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"Liberation Theology" and the Orthodox Church

AntoniousNikolas

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rakovsky said:
Marx, Thomas Jefferson, and the US founding fathers did not believe Christ was God's son. The founding fathers were Masons. I, as someone who accepts political democracy and economic Marxism, have no compulsion to accept their religious beliefs.
This is an excellent point.  I think a pertinent question might be, what earthly governments have we seen that have been informed by a truly Orthodox ethos?  Fr. Demetrios Constantelos’ books on the concept of Byzantine Philanthropia have much to say in this regard.

rakovsky said:
I am glad that the Church provides us a means of fellowship and unity that transcends politics.
Amen.

rakovsky said:
sainthieu said:
If anything, I should think it exemplified bloody totalitarianism. Er, you want to give me an example of this in the real world--I mean the world outside the fantasies in your mind?
I think we can talk about Sweden, Gorbachev's Russia, post-war Yugoslavia, to show that a society seeking Marxism can be humanitarian.

Nonetheless... St. Thomas More's "Utopia" meant "a Good Place" and "No Place". I am happy dreaming about communal societies as a magical future, like ancient greek ideas about democracy, or my hopes for future resurrection- if not mine, then yours.

Kind Regards.
Good examples.  I have friends from Angola and Namibia who have told me that they are grateful the Marxists intervened there to help them drive out the reprehensible South African invaders.
 

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Marxism preaches the total overthrowing of the "cruel" systems of the world and of the "evil" elites.

Here is its contradiction.

To do that, the revolutionary group - be it the party, the movement, the network - has to, itself, become more powerful than all the "evil" elite groups put together. Its new system has to be *more* repressive than the current system if it is to control it.

So Marxism, socialism and all revolutionary movements, necessarily, lead to dictatorship. Those that are not there yet, are not there *just* yet. They are halted in the middle of the process, but, if they are to follow due course, they will get to the dictatorship point.

This is not a divergence of some socialist countries and one that can be avoided. It is an inevitable necessity due to the very nature of the socialist proposal.

The Museums of Communism are just evidence of that:
http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/museum/musframe.htm
 

rakovsky

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Fabio Leite said:
Marxism preaches the total overthrowing of the "cruel" systems of the world and of the "evil" elites.

Here is its contradiction.

To do that, the revolutionary group - be it the party, the movement, the network - has to, itself, become more powerful than all the "evil" elite groups put together. Its new system has to be *more* repressive than the current system if it is to control it.

So Marxism, socialism and all revolutionary movements, necessarily, lead to dictatorship. Those that are not there yet, are not there *just* yet. They are halted in the middle of the process, but, if they are to follow due course, they will get to the dictatorship point.

This is not a divergence of some socialist countries and one that can be avoided. It is an inevitable necessity due to the very nature of the socialist proposal.

The Museums of Communism are just evidence of that:
http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/museum/musframe.htm
With all due respect, Fabio, I could go through and show how theoretically each of those ideas could apply to the political concept of Democracy. Then we can talk about how some democracies and socialist countries have had varying degrees of dictatorship.

I was impressed on my trips to Sweden and Belarus with how much more organized and better things were in a material way than in other western, and eastern countries, respectively.

However, you can have a great economic system, perfect politics, and still be missing something. Maybe that is why I keep coming attending church and reading about Christianity.

Kind Regards.
 

jnorm888

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deusveritasest said:
I am not very familiar with liberation theology; could someone explain to me what the basic tenets of it are and why it is unorthodox?
I wrote a little critique about it some years ago back when Obama was running for president and his old Reveren...Rev Wright got in trouble with the media with some of his sermons.

I'll re-post it here:

A short critique of "Liberation Theology"

Just like Saint Augustine (and other Church Fathers) christianized the philosophy of Plato. And Just like Thomas Aquanius and the 2nd generation of Calvinists & Lutherians christianized the philosophy of Aristotle.


Some thought that they could do the same for the political philosophy of Karl Marx.



What started in Germany soon went to South America, and from South America it has found it's way in some black American churches. It was real popular in the 1960's, but such a theology is really unnecessary.


Christianity has always had a social theology. One can find it in the Gospels when one looks at the Sermon on the mount.

One can look in 1st John and in the Epistle of Saint James to see that Christians cared about their neighbor.

One can look at the early Church right after the Apostolic era. Christians gave to the poor, they saved the lives of unwanted Babies that were discarded by the pagan Romans.

It wasn't uncommon to see christians give all their monatory wealth to the poor around them.

Saint Cyprian gave his wealth away. Saint Augustine sold his estate(or part of it....I forgot which) and gave the money to the poor in his community.

One of Saint Augustine's enemies did the same. Julian was defrocked as a Bishop for supporting Pelagius against Augustine.......and just like Augustine.....he too gave all his wealth to the poor in his town.


So we don't need Liberation Theology. But since it is here.........what needs to be done is what was done in the past when christians tried to christianize the pagan culture around them.

One needs to use "some" of the truths found in Liberation theology to express "some" of the teachings of the christian faith. This method should be done when the audience is trapped in a communist culture.

And when the Audience is a christian culture or a mixed audience ...then one needs to change the pagan word or concept to fit a christian teaching. This is what the Church Fathers have done. They purged the meaning and contexts of pagan words all the time. Even the Apostles did it.

When one looks at the word heaven, "Kosmos".....one will notice that this greek word meant something different to the pagan greeks. The Apostles christianized that word. the Hellenistic Jews had to do the same when they translated texts from Aramiac and Hebrew to greek.


This same concept applies to all of our contact with the nonchristian World.





Christianity has never embraced all of the pagan culture around them. Only the good. And how one does that is to see what is in agreement with the Christian Faith.

Once that goodness is found then everything around it needs to be purged. Something similar happens in medicene. One finds the active ingredient in order to help find cures.

In our case, the active ingredient is the "good" found in the culture. It is my belief that God through Prevenient grace planted certain seeds of truth in pagan cultures to help draw them closer to Christ.

Once we find these truths in our missionary efforts, we can use them to help express a truth of the christian Faith.


This hasn't happened yet in Liberation Theology. It still looks too much like Marxism. Thus it needs more purging.



But like I said before...........it is unnecessary, for Christianity always had it's own social view.

Thus Liberation Theology was an experiment gone wrong. We can't christianize everything.

Out of all the pagan greek philosophers, Socratese and Plato were two of the closest to christianity.

This was the only reason why they were usable. Every philosophy can't be christianized.........especially the philosophy of Karl Marx.














JNORM888





 

rakovsky

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JNorm,

You are right insofar as Marxism can't be applied to Christian theology. It is impossible. When they talk about "applying the dialectic," they are talking about What Marc1152 said about Judaism: two Yeshiva students arguing with eachother, or what Scientists say about scientific research- conducting experiments with trial and error. Theology does not work this way. God is eternal and revealed Himself to the apostles, from whom we already have the basics of the Christian faith. The teachings of the early church are enough to describe it.

There is a second misconception: They misunderstand what is the focus of "theology." Theology, θεολογία, or Bogoslovie are Words about God.

Byzantine Catholics teach they have "Orthodox theology". They explain that what this means is that they use a "mystical approach" to discover their doctrines. And guess what? All these doctrines just happen to be the same ones as the Pope.

"Liberation Theology" and "eastern Catholic theology" are not in fact "theologies." They are both just movements in Catholicism that practice Social Justice and Orthodox rituals, respectively.

There is no such thing as "Liberation Theology" or "eastern Catholic theology". There are only a social justice movement and a Catholic jurisdiction with Orthodox customs.

 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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I wrote this about five years ago, long before I was Orthodox. But I still feel essentially the same today.


Conservative Evangelicals criticize "liberation theology" as misdiagnosing man’s most dire need: liberation not from political or socio-economic oppression, but liberation from one’s own sin.  But how can a man realize his own sin if he is continually brutalized and oppressed by the sin of others?  How can a starving man be burdened by his own sin when he is burdened by a hunger that stems from the unmitigated greed of overly satiated men?  How can the slave feel the sting of his own sin when he constantly feels the sting of his master’s whip?  And how can the indigenous peoples of the earth weep over their own sin when their hearts are broken over the rape, plunder, and emaciation of their native lands by those who call themselves “Christians?”     

If Evangelical Christians are truly concerned about spreading the gospel of individual salvation, then Evangelicals should assist those processes of liberation from political, social, and circumstantial bondage that would result in a cultural context and climate that would enable individuals to introspectively examine their own personal sins.

The urgent need of the oppressed is social liberation. The urgent need of the oppressor is spiritual salvation!



Selam 
 

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Yeah, like I said, Liberation theology and Church-based subversion is about as common as dirt in the US, where even demagogue bishops will get in on the action whenever they get the "opportunity." Smarmy.



Well, I think that's about all the nausea that I can stomach.


Kudos to the moderators et al by the way: good job, dummmies!



For calling the users and mods dummies, you're being placed on 40-day Post Moderation.  You can PM freely, and you can post, but your posts will not appear on the forum until they are approved by a moderator.

If you feel this warning is in error, feel free to PM Fr. Chris.

- Fr. George, Global Moderator
 

jnorm888

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rakovsky said:
Marxism's tenets stand in direct contradiction to those of the church.

Marxism is utilitarian; Christianity is transcendant. Marxism declares its historical inevitability--it is humanity's fate and we will, inevitably, succumb to it (over 100 million people have been murdered in the 20th century in an attempt to achieve this result); Christianity declares that God has created us in His own image to be as free as He is--free even to disbelieve in Him if we wish. Marxism is founded on envy, greed and covetousness--all sins in the Christian ethic; Christianity is founded on humility, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and love. Marxism is an essentially a nihilisitic and pessimistic philosophy. Christianity is essentially an optimistic philosophy, filled with hope and spiritual victory.
You are completely wrong about Marxism, but you are completely right about Christianity. For the church, that's enough.

You are wrong about Marxism- it seeks to overcome current exploitation, it abhors bloody totalitarianism like the Inquisition and Stalinism, it is based on sharing and generosity, all Christian virtues, and it's optimistic about a better future society. Assuming representative Democracy and economic Marxism are right, though, should we teach them in seminary? Are they part of our faith? How about Tsarist monarchy and capitalism?

I feel that you are right- Christianity is transcendant.

Regards.
Marxism/Communism/Socialism seems to want to kill 25% of the population. It sees itself as social Scientism. There are better alternatives to both Marxism/Communism/Socialism and Capitalism.

Have you ever considered Distributism?
http://distributistreview.com/mag/ (The Distributist Review)

I am a Distributist, and there are others on this forum that are as well.










