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"Liberation Theology" and the Orthodox Church

ialmisry

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Every once and a while I stop by here
http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/
Voices from Russia, from upper New York (I think). Not that you would know it, it doesn't seem she realizes she is in the US.  The various rants demonstrate how Holy Mother Russia fell for the Bolshevic Yoke. Btw, fans of the EP, be forwarned. What she says about him makes me shiver. :eek:
Come to think of it, she outdoes the worst I have heard the OCA and ROCOR say about each other in the worst days before canonical communion  (she seems to be attached to the Patriarchal Parishes), the worst the Carpatho-Russians and Ukrainians say about each other, etc. A rather toxic site.
 

philalethe00

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They were!  I'll order one right away.  It'll give me a chance to practice my Greek.
I' m glad! Of course, there are some more books of St. Nikolai that I was silently citing above, these two:

3) http://www.protoporia.gr/product_info.php/products_id/318389 (second -of the two- part of his epistles), and

4) http://www.protoporia.gr/product_info.php/products_id/330780 ("On the law of God")

There are a lot of things that I 'd like to add, because I've studied the whole matter a lot, let me just say this, it is claimed, by a prominent professor of Theology and priest, Fr. G. Metallinos, that there is an Orthodox theology that prexisted "liberation theology", the "theology of freedom" and, according to him(and I agree), that's what led to, e.g., the Orthodox/neo-roman and after that hellenic/greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire, which had national but, also, social aspects.

Gebre Menfes Kidus,
c' etait parfait.  :) It reminded me of a certain, favourite of mine, excerpt of St. Nikolai's, that is: "If the poor and oppressed of this world wish to make an efficient struggle against their oppressors, they must do it in the name of God and the justice of God."
 

AntoniousNikolas

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philalethe00 said:
There are a lot of things that I 'd like to add, because I've studied the whole matter a lot, let me just say this, it is claimed, by a prominent professor of Theology and priest, Fr. G. Metallinos, that there is an Orthodox theology that prexisted "liberation theology", the "theology of freedom" and, according to him(and I agree), that's what led to, e.g., the Orthodox/neo-roman and after that hellenic/greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire, which had national but, also, social aspects.
Could you please tell us more about Fr. G. Metallinos' "theology of freedom"?  As I've articulated numerous times in this thread, to me such a thing seems perfectly Orthodox and as natural as breathing.  I'd love to learn more.

philalethe00 said:
"If the poor and oppressed of this world wish to make an efficient struggle against their oppressors, they must do it in the name of God and the justice of God."
This is exactly what I've been saying all along.  The more I learn about St. Nikolai, the more I love him.  :)
 

Second Chance

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I would like to adddress the following sttaement by Antonios:

"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."

First off, "white supremacy" cannot be more hideous than African, Roman, Greek, Russian, Aryan, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of supremacy. By definition, "supremacy" is an extreme manifestation of "Us versus them" and has had no good results, to say the least. On the other hand, we could measure things like living standards, education, contributions to humanity, etc. with fairly objective criteria. It is a matter of history that at certain points in time certain groups performed better by some of these worldly criteria than others. Since the fall of the Ottoman and Chinese Empires, it is a matter of historical fact that European and Europe-spawned nations have been at the "top" so to speak. One could even make the case that the Anglophone countries have been leading the world in many areas. A hundred years from now, that may no longer be true, as both India and China are making great strides. May be "white supremacy" is an excuse for some non-performing, unsuccessful nations. It may be better for them to spend less time in waxing indignant about white supremacy and to focus on getting their own house in order. You know, sometimes some folks do not notice that huge log in their own eye.

Blasphemy is another matter. Of course, Christians who are called to love, to turn the other cheek, will fall into blasphemy much more easily than, say, Muslims who are enjoined to wage holy war, not only against sin, but against unbelievers, to kill those who are not people of the book if they do not convert. I can understand your revulsion against atrocities committed by Christians, particularly men of God. I must admit that I had similar feelings. Although my great-grand-father was murdered in front of his young family by the Turkish lord, I felt much more revulsion against a certain Orthodox prelate who hated my ethnic group so much that he proudly displayed in his study the severed head of one of my ethnic leaders. As you know, there have been horrendous atrocities committed by Croats and Serbs against each other over the years. But, all of this would be to focus on relatively minor details of history that are often not representative of the broader picture. It is a belief that we both share that Professor Pelikan was right in calling Christianity as the greatest force for good, particularly in making conditions much better for women, children and slaves. Now, let us think a bit: where was Christianity concentrated? Africa or Asia? Pre-European exploration Americas?

Slavery is not something peculiar to the "white" folks, except in one sense: there are "white" nations  have distinguished themselves by leading the fight against slavery. France banished slavery during its revolution (although reinstated by Napoleon, it was finally banished for good in 1830s). The United Kingdom banished slavery in 1807 and the United States of America fought a Civil War in mid-century for the cause of abolitionism. It seems to me that hardly any race or nation has not been touched by slavery in the sorry history of humanity. Africans were particularly affected by slavery in relatively more recent times. many black tribes and nations distinguished themselves as slavers; others were on the receiving end. The only African population that specialized, so to speak were the Arabs who were the greatest practitioners of slavery since the Middle Ages. Indeed, slavery still flourishes in Arab nations and societies.

As for the numbers; what can I say but point out the following:

1. UN figures show that the population of the entire world was estimated to have been 1 billlion in 1800 (about the time that abolitionism started to be a civilizational factor). This population doubled to 2 billion souls by 1920 (even with the ravages of WWI) and went up to about 2.5 billion by 1945 (after the ravages of WWII). Ancient bad guys could not have killed more folks than the 20th century bad guys simply because the numbers were not there. Now, one could make that proportionately may be more were killed (although I do not think that history would back that up), but that is another discussion.

2. The number of African slaves was estimated by Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, in Le Monde diplomatique: "The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. " He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean" So we are talking about 37 million souls who had made to the ships. Many others died in slave holding pits maintained by slaving nations like Dahomey, or during warfare that resulted in the enslavement of blacks by blacks. Let's call the final total at 37 million souls in slavery and up to 3 million killed, one way or the other during this process--40 million total.

3. In a relatively short period of 1917 (Bolshevik Revolution in Russia) through 1961 (end of the Great Leap forward that by itself resulted in the death of about 40 million people), the Nazis and Communists killed about 100 million people, and many many more millions of people were in effect enslaved by their own states. Today, there are over 1,100 forced labor camps in the PRC.

4. You talk about the Europeans killing large percentage of the Native Americans. You are correct, historians estimate that as many as 90% of the Natives were killed by the diseases that were introduced into the hemisphere, at first by the Spaniards and then by Northern Europeans. OTH, there is no historian who can legitimately claim that these deaths were caused deliberately. To insinuate so would require you to also claim that the Eastern Orthodox East waged germ warfare against the Roman Catholic Western Europe during the 14th century when black death spread from Orthodox lands to the rest of the European continent. It is estimated to have killed 25 million people, or roughly one third of the population of Europe. Now another comparison: Total population of Europe: 75 million in 14th Century, and 400 million in the year 1900.

