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Author Topic: I would like to see a good discussion on how Orthodoxy can effectively replace..  (Read 487 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 01, 2013, 10:35:53 PM »

...secular humanism. Let me also note, that I also loop in American Christianity into "secular humanism" as well. Diet Christianity if you will, since it's hard to really distinguish between the two concepts in America, IMHO. You know between Aspartame and HFCS, except the former has a slightly bad aftertaste much akin to one leaving a Charasmatic service.

Analogy aside, maybe a definition is needed first. I would define secular humanism as an ideology that posits our values, ethics, culture can be gained without the invocation of God or religion.

I envision that our polymorphous beliefs and ethics will be further homogenized, aligning closer to a humanistic model.

So what then of Orthodoxy?

Does it have a place in post-modernity, especially with an increased claim in irreligious affiliation? How can Orthodoxy combat this?

Please refrain from saying that one holy life can set the spark for a hundred holy lives, I am looking for something a little more concrete.

This topic is the most interesting to me because I feel it is the most important. I am concerned about our transition, as a culture, in the next 50 years and what that embodies. I am certainly frightened that my generation is not readily equipped for what is to come, but I remain a skeptic, which I feel is a better position than a cynic. I believe my education and that of my peers has failed us, in more ways then one, but that is a seperate topic.

I know we have folks that live outside of America (is that even possible with our imperalism? Wink ) but maybe they would like to chime in here. So yes I am talking more so strictly from an American perspective.

Am I wrong to ask to these questions? Am I asking the right ones?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 10:42:15 PM by Achronos » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 11:12:01 PM »

The OCA cathedral in New York City once had on its sign a slogan: "Orthodoxy: A Saving Alternative to Godless Secularism."

We offer salvation. It is not the worldly salvation hoped for by Jews, Muslims, atheists and anarchists.
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 11:14:47 PM »

The OCA cathedral in New York City once had on its sign a slogan: "Orthodoxy: A Saving Alternative to Godless Secularism."

We offer salvation. It is not the worldly salvation hoped for by Jews, Muslims, atheists and anarchists.
But how is that a better alternative?

What sort of muscle do we have behind the evanglism.

Don't you to convince folks that they are in need of saving, from what or from who? I mean if you are trying to convince salvation from a godless secularism, where do you start?
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 11:22:00 PM »

I'm not sure it's possible to convince those who aren't themselves already convinced. I mean, if you don't feel you need salvation, why would you take someone else's word for it?
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 11:24:58 PM »

I wish there were good answers to your questions...
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 02:04:27 AM »

I would define secular humanism as an ideology that posits our values, ethics, culture can be gained without the invocation of God or religion.

Two things would immediately come to mind; firstly, whose culture, idealogy, ethics and values should we follow? What standard do we use to judge them? Secondly, what is the purpose of doing any of this? Isn't it all just meaningless? Ultimately, this is where I think Orthodoxy may come in; to give meaning to a meaningless--although goodhearted--worldview.
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 03:04:59 AM »

One reason I think secular humanism has taken hold so powerfully in America is that we lack a truly strong and consistent spiritual tradition. What we've got are a mess of often contradicting Christianities, and when people see this there isn't a lot to attract them or encourage spiritual aspirations toward God. And of course there are tuns of Christian churches in this country that are quite comfortable with the values of secular humanism, trying to reinvent Christianity to appeal to modern thinking, which, again, isn't helping anyone break free of the modern system of thought.

Well guess what? Orthodoxy is a strong and consistent tradition, and it's about as far removed from the values of secular humanism as can be. I think that's one reason why it's grown so much in the U.S. over the last few decades. I think the best way for Orthodoxy or any other tradition to combat the secular mentality is to stay true to it's values and ideas, to stand strong and not get sidetracked by the temptation to conform to the current trends. Anyone doing this will probably have to endure an intense struggle, but in the end it's going to be the only way. To lead in the opposite direction. To resist the current. Fight against the conventional wisdom hard and long enough and I think eventually people will be forced to take notice. But as to whether anyone will have the strength to do this is another matter. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 07:42:58 AM »

I wish there were good answers to your questions...

