Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Russian History => Topic started by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 05:53:52 PM

Title: discussion about orthodox religion #1
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 05:53:52 PM
This discussion started on another thread: http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=links;action=display;num=1089288424;start=25#25  until we realized that we better start a new thread especially for this! So please post your thoughts about orthodox faith/traditions, and maybe religion in general here.  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 23, 2005, 05:57:58 PM
Brilliant! Thanks :) :)

My view is that we needn't BE so divided. Theologians play with words & miss the importance of all that Christianity is meant to be. I do not believe that Jesus founded the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant Churches - but that He founded (not as a Church) but as a way of life) Christianity. We...going back to Peter & Paul...have caused these divisions. Perhaps if we accepted different cultures have different means of practising their faith, we could realize that basically we are all one. And that 'oneness' seems to me the most important part of it...Jesus' prayer the night before He died, "That they may be one as we are one."
Well, that's what I think anyway (but I'm probably wrong.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 06:03:35 PM
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Brilliant! Thanks :) :)

I do not believe that Jesus founded the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant Churches - but that He founded... a way of life... We...going back to Peter & Paul...have caused these divisions.  
 

Yes, exactly! It is all "man-made"! This is why I kind of feel that we shouldn't have organized religion, because although it's very nice in theory, once you have it in place, these divisions are inevitable - it's human nature! This has been proven over and over, unfortunately. It would be so much nicer for everyone if people just worshipped however they wanted to worship (or not at all) and minded their own business. Sorry for putting it that way.  :-X
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 23, 2005, 06:08:29 PM
But at the same time we need to 'belong' - and we (or at least I) need guidance or else we may end up believing all kinds of bizarre things & become arrogant in thinking we are right. We can surely learn from the experiences of the past, too - and in this I think organized religion is necessary...it's just the way it's organized at the moment!
I mean, for example, when I was younger I always thought that what I did was okay & when the Church said it was wrong I assumed the (very arrogantly) that the Church was out-of-date or wrong!
Later, I saw that it was right all the time & I was wrong...but young & foolish!
It's a bit complicated, this, isn't it? I wish it were earlier in the day (it's after midnight here!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 23, 2005, 06:18:31 PM
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But at the same time we need to 'belong' - and we (or at least I) need guidance or else we may end up believing all kinds of bizarre things & become arrogant in thinking we are right. We can surely learn from the experiences of the past, too - and in this I think organized religion is necessary...it's just the way it's organized at the moment!
I mean, for example, when I was younger I always thought that what I did was okay & when the Church said it was wrong I assumed the (very arrogantly) that the Church was out-of-date or wrong!
Later, I saw that it was right all the time & I was wrong...but young & foolish!
 


How sad!  :-/
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 23, 2005, 06:19:43 PM
Why sad? You live & learn!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 06:47:02 PM
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But at the same time we need to 'belong' - and ... need guidance or else we may end up believing all kinds of bizarre things & become arrogant in thinking we are right.  
 Why would this be the case? We are not children, after all! ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 23, 2005, 06:53:07 PM
Perhaps I phrased it badly. (It's so late!!) Because, perhaps, God is so 'unknowable' - it is important (I think) to be able to have some kind of 'standard' (I can't think of a better expression) against which to test our beliefs. The Church seems to be that. That where we are not sure we can consider the thousands of years of experience and see what the Church states. Also, I believe that through the Church (in some way which I do not understand) God can speak to us whereas (think back to denial in other threads :)) our own minds might deceive us.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 06:56:51 PM
In spiritual matters we all are children! Probably actually infants. I would be very wary of people claiming to be 'spiritual' - there is a lot of deception (both self-deception and from the evil one out there) and a lot of prelest (spiritual deception - a kind of I am holier than thou mindset - 'I have seen a vision of Angels so I must be on the right track and am therefore quite spiritual' - all the while forgetting that the Devil can appear as a shining angel if he so wishes.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 07:03:58 PM
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 ....where we are not sure we can consider the thousands of years of experience and see what the Church states.
 

But different churches have different opinions about things, that's my whole point. So the church may confuse us even more, unless you have absolute faith in whichever church we are talking about... And even then, this advice is coming from a person, not from God, and is subject to their interpretation.

Quote
 I believe that through the Church (in some way which I do not understand) God can speak to us whereas (think back to denial in other threads :)) our own minds might deceive us.


Since you put it that way, than psychotherapy may be more effective ;)

I guess different people have different needs and luckily we have the option of where to turn to for our own (at least in some countries we do). People should just choose what's right for them to get them through the day or through life, but we shouldn't assume that one specific thing will work for everyone...


Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 07:07:13 PM
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 In spiritual matters we all are children! Probably actually infants. I would be very wary of people claiming to be 'spiritual' - there is a lot of deception (both self-deception and from the evil one out there) and a lot of prelest (spiritual deception - a kind of I am holier than thou mindset - 'I have seen a vision of Angels so I must be on the right track and am therefore quite spiritual' - all the while forgetting that the Devil can appear as a shining angel if he so wishes.)


What if you are not spiritual at all and are ok with that? i don't think we necessarily need spiritualism to be decent human beings or to be happy for that matter. Everyone needs different things in life, as I said before. Some people crave spiritualism, others crave other things, it just depends on the type of person.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 07:08:26 PM
The Church Fathers are remarkably in accord with each other in their opinions - over 100s of years, and from the time when Orthodoxy and the Roman Church were the same. Differences creep into the west from around the end of the first millenium, and after the Reformation, there are all kinds of things floating around out there. But the Church Fathers are consistant, and startsy even in these latter days continue to express the same mind as their forbears - let the mind that is in Christ Jesus be in you.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 07:12:03 PM
I think a spiritual aspect is inbuilt into humans. It depends how it's channeled. For some people their 'god' is the TV, the Internet, the Horse races....
Religion isn't something we do on Sundays, it permeates our entire being - how we live, how we feel, how we interpret our surroundings.
If the inbuilt spirituality doesn't get used in religion, it comes out in other ways. I think there is a very real need in humans for worship. But are we worshipping God, or an idol? We need to ask ourselves this.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 07:26:42 PM
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Religion isn't something we do on Sundays, it permeates our entire being - how we live, how we feel, how we interpret our surroundings.
 If the inbuilt spirituality doesn't get used in religion, it comes out in other ways. I think there is a very real need in humans for worship. But are we worshipping God, or an idol? We need to ask ourselves this.


Yes, you are right, there is something innate about it, otherwise how could we explain the fact that for thousands of years humans always worshipped something. But I think what we are talking about here is "passion" for something, not "spirituality" per say. Yes, for some people it is religion, for others it may be their work, for some it may be another person even,  yet others may have some specific passion for things like art or music or whatever. I don't think we are necessarily channeling our spirituality into something else instead of religion though, I think we are each sort of wired up to go a certain way, and we do.  Some are more spiritual than others because this is the way they are wired up, others are not at all, but maybe have inclination for something else. Also, as I am sure you know, not everyone "feels" religion the way are supposed to, many just go through the motions for various reasons, but feel nothing or almost nothing. It may just not be their 'cup of tea", but they may be too scared or guilty to admit it even to themselves... That doesn't seem like a good thing.  :(
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:07:37 PM
That's right. Going through the motions is to my mind a sin, though I am sure many of us experience it from time-to-time.  Also I think, if religion becomes a passion, then it is also a sin because it is idolising the religion and not God. In Orthodoxy we are to struggle against our passions - and its amazing once you've started work on pulling up the big and obvious ones, the deep-rooted ones, how many little ones are hidden away as well - passions and sins which you never suspected but which have been there, quietly eating away at your soul.
(A good definition of sin btw is 'to miss the target')

I have heard the story about a convert to Orthodoxy who is super-zealous and does everything by the book. Someone was asking about this person and whether he is Orthodox or not. The reply from an old 'cradle' Orthodox lady was "Well, he is certainly Orthodox, but is he a Christian?" Sometimes I feel that story very much applies to me. :-[
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 23, 2005, 08:12:48 PM
   I have been struggling with the possibility of converting to Russian Orthodoxy for some time... and I have come to the realization that I cannot make 'the leap of faith". I cannot understand "judeo- christianity" as a spiritual system --sin as a concept makes no sense and the semetic God seems too alien to me.
  I believe now that I was more interested in Russia and her culture than in "Faith". I once joked that I would love to be Orthodox, if only the Christianity aspect wasn't required for conversion.
Sorry if this upsets anyone -it's just my experience.
rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 08:12:48 PM
Quote
 In Orthodoxy we are to struggle against our passions - and its amazing once you've started work on pulling up the big and obvious ones, the deep-rooted ones, how many little ones are hidden away as well - passions and sins which you never suspected but which have been there, quietly eating away at your soul.
I don't think passions are a bad thing, after all, if some humans didn't have strong ones, we would have no beautiful art or poetry or music, no great scientific discoveries even! So it just depends where these passions lie. Maybe you mean fanatacism, not passions? Fanaticism is not good, any way you look at it, in fact it is scary!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 23, 2005, 08:14:10 PM
Why are "passions" bad?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:21:41 PM
Passions are things which take hold of you and turn you away from God, at least that is what I think. (I don't know if that is the Orthodox definition!) - so a passion for music that wasn't from God say, would produce music that rather than inspiring people or gladdening their heart or stirring up some positive response, would at the best leave a listening either with no feeling, or upset/angry/annoyed/negative.

Rsskiya - when I was at Uni, a time when I had no interest in religion as such but some vague wishy-washy notion of god, I once joked to a Christian friend that if I ever became Christian, it would only be as an Orthodox Christian. God must have heard me, and taken me at face value.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 23, 2005, 08:26:47 PM
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  I have been struggling with the possibility of converting to Russian Orthodoxy for some time... and I have come to the realization that I cannot make 'the leap of faith". I cannot understand "judeo- christianity" as a spiritual system --sin as a concept makes no sense and the semetic God seems too alien to me.
   I believe now that I was more interested in Russia and her culture than in "Faith". I once joked that I would love to be Orthodox, if only the Christianity aspect wasn't required for conversion.
Sorry if this upsets anyone -it's just my experience.
rskkiya

Georgiy I am happy for you, I guess... :-/
Unless and until I can understand the point in the concept of "sin" and the "judeochristian God" starts to make more sense and be less irrational-- I will have to sit outside the happy faithful...sorry

rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 08:29:11 PM
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... passion for music that wasn't from God say, would produce music that rather than inspiring people or gladdening their heart or stirring up some positive response, would at the best leave a listening either with no feeling, or upset/angry/annoyed/negative.
 
 And what does one do if one does not get inspiration from God, ever, but from other things? Should they just give up and not produce something beautiful, something they have incredible talent to produce? Sorry Georgiy, I don't agree that only things inspired by God will stir or get positive response from others, that is just so not true!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 23, 2005, 08:33:52 PM
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 And what does one do if one does not get inspiration from God, ever, but from other things? Should they just give up and not produce something beautiful, something they have incredible talent to produce? Sorry Georgiy, I don't agree that only things inspired by God will stir or get positive response from others, that is just so not true!


I agree with Helen!  What a very odd notion to suggest that a passion must come "from God" to be worthy.  Just how does one *know* whether God approves?  Does he *tell* you? Is it a feeling?
Passions do NOT turn a person from "god".  If you want to actually believe that, then best of luck. You are bound to have a rather dreary existence.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 23, 2005, 08:37:40 PM
Dashkova
Are you Orthodox? I was simply curious - no insult intended, I simply seem to have no ability to "just believe."
rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:38:24 PM
Anything that is good comes from God whether we know it/recognise it or not.

Georgiy the Dreary! ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 08:43:17 PM
 
Quote
...I simply seem to have no ability to "just believe."
rskkiya
 Some people just don't have it in their nature to have blind faith, and I too am one of these people. I am unable to accept things that I can't get answers for or that make no logical sense to me. That's just the way I am, and I know that there are many people like that out there. This is what I meant when I said before that people are just "wired up" differently. "Blind faith" would be really going against the grain for this type of a person, it just would never work. I know this for sure. But it doesn't really matter, because I am fine with the way I am, and I don't seem to have any spiritual voids or anything like that, as some people often say they do...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:50:41 PM
Neither do i have a 'blind faith' - like I mentioned somewhere else, my Faith is annoyingly intellectual and I wish I could balance it more with the heart...

Another thought - our words and actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant have eternal significance, and last forever. I heard a kind-of joke about that, that while not necessarily funny makes a point.

A lawyer and a best-selling author were both in hell, ingreat cauldrons with raging fire underneath them. The Devil came along regularly and added extra fuel to the author's fire. One day the lawyer asked about this "Why do you keep on adding extra fuel to the author's fire?"
"Well," said the Devil, "Each time someone reads his book, I add an extra log to the fire." (The point being that by reading the author's work someone's soul was damaged and so the devil kept adding fuel each time the book was read and someone damaged by it.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 08:55:23 PM
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Anything that is good comes from God whether we know it/recognise it or not.
 
So then can we just assume that anything that we are passionate about, and have great talent for which in turn makes us produce wonderful things, comes from God? In which case, why are passions bad if they come from God?   ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:56:21 PM
Never assume anything! (Especially not that 15% royalty!!!) ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 08:57:09 PM
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 The point being that by reading the author's work someone's soul was damaged and so the devil kept adding fuel each time the book was read and someone damaged by it.


What kind of a book are we talking about here, Georgiy? Could it be about a certain female pilot who may be a certain Russian Grand Duchess?  :o  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 08:58:35 PM
I think the 'passions' we have been talking about which lead people to produce great music etc, may be better called talents. The other passions, the ones which corrupt, destroy and bring us and others down are not from God.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 09:01:34 PM

You got it! ;D That book is definately quite dodgey!

Actually, it is just a hypothetical book, and the same story can be applied to all kinds of other places.  I think what is significant in it is that what may seem like the most trivial comment (to the person who made it) could be the most disasterous thing for another person's soul.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 23, 2005, 09:01:56 PM
Quote
Dashkova
Are you Orthodox? I was simply curious - no insult intended, I simply seem to have no ability to "just believe."
rskkiya


Nah, raised Presbyterian, attended Catholic school, converted to Anglicanism as an adult, married a Russian Orthodox (whose faith is simple, charming, embedded with paganism, and just naive in a way that I would never attempt to discuss with him)  I have thought of Orthodoxy, but realize that while I love the bells and whistles that come with the practice of the faith, I do not have the belief itself.  In fact, I frankly cannot really respect the intelligence of religious types.  I *do* respect their right to believe what they wish, but I really do wonder about their depth of intellect.  I am NOT pointing fingers at anyone, like I said, I come from a religious family and married into another.  I respect their beliefs but do not admire nor understand them.

I guess I am agnostic.  I want to believe there is something after this world -- as a parent one must harbor some sort of hope -- but I do not think it has anything to do with man made religions (that would be all of them) and must agree with Voltaire on the matter.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: ptitchka on January 23, 2005, 09:02:04 PM
To me - an Orthodox convert from Protestantism - the definition of a passion differs slightly in Western culture and in secular usage than the definition in Orthodoxy.  The word describes not only an occasion or an act of sin but the inclinations that lead to the acts.   Passions make it difficult to live life as the Lover of Mankind intended people to, and disturb concord between people -  not to mention obscuring 'the Kingdom of God within us'.  God means well.  And though at times we often know very well what we are doing when we indulge our whims and insist on our wills, we in fact know not what we do.  Passions often have quite an painful impact on other people when they are expressed.  Greed, for example, deprives the needy of what they need.  Lust can break up families.  And so on...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 09:04:13 PM
Quote
I think the 'passions' we have been talking about which lead people to produce great music etc, may be better called talents. The other passions, the ones which corrupt, destroy and bring us and others down are not from God.
But when you have a talent for something, you also must have a passion for it in order to utilize this talent. Maybe we have different definitions of the term "passion"...   ??? I don't mean base passions like for schapps, cigarettes or sex, or anything like that. I mean "passion" as in "drive" or "enthusiasm" for something...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 09:04:57 PM
Thank you Pravoslavnaya! That sums it up well. Sometimes it's hard to explain what certain terms mean within Orthodoxy (temptation is another tricky one) to non-Orthodox, especially when secular versions of the same word have different connotations, such as 'Passion'. I think that talent or ability covers it. The type of passion we have been talking about Helen isn't a passion in the sense of a sinful inclination or anything like that but a gift from God. (So long as it is used in the way God intends it!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 23, 2005, 09:06:10 PM
Quote
A lawyer and a best-selling author were both in hell, ingreat cauldrons with raging fire underneath them. The Devil came along regularly and added extra fuel to the author's fire. One day the lawyer asked about this "Why do you keep on adding extra fuel to the author's fire?"
"Well," said the Devil, "Each time someone reads his book, I add an extra log to the fire." (The point being that by reading the author's work someone's soul was damaged and so the devil kept adding fuel each time the book was read and someone damaged by it.)


Georgiy- This is one of the reasons that I feel that I cannot accept Xianity --this remark made no doubt with the best and most sublime sincerity - is horrifying to me!
The "Devil" and "G*D" seem to be the same being to me, both appear to be the same irrational and rather pathological figure!
  PLEASE don't take that as an insult! Honestly, I am not trying to offend -- I just don't get it!

rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 09:06:33 PM
Quote
 I think what is significant in it is that what may seem like the most trivial comment (to the person who made it) could be the most disasterous thing for another person's soul.
But isn't every adult responsible for his or her own soul? I would hate to be responsible for someone's soul based on something  that may have came out of my mouth! I'd be in a lot of trouble then!  :o ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 09:08:34 PM
We need to be careful on how our actions affect others.
If we have been responsible for leading someone into temptation then it's no small thing.

Rsskiya, the point was that we need to take responsibility for our words and deeds and think about how they may affect others. (I hope I didn't conjure up ideas of some behorned red faced pantomime like Devil with a pitchfork and pointy tail for you! The Devil is very real, but if he went around looking like and acting like the Devil, we'd see him coming and wouldn't touch him with a bargepole!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 23, 2005, 09:09:49 PM
Quote

Georgiy- This is one of the reasons that I feel that I cannot accept Xianity --this remark made no doubt with the best and most sublime sincerity - is horrifying to me!
The "Devil" and "G*D" seem to be the same being to me, both appear to be the same irrational and rather pathological figure!
   PLEASE don't take that as an insult! Honestly, I am not trying to offend -- I just don't get it!

rskkiya


Yes, that joke was positively "Dante-esque".  Now I love Dante but let's face it, humanity has moved beyond most medieval mentalities.  If there is a god, he/she cannot possibly have such attitudes and be anywhere near a rational being.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 23, 2005, 09:11:20 PM
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We need to be careful on how our actions affect others.
If we have been responsible for leading someone into temptation then it's no small thing.


I think that is absolutely true, but I'm sure you realize that moral responsibility does not require the presence of religious faith.

I love this discussion but I've got to finish reading "Rites of Spring" before midnight, and on that "pagan" note, I am bowing out.  Spokone noche, y'all.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 09:13:01 PM
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 If there is a god, he/she cannot possibly have such attitudes and be anywhere near a rational being.
I guess this is the trouble I have with religion too, the mentality one must adopt if one is to accept it... I just can't do it and doubt I ever will be able to. So I will probably just live out the rest of my life just the way I am. Which is ok by me  ;D.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 09:13:17 PM
Quote
I'm sure you realize that moral responsibility does not require the presence of religious faith.


They aren't mutually exclusive, no. But actually, an atheist has much more faith than me - absolute faith that there is nothing.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 09:18:02 PM
Quote

I think that is absolutely true, but I'm sure you realize that moral responsibility does not require the presence of religious faith.


That is exactly right! Moral responsibilty should come from emotional maturity of a person, not from fear of being punished if you don't do the "right" thing. I am not a religious person, yet I live my life in a very ethical way. Not because I think someone, i.e. God, is watching me, but because I have certain ethical rules for myself. I fully understand the difference between right and wrong and I don't feel that I need anyone to guide me as far as that goes, not since I was a small child.... but maybe some other people need this guidance, I don't know. I have often heard people say, thank God I have religion to keep me in check, otherwise I'd be out of control. I can never understand exactly what they mean by that  ???. I mean I do understand, but I can't relate. So maybe it just has something to do with one's personality, I don't know...  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 23, 2005, 09:20:50 PM
Quote

...an atheist has much more faith than me - absolute faith that there is nothing.


I think the best way to go is to be an "agnostic". You are just not sure one way or another, but neither do you care all that much. Nice and moderate  ;D.
Title: I have ofteRe: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 23, 2005, 09:28:46 PM
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I have often heard people say, thank God I have religion to keep me in check, otherwise I'd be out of control. I can never understand exactly what they mean by that  . I mean I do understand, but I can't relate. So maybe it just has something to do with one's personality, I don't know...


I don't get that mind-set either! We don't need religion to keep us in check. I think that kind of thinking comes from a Western tradition of a scary revengeful God. Quite different from the Orthodox way of perceiving God (in as much as we can conceive that which is inconceivable!) God is Absolute Love. Like I have mentioned before, Heaven and Hell are in the same place - how we respond to that absolute love determines what it will feel like to us.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 24, 2005, 07:11:23 AM
What a brilliant discussion! I wish I could have stayed up & followed it as it happened :)

Perhaps I misunderstand some points & if I do, please forgive me if what I write contradicts anyone else's beliefs.
God, I think, is a passionate God; Jesus was passionate; John the Baptist was passionate...the martyrs, saints etc. God wants us to be passionate: "You are neither hot nor cold, I shall vomit you from my mouth!" Perhaps if our passions are turned inwards for our own satisfaction they may become destructive, but if we turn towards a greater goal - & to me the greatest goal must be the unity of all people (in fact all life) & God - then we need passion, as Helen says, as our driving force.

I agree with what Dashkova says about the difficulties of reconciling the intellect & faith, & empathise wholeheartedly with rskkiya (especially wondering about whether the idea to convert is simply because of the 'Russian thing') but I'm sure there is something else too.
Sometimes it seems there is a knowing (perhaps with the soul) which goes deeper than intellect, emotion or reason. It is an awareness of a something other (God) which draws us not by its aggression or our fear of hell but by such inexpressible beauty & love that we are almost powerless to resist. (I know this sounds airy-fairy - it's so hard to express!) The more we try to penetrate this mystery the more we are drawn & it shows in all the aspects of our lives & our dealings with other people.
In my - limited - experience, in ignoring this we often find great pleasure & can enjoy our selfishness for a while...but eventually there comes such a sense of emptiness. Conversely, when we follow it, even though our intellect rises against it & our initial reaction may be to draw back because all our natural inclinations lead us first to seek our own pleasures, the joy which follows goes beyond all human happiness.
To me this is what sin is. Not a cruel God setting out rules & sending us to hell - but a negative thing, in which we are not fully ourselves as we were created to be...it is a selfishness that separates us from the unity of all creation & because we are a part of creation, in damaging ourselves, we damage creation itself.
I don't think Christianity is about being 'good' or moral - many many atheists & agnostics are more moral than many Christians. Christianity means following Christ & His teaching...hopefully it should make Christians better & kinder & gentler etc. but we are all still human & still fail.
Sorry for rambling. I might be wrong in all of this :-/
I like this quotation:
"Forthose who believe no explanation is necessary. For those who don't believe no explanation is possible."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on January 24, 2005, 07:25:24 AM
Quote
But isn't every adult responsible for his or her own soul? I would hate to be responsible for someone's soul based on something  that may have came out of my mouth! I'd be in a lot of trouble then!  :o ;D

OoH, I love soul debates! We had one a few weeks ago and we were strongly discouraged from bring in religion so we had to think of new ways to define the soul. The resolution itself was "BIRT we have sold our souls." But yeah, our whole thing was that we had sold our souls for individualism. It would have worked perfectly but we weren't able to attend! Oh well, I get to judge some junior soul debates this week and I can't wait to see where they're going to take it. :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 24, 2005, 06:15:36 PM
Could any Orthodox person please tell me REALLY simply, where the differences lie between Catholicism & Orthodoxy. So far (apart from the Pope) I have found none.  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 06:47:51 PM
 Iitems that come to mind- the Trinity and the nature of it/them.
The divine & human natures of Christ.
Of course the interpretation of the Gospels and the order of bishops are other obvious issues.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 07:03:06 PM
Original sin vs ancesteral sin
The use of statues vs images (Icons)
The use of unleavened vs leavened bread
Immaculate Conception of Mary vs her being born with normal human nature and ability to sin (but she never acted on this inclination)

Celebate clergy vs marriage before ordination otherwise celebate
Use of musical instruments vs accapello(sp?!)
These are a few more off hand that I can think of but there's heaps more, especially since Vatican II.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 07:34:43 PM
I thought the bread & the celbate clergy [RC can have married clergy] were decided to be canon as opposed to doctrainal issues.
Been a whilke since I was into all this...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 07:55:47 PM
I don't know if it is doctrinal or canonical. But I have never heard that the RC has married Priests. I thought they were all supposed to be celebate. Can you tell me more about this?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 07:59:08 PM
RC Priests are supposed to be celebate. I believe Robert might be confusing RC with Episcopalian (sp?) - English Catholic - where preists are allowed to marry
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 08:04:23 PM
Eastern Rite Catholics may be married, as can Western rite priests in certain orders- these are usually cases where a married couple decide to both "retire" their marriage and enter Holy Orders.
It is not common, but is entirely possible.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 08:08:36 PM
Thanks for clarifying that. I forgot about the Uniates!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 08:08:49 PM
btw- "celebate' does not neccessarily rule out being married. It does rule out the sexual contact of marriage.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 08:10:26 PM
That's interesting....please forgive the stupid question but when they retire their marriage and enter holy orders then what are they considered? He would be called a priest (correct?) but what would she then become? or is she just his unnamed partner? and would they in turn support the celebate ways that the Western RC clergy support?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 08:17:49 PM
In the Roman [Western] rite, they remain married, it is a sacrament, but go seperate ways- he would go to whatever order or diocese that has ordained him, she to whatever convent she choose. They simply take new vows and recieve a new sacrament [well, he does, the convent is not strictly "Holy Orders"].
In the Eastern Rite, it is pretty much the same as the Orthodox.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 08:28:29 PM
Thank you for that explaination   :)  I enjoy reading these discussions....always learn something new and always end up with more questions to ask :-)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dennis on January 24, 2005, 08:36:19 PM
Interesting that this discussion is going on during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  See:  www.wcc-coe.org;
www.vatican-va; www.uaoc.org/weekofprayer.html; www.elca.org.

All Christians know that there is far more that unites them than separates them.  All traditional, Biblical Christians share a common faith in the Triune God, the holy Scriptures, and the faith as it is confessed in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.

One reason why all of those German Protestant Princesses, including Ella and Alix, could become Orthodox is because they never had to renounce the basic Christianity that they had been taught from childhood.  

Yes, there are manmade rules about clerical celibacy, rituals, etc., but those rules are secondary to the actual faith as understood within the various churches.  

Folks who seek to understand any faith or religion must take it upon themselves to learn, read, and come to understand as best they can from the leaders of that religion itself.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 08:41:40 PM
Ah, but the creed was altered in the West. What Catholics believe about the Holy Spirit is not the same as what Orthodox or Oriental (non-Chalcedonian) Orthodox believe. Also Mary and who/what she is.

While a lot of the basics of our Faith are the same, some of the most basics are quite different. (Also these basics are actually quite complex).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 08:42:43 PM
But aren't the basic principles/beliefs still the same?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 08:49:11 PM
Basics maybe, but the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father as opposed to from the Father and the Son is an important difference, as it majorly subordinates and alters the Holy Spirit and its role.

Also we don't have the same concept of 'original' sin - in that we are not being punished for the sins of Adam. We are guilty of our own sins but not of others. (And our sins can also include when we have been a cause of sin for others). We have inherited Adam's mortality though, as mortality became a part of Adam's nature after the fall. Sin is in the world, and as we are living in this world it 'infects' us as well - like if you were in a room infected with some disease you would come down with it.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dennis on January 24, 2005, 08:58:17 PM
Yes, but all of the differences you mention have been the subject of much ecumenical dialogue over the years. Even if we don't agree on everything, we are coming to greater understanding of each other's faith traditions.

I have been priviledged to attend the U.S. National Workshop on Christian Unity for several years.  Participants include RC, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, Moravian, etc.

Even the procession of the Holy Spirit has been discussed and Lutherans and Anglicans have agreed that in ecumenical services with the Orthdox the original version of the Nicene Creed should be used without the filioque.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 09:03:37 PM
Ah but what one believes is very important. The Filioque is no trivial thing. There's still a big difference between the non-chalcedonians and the Orthodox which while it would be nice if it could be reconciled, is in reality a long way away. Not all Orthodox Churches are happy with the Ecumenical movement.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 09:26:18 PM
Quote
We are guilty of our own sins but not of others. (And our sins can also include when we have been a cause of sin for others).