Bottom line: As I said before, death is death; whether caused deliberately, by accident or through ignorance. Thank God that He sent His Son to save us all.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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You know I love you like a brother, right Second Chance? :)

It's nice to have a discourse like this without the usual rancor involved.  It's easy to hurt someone's feelings when discussing historical wrongs related to their ancestors, or in some cases, even their immediate family.  I have relatives who were conscripted as jannisaries and others who were executed by local pashas, as you've said happened to your family, and also ancestors in the American South who saw their loved ones lynched and hung and were lucky to escape with their lives.

Second Chance said:
First off, "white supremacy" cannot be more hideous than African, Roman, Greek, Russian, Aryan, Christian, Muslim or any other kind of supremacy.
But the Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, and other such entities never declared themselves to be “racially superior” to anyone.  Culturally superior, maybe, but that is an entirely different can of worms.  In ancient Rome, all human beings were considered to be equal in basic humanity.  Religious supremacy has to do with esoteric concepts of who has the “ultimate revelation”, et cetera, again, not inferring anything about a person’s basic humanity.  “White supremacy”, or any other racially based idea is indeed more hideous than any other because it declares that some people are simply born inferior, and this is blasphemous and against the teachings of the Church.  I’m sure you see the difference between saying, “My culture is more advanced than yours” or “My prophet is greater than yours” on the one hand and “You are not fully human” or “You are of a lesser breed” on the other.

Second Chance said:
By definition, "supremacy" is an extreme manifestation of "Us versus them" and has had no good results, to say the least.
Agreed.

Second Chance said:
On the other hand, we could measure things like living standards, education, contributions to humanity, etc. with fairly objective criteria. It is a matter of history that at certain points in time certain groups performed better by some of these worldly criteria than others. Since the fall of the Ottoman and Chinese Empires, it is a matter of historical fact that European and Europe-spawned nations have been at the "top" so to speak. One could even make the case that the Anglophone countries have been leading the world in many areas.
Agreed.  And there’s nothing wrong with saying so.  To say so does not make one a “white supremacist”, but when someone says (as Pat Buchanan has done) that the secret behind such success is “white genetic endowment”, when someone says that this temporary ascendancy is not so much a product of the various historical factors which have led the world to this point, but rather because Europeans are superior at the genetic level, are a “master race” that was always destined to dominate all others, and that the Anglos and other northern Europeans are the apex of all Europeans, then we begin to get into blasphemy and sin.  God did not create “master races” and “slave races” and to declare that He did is blasphemous, anti-Scripture, and anti-Christian.  I’m not attributing this attitude to you or anyone else (save for those who have declared this outright, like the OP) but I am merely defining what I meant by the theory of “white supremacy”.

Second Chance said:
A hundred years from now, that may no longer be true, as both India and China are making great strides.
Very true.  Although your assessment of why seems to be so and that of a white supremacist would probably be markedly different.

Second Chance said:
May be "white supremacy" is an excuse for some non-performing, unsuccessful nations. It may be better for them to spend less time in waxing indignant about white supremacy and to focus on getting their own house in order.
Probably not, as advocates for the theory of white supremacy are not usually from such nations, but rather hold such nations in contempt.

Second Chance said:
You know, sometimes some folks do not notice that huge log in their own eye.
Agreed.  This is what I meant when I said that folks have a tendency to minimize the atrocities carried out by their own nations, or those for which they have some affinity or connection.

Second Chance said:
Blasphemy is another matter. Of course, Christians who are called to love, to turn the other cheek, will fall into blasphemy much more easily than, say, Muslims who are enjoined to wage holy war, not only against sin, but against unbelievers, to kill those who are not people of the book if they do not convert. I can understand your revulsion against atrocities committed by Christians, particularly men of God. I must admit that I had similar feelings. Although my great-grand-father was murdered in front of his young family by the Turkish lord, I felt much more revulsion against a certain Orthodox prelate who hated my ethnic group so much that he proudly displayed in his study the severed head of one of my ethnic leaders. As you know, there have been horrendous atrocities committed by Croats and Serbs against each other over the years. But, all of this would be to focus on relatively minor details of history that are often not representative of the broader picture.
You miss my point entirely.  I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said here and I don’t see any of it as being contrary to any argument I’ve articulated.  My point was merely that to declare that human beings are of greater or lesser breeds is blasphemous and an anti-Christian concept.

Second Chance said:
It is a belief that we both share that Professor Pelikan was right in calling Christianity as the greatest force for good, particularly in making conditions much better for women, children and slaves. Now, let us think a bit: where was Christianity concentrated? Africa or Asia? Pre-European exploration Americas?
It originated in Southwestern Asia and from there spread throughout that region and into Northeastern and Northwestern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Europe, and other parts of Asia.

Second Chance said:
Slavery is not something peculiar to the "white" folks, except in one sense: there are "white" nations  have distinguished themselves by leading the fight against slavery.
What made this form of slavery unique was that it was based on notions of white superiority and black inferiority at a racial level.  This is what made it so uniquely blasphemous and abhorrent.  Roman slavery, Islamic slavery, African slavery, and mostly any other kind you’d care to name were not racially based.  A slave in the Roman world could be black, white, or whatever.  Same with the Muslim world.  In African slavery, Native American slavery, and the other forms you’ve named, the people involved did not feel that they were racially superior to those enslaved.

No one said that slavery was “peculiar to white folks” but racially based slavery, in the main, was.  Perhaps that’s why they called it “the peculiar institution”.  In fact, I’ve read historical works that have contended that the racially based nature of this particular form of slavery is what eventually led to its demise.

Second Chance said:
1. UN figures show that the population of the entire world was estimated to have been 1 billlion in 1800 (about the time that abolitionism started to be a civilizational factor). This population doubled to 2 billion souls by 1920 (even with the ravages of WWI) and went up to about 2.5 billion by 1945 (after the ravages of WWII). Ancient bad guys could not have killed more folks than the 20th century bad guys simply because the numbers were not there. Now, one could make that proportionately may be more were killed (although I do not think that history would back that up), but that is another discussion.

2. The number of African slaves was estimated by Elikia M’bokolo, April 1998, in Le Monde diplomatique: "The African continent was bled of its human resources via all possible routes. Across the Sahara, through the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean ports and across the Atlantic. " He continues: "Four million slaves exported via the Red Sea, another four million through the Swahili ports of the Indian Ocean, perhaps as many as nine million along the trans-Saharan caravan route, and eleven to twenty million (depending on the author) across the Atlantic Ocean" So we are talking about 37 million souls who had made to the ships. Many others died in slave holding pits maintained by slaving nations like Dahomey, or during warfare that resulted in the enslavement of blacks by blacks. Let's call the final total at 37 million souls in slavery and up to 3 million killed, one way or the other during this process--40 million total.

3. In a relatively short period of 1917 (Bolshevik Revolution in Russia) through 1961 (end of the Great Leap forward that by itself resulted in the death of about 40 million people), the Nazis and Communists killed about 100 million people, and many many more millions of people were in effect enslaved by their own states. Today, there are over 1,100 forced labor camps in the PRC.

4. You talk about the Europeans killing large percentage of the Native Americans. You are correct, historians estimate that as many as 90% of the Natives were killed by the diseases that were introduced into the hemisphere, at first by the Spaniards and then by Northern Europeans. OTH, there is no historian who can legitimately claim that these deaths were caused deliberately. To insinuate so would require you to also claim that the Eastern Orthodox East waged germ warfare against the Roman Catholic Western Europe during the 14th century when black death spread from Orthodox lands to the rest of the European continent. It is estimated to have killed 25 million people, or roughly one third of the population of Europe. Now another comparison: Total population of Europe: 75 million in 14th Century, and 400 million in the year 1900.
This is valuable as far as it goes, but it doesn’t take all of the pertinent data into consideration.

