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Author Topic: Against Gebredoxy, the error of (name removed) (AKA Gebre Menfes Kidus)  (Read 11012 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ioannes
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« on: August 23, 2013, 09:25:28 PM »

Since Gebre frequents here, I am sure he is going to reply with something (if he replies) like I am trying to malign his character or persecuting him for his beliefs. Just so he and everyone knows, its not against his pacifist stance, its the way he tries to justify it as if the church teaches this. For a long while I have tried to nudge Gebre in the right way, and he has resisted and refused to understand me and many others, including clergy. So I am posting this everywhere so people know that he is incorrect.

+++

This letter is a response to the teaching of my friend Gebre Menfes Kidus (Name removed). He teaches a pacifist stance and that this is the “true Christian teaching.” Even going as far as stating: “If the Orthodox Church were to ever condemn pacifism or officially declare that Christians cannot condemn all war and killing in this day and age, then the Church would cease to be Orthodox and I would cease to be a part of it. That's why I fight so hard to promote the Orthodox values of peace and respect for life. I won't let others misrepresent my beloved Faith by justifying violence.” (from a facebook status update) I think my dear friend Gebre has a few misunderstandings about war, violence, and murder and how it relates to the Orthodox Church. So I will quote a few things Gebre has stated and then explain them further.

Gebre said:
“I believe with St. Basil the Great that, “Although the act of violence may seem required for the defense of the weak and innocent, it is never justifiable.”
Basil has no issue with soldiering, as his canons show (188th letter). He accepts that people will be soldiers and does not class killing in war as anything close to murder. To quote him here shows lack of knowledge on the matter. For instance canon 13 of the 92 considers war: “Our fathers did not consider killings committed in the course of wars to be classifiable as murders at all, on the score, it seems to me, of allowing a pardon to men fighting in defense of sobriety and piety. Perhaps, though, it might be advisable to refuse them communion for three years, on the ground that their hands are not clean.” Clearly St. Basil is not condemning war and in fact says “Our fathers” in terms of those church fathers existing prior to him. I cannot find the quote that Gebre posted above.
Also, our holy father St. Athanasius said: “Although one is not supposed to kill, the killing of the enemy in time of war is both a lawful and praiseworthy thing. This is why we consider individuals who have distinguished themselves in war as being worthy of great honors, and indeed public monuments are set up to celebrate their achievements. It is evident, therefore, that at one particular time, and under one set of circumstances, an act is not permissible, but when time and circumstances are right, it is both allowed and condoned.” (http://www.incommunion.org/2006/02/19/st-basil-on-war-and-repentance/)


Gebre said:
I believe with Father Stanley Harakas that: “There is no ethical reasoning for war in the writings of the Greek Fathers. The Fathers wrote that only negative impacts arise from war. Even in unavoidable circumstances, the Fathers thought of war as the lesser of greater evils, but nonetheless evil. The term "just war" is not found in the writings of the Greek

Fathers. The stance of the Fathers on war is pro-peace and an Orthodox "just war" theory does not exist.”
This is taken out of context, Fr. Harakas said: “"I found an amazing consistency in the almost totally negative moral assessment of war coupled with an admission that war may be necessary under certain circumstances to protect the innocent and to limit even greater evils. In this framework, war may be an unavoidable alternative, but it nevertheless remains an evil. Virtually absent in the tradition is any mention of a “just” war, much less a “good” war. The tradition also precludes the possibility of a crusade. For the Eastern Orthodox tradition, I concluded, war can be seen only as a “necessary evil,” with all the difficulty and imprecision such a designation carries."
thus it accepts that there is " an admission that war may be necessary under certain circumstances to protect the innocent and to limit even greater evils." So it is pretty clearly that Gebre has not only taken Fr. Harakas out of context, he selectively embraced what worked for him, while ignoring the
bulk of what he said. The full article can be found here “https://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F %2Fwww.incommunion.org%2F2005%2F08%2F02%2Fno- just-war-in-the-fathers%2F&h=mAQHXS20e)

