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Question: Faith or Nationalism?
Faith - 19 (100%)
Nationalism - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 19

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Balthasar
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« on: February 13, 2012, 10:49:24 AM »

In 2001, only eight% of Egyptians defined themselves as Egyptians above all, while 81%  defined themselves as Muslims.

Comparing the situation in Egypt with that of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Muslims (15% to 20% of the 85 million-strong population) are convinced that Islam is more important than their Ethiopianhood. They identify themselves with other Muslims globally, and their hearts beat for Mecca and Medina. If there is a war between, let's say, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia or Egypt, the Ethiopian Muslims most likely will march alongside Saudi and Egyptian units. But in the Egyptian case, it will never happen that an Egyptian Christian will support his fellow brother in Christ. I don't know how this thing is possible? Whenever I think of the story where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac....  Roll Eyes well, what do you guys think about this dilemma? What is more important, FAITH or NATIONALISM?

« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 10:50:33 AM by Balthasar » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 10:59:19 AM »

I said faith.

Of course, even long before I was Orthodox, I was by no means a patriot. I don't get excited about my home country. I realize that I reflect the culture that I've been formed around, but I don't get excited about it or feel necessarily inclined to talk about the U.S. has a "great and beautiful nation" or anything like that. I find U.S. patriotism annoying, more often than not.

Though, I'm quite proud of the great (albeit short) history of the American Church and our saints. I suppose you could say I'm a patriot for American Orthodoxy. I love Ss. Herman, Innocent and Jacob. I have strong devotion to St. John the Wonderworker and St. Peter the Aleut. They are my George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln. While, when it comes to those men often called our "founding fathers" or "heroes of our nation" I usually don't even find them to be decent people, much less "heroes" or "role models."

But, that's just me.
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 11:09:55 AM »

In 2001, only eight% of Egyptians defined themselves as Egyptians above all, while 81%  defined themselves as Muslims.

Comparing the situation in Egypt with that of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Muslims (15% to 20% of the 85 million-strong population) are convinced that Islam is more important than their Ethiopianhood. They identify themselves with other Muslims globally, and their hearts beat for Mecca and Medina. If there is a war between, let's say, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia or Egypt, the Ethiopian Muslims most likely will march alongside Saudi and Egyptian units. But in the Egyptian case, it will never happen that an Egyptian Christian will support his fellow brother in Christ. I don't know how this thing is possible? Whenever I think of the story where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac....  Roll Eyes well, what do you guys think about this dilemma? What is more important, FAITH or NATIONALISM?
Are you saying that two "Christian" nations should never go to war with one another, even if one "Christian" nation doesn't act very "Christian"?
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 09:25:25 AM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

@Jetavan, I was not talking about past history, rather about the present. Of course, there was always confrontation within the so-called Christian world. The Crusades have contributed immensely in the dissolution of the Byzantine empire. The Christian republic of fascist Italy bombed millions of fellow Christians in Ethiopia with the blessing from the Vatican -- supporting and arming Islamic forces. My question is how is that possible for anyone who calls himself/herself a Christian not to give his/her brotherly/sisterly love to fellow Christian because they don't belong in the same ethnic group or 'race'? Do you know that the vast majority of European Christians prefer to have a fair-skinned Muslim to a dark-skinned Christian? Isn't this a tragedy? What does God think? I think, among all with 'ism' suffixed ideologies, racism and Islamism are the worst. These two are simply demonic entities which are holding humanity hostage. Do you remember the story about Moses and Zipporah, the Ethiopian? (Num. 12:1) Three thousand years have passed since then, yet, humanity is still doing the same stupid mistakes over and over again. What would we say to God?

« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 09:27:24 AM by Balthasar » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 09:30:19 AM »

Quote from: Balthasar
The Christian republic of fascist Italy bombed millions of fellow Christians in Ethiopia with the blessing from the Vatican -- supporting and arming Islamic forces.

