Author Topic: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place  (Read 8119 times)

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Offline Sinful Hypocrite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2014, 05:03:52 PM »
Or, in simpler terms, what is the Christian thing to do?

To help a person because, no matter who this person is, it will sooth his/her pain or only if it makes us see ourselves as a kind of world-saving super-hero?

To help a person because it will solve his/her problem, or only if it is one gear in our grand-scheme for world reform?
I don't think we ought to have a grand-scheme for world reform, but I do think that the world getting better is a byproduct of us helping others.  I can't see how it isn't.

Probably because you are confusing "temporarily impacting a small part of the world in a good way" with "changing the world". Both references are talking about the dellusion that there is any action that can *literally* make the whole world a better place.


Curing diseases literally make the whole world a better place. Reducing pollution literally makes the whole world a better place. Seeking peaceful means to end national conflicts literally makes the world a better place. Stopping human sex trafficking literally makes the world a better place.

But give credit to God.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2014, 05:14:42 PM »
What are the religious and political backgrounds of these folks you are quoting?

Olavo de Carvalho is a philosopher and Carlos Drummond de Andrade is a poet.
I'd prefer Paulo Coelho.
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2014, 04:09:07 AM »
I think it's our duty to try and make the world a better place, while realizing we cannot save the world through that effort, that we cannot undo the fall and create utopia. So we do it while we know we will fail.
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Offline IoanC

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2014, 04:23:15 AM »
Theoretically, Christianity and the world do not have to be opposites; that being said, Christianity is totally different than the world.  Practically, Christianity and the world often don't mix well when either become excessive or regressive.

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2014, 04:45:28 AM »
I think the Orthodox concept of theosis also applies to the world. Just as we must struggle to cooperate with God in our own salvation, so too we must cooperate with God to usher in His Kingdom. But His Kingdom will not be ushered in by political reform or violent revolution. His Kingdom will be ushered in by the proclamation of the Gospel and by our love for our fellow man. It is a mystical paradox that as the world grows colder it also grows nearer to its redemption. Our role as Christians is to align ourselves with the redemption, with His Kingdom, rather than with the fallen political structures of this world. This is our hope as individuals, and this is our hope for the world.


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« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 04:52:07 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline john_mo

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2014, 09:26:58 AM »
Is the OP's position indefensible? Let's say that we know the world will never be "a good place" (whatever that means), does it stand that we should not try to make it better? Certainly it cannot stand that we cannot improve it.

Although I think I kind of understand where he is coming from.  Our goal is to share Christ in whatever form that takes.  It is not to eliminate injustice.

EDIT: After rereading the OP, I think that he uses the concept of "the world" as something that is not able to receive improvement because, well, it's "the world".
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 09:29:08 AM by john_mo »
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2014, 10:08:18 AM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world". 

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2014, 10:24:58 AM »
What are the religious and political backgrounds of these folks you are quoting?

Olavo de Carvalho is a philosopher and Carlos Drummond de Andrade is a poet.
I'd prefer Paulo Coelho.

Cruz credo! :)

Paulo Coelho is worse than loosing 7 to 1, a shame to national literature, the Sabrina Jeffries of cheap new-age self-help.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2014, 10:26:31 AM »
I think it's our duty to try and make the world a better place, while realizing we cannot save the world through that effort, that we cannot undo the fall and create utopia. So we do it while we know we will fail.

That's more or less the idea Nicene. I think that the only difference is that Olavo wants to drop the language of "changing the world" altogether, considering it caused more damage than good.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2014, 10:30:49 AM »
I think the Orthodox concept of theosis also applies to the world.

Olavo (and I) would disagree. The world is not the image and (broken) likeness of God, so it cannot be deified *in the same sense* that a human being can be deified.

I think the difference is this: we know the world is sick and dying. Some people think we can heal or even save it.