Gebre said:
“I believe in the admonition of St. Hippolytus: “A Christian is not to become a soldier. He is not to burden himself with the sin of blood. But if he has shed blood, he is not to partake of the mysteries, unless he is purified by a punishment, tears, and wailing. He is not to come forward deceitfully but in the fear of God.”
Gebre openly admitted to me that he does not understand the writings of St. Hippolytus, which I personally gave to him. So I find it odd that he even bothers to quote him. However, St.
Hippolytus was referring to the fact that the Roman Army was massacring Christians, so it would not be a good idea for a Christian to put themselves in that situation and possibly lose their faith by killing Christians or perhaps making an offering to the Roman gods. For St. Hippolytus an outright refusal of military service to the Roman Empire is a much better idea than joining it, mainly because of the persecutions. So this is another instance in which writings were taken out of their context, in this case their historical context.

Gebre said:
“I believe with St. John Chrysostom that, “Christians above all men are not permitted forcibly to correct the failings of those who sin. In our case, the wrong-doer must be made better, not by force, but by persuasion. The Christian’s labor is to make the dead live, not to make the living dead.”
This quote is taken from St John speaking on capital punishment, not war, he does not write the same when speaking about war. We again must take this in its context, St. John is not advocating pacifism in any way in this verse, nor in his other writings. He is clearly saying that we should not force our teachings on to those with incorrect beliefs that we should not forcibly correct people as there are other ways of correction without force.

What it seems that Gebre misunderstands is that this issue is not black and white and because I feel he views it that way and cannot reconcile violence and Christianity, he takes a pacifist stance. However if he had read these church fathers, that he quotes, in depth I truly believe he would understand this issue. Violence is not a Christian virtue, but that does not automatically mean that violence is never a necessity. War, as terrible as it is, is unfortunately necessary in some occasions and this is clearly taught by the very fathers Gebre quotes. A great example of Gebres lack of understanding on this issue and his black and white stance is him telling me that if violence and murder are acceptable then it should be acceptable to kill in order to save the victims of abortion.

What Gebre does not seem to understand is that while abortion is horrible and unacceptable, we do know the fate of the souls of these helpless victims and therefore it would be unacceptable to kill those performing abortions because their fate is not known, obviously. Its similar to the issue of martyrdom, when being martyred for your faith, it is unacceptable to fight back as a willful acceptance of martyrdom is displaying the highest form of love in Christ and trust in Him.

When we defend our family or others from harm, we should never seek to purposely kill, but to disarm or otherwise disable the person we are defending others against. It may so happen that in defense of others we may accidentally kill the person or persons, this is very unfortunate but again spoken of by the fathers. Once again, violence is not a virtue and we should not rely on it and or seek to use it in every instance but logically in defense of those who are being victimized and even then we should only be using the proper force required to subdue the person or persons. I think that this is the real issue with Gebres thinking, to him if violence is acceptable, then it is acceptable in every situation and if murder is acceptable, then it is acceptable in every situation, same as war. He is unable, or unwilling, to look at things in a logical and rational way. Instead he has selectively embraced quotes from the church fathers which seem to be supporting his view. I have personally advised him to study the church father in the context of their time or era, then study their writings individually and try to read them in the context with which they were written.
I have no doubt that Gebre loves Christ and our Church and this may seem a bit extreme but this is purely out of love. I seek only to correct my brother who has resisted the advice of myself and others much wiser than myself. I have privately consulted him for some time now and as HH Pope Shenouda taught us, "The sin that is done in public, punish in public. And the theological error which is broadcast openly in public, should be publicly refuted... ...But what is the wisdom in all this? Why punish in public, and why correct in public? This is because something that happens in public has an effect on others, or might cause them to stumble... So we must take those other people into account." ( So many years with problems of people, vol.3, pg. 82) As much as it pains me, I feel a public admonishment of Gebres erroneous view on this particular church teaching, I feel it is necessary in correcting him as well as others who may feel this same way.

Now I must stress one more thing, if Gebre personally wishes to adhere to a pacifist point of view, as I have told him, that is his view and it his certainly his right to exercise this. But, as I and others have tried to explain to him, you cannot pass this off as a church teaching because it simply is not taught by the church.
Again this is an effort done in love for a brother and for any brother and sister who may also believe this or came to believe this through Gebre. It is done with the utmost sincerity and desire for him to correct his teaching.