The only real question is the OP's last one.
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 07:53:55 AM »

One reason I think secular humanism has taken hold so powerfully in America is that we lack a truly strong and consistent spiritual tradition.
That is true, but at least Russia had a strong tradition to fall back on after the collapse of the USSR. All we have is our puritan past, which still somehow pervades in our society, and I would also assert that Orthodox Christians in America sometimes conflate being puritanical and Orthodox together.

We are still tangled in it, but it doesn't help free us from the reactionaries that keep it that way.

Quote
What we've got are a mess of often contradicting Christianities, and when people see this there isn't a lot to attract them or encourage spiritual aspirations toward God. And of course there are tuns of Christian churches in this country that are quite comfortable with the values of secular humanism, trying to reinvent Christianity to appeal to modern thinking, which, again, isn't helping anyone break free of the modern system of thought.

Well guess what? Orthodoxy is a strong and consistent tradition, and it's about as far removed from the values of secular humanism as can be. I think that's one reason why it's grown so much in the U.S. over the last few decades. I think the best way for Orthodoxy or any other tradition to combat the secular mentality is to stay true to it's values and ideas, to stand strong and not get sidetracked by the temptation to conform to the current trends. Anyone doing this will probably have to endure an intense struggle, but in the end it's going to be the only way. To lead in the opposite direction. To resist the current. Fight against the conventional wisdom hard and long enough and I think eventually people will be forced to take notice. But as to whether anyone will have the strength to do this is another matter.  
How much has it really grown though. Do you have numbers to substantiate the claim?

And what exactly are we fighting against? "Current trends" such as?

That sounds a whole lot of reactionary to me.

I wish there were good answers to your questions...

The only real question is the OP's last one.
See this is what trolling actually is.

My thread title: I would like to see a good discussion on how Orthodoxy can effectively replace...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 07:54:20 AM by Achronos » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 07:57:53 AM »

You asked the question, not I. An ad hominem attack is to be expected when you don't get your way?
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 08:02:20 AM »

You asked the question, not I. An ad hominem attack is to be expected when you don't get your way?
I think I made my topic very clear that I wanted a discussion to some of the questions I have raised.

Your post can hardly be described as a discussion, let alone even a thought.

I know it actually does take some thought to actually engage in a productive discussion. Maybe you would like to expand on why my last question is the only real one.

Maybe you don't and want to continue to troll this thread and me in the private fora.

I don't know, but I am the creator of this thread and all I am asking from folks is some discussion.

I have given you more than enough attention for today.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 08:02:59 AM by Achronos » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 08:06:10 AM »

But YOU asked the last question.

You don't want an answer, don't ask.
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 08:14:00 AM »

I think that first the philosophical climate has to change. Relativism and moral nihilism would have to be discarded first before Orthodoxy can effectively take on secular humanism. Just my 2 cents.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2013, 08:22:30 AM »

I think that first the philosophical climate has to change. Relativism and moral nihilism would have to be discarded first before Orthodoxy can effectively take on secular humanist. Just my 2 cents.

What would have to be done to discard the two? Are we too deep in relativism to ever get out of it?

Also, what is your take on medical/scientific advancements that could prolong life itself? What if the genetic code was re-coded so we could have "immortality"? We'd have a much more larger problem on our hands if that was to happen, but I'm fairly confident a discovery of that will happen eventually.

I think this is one of the more questionable things about technology, how far do we advance?
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 08:30:14 AM »

What would have to be done to discard the two? Are we too deep in relativism to ever get out of it?

Well, no. It would be harder than the time when the Orthodox Church drastically reformed Roman society. But I guess it could be done. I don't know how, though.

Also, what is your take on medical/scientific advancements that could prolong life itself? What if the genetic code was re-coded so we could have "immortality"? We'd have a much more larger problem on our hands if that was to happen, but I'm fairly confident a discovery of that will happen eventually.

