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Author Topic: Why is God so Absent?  (Read 2867 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 23, 2013, 03:16:01 AM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?

I mean, if the gate is really that narrow and it is so important to God what we believe and whether or not we belong to His Orthodox Church, why isn't it blatantly obvious? Why doesn't He at least show us definitively if it's the proper gate or not? Can you really blame someone for choosing a different religion or being godless instead of becoming Orthodox? God hasn't done anything to prove that Orthodoxy is the truth or to make Himself known in the world.

All it takes is for one grand miracle like raining donuts or a big thundering voice in the sky to say that "Orthodoxy is the true religion and oh, I'm real in case you were wondering" and everyone would know definitively what He wants them to do and could choose from there if they want to worship Him or not.

As heathen as this sounds, it appears to me like He really doesn't care about our religion--otherwise He'd make His will blatantly obvious for us--but more so about how we live our lives and what we make of this time on Earth. Great, and now I'm starting to sound like an Episcopal.
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 03:51:14 AM »

God was incarnate and taught us directly to eat His flesh and drink His blood and plenty of people freaked out and refused to believe it (many still don't). What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 04:50:55 AM »


"Your fountain, Lord, is hidden from the person who does not thirst for You." -Ephrem the Syrian (Faith 32:2-3)

“Why is the truth, it would seem, revealed to some and not to others? Is there a special organ for receiving revelation from God? Yes, though usually we close it and do not let it open up: God’s revelation is given to something called a loving heart.” -Seraphim Rose, God's Revelation to the Human Heart

“‘Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts’ (Rom 1:24). Generally, atheists and agnostics are talking about themselves when they talk about the absence of God. They simply express their personal subjective truth (that their souls are empty) in an objective way and try to generalize their experience. In other words, there is no theology, or even philosophy here, it is just their own ill or deficient psychology, which is what atheism is… In the Scriptures Christ says clearly that only the pure in heart will see God. In other words, intellectuals, examiners and professors will never understand God, if their minds are not pure… How do we know if someone has a pure heart? The pure heart is evidenced by the way we live. As Peter says, a person devoted to the Lord “does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2); “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior” (Ps 24:3-5).” +Fr. Andrew Anglorus
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 05:09:58 AM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?
 

Because people don’t want Him present.  They like to pretend there is no God.  The Lord once did exactly as you question and was still rejected.

I mean, if the gate is really that narrow and it is so important to God what we believe and whether or not we belong to His Orthodox Church, why isn't it blatantly obvious? Why doesn't He at least show us definitively if it's the proper gate or not? Can you really blame someone for choosing a different religion or being godless instead of becoming Orthodox? God hasn't done anything to prove that Orthodoxy is the truth or to make Himself known in the world.
 

It is blatantly obvious.  Thousands of years of experience and teaching are at our very finger tips.  People want the blissful ignorance.  Yes, I can blame them because of what I just mentioned.  It is obvious.  How can you say He hasn’t done anything?  He has given us the Church, He came in the flesh, taught us face to face and promised to return.  God provides miracles all the time.  The world KNOWS there is God, they just reject Him in the same way Satan knows God, but rejects Him.

All it takes is for one grand miracle like raining donuts or a big thundering voice in the sky to say that "Orthodoxy is the true religion and oh, I'm real in case you were wondering" and everyone would know definitively what He wants them to do and could choose from there if they want to worship Him or not.
 

You seem to have forgotten about the child-like faith He wants from us.  Also, He did speak with a booming voice from the sky, and a lot of other things, and was still rejected.  He probably got tired of being ignored.

As heathen as this sounds, it appears to me like He really doesn't care about our religion

He doesn’t.  God cares nothing about religion.  Religion does a lot of stupid things.  He cares about us and the Church He created.

otherwise He'd make His will blatantly obvious for us--but more so about how we live our lives and what we make of this time on Earth. Great, and now I'm starting to sound like an Episcopal.

He did make it obvious.  Do you not know how to live a Christian life?  Do you not know where to get answers?  Do you not know how to pray?  The problem with today’s world is it has embraced so much of what Satan has placed in front of us, we are too busy to do as God wants.  Satan is much more clever than people give him credit.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 07:48:23 AM »

As said, He actually did appear and said things clearly. Look what we did to Him.

Also:

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

"'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 12:19:30 PM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?

I mean, if the gate is really that narrow and it is so important to God what we believe and whether or not we belong to His Orthodox Church, why isn't it blatantly obvious? Why doesn't He at least show us definitively if it's the proper gate or not? Can you really blame someone for choosing a different religion or being godless instead of becoming Orthodox? God hasn't done anything to prove that Orthodoxy is the truth or to make Himself known in the world.

All it takes is for one grand miracle like raining donuts or a big thundering voice in the sky to say that "Orthodoxy is the true religion and oh, I'm real in case you were wondering" and everyone would know definitively what He wants them to do and could choose from there if they want to worship Him or not.

As heathen as this sounds, it appears to me like He really doesn't care about our religion--otherwise He'd make His will blatantly obvious for us--but more so about how we live our lives and what we make of this time on Earth. Great, and now I'm starting to sound like an Episcopal.
I can definitely relate. I too often wonder why God seems so hidden, and I don't know if it is as simple as saying those with a loving heart will believe and those who don't will not. I can personally think of many instances where I choose myself or the world over God, but then I have met many people who are selfless, loving Christians who still lose faith. I am often left wondering if God is truly an impersonal force, a force that doesn't care much for humans, or a God that plays favorites. Maybe he has chosen an elect few like the Calvinists claim, and there is nothing we can do about it.

It is easy for me to see the work of the Aristotelian god or the god of deists in the world around me, but I often struggle to see the Christian God in the world.

At the end of the day I am left hoping that maybe someday God will show me the way. The tough part is figuring out what to do until then.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 12:34:01 PM »

God was incarnate and taught us directly to eat His flesh and drink His blood and plenty of people freaked out and refused to believe it (many still don't). What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

These are terrible apologetics.
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 12:36:55 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 12:49:30 PM »

They'd believe something more than materialism, that's for sure. And that would be far worse than materialism, for the spiritual world is not made of God and angels only.

I don't remember which elder said it, but he reminded us that the demons know about God as well as the angels, they see His Light (even though they flee from It). And yet, they hate him.

