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Russia, Europe's Most Christian Country?

Irish Hermit

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http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/07/15/russia-europes-most-christian-country/

Russia, Europe's Most Christian Country?

Thursday, July 15, 2010, 2:30 PM
David P. Goldman

Russia appears to be the only Christian country where artists face legal penalties for blasphemy. The curators of a recent exhibition featuring depictions of Jesus as Mickey Mouse and V.I. Lenin were convicted yesterday for "inciting religious hatred" at a 2007 exhibition. "The verdict in the highly publicized case appeared to satisfy no one, with the artistic community seeing it as an infringement on free speech, and Russian Orthodox believers, who had hoped for a prison sentence, saying the fines were too lenient," the Moscow Times wrote July 13. The Russian website added:

The church appeared to share this sentiment. Tikhon Shevkunov, the secretary of the patriarch's cultural council who is thought to be Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's personal priest, said he was disappointed with the "purely symbolical" fine.

But Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, and ombudsman Vladimir Lukin spoke in support of the defendants. Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev also backed the curators last week, saying the exhibit merited public criticism but not criminal charges.

In other respects, Russia appears to be the most socially conservative country in Europe. Today's New York Times complains about Russian prudishness, specifically about the hurdles facing the nascent sex industry. "Two decades after government-imposed prudishness ended with the Soviet collapse, Russians still shy away from embracing European-style sexual mores. Despite a burst of licentiousness in the early 1990s, when pornography and prostitution surged through the country, the sexual revolution has never really taken hold here," the Times writes.

Under former Prime Minister (now President) Vladimir Putin, the Russian government revived the Kremlin's traditional alliance with the Orthodox Church. The social consequences of three generations of Communist rule threaten to prove fatal: By 2000 Russia's fertility had fallen to only 1.25 per female, one of the world's lowest, and Russia's population began declining. The United Nations Population Database estimates that fertility will have nudged up to 1.37 by 2010, still on track for rapid population decline. With constant fertility, Russia's population will fall from a peak of 147 million in 2000 to only 105 million in 2050.

Westerners will view the Church-State revival in Russia with mixed feelings. One hears about supposed KGB influence in the Russian Church. But Russian leadership is the former KGB. The Communists killed everyone else. The state security services ran Russia for three generations, which means that anyone with leadership ability was working for the state security services. Everyone else was a toady who survived by cultivating mediocrity. As I wrote some years ago, "The only leadership left in Russia by the terrible adverse selection process of the communist system was the former secret guardians of the state, men whose unique position required them to live by their wits."

Without a return to religion, it seems unlikely that Russia will reverse the social decay that has become an urgent existential threat to the country's future, and it is hard to envision how Russia could accomplish such a return without reviving Christianity in its traditional form. The Russian Orthodox Church, though, employs its standing with the state to harass other Christian denominations in Russia. And as George Weigel reported on this site May 25, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is threatening the position of the Greek Catholic Church in communion with Rome.

Nonetheless, according to the respected Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister, Pope Benedict XVI envisions a "holy alliance" between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches for the re-evangelization of Europe. Writing about Patriarch Kirill's visit to Rome late last May, Magister comments, "one great ally has already united with the pope from outside of the Catholic Church, in this enterprise of a new evangelization. This great ally is the Russian Orthodox Church."

Should we want Russia to survive, or disappear? Latvia, Moldova, or even Italy might be expendable, but the decline and fall of Russia would have consequences that I wouldn't wish on a Tiberius. If Russia succeeds, she will succeed on her own terms. It isn't a comfortable situation for the West. But it is the hand we have been dealt. With the triumph of secularism in Western Europe, it is not inconceivable that Russia will become the continent's most Christian country, and veer away from the demographic point of no return toward which the rest of Europe is headed.

 

Irish Hermit

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Patriarch Noah I said:
Considering Russia's abortion rate, I'd say not.
Modern Orthodoxy has emerged from the scourge of Communism in many countries and it is strong and resurgent.  It has engaged the battle to change the mind of the nation which used abortion as its normal form of birth control under the Communists.    Russia has opened 33,000 churches since 1991 (but Catholic Europe is selling theirs to the Muslims!!)

Orthodoxy makes a moral impact on society.  In both Bulgaria and Russia, for example, tougher abortion laws have been brought in, partly as a result of Church lobbying.  Russia is a country where the abortion rate is actually slowing declining.  The exact opposite is taking place in Western Catholic Europe.
 

ialmisry

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Patriarch Noah I said:
Considering Russia's abortion rate, I'd say not.
What's Italy's?

In Europe, on this issue its not hard to get ahead if you try to apply any Christian ethics.  Portugal, though, is far ahead.
 