Others know it is more like giving a dying patient temporary relief from pain and some good moments before the inevitable happens, but trying to deny it or avoid it only makes things worse and can even accelerate the process.

And that the Christian teaching is that we should relate to the world more like the second attitude and never the first. Only Jesus Christ Himself will literally resurrect the world.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2014, 10:33:35 AM »
EDIT: After rereading the OP, I think that he uses the concept of "the world" as something that is not able to receive improvement because, well, it's "the world".

Exactly. Our technological toys don't really make it better in the strong sense of "improving" it. It is and will always be a world of death, disease and injustice. We can mitigate that temporarily and just around us. Any solution to make the planet a better place is a lethal utopia at least bad or an outright deception.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline john_mo

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2014, 06:52:41 AM »
Perhaps on a similar note, I came across this article by Fr. Stephan Freeman.  It starts from the agreement of J.R.R. Tolkien's belief that history is "a long defeat".


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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2014, 09:48:18 AM »
Perhaps on a similar note, I came across this article by Fr. Stephan Freeman.  It starts from the agreement of J.R.R. Tolkien's belief that history is "a long defeat".

That is *exactly* what Olavo is talking about. He only expands on the theme to say that the "narrative of improvement" or "progressive thought" is inherently evil and beyond any immediate consolation it might bring, it always makes things even worse, it only accelerates that "long defeat".
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2014, 02:57:02 AM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world". 

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2014, 08:36:19 AM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world".  

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam

People's heart have nothing to do with the world. Noone can even start to have true consolation if you don't realize first that the heart is to be in a kingdom "not of this world". And making the world a better place is one of the best, quickest ways to destroy human hearts.

The world is like the Titanic: impressive, but broken and sinking. We will either go down with it, or we will have to face the cold and dark of the ocean with our little boats-communities. But there is no way that we can avoid going to the cold and to the dark if we are to survive and actually be rescued.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 08:47:07 AM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2014, 08:51:42 AM »
I think any time we do an act of charity, we make the world a better place.

That would be what he is saying about "fix something here".
He uses the word "world" in its literal sense. We may help individuals, but that will never make the world a better place.

I thought it meant more that we cannot turn the icon of the Kingdom into the idol of Utopia of our own making, rejecting the Paradise that we work for but only God can grant.
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2014, 09:00:23 AM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world".  

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam

People's heart have nothing to do with the world. Noone can even start to have true consolation if you don't realize first that the heart is to be in a kingdom "not of this world". And making the world a better place is one of the best, quickest ways to destroy human hearts.

The world is like the Titanic: impressive, but broken and sinking. We will either go down with it, or we will have to face the cold and dark of the ocean with our little boats-communities. But there is no way that we can avoid going to the cold and to the dark if we are to survive and actually be rescued.


Christ calls His disciples to be salt and light. That seems to indicate that we can indeed influence our world. I think the fundamental issue is how we influence it. Seeking to usher in an earthly utopia through political reform or violent revolution is not in line with our calling as Christians. But abandoning any hope of positively influencing the world is equally contrary to our calling. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in the image of God, and Christ died to redeem the world. Babylon will surely fall, and we must call people to come out of her. Babylon won't be reformed, and I agree that attempts to do so are futile. But we are still called to be salt and light to the world. Seems to be another Orthodox paradox.  :)

Selam
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 09:00:57 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2014, 09:05:32 AM »
Are people still encouraging a discussion of this nihilist heresy? Shocking.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2014, 09:26:14 AM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world".  

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam

People's heart have nothing to do with the world. Noone can even start to have true consolation if you don't realize first that the heart is to be in a kingdom "not of this world". And making the world a better place is one of the best, quickest ways to destroy human hearts.

The world is like the Titanic: impressive, but broken and sinking. We will either go down with it, or we will have to face the cold and dark of the ocean with our little boats-communities. But there is no way that we can avoid going to the cold and to the dark if we are to survive and actually be rescued.


