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Author Topic: Is Orthodoxy as State Religion Unfair? (Rant + Questions seeking answers)  (Read 8725 times) Average Rating: 0
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synLeszka
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« Reply #135 on: March 11, 2011, 06:29:49 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!
I thought that you immigrated to Belarus, I am confused. Belarus doesn't allow for multiple citizenship. "I am not a Pole", and all that stuff it is very confusing. A Pole is someone who poses citizenship of the Republic of Poland, but you write that you are not a Pole.
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« Reply #136 on: March 11, 2011, 06:30:58 PM »

I'm a citizen of Poland of Belarusian nationality.
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« Reply #137 on: March 11, 2011, 07:41:48 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.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
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synLeszka
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« Reply #138 on: March 12, 2011, 10:33:09 AM »


People who did not accept the state version of Orthodoxy were quickly done away with by the Cossacks, as above.

The common fate of Old Believers, Pentecostals, and Poles in Tsarist Russia.
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« Reply #139 on: March 12, 2011, 12:12:44 PM »


People who did not accept the state version of Orthodoxy were quickly done away with by the Cossacks, as above.

The common fate of Old Believers, Pentecostals, and Poles in Tsarist Russia.


your point? no one (not even I) ever said things were ever perfect.

as for augustin, how in the world can you possible think that you have the right or ability to assume anything about who I am, where I come from, what I used to believe or what I believe now?
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88Devin12
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« Reply #140 on: March 12, 2011, 12:30:53 PM »

The way I see Orthodoxy as "working" is this...

Imagine (just for purposed of illustration) there is a line...

_____________________________________________

Now, imagine that the far left side is extreme conservative "orthodoxy", and the far right side is extreme liberal "orthodoxy".

Now, "Orthodoxy", (as I see it) is somewhere in the middle.

____Radical Conservativism____|_______Orthodoxy_______|____Radical Liberalism____

It is extremely hard (and maybe almost impossible) to judge where those "outer limits" of Orthodoxy are (that is, except for the real boundaries of communion), but I would place groups like certain non-canonical Old Believers and Old Calendarists on the left side. Whereas I would also place Ecumenists (that is, not ecumenists, but Ecumenists, who are guilty of heresy), unionists, reformists, etc... on the right side.

What purpose does this have? Well, during the discussion, we came up with a discussion on "black & white" vs. "grey". And in my view, things within the middle, within Orthodoxy, can be "grey" (that is, save for certain doctrines) and considered "theological opinions". However, things on the right or the left are black & white, and we cannot stray to far to one direction (or another).

Now... Think about Orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy. It is true that we can say who is in the Church, but we cannot say who isn't in it. It is also true that whatever is true, and whatever is good, is ours to claim.
As it relates to things like the "Enlightenment" and the "Age of Reason", I would say that the movements helped on some levels, and hurt on many others. I don't regard this issue as "grey", but rather black and white. Some things are good, and some things are bad depending on how they are used and defined.
Take separation of Church and state as an example (since that is our main topic). It is good that it allows "free will" and allows people to freely practice their respective religions. But, when it encourages secularism and actively pushes religion out of the public realm and contains it within the private, then it turns to something bad and harmful to our very souls.
I'm willing to admit that the separation can be a good thing, as long as you don't get pushed over the edge into secularism and polarization between Church & State.

As for keeping Church & State working with one another. It can be good or bad depending on how it's used and how it works.
I would argue that much of the time, in the Roman Empire and in the Russian Empire, it was good.
But, there are times, when the leaders become either apostates, or end up persecuting dissenters, that it becomes bad.
It also becomes bad if the Church directly effects or participates in the State, or vice versa.

However, once you create a government and a nation, it's entire existence is going back and forth between the two spectrums, between good and bad. Some leaders will be good, some will be evil. Look at Democracy... There are times where it works well... (look at our own Church, and the elements of democracy within it) But then there are times when Democracy doesn't work so well, and actually could be considered evil.

I'm not, and I don't think I ever have argued that such a relationship between Church & State is going to be perfect. But we must recognize that while such a relationship isn't perfect, neither is anything else. It is our job to sift through and find what is best for Orthodoxy, and what can help bring the most people to the Church, and what can help change the culture/society of an entire nation into being Orthodox.
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #141 on: March 12, 2011, 12:57:08 PM »

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?Huh


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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.


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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?"

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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?


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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"?



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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?


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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.





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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.



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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?


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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)


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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?

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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.

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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.




« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 01:01:49 PM by NorthernPines » Logged
minasoliman
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« Reply #142 on: March 12, 2011, 01:11:36 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
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« Reply #143 on: March 12, 2011, 01:12:06 PM »

This is all such a pointless argument.  Political secularism and protection of minorities is what keeps us from engaging in vicious wars of religion, a lesson that was learned a long time ago.  The genius of our founding fathers was that they enshrined government as having one principle role - protect individual rights.  That means protecting property and maintaining public safety and order.  That is it.  That is all government should do.