The tower of Babylon rings a bell?
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 08:41:58 AM »

Also, what is your take on medical/scientific advancements that could prolong life itself? What if the genetic code was re-coded so we could have "immortality"? We'd have a much more larger problem on our hands if that was to happen, but I'm fairly confident a discovery of that will happen eventually.

I remember reading many years ago (when everyone was neck-deep in envisioning what the neonate 21st century was going to be like) that the lifespan written in our cells right now is 120 years, and it is only because of environmental factors that we fail to reach it.

Anyway, OT: Projected outcomes usually don't materialise, especially with such long-term projections, because they cannot account for spanners in the works, which, for better or worse, happen.

For all we know, next year one of those increasingly drug-resistant bugs may turn into a plague that will wipe out 90% of humanity. That would create a totally different set of values.

TL;DR: Expect the unexpected.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2013, 10:21:40 AM »

I have been asking myself similar questions.  Is it chiliastic to hope or try and conceive of ways in wich Orthodoxy could become a dominant force (or THE dominant force) in a country like America?
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 10:56:08 AM »

What "transition"? You mean the one that's been ongoing for centuries? Secularism, as I posted elsewhere recently, has been the prevailing world religion for a long time. The only difference today is that there are more people with exclusively secular worldviews, instead of a syncretism of Christian and secular beliefs. What you can expect in the future is that people will go on living as if God didn't exist and go on trying to improve the world's material conditions, much as before.
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 12:32:32 PM »

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What if the genetic code was re-coded so we could have "immortality"?

About as likely as a true "perpetual motion" machine. Won't happen, can't happen.
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 04:51:46 AM »

...secular humanism. Let me also note, that I also loop in American Christianity into "secular humanism" as well. Diet Christianity if you will, since it's hard to really distinguish between the two concepts in America, IMHO. You know between Aspartame and HFCS, except the former has a slightly bad aftertaste much akin to one leaving a Charasmatic service.

Analogy aside, maybe a definition is needed first. I would define secular humanism as an ideology that posits our values, ethics, culture can be gained without the invocation of God or religion.

I envision that our polymorphous beliefs and ethics will be further homogenized, aligning closer to a humanistic model.

So what then of Orthodoxy?

Does it have a place in post-modernity, especially with an increased claim in irreligious affiliation? How can Orthodoxy combat this?

Please refrain from saying that one holy life can set the spark for a hundred holy lives, I am looking for something a little more concrete.

This topic is the most interesting to me because I feel it is the most important. I am concerned about our transition, as a culture, in the next 50 years and what that embodies. I am certainly frightened that my generation is not readily equipped for what is to come, but I remain a skeptic, which I feel is a better position than a cynic. I believe my education and that of my peers has failed us, in more ways then one, but that is a seperate topic.

I know we have folks that live outside of America (is that even possible with our imperalism? Wink ) but maybe they would like to chime in here. So yes I am talking more so strictly from an American perspective.

Am I wrong to ask to these questions? Am I asking the right ones?

Orthodoxy was a theocratic religion in many states esspecially on the times of the Roman Empire. I don't think the unification of Religion and State is such a good ideea. I don't see how the human rights could be respected in a theocratic state where religious minorities would be subjected to discrimination and persecution. Democracy is about equal rights, the freedom of thought and the freedom of religion. I don't see how you could have that in a theocratic state. I think secular humanism is the response of religious humanism who seems to be very bigoted. In order for equal rights, values, liberties and objective ethics to exist you would need a deffinition of humanism that doesn't involve any definition of God. At least not a strict or limited deffinition of God. Because humanity is multicultural and multi-religious. What would be an Orthodox alternative for secular humanism? Good question. I don't think there is one happy alternative. I think Christian humanism and by extension Orthodox humanism can get very bigoted, discriminatorial, judgemental and demonising. If you ask me, Christian and by extension Orthodox morality is outdated to our post-modernist times. And if you ask me the impact Christianity had on human existence is not a very positive and promising one esspecially considering the Dark Ages of persecutions and the scientifical regress of the last ages when Christianity was in control and in big power. So no. The biblical/Christian/Orthodox view of humanity is outdated and degrading for this post-modernist times. But this is just my opinion.

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