And millions of soldiers, including many Roman Catholics such as my grandfather and his brothers, fought against them as well, in WW II. So don't tell me they were all on the same side.
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 09:36:25 AM »

Quote from: Balthasar
The Christian republic of fascist Italy bombed millions of fellow Christians in Ethiopia with the blessing from the Vatican -- supporting and arming Islamic forces.

And millions of soldiers, including many Roman Catholics such as my grandfather and his brothers, fought against them as well, in WW II. So don't tell me they were all on the same side.

That doesn't change the fact that Italians gased and murdered innocent Ethiopian mothers, fathers, children. Right? The most shameful part of the story is, Italy and Italians never excused for the crime they have commited against Ethiopians. Germans seem to have repented.

« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 09:39:53 AM by Balthasar » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 10:43:08 AM »

Quote from: Balthasar
The Christian republic of fascist Italy bombed millions of fellow Christians in Ethiopia with the blessing from the Vatican -- supporting and arming Islamic forces.

And millions of soldiers, including many Roman Catholics such as my grandfather and his brothers, fought against them as well, in WW II. So don't tell me they were all on the same side.

That doesn't change the fact that Italians gased and murdered innocent Ethiopian mothers, fathers, children. Right? The most shameful part of the story is, Italy and Italians never excused for the crime they have commited against Ethiopians. Germans seem to have repented.



Depends on what you considered as "excused".  The Italians gave a reason for what they did, even before the gassing began.  Ostensibly they used gas because the Ethiopians weren't following the Geneva Convention anyway*, so the Italians figured they shouldn't be fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

* The Ethiopians tortured POWs - at least one instance of an Italian pilot is given and numerous African Askaris fighting for the Italians had appendages cut off.  Also, the Ethiopians were accused of using hollow-points in their rifles.

Whether this justifies the Italian invaders or not is up for debate (I prefer the Ethiopians, myself).  I'm just pointing out that there was a reason that the Italians used chemical weapons.
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 11:10:43 AM »

Every foreign land is a fatherland, and every fatherland is a foreign land.

Nationalism has absolutely no place in Christianity. Of course, it is natural to feel a greater love and duty of care towards one's own country and its people, just as one would for one's family, but to place allegiance to a nation state, tribe, or race above one's allegiance to God is not just wrong, but absurd.  
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 12:06:39 PM »

I don't trust that kind of researches. Muslims have fought against each others during 20th century and will probably do that again despite devout opinions.
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 12:16:28 PM »

I think the case of Egypt is unique to the situation of Christians in the Middle East, where the alternative identity to nationalism is sectarianism/theocracy, with Islam crushing all others due to the demographics of the region. So a shared national identity gives the Christians a context in which to continue to exist in their home countries where otherwise the Muslims would drive them out. Hence you see some of the most pro-nationalist/pro-Arabism political figures ever in the region were Christians (e.g., Ibrahim al-Yazigi, Jurji Zeydan, George Habash, etc). Attempts at specifically Christian nationalism and mythology (e.g., Lebanon) fail spectacularly because of the rejection of Arab identity that the majority of Christians and Muslims share (i.e., it just sounds crazy or fanciful).

I don't think this situation can be easily compared to other areas. Even the Ethiopian Muslims, who identify with Muslims around the world, don't think of themselves as Arab or think the Arab identity as being forced on them, since they still maintain their languages and cultures (Harari, Oromo, Somali, etc).

Of course faith is more important than nationalism, but it's not that simple. If you had to play along with nationalism in order to keep your faith in your native land, then you'd do it, right? Besides, I know many Copts who are legitimately patriotic and would stick with Egypt anyway purely based on those feelings. They don't see the conflict of loyalty between their primarily-Muslim nation and their non-Muslim religion. I personally don't understand it (as I, as an American, definitely feel a conflict between my Christian identity and my national identity, since I'm not a fan of the Evangelicalism and RCism that reigns in this country), but it's out there.
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 12:18:14 PM »

Definitely faith. I would defend my family and anyone who needed it, but American patriotism and American exceptionalism, combined with the notion of God having a special purpose for America sound WAY too Roman for me.