Interesting statement....aren't we all responsible for our own actions/sins even when we sin willingly? If a one willingly sins because of anothers actions then how can the actor be responsible for your own actions?  I mean if a woman enters into an adulterous relationship with a man willingly then how can he be the cause of her sins?  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 09:31:21 PM
and yes one's own beliefs are very important, which is why a total unification of faith is next to impossible.  Dennis put it best "Even if we don't agree on everything, we are coming to greater understanding of each other's faith traditions"  Open mindness is the key
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Robert_Hall on January 24, 2005, 09:40:57 PM
cjred685, your questions are not stupid. Married Catholic priests are not common, most likely most Roman Catholics do not even know about them, they are not "advertised".
The Filioque, how many HOURS did I spend on that one !
{I went to both Eastern Rite & Orthodox schools}
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 09:52:02 PM
Thank you Robert :)  As I had said I find the discussions very interesting and thought provoking.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 24, 2005, 09:58:09 PM
Quote
if a woman enters into an adulterous relationship with a man willingly then how can he be the cause of her sins?

He was a cause of temptation for her. And he is also having an aduterous relationship with her. He could have tried discouraging her.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 24, 2005, 10:07:20 PM
But if she went into the relationship willingly he is not to blame for her sins.  Had he tried and failed to discourage the relationship why then would he still be responsible for her sinning?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 24, 2005, 11:51:35 PM
Oh come on, all adults should be held responsible for their own decisions and actions. I just don't buy that someone else causes you to do anything, it's just an excuse. Unless of course you are getting blackmailed, or have a gun to your head, or were drugged, or something to that effect. I just don't like the idea that adults are being looked upon as some sort incompetents who don't have a mind of their own and can be so easily "lead astray". We all have the capacity to make decisions and judge the consequences, and we can't be blaming anyone else for it. This type of a view can be applied to minor chilren who don't yet have the full ability to understand actions and consequences, but adults- I don't think so! With this type of mentality, we can excuse all kinds of behavior and not hold people responsible for their own actions.  Lawyers can have a ball with this one!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 05:29:58 AM
Quote
btw- "celebate' does not neccessarily rule out being married. It does rule out the sexual contact of marriage.


If a married Anglican vicar converts to Catholicism & wishes to become a priest, he is allowed to remain married & is under no obligation to be celibate. In this way we have had several married priests - with families - in the diocese.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 05:56:00 AM
Quote
Original sin vs ancesteral sin
The use of statues vs images (Icons)
The use of unleavened vs leavened bread
Immaculate Conception of Mary vs her being born with normal human nature and ability to sin (but she never acted on this inclination)


Use of musical instruments vs accapello(sp?!)


All this makes me terribly sad - the more so that you say that Orthodoxy does not really hold to Ecumenism.
With regard to Original Sin - Catholics do NOT hold that we are bearing the guilt of Adam's sin. (Though we may say Adam's sin - 'Adam' does not mean the Biblical & probably mythical figure - it is figurative, meaning Mankind's sin) Original sin is rather that we are a born with a tendency to sin & in Baptism this is 'washed away' - meaning that we are empowered to overcome sin. (And yes, we also believe we can be the occasion of other people's sins...and confess it in confession!)
Are statues & icons really so different? We do not worship statues anymore than Orthodox people worship icons - both are used to raise our minds & hearts to God, are they not?
The use of unleavened bread (rather than leavened) was only introduced into Catholicism for convenience. I have been to many many Masses where leavened bread is use. Also following the consecration & Transubstantiation (does the Orthodox Chruch accept Transubstantiation?) - the form becomes almost irrelevant as it is Christ, body, blood, soul & divinity.
Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary - which means she was conceived & born without sin - but it does NOT mean we do not think she was a perfectly normal woman who could have sinner but chose not to. We don't think she was incapable of sinning.
Is the use or lack of use of musical instruments really important?
(Truly, I say all this with deep respect for Orthodoxy & only because I wish to learn & to see WHY we need to be apart. It is so sad that there should be these divisions - the more so because of Jesus' prayer the night before he died; I imagine the prayers of people who are about to die must be their most heartfelt prayers...Clearly it meant so much to Him. :()

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 25, 2005, 02:40:08 PM
Admitedly most of the differences I wrote are surface level differences, but as I only know the Orthodox Church, and really know very little about the Catholic Church I can only comment on some of the more visible differences.

Yes, it is a great sin that there is not One Church, but like I have said, what we believe is very important - while RC beliefs and Orthodox have a lot in common, a lot of protestant belief is very far from what we have believed for 2000 years. The question to ask is has X been believed by all Christians always, and if the answer is no, then it can not be Orthodox or Catholic (in the sence that we call our Church the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church - I don't mean the Roman Catholic Church here). So have Christians believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin since the beginning? The answer is no, (forgive me if I am wrong) but this only came into RC doctrine in the 1800s - it is certainly not from Apostolic times. Likewise Papal infallibility and superiority - there have been Popes who were declared heretics, and towards the end of the first millenium, the Patriarch of Rome wrote to the Patriarch of Constantinople saying he shouldn't use the title Ecumenical Patriarch as no one of the Patriarchs is superior to any of the others. So likewise, those aspects of RC have not been univerally believed by Christians from the beginning.

Someone else may be able to tell you about icons vs statues - I know you don't worship them - but I think it is something to do with their 3 dimensionality and realism, whereas icons are 2 dimensional and stylised, but I don't know the theology behind it.

Please forgive me, I am sure I have made many mistakes and assumptions, and in no way wish to denigrate another's beliefs or Faith. May God's rich and abundant mercy be on us all, may He forgive all of our transgressions and falls and guide us to True Faith and love for one another, that one day, the Eternal Day we may all rejoice together in the light of His eternal Kingdom.+
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 25, 2005, 02:47:45 PM
Maybe i should have said "Does this express what all Christians have believed always."

Another thought - and it is just a perception, but it seems to me that the RC has its focus on the Passion and Crucifiction of Christ, whereas the Orthodox Church's focus is on the Resurrection of Christ. (That's not to say the Resurrection isn't important to RCs and vice versa, it just seems to me that there is a difference in emphasis.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 02:49:43 PM
So is it really - at its simplest - perhaps that Orthodoxy is based solely on the earliest Fathers of the Church, & Catholicism is also built on tradition (which changes over time e.g. the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility (which I have hard time believing!) etc.) ?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 02:52:47 PM
Thank you for your explanation. It makes me sad that we cannot be united; it also makes me sad - and yet happy in a way - that I realize how deeply my own beliefs are engrained - far more so than I had realized; so perhaps I could never be Orthodox.
Thank you. I think all Churches should pray for one another (and I hope you don't mind my 'borrowing' your saints :) :)!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 25, 2005, 03:02:55 PM
Never say never! It would take a lot of work though as the differences are quite big (if not irreparible). In the end one must examine ones own conscience, and based on one's own knowledge (and research if so inclined :)) decide - is this the True Church or not?


Of course I don't mind your 'borrowing' our Saints. They are not 'our' Saints per se, but true Saints are universal, and all people can ask their prayers! I am sure that the Holy Royal Martyrs are the ones who led me to the Orthodox Church! :D And I am sure that you are also remembered in their prayers as are all who love and cherish their memory...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 25, 2005, 03:50:13 PM
 Below is a quote from The Story of Chrisitanity, Vol. 1, by Justo Gonzalez.  It may help to understand why the difference between the Roman church and the Orthodox as far as images are concerned.  The Eastern church finally settle on flat images "icons" rather than statutes partly due to the controversy and partly due to the Old Testament scripture about graven images.  

"In the early church, there seems to have been no objection to the use of images, for the catacombs and other early places of worship were decorated with paintings depicting communion, baptism, and various biblical episodes.  Later...several leading bishops expressed concern that the masses now flocking to the church would be led to idolatry, and therefore they preached, not against the images themselves, but against their misuse as objects of worship.  In the eighth century, several Byzantine emperors took steps against images, and in 754 constatine V called a council that forbade their use altogether and condemned those who defended them.  The reasons for this decision are not altogether clear.  ........ In any case, the entire Empire was soon divided between "iconoclasts" - destroyers of images and "iconodules" - worshipers of images.  ....... The controversy raged for years.  The West simply refused to accept the imperial edicts, while the East was rent asunder.  Finally, the Seventh Ecumenical Council gathered at Nicea in 787.  This assembly distinguished between worshiping in the strict sense, Latria, which is due only to God, and a lesser worshipful veneration, dulia, which is to be given to images.  Although the iconoclasts regained power for a time, in 842 images were definitively restored - an event that many Eastern churches still celebrate as the "Feast of Orthodoxy."  In the West, the decisions of the council of 787 were not well received, for the distinction between latria and dulia was difficult to make in Latin.  But eventually the difficulties were overcome, and most Christians agreed on the use of images in church, and on the restricted veneration due them. "
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 04:54:59 PM
Thank you for that explanation, Reed. So really, once you get away from the idolatry we're pretty much agreed? (kind of...hopefully :-/)

Alright, Georgiy...not 'never'...but not now. :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 25, 2005, 05:34:04 PM
Well....I don't know about being in agreement.  The explanation is simply that.....an explanation of some of the hows and whys the controversy came about.  I believe that the Eastern church has remained the most faithful to the earliest teaching of the ecumenical councils called together through the years.  The Roman church has departed in a sense from those teaching, by accepting Papal edicts on the same level as canon law.  The Eastern church was spared some of the upheaval of the Western church because it was fighting for it's life during the advance of Islam through the middle ages and the renaissance.  The excesses and abuses of the Roman church brought about the Reformation, which interestingly the Eastern church was spared.  There are many deeper disagreements than just images that will have to be reconciled before there will be unity.  I believe in a re-unified church....but it will happen with the second coming of Christ.  In my humble opinion no group, East, West, or Protestant has a corner on the truth.  The earlier post about growing toward unity through understanding is the best course.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 05:43:33 PM
Oh!! It makes my head explode!! I am automatically drawn to defend Catholicism when it SEEMS that the Orthodox postings (I say this with the stongest good will) are blaming the Pope & the West all the time for all the divisions. But at the same time, I - though a Catholic - despise the corruption of the Vatican (from which I exclude our present Pope whom I admire greatly as a good & holy man) so I cannot defend the abuses which have gone on throughout history.
And yet...and yet...there are so many very precious things within our faith which come through the corruption unscathed ('The sun, though it passes through dirty places remains as pure as before')  and which mean so very much beyond words.
And also...I cannot get away from thinking that many of the divisions are merely a cultural thing...The Church in Africa is very different from the Church in England. Perhaps much of it lies not in the belief but in the EXPRESSION of faith.
BANG!! That was my head exploding :-/
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 25, 2005, 06:04:20 PM
Bluetoria - relax!!   ;)  I apologize if my posting came across as a criticism of the RC.  It was not meant in that way.  Many abuses have been done through the centuries in the name of the "Church."  Whether the Western, Protestant, or the Eastern really doesn't matter, because those abuses have damaged all fellowships.  Unfortunately, the world views these and labels us all as hypocrites.  I believe what you are saying is that the beauty of the teaching of Christ is the jewel that is contained in a scarred and battered "church".  The solemnity and reverence of the Eastern church, the beauty and grace of the Roman church, and the simplicity and straightforwardness of the Protestant church all convey and contain the fathomless characteristics of God.  My family has RC roots, I'm a Protestant, and I have a great respect for the Eastern church after having visited Russia.  Again only by viewing and understanding of all facets can one really appreciate the jewel that is the Church.  I have studied church history for thiry years and I'm still amazed at all that is contained through the years. Peace, Bluetoria
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 06:08:47 PM
Quote
 I believe what you are saying is that the beauty of the teaching of Christ is the jewel that is contained in a scarred and battered "church".  


YES :) :) :) :) That is EXACTLY what I wanted to say...oh that I could have put it so simply! Thank you :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 06:08:48 PM
Quote
Maybe i should have said "Does this express what all Christians have believed always."

Another thought - and it is just a perception, but it seems to me that the RC has its focus on the Passion and Crucifiction of Christ, whereas the Orthodox Church's focus is on the Resurrection of Christ. (That's not to say the Resurrection isn't important to RCs and vice versa, it just seems to me that there is a difference in emphasis.)


That is exactly right, Georgiy.  All one needs to do is visit some early Orthodox churches (or even study photos of the mosaics), such as St. Apollo Pollinare, San Vitalae (both in Ravenna) or even the great Hagia Sophia or St. Catherine's Monastery and it is plain and obvious that the earliest church (i.e., Orthodox) was and largely remains focused on the ressurection and not on the suffering Christ.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 06:14:20 PM
Do you think, perhaps (& I DO MEAN PERHAPS) that through time we (the Western Churches) have come to focus more on the suffering because at first the early Christians expected the imminent return of Christ (& the end of the world) but when it didn't happen they realized that there was a great deal of suffering o deal with in between? And through the Passion of Christ we could make sense of it?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 06:15:58 PM
Quote
Oh!! It makes my head explode!! I am automatically drawn to defend Catholicism when it SEEMS that the Orthodox postings (I say this with the stongest good will) are blaming the Pope & the West all the time for all the divisions. But at the same time, I - though a Catholic - despise the corruption of the Vatican (from which I exclude our present Pope whom I admire greatly as a good & holy man) so I cannot defend the abuses which have gone on throughout history.
And yet...and yet...there are so many very precious things within our faith which come through the corruption unscathed ('The sun, though it passes through dirty places remains as pure as before')  and which mean so very much beyond words.
And also...I cannot get away from thinking that many of the divisions are merely a cultural thing...The Church in Africa is very different from the Church in England. Perhaps much of it lies not in the belief but in the EXPRESSION of faith.
BANG!! That was my head exploding :-/


Maybe I haven't been following closely enough, but it seems to me that nobody has said that the division was all the fault of the west, and that the western church is guilty of more atrocities.  I don't think that is the case at all and many crimes were commited by the orthodox christians as well.  I think what IS very important to ponder is that it was the corruption that came from the west in the form of the crusades that forever (or until now, at any rate) estranged the two churches.  

After all, in both Constantinople and Jerusalem, the Orthodox and Byzantines were living side by side in harmony with various types of Christians, Muslims, and Jews.  It was that one particular Byzantine emperor (Alexei) who wrote for some (small) assistance (what was he thinking?? But his situation was very difficult) and a corrupt pope and whomever advised him coming up with a plan to cash in....result, the first crusade.

East and West (religiously, culturally, politically) never felt the same towards each other again. And I think this is very sad, and truly no longer necessary.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 06:19:06 PM
Quote

And I think this is very sad, and truly no longer necessary.


I agree!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 06:23:58 PM
Quote
Do you think, perhaps (& I DO MEAN PERHAPS) that through time we (the Western Churches) have come to focus more on the suffering because at first the early Christians expected the imminent return of Christ (& the end of the world) but when it didn't happen they realized that there was a great deal of suffering o deal with in between? And through the Passion of Christ we could make sense of it?


I personally don't think so, because many generations and centuries passed before the mosaics were created at Mt. Sinai, Ravenna and elsewhere, and I think that there were always some, just as today, who believe in an "imminent return" but certainly not the church establishment.
By this time, the "church" had become a powerful tool for kings and emperors, and the church itself (and its leaders) equally interested in power.  It was about power and business, frankly.
The early crucifix in art portrays an alert, strong, ready to leap right off the cross Christ.  Indeed, the crucifix was not at all commonly seen for centuries.  The focus remained, until about the 9th century, on the resurection, and *empty* crosses were often portrayed.  Then, in the *west* in the ninth century, the first known suffering Christ on the cross was created, and that whole notion of suffering is part of a medieval mindset that had WIDE appeal among the faithful, at least in the west.  Artists and churches RAN with the theme because, again, frankly but TRUE, it was a powerful guilt trip to use on the populace AND it was also a comfort in a sense, because during that era, so fraught with death and plague, the ill and dying could be comforted with the notion that Christ understood *suffering*.  And so the focus became, not really on the *passion* of Christ, but his physical suffering.

You don't see this in Icons, because while two dimensional and stylized (as someone pointed out), they are considered to literally be windows to heaven, and that the faithful, through contemplation, may communicate with the saints, the theotokos, and Christ.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 25, 2005, 06:36:38 PM
For a brief while (about 6 or 7 years ago) many of our crucifixes were replaced with crosses showing a Resurrected Christ but since then we have reverted to the original. Personally I don't see it as a guilt trip (as I know it was in the past...suffer & obey your masters etc) but as a great inspiration. I was (briefly) a nurse and in the midst of suffering the image of the crucified Christ seemed to me to transform the suffering (forgive me, please, I know I'm expressing this really badly) as though somehow the pain that we feel was transformed and you could see beyond it to something beautiful...perhaps it was the same to me as Icons are to the Orthodox...Sorry for going on!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 08:27:11 PM
Quote
For a brief while (about 6 or 7 years ago) many of our crucifixes were replaced with crosses showing a Resurrected Christ but since then we have reverted to the original. Personally I don't see it as a guilt trip (as I know it was in the past...suffer & obey your masters etc) but as a great inspiration. I was (briefly) a nurse and in the midst of suffering the image of the crucified Christ seemed to me to transform the suffering (forgive me, please, I know I'm expressing this really badly) as though somehow the pain that we feel was transformed and you could see beyond it to something beautiful...perhaps it was the same to me as Icons are to the Orthodox...Sorry for going on!


No, I think you expressed that beautifully!  And absolutely, for many centuries (in the west mostly) such images (paint, relief, and sculpture) have offered that very type of comfort for all who suffer.  Do you recall the Issenheim Altarpiece?  It was designed *for* a hospital, as were many such pieces and was actually "interactive" to demonstrate the various sufferings that Christ could relate to personally or others could visualize symbolically.

And yes, icons serve much the same purpose.  In times of crisis and severe illness, particular icons (or in most cases, copies) are brought to the suffering to serve as comfort and inspiration.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 25, 2005, 08:32:27 PM
Well bluetoria, you just expressed -with great emotion and reverence, I might add -  one of the massive stumbling blocks for me about Christianity -- the "ghoul" factor.
Sadly, where you see wonder, I perceive violence and gore... Oh well... joy to you, I guess.

a heathen
rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 08:33:05 PM
My photobucket account isn't working very well this evening, but here is a great link (hope it works) to an image of the Isenheim Altarpiece by Grunewald. (1515)  You can really see in this particular image, the interactive aspects (parts opened and closed for various effects) and of course the rich symbolism of the scene.


http://gallery.euroweb.hu/art/g/grunewal/2isenhei/1view/1view.jpg
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 25, 2005, 08:35:37 PM
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  Do you recall the Issenheim Altarpiece?  It was designed *for* a hospital, as were many such pieces and was actually "interactive" to demonstrate the various sufferings that Christ could relate to personally or others could visualize symbolically.



Ohh Gawwd
I had so many dark hours in college (centuries ago...) studying that image that it seemed burned into my retinae! Arrrggg!  ;D

lol rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 08:41:19 PM
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Well bluetoria, you just expressed -with great emotion and reverence, I might add -  one of the massive stumbling blocks for me about Christianity -- the "ghoul" factor.
Sadly, where you see wonder, I perceive violence and gore... Oh well... joy to you, I guess.

a heathen
rskkiya


Hi there, Comrade :)
Yes, this is a stumbling block for me as well.  There remains a strong interest in Christianity for blood, flesh, suffering...a little too S&M for the likes of me (Mel Gibson seems to get it, though! ;)
These aspects have deep roots and go back to earlier mystery religions such as the mithras cult (which Xianity borrowed from rather heavily).
Look at a hymnbook..."Washed in the blood..."  "Saved by the blood..."  "Power in the blood..." etc, ad nauseum, I'm afraid!

And that the Eucharist, by many Xians is a TRUE transubstantiation into actual flesh and blood...and I truly do not believe most Xians understand that this sort of practice and belief goes WAY back before Christianity.

I will always say to each his own, but I really do wish that people of all faiths would study the origins of that faith and see how some things may not have to do with what they supposed, and how all the world's religions are very closely tied.

I was listening to a reading from the Rig-Veda (Hindu hymns) today, read by a professor of religion. And it is absolutely stunning how incredibly ALIKE the phrases and praises to the Hindu gods are like the psalms and other Judeo-Xian prayers and praises. I mean, it's all pretty much the same.  And was ever thus. Because this is how humans handle the unknown/unfathomable or as the American Indians say (and my personal favorite name for "god")  "The great mysterious"

Oh no...lol...I had to edit this, GLAD I caught it, it's the Rig VeDa, not VeGa not the sad little car from the 70s (one of which I actually owned in the early 80s!! yikes!)
Yes, Rig VeDA...ok.
Enough goofing off, gotta get ready for Propaganda sem.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 25, 2005, 08:42:36 PM
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Ohh Gawwd
 I had so many dark hours in college (centuries ago...) studying that image that it seemed burned into my retinae! Arrrggg!  ;D

lol rskkiya


LOL! Same here! It's inescapable! I got a double whammy myself...with both religion and art history courses! Don't think I'll ever forget this one.  But it is an interesting, if gross, piece ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 25, 2005, 08:44:55 PM
Hello Comrade indeed! 8)
It's nice to have an ally with good taste in art!
LOL
rskkiya

ps... I actually used to halucinate (spelling! ack!) about  that image... but that's another story.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 10:13:08 AM
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Hello Comrade indeed! 8)
It's nice to have an ally with good taste in art!
LOL
rskkiya

ps... I actually used to halucinate (spelling! ack!) about  that image... but that's another story.


What did you hallucinate about, about it?!  :) Sorry about the 'gore' factor...maybe it's just different characters different responses.
Thank you, Dashkova, for putting up the image - I clearly have bad taste in art because I didn't dislike it! (But then I DO have poor taste...and am one of only 3 people I know who actually liked (well not exactly LIKED) the Mel Gibson Passion of the Christ! ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 10:20:44 AM
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I ...am one of only 3 people I know who actually liked (well not exactly LIKED) the Mel Gibson Passion of the Christ! ;)


Bluetoria, I am curious as to what did you like (or not exactly LIKED ;)) about it? I am still trying to understand why this film was even made...   ???  ???  I think the best part was that it was mostly in Arameic, but I can't think of anything else.  ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 10:22:14 AM
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...I believed the soul to be the human brain, where all emotions come from.
 Jeremy, you may be on to something here  ;) .
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 10:36:20 AM
Yes, there is a "gore" factor, especially in medieval and renaissance artwork.  Interestingly, in the Eastern church it is not as prevelent, possibly because their focus is on the resurrection and they were spared some of the traumatic events in the West.  In my opinion art reflects the culture it was/is created within.  One must remember that during this period of time the West was in chaos and flux after the fall of the Roman Empire and later when the plagues hit.  The focus on "gore" was simply a reflection of what was happening around them and that the Savior also suffered as they were suffering.  (Someone mentioned that aspect.) The Roman church was for the most part trying to help the people make some sense out of what was happening.  I know the abuses were happening, but we must remember that the majority of people wanted to grow in their faith.  Any study of art will reveal a great diversity of style and content through the ages.  True the Roman church seems to be fixated on the crucifix....but in their theology it has a different meaning than to us on the outside........and just as a sideline the earliest Christian symbol was the "fish."  It is humans who are repelled yet fascinated by the gore.  That is not the message presented in the Gospel.  It is a one of love and hope.  The Mel Gibson movie although criticized for the gore, probably gave an accurate picture of what a prisoner experienced at the hands of the Roman Legions.  It was a barbaric age in our eyes, and yet an age filled with beautiful art, literature, engineering, etc.  (Much like today!)   Anyway to get this topic back to the Orthodox church.......  they have kept alive the ancient ceremonies and rituals from the earliest churches.  In Russia the church has also incorporated the mysticism and superstitions of the people.  That is what Alexandra got caught up with.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 10:52:56 AM
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Rsskiya, I am curious as to what did you like (or not exactly LIKED ;)) about it? I am still trying to understand why this film was even made...   ???  ???  I think the best part was that it was mostly in Arameic, but I can't think of anything else.  ???


Don't blame Rsskiya...she doesn't like gore! It was I who wrote that ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 11:45:14 AM
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Don't blame Rsskiya...she doesn't like gore! It was I who wrote that ;)
 Oops, that was a typo  ;D. In any case,  Bluetoria, I am curious as to what did you like (or not exactly LIKED ) about it? I am still trying to understand why this film was even made...    ???  ???    I think the best part was that it was mostly in Arameic, but I can't think of anything else.    ???    And "gore" was the least of its problems, IMO...

;)

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 11:49:39 AM
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What did you hallucinate about, about it?!  :) Sorry about the 'gore' factor...maybe it's just different characters different responses.
Thank you, Dashkova, for putting up the image - I clearly have bad taste in art because I didn't dislike it! (But then I DO have poor taste...and am one of only 3 people I know who actually liked (well not exactly LIKED) the Mel Gibson Passion of the Christ! ;)


Wellll, since you brought it up, there were a couple things I actually did like about that movie....but only a couple, I'm afraid!
First, as an art historian enthusiast I enjoyed the attention to detail with regard to the cinematography and use of light and dark.  My understanding is that Gibson went and studied Caravaggio's work and I do think he captured some of the latter's ideas, and beautifully so.
The heartbreaking thing, for me, in this film was the telling of a story of love between parent and child (Mary and Jesus).  I did not perceive anything religious or godlike about that relationship, but rather saw the portrayal as any devoted mother seeing her child suffer.

I went to see this film in a town that is renowned for it's "bible thumping."  In fact, Mel Gibson made a secret visit there just to meet with a certain Mr. Falwell.  I chose to see the film in this particular town because I wanted to see what type of people showed up.  Busloads were brought in from fundamentalist churches around the region, and I wound up sitting next to a woman who murmured "Jesus, Jesus" throughout the movie.  MANY in the audience moaned and shrieked and whimpered each time Jesus was struck.
It was, frankly, rather a cheesy experience and I really was not comfortable being a member of that particular audience.
Much of the film was grossly inaccurate and the rest amounted to huge stretches.  I do not believe Gibson should have attempted to make such a movie, but with Falwell and others' help, he has *really* raked in the bucks.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Janet_W. on January 26, 2005, 11:53:26 AM
All this talk about "you can do this if you do that" and "you can't do this unless you do that" reminds me of some micro-managed board game.

Personally speaking, I find the best "rule"--and here I will paraphrase a famous verse--is to treat others as I would wish to be treated.

That includes respecting the rights of those who pratice an organized system of beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of nonparticipants, as well as individuals--i.e., children, the mentally infirm, etc.--who are not legally responsible for themselves) . . . and, conversely, to respect the rights of those not wishing to practice any organized system of beliefs, other than obeying traffic laws and the item mentioned in my second paragraph.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 11:55:52 AM
I saw it on Holy Thursday afternoon & it made all the Holy Thursday/Good Friday/Easter ceremonies more meaningful to me. I think it was because, too, I had often thought that - having watched people grow old & lacking in dignity & having seen people die terribly horrible undignified deaths - that suffering for 3 hours on a cross was not comparable. The film changed my whole view of that - I saw the absolute lack of dignity that he suffered & in that I saw all the suffering I have ever seen & (after tearing my heart apart!! :'( ) it gave me great hope that He shares our suffering & that in the Resurrection it is transformed and makes sense.  :)

(Some other people I was with said, "It was rubbish!" ;D = just another 'Terminator' in religious guise.)
Each to their own? ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 12:02:28 PM
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Yes, there is a "gore" factor, especially in medieval and renaissance artwork.  Interestingly, in the Eastern church it is not as prevelent, possibly because their focus is on the resurrection and they were spared some of the traumatic events in the West.  In my opinion art reflects the culture it was/is created within.  One must remember that during this period of time the West was in chaos and flux after the fall of the Roman Empire and later when the plagues hit.  The focus on "gore" was simply a reflection of what was happening around them and that the Savior also suffered as they were suffering.  (Someone mentioned that aspect.) The Roman church was for the most part trying to help the people make some sense out of what was happening.  I know the abuses were happening, but we must remember that the majority of people wanted to grow in their faith.  Any study of art will reveal a great diversity of style and content through the ages.  True the Roman church seems to be fixated on the crucifix....but in their theology it has a different meaning than to us on the outside........and just as a sideline the earliest Christian symbol was the "fish."  It is humans who are repelled yet fascinated by the gore.  That is not the message presented in the Gospel.  It is a one of love and hope.  The Mel Gibson movie although criticized for the gore, probably gave an accurate picture of what a prisoner experienced at the hands of the Roman Legions.  It was a barbaric age in our eyes, and yet an age filled with beautiful art, literature, engineering, etc.  (Much like today!)   Anyway to get this topic back to the Orthodox church.......  they have kept alive the ancient ceremonies and rituals from the earliest churches.  In Russia the church has also incorporated the mysticism and superstitions of the people.  That is what Alexandra got caught up with.  


