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Author Topic: How is fundementalism avoided in Orthodoxy? [and other questions]  (Read 663 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ai
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« on: July 18, 2011, 02:36:17 PM »

Hi all!!

I have a question about Orthodoxy. Even from various Orthodox practitioners I see fundementalism as they put down members of other Christian faiths. How is this attitude of extremism and fundementalism avoided? Is it possible to be Orthodox Christian and still love another...even if they arent Orthodox Christian?

Also, what is the Bible to Orthodox Christians? Unfortunately, my view of Christians is that they are hardline, hardcore Bible thumpers (thanks to US Bible Belt).

Im attracted to Orthodoxy because of it's hesychasm, it's way of life, the liturgies, icons, especially its chants. But I dont want to become a Bible thumper.

Please excuse me for my ignorance.
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J.M.C
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 03:08:27 PM »


 Embarrassed

**sorry, pressed "quote" instead of "modify", see below **

« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 03:11:15 PM by J.M.C » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 03:10:29 PM »



The Orthodox don't thump our Bibles, we kiss them Smiley

Extremism and fundamentalism is avoided by being aware of them, and aware that we are most susceptible to them in the beginning, when we discover something new (like Orthodoxy) and then throw ourselves zealously into it. It is like the attitude of a first-year undergraduate science student who, after having left school at 18, thinks he knows almost everything. Just a few more years at university and he will be an "expert" -- this is what he thinks.

Of course, after 3 years he realizes he knows nothing at all. Why? Because in going to university he has expanded his horizons and seen the expanse of his discipline unfold before him; he has seen how much there is yet to know, how much "old" knowledge there is left for him to digest before he can even begin to add anything to his chosen field. In learning more, he has done nothing more than expand the boundaries of his ignorance.

This is the case with intellectual knowledge. Orthodoxy is a life, yet there are parallels with the 1st year student. When I first began to learn about Orthodoxy, and experience some of her "life" (the church services mainly) I was very attracted by it all, because finally I could see the Truth, and I could see my destination. But I was far off then, and so I could see it all in my field of vision. Now, having entered Holy Orthodoxy, I realize I know nothing about it. Worse, what I do know, I don't practice. I see the life of the Church, her saints (canonized or not) and realize I fall far short. So all I can do is beg for mercy, and gradually be healed, knowing, as the desert fathers say, that the more I am healed, the more I repent, the more sins - previously hidden - come to light: and so the more sinful I realize I am. But despite all that I can still be grateful I'm not that idiot before who thought he almost knew it all.

If you can get the hang of that I don't see how you will become one of those extremists who puts down others.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 03:18:06 PM »

It is true that you will find haughty and arrogant folks in the Orthodox Church as you will in any church.  That is unfortunate.  In Orthodoxy there is very strong teaching to focus on your own sins rather than on the sins or errors of others.  There is a story of St. Moses the Strong that illustrates the point well.

Quote
Once the Fathers of the Scetis were holding a council to reprimand a monk who had committed a fault. St. Moses was invited, but he refused to attend. The priest went to him, and said, Come, for the people are expecting you. St. Moses arose, took a basket filled with sand that had a hole in the bottom of it, carried it on his shoulder and started walking towards the council. When the monks saw him coming with the bag of sand, with sand pouring out of the hole, they asked him the reason of his behavior. He said to them, The sand you see running from the bag represents my sins which are always following me, and yet, today I am coming to judge the errors of my brother. When they heard this, they left the council and every monk went to his own cell, as none could judge that monk.

Not only is it possible to love other Christians as an Orthodox Christian, it is necessary.

As far as the bible goes, it is a the pinnacle of God's revelation.  It is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit for the purpose for which it was inspired.  I forget where I heard that part.  The point is that we acknowledge that scripture can be twisted and used for harm and judgment.  If someone quotes scripture to support slavery (it has been done), then in that case one can not rightly claim that those words are inspired.  It has to be used correctly.  Scripture being part of Holy Tradition, along with the oral teachings of the Apostles that were passed down and the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils, form the teachings of the Church and the context in which scripture is rightly understood.  The services of the church are largely quotes from scripture.  We bow before the scriptures and kiss them.  We cover them with gold.  Don't at all worry about becoming a bible thumper.  Scripture is only a weapon to use against the devil.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 03:32:49 PM »

Why not be attracted to Orthodoxy because Christ is there?
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 03:35:57 PM »

Define "fundamentalism"
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 04:38:57 PM »

Orthodoxy is about as fundamental as you can get in Christianity. Perhaps you are thinking "Calvinist Protestant"---which we most assuredly are not. Or Republican. Some of us are, some of us aren't.

We love Orthodoxy because it is Christ's original church, which is why there's sometimes a whiff of "triumphalism" about us. Sorry. If you read up on the history of the church, perhaps you will come to agree with us. (Technically, we're supposed to be much kinder than that. But we slip.)

Im attracted to Orthodoxy because of it's hesychasm, it's way of life, the liturgies, icons, especially its chants...

Those are entirely the wrong reasons. You are falling in love with the ancilla of the church; those things are romantic, but, ultimately, unimportant. Underneath, is a living God who calls upon us to renounce our worldly desires, our egos, and to pick up our Crosses and follow His will. That leads into pretty hard territory sometimes. Would you join the church if the liturgies, icons and chants were missing? Are you prepared to allow a priest to guide some of the major decisions of your life? Are you prepared to stand in front of your enemy and take a bullet for him? Orthodoxy is deadly serious on the inside. Are you serious about being a true Christian? It's the hardest thing in the world. Ask yourself that.