In Christ, Ioa

I take very seriously the issue of any private information about the person being used.  If he does not want to use his real name in public, it is something I feel obliged to warn against.

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8/30/2013
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 09:48:42 PM »

You should change the title of the thread at least, because it sounds like a personal attack, using his full name instead of his username, for example.



Micah 4:3
And he will judge between many people
and reprove the mighty nations far away;
and they will beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Neither will a nation lift up a sword against nation,
nor will they learn anymore war.




Isaiah 2:4
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

There were many famous early martyrs for Christ who were Roman soldiers and decided they would no longer fight when they became Christian. They were martyred as a result.
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 10:27:12 PM »

You should change the title of the thread at least, because it sounds like a personal attack, using his full name instead of his username, for example.



Micah 4:3
And he will judge between many people
and reprove the mighty nations far away;
and they will beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Neither will a nation lift up a sword against nation,
nor will they learn anymore war.




Isaiah 2:4
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

There were many famous early martyrs for Christ who were Roman soldiers and decided they would no longer fight when they became Christian. They were martyred as a result.

I will consider that certainly, but, I did that to make a distinction between him and the saint of the same name.

quoting tags editted - MK
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 09:47:00 AM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:59:22 AM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.

+1

Poor form, Ionnes.  There are better ways to debate this topic than this.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 10:12:23 AM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.

+2

I may not always agree with GMK, but I appreciate his gentleness and sincerity.

Undoubtedly anyone of us here who posts regularly has said things that others believe to be wrong and we could be subject to another's cry of "nameodoxy".
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 10:17:09 AM »

Actually, it's one of the very few things I agree with him.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 10:29:38 AM »

I think there is a discussion to be had here, though perhaps it got off on the wrong foot. Naming names is... well St. Paul and St. John do it in the Bible, as do the Church Fathers... yet was it the best course here? Perhaps. I don't know. Judging by my initial reaction and that of others, it seems to be a misfire... but now we are focused on something besides the main point. I think? I assume the point was to critique the position itself. Anyway...
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 10:31:37 AM »

Can the moderators remove the name and just leave the post as a "whether pacifism and absolutely no violence is the teaching of the Church?"
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2013, 10:32:37 AM »

If it could be demonstrated that pacifism was the Orthodox Christian position, I would be delighted, as I am sympathetic to such a position. However, I cannot find in history and church tradition any justification for such an assertion, and I haven't seen Gebre or other proponents of it produce such evidence.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2013, 11:16:43 AM »

If it could be demonstrated that pacifism was the Orthodox Christian position, I would be delighted, as I am sympathetic to such a position. However, I cannot find in history and church tradition any justification for such an assertion, and I haven't seen Gebre or other proponents of it produce such evidence.
My understanding is that Gebre is talking about the Church banning pacifism. I don't know the answer, but I sympathize with his position. Monks and priests I think are not allowed to fight in wars, although some of them have encouraged it. I could easily see someone saying that based on the prohibition on (or discouragement of) fighting monks, this avoidance is inspiring and they believed it would be good if no one fought, even if attacked. Although pasicifism is not the only Orthodox opinion, I don't think the church should ban it- and in its thousand year history the church hasn't banned pacifism nor made it obligatory, and there is something to be said for that I think.
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2013, 11:23:18 AM »

How exactly would one ban pacifism?  Make it mandatory for all Christians to start wars?  Huh
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 11:27:48 AM »

If it could be demonstrated that pacifism was the Orthodox Christian position, I would be delighted, as I am sympathetic to such a position. However, I cannot find in history and church tradition any justification for such an assertion, and I haven't seen Gebre or other proponents of it produce such evidence.
My understanding is that Gebre is talking about the Church banning pacifism. I don't know the answer, but I sympathize with his position. Monks and priests I think are not allowed to fight in wars, although some of them have encouraged it. I could easily see someone saying that based on the prohibition on (or discouragement of) fighting monks, this avoidance is inspiring and they believed it would be good if no one fought, even if attacked. Although pasicifism is not the only Orthodox opinion, I don't think the church should ban it- and in its thousand year history the church hasn't banned pacifism nor made it obligatory, and there is something to be said for that I think.