Christ calls His disciples to be salt and light. That seems to indicate that we can indeed influence our world. I think the fundamental issue is how we influence it. Seeking to usher in an earthly utopia through political reform or violent revolution is not in line with our calling as Christians. But abandoning any hope of positively influencing the world is equally contrary to our calling. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in the image of God, and Christ died to redeem the world. Babylon will surely fall, and we must call people to come out of her. Babylon won't be reformed, and I agree that attempts to do so are futile. But we are still called to be salt and light to the world. Seems to be another Orthodox paradox.  :)

Selam

We can be the seed of positive influence for a small number of people immediately around us, not for the world. Even the saints are said to be "glorified" because it is God Who miraculously extends their influence beyond their immediate circles - unlike revolutionaries who try to expand their influence by force.

Even for people we do not fix anyone, or save anyone. When we come to a point that we actually have something good to share - which takes time and a lot of suffering - we become sowers at best. It's their responsibility to make their hearts fertile soil and it is God who will make it rain and make the seeds grow - seeds that He gave us Himself in the first place.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 09:26:28 AM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #64 on: July 18, 2014, 09:28:38 AM »
Are people still encouraging a discussion of this nihilist heresy? Shocking.

Fr. Freeman, the Fathers of the Church and Tolkien seem to disagree. :)

Perhaps on a similar note, I came across this article by Fr. Stephan Freeman.  It starts from the agreement of J.R.R. Tolkien's belief that history is "a long defeat".

Maybe we should avoid the heresy of world revolution (even through non-violent means) instead. :)
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #65 on: July 18, 2014, 07:20:47 PM »
Fr. Freeman that made me LOL.
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Offline john_mo

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #66 on: July 19, 2014, 08:23:30 AM »
Fr. Freeman that made me LOL.

Rather rude, I must say.  And you went to seminary and have years of pastoral and theological guidance, I suppose?
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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #67 on: July 20, 2014, 09:37:58 PM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world".  

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam

People's heart have nothing to do with the world. Noone can even start to have true consolation if you don't realize first that the heart is to be in a kingdom "not of this world". And making the world a better place is one of the best, quickest ways to destroy human hearts.

The world is like the Titanic: impressive, but broken and sinking. We will either go down with it, or we will have to face the cold and dark of the ocean with our little boats-communities. But there is no way that we can avoid going to the cold and to the dark if we are to survive and actually be rescued.


Christ calls His disciples to be salt and light. That seems to indicate that we can indeed influence our world. I think the fundamental issue is how we influence it. Seeking to usher in an earthly utopia through political reform or violent revolution is not in line with our calling as Christians. But abandoning any hope of positively influencing the world is equally contrary to our calling. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in the image of God, and Christ died to redeem the world. Babylon will surely fall, and we must call people to come out of her. Babylon won't be reformed, and I agree that attempts to do so are futile. But we are still called to be salt and light to the world. Seems to be another Orthodox paradox.  :)

Selam

We can be the seed of positive influence for a small number of people immediately around us, not for the world. Even the saints are said to be "glorified" because it is God Who miraculously extends their influence beyond their immediate circles - unlike revolutionaries who try to expand their influence by force.

Even for people we do not fix anyone, or save anyone. When we come to a point that we actually have something good to share - which takes time and a lot of suffering - we become sowers at best. It's their responsibility to make their hearts fertile soil and it is God who will make it rain and make the seeds grow - seeds that He gave us Himself in the first place.


Love is a force. Truth is a force. Forgiveness is a force. Compassion is a force. And such force can only come from the Holy Spirit. The more we allow His Spirit to work in and through us - and the more we strive to be ambassadors of Christ - then the greater impact we will have upon the world. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in God's image, and in this regard we should strive to be salt and light. "Death to the world" does not mean "death to people." It means dying to our own sins and dying to worldly philosophies that stand in opposition to Christ and His loving truth.