Read up on the Orthodox saints, and see if reality coincides with your vision of Christianity.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 04:45:02 PM by sainthieu » Logged
Ai
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 05:15:48 PM »

Orthodoxy is about as fundamental as you can get in Christianity. Perhaps you are thinking "Calvinist Protestant"---which we most assuredly are not. Or Republican. Some of us are, some of us aren't.

We love Orthodoxy because it is Christ's original church, which is why there's sometimes a whiff of "triumphalism" about us. Sorry. If you read up on the history of the church, perhaps you will come to agree with us. (Technically, we're supposed to be much kinder than that. But we slip.)

Im attracted to Orthodoxy because of it's hesychasm, it's way of life, the liturgies, icons, especially its chants...

Those are entirely the wrong reasons. You are falling in love with the ancilla of the church; those things are romantic, but, ultimately, unimportant. Underneath, is a living God who calls upon us to renounce our worldly desires, our egos, and to pick up our Crosses and follow His will. That leads into pretty hard territory sometimes. Would you join the church if the liturgies, icons and chants were missing? Are you prepared to allow a priest to guide some of the major decisions of your life? Are you prepared to stand in front of your enemy and take a bullet for him? Orthodoxy is deadly serious on the inside. Are you serious about being a true Christian? It's the hardest thing in the world. Ask yourself that.

Read up on the Orthodox saints, and see if reality coincides with your vision of Christianity.

Thank you for correcting my errors. Perhaps when I thought about Christianity, I have images in my head of Calvinist Protestants, Westboro Baptist Church, Pentecostal prophecies, pop Christianity. I did forget to mention one thing. From reading about Orthodoxy, I learned that Orthodoxy is to be lived, rather than to be something to believe in or go to church and be lectured at by someone. I guess I forgot to look on the inside. I do not know if this is relevant, but Orthodox Christianity is the Christianity I've been searching for. I dont know how else to explain it but it's like the Christianity that teaches to let go of materialism, truly living the faith, carrying one's cross.

Again, I know nothing. Please forgive my ignorance. Im still learning and always will be. Thank again for correcting my mistakes.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 05:39:19 PM »

...Calvinist Protestants, Westboro Baptist Church, Pentecostal prophecies, pop Christianity...

Not to sound triumphalist (laugh), but it is a tragedy that churches like those are what the American public associates with Christianity--not that (save for the WBC) there aren't plenty of good Christians in there somewhere; those are the only churches they know. If people were more familiar with Orthodox Christianity--in fact, what the genuine goals of Christianity are--they would have a far higher opinion of it than they do. It truly is a shame.

Something to be lived--that's about the most concise definition of Orthodoxy I know.

Nothing to forgive. Certainly, not to me. Practically everyone here has been in your shoes!
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 05:41:36 PM by sainthieu » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2011, 07:13:03 PM »

...Calvinist Protestants, Westboro Baptist Church, Pentecostal prophecies, pop Christianity...

Not to sound triumphalist (laugh), but it is a tragedy that churches like those are what the American public associates with Christianity--not that (save for the WBC) there aren't plenty of good Christians in there somewhere; those are the only churches they know. If people were more familiar with Orthodox Christianity--in fact, what the genuine goals of Christianity are--they would have a far higher opinion of it than they do. It truly is a shame.

Something to be lived--that's about the most concise definition of Orthodoxy I know.

Nothing to forgive. Certainly, not to me. Practically everyone here has been in your shoes!

Thanks Smiley I have soooo many questions but I dont know where to start  Huh I want to post them up here but I dont want to sound silly or dont want to bother you guys.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 07:15:34 PM by Ai » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 07:19:11 PM »

Im attracted to Orthodoxy because of it's hesychasm, it's way of life, the liturgies, icons, especially its chants...

Those are entirely the wrong reasons. You are falling in love with the ancilla of the church; those things are romantic, but, ultimately, unimportant. Underneath, is a living God who calls upon us to renounce our worldly desires, our egos, and to pick up our Crosses and follow His will. That leads into pretty hard territory sometimes. Would you join the church if the liturgies, icons and chants were missing? Are you prepared to allow a priest to guide some of the major decisions of your life? Are you prepared to stand in front of your enemy and take a bullet for him? Orthodoxy is deadly serious on the inside. Are you serious about being a true Christian? It's the hardest thing in the world. Ask yourself that.

Frankly, soberingly, and boldly stated!

And folks wonder why I fear truly entering the Church.
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2011, 07:22:53 PM »

Thanks Smiley I have soooo many questions but I dont know where to start  Huh I want to post them up here but I dont want to sound silly or dont want to bother you guys.

Feel free to ask, I ask dumb questions all the time; that's sort of my thing, and they've not beat me too bad yet.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2011, 07:56:34 PM »

Between the two of us, I think you have to be a little nuts to try to be an Orthodox Christian. Think of it: we're fragile human beings aspiring to represent God's love on earth. (What in the world are we thinking?) Now that's silly. Yet God's love is true, and it is the most beautiful thing we know of.

In the past, I've likened being a Christian to trying to will yourself through a solid stone wall, and I will again. The fact that saints exist at all is a wonder. Yet they do---and St Paul even exhorts us to approach God boldly, He wants us to approach! God's grace is transformational, indeed. We can only do the best we can. Never give up.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 07:57:34 PM by sainthieu » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 09:18:20 PM »

Welcome, Ai.

I quite like your name.

No-one will be bothered by your questions, I promise (unless they are statements masquerading as questions).
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