intended to be. Humanity, and therefore human society, is part of creation (it's the pinnacle, actually!). I think Devin's makes a good point here, and that it fits perfectly into the redemption of creation. To cite a modern theologian on this subject, Vladimir Lossky speaks about it in his Orthodox Theology: An Introduction.

I didn't take Devin to mean redemption of creation so much as violation of the intent and letter of the Establishment Clause, as he says here:

Also, when I talk about the US being an Orthodox State, I'm saying that in the possible (and hopeful) future event that Orthodoxy dominates the United States, then I would feel it would be appropriate for the United States to adopt it as a state religion. Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

Maybe I misunderstood him. Thank you for the book suggestion.

Our goal as Orthodox is to turn society, and the world upside down and turn it towards God, as well as to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy.

I don't remember learning that in my catechumen class.

It seems to me like quite an obvious truth.

You must be standing on a higher rung on the ladder of divine ascent, since you can see farther and appreciate more.
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« Reply #106 on: March 09, 2011, 11:56:56 PM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


The EU can "shove it" in my opinion. It doesn't matter what they say or ask Greece to do. It would be better for Greece (or any EU state) to fall into ruin or foreign rule than to sacrifice it's faith or submit to secularism.

Ask your friends why they don't pay taxes and then ask them if their attitude is consistent to that in the Bible....

Huh? what??? I never said anything about taxes.

If Greece was an utopian Orthodox Country, there would be no tax evasion as an alternative state religion.   Wink
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« Reply #107 on: March 10, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.

"We are not nationalists for in Christ and in His Church there are no nations. As Russians and Tartars and Jews and Americans we have become one new people of the Covenant. We pray and worry so as to lead as many people as possible into the Celestial Home. We are not patriots of the earth, for we remember the words of St. Gregory the Theologian. “And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene.  For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names” (Oration 33). We are striving for the New Jerusalem and only with its interests in mind do we bring our actions into correlation.

"Uranopolitans are members of the Body of Christ, which exceeds kinship of language and unity according to citizenship by state, and that is why the interests of the Universal Church are more important for us than any remaining interests. Only the one who has become a true citizen of heaven is capable of true freedom, about which the Savior said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are no longer obliged to think in unison with this passing world. We should not consider that society, the nation, or the state is more important than an individual. This is not so; when all the nations disappear, when all the kingdoms of the world collapse, we will live in the flesh in our Homeland. The state is created by God for us and not us for the state. The nations, the result of the condemnation of Babylon, will vanish, but all those people that they are composed of will remain, those whom our Heavenly Father commanded us to love as ourselves." - Fr. Daniel Sysoyev

Hieromartyr Daniel, pray for us!

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« Reply #108 on: March 10, 2011, 09:50:36 AM »

Yes, I think it's stupid that we have a double-standard when it comes to religion vs. atheism.
When religious people speak "from the pulpit" in a classroom, it's considered evangelism. When atheists do it, it's considered education.

In Greece, it is considered freedom and democracy.   Wink

If freedom and democracy includes leading people away from Orthodoxy (especially the Orthodox youth) in official institutions, then I want absolutely no part of it, and neither should anyone else.

Has anyone there told you about life in Greece from 1967 to 1974?  The young generation do not have this frame of reference; however, they know that the Police cannot enter college property due to what happened in 1973?

Do we let America define freedom and democracy for us, or do we let Orthodoxy define it for us?

That's a loaded question....  Ask a Greek-American in his 60's or 70's why he jumped ship in the USA (hint, it wasn't for the Orthodox faith).


We were told about it, and yes, the youth here know about it, and they exploit it. They will commit crimes, then immediately run to college property. Therefore the universities had to institute their own police force,

Does the "police" at a Greek University really have "police" powers?

especially because students would extend their crimes inside the university building (often destroying/vandalizing, even burning librarys).

I'm not entirely sure of the point you are trying to make. The period from 1967-1974 wasn't a result of Church-State relations, so I have no clue how it pertains to this discussion.

After the junta came to power, the monarchy went into exile (never to return) and the Church was the traditional ally of the monarchy.  Relations between the Church and the junta were tepid at best as the Church submitted to the junta.

But consider the question before the junta came to power in 1967?  How about if you ask someone in Greece in their 60's or 70's why they didn't leave Greece for USA, Germany or Australia or better yet - find an ex-patriate American, German or Australian and ask him why he left Greece and why he left America, et al. to return to Greece....

The answer will have nothing to do with Orthodox faith - trust me.

Although I should address your point in say that as long as the EU is OK with Greece having an "official" state religion and Greece does not persecute people based on religion, then I have no problems with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the official state religion of Greece.


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
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« Reply #109 on: March 10, 2011, 10:00:51 AM »


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
But it's not okay because they're Islam, duh!  Roll Eyes

I agree - regardless of the faith. That is why I kind of lean libertarian. Give me the Church. Let man have his state and let it interfere in my life as little as possible. God will judge.