I remember hearing Beck one day saying that the Constitution was divinely inspired. I almost spit my coffee out in laughter.

PP
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 12:25:47 PM »

Definitely faith. I would defend my family and anyone who needed it, but American patriotism and American exceptionalism, combined with the notion of God having a special purpose for America sound WAY too Roman for me.

I remember hearing Beck one day saying that the Constitution was divinely inspired. I almost spit my coffee out in laughter.

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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 12:29:32 PM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

"American nationalism" is an interesting concept. Patriotic immigrants usually love their new-found freedom (now, historically many were originally persecuted, especially those from non-Protestant backgrounds).

No, there's not really a "Christian-American" identity in the same sense as there is a Italian-American, German-American, or African-American identity. Those who often try to label themselves as such are politically and socially conservative Protestants, and many of them seek a higher public place for Christianity usually by having prayer in school and work, displaying the 10 Commandments on public property, etc. All fairly harmless until you talk with them. Then you learn they want their particular brand of Protestantism to be the reigning religion. After all, look at how many people freaked with John F. Kennedy became president (he was Roman Catholic). Some fringe groups even claimed that the U.S. would be run from the Vatican!

Our government, I would say, is not Christian. I wouldn't even call our nation Christian. I wish we'd take "In God We Trust" off of the money, because the god of America is, in my opinion, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The U.S. is relatively deistic, if I had to put a finger on the "faith" of our nation (the general tenor of the people/government, that is). This is what we see in many Founding Fathers, particularly the writings of some such as Benjamin Franklin (who once wrote a piece comparing Christ and the Buddha as equals) or Thomas Jefferson (who wrote his own version of the New Testament in which he cut out all of the miracles, including the Resurrection of Christ). America, to personify the country, believes that "there's a God out there somewhere, probably, wandering around..." and that's about it. We're vaguely Christian because our founders were vaguely Christian.

Yes, many of the first English settlers to the U.S. were Christians fleeing persecution, but they were radical reformers (such as the Puritans) who were fleeing more traditional reformers (the Anglicans). The radical and individualistic mindset of such radical reformers has been passed down. The U.S. knows nothing of traditional Christianity. Now, Catholicism has taken hold and that somewhat helps, especially in places with large Catholic populations. However, many Catholics were persecuted when they first came to the U.S. (whether they were Italian, Irish, Hungarian, Polish, etc.) usually because they were Catholics. Some of them (such as the Irish) faced as much racism against as many former slaves under the Jim Crow laws of the south during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.

Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Yes, the U.S. is backing many Islamic-based groups in the Middle East that persecute Christians, because they want to bring "democracy" to people, even when it's impossible. We care more about instilling "democratic values" than we do Christian ones these days. Lord, have mercy. The U.S. will often also provide support to faith-based organizations that send Protestant missionaries into traditionally Christian lands, such as sending Protestants to settle in Alaska and converts the native peoples there, who had been majority Orthodox for over a century before the U.S. gained it. They will also backed faith-based initiatives in Eastern Europe that will proselytize Christian peoples (Catholic or Orthodox). This was happening in Russia a great deal as well, but I think a lot of that has been curtailed by the Russian government.
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 09:23:12 PM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.


Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Of whom do you believe doesn't recognize Orthodox as "our own thing?"  The regular guy on the street who is ignorant of knowing what Orthodoxy is or officially?  Officially:

From: goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America. In recognition of this, Orthodoxy has been formally acknowledged as one of the Four Major Faiths in the United States."