ICXC NIKA
 

jnorm888

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visitor said:
rakovsky said:
With all due respect, you(Saint Thieu) and Fabio make the same mistake Boff does. There is no such thing as "liberation theology" or "Eastern Catholic theology." It is impossible. God is eternal without change.

At best, you can try to "understand" the development of Christian society with Marxism. This is not "theology."

Try reading the Ukrainian Catholic books sometimes. They talk about how they have a "mystical", "Orthodox" approach to "theology" that just happens to lead them to the same conclusions as Rome. They call this "eastern theology." This is not "theology."

Regards.
No, there's never a contradiction between "justice" and "what's right" and "theology" and Christ and St. Paul and Moses and Marx.

So you admitted that you are an "economic" Marxist. But your morality is Marxist too... which is probably the foundation of your economic position. It's like I said, the economic side is a posteriori to the cognition, moral theory, and sociology. You see, Marxist theory doesn't hinge upon science anymore, and hasn't for a long time---I really don't know why people's ideas about what Marxism means stop at about 1899. The theory has been developing every year like clockwork. Capital itself has become a power category only more or less peripherally associated with economics.

And you are propagandizing for it! Covering it up while simultaneously defending it and historicizing it again and again. You must be joking when you say that you are worried about the future of Orthodoxy.

It always starts out about "justice" and "equality." But in the end the Church is suppressed. And if you think that it isn't suppressed in the everlovin' United States, you've got another political activism coming.

..Worried about the future of Orthodoxy indeed. No, no. You're right. We really should forget politics altogether and start working tirelessly to save ourselves against the Protestants. That will fix everything right up.

You are right about Marxism. People seem to have short memory of what happened in Eastern Europe, Cuba and Asia. And now Veniswala.

It seems as if the advocates in America and Western Europe can only say "Oh, well they are not practicing true Marxism. We wouldn't do it that way"

But everyone knows that as soon as they get into power then it's the same old same old Marxism as usual. And yes they will suppress Christianity just like they always do and have done elsewhere. And yes they are trying to suppress it now.










ICXC NIKA



Gratuitous political commentary removed from post per forum prohibition against posting politics on a public thread  -PtA
 

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Fabio Leite said:
Marxism preaches the total overthrowing of the "cruel" systems of the world and of the "evil" elites.

Here is its contradiction.

To do that, the revolutionary group - be it the party, the movement, the network - has to, itself, become more powerful than all the "evil" elite groups put together. Its new system has to be *more* repressive than the current system if it is to control it.

So Marxism, socialism and all revolutionary movements, necessarily, lead to dictatorship. Those that are not there yet, are not there *just* yet. They are halted in the middle of the process, but, if they are to follow due course, they will get to the dictatorship point.

This is not a divergence of some socialist countries and one that can be avoided. It is an inevitable necessity due to the very nature of the socialist proposal.

The Museums of Communism are just evidence of that:
http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/museum/musframe.htm
I agree!
 

jnorm888

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rakovsky said:
JNorm,

You are right insofar as Marxism can't be applied to Christian theology. It is impossible. When they talk about "applying the dialectic," they are talking about What Marc1152 said about Judaism: two Yeshiva students arguing with eachother, or what Scientists say about scientific research- conducting experiments with trial and error. Theology does not work this way. God is eternal and revealed Himself to the apostles, from whom we already have the basics of the Christian faith. The teachings of the early church are enough to describe it.

There is a second misconception: They misunderstand what is the focus of "theology." Theology, θεολογία, or Bogoslovie are Words about God.

Byzantine Catholics teach they have "Orthodox theology". They explain that what this means is that they use a "mystical approach" to discover their doctrines. And guess what? All these doctrines just happen to be the same ones as the Pope.

"Liberation Theology" and "eastern Catholic theology" are not in fact "theologies." They are both just movements in Catholicism that practice Social Justice and Orthodox rituals, respectively.

There is no such thing as "Liberation Theology" or "eastern Catholic theology". There are only a social justice movement and a Catholic jurisdiction with Orthodox customs.
I agree!
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Fabio Leite said:
Marxism preaches the total overthrowing of the "cruel" systems of the world and of the "evil" elites.
Why do you place these terms in quotes?  Surely the apartheid government of South Africa, the Belgians in the Congo, and the Portuguese in Angola and Namibia could be described in such language without exaggeration.  If not Marxism, than you would condone an alternative revolution of some sort?  For surely, systems based on white supremacy cannot be allowed to stand.  I know you’re not suggesting that the people who find themselves under the heel of such despots simply resign themselves to their fate.  In some cases (such as Angola and Namibia) the Marxists were the only ones interested in helping the people to free themselves from unspeakable cruelty.  Were they to reject such help and accept life in a system ruled by those who thought themselves racially and culturally superior, people who were indeed evil and cruel?


rakovsky said:
I was impressed on my trips to Sweden and Belarus with how much more organized and better things were in a material way than in other western, and eastern countries, respectively.
I’ve never been to Belarus, but I have been to Western Europe, and I have to agree that I don’t see Sweden degenerating into a dictatorship anytime soon.

rakovsky said:
However, you can have a great economic system, perfect politics, and still be missing something. Maybe that is why I keep coming attending church and reading about Christianity.
Amen!  Well said.

rakovsky said:
JNorm,

You are right insofar as Marxism can't be applied to Christian theology. It is impossible. When they talk about "applying the dialectic," they are talking about What Marc1152 said about Judaism: two Yeshiva students arguing with eachother, or what Scientists say about scientific research- conducting experiments with trial and error. Theology does not work this way. God is eternal and revealed Himself to the apostles, from whom we already have the basics of the Christian faith. The teachings of the early church are enough to describe it.

There is a second misconception: They misunderstand what is the focus of "theology." Theology, θεολογία, or Bogoslovie are Words about God.

Byzantine Catholics teach they have "Orthodox theology". They explain that what this means is that they use a "mystical approach" to discover their doctrines. And guess what? All these doctrines just happen to be the same ones as the Pope.

"Liberation Theology" and "eastern Catholic theology" are not in fact "theologies." They are both just movements in Catholicism that practice Social Justice and Orthodox rituals, respectively.

There is no such thing as "Liberation Theology" or "eastern Catholic theology". There are only a social justice movement and a Catholic jurisdiction with Orthodox customs.
I agree.  This is 100% correct.  It occurs to me that for some populations, there is no “secular world”.  An Orthodox priest from the Balkans once told me, “The Orthodox Christian imbibes his Faith with his mother’s milk”.  In other words, his faith is integral and intrinsic to his being.  It informs everything he does.  He cannot separate it from himself.  This is true, to one extent or another, for other populations around the globe as well, often people of a basic, simple faith.

It would be only natural for people such as these to see their oppression and exploitation, be it by the Ottoman Turks, white supremacist slave masters, foreign imperialists, or whoever else, in religious terms.  Even the fathers of the American Revolution, who were a mixed bag of Protestants, Masons, and Deists, couched their revolution in religious terminology.  I don’t think it’s disingenuous to do so.  It’s no co-opting or misappropriating the Gospel to use the terminology employed by the Greek and Serbian leaders I cited above, or the Christian Abolitionists Second Chance made reference to in the other thread.  It’s logical and natural because Christianity is the driving force behind such people’s very existence.

Rather, it is not only disingenuous, but an anti-Christian distortion of the Gospel to suggest that some people are the “divinely appointed betters” of others, and that there are “natural and measurable differences” which make some populations a “master race” and others fit to be their slaves.

I agree with Rakovsky and JNorm that a “liberation theology” is somewhat superfluous, as Christianity itself precludes the possibility of supporting “slave-owners, right-wing dictatorships, wealthy land barons, and the like.”

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Conservative Evangelicals criticize "liberation theology" as misdiagnosing man’s most dire need: liberation not from political or socio-economic oppression, but liberation from one’s own sin.  But how can a man realize his own sin if he is continually brutalized and oppressed by the sin of others?  How can a starving man be burdened by his own sin when he is burdened by a hunger that stems from the unmitigated greed of overly satiated men?  How can the slave feel the sting of his own sin when he constantly feels the sting of his master’s whip?  And how can the indigenous peoples of the earth weep over their own sin when their hearts are broken over the rape, plunder, and emaciation of their native lands by those who call themselves “Christians?”      

If Evangelical Christians are truly concerned about spreading the gospel of individual salvation, then Evangelicals should assist those processes of liberation from political, social, and circumstantial bondage that would result in a cultural context and climate that would enable individuals to introspectively examine their own personal sins.

The urgent need of the oppressed is social liberation. The urgent need of the oppressor is spiritual salvation!

Amen, Gebre!  Thanks for this excellent post.



Sorry, but ANY discussion of politics on the Public Forum is a violation of forum policy, so I edited out your commentary on U.S. politics to enforce compliance.  I did make a copy of the original text of your post, however, in the case you wish to have your political commentary be the subject of its own thread on the private Politics board, a place for subscribers only to discuss political matters freely apart from the public boards that all can read.  If you wish to participate in the Private Forum, please send Fr. Chris a private message expressing your desire.  -PtA
 

rakovsky

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
I wrote this about five years ago, long before I was Orthodox. But I still feel essentially the same today.


Conservative Evangelicals criticize "liberation theology" as misdiagnosing man’s most dire need: liberation not from political or socio-economic oppression, but liberation from one’s own sin.  But how can a man realize his own sin if he is continually brutalized and oppressed by the sin of others?  How can a starving man be burdened by his own sin when he is burdened by a hunger that stems from the unmitigated greed of overly satiated men?  How can the slave feel the sting of his own sin when he constantly feels the sting of his master’s whip?  And how can the indigenous peoples of the earth weep over their own sin when their hearts are broken over the rape, plunder, and emaciation of their native lands by those who call themselves “Christians?”       

If Evangelical Christians are truly concerned about spreading the gospel of individual salvation, then Evangelicals should assist those processes of liberation from political, social, and circumstantial bondage that would result in a cultural context and climate that would enable individuals to introspectively examine their own personal sins.

The urgent need of the oppressed is social liberation. The urgent need of the oppressor is spiritual salvation!



Selam


Good point. What about how religion was very inspirational to Christians in the Abolition movement?
 

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jnorm888 said:
Marxism/Communism/Socialism seems to want to kill 25% of the population.
It seems as if the advocates in America and Western Europe can only say "Oh, well they are not practicing true Marxism. We wouldn't do it that way"

But everyone knows that as soon as they get into power then it's the same old same old Marxism as usual. And yes they will suppress Christianity just like they always do and have done elsewhere. And yes they are trying to suppress it now.
Jnorm,

The Social Democratic Party of Sweden has been in power for the last 80 years almost constantly. Greece's Prime Minister is the president of the Socialist International.