Furthermore, I’m not sure I can agree entirely with your reckoning of the figures, especially since we have to consider that accurate records were not kept by either the various imperialist and colonialist governments throughout the world between, say the first Portuguese raid on the West African Coast in the mid 15th century and the liberation of South Africa in 1994.

I’d want to factor into what you’ve discussed above:

1.) The number of Africans killed deliberately or inadvertently by various colonial governments throughout the continent.  This list would have to be exhaustive, and might be expanded to include those deliberately crippled or maimed like those mutilated by the Belgians in the Congo for refusing to work in colonial building projects, or those hobbled for work in South African mines.
2.) The number of Africans killed deliberately or inadvertently (especially during the Middle Passage) during the time of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, including not only North America, but also the West Indies, Brazil, et cetera.  This could also be expanded to include the documented cases of villagers who died of starvation or malnutrition because certain towns in the Gambia and Senegal were bereft of all of the young and strong men, and so the elderly and infirm were left to fend for themselves.  Africans lynched or killed during slave uprisings or from abuse by masters could also be factored in.
3.) The number of Native Americans exterminated deliberately or inadvertently during the colonization of North and South America.
4.) The number of Australian Aborigines exterminated deliberately or inadvertently during the colonization of Australia.
5.) The number of Polynesians, Melanesians, and Micronesians taken by “black birding” slave raiders and the resulting depopulation of certain islands and the impact these factors, coupled with colonization, had on those civilizations.
6.) The number of people killed in India and other South Asian regions during the colonial era, including those massacred while agitating for independence or rising up against colonial rule, as in the case of Lakshmi Bai’s revolt, the Sepoy rebellion, et cetera.
7.) The number of people killed in China during the colonial period, not only during the Boxer Rebellion and other conflicts, but also as a result of the British controlled and enforced Opium trade.  Added to this could be all the deaths that resulted from the forced “opening” of Japan to Western trade, Diponegoro’s rebellion, and all similar such uprisings in the Dutch East Indies, all of those killed in France’s Southeast Asian colonies for resisting or fighting against colonial regimes, et cetera.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and if we are really going to add up all of the deaths caused by the imperialist and colonialist governments of the West during the four or so centuries involved, we would have to attempt to compile and enormous amount of data to have anything approaching an accurate assessment.

At the moment, I don’t have the time to compile all of these millions of deaths, and I’m not sure that it could be done, as in many of the cases above, no one was “keeping score”.  In the case of modern governments, like the Nazis or Stalin’s USSR, we’re dealing with statistics obsessed moderns, so we have the pertinent information easily at hand.  When dealing with a wide variety of interactions between invading imperialist powers on the one hand and the various tribes and nations they encountered on the other, I’m not sure we’d be able to get so accurate a tally.  We’d also have to factor in the relative impact that such imperialist and colonialist institutions have had on the various areas impacted up until the present day.  The matter is by no means as cut and dry as the statistics you’ve provided indicate.

I’m not sure that getting into a “my holocaust was worse than your holocaust” pissing contest is something we should even be getting into anyway, as I’m not sure that it impacts upon the central point of the discussion:

Are Christians justified to express their resistance to oppression in religious terms?

If we say that those resisting communism or the Turks were justified to do so, because those are the enemies that we personally have a bone to pick with, than we are hypocrites to say that those in other parts of the world are wrong to view their own struggles for freedom in religious terms.

Perhaps this is why, no one will address my question:

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?
Because if we say that these Orthodox Christians or American Abolitionists were right to view their struggles in religious terms (which I think that most in this conversation would acknowledge), than we cannot say that other people of faith resisting oppression were wrong to do the same thing.

I tend to agree with my beloved St. Nikolai:

“If the poor and oppressed of this world wish to make an efficient struggle against their oppressors, they must do it in the name of God and the justice of God."

Amen and Amen.  May God guide them to do so!

 

ialmisry

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Second Chance said:
Slavery is not something peculiar to the "white" folks, except in one sense: there are "white" nations  have distinguished themselves by leading the fight against slavery.
What made this form of slavery unique was that it was based on notions of white superiority and black inferiority at a racial level.  This is what made it so uniquely blasphemous and abhorrent.  Roman slavery, Islamic slavery, African slavery, and mostly any other kind you’d care to name were not racially based.  A slave in the Roman world could be black, white, or whatever.  Same with the Muslim world.  In African slavery, Native American slavery, and the other forms you’ve named, the people involved did not feel that they were racially superior to those enslaved.
Actually, no. There is plenty of racial sterotypes in the Muslim sources.  For instance, a phrase in legal/historical sources "a flat nosed Ethiopian slave" is used to indicate the very bottom of society. And among the Mamluks, the slaves who ruled, none were Negro.

In fact, though, it seems that notions of white superiority didn't play a role in all European slave owning societies, just the ones who took the ideas of the "Enlightenment" as their basis, in particular the Protestants and perhaps in particular the English ones: I don't know of any other that tried to justify itself by the curse of Ham.
 

ialmisry

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Perhaps this is why, no one will address my question:

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?
Because if we say that these Orthodox Christians or American Abolitionists were right to view their struggles in religious terms (which I think that most in this conversation would acknowledge), than we cannot say that other people of faith resisting oppression were wrong to do the same thing.
No, they were not engaged in liberation theology.  Neither the Greeks, Serbs nor American abolitionists believed in the Marxism at the heart of liberation theology.
 

AntoniousNikolas

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I appreciate the clarity, Isa.  Some of these nuanced arguments had crossed my mind even as a typed, but I'm sure you realize that by necessity, because of the enormous scope of the conversation, both Second Chance and myself have been forced to paint with very broad strokes and to speak in generalities,  Nevertheless, of course you are correct to bring these points of clarity to the fore.  Being a historian by training and trade, I'd like to address them as follows:

ialmisry said:
Actually, no. There is plenty of racial sterotypes in the Muslim sources.  For instance, a phrase in legal/historical sources "a flat nosed Ethiopian slave" is used to indicate the very bottom of society. And among the Mamluks, the slaves who ruled, none were Negro.
I'm not going to defend Islamic slavery, as much about Islam is distasteful to me, but my point was that in the Islamic world, slavery was not exclusively racially based, whereas in the Anglo-American world it was.  There were certainly crude racial stereotypes (the Thousand and One Nights is full of them!) but there was no general declaration that blacks alone were to be slaves because they were racially inferior.  There were large numbers of African slaves, to be sure, but there were at least as many white slaves.  If I recall correctly, the largest number of slaves in the Medieval Islamic world were Eastern European Christians (probably Orthodox) captured and traded to the Middle Eastern Islamic empires by the various Mongol Khanates (the Crimean Khanate, et cetera).  This changed after the Russians destroyed the Crimean Khanate and dissolved most of the Tatar states in 1783.

ialmisry said:
In fact, though, it seems that notions of white superiority didn't play a role in all European slave owning societies, just the ones who took the ideas of the "Enlightenment" as their basis, in particular the Protestants and perhaps in particular the English ones: I don't know of any other that tried to justify itself by the curse of Ham.
You're right to point out that I could have been more specific in addressing slavery in the Anglo-American world as opposed to the broader phenomenon of Western European on African slavery in general.  When Second Chance stated, "Slavery is not something peculiar to the "white" folks, except in one sense: there are 'white' nations have distinguished themselves by leading the fight against slavery" immediately English and Anglo-American abolitionists sprang to mind not only because of the historical reality he referred to, but also because of the earlier statement that the Anglo nations were in his estimation the most beneficent.  Consequently, my argument was addressed to those nations specifially, though I could have declared this in more emphatic terms.