The average guy on the street yeah, I see your point.  But in a pluralistic society that guy can think whatever he wants.  The official outlook; that is where it truely matters.
I won't comment on the rest of your post because it will fall into the political realm, but Orthodoxy does not evangelize the faith to the extent of Protestants.  Many protestants don't even know what Orthodoxy is, at least in my area and across the country to where I've also lived.  Speaking anecdotally those who think of it as an "ethnic" church excersizing it's own nationalism, waive it off as something minor and not American in nature.  But can you really blame those who think that or fault them for trying to bring people to whom they believe is the way to Christ when they don't have the exposure to Orthodoxy in the first place?  There are protestant groups that are pretty radical in nature, but there are SO many different protestants here, it's unfair to group them into one crusade.
But as someone who served in the military, nation and faith are two different things in America.  But it is impossible to support that argument without going into the politics of it.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 10:29:56 PM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.


Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Of whom do you believe doesn't recognize Orthodox as "our own thing?"  The regular guy on the street who is ignorant of knowing what Orthodoxy is or officially?  Officially:

From: goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America. In recognition of this, Orthodoxy has been formally acknowledged as one of the Four Major Faiths in the United States."

The average guy on the street yeah, I see your point.  But in a pluralistic society that guy can think whatever he wants.  The official outlook; that is where it truely matters.
I won't comment on the rest of your post because it will fall into the political realm, but Orthodoxy does not evangelize the faith to the extent of Protestants.  Many protestants don't even know what Orthodoxy is, at least in my area and across the country to where I've also lived.  Speaking anecdotally those who think of it as an "ethnic" church excersizing it's own nationalism, waive it off as something minor and not American in nature.  But can you really blame those who think that or fault them for trying to bring people to whom they believe is the way to Christ when they don't have the exposure to Orthodoxy in the first place?  There are protestant groups that are pretty radical in nature, but there are SO many different protestants here, it's unfair to group them into one crusade.
But as someone who served in the military, nation and faith are two different things in America.  But it is impossible to support that argument without going into the politics of it.

I'm speaking of the average American Joe. I do believe that Orthodoxy in America is no longer a nationalistic, immigrant religious niche. As I just said above, I'm proud of the Orthodox history of the Americas and consider it my spiritual ancestry. I'm American and I'm Orthodox. I don't really care what the average guy on the street thinks, either, I'm much more concerned about how the American Church views herself. My only concern for the average guy is that he doesn't know what Orthodoxy is. I want him to.

I'm also not trying to lump Protestants together. I never said that, actually. I'm simply saying that the tenor of religion in the U.S., and even our nationalism, has its roots in individualistic and relativistic philosophies that were birthed out of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Many of these principles are, in my opinion, antithetical to traditional Christianity.

I agree that nation and faith are two different things in America. I wasn't trying to claim differently.
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 10:37:44 PM »

Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

No, American Catholicism is not a counter culture. It has been fully assimilated (in its nominal form). Where I live, for example, the wealthy Catholic descendants of German and Irish immigrants are basically WASPs.

I guess you could make the argument that Catholics who take their faith seriously are, indeed, a counter-culture. But the same could be said of devout Evangelicals.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 10:40:57 PM »

I am proud to be an American!
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2012, 10:53:11 PM »

Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

No, American Catholicism is not a counter culture. It has been fully assimilated (in its nominal form). Where I live, for example, the wealthy Catholic descendants of German and Irish immigrants are basically WASPs.

I guess you could make the argument that Catholics who take their faith seriously are, indeed, a counter-culture. But the same could be said of devout Evangelicals.

Those who are nominal or non-practicing have assimilated. Devout Catholics, like devout Orthodox, are still seen as foreign.

Evangelicals are also a counter-culture, I agree. However, I don't think anyone views them as foreign...just highly annoying.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 11:08:19 PM »

All agree so far that faith is more important than nationalism.  I should hope so.  Anyone who puts the Faith delivered once for all on a second tier is not worthy of it, especially those who describe themselves as philetist accidental orthodox.   
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2012, 11:47:25 PM »

Quote from: Balthasar
The Christian republic of fascist Italy bombed millions of fellow Christians in Ethiopia with the blessing from the Vatican -- supporting and arming Islamic forces.

