Most of what I read in your post are simply opinions that I view as being VERY informed by Western society, Western culture, etc...
Assuming you are right, this is wrong because?
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?
Now you're confusing two totally different things and merging them into one. Culture and society are not the Orthodox Church.
My cultural heritage IS Western. I will not be told I have to give up my cultural heritage to become a "true Orthodox Christian". I don't have to start eating baklava, attend middle eastern dances, sing Russian Christmas hymns, or buy into eastern beliefs like the "evil eye" or putting garlic in Churches to ward of evil spirits. (yes I know of a priest who actually saw that in a Greek Church once, upon being made head priest at that parish he immediately took down all the garlic and his family was FROM Constantinople....he couldn't have been any more "Eastern" unless he had been born in Japan!)
Yet I am thoroughly Eastern Orthodox, theologically, metaphysically, philosophically etc.
You reject the Church/State relations, yet accept other things (like Angels & Demons) that our own society deems as ancient and crude.
You're confusing theological and metaphysical realities which the Church can speak to, with how the Church functions in the world. Surely you can see the difference between saying "I believe angels exist" and "the Church should have temporal power?"
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.
Do you reject ANY Church perspectives? If so, which ones? If not, why not?
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.
What you've done here is dumb down and caricaturized the historical perspective on Constantine to be barely recognizable by any scholar or historian who has actually studied his life and the Council of Nicea. If you want to argue against a topic, ANY topic you better be informed on the opposing view points and express the opposing view point as accurately as possible. Then you need to come up with your own evidence that supports your hypothesis. Instead you just reject something and give no reason as to why you reject it other than "I think this goes against the Church"...don't you see that this is no different than a Protestant Evangelical rejecting evidence that the early Church had iconography or Sacraments because such things "go against the Bible"?
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)
And which theological difference do you think was the main cause of the Great Schism?
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?
I go with history. If Christianity in any form we're familiar with is true, then it is a faith within history. If history proves that a saint didn't do some miracle then I go with history. You of course can choose to accept it, however it doesn't make you "more Orthodox" because you do. The acceptance of certain Hagiographies is not a prerequisite to being an Orthodox Christian. It is a common human trait to take a preconceived notion then accept all evidence that supports it and reject all evidence that denies it then to claim "evidence proves my idea" when in fact you've just ignored a whole bunch of contrary evidence. It's part of human nature and our desire to always be right and to always have certitude in everything. However we must struggle against this part of ourselves because Christ is the way the TRUTH and the life . . . which makes me think truth is pretty darn important.
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?
I let the history speak for itself and try to come up with my own conclusions. However I am a historian, albeit not one with a degree, or a piece of paper that says I am, but I know the historical method and I try and read EVERYBODY; Eastern and Western, Christian and non Christian, ancient and modern and try to come up with my own conclusions. Of course I'm am influenced by others and my own biases however I try to be honest and fair and not hold anything as a pet theory that must be defended at all costs. If God is God and the Church is the Church, then they don't need me to defend them.
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.
So you believe being Orthodox means you must accept everything the Church says about every subject? Where is THAT idea found in the teachings of Christ?
Do you think the Church has ALWAYS been right about everything? If not, where do you think the Church has erred?
I thought the Church was the ark of Salvation that gives us the Sacraments, the Liturgy and when necessary gives us theological definitions, albeit sparingly and only to protect people from false beliefs . . . since when is the Church a political institution and a cosmic history department? This ironically is a VERY Western attitude that the Church doesn't just preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that it can and does speak on everything infallibly including what did and did not happen in history. Can you find ANY reference by any Church father or Church Canon that declares this to be the case?
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?
So, now the Church is also the arbiter of science as well?
You seem to truly "fear" Western culture and society, the society that gives you the right to say that you fear it. Why do you feel the need to be "anti Western"....what makes the West "bad" to begin with? I ask that in all sincerity actually . . . I know what it was for me in my anti Western phase as a convert, but I'm curious what it is for you. (if you don't want to share that publically feel free to PM me, I will not argue that point with you but would like to know why you come to these conclusions)
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.
We're not talking about Jesus though, we're talking about the Church and it's ability to err or not err etc.
BTW, Jesus was "exactly the same" as everyone else....that's the whole point! It is the very definition of Chalcedonian Christology. He was not a superman, he was 100% man. Yes, 100% God too but what do you think that means? If you could travel back in time and run a DNA test on Jesus, what do you think his DNA would look like? Would it be any different than any other 1st century Jew? Would he glow in the dark? Would he walk 3 feet above the ground? Did he not catch colds, get a runny nose, etc?
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?
Because the Church]
is not a history professor, nor is it a science professor. The Church does not do historical research! People IN the Church do and people can and do make mistakes especially if they have an ax to grind. (or are fearful of the power structure)
The Church contains within it historians and scientists, but the Church itself does not speak on such things in any "infallible" way. The idea it does is a Western medieval idea. The Eastern Church has never done this; some members of the Church claimed to do so, but that doesn't make it so.
The Church has never spoken with one voice as to history. And it is certainly not a political power, "My Kingdom is NOT from this world" Jesus told Pilate, the representative of the earthly Kingdom on earth. Half of Paul's letter to the Romans is pointing out that "Jesus is Lord" and "Caesar is not". http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Paul_Caesar_Romans.htm
While this is called a "New" perspective on Paul, it's actually not "new" at all, it is rather a rediscovery of what the early Church taught and believed.
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.
Why don't you believe he wrote Secret Histories? What reasons do you have for this? "The Church says so" is not a reason . . . first the Church doesn't
say so, and even if it did, the Church has said all sorts of things in the past that are patently false. (miscarriages are caused by personal sin for example) Certainly you don't believe that