You're right to point out that the fallacious notion of "white supremacy" is a relatively modern phenomenon.

The idea of white racial superiority didn't exist when the Western European nations first began importing African slaves to their New World colonies.  It developed later, as an attempted justification for the action.  At first, the Latin nations (chiefly Spain and Portugal) followed the dictum of the Roman Church, which declared that non-Christians and even Christian heretics could be enslaved.  I've read that before the Ottoman Turks conquered the Balkans, the largest number of slaves owned by Western Europeans were Mediterranean and Eastern European Orthodox Christians.  Whether or not these individuals are "white" is a matter of debate (as we've discussed before) as man's artifical "racial" categories are constantly in a state of flux.  Today, many of these people (but not all) would be classified as "white" (but even now there is no uniform consensus) but less than a century ago, they would not.  I once read about an SS colonel who was outraged at the inclusion of Bosnians in some non-German SS divisions, because he believed they were "of an inferior race", but he acknowledged the necessity of admitting them to service because the Axis was losing the war and was desperate for soldiers.  At any rate, you're correct to point out that the same arguments for black inferiority and white supremacy were not employed in the Anglo and non-Anglo nations, although it could be argued that one could see these arguments creep into those nations at a later date.  One only has to read Voltaire's essay On the Moors (by which term he indicates blacks, although the majority of Moors were not black), to see how ideas of white supremacy and black inferiority had crept into the thought of some French philosophes.  There's an interesting essay on Orthodoxy vs. the Enlightenment here:

http://oodegr.com/english/atheismos/diafwt_ratsism.htm

As I've stated before, my original point was that while all slavery contradicts Christianity for the reasons articulated by St. Gregory of Nyssa:

"I have acquired slaves and servants"... Can you see the magnitude of one’s arrogance here? These words constitute a mutiny against God... if that person considers himself the lord and master of men and women he has - if anything - surpassed human nature with his pride. [ ... ] You condemn to slavery a human being whose nature it is to be free and self-governing, and you erect your own law opposite the law of God, thus overturning the law that governs the life of a human being. Him - who was forged precisely to be the lord of the earth and who was appointed by the Creator to rule – you have subjected to the yoke of slavery, which contravenes and opposes the divine commandment. [...] “I have acquired slaves and servants”... At what price? tell us. What did you find in nature that is equal to them? [... ] Somebody gave birth to them and likewise to you; your lives are common; the passions of the soul and the body are the same for all: joy and impatience, sorrow and pleasure, anger and fear, sickness and death. Does a master differ at all to his slave in all these? Don’t they both breathe the same air? Don’t they both see the sun in the same way? Won’t they both turn into the same dust after death? If therefore you are the same as all the others, tell me, where do you possess the advantage over the others, so that even though you are a human being yourself, you consider yourself the master of another human being?"

The added element of white supremacy and black inferiority in the Anglo-American system heaps a blasphemy upon a blasphemy as it contradicts the Biblical notion that all men are of one race as articulated by St. Nephon:

“just as the Earth produces both white and dark grapes, thus does it also give light and dark-skinned people; however, all of them are children of God, destined for Paradise.”

and His Holiness Pope Shenouda III:

All men who have ever lived in the world are descendants of Adam and Eve...therefore, they are of the same race...All men in the present world are also descendants of one of Noah's sons...After the flood, the whole of the earth was of one language and one speech..." until the post Tower of Babel period, when God changed the speech of man.  The Pope continues, "This must have been a divine physiologic miracle, an instant change in those centers of the brain controlling speech, so that each family suddenly found itself identifying different sounds with various objects and actions than other families used..."

I believe this point still stands.

ialmisry said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Perhaps this is why, no one will address my question:

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?
Because if we say that these Orthodox Christians or American Abolitionists were right to view their struggles in religious terms (which I think that most in this conversation would acknowledge), than we cannot say that other people of faith resisting oppression were wrong to do the same thing.
No, they were not engaged in liberation theology.  Neither the Greeks, Serbs nor American abolitionists believed in the Marxism at the heart of liberation theology.
Excellent!  Nor do I, so there is no conflict here.  Rather, I believe as St. Nikolai has stated:

“If the poor and oppressed of this world wish to make an efficient struggle against their oppressors, they must do it in the name of God and the justice of God."
 

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philalethe00 said:
it is claimed, by a prominent professor of Theology and priest, Fr. G. Metallinos, that there is an Orthodox theology that prexisted "liberation theology", the "theology of freedom" and, according to him(and I agree), that's what led to, e.g., the Orthodox/neo-roman and after that hellenic/greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire, which had national but, also, social aspects.
philalethe00,

Like Antonius, I too would like to hear a bit more of the "theology of freedom", which sounds like a synonym for "liberation theology", since liberation (osvobozhdhenie) and freedom (svoboda) are synonymous.

I am skeptical about a "theology" of freedom. First we need to understand what "theology" means and how the term can be used. Theologia, or Bogoslovie, literally means "Study of God," or "Words about God."

In my mind, we can only have Orthodox Theology, which is correct Christian Theology, and a subset of the category of general "Christian Theology."

If Roman legalistic, Orthodox mystical, and Liberation two-yeshiva-students-arguing approaches to Catholicism all lead to the same substance, are they distinct "studies of religious doctrine"?

I believe Orthodox teachings prefer freedom over slavery, based on New Testament passages of "slaves obey your masters," "if you can buy your freedom do it," and "be a slave to no man."

Further, the church general teaches us to obey secular authority unless it contradicts our faith. If we study the church's teachings on when to obey secular authority and when to oppose it, is this a distinct "study of the faith"?

Are there other topics in Orthodox, whose study is sometimes called a "Theology" of that topic?



In this article, Kort doesn't connect women's work to religion, but if the Liberation Theology movement includes some kind of feminism, then what she describes is correct women's empowerment in traditional middle-eastern and Christian society. Not power of women over men, which St Paul opposed, but participation in their society and ability to care for their families.

A stitch across time and borders
LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER  03/09/2006, http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=15546

A seemingly unlikely tool in difficult times, traditional local-style embroidery has become a major resource for empowerment for Palestinian women to participate in the workforce and in family decision making, via a return to traditional handicrafts. In the past, Palestinian women embroidered their own clothes and household items, like pillow covers, but rarely to generate income, explains Nora Kort, president of the Arab Orthodox Society, and founder of Melia: "It's not like 'feminism' in the West, but it is a feminist trend for women to realize their power, to be active and economically independent." Melia has also trained hundreds of teenage girls during the summers, a fact she called very significant to Palestinian society.