And millions of soldiers, including many Roman Catholics such as my grandfather and his brothers, fought against them as well, in WW II. So don't tell me they were all on the same side.

That doesn't change the fact that Italians gased and murdered innocent Ethiopian mothers, fathers, children. Right? The most shameful part of the story is, Italy and Italians never excused for the crime they have commited against Ethiopians. Germans seem to have repented.



Every action of every war is a crime.  They are all crimes against humanity, it is just a question of whether or not we accept the crime as normal for war or not.
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2012, 11:47:25 PM »

Well, Ava, there are all those states that don't recognize the Orthodox, as far as their prison systems go.
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 12:20:21 AM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.


Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Of whom do you believe doesn't recognize Orthodox as "our own thing?"  The regular guy on the street who is ignorant of knowing what Orthodoxy is or officially?  Officially:

From: goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America. In recognition of this, Orthodoxy has been formally acknowledged as one of the Four Major Faiths in the United States."

The average guy on the street yeah, I see your point.  But in a pluralistic society that guy can think whatever he wants.  The official outlook; that is where it truely matters.
I won't comment on the rest of your post because it will fall into the political realm, but Orthodoxy does not evangelize the faith to the extent of Protestants.  Many protestants don't even know what Orthodoxy is, at least in my area and across the country to where I've also lived.  Speaking anecdotally those who think of it as an "ethnic" church excersizing it's own nationalism, waive it off as something minor and not American in nature.  But can you really blame those who think that or fault them for trying to bring people to whom they believe is the way to Christ when they don't have the exposure to Orthodoxy in the first place?  There are protestant groups that are pretty radical in nature, but there are SO many different protestants here, it's unfair to group them into one crusade.
But as someone who served in the military, nation and faith are two different things in America.  But it is impossible to support that argument without going into the politics of it.

I'm speaking of the average American Joe. I do believe that Orthodoxy in America is no longer a nationalistic, immigrant religious niche. As I just said above, I'm proud of the Orthodox history of the Americas and consider it my spiritual ancestry. I'm American and I'm Orthodox. I don't really care what the average guy on the street thinks, either, I'm much more concerned about how the American Church views herself. My only concern for the average guy is that he doesn't know what Orthodoxy is. I want him to.

I'm also not trying to lump Protestants together. I never said that, actually. I'm simply saying that the tenor of religion in the U.S., and even our nationalism, has its roots in individualistic and relativistic philosophies that were birthed out of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Many of these principles are, in my opinion, antithetical to traditional Christianity.

I agree that nation and faith are two different things in America. I wasn't trying to claim differently.

Ah ok, I see your point.  Smiley

To add to the conversation, I am of the opinion, which I believe holds very true for many Americans, since the Constitution itself upholds the right of freedom of religion (among the others rights of course, but specifically to this conversation), we would gladly defend that right so in essence our nation and faith go hand and hand.  But of course, if that right was written out of government, people like myself would stand with the church.  United States would no longer be what I swore an oath to protect  (namely the Constitution) if that basic right was written out.  I'd love to give an example but I don't want to step into the political arena. Wink
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 12:27:38 AM »

Well, Ava, there are all those states that don't recognize the Orthodox, as far as their prison systems go.

I am definitely not an expert on the matter, but states do have the right to organize budget-wise how to accomodate prisoners.  Federal prisons may also follow their own set of rules.  It's always a funding thing more than a religious thing.  To give benefit of the doubt, there might have to be shown a need to do any accomodation in light of tight budgets, and if there is a need, I would imagine that the Orthodox churches in that state would have to be actively involved into making accomodations for those matters and not just passively expect the government to handle everything.  But I am not an expert, I could be wrong on religious accomodations.
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 11:36:10 AM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.


Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Of whom do you believe doesn't recognize Orthodox as "our own thing?"  The regular guy on the street who is ignorant of knowing what Orthodoxy is or officially?  Officially:

From: goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America. In recognition of this, Orthodoxy has been formally acknowledged as one of the Four Major Faiths in the United States."