Reed, I agree with some of what you've said, but not all.  Firstly, the east was not spared the sorts of horrors experienced in the west, not by a LONG shot.  They simply preferred to view Jesus as the Risen rather than Suffering type of Christ.  

Art *can* be a reflection of the culture it was made in, but FAR more often than not, the influence has been brought in from other cultures.  Art history 101 will teach you that.

I don't think the majority wanted to "grow their faith."  People were far too busy just trying to stay alive and possibly get a little ahead.  What there *were* many instances of were pilgrimages (more a tourist than a faith-based thing, medieval "holiday inns" and souvenirs for the sake of souvenirs, not from piety) and those who enjoyed making a "show" of faith (the ancient prophets Amos, Hosea and Jeremiah would have been mightily displeased, but they tended to expect too much from human nature) such as Margery Kempe (one of the weeping and wailing "performers")  Attention-seekers, and those pursuing "faith" out of fear was far more the norm than earnest piety. Nothing has changed, not before and not since, in that regard.

The fish symbol is very early, but the crucifix (drawn as a joke, actually) is every bit as early.

The "gospels" are a hodge podge based on "J" and interpreted and reinterpreted for the best possible spin. I think its great that someone can find love and hope within, but you must admit that Jesus' message was ultimately rather apocalyptic, which isn't *entirely* comforting.

Yes! Roman society is nearly identical to today's world, and yes, precisely right about Orthodox, the first, the longest-kept traditions, and full of paganism.  It's rather neat, I think.  My husband keeps a house full of icons, but he also believes there is a domovoi here as well, and he does not distinguish the differences between those markers of "faith."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 12:05:08 PM
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Personally speaking, I find the best "rule"--and here I will paraphrase a famous verse--is to treat others as I would wish to be treated.

That includes respecting the rights of those who pratice an organized system of beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of nonparticipants, as well as individuals--i.e., children, the mentally infirm, etc.--who are not legally responsible for themselves) . . . and, conversely, to respect the rights of those not wishing to practice any organized system of beliefs, other than obeying traffic laws and the item mentioned in my second paragraph.



Janet, I couldn't agree with you more :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 12:11:51 PM
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Much of the film was grossly inaccurate and the rest amounted to huge stretches.  


Yes, and that's interesting because the claim was that this is the most accurate film about Jesus. What? They didn't even get one of the languages right!

And can someone explain to me what that "Jim Carreyesque" scene with Judas was all about? When his eyes popped out of his head, much like the character in The Mask ... That was very odd and I almost thought I hallucinated the whole thing, but apparently I didn't. And was King Herrod really a transvestite? He may have been I suppose, but I never heard that.  ??? And why did Barabbas stick his tongue out at Jesus (?) when he was released by the crowd? Did that really happen?

I will confess, I didn't stay until the end of the movie, in fact only through 1/3 of it, so I never even got to the "gore" scenes. This was the first time I walked out of a movie in my life, but I just couldn't continue watching it. A friend who I went to see it with (who is Catholic while I am not) wanted to walk out even sooner, but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and stay longer. Funny part is, I went in there fully prepared to like it, after seeing the trailers which looked so promising! It's too bad, because the fact that Mel was using Arameic in the film seemed very promising to me too, and I expected a lot more than cartoonish depictions of all the characters with no depth to speak of... Sorry, if I offended anyone by this opinion, but I honestly can't understand  what anyone liked about it ??? Maybe I am looking at it from the wrong perspective?   ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 12:12:43 PM
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All this talk about "you can do this if you do that" and "you can't do this unless you do that" reminds me of some micro-managed board game.

Personally speaking, I find the best "rule"--and here I will paraphrase a famous verse--is to treat others as I would wish to be treated.

That includes respecting the rights of those who pratice an organized system of beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights of nonparticipants, as well as individuals--i.e., children, the mentally infirm, etc.--who are not legally responsible for themselves) . . . and, conversely, to respect the rights of those not wishing to practice any organized system of beliefs, other than obeying traffic laws and the item mentioned in my second paragraph.



Janet, well stated as usual  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 12:15:41 PM
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I saw it on Holy Thursday afternoon & it made all the Holy Thursday/Good Friday/Easter ceremonies more meaningful to me. I think it was because, too, I had often thought that - having watched people grow old & lacking in dignity & having seen people die terribly horrible undignified deaths - that suffering for 3 hours on a cross was not comparable. The film changed my whole view of that - I saw the absolute lack of dignity that he suffered & in that I saw all the suffering I have ever seen & (after tearing my heart apart!! :'( ) it gave me great hope that He shares our suffering & that in the Resurrection it is transformed and makes sense.  :)

(Some other people I was with said, "It was rubbish!" ;D = just another 'Terminator' in religious guise.)
Each to their own? ;)


Bluetoria, I do admire your faith!  That is why you were able to enjoy (however heartbreaking) the film in question.
I'm a historian, which does not mean I must have absolute proof before believing something, but on the other hand, as a historian, I cannot discount reasonable evidence, such as: Jesus was one of *many* of his type around the time that he lived and died, his crucifixion was not the dramatic event with a captive audience (the one everyone supposes and the myth of which Gibson continued to perpetuate), in fact, it very likely went unnoticed.  Jesus' family were vehemently opposed to his activities and probably were not anywhere near the site of crucifixion.  In fact, it would have been highly undesirable and probably impossible for anyone to even get *near* the spot where he and many others were being crucified.  The types of punishments traditionally attributed to Jesus during his supposed "passion" were simply NOT the way Romans handled such situations.
Jesus, no matter how important many people feel he was, historically, he was barely a *blip.*  There is plenty of evidence that points to the possibility he never existed as an individual but may well have been a composite of several (among many) mystic types living in Judea during that time frame.
I believe he probably did exist, and I also believe he would be positively *stunned* to learn what grew up around the anonymnity he experienced during life.  Frankly, I do not believe that the man Jesus, Yeshua, would be very happy with what resulted (if we can even in fact truly attribute his teachings to him as an individual).
So...if you have faith, more power to you!  And to maintain that faith with an awareness of historical evidence against is quite remarkable.  It is something I absolutely am unable to do.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 12:20:12 PM
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Yes, and that's interesting because the claim was that this is the most accurate film about Jesus. What? They didn't even get one of the languages right!

And can someone explain to me what that "Jim Carreyesque" scene with Judas was all about? When his eyes popped out of his head, much like the character in The Mask ... That was very odd and I almost thought I hallucinated the whole thing, but apparently I didn't. And was King Herrod really a transvestite? He may have been I suppose, but I never heard that.  ??? And why did Barabbas stick his tongue out at Jesus (?) when he was released by the crowd? Did that really happen?

I will confess, I didn't stay until the end of the movie, in fact only through 1/3 of it, so I never even got to the "gore" scenes. This was the first time I walked out of a movie in my life, but I just couldn't continue watching it. A friend who I went to see it with (who is Catholic while I am not) wanted to walk out even sooner, but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and stay longer. Funny part is, I went in there fully prepared to like it, after seeing the trailers which looked so promising! It's too bad, because the fact that Mel was using Arameic in the film seemed very promising to me too, and I expected a lot more than cartoonish depictions of all the characters with no depth to speak of... Sorry, if I offended anyone by this opinion, but I honestly can't understand  what anyone liked about it ??? Maybe I am looking at it from the wrong perspective?   ???


No, Helen, I see the points you're making and for what it's worth, in my own studies I must say that VERY VERY little of what was portrayed in the Passion was even remotely accurate.  Overwhelmingly most of it came from church traditions (the Veronica episode for example), Judas going mad, etc...and from apocryphal writings.  It was far, far, far from historical accuracy in every conceivable way.
There hasn't been an even "somewhat" accurate interpretation of the "Jesus" story on film. I don't think it's possible, actually. (Simply not enough information about the man). Most of the public could not handle it, and because of that I can't imagine any film companies agreeing to such a production.
It's too bad!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 12:21:19 PM
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I believe he probably did exist, and I also believe he would be positively *stunned* to learn what grew up around the anonymnity he experienced during life.  Frankly, I do not believe that the man Jesus, Yeshua, would be very happy with what resulted... (if we can even in fact truly attribute his teachings to him as an individual).


I would tend to agree on both counts...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 12:24:07 PM
Dashkova & Helen I REALLY would like to continue this but I have to go...I do hope we can continue it later (please?)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 12:32:29 PM
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Dashkova & Helen I REALLY would like to continue this but I have to go...I do hope we can continue it later (please?)

Sure, I really would like to hear your take on this film since you did like it.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 02:30:17 PM
I didn't see the film, as in a very real way the services of Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) take us if not spatialy at least in a temporal sense to those very days of the Passion and Crucifiction. The funereal procession aound the outside of the Church whilst they carry the bier of Christ at the front of the procession, then entering back into the Church underneath it (the bier) are more moving than I could ever hope to express by words. But even more moving by far is the bright Paschal (Easter) service. Who can express the joy of this service. After weeks of exhausting fasting, and a feeling of extreme tiredness, barely able to stand in Church - listening to the Acts of the Apostles - then the Service starts - it's the middle of the night - we have a procession around the outside of the Church, and then hear the News that Christ is Risen, and back inside for Matins and Liturgy and for the whole of it such radiant joy on the faces of all whom you behold! The three hours or so of the Services (after the Resurrection) seem to last but a few minutes - and where once was tiredness and weariness is bliss and joy and strength.

I think it is probably my comments which have upset Bluetoria, for which I sincerely apologise and ask forgiveness. It has not been my intent to insult or upset others, just to show some of the differences. It is important to distinguish between cultural traditions within the Church and deviations from the Apostolic Faith however. When we change the Faith which has been passed down to us, it is no small thing, and that is what we (Orthodox) see as having happened in Western Christianity. But I see nothing wrong with differences in practice arising from cultural differences - after all the Liturgy in the West was and is different from the East, even when we were one Church. In Japan it is traditional to take children aged 3, 5 and 7 to temples for a blessing, and this tradition continues in the Orthodox Church in Japan, on the weekend closest to the traditional date there is a moleben (Thanksgiving Service in this case - moleben is a prayer service) - the children of those ages wear kimono and take part in the moleben at Church. Where cultural traditions fit in with the Faith of the Fathers it is quite appropriate to enrich our Church lives with them. Where traditions deviate from the Faith we have received it divides and leads to a falling away from the Apostolic Faith.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 03:13:09 PM
Dashkova,
Let me clairfy some of the things I said that you mentioned in your post.  

I said the Eastern church was spared "some" of the traumatic events the West.  My meaning was the governmental upheavals, the plagues (although the East did have the plagues, it was not to the extent of the West and if I remember correctly brought to them by crusaders), and most importantly the Reformation and the religious wars that followed.  I completely agree that the Eastern church faced their own traumas.  The most devastating was the onslaught of the Muslim Turks. Eventually overcoming the Byzantine Empire and for a time the influence of the Orthodox faith.  But....the Orthodox faith remained intact and spread...unlike the Roman church because of the Protestant movement.

I'm not sure I would agree with the comment on art.  In the modern world, art is influenced by many cultural, geographic, and other outside influences.  Mainly because we are a global society now.  In the period of time we are speaking, art was more focused on a local geographical area, at least until the reniassance.  An example would be the Irish and unique beautiful of their art.  

I do believe that the people of the time period wanted to improve their spiritual walk.  The church taught that to get to heaven one needed to be pure and cleansed of sin.  If one was not, then they would suffer hell...not a pleasant place as depicted in the art of the period.  With people dropping like flies during the plagues, wars, pestilence, etc.  They knew death could be only moment away.  You bet they wanted to go to heaven.....maybe not the right motivation but effective....!  

The crucifix you mention (if the one I'm thinking of) was early.  Discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. It was actually graffiti scratched into a wall, depicting a man with his arms outstretched and the head of a mule/horse with a derogatory remark with it.  I can't find a reference right now that shows it, or I would post it.  There was a small shrine discovered in Herculaneum with a cross carved above it, not a crucifix.  I would agree that many symbols were used by the early church.

We will have to agree to disagree on Biblical accuracy.  That is a large and entirely different subject.

I think Georgriy's description of the celebration of the resurrection gives a glimpse into the beauty of the Orthodox faith.  If I were to ever change it would be to the Orthodox church.  Georgriy where are you located? If I may ask???

This is a great discussion!!!!!  

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 03:24:06 PM
I found the reference and I stand corrected.  This is the caption with the picture....which once I figure out how to post pictures,I will do it.

"On the Palatine, chief of Rome's seven hills, this anti-Christian grafitto was found scratched into a wall.  The giure on the cross has the head of an ass; the caption reads, 'Alexamenos worships his god.'  The crude drawing, from the early 200's is the earliest known representation of the crucifixion of Jesus."

Earliest known of the crucifixion...but other symbols were used prior to that date.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: cjred685 on January 26, 2005, 03:33:20 PM
Quote
I think Georgriy's description of the celebration of the resurrection gives a glimpse into the beauty of the Orthodox faith.
Reed I couldn't agree with you  more.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 03:48:54 PM
(http://My Documents/crucifixion.jpg)

"On the Palatine, chief of Rome's seven hills, this anti-Christian graffito was found scratched inot a wall.  The figure on the cross has the head of an ass; the caption reads, 'Alexameons worships his god.'  The crude drawing, from the early 200's, is the earliest known representation of the crucifixion of Jesus."

Christian History, Issue 27 (Vol.IX, No. 3)

I'm not sure I'm doing this correctly....forgive me FA if I'm not.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 03:52:32 PM
Quote
Dashkova,
Let me clairfy some of the things I said that you mentioned in your post.  

I said the Eastern church was spared "some" of the traumatic events the West.  My meaning was the governmental upheavals, the plagues (although the East did have the plagues, it was not to the extent of the West and if I remember correctly brought to them by crusaders), and most importantly the Reformation and the religious wars that followed.  I completely agree that the Eastern church faced their own traumas.  The most devastating was the onslaught of the Muslim Turks. Eventually overcoming the Byzantine Empire and for a time the influence of the Orthodox faith.  But....the Orthodox faith remained intact and spread...unlike the Roman church because of the Protestant movement.

I'm not sure I would agree with the comment on art.  In the modern world, art is influenced by many cultural, geographic, and other outside influences.  Mainly because we are a global society now.  In the period of time we are speaking, art was more focused on a local geographical area, at least until the reniassance.  An example would be the Irish and unique beautiful of their art.  

I do believe that the people of the time period wanted to improve their spiritual walk.  The church taught that to get to heaven one needed to be pure and cleansed of sin.  If one was not, then they would suffer hell...not a pleasant place as depicted in the art of the period.  With people dropping like flies during the plagues, wars, pestilence, etc.  They knew death could be only moment away.  You bet they wanted to go to heaven.....maybe not the right motivation but effective....!  

The crucifix you mention (if the one I'm thinking of) was early.  Discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. It was actually graffiti scratched into a wall, depicting a man with his arms outstretched and the head of a mule/horse with a derogatory remark with it.  I can't find a reference right now that shows it, or I would post it.  There was a small shrine discovered in Herculaneum with a cross carved above it, not a crucifix.  I would agree that many symbols were used by the early church.

We will have to agree to disagree on Biblical accuracy.  That is a large and entirely different subject.

I think Georgriy's description of the celebration of the resurrection gives a glimpse into the beauty of the Orthodox faith.  If I were to ever change it would be to the Orthodox church.  Georgriy where are you located? If I may ask???

This is a great discussion!!!!!  



I have to stand my ground regarding art.  Man has ALWAYS migrated and brought and shared cultures.  The Irish art you speak of was not entirely from their own ideas.  The Romans, at certain points were captivated by Ancient Egyptian art and borrowed from it often.  Justinian brought Byzantine architecture to Ravenna, and the Ottonians before him left their Germanic twist in the same Italian city.  Migrations and trade and empire (for heaven's sake, what would you call the Hellenistic Age following Alexander?  Not an exception to be sure!)  Even some of the heraldic devices employed by "migration" artists in England show evidence of Mesopatamian influence.

As for spiritual motivations, I don't count fear as an appropriate tactic, especially with regard to a fate and destination that has never offered any proof  :-/  Medieval man, if he worshipped at all, it was overwhelmingly through coersion and/or fear.

Yes, the crucifix with a donkey's head :  "Alexander worships his god." was written below. Could be, but doubtful it was complimentary...still it shows the crucifix was already in use. That, and the fish, I would guess were original ideas for symbols, the rest simply borrowed from paganism (good shepherd, images of apollo/helius, etc). The "Sol Invictus" beneath St. Peter's comes to mind. The house church at Dura Europas has long fascinated me as it demonstrates the blend of Xianity, Judaism, and Paganism (aka, country bumpkins).

As to biblical scholarship, have you studied Christianity and Judaism as an academic subject (at a non-religious affiliated institution?) If so, I think we could certainly have some fine discussions.  If not, then you are right, it would be a total waste of time.  There is faith, which I respect, and there is the academic, which is the path I follow.  The twain do not truly meet.  There are some who say, "I know about that, but I choose to believe regardless."  Maybe someday I will be at that point, but right now it is not a possibility.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Forum Admin on January 26, 2005, 03:52:57 PM
Reed,
Go to "New Members Read First Please" and there is a whole section detailing how to post pictures. You have to upload the picture to the internet first, just trying to put the address on your own computer wont work.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 03:57:46 PM
Quote
Georgiy where are you located? If I may ask


Auckland, New Zealand. (I am Japanese Orthodox though, as I became Orthodox while living there. I attend the Russian Church here - the Japanese Church being a daughter of the Russian Church.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 04:29:28 PM
Quote

I think it is probably my comments which have upset Bluetoria, for which I sincerely apologise and ask forgiveness. It has not been my intent to insult or upset others, just to show some of the differences. .


Oh no, no no, no, Georgiy! You haven't upset me! I ASKED you to tell me the differences & you were kind enough to explain! It is I who cannot take it all in or reconcile the differences...the fault is entirely mine, not yours!
What you write fascinates me...that's why my brain explodes! :)
It's clear how very devoted you are to your faith...it puts me to shame :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 04:30:32 PM
Dashkova,
I really think we are on the same page as far as the influences of art through the centuries.  I don't think I'm expressing my meaning clearly.  We were discussing the "gore" factor and an example of an altar piece was given.  What I'm trying to say is that those day to day events that are happening in the culture often times find themselves being expressed in the art.  For example during the terrible plagues of Europe, we see death, bodies, evil as a major theme in the art of the time.  That is what I'm meaning when I say the culture influences the art.  I hope that helps.....it's much easier to express it orally than by written methods.  

I didn't say that the spiritual motivations used by the church was appropriate (I believe not!).....but they were effective with an uneducated populace.

The Dura Europas church is an excellent example of the synthesis of beliefs among the common people.  The influence of paganism and Judaism on Christianity cannot be discounted.  

I'm amused by your differentiation between religious and non-religious institutions.  It comes across as a put down to someone who might have gotten their education from a religiously associated school.  So....say if I attended Notre Dame.....my education is somehow suspect.  It is a "religious school."  Actually I have studied religion (most of them).  As to my pedigree in education, suffice it to say I have studied at both types of institutions and have enough degrees to register on the scale.   I totally disagree with the idea that faith and academics cannot agree......on with the discussion!!!   ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 04:36:14 PM
Hi Bluetoria! It's a big weight off my mind and heart! :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 04:43:19 PM
Quote
 I totally disagree with the idea that faith and academics cannot agree......


For the most part, yes they can. But usually not when it comes to creationism/evolution!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 04:50:16 PM
Quote

For the most part, yes they can. But usually not when it comes to creationism/evolution!


Faith doesn't prevent belief in evolution. (At least not all faiths.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 05:00:06 PM
Quote
Dashkova,
I really think we are on the same page as far as the influences of art through the centuries.  I don't think I'm expressing my meaning clearly.  We were discussing the "gore" factor and an example of an altar piece was given.  What I'm trying to say is that those day to day events that are happening in the culture often times find themselves being expressed in the art.  For example during the terrible plagues of Europe, we see death, bodies, evil as a major theme in the art of the time.  That is what I'm meaning when I say the culture influences the art.  I hope that helps.....it's much easier to express it orally than by written methods.  

I didn't say that the spiritual motivations used by the church was appropriate (I believe not!).....but they were effective with an uneducated populace.

The Dura Europas church is an excellent example of the synthesis of beliefs among the common people.  The influence of paganism and Judaism on Christianity cannot be discounted.  

I'm amused by your differentiation between religious and non-religious institutions.  It comes across as a put down to someone who might have gotten their education from a religiously associated school.  So....say if I attended Notre Dame.....my education is somehow suspect.  It is a "religious school."  Actually I have studied religion (most of them).  As to my pedigree in education, suffice it to say I have studied at both types of institutions and have enough degrees to register on the scale.   I totally disagree with the idea that faith and academics cannot agree......on with the discussion!!!   ;D



"In my opinion art reflects the culture it was/is created within. "
That's your original quote. Even in its context it appeared rather vague.

Also, how do I put this...
Reed, your tone has become a little too patronizing and condescending for conversation.  The backpedaling doesn't help much, either.  

I will stop there, as there is no point in attempting to explain further.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:01:05 PM
Quote

Faith doesn't prevent belief in evolution. (At least not all faiths.)
 Yes, not all.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 05:05:58 PM
Quote

For the most part, yes they can. But usually not when it comes to creationism/evolution!


Helen, perhaps you will elaborate with examples.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 05:06:51 PM
I can see how things can develop their innate potential, but not that something could become something completely different. For example the finches Darwin observed on the different Galapagos Islands (they were finches weren't they?). At any rate, they had developed different characteristics, but they were still finches! They hadn't turned into a different kind of bird, like an albatross, say.  Whatever genetic potentialalities were inate within the finches must have caused them to be slightly different from island to island.

So if all finches were Group A, then you'd have several different subgroups within A: A1, A2, A3 and so forth, but A could not be B (albatrosses for example).

Likewise a Dachshund and a chihuahua are both dogs, or maybe even wolves if you like (does the DNA differ? I don't know).

Sweetcorn is another example of something which is different from its original form in appearance, but is still sweetcorn! Its genetic potential having been tapped by the peoples who grew it as a crop.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:11:17 PM
Quote

Helen, perhaps you will elaborate with examples.  



There are some religious sectors who like to take the Bible quite literally, and are not really open to the idea of evolution, even going as far as trying to ban it in parochial schools. I will try to find a specific example, I remember I heard about it on the news recently....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 05:13:09 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v499/dashkova/alexworshipsgod.gif)

Here's the crucifix from the Palatine in Rome.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:14:12 PM
Quote
Likewise a Dachshund and a chihuahua are both dogs, or maybe even wolves if you like (does the DNA differ? I don't know).
 


Georgiy, even mere bacteria has some very similar DNA regions as humans! Primate and human DNA is extremely similar (if I remember correctly, something like 98%)... The farther the species branched out in the evolutionary chain, the less similar their DNA....

Also, I think what you are talking about is short term (relatively speaking of course) whereas evolution is very long term (we're talking about millions and millions of years, not just thousands...)

Georgyi, wouldn't you say that the Bible is often meant to be taken literally, as in the earth is about 5K years old, and man was made from clay, etc.? Possibly you don't, but you probably know people who do?

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 05:17:10 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v499/dashkova/solinvictus.jpg)
Mausoleum of the Julii, Rome, late 3rd cen. CE, Sol Invictus   aka Jesus as Sun God



Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 05:23:23 PM
Quote


I'm a historian, which does not mean I must have absolute proof before believing something, but on the other hand, as a historian, I cannot discount reasonable evidence, such as: Jesus was one of *many* of his type around the time that he lived and died,
....
Jesus, no matter how important many people feel he was, historically, he was barely a *blip.*  There is plenty of evidence that points to the possibility he never existed as an individual but may well have been a composite of several (among many) mystic types living in Judea during that time frame.
I believe he probably did exist, and I also believe he would be positively *stunned* to learn what grew up around the anonymnity he experienced during life.  Frankly, I do not believe that the man Jesus, Yeshua, would be very happy with what resulted (if we can even in fact truly attribute his teachings to him as an individual).



I think that maybe faith is an altogether different thing. When I first went to university to study theology I was so shocked by what I learned - especially in Biblical history etc. - that I could no longer believe anything & did not for quite some time.
What changed everything for me wasn't learning but firstly the kindness of two very holy people (a nun & a priest as it happens in spite their bad press!)  who helped me without once mentioning religion when I was at very low point. Then more poignantly when I went to Lourdes to help with the sick. In serving them I understood probably for the first time the meaning of pure, unconditional love...and it was inspired solely & totally by faith (not mine!). Everything changed (not dramatically like being born again or something...it's slow & gradual & I doubt it much of the time, but beneath everything else it is THERE - a sort of touching the INFINITE.
I don't disagree with anything you write about the historical Jesus. There is so much we don't know. But Faith, as I've tried to express (very badly) is something else at least to me.  

 
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on January 26, 2005, 05:24:52 PM
Dashkova,

I apologize for seeming "patronizing and condescending"  I didn't intend it to be so.  Thank you for posting the picture, I had sent it to the FA for posting.  

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:34:46 PM
Quote

What changed everything for me wasn't learning but firstly the kindness of two very holy people (a nun & a priest as it happens in spite their bad press!)  who helped me without once mentioning religion when I was at very low point. Then more poignantly when I went to Lourdes to help with the sick. In serving them I understood probably for the first time the meaning of pure, unconditional love...and it was inspired solely & totally by faith (not mine!).
  


Bluetoria, this is a really nice story, and this is the way it should be, I think! I used to have a friend whom I met in Buffalo while I was there in grad school. She was a Catholic nun from Indonesia. She was one of the most wonderful people I had ever met in my life, and in addition she was one of those people who truly believed and had faith, and who was truly serene in her knowledge, and yet didn't wear it on her sleeves. She wasn't fanatical and you were able to have a conversation with her and disagree without her flying off the handle or getting offended. I learned a lot from her, and I can honestly say that she was one the best people I ever met in my life who brought out the best in me. She went back to Indonesia where she was running a hospital that took care of the poor and the orphaned. We used to keep in touch by email once in a while, and a couple of times she visited the States and I saw her. About 2 years ago  I was notified that she died! She was only in her 40's and thin and healthy but apparently she died of a heart attack. I have been trying to get info about her death ever since, but for some reason the Franciscans (this was her order) are being very evasive and won't give any info. Anyway, I am sorry to digress, but my point was, that IMO these things may come from faith and may also come from inside the person, since I have come across a couple of other nuns who were the nastiest people you can ever meet...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 05:35:03 PM
I think that a few years ago they were saying that human and chimp DNA was 97% the same, but I understand its been revised downwards a bit. Regardless, that 3% difference makes for a big difference between us and Chimps. I still don't see that 1 species can become a different species entirely. I mean all those ancient horses with 5 toes or whatever it was, that were the size of a large dog (I am paraphrasing here - I have no idea what size they were, but recall that they were small compared to modern horses), no matter how different they may look to modern horses, were still horses! They didn't morph into cows or something completely different. ;D

I am not sure that I know people that take every word of Scripture in its literal sense - there is lots that is allegorical, especially in Genesis, and it is best to read how the Fathers interpreted it rather than try and work out by ourselves what is allegorical and what isn't. Good starters would be St Basil the Great's Hexa-something-or-other (I can't remember the exact name), and St John Chrysostom's commentary on Genesis. These works will give you the Orthodox view on Genesis, though of course we have greater scientific knowledge these days, so of course in those days, some things were just completely unknowable.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 05:39:47 PM
I'm very sorry about your friend, Helen.
I too know many nuns (being convent school educated!) who were really very nasty...but they don't have any effect in the long run you kind of dimiss them I guess. Kindness you always remember, in my opinion.  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:42:34 PM
Quote
I still don't see that 1 species can become a different species entirely.

I think you can only fully understand it if you study DNA... Then it makes complete sense, no matter how weird it sounds. I am convinced, and I assure you, I am really not that gullible ;).