It seems like a false dichotomy. It's not like the only alternative to making pacifism mandatory is to ban it. Pacifism has been an option in the Church, as has been (defensive) war. What I have seen Gebre and others suggest is that pacifism is the only consistently Christian stance on the matter. The implication seems to be that certain saints who fought (e.g. Saint Tsar Lazar of Serbia) thereby fell short of the Gospel.

Re: the ban on clergy and monks fighting, even there, there have been exceptions, as when St. Sergius of Radonezh blessed one of his schemamonks (Alexander Peresvet) to fight at the battle of Kulikovo (he fought one-on-one with the Mongol champion, and they killed each other).
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2013, 11:36:34 AM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.


George Orwell, in his 1945 "Notes on Nationalism", wrote "(It is) grossly obvious (that) those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."  I do not mind those that pretend to be peaceful, as long as they do not criticise and make life difficult for those of us who allow them the luxury of their beliefs.
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2013, 11:43:00 AM »

its the way he tries to justify it as if the church teaches this.  
He teaches a pacifist stance and that this is the “true Christian teaching.”
The point is arguable.

Quote
Even going as far as stating: “If the Orthodox Church were to ever condemn pacifism or officially declare that Christians cannot condemn all war and killing in this day and age, then the Church would cease to be Orthodox and I would cease to be a part of it."
This is arguable based on the fact that Orthodoxy has not banned pacifism in its history, and there were martyred Christian soldiers who put down weapons when they became Christian.

Quote
Gebre said:
“I believe with St. Basil the Great that, “Although the act of violence may seem required for the defense of the weak and innocent, it is never justifiable.”
Basil has no issue with soldiering, as his canons show (188th letter). He accepts that people will be soldiers and does not class killing in war as anything close to murder. To quote him here shows lack of knowledge on the matter. For instance canon 13 of the 92 considers war: “Our fathers did not consider killings committed in the course of wars to be classifiable as murders at all, on the score, it seems to me, of allowing a pardon to men fighting in defense of sobriety and piety. Perhaps, though, it might be advisable to refuse them communion for three years, on the ground that their hands are not clean.”

Clearly St. Basil is not condemning war and in fact says “Our fathers” in terms of those church fathers existing prior to him.
Likewise, the topic is arguable either way. St. Basil says violence is never justifiable, killing in war isn't murder and is pardonable, but warriors' hands are not clean.

Perhaps in Greek justifiable means righteous. In English it means "make just". So while he is not condemning war as murder, he sees a problem with it. In his opinion killing in war is not itself a righteous act, ie a "good work"), and it is unclean.

Perhaps you would be able to find a way to refute St. Basil's position, and it isn't clear to me St. Basil considers it sinful, but there is also a basis in it to support Gebre's position, eg. you should be able to oppose wars as unclean.
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2013, 11:51:06 AM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.
Do people really talk down to Gebre for his pacifist views? I don't. I once spent four years taking classes at a Quaker college and attending a Quaker church (not of the silent worship variety), though without ever becoming a Quaker myself, so I've come to appreciate the pacifism Quakers and Gebre share. I don't agree with it, but I respect it. Where I challenge Gebre is on his repeated assertion that pacifism is the authoritative teaching of the Gospel and the Fathers and that one cannot live an authentic Christian life without being a pacifist. Though I think Ioannes's decision to reveal GMK's legal name was in bad form, I agree with Ioannes that the intellectual dishonesty and dogmaticism by which GMK presents his pacifist views merit a public rebuke.
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 11:52:25 AM »

So now I understand who the narcissist brother from a couple of weeks ago was. Not that I disagree but really publishing someone's name for expressing private opinions on FB or here is even worse I think than being a narcissist. We all are anyways.
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2013, 11:52:53 AM »

Regardless of St. Basil's actual position, it's not enough to say, "these saints said x, therefore that is the Church's stance." One also needs to consider the universal practice and teaching of the Church, keeping in mind whom she has canonized and for what reasons, as well as the various wars in which the Church has involved herself spiritually, such as the struggle of the Russians against the Mongols or the Greeks and Serbs against the Turks. The Battle of Kosovo, for instance, is such a central, pivotal event in the Serbian church's tradition that it would be impossible for a Serbian Orthodox to assert absolute pacifism without alienating himself from his own tradition.
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2013, 11:55:57 AM »

George Orwell, in his 1945 "Notes on Nationalism", wrote "(It is) grossly obvious (that) those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."
I can understand where he is coming from, and others share this belief about pacifists, but this is not the case. Monks for example are not supposed to fight in wars, even if it would be needed to protect them. Monks and some pacifists are so convinced in their beliefs that they are willing to go to jail or otherwise suffer for them- and sometimes they do, not regretting it.