The average guy on the street yeah, I see your point.  But in a pluralistic society that guy can think whatever he wants.  The official outlook; that is where it truely matters.
I won't comment on the rest of your post because it will fall into the political realm, but Orthodoxy does not evangelize the faith to the extent of Protestants.  Many protestants don't even know what Orthodoxy is, at least in my area and across the country to where I've also lived.  Speaking anecdotally those who think of it as an "ethnic" church excersizing it's own nationalism, waive it off as something minor and not American in nature.  But can you really blame those who think that or fault them for trying to bring people to whom they believe is the way to Christ when they don't have the exposure to Orthodoxy in the first place?  There are protestant groups that are pretty radical in nature, but there are SO many different protestants here, it's unfair to group them into one crusade.
But as someone who served in the military, nation and faith are two different things in America.  But it is impossible to support that argument without going into the politics of it.

I'm speaking of the average American Joe. I do believe that Orthodoxy in America is no longer a nationalistic, immigrant religious niche. As I just said above, I'm proud of the Orthodox history of the Americas and consider it my spiritual ancestry. I'm American and I'm Orthodox. I don't really care what the average guy on the street thinks, either, I'm much more concerned about how the American Church views herself. My only concern for the average guy is that he doesn't know what Orthodoxy is. I want him to.

I'm also not trying to lump Protestants together. I never said that, actually. I'm simply saying that the tenor of religion in the U.S., and even our nationalism, has its roots in individualistic and relativistic philosophies that were birthed out of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Many of these principles are, in my opinion, antithetical to traditional Christianity.

I agree that nation and faith are two different things in America. I wasn't trying to claim differently.


Dear Benjamin, I've just found this interview from a couple of days ago on this very subject. Sheer coincidence, or are you Mr. Ronnie McBrayer?

Anyways, here are some excerpts from the interview

„The United States is not the Kingdom of God. Like a growing number of Christians in North America I have developed this aversion to attaching a national flag – any national flag – to the cross or the way of Jesus. God’s Kingdom cannot be taken hostage like that, for the church’s identity cannot be bound to any earthly nation. The church is a unique, called-out people who live as aliens and strangers in a world that is no longer our home.“

„I think the majority of Americans perceive themselves as “American Christians” rather than being Christians who happen live in America. The majority of this country’s churches are fiercely joined to American goals, ambitions, ideals, and nationalism and they let that nationalism steer their social and theological agenda more than the way of Jesus.“

„some people will think me very un-American to say such things. I love America, sing the national anthem, and say the pledge; but as a follower of Jesus I must pledge my primary allegiance to him, even if this is perceived as a lack of patriotism.“


The full interview:

http://www.examiner.com/christian-pop-culture-in-national/christianity-more-than-apple-pie-and-patriotism

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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 12:42:54 PM »

It is interesting to note that I was once told by a professor that one of the reasons early Orthodox Christians were not liked in the roman empire was because they didn't participate in the state's religious services and prayers.  Even at a chariot race they performed religious ceremonies to pagan gods.  Christians would not pray with the crowd.  This raised huge suspicion.  The professor said it was akin to not standing up and singing the national anthem at a basketball game.  People would get rather upset if you didn't.
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2012, 12:48:39 PM »

It is interesting to note that I was once told by a professor that one of the reasons early Orthodox Christians were not liked in the roman empire was because they didn't participate in the state's religious services and prayers.  Even at a chariot race they performed religious ceremonies to pagan gods.  Christians would not pray with the crowd.  This raised huge suspicion.  The professor said it was akin to not standing up and singing the national anthem at a basketball game.  People would get rather upset if you didn't.
That is very true. If you want a good read about early Christians and the Empire, from a Roman perspective, Suetonius goes into it a bit in Nero's biography and also the letters from Pliny the Younger to the Emperor Trajan when he was governor of Bithynia. Good reads both. Especially the letters, as it really gives a great testimony of the Christians.