What I am actually wondering is, can one believe in evolution, i.e. that man evolved from a chimp-like creature, who in turn evolved from another creature who in turn evolved from bacteria, etc., and still believe in the Bible (I mean the Bible not in the literal sense but as a tool)? It seems it would be kind of difficult in some ways...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 05:51:20 PM
It's no more difficult to believe in the Bible knowing that we (collectively) are evolved from chimps than it is to believe that we  (individually) are evolvedfrom zygotes...I don't see a problem. Maybe I'm not bright enough to understand it!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:52:16 PM
Quote
I think that a few years ago they were saying that human and chimp DNA was 97% the same, but I understand its been revised downwards a bit. .


As of 2002, it was still at 98.77% identical  :) I couldn't find any info that said otherwise later on...

http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/01_02/Human_chimpanzees.shtml
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 05:54:20 PM
Quote
It's no more difficult to believe in the Bible knowing that we (collectively) are evolved from chimps than it is to believe that we  (individually) are evolvedfrom zygotes...I don't see a problem. Maybe I'm not bright enough to understand it!
 That's what I kind of think too, but many people have a problem with the fact that humans evolved from "animals" as seen through the Bible's eyes.  I mean, they argue all the time that this just can't be the case.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 26, 2005, 06:01:16 PM
It doesn't bother me :)
I have to say, Helen, how very grateful I am to you, that you started this thread! It has been incredibly informative & I have learned so much :) :) THANK YOU!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 07:06:19 PM
98.7%? Well, it shows what a remarkable difference 1.3% makes.

Personally, I believe God created us human. Maybe not anatomically modern, but human nevertheless. Not knowing much about DNA, I can't comment on whether one species could become another species altogether or not.

If my belief makes me ignorant, at least in this case, I am happy to remain ignorant. ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 26, 2005, 07:12:49 PM
Bluetoria
     Some few pages ago-- you were kind enough to ask what I had hallucinated about regarding the "Isenheim Altarpiece."
     Well, at the time I was quite ill, and in a feverdream I saw the whole altarpiece as if painted with luminecent paint on black velvet ...nothing spiritually insightful I'm afraid!  :-/  I guess that I had simply spent too many nights in the arts department without enough sleep or warm clothing...Thanks anyway
     This topic is quite insightful, even to an unbeliever such as myself!

rskkiya
heathen
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 07:27:15 PM
Quote
98.7%? Well, it shows what a remarkable difference 1.3% makes.



Yes, it most certainly does show that! But it also shows how easily we could have evolved from another species: you don't need a huge amount of DNA mutations in order to come out with something totally different than what you started with: only 1% or so! So this kind of proves my point that it is not only possible, but in fact, it is probable, after a certain amount of time passes (this meaning millions of years) for a species to evolve into a different one. After all, there are many mutations occuring in all of us all the time, it's just a matter of which ones become permanent.

Quote
Personally, I believe God created us human. Maybe not anatomically modern, but human nevertheless.


And of course this is your or anyone else's right to believe it, I have absolutely no problem with that! My only point was to show that for many people religion and the theory of evolution don't mix, often being mutually exclusive.

Quote

Helen, perhaps you will elaborate with examples.  


Dashkova, is this a good example?  :)

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 07:56:31 PM
This thread is having the same problem we had on another thread once before, you can't see the new page until at least two postings are made on it...    ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 08:00:17 PM
I noticed that too.

I will accept evolution within a species, but not into a completely different species. Maybe one day with tinkering in a lab somewhere, someone will be able to alter Creature X's DNA enough that it's offspring become Creature Y. (I don't mean like making a horse into a cow, say, but something that is obviously and demonstrably physically different.)

I guess a lot of popular science is (extremely) poorly written, and they make it sound like the mutations that occur, happen through the will of the creature involved, which is implausible. (Though isn't it true that most mutations are of no benefit and in fact tend to be dead-ends as it is harder for them to get a reproductive partner?)

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 08:34:57 PM
We are really getting off track here, so I will try to make it my last post about this subject.  :)

Quote
I will accept evolution within a species, but not into a completely different species.
 

But it may only be a matter of a few additional mutations within the same species to transform it into a whole other species!  (chimps and humans = perfect example, not so many mutations in between). During Darwin's times, we only had a theory about this, now with DNA we basically have solid evidence for this, when we do DNA comparisons. And very elegant evidence at that.

Quote
... someone will be able to alter Creature X's DNA enough that it's offspring become Creature Y. (I don't mean like making a horse into a cow, say, but something that is obviously and demonstrably physically different.)



How about donkeys + horses = mules. This is not a very good example because mules can't reproduce, but this is because it's sort of artificial "evolution" not the way it really happens, and plus it is only after one generation. With "real" evolution, we are talking millions of years. It is very very different than trying to "make" something new in a lab or on a farm, or whatever, in only several years.

Quote
...they make it sound like the mutations that occur, happen through the will of the creature involved, which is implausible.


Of course they can't "will" it. It is a matter of certain species with certain mutations being able to thrive due to this new mutation. And since they survived, they go on to have progeny and this progeny has the same mutation as the parents and they go on to have more progeny and so on. Sometimes the original 'creatures' within the same species (without the mutation) die out and the ones with the mutation live on and procreate with more of their own. Sometimes all versions or most of them live on. Slowly, the mutations keep happening, until enough of them happens and suddenly a whole new species emerges. This is how they branch out into other species, but still kind of close to the original. This type of thing just keeps happening and this is how, over millions of years, we end up with many different braches/species... It all makes so much sense.

I think many peple see this as in "how can a chicken and a cow have come from the same animal", but you forget that millions of years had passed before that could have happened. And still a chicken and a cow and a human and an algae have a lot in common genetically, which is evidence for all this...  

It's all very fascinating, and to me it makes much more sense than anything else I ever learned about. But enough of this, I didn't mean to go off tangent so much! Sorry.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 08:49:51 PM
It is fascinating, though I find cultural anthropology closer to my heart and interests!

Back to mutations though, I would have thought that in the vast majority of cases most mutations are useless, and less likely to reproduce (unless of course all non-mutants suddenly die out) - so it seems curious, even taking into account the many millions of years, that there should have been enough mutations to create the plethora of different species ranging from bacteria to rat-tailed maggots to humans!

Whatever the cause and reasonings behind the multitude of life, the phrase "God moves in mysterious ways" is quite apt here I think.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 26, 2005, 09:37:17 PM
Ok, I lied, one more!  ;D

Quote
It is fascinating, though I find cultural anthropology closer to my heart and interests!
...I would have thought that in the vast majority of cases most mutations are useless, and less likely to reproduce (unless of course all non-mutants suddenly die out)
 

I love cultural anthropology too!  :)

Of course, standing on its own, a mutation is most of the time meaningless or benign or is usually repaired in the organism. And being a minority in the species, it can't really take over so easily. But occassionally it can, and after enough of them split off into its own branch, also because it is not necessarily an isolated case.  

Fact is, mutations do happen, and the fact that we can trace our DNA to some very primitive organisms and thus show that we are distantly related to them, is evidence of this. Of course none of what I talked about before is so simple and straight forward, I just made it sound like that for the sake of this argument. I am not an expert on this in any case, if you want to know real answers, you'll have to go to real experts and you will definitely get answers ;).
I personally just wanted to make my point that religion/Bible teachings only "mix" with evolution theories with a lot of difficulty - and very uncomfortably, if at all, due to the contradictory-seeming nature of the two...


Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 26, 2005, 09:46:37 PM
Suffice to say Religion explains the "Why", and science the "How". :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 26, 2005, 10:08:00 PM
Helen, I don't think any of your wonderful posts are sinking in to certain others  ::)

Good job though, and thank you. (btw, excellent "examples", and I can think of MANY more, not evolution related)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 27, 2005, 02:39:32 PM
Thanks Dashkova for presuming to know what sinks into others' minds!

Like I have said before Religion and science serve and are for different purposes. Religion can't be (or shouldn't be) replaced by science, neither can (or should) science be replaced by religion. It seems to me there are a lot of so-called 'fundamental' Churches out there that equate the Bible and Scripture with a science textbook, which it is not, never has been nor ever will be.
Through it we can learn about why there is sin and misery, how we can lead a life pleasing to God, how God reveals Himself to His creation, and about Absolute Love.
That which created everything and maintains everything is beyond understanding, and we, who are spiritual infants and lead grossly sinful lives, with little repentance or contrition, wilful and with little heed or thought for the eternity of our souls need to be very careful with how we read the Bible and not try to interpret it with our minds, clouded as they are with the cares of worldly life. When we read it and don't understand that is when we turn to the Fathers, people who we know lead God and spiritual lives, close to God, to help our feeble understanding.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 27, 2005, 02:41:46 PM
Thanks for demonstrating my point in a MOST magnificent manner!  :D  Bravo!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 27, 2005, 02:46:44 PM
What part of my post demonstrated your point? I'm sorry, I have a massive headache today, so can hardly even think at the moment. It's probably clear to all but me.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 27, 2005, 05:26:06 PM
Keep your chin up, Georgiy - it's good to disagree & discuss thing sometimes :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 27, 2005, 05:51:15 PM
Quote
Bluetoria
  
      Well, at the time I was quite ill, and in a feverdream I saw the whole altarpiece as if painted with luminecent paint on black velvet


Rskkya, it sounds absolutely terrifying!  :o
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 28, 2005, 07:46:58 PM
Quote
Thanks Dashkova for presuming to know what sinks into others' minds!

  .


Ummm .... :-/
Sorry Georgiy, what are you saying??

rskkiya

ps Bluetora
   Thanks for your concern, but the dream was just a disturbing image -- not as terrifiing as all that...

rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 28, 2005, 10:05:41 PM
This is a good point, Goula. But in the case of the inebriated man, we are assuming that at the time he was drunk, he was not competent to make judgement calls about his actions. Therefore at that particular time he needed someone else to make these decisions for him. So the drunk man should be held responsible for getting drunk while knowing that he will later have to drive, but once he was drunk, he pretty much lost his  judgement, and the blame can also theoretically be shifted onto the bartender, who should have had the judgement not to serve this man and then allow him to drive.

With "sin", we are talking about something else. Here we assumingly have individuals who, as long as they are mentally competent, adult, and not drugged up in any way, are making decisions that they are fully able to make. No one else can or should be making these decisions for them because, unlike the drunk man in a bar, they are fully competent to make them themselves. The difference is that they actually have the ability to know the difference between, for the lack of better terms, right and wrong. The drunk guy, or a child, or a mentally ill person, probably do not have that ability and therefore should be not be held responsible the same way a so-called "normal" individual should be.
So no, I don't think that "leading someone into sin" is  the same  as a bar tender continuing to serve drinks to a drunk-out-of-his-mind man and then allowing him to drive and kill someone.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 03:30:38 AM
I think that we can lead other people into sin by our example. It is said that 'he who does me good, teaches me to be good' - equally if we are constantly cruel or unkind to people we may in turn make them become cruel. When you are constantly surrounded by bad temper & aggression it is easy to become aggressive. I don't mean that this takes away our responsibility for our own actions - it just makes it harder for us to put into practice our better impulses.
Equally, to be constantly flirting, say, with a married man may tempt him away from fidelity to his wife. If he is unfaithful, it is his own decision & he is responsible for it - but the fact that someone has placed that temptation in his path, gives that person a certain responsibility, too.
More commonly, when we point out to someone the faults in someone else - or gossip about someone - we may make the person with whom we are sharing the gossip, more judgemental. Again we are 'the occasion' of someone else's sin.
We all have a responsibility to one another, don't we?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 07:38:14 AM
Just to add to that...I see it a bit like accents. As a student in Liverpool I picked up a (slight) Liverpool accent, but later being away from that city, lost it again. When surrounded by 'goodness' I think we 'pick up' the goodness...and when surrounded by cruelty, unkindess, selfishness, we may pick some of that up too. (I think this is how Ella thought when she wanted to bring beauty to the lives of the poor in Moscow - (paraphrased): "How can people who spend all day toiling in horrible places find beauty in their souls?
In this way the way we are affects other people for good or for ill...in which sense we can be responsible for another person's sin. (In my opinion... :))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on January 29, 2005, 08:20:18 AM
Bluetoria
  A good point. But is goodness "goodness" if it emminates from a 'non orthodox" person? What about the goodness of a Muslim/Hindi/athiest/Pagan?
Are there measurable quantities and 'quality levels" of this virtue?
   Sorry if my spelling is poor - a friend of mine is very ill, and I have not been sleeping well.

rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 09:12:06 AM
Rskkyia, I'm sorry about your friend...

Bluetoria,

In my mind, the idea is this:  there will always be outside influences in life (unless you live in some sort of a bubble), but isn't that the whole point? All these things you mention Bluetoria are part of life. Would being "good" really mean anything if you had no chance of being"bad"? If you are put away in prison somewhere from the time you are a child and never had a chance to sin, ever, would that automatically make you a saint? Or would it count more if you actually were exposed to all kinds of outside influences, but didn't do it? To me it's the latter. The idea here (the way I understand it and I could be wrong I suppose) is that you have a choice to "sin" but choose not to, as opposed to, you don't do it because you never had the chance to do it (which makes one's "goodness" meaningless as far as I can tell). All this stuff about the poor guy who was "led into temptation" by some wicked woman who was (gasp!  :o) flirting with him knowing he was married, that really doesn't add up to too much in my book. He still makes the choice which way to go, she does not make it for him. If this person was never "tempted" and remained faithful, does that really mean anything? I don't think so. But if he was "tempted" and remained faithful, that's when it actually does.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 09:28:32 AM
Georgiy,

I have been giving our conversation some more thought and I have a question for you.   What you were saying about evolution, are these your personal views or are these the current views of the orthodox church?
E.g.
Quote
I will accept evolution within a species, but not into a completely different species.


If these are the views of the church itself, can a member of the church fully and openly accept the theory of evolution and remain within the church, or does he or she have to accept the church's view on it? I know you will probably say that everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose and still be in the church, but honestly, how would this work?

I seem to recall that not all that long ago (relatively speaking of course) the church had some very adamant views about certain things such as "the sun revolving around the earth" and not the other way around, and if you disagreed with that view at the time, you were considered a heretic. So my point is, the church never really did, and apparently still doesn't, have all the correct answers, as many people seem to imagine it does. No one and nothing really does of course, but there are some things we actually have been able to find the answers and the proof for (like the earth revolving around the sun and others). I don't mean this in any sort of disrespectful or insulting way, just to demonstrate an example... What do you think?  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 09:34:00 AM
For a long time I have been having these kinds of conversations with people and I always wish to be convinced that my views are wrong and theirs are right. After all, it is a lot easier to live life believing than not believing. It is a tough thing not to believe sometimes. But unfortunately no one has been able to convince me :(  and I wish someone would!  ;)  :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 09:39:24 AM
Rskkiya, I'm really sorry about your friend, too. I hope there 's some improvement.
Goodness, I think, is goodness no matter what the beliefs of the person. (My brother is a 'confirmed' atheist who considers all 'religious' people brain-washed, but he is also one of the kindest & most exemplary people I have ever met!)

Helen, I accept your point & agree that we would not be 'good' just because we were never tempted - I think too that there is no hard & fast set of actions which are sinful - what is sinful to me, may not be to you & vice versa. Sin - I think - is a degradation; whatever stops us being Whole (and holy). All the same, we all have our own weaknesses & it is possible to prey on the weaknesses of other people - which to my mind degrades them & if it doesn't CAUSE them to sin, it at least contributes to it.
My example aboutthe unfaithful husband does seem pretty feeble after rwading your post. If we were faithful simply because he had no opportunity to be otherwise it would mean very little. But on that point I must say that I think that we (especially in England - they say it's better in USA but I don't know if that's true) are confronted so often on adverts, TV, posters, magazines, with so much overt promiscuity that many young people now consider themselves abnormal if they are not having sex. I KNOW people who have done things totally contrary to their nature simply to 'fit in.'  These are rational people who accept responsibility for their actions & yet find it so hard to be 'strong' in the face of so much pressure. THAT, I think, contributes to the degradation & sin of someone else.
Of course it applies to far more than promiscuity..gossip for example - it's not easy for ALL people not to join in. Other people have other weaknesses...I think...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 09:41:44 AM
Quote
After all, it is a lot easier to live life believing than not believing.  :D


I'm not sure about that! So many times I wish I didn't believe - it would make my life so much easier!!  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 09:48:04 AM
Quote

I'm not sure about that! So many times I wish I didn't believe - it would make my life so much easier!!  ;)


Well, either way, it it isn't easy often, but in different ways. But don't you think it makes it easier to accept certain things "knowing" there is a "divine plan" and "purpose" behind them, rather than randomness? I think so.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 09:49:11 AM
By the way...I'd just like to add further to my previous post...truly I am by no means a puritan ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 09:53:47 AM
Quote
...many young people now consider themselves abnormal if they are not having sex. I KNOW people who have done things totally contrary to their nature simply to 'fit in.'  These are rational people who accept responsibility for their actions & yet find it so hard to be 'strong' in the face of so much pressure. THAT, I think, contributes to the degradation & sin of someone else.
 
 
 This stuff is all just part of growing up in a society such as ours. The key is, once you are grown up, you are supposed to start seeing it all in a different way and act accordingly. That's when supposedly people gain the ability to judge and make the right choices for themselves. If it doesn't happen, and if as adults these people still find it too difficult to resist peer pressure, then it is not religion they need, it is a good psychiatrist...  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 09:54:46 AM
Yes I do think that. Without God I cannot make sense of anything. When I believed nothing my life was toally without meaning exceot pleasure...which does not mean that THAT is the reason I chose to believe (like an escape.) I can honestly say, though, that there are many things which I have done (like leaving careers etc.) which I REALLY didn't want to do...but I did simply because I thought God called me to it. And having done it, the joy that came with it was beyond expression, and so much deeper than any ephemeral pleasure. It feels to me, sometimes, that there are moments when you can almost touch heaven and it is often at times when things outwardly are going terribly badly for you. In this, returning to something we were discussing some days ago, I see the beauty of the Cross, shining through the 'darkness' - sounds but figurative & airy-fairy again, but it is very practical to me.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 09:58:45 AM
Quote
 then it is not religion they need, it is a good psychiatrist...  ;)


Maybe so! But since I think religion is about the WHOLE person - emotions, thoughts, minds, spirit - religion often does for some people what psychiatry does for others.
(Yeah, okay I concede on this point! ;))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 10:15:14 AM
Quote
Yes I do think that. Without God I cannot make sense of anything. When I believed nothing my life was toally without meaning exceot pleasure...


Yes, for many people this seems to be the case. I can't say that I can't make sense of anything without God, but it would be nicer if I could think that everything is a plan that has some purpose, that way I wouldn't have to worry all that much about what happens. One can of course, without a doubt, find meaning in things other than religion (and I don't mean base things either), and many people do, but I think for most, this is the place that religion takes, so that's kind of nice in a way - if it's either that or nothing. But unfortunately for me, as soon as I start thinking and analyzing, I find that it is impossible for me to believe most of the things that religion entails...  Oh well, I'll be fine I'm sure ;)  ;D.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 10:19:33 AM
Thank you for always discussing things so 'pleasantly'! It is so good to be able to disagree about things without being unpleasant....I've learned loads from this thread & it also helps clarify in my own mind what I believe. THANK YOU, Helen :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 10:25:42 AM
Quote
Thank you for always discussing things so 'pleasantly'! It is so good to be able to disagree about things without being unpleasant....I've learned loads from this thread & it also helps clarify in my own mind what I believe. THANK YOU, Helen :)



And thank you too  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 11:40:14 AM
Quote

 I find that it is impossible for me to believe most of the things that religion entails...  Oh well, I'll be fine I'm sure ;)  ;D.


Sometime, if you have a spare few hours ( ;D) please, will you explain what you mean by 'things that religion entails'? Thanks :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 11:48:16 AM
Quote

Sometime, if you have a spare few hours ( ;D) please, will you explain what you mean by 'things that religion entails'? Thanks :)

Basically all the stuff we have been discussing here...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on January 29, 2005, 01:08:17 PM
Mmm. I wonder why some people believe and some don't...perhaps it's just the same as some people being good at art or music or literature and some aren't. Who knows? (But I make quite a distinction between believing in God & following a religion...religion IS often more kind of binding & restricting, to my mind, & I don't think that God is...)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 29, 2005, 01:11:03 PM
Quote
Mmm. I wonder why some people believe and some don't...perhaps it's just the same as some people being good at art or music or literature and some aren't. Who knows?  


I think it's because everyone has a different ability to analyze and reason, and to see things a certain way... So yes, in a way it does have to do with the way your brain works, just like being good with music and art.  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 31, 2005, 04:15:54 PM
Hi Helen,
My views on evolution are my own, and I am not sure what the Church's position on it would be, but I have read Church literature which suggest the 'limited' evolution as well.
I think in the Orthodox Church, religion and science have long been seen as seperate spheres, complementary perhaps, but one not being replaceable by the other, each with their own purpose in human life. I know that in the Western Church there was the controversy on whether the sun revolved arounf the earth or vice versa, but I don't think this was ever an issue for us at all. It seems a rather petty kind of dogma, with nothing to do with our Salvation! Religion is about our souls, reconciliation with God, etc, whereas science tells us how things work - religion being more concerned with the 'inner', science more 'outer'. (I am probably not being very clear here, so I hope you can at least vaguely grasp what I mean.)

I am not sure why Western Christianity got so involved with science to the level that it would declare that the Earth revolving around the sun is heresy - where is that in the bible, or in our Holy Tradition?!  After all in Apostolic times it was well known that the Earth was spherical, - it seems to me that after the fall of the Western part of the Empire a lot of knowledge was lost in the west. But the Eastern part of the Empire kept on going, and its scientific knowledge was much greater than the west during the so-called dark ages. I find it interesting that the fall of the Roman Empire is often asumed to be in the middle of the first millenium, whereas it really kept on going until the 1400s. (Or, if you are a great believer in Holy Rus' until 1917 when the Russian Empire fell, as through the marriage of the Byzantine Emporor's daughter to the Russian ruling house, Russia became the inheritor of Rome - thus Moscow becomes the Third Rome.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 31, 2005, 10:00:39 PM
Thank you, Georgiy. Perhaps all that knowledge was lost in the fire of the big Library of Alexandria, over two thousand years ago? They say that this loss had set the development of human civilization by two thousand years since they had to start over! But this was before Christianity emerged....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on January 31, 2005, 10:06:47 PM
I think a lot of knowledge was lost in the Alexandrian fire - just imagine what we could learn from it these days! How people viewed the world and what they knew about it....
I can't remember when the fire was though. Wasn't it in the early Christian era? I think the loss of scientific knowledge in the west was more due to the sacking of Rome. This had quite strong ramifications for Christianity too, as it was due (to a degree) to 'barbarian' influence that the Creed was changed in the west, and it wouldn't surprise me if it lead also to the idea that the Pope should be like some kind of ruler - above all others.
Just some thoughts, and no way to back up or prove any of it :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on January 31, 2005, 10:20:29 PM
Quote

 I can't remember when the fire was though. Wasn't it in the early Christian era?
 I think that it was just before Christianity emerged because, if I remember correctly, wasn't Julius Caesar blamed for the fire?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on January 31, 2005, 11:46:40 PM
Quote
 I think that it was just before Christianity emerged because, if I remember correctly, wasn't Julius Caesar blamed for the fire?


From my understanding, Helen, you are right.  However, there were a number of successive libraries built on or near the site of the famous one, and these *were* burnt under the direction of Christian emperors.  It's a controversial topic and there are many different views held by various scholars.  During the 14th and subsequent centuries, the church enjoyed spreading the rumor that the library was burnt by Muslims.  But all of the burnings of the various incarnations of the library occurred before the development and growth of Islam (who, unlike Christian leaders, honored learning and scholarship).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 09:03:07 AM
Thanks, Dashkova. I guess that the library where the majority of the ancient documents were initially lost was still during the pre-Christian era.

Quote
 I think in the Orthodox Church, religion and science have long been seen as seperate spheres, complementary perhaps, but one not being replaceable by the other, each with their own purpose in human life.

Of course I understand that religion and science serve different purposes, but sometimes it seems that they have to be mutually exclusive, because if you accept certain things about one, then you can't accept certain things about the other. This is why it had to eventually come into conflict, I think. Maybe there is another way of seeing it, but it's difficult. Not all of it is like that, but some very significant parts are, if we are to take the bible literally or even semi-literally, which of course many factions don't...

Quote
 My views on evolution are my own, and I am not sure what the Church's position on it would be, but I have read Church literature which suggest the 'limited' evolution as well.  

I don't really understand the church's concept of the "limited" evolution, you either accept the evolution and reject creationism or you accept creationism and reject the evolution, there can't really be such a thing as a "little bit" of each. If there was evolution then it couldn't have been limited, that's the whole idea, just like one can't be a "little bit" pregnant  ;). With all due respect, this "limited evolution" concept seems like a cop-out to me on the part of the church - they won't accept it but they can no longer reject it...  

Quote
 I know that in the Western Church there was the controversy on whether the sun revolved arounf the earth or vice versa, but I don't think this was ever an issue for us at all.

I think that the way Genesis is worded, it implies (or even insists) that the earth and humans are the "center of the universe", but of course it never literally says anything about which planets revolve around which. When some of the early scientists came up with the theory of the earth revolving around the sun, not the other way around, it seemed like they were directly challenging this view. So the reason the church went after them was because this theory proved that we were not the center of the universe, which kind of went directly against what the Bible taught. I can understand why this made the church uncomfortable.


Quote
I am not sure why Western Christianity got so involved with science to the level that it would declare that the Earth revolving around the sun is heresy - where is that in the bible, or in our Holy Tradition?!  

Maybe the reason the Eastern church did not get so involved in the "heresies" is because these theories came to the west first (at least during the christian era)?  I am not sure about that, but it would kind of make sense - why would they get involved in this if they didn't have anyone around who was coming up with this stuff. Most, if not all, of the "heretics" were probably in the west, so the western church had to deal with them. If the early scientists and their theories popped up in the east, I am sure the eastern church would have had to deal with them too. I don't know if this was the reason, Dashkova, do you know?


Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 01, 2005, 10:01:24 AM
http://www.ehistory.com/world/articles/ArticleView.cfm?AID=9

This is a site that discusses the destruction of the library in Alexandra.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 02:16:26 PM
Ah but we believe that we have to change ourselves - and that is bloody hard work. Changing religion and what you believe to suit the times is a cop-out.

Helen, I (by coincidence - although there really is no such thing as everything serves a purpose) was reading the first few chapters of Genesis last night night. Nothing there seems to me to suggest or imply that Earth is the centre of the universe or anything. Rather it is about how the world, the universe and all that there is came into being, and it shows that from the start that God has an active interest in us.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 02:54:17 PM
You misunderstand. We have to change our inner selves, and fight as hard as we can. Let's say we have an inner urging to eat as much chocolate as we can, every day. This is gluttony, an idolising of our own stomach and tastebuds. While eating chocolate is not wrong, the idolatary is.

I firmly believe that we have an eternal soul, and that the state of our soul after our bodies have died is determined by how we live in this world. If we clothe our soul with worldly desires and do not strive after God, then when we are dead we will have an unbearable longing for these things which can never be satisfied. Yearning for the temporal and not the eternal will create our own Hell, which is seperation from God.

Of course if one doesn't believe in God or eternal life, then the old maxim of eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die applies. However, it seems to me the people who indulge in all the pleasures this life has to offer to excess end up most miserable, and in fact these pleasures cause them pain in the end - obesity, brain damage or organ damage from alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted disease and so on. This can also be said of people who over indulge in their religion - in that they are making an idol of religion and not worshipping God but themselves.

I am not saying that one should not do this or not do that, but that we need to be strict with ourselves. Look for what is Godly and right, seek peace and pursue it.
In scripture it says that the violent take Heaven by force - this means that by taking action, by fighting against things that bind us we can attain the repose oft he Righteous.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 03:54:02 PM
Quote

Of course if one doesn't believe in God or eternal life, then the old maxim of eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die applies. However, it seems to me the people who indulge in all the pleasures this life has to offer to excess end up most miserable, and in fact these pleasures cause them pain in the end - obesity, brain damage or organ damage from alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted disease and so on.  