"During the intifada, more girls dropped out and more married young," she said, explaining that men at the heads of households had a harder time feeding their children and might have pulled their daughters out of school and married them as early as 14 to have "one less mouth to feed." "When a girl produces an income, her chances of not getting married young improve; her chances of studying longer improve," she said. "And if the mother has an income, she has more say about family matters."
In the following article, Kort describes the value of elderly people in transmitting spiritual and religious traditions, and the charitable need to care for them:


The Golden Age in Palestine Reality, Reflections, and Aspirations
By Nora Kort, http://palestine-family.net/index.php?nav=3-184&cid=410&did=3886&pageflip=2

Many Palestinians are convinced that the elderly are the precious living memory of the nation. They are the ones with knowledge and history. They have mastered crafts and skills that they willingly and generously transmit to the new generations. They are the ones to ensure the psychological and pedagogical continuity of the nation and are the depositories of spirituality and faith. The elderly are the teachers, peacemakers, and mediators who provide sociological balance to the community and society at large.

Palestine is renowned for being the country of children and youth. However, the elderly comprise 3-4 percent of the total population of approximately 3.5 million, reaching almost 7 percent in places such as the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In search of peace, freedom, and employment, the young breadwinners emigrate and leave behind the frail elderly members of their families to face the harsh reality of old age and life under occupation.

As a humanist who has a soft spot in my heart for the elderly due to personal family experiences, I have tried to implement several community projects to improve the living conditions, services, and quality of life for the elderly. Let us assist them to overcome the pains and fears of the years and live contented lives. The recipe is tenderness, love, and care. I call on all readers, both Palestinians and internationals, to think about the Palestinian elderly and reach out to them.
In calling herself a humanist, Kort does not mean that she is an adherent of the religion of "Humanism", rather, she is a humanitarian, or "philanthropist." A Philanthropist means a "lover of mankind," a title that we ascribe to our Lord in prayer.

http://www.palcraftaid.org/projects.htm

Nora Kort, founder, ATTA.

Aid to the Aged (ATTA) serves the elderly in the old city of Jerusalem and the West Bank who are isolated from their families due to the Wall and travel restrictions for Palestinians. ATTA provides hot meals and medications, runs errands for the elderly, transports them to the doctor or grocery shopping, cleans their home, and socializes as well as provides spiritual help and comfort. Pal Craftaid has helped to fund many home repairs and improvements for the elderly as well as longtime support of their ministries of outreach and caring. ATTA addresses the vulnerability and the isolation of the elderly with a trained core of volunteers of all ages.
 

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I don't think the Orthodox Church is in danger of falling into Liberation Theology per se, but I think many Orthodox are in danger of falling into the general chiliastic movement variously called "Kingdom Theology", "Restoration Theology", "Social Justice Theology", "New Exodus Theology", "Reconciliation Theology", etc, that is, fighting against the various injustices and "empires" of the world for its own sake, apart from conversion to the Church.

Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.

So I think along the lines of Gebre Menfes Kidus, and submit the following:

In the past 50 years we have seen the birth of a "new Christianity", a Christianity that claims to be inward, but is only concerned with outward results; a Christianity that cannot really believe in peace and brotherhood unless it sees them generalized and universally applied—and not in some seemingly-distant "other world", but "here and now".

Christianity has once again become a crusade, and Christ has become just an idea that only exists to serve a world transformed by scientific and social techniques; a world where the human person is made "godlike" by awakening to a "new consciousness". This is the world we face.

A great age of "peace" may come to the world, but what can the Christian say of that kind of "peace"? It will not be the peace of Christ.

Christians must not be ashamed of real, genuine, otherworldly Christianity—no matter how foolish it may seem in the eyes of worldly people.

Above all, Christians today must show that all the world's problems are meaningless next to the ultimate problem of Death; and no worldly answer can stand next to the ultimate answer of Christ.

Despite what people say about the "staleness" of true Christianity in the eyes of many people today, I think that Christians who speak of this problem, and prove by their lives that they actually believe all that "superstition" about the "other world"...I think they actually have something new to say to modern people.

Serious young people are tired of Christianity because they think it is hypocritical. They believe Christianity is nothing more than an idealism that doesn't live up to its ideals. (Of course, they don't believe in the "other world" either, but for all they know...neither do Christians.)

Faith in God has really become faith in humanity—our ability to "do the right thing" and bring about peace, justice, and all good things without any real need for God. This false, outward "gospel" of social idealism is proof of Christians' loss of faith.

What we need is not more busyness, but a deeper penetration within. Not less fasting, but more. Not more action, but prayer and repentance. If Christians in their daily lives were actually on fire with the love of God and zeal for His Kingdom not of this world, then every other good thing would come on its own. True improvement of society can only come through the spiritual transformation (theosis) of each person.

Moral perfection on earth is not reached by humanity deciding to perform an outward action, but by each individual believer inwardly, according to their obedience to God's commandments and the degree of their humility. Final and complete perfection is reached in the Kingdom, in the future life.

The perfect Kingdom of Christ will not arrive until he establishes it himself at the Second Coming. This short life on earth is a preparation for entry into it, not an attempt to bring about the Kingdom by human means.

—Paraphrase of Father Seraphim Rose and Elder Ambrose of Optina.
 

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bogdan said:
I don't think the Orthodox Church is in danger of falling into Liberation Theology per se, but I think many Orthodox are in danger of falling into the general chiliastic movement variously called "Kingdom Theology", "Restoration Theology", "Social Justice Theology", "New Exodus Theology", "Reconciliation Theology", etc, that is, fighting against the various injustices and "empires" of the world for its own sake, apart from conversion to the Church.

Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.

So I think along the lines of Gebre Menfes Kidus, and submit the following:

In the past 50 years we have seen the birth of a "new Christianity", a Christianity that claims to be inward, but is only concerned with outward results; a Christianity that cannot really believe in peace and brotherhood unless it sees them generalized and universally applied—and not in some seemingly-distant "other world", but "here and now".

Christianity has once again become a crusade, and Christ has become just an idea that only exists to serve a world transformed by scientific and social techniques; a world where the human person is made "godlike" by awakening to a "new consciousness". This is the world we face.

A great age of "peace" may come to the world, but what can the Christian say of that kind of "peace"? It will not be the peace of Christ.

Christians must not be ashamed of real, genuine, otherworldly Christianity—no matter how foolish it may seem in the eyes of worldly people.

Above all, Christians today must show that all the world's problems are meaningless next to the ultimate problem of Death; and no worldly answer can stand next to the ultimate answer of Christ.

Despite what people say about the "staleness" of true Christianity in the eyes of many people today, I think that Christians who speak of this problem, and prove by their lives that they actually believe all that "superstition" about the "other world"...I think they actually have something new to say to modern people.

Serious young people are tired of Christianity because they think it is hypocritical. They believe Christianity is nothing more than an idealism that doesn't live up to its ideals. (Of course, they don't believe in the "other world" either, but for all they know...neither do Christians.)

Faith in God has really become faith in humanity—our ability to "do the right thing" and bring about peace, justice, and all good things without any real need for God. This false, outward "gospel" of social idealism is proof of Christians' loss of faith.

What we need is not more busyness, but a deeper penetration within. Not less fasting, but more. Not more action, but prayer and repentance. If Christians in their daily lives were actually on fire with the love of God and zeal for His Kingdom not of this world, then every other good thing would come on its own. True improvement of society can only come through the spiritual transformation (theosis) of each person.

Moral perfection on earth is not reached by humanity deciding to perform an outward action, but by each individual believer inwardly, according to their obedience to God's commandments and the degree of their humility. Final and complete perfection is reached in the Kingdom, in the future life.

