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Author Topic: anyone tired of explaining themselves?  (Read 2233 times) Average Rating: 0
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age234
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« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2012, 10:25:24 AM »

I don't even bother. Arguing with people really just turns off any openness they might have to becoming Orthodox themselves. If it comes to an altercation I'd say something, but it's not something I'd ever bring up intentionally.

Don't throw your pearls before swine. The truth needs no defense.
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Seraphim98
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« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2012, 12:18:03 PM »

I've found hard questions useful. Sometimes I have to say, I don't know exactly, but I will try to find out. Then I go find out and get back to them…if they are genuinely interested and not just trying to find holes in your reasoning.

With respect to some lines of argument, if the conversation is not avoidable without offense, especially certain uses of the Scripture (that's not in the bible), if it is and I know of the passage, i reference it, if indeed it isn't per se but is firmly within the Tradition and the purview of those things committed to the authority of the Church I say it is the Tradition. They generally reply about traditions of man supplanting the commandments of God, and then I can direct them to St. Paul and his admonition to respect the Tradition passed down in the Church, and the passage about the Church being the pillar and ground of all truth.  The idea is not to play on their ball field by their rules…get the ball on your field. Then you can address the Bible within the context of the Tradition. This way you can show them there is a sound ancient alternative perspective on the way they have approached things.

When it starts turning into "gotcha" style debate/argument…that's the time I back out as gracefully as possible.

As for Mormons, I've not encountered a lot, but my conversations with them have been more pleasant and conversational. I once had an LDS boss…and quoting St. Athanasius to him softened his "defenses" considerably, "God became man that man might become god."  This sounds on the surface similar to one of their distinctive beliefs…though deep down it isn't…still it defused the tenseness and readiness to man the bulwarks.  He felt free to ask questions without me feeling obligated to attack his faiths heterodoxies in the process in order to put forward the faith of the Church. Actually in becoming Orthodox I became a bit more sympathetic to them at a human level…I found myself on the receiving end of evangelical "witnessing." Their mission trips and their rigors to demand a certain acesis. They are faced with disdain and misunderstanding outside their home cultural base…so there are points of contact…ways to see them as human beings who want to follow Christ by such lights (I know) as they have. I could be wrong, but the enabling of most conversions from the LDS that are not the outworking of an individual's own personal journey and search must involve real friendship…and opportunity to see one's life as it is lived in the Faith once and for all delivered unto the saints.

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Subdeacon Michael
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« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2012, 10:52:18 AM »

I have given up too.  I just try to live my Orthodox life, however badly.  If people genuinely ask, I do my best to answer.  But the pride stemming from one-upmanship arguments and the frustration caused by entertaining people's constant criticisms are detrimental to my own spiritual path and will not convert anybody, so I don't engage in them anymore.

When I first made it known in my former Anglican parish that I would be leaving for the Orthodox Church, the organist sat me down after choir practice one evening and grilled me for explanations, trying to persuade me of why I was making the wrong decision.  His arguments actually spoke volumes about his own reasons for being in a church and showed how he could not possibly understand my own.  He said that I did so much in the parish that I had a responsibility to stay.  He said that sometimes he had felt like leaving but that he couldn't abandon the parish.  I said that the parish had survived for over 125 years before I joined it and that I did not think it would suddenly collapse if I were to leave.

He told me that I had flitted from church to church (I had passed between a number of Anglican parishes in my journey) and that I clearly didn't know what I wanted.  He asked me why I was joining something Russian, and said that he went to Russia and was horrified at all of the costly decoration in churches there.  When I answered that Russianness had nothing to do with it but that I had to belong to the Church, he said that I could belong to the church I was already in and that there isn't anything specifically Russian about the Church, (completely misrepresenting my reasons, of course).

When I explained that it was because I had explored Christian doctrine and I could not see it any other way than the Church of England had separated itself from a number of Christian beliefs and that I just couldn't accept it as part of the Church any longer, he laughed in my face.  He said that I could stay where I was and still believe my Orthodox beliefs, then went on to explain that, in his nearly 50 years in that parish, he had seen many clergy come and go, and had heard many different and sometimes conflicting things being preached, but that the Church of England could embrace it all and that I was no different.  He seemed to be under the impression that this was a good thing.

The conversation went on, while he continued to talk at me.