But this is not necessarily true about those who don't believe in God and often true about those who do. I don't think this behavior has that much to do with whether you believe in God or not.... Yes, in theory this is the way it should be, but in reality? I don't think so.
I don't see much connection to be honest. People find ways to indulge themselves either way, if this is what they really want to do, but perhaps justify their behavior in different ways from each other.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 04:04:25 PM
What I mean is, if this is all there is, then we should make the most of it! (At least that is what I take the maxim to mean - not that I am going to encourage people to live as if there is no tomorrow).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 04:08:26 PM
And, you are right Helen, lots of people, religious or no, do tend to say one thing and do another. In this respect I am chief among sinners. How often I find myself confessing the same things, time after time! I know what is broken, yet don't want to put in the hard slog and effort to do the work of fixing things up. :(
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 04:25:58 PM
But Orthodoxy doesn't say we are sinners in the womb. Rather we are born into a world that has been infected (as it were) by sin, and we soak up the vibes.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 04:48:04 PM
That's OK if you want to go and take a nap!
We all have our own points of view, but I will say again that we are not sinners in the womb. Orthodoxy does not teach that. Neither are we guilty in any way of Adam's sin. We are only guilty of our own sins (and we have to be born before we can start sinning.)

Who among us is innocent of sin? The main problem is that we are so busy looking for the tiny speck in someone else's eye that we do not see the great big log in our own eye - that is, we seem to be more concerned with discerning other people's faults, but completely ignore our own, when it is our own that we need to be fixing up.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 04:49:08 PM
Quote
I think religion has not improved life on earth one bit and has actually destroyed more than it has built. That is the material point.

I respectfully have to disagree. Of course almost every religion at one time or another played the "vandal" and destroyed what the preceeding religion had built up. However, after the initial destructive phase, the invading religion will build up civilization again! Besides, for almost as long as human have been humans, we have had some sort of spirituality/religion; and I don't think that we've been in a decline since we've emerged from the cave!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 04:52:23 PM
Quote

The bible is soaked with that sin stuff.



If the Old Testament is, as you claim,  'soaked in sin stuff', it is quickly absorbed by the love & forgiveness of the New Testament....the whole point of Christianity.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 04:54:49 PM
Quote
What I mean is, if this is all there is, then we should make the most of it!


Yes, but not the way you describe.

And please don't tell me you think that the "religious" people do not behave the way described?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 04:56:22 PM
Quote

Who among us is innocent of sin?


1. Define sin.

2. No matter how you define sin, a newborn child is innocent of any sin.
Title: the love & Re: discussion about orthodox relig
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 04:57:23 PM
Quote
the love & forgiveness of the New Testament....the whole point of Christianity.



Some of you may recall the woman caught in adultery, who they were wanting to stone. Jesus said let he who is without sin be the first to throw a stone. He looked down and appeared to be writing on the ground, when He looked up the woman was alone, and He asked if no one then had condemned her, and when she said no, He said, neither then do I condemn you, go and sin no more.  
Tradition says that what Jesus was scribbling on the ground was a list of the sins that the accusers had committed.

Love is the most important thing. Sin drives away love, or misappropriates it.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 04:58:22 PM
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...for almost as long as human have been humans, we have had some sort of spirituality/religion; and I don't think that we've been in a decline since we've emerged from the cave!


Define "decline"  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:00:21 PM
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No matter how you define sin, a newborn child is innocent of any sin.

But what if you defined sin as something that we're all born with?  ;)

Never say "no matter how you define."  8)
Title: Re: the love & discussion about orthodox relig
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:00:37 PM
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Sin drives away love, or misappropriates it.
 Define "sin". Isn't it kind of a flexible term, depending on whom you speak to? Each religion has a different definition it seems...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:01:35 PM
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But what if you defined sin as something that we're all born with?  ;)

Never say "no matter how you define."  8)


I am still waiting for the definition of "sin" then, because I obviously don't understand it.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 05:03:21 PM
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1. Define sin.
 
2. No matter how you define sin, a newborn child is innocent of any sin.


Sin means 'to miss the mark' or 'to fall short'. This is what I was told as a catechumen, so I presume it is what the Greek word can be broken down to mean.

Yes a newborn is innocent of sin. But born into a world where there is sin, and this will affect it sooner or later.

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please don't tell me you think that the "religious" people do not behave the way described?


I wouldn't describe people that behave that way as being religious (in a Christian sense), no matter how religious they thought they were. People that behave like that have only one true god - their own body. If they profess to be Christian then they are hypocrites. Once again this is something I detect in myself.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:04:52 PM
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Define "decline"  ;)

Well, as Webster would say, "to tend toward an inferior state or weaker condition." I have to agree.  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:05:15 PM
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Sin means 'to miss the mark' or 'to fall short'.


I don't understand what this means. Would you be a little more specific? How can someone sin if they miss the mark, if they don't know what the mark is?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 01, 2005, 05:05:57 PM
Webster's definition of sin:

1.  an offense esp. against God
2.  fault
3.  a weakened state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:06:10 PM
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Well, as Webster would say, "to tend toward an inferior state or weaker condition." I have to agree.  ;)


I still don't understand what this means. Can you sin if you don't understand the meaning of "sin"?  ???  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:07:18 PM
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I am still waiting for the definition of "sin" then, because I obviously don't understand it.

It's an inherently evil nature. Actually I don't have a definition of it because I don't really think about it. I tend to look at things as right, wrong, or "err."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:07:35 PM
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Webster's definition of sin:

1.  an offense esp. against God
2.  fault
3.  a weakened state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God


This is all extremely vague. How could you possibly know if you are sinning if it such a subjective definition?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:08:11 PM
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I still don't understand what this means. Can you sin if you don't understand the meaning of "sin"?  ???  ;)

. . . I thought that I was defining "decline."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:08:59 PM
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It's an inherently evil nature. Actually I don't have a definition of it because I don't really think about it. I tend to look at things as right, wrong, or "err."


What is evil? And what is right and wrong? Right for whom? Wrong for whom? Most of it is so subjective, depending on whom you talk to....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:10:39 PM
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. . . I thought that I was defining "decline."


Ok, you should be more specific and quote me  ;). Again, this is too subjective, it goes by some very specific standards, sort of like "Native Americans were savages and we're not" type of thing.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 05:11:34 PM
I think we all know in our hearts if something is right or wrong, (our conscience), though through years of neglect or supression, even that can not tell us if we are sinning sometimes. It can be very easy to ignore.

I suppose the 'mark' or the 'target' would be the commandments. And the Commandments express universal truths, and similar ideals seem to be universal, implanted into all of us by God.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 01, 2005, 05:14:19 PM
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What is evil? And what is right and wrong? Right for whom? Wrong for whom? Most of it is so subjective, depending on whom you talk to....


Would this be more in line with situational ethics??  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:14:37 PM
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I think we all know in our hearts if something is right or wrong, (our conscience),  


 Yes, this is true, but it is not the same for everyone. Many people have different feelings and definitions of what is right and wrong...

Quote

I suppose the 'mark' or the 'target' would be the commandments. And the Commandments express universal truths, and similar ideals seem to be universal, implanted into all of us by God.


So if you follow all ten commandments (which are kind of vague too), then this means you are avoiding sin?

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:16:00 PM
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What is evil? And what is right and wrong? Right for whom? Wrong for whom? Most of it is so subjective, depending on whom you talk to....

Look them up for yourself -- I'm not a dictionary!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:16:32 PM
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Would this be more in line with situational ethics??  


Not really, it could also be cultural... It could be inherent...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 05:17:21 PM
I think that sin is any thought, word or action which stops us or anyone else from being the dignified & 'whole' people that we were created to be.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:17:46 PM
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Look them up for yourself -- I'm not a dictionary!


I didn't ask you in the first place. But thank you for responding. Unfortunately dictionaries fall extremely short of defining things like this.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:18:57 PM
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I think that sin is any thought, word or action which stops us or anyone else from being the dignified & 'whole' people that we were created to be.
 


But again, this definition can mean different things to different people. This is what I am trying to convey here. It is all subjective... So how can we have a universal rule about something like this?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 05:19:00 PM
Evil is a negative...it is the absence of good. It doesn't mean it's not REAL...a hole in the ground is a negative, but if you fall down it, it's real enough!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:20:49 PM
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Evil is a negative...it is the absence of good. It doesn't mean it's not REAL...a hole in the ground is a negative, but if you fall down it, it's real enough!


So can a hole in the ground be considered evil? I didn't say it wasn't real, I just said that you can't really define it as it is different things to different people.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 05:21:06 PM
I agree with you, Helen. I don't think there is a universal rule - what is sinful for you may not be for me & vice versa. But I do believe that the ultimate 'rule' is
"Do to other people are you would have them do to you."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:21:58 PM
Well, it has been a fun discussion, but I must go to class now. Thanks, everyone  ;).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 01, 2005, 05:22:55 PM
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Not really, it could also be cultural... It could be inherent...


Helen, I understand what you are saying about culture.....a word might be "mores" .....but there does seem to be those "limits" or "evils" or "sins" that are inherent in all cultures, peoples.  One might be murder.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 05:23:49 PM
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I agree with you, Helen. I don't think there is a universal rule - what is sinful for you may not be for me & vice versa. But I do believe that the ultimate 'rule' is
"Do to other people are you would have them do to you."

Ok, one more reply before I go (I can't resist  ;D). What some people like done to them, I wouldn't dream of wanting done to myself  ;)! Again this is also subjective...

See you later  :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:26:53 PM
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Ok, you should be more specific and quote me  ;). Again, this is too subjective, it goes by some very specific standards, sort of like "Native Americans were savages and we're not" type of thing.

I did quote you.

Do you believe in an objective reality? Or, are you one of those people who claim that the tree made no sound because no one could hear it? ;)

Oh, and what subjective standards? I thought that it was a pretty good definition, and it was from a dictionary -- that's about as objective as it gets.  :-/
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 05:27:43 PM
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What some people like done to them, I wouldn't dream of wanting done to myself  ;)!


;D ;D ;D ;D And they might not like doing to them what you like having done to you!!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 01, 2005, 05:28:53 PM
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I didn't ask you in the first place. But thank you for responding. Unfortunately dictionaries fall extremely short of defining things like this.

Your questions were directed at me. You should have specified that they were rhetorical.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 05:32:16 PM
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What some people like done to them, I wouldn't dream of wanting done to myself  ! Again this is also subjective...  
;D ;D

I think that Commandments are universal, and at the same time very broad in scope. For example Thou shalt not steal.  In various cultures the notions of mine and thine differ (some have a broader version of mine, others a narrower) but no matter what culture it is, the taking away of 'thine' is still wrong.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 05:35:01 PM
Lots of food for thought today! How much easier it all would be though to discuss in person. While writing answers, other questions get asked, others answer questions, and it's hard to keep up!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 01, 2005, 05:37:44 PM
That's why I gave up! I wish all our clocks were the same...all the best discussions on thisthread are v. late at night here & it's hard to keep going sometimes!  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 01, 2005, 05:48:32 PM
Sorry to make a long post, but I thought since we have got on to the topic of sin, the following may be of interest to some of you. I found it on an Orthodox site:

Struggle against Sin

Any sin is a problem both for us and for those around us. Sin separates and repels us from others. Sin that has not been rooted out weighs heavily on the heart and turns people away from each other. Whenever we gain victory over sin, we win others and ourselves for a life of mutual understanding of all people. Victory over sin opens the way for mutual attraction and kinship of people according to their nature: when defeating one’s own sin, one helps another person, even without that person’s cooperation, to reveal the better qualities of his or her soul and draws the other person toward good. When a person defeats sin in himself, reviving the better aspects of his inner self, he reveals a spiritual treasure in others and helps them see the things they could not see in themselves before.

Good finds a response in those who have it, but cannot yet see it. While a person is possessed by sin, he is afraid of others; but when he defeats sin in himself, he makes those around him good. It is important to understand and feel it, because in our normal state we are dominated by pessimism, and it seems to us that evil has taken full possession of the whole world. Such pessimism discourages us from fighting against sin or at least makes us less active in this fight.

When we first meet a person, we do not and cannot see the hidden treasure of good in that individual. When we defeat sin in ourselves, we begin to see this power of good in others; we begin to see the treasures of virtue in another’s soul. When a sinful person sees someone else doing good, he gains strength to act as a Christian. To search for and find goodness in oneself and others is a great joy that can be compared with no other joy. The power of the grace of God manifests itself in multiplication of good in the world; it manifests itself in that it helps us to do things we would have not been capable of doing otherwise. It often happens in life that a person "does sin that he does not want to do" (Apostle Paul). This unwilling slave of sin can find in someone else’s goodness strength that moves him to do good in his everyday life.

To be truly happy, and not just have a fake feeling of happiness, we need to defeat sin in ourselves. We should always pay close attention to what motivates a person’s outward actions and what possesses him on the inside, carefully examining his actions and desires. This is not easy, but our life consists in our relationships with other people. We need to brighten our relationships with the light of Christ’s Truth, so they will not be harmful to us and to those we interact with. If there is peace in our souls, then our joy shall never be taken away from us. On the contrary, lack of peace always brings unhappiness. If a person has peace inside, then his peaceful heart radiates light on everything around him. Peacefulness of heart is the main achievement. Actions, illumined by such a heart, turn all relationships for good. Sinful state that comes from someone else in the form of irritation turns out for our good, if we contain our irritation. It serves for our and the other person’s spiritual well being; this way we also stop the other individual’s irritation. This produces good both for the one who showed meekness and for the one who was irritated. This brings happiness in life. Victory over sin brings good, and caring for one’s own salvation brings good to society.

Being a positive force, the good develops and calls to life the good that is latent in other people’s lives, the good which until now has been hidden under a layer of indifference and evil. Goodness creates an atmosphere that helps us fight evil in our Christian lives. It may sometimes appear that working on rooting out evil in oneself is selfish, that such a person is preoccupied with himself and does not care about others. But this is not so. A person, who has not yet dealt with his own sinfulness, cannot have a good influence on others, cannot help them and cannot support them in defeating their own sins.

Such a person cannot work for the common good with the same power and to the same extent as he could have, had he defeated sin in himself. Holiness is a great communal good and power. If we desire to really serve our neighbor, we ought to first clean ourselves from sinful habits and inclinations, become pure and live a God-pleasing life. We can be helpful to others in dealing with their problems only to the extent of our own progress toward perfection. This is the only way to serve those around us. The one who has achieved holiness is the one who has the most potential to serve others. To understand this, one need only recall the names of St. Sergius of Radonezh and St. Seraphim of Sarov. People came to them from everywhere, and they were able to help in every need. They served society in a perfect way, because they brought true good into the world: they experienced good themselves, and therefore were able to teach good to others. In the eyes of God humankind is one body. Each separate personal expression of holiness cleanses the whole body. Saving ourselves, we contribute to the salvation of humankind.

The inner person is primarily built up not in a moment of extraordinary spiritual feats, but in the course of everyday, mundane life. The purpose of a human being is to build up the inner life and to build the Kingdom of Heaven within oneself. Fighting against sin, we strengthen the Divine life in ourselves and in the world. Fight against sin also reveals dogmatic truths, and we get closer to the knowledge of Divine life. Such life is both the building of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God itself manifested in power. Then we can better understand the words of the Lord’s Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done."

When we defeat sin, overcome separation and become united, then we reach unity in thought and desire. In this unity of feeling and desire, we begin to understand the will of God and its demands upon us. This is the unity for which the Lord Christ prayed. This unity of mind and love is not an abstract ideal, but an active task of life. We can approach this unity by discovering our spiritual kinship. Salvation is not a theoretical concept, but a way of action. Unfortunately, not all people who go to church understand this. We ought to fight sin in order to become close to one another and to carry out the task that has been given to us in life.

Sin that lives in us blinds us and makes us look for excuses before ourselves. It is the devil that encourages us to justify ourselves. We are unlikely to realize our sinfulness until our conscience wakes up and is sensitive not only to individual sins. Due to our sins, we bring separation everywhere, and every desire of our hearts for good is something that goes to the scales of God’s Judgment. Our self-justification of our sinful acts is an enemy of our salvation. It is only when we realize the danger of sin that we can have a will to fight against it. We are indifferent toward sin until we realize that it deprives us of happiness. We consider sin to be our nature. "This is the way I am, and I cannot be any different." "This is my character." Yet character is not something we cannot fight. When we decide to resist sin, we ought to realize that sin is not an original part of our nature, but has attached itself to us. Our first ancestors were created sinless. Sin is something that entered our nature, attached itself to us and rose against those states of the soul that are natural for it as it was created in the image of God. Sin enslaves us, enters into our nature as a foreign element, and then everything else becomes mixed with sin. It is extremely important to understand that sin is foreign to our nature: this realization will help us fight sin. The moment of enlightenment from the Lord, the moment when we realize our sinfulness, has to do first of all with our will, because sin enslaves our will. The "weakness of will" is from the evil one. But if my nature is mixed with sin, then how can I fight myself? To develop the will to fight sin in myself, I need to know that sin does not belong in me. This knowledge strengthens the will to oppose sin.




Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 08:39:40 PM
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I did quote you.

Do you believe in an objective reality? Or, are you one of those people who claim that the tree made no sound because no one could hear it? ;)

Oh, and what subjective standards? I thought that it was a pretty good definition, and it was from a dictionary -- that's about as objective as it gets.  :-/


Yes, you did quote me, I am sorry that was my mistake. Too much was going on at the time :o  :D...

Yes, I do think there is such a thing as "objective reality", of course, but not when it comes to religion or politics - for obvious reasons   ;) . Dictionaries are not necessarily objective all the time either. And I honestly did not understand that definition, not in the full sense anyway, I wasn't trying to give anyone a hard time, honestly!  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 01, 2005, 08:40:53 PM
Georgiy, thank you for your last posting, I am going to have to read it over more carefully...  

Quote
How much easier it all would be though to discuss in person. While writing answers, other questions get asked, others answer questions, and it's hard to keep up!


Yes, exactly!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 02, 2005, 10:30:57 AM
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Another example is intolerance, mainly religious. There's no worse thing, IMO, than for a group of people to decide there's going to be one single god from now on, when there used to be thousands. And declare everything else idolatary and sin.

Besides, it has to be said that there is only a very small number of people who have "come to Jesus" (as they say) on their own. The rest were forced to accept it. Russia being an example of this. And that is NOT okay.

For example, I am not used to considering god's and Jesus' feelings and opinions, and the opinions of todos los santos before I do something  :D

So, for instance, if I want to sleep with my neighbours wife... and the wife wants to sleep with me...  :o I'm off topic!


Alex, in my experience, while there are many intolerant religious groups, religion is one of the least tolerated aspects around! It is permissible (at least here in the UK) to criticize & mock anything Christian whereas one has to be so politcally correct in other fields. While I (& all my 'religious' friends) would not mock the atheism of someone else, we are frequently mocked for our beliefs.

In the reference to people being forced into religion, are you refering to the past?

And yeah, if you want to sleep with your neighbour's wife etc. do as you please...but whether or not you consider there to be a God...what about your neighbour - how will he feel/how would you if it were your wife? You'll make a very unhappy life for yourself & others if you only go through it thinking of what you want (IMO)  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 02, 2005, 11:09:39 AM
Quote


And yeah, if you want to sleep with your neighbour's wife etc. do as you please...but whether or not you consider there to be a God...what about your neighbour - how will he feel/how would you if it were your wife? You'll make a very unhappy life for yourself & others if you only go through it thinking of what you want (IMO)  ;)



Excellent point bluetoria!!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 02, 2005, 11:47:43 AM
Quote

And yeah, if you want to sleep with your neighbour's wife etc. do as you please...but whether or not you consider there to be a God...what about your neighbour - how will he feel/how would you if it were your wife? You'll make a very unhappy life for yourself & others if you only go through it thinking of what you want (IMO)  ;)


IMO, this type of thing has nothing to do with God. It is between human beings and each of us should be able to set rules for ourselves as to what sort of person we want to be and how we live our lives. We all know what is right and what is wrong, and I don't think our actions are as much influenced by religion as many would like to think.
I think that God or no, what dictates our actions is something inside us, and we will, most often than not, do what we are compelled to do. Good examples of this can be found everywhere, with people who are religious (and I don't doubt that they are) doing all kind of things that they are compelled to do but not "supposed" to. Religion can't stop it. Can a religious person stop themselves from being a pedophile? I don't think so. Even if they don't act upon it, they will still have the feelings. And chances are they will eventually act on it, given the opportunity, because it is a strong compulsion. They will later feel very guilty and disgusted with themselves, but they will do it. And at the same time, I believe this person can be very religious. I think there are forces here that are operating way beyond accepting God/religion and living your life accordingly. Human nature is very complicated and if anyone thinks that things like this can solved by accepting religion, they are oversimplifying human nature.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 02, 2005, 11:53:59 AM
Yes, I entirely agree with you, Helen. I think it's quitewrong to equate religion with morality or 'goodness' (for want of a better expression. Faith is about BELIEF, a relationship with God & following a particular way of life. The belief SHOULD lead us to live better lives (which is not to say people without beliefs do not lead good lives) but we fail to live up to our best instincts sometimes because we are human.
In my experience (& I do not say this is the same for everyone) my faith helps me to 'live a better life' than I would without it. I sense that the presence of God strengthens me to follow my better 'impulses' & to consider others as Jesus visible before me. (I don't always succeed of course!) It is the belief - surtout - the relationship with God which counts in 'religion.'
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 02, 2005, 11:58:14 AM
Quote
In my experience (& I do not say this is the same for everyone) my faith helps me to 'live a better life' than I would without it. I sense that the presence of God strengthens me to follow my better 'impulses' & to consider others as Jesus visible before me. (I don't always succeed of course!) It is the belief - surtout - the relationship with God which counts in 'religion.'
 


Yes, and this is what it should be all about. We all need something like this, but we each get our "inspiration" from different sources. But when religion and God are presented as a threat, "do this way or else this and that will happen to you", that kind of defeats the whole purpose. But unfortunately this is what often happens, in many religions, in fact not just Christianity... In a way that could be part of human nature too, maybe people need to be "blackmailed" into doing something that goes against their nature. This is all very complicated...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 02, 2005, 12:02:18 PM
Quote
.....but there does seem to be those "limits" or "evils" or "sins" that are inherent in all cultures, peoples.  One might be murder.

Yes, this is true, Reed, but what about human sacrifice? Wouldn't that be considered murder and yet in some cultures it wasn't, it was a good thing. Even in the old testament, Abraham was willing to do it when "God" asked him to. It was attempted murder to be exact, to our modern eyes  ;). And yet, it was ultimately presented as a good thing because it was for the loyalty of God. Again, I still think that even things that should be "black and white" universally, often aren't....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 02, 2005, 12:05:56 PM
I think that we think alike...it's just we don't quite have the same view of God! I would say it is God working in all of us, whether we recognize Him or not. You would say (forgive me if I'm wrong) it is rising to our better natures or finding inspiration in something - other than ourselves?
Either way it seems if it helps make the world a little better it doesn't matter.
What DOES matter enormously (TO ME!) is the relationship with God (as I said before) - I hate the word 'relationship' but I cannot think of a better one.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 02, 2005, 12:19:29 PM
Quote
...it's just we don't quite have the same view of God! I would say it is God working in all of us, whether we recognize Him or not.  


And it's ok, because perhaps we each define God as something different.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 02, 2005, 01:10:12 PM
Yes :)

But I can't resist adding this quotation (since it seems appropriate to this site) from Queen Victoria to Victoria of Hesse:

"Science can exmplain MANY THINGS but there si a spiritual as well as a material world & the former cannot be explained. We must have FAITH & TRUST & believe in all all ruling, all wise & beneficient Providence wh. orders all things. To try and find out the REASON for everything...leads to nothing but dissatisfaction, unsettling your mind & in the end making you miserable.
No one felt this more than [Pss. Alice] who felt all the blessedness & comfort of faith & trust wh. no philosophy can give after having fora time tested the other. Dear [P. Albert] used to say, "Reason goes only so far, andwhere reason stops, belief must begin."

It reminds me of St. Augustine:
"Seek notto understandthat you believe, seek rather to believe that you may understand."

I'm would not presume to say everyone should think or agree with this...I just like it :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 02, 2005, 01:16:41 PM
Sorry for so many typing errors in that! I was balancing the book on my left hand & typing with my right which I'm not so good at (being left-handed!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 02, 2005, 02:33:23 PM
Those were very good quotes Bluetoria!

I am sure we all have our own ideas and definitions about God, but in the end, God is undefinable as He is the creator of everything that there is, this world and all that is herein, and the entire Universe. We can hardly even begin to contemplate or understand God, though we can see glimpses. God is limitless, but we have our limits. We talk of the womb of the Virgin as being more spacious than the Heavens as it contained God.

The greastest gift we have is our free will - God doesn't force us to come to Him or to be as robots.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 02, 2005, 03:19:20 PM
Quote
Yes, this is true, Reed, but what about human sacrifice? Wouldn't that be considered murder and yet in some cultures it wasn't, it was a good thing. Even in the old testament, Abraham was willing to do it when "God" asked him to. It was attempted murder to be exact, to our modern eyes  ;). And yet, it was ultimately presented as a good thing because it was for the loyalty of God. Again, I still think that even things that should be "black and white" universally, often aren't....


Yes, Helen you are correct.  Cultures such as the Aztecs, Incas, etc.  did pratice human sacrific and it was accepted within their "religious system."  The Old Testament is also a good example.  One wonders if God would have allowed Abraham to actually kill Isaac??  It does center more on obedience than the actual act.  Later God condemned those cultures that did sacrifice humans...the Philistines for one.  I do think that deep within all humans there is a good part (spiritual)trying to overcome the bad part (evil).  In my belief system before the entrance of evil into the world all men/women were good and we have a inherent need to go back to that place.  Through the years this has been wrapped in "religion."  Anytime we try to explain God we fail sometimes because we have preconceived ideas taught by "religious systems."  But somewhere down deep is the need for a higher purpose, meaning......God.  I hope that makes some sense.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 03, 2005, 08:56:36 PM
For those interested in what Fathers of the Church both ancient and recent have said about sin, here are a couple of good links:

www.orthodox.net/gleanings/sins.html
www.orthodox.net/gleanings/sin.html

orthodox.net has a lot of interesting information for those wanting to find out a bit more about the Faith of the Romanovs.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 04, 2005, 04:50:26 AM
Quote

That's because Christianity is getting what it deserves. It has been destroying people and valuables around the world for centuries. People who do not tolerate Christianity as such have every right to do so, IMO.

A religion that goes against human nature can't be healthy. It is 'stupidity meets blackmail'  :P

In any case, freedom of religion is excellent  :D  :D  :D


Alex you are completely contradicting yourself. First you say Christianity shouldn't be tolerated, then you say freedom of religion is excellent.
What do you mean _ a religion that goes against human nature?

Do you HONESTLY have ANY serious views about this...or are you just provoking a discussion for the sake of it?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: JM on February 04, 2005, 07:38:03 AM
Quote
I'll explain again. I said that in my opinion Christianity is a bad thing.

Well, that sounds like an informed and rational opinion!
Quote
Then I said that freedom of religion is excellent, because when there was no such thing (thanks to Christianity) it was a very sad time. And now that it isn't mandatory, we can all rejoice. Is that SO HARD to understand?  ::)

Yes, of course, because Christians were after all the only intolerant people in history . . .  ::) Oh, and now that Christianity isn't "mandatory" there is freedom of religion and everyone's happy! Come on now, people are not much more (if at all) happier now than they were when Christianity was "mandatory." And as for freedom of religion, well it tries exists in former Christian societies. However, I could name quite a few other societies where freedom of religion is hardly tolerated, but that's not the point of this discussion. (Free Tibet!)
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Well, if one has to be "blackmailed" into doing something, then, surely, it's a relgion that is goes against nature.

I'll be cynical about this one. "Blackmail" is against human nature? Please, where did it stem from?
Quote
Isn't anti-Christianity a serious view?

IMO, anti-Christian/Muslim/Pagan/[whatever you want] views all speak of an archaic mindset that allows selective intolerance.
Quote
CHILL. No one is trying to take Jesus away from you  :P

Point?

Really now, this is quite sad. I thought that this discussion could amble along nicely, but I guess that I was wrong. It's unfortunate that one person can chime in with his/her irrational opinions which do nothing but lower the level of discussion to vitrolic rhetoric. It's sad too.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 04, 2005, 09:12:47 AM
I think that having organized religion is not a good thing because that's when you start running into intolerence, bigotry, and even violence, etc. There should be freedom of religion, but it should be a private thing, something you feel (or don't feel) inside and not wear out on your sleeves. Then everyone would be better off in the end and no one would be fighting over religion, or lack of religion, or difference of religion. Of course, due to human nature, this isn't possible... and there will always be organized religion. I personally am just going to try to stay out of it, that's all  ;) :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 04, 2005, 10:30:13 AM
I agree with all you say on the negative side, but at the same time it has also been a great force for good in the world - the majority of hospitals & educational establishments were religious in origin, for example. Also, as you say 'human nature being what it is' people need the support of people who share their beliefs. From a more religious point of view it is necessary because Christians believe that the Church is the body of Christ on earth...in away...& unity is v. important.
(But you can take that or leave it...as I'm sure you will ;))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 04, 2005, 11:00:32 AM
Quote
... the majority of hospitals & educational establishments were religious in origin, for example.