Now, I know that there's imperfections in that way of thinking - but aren't there in any type? I realized (which is pretty depressing for a political science student) years ago that there is no perfect government. It can all work in a utopia, but that's not going to happen here.
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« Reply #110 on: March 10, 2011, 10:19:49 AM »

There have been great Orthodox emperors but I think it is very much a matter of the individual ruler's choice. The institution of monarchy does nothing to ensure the sovereign's Orthodoxy and in fact has also been a conduit for the virulent spread of heresies. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as an ideal Christian political system. We can have ideal rulers, but the talk of holy monarchies is simply utopian. Of course, democracy is utopian too; really existing democracy does not live up to the fairy tales.

I always thought, if each and every one of us act like true Orthodox Christians, where we are taught that we are but sojourners in this world, guests of the world, we would be thankful of the government that cares for us, not seek to take over it.

"We are not nationalists for in Christ and in His Church there are no nations. As Russians and Tartars and Jews and Americans we have become one new people of the Covenant. We pray and worry so as to lead as many people as possible into the Celestial Home. We are not patriots of the earth, for we remember the words of St. Gregory the Theologian. “And these earthly countries and families are the playthings of this our temporary life and scene.  For our country is whatever each may have first occupied, either as tyrant, or in misfortune; and in this we are all alike strangers and pilgrims, however much we may play with names” (Oration 33). We are striving for the New Jerusalem and only with its interests in mind do we bring our actions into correlation.

"Uranopolitans are members of the Body of Christ, which exceeds kinship of language and unity according to citizenship by state, and that is why the interests of the Universal Church are more important for us than any remaining interests. Only the one who has become a true citizen of heaven is capable of true freedom, about which the Savior said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). We are no longer obliged to think in unison with this passing world. We should not consider that society, the nation, or the state is more important than an individual. This is not so; when all the nations disappear, when all the kingdoms of the world collapse, we will live in the flesh in our Homeland. The state is created by God for us and not us for the state. The nations, the result of the condemnation of Babylon, will vanish, but all those people that they are composed of will remain, those whom our Heavenly Father commanded us to love as ourselves." - Fr. Daniel Sysoyev

Hieromartyr Daniel, pray for us!

Thank you for this.  I just glanced at an Orthodoxwiki article about him.  May he indeed pray for us.
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« Reply #111 on: March 10, 2011, 10:23:09 AM »

Keep the state out of religion, and religion out of the state.
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« Reply #112 on: March 10, 2011, 11:07:51 AM »


I concur just as I am OK if the Brits want the COE to be the state church. However, if the state faith is akin to that of Shia Islam in  Iran, i.e. by how it acts and controls, that is not OK.
But it's not okay because they're Islam, duh!  Roll Eyes

I agree - regardless of the faith. That is why I kind of lean libertarian. Give me the Church. Let man have his state and let it interfere in my life as little as possible. God will judge.

Now, I know that there's imperfections in that way of thinking - but aren't there in any type? I realized (which is pretty depressing for a political science student) years ago that there is no perfect government. It can all work in a utopia, but that's not going to happen here.

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
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« Reply #113 on: March 10, 2011, 11:32:50 AM »

Orthodoxy as a state religion and the opinions expressed in this thread are two different things. Orthodoxy as a state religion does not (necessarily) imply enshrining the catechism into the law, as our enthusiastic convert would like.

Did I ever say that? I don't think I ever did...

In my honest opinion, we definitely do need to convert the whole world to Orthodoxy. This definitely doesn't mean that you convert by force.

It seems today that we aren't actively trying to evangelize in non-Orthodox nations. (of course, a few exceptions like Central America) It seems Orthodox Churches refuse to touch Western European nations, or even Islamic Nations. (or even Hindu/Buddhist ones)
From what I've seen, it seems that our Orthodox Churches even have "deals" with other Christian groups like the Roman Catholics where we agree not to actively proselytize in their countries. I say to heck with those deals (if they actually exist), they aren't bringing anyone to Orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, "Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."

When Noah was building the Ark, did he just sit around and refuse to warn others? Did he focus on only saving himself? No he didn't.
The Church is the Ark of Salvation, if people won't listen to her message, then that's their problem. But it is our job (with the help of the Lord) to bring as many people to the Ark as possible.

No one can deny that the world is not getting better, it's getting worse. The waters are rising fast, and many of us are drowning. If we are on the Ark, we need to help pull them aboard, not just sit around and stare at them while they drown, that is just sadistic.

As for the Church & State thing. As I said, I don't think it should occur in non-Orthodox majority states. But even so, it should be our job to make those countries Orthodox (or more Orthodox).
This anti-Church/State idea comes from the West, and more specifically from the United States, which is NOT a Christian nation, and many of it's ideals were more founded in deism than Christianity.

Should a nation founded by Freemasons and Deists be a model for Orthodox Christians? Or should we follow the model of nations/empires founded and run by Orthodox?

Regarding the whole issue of the government "enforcing" certain "laws"... You must recognize that in the Byzantine Empire, it was often the Emperor who called the Councils. If someone violated the canons or doctrines of the Church, the Church can excommunicate them, but it was the Empire that handed out further "punishment" which often included exile, which the Church couldn't do.

