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Offline TempleMaster

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Newcomer
« on: May 08, 2019, 02:26:17 PM »
Hello everyone,

My profile had just been approved, this is my first post and there is already something important I would like to ask. Let me present my "case".

I had been a casual member of religion, if that's an appropriate way of calling it. I had celebrated most important parts of it (Easter, Christmas), I had been fasting (?) on big days. I was taught not to use God or anything of the manner if I ever curse, I was taught to respect religion, but it did not go much further. Now, since a month ago I had a religious rebirth of sorts. I simply started believing and researching on a deeper level, searching for stories, discussions, talks and so on. I started reading the Bible (something I had not done before), I had begun praying (something I done rarely beforehand, only in tough moments). I'm trying not to curse at all, not to think badly about people, not to wish anything bad to anyone no matter what they do, and so on. Simply saying - I'm experiencing a feeling I can't really explain. Now, for examples, there are moments during my usual day where I really want to pray and to say words of prayer to God, to cross myself. Before all of this began, I considered myself as someone who believes in God, but does not believe in church, I considered (and still consider to a certain point) many of its practices contradictory to what Christianity (at least as far as I understood it) stands for. This will be a large part of what I'll say later on, and a part of a question I'll make.

This is the main part of this post - I'm thinking of God, I'm praying, I'm finding joy in it, I feel better after prayers and saying my sins in them. I want to respect many parts of its teaching, not to swear, to love, not to wish bad on others and so on, and I truly, as before, do believe in God, but there are certain parts I find hard to believe in. This might be normal for a newcomer and that's why I wanted to post here. It might be considered heresy, but then again, we had all probably been there in certain periods.

Firstly, most religious people I know personally (or heard off, watched on Internet and so on) will claim you need to be baptized in order to be taken by God or however you want to word that. That is just so hard for me to take in and understand. Shouldn't God be happy if we are guided by good deeds, by love and by joy, even if we do not believe in him? Or if we believe in him but not the church? I know, many people had said "only thing you need to accomplish is to be a good man" and I know many do not like that statement, but isn't that what's truly important?

There is something else as well, certain parts of the Bible where God is killing people left and right for things that are at worst a simple mistake or an action someone else, someone you are not even connected to has done (killing of firstborns in Egypt). Now, I do understand the Bible should not be taken at its face value, instead it should be taken through metaphors. Also, why is the Old Testament a part of the Bible, isn't that a Jewish text? We do not perform a great deal of it.

I do not want or intend to insult anyone. If there are certain mistakes in my understanding, well, that's why I became part of the forum. As most of you are probably aware of, when someone is not fully into religion since birth, many questions arise once he accepts it.

Best regards,

Temple Master

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 03:27:56 PM »
Hi Temple Master. Are you currently attending a church or inquiring? Are you interested in Orthodoxy in particular? I can address some of your questions but it's good to know where you're coming from. Thanks.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

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Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2019, 03:43:46 PM »
Hi Temple Master. Are you currently attending a church or inquiring? Are you interested in Orthodoxy in particular? I can address some of your questions but it's good to know where you're coming from. Thanks.

Thanks for a reply,

No, I'm not currently attending a church. It is not out of any bad emotion or objective, it's is just that there is still no desire in em to do so. As I said, I had always believed in God, even before I started practicing prayer, reading religious texts and so on. Now, the feeling for doing all of those things in my is greater, and I find positive emotion in it, but when it comes to some parts, as you read in the original post, there is certain doubt, and in some parts it's not even doubt but only a human desire for questioning things from different angles. So yes, we can say I'm inquiring. Currently I'm in position of someone who believes in God, who prays and reads holy texts, but has problem with certain aspects of it.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2019, 04:08:59 PM »
To begin, the good news of Christianity is that we do not earn salvation by doing x number of good deeds. If this were how things worked, we would be doomed owing to our sinful inclinations which render even the few good deeds we do corrupt. God saved us by incarnating in our nature, by deifying it; we participate in that deification by union with him. This union is effected through many means but the most fundamental are baptism and communion. In assuming a true and complete human form Christ sanctified matter, so that it can be a conduit of grace. It is in fact possible to be saved without baptism, like the good thief, but baptism is the normative initiation into Christ.