That being the case, it doesn't count to say that the army is protecting them so they can be pacifist, and that otherwise the enemy would come in and abuse them- after all, the pacifists have shown themselves willing to be abused by a militarized society, so why wouldn't they be willing to be abused by the enemy for their beliefs?

Quote
I do not mind those that pretend to be peaceful, as long as they do not criticise and make life difficult for those of us who allow them the luxury of their beliefs.
I'm not sure what you mean about "pretend to be peaceful", but maybe it depends on the situation. Even in "good" wars, like the Civil War that freed the slaves, perhaps it is still beneficial to have the voice of people who are against all violence, in order to avoid going overboard, and in order to be realistic about the situation. WWI was pretty needless and more pacifist voices would have helped, even if the pacifists were not making an in-depth anti-imperialist analysis, etc., of the war.
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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2013, 11:58:37 AM »

I remember reading a letter by one of the Elders of Optina once where he clearly argued against pacifism (someone refusing to take up arms or enroll in the Russian imperial army because of Christian scruples). If only I knew where to find it again...
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« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2013, 12:12:46 PM »

Without stating my personal opinion about it for a moment, I will just mention the fact that during Turkish occupation of the Balkans , the Church (or perhaps better said its representatives) were supporters and organizers of defensive wars against the enemy...Many times such meeting have been organized in monasteries...I remember reading such cases in Serbia and Greece...there are such cases in even more recent history...but there are also cases of Saints letting the enemy butcher them in peaces and while doing so he said to the killer "you just keep doing your job..." The killer of course wen mad as in crazy....
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2013, 12:26:59 PM »

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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2013, 12:44:06 PM »

I am double minded on this subject.

I believe that the peaceful way ought to be employed, if at all possible. Negotiate and communicate.

However, I also believe that there are times when this is not possible and violence is called for.
After all, we live in the fallen world, and things are not always as they should be.

I would, right or wrong, be the first one to protect Church, family and loved ones.


I have a great modern example of pacifism working.

The fall if one of histories most brutal regimes towards people and Church.

In Ukraine, Communism fell, it simply melted away, without a drop of blood being spilled in the process.

The public gathered in Kyiv, in what is known as the Orange Revolution. People who formally hid behind drawn curtains, came out and gathered. They didn't shoot anyone, beat anyone, they just pitched tents, in the freezing Ukrainian winter and made their final stand.

I can only believe that it was God's hand that brought down the soviet yoke so peacefully. Those who slaughtered thousands upon thousands, who set son against father, who made everyone's skin crawl, slinked away in to the darkness.  How was that possible?  It was a true miracle.

Glory and all thanks be to God!

By the way,  happy Ukrainian Independence Day!  22 years!
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« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2013, 01:08:39 PM »

Gebre shares a position that I have thought about endlessly, and still do think about.  A Pacifist position is something I admire. In fact, I've even seen extremist Pacifist positions that I think even church fathers wouldn't hold, but still if held by others, would lead to sympathy and great admiration and love for such people. I have a Quaker friend who I admire and I enjoy having long discussions with, and I see in him great qualities I wish I had for myself. Like Kerdy, if everyone was like Gebre, the world would be a better place, and then, it would be much easier to advocate seeing war as not just an evil, but it was necessary in the past, and now, it is heretical and to be condemned at all costs.  Gebre's position as I see it is an eschatological position, where the second coming of Christ demands it, and where we should at least try our very best to encourage it despite how difficult it may be and how necessary and even encouraging war or killing may be as well.  Case in point: the situation in Egypt.  I as a Copt have never had so much spite as I did when Mohamed Badie was arrested, and I was pleased to see so many protestors die.  My weaknesses are indeed my spite and my pleasure in the deaths of violent criminals, and it is an evil I should repent from, despite how necessary the arrests and killings were.
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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2013, 01:08:54 PM »

Not in favour of what appears to be a topic approached in a singularly personal way.