You also cannot use the argument that "a few bad apples makes the whole orchard rotten". Just because there were some Emperors that were evil doesn't make the whole idea of an Orthodox State wrong. That is just stupid. Using that argument, you could further argue that the Orthodox Church shouldn't have hierarchy because there are often evil and heterodox Bishops (and even Priests). It makes no sense to argue with that.

It is admirable that in Russia today, Orthodoxy HAS to be taught in the schools. They also encourage the teaching of Islam and Judaism. They can also teach about Roman Catholicism and others. But they are required to teach Orthodoxy to the students.

I think it is also good that the Patriarch of Moscow is an advisor to the President & Vice President. It is also good that both are seen regularly at Church services, and regularly with the Patriarch. Are they honest in their faith? We don't have any right to judge that. But it shows that Russia truly is Orthodox, and that Orthodoxy is truly the right faith, and others are not even close to equal with it.

In the Byzantine Empire, the Church & the State were close, but the Patriarch didn't (or wasn't supposed to) meddle in political affairs, and the Emperor wasn't supposed to meddle in Church affairs.

Are we declaring a jihad? No... Are we declaring war? No... Why is that? Because war has already been declared on us. The world wants to destroy us, and the world is commanded by it's master. To quote the famous Orthodox publication, we seek "Death to the World". We wish to slay the passions. The powers of evil are warring against us, and wish to annihilate us. They use violence, deceit, hatred, and many other methods (including secularism) against us to lead us away from God.

Of course, I think all of us know this, and I'm probably just preaching to the choir, but I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "
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« Reply #114 on: March 10, 2011, 11:33:57 AM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.
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« Reply #115 on: March 10, 2011, 12:05:11 PM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.

No need to forgive; it was my fault as I failed to catch the sarcasm, perhaps because of my strong feelings on this subject. BTW, I do believe that you and I are in full agreement regarding Church and state.
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« Reply #116 on: March 10, 2011, 12:15:44 PM »

Dear IsmiLiora--Islam is not like a Christian denomination. Freedom of religion in Islamic countries is simply: You are free to choose Islam but if choose not to continue, you are wrong and the penalty (depending on where you live) may be as severe as being chopped to small pieces. Islam is the context for slavery, gross oppression of females (to include stoning for being raped, genital mutilation, being divorced and thrown into the the street at the whim of the husband, and honor killings), economic and political stagnation, etc...

Nope, no equivalences that I can think of.
Please forgive me, Second Chance. I was being sarcastic. I studied Muslim countries in college and I work for an organization that relates to Middle Eastern affairs. I do not support the current Iranian theocracy in any way and I know that there is a marked difference between that and a Christian theocracy.

But my statement about the Church and state stands.

No need to forgive; it was my fault as I failed to catch the sarcasm, perhaps because of my strong feelings on this subject. BTW, I do believe that you and I are in full agreement regarding Church and state.

Me too.
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« Reply #117 on: March 10, 2011, 12:18:30 PM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 12:22:05 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #118 on: March 10, 2011, 03:01:25 PM »

This thread is getting painfully close to a Politics based discussion (what with talk of modern Greek Politics, the EU etc). Let's keep the thread on the topic and in context of Religious/theological views of state/religion, and if this is a good thing or not within the context of Religion.  Otherwise it will be moved to the Politics board.

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« Reply #119 on: March 11, 2011, 06:44:22 AM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.
It seems to me that the anti-Church/State attitude is coming from people that are effected by the United States and her values. What I'm arguing, is that for the most part, the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong.
We hold up this establishment clause like it's beneficial, yet we don't realize it was a reaction to the excesses of the Church of England, and if you think about it, also a reaction to Roman Catholic power. Neither of which holds the model for Orthodox relations between Church & State.

What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans. We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results. And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".
The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC - 1453 AD... From 380 AD - 1453 AD, that Empire was of the Orthodox faith.
The various Russian/Slavic empires, kingdoms, etc... Lasted from 862 - 1917 AD. From about 988 - 1917, those various kingdoms/empires and their successors were all Orthodox.
In 337 AD, Orthodoxy was declared the "official" religion of Georgia...
In 301 AD, Armenia declared it the "official" religion.

So, from at least 301 to 1917, there was ALWAYS a nation that had Orthodoxy as it's "state religion", and from at least 380-1917, there was a nation/empire that had close relations between the Church and State.
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« Reply #120 on: March 11, 2011, 08:07:38 AM »


What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans.

It's the other away around. The clause was the only way the constitution would be accepted by colonies that were settled by Calvinists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and Anglicans. The diversity of the colonies was a result of the enforced uniformity of England and other European states.

Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.

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« Reply #121 on: March 11, 2011, 08:25:08 AM »

Maybe we should have blasphemy laws.
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« Reply #122 on: March 11, 2011, 08:58:07 AM »


What has this clause led to? An extreme diversity in religion among Americans.