Yes, but this doesn't have to be of a religious origin...

Quote
.... 'human nature being what it is' people need the support of people who share their beliefs...


 Yes, but it doesn't have to be of a religious origin either... it could be almost anything! People who are not religious can give as much support to each other as anyone. People who practice different religions can give as much support to each other as people of the same religion. Often they even have a lot more in common, other than their religion!

Either way is ok with me, it's not like anything is forced on me, but I am just not sure if the good of organized religion outweighs the bad, it is very hard to say. But just like with anything good, the bad always comes along with it, that's just the way it is.

Take something like the Internet - it brought some amazing things to us, but also a lot of rotten things. Or something like genetic cloning, it has some incredible possibilities, but yet it has very scary potential too, depending on who uses it for what. This too is part of human nature.
The same with organized religion. It has really really good potential and possibilities, but it also has very bad ones... And this is because we are what we are, and I don't think we're going to change much any time soon ;)

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 04, 2005, 07:26:42 PM
Being pagan,I'm not going to even try to jump into this discussion.But since I was reading some of the posts and saw that Dashkova mentioned Dante,I thought you all might find this link interesting and kind of funny.It's a lovely little test.

http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-test.mv
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 04, 2005, 08:05:36 PM
Well, Merrique, I just took the test, and this is going to be my fate:

Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis

------------------------------------------------------------------------
You approach Satan's wretched city where you behold a wide plain surrounded by iron walls. Before you are fields full of distress and torment terrible. Burning tombs are littered about the landscape. Inside these flaming sepulchers suffer the heretics, failing to believe in God and the afterlife, who make themselves audible by doleful sighs. You will join the wicked that lie here, and will be offered no respite. The three infernal Furies stained with blood, with limbs of women and hair of serpents, dwell in this circle of Hell.

Oh my  :o
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Lanie on February 04, 2005, 08:11:11 PM
I got Purgatory.  Haha.

Purgatory

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You have escaped damnation and made it to Purgatory, a place where the dew of repentance washes off the stain of sin and girds the spirit with humility. Through contrition, confession, and satisfaction by works of righteousness, you must make your way up the mountain. As the sins are cleansed from your soul, you will be illuminated by the Sun of Divine Grace, and you will join other souls, smiling and happy, upon the summit of this mountain. Before long you will know the joys of Paradise as you ascend to the ethereal realm of Heaven.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 04, 2005, 08:39:15 PM
Boy, and here I was, thinking I was living such a wholesome life!  Obviously I was wrong!  :o

I wonder if you get more damnation points for murder or for not really believing in God?  ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on February 04, 2005, 10:12:00 PM
Dear Helen Azar

Interested in sharing a duplex in Dis? Ha Ha! It seems that I will apparently end up there too! Good company though...
rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 03:17:10 AM
Looks like I'll be joining you in purgatory, Lanie (I hope the results aren't stored in the computer history where someone else can read my answers! :-[) Oh well, it's Saturday morning & the priest's in the confessional...better go and get 'shriven' ;D!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 05, 2005, 09:20:40 AM
Does anyone actually go straight directly to heaven?? Whom do you have to know around here to avoid all that "purgatory" hassle?  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Forum Admin on February 05, 2005, 09:33:01 AM
Helen,
I think you mean "directly" to heaven...instead of straight...I like to believe that gay people go to heaven too...
Sorry, I couldn't help myself...feeling feisty today...(and this is meant as a joke..ok? no religous discussions about gay people please!)

;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on February 05, 2005, 09:37:06 AM
A voice wails from DIS..."The FA is quite a cheeky monkey today!" LOL ;D

a sinner
rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 11:36:11 AM
Well my dears I got you all beat.Think about me in yur upper levels of hell lol.Here's my results.

Level 8- the Malebolge

Many and varied sinners suffer eternally in the multi-leveled Malebolge, an ampitheatre-shapped pit of despair Wholly of stone and of an iron colour: Those guilty of fraudulence and malice; the seducers and pimps, who are whipped by horned demons; the hypocrites, who struggle to walk in lead-lined cloaks; the barraters, who are ducked in boiling pitch by demons known as the Malebranche. The simonists, wedged into stone holes, and whose feet are licked by flames, kick and writhe desperately. The magicians, diviners, fortune tellers, and panderers are all here, as are the thieves. Some wallow in human excrement. Serpents writhe and wrap around men, sometimes fusing into each other. Bodies are torn apart. When you arrive, you will want to put your hands over your ears because of the lamentations of the sinners here, who are afflicted with scabs like leprosy, and lay sick on the ground, furiously scratching their skin off with their nails. Indeed, justice divine doth smite them with its hammer.


Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 11:45:10 AM
I agree FA,no religious discussion about gays.
I will say this much though.I don't see why gays wouldn't go to heaven too,gays are just people in my eyes.Nothing more and nothing less.I personally think that people go to heaven based on their actions and how they live their life.Not on who they choose to love.

My ideas of "heaven and hell" just don't run along the lines of the christian way of thinking.But then I'm not christian either.Ok I'm rambling now so I'll shut up.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 12:40:15 PM
Quote

Many and varied sinners suffer eternally in the multi-leveled Malebolge, an ampitheatre-shapped pit of despair Wholly of stone and of an iron colour: Those guilty of fraudulence and malice; the seducers and pimps, who are whipped by horned demons; the hypocrites, who struggle to walk in lead-lined cloaks; the barraters, who are ducked in boiling pitch by demons known as the Malebranche. The simonists, wedged into stone holes, and whose feet are licked by flames, kick and writhe desperately. The magicians, diviners, fortune tellers, and panderers are all here, as are the thieves. Some wallow in human excrement. Serpents writhe and wrap around men, sometimes fusing into each other. Bodies are torn apart. When you arrive, you will want to put your hands over your ears because of the lamentations of the sinners here, who are afflicted with scabs like leprosy, and lay sick on the ground, furiously scratching their skin off with their nails. Indeed, justice divine doth smite them with its hammer.




Never mind, Merrique, it could be worse - you could have been a High School Teacher!  ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 12:45:03 PM
I have actually come to believe that the 8th level of hell is working at Office Depot Crossdock 3071.It can't get much worse than that. ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 12:48:55 PM
No no no...SHEER hell was being a 23 year-old R.E. teacher in a boys' school having to teach Catholic Sexual Morality to a class of pubscent boys!  ::)
Give me the 8th level of hell anytime!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 12:55:52 PM
I think that qualifies as the 9th level of hell Bluetoria. ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 12:56:52 PM
OOOOh lookie I just became a GOOOOOODDDDDDDD!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.I is happy now  ;D :D ;D :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 01:17:35 PM
Perfect timing ;D ;D ;D ;D!
That must be your reward for answering all those questions honestly! :o
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 05, 2005, 02:04:02 PM
Quote
I just became a GOOOOOODDDDDDDD!
Perfect timing, Yekaterina  Y  ;)

I have a question. Is the 8th level of hell the highest, or does it go any higher? If that's the case, then the 6th level is pretty bad...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 02:48:13 PM
Oh yes, Helen, you're obviously TERRIBLY evil to end up there ;D We smug people in purgatory will look down on you, smiling piously! 8)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 05, 2005, 02:49:44 PM
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Oh yes, Helen, you're obviously TERRIBLY evil to end up there ;D
 Yes, that's what I thought!!  :o  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 05, 2005, 02:52:36 PM
Oh well, it's Saturday night here & we're just going out now...so by tomorrow, with a bit of luck, I might end up down there too ;D ;D ;D
(Joke - honest! ;))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 05, 2005, 03:27:14 PM
Quote
Oh well, it's Saturday night here & we're just going out now...so by tomorrow, with a bit of luck, I might end up down there too ;D ;D ;D
(Joke - honest! ;))


Well, have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do! Or is it don't do anything I would do  ???  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 05, 2005, 08:44:57 PM
On this test there are 9 levels of hell.I gots one more to go lol ;D :D ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 05, 2005, 09:21:14 PM
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Being pagan,I'm not going to even try to jump into this discussion.But since I was reading some of the posts and saw that Dashkova mentioned Dante,I thought you all might find this link interesting and kind of funny.It's a lovely little test.

http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-test.mv


Thanks, Merrique for bringing our attention to this very neat little test.  As I was taking it I was *certain* I would be under ice at the bottom, so many "yes" buttons were clicking away.
So, I was surprised to be in the second layer! Not too bad, I'd say! And pretty decent company, too.

Here's what it says for second ring/layer/circle:

'You have come to a place mute of all light, where the wind bellows as the sea does in a tempest. This is the realm where the lustful spend eternity. Here, sinners are blown around endlessly by the unforgiving winds of unquenchable desire as punishment for their transgressions. The infernal hurricane that never rests hurtles the spirits onward in its rapine, whirling them round, and smiting, it molests them. You have betrayed reason at the behest of your appetite for pleasure, and so here you are doomed to remain. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are two that share in your fate.'

Pretty cool, eh? I just LOVE Dante  ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 05, 2005, 09:26:56 PM
Quote
Perfect timing, Yekaterina  Y  ;)

I have a question. Is the 8th level of hell the highest, or does it go any higher? If that's the case, then the 6th level is pretty bad...


According to Dante, there is yet one more layer, and it's under ice, and Satan is there (upside down, as I recall, with three heads/mouths and he is chewing on three very very bad people (according to Dante, who really liked putting his contemporaries in his cantos).  Dante regarded those guilty of *fraud* against one's "betters" (employer, patron, pope, king, etc) as the most guilty of all.

I can't figure out my score, I mean I really was very, crushingly honest, and I am certain I clicked more "bad" buttons than "good" ones, but ok...second layer is not too bad.  I mean, what's wrong with an interest in pleasure anyway??
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 05, 2005, 09:31:37 PM
Oh, and BTW, those inquiring about "heaven," or as Dante put it, "Paradisio" (the third and final book of his journey that began in a forest dark), well, let's put it this way, just like in Milton and other great works of literature, hell is just much more interesting reading.  Paradisio is pretty darned boring and very philosophical, though I find Purgatorio the most insightful.  Certainly Inferno is the most shocking and colorful, and in some ways, funny.

I LOVE Medieval Lit!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 06, 2005, 08:47:10 AM
Quote

Well, have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do! Or is it don't do anything I would do  ???  ;)


Thank you :) (And I don't think I did! - But then, you gave me plenty of scope!!!  ;D)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 06, 2005, 09:30:20 AM
Quote

I LOVE Medieval Lit!



Do you also like Milton's 'Paradise Lost'?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 06, 2005, 02:38:54 PM
Of course in Orthodoxy we don't have Purgatory or all those other exciting places you may come across in Dante.

Hell is NOT a place, it is a state of soul, basically we create our own Hell (or Heaven) by our lives here. Hell is (permenant) self-created seperation from God.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 06, 2005, 02:42:58 PM
Quote
... basically we create our own Hell (or Heaven) by our lives here. ..


Basically I have to agree with you on this one, except change the "by" to "during"...  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 06, 2005, 02:50:12 PM
Actually by and during would be perhaps the best phrase.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 06, 2005, 05:06:17 PM
"The mind is its own place and of itself can make
A hell of heaven, or a heaven of hell!" (Milton - 'Paradise Lost')
I agree with this! (Though for 'mind' I would read 'soul')
Do we not create our own happiness or unhappiness?
(By 'DURING', Helen, do you mean that it ends at death?)
I don't agree, of course. :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Merrique on February 06, 2005, 06:13:35 PM
I don't believe in the Christian concept of hell.I don't see why you should have to wait till you die to "pay for" sins or wrong doing that you did in life.
I believe you pay for what you do while you're still living.I firmly believe that what you put out,whether it is good or bad does come back to you.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 06, 2005, 06:17:42 PM
Quote
I don't believe in the Christian concept of hell.I don't see why you should have to wait till you die to "pay for" sins or wrong doing that you did in life.
I believe you pay for what you do while you're still living.I firmly believe that what you put out,whether it is good or bad does come back to you.



Ah yes, but (IMO  :))it all depends, too, on whether you believe in eternal life etc. etc.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 06, 2005, 07:21:57 PM
As I mentioned before, the Christian concept of Hell is that of a state of being: seperated utterly and completely from God.

And yes, what goes around comes around. We have trials and hardships to help us repent from our sins, and re-orient our lives back to God.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 06, 2005, 07:24:48 PM
Quote
(By 'DURING', Helen, do you mean that it ends at death?)
 Well, I kind of hope not, but I have a strong suspicion it does  8). On second thought, considering where I am heading according to the "hell test" results, I hope it does!  ;) ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 06, 2005, 08:06:03 PM
Quote


Do you also like Milton's 'Paradise Lost'?



Of course! (Just as I mentioned it in one of my posts above).  I love the politics swirling round it and the scenes in hell and the likability of Satan are hilarious.  I mean, come on...those scenes in "heaven" are some of the most boring in literature.
Kind of reminds me of the portrayal of Satan in South Park....super hilarious.

As far as medieval lit goes, though, my favorite has to be Canterbury Tales, each and every one of them.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 06:04:02 AM
Quote


Of course! (Just as I mentioned it in one of my posts above).  I love the politics swirling round it and the scenes in hell and the likability of Satan are hilarious.  I mean, come on...those scenes in "heaven" are some of the most boring in literature.


As far as medieval lit goes, though, my favorite has to be Canterbury Tales, each and every one of them.


I'm sorry I missed your earlier reference. I agree - I suppose it wasn't Milton's intention, but Satan certainly is more interesting than the tedious scenes in heaven.
Can you read 'The Canterbury Tales' in that strange old English accent...when aprille with his showres soote...(or something like that? We had to do it for 'A' level & I could never get my tognue round it :) (I do think they are very funny - I haven't read them all but I do love the description of the Wife of Bath..."
(Way off topic, & off Medieval Literature too...but for amusement - have you read Pope's 'Rape of the Lock' - I find a lot of that really funny. But I IDOLIZE Shakespeare! - especially for Hamlet & King Lear)
A lecturer once told me that the American accent is similar to English in the 16th/early 17th century (probably around the time of the Pilgrim Fathers?) - have you any idea if that's true?

Sorry for being so far off topic! :-/
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 10:26:00 AM
Quote

A lecturer once told me that the American accent is similar to English in the 16th/early 17th century (probably around the time of the Pilgrim Fathers?) - have you any idea if that's true?
 
 This would make sense since the "pilgrim fathers", after all, came from England. The next couple of generations probably held on to the same accent , then it went all downhill after that  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 07, 2005, 10:28:42 AM
Just got back and couldn't resist the Inferno test.....I made to purgatory......unfortunately..I don't believe in purgatory!!!!! :-[
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 10:31:18 AM
Actually, I can answer this (my graduate work was in Renaissance Literature & English).  I have read that the closest accent to the older English accent is found in the south.  At the time of the revolution, the planters in the south had a closer dialect than many other places in the US.  There are still pockets of people in the Appalachians who speak very closely to Shakespeare's English.



Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 10:31:27 AM
You all ought to speak like English southerners then since the Pilgrim Fathers were mostly from 'da..rrrn sa..rrth'!  ;D(Fortunate they didn't come from Leeds - we have a DREADFUL accent here! - Y'ar right, luv? Can I get you sommat to eat....aarghhhhh!)

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 10:32:46 AM
And yes, Rape of the Lock is too silly.  What makes it even more ridiculous is that is based on a true event that Pope satirizes in the poem...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 10:34:30 AM
Quote
... the closest accent to the older English accent is found in the south.  


Wow, who wouldda known !  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 11:38:04 AM
Quote
Actually, I can answer this (my graduate work was in Renaissance Literature & English).  I have read that the closest accent to the older English accent is found in the south.  At the time of the revolution, the planters in the south had a closer dialect than many other places in the US.  There are still pockets of people in the Appalachians who speak very closely to Shakespeare's English.



Sorry, Denise, I didn't see this as I must have been writing mine at the same time.
So it is true then? We were once told to try to read 'Hamlet' in American accents (it just sounded stupid! - I don't mean American accents are stupid - I mean our impressions were stupid!)  - Do you mean like those southern accents in 'Gone With The Wind' (forgive my ignorance!) - or is altogether different?
(My ideal Shakespeare voice is Richard Burton but I guess he's way off the mark of the original Shakespearean sound!  :))l  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 12:21:02 PM
Southern accents at the time of the revolutionary war, from what I learned in class were what was considered closer to the English dialect.  I think New Englanders picked up more variance in their speech due to the large number of ports and shipping concerns that existed at the time.  

And the Early Modern dialect of England is what we are referring to here--that is the language that Shakespeare spoke.  I wouldn't consider Shakespeare's plays to reflect the truth of speech at the time--who speaks in iambic pentameter?  But Chaucer was the first to write Early Modern language, then it developed into the language spoken by Shakespeare.  

As I said, there are still pockets of people in the mountains here who have limited contact with the outside world.  Vestiges of this Early Modern dialect can still be detected in their speech by linguists.  

(can you tell I am an English teacher?  ;))

Denise
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 12:59:53 PM
Thank you for that explanation, Denise!
This is interesting because we once had a new priest came to our parish (Oh, good - a vague connection to the original title of this thread!!) - and when he spoke everyone was first of all convinced he was from Somerset (where there is a very strong sort of 'country' accent - forgive me if I've described that badly, anyone from Somserset.) Other people then decided he was from Cornwall...Eventually we learned he was American but his accent was unlike any other American accent I hadever heard (it almost sounded 'olde English') I think he actually said he was from New York (which isn't anything like Olde English' is it?)

p.s. (You do LIKE 'The Rape of the Lock', don't you, even though it's 'silly' - it has some brilliant lines in it which are ageless IMO.)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 01:31:41 PM
Quote

I'm sorry I missed your earlier reference. I agree - I suppose it wasn't Milton's intention, but Satan certainly is more interesting than the tedious scenes in heaven.
Can you read 'The Canterbury Tales' in that strange old English accent...when aprille with his showres soote...(or something like that? We had to do it for 'A' level & I could never get my tognue round it :) (I do think they are very funny - I haven't read them all but I do love the description of the Wife of Bath..."
(Way off topic, & off Medieval Literature too...but for amusement - have you read Pope's 'Rape of the Lock' - I find a lot of that really funny. But I IDOLIZE Shakespeare! - especially for Hamlet & King Lear)
A lecturer once told me that the American accent is similar to English in the 16th/early 17th century (probably around the time of the Pilgrim Fathers?) - have you any idea if that's true?

Sorry for being so far off topic! :-/


That's ok!  I don't think Milton was *consciously*, intentionally making hell more interesting, but I think that fact that he and so many other writers did speaks volumes for human nature!

Yes, I have been fortunate enough to read the Canterbury Tales in Middle English (the English they were written in) and it really is quite accessible and full of wonderful words that have left the language, such as "clickit" (key) and "swinkin" (to work, labor).  I was very fortunate to have an English Lit Yale Ph.D. teach me, in a class of 10. I can read it aloud *fairly* well (which is the most fun of all) but would like to do more work in Medieval lit but never have the time!

LOVE Rape of the Lock, who could resist it, especially the Cave of Spleen (references to this have been part of my family's regular vocabulary for years, since it is SO appropriate for certain people's behavior). Of course, Rape comes much later than Chaucer and Dante, but it is a fantastic look into the times, probably the closest and most accurate description of the era, imo.

Love Shakespeare too, very much.  Don't want to start a debate here, but I still say Chaucer is the better writer and had a deeper understanding of humanity.

Don't know if I agree about the accent part.  Americans have far too many diverse accents and dialects to make that kind of generalization, in my view.  I will say, though, that here in Virginia we have a tiny island called "Tangier" that sits in the middle of Chesapeake Bay and the natives still speak with a Cornish accent (though with the advent of TV, internet, etc., the accent is much softer).  And that accent *would* be closer to the original 16th-17th century English, as the island was settled, I believe in the 17th century.  Also, very isolated people in Appalachia speak with an accent that is said to be close to 17th century English.  But Americans over all, I don't see how this is remotely possible.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 01:36:42 PM
Quote

Wow, who wouldda known !  ;)


It's 'cause we got here first! (Despite rumors and a national holiday to the contrary!)

Dashkova,
Member Jamestowne Society
(my family arrived 1615, except for the one who "met the boat", but that is one person everyone here probably already knows about!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 02:05:36 PM
Quote
p.s. (You do LIKE 'The Rape of the Lock', don't you, even though it's 'silly' - it has some brilliant lines in it which are ageless IMO.)


I like it BECAUSE it is silly.  

Plus it has Spencer's the Faerie Queene beat hands down.  I still have nightmares about reading that in grad school, lol.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 02:10:02 PM
Quote

Yes, I have been fortunate enough to read the Canterbury Tales in Middle English (the English they were written in) and it really is quite accessible and full of wonderful words that have left the language, such as "clickit" (key) and "swinkin" (to work, labor).  I was very fortunate to have an English Lit Yale Ph.D. teach me, in a class of 10. I can read it aloud *fairly* well (which is the most fun of all) but would like to do more work in Medieval lit but never have the time!

Love Shakespeare too, very much.  Don't want to start a debate here, but I still say Chaucer is the better writer and had a deeper understanding of humanity.



I had a great teacher for Chaucer as well.  I really enjoyed reading things in the Middle English/Early modern dialect.  I had a Jewish Bronx natve as my grad school Middle English lit teacher whic was a hoot--no accent quite compares!

And I will respectfully say that I do prefer Shakespeare, but mainly because I find him a bit easier to read....You make me want to whip out my Chaucer again!!

And if you would like a greater appreciation of Shakespeare's depiction of humanity, Greenblatt's new bio "Will in the World" is amazing.  A phenomenal read....

DEnise
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 07, 2005, 02:39:46 PM
I enjoyed studying Chaucer too. I was studying Swedish at the same time, and it really helped with the vocabulary - words since lost in English but which still exist in Swedish (eg: heet (to be called) which is heter in Swedish).

As for accents, I had a colleague in Japan and I couldn't work out where he was from - I was sure he was American but he sounded a bit English. He was from Boston. Another time I was with a Canadian friend on the train and a friend of hers got on, and I couldn't work out where she was from. At first I thought, maybe NZ, but, no. There was something not quite right. I then thought, she couldn't possibly be Australian. How about English, but, no something was not quite right there either. Then she said something like 'seeks' for 'six' like Australians do. I though, 'No, she can't be, she sounds to English for that', but decided to risk it and ask where in Australia she was from. She was from Adelaide, and the accent was much, much softer than any Australian accent I have ever heard before - very similar to a New Zealand one, but like I said, something was different.

In the far south of New Zealand as well, the accent is different from other part of the country. They use a rhotic pronunciation (they pronounce all their r-s no matter where in the word), and their vowels sound higher than the rest of New Zealand.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 04:35:34 PM
What a very informative & interesting thread this has become! From heaven to hell, from Shakespeare to Chaucer, from Canterbury to Chesapeake Bay, from Adelaide to Japan!!
(I still stick with Shakespeare beyond Chaucer - but I don't suppose that's that relevant here. :))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 04:43:18 PM
Quote
(I still stick with Shakespeare beyond Chaucer - but I don't suppose that's that relevant here. :))
 


Check out the book I referenced, then--"Will in the World" by Stephen Greenblatt.  I was sad to finish it, it was that riveting.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 04:49:54 PM
I will! (If you'll pardon the pun ;D)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 04:54:02 PM
Quote
I will! (If you'll pardon the pun ;D)


OK.  Shakespeare would be proud of you!!  There is one sonnet where he uses that pun on his name over and over....Sonnet 135
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 07, 2005, 04:54:42 PM
Groan! ;D

Now we probably need a thread for 'English language and its history', but we'd have a hard time justifying its inclusion on a discussion site about the Romanovs... :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 04:58:02 PM
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Groan! ;D

Now we probably need a thread for 'English language and its history', but we'd have a hard time justifying its inclusion on a discussion site about the Romanovs... :)


Georgiy, this time you will have start that one!  ;D

Justify it in the following way: Nicky and Alix communicated to each other in English. What is the origin of this language?   ;) ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 05:01:57 PM
Quote

Georgiy, this time you will have start that one!  ;D

Justify it in the following way: Nicky and Alix communicated to each other in English. What is the origin of this language?   ;) ;D


I agree totally, lol!  And we could get a "missing person" board by pointing out the uncanny resemblance between Amelia and Tatiana, and explore which other historical figures may be rescued Romanovs...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 05:02:51 PM
Helen, you just made me spill my coffee all over me laughing at that! I'm all wet now ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 07, 2005, 05:09:11 PM
Love it! I might just take you up on the offer, but not today, as I have to get going now.....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 05:11:40 PM
You see, you can basically justify almost any topic you want to discuss!  ;D You can get quite good at it too  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 05:17:09 PM
Quote
 And we could get a "missing person" board by pointing out the uncanny resemblance between Amelia and Tatiana, and explore which other historical figures may be rescued Romanovs...


Well, as a matter of fact, we already have a thread about that  ;)

http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=tatiana;action=display;num=1105928527;start=0#0
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 05:21:16 PM
Quote

Well, as a matter of fact, we already have a thread about that  ;)

http://hydrogen.pallasweb.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=tatiana;action=display;num=1105928527;start=0#0


Oh, I know!!  I read it this morning.  Plus Annie's missing person's thread.

I say we have an overwhelming need for our own board, based on the squirrellyness of some of these responses.  Then no one else would have to look at them..... ;D
Denise
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 05:24:21 PM
Did you start that, too, by some cunning means? ;D

We could always put Hamlet (because he's my favourite) on the Denmark threads.
Absolutely seriously, though, I have often thought how brilliantly Shakespeare could have written of the Romanovs - 'sad stories of the death of kings', the protagonist with a fatal flaw etc. etc.
It just couldn't be the same in modern language though! (It wouldn't be beautiful enough :'()
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 05:33:23 PM
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We could always put Hamlet (because he's my favourite) on the Denmark threads.
Absolutely seriously, though, I have often thought how brilliantly Shakespeare could have written of the Romanovs - 'sad stories of the death of kings', the protagonist with a fatal flaw etc. etc.
It just couldn't be the same in modern language though! (It wouldn't be beautiful enough :'()


You know, the story of Nicholas and Alexandra does seem like a story from Shakespeare's tragedy.  How sad.  Shakespeare was my focus in grad school, and now that I think about it, many of the kings he wrote about were weak yet well meaning, much like Nicholas.  In the history plays, there were always the power hungry couisins swirling around like vultures.

I wonder if Nicholas ever saw himself when reading Shakespeare's plays?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 05:41:46 PM
Oh! I'm sure he did! I think it must have been almost a relief for him to read & empathize with so many other monarchs in similar situations.
Their story is certainly a perfect Shakespearean tragedy!

(I studied the tragedies for my degree - & now when I think of King Lear talking to Cordelia - 'Come let's away and sing...and laugh at gilded butterflies' etc. etc. I think it exactly how Nicky felt in Siberia - his longing to escape from his responsibilities - Oh I LOVE the sheer BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY of it!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 05:46:13 PM
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(I studied the tragedies for my degree - & now when I think of King Lear talking to Cordelia - 'Come let's away and sing...and laugh at gilded butterflies' etc. etc. I think it exactly how Nicky felt in Siberia - his longing to escape from his responsibilities - Oh I LOVE the sheer BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY of it!)


Are you my British twin?  I also specialized in the tragedies.  Lear is my favorite.  And your insight is just beautiful here.  I think I can understand Lear better by putting him through my "Romanov filter" as it were right now.  Yes, I am sure that is how Nicholas felt in Siberia.  

I am just grateful the whole family died together, as I would hate to think of a scene like the last scene in Lear, as he dies trying to revive his beloved Cordelia...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 05:52:44 PM
Quote
I enjoyed studying Chaucer too. I was studying Swedish at the same time, and it really helped with the vocabulary - words since lost in English but which still exist in Swedish (eg: heet (to be called) which is heter in Swedish).

As for accents, I had a colleague in Japan and I couldn't work out where he was from - I was sure he was American but he sounded a bit English. He was from Boston. Another time I was with a Canadian friend on the train and a friend of hers got on, and I couldn't work out where she was from. At first I thought, maybe NZ, but, no. There was something not quite right. I then thought, she couldn't possibly be Australian. How about English, but, no something was not quite right there either. Then she said something like 'seeks' for 'six' like Australians do. I though, 'No, she can't be, she sounds to English for that', but decided to risk it and ask where in Australia she was from. She was from Adelaide, and the accent was much, much softer than any Australian accent I have ever heard before - very similar to a New Zealand one, but like I said, something was different.