I don't know what he thought he was doing but by the end of that conversation, I was not re-assessing my reasons for becoming Orthodox, I was not lamenting leaving the Church of England or my parish any more than missing some of the people, I did not feel that any of the reasons that I was leaving had even been touched on but that I had instead been subjected to a barrage of misrepresentation and nonsense.  I felt frustrated, upset, belittled, and bullied, and I was definitely not encouraged to stay in any parish to which this man belonged.  If he was trying to get me to stay, I think that his attempt was an utter and complete failure.

For a while afterwards, I regretted not being more forceful, and not being more articulate - having the answers at my fingertips so I could "win" the argument - but this was now some years ago, and I realise that rising to the bait from people like that is simply not worth it.  Accept their criticism with as much patience as possible, then go away and pray for them.  If they ask out of genuine interest, answer them with love.  Otherwise, it is best to just live your Orthodox life and let that be the witness to the faith that they see.  You never know what will happen years down the line.

I know of an Orthodox lady who converted some years ago from an evangelical tradition to which her whole family had belonged.  None of them would go to her chrismation, she received criticism whenever something of significance happened in parish life and she wanted to share it.  She decided to just quietly live her Orthodox life and treat them with love.  She has a great nephew who was a very sick baby and she and I took him to a church when the Kursk Root icon was visiting.  One of her sisters, (the baby's grandmother) came with us and refused to come into the church.  Now, another sister, who was equally hostile towards this lady's Orthodox faith for years has suddenly started going with her to visit an Orthodox hieromonk for discussions about matters of faith, they pray the Hours together in church, and she says that she wants to come to church at least once a month.  She is reading about Orthodoxy, and has apologised to her sister for being so cold to her when she embraced the Faith.

From St Seraphim of Sarov:

Quote
Acquire a peaceful spirit and thousands around you will be saved.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 10:53:05 AM by Subdeacon Michael » Logged

'There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy. The church, at this particular time, becomes an earthly heaven; those who officiate represent Christ Himself, the angels, the cherubim, seraphim and apostles.' - St John of Kronstadt
Timon
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« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2012, 11:16:07 AM »

Thanks for sharing your story, Michael.  That is good advice and your situation sounds somewhat similar to mine.  Its fairly ironic that all of that came from an Anglican since it seems like the Anglican church is most likely to come back to Orthodoxy.
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Timon
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« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2012, 11:17:04 AM »

Quote
When it starts turning into "gotcha" style debate/argument…that's the time I back out as gracefully as possible.

This is what I need to start doing more often.
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Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2012, 11:43:31 AM »

ISuppose you really believed something, anything, it really doesn’t matter, but one day someone proves to you that you have always been wrong and displays what you consider to be indisputable evidence to support his claim and reveal yours to be faulty.  Will you still believe or will you alter your views to match the evidence?  You would believe the truth, right?  Well, that is what happened to me.  Enough proof was provided for me to, as uncomfortable as it was, to see the truth and accept it.


Ooooh, I love this. Would you mind if I used it too?
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« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2012, 11:49:27 AM »

ISuppose you really believed something, anything, it really doesn’t matter, but one day someone proves to you that you have always been wrong and displays what you consider to be indisputable evidence to support his claim and reveal yours to be faulty.  Will you still believe or will you alter your views to match the evidence?  You would believe the truth, right?  Well, that is what happened to me.  Enough proof was provided for me to, as uncomfortable as it was, to see the truth and accept it.


Ooooh, I love this. Would you mind if I used it too?

Ive already used it!
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Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

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Kerdy
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« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2012, 12:51:57 PM »

ISuppose you really believed something, anything, it really doesn’t matter, but one day someone proves to you that you have always been wrong and displays what you consider to be indisputable evidence to support his claim and reveal yours to be faulty.  Will you still believe or will you alter your views to match the evidence?  You would believe the truth, right?  Well, that is what happened to me.  Enough proof was provided for me to, as uncomfortable as it was, to see the truth and accept it.


Ooooh, I love this. Would you mind if I used it too?

Not at all.   Grin
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sprtslvr1973
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« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2012, 05:47:30 PM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"
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« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2012, 06:03:42 PM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"

And most of their questions/assertions come from the last youtube video "The Bible exposed" or some report about Early Christianity and similarities with other cults ?  Cheesy
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Subdeacon Michael
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« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2012, 06:09:10 PM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"

Oh, I love things like that in discussions, not necessarily about faith but about various things.  In debate, that's an example of a logical fallacy.  It's called a strawman argument, and is employed to give the appearance of successfully prevailing over an opponent's argument without actually doing any such thing.