When the American Revolutionaries got into power, there were some reprisals. There was actually a Civil War during the US Revolution. But in some other countries, democracies were created without killing anybody.

The point is that where there's an oppressive autocracy like colonial Britain in 1776, a violent revolution and war becomes more likely. But in other cases Socialists and democrats took power without it.

Then there were other times like in Chile when Socialists took power with voting, but the capitalists crushed it and killed thousands of people.

The distributionism sounds interesting.

Regards.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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jnorm888 said:
rakovsky said:
Marxism's tenets stand in direct contradiction to those of the church.

Marxism is utilitarian; Christianity is transcendant. Marxism declares its historical inevitability--it is humanity's fate and we will, inevitably, succumb to it (over 100 million people have been murdered in the 20th century in an attempt to achieve this result); Christianity declares that God has created us in His own image to be as free as He is--free even to disbelieve in Him if we wish. Marxism is founded on envy, greed and covetousness--all sins in the Christian ethic; Christianity is founded on humility, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and love. Marxism is an essentially a nihilisitic and pessimistic philosophy. Christianity is essentially an optimistic philosophy, filled with hope and spiritual victory.
You are completely wrong about Marxism, but you are completely right about Christianity. For the church, that's enough.

You are wrong about Marxism- it seeks to overcome current exploitation, it abhors bloody totalitarianism like the Inquisition and Stalinism, it is based on sharing and generosity, all Christian virtues, and it's optimistic about a better future society. Assuming representative Democracy and economic Marxism are right, though, should we teach them in seminary? Are they part of our faith? How about Tsarist monarchy and capitalism?

I feel that you are right- Christianity is transcendant.

Regards.
Marxism/Communism/Socialism seems to want to kill 25% of the population. It sees itself as social Scientism. There are better alternatives to both Marxism/Communism/Socialism and Capitalism.

Have you ever considered Distributism?
http://distributistreview.com/mag/ (The Distributist Review)

I am a Distributist, and there are others on this forum that are as well.
JNorm, I looked at the website you linked to.  It reminds me of the wrtings of Hilaire Belloc.  He traces capitalism and the atheistic variety of communism to what he identifies (rightly, in my judgement) as the "collection of heresies know as Protestantism".  A piece of his I enjoyed from The Great Heresies that is within the context of this discussion:

This is the modern enemy; this is that rising flood; the greatest
and what may prove to be the final struggle between the Church and the
world.  We must judge it principally by its fruits; and these fruits,
though not yet mature, are already apparent. What are those fruits?

       First, we are witnessing a revival of slavery, the necessary
result of denying free will when that denial goes one step beyond Calvin and denies responsibility to God as well as lack of power in man. The two forms of slavery which are gradually appearing and will as time goes on be more and more matured under the effect of the modern attack upon the Faith, are slavery to the State and slavery to private corporations and individuals.

       Terms are used so loosely nowadays; there is such a paralysis in the power of definition, that almost any sentence using current phrases may be misinterpreted. If I were to say, "slavery under capitalism," the word "capitalism" would mean different things to different men. It means to one group of writers (what I must confess it means to me when I use it) "the exploitation of the masses of men still free by a few owners of the means of production, transport and exchange." When the mass of men are dispossessed_own nothing_they become wholly dependent upon the owners; and when those owners are in active competition to lower the cost of production the mass of men whom they exploit not only lack the power to order their own lives, but suffer from want and insecurity as well.

But to another man, the term "capitalism" may mean simply the right to private property; yet to another it means industrial capitalism working with machines, and contrasted with agricultural production. I repeat, to get any sense into the discussion, we must have our terms clearly defined.

       When the reigning Pope in his Encyclical talked of men reduced "to a condition not far removed from slavery," he meant just what has been said above. When the mass of families in a State are without property, then those who were once citizens become virtually slaves. The more the State steps in to enforce conditions of security and sufficiency; the more it regulates wages, provides compulsory insurance, doctoring, education, and in general takes over the lives of the wage-earners, for the benefit of the companies and men employing the wage-earners, the more is this condition of semi-slavery accentuated. And if it be continued for, say, three generations, it will become so thoroughly established as a social habit and frame of mind that there may be no escape from it in the countries where State Socialism of this kind has been forged and riveted
On the body politic.
For Belloc, as well as most of us in this discussion, Christianity was the be-all-end-all.
 

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I don't think Liberation Theology is best described as a "theology," rather it is an application of Christian social justice ideas to society. Antonius' proclamation by the Serbs was a good example. I don't think this movement is necessarily Marxist. For example, Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker movement is anarchist or anarcho-communist, and I would consider it part of the Liberation Theology movement. The homeless shelter Emmaus House in NY is related to the Catholic Worker movement.

Orthodoxy accommodates lots of groups, because it transcends politics. We in OCA have bishops who served in the US army. ROCOR has Tsarists. Liberation Theology is no more Theology than "Old Calendar Theology." There is only Orthodox theology and ways people try to put their faith into practice.


That said, I'd like to give an example of the ideas of the "Liberation Theology" movement.

Sabeel is a group that advocates for [mostly Orthodox] Christians in the Holy Land. Orthodox churches and people are involved with Sabeel.

From Sabeel's Website:


Sabeel Purpose Statement

http://www.sabeel.org/

Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. Inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, this liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, promote unity among them, and lead them to social action. Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, non-violence, liberation, and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities.




Palestinian Liberation Theology

Palestinian Liberation Theology is an ecumenical grassroots movement, rooted in Christian Biblical interpretation and nourished by the hopes, dreams and struggles of the Palestinian people.   Originating in the land where Christ lived, this theology seeks to provide a holistic vision of God‘s redeeming activity in the midst of the current reality. In a situation where justice has been long neglected, Palestinian Liberation Theology opens new horizons of understanding for the pursuit of a just peace and for the reconciliation proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By learning from Jesus - his life under occupation and his response to injustice - this theology hopes to connect the true meaning of Christian faith with the daily lives of all those who suffer under occupation, violence, discrimination, and human rights violations. Additionally, this blossoming theological effort promotes a more accurate international awareness of the current political situation and encourages Christians from around the world to work for justice and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

History of Sabeel

In 1989 an ad hoc committee was formed to implement, on a practical level, a Palestinian Liberation Theology.  On a pastoral level, some of the Palestinian clergy were listening to the cries of the people at the grassroots. They felt the need to respond not only to their physical sufferings, but also to the way these sufferings were being aggravated by the religious argument in the political conflict. People where asking "Where is God in all of this oppression and injustice?" We needed to work out a Palestinian theology of liberation as a pastoral response to such questions. Many of the Palestinian Christians also wanted to abandon the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, which was being used to justify their suffering. As Christians, however, the Bible is essential to our faith, so it was necessary to find in the Bible the God of justice, the God who is concerned with the oppressed.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Why do you place these terms in quotes? 
Where do you live? Unless it is in Marxist countries likes Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela or in one of the countries you mentioned, I think it is you who have to explain why such delighful societies, so full of liberty and human hope, are better off now. They were not freed. They just changed the chains. And for heavier chains I'd say. "Cruel" is in quotes because marxists *love* to live under the protection and benefits of the very systems they want to overthrow. And that is for one very simple reason: they do not want to free anyone. They just want to be the new overlords. More often they are like kids who love to shout at their parents, who they know love them and will protect them, but when a real bully comes by than they become passive apple polishers and all their bravado against oppression fades aways. Mosque on ground zero is a case in point. The love of dictators by the "progressives" is another. Surely an elected president, even if not a brilliant one, is more of a threat to his own people than a corrupt dictator who never released power over 20 or 30 years.

If not Marxism, than you would condone an alternative revolution of some sort?
There are several non-socialist ideologies, or even non-ideological movements to support freedom from oppression. If someone is stepping on my throat, I don't have to subscribe to a murderous ideology to break the leg of the oppressor. His very action is justification enough for reaction. Marxists, though, because they really want to be the next foot in the boot of oppression, deceive people into thinking that making those boots is the real reason to get rid of the oppressor and not to just be free again.

 
For surely, systems based on white supremacy cannot be allowed to stand.
Is there *any* supremacy that can be allowed to stand? That is exactly what I've been saying. Marxism is not against oppression. It opposes the oppressors only because its proponents wish to become the next oppressors. *Their* supremacy is just, is benevolent, is scientific. It is in fact, despicable, repulsive and blasphemous, by far the most murderous, the most intolerant that has ever existed.

In some cases (such as Angola and Namibia) the Marxists were the only ones interested in helping the people to free themselves from unspeakable cruelty.
What happened in Angola right after independence? An even fiercier and more cruel civil war in which these "benevolent" marxist groups could not give up the idea of being in absolute control of the country. They did not hesitate to kill in barbaric ways the people they had said they wanted to protect, precisely, because, as I said, Marxism does not strive for freedom, but to be the new ruler. To "free" the people from the previous despot is just a necessary step towards being the new despot.

 

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If you're saying that the "theology" bit in the term "liberation theology" is something of a misnomer, that social justice is an inherently Christian concept, that Orthodoxy transcends politics, and that individuals within the Orthodox Church can be Orthodox in theology while subscribing to a wide variety of divergent political and economic systems (liberal, conservative, monarchist, capitalist, distributionist, socialist, communist, et cetera) then I am in full agreement with you.

As for Sabeel, it seems like an organization I could support wholeheartedly.  Such a philosophy seems a natural response for Christians who find themselves in such circumstances.  And Emmaus house is a great blessing both to those it serves and to those who serve within it.  I know some of the clergy and laity affiliated with this ministry personally, and they are certainly sincere and thoroughly Orthodox individuals.  May God bless their efforts.

http://emmaushouse-harlem.org/
 

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Fabio Leite said:
Where do you live? Unless it is in Marxist countries likes Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela or in one of the countries you mentioned, I think it is you who have to explain why such delighful societies, so full of liberty and human hope, are better off now.
I don’t have to explain any such thing, as I never claimed that any such societies were “delightful” places to live or anything of the kind.  I merely asked why you put the words “cruel” and “evil” in quotes as if the societies I had referenced previously (South Africa, et cetera) were not “cruel” and “evil”.  Please don’t put words in my mouth and try to make me into an apologist for Kim Jong Il or anyone else.  I am not.

I never said I was a convinced Marxist, although I am fervently anti-colonialist, so kindly direct such arguments to those who have articulated them. (If, indeed, anyone has at all.)