War is bloody and awful in every way imaginable, and then some. This bought home every time I go to hospital and see the young amputee service men and women or talk to those with combat stress. So jaw, jaw rather than war if possible but at times evil does have to be confronted, I believe. This though is not the same as furthering national aims and foreign policy goals. Which is what most conflict is about regardless of the spin doctors' and politicians' pious outpourings.

As to the falling away of the hold of the Soviets, I do not share the joy expressed by some here because I think the Communist ideologues, realising they couldn't sustain the military arms race switched to an altogether different strategy, undermining the West's morale and social values aided as ever by what Lenin vulgarly called the useful fools. In this they have had far more success and pacifism is no defence here either.
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2013, 01:25:27 PM »


As to the falling away of the hold of the Soviets, I do not share the joy expressed by some here because I think the Communist ideologues, realising they couldn't sustain the military arms race switched to an altogether different strategy, undermining the West's morale and social values aided as ever by what Lenin vulgarly called the useful fools. In this they have had far more success and pacifism is no defence here either.

So, are you stating that people's strangled lives, persecuted, and tortured for belief in God, is a better way to live, than what they have now?
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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2013, 01:55:15 PM »

I am double minded on this subject.

I believe that the peaceful way ought to be employed, if at all possible. Negotiate and communicate.

However, I also believe that there are times when this is not possible and violence is called for.
After all, we live in the fallen world, and things are not always as they should be.

I would, right or wrong, be the first one to protect Church, family and loved ones.


I have a great modern example of pacifism working.

The fall if one of histories most brutal regimes towards people and Church.

In Ukraine, Communism fell, it simply melted away, without a drop of blood being spilled in the process.

The public gathered in Kyiv, in what is known as the Orange Revolution. People who formally hid behind drawn curtains, came out and gathered. They didn't shoot anyone, beat anyone, they just pitched tents, in the freezing Ukrainian winter and made their final stand.

I can only believe that it was God's hand that brought down the soviet yoke so peacefully. Those who slaughtered thousands upon thousands, who set son against father, who made everyone's skin crawl, skinned away in to the darkness.  How was that possible?  It was a true miracle.

Glory and all thanks be to God!

By the way,  happy Ukrainian Independence Day!  22 years!


Amen! Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2013, 02:58:45 PM »

George Orwell, in his 1945 "Notes on Nationalism", wrote "(It is) grossly obvious (that) those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."
I can understand where he is coming from, and others share this belief about pacifists, but this is not the case. Monks for example are not supposed to fight in wars, even if it would be needed to protect them. Monks and some pacifists are so convinced in their beliefs that they are willing to go to jail or otherwise suffer for them- and sometimes they do, not regretting it.

You miss the point completely.  Monks did not have to fight because Christian Czars kept armies of Orthodox soldiers who did the killing for them.  And rather than scold those soldiers, they prayed for them.  One even gave them his cloak so they could be victorious over their enemies.
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« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2013, 04:00:17 PM »

I'm sure that Punch could probably give more details, but the OP is wrong on one account. If someone is threatening you or your family with deadly force, you kill them. Pussyfooting around will only cost you your life and the life of your loved ones.
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2013, 04:29:45 PM »

I've always seen it as one of those things that is strongly recommended and praised, although not required. Similarly, monasticism is recommended by St. Paul and considered a higher calling, however, it is not required. With pacifism, I imagine that a pacifist way of life is recommended, but, if a person cannot adopt one, then they can use violence provided it meets certain standards.
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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2013, 04:53:44 PM »

I've always seen it as one of those things that is strongly recommended and praised, although not required. Similarly, monasticism is recommended by St. Paul and considered a higher calling, however, it is not required. With pacifism, I imagine that a pacifist way of life is recommended, but, if a person cannot adopt one, then they can use violence provided it meets certain standards.