God was seen by the multitudes once and the multitudes chose to kill him. People who say the truth, and therefore are manifesting Him, more commonly are persecuted or marginalized. Beauty and justice are paid lip-service and usually they are scorned and spitted at (just like when true Beauty and true Justice was incarnated). *That* would be the treatment we would give to any sign of God that strong. It's not the signs or their absence, it's how we relate to God.

If one wants to see God, just follow the evangelical instruction: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." St. Mt 5:8. That is what the ascetics do, and some of them do see His Light. And what was the reaction to that? They were accused, slandered and even today people doubt. The thing is even empirical. Purify your heart according to these orientations and you *will* see. Many have done it and confirmed it. We should do the same.

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 12:50:43 PM »

People can be very irrational, even when the truth about something is clear.  Many young people still take up smoking even though it is well known that it is very bad for your health.  Why?  Because its pleasant effects are immediate, and its harmful effects are generally years away.  Not to mention peer pressure and corporate greed.
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 12:52:57 PM »

People can be very irrational, even when the truth about something is clear.  Many young people still take up smoking even though it is well known that it is very bad for your health.  Why?  Because its pleasant effects are immediate, and its harmful effects are generally years away.  Not to mention peer pressure and corporate greed.

And it is really cool. Why leave out the most important part?

But this analogy makes zero sense.
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 01:25:04 PM »

The thing is that you guys all talk about it being "so obvious" that God is real and Orthodoxy is the truth--even though every single religion known to man claims the same thing about their deity and religion, yet, neither of them--Orthodoxy included--can present any good reason to back up their claim and distinguish themselves from the others. You talk about "listening" but that's bull. Thousands of people listen every day and pray for God to do something, but He doesn't talk to them or do anything.

If God worked one more miracle in the world right now--in an age where we could carefully document it and record it and everything--then most of the world would be willing to believe something and I don't care what anyone says. All the world wants is a reason beyond what a bunch of people from 2,000 years ago claimed in an age where no one could record it or anything to definitively prove that it happened.
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 01:26:17 PM »

Jesus did many miracles while He was alive. So did the saints. People saw them at the time; some believed, others did not.

They say there is a miracle every Sunday, i.e. the Eucharist.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 01:30:08 PM »

Jesus did many miracles while He was alive. So did the saints. People saw them at the time; some believed, others did not.

Well I never got to see any. Wouldn't it be fairer if God did one grand amazing miracle in the presence of every person at least once in their life time? That way they could choose from there what they want to do?

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They say there is a miracle every Sunday, i.e. the Eucharist.

Yeah but we have no way of knowing for sure
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 01:36:24 PM »

"Religion" is often used synonymously with "faith" because we recognize that not everything we believe is scientifically verifiable. In fact, I was under the impression that this is what a miracle is -- essentially, an act that occurs outside of the confines of the natural world and its observable/quantifiable aspects (note: not outside of the natural world itself, but something beyond what we can make sense of in it). So I don't really understand what God doing a miracle for every person in their lifetime would do, if it's supposed to provide them with faith they would not otherwise have once they verify it (since that's not possible without it not being a miracle).
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 01:37:32 PM »

That little thing called faith.
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2013, 01:44:26 PM »

I think your question is really a Christological problem that you, and many others, are struggling to understand. At the Incarnation, the Son of God became man: God entered "man's place" - "man's place" is creation. Jesus Christ as first born of creation is fully creation/man and fully God. But at the Ascension, man (i.e. Jesus Christ) enters "God's place" - this "same Jesus Christ" being fully man enters "God's place" completely: body, soul and mind. If Christ did not Ascend to the Father (again physically) then the act of redemption would be incomplete.

So, by necessity, Christ (who is fully God) is both absent and present. Absent because He is now in God's place which is not limited to time and space. He is present, however, (and certainly physically) in the eschaton (i.e. now but not yet).

Our experience of absence will end at the Second Coming. Remember, the Apostle's first reaction to Christ's Ascension was the feeling of absense.

If we try to feel/understand God's presence outside of the Person of Jesus Christ, then we have serious theological problems.

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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2013, 02:04:25 PM »

God is not absent, but our state is confused, fallen. Don't stress yourself so much as to why He is not making it clear what He wants. In our fallen state, we are actually obsessed by what one wants, but God is love and He does not force people. He prefers to deal with things as they are, even if they are not very impressive. In the end, He knows He will get what He wants for us. We can only move so fast and accomplish so much given the circumstances.
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2013, 02:45:39 PM »

Jesus did many miracles while He was alive. So did the saints. People saw them at the time; some believed, others did not.

Well I never got to see any. Wouldn't it be fairer if God did one grand amazing miracle in the presence of every person at least once in their life time? That way they could choose from there what they want to do?

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They say there is a miracle every Sunday, i.e. the Eucharist.

Yeah but we have no way of knowing for sure

Sure, because it all comes down to you and the quality of your judgement. I guess there are no other planets, because you've never been there.
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2013, 02:52:34 PM »

If there was one great miracle done for every person, people would still doubt.  People will always try to find an excuse for why some miraculous event can be explained away.  If my mind was dead set against miracles, my grandmother could show up to me from the dead, smack me upside the head and tell me to go get her a banana.  I would be stunned, but a week from then, I would be thinking, "I must have eaten some strange food that day to cause such a hallucination."
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2013, 02:55:00 PM »

James, I can't blame you for sometimes having doubts. I think there are few people who don't. It's hard to have faith sometimes. All I can say is don't give up.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2013, 04:00:12 PM »

Repent, pray, fast, love, repeat until your heart is pure. Don't try to boss God around, don't envy those who see Him with less or no effort and you will see Him.