Fabio Leite said:
They were not freed. They just changed the chains. And for heavier chains I'd say. "Cruel" is in quotes because marxists *love* to live under the protection and benefits of the very systems they want to overthrow.
Perhaps that is true in some societies (I’m not sure that it is) but it certainly wasn’t true in the societies I’d named.  Marxist or not, there was no room for a dissenting, anti-colonialist individual in the Belgian Congo, South Africa, Namibia, or Angola.  Those governments provided “protection and benefits” for the colonizers only, and they needed to be destroyed and overthrown as much as the governments of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini.

Fabio Leite said:
And that is for one very simple reason: they do not want to free anyone. They just want to be the new overlords. More often they are like kids who love to shout at their parents, who they know love them and will protect them, but when a real bully comes by than they become passive apple polishers and all their bravado against oppression fades aways. Mosque on ground zero is a case in point. The love of dictators by the "progressives" is another. Surely an elected president, even if not a brilliant one, is more of a threat to his own people than a corrupt dictator who never released power over 20 or 30 years.
Again, that argument may apply to some societies (I believe here you are talking about the United States) but it definitely doesn’t apply to the cases I’d mentioned.  Casting the Belgians, the Boers, or the Portuguese as the “parents” of the people they’d enslaved and brutalized is patronizing and inaccurate.  They never “loved” or “protected” their African subjects.  And far from hiding behind their coattails, the indigenous peoples of those nations rose up and faced them, in two cases driving them into the sea and in the third bringing down their hateful government.

The US situation you’re referencing has nothing to do with what I was talking about and I do not desire to see American democracy supplanted or overthrown.

Fabio Leite said:
There are several non-socialist ideologies, or even non-ideological movements to support freedom from oppression. If someone is stepping on my throat, I don't have to subscribe to a murderous ideology to break the leg of the oppressor. His very action is justification enough for reaction. Marxists, though, because they really want to be the next foot in the boot of oppression, deceive people into thinking that making those boots is the real reason to get rid of the oppressor and not to just be free again.
That is exactly my point!  In the case of Angola and Namibia, the Marxists were the only ones willing to help get the imperialist boot off of the African neck!  For some ungodly reason, the Western powers supported cruel, evil, and racist South Africa!  At that point and time, if I were an Angolan or a Namibian, and my choices were to fight and lose against the South Africans without Soviet and Cuban aid, or accept their support and have a chance to win, I think it’s obvious that any sane man would prefer the latter.  As to the real motives of the foreign Marxists in this struggle, I’m not sure that we can say that they were any less noble than those of the Western democracies who backed the evil empires of Portugal and South Africa.

Perhaps if a non-ideological (or democratic) alternative had a realistic chance of success in one of those scenarios, some leader would have taken the plunge in one of those directions, but since the western powers made it clear that they were interested in propping up the diabolical imperialist governments, and since any purely indigenous movements would have been crushed by the overwhelming force of South Africa's intervening army, some sort of foreign support was necessary, and the Cubans and Russians were the only game in town.

Fabio Leite said:
Is there *any* supremacy that can be allowed to stand? That is exactly what I've been saying. Marxism is not against oppression. It opposes the oppressors only because its proponents wish to become the next oppressors. *Their* supremacy is just, is benevolent, is scientific. It is in fact, despicable, repulsive and blasphemous, by far the most murderous, the most intolerant that has ever existed.
Well, now we’re getting into a “my oppressor is uglier than yours" contest, because I would categorize rightwing, segregationist, racist and racialist societies (Nazi Germany, the Union of South African, the Jim Crow South) as the most murderous, most intolerant, most despicable, and above all, most blasphemous societies that ever existed, because racism is completely incompatible and antithetical to Christianity, and flies in the face of the Christian notion of man as the ruler of God’s creation and all men being made in the image and likeness of God.

Fabio Leite said:
What happened in Angola right after independence? An even fiercier and more cruel civil war in which these "benevolent" marxist groups could not give up the idea of being in absolute control of the country. They did not hesitate to kill in barbaric ways the people they had said they wanted to protect, precisely, because, as I said, Marxism does not strive for freedom, but to be the new ruler. To "free" the people from the previous despot is just a necessary step towards being the new despot
I agree up to a point, but much of this was due to foreign intervention.  Spiteful, angry Portugal, which truly needed the resources of its lost colonies, supported the FNLA and UNITA and deliberately tried to undermine the new government.  To their shame, my country and yours (the USA and Brazil) supported bitter Portugal and racist South Africa (which was keen on having a white-run buffer against the rest of what they called “hostile Black Africa”), in this disgraceful action.   Otherwise, the MPLA might have been able to make a go of it.

And as Rakovsky pointed out, the same can be said of other societies created by revolutions as well, including my own beloved USA.  I support the United States as an integral whole, and I’ve argued with pro-Confederacy historians online and in person who contended that the American Civil War was just an extension of the American Revolution and that the Confederates were the legitimate heirs of the Revolution while the “Yankees” were the illegitimate despots.  Of course, I believe that those who make such contentions are wrong, but this demonstrates that this sort of thinking is not limited to Marxist revolutions.

Edit: My post above this one was directed to Rakovsky, obviously.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
I wrote this about five years ago, long before I was Orthodox. But I still feel essentially the same today.


Conservative Evangelicals criticize "liberation theology" as misdiagnosing man’s most dire need: liberation not from political or socio-economic oppression, but liberation from one’s own sin.  But how can a man realize his own sin if he is continually brutalized and oppressed by the sin of others?  How can a starving man be burdened by his own sin when he is burdened by a hunger that stems from the unmitigated greed of overly satiated men?  How can the slave feel the sting of his own sin when he constantly feels the sting of his master’s whip?  And how can the indigenous peoples of the earth weep over their own sin when their hearts are broken over the rape, plunder, and emaciation of their native lands by those who call themselves “Christians?”       

If Evangelical Christians are truly concerned about spreading the gospel of individual salvation, then Evangelicals should assist those processes of liberation from political, social, and circumstantial bondage that would result in a cultural context and climate that would enable individuals to introspectively examine their own personal sins.

The urgent need of the oppressed is social liberation. The urgent need of the oppressor is spiritual salvation!



Selam   



I hope in the past five years you have matured beyond the romanticism of your sentiments. They are beautifully written and undoubtedly heartfelt--almost poetry, really, but they are hardly a substitute for sober reasoning and judgment. With much regards, Kyrill
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
As for Sabeel, it seems like an organization I could support wholeheartedly.  Such a philosophy seems a natural response for Christians who find themselves in such circumstances.  And Emmaus house is a great blessing both to those it serves and to those who serve within it.  I know some of the clergy and laity affiliated with this ministry personally, and they are certainly sincere and thoroughly Orthodox individuals.  May God bless their efforts.

http://emmaushouse-harlem.org/
Antonius,

I have a friend who goes to a ROCOR church in Pittsburgh. He is spending his summer at Emmaus House, I think. Would you like to say a few words about your meeting with the Emmaus House staff?

Regards.
 

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Well, I know an Orthodox priest who does quite a bit of work with the homeless when he's not serving in his parish.  I won't post his name here, because he hates publicity, and it was he who imparted to me this bit of wisdom:

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." (Gospel of St. Matthew 6:2)

A few years back, this priest, knowing my personal leanings as it pertains to service to the poor and social justice, invited me to join him in this service whenever my schedule permitted.  His service is primarily carried out in another city, not NYC, but he told me about a place in Harlem where the Orthodox were doing good work among the poor.  He said that that the place was established by a Roman Catholic (Melkite) priest, who was later received into Orthodoxy, and that this priest was the driving force behind the endeavor.  This turned out to be Fr. David Kirk, a most remarkable man.  Unfortunately, I never got to meet Fr. David before he passed away, but thanks to this other priest, I did get to meet some of the volunteers and see the facilities.  I even heard that there was talk of getting an Orthodox Christian school established in the community, but that was some years ago.

It is beautiful to see Orthodox Christians living the Gospel in this fashion.

Fr. David was a most remarkable man, and I pray that the seed he planted in the Harlem community continues to grow and thrive.  A link to a website dedicated to his remarkable story, and some photoss of him as well.

http://www.fatherdavidkirk.com/









 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
If you're saying that the "theology" bit in the term "liberation theology" is something of a misnomer, that social justice is an inherently Christian concept, that Orthodoxy transcends politics, and that individuals within the Orthodox Church can be Orthodox in theology while subscribing to a wide variety of divergent political and economic systems (liberal, conservative, monarchist, capitalist, distributionist, socialist, communist, et cetera) then I am in full agreement with you.
Antonius,

Yes, exactly so.

Antonious Nikolas said:
And Emmaus house is a great blessing both to those it serves and to those who serve within it.  I know some of the clergy and laity affiliated with this ministry personally, and they are certainly sincere and thoroughly Orthodox individuals.  May God bless their efforts.

http://emmaushouse-harlem.org/
Thanks very much for posting the information about Emmaus House. The Lord gave a parable where He thanked those who fed and clothed Him, and they were very surprised and asked when they did this.

Antonious Nikolas said:
As for Sabeel, it seems like an organization I could support wholeheartedly.  Such a philosophy seems a natural response for Christians who find themselves in such circumstances.  
I'm glad you like it. I attended a conference of Sabeel in Pittsburgh in 2006. They talked about their work helping mostly Orthodox Christians in Palestine, we had some good middle-eastern food for a meal, I liked talking to the Palestinian Christians. One of them had a brother in Kansas who was an Anthiochian priest involved in Sabeel.

It seems that the "philosophy" of "Liberation Theology" seems to me applying Christian ideas to the situations of oppression you described with the Serbian independence proclamation from the Turks' domination.

Sabeel means "The Way," which suggests to me that Peace is the best way, but maybe Sabeel, the Way, is suggesting something else, like "the Way of the Cross," "God's Way," or "the Christian Way?"

I'll quote some more from Sabeel's description of "Liberation Theology."



What is "liberation theology"?

Liberation theologies recognize that faith addresses the whole of personal and social life from a faith perspective. Thus a Palestinian liberation theology necessarily addresses the political and social systems that are obstructing justice and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians and seeks to change those toward social and political patterns that will express just relationships.
http://www.fosna.org/faq/what-liberation-theology
Sabeel is an ecumenical peace center in Jerusalem that applies liberation theology as the basic Christian framework for understanding the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Arabic word Sabeel means “the way” or a “spring or source of water.”
http://www.fosna.org/content/philadelphia-conference-report

In this announcement, Sabeel relates its Liberation Theology to Bishop Tutu work for South Africans' liberation.

