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Orthodoxy and American Puritan Culture

Eamonomae

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When studying the culture and history of the United States, there are some cultural practices which seem to stem from our Puritan heritage, and I wanted to ask this as a question in terms of how good or bad these influences are in terms of our culture.

One of the more prominent examples that comes to mind is public displays of affection. I've heard stories of people in France or Russia being extremely open to publicly showing affection, even to the point of making out on a bench in front of people; for Americans who visit these countries, such public displays are seen as massively inappropriate and jarring - and this seems, to me, to stem from America's Puritan past, where public affection was shunned.

And while I haven't been to a Church service abroad myself, I also wonder how this impacts how Americans conduct themselves in Liturgy - I've seen several examples of couples clearly separate themselves during services, and after services, while talking with others, try their best to not even give off the impression that they are even a couple; I don't know if such restrictions to the point of separating themselves during Liturgies apply to European Church services.

Another example is the so-called "Protestant Work Ethic," which puts the emphasis away from giving to the poor and private charity (while still there, it's de-emphasized) and puts a much greater emphasis on hard work and rigorous labor as something holy in of itself.

There's also some Puritan ideas which clearly led to the development of other American cultural values - for instance, the separation of Church and State, the greater democratization of the ecclesial body, the allowing of (on paper) coexistence of other religions, etc.

Orthodoxy is often portrayed as something which 'sanctifies' a heterodox / pagan / infidel culture, and with this question, I wonder - to what extent are these Puritan historical ideas and values positive, and what are negative? Say that 300 years from now, somehow, America is miraculously converted to Orthodoxy with an American Orthodox Emperor - which of these values should be encouraged, and which should be discouraged?
 

rakovsky

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And while I haven't been to a Church service abroad myself, I also wonder how this impacts how Americans conduct themselves in Liturgy - I've seen several examples of couples clearly separate themselves during services,
Traditionally, even if EOs are married, the men sit on the right and women on the left of the church.
Centuries ago in Protestantism and Catholicism that may have been the case too, I guess, because there are Quaker Meeting buildings with separate rooms (architecturally from long ago) for men and women.

I've seen several examples of couples clearly separate themselves during services, and after services, while talking with others, try their best to not even give off the impression that they are even a couple; I
Don't read too much into that. It's just people talking with non-spouses in a safe setting.

Another example is the so-called "Protestant Work Ethic," which puts the emphasis away from giving to the poor and private charity (while still there, it's de-emphasized) and puts a much greater emphasis on hard work and rigorous labor as something holy in of itself.
Marx saw capitalism and Protestantism as related. That would be an example.

There's also some Puritan ideas which clearly led to the development of other American cultural values - for instance, the separation of Church and State, ... the allowing of (on paper) coexistence of other religions, etc.
Those two aren't clearly Puritan. The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay colony had a Puritan theocracy. Calvin ran a de facto Theocracy in Geneva.

I guess you can argue that having elders run your churches instead of bishops breeds into your nation being run more democratically over centuries, like you said, "the greater democratization of the ecclesial body". But religious freedom is in conflict with Puritanism even if you want to argue that eventually Puritanism leads to religious freedom because of its opposition to the kind of power the kings, the Catholic Church, and the Church of England had over European affairs.

Say that 300 years from now, somehow, America is miraculously converted to Orthodoxy with an American Orthodox Emperor - which of these values should be encouraged, and which should be discouraged?
First off, that would be a bad thing. Even in the OT, having a king was not the ideal. The Israelites wanted a king and got tried to warn them away from it, saying that a king would abuse you, send your sons to war, etc. But they kept insisting, so God gave them Saul. He was their first king and was considered a bad ruler and he died in suicide in a battle that he lost against the Philistines, as I recall. There is actually a decent amount of information in the Bible against having a monarchy that I came across in my readings of Josephus who pointed out these issues.
 
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