In the far south of New Zealand as well, the accent is different from other part of the country. They use a rhotic pronunciation (they pronounce all their r-s no matter where in the word), and their vowels sound higher than the rest of New Zealand.


Interesting subject, the slight but significant differences in English accents.  I used to could pretty well distinguish the Aussie vs. various Kiwi accents, compared with UK, and even Irish, but I've been back in the states so long now I've lost my touch.

One thing I'll never forget is a friend from NZ who just enrolled her little girl in school in OZ and was upset when she came home saying:  "Haight" for "eight" and "choona" for "tuna"  lol! :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 05:54:45 PM
Quote

Are you my British twin?  I also specialized in the tragedies.  Lear is my favorite.  And your insight is just beautiful here.  I think I can understand Lear better by putting him through my "Romanov filter" as it were right now.  Yes, I am sure that is how Nicholas felt in Siberia.  

I am just grateful the whole family died together, as I would hate to think of a scene like the last scene in Lear, as he dies trying to revive his beloved Cordelia...


Good comparison, only he wasn't in Siberia!!
(Sorry, I married into an Ekaterinburg family, so it's a pet peeve with me ;) )

I'm not grateful that they died together.  The parents should have removed their heads from their posteriors and saved their kids, even as late as Tobolsk there was still a darned good chance but they didn't even try.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 05:56:50 PM
How lovely to meet a kindred spirit!

Oh, this is too bad! Now (because it's late at night here & Helen made me spill all my coffee so I opted instead for a glass of red wine :)) I am going to have gush about King Lear & Hamlet too. Nicky, when young = Hamlet indecisive. Then his sudden actions (like Nicky suddenly deciding to be firm in his first speech about 'senseless dreams.') Then wondering if he'd done the right thing...
But above all the end of Hamlet with everyone dead & can't you just see Alexei:
"Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels guide thee to thy rest."

 
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 06:01:31 PM
Quote

Good comparison, only he wasn't in Siberia!!
(Sorry, I married into an Ekaterinburg family, so it's a pet peeve with me ;) )



Sorry - my geography isn't very good! Where is it then? (The Urals? And is Tobolsk in Siberia)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 06:02:12 PM
Quote

I'm not grateful that they died together.  The parents should have removed their heads from their posteriors and saved their kids, even as late as Tobolsk there was still a darned good chance but they didn't even try.


I agree 1000% that they should have tried to get their children out early in the war.  It was thoroughly irresponsible of Nicholas and Alexandra to not ensure their children's safety.  

What I meant, though, is that it would have been devastating, as close as they were, to be killed one by one and have to live with desire for the person to be alive again. At least had the children been sent off together, they would have had one another for comfort.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 06:20:41 PM
Quote

I agree 1000% that they should have tried to get their children out early in the war.  It was thoroughly irresponsible of Nicholas and Alexandra to not ensure their children's safety.  

What I meant, though, is that it would have been devastating, as close as they were, to be killed one by one and have to live with desire for the person to be alive again. At least had the children been sent off together, they would have had one another for comfort.



Oh Denise, I know what you mean, and I agree with you, I just will always be so angry with those two for not trying. :(

As for geography, mine could be better, too. Ekaterinburg is Ural, and Tobolsk is kind of on the border, but it is only directly north of "Yeck-ah-tyer-in- boorg" (as the locals say ;) ) by about 260 miles, and people in Ural think of it as part of their region.  Very technically it is considered part of "western" siberia, which is, of course, the state of Ural, but really not Siberia, if that makes any sense!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 07, 2005, 06:25:27 PM
No, I don't think my geography's improved...but I love the pronunciation of Ekaterinburg...I shall be practising that all day tomorrow! (BTW we have a Russian choir coming to my church soon & I've been trying to learn a few Russian phrases to welcome them - I'd be really grateful for any advice :))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 06:27:17 PM
Quote

As for geography, mine could be better, too. Ekaterinburg is Ural, and Tobolsk is kind of on the border, but it is only directly north of "Yeck-ah-tyer-in- boorg" (as the locals say ;) ) by about 260 miles, and people in Ural think of it as part of their region.  Very technically it is considered part of "western" siberia, which is, of course, the state of Ural, but really not Siberia, if that makes any sense!



Sounds like the locals are in a bit of denial about what constitutes Siberia.   :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 06:35:34 PM
Quote

Sounds like the locals are in a bit of denial about what constitutes Siberia.   :)



It's for them to decide, they've been there for thousands of years, so if they say it's so, than that's what matters, not some western mapmaker.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 07, 2005, 06:37:35 PM
Quote
No, I don't think my geography's improved...but I love the pronunciation of Ekaterinburg...I shall be practising that all day tomorrow! (BTW we have a Russian choir coming to my church soon & I've been trying to learn a few Russian phrases to welcome them - I'd be really grateful for any advice :))


Oh, forgot to mention, the accent on Yeck-ah-tyer-in-BOORG (yep, it's at the end)
What would you like to say to the choir? There's plenty here who can help with pronunciation. :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: ptitchka on February 07, 2005, 07:07:07 PM
Quote
How lovely to meet a kindred spirit!

 can't you just see Alexei:
"Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels guide thee to thy rest."
 
  


:-*

I am sure they did...

The royal history plays of Shakespeare (Hamlet, King Lear, the Henry plays, and Richard III are what I recall, but the list is probably more comprehensive) were written at least 300 years after the events occurred, in a world that had not been influenced that quickly by the printed word.   What kind of love poetry might some Pushkin, Chekhov or Turgenev have put into the mouths of N+A?  What soliloquies might have made up characterizations of Alexei or his sisters in the hands of a true artist?  

We might even have some here.

We've gone from Orthodoxy to Western art and creative drive once more...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 07:24:34 PM
Quote

What kind of love poetry might some Pushkin, Chekhov or Turgenev have put into the mouths of N+A?  What soliloquies might have made up characterizations of Alexei or his sisters in the hands of a true artist?  

We might even have some here.



What a lovely thought.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 09:13:13 PM
Georgiy, I see you have yet to initiate the "Nicky and Alix spoke English" thread  ;). It is amazing how this  thread evolved  :).

On the subject of Shakespeare, is anyone familiar with a painting called "All the World's a Stage"? It can be considered a little on the cheezy side, but I kind of like it because it depicts all the Shakespearian characters interacting with each other, and Will himself in the middle. I thought it was kind of neat when I saw it and now it is hanging in my dining room  :). Here it is, it's kind of fun to try to figure out who is who in the picture...

(http://img214.exs.cx/img214/4875/alltheworld5oj.png)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 07, 2005, 09:28:45 PM
Quote
On the subject of Shakespeare, is anyone familiar with a painting called "All the World's a Stage"? It can be considered a little on the cheezy side, but I kind of like it because it depicts all the Shakespearian characters interacting with each other, and Will himself in the middle. I thought it was kind of neat when I saw it and now it is hanging in my dining room  :). Here it is, it's kind of fun to try to figure out who is who in the picture...



What a cool painting!!  That would be fun to figure out who's who.  

Reminds me of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" where Bogie, James Dean, Monroe and Elvis are in a diner at night.  Cheesy, but fun to look at.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 07, 2005, 09:31:47 PM
Quote
Reminds me of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" where Bogie, James Dean, Monroe and Elvis are in a diner at night.  Cheesy, but fun to look at.


Yes, exactly! Some cheesy stuff is still kind of cool I think...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 08, 2005, 12:24:11 AM
Poor Edward Hopper...the things that have been done to his "Nighthawks" (the "variations" are somewhat clever, but the original remains the best).

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 08, 2005, 06:46:53 AM
Quote

Oh, forgot to mention, the accent on Yeck-ah-tyer-in-BOORG (yep, it's at the end)
What would you like to say to the choir? There's plenty here who can help with pronunciation. :)


Thank you, Dashkova! I'd really like to say, 'You're most welcome here.' & something to effect of how much I've been looking forward to their arrival - & that I have a great devotion to St. Elizaveta Feodorovna. I'd be really grateful for a phonetical version of that in Russian. Thanks! :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 08, 2005, 08:22:33 AM
Quote
.. but the original remains the best.


As is almost always the case!  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 08, 2005, 05:27:32 PM
On a different thread it was mentioned about members of the Imperial Family crossing themselves before they were executed. Making the sign of the cross is very important for us - we make it during prayer, of course, when entering or leaving the house, when setting off on a journey, all kinds of times.

The way we make the sign of the cross is thus: We join the thumb, index and middle fingers of the right hand together - this indicates the Triune nature of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). The ring and little fingers we fold down to our palm. This has two notes of significance: it indicates Jesus Christ being both True  God, and also that he is truly human, folding these fingers down indicates he came down from Heaven and was incarnate on Earth.

First we touch our forehead, then the stomach area around the naval just below the ribs, the right shoulder and lastly the left shoulder, and mentally (or verbally) say "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.", praying with all our mind (touching the head), all our soul (the lower chest), and all our strength (the shoulders). Going from right shoulder to left is the traditional way, and was the way the Roman Church also crossed themselves until sometime during the latter crusades (from what I've read they switched directions around the time of the sacking of Constantinople).

It is important that one does not go from head to heart/upper chest as by doing this, you are tracing the sign of the cross upside down. (It is easier to show this by means of a picture or diagram than by words, but I don't have a picture so no can do!). It is also important not to rush through the motions, but to do it with care, prayer and thought - otherwise you may as well be swatting at flies.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 08, 2005, 05:31:06 PM
That's very interesting, Georgiy. :)
We do it differently...but with equal reverence, I hope.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on February 08, 2005, 05:31:25 PM
Thanks Georgiy for explaining and it makes perfect sense without the diagram.  I often wondered the significance.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Silja on February 11, 2005, 03:20:41 PM
Quote
What some people like done to them, I wouldn't dream of wanting done to myself  ;)!
See you later  :D


For example?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Silja on February 11, 2005, 04:22:00 PM
Quote

I think that God or no, what dictates our actions is something inside us, and we will, most often than not, do what we are compelled to do.

 Can a religious person stop themselves from being a pedophile? I don't think so. Even if they don't act upon it, they will still have the feelings. And chances are they will eventually act on it, given the opportunity, because it is a strong compulsion. They will later feel very guilty and disgusted with themselves, but they will do it. And at the same time, I believe this person can be very religious.


Human nature is very complicated and if anyone thinks that things like this can solved by accepting religion, they are oversimplifying human nature.  


But isn't this precisely what the idea of " original sin" is all about? The simple acceptance that human nature is imperfect, imperfect in the sense that humans hurt others, intentional or unintentional? Religion isn't meant to solve this problem but to make you accept it.
You will now argue that one need not be a religious person to "accept" this, which is certainly correct. But if you consider some "wordly" ideologies/movements, such as the enlightenment or communism, you will come across some mistaken attitudes here, such as that man is a "reasonable being" who will act accordingly, or that man will no longer steal if his economic needs are satisfied. You often encounter a mathematical cause and result ideology, which very often doesn't coincide with real life. A religious person would never be so "arrogant" as to assume that man can achieve a respective "perfect condition" on earth. Only God (and thus after life) is perfect. So in a way religion can be a stronghold against presumption. Again, of course a non religious person can be just as unassuming, and vice versa.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 11, 2005, 04:27:32 PM
Quote
... man is a "reasonable being" who will act accordingly, or that man will no longer steal if his economic needs are satisfied. You often encounter a mathematical cause and result ideology, which very often doesn't coincide with real life.


Not at all! I totally agree that human nature is very imperfect and will NEVER be perfect. But religion doesn't fix that. Whether we accept it or not, humans will act the same way, religious or not religious...

Quote
A religious person would never be so "arrogant" as to assume that man can achieve a respective "perfect condition" on earth.


You don't have to be religious to know this. It is common sense.

Quote
Again, of course a non religious person can be just as unassuming, and vice versa.


Exactly! So we have come full circle in this discussion...


Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 11, 2005, 06:18:48 PM
Quote

Not at all! I totally agree that human nature is very imperfect and will NEVER be perfect. But religion doesn't fix that. Whether we accept it or not, humans will act the same way, religious or not religious...

You don't have to be religious to know this. It is common sense.


It's not about human nature (IMO) or being 'religious'. 'Religiousness' it seems to me can be the worst thing of all.
But faith is about believing in something far greater which can and - in my limited experience - DOES change lives, outlooks, everything.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I think, put it perfectly, "There is too much talk about religion. Take a broom and sweep someone's house. That says enough."  
(There now...you can change page! :))
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 11, 2005, 06:49:17 PM
Quote


Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I think, put it perfectly, "There is too much talk about religion. Take a broom and sweep someone's house. That says enough."  


Well said!  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: rskkiya on February 11, 2005, 07:52:42 PM
Dashkova/Bluetoria and Georgiy!

Oh Dear...
   I seem to have missed the lively segue discussion a few pages ago about Chaucer & Shakespeare!
Alas I am an iconoclast - prefering Chaucer and the mysterious authors of Beowulf and The Pearl over that man from the backwater known as Stratford ... :P

(I also prefere dear Christopher Marlow to W.S. on any day!)


lol
Rskkiya
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 12, 2005, 10:21:51 PM
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Alas I am an iconoclast - prefering Chaucer and the mysterious authors of Beowulf and The Pearl over that man from the backwater known as Stratford ... :P

(I also prefere dear Christopher Marlow to W.S. on any day!)




Oh, but I must respectfully disagree!!   :D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 06:16:58 AM
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Oh, but I must respectfully disagree!!   :D


Of COURSE, I agree with you, Denise! (But we're not allowed to discuss this here...we keep getting 'moved on' to other threads ;D)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 10:34:17 AM
During the 'Stations of the Cross' a priest mentioned the Orthodox icon 'Not Made By Human Hands.' I think I've seen a picture of this before & I think it's the one which Serge gave to Ella at her conversion (and was found on her body after her death.) Would it be at all possible, please, for some kind Orthodox person to post a picture of it (unless, of course, it's deemed disrespectful to post icons)?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 13, 2005, 12:36:08 PM
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...I think it's the one which Serge gave to Ella at her conversion (and was found on her body after her death.)  
 I thought that the icon that was found on Ella upon her death, used to identify her body, was given to her by Nicholas II...  ???
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 01:50:58 PM
Quote
 I thought that the icon that was found on Ella upon her death, used to identify her body, was given to her by Nicholas II...  ???


:-[ My mistake. :-[

Actually, I'm not sure now...I might have been right. I'll find out...unless someone else can confirm it in the meantime!!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 01:55:13 PM
Or was it Alexander III?

Anyway, the one that I want to see, please, is the one which Serge gave her at her conversion - 'Not Made By Human Hands' - it is bit like the shroud of Turin - a sort of close up of Jesus' face at the crucifixion.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 13, 2005, 03:07:21 PM
Quote

Actually, I'm not sure now...I might have been right. I'll find out...unless someone else can confirm it in the meantime!!


Sokolov described the body found in the Alapayevsk mineshaft:

"On the chest of Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna there was an icon of our Saviour adorned with precious stones. According to my information, this was the same icon the Emperor prayed to before his abdication from the throne. He gave it to Elisabeth Feodorovna."

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 05:37:27 PM
Thanks, Helen. Yes, of course, I DO remember now (& I'm not just saying that, honest!!)

But is that the one I want to find? I'm not sure that it is...

Thanks anyway :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on February 13, 2005, 05:47:14 PM
Rsskiya - I too prefer Chaucer, and like The Pearl very much too.

Bluetoria, here is a version of the Icon of Christ not made by human hands. The story is that the original was the cloth that St Veronica gave to Christ, and he wiped his face with it, and it's image was imprinted on the cloth.  It is one of my favourite icons. It is also known as the mandylion (I think my spelling may be off here though.)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/Georgiy/christ_not_made_by_man.jpg)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 13, 2005, 06:05:05 PM
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Rsskiya - I too prefer Chaucer, and like The Pearl very much too.

Bluetoria, here is a version of the Icon of Christ not made by human hands. The story is that the original was the cloth that St Veronica gave to Christ, and he wiped his face with it, and it's image was imprinted on the cloth.  It is one of my favourite icons. It is also known as the mandylion (I think my spelling may be off here though.)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/Georgiy/christ_not_made_by_man.jpg)


That's right Georgij!  this icon does have a fascinating history. The problems I have with that history, speaking as a historian, are that this is a story that comes out of church "tradition" and is not mentioned anywhere in the gospels.  Furthermore, this "Veronica" woman,  if she existed at all, her name was not Veronica, as that "name" is actually a combo of Greek words that reference the *cloth*, not the person who supposedly offered it to Jesus.

Unfortunately, despite Hollywood's best efforts, the streets of Jerusalem were not lined with mourners or even curiosity seekers on the occasion of Jesus' crucifixion.  Including "Veronica."
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 06:15:47 PM
THANK YOU Georgiy :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
It is EXACTLY what I was looking for!!
It was at the Station of the Cross of 'Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus' that the priest spoke of it.
I know she was not a person mentioned in the Gospels -and that Veronica means 'true likeness' - but I do believe that the women who had followed Jesus throughout his life would have done their utmost to draw as close to Him as possible at that time. The streets of Jerusalem ARE very narrow...chances are someone DID help Him. (Even if not a woman named Veronica.)

THANK YOU :) :) :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 13, 2005, 06:38:14 PM
Quote

"On the chest of Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna there was an icon of our Saviour adorned with precious stones. According to my information, this was the same icon the Emperor prayed to before his abdication from the throne. He gave it to Elisabeth Feodorovna."


I actually have a question about this particular icon, and maybe you would know, Bluetoria,since you must have done a lot of research about Ella. Sokolov says that "this was the same icon the Emperor prayed to before his abdication from the throne. He gave it to Elisabeth Feodorovna". Did Nicholas actually see Ella after his abdication and before the family was transported to Siberia? I didn't think so... But then how could have Nicholas given this icon to Ella, if he still had it at his abdication? Unless I am missing something, this doesn't make sense...  ??? Maybe he sent it to her?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 06:43:33 PM
No, I don't think he did see her. This is where the confusion came before. The icon was - perhaps - not ONE icon but many copies of it. This was what Serge gave her at the time of her conversion - I am sure of that - & it is the same icon (i.e. picture) that Nicholas prayed in front of. It wasn't one...it was like I have a copy of it now, thanks to Georgiy - if you see what I mean!
At least that's what I make of it...but I'm not Orthodox!! (sadly)  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Dashkova on February 13, 2005, 06:45:13 PM
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THANK YOU Georgiy :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
It is EXACTLY what I was looking for!!
It was at the Station of the Cross of 'Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus' that the priest spoke of it.
I know she was not a person mentioned in the Gospels -and that Veronica means 'true likeness' - but I do believe that the women who had followed Jesus throughout his life would have done their utmost to draw as close to Him as possible at that time. The streets of Jerusalem ARE very narrow...chances are someone DID help Him. (Even if not a woman named Veronica.)

THANK YOU :) :) :)



I seriously doubt the Romans would have let anyone approach the condemned headed to the crucifix site, and we do know for certain that there was no dramatic procession through the streets to that location.
It's a nice notion, I suppose for the faithful to contemplate upon, and if it works for you, that's great.
It's just not historically accurate.  :-/
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Helen_Azar on February 13, 2005, 06:54:54 PM
Quote
The icon was - perhaps - not ONE icon but many copies of it. This was what Serge gave her at the time of her conversion - I am sure of that - & it is the same icon (i.e. picture) that Nicholas prayed in front of.  
 But Sokolov says that Nicholas gave it to her... And he made it sound like it was the same icon... Oh well...  8)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 06:55:30 PM
Yes it does work for me, so for me it's okay ;)
PLEASE Dashkova, is there any chance of you spelling out phoneticly those Russian phrases I asked for...please!!
Like, "Welcome to Leeds"
or "I've been so looking forward to this."
or "I have a great devotion to St. Elizaveta Feodorovna"
or "Thank you SO much for coming here."
Please!!...My 'Teach Yourself Russian' concentrates on airports & hotels"!!! (& I'm only up to chapter 6 & no one in my family will learn it with me to help me...desperation or what!!)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 13, 2005, 07:06:48 PM
Sorry, Helen...that was directed at myself not at you!
It frustrates me that all the best discussions are very late at night here...& my fingers get tired or typing..
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Olga on February 14, 2005, 07:31:27 AM
Sounds like you need a stress ball!  ;D ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 14, 2005, 08:55:17 AM
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Sounds like you need a stress ball!  ;D ;)


A large gin might have been more appropriate! ;) However, now I am very at one with the world!   ;D
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Denise on February 14, 2005, 02:27:13 PM
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However, now I am very at one with the world!   ;D


Welcome back!!  ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 14, 2005, 04:48:14 PM
Thank you, Denise, but as you know being my American twin, I am seldom totally back - rather 'away with the fairies'!
Take care ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Silja on February 15, 2005, 03:08:49 PM
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A lecturer once told me that the American accent is similar to English in the 16th/early 17th century (probably around the time of the Pilgrim Fathers?) - have you any idea if that's true?

Sorry for being so far off topic! :-/


In a way it was certainly similar. But obviously, just like British English, American English has changed considerably since the 16th/17th century.
A late 16th century English speaker would for instance have pronounced "blood" like modern English "food", like the German "Blut".
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Silja on February 15, 2005, 03:27:24 PM
Quote

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, I think, put it perfectly, "There is too much talk about religion. Take a broom and sweep someone's house. That says enough."  


Certainly; it's ultimately about charity, about what Christianity is supposed to be all about in my opinion.

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on February 15, 2005, 04:25:19 PM
Silja, thank you for your explanation about the American/16th century English accents! (I'll have to try reading Shakespeare in THAT accent now ;))

I agree with your last post. Mother Teresa of Calcutta ALWAYS 'hits the nail right on the head' IMO - EVERYTHING she writes is so to the point, so simple and so inspiring  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 01, 2005, 06:05:10 PM
Dear kind members of the Orthodox Church, who always answer questions so patiently...please may I ask you ANOTHER!
Earlier this evening I went to see a brilliant ensemble who came to our church to raise money for an Orthox monastery in Russia (You see maybe one day we WILL be reunited! :) :)). They were selling various items & I bought (along with several wonderful CDs!) some prayer beads. They are identical to our rosary beads (they have a large bead & then 10 small ones) is the rosary exactly the same in Orthodoxy or do you use them differently? We say an Our Father & 10 Hail Marys (do you say Hail Marys?) then a Glory Be...etc & think of different mysteries. Do you do that? Please?  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 01, 2005, 09:08:58 PM
Hi Bluetoria. Normally they are made of wool, intricately knotted to form 'beads'. In Russian they are called Chotki. I can't remember what the Greek word is, but in English, the proper term is prayer rope. It is not the same as a rosary. Greeks (laypeople) use them more often (I understand) than lay Russian, where it would be more common to have a blessing from one's spiritual father before using one. The prayer used with them is normally the 'Jesus Prayer', that is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 02, 2005, 04:34:04 AM
Quote
Hope that helps.


It DOES! Thank you, yet again, kind Georgiy!  :)
By the way, the singing of the ensemble (there were only 5 men) was so very, very beautiful. The first part was sacred music & it was intensely moving. The second part was folk music & I wanted to dance! The sheer volume and range of their voices was beyond belief...so angelic & so perfect. I was enraptured!  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 02, 2005, 01:25:49 PM
Orthodox sacred music (I mean traditional here, not the fancy operatic stuff that was popular in the 19th and early 20th century which GD Olga Nikolaevna disliked too!) is extremely beautiful and moving, and was in fact the first thing that attracted me to the Church (I went on a Good Friday and was blown away). It requires no musical instrument, and the combination of voices makes for a far greater instrument than any man could invent.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 02, 2005, 01:54:52 PM
Yes, Georgiy. What I heard was so beautiful! It was traditional & the sheer beauty of it transcended everything! As I said I was enraptured!  :)
(But not sufficiently to convert...yet ;) )
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 02, 2005, 01:59:22 PM
 ;) ;)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 03, 2005, 02:10:04 PM
Bluetoria, do you remember the name of that chorus? From your relation, I guess it was znameny raspev, this old traditional russian church singing. In Russia, people try in many places singing that way, after years of "italian" way of church music...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 03, 2005, 05:43:51 PM
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Bluetoria, do you remember the name of that chorus? From your relation, I guess it was znameny raspev, this old traditional russian church singing. In Russia, people try in many places singing that way, after years of "italian" way of church music...


Matushka, the singers were raising money for the Valaam Monastery.
What they sang is written in Russian but I do not have a keyboard that allows me to write in Russian! It's translated as:
Magnificat for St. Sergius
Praise Ye the name of the Lord
Hymn of Light for the Transfiguration
Psalm 137
Troparion for the Nativity
All Angels Rejoice
To the Beauty of Your Purity (This is what moved me the most!)
Now Let Your Servants Depart
Having Witnessed the Strange Birth
You Will Hear My Voice Early In The Morning.

(After that they sang folk songs.)

Are all Orthodox service only sung? Do you never speak?

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 04, 2005, 04:26:27 AM
Thank you, dear. In Valaam, there is a MARVELLOUS chorus! It is an old, very big monastery in the cold russian north. I never was there, unfortunetly.
Yes, the most part of orthodox services are songs. A large part is also reading, reading "recto tono", as it is called in latin! If you was in catholic traditionnal monastery, they read that way, well, not exactly that way, but it is similar. We never "talk": the reason is when you talk, the intonation is yours. In church service, there must not be any "passion", nothing "personnal".
Sorry, I am very busy with my baby, I must go
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 04, 2005, 04:45:33 AM
Quote
Thank you, dear. In Valaam, there is a MARVELLOUS chorus! It is an old, very big monastery in the cold russian north. I never was there, unfortunetly.
Yes, the most part of orthodox services are songs. A large part is also reading, reading "recto tono", as it is called in latin! If you was in catholic traditionnal monastery, they read that way, well, not exactly that way, but it is similar. We never "talk": the reason is when you talk, the intonation is yours. In church service, there must not be any "passion", nothing "personnal".
Sorry, I am very busy with my baby, I must go


Dear Matushka, I have been in places where the readings are read in Latin & I like it very much. In Lourdes (a centre of Catholic pilgrimage in France) many of the prayers etc. are said in Latin & I think it is wonderful because it shows the universality of the Church. (Another lovely thing there is that we sing a hymn in a torchlight procession. Everyone sings the verses in their own language but when it comes to the chorus everyone sings the same 'Ave Maria' in Latin. It is extremely uplifting!)
What you write of there being no 'passion' & nothing personal is a big stumbling-block for me - Pravoslavnaya explained this before but perhaps I just do not understand it properly!
I hope your baby is gurgling happily  :) :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 06, 2005, 02:26:15 PM
The reason why we don't read in our own 'style', is that subconsciously through our intonation we put our own personal meaning and stresses into what is being read - that is why it is completely sung and chanted, so that there is no danger of people causing others to stumble through the way something may be read aloud.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 06, 2005, 02:43:32 PM
Thank you, Georgiy, for the explanation. I think I would find this very difficult - I find it easier to understand what is read rather than what is sung sometimes & I liked the simple sound of for example the Sermon on the Mount being read - whoever reads it; a child, a good reader, a poor reader...
I'm not, OF COURSE, criticising the Orthodox Church's view; I'm only thinking about it.  :)  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 06, 2005, 04:01:19 PM
In some ways, it makes it easier to understand. I guess it can depend on what one is used to as well. The way it is sung and chanted helps us to understand how the Church understands things, whereas if something is read in any way one chooses, it can be harder to understand. (In my opinion anyway - the musicality provides deep spiritual insight and understanding).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 06, 2005, 04:22:38 PM
Very well said, Georgy. Bluetoria, you know, at the moment we all "chant" (thanks for this verb) the same way, recto tono, but in the past there was a special melody for every type of text: psalms, apostol, reading of the old testament, Evangile... all that kind of text had a special melody. And when you were in church, you could know, just with intonation and melody what is read. And it has a great sense: the melody for Evangile is more complicated and more solennal as melody for the psalm: such a "hierarchy". Unfortunetly, only the so called "old believers" use this at the moment.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 06, 2005, 05:06:46 PM
Thank you Georgiy & Matushka for your explanations. I suppose so much has to do with what we are used to. I'm sure your religion is very beautiful.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Coldstream on March 09, 2005, 01:46:14 PM
Bluetoria, there are a small number of Russians who remained united to the "Pope of Rome" while retaining the Eastern liturgy and spiritual discipline (strict fasting and Lenten observances).  They are generally known as "Greek Catholics" or, among the Russian Orthodox, as "Uniates," a term regarded as derogatory by Russian "Greek Catholics."  My wife and I are attending St. Andrew Russian Greek Catholic Church in El Segundo, California.  The Byzantine liturgy is used and it is in English with a smattering of Greek and Russian.  The Russian tone is used and the singing is unaccompanied by musical instruments as is the custom in Eastern Orthodox churches.