It's the other away around. The clause was the only way the constitution would be accepted by colonies that were settled by Calvinists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, Anabaptists, and Anglicans. The diversity of the colonies was a result of the enforced uniformity of England and other European states.

Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.



I'm sorry if I haven't been clear about my point of view. I don't believe such a government would be perfect, nor do I believe we should attempt to found God's kingdom on earth.
I'm simply suggesting that a government (in a majority Orthodox country) should have closer relations with the Church itself, and should use the faith to guide it's decisions.

Even the people in the Church aren't perfect, but that doesn't mean that we should do away with our hierarchy or the entire Church itself.
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« Reply #123 on: March 11, 2011, 08:58:19 AM »

Maybe we should have blasphemy laws.

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« Reply #124 on: March 11, 2011, 09:21:52 AM »


Quote
We hold this to be a virtue of the United States. Yet, that simply is not so. It would be much better for a country to be majority Orthodox, with few other religions, than for the nation to have an equal distribution of world religions. We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Of course Orthodoxy is the one true faith. I hope no one here is denying that, or is praising diversity for its own sake. But we must recognize that such diversity exists and it is therefore a moot point to talk about an Orthodox confessional state in most countries. In countries that are majority Orthodox I daresay it is utopian. The ideology of the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers is nonsense, I agree. But, speaking in terms of real history and ideals, I can't say that democracy has proven necessarily worse than Orthodox confessional states. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but what comes through clear in history is that any human attempt to found God's kingdom on earth will fail. And we should always remember how Saint Lazar, Czar of Serbia, sacrificed his earthly kingdom for the heavenly one.


Word! So much word! (I'm not 13, I promise.)

Whether we think that Orthodoxy is the true faith, for the sake of this argument, is moot. Most of us on this board think so.

And I don't celebrate diversity, but it's a natural consequence of having choices. I celebrate that as Christians, while we spread the message of our faith, we can be loving towards those of other religions and faiths (the individuals, not the religions themselves). While a Christian theocracy may be the most benevolent and the closest to perfect, we already know that perfect is not going to happen on this earth (see: Revelation). I'll leave God to tend to His own Kingdom and man to his.
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« Reply #125 on: March 11, 2011, 11:09:39 AM »


...I'm trying to make a point here.

I get it that you are desperately trying to make a point. I just do not know what exactly your point is. Look I admire your youthful zeal and idealism, but you simply are not entitled to your own facts (no one is) and you should also pay closer attention to your own argumentation. An example of the latter (of a sloppy, self-contradictory type) is your implicit call for active evangelism that reached its apex in "Orthodoxy isn't about sitting on your bum thinking about just yourself and God. As St. Seraphim of Sarov says, 'Acquire the Holy Spirit, and thousands around you will be saved.'"

If you are willing to accept the advice of a senior citizen, please calm down, learn more (especially about history, which is much more nuanced than what you get in Junior High social sciences) and reflect and don't rant so much.

I am not quite a senior citizen, albeit qualified to join AARP. Second Chance is giving you some sound advice.

You have to expand your knowledge of history and the science of politics if you want to make a persuasive argument.  Please read the recent post from one of the most insightful and brilliant minds in today's Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. He speaks truth from the center of today's Russian Orthodox Church as he writes about pre and post Soviet Orthodoxy in Russia. http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_8

The history of the state making a binding 'deal' with the Church does not shine with exemplars of conscience prevailing over temporal whims. Yes, there certainly are some in the 1600 years or so of state sponsored and endorsed Christianity, but they are not the norm. Either you will find quiet subservience or active cooperation as the norm. For every Thomas Becket you will find legions of Woolseys, Borgias, Cramners and Cromwells (and Rasputins) who seek the favor of the crown or are deluding into thinking that the temporal power of the state will somehow purify the Church and bring a heavenly kingdom to the realm.

I will close with the sorrowful words of the Metropolitan and ask that you pray and consider his point carefully before you extoll the history of the church as a state institution. Utopia my friend does not exist in this existence, the only path is that of personal theosis and salvation through the Church. Put not your trust in princes.


From Metropolitan Hilarion:  "It has been said that Russia was baptised but not enlightened. Indeed, as far as the 19th century is concerned, it is clear that enlightenment was very often in conflict with religion: the masses of illiterate peasants kept their traditional beliefs, but more and more educated people, even from a purely religious background, rejected faith and became atheists. Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov are classic examples: both came from clerical families, both became atheists after studying in theological seminaries. For people like Dostoyevsky religion was something that had to be rediscovered, after having been lost as a result of his education. Tolstoy, on the other hand, came to a certain type of faith in God but remained alien to the Orthodox Church. It is clear, when one
looks at the pre-revolutionary period, that there was a huge gap between the Church and the world of educated people, the so-called intelligentsia, and this gap was constantly growing.