Reality is such that obvious things require some experimentation of our part to see it. The very nature of air was discussed for a lot of time until some agreement was reached on it. The lack of consensus on something or someone does not mean it's not there everywhere. We have to be in the proper angle to see most of the things that are pillars of reality, even materially. Spiritually is no different.
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2013, 06:26:07 PM »

God was incarnate and taught us directly to eat His flesh and drink His blood and plenty of people freaked out and refused to believe it (many still don't). What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

God was here for some 33 years and folks STILL did not believe.....What makes us think that people would change simply by Christ showing up on the streets today?  No, human nature, the fallen nature, wont change that's why we have Faith to lean on.
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2013, 06:26:32 PM »

The thing is that you guys all talk about it being "so obvious" that God is real and Orthodoxy is the truth--even though every single religion known to man claims the same thing about their deity and religion, yet, neither of them--Orthodoxy included--can present any good reason to back up their claim and distinguish themselves from the others.
"Obvious" is exactly what we, following scripture, should refuse to say that others will perceive even if we perceive it thus. "If this religion boasted of having a clear vision of God, and of possessing Him plain and unveiled, then to say that nothing we see in the world reveals Him with this degree of clarity would indeed be to attack it. But it says, on the contrary, that man is in darkness and far from God, that He has hidden Himself from man’s knowledge, and that the name He has given Himself in the Scriptures is in fact The Hidden God (Is 45:15). Therefore if it seeks to establish these two facts: that God has in the church erected visible signs by which those who sincerely seek Him may recognize Him, and that he has nevertheless so concealed them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their hearts, what advantage can the attackers gain when, while admitting that they neglect to seek for the truth, they yet cry that nothing reveals it? For the very darkness in which they lie, and for which they blame the Church, establishes one of her two claims, without invalidating the other, and also, far from destroying her doctrine, confirms it” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 335).

“To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much machines as mind. And hence the means by which a man is persuaded are not demonstration alone. How few things are demonstrated! Proofs convince only the mind. It is habit that produces our strongest and most accepted proofs; it guides the machine, which carries the mind with it unconsciously. Who has proved that there will be a morrow and that we will die?” -Blaise Pascal

Christ understood how the Father might be known -He alone knows the Father and He alone reveals Him. He did not leave us with a syllogism, or a philosophical treatise, but with men who knew Him, a Gospel, and a path. "Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes." -John 12:35    “FIRE: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. God of Jesus Christ… He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospel… He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel.” -Pascal

John 3:19-21:  "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." It is ourselves we must examine wholeheartedly if our perception of God is dimmed. The OT never presents an argument for God's existence. Christ of the Gospels presents no burden of proof, but only a burden of wholehearted seeking, receiving, and giving; in a word it is grace: Kyrie eleison!
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2013, 06:47:38 PM »

Seek and you will find JamesR.

Follow his will.  I have found that by following his will (and I stink at it), that I get beat down as well as lifted up.  It's tough to try to carry the cross down the narrow path.  I stray off that path a lot.
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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2013, 06:58:48 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

Maybe.

My generation seems much more concerned with conspiracy theories. You can bet, no matter how well controlled or under close scrutiny, there will be plenty of conspiracy theories to go around and deniers.

Seeing isn't believing.
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2013, 08:06:51 PM »

The problem is never with God, but fully with us humans. As I once heard from a lecture, Whatever God reveals or communicates to us, if we don´t get it OUR way then we won´t get the message at all. I´ve been into the same struggle as you may be in JamesR, my dear and loving brother.

What I found out was though that the root problem was not that God didn´t show a marvelous instant miracle. No, God did and is showing tons of miracles every day. But as soon as our eyes don´t see it, or our ears hear it, it didn´t exist.

For example. One may say that raining days are something very boring that makes your mood go down a bit. Each drop of rain represents a certain heat degree that was released from earth to cool it down. If God would save 1 drop of rain each day, in every country, I guess the reducing of all these drops in 10 days would make the earth boil up by the sun.

The sun for example. 1 more inch closer to earth and we would boil up. These are small things, no worth before God. But rather...

...How about when his loving children turns into prayer and open the hearts with, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, your unprofitable servant.

What worth doesn´t that have before God our Father, even if you believe or not, He will sustain all things for you whether you see it or not.


The problem is not God nor miracles. But rather that we humans want it our way. And the donut was a good example of that Tongue If donuts would be flying all over the world, would you then think this had something to do with Jesus or with a donut God? For every 1 requirement God would fulfill, we would make up 2 new.

If we can´t see, believe and trust how Gods grace works through our daily lives in million different ways. How will we trust or believe him when marvelous things happen with more grace?

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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 08:18:01 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

I doubt it.
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2013, 08:19:47 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2013, 08:19:55 PM »

"A sinful and adulterous generation asks for a sign."

"But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"
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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2013, 08:21:41 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.

Didn't work for Judas, Caiaphas, and indeed most of the people who actually met God Incarnate and saw the works He did and heard the things he said, speaking as one with authority, and doing what no one else did.
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2013, 08:22:22 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

I doubt it.

Doesn't this happen occasionally in hospitals?
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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2013, 08:27:06 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.

Didn't work for Judas, Caiaphas, and indeed most of the people who actually met God Incarnate and saw the works He did and heard the things he said, speaking as one with authority, and doing what no one else did.

Well I'm not them. In fact, I'd bet the welfare of my own soul that if God spoke to me once, I'd go on to live a life like the most devout Saints and never do anything evil again no matter how tempting.
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« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2013, 08:47:31 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

I doubt it.

Doesn't this happen occasionally in hospitals?

After three days?
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2013, 08:49:31 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.

Didn't work for Judas, Caiaphas, and indeed most of the people who actually met God Incarnate and saw the works He did and heard the things he said, speaking as one with authority, and doing what no one else did.

Well I'm not them. In fact, I'd bet the welfare of my own soul that if God spoke to me once, I'd go on to live a life like the most devout Saints and never do anything evil again no matter how tempting.

Why not do that now? Nothing is stopping you but yourself.
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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2013, 08:56:33 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

I doubt it.

Doesn't this happen occasionally in hospitals?

After three days?

Here is one after 6 days.  Unfortunately, there was no mass conversion to Christianity following it despite all the many promises from people like JamesR.  Wink

the bummer for her is they burnt all her stuff.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/zombie-gran-95-year-old-chinese-woman-746295
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« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2013, 09:05:31 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.
It is common these days to suppose that if God would reveal Himself our way rather than His Way we would respond perfectly and with open arms. But we do not know ourselves -our hearts- as well as God does. Our hearts ever deceive us; God is not deceived and knows what we need before we ask.

"To know oneself is a miracle greater than raising the dead." -St. Isaac the Syrian
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« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2013, 09:10:18 PM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?
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« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2013, 09:44:38 PM »

Well I'm not them. In fact, I'd bet the welfare of my own soul that if God spoke to me once, I'd go on to live a life like the most devout Saints and never do anything evil again no matter how tempting.