I was originally baptized as a Latin Rite Catholic.  When Vatican II threw the liturgical baby out with the bath water and virtually destroyed the beautiful Latin liturgy and hymns (though it was not the intention of the Council Fathers), I began looking for some stability.  I found it in the Eastern Rite of the Church.  Vatican II did not affect them.  They retained their traditional liturgy and liturgical practices.  While the Eastern fast is far more demanding than that in the west (even more than the pre-Vatican II fast regs!), I still prefer the beautiful Eastern liturgy to the bland post-Vatican II offerings.

Coldstream
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 09, 2005, 04:00:30 PM
Quote
Bluetoria, there are a small number of Russians who remained united to the "Pope of Rome" while retaining the Eastern liturgy and spiritual discipline (strict fasting and Lenten observances).  
...They retained their traditional liturgy and liturgical practices.  While the Eastern fast is far more demanding than that in the west (even more than the pre-Vatican II fast regs!), I still prefer the beautiful Eastern liturgy to the bland post-Vatican II offerings.

Coldstream


Thank you, Coldstream for this information, which is very interesting.  :)
I'm afraid it isn't the Pope - or rather the papacy/Vatican - which keeps me adhering to Catholicism. (On the contrary -  I find it quite difficult to reconcile the Vatican with the Gospels).
It is - partly - the very nature of the Catholic Mass which I think is so very important & which I would find most difficult to leave if I ever considered converting to another faith.  
I do not find post-Vatican II offerings 'bland' - I cannot see how the Mass can be bland when the Communion Rite is so central to it...And also to HEAR the Gospel read in English. I do love the sung Credo etc. in Latin too but the Gospel really should -IMO - be read in a language that everyone can understand.
(I am not by any means criticising your post - which you wrote so kindly - I am just writing my reaction to what you wrote :) )
Thank you!  

Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Coldstream on March 09, 2005, 04:28:55 PM
Bluetoria, I am assuming that you are a post-Vatican II Catholic.  I was basically brought up in the pre-Vatican II Church.  The Epistle and the Gospel readings were  read in English from the pulpit just prior to the sermon in the Tridentine Mass.  The Mass was in latin and the faithful followed along with the aid of their missals which were in latin with the English translation on the opposite page.  The beauty of latin as a liturgical language was in its universality.  The Mass was the same throughout the world.  I remember going to Mass in Denmark and being able to use my missal.  The only thing unfamiliar was the sermon which, of course, was in Danish.  The doctrine of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist was reinforced by our kneeling for communion and receiving the host on the tongue.  Even the Russian Orthodox, who also believe in the Real Presence, receive on the tongue via a spoon from the chalice.  The whole atmosphere surrounding the Mass prior to 1969 was different.  I experienced a similar feeling of reverence when attending a vesper service at St. John of Kronstadt's convent in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The liturgical language in the Russian Church is Church Slavonic (a very old form of Russian which has to be studied separately from regular Russian).

Coldstream
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 09, 2005, 04:49:35 PM
Coldstream, I think I do appreciate what you're saying. Yes I am (at least from my earliest memories) post-Vatican II & I agree with you that much reverence & sense of awe has been lost since then. There was a whole movement here a few years ago by R.E. teams & supposedly 'forward thinkers' that virtually did away with all kneeling, statues, Latin hymns...& all reverence in fact! I was a student then studying theology & it (along with my studies & other unrelated events) more or less destroyed my belief in anything at all.
However, now I have come - I hope - to understand it better & I think that the Pope (& certainly our local Bishop) is beginning to restore the reverence etc.
I appreciate, too, (I hope) what you are saying about the universality of the Latin Mass. In Lourdes I have been to many Latin Masses & found it really inspiring to recognise the universality of the Church.
Here, though, too, I attended a Tridentine funeral & found it so oppressive - and to non-Catholics who attended it seemed like mumbo-jumbo - that it seemed to do with RELIGION more than to do with God.
I think, perhaps we need a balance between the two: the reverence, the awe & the knowing at the same time that God is as accessible as a Father.
(Perhaps, I should add in the light of all I have written previously on this thread - my dissatisfaction is primarily with my own shortcomings, but I believe too we should always remain open & that is why I consider Orthodoxy -which DOES draw me in many ways - & I would not want to remain in my own faith merely because it is 'comfortable' to do so. These are very difficult things to write particularly in so narrow a context - I hope you understand what I mean.)
Thank you for you post.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Coldstream on March 09, 2005, 05:03:26 PM
Bluetoria, I must admit that the "Dies Irae" of the old Requiem Mass was sobering as it was meant to be.  The fate of one's immortal soul at death was very much a part of the old rite.  The Russian Orthodox Requiem is also rather sober, but beautiful and sublime.  During the liturgy, the coffin is open and at the end of the service, the faithful pass the coffin and kiss the corpse (not being Orthodox, I am not clear whether this custom is just relegated to the immediate family of the deceased or everyone in attendance.  Perhaps an Orthodox member could clear this up).  Incidentally, black is the color of the vestments worn at Orthodox funerals, as it was for Catholic funerals before the liturgical revolution.  Non-Catholic observers probably thought wwhat they heard was "mumbo jumbo" because they were unfamiliar with the latin.  The old requiems were quite biblical.  Try reading the commentaries on the various Requiem Masses written by famous composers.

Coldstream
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 09, 2005, 05:23:05 PM
I realize that the eternal 'destiny' of the immortal soul is being considered & it is sobering, I agree. And yet all our lives we are brought up to believe that heaven - perfect happiness & perfect unity with God - is the purpose of our lives but, when it comes to it, everything in black, everything so sombre & this repetitive muttering of the priest (& I do understand Latin a little - I studied it for A level) it seemed to have nothing to do with what was actually happening - that a person was going to God. At that funeral I thought of the reading I chose for someone else's funeral - from the Song of Songs -
"Come then my love, my lovely one come,
For see, the winter is past, the rains are over & gone,
The flowers appear on the earth, the cooing of the turtle dove is heard in our land, the season of glad songs has come...etc..."
And I thought, 'THAT is what it should mean - going to God in heaven. Not this BLACKNESS.'
Also, since many people in the congregation were of no faith at all I thought what nonsense it must seem to them. How could they ever believe anything if it were presented like that?
I think that my Church encompasses every state of our lives. The thought of the Crucifixion seems to me to redeem to much suffering in the world - & suffering we come across in our lives. I wouldn't want to be part of a Church that made out everything was 'great' if you just believe because everything ISN'T great. But when it comes down to it, there seems to me to be a knowing beyond all the suffering...
I'm sorry I really can't express this very well at all.
Goodness me! This Orthodox thread is becoming a discussion about Catholicism now! I'm always leading it off topic - Sorry!  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 13, 2005, 09:35:58 PM
As yesterday was Forgiveness Sunday in the Orthodox Church (Today if you are in the Americas), I would like to ask forgiveness of anyone who I may have offended in any of my postings.

Georgiy
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 17, 2005, 10:38:28 AM
What is the teaching of the Orthodox Church regarding 'artificial' means of contraception? (Bearing in mind the condoms found after the murder of the Imperial Family - of course, the teaching might have changed since then??)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 17, 2005, 02:01:19 PM
I replied to this on the Alexandra page, but quickly here, while not encouraged or officially condoned, it is usually overlooked and considered as a private matter between a married couple who while they do not wish for more children wish to continue marital relations. It would be allowed through economia, but not until after a married couple have had children!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 17, 2005, 02:05:05 PM
Yes...sorry out answers just crossed - I just asked you about it on the Alix thread!!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 17, 2005, 02:21:37 PM
Quote
Can I ask you 4 questions, please:
1. Do you have to discuss EVERYTHING with your priest? (That must be very difficult & is it REALLY his business?)
2. Why is only permitted if you already have children; you may have a very good reason for not having children at all.
3. Why should the barrier method be allowed but not the pill when the end result is the same?  
4. What is Economia?


1. It is important to discuss things with your Priest. In some ways he is like the Doctor of your soul (well actually Christ is)- when you go to the Doctor you need to tell him everything so he can help you - well it is like that with a Priest as well - he can't help you so well or thoroughly if you keep things from him. Of course it is up to the individual as to what one says, but it is best not to keep things hidden. We are also under obedience. Yes it would be hard to talk about it, I imagine one would bring it up during Confession, because it is not just a time when we talk about our sins, but when we unburden our souls and talk about all that may be troubling us, confusing us or playing on our minds.

Agreed, people might have a good reason not to want children, but as a married couple, one is creating a 'home church', and having children kind of goes with the territory. Of course some people can't have children. And not all Orthodox people have children within a year of marriage! I think that is more up to the individual, but i don't think artificial contraception would be encouraged at all before having children. Also we cant have marital relationships on fasting days, so a large chunk of the year is taken care of in that way! I think a lot of people would choose a natural method of birth control as well, and work out the timings so as to avoid pregnancies. (Perhaps)

I guess the pill would be a no-no as it is a medicinally induced form of contraception, completely stopping a natural function of the body. I am not 100% sure as to whether it is not allowed, but am pretty sure that is the case.

Economia is when the Churhc takes circumstances into consideration and allows things which maybe if we were living stricter lives would not be allowed - kind of like indulging people.

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 17, 2005, 05:41:51 PM
Quote
Economia is when the Churhc takes circumstances into consideration and allows things which maybe if we were living stricter lives would not be allowed - kind of like indulging people.

Hope this helps!


Ah yes! As Jesus did!!! Many people, I think, know what we're supposed to do/not to do but don't or can't abide by it    :-/ )
Thank you Georgiy for taking the time to explain.  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 22, 2005, 04:27:42 PM
Bluetoria, you can read some "official" position of the Russian Orthodox Church on contraception in the "Social Conception of the ROC". I know there is an english translation on the web, just surch it. It was in the offical site, something as mospat.ru. In general, it is as said Georgy. I just want to add that in private conversation or in confession most of the priest are strict on this matter... if you ask them. If not, they do not ask what do you do. And most of the married orthodox priest have a lot of children (at the moment we have only 1, but it is just the begining!!!).
Sorry for short post, for long absence on this board, I was busy with church services and ill baby.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 22, 2005, 04:46:59 PM
Quote
I just want to add that in private conversation or in confession most of the priest are strict on this matter... if you ask them. If not, they do not ask what do you do....
Sorry for short post, for long absence on this board, I was busy with church services and ill baby.


Dear Matushka I DO hope your baby is better!

Thank you for suggesting the sites. The Orthodox teaching & reaction of priests (though ours can't marry) seems to be the same as the Catholic then  :-/

I hope your church services are very 'fulfilling' and look forward to wishing you a very happy Easter.

(As an aside, Georgiy mentioned that you do not place as much emphasis on the crucifixion as Catholics do...do you have Holy Week though?)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on March 22, 2005, 04:58:28 PM
Georgiy,

What is the difference between the old believers, molokans, and orthodox?  I know that can be complicated.   Any help appreciated.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 22, 2005, 10:23:16 PM
Hi Bluetoria.
The Resurrection is the focal point of Orthodox worship, but of course, there can't be the Resurrection without the crucifiction.  Holy Week services in the Orthodox Church are just amazing - I can only speak for myself, but the music and the words, the actions, everything which is going on in Holy Week makes it feel as if we are there (and in a Spiritual sense we are there at Christ's passion). The Services are long, and by night on Saturday after long, long, long services all day, and the previous day, I feel almost dead on my feet, but then the Resurrection Service starts, and time feels like it has ceased, and one is so full of energy and joy. Through Holy Week, I always feel a sense of approaching joy through the sadness - Lent is over, it is Passion Week, and soon the Salvation of humanity! So while the sufferings of Christ pull on the heart it is joined with a sense of hope and joy. I imagine you proabbly are feeling this this week - we are still only on Week 2 of Lent.

Reed - Old Believers never accepted certain reforms that were made within the Russian Church a few centuries ago after (I think) it was discovered that there were anomalies and mistranslations etc in the service books - the reforms brought Russian practice back into line with Greek practice. I don't know much about it however. I do know that they hold their fingers differently when making the sign of the cross (I think they hold the thumb, ring and little finger together, and cross with the pointer and middle fingers.)

I am sorry, I don't know what the molokan are, so can't answer. As for Orthodox - the original Church which can be traced back to AD33, unchanged and unaltered in its beliefs.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 23, 2005, 05:48:29 AM
Quote
So while the sufferings of Christ pull on the heart it is joined with a sense of hope and joy. I imagine you proabbly are feeling this this week -
.


Thank you Georgiy again for taking the time to answer.
Yes, I do feel that VERY strongly this week; and I feel in it (in the suffering & especially on Good Friday) three things which move me intensely:

Firstly, the suffering of all the world from every minor unhappiness in everyday life to the tragedies which throughout history have affected nations & millions of people. Somehow, on Good Friday, in the crucifixion I see all that together & it is terrible & yet somehow redeemed - that somehow no suffering is lost. I recall a priest once saying that when we appear before God at the end of our lives, not only will we answer for what we have done, but also we will be answered - all the questions we have wondered about (about suffering etc.) will be answered & make sense to us. Sometimes in contemplating the crucifixion I begin to understand that.

Secondly, in that dreadful scene of a totally debased, abandoned & huimiliated man I think it possible to discern something of the immensity of God's love and his bringing dignity to the most abject of people.  

Thirdly, as you write, only by going through that pain can we begin to realize the sheer, ineffable joy of the Resurrection.

Thanks Georgiy!  :)  
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 23, 2005, 12:01:14 PM
Georgy, thank you for your description of our feeling in the Saint Week! You said so good!
Reed, the Old Believers are shismatics of the Russian orthodox Church. The shisma began in the 17e century when patriarkh Nikon made reform. SOme reform were justified, some other were not so, but in general, the reform were done in a very despotic and not intelligent way (forgibe me patriakh Nikon, peace to his soul). There was some corrections in the saints and liturgics texts, there was full of liturgical reforms.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on March 23, 2005, 02:56:26 PM
Thank you to both Georgiy and matushka for the information on the old believers.  Interesting that the molokans are so unknown.  

He Is Risen...(on Sunday)!!!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 23, 2005, 03:16:36 PM
sorry. sorry, I was disturbed.
About the molokan: they was originaly a sect who separe of the Old believers, but they are a kind of russian protestantism! Moloko in russian is milk in english. This people are against Lent and fasting and every wednesday and friday, they specially drink a lot of milk (as you may know, orthodox do not eat meat, eggs, milk, cheese these days). They were (or are, I do not know) against veneration of icon, against a lot of christian dogmes.
I carry on a little bit about old belivers: an example of reform, the most known, even if it ws not the most important: our days orthodox do the sign of cross with 3 fingers. Before the reform with 2. Old belivers never accepted that, even if the signification is the SAME (2 natures of the Christ, 3 person of the Holy Trinity). That is jsut an example. At the moment, there is a lot of old belivers Churches: it hapens always: there is a schisma, and the a lot of schisma inside... They try to love as in the past, with old clothes, old methods of works. But for the Russian orthodox Church, they are also very important: they kept the tradition of ancient chant, ancien "ritus", and we have to learn a lot in their churches. Lear also their great respect for all sacred things. There are too some dioceses, who join the Russian Orthodox Church, but with the rite of celebrating according the ancient rite, what is the most important for them. I wish some day we will all unify. But at the moment, it is just a dream...
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 23, 2005, 03:21:27 PM
For Bluetoria: thank you, baby is now all right! I appreciate what you said about crucifixion, I remember the words of Apostol Paul, I remember also our liturgy. Do you know that a very large part of the orthodox services (I mean the words) are plenty of the paradoxe: how God could became a man, how the Immortal could die, how a limited woman could carry the Unlimited. All our services contemplate without end these misteries. I would recommand you to find english text of services, especially test of the Holy Friday and Holy Saturday. I am sure you will appreciate.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 23, 2005, 03:32:21 PM
Matushka, I am glad your baby is better  :)

Thank you for your suggestions about reading the Orthodox services. I shall try to find them.

In your previous post you wrote of the Old Believers, "I wish some day we will all unify. But at the moment it is all a dream..."
I wish someday we could ALL unify....but at the moment that is an even more remote dream  :(
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on March 23, 2005, 03:48:51 PM
As we say in russian, "dai Bog", give us Lord.
I found the page of Social conception about family: see the link http://www.mospat.ru/text/e_conception/id/4049.html
An official document is always cold (and somethinf rare for us!), but it might be interesting for you. Yes the position of the Orthdox Church is in general close to the catholic position on this question. I think it is a normal position for christian, isnt it?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 23, 2005, 05:06:43 PM
Quote
Yes the position of the Orthdox Church is in general close to the catholic position on this question. I think it is a normal position for christian, isnt it?


Thank you, Matushka, for posting the link; I have read it & it is very informative.
Yes, I think they are very similar.

Thanks for your links!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Reed on March 25, 2005, 10:05:44 AM
Matushka, thank you for the post concerning the Molokan and the Old Believers.  I have an older friend whose family was part of the Molokan church here in the US.  She was never specific on their beliefs.  Their churches are mainly centered in California, so she worshipped with our congregation.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 31, 2005, 05:58:26 PM
I heard that the Pope of Rome has been given the last rites. May God grant him a peaceful end.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 31, 2005, 06:06:30 PM
Oh!!! Is he dying!??
For some unaccountable reason my eyes just filled with tears...Oh....
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 31, 2005, 06:13:02 PM
I am not sure if it is a confirmed report about the last rites. I saw it mentioned on an Orthodox site, and then checked yahoo, which says he is said to have been administered last rites. God grant a peaceful end and good defence before the dread judgement seat of Christ (as we pray in the Liturgy).
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on March 31, 2005, 06:21:12 PM
No it's not a significant date...He's bound to be canonized & it's just not the right date...He needs a feast of Our Lady.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on March 31, 2005, 06:26:22 PM
But any day is appropriate! The day one 'dies' is after-all one's true Birthday (into Heaven).

Today is the commemoration (on the new calendar) of St Mary of Egypt, so not such a bad day, in fact a very important and significant day for all Christians, as it shows the power of true repentance and redemption. On the Old Calendar, it is Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: matushka on April 02, 2005, 03:12:25 PM
John Paul II is dead.
Requiem aeternam dona ejus Domine
Et requiescat in pace.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on April 02, 2005, 03:57:27 PM
Spaseeba, Matushka. What a pity he couldn't have lived long enough to see our Churches reconciled.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Alexandra on April 03, 2005, 03:47:56 AM
Amen, Matushka, and Bluetoria. I cannot see pictures of the Holy Father in life and health without weeping for what we have lost in this great and good man -  :'(whether or not we always agreed with all his pronouncements. I know that I did not, but that does not stop me from feeling that I have lost a friend whom I respected and loved. Right now I am waiting for the (televised)Mass at St Peter's to start - it is 4:35 a.m. where I am. :'(
Yesterday, as I listened to the news bulletins, I prayed for the Holy Father to live and be well, but not to suffer if it was indeed his time. And I reflected on the Passion and Crucifixion, and concluded that one of the great mysteries therein must be as follows, and deeply rooted in the Trinity. The very human Jesus knew all the fear and doubts we all experience about death, indeed, literally died - but that is the point - because God does not die, so Christ (and we) cannot **really** die either! And that is what must have been so baffling to the principle of evil, which surely thought it had won ... that since this principle is a master of lies and illusions, it could not see that death is also an illusion. It is very hard to express this, but it came clear to me when I was asked how, if Christ is God and died, then who was 'minding the shop?' - and in one of those flashes of illumination one can never thereafter communicate well to others, I saw how it can be that He and we, never die.
Mother Julian of Norwich, in her -Revelations of Divine Love_, speaks of seeing a little thing, like a hazelnut, and asking Christ what it might be ... 'And the answer was, 'It lasteth and ever shall, for that God loveth it... .' Elsewhere, she says that Christ's message is '...not that thou shalt not be tempested and travailed, but THOU SHALT NOT BE OVERCOME!'

Or, as John Paul II so loved to remind us, 'Do not be afraid ... .'
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on April 03, 2005, 06:03:53 AM
Alexandra, how very beautifully you have expressed that! I agree.  :)
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Anastasia on April 04, 2005, 01:09:21 AM
Quote

1. It is important to discuss things with your Priest. In some ways he is like the Doctor of your soul (well actually Christ is)- when you go to the Doctor you need to tell him everything so he can help you - well it is like that with a Priest as well - he can't help you so well or thoroughly if you keep things from him. Of course it is up to the individual as to what one says, but it is best not to keep things hidden. We are also under obedience. Yes it would be hard to talk about it, I imagine one would bring it up during Confession, because it is not just a time when we talk about our sins, but when we unburden our souls and talk about all that may be troubling us, confusing us or playing on our minds.

Agreed, people might have a good reason not to want children, but as a married couple, one is creating a 'home church', and having children kind of goes with the territory. Of course some people can't have children. And not all Orthodox people have children within a year of marriage! I think that is more up to the individual, but i don't think artificial contraception would be encouraged at all before having children. Also we cant have marital relationships on fasting days, so a large chunk of the year is taken care of in that way! I think a lot of people would choose a natural method of birth control as well, and work out the timings so as to avoid pregnancies. (Perhaps)

I guess the pill would be a no-no as it is a medicinally induced form of contraception, completely stopping a natural function of the body. I am not 100% sure as to whether it is not allowed, but am pretty sure that is the case.

Economia is when the Churhc takes circumstances into consideration and allows things which maybe if we were living stricter lives would not be allowed - kind of like indulging people.

Hope this helps!



the pill isn't allowed because it is considered abortifacient.

http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Contraception

-Anastasia
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Georgiy on April 04, 2005, 04:13:11 PM
Thanks for clearing that up Anastasia - I knew there was a good reason why it is not allowed!
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Anastasia on April 04, 2005, 08:06:23 PM
Quote
Thanks for clearing that up Anastasia - I knew there was a good reason why it is not allowed!



yeah our church has good reasons for doing things. :-)

-Anastasia
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 12:34:00 AM
Very interesting discussion!

I don't wish to be picky but doesn't "orthodox religion" sound strange to you? It's OK with me, I perfectly understand what it means, I don't want it changed, just wanted to point out that it isn't "orthodox" ;D to name it like this.




"in the eyes of Heidegger the eastern-orthodox confession was  the correct Christian denomination because it has no metaphysics and it has no theology [in the Aristotelian sense], only practical spiritual assistance"
H.G. Gadamer

What do you think about this?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on July 14, 2005, 06:25:22 AM
Quote
"in the eyes of Heidegger the eastern-orthodox confession was  the correct Christian denomination because it has no metaphysics and it has no theology [in the Aristotelian sense], only practical spiritual assistance"
H.G. Gadamer

What do you think about this?


It seems a bit odd to me. There seems to be a lot of theology in Orthodoxy - it is the theology which separates Orthodoxy from Catholicism, isn't it? Maybe I am misunderstanding the quotation  :-/ ?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Tsarfan on July 14, 2005, 08:01:54 AM
I find this topic interesting and educational.  It doesn't persuade me to any particular religious view -- in fact it differs fundamentally from my views on most points -- but I find it helpful to understand the religion that so influenced Nicholas and his policies.  However, I have a question.

When people have posted their views of religion on other threads, such as "The Anti-Semitism of the Romanovs", they have come under attack if their views challenge traditional Church doctrine (be it Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Jewish).  They are told that such posts are "offensive" and not legitimate subjects for this board.

Why is it appropriate to discuss birth control, saints, the need to involve priests (or Jesus) in one's life, etc., on this site, but not appropriate to discuss Church doctrine on other threads that touch on the royal family's beliefs?

I get the distinct impression that religious discussion is just fine on this board, as long as one has the "correct" view of religion.  Is there a double-standard here?

Please do not misunderstand me.  I am not arguing that this thread or its content is inappropriate.  I am perfectly willing to read (or skip over) viewpoints that I don't share and even occasionally find offensive.  I just wonder why some religious viewpoints are allowed to be discussed ad infinitum and others are taboo.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 08:32:15 AM
Bluetoria
a quick answer [that will be followed by a long one];

-In the Egyptian Patericon someone says "It is better to remain silent [in your mind] than to speak theology!"
-in the Orthodox Church "theology", whenever you can say it is "used", it is ALWAYS linked with prayer and liturgics; you have the impression that "theology" [as such] is only a brief stop [needed because of an accident] in the continuous flow of the Liturgy, a medicine to someone who doesn't have a "correct" relation with prayer;
-it isn't easy to say what separates Eastern and Western Christianity, but I'll try to say it later on; but it's more about a different understanding of the nature of theology than theological differences as such;




Tsarfan
I understand both those who have odd interpretations of "religion" and the standard mistrust in them by the "classic" confessions. You must understand that people of an established "religion" find some questions "outrageous" not because they are narrow minded but because their "world" has a different cluster of "cares" [in no way better or worse than others, just different] that make certain "questions" sidetracking.
Generally speaking a "religion" should make you question more yourself and less the "establishment" [my opinion]. For me the "improvement" of the "establishment" has little to do with my "redemption" so I find it almost irrelevant. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk about all these issues.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: Finelly on July 14, 2005, 08:57:22 AM
I don't understand that answer......
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 09:09:57 AM
I presume you don't understand the answer on theology... another way of putting it is to say: it is not important to talk about God, it is more important to be in a state of continuous prayer, to reduce the urge to "understand" [to control information] in favor of the urge to "love", "listen", and "receive" in the "ortho"[correct]-way whatever comes to you [to believe].

More explanations are needed and they will follow.
Title: I. BACKGROUND & HISTORY
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 10:03:34 AM
I. The first part of my explanation



BACKGROUND & HISTORY

The topic of this thread is “Orthodoxy” and what is it about.
It is proper I think to consider it in relation to Western Christianity because most of us are dominated today, globally, but a western-like thinking and picture of the world. We take for granted today certain axioms about “our world” that have distinctive western-like features, in other words we are dominated by a certain ontology and a certain kind of metaphysics [my God, what is talking about???]. That means that most of us are trained to interpret/understand/think in a certain western-way, and to presume roughly the same things. Most of us understand the same thing when we talk about “truth”, “reality”[Latin word], “time”, “space”, etc.

These “western” presumptions and interpretations have a history of their own that starts [generally speaking and commonly acknowledged] with ancient Greek thought [mainly Plato and Aristotle]. Almost all our basic concepts come from these damn Greeks: “physics”, “metaphysics”, “philosophy”, “theology” and so on. Ancient Greek thought was very… “rich”, and the main problem [in my view] is that this “heritage” comes to us [western-thinkers that we all are] mainly through the narrow filter of its Roman-Latin interpretation, a good deal “poorer” in subtle thinking than Greek thought [my opinion].

It is also commonly acknowledged that Christianity was “infused” by Greek thinking. My first point is that Western Christianity has inherited a more Roman-Latin [I name it “legalistic”] interpretation of the Gospels whereas the Eastern [Byzantine] Orthodox Christianity has inherited a more Greek [I name it “iconic”] interpretation of the Gospels. This doesn't mean that the western interpretation is "bad" and the eastern one is "good", just that I am inclined to follow the eastern one because it seems to me more "authentic".




Notice: It is very difficult to talk in only a few lines about this complicated history! Please don’t judge my assertions too swiftly!


The second part of my explanation will follow.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on July 14, 2005, 10:09:34 AM
I follow your point, I think, but I still believe that both the eastern (Orthodox) & western (RC) traditions developed their owntheologies. It was the theology of 'filioque' which led to the separation of the Churches, was it not?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 10:27:06 AM
Yes! This exactly the point I'm aiming at, but I need to make this long introduction because I feel it necessary. Otherwise it remains an obscure and tiny "theological" problem, and [in my opinion] it is not "just" that. You will see.
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: bluetoria on July 14, 2005, 10:32:46 AM
Sorry, I was being a little hasty!  ;D Do you think it might be better if you write your next point on a new thread "Discussion etc. 2" because this is so long it takes ages to open?
Title: Re: discussion about orthodox religion
Post by: palimpsest on July 14, 2005, 11:00:01 AM
OK, I'll "create" a new one. ;D


see "discussion about Orthodoxy (2)"