Irish Hermit

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ialmisry said:
Patriarch Noah I said:
Considering Russia's abortion rate, I'd say not.
What's Italy's?
Abortion Statistics for Italy

For the year 2008:

Live births.... 576,659

Abortions......121,406

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-italy.html
 

ialmisry

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Nebelpfade said:
Irish Hermit said:
The exact opposite is taking place in Western Catholic Europe.
Outside of say Spain, most seem to be slowly decreasing or have remained stable.  Some of the lowest abortion rates on the planet are in Western Europe.
The circumstances of the negative growth rate helps.
 

Shanghaiski

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I might have thought it would go without saying, but high abortion rates in Eastern Europe are due to the history of Soviet influence. Just as it took a long time to get to that point, it will take a long time to reverse it. That said, I hardly think we can base adherence to Christianity solely on the prevalence of abortion. The Russian Orthodox Church has, as far as I have seen, spoken with a strong and unified voice on infanticide and other moral issues.
 

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Official MP statistics seem to show that only 3% of baptised members attend Church.

That reduces the meaningfulness of any count of adherents.

80% of English people are notionally Anglican, but in reality it is only about 2-3%.

I'm also not sure that many Europeans consider Russia to be part of Europe.

Peter
 

Irish Hermit

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peterfarrington said:
Official MP statistics seem to show that only 3% of baptised members attend Church.
That stat is probably stuck back in the 1990s.  I have seen more recent Russian figures which give up to 12% as regular churchgoers.

A few stats, incorporating those from the Moscow Patriarchate and those from Yakovlev's research. Together, I think, they form a powerful narrative. 

Today the Moscow Patriarchate (i.e., the Russian Orthodox Church) has

30,142 parishes
160 dioceses
207 bishops
800 monasteries
32,266 total clerics

Whereas in 1988, the 1000th anniversary of Russia’s Baptism, the Moscow Patriarchate had only

6,893 parishes
76 dioceses
74 hierarchs
7,397 total clerics

Over the past century the Moscow Patriarchate has had

1918: 48,000 parishes
1928: 30,000
1960: 13,008
1969: 7,352
1988: 7,397
2008: 29,263
2009: 30,142

Of course, numbers do not holiness make. This point is clear in Orthodox doctrine, which insists upon salvation as a process involving free, ongoing engagement with the ‘curriculum’ of the Church. And surely gaps exist between identification with the Orthodox Church and a mature, living faith. Yet this is merely to state the present missionary task and the need for prayer—especially for the 32,266 clerics now free, thanks be to God, to engage in that task.

Sources:
Yakovlev, Alexander N. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 164-6.
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=6888
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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I'm disappointed that I can't find an image of this painting of Jesus as Mickey Mouse. The concept speaks to me of the usurpation of religious symbols by capitalists to bolster their profits--a practice I thoroughly oppose. I would like to see the art so I can better understand its themes. If more people would learn to appreciate art, scenes like this would happen less often. It saddens me to see an Orthodox priest with his cross present at this arrest, as though it were God's work. This event can only serve to harm the Church's reputation.
 

Asteriktos

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In the mean time, you could always consider the P*ss Christ, and what it says about how we have treated Jesus and his message...
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
I'm disappointed that I can't find an image of this painting of Jesus as Mickey Mouse. The concept speaks to me of the usurpation of religious symbols by capitalists to bolster their profits--a practice I thoroughly oppose. I would like to see the art so I can better understand its themes. If more people would learn to appreciate art, scenes like this would happen less often. It saddens me to see an Orthodox priest with his cross present at this arrest, as though it were God's work. This event can only serve to harm the Church's reputation.
I have a link to this picture but will not post it. 
 

ialmisry

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peterfarrington said:
Official MP statistics seem to show that only 3% of baptised members attend Church.

That reduces the meaningfulness of any count of adherents.
Not really.  In the Islamic World, the of Islamists is comparable.  The vast majority of Muslims defer to them, and they therefore run the place.

80% of English people are notionally Anglican, but in reality it is only about 2-3%.
But I understand it remains a large blockade to evagnlization by any other church of the British Isles.

I'm also not sure that many Europeans consider Russia to be part of Europe.
I lot of Western Europeans do not like seeing Eastern Europeans as Europeans. The issue of Russia is that it constitutes a threat: it covers 40% of Europe, where 78% of its people live, who make up over a seventh of Europe's population.  Throw in the Ukrainians, Bylorusians (and Estonians, Latvians, etc. and the non-Russia groups in European Russia), along with the reserves in Asia spanning the continent, and a lot of Europeans have a problem.

Russia has been part of Europe as long as an such an entity has been formulated beyond a narrow region of Greece, from the Sons of Japheth (Europe is Semitic for "West") and the T in O maps, through medieval state fprmation (Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise was the Father in Law of Europe) to the Concert of Europe.