Psalm 39: Unto the end, a psalm for James himself.

Before God spoke to them, the most devout Saints did this sort of things:

Seraphim spent 1,000 successive nights on a rock in continuous prayer with his arms raised to the sky.

(After a bunch of thugs left him half-dead and God had apparently done "nothing" to help him.)
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« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2013, 10:22:14 PM »

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
St. Lk 16:19-31

OK Fabio, let's be honest . . .

What would the reaction be today, if someone routinely under carefully controlled and observed conditions routine came back to life after dying or returned life to others who were dead?

I think all hell would break loose . . . A lot of folks certainly would be believing something. Why coming back from the dead would connect to the Law of Moses, I dunno, but a lot of folks might be willing to believe given such circumstances.

I doubt it.

Doesn't this happen occasionally in hospitals?

No.

When they bring back a moldering corpse, link me.
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« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2013, 10:22:35 PM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?

I don't understand why you'd lump ecumenism with universalism, or why you think people would "become ecumenist" because they don't feel God's presence in the world. You do understand that ecumenism is just an attitude towards other groups, whereas universalism is a specific heretical teaching?

If anything, those who struggled with God's apparent "absence" would probably embrace skepticism or some non-theistic/deistic religion.

Regarding your question, God is definitely not absent. But he also doesn't push himself on anyone; we have to be receptive to his presence. And for some, that might mean a lifetime of repentance. I wouldn't want God to show Himself to me right now; I'm such a sinner that I'd probably just be burned up by His glory.

I heard a parable once. The king summoned a rabbi to his court and demanded that the rabbi show him God. The rabbi took the king outside and asked him to stare at the sun. Within a few seconds, the king could no longer look at the sun. "I can't bare to look at it any longer!" he told the rabbi. The rabbi replied, "If we cannot even gaze upon God's servant, how can we gaze upon God Himself?"
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« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2013, 12:23:49 AM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.
I feel for you brother, if only it could be so. I've seen numerous examples of what I would consider the miraculous in my life, and probably a few that the rest of you would consider miraculous as well. Moreover, not only in my own life but in the lives of others, real you can see the scars kinda stuff. Some people I know, some that I don't. Ever read the lives of the Saints? The church is full the miraculous and of people who hear directly from God. Those Saint's stories aren't just made up you know.

 But despite all I've seen I still struggle. Despite all many people know they still struggle. Even in a world that is full of the miraculous and people hearing directly from God, Orthodoxy understands (better than anyone else?) the importance of perseverance. Even if you get a miracle, and I wish for you that you do, the excitement will fade, the specialness will loose it's bloom old familiar temptations will raise their heads in times of weakness and you will want to sin and you wont care about the miracle you had. That my brother is when you need to persevere not because you want to but because it is right and Godly to do so.

Perhaps that is what is special about Orthodoxy. Or perhaps not, what do I know?
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« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2013, 02:54:19 AM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?

I don't understand why you'd lump ecumenism with universalism, or why you think people would "become ecumenist" because they don't feel God's presence in the world. You do understand that ecumenism is just an attitude towards other groups, whereas universalism is a specific heretical teaching?

It is said "ecumenism OR universalism" not "and", hardly lumping together. But anyway, ecumenism at least in the modern sense of doing it is obviously not just an attitude, it is an idea that "heresy" is not too bad after all, and that it is worth even attempting to create union even if it means ignoring anathemas from ecumenical councils.

It can be argued that if one does not have complete faith in the orthodox church, they would be more likely to be ecumenist seeing as they are seeking others and are willing to ignore their own dogma in that seeking. Then again, it can be argued if one has complete faith that they might become ecumenist to make everyone else Orthodox just be acting nice and talking... but that makes no sense so...
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« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2013, 03:28:21 AM »

JamerR, God has already spoken to you, or else all your questions and doubts wouldn´t have any value.

Remember that Gods message can be, and has been for me many times, just absence. If that´s one way for God the speak to you and other humans, then that God a message for itself. if you don´t like it, please don´t take that on God, but rather yourself. Ask yourself why God has to speak to you directly when you in the end might once again doubt if he actually did speak to you.

How come that many of our beloved Saints received some form of miracle when they actually expected it the least.
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« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2013, 06:59:20 AM »

God is here with us and always has been. But man and woman is too concerned about their daily things, about the routines, about the careers, about their need and about themselves (as a general term). This corrupts their bond to God.

How can you listen to Him when you never have time to?
How are you able to understand God when you perhaps do not (really want) to?

To listen to God means taking time to pray (morning/eve, Jesusprayer) and reading the scripture every day.
When I was a catechumen, my priest told us this and people around the table began mumbling and arguing (just like we do in this forum daily).
One of those ten people finished classes. Yes, hello!

Taking time and listening to what God try telling us is important. I wish that more of us could understand that and not use (oh..he is just Hyperdox-nerd-foolish thingie for an excuse).
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« Reply #45 on: May 24, 2013, 10:00:59 AM »

JamerR, God has already spoken to you, or else all your questions and doubts wouldn´t have any value.

Remember that Gods message can be, and has been for me many times, just absence. If that´s one way for God to speak to you and other humans, then that is a message for itself. if you don´t like it, please don´t take that on God, but rather yourself. Ask yourself why God has to speak to you directly when you in the end might once again doubt if he actually did speak to you.

How come that many of our beloved Saints received some form of miracle when they actually expected it the least.
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« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2013, 10:49:04 AM »

Wise counsel.


OBSTACLES ON THE PATH TO THE GOSPEL
Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov
Quote
...We should stop and listen to this inner life of the world, and look attentively at what is happening within us and around us. Then we would learn to see God, Who, according to the words of the Apostle Paul, Be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:27-28).

Try to look over your life attentively and in it you will see many circumstances, meetings and discussions, which are usually perceived by us as accidental or unimportant, but under more profound analysis reveal, that some unseen but caring Hand, without forcing us, constantly points our life toward the path of goodness, saves and helps us. Try to remember all these events, write them down, develop your ability to observe them, and you will possess great factual material, which will give you the ability to be convinced both in the existence of God and in His Providence by experience. This experimental way is the best and maybe the only means of knowing God, as St. Basil the Great said, who asserted that when we see the influence of Divine Providence in our life and the lives of others, then we begin to know God and to love Him. We should not be convinced of God’s existence through logical conclusions. Knowledge of God is gained only through personal religious experience. The Divine Existence cannot be proved; it must be only inwardly felt. If this does not happen, then there exists some obstacle which prevents one from feeling the Divine Existence. The blind person does not see the stars not because they do not exist, but because his eyes are damaged.
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/61224.htm
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« Reply #47 on: May 24, 2013, 11:08:00 AM »

Wise counsel.