Tutu honors Palestinian Christian group Sabeel by lending his name as its international patron
http://www.fosna.org/content/tutu-honors-palestinian-christian-group-sabeel-lending-his-name-its-international-patron

Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accepted the role of Patron of Sabeel International to assist the Palestinian Christian organization in its outreach and development work with Christian churches around the world. Based in Jerusalem, Sabeel is an ecumenical effort of the Palestinian churches of the Holy Land following the precepts of liberation theology, a worldwide grassroots spiritual movement that interprets the Bible and Christianity from the perspective of the poor and oppressed.

In March this year Tutu submitted the final report of his Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a seven-year process of testimonials by almost 20,000 individuals, both the enforcers and victims of South Africa’s apartheid system, resulting in applications for amnesty and financial reparations for victims. The truth and reconciliation model has been duplicated in over a dozen countries and credited as a major contribution to international law. Tutu is widely recognized as a world leader speaking on behalf of the oppressed and promoting non-violent methods of resistance in their struggles for liberation.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Well, I know an Orthodox priest who does quite a bit of work with the homeless when he's not serving in his parish.  I won't post his name here, because he hates publicity, and it was he who imparted to me this bit of wisdom:

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." (Gospel of St. Matthew 6:2)

A few years back, this priest, knowing my personal leanings as it pertains to service to the poor and social justice, invited me to join him in this service whenever my schedule permitted.  His service is primarily carried out in another city
Antonius,

What kind of service does he do?

he told me about a place in Harlem where the Orthodox were doing good work among the poor.  He said that that the place was established by a Roman Catholic (Melkite) priest, who was later received into Orthodoxy, and that this priest was the driving force behind the endeavor.  This turned out to be Fr. David Kirk, a most remarkable man.  Unfortunately, I never got to meet Fr. David before he passed away, but I did get to meet some of the volunteers and see the facilities.
[/quote]

What was it like on your visit?




I find the stories of Jews who become Christian very inspiring.

Here is Mark Braverman on Liberation Theology.

Mark Braverman is a Jewish American with deep family roots in the Holy Land. Mark now devotes himself full-time to the cause for peace in historic Palestine. In his work he focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse on Israel/Palestine and the future of interfaith relations. Mark serves on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel North American.

Justice at the Gate: the Role of our Faith Traditions in Healing the Holy Land
http://www.fosna.org/files/fosna/file/BravermanCedarFallsOctober8_2009-2.doc

Liberation theology provides the key to finding our way through this difficult period of history.  The gospels, as the record of Jesus’ teachings, is the record of a movement of social transformation, of nonviolent resistance to the evil of empire.  I find myself saying to Christians who seek a devotional pilgrimage to the Holy Land:  Yes!  Go!  Walk, as they say, where Jesus walked!  For, if you do go and indeed see what is to be seen, you will not only walk where he walked but you will see what he saw.

And then, you will return to your Bibles and understand the origin of Christianity as a movement of nonviolent resistance to the forces that would remove women and men from the source of their strength and from knowledge of God’s love. And yes, Jesus was opposing the Jewish client government in Jerusalem as much as he was opposing Rome itself.  He was, as a Jew, saying to his people and to his followers:  this empire is trying to make an end of us: it is trying to take us away from our core values and away from following God.  And, he was also saying:  as much as violence is the tool that the enemy is using against us, for us violence is not the answer –  in fact it is suicide (Jesus had seen, with his own eyes, the outcome of violent Jewish insurrection) -- but neither is acceptance or collaboration.  We are not allowed to give in, and we are not allowed to give up.

In classic liberation theology, Jesus on the cross is the symbol, the embodiment, if you will, of the suffering of the oppressed.
 

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Liberation theology provides the key to finding our way through this difficult period of history.  The gospels, as the record of Jesus’ teachings, is the record of a movement of social transformation, of nonviolent resistance to the evil of empire.  I find myself saying to Christians who seek a devotional pilgrimage to the Holy Land:  Yes!  Go!  Walk, as they say, where Jesus walked!  For, if you do go and indeed see what is to be seen, you will not only walk where he walked but you will see what he saw.

And then, you will return to your Bibles and understand the origin of Christianity as a movement of nonviolent resistance to the forces that would remove women and men from the source of their strength and from knowledge of God’s love. And yes, Jesus was opposing the Jewish client government in Jerusalem as much as he was opposing Rome itself.  He was, as a Jew, saying to his people and to his followers:  this empire is trying to make an end of us: it is trying to take us away from our core values and away from following God.  And, he was also saying:  as much as violence is the tool that the enemy is using against us, for us violence is not the answer –  in fact it is suicide (Jesus had seen, with his own eyes, the outcome of violent Jewish insurrection) -- but neither is acceptance or collaboration.  We are not allowed to give in, and we are not allowed to give up.

In classic liberation theology, Jesus on the cross is the symbol, the embodiment, if you will, of the suffering of the oppressed.
None of this has any place in Orthodox doctrine and theology, and it is a gross distortion of Christ's mission and sacrifice on earth. He did not come into the world to save the Jews from Roman oppression, He came, and gave His life, to save all humanity from sin, and to destroy the power of Satan over us.

Orthodoxy is nothing less than the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, not a sociopolitical movement or philosophy.
 

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Hm.... St. Nikolai Velimirovich has written a lot on the issue... In a book that's currently available in Greece, it's really astonishing how he used to call "distorted figures of faith" people-Christians who supported Capitalism and he thought that they supported a totally apparent social injustice, condemning people to poverty, famine and death. Moreover, he criticised the pseudoscience upon which the capitalist system is based upon;and that is considering the relations of Capital and Labour as technical and not moral, as they should. Third, in answering a letter by a very "warm-hearted partisan", he said that the Church had never betrayed its first community in which there was no/common property; he added, that it was disrupted, annihilated from the outside, by the hostile powers of the World...

Moreover, I'd have to say, that I consider an Orthodox philosopher's, Nikolai Berdyaev('s) that is(he lived within Russian Diaspora in France since approximately 1922, when the regime judged him as unacceptable), remarks on the issue extremely important; he used to say that Communism(that is Marxism or Marxism-Leninism) is the guilty conscience of unworthy Christians, that has come to teach modern Christians the social duty that they left behind and, well, betrayed. And that's why Christians of his time should, in his view, adopt a humble stance toward those people of these secular social ideologies.
 

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philalethe00 said:
Hm.... St. Nikolai Velimirovich has written a lot on the issue... In a book that's currently available in Greece, it's really astonishing how he used to call "distorted figures of faith" people-Christians who supported Capitalism and he thought that they supported a totally apparent social injustice, condemning people to poverty, famine and death. Moreover, he criticised the pseudoscience upon which the capitalist system is based upon;and that is considering the relations of Capital and Labour as technical and not moral, as they should. Third, in answering a letter by a very "warm-hearted partisan", he said that the Church had never betrayed its first community in which there was no/common property; he added, that it was disrupted, annihilated from the outside, by the hostile powers of the World...
philalethe00,

You are right and made a good point that Christians have social duties.

LBK,

I think you are right that Orthodoxy is nothing less than the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, not a political movement. Christ said that his kingdom was not of this world, meaning that he did not come, as expected, to be a political conqueror.

However, the Old Testament did promise a Messiah who would save Israel from its foreign oppressors. If you understand what "Israel" means in Orthodoxy, and look at the history of the church, you can understand that this prophecy was fulfilled at one point.

And further, I think that Christ promises salvation to Israel from foreign oppressors on more than one level. Are not death and sin also oppressors, and Christ our liberator? How else should we explain God's promise that Israel would be saved from the foreign nations' oppression?

So Orthodoxy does encourage us to act in a Christian way in society, trying to transform our relations with eachother to make it match Christ's example.

Braverman explained that the application of Christian social ideas meant:
the kind of nonviolent resistance represented by Sabeel’s conferences and educational work, by groups of women gathering to support themselves, by families of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost children to the conflict gathering together, by Jewish men who have taken off their uniforms and joined with Palestinian men emerging from Israeli prisons who pledge themselves to reject violence and enmity and to work together for a new society.
It seems that giving Christian conferences and education, women and families working together to support themselves, loving reconciliation by victims, former prison guards and prisoners rejecting hatred and working together are examples of following Christ's teachings.

God Bless!
 

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However, the Old Testament did promise a Messiah who would save Israel from its foreign oppressors.
... but how is this prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament? Where is this idea of "liberation" from "foreign oppressors", the Roman empire in particular, expressed in, say, the hymnography of Holy Week and Pascha? Surely, if such a "liberation" notion is part of Orthodox tradition, then it should be there.

If you can find any confirmation of "liberation theology" as expressed in the quote in posts #63 and #64, (a "theology" which is, as I understand it, not regarded as kosher by the mainstream hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church) in  Orthodox tradition, be it through the Fathers, or, more accessibly, through the liturgical deposit, please post such evidence.
 

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rakovsky said:
Antonius,

What kind of service does he do?
Outreach among the homeless.  He tries to get them off the streets and into a shelter with which he has a relationship.  Basically, washing the feet of the poor.

rakovsky said:
What was it like on your visit?
Pretty much as I’ve described it above.  A very loving atmosphere with very sincere servants.  I also noted with joy that several of the individuals served by this ministry had converted to Orthodoxy because of the witness of those who served them and their work there.  If you’re looking for a detailed description, however, you’d be better served by visiting the website, as it was a brief visit several years ago and I’m not really interested in typing out a detailed travelogue.  

http://emmaushouse-harlem.org/

philalethe00 said:
Hm.... St. Nikolai Velimirovich has written a lot on the issue... In a book that's currently available in Greece, it's really astonishing how he used to call "distorted figures of faith" people-Christians who supported Capitalism and he thought that they supported a totally apparent social injustice, condemning people to poverty, famine and death. Moreover, he criticised the pseudoscience upon which the capitalist system is based upon;and that is considering the relations of Capital and Labour as technical and not moral, as they should. Third, in answering a letter by a very "warm-hearted partisan", he said that the Church had never betrayed its first community in which there was no/common property; he added, that it was disrupted, annihilated from the outside, by the hostile powers of the World...

Moreover, I'd have to say, that I consider an Orthodox philosopher's, Nikolai Berdyaev('s) that is(he lived within Russian Diaspora in France since approximately 1922, when the regime judged him as unacceptable), remarks on the issue extremely important; he used to say that Communism(that is Marxism or Marxism-Leninism) is the guilty conscience of unworthy Christians, that has come to teach modern Christians the social duty that they left behind and, well, betrayed. And that's why Christians of his time should, in his view, adopt a humble stance toward those people of these secular social ideologies.
Amen.  I think this is exactly what Rakovsky was expressing above.  “Liberation Theology” is something of a misnomer.  All of the ideas described by our father St. Nikolai of Zhica (may his prayers and blessing be with us) are nothing novel or revolutionary.  They are, rather, intrinsic to the very nature of Christianity itself.  The sin of greed or the domination and exploitation of one’s fellow man, however, are antithetical to Christianity and not at all justifiable.  I’d very much be interested in reading this book.  Is it available in English?