Good works are necessary expressions of the new life in Christ- if we are truly joined to him, we will show him in our deeds. But we do this imperfectly and with many lapses, which is why reliance and trust in Christ is fundamental- only with his help can we do any good, and only by his grace can our many stumblings be covered over.

The role of the Old Testament is a big topic and you can find many discussions by a search of the forum. The basic Christian view of the Old Testament is that it testifies of Christ, as the Lord himself said- everything in it points, sometimes clearly and sometimes darkly, to Christ. For many texts an allegorical interpretation was preferred in the Church, especially in currents influences by Origen and the school of Alexandria, though this does not necessarily rule out other modes of interpretation, depending on the texts. So Christians do indeed "perform" the whole of the Old Testament, insofar as it is essentially a pointer to Christ and Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.

If you visit an Orthodox Church you will find that Old Testament readings, especially from the Psalms, are integral to our worship.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2019, 04:17:11 PM »
Welcome to the Forum,

I hope you are able to find the answers you seek, and come to realize that all the "rules" given us by the Lord, are truly for our own good.

Why is the OT part of the Bible.... well.... look at it this way, when you were a fetus, you were nurtured through the placenta.  Once born, and grown up, you are no longer automatically fed, but, are expected to feed yourself, having been shown how and what to eat.

The OT was the beginning of humanity on the earth.  God often spoke directly to them, and walked with them, etc.  However, we now are aware of Christ, who came and taught.  Therefore, it is expected we follow His example.

However, the OT, is still part of our history, just as when you were a fetus, you were still you, and those 9 months are still part of your life story.

Baptism:  The Lord directed us to be baptized, and that truly is enough for us to be baptized.  What happens to the unbaptized... there is speculation.  However, why chance it?  Why do we feed our bodies, and fear feeding our soul?

Why the Church?  It is good to pray in silence, alone.  It is better to pray in a group, for where "2 or 3 are gathered, there am I".  Man was not created to be "alone".  God created the Church, cementing it with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the chosen 12 Apostles, who were then told to go educate and baptize all nations.  They were the first bishops.  Therefore, if you read the Scriptures, you will have read this statement.  God made the Church.  Why should we bulk against it?

"Don't agree with some things."  This is life, and we are bound not to agree with everything.  That is freewill and curiosity.  Study, read, ask...learn.  The more you learn, the more likely you will be to agree with whatever you currently disagree with.  There's a deeper purpose and meaning behind it all... and once you "get" it, once that light-bulb goes off.... you will have that "aha" moment.... and everything will fall in to place.

May the Lord help you reach that "aha" moment quickly. 

Once again, welcome!

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Offline noahzarc1

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2019, 08:57:35 PM »
Firstly, most religious people I know personally (or heard off, watched on Internet and so on) will claim ........
Welcome and God be with you. As I was reading your article (before I read the above quote I left in) I thought to myself, when I had the same experience you are having now, it was before there was really an internet. I had to seek the advice of elders, talk personally with people, spend and abundant number of hours just reading scripture, etc. I do not know what it is like to have this kind of experience and at the same time have to have the internet also be a prominent place in life. Well, when I discovered Orthodoxy 5 years ago, the internet was a help to me, but I would also posit that to say I leaned back on old habits in that the first thing I did after learning a few elementary things was to seek out an Orthodox Church and talk and meet extensively with an Orthodox Priest. 5 years later it is still the main avenue I seek, i.e. talking with my priest, reading the scripture readings they send out daily, partaking in the fasts with the Church. I'm not poo-pooing the internet, but I'm poo-pooing the internet to stress, BE CAREFUL.

Seek out honest council, perhaps get away from the internet for a while or go near it sparingly, ask the Lord for guidance. I was Roman Catholic until I was 20 and then was an Evangelical Protestant for 20 years. When I came to study Orthodoxy, I also found an Orthodox Prayer book. It was freeing and humbling at the same time to go through the structured prayers of the Church fathers in the morning and break free of my "free flowing evangelical" ways. Find a Spiritual Father and let them know you so that they can guide you. None of us know you, your strengths and weaknesses and thus you are prone to bad advice from very well intentioned Christians.

God Bless you.
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Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2019, 09:44:10 PM »
Buy the Orthodox study bible and read that instead of the KJV you are reading, it will help get you in a mindset that more historically correct. (IMO)

There are plenty of books on orthodoxy you can read as well. A search here will help.