Very well put.
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« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2013, 06:18:16 PM »

The original post takes a difference of opinion and makes it way too personal. It made me uncomfortable reading it, especially publishing his legal name when it's obvious Gebre uses his church name here and on Facebook, etc. out of sincere faith. The author just came across as demeaning and very, very, very, petty and mean spirited.

I don't agree with some of Gerbre's opinions here and on Facebook , but good lord, he is sincere, willing to engage in debates on what can be very hard subjects to talk about, and whether you agree with him or not, he consistently stands up for life.

My first reaction when I read the post, "with friends like these, who needs enemies."
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« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2013, 06:29:06 PM »


As to the falling away of the hold of the Soviets, I do not share the joy expressed by some here because I think the Communist ideologues, realising they couldn't sustain the military arms race switched to an altogether different strategy, undermining the West's morale and social values aided as ever by what Lenin vulgarly called the useful fools. In this they have had far more success and pacifism is no defence here either.

So, are you stating that people's strangled lives, persecuted, and tortured for belief in God, is a better way to live, than what they have now?


No.

Simply that the "fall of the Soviet monolith" is not the simple cause for celebration, and in writing thus I am very well aware of Soviet crimes against humanity exceeding as they do even the infamy of the Third Reich.

If you attack sections of or whole communities as the Soviets did the results are unspeakable and I have said so many times and been shouted down by disingenuous 'useful idiots' for my pains.

But what I find strange is that the threat hasn't gone, the KGB is now the FSB and rather than the crude iron fist of the past threatening free society we have their ideologues successfully working within these free societies to destroy the very fabric of our society. And just as when Hitler was quietly building his armed forces and the appeasers insisted on looking the other way, so today some seem intent on seeing all is well while those intent on the destruction of the values, mores and structures such as family are increasingly successful.

So, I repeat in answer to your question, no. And even today religious freedom in Ukraine appears to be attacked from time to time by the clonking fist of Moscow.

My apologies for wandering off topic...
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 06:32:05 PM by Santagranddad » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2013, 06:33:38 PM »

Relevant Podcast: http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/aftoday/orthodoxy_and_war
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« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2013, 07:27:05 PM »

This thread was in bad form, and I lean more toward gebres stance than that of his opponent.
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« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2013, 07:38:43 PM »

I do have to agree that attact appears to be personal and distasteful. I am torn. I think in a ideal world that is how we should act, but if Heavens have waged a war (ie Archangel Michael leading the army again you know whom) then unfortunately sometimes there is no alternative I am afraid...Violence, especially war is a terrible thing...
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« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2013, 07:42:22 PM »

I do have to agree that attact appears to be personal and distasteful. I am torn. I think in a ideal world that is how we should act, but if Heavens have waged a war (ie Archangel Michael leading the army again you know whom) then unfortunately sometimes there is no alternative I am afraid...Violence, especially war is a terrible thing...

I agree. I believe we should avoid war if we can, but if there is no alternative, we must do it.

There are several saints who were in the military.
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« Reply #37 on: August 24, 2013, 07:43:07 PM »

And whether Gebre is right or wrong, I can't imagine Gebre meeting Christ in Heaven and Jesus saying to him, "You know Gebre, you got everything right except for war. I don't mind war if it's for a good cause."

Stand for what you believe in Gebre.
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« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2013, 07:47:17 PM »

Perhaps the OP was not clear enough. I am not against Gebres choice to be a pacifist, what I am against is his dishonesty in consistently misquoting church fathers to prove his stance. I apologize as I thought that I mentioned this in the OP. I have personally told him that its not his stance on war and violence but that teaching it as if the church takes this stance is incorrect. That makes people think that they have to be pacifist in order to be Orthodox. It is extremely dishonest and distasteful to take church fathers out of context, and in some cases he has made quotes up. So I apologize for not making that more clear. I am not against his decision to be a pacifist, I am against him being dishonest about the church teachings on the matter.
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« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2013, 07:50:44 PM »

The original post takes a difference of opinion and makes it way too personal. It made me uncomfortable reading it, especially publishing his legal name when it's obvious Gebre uses his church name here and on Facebook, etc. out of sincere faith. The author just came across as demeaning and very, very, very, petty and mean spirited.