Instead of deconstructing and dealing with your actual position on something, your opponent presents a misrepresentation of your position and instead argues against that misrepresentation.  If it is done cleverly enough, other parties in the conversation/the audience may fall for it and think that the other person has won the debate.  However, if you call your opponent on it, and point out that this is a strawman, it causes the ploy to backfire because the only reason somebody would need to argue a strawman is if he does not have any real argument against your actual position.

It's called a "strawman" because of the way it is often explained.  Let's say you and I are having a fight.  In the middle of the fight, I realise that you're bigger and stronger than I am and there's no way I can win.  But I don't want to be embarrassed in front of my friends, so I make a figure out of straw, dress it up in clothes and a hat that look like your clothes and hat, and I beat up this strawman and claim to have won the fight.  To my friends looking on from the distance, it looks as though I have beaten you up but on closer inspection, it becomes clear that the reality is that what I have beaten up is not the real you but a misrepresentation.  I have done you no harm whatsoever because I am not strong enough.

The strawman ploy is the sign of a weak argument and can be easily dismissed.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 06:10:19 PM by Subdeacon Michael » Logged

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WeldeMikael
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« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2012, 06:14:36 PM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"

In debate, that's an example of a logical fallacy.  It's called a strawman argument, and is employed to give the appearance of successfully prevailing over an opponent's argument without actually doing any such thing.



Absolutely !

empty questions... Thanks to your post I'll be better at detecting them  Cheesy
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dzheremi
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« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2012, 06:16:20 PM »

Try being Coptic Orthodox... Roll Eyes Just answering the question "Are you guys in union with the Pope?" is at least a ten minute discussion, and it usually ends with the other person insisting that we're lying or have somehow grossly misinterpreted very basic Church history (not even the stuff surrounding Chalcedon and its aftermath, on which honorable men can differ!), because of course Rome can't have been the one that has done that, oh no...no way...

I always want to nip these conversations in the bud by advising RCs and Protestants to work on reconciling with one another before trying to approach either the OO or the EO, but that never really gets off the ground because the heterodox often seem to be in some sort of race with one another to the doctrinal and liturgical bottom, which I can't imagine any Orthodox being the least bit interested in joining.

This is one of the many, many reasons why I don't think ecumenical talks should center around establishing Orthodox-RC union. The only talks that seem to even have a realistic goal to me are the OO-EO talks, and I'm not even so sure that "realistic" translates into "achievable", at least not within my lifetime. For the rest, though, consistent exposure to Orthodoxy without argument is worth much more than the patchy, semi-exposure with argument that often comes instead (say, on the internet...{gaffaw chortle sputter}).
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2012, 10:08:27 AM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"

Yes!!!! Or the inevitable "y'all worship Mary" or my personal favorite, the "call no man father" pseudo-debate.
See, y'all think I'm argumentative, when you really have no idea how truly saintly and patient I really am when confronted with nonsense like this! Wink
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« Reply #59 on: August 04, 2012, 06:17:58 AM »

It's amazing how many judges surround us. If they really think you did terrible thing, where were they before to stop you in time? Perhaps busy with judging someone else.
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« Reply #60 on: August 04, 2012, 10:17:38 AM »

A professor of mine in a Christian history class rhetorically asked me once, "If you believe the Eucharist to be efficacious, then why don't you take it all the time (as in, multiple times a day or more)?"

I was taken aback because it was out of character from his usual friendliness, and so I didn't know how to respond. But that's the most confrontational anyone's gotten with me. Everyone else I know either doesn't care, or "at least you're going to [a] church."

I feel for those of you that get flak over it.  Undecided
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« Reply #61 on: August 04, 2012, 06:37:28 PM »

I do't know if this is along the lines of the original post. However I can tell you what drives me nuts. It's when people challenge Orthodox Christianity by correcting errors that we don't make. I think my favorite is when people say things like "...you know, you can't earn your way into Heaven by doing good deeds..." to this I want to scream "DUh!!!! We never said you could numbn**s!!!!"
Some protestants believe that works have nothing to do with salvation. When asked about their mention in the bible the best answers I have gotten is that works are "extra credit". Christianity is just a mental exercise for them nothing more.


It is important to remember that when being grilled on our faith it is acceptable to respond with "I don't know". I know it feels weak to say this, but the fact is that anyone with all the answers is the biggest liar out there.
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