OBSTACLES ON THE PATH TO THE GOSPEL
Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov
Quote
...We should stop and listen to this inner life of the world, and look attentively at what is happening within us and around us. Then we would learn to see God, Who, according to the words of the Apostle Paul, Be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:27-28).

Try to look over your life attentively and in it you will see many circumstances, meetings and discussions, which are usually perceived by us as accidental or unimportant, but under more profound analysis reveal, that some unseen but caring Hand, without forcing us, constantly points our life toward the path of goodness, saves and helps us. Try to remember all these events, write them down, develop your ability to observe them, and you will possess great factual material, which will give you the ability to be convinced both in the existence of God and in His Providence by experience. This experimental way is the best and maybe the only means of knowing God, as St. Basil the Great said, who asserted that when we see the influence of Divine Providence in our life and the lives of others, then we begin to know God and to love Him. We should not be convinced of God’s existence through logical conclusions. Knowledge of God is gained only through personal religious experience. The Divine Existence cannot be proved; it must be only inwardly felt. If this does not happen, then there exists some obstacle which prevents one from feeling the Divine Existence. The blind person does not see the stars not because they do not exist, but because his eyes are damaged.
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/61224.htm
+1
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« Reply #48 on: May 24, 2013, 11:24:37 AM »

Wise counsel.


OBSTACLES ON THE PATH TO THE GOSPEL
Archpriest Sergius Chetverikov
Quote
...We should stop and listen to this inner life of the world, and look attentively at what is happening within us and around us. Then we would learn to see God, Who, according to the words of the Apostle Paul, Be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:27-28).

Try to look over your life attentively and in it you will see many circumstances, meetings and discussions, which are usually perceived by us as accidental or unimportant, but under more profound analysis reveal, that some unseen but caring Hand, without forcing us, constantly points our life toward the path of goodness, saves and helps us. Try to remember all these events, write them down, develop your ability to observe them, and you will possess great factual material, which will give you the ability to be convinced both in the existence of God and in His Providence by experience. This experimental way is the best and maybe the only means of knowing God, as St. Basil the Great said, who asserted that when we see the influence of Divine Providence in our life and the lives of others, then we begin to know God and to love Him. We should not be convinced of God’s existence through logical conclusions. Knowledge of God is gained only through personal religious experience. The Divine Existence cannot be proved; it must be only inwardly felt. If this does not happen, then there exists some obstacle which prevents one from feeling the Divine Existence. The blind person does not see the stars not because they do not exist, but because his eyes are damaged.
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/61224.htm
+1

Agree, beautiful response, may God bless you!

+10
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« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2013, 12:17:17 PM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.

Didn't work for Judas, Caiaphas, and indeed most of the people who actually met God Incarnate and saw the works He did and heard the things he said, speaking as one with authority, and doing what no one else did.

Well I'm not them. In fact, I'd bet the welfare of my own soul that if God spoke to me once, I'd go on to live a life like the most devout Saints and never do anything evil again no matter how tempting.

Please, please don't say such things lightly, James.  If my own experience is any indication, the very moment you start talking about how you'd definitely not do a certain thing or could not possibly be a certain way, you're only a few moments away from a great fall.  You really don't want to go there. 

There's no really satisfying answer to the questions you've raised, at least not for me.  Many times I feel a lot of the things you've expressed, and hearing people say "Keep at it" or something like that really sucks.  But that's the only real answer anyone can give: we need to keep doing what we're supposed to do, and eventually God is able to break through to us because we soften and break up enough for him to get in.  That can take a moment for some and a lifetime for others, but "keep at it" is really all you can do..."keep at it", with faith and with hope when it seems foolish to have faith and hope.  The alternative is to just give up, and when you do that, you're already dead on arrival. 
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« Reply #50 on: May 24, 2013, 12:32:58 PM »

St. Peter thought he would never deny the Lord, but he did. Even the most well-intentioned people go astray.
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« Reply #51 on: May 24, 2013, 12:34:41 PM »

This is something I've been wondering for quite a while, and I can very well see why many people may be drawn to ecumenism or universalism because of it. Why is God so absent from the world? Why doesn't He talk to anyone or make it blatantly obvious what He wants humanity to do?

I mean, if the gate is really that narrow and it is so important to God what we believe and whether or not we belong to His Orthodox Church, why isn't it blatantly obvious? Why doesn't He at least show us definitively if it's the proper gate or not? Can you really blame someone for choosing a different religion or being godless instead of becoming Orthodox? God hasn't done anything to prove that Orthodoxy is the truth or to make Himself known in the world.

All it takes is for one grand miracle like raining donuts or a big thundering voice in the sky to say that "Orthodoxy is the true religion and oh, I'm real in case you were wondering" and everyone would know definitively what He wants them to do and could choose from there if they want to worship Him or not.

As heathen as this sounds, it appears to me like He really doesn't care about our religion--otherwise He'd make His will blatantly obvious for us--but more so about how we live our lives and what we make of this time on Earth. Great, and now I'm starting to sound like an Episcopal.

Hey God showed up in person to get a few things straight and so we killed him.

If you have the feeling that he is absent then you may need to practice harder. More Church, more prayer more fasting. Maybe a week at a monastery.

God reveals himself within his Church early and often. Your antenna may need fine tuning. Have you ever been to see a streaming Icon?    
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« Reply #52 on: May 24, 2013, 12:38:54 PM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
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« Reply #53 on: May 24, 2013, 01:35:45 PM »

Christ is in our midst.
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« Reply #54 on: May 24, 2013, 08:20:25 PM »

St. Peter thought he would never deny the Lord, but he did. Even the most well-intentioned people go astray.
Very true.  To quote Spock, we are "only human".
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« Reply #55 on: May 24, 2013, 08:22:02 PM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
I don't know much about him, but he seems like he was a wise man. I will have to read up on him a bit.
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« Reply #56 on: May 25, 2013, 06:10:47 AM »

I've lived the life of the Church

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« Reply #57 on: May 25, 2013, 07:23:28 AM »

If there was one great miracle done for every person, people would still doaubt.  People will always try to find an excuse for why some miraculous event can be explained away.  If my mind was dead set against miracles, my grandmother could show up to me from the dead, smack me upside the head and tell me to go get her a banana.  I would be stunned, but a week from then, I would be thinking, "I must have eaten some strange food that day to cause such a hallucination."