Anyone who wants a theocracy or an established religion should consider immediately relocating to Pakistan.  They're on their way back to resurrecting the "good old days" when the two were joined at the hip.

The problems with state religion and the EO Church should be obvious.  Namely identification of religion with nationality and the propensity to further compromise and corrupt an already corruption prone hierarchal system.
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« Reply #144 on: March 12, 2011, 01:12:34 PM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.
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« Reply #145 on: March 12, 2011, 01:46:56 PM »

This is all such a pointless argument.  Political secularism and protection of minorities is what keeps us from engaging in vicious wars of religion, a lesson that was learned a long time ago.  The genius of our founding fathers was that they enshrined government as having one principle role - protect individual rights.  That means protecting property and maintaining public safety and order.  That is it.  That is all government should do.

Anyone who wants a theocracy or an established religion should consider immediately relocating to Pakistan.  They're on their way back to resurrecting the "good old days" when the two were joined at the hip.

The problems with state religion and the EO Church should be obvious.  Namely identification of religion with nationality and the propensity to further compromise and corrupt an already corruption prone hierarchal system.

Ya, well unfortunately, the so-called Orthodox are not satisfied with the Church only concept and want a heretical theocracy to be part of a dogmatic goal.
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« Reply #146 on: March 12, 2011, 01:59:41 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!
I thought that you immigrated to Belarus, I am confused. Belarus doesn't allow for multiple citizenship. "I am not a Pole", and all that stuff it is very confusing. A Pole is someone who poses citizenship of the Republic of Poland, but you write that you are not a Pole.
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« Reply #147 on: March 12, 2011, 02:04:14 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.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
I wasn't aware that Alexander Cuza and the Athonites were fundamentalist Protestants.
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« Reply #148 on: March 12, 2011, 02:06:25 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
And your opinion of the Emperor Theodosius at Ephesus?
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« Reply #149 on: March 12, 2011, 02:17:03 PM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.
And your opinion of the Emperor Theodosius at Ephesus?

Fully disagree with his actions.  I agree in condemning heresy and to drive it out of our churches, not in condemning the heretic.

That man got confused at the anti-council of Ephesus, that Memnon and Cyril were temporarily jailed.  Shows how emperors should lay off theology from their actions.  But no; we have a precedence continued in Marcion, Leo (the emperor), Justinian, etc. to thank for the downfall of the Orthodox Church and the dawn of Islam.
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« Reply #150 on: March 12, 2011, 03:19:44 PM »

I'm interested to hear what you guys think about my reply #140 above...

Also, I have never, and will never say that we should force everyone to accept that a working Church-State relationship is part of dogma, you know, and I know that it isn't a part of any Church declaration. Nor have I ever suggested that it should be.

I think we are all thinking about different things when talking about a government that works with the Church. Some of you seem to think that I'm suggesting our Bishops should be political leaders... That would be uncanonical and wrong.
Some of you seem to think I'm suggesting that the government and church should be intertwined... Again, that would be uncanonical and wrong.

I'm saying there needs to be a separation of Church and State de facto. But not in the modern sense of the term. I'm saying that the State should be Orthodox. Her leaders should be Orthodox, her laws should be Orthodox, and her decisions should be influenced by Orthodoxy. The leaders should be informed, counseled and advised by the Church. But the Church will have absolutely nothing to do with the State's decisions, nor will the State have anything to do with the decisions of the Church.

What do I see that is good in a Church-State relationship in today's world?

Greece:
a. The President of Greece takes this oath:
"I swear (in the name of the Holy, Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity) to safeguard the Constitution and the laws, to ensure their faithful observance, to defend the national independence and territorial integrity of the Country, to protect the rights and liberties of the Greeks and to serve the general interest and the progress of the Greek People."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_Greece#Oath_of_Office (yes I know, Wikipedia, bleh)
b. The Prime Minister is sworn in by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Greece.
c. The Priests and other Clergy are paid their salary by the government, not by individual Parishes.
d. Every year, Orthodox Priests go to the schools to bless the children at the beginning of the school year.

Russia:
a. The Primate of the Russian Church and others serve as advisors to the Prime Minister & President
b. The Prime Minister & President are regularly seen at Church services
c. The State has helped to pay for the reconstruction and construction of Orthodox Churches in Russia. (this has led to 20,000 new Churches in Russia since 1990) Including the reconstruction of Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
d. The State has also continued to return the property of the Church to the Church.

I have discovered a term that reflects my ideas well... A "symphonia".