But on the eve of the revolution it became more and more clear that atheism had also invaded the mass of ordinary people. Berdyaev wrote at that time that the simple Russian baba, who was supposed to be religious, was no longer a reality but a myth: she had become a nihilist and an atheist. I would like to quote some more from what this great Russian philosopher wrote in 1917, several months before the October revolution:

"The Russian nation always considered itself to be Christian. Many Russian thinkers and artists were even inclined to regard it as a nation which is Christian par excellence. The Slavophils thought that Russian people live by the Orthodox faith, which is the only true faith containing the entire truth... Dostoevsky preached that. the Russian nation is a bearer of God... But, it was here that revolution broke out, and it...revealed a spiritual emptiness in Russian people. This emptiness is a result of a slavery that lasted too long of a process of  egeneration of the old regime that went too far, of a paralysis of the Russian Church and moral degradation of the ecclesiastical authorities that lasted too long. Since long ago the sacred has been exterminated from the people's soul both from the left side and the right, which prepared this cynical attitude towards the sacred that is now being revealed in all its disgust." "


I must return the compliment and tel you Devin that Podkarpatsa's advice is not merely sound but also wise.

I would like to also refer you to another article by Metropolitan Hilarion, Christianity and the Challenge of Militant Secularism, that addresses many of the issues that concern you. This is the conclusion but you should read the whole thing at http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_11

"The Orthodox Church insists on the neutrality of secular politicians and authorities in matters of religion and world views, and on the inadmissibility of governments to interfere in church matters. Calling on secular authorities to respect its internal regulations, the Church at the same time is ready to co-operate with secular authorities in matters that serve the good of the Church itself, of the individual and of society. The Church respects the principle of the secular state but it refuses to interpret this principle as implying that ‘religion should be radically forced out of all spheres of people's lives, that religious associations should be excluded from decision-making on socially significant problems’.

Unfortunately, there are European politicians who are attempting to destroy the traditional, churchly way of life because this is precisely how they view the function of the secular state – to divorce the Church from the social arena. It is this attitude that the Orthodox Churches must combat, joining their efforts with all who are ready today to defend traditional against the liberal attitudes, the religious against the ‘common human’ values, uniting with those willing to defend the right of religions to express themselves in society.

 In my paper I concentrated mostly on the processes which take place in contemporary Europe. However, I will not be surprised if what I said is equally relevant to Australia, America and other territories, where secular Weltanschauung attempts to present itself as the only legitimate system of values. It may well be the case that the entire Western civilization, not only in Europe but also elsewhere, is becoming radically anti-Christian and anti-religious. In this case there is a need of not only a pan-European but also of a universal common front formed by traditional religious confessions in order to repel the onslaught of militant secularism."

So, doers this mean that the Metropolitan would favor a Christian theocracy? His answer is contained in the article that Podkarpatska cited above:

"At the present time our Church is struggling to find its new identity in post-Communist and post-atheist Russia. There are, it seems to me, two main dangers. The first is that of a return to the pre-revolutionary situation,when there was a State Church which became less and less the Church of the nation. If, at some stage in the development of society, such a role would be offered to the Church by the State, it would be a huge mistake to accept, it. In this case the Church will be again rejected by the majority of the nation, as it was rejected in 1917. The seventy years of Soviet persecution were an experience of fiery purgatory for the Russian Church, from which it should have come out entirely renewed. The most dangerous error would be not to learn from what happened and to return to the pre-revolutionary situation, as some members of the clergy wish to do nowadays.

The second danger is that. of militant Orthodoxy, which would be a post-atheist counterpart of militant atheism. I mean an Orthodoxy that fights against Jews, against masons, against democracy, against Western culture, against enlightenment. This type of Orthodoxy is being preached even by some key members of the hierarchy, and it has many supporters within the Church. This kind of Orthodoxy, especially if it gains the support of the State, may force Russian atheism to withdraw temporarily to the catacombs. But Russian atheism, will not be vanquished until the transfiguration of the soul and the need to live according to the Gospel have become the only message of the Russian Orthodox Church."

So, Devin, it is possible to be for Christ and Orthodoxy, against secularism, and yet also against a state Church.

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

It seems to me that the anti-Church/State attitude is coming from people that are effected by the United States and her values. What I'm arguing, is that for the most part, the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong.


Three points. First, the EO perspective is not monolithic (not that you said that, I am trying to make a point): For each Metropolitan Hilarion, you will have an Alexander Vasiliev, who in his History of Byzantine Empire extols the Byzantine theoretical approach to state church relations, the symphonia. But, then you have a modern theologian like Father Stanley Harakas who calls symphonia an ideal that is impossible to achieve.

My second point is that you are making two mistakes in saying that heterodox perspectives will not affect your views whatsoever. First, saying this in the presence of the heterodox would be like a death sentence on any good thing that they may learn from you. Second, that statement cannot be operative when a heterodox view actually strengthens your Orthodox beliefs.