I think that everything we do should be informed by our Faith.  There is no “secular life”.  To take on social issues using secular humanist “cut flower ethics” is unthinkable to a convinced Christian.  To ignore them, or to endeavor to justify conquest, oppression, or racially based hierarchical systems, is anti-Christian.  When a Christian beholds such, or is forced to live under such a system, he has to address it on Christian terms.

I agree with LBK that “Orthodoxy is nothing less than the revelation of God through Jesus Christ” and that the idea that “Jesus on the cross is the symbol, the embodiment, if you will, of the suffering of the oppressed” is a stretch at best, a distortion of the Scriptures at worst.  However, I have to add that I don’t see how a Christian is supposed to address socio-political issues, whether this means abortion, racism, or the violation of human rights, on secular terms.  I can’t turn my Faith off like a light switch.  It is my sole motivation for all I do.

It is natural for people who are incapable of turning their Christianity off, who see it as an integral part of their everyday lives, to view their existential reality in Christian terms.  So as I said in my previous post, it would be only natural for people who live and breathe the Christian Faith and find themselves abused to see their oppression and exploitation in religious terms.  How could the Greek and Serbian leaders I cited above not see their struggle in a religious context?  How could the abolitionist not?  It’s logical and natural because Christianity is the driving force behind such people’s very existence.

What is unnatural, and anti-Christian, is what the OP has suggested in several threads on these boards, that God created some of us to be slaves and others to be our (and I quote) "divinely appointed betters" because God made some races "naturally superior" and others "naturally inferior".  When Northern Pines and I refuted these notions using the Scriptures and the Fathers, the OP accused us of engaging in "liberation theology", and so he started this thread.  Men created to be masters, and men created to be slaves.  Now there's a gross distortion of the Scriptures that has no place in Orthodox doctrine and theology.
 

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Br. Antonious Nikolas, I must thank you for your interest, it's the book above; in greek, it's called "Slowly does Christ step", or something similar anyway...  :)

The script which is included here and that I was talking about is called "Church and revolutionary pedagogy"; inside this, St. Nikolai argues, that "within Church, pedagogy can only mean one thing; revolution", and he makes a basic distinction between egoist revolutionaries(the most in the world of his days, he says) and Christian revolutionaries, who apply the message that comes out of Christ's teachings: "First, rebel against yourself and, subsequently, against the world." All of St. Nikolai 's writings are deeply fascinating, impresive, not to mention, of course, radical.  :)
 

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I've always loved St. Nikolai.  I have to have this book, and I do have a little Greek, so I will try to find it.  However, if the same works by this great and humble saint are available anywhere in English, that would be even more helpful.  I know he used to live at St. Tikhon's in the USA (I've venerated his relics there, and kissed the doorframe of his cell) so perhaps some of these same works are available in English through their bookstore.  I'll look into it. 

In the meantime, do you know of any place online where I could purchase the Greek text?
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
I've always loved St. Nikolai.  I have to have this book, and I do have a little Greek, so I will try to find it.  However, if the same works by this great and humble saint are available anywhere in English, that would be even more helpful.  I know he used to live at St. Tikhon's in the USA (I've venerated his relics there, and kissed the doorframe of his cell) so perhaps some of these same works are available in English through their bookstore.  I'll look into it.  

In the meantime, do you know of any place online where I could purchase the Greek text?
Yes, I had read somewhere in his biography that he had lived in USA for some time, he had been a professor or Philosophy in Geneve for a great deal of time too...

Regarding where this book could be found online, I've found a couple of links to it from the websites of large bookshops in Greece(and Thessalonika)

1) http://www.ianos.gr/index.asp?park=bk_item&key=0199804 ,

2) http://www.protoporia.gr/product_info.php/products_id/301768

Basically, it's a collection of different writings of St. Nikolai's, so I am not sure if we could easily find it at some edition/publication in english...    :-\

Hope these were of help...   :)
 

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Speaking of "Revolution," here's something I wrote a few years ago FWIW:  

THE SACRED REVOLUTION
As humanity crosses the threshold of a new millennium, we find ourselves in yet another corridor of war, famine, cruelty, and injustice.  Human history has provided the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, the ideals of Romanticism, and the Industrial and technological revolutions; but human suffering is still not abated. The twentieth century demonstrated that neither Communism nor Capitalism could cure the ills of human society, and rather than eradicating man’s inhumanity to man, they only increased it. The gadgets we have produced, the expanses we have crossed, and the amusements we have pursued have only left us mired in more misery and despair. And human inventions and ingenuity have brought us neither closer to each other nor closer to God.

The fallacious endeavors of man to reconstruct society according to ill-conceived mortal philosophies and ideologies always lead to disaster. But the inanity of the human mind is ever at work, seeking to rearrange the world according to its own arrogant designs. This is the poisonous pursuit of politicians. And who can reasonably deny that the net result of human politics has always been violence, division, and discord? Those who attempt to revolutionize society without first seeking a revolution of their own individual spiritual condition are the fools who victimize the masses by their folly.

The remedy and hope for humanity is therefore a sacred revolution.  And the sacred revolution is not a mortal ideology or ism; it is simply the Holy power that infuses individuals, communities, and societies when they submit to Christ, His Word, and His Church. It is ignited when individuals allow themselves to be cleansed and renewed by the redemptive mercy of Our Lord Eyesus Kristos (Jesus Christ). It is the divine spiritual fire that is fueled by the collective worship and service of the body of Christ. By forsaking the worldly fetishes of selfishness, greed, lust, profit, promotion, politics, and pride - and instead embracing the Holy call of sacrifice and service - Christians become the truest revolutionaries.

Sincere analysis will reveal that all of the world’s problems ultimately stem from people seeking something for themselves at the expense of others. And the world is replete with people who attempt to elicit subjective justice while ignoring objective truth. But Our Lord calls us to deny ourselves so that others may gain. He calls us to live for truth even though it causes us to personally suffer. This is the sacred revolution that the world desperately needs before the human race destroys itself by its own wickedness.
 
Truth recognized, embraced, and followed is the most revolutionary force in the universe. And one individual soul that is divinely awakened will inevitably reach out to revolutionize others. So let us examine ourselves. Let us assess whether our lives are creating healing in the world or havoc. Are we revolutionaries or fools? Know that today can be the beginning of a revolutionary life. It is up to us. And as we become fools for Christ, we become the truest revolutionaries.


Selam
 

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LBK said:
However, the Old Testament did promise a Messiah who would save Israel from its foreign oppressors.
... but how is this prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament?
LBK,
In the parable of Jonah, Jonah was swallowed by a Great Fish, and after three days in its belly he was vomited up and preached to Nineveh, and Nineveh repented. As the Russian St Thomas magazine explains, going to the capitol of Nineveh in those days would have been like going to Berlin in Nazi Germany. No independent record remains that Jonah was in fact swallowed by a great fish, or that Nineveh converted to faith in Yahweh.

Christ said that "No sign will be given to this generation but the sign of Jonah." Christ was three days in the heart of the earth, and he was with the apostles when they preached to Rome. It's one of the greatest signs and fullfillments that Rome repented and came to faith in Israel's God.

Where is this idea of "liberation" from "foreign oppressors", the Roman empire in particular, expressed in, say, the hymnography of Holy Week and Pascha? Surely, if such a "liberation" notion is part of Orthodox tradition, then it should be there.
Paskha means "Passover". It commemorates the liberation of Israel from slavery under Egypt and the liberation of Israel from the chains of sin and death. Israel is God's people, and St Paul explains that gentiles are being brought into Israel.

From the Liturgy of St. Basil:
"Remember, O Lord, those who bring offerings and do good in Thy holy churches, and those who remember the
poor.…Fill their treasures with every good thing…support the aged; encourage the faint-hearted…free those who are
held captive by unclean spirits…defend the widows; protect the orphans; free the captives; heal the sick. Remember,
O God, those who are in courts, in mines, in exile, in harsh labor, and those in any kind of affliction, necessity, or
distress, and remember each man and his request, his home and his need. Amen."

If you can find any confirmation of "liberation theology" as expressed in the quote in posts #63 and #64, in  Orthodox tradition, be it through the Fathers
One might look at saints who wrote about Orthodox peoples under the Turks and Mongols.

(a "theology" which is, as I understand it, not regarded as kosher by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church)
1. In the 19th century, the Catholic Church excommunicated all Irish Catholic organizations that tried to get independence. Nowadays, the Catholic Church tries to portray itself as a big traditional supporter of the Irish independence movement. Consequently, the Catholic Church's views on national liberation or theology are hardly serious for us.

Other threads have enough discussion of the Catholic Church repressing Orthodox Church and peoples in Serbia, West Ukraine, and Byzantium.

2. The Catholic Church's leadership has statements showing the same sympathy for occupied Palestinians and understanding of their situation. Further, I remember reading Vatican statements about oppression in general.

The substance is the same, but: There is no such thing as a separate "Liberation Theology" and a formulation that ideas of one people's liberation from slavery, be it Israel from Egypt, Ireland from Britain, or Greece from the Turks, is a separate "theology" is misleading.

The Catholic Church would be right to say that there is no such thing as Liberation "Theology", but it lets Ukrainian Catholics have their illusion that they have a separate "Orthodox Theology" to keep them happy.

Eastern Catholicism describes itself as "Orthodox Theology" because it uses a "mystical approach" to make its theological doctrines. The Liberation Theology movement describes itself as "Liberation Theology" because it uses a "dialectical approach", or "interprets the Bible" in regards to oppressed peoples. Then Eastern Catholics' mystical approach, and Liberation Theology's dialectic approach and interpretations just happen to reach the same conclusions as the Catholic Church about theology. These are not really separate theologies.

The question becomes why they would feel a need to describe themselves as separate theologies. Maybe it's because in the Orthodox Church we allow that our saints sometimes have different ideas, but the Catholic Church describes itself as a monolith where the Pope is the only one who decides what is "the faith." With such a monolith, the ideas of any currents or jurisdictions appear like separate "theologies."




Nora Kort, an Palestinian Orthodox Christian, is the Family Project Manager for Venture Project International.
http://www.fbcshawnee.com/Missions/images/kort.jpg


Our Mission
Venture International is a Christian relief and development organization, that serves as a bridge between those in need and those who want to help God's people in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Family to Family is a unique sponsorship program connecting families in the western world with poor and neglected families in the Middle East and Central Asia. Family to Family offers a caring family from North America or Europe an effective method for helping a needy family obtain:

Food and Medicine
Micro-Enterprise Development
Childrens Education and Job Training
People Development
Connection With a Local Church
They describe one of their projects as a kind of charity:
Venture International has been a long-time partner of the Arab Orthodox Society in Jerusalem.  We are excited to introduce our latest endeavor; The Melia Project.  The Melia Arts and Training Center is a women’s cooperative that trains and employs nearly 600 women in the production of traditional Palestinian embroidery.