The perfect Kingdom of Christ will not arrive until he establishes it himself at the Second Coming. This short life on earth is a preparation for entry into it, not an attempt to bring about the Kingdom by human means.

—Paraphrase of Father Seraphim Rose and Elder Ambrose of Optina.
I'm curious as to how these sentiments stack up with what philalethe00 tells us that Fr. G. Metallinos has written.  I'm sure that there is much agreement between them.

I meant to thank Gebre for his last post, Bogdan, and now I'll thank both you and him at the same time.  I agree with much of what you both have written.  I hope that all here can. 

Oh my brethren, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

We need to keep our "eyes on the prize" so to speak, that is the world that is to come.  This line in particular resonated with me:

Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.
If the world were truly Orthodox, there'd be no slavery, no racism, no oppression, no imperialism, no expansionism, and hence no need for revolution or liberation.  Let us work to convert the world to Orthodoxy that Our Master's will might be done, and all else shall be added.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.
If the world were truly Orthodox, there'd be no slavery, no racism, no oppression, no imperialism, no expansionism, and hence no need for revolution or liberation.  Let us work to convert the world to Orthodoxy that Our Master's will might be done, and all else shall be added.
Amen and amen! My sentiments exactly!  :)
 

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bogdan said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.
If the world were truly Orthodox, there'd be no slavery, no racism, no oppression, no imperialism, no expansionism, and hence no need for revolution or liberation.  Let us work to convert the world to Orthodoxy that Our Master's will might be done, and all else shall be added.
Amen and amen! My sentiments exactly!  :)
I second your "amen!"


Selam
 

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Bogdan,

bogdan said:
Many of things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves.
This is important to keep in mind.

Remember: Faith without works is dead.
But what is works without faith?

If my main concern was the national liberation of the Palestinian people, I would be posting on an Intifada website.

My main concern is that the Church, not as the "Church of the Tomb", but as the living Body of Christ, prospers in the Holy Land.

Ultimately, our concern for fellow Christians arises out of our sense of communion with one another. This is living the gospel.

Christianity has a special idea of fellowship and communion. We become one with Christ and one with all Christians in all times and places.

St Paul explains the centrality of our communion with one another, and why this calls us to intercede on eachother's behalf when we see someone in peril or persecuted:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.
 

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Rakovsky,

Would you please do us a favor and stop changing the titles of threads so often?  Thank you.
 

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ialmisry said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Perhaps this is why, no one will address my question:

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?
Because if we say that these Orthodox Christians or American Abolitionists were right to view their struggles in religious terms (which I think that most in this conversation would acknowledge), than we cannot say that other people of faith resisting oppression were wrong to do the same thing.
No, they were not engaged in liberation theology.  Neither the Greeks, Serbs nor American abolitionists believed in the Marxism at the heart of liberation theology.
Ialmisry,

Some Abolitionists, and some Serbian and Greek revolutionaries were Marxists.

Out of fear that they would have to accept Christ, the rabbis in the 17th century downplayed or ignored Judaism's long-held concept of a suffering Messiah as much as possible.

About 1500 AD, Rabbi Saadya Ibn Danan of Grenada wrote:
One of them, rabbi Yosef ben Kaspin, went so far that he began to accuse the interpreters who see in Isaiah 53 an indication of the soon-coming Messiah in that they give the heretics a chance to relate the Messiah to Jesus.

Let, however, God forgive them that they don't say the truth! Our rabbis, the doctors of the Talmud, compose their own opinion by the power of prophecy and on their side is the tradition of the principles of interpretation. Isaiah 53 indicates exclusively to the King Messiah.

http://beer-sheva.netfirms.com/2.36.htm
Out fear that the OCA was Marxist, the original poster criticized the OCA for calling itself "noncolonialist." America's revolution was against British colonialism, so the concept of non-colonialism is a core principle of our country's existence. "Palestinian Liberation Theology" seems to me about freeing a native people from occupation, and therefore it is "noncolonialist." Serbia, Russia, and Greece gained independence from Mongol and Turkic occupations. Economic Marxism criticizes feudalism, colonialism, and industrial capitalism, and seeks to replace those systems with a system of democratic common ownership. That is what it is.

If Marxism, US founding principles, Greek and Russian revolutionaries, the OCA, Palestinian Liberation Theology say they prefer freedom to colonialism and sympathize with oppressed peoples, how can I not but admire them?



Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code, Thomas Nelson, 2008.

"Gary Burge, professor of New Testament and president of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, has given definition to the plight of numerous displaced Palestinians such as Nora Kort. Nora and her family were "Jerusalemites" who had lived in the shadow of the Jaffa Gate since the 1800's. Her grandfather was a committed Palestinian Christian who used personal savings to build Saint George's Church on their forty-eight acres of land.

When professor Burge visited her, he discovered something amazing. Unlike many of those who had lost their families, Nora had not become bitter. Instead, she counsels the downtrodden, raises money for impoverished families, and counsels Palestinians who have lost all hope. "God is the Father and Defender of those who are oppressed and treated unjustly," says Nora, "This is and has been my mission and my commitment."
We should also be committed to helping those who are treated unjustly if we can. I have so many blessings in my life I can and should help them too.

I encourage you to read about her situation on the thread:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28376.msg463809.html#msg463809



Carl Hétu, Catholic Near East Welfare Association Canada's national secretary described visiting the Holy Land and "the Arab Orthodox Society, which the Catholic Near East Welfare Association supports."

The Quest for Hope: Jerusalem’s Old City
http://www.carlhetu.blogspot.com/

During my trip, I met with Mrs. Nora Kort, president of the AOS. She and her staff over the years have managed against the odds to provide Palestinians with vital social services.



The Arab Orthodox Society currently operates a medical clinic, a training center and cultural center and museum.

The St. Benedictos Medical Center offers needy families primary health care, dentistry, dermatology and diabetes treatment. It provides children suffering from the effects of trauma related to the occupation with specialized mental health care. And it offers geriatric care to the Old City’s poor and abandoned elderly.

The Society also operates the Melia Art and Training Center in the Old City. The center aims to make women more economically independent and self-reliant. It provides more than 500 Palestinian women with training in the art of traditional embroidery.
While I disagree with some of eastern Catholicicism's theology, I am glad that CNEWA is assisting our Orthodox people in some small way. If it turned out that "Liberation Theology" was actually a "theology", and one separate from Orthodoxy, I would say the same thing about it.


To this end, could you please say what exactly a "theology" is?

Restorationism I think refers to the idea that Israel means the Jewish people, while in Orthodoxy, we see Israel as the Jewish people plus gentile Christians. Can either concept about Israel be called a "theology?"

Can the church's social teachings be called a "theology"?

Many blessings.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Rakovsky,

Would you please do us a favor and stop changing the titles of threads so often?  Thank you.
OK. Thanks for heads up.
 

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I'm trying to "disinter" the topic, in order to bring you some translated excerpts (later) from greek.  :)

Antonious Nikolas, brother, I'll try to respond to this :

Could you please tell us more about Fr. G. Metallinos' "theology of freedom"?
Gebre Menfes Kidus, I liked so much your premise about the "sacred revolution" (very Patristic) that I've translated it in my blog for the visitors to read and ponder on the extremely important matters that you put. Thank you a great deal...!!  