Not to mention the " your miracle was waaay cooler than mine...." reaction.
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« Reply #58 on: May 25, 2013, 11:28:10 AM »

I just don't get this whole "seeking" and "trusting" thing. I don't see how you can trust someone who won't talk to you and seek someone who is invisible. I've lived the life of the Church just like everyone here told me and nothing is happening. I don't know what the world would do if God performed another big grand miracle, but I know that I would be 100% fully convinced and never sin again if God just spoke to me once.

What did you expect to happen?

As for your original post, I think it's more accurate to say that God is sometimes "hidden" from us, but He is never absent.
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« Reply #59 on: May 25, 2013, 11:37:21 AM »

There are still many Grande Miracles within the Orthodox Church, it's just that the Church is rather circumspect about talking them up to outsiders.

One that comes to mind was just last year. The Myrah streaming Iveron Icon ( HI) was in a Church in PA. A young blind boy regained his eyesight as he venerated it. Many witnesses. Many people knew the boy had been truly blind...Yada yada
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« Reply #60 on: May 25, 2013, 12:04:43 PM »

There are still many Grande Miracles within the Orthodox Church, it's just that the Church is rather circumspect about talking them up to outsiders.

One that comes to mind was just last year. The Myrah streaming Iveron Icon ( HI) was in a Church in PA. A young blind boy regained his eyesight as he venerated it. Many witnesses. Many people knew the boy had been truly blind...Yada yada

The problem is that testimony doesn't count as proof.  For skeptics it doesn't even count as evidence for some reason.  The OP seems to want proofs, which usually means someone wants a miracle to happen to them personally.

On that note, there is an interesting verse in 1 Kingdoms 3:1 (or 1 Sam 3:1) "And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; [there was] no open vision.

The commentary in the Orthodox Study Bible says "God's word had become very precious because of the absence of a clear, concise, and distinct vision from Him." 

This could shed some light on things, as it appears that the things that have been revealed are made more precious because they are so scarce. 
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« Reply #61 on: May 25, 2013, 12:22:46 PM »

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.

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« Reply #62 on: May 25, 2013, 12:28:29 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.
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« Reply #63 on: May 25, 2013, 12:46:43 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.
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« Reply #64 on: May 25, 2013, 12:52:26 PM »

Quote
If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Would you admit that one of these miracles could be that you stopped asking for them? Tongue  That you instead opened your heart before God and said, it is miraculous that any of us sinners here on earth are still alive O´Lord.

With great love and respect dear brother!
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« Reply #65 on: May 25, 2013, 12:57:17 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

I actually appreciate some of his concern.  I just think that he's side-stepping possible reasons/advantages that God doesn't generally force himself on people.  This is a good thing to consider.

It is clear that God is not absent, but is present in a small way:

1Ki 19:11-13    And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it], that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?


Quote from: JamesR
If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Seeking a sign are we?  Did you think that becoming Orthodox would transform you into a saint with relative ease?  I don't mean to mock you.  I'm just trying to find out what you had in mind.


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« Reply #66 on: May 25, 2013, 01:59:22 PM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
I don't know much about him, but he seems like he was a wise man. I will have to read up on him a bit.

Probably one of the single greatest reasons anyone who is not OO should become one.

I like to hate as much as the next . . . well I actually I don't know anyone who likes to hate as much me, but good luck trying not want to figure out how to become like this man.
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« Reply #67 on: May 25, 2013, 02:00:36 PM »

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.
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« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2013, 02:03:49 PM »

Reactionary? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means
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« Reply #69 on: May 25, 2013, 02:48:45 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...
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« Reply #70 on: May 25, 2013, 02:56:57 PM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
I don't know much about him, but he seems like he was a wise man. I will have to read up on him a bit.

Probably one of the single greatest reasons anyone who is not OO should become one.
...



Then you go on to say this:

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.

I really don't get why you like one statement putting the blame on the patient and not the next.
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« Reply #71 on: May 25, 2013, 02:58:58 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

There's "God, if you are there, please show me"

Then there is "God, you better perform me a miracle, or we're done!"
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« Reply #72 on: May 25, 2013, 03:56:21 PM »

I kind of think it is to allow people to be free, to make a choice on whether to accept, work and cooperate with God. If God's omnipresence was physically bearing on us we would not act as free creatures.
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« Reply #73 on: May 25, 2013, 04:09:53 PM »

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.

What? How you get blame out of that is beyond me. I'm not meaning to blame anyone for anything. I merely wrote why I don't think this would make a difference. I don't think it's right to blame people for not seeing miracles (as though they should be self-evident), but at the same time that doesn't mean they're not happening. St. Pishoy saw Christ in the flesh many times even in the presence of others who did not see Him. That doesn't mean that the others who did not see Him are bad or blameworthy, only that St. Pishoy saw Him while they did not.
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« Reply #74 on: May 25, 2013, 05:19:43 PM »

I must say that while reading the lives of the saints and something like the acts of the apostles, is moving

I do feel that in my own Christian spiritual life there's is a absence of that sense of power which seems so prevelant in those readings.

It is a great hardship and source of disbelief for me, I wonder if the story's are over exaggerated.
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« Reply #75 on: May 25, 2013, 09:00:02 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.
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« Reply #76 on: May 25, 2013, 09:05:05 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.

Yeah.  Hell.
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« Reply #77 on: May 25, 2013, 09:15:20 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...
No kidding!  Not to mention we should be prepared to see the action of God, no matter how small.  I remember years ago I was on the beach at night, it was a time in my life I had a lot of concerns, questions and worries.  I asked God to somehow let me know He was listening.  Nothing spectacular, just something I would not miss.  As soon as I opened my eyes I saw a shooting star right in front of me.  There were none before or after and no one else saw it.  Very small, but it was enough.
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« Reply #78 on: May 25, 2013, 09:18:16 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.
True, but He could also create a situation where you watch your fingers get cut off of your hands, feel the pain, see the blood, go fingerless the rest of your life, just to prove He is there.  Be careful what you ask for.  Be careful of the tests you demand from God.  Trust me on this.