We have no part in political reform or violent revolution (I keep repeating this), but we most certainly do have participation in the Kingdom of God. Let us continue to labor for His Kingdom with the hope and assurance that our redemption (and the redemption of the world) draweth nigh.


Selam
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #68 on: July 20, 2014, 11:25:53 PM »
My wife church exclusively funds an orphanage in Mexico.  They have all kinds of volunteers that go there to help with the children sometimes giving years of their life to the cause.

I think this is making the world a better place.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2014, 01:18:15 PM »

If every Christian made their little "area" a better place through kindness and selfless acts, etc. then much of the world WOULD be a better place.

However, keep in mind, we are told to do good to our neighbor wherever we are...to fix our area, that's it.  We aren't told to go and fix the world...

However, how many of us actually try to improve the area and help the people immediately around us?  Let's be honest.  We talk, but, do we do?

Furthermore, remember we are "not of this world".  

Don't get bogged down with all the negativity around you.  Try your best to make it better, and focus on the Lord.  That's all He asks of us.

Amen Liza! Well said. The only thing I would slightly amend is your statement, "we aren't told to go and fix the world." Not that I disagree with you, but we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. And part of making disciples and preaching the Gospel is binding up the broken hearted and ministering to the suffering. So if we live out our true Christian calling, it seems that we can indeed make the world a better place. However, seeking to reform the world through politics or violent revolution is most certainly not our Christian calling. Just my humble opinion.
 :)

Selam

People's heart have nothing to do with the world. Noone can even start to have true consolation if you don't realize first that the heart is to be in a kingdom "not of this world". And making the world a better place is one of the best, quickest ways to destroy human hearts.

The world is like the Titanic: impressive, but broken and sinking. We will either go down with it, or we will have to face the cold and dark of the ocean with our little boats-communities. But there is no way that we can avoid going to the cold and to the dark if we are to survive and actually be rescued.


Christ calls His disciples to be salt and light. That seems to indicate that we can indeed influence our world. I think the fundamental issue is how we influence it. Seeking to usher in an earthly utopia through political reform or violent revolution is not in line with our calling as Christians. But abandoning any hope of positively influencing the world is equally contrary to our calling. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in the image of God, and Christ died to redeem the world. Babylon will surely fall, and we must call people to come out of her. Babylon won't be reformed, and I agree that attempts to do so are futile. But we are still called to be salt and light to the world. Seems to be another Orthodox paradox.  :)

Selam

We can be the seed of positive influence for a small number of people immediately around us, not for the world. Even the saints are said to be "glorified" because it is God Who miraculously extends their influence beyond their immediate circles - unlike revolutionaries who try to expand their influence by force.

Even for people we do not fix anyone, or save anyone. When we come to a point that we actually have something good to share - which takes time and a lot of suffering - we become sowers at best. It's their responsibility to make their hearts fertile soil and it is God who will make it rain and make the seeds grow - seeds that He gave us Himself in the first place.


Love is a force. Truth is a force. Forgiveness is a force. Compassion is a force. And such force can only come from the Holy Spirit. The more we allow His Spirit to work in and through us - and the more we strive to be ambassadors of Christ - then the greater impact we will have upon the world. After all, the world is comprised of human beings created in God's image, and in this regard we should strive to be salt and light. "Death to the world" does not mean "death to people." It means dying to our own sins and dying to worldly philosophies that stand in opposition to Christ and His loving truth.

We have no part in political reform or violent revolution (I keep repeating this), but we most certainly do have participation in the Kingdom of God. Let us continue to labor for His Kingdom with the hope and assurance that our redemption (and the redemption of the world) draweth nigh.