Jesus taught baptism for the remission of sins (read the nicene creed to see what orthodox believe) and that without that there is nothing.

Go to an orthodox liturgy, talk to the priest. Other than that welcome.

Offline isxodnik

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2019, 11:02:48 PM »
Shouldn't God be happy if we are guided by good deeds, by love and by joy, even if we do not believe in him? Or if we believe in him but not the church?

It is obvious that in the relations with God the person has to bring himself in compliance with God's will, instead of trying to impose the his will. What we see? He himself gave us a commandment: believe in God, and believe in Me; and He himself established the Church. If good works were to save themselves, without faith in God, then the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ would be superfluous.

Now, I do understand the Bible should not be taken at its face value, instead it should be taken through metaphors.

No, it should be taken at face value. All Scripture is historical and Inspired by God. Leave the Old Testament aside for now, and focus on the fulfillment of the prophets and the Scriptures - Christ.
Оскверняются путие eго на всяко время, отъемлются судьбы Твоя от лица eго, всеми враги своими обладает. (Psalm 9:26)

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 07:02:23 AM »
To begin, the good news of Christianity is that we do not earn salvation by doing x number of good deeds. If this were how things worked, we would be doomed owing to our sinful inclinations which render even the few good deeds we do corrupt. God saved us by incarnating in our nature, by deifying it; we participate in that deification by union with him. This union is effected through many means but the most fundamental are baptism and communion. In assuming a true and complete human form Christ sanctified matter, so that it can be a conduit of grace. It is in fact possible to be saved without baptism, like the good thief, but baptism is the normative initiation into Christ.

I understand why the church as an institution and a representative of God on Earth would ask of us to be baptized, as it starts you on a journey of sorts. Now, I understand all these questions I'm asking and these thoughts mostly could sounds as a talk of someone who does not believe, I really want to point out how I do believe, and how everything I can do personally, at home or with my own thoughts and prayers, I had been doing and learning.

On the other hand, baptism for example had been "escaping me" because I can't explain to myself that God would put any barriers besides being honest, loving and a good being. Contradictory to majority of people - who have problems with believing in the "Godly" aspect of the religion - I have a problem with believing in the earthly parts of it. I'm not finding it in myself to accept certain things, baptism being one of the biggest. I could go down to my local church and get baptized, but I don't want to do it out of sheer necessity or fear. So, when I'm asking and doubting, please, do not think I'm wanting to say someone here is wrong, or that their religion is in any kind or form wrong, I'm simply... Well, being honest. :))

The role of the Old Testament is a big topic and you can find many discussions by a search of the forum. The basic Christian view of the Old Testament is that it testifies of Christ, as the Lord himself said- everything in it points, sometimes clearly and sometimes darkly, to Christ. For many texts an allegorical interpretation was preferred in the Church, especially in currents influences by Origen and the school of Alexandria, though this does not necessarily rule out other modes of interpretation, depending on the texts. So Christians do indeed "perform" the whole of the Old Testament, insofar as it is essentially a pointer to Christ and Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.

I had just started reading Bible a week ago, so I'm currently on the Fourth Book of Moses, I guess I should have said that in the original post. What I mean is that there are many God-given "orders" about how to worship him and how to behave - we do not respect those, and yet we respect other parts of the Old Testament, as you had pointed out. That's what I found odd. I do understand why we would be reading it and accepting it based on how it talks about coming of Christ (I knew that even before reading the Bible), but of other things I was not aware of. Hopefully that made some since, wrapping thoughts in a second language can be tricky. :)

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2019, 07:27:46 AM »
Welcome to the Forum

Thanks, I'm glad to be here.

Why is the OT part of the Bible.... well.... look at it this way, when you were a fetus, you were nurtured through the placenta.  Once born, and grown up, you are no longer automatically fed, but, are expected to feed yourself, having been shown how and what to eat.

The OT was the beginning of humanity on the earth.  God often spoke directly to them, and walked with them, etc.  However, we now are aware of Christ, who came and taught.  Therefore, it is expected we follow His example.

However, the OT, is still part of our history, just as when you were a fetus, you were still you, and those 9 months are still part of your life story.