Again, I'm not suggesting this is the ONLY way, and I'm not suggesting this is the only Orthodox way, nor that the Church should be tied to any political power. (a symphony/cooperation is not a tying together) I'm saying I believe this is the most ideal form.
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« Reply #151 on: March 12, 2011, 03:48:16 PM »

Sounds like the perfect way to make the church just like the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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« Reply #152 on: March 12, 2011, 03:49:57 PM »

Ya, well unfortunately, the so-called Orthodox are not satisfied with the Church only concept and want a heretical theocracy to be part of a dogmatic goal.

Well, it's a fantasy world.  It's about that simple.  But a lot of what passes for Orthodoxy is just that.  Imagination church.
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« Reply #153 on: March 12, 2011, 04:04:49 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.
Excellent.
That's how I see it too: he will either, hopefully, outgrow this simplistic phase or he will burn out. I see this mode of thinking as a relic of fundamentalist protestantism, mutatis mutandis, of course.
There is far more space for rational inquiry, doubt, disagreement ann common sense in the Church than Devin seems to realize at this moment.
I wasn't aware that Alexander Cuza and the Athonites were fundamentalist Protestants.
Your point being what?
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« Reply #154 on: March 14, 2011, 02:32:20 AM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.

I agree. Why NorthernPines wants Devin to doubt what the Church says in favor of what the secularists, modernists, and atheists say is beyond me.
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« Reply #155 on: March 14, 2011, 02:51:06 AM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.

Protestants don't reject science either. They(along with Roman Catholics and Jews) were the main ones to mostly advance it. For the longest time protestants took it for granted that science was on their side and that there would never be a conflict between science and faith. That all changed in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, but by that time it was too late. It's not too late for us. We can learn from their mistakes.

You don't want it to affect dogma, but you can't control where this stuff will go. It will eventually affect dogma. If Protestants, Jews, and Roman Catholics weren't able to control it, then what makes you think we will? We won't! We will fall and become modernist, secular liberal atheists just like many of them(why do you want us to be like the Church of England is today? That is what we will be if we don't have discernment. If we don't criticize modernism). But we don't have to go that way. We can stop it now before it gets out of hand! Western society is gonna fall any way and so why be loyal to it's poison?

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« Reply #156 on: March 14, 2011, 08:09:58 AM »

Well, I was about to reply to Devin until I read Northern Pines response. After reading that, and I agree with most, if not everything he said, I can only make one point.

The east's rejection of St. Anselm's and St. Thomas Aquinas' methodology and approach to philosophy and through it, academics, does give any Orthodox the foundation to take a rejectionist approach to intellectual inquiry, critical analysis and revisionism, as it applies to history (including Church history as well as secular history) - not dogma.

Anti-scholasticism is not equivalent to anti-academia or anti-intellectualism. We don't waste time or energy attempting to posit the existence of God through theorems or logical proofs. However, unlike many contemporary Evangelical Protestants, we don't reject science or history simply because we are afraid that it might challenge us to better understand our Church and our world. Faith is what makes us strong.

Please, check back in ten years and reread what you are saying today and see if your views haven't developed as you grow in your understanding of the Church. Good luck and please, keep up the journey and the search.

Protestants don't reject science either. They(along with Roman Catholics and Jews) were the main ones to mostly advance it. For the longest time protestants took it for granted that science was on their side and that there would never be a conflict between science and faith. That all changed in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, but by that time it was too late. It's not too late for us. We can learn from their mistakes.

You don't want it to affect dogma, but you can't control where this stuff will go. It will eventually affect dogma. If Protestants, Jews, and Roman Catholics weren't able to control it, then what makes you think we will? We won't! We will fall and become modernist, secular liberal atheists just like many of them(why do you want us to be like the Church of England is today? That is what we will be if we don't have discernment. If we don't criticize modernism). But we don't have to go that way. We can stop it now before it gets out of hand! Western society is gonna fall any way and so why be loyal to it's poison?



Did you really just say that if we accept science, we're going to all wind up like liberal Protestants?
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« Reply #157 on: March 14, 2011, 11:08:51 AM »

Yes Devin, you're right St. Constantine didn't strong-arm Arians to accept Nicea.  The Arians later one the day and St. Constantine tried to strong-arm the Orthodox to accept Arianism, or at the very least tried to capture St. Athanasius as if he was the most wanted criminal heretic of the empire.  Only when St. Constantine died is when St. Athanasius was (temporarily!!) free to show himself again.

I agree. Why NorthernPines wants Devin to doubt what the Church says in favor of what the secularists, modernists, and atheists say is beyond me.

I'm not sure if you got my drift from that post.  I was simply proving that an Orthodox Christian government was never a good idea, and St. Constantine was the first among them that showed how much of a bad idea it was.  His edict of Milan was great.  But his ignorance of theology and his resulting Arianism to support the arrest and banishment of St. Athanasius teaches us that an "Orthodox" Christian government never existed and will never successfully exist.

So if anything, I'm more in agreement with NorthernPines than with Devin.
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