Selam

The kingdom of God is in hearts *only*. It cannot be brought about by us to the world, only by Christ in the Last Judgment. "care not for the future", "the poor will always be with you", "why do you labour so much Martha, Mary has got the best part", "my Kingdom is not of this world" are all words that remind us that it is not for us to create a new better world in history. We can and should help our *neighbors*: concrete people within our reach. Any plan to reform the world as such, even under "Christian" terms is anti-Christian in its pride.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #70 on: July 21, 2014, 01:19:20 PM »
My wife church exclusively funds an orphanage in Mexico.  They have all kinds of volunteers that go there to help with the children sometimes giving years of their life to the cause.

I think this is making the world a better place.

These are real people, not the world. The kids will be better off. The world will still be what it is despite the kid's personal state.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #71 on: July 21, 2014, 01:49:03 PM »
Another way of putting it is: do we help people because that's a necessary step in our grand plan of reforming the world (even if we don't call it this way), or because we really love them, not as the "excluded", "the minorities", but as John, that kid with the scar on the chin, Pedro, our hispanic friend who is having trouble with his own kids now, as "my father" or "my mother", now old and in physical and emotional need of our attention, just like we were in need of theirs when we were babies. as Laura, our 15-year-old neighbor who got pregnant and the father is another kid, and now has to deal with new responsibilities and the weight of looks and back-talks of condemnation?

Do we help them because we have some love for them, as individuals, our neighbors, regardless of the impact their well-being will cause in the world, or because somehow they are tools in our personal quest to "make the world a better place"?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 01:51:32 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #72 on: July 21, 2014, 01:56:34 PM »
My wife church exclusively funds an orphanage in Mexico.  They have all kinds of volunteers that go there to help with the children sometimes giving years of their life to the cause.

I think this is making the world a better place.

These are real people, not the world. The kids will be better off. The world will still be what it is despite the kid's personal state.
The attempt to separate the people from the world is an impossiblity.  Each person is a subset of the world. If all else is kept equal, the improvement of one person, improves the world, albeit by a small amount. Of course, I suppose the argument could be that with every improvement to one person, there occurs a disimprovement to another in some sort of a Yin-Yang fashion. Of course Yin-Yang has significant problems from an Orthodox perspective.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #73 on: July 21, 2014, 02:05:52 PM »
My wife church exclusively funds an orphanage in Mexico.  They have all kinds of volunteers that go there to help with the children sometimes giving years of their life to the cause.

I think this is making the world a better place.

These are real people, not the world. The kids will be better off. The world will still be what it is despite the kid's personal state.
The attempt to separate the people from the world is an impossiblity.  Each person is a subset of the world. If all else is kept equal, the improvement of one person, improves the world, albeit by a small amount. Of course, I suppose the argument could be that with every improvement to one person, there occurs a disimprovement to another in some sort of a Yin-Yang fashion. Of course Yin-Yang has significant problems from an Orthodox perspective.

Right there is something that I think is not Christian. We are not just a sub-set of the world. In every real improvement we get closer to the "world to come" and leave *this* world behind, precisely because *this* world can only be improved by God when He sees fit to transform it into the new world.

Plus, real persons are temporary beings. One does not need Yin-Yang to see that no good we do will last more than the aided person's life, many times even less. All the while, universal decay, defended both by Christianity and current physical sciences, will continue. The difference is that materialist scientists expect the world to die and stay dead or at most a new big-bang would happen turning it all into a meaningless cosmic joke going nowhere. We, Christians, believe that Jesus will come to actually put an end to this crazy run towards death. Actually that He has already somehow defused its final effects and although things will still die, death is no longer a permanent state and we will all be resurrected and the world will be recreated.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #74 on: July 21, 2014, 02:16:53 PM »
My wife church exclusively funds an orphanage in Mexico.  They have all kinds of volunteers that go there to help with the children sometimes giving years of their life to the cause.

I think this is making the world a better place.

These are real people, not the world. The kids will be better off. The world will still be what it is despite the kid's personal state.

Sorry I completely and utterly miss your point.   To make the world a better place, it can be one step at a time.

The kids will grow up in a more wholesome environment and be taught Christian values with people who genuinely love them - rather than in a quasi 3rd world orphanage.