Finally, when you said "the values held forth in the "establishment" clause are wrong," I am not sure if you mean the actual wording of the clause or what ordinary folks think that it says? The clause itself is quite simple and very restricted: "(the United States) Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." So, this is a clause that also provides for religious freedom, which I think is a good thing, making it possible for me to exercise my religious freedom, even though as an Orthodox, I am part of a very small minority in the United States (2% of the population). In any case, you must know that the Golden Rule is the basis on which all social relations are ultimately based on. How is it equitable and just that we would make the heterodox second class citizens in a majority Orthodox state if we would not like being second class in a state where Protestants, Catholics or others are in the majority?
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podkarpatska
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« Reply #126 on: March 11, 2011, 11:19:59 AM »

You said:

"I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever."


You are not willing to learn history at all if you are only willing to learn it from what you perceive to be an Eastern Orthodox perspective.

In order for you to reach the point where you can present your arguments from an intellectually honest 'Eastern Orthodox perspective' you have to understand and be able to provide a counter-argument to other points of view. Your argument pervades the very western culture that you constantly decry. We see this in politics in America, we see it in academia and we are now even seeing it in science. All of this will inevitably lead to a decline in our civilization as we lose the ability to form perspective and understand those nuances that that we face in the challenges that we address in life.

For example, if I as a lawyer only accept and argue from case law and commentary in law review articles that support my client's position, I would not be a good advocate for my client. In order to successfully argue a case you have to understand the position of your adversary and be able to anticipate its thrusts and counters as well as any weaknesses in the structure of your own argument. I have seen that happen over and over again to young, intelligent, inexperienced lawyers (I was once in that position so I speak from personal experience as well.)

The same applies to military strategists and intelligence analysts and any other number of professions which require subjective analysis. The last Christian emporers of Constantinople put their trust in the walls which had protected them for centuries. They failed to understand the power of artillery and failed to plan how to counter it. The city, and the Christian empire fell. If you Google this phrase 'fall of byzantine empire books' you will  find hundreds of scholarly and popular histories, most of which were not written by Orthodox believers. You will find some written by Orthodox believers who reach conclusions critical of both the institutional Church and the Empire. Likewise you will find many analyses which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors. Will you simply 'reject' these and not permit them to influence you in any way?

You can be, and in the case of the Church, should be convinced of the truth within, but you have to understand, and in some cases accept, opposing points of view in order to best defend your own point of view.

History written by the side your find yourself on will most likely paint your side in the best possible view. This is a common mistake of authoritarian cultures, you refuse to learn about your enemy, you refuse to understand their critiques of your defenses and your philosophy, you refuse to admit that the history of your power base and institutions can ever have done wrong to your people. When you think in that manner  you have education as presented in the USSR or any other such state.

No serious person will take you or your profession of faith seriously if you make such statements as you post here to someone questioning you or mocking Christianity and Orthodoxy in particular.  Don't sell yourself short by being afraid to encounter other points of view. You will be stronger for the experience.

BTW. I concur with Second Chance as well regarding the Establishment Clause. It seems to me that we, as a minority group in this country, should not automatically assume that those who would reinterpret or redefine the clause have motives that are designed to benefit all forms of Christianity and other religions or only the form that they espouse. However, these constitutional points may best be left to a political forum, albeit they are interlinked with Faith.
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podkarpatska
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« Reply #127 on: March 11, 2011, 11:55:41 AM »


You will find some written by Orthodox believers who reach conclusions critical of both the institutional Church and the Empire. Likewise you will find many analyses which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors. Will you simply 'reject' these and not permit them to influence you in any way?




The bolded sentence should read as follows:

"Likewise you will find many analyses  written by either non-Orthodox, but Christian believers and even by non-believers, which are sympathetic to either the institutional Church and even the last of the Emperors."

I'm sorry that I didn't catch it before the post was locked.
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #128 on: March 11, 2011, 11:59:17 AM »

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

As am amateur historian I find this statement astounding and at the same time fascinating. In essence, you are admitting that you've already made up your mind about history (based on what the Church tells you) and no amount of evidence contrary to your preconceived notions and beliefs could ever possibly change your mind? That's kind of putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?  

If this is what you're intending to convey, (and it may not be) at least you are honest about this, which is more than many Christians are willing to do. No one is entitled to their own facts. The problem with having our own version of history filtered through the lenses of the Church is that it's way to easy to turn right from wrong upside down, backwards and every which way all because 'the Church says so'! If I had done that in my conversion process I NEVER would have become Orthodox because I set out to "prove" to myself that the early Church had no such thing as Sacraments, Liturgy, Icons, and all sorts of "pagan idolatry" like Orthodoxy did. (that was my view) However the facts of history proved otherwise because I decided before hand that history should speak for itself, and no Church should do the speaking for history.  But had I at the outset decided that my then Protestant understanding of history was correct, (which I believed it was) and that any history to the contrary could just be cast aside or reinterpreted in a Protestant way I'd still be an Evangelical Protestant.




Quote
We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Because if God has given us free will to choose, who are we to take away our fellow human's free will to choose?

 If God really wanted only one religion on earth HE could have done this; what you're saying is that we are to do what God did not do, that is to make sure there is only one religion. In a way, you're suggesting that the power of God is to be usurped by man, which I find very odd.


Quote
Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results.