I have said and done some pretty stupid things in my life.  Some have come full circle.  I am hoping they all dont.
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« Reply #79 on: May 25, 2013, 09:19:53 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.

Even if that happened, that would harden your resolve.  If the Resurrection isn't "amazing" enough, nothing will ever come close.
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« Reply #80 on: May 25, 2013, 09:29:30 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.

Even if that happened, that would harden your resolve.  If the Resurrection isn't "amazing" enough, nothing will ever come close.
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« Reply #81 on: May 26, 2013, 01:17:10 AM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
I don't know much about him, but he seems like he was a wise man. I will have to read up on him a bit.

Probably one of the single greatest reasons anyone who is not OO should become one.
...



Then you go on to say this:

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.

I really don't get why you like one statement putting the blame on the patient and not the next.

What are you talking about?

Who am I blaming in the first post you quoted? I know it is the pile on norm season around here again, especially from less than capable noobs and the usual out classed OGs, but please don't waste your time making zero sense.

This place is becoming insufferable.
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« Reply #82 on: May 26, 2013, 01:18:37 AM »

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.

What? How you get blame out of that is beyond me. I'm not meaning to blame anyone for anything. I merely wrote why I don't think this would make a difference.

See bolded.
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« Reply #83 on: May 26, 2013, 08:13:57 AM »

The late great Pope Shenouda III once said something to the effect that when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent.
I don't know much about him, but he seems like he was a wise man. I will have to read up on him a bit.

Probably one of the single greatest reasons anyone who is not OO should become one.
...



Then you go on to say this:

What makes you think that a booming voice from the clouds announcing Orthodoxy to be the true religion would fair any better in our modern, post-everything age?

God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him.

This should be engraved in gold.



Not really, it is a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness.

Quite trite.

I really don't get why you like one statement putting the blame on the patient and not the next.

What are you talking about?

Who am I blaming in the first post you quoted? I know it is the pile on norm season around here again, especially from less than capable noobs and the usual out classed OGs, but please don't waste your time making zero sense.

This place is becoming insufferable.

What am I talking about?  Perhaps I'm wrong, but you seemed like this quote: "when we see the Lord, He will not ask us why we sinned; He will ask us why we did not repent. " and then in your next post got upset over this quote: "God is not absent from the world. People refuse to listen to Him."  Of the second quote you said that it is "a simplistic reactionary statement that blames the patient for the illness".   All I'm saying is that I don't see a great deal of difference between the two.
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« Reply #84 on: May 26, 2013, 10:51:18 AM »

Orthonorm doesn't like anything I post, John. I'm used to it. It's part of him being too clever for this board and plebeians like me. Meh.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that saying "people refuse to listen" is not the same as "people are the reason why God is absent" (the actual question of the OP). My whole point is that God is not absent in the first place, but that He seems so because, like the OP, many people presume that if He were really there, XYZ would happen/not happen, making it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that He exists. Where is blame in any of this if He is truly there whether or not people recognize Him? It is a chicken and egg paradox if I've ever seen one: "God doesn't exist unless He appears to me like I want Him to, but He doesn't do that, so He doesn't exist." I guess people could be blamed, but only for expecting that God should work as they want Him to. It's a matter of faulty/circular logic, not illness/sin. After all, I definitely wouldn't say that it's wrong to want to see miracles happen in your life for some reason, though it certainly can be if that's what you base your faith on, so that if they don't happen as you want them to, your faith is destroyed.
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« Reply #85 on: May 26, 2013, 12:17:25 PM »

Orthonorm doesn't like anything I post, John. I'm used to it. It's part of him being too clever for this board and plebeians like me. Meh.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that saying "people refuse to listen" is not the same as "people are the reason why God is absent" (the actual question of the OP). My whole point is that God is not absent in the first place, but that He seems so because, like the OP, many people presume that if He were really there, XYZ would happen/not happen, making it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that He exists. Where is blame in any of this if He is truly there whether or not people recognize Him? It is a chicken and egg paradox if I've ever seen one: "God doesn't exist unless He appears to me like I want Him to, but He doesn't do that, so He doesn't exist." I guess people could be blamed, but only for expecting that God should work as they want Him to. It's a matter of faulty/circular logic, not illness/sin. After all, I definitely wouldn't say that it's wrong to want to see miracles happen in your life for some reason, though it certainly can be if that's what you base your faith on, so that if they don't happen as you want them to, your faith is destroyed.


Ah, I see.  Maybe you are too much of a "noob"?  Grin

I agree with you.  My understanding is that God's "existence" is a bit of a misnomer, since existence is more of a category for created things.  God is real, however, but it's a reality that is known through prayer and revelation.  

On the other hand, did God ever exist in such a way that we could witness his physical presence?  So why isn't the incarnation and resurrection enough? We have a strong historical account of a person who claimed to be the Son of God and who rose from the dead. I suppose it's difficult for some to believe simply because, again, they didn't personally witness it.
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« Reply #86 on: May 26, 2013, 12:51:33 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

""Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." John 4:48 NIV
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« Reply #87 on: May 28, 2013, 03:47:51 PM »

I must say that while reading the lives of the saints and something like the acts of the apostles, is moving

I do feel that in my own Christian spiritual life there's is a absence of that sense of power which seems so prevelant in those readings.

It is a great hardship and source of disbelief for me, I wonder if the story's are over exaggerated.

It's like someone without a girl/boy friend.. Once you stop looking you find one.