This IS making the world a better place.

If a Christian run, funded, and volunteer based orphanage does not satisfy, nothing will.

How about the multiple ton shipment of canned Turkey given out to the hungry? 

Helping others makes the world a better place.
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Offline biro

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2014, 05:56:39 PM »
If we're not supposed to do diddly about this life on Earth, why do we have it? Are we Jehovah's Witnesses, just waiting to get picked as one of the 144,000?

I can't ignore the fact that Jesus told us to help others. If a man asks you to go with him one mile, go with him two. We're not some weird Horus cult, just waiting around to die.
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Offline Fabio Leite

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #76 on: July 22, 2014, 01:06:30 PM »
If we're not supposed to do diddly about this life on Earth, why do we have it? Are we Jehovah's Witnesses, just waiting to get picked as one of the 144,000?

I can't ignore the fact that Jesus told us to help others. If a man asks you to go with him one mile, go with him two. We're not some weird Horus cult, just waiting around to die.

Help others, not reform the world.

Our modern culture is so ingrained with revolutionary thinking that we can't even think of any other purpose to be here on earth if not to change the world. There are several other good purposes. None of them make the world a better a place.


Quote
To make the world a better place, it can be one step at a time.

The good we do is not cumulative.

The good done to those kids will provide them with better opportunities and a better start point in life, but eventually it will be diluted in larger society even if all of them were to become saints or scientists finding cures for lethal diseases or excellent politicians, even a president. At most, they would create a temporary relief for a lot of people within their immediate reach. It could last some decades, even a couple of centuries. But eventually decay and rupture would take its course back again.

History's "line" is not an ascending curve, but has a wave shape. Every good is temporary and can and will be lost and eventually will have to be rediscovered.


Quote
Helping others makes the world a better place.

Would it change anything in your actions if you found out that all these actions are *not* making the world a better place, or not impacting the world at large, but just bringing temporary relief to those directly helped? Or, same question in different words, are you helping them, or using them to advance your vision of a better world?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 01:07:42 PM by Fabio Leite »
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #77 on: July 22, 2014, 11:33:03 PM »
I think those children growing up in a loving and caring environment will "help" the world better as they are older and didn't grow up in the streets.


Question though, what do you think of Jesus saying "Be not of this world".   Perhaps we are supposed to help the world, but spiritually not be a part of it.
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Offline Georgii

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #78 on: July 23, 2014, 03:50:52 AM »
Some non-Orthodox have likened this world to a spiritual boot camp -- and just try to explain to that fell sergeant, Death, why you weren't training like you were in a real battle.

We are in a real battle in this life, first of all within ourselves, but also fighting for each other's salvation. "Making the world a better place" may be merely a means to that end, or a side effect of helping other people, but there's no excuse for not "trying" to do it.

When I was buying an icon of the saint for whom I am named, I asked for one where he was standing, without the horse and dragon. But symbolically at least, slaying dragons is making the world a better place, is it not?

Another quote from Tolkien/Gandalf goes: "It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."

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Re: Christians cannot try to make the world a better place
« Reply #79 on: July 23, 2014, 05:39:03 AM »
Some non-Orthodox have likened this world to a spiritual boot camp -- and just try to explain to that fell sergeant, Death, why you weren't training like you were in a real battle.

We are in a real battle in this life, first of all within ourselves, but also fighting for each other's salvation. "Making the world a better place" may be merely a means to that end, or a side effect of helping other people, but there's no excuse for not "trying" to do it.

When I was buying an icon of the saint for whom I am named, I asked for one where he was standing, without the horse and dragon. But symbolically at least, slaying dragons is making the world a better place, is it not?

Another quote from Tolkien/Gandalf goes: "It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."




Makes me want to read Tolkien! I'm not much on fantasy, but I guess I need to break out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. This is good stuff right here.  :)


Selam
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