You mean like the Crusades? The Inquisitions? Witch Hunts? Wait you probably think those are only Western problems . . . okay, how about some Eastern problems like the persecution of heretics, pagans, Jews, murders, riots, forced Baptisms, force feeding heretics Communion, the razing of ancient temples, Iconoclasm, Emperors deciding what was and was not orthodox doctrine, Emperors claiming to be "God on earth" etc. Just "some" stuff like that?


Quote
And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".

For the majority of the history of the Church, people thought earthquakes were caused because God got angry, this doesn't make it so. I don't think anyone is denying for much of Church history the Church and State were one; what people are saying is that this was wrong. Christianity did not invent the union of Church and state, it was inherited from Pagan Rome where the Emperor was the head of the Roman Imperial Cult. Just because the Church inherited this model from a culture where no other worldview even existed doesn't make it the best world view. Other ancient models have been left behind, why not this one?

« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 12:02:12 PM by NorthernPines » Logged
synLeszka
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« Reply #129 on: March 11, 2011, 03:20:32 PM »

There is no obligatory Orthodox catechism lessons in Russia. To respect the secularist doctrine of the Russian Federation, the Orthodox Church did not ask to preach Orthodox theology/catechism but the basics of Orthodox culture. The basics of Orthodox culture is not Orthodox catechism. These classes are not obligatory but the parents decide if their children want to participate.
Oh yeah, in Orthodox Russia do not expect that the Russian State will respect your marriage in the Orthodox church. In the eyes of the State, if you are married in an Orthodox church, not in a government office you are concubines.

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish but the Orthodox Church in Poland has more rights here than in Russia or Ukraine.
Orthodox Church marriages are recognised by the state as valid and binding, the Orthodox Church provides catechism classes for its adherents in public schools.
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« Reply #130 on: March 11, 2011, 03:23:04 PM »

Yes, I know that the line of this forum is anti-Polish

So the only one moderator that is not the USA citizen is the citizen of Poland. It's a discrimination! All moderators should have Polish passports!
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88Devin12
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« Reply #131 on: March 11, 2011, 04:16:30 PM »

I must say that I am willing to learn history, but ONLY from an EO perspective. I am willing to learn about other perspectives, but if they aren't Orthodox, then they won't effect my views whatsoever.

As am amateur historian I find this statement astounding and at the same time fascinating. In essence, you are admitting that you've already made up your mind about history (based on what the Church tells you) and no amount of evidence contrary to your preconceived notions and beliefs could ever possibly change your mind? That's kind of putting the cart before the horse, isn't it?  

If this is what you're intending to convey, (and it may not be) at least you are honest about this, which is more than many Christians are willing to do. No one is entitled to their own facts. The problem with having our own version of history filtered through the lenses of the Church is that it's way to easy to turn right from wrong upside down, backwards and every which way all because 'the Church says so'! If I had done that in my conversion process I NEVER would have become Orthodox because I set out to "prove" to myself that the early Church had no such thing as Sacraments, Liturgy, Icons, and all sorts of "pagan idolatry" like Orthodoxy did. (that was my view) However the facts of history proved otherwise because I decided before hand that history should speak for itself, and no Church should do the speaking for history.  But had I at the outset decided that my then Protestant understanding of history was correct, (which I believed it was) and that any history to the contrary could just be cast aside or reinterpreted in a Protestant way I'd still be an Evangelical Protestant.




Quote
We believe that our faith is the one true faith, and that no other faith even comes close to equaling it. How then, can we argue that a diversity of religions is a good thing?

Because if God has given us free will to choose, who are we to take away our fellow human's free will to choose?

 If God really wanted only one religion on earth HE could have done this; what you're saying is that we are to do what God did not do, that is to make sure there is only one religion. In a way, you're suggesting that the power of God is to be usurped by man, which I find very odd.


Quote
Again, yes, historically there were some points in history where the Church & the State's relations (in Orthodox) didn't lead to good results.

You mean like the Crusades? The Inquisitions? Witch Hunts? Wait you probably think those are only Western problems . . . okay, how about some Eastern problems like the persecution of heretics, pagans, Jews, murders, riots, forced Baptisms, force feeding heretics Communion, the razing of ancient temples, Iconoclasm, Emperors deciding what was and was not orthodox doctrine, Emperors claiming to be "God on earth" etc. Just "some" stuff like that?


Quote
And I recognize your point that the Church-State relations isn't the "norm", but you must recognize that for the majority of the history of our Church, there were nations & empires with our faith as the "state religion".

For the majority of the history of the Church, people thought earthquakes were caused because God got angry, this doesn't make it so. I don't think anyone is denying for much of Church history the Church and State were one; what people are saying is that this was wrong. Christianity did not invent the union of Church and state, it was inherited from Pagan Rome where the Emperor was the head of the Roman Imperial Cult. Just because the Church inherited this model from a culture where no other worldview even existed doesn't make it the best world view. Other ancient models have been left behind, why not this one?



Most of what I read in your post are simply opinions that I view as being VERY informed by Western society, Western culture, etc...