Okay, that example was... Simplistically perfect in all honesty. I can see how God had many different ways of coming to us, being part of our lives and trying to create "something" out of us. He tried with Adam and Eve, then he tried with Moses and after those two attempts failed (is "failed" appropriate word?) he began journey of people of Israel. What makes me scratch my head is a fact that we are ignoring certain aspects of Old Testament - circumcision for example, and yet those are words of God, but then we accept other aspects, as the mention of Jesus Christ.

Baptism:  The Lord directed us to be baptized, and that truly is enough for us to be baptized.  What happens to the unbaptized... there is speculation.  However, why chance it?  Why do we feed our bodies, and fear feeding our soul?

As I said beforehand, for me, at least at the current moment, being baptized only because of why not, or fear that something bad might happen otherwise is not a welcoming thought. I want to truly desire it or not do it at all.

Why the Church?  It is good to pray in silence, alone.  It is better to pray in a group, for where "2 or 3 are gathered, there am I".  Man was not created to be "alone".  God created the Church, cementing it with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the chosen 12 Apostles, who were then told to go educate and baptize all nations.  They were the first bishops.  Therefore, if you read the Scriptures, you will have read this statement.  God made the Church.  Why should we bulk against it?

Now, that's something I can see, accept and stand behind. There is not much I would add to it. I agree.

"Don't agree with some things."  This is life, and we are bound not to agree with everything.  That is freewill and curiosity.  Study, read, ask...learn.  The more you learn, the more likely you will be to agree with whatever you currently disagree with.  There's a deeper purpose and meaning behind it all... and once you "get" it, once that light-bulb goes off.... you will have that "aha" moment.... and everything will fall in to place.

Learning, researching, discussing and other things of the manner are the reason why I joined the forum.

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2019, 07:35:45 AM »
Firstly, most religious people I know personally (or heard off, watched on Internet and so on) will claim ........
Welcome and God be with you. As I was reading your article (before I read the above quote I left in) I thought to myself, when I had the same experience you are having now, it was before there was really an internet. I had to seek the advice of elders, talk personally with people, spend and abundant number of hours just reading scripture, etc. I do not know what it is like to have this kind of experience and at the same time have to have the internet also be a prominent place in life. Well, when I discovered Orthodoxy 5 years ago, the internet was a help to me, but I would also posit that to say I leaned back on old habits in that the first thing I did after learning a few elementary things was to seek out an Orthodox Church and talk and meet extensively with an Orthodox Priest. 5 years later it is still the main avenue I seek, i.e. talking with my priest, reading the scripture readings they send out daily, partaking in the fasts with the Church. I'm not poo-pooing the internet, but I'm poo-pooing the internet to stress, BE CAREFUL. [/quote]

Understood. From time to time I tell myself - Just because someone uploads a well-made video, or creates a well-written text, does not make it truth. I appreciate the advice.

Seek out honest council, perhaps get away from the internet for a while or go near it sparingly, ask the Lord for guidance. I was Roman Catholic until I was 20 and then was an Evangelical Protestant for 20 years. When I came to study Orthodoxy, I also found an Orthodox Prayer book. It was freeing and humbling at the same time to go through the structured prayers of the Church fathers in the morning and break free of my "free flowing evangelical" ways. Find a Spiritual Father and let them know you so that they can guide you. None of us know you, your strengths and weaknesses and thus you are prone to bad advice from very well intentioned Christians.

That's something I always thought about doing honestly. Just talking with someone from the church ,freely if you understand me. Just talking about things, mentioning whatever about the topic comes to my mind.

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2019, 07:39:54 AM »
There are plenty of books on orthodoxy you can read as well. A search here will help.

Once I'm finished with reading the Bible (for the first time), I planned on reading something else on the topic. Thanks for an advice, I'll be sure to take note of several titles.

Other than that welcome.

Thank you!

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2019, 09:37:22 AM »
To begin, the good news of Christianity is that we do not earn salvation by doing x number of good deeds. If this were how things worked, we would be doomed owing to our sinful inclinations which render even the few good deeds we do corrupt. God saved us by incarnating in our nature, by deifying it; we participate in that deification by union with him. This union is effected through many means but the most fundamental are baptism and communion. In assuming a true and complete human form Christ sanctified matter, so that it can be a conduit of grace. It is in fact possible to be saved without baptism, like the good thief, but baptism is the normative initiation into Christ.

I understand why the church as an institution and a representative of God on Earth would ask of us to be baptized, as it starts you on a journey of sorts.