I hope today or tomorrow I'll be able to bring you the excerpts, I'm afraid I'll need some research in my library...  :)
 

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philalethe00 said:
I'm trying to "disinter" the topic, in order to bring you some translated excerpts (later) from greek.  :)

Antonious Nikolas, brother, I'll try to respond to this :

Could you please tell us more about Fr. G. Metallinos' "theology of freedom"?
Gebre Menfes Kidus, I liked so much your premise about the "sacred revolution" (very Patristic) that I've translated it in my blog for the visitors to read and ponder on the extremely important matters that you put. Thank you a great deal...!!  

I hope today or tomorrow I'll be able to bring you the excerpts, I'm afraid I'll need some research in my library...  :)
Thanks for your encouraging words brother.


Selam
 

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You're asking me to accuse certain people of certain things?
Certain people have certainly done certain things at specific times and in certain places but without certain knowledge of their specific actions we certainly can't understand with any certainty what they have have done specifically or even certainly.
 

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bogdan said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Many of these things are part of Christian theology, but the secular world makes these things ends in themselves, and the lines are blurred when we engage in the same thing.
If the world were truly Orthodox, there'd be no slavery, no racism, no oppression, no imperialism, no expansionism, and hence no need for revolution or liberation.  Let us work to convert the world to Orthodoxy that Our Master's will might be done, and all else shall be added.
Amen and amen! My sentiments exactly!  :)
I thank Antonious Nikolas for posting that wonderful excerpt.  It's strikingly wise and extremely relevant.

Still, I think that some posters' comments and subsequent agreements missed the point of the excerpt.  The last sentence sums it up.

"The perfect Kingdom of Christ will not arrive until he establishes it himself at the Second Coming. This short life on earth is a preparation for entry into it, not an attempt to bring about the Kingdom by human means."

Attempting to end the evils of the world through conversion appears dangerously close to what the excerpt was cautioning against. 
 

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rakovsky said:
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.
Remember Robespierre's "Virtue and Terror." A lot of liberals (and by "liberals" I mean anyone who supports democratic republicanism) want to forget it ever happened, or say, "that's not us," but it is the essential logic of revolutionary movements.
 

rakovsky

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
philalethe00 said:
I'm trying to "disinter" the topic, in order to bring you some translated excerpts (later) from greek.  :)

Antonious Nikolas, brother, I'll try to respond to this :

Could you please tell us more about Fr. G. Metallinos' "theology of freedom"?
Gebre Menfes Kidus, I liked so much your premise about the "sacred revolution" (very Patristic) that I've translated it in my blog for the visitors to read and ponder on the extremely important matters that you put. Thank you a great deal...!!  

I hope today or tomorrow I'll be able to bring you the excerpts, I'm afraid I'll need some research in my library...  :)
Thank you too. God Bless.
 

rakovsky

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The issue I have with Liberation Theology is not its substance- since the Israelites with God's help and direction as a group escaped from slavery in Egypt and captivity in Babylon. Their escape from slavery plays an essential role in Christian theology, as a prefigurement of our liberation out of sin and death and into the Promised Land, the heavenly Kingdom. Glory Be to Jesus Christ.

What I have a problem is calling our belief in "escape from slavery" as its own separate "liberation theology." St Paul's instruction that if a slave can buy his freedom, that he should, is basic to the Christian faith, just as Christianity teaches us that Christ ransomed us from the chains of sin and death.


But then I read that Metropolitan Jonah talks about something called the "Theology of the Body".

And here I read that in 1994 Jerusalem's Orthodox Patriarch Diodoros wrote a Memorandum with the Armenian Patriarch, Coptic Archbishop, Syriac Archbishop, and Ethiopian Archbishop describing a "Theology of Pilgrimage" to Jerusalem (http://www.al-bushra.org/hedchrch/memorandum.htm):

The pilgrimages slowly developed an understanding of the need to unify the sanctification of space through celebrations at the Holy Place with the sanctification in time through the calendared celebrations of the holy events of salvation (Egeria, Cyril of Jerusalem). Jerusalem soon occupied a unique place in the heart of Christianity everywhere. A theology and spirituality of pilgrimage developed. It was an ascetic time of biblical refreshment at the sources, a time of testing during which Christians recalled that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth (cf Heb. 11,13), and that their personal and community vocation always and everywhere, is to take up the cross and follow Jesus.
What do you think?

Is it is proper to use terms like a "Theology" of the Body, a Liberation "Theology", and a "Theology" of Pilgrimage?
 

ialmisry

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rakovsky said:
The issue I have with Liberation Theology is not its substance- since the Israelites with God's help and direction as a group escaped from slavery in Egypt and captivity in Babylon. Their escape from slavery plays an essential role in Christian theology, as a prefigurement of our liberation out of sin and death and into the Promised Land, the heavenly Kingdom. Glory Be to Jesus Christ.

What I have a problem is calling our belief in "escape from slavery" as its own separate "liberation theology." St Paul's instruction that if a slave can buy his freedom, that he should, is basic to the Christian faith, just as Christianity teaches us that Christ ransomed us from the chains of sin and death.


But then I read that Metropolitan Jonah talks about something called the "Theology of the Body".

And here I read that in 1994 Jerusalem's Orthodox Patriarch Diodoros wrote a Memorandum with the Armenian Patriarch, Coptic Archbishop, Syriac Archbishop, and Ethiopian Archbishop describing a "Theology of Pilgrimage" to Jerusalem (http://www.al-bushra.org/hedchrch/memorandum.htm):

The pilgrimages slowly developed an understanding of the need to unify the sanctification of space through celebrations at the Holy Place with the sanctification in time through the calendared celebrations of the holy events of salvation (Egeria, Cyril of Jerusalem). Jerusalem soon occupied a unique place in the heart of Christianity everywhere. A theology and spirituality of pilgrimage developed. It was an ascetic time of biblical refreshment at the sources, a time of testing during which Christians recalled that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth (cf Heb. 11,13), and that their personal and community vocation always and everywhere, is to take up the cross and follow Jesus.
What do you think?

Is it is proper to use terms like a "Theology" of the Body, a Liberation "Theology", and a "Theology" of Pilgrimage?
Sure, just as there is a theology of Christ, i.e. Christology, theology of Church, i.e. ecclesiology, etc.  The problem is only when "theology of X" becomes a buzz word and fad, and all other branches of theology are strained through it instead being related to it.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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As is the case with many things, it really depends on how one defines "liberation theology." Cardinal Ratzinger strongly opposed those aspects of the movement that identified with armed Marxist revolution. But that was not indicative of the essence of liberation theology as first coined and articulated by the Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutierrez.


My personal opinion is that if liberation theology is defined as God preferentially loving the poor and oppressed, then such a theology is heretical, because God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34) He loves the rich and poor alike, and any theology that promotes class division is fraught with error. However, if liberation theology mean prioritizing the poor and laboring through Christian means to ease their suffering and emancipate them from bondage, then I see this as not only compatible with Orthodoxy but also essential to Orthodoxy.


God does not ask us to prefer the poor and the oppressed, for He shows no partiality among men.  But God does require us to prioritize those in need; for how can we minister to people’s souls if by our apathetic indifference we allow their bodies to be crushed by the injustices of slavery, poverty, and abortion?