I don't agree with some of Gerbre's opinions here and on Facebook , but good lord, he is sincere, willing to engage in debates on what can be very hard subjects to talk about, and whether you agree with him or not, he consistently stands up for life.

My first reaction when I read the post, "with friends like these, who needs enemies."

Sorry you feel this way, but I do not find misquoting church fathers, taking them out of context, and teaching others that the churchs stance is pacifist, to be a petty thing whatsoever. I have to disagree, Gebre is anything but willing to engage, any dissenting opinion on his facebook and he deletes the comments. I must reiterate, I do not take issue with Gebres personal position on pacifism, I have a problem when he teaches, as some authority on the matter, that the church takes this stance. I apologize for not being more clear in the original post.
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« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2013, 07:53:16 PM »

I have been in "the fight" in some way all of my life.  I am a born fighter, it’s part of who I have always been, but if Gebre doesn't want to be involved in violence, he has that right and I will support his choice and defend his actions.  

Every man must live with his conscience and follow his path with Jesus.  Gebre feels his path is proper and for him it certainly is and for others who are struggling with certain issues he may be able to provide the information and guidance they need which will make it their path as well.  

I doubt there will ever be a point in my life I would not fight if it was required, but I can say in all honestly I wish I were more like Gebre when those moments arise and to be even more honest, I am a little tired of people talking down to him for his views.  If everyone acted like Gebre, do you not think the world would be a better place?  I do.  So, how about everyone get off his back.

+1

Poor form, Ionnes.  There are better ways to debate this topic than this.

The issue is not the topic of pacifism, the issue is his means of justifying his position by being dishonest about what church fathers have said on the matter. That is the real issue.
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« Reply #41 on: August 24, 2013, 08:01:10 PM »

Ioannes, what were you hoping to accomplish here?  Whatever it was, you fell for the devil's trick.  Lord have mercy. 
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« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2013, 08:11:43 PM »

Man, what do I have to do around here to get a whole thread devoted to me?

Seriously, couldn't Private Messages have sufficed?
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« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2013, 08:21:16 PM »

I and several others have addressed this matter privately with Gebre, on several occasions. I have told him that an error taught publicly must be corrected publicly, if not for him for those who may think that the church fathers DO teach pacifism or that the church requires one to be pacifist. Gebre has been unwilling to hear me, and I have spoken with him personally on a number of occasions. He has resisted to advice of several clergy members and has instead opted to interpret what we are saying as us persecuting him for his beliefs. I spoke to him on the phone and told him directly that we are trying to tell him that he cannot take church fathers out of context, or make up quotes even, to support his view, that is dishonest. In fact I made sure that Gebre had a bulk of the early church fathers writings, which I sent to his kindle. He told me that he does not understand them, so why does he quote those very same fathers that he does not understand?

Again, my issue is not with his pacifist stance, it is him passing it off as a church requirement or teaching. Is that acceptable to misuse the church fathers writings, as I demonstrated in the OP, he clearly does.
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« Reply #44 on: August 24, 2013, 09:16:51 PM »

Private messages and phone calls should stay private. Are you trying to shame him into shutting up?

We live in a wicked world. War is hell. It is the smell of burning flesh. It is young men and women turned to pink mist. It is innocent women and children caught in the politics of war and blown into bloody stumps of human flesh. It is the nightmare of the faces of people you have killed that wakes you from sleep and leaves your bed soaked in sweat. It is trying to itch a leg that is missing. It is one minute talking to your best friend about home, and the next second seeing his skull blown apart and the taste of his brains resting on your lips.

I'm no pacifist, but if Gebre's exhuberance to keep war from happening sometimes results in misplaced quotes of Church Fathers, so be it. God bless him for his consistent preaching of life.

It is easy for people to talk about "just" war. It is hard to call any war just when you face the reality of what war is. Even when I disagree with you Gebre, keep preaching.

On a side note, show me a Bishop justifying the jurisdictionalism of American Orthodoxy and I'll show you someone misquoting a Church Father for no other reason than to hold onto power. I'll take Gebre's desire to find peace in our Church Fathers over this any day of the weak.
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