It's not just an institutional ceremony though- it's an initiation into Christ.

Quote
On the other hand, baptism for example had been "escaping me" because I can't explain to myself that God would put any barriers besides being honest, loving and a good being.

Baptism is not a barrier- it's the lifting of a barrier, the barrier being the power of sin, which baptism enables us to overthrow with God's help. If it were possible and sufficient for us to simply be moral, without God's grace, then the incarnation of God and indeed the whole religion of Christianity are unnecessary. We could be simply followers of Confucius or any kind of worldly moral philosopher. Or if we wanted a religion with a God who did not sully himself in the material world, where he did not communicate his grace to us through flesh, blood, and water, we could turn to Plato.

Quote
I had just started reading Bible a week ago, so I'm currently on the Fourth Book of Moses, I guess I should have said that in the original post. What I mean is that there are many God-given "orders" about how to worship him and how to behave - we do not respect those, and yet we respect other parts of the Old Testament, as you had pointed out.

A lot of this is spelled out in the New Testament. It might be best to read the New Testament before the Old Testament, as counter-intuitive as that may be. Commentaries by church fathers are also important.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog

Offline WPM

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2019, 10:09:38 AM »
Welcome! . . .
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Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2019, 03:03:59 PM »

It is obvious that in the relations with God the person has to bring himself in compliance with God's will, instead of trying to impose the his will. What we see? He himself gave us a commandment: believe in God, and believe in Me; and He himself established the Church. If good works were to save themselves, without faith in God, then the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ would be superfluous.

True. Honestly, this, combined with several other posts made me think. And while reading most of these things seem very simplistic and easy to understand, but I never thought about them in such a way. Still, even as I'm opening myself, the part about not getting "accepted" by God without the church, sounds unacceptable to me. I don't know why, or if even that's normal for a newcomer, but that's just how it is. I'm guessing there is no way to rush it. It'll come with my progressing knowledge of the matter, with reading, with praying and with pure human curiosity which will lead me into a conversation with other church members and so on. About the last part, as I said before - I do believe in God, but there is something bugging me when it comes to a belief that being good, and honest and bringing joy and smiles on those around you, is not enough to be accepted by him.


No, it should be taken at face value. All Scripture is historical and Inspired by God. Leave the Old Testament aside for now, and focus on the fulfillment of the prophets and the Scriptures - Christ.

Really? I'm not sure, and this might be my memory playing tricks (it might be that I heard it something or somewhere) but I thought in the intro of the Bible itself, it says that not everything needs to be taken word for word, but again, I'm not sure about that part. This being about the Old Testament, as I had reached only the Fourth Book of Moses at this point.

I'm in all honesty excited about the New Testament, and while reading the old one I find myself thinking about what's coming page after page.

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2019, 03:13:29 PM »

Baptism is not a barrier- it's the lifting of a barrier, the barrier being the power of sin, which baptism enables us to overthrow with God's help. If it were possible and sufficient for us to simply be moral, without God's grace, then the incarnation of God and indeed the whole religion of Christianity are unnecessary. We could be simply followers of Confucius or any kind of worldly moral philosopher. Or if we wanted a religion with a God who did not sully himself in the material world, where he did not communicate his grace to us through flesh, blood, and water, we could turn to Plato.

But what if we are believers and moral, and we follow the God, and read the Bible and pray and try to love those around us, try not to lie, not to steal and so on, but are not, for our own personal reasons, or because of the circumstances or whatever other reason, not baptized... That's just hard for me to get around, as it should be I guess, nothing is easy to understand, especially things of such importance. For example - What if Plato was a Christian, would he need to be baptized? I hope I'm explaining my point clearly enough.

A lot of this is spelled out in the New Testament. It might be best to read the New Testament before the Old Testament, as counter-intuitive as that may be. Commentaries by church fathers are also important.

This is not the first time I get this advice, and as soon as I'm done with Fourth Book of Moses (don't wanna stop halfway through), I'll start with the New Testament.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2019, 03:48:39 PM »
But what if we are believers and moral, and we follow the God, and read the Bible and pray and try to love those around us, try not to lie, not to steal and so on, but are not, for our own personal reasons, or because of the circumstances or whatever other reason, not baptized... That's just hard for me to get around, as it should be I guess, nothing is easy to understand, especially things of such importance. For example - What if Plato was a Christian, would he need to be baptized? I hope I'm explaining my point clearly enough.