We believe in Angels and Demons don't we? Yet why is it that you think we have the right to pick and choose what we get from Western Society and what we reject of our own Orthodox heritage?
You reject the Church/State relations, yet accept other things (like Angels & Demons) that our own society deems as ancient and crude.

I'm saying that I accept only Church perspectives, because I believe that the perspective the Church gives on history is A LOT more accurate than any perspective brought about by modern scholarship.
Modern scholarship would argue that St. Constantine strong-armed the Nicene Council and acted as it's head and used it to force "Nicene Christianity" on the Arians. Yet this was NOT the case, and that is simply an outright lie.
Some modern scholars would also argue that the Great Schism was based primarily upon secular and church politics rather than theology, and again, this is an outright lie. (yes politics played a part, but there would be no schism without theological differences)
Some would also argue that much of Orthodox hagiography didn't really occur as reported, and many miracles were misunderstandings. What do you do with that?
Many Western scholars regard Peter I of Russia as a real benefit to the nation and regard him almost like a historical saint for turning the "backwards" Russia into a wonderful "modern" society. They really don't care how much damage he caused to the Church or even the harm he caused to Russia itself. Western scholars have gone so far to attribute to him the title of "the Great", which he was far from being. Do you let their analysis of history speak for you?

Yes, there was a time where I would have been against letting the Church speak for me. That was when I was a Protestant and it came naturally, but I am Orthodox now, and this is the one, true Church, guided by Christ himself and protected by the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes it makes me really sad when people ignore the monastics and Saints (and others) who are speaking pretty plainly and calling today's culture soul-destroying and dangerous.

How can you trust a lot of the historical (and scientific) research coming out of a society that is willing to publicly deny God himself and is also willing to defecate on his Holy Church?

The historical research you are trying to prop up over Orthodox sources is historical research that says things that would be blasphemy/heresy in our own faith. They would go so far as to argue that Christ was merely just a human man and the exact same as everyone else.
How can you possibly put your trust in this? How can you possibly hold it up higher than any historical research or sources coming from within the Orthodox Church?

I'll take St. Luke, Eusebius, Procopius (and no, I don't believe he wrote "Secret Histories"), and other Byzantine/Christian Historians over secular ones anyday.
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« Reply #132 on: March 11, 2011, 04:40:33 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.
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podkarpatska
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« Reply #133 on: March 11, 2011, 05:02:09 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.
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« Reply #134 on: March 11, 2011, 05:08:43 PM »

I just realized I may have been leaving out one important detail about my views...

I reject Western Historical Views when the they contradict Orthodox sources regarding Church History and anything pertaining to the Orthodox Church.

Right now I'm reading Steven Runiman's book entitled: "The Great Church in Captivity". He is not Orthodox, but his book has been pretty good so far. However, there have been some points where it has contradicted things I've read elsewhere in Orthodox sources, so I've chosen to reject those parts of his book. (for example, he's one who speaks of St. Constantine "strong-arming" the Church at Nicaea)
That doesn't mean I'm not willing to read what he has to say, nor that I reject everything he says.

Also, it's not like I'll accept someones writing just because they are Orthodox. If someone were to write a history today that says that the American Revolution took place in the 19th Century and the Civil War took place in the 20th, that doesn't mean I'll automatically trust it and say it's history.
But likewise, if a modern scholar were to come forward with "evidence" and claim that he had solid evidence that Constantine strong-armed the Church at Nicaea, that doesn't mean I'll trust him either. Or if he were to claim that he had solid evidence that the Holy Sepulchre isn't the burial place (nor the place of crucifixion) for Christ, then he is either lying, or is simply wrong.

Devin, I still say your zeal is misplaced and will lead you down an intellectual rabbit hole to despair. It seems to me that you have brought over something from your Protestant past and transferred it unquestioningly to Orthodoxy.  The Protestant variation on the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy coupled with 'sola scriptura'  has apparently led you to a belief that any writing of Church history from Orthodox sources, any Patristic text, any Canon out of context, all statements of any Saint can not be scrutinized, can not be in error and must be true beyond any doubt. This is a Canon of Infallibilty that even the most ardent Papist would find hard to swallow if it came the Pope himself.

As you grow in your knowledge of the Faith, the inherent inconsistencies and contradictions that such an approach will lead you will undoubtedly test your Faith and perhaps lead you to despair. I have been around long enough to have seen that path be taken time and time again. Work with your priest, take advantage of the online Orthodox resources from multiple Orthodox sources and broaden your outlook and strengthen your knowledge.

I'm not saying some of these things are infallible. There are certainly contradictions within Orthodoxy.
What I'm trying to say is that secular history, when compared to Orthodox history (that is, when it speaks about the Church) is, well, incomparable.

Again, I'm not saying such information is infallible, but it's more accurate than secular history, no matter how that history is reached.

As I mentioned, there are some Orthodox sources, that certainly aren't the truth. There are some who even deny the existence/accuracy of the story of St. Peter the Aleut, I frankly don't trust them and our hagiography is far higher than any research that contradicts it. (that doesn't mean it's completely infallible)
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