PP
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2012, 01:38:14 PM »

Thanks, dear Benjamin, for sharing your experience. I really don't understand what American nationalism mean. Well, persecuted European Christians settled over there, and were able to build a great nation, but do they have national identity? What I hear is he/she are Italo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans etc. Is there a Christian-American identity? Does the government which trust in God behave like a Christian? When it comes to global affairs, what we see is the contrary; look what is happening to the indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Americans are supporting the Islamic movements to eradicate some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.


Catholicism is now an important minority, but it's still a minority. It exists as a counter-culture, albeit one that is recognized and usually ignored and/or accepted by non-Catholics. Orthodox still have not even attained that. Usually, we're not even recognized as our own thing and find ourselves being put with the Catholics.

Of whom do you believe doesn't recognize Orthodox as "our own thing?"  The regular guy on the street who is ignorant of knowing what Orthodoxy is or officially?  Officially:

From: goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7052: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America. In recognition of this, Orthodoxy has been formally acknowledged as one of the Four Major Faiths in the United States."

The average guy on the street yeah, I see your point.  But in a pluralistic society that guy can think whatever he wants.  The official outlook; that is where it truely matters.
I won't comment on the rest of your post because it will fall into the political realm, but Orthodoxy does not evangelize the faith to the extent of Protestants.  Many protestants don't even know what Orthodoxy is, at least in my area and across the country to where I've also lived.  Speaking anecdotally those who think of it as an "ethnic" church excersizing it's own nationalism, waive it off as something minor and not American in nature.  But can you really blame those who think that or fault them for trying to bring people to whom they believe is the way to Christ when they don't have the exposure to Orthodoxy in the first place?  There are protestant groups that are pretty radical in nature, but there are SO many different protestants here, it's unfair to group them into one crusade.
But as someone who served in the military, nation and faith are two different things in America.  But it is impossible to support that argument without going into the politics of it.

I'm speaking of the average American Joe. I do believe that Orthodoxy in America is no longer a nationalistic, immigrant religious niche. As I just said above, I'm proud of the Orthodox history of the Americas and consider it my spiritual ancestry. I'm American and I'm Orthodox. I don't really care what the average guy on the street thinks, either, I'm much more concerned about how the American Church views herself. My only concern for the average guy is that he doesn't know what Orthodoxy is. I want him to.

I'm also not trying to lump Protestants together. I never said that, actually. I'm simply saying that the tenor of religion in the U.S., and even our nationalism, has its roots in individualistic and relativistic philosophies that were birthed out of the Reformation and Enlightenment. Many of these principles are, in my opinion, antithetical to traditional Christianity.

I agree that nation and faith are two different things in America. I wasn't trying to claim differently.


Dear Benjamin, I've just found this interview from a couple of days ago on this very subject. Sheer coincidence, or are you Mr. Ronnie McBrayer?

Anyways, here are some excerpts from the interview

„The United States is not the Kingdom of God. Like a growing number of Christians in North America I have developed this aversion to attaching a national flag – any national flag – to the cross or the way of Jesus. God’s Kingdom cannot be taken hostage like that, for the church’s identity cannot be bound to any earthly nation. The church is a unique, called-out people who live as aliens and strangers in a world that is no longer our home.“

„I think the majority of Americans perceive themselves as “American Christians” rather than being Christians who happen live in America. The majority of this country’s churches are fiercely joined to American goals, ambitions, ideals, and nationalism and they let that nationalism steer their social and theological agenda more than the way of Jesus.“

„some people will think me very un-American to say such things. I love America, sing the national anthem, and say the pledge; but as a follower of Jesus I must pledge my primary allegiance to him, even if this is perceived as a lack of patriotism.“


The full interview:

http://www.examiner.com/christian-pop-culture-in-national/christianity-more-than-apple-pie-and-patriotism

Haha. I've actually never heard of the guy. I like his answered you posted, though! Grin
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