Baptism is the initiation into Christ that he and apostles commanded. God seeks to save all people, however, and there are many cases where someone, such as the good thief on the cross, has found salvation without a visible baptism. Many of the martyrs died before they could be baptized- this is called "the baptism of blood." And if someone desires to be baptized but there is some insurmountable obstacle to it, God will meet him too- the Latins call this "baptism of desire." But for most people, there are no such obstacles, so they should be baptized.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

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Offline CarolS

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2019, 04:04:20 PM »
May God bless your inquiry and faith journey!  I hope you will find here honesty and non-judgmental comments. Some religions do not allow for criticism and inspection.  I do not feel that Orthodox Christianity does this. That is why this past Sunday we honored the Apostle Thomas, who even doubted the resurrection of Christ and required absolute proof.  However, sometimes faith requires that we accept and believe things that we cannot prove. We don't all get to see Christ in person, to see the print of the nails or to touch his side. That is where the New Testament helps us -- the testimony of those who did see and hear in person.
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

Offline isxodnik

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2019, 06:48:07 PM »
I planned on reading something else on the topic. Thanks for an advice, I'll be sure to take note of several titles.

My personal advice, if you want a good start - start with the books of St. Ignatius Bryanchaninov.

I'm guessing there is no way to rush it. It'll come with my progressing knowledge of the matter, with reading, with praying and with pure human curiosity which will lead me into a conversation with other church members and so on.

Here! God is the source of all good things, including all good things in man.

But what if we are believers and moral, and we follow the God, and read the Bible and pray and try to love those around us, try not to lie, not to steal and so on, but are not, for our own personal reasons, or because of the circumstances or whatever other reason, not baptized... That's just hard for me to get around, as it should be I guess, nothing is easy to understand, especially things of such importance.

Christianity is not just a teaching, but a life. And not just life in the sense of good deeds, but life in essence/in substance. Like water to man, or air, or food. You may know about water, respect water - but if you don't drink it, you will die of thirst.
Оскверняются путие eго на всяко время, отъемлются судьбы Твоя от лица eго, всеми враги своими обладает. (Psalm 9:26)

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2019, 07:07:23 AM »
Baptism is the initiation into Christ that he and apostles commanded. God seeks to save all people, however, and there are many cases where someone, such as the good thief on the cross, has found salvation without a visible baptism. Many of the martyrs died before they could be baptized- this is called "the baptism of blood." And if someone desires to be baptized but there is some insurmountable obstacle to it, God will meet him too- the Latins call this "baptism of desire." But for most people, there are no such obstacles, so they should be baptized.

Understood, and thank you for the bit of information about the "baptism of blood", I didn't know much about that (only heard it mentioned here-and-there).

On the other part of the post. I might be repetitive, and you might be constantly answering this while I fail to see it, but: Why I fail to comprehend baptism or the church in general as a must, is because we can pray at home, we can read the scriptures, read the books and discussions about those scriptures or books on any other religious topic in general, especially now when the world is more connected than ever before so I can order a book from any corner of the Earth. So, considering that, what if we are all of that, if we pray, if we read, if we respect and perform everything we can personally perform, even go to church, but are not baptized? My point is that, in my (understandably less informed) opinion, God would still take us.

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2019, 07:13:48 AM »
May God bless your inquiry and faith journey!  I hope you will find here honesty and non-judgmental comments.

Thank you for your kind words. :)

Some religions do not allow for criticism and inspection.  I do not feel that Orthodox Christianity does this.

I had not yet met or talked with anyone who insulted or attacked me in any way, shape or form for asking questions, so from my personal experience I can say your feelings about Orthodox Christianity are correct. I think those religions which do not allow inspection and criticism are a contradiction to what they believe in, if what they believe in is good and honest. :)

We don't all get to see Christ in person, to see the print of the nails or to touch his side. That is where the New Testament helps us -- the testimony of those who did see and hear in person.

Oddly enough, I do not have a problem with "Godly" aspect of the religion, contrary, I have a "problem" with material part of it. As you can probably see in most of my posts. When it comes to the New Testament, I began reading it this morning, as several members of the forum suggested I should read it before the Old Testament.