It is correct to condemn any theology that seeks to legitimize and justify Marxist violence. Christianity and Marxist violence can never be compatible. However, those who rightly condemn Marxism as incompatible with Christianity sadly fail to condemn the violence of an established order that allows the rich to exploit the poor. I don't agree with Gutierrez on everything, but I think his articulation of the urgent Christian imperative to prioritize the poor and oppressed was a necessary call to the Church. 





Selam


 

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visitor said:
I don't know if the Orthodox Church has officially condemned "Liberation Theology." I see the Church, and most especially Church members actively suppressing resistance to "Liberation Theology"...

So here's a little something that I cherish. It's a quote.

'And the "Free World" is clearly and horribly decaying… And the stench of that decay is no less foul than the stench of Communism!'

--The New Confessor, Saint Philaret, Metropolitan of New York (Synod of Russian Bishops in Exile),
'Letter from St. Philaret to Fr. George Grabbe, 12/25 July AD 1975/7483'
But I thought the scriptures said that god gives us liberty...
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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Christ gives us Liberation from death and evil, and the Scriptures do teach to "free the captives" (Isaiah 42:7, 61:1).
 

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Since this post is 3 years away from the recent discussions, here it is again. Before any of you continue discussing the shallow words used by Liberation Theology founders to lure the sympathy of the masses, *tackle* what they write where they know they they don't have the visibility of the masses. Here's a sample.


The ex-friar Boff gave the following declaration in an article for the newspaper Jornal do Brasil, April 6th, 1980:

"What we propose is not theology inside Marxism, but Marxism (historical materialism) inside theology".

And more: "The method of the Liberation Theology...is the dialectic method." (Leonardo e Clodovis Boff, Teologia da Libertação no Debate Atual, Vozes, Petrópolis, p. 22).

"Liberation theology starts up from this kind of interpretation of reality: social, radical and dialectic criticism, structuralist." (L. e Clodovis Boff, Da Libertação, Vozes, Petrópolis, 4a edição , p,17).

Boff explains the consequences of all this: "In Liberation Theory, the fundamental issue is not theology, but   liberation" (L. Boff e Clodovis Boff , Teologia da Libertação no Debate Atual, Vozes, Petrópolis, 1985, p.17).

This pseudotheology proposes liberation from what?

"When I speak of liberation I positevely understand this: to end the system of injustice that is capitalism. It is to liberate oneself from capitalism to create in its place a new society, let's say, a socialist society." (Leonardo e Clodovis Boff, Da Libertação, Vozes, Petrópolis, 4a edição , p, 70).

And more: "It is necessary to say clearly and boldly: liberation is the emancipation of the socially oppressed. It is positevely for us to overcome the capitalist system in direction of a new society of the socialist kind" (L e C. Boff, Da Libertação, p. 113).

"If I so express myself it is because, for us, today, the Kingdom of God is positively socialism" (L. Boff e Cl. Boff. Da Libertação, p. 96).

"The therapy presented by this radical critical conscience is not the reform of the (capitalist) system; this would be to treat the symptom without noticing the source producing the disease; we propose a new way of organizing all society over new different fundaments; no more over having capital on the hands of few, but from the work of all, with the participation of all in the means of production and in the means of power; we speak of liberation" (L e Cl. Boff, Da Libertação, pp.16-17.)"

http://www.montfort.org.br/index.php?secao=cartas&subsecao=politica&artigo=20040729135508&lang=bra
 

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And Gutierrez can say whatever he wants about the poor not being an inescable fact of destiny. There's someone who disagrees vehemently:

"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."
St. Matthew 26:11

The world has *always* been poor, illeterate, full of diseases and hunger. That's the "rule". The exception is the condition of material wealth that capitalism has made possible wherever it was implemented and wherever governments have been put under control and under the law.

That which the *confessed* comunists of Liberation Theology fight against is precisely the *only* tool that has raised the poor from poverty. What they really want, is what has always appeared in every single communist country: to be an elite ruling a mass of powerless victims.

They are monsters less respectable even than Nazis, ideological supporters of genocide. Noone, much less Christians, can give one single droplet of ink of respect for anything they do, say or are.
 

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my gosh, dude, just take a deep breath. ::)
 

biro

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[quote author=Fabio Leite]
They are monsters less respectable even than Nazis, ideological supporters of genocide. Noone, much less Christians, can give one single droplet of ink of respect for anything they do, say or are.
[/quote]

::)

 

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I never had any awareness of liberation theology until this semester at a Catholic university, and I've been getting decent exposure to it. One such way is through feminist theology.

What I've been exposed to so far seems largely at odds with traditional Christianity in all forms, as it almost describes salvation in purely material terms - or at least material salvation (from oppression) is as important, if not more than, spiritual salvation. In fact, it pushes material salvation (liberation) to the point of apparently denying the traditional Christian emphasis on suffering/martyrdom/ascesis/etc.

It seems almost like a spin on prosperity gospel stuff, honestly.
 

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Nephi said:
I never had any awareness of liberation theology until this semester at a Catholic university, and I've been getting decent exposure to it. One such way is through feminist theology.

What I've been exposed to so far seems largely at odds with traditional Christianity in all forms, as it almost describes salvation in purely material terms - or at least material salvation (from oppression) is as important, if not more than, spiritual salvation. In fact, it pushes material salvation (liberation) to the point of apparently denying the traditional Christian emphasis on suffering/martyrdom/ascesis/etc.

It seems almost like a spin on prosperity gospel stuff, honestly.
Their main mistake is calling it a "theology". If they just said they had a teaching about freeing people from suffering in society and then used traditional phrases and examples (freedom from the Mongols or quotes from the Fathers or Bible) it would sound fine.

Then they talk about it in relation to Feminist "theology" and you can really get driven bonkers by it.

How about if I said in a class lecture that there is an icon "theology" and that this is important in relation to idol "theology"? And then talk about it using western art phrases and depictions. A random Protestant would probably think "I don't know what icon theology is, but it seems at odds with what I believe".

To give one more analogy, western scholars sometimes talk about Replacement "Theology", claiming it is in the Church fathers. A natural reaction by an Orthodox person who hears descriptions of it couched in the western terminology may be quick to say that whatever it is, it must be bad. Unfortunately I am afraid that alot of these problems will continue to come up in alot of areas.

Just to give one more example - Christian "Triumphalism". I hope I don't have to write an essay on that one too!
 

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augustin717 said:
my gosh, dude, just take a deep breath. ::)
Some nuns and Priests who tried helping poor people somehow managed to escape alive and some just can't forgive that oversight.
 

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Nephi said:
What I've been exposed to so far seems largely at odds with traditional Christianity in all forms, as it almost describes salvation in purely material terms
Which is pretty much the only terms (or at least necessary ones) Christianity offers for salvation, so what is your point?
 

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Fabio Leite said:
"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."
St. Matthew 26:11
Watch your wallet and neck when folks start cherry picking this one.
 

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orthonorm said:
Fabio Leite said:
"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."
St. Matthew 26:11
Watch your wallet and neck when folks start cherry picking this one.
For the intelligentsia who tend not to worry about necks and wallets, watch your theology books, cause somehow Christ isn't always present. He did after all say so.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Fabio Leite said:
And Gutierrez can say whatever he wants about the poor not being an inescable fact of destiny. There's someone who disagrees vehemently:

"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me."
St. Matthew 26:11
That's a pretty long logical stretch for you to interpret that passage from the Gospel as speaking against Gutierrez's point of view.
 
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