Most women are from impoverished households with unemployed husbands, many of whom were former construction laborers in Israel.  In some cases, the men are forced to depend on their wives to feed their families. In other cases, the women may be single moms or widows trying to raise their children as best as they are able.

The skills training component of The Melia Project empowers women by building their confidence and affording them new opportunities to help their families. In addition, a centuries-old artistic tradition is kept alive, reminding people of the beauty and dignity of the culture.



Please consider showing your support by offering a charitable contribution by calling us at 1-800-421-2159 or going online to https://www.ventureint.org/donate/

She looks like a sweet lady.




Nora Kort begins her article God Hears the Cry of My People in the anthology Faith and the intifada: Palestinian Christian voices (Maryknoll, 1992) :

How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the earth as inheritance. Blessed are those who moum: they shall be comforted.

"for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me... In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me" (Mt 25:35-37, 40)
She then writes:
I believe that God is especially close to those who are oppressed. God hears their cry and resolves to set them free.
The blue part is from the Boffs, who are writers in the Liberation Theology movement. The Boffs follow the two sentences with a citation from Exodus 3:7-8:

  • And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which [are] in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

    And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
 

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There is such a misconception of both capitalism and socialism on this topic! Capitalism is a theory (proven to be correct) that would increase the wealth of nations, but its author was an instructor oin philosophy and morality and flatly said that a capitalist ought to be guided by Christian principles. Socialism is also a theory but was rejected by Marx as a first step; he also endorsed capitalism as the best (only) way to bring societies up to par before socialism could be attempted. Therefore, socialists who think otherwise are deluded and have often caused untold misery (including mass murder) to force their beliefs on societies, while capitalists who do not behave in accordance with Christian principles are guilty of exploiting others and thus causing misery.

I do not believe that there can be such a thing as liberation theology; we have one theology as LBK pointed out and it is not this perversion of the Gospel to serve its adherents' moral yearnings and perhaps guilt. Therein has lied the real danger: animated by their ultimate well meaning aims, many socialists have succumbed to sacrificing some for the benefit of all, as a result of which they have played God and profaned Him.
 

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philalethe00 said:
Hope these were of help...  :)
They were!  I'll order one right away.  It'll give me a chance to practice my Greek.  :)

Meanwhile, I'll get on the hunt for an English edition.

Second Chance said:
I do not believe that there can be such a thing as liberation theology; we have one theology as LBK pointed out and it is not this perversion of the Gospel to serve its adherents' moral yearnings and perhaps guilt. Therein has lied the real danger: animated by their ultimate well meaning aims, many socialists have succumbed to sacrificing some for the benefit of all, as a result of which they have played God and profaned Him.
I also don't believe that there can be such a thing as liberation theology in a separate category from Christian theology in general.  I believe it is as Rakovsky has articulated: being a Christian precludes exploiting one's fellows or thinking one's self superior to anyone else and necessitates a rejection of philosophies that would allow for the expolitation or domination of others.  I could agree with your above statement, stating in addition to what you've already said: we have one theology and it is not this perversion of the Gospel to serve its adherents' desire to make a profit at all costs or think themselves fit to dominate others and still feel justified in calling themselves Christians. Therein has lied the real danger: animated by their desire to obtain worldly goods and temporal power and yet still consider themselves to be Christian and moral, many capitalists have succumbed to sacrificing many for the benefit of themselves, and attempted to justify this in religious terms as "manifest destiny" or imperialism, enslavement, and conquest for the sake of "Christianizing heathens", as a result of which they have played God and profaned Him.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
philalethe00 said:
Hope these were of help...   :)
They were!  I'll order one right away.  It'll give me a chance to practice my Greek.  :)

Meanwhile, I'll get on the hunt for an English edition.

Second Chance said:
I do not believe that there can be such a thing as liberation theology; we have one theology as LBK pointed out and it is not this perversion of the Gospel to serve its adherents' moral yearnings and perhaps guilt. Therein has lied the real danger: animated by their ultimate well meaning aims, many socialists have succumbed to sacrificing some for the benefit of all, as a result of which they have played God and profaned Him.
I also don't believe that there can be such a thing as liberation theology in a separate category from Christian theology in general.  I believe it is as Rakovsky has articulated: being a Christian precludes exploiting one's fellows or thinking one's self superior to anyone else and necessitates a rejection of philosophies that would allow for the expolitation or domination of others.  I could agree with your above statement, stating in addition to what you've already said: we have one theology and it is not this perversion of the Gospel to serve its adherents' desire to make a profit at all costs or think themselves fit to dominate others and still feel justified in calling themselves Christians. Therein has lied the real danger: animated by their desire to obtain worldly goods and temporal power and yet still consider themselves to be Christian and moral, many capitalists have succumbed to sacrificing many for the benefit of themselves, and attempted to justify this in religious terms as "manifest destiny" or imperialism, enslavement, and conquest for the sake of "Christianizing heathens", as a result of which they have played God and profaned Him.
My friend--you are going far afield. You are merely describing the tendency of men, any man, to sin. Capitalists, colonialists, or others do not have a monopoly on sin, and frankly their hypocrisy is not as hideous as the millions of folks that were killed in the name of humanity by non-Christians, such as the Bolsheviks, Maoists, North Koreans, Communists in general behind the Iron Curtain of old. Killing is killing, whether it is done by a self-professing Christian or an atheist. If some of our brothers from those nations that were colonized in the past 400 years want to elevate their colonization to the level of ruling by the sword, to murder and slavery, that would be their particular take on history. Any objective reading of history, must rank order the various miseries imposed by men on others in some sort of worst to bad. Not all miseries are equally bad IMHO. I am a naturalized US citizen and come from grand-parents who were Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire. I cannot in all conscience equate the British Empire and the so-called American Empire to the Ottoman one, for example. When I look at objective numbers, as well as sheer meanness, I would put Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, North Korea, Cambodia under Khmer Rouge, and Genghis Khan in a league of their own. the largely mercantile empires of England and of the United States would be way on the bottom. All I am saying is that Rousseau's Noble savage never existed and it is historically futile and inaccurate to point fingers only to those who are trying to do better. That said, I do think that we are to act in accordance with Christian principles, whatever our political beliefs may be and wherever we may reside.
 

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Second Chance said:
My friend--you are going far afield.
Not at all.

Second Chance said:
You are merely describing the tendency of men, any man, to sin. Capitalists, colonialists, or others do not have a monopoly on sin, and frankly their hypocrisy is not as hideous as the millions of folks that were killed in the name of humanity by non-Christians, such as the Bolsheviks, Maoists, North Koreans, Communists in general behind the Iron Curtain of old
I disagree.  I never contended that anyone had a monopoly on sin.  I used the language I did because your post seemed to indicate that those reacting to oppression were sinning by endeavoring to justify their resistance in religious terms, but failed to address the fact that the oppressors and their apologists often couch their egregious acts in religious terms as well.  As the OP in this thread has done, for example.

As far as the crimes of the communist regimes, yes, they are terrible.  But it’s ridiculous to say that all of the many millions of Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Africans, and Asians murdered by imperialists and colonialists during the Age of Imperialism, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the conquest of the Americas, et cetera, et cetera (we’d be here all night if I chose to enumerate all the deaths and other atrocities), don’t equal the crimes of the communists you’ve enumerated.  In fact, I would say that these millions of deaths, maimings, rapes, et cetera dwarf anything carried out by the communist regimes, and are just as, if not more “hideous” because of the blasphemous element of “white supremacy” often being involved.


Second Chance said:
Killing is killing, whether it is done by a self-professing Christian or an atheist. 
Then why should we attempt to rank atrocities, as you have suggested, at all?

Second Chance said:
If some of our brothers from those nations that were colonized in the past 400 years want to elevate their colonization to the level of ruling by the sword, to murder and slavery, that would be their particular take on history.
It’s not their “particular take on history”.  I’m sure you’re aware that the atrocities carried out by various colonial regimes over the centuries can be documented.  If you’d contend that this is “subjective”, i.e. that the perspective of the one who did the enslaving or wiping out it just as valid as that of the one enslaved or murdered, than the same standards could be applied to the situations involving communist regimes and the Ottoman Turks as well.

Second Chance said:
Any objective reading of history, must rank order the various miseries imposed by men on others in some sort of worst to bad. Not all miseries are equally bad IMHO.
I agree, though I think we might rank the “various miseries” in question differently.

Second Chance said:
I am a naturalized US citizen and come from grand-parents who were Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire.
I am too, on one side of my family.  My background is very diverse.

Second Chance said:
I cannot in all conscience equate the British Empire and the so-called American Empire to the Ottoman one, for example.
I can.  And I know Native American and African-American historians who would agree with me.  I know of Irish and Australian Aboriginal historians who would agree as well (I’ve read their works, though I don’t know any personally).  I also know Turkish historians who would contend that the Ottoman Empire was relatively just and merciful, and I’ve argued with them vociferously.  Of course, they have a tendency to minimize the atrocities carried out by their own nation, just as some Americans would attempt to minimize or justify Wounded Knee, the Middle Passage, et cetera.

Second Chance said:
When I look at objective numbers, as well as sheer meanness, I would put Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, North Korea, Cambodia under Khmer Rouge, and Genghis Khan in a league of their own. the largely mercantile empires of England and of the United States would be way on the bottom.
I’d agree with some of your guys at the top, but I don’t agree that the Anglo Empires were as benevolent as you make them out to be.  The objective numbers can be high for them as well.

Second Chance said:
All I am saying is that Rousseau's Noble savage never existed and it is historically futile and inaccurate to point fingers only to those who are trying to do better.
A discussion of Rousseau and whether or not any large scale society has ever “gotten it right” could be quite involved, and more than I’d be interested in getting into here (although his musings are fascinating), but no one is pointing fingers exclusively at those who are “trying to do better” in your estimation.  If anything, I’m merely trying to bring balance.  It seems that so often, when we discuss the dispossession or forced removal of one group (usually a European group) in public discourse, it is a great tragedy, but when we discuss the dispossession or forced removal of another group (usually a non-European one) it is “a shame” but “understandable” and “part of progress”.  There are even those on these very boards who’ve erroneously contended that Africans were “content being slaves” (In a way, I’m glad I was on hiatus for those discussions.  They might’ve been bad for my soul.)  Though I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, because I’ve talked with older Germans who’ve contended that the Slavs brought to Germany as slave labor during the Second World War were happy to be there, and cried when the Allies made them leave their beloved German masters.  I’m sure the Slavs would’ve disagreed.  All too often, the victors write the history books.