Offline TempleMaster

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2019, 07:15:16 AM »
Welcome! . . .

Thanks, I'm glad to be here.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2019, 08:01:12 AM »
Baptism is the initiation into Christ that he and apostles commanded. God seeks to save all people, however, and there are many cases where someone, such as the good thief on the cross, has found salvation without a visible baptism. Many of the martyrs died before they could be baptized- this is called "the baptism of blood." And if someone desires to be baptized but there is some insurmountable obstacle to it, God will meet him too- the Latins call this "baptism of desire." But for most people, there are no such obstacles, so they should be baptized.

Understood, and thank you for the bit of information about the "baptism of blood", I didn't know much about that (only heard it mentioned here-and-there).

On the other part of the post. I might be repetitive, and you might be constantly answering this while I fail to see it, but: Why I fail to comprehend baptism or the church in general as a must, is because we can pray at home, we can read the scriptures, read the books and discussions about those scriptures or books on any other religious topic in general, especially now when the world is more connected than ever before so I can order a book from any corner of the Earth. So, considering that, what if we are all of that, if we pray, if we read, if we respect and perform everything we can personally perform, even go to church, but are not baptized? My point is that, in my (understandably less informed) opinion, God would still take us.

The gospel of our salvation is not an abstraction. It is effected by the true God who became a real human being with flesh and blood to save us. He accomplishes our salvation by visible means, and this extends to the sacraments and the church. To despise these visible vehicles of our salvation is to despise salvation itself and the God who became incarnate and suffered in the flesh for us. If we could be saved by personal piety and abstractions than Platonism or Hermeticism are the ways to go. But since these paths do not save we turn to Christ.

If you have an opportunity to be baptized, that is how Christ is saving you- exceptions to the rule are not your concern. If you don’t take it, you reject your salvation. Imagine someone struggling in the sea and someone throws him a life preserver. “I don’t need that, I hear about someone who got grabbed by a whale and brought ashore.” Take the life preserver, don’t bet on the whale. Christ commands us to be baptized and to eat his flesh and drink his blood- if we love him, we will do what he says.
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog

Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Newcomer
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2019, 08:18:15 PM »
Baptism is the initiation into Christ that he and apostles commanded. God seeks to save all people, however, and there are many cases where someone, such as the good thief on the cross, has found salvation without a visible baptism. Many of the martyrs died before they could be baptized- this is called "the baptism of blood." And if someone desires to be baptized but there is some insurmountable obstacle to it, God will meet him too- the Latins call this "baptism of desire." But for most people, there are no such obstacles, so they should be baptized.

Understood, and thank you for the bit of information about the "baptism of blood", I didn't know much about that (only heard it mentioned here-and-there).

On the other part of the post. I might be repetitive, and you might be constantly answering this while I fail to see it, but: Why I fail to comprehend baptism or the church in general as a must, is because we can pray at home, we can read the scriptures, read the books and discussions about those scriptures or books on any other religious topic in general, especially now when the world is more connected than ever before so I can order a book from any corner of the Earth. So, considering that, what if we are all of that, if we pray, if we read, if we respect and perform everything we can personally perform, even go to church, but are not baptized? My point is that, in my (understandably less informed) opinion, God would still take us.

The gospel of our salvation is not an abstraction. It is effected by the true God who became a real human being with flesh and blood to save us. He accomplishes our salvation by visible means, and this extends to the sacraments and the church. To despise these visible vehicles of our salvation is to despise salvation itself and the God who became incarnate and suffered in the flesh for us. If we could be saved by personal piety and abstractions than Platonism or Hermeticism are the ways to go. But since these paths do not save we turn to Christ.

If you have an opportunity to be baptized, that is how Christ is saving you- exceptions to the rule are not your concern. If you don’t take it, you reject your salvation. Imagine someone struggling in the sea and someone throws him a life preserver. “I don’t need that, I hear about someone who got grabbed by a whale and brought ashore.” Take the life preserver, don’t bet on the whale. Christ commands us to be baptized and to eat his flesh and drink his blood- if we love him, we will do what he says.

+1

But the Orthodox study bible, it will help you more than any other book.  Its around $50, but if yoi visit an orthodox church for divine liturgy (you should do that asap) you might ask the priest/deacon, etc if they have any extra copies you might be able to buy. I know our church has a few boxes of them collecting dust.