God fully knows what you need, even better than you do. Your job is to apply yourself to your practice and ask nothing for yourself. In due time you will get your reward.
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« Reply #88 on: May 28, 2013, 09:05:08 PM »

“When God recedes in order to educate us, this brings great sadness, humility and even some measure of despair to the soul. The purpose of this is to humble the soul’s tendency to vanity and self-glory, for the heart at once is filled with fear of God, tears of thankfulness, and great longing for the beauty of silence. But the receding due to God’s complete withdrawal fills the soul with despair, unbelief, anger and pride. We who have experienced both kinds of receding should approach God in each case in the appropriate way. In the first case we should offer Him thanks as we plead in our own defense, understanding that He is disciplining our unruly character by concealing His presence, so as to teach us, like a good father, the difference between virtue and vice. In the second case, we should offer Him ceaseless confession of our sins and incessant tears, and practice a greater seclusion from the world, so that by adding to our labors we may eventually induce Him to reveal His presence in our hearts as before. Yet we must realize that when there is a direct struggle between Satan and the soul -and I am speaking here of the struggle that takes place when God recedes in order to educate us- then grace conceals itself a little, as I have said, but nevertheless supports the soul in a hidden way, so that in the eyes of its enemies the victory appears to be due to the soul alone.” St. Diadochos of Photiki, On Spiritual Knowledge and Discernment (AD 451)
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« Reply #89 on: May 28, 2013, 09:46:21 PM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions

Or is it better to be honest and simply let it all go and let what will be, be
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« Reply #90 on: May 28, 2013, 09:53:30 PM »

I've lived the life of the Church

lol

If we say we have, we have not.
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« Reply #91 on: May 28, 2013, 09:56:19 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Besides the fact that oftentimes people get what they did not expect, but exactly what they asked for.
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« Reply #92 on: May 28, 2013, 09:56:53 PM »

I've lived the life of the Church

lol

If we say we have, we have not.
I'm sorry but is there a certain point as a member of the Church where you can't say that?

We are all living in the life of the Church, it is always ongoing. Good grief people.
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« Reply #93 on: May 28, 2013, 09:57:47 PM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Well, if it offends Him, then He could do some cool amazing miracle like turn my fingers into snakes or strike me with lightning and then I'll get my wish to see something amazing.

Yeah.  Hell.

That would be amazing.

So, in the end, everyone gets to seem something amazing. Forever.
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« Reply #94 on: May 28, 2013, 10:12:24 PM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions

Or is it better to be honest and simply let it all go and let what will be, be

I experienced this myself and was an agnostic for some time.  I just kind of kicked it into neutral and God brought me back.  I'm not sure if it is the recommended course of action though,  it isn't like God is obligated to bring us back. Rather than deconverting, I do think it can be helpful to take a step back at times, particularly if you are wrestling with a specific doctrine or issue that is causing the doubt.  You might not be able to figure that specific issue out, but it is not a reason to abandon the faith.
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« Reply #95 on: May 28, 2013, 10:23:39 PM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions

Or is it better to be honest and simply let it all go and let what will be, be

Orthodox Christianity is not a mental exercise. If you go to all the services, fast diligently, pray without ceasing, repent your errors,  develop the virtues and learn to live for others, you make progress. Christianity is experiential..   
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« Reply #96 on: May 28, 2013, 11:00:51 PM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions

Or is it better to be honest and simply let it all go and let what will be, be

I experienced this myself and was an agnostic for some time.  I just kind of kicked it into neutral and God brought me back.  I'm not sure if it is the recommended course of action though,  it isn't like God is obligated to bring us back. Rather than deconverting, I do think it can be helpful to take a step back at times, particularly if you are wrestling with a specific doctrine or issue that is causing the doubt.  You might not be able to figure that specific issue out, but it is not a reason to abandon the faith.
I think it is unhealthy to go into anything with a "I am going to believe no matter what" mindset. There has to be something that persuades or compels us; otherwise we can arbitrarily choose any ideology and simply work at it until we convince ourselves.

One of the things I love about Orthodoxy is they don't ask you to brainwash yourself. You don't have to leave your brain at the door. You are asked to come and see.

If a person can honestly say they considered the faith, that they really tried to find out if it is true, and still don't believe, then I think they are in a more honest and honorable state than those who fake it.
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« Reply #97 on: May 29, 2013, 02:39:06 AM »

Perhaps the OP should put aside a travel fund so next time there is word of a miracle he can immediately catch the next plane to check it out for himself.

If I visit Mt. Athos someday, I'm not going to leave until something amazing and miraculous happens--even if the Greek police have to arrest and deport me.

Testing God is as sin...

Besides the fact that oftentimes people get what they did not expect, but exactly what they asked for.

Indeed. Someone keeps complaining he can't get no satisfaction, but the Glimmer Twins have the answer:

You can't always get what you want
No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need ....


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« Reply #98 on: July 04, 2013, 03:11:30 AM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions
Knowing God is not about straining to convince oneself. But that does not mean going through certain motions is unimportant; to the contrary.

"Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, "My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean '? So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." -2 Kings 5:12-14

"'Go,' he told him, 'wash in the Pool of Siloam' (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed." -John 9:7

"To obtain anything from God, the outward must be joined to the inward; that is to say we must kneel and pray alone, etc. so that proud man, who would not submit to God, may now be subject to the body. To expect any help from this outward act is superstition; a refusal to join it to our inward acts is pride. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much machines as mind. And hence the means by which a man is persuaded are not demonstration alone. How few things are demonstrated! Proofs convince only the mind. It is habit that produces our strongest and most accepted proofs; it guides the machine, which carries the mind with it unconsciously. Who has proved that there will be a morrow and that we will die?”  -Blaise Pascal

"FIRE: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. God of Jesus Christ… He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospel… He can only be kept by the ways taught in the Gospel." -Pascal
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« Reply #99 on: July 04, 2013, 03:26:37 AM »

I will quote the words of an Indian Guru : God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh and since than he is been resting.

Of course he said that one with a smile on his face.
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« Reply #100 on: July 04, 2013, 08:03:29 AM »


Rather than deconverting, I do think it can be helpful to take a step back at times, particularly if you are wrestling with a specific doctrine or issue that is causing the doubt.  You might not be able to figure that specific issue out, but it is not a reason to abandon the faith.

Not for me specifically... but thanks, I needed that.
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« Reply #101 on: July 04, 2013, 08:04:02 AM »

What if a person doesn't actually believe, not in the scriptures, not in the soul or even God....

Is it worse to lie and try to convince oneself, almost manicly, that this is real, and just go through the motions

Or is it better to be honest and simply let it all go and let what will be, be

Orthodox Christianity is not a mental exercise. If you go to all the services, fast diligently, pray without ceasing, repent your errors,  develop the virtues and learn to live for others, you make progress. Christianity is experiential..   

Well said. Thanks, I needed that.  Smiley
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« Reply #102 on: July 04, 2013, 10:36:44 AM »

Relax.
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