Second Chance said:
That said, I do think that we are to act in accordance with Christian principles, whatever our political beliefs may be and wherever we may reside.
On this, we agree. 

I still wish someone would address my question directly:  Were the Greeks and Serbs who saw their fight for freedom against the Ottomans in religious terms (and made the statements I quoted in my other posts) engaged in liberation theology?  Were the American abolitionists you’ve noted before in your previous posts?  Were either of these groups wrong to do so?

As I’ve said before, it is more so because I’m a Christian than because I have ancestors from some of the groups on the “receiving end” in these historical struggles that I find points of agreement with the arguments articulated by St. Nikolai (may he save me by his prayers), Rakovsky, philalethe00, Gebre, and some of the others referenced and participating in this discourse.  The morality of the Church informs all I believe and do, and trumps any other inclination I might have one way or the other.
 

rakovsky

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Antonious Nikolas said:
rakovsky said:
Antonius,

What kind of service does he do?
Outreach among the homeless.  He tries to get them off the streets and into a shelter with which he has a relationship.  Basically, washing the feet of the poor.
Antonius,

In Pittsburgh, a homeless alcoholic slept outside a Greek restaurant night after night for maybe a year. The restaurant owner though made a big deal about helping the person.

It reminds me of the story of the Rich man and Lazarus, where Lazarus slept outside the person's door every night.

Antonious Nikolas said:
rakovsky said:
What was it like on your visit?
Pretty much as I’ve described it above.  A very loving atmosphere with very sincere servants.  I also noted with joy that several of the individuals served by this ministry had converted to Orthodoxy because of the witness of those who served them and their work there.
That's impressive.  

philalethe00 said:
“Liberation Theology” is something of a misnomer.  All of the ideas described by our father St. Nikolai of Zhica (may his prayers and blessing be with us) are nothing novel or revolutionary.  They are, rather, intrinsic to the very nature of Christianity itself.  The sin of greed or the domination and exploitation of one’s fellow man, however, are antithetical to Christianity and not at all justifiable.
I didn't know about St. Nicolai of Zhica, but would like to learn more.


I think that everything we do should be informed by our Faith.  There is no “secular life”.  To take on social issues using secular humanist “cut flower ethics” is unthinkable to a convinced Christian.
You are right. Everything I do should be informed by Faith, and for me, the faith gives me more confidence, it gives me a sense of direction, I hope it can "give me wings" as we say in our pre-communion prayers.

Since the Lord is the Master of the Universe, I do think that much of what the US founding fathers referred to as Divine Law, and what secular society calls human rights is an expression of God's laws. Everyone has a conscience, and conscience and Christianity give me discernment of God's laws.

To ignore them, or to endeavor to justify conquest, oppression, or racially based hierarchical systems, is anti-Christian.  When a Christian beholds such, or is forced to live under such a system, he has to address it on Christian terms.
I think so. If we are Serbs or Greeks living under Turkish occupation, we must ask how to address our situation. This is something the Ecumenical Patriarch and the remaining Greek Phanariots in Constantinople are faced with every day.

I agree with LBK that “Orthodoxy is nothing less than the revelation of God through Jesus Christ”
Sure.

and that the idea that “Jesus on the cross is the symbol, the embodiment, if you will, of the suffering of the oppressed” is a stretch at best, a distortion of the Scriptures at worst.
 

Christ is the Lamb of God. He bears the suffering and oppression of the nations, and when Christians are persecuted, Christ is persecuted. The Church is the body of Christ, and Christ bears the oppression of others.

  • Isaiah 53
    Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

    But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

    He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

  • Acts 8-9
    Now there broke out on that day a great persecution against the CHURCH in Jerusalem, and all except the Apostles were scattered abroad throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. And devout men took care of Stephen's burial and made great lamentation over him.

    But Saul, still breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus

    And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew near to Damascus, when suddenly a light from heaven shone round about him; and falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?" And he said, "Who art thou Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom thou art persecuting."

The Desert Fathers

Now I will tell you a story from the Desert Fathers. One of the saints came back from the desert, where he had seen Christ. He came back to the Monastery and mentioned that he had seen Christ. The monks were surprised and really wanted to see Christ. He finally agreed. They set out in the desert. It was a long way, and they became tired. One old man said it was really hard to go any farther. The saint picked him up and carried him. They kept walking, getting even more tired. They finally got too tired and went back to the monastery. The monks said that they didn't see Christ. But the saint said "Yes you did. It was the old man."


It is natural for people who are incapable of turning their Christianity off, who see it as an integral part of their everyday lives, to view their existential reality in Christian terms.  So as I said in my previous post, it would be only natural for people who live and breathe the Christian Faith and find themselves abused to see their oppression and exploitation in religious terms.  How could the Greek and Serbian leaders I cited above not see their struggle in a religious context?  
Good point.

What is unnatural, and anti-Christian, is what the OP has suggested in several threads on these boards, that God made some races "naturally inferior".  When Northern Pines and I refuted these notions using the Scriptures and the Fathers, the OP accused us of engaging in "liberation theology", and so he started this thread.  Men created to be masters, and men created to be slaves.
Good point.

The New Testament says "Slaves Obey Your Masters," but Paul writes: "If you can buy your freedom, do it".

The New Testament says "Be a Slave to No Man."



Nora Kort is the Country Representative of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Jerusalem. Nora Kort’s story demonstrates what such tolerance looks like in practice. Nora’s father, a Christian, started a printing press for a Muslim orphanage after 1948 because “he believed that orphans should not be denied their rights. He opened my eyes to the poor and the weak,” she says, and so she works for a humanitarian development organization that operates through grassroots field workers who “are in touch with the community’s real views. That shapes what I do and how.”
http://wgc.womensglobalconnection.org/conf06proceedings/Schneider%20C.--%20Faith%20&%20Leadership-Palestinian%20Women.pdf


Nora Kort

Nora Kort was one author of the Kairos Document:

Kairos Palestine Document, a prayerful call of Palestinian Christians to End the Occupation
http://www.fosna.org/content/kairos-palestine-document-prayerful-call-palestinian-christians-end-occupation

What is Kairos?
The Greek word Kairos refers to a moment in time, a moment when God is present in opportunity, when the world’s axis is the Word of God. The moment to speak truth is now!

The theological context of this declaration is God’s desire for life with love and dignity for all people. This is not a political position.  It argues for religious liberty.

Hope and love
The Christian leaders who wrote Kairos Palestine long for us to hear a word of faith in “one God, a good and just God,” who has spoken to us in Jesus, born in their land and brought close to all people by the Holy Spirit. It is a word of hope and a word of love, that is, “seeing the face of God in every human being” as one’s brother or sister.

Kairos Palestine is “the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine.“ It was developed after more than a year, in prayer and discussion, guided by faith in God and love for God’s people.

Nonviolence always
Kairos Palestine is grounded in hope in a time of discouragement and frustration. It calls for resistance to injustice and violence. Nonviolent resistance is based on hope and love that “puts an end to evil by walking in the ways of justice.”

The authors are:

● Patriarch Michel Sabbah
● Bishop Dr Munib Younan
● Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna
● Dr Jiries Khoury
● Ms Nora Kort
The Australians for Palestine website summarizes religious ideas in the Kairos Document:

The Kairos Palestine document
11 December 2009, http://australiansforpalestine.com/18188

They argue: “God created us not to engage in strife and conflict but together build up the land in love and mutual respect. Our land has a universal mission, and the promise of the land has never been a political programme, but rather the prelude to complete universal salvation. Our connectedness to this land is a natural right. It is not an ideological or a theological question only.” They reject any use of the Bible to legitimize or support political options and positions that are based upon injustice.

They steadfastly adhere to the signs of hope such as “local centres of theology” and “numerous meetings for inter-religious dialogue”, recognizing that these signs provide hope to the resistance of the occupation. Through the logic of peaceful resistance, resistance is as much a right as it is a duty as it has the potential to hasten the time of reconciliation.

Asserting that this is a moment demanding repentance for past actions, either for using hatred as an instrument of resistance or the willingness to be indifferent and absorbed by faulty theological positions, the group calls on the international community and Palestinians for steadfastness in this time of trial. “Come and see [so we can make known to you] the truth of our reality”, they appeal.

Poignantly, they conclude, “in the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land. We will see here ‘a new land’ and ‘a new human being’, capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.”
 

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My Dearest Brother Rakovsky

rakovsky said:
I didn't know about St. Nicolai of Zhica, but would like to learn more.
You won’t regret bringing this holy father into your life of prayer.

rakovsky said:
I think so. If we are Serbs or Greeks living under Turkish occupation, we must ask how to address our situation. This is something the Ecumenical Patriarch and the remaining Greek Phanariots in Constantinople are faced with every day.
I know more than a few Orthodox, from liberal to arch-conservative, who wouldn’t mind engaging in a little “liberation theology” on this point!

rakovsky said:
Christ is the Lamb of God. He bears the suffering and oppression of the nations, and when Christians are persecuted, Christ is persecuted. The Church is the body of Christ, and Christ bears the oppression of others.
• Isaiah 53
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


• Acts 8-9
Now there broke out on that day a great persecution against the CHURCH in Jerusalem, and all except the Apostles were scattered abroad throughout the land of Judea and Samaria. And devout men took care of Stephen's burial and made great lamentation over him.

But Saul, still breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus

And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew near to Damascus, when suddenly a light from heaven shone round about him; and falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?" And he said, "Who art thou Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom thou art persecuting."


The Desert Fathers

Now I will tell you a story from the Desert Fathers. One of the saints came back from the desert, where he had seen Christ. He came back to the Monastery and mentioned that he had seen Christ. The monks were surprised and really wanted to see Christ. He finally agreed. They set out in the desert. It was a long way, and they became tired. One old man said it was really hard to go any farther. The saint picked him up and carried him. They kept walking, getting even more tired. They finally got too tired and went back to the monastery. The monks said that they didn't see Christ. But the saint said "Yes you did. It was the old man."
Very interesting!

I’d still like someone to address this:

I still wish someone would address my question directly:  Were the Greeks and Serbs who saw their fight for freedom against the Ottomans in religious terms (and made the statements I quoted in my other posts) engaged in liberation theology?  Were the American abolitionists you’ve noted before in your previous posts?  Were either of these groups wrong to do so?
 
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