Russia would be in the running for largest Christian country in the world (as it was before WWI), if its birth rate demography would pick up. Brazil currently holds the title, although between low church attendance (on Sunday more Pentacostals are in church than those attending mass there) and the syncrenism there is some question there. I pray the Russians (and Ukrainians, Belorussians, etc.) are fruitful and multiply, and the Brazilians converted.
 

peterfarrington

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I mean that the meaningfulness of any count of adherents is reduced when one country wants to start saying it is the 'most Christian'.

Almost everyone in England is a Christian, but in reality that isn't so. It is the same with Russia.

Anglicanism isn't an obstacle to evangelisation, especially by Orthodox, it is the lack of evangelisation which is the problem.
 

Irish Hermit

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peterfarrington said:
I mean that the meaningfulness of any count of adherents is reduced when one country wants to start saying it is the 'most Christian'.

Almost everyone in England is a Christian, but in reality that isn't so. It is the same with Russia.
Of course the author of the article does not state that Russia is the most Christian country.  Instead he posits it as a question.

My opinion is that probably Russia is the most religious Christian country.  I think that 65% of the population claim the Russian Orthodox Church as theirs. Admittedly many are nominals but there is a difference between Russian nominals and, say, C of E nominals.  The Russian variety will line up behind the Church when required and it also expects that the voice of the Church will have a major effective role in society and the formation of social policy and public morality.    This gives the Church much greater clout than in other countries.

Nicolai Petro touches on this in his article about the potential impact of Orthodoxy on the institutions of the EU:

"There are some potentially worrisome aspects to this encounter [between W.Europe and Orthodoxy].
For one thing, the political weight of the Church within those countries is not
declining, as it is in Western Europe, but growing. Orthodox faithful
expect to have their voice heard within the European political institutions
of which they are now a part, and this poses a direct challenge to the
secular framework of the EU."

For the complete article
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5709.msg72805/topicseen.html#msg72805
 

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I just now joined because... Look. I honestly cannot believe that the responses to this news article have been so bad here. This is NOT an article about abortion, okay? And it's NOT about which country is more Christian! I'm

Some people have their pet issues which they like to weave into any conversation in which they are either, well...

1) not really "up" on (I'm being as nice as I can here),

or else 2) they have no interest in.

Here's the fact: Marxian subversion is real. And it manifests itself in cultural productions INCLUDING ART. If a Russian court sees fit to suppress subversive Marxian propaganda, then so be it! Good grief.
 

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As for the art: Terrible. Disaster. Pure garbage. Aesthetically useless.

But let's consider our oh-so-enlightened open-mindedness about the apparently much touted P*ss X. I guess one might want to know beforehand that M@rxists themselves have taken up "Christ's message" over the past couple of decades and have turned it into a support myth for social struggle? Yeah. There are now public M@rxists who are writing on theological topics and doing hermeneutics on "the Bible text."

There's a reason after all why nihilists joke that M@rxism/Commun1sm is a denomination of Christianity. There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.

Wise up.
 

Shanghaiski

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visitor said:
There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.
I would say that the Beatitudes are utterly contrary to Marxism. You would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make them congruous to Marxism. Marx might like, for example, "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger," if we look at St. Luke's version, but he would recoil at the poor inheriting the kingdom of God or those who are hated and reviled on account of the Son of Man receiving a great reward in heaven. Likewise, Marx would have little use for the meek inheriting the earth or the pure in heart seeing God, if we look at St. Matthew's version.

I'm not sure whom you are exhorting to wise up--Marxists, Christians, posters here, errant artists.
 

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Shanghaiski said:
visitor said:
There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.
I would say that the Beatitudes are utterly contrary to Marxism. You would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make them congruous to Marxism. Marx might like, for example, "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger," if we look at St. Luke's version, but he would recoil at the poor inheriting the kingdom of God or those who are hated and reviled on account of the Son of Man receiving a great reward in heaven. Likewise, Marx would have little use for the meek inheriting the earth or the pure in heart seeing God, if we look at St. Matthew's version.

I'm not sure whom you are exhorting to wise up--Marxists, Christians, posters here, errant artists.
Well, the discussion group is for Orthodox Christians, so... that's who I'm talking to.

The question here regards the manner of operation in a Russian court's condemning to prison a couple of M@rxist propagandists. Why would a Russian court do such a thing? Out of piety alone? No. There are many factors figuring in to this event. This is not simply an "Orthodox Catechism vs. The World" sort of event. It's Post-Soviet Russia.

But the most troubling thing that I find in your response is evidence that you think that M@rxism is some sort of debate that you can weigh your own opinion against. Ha! It isn't. Your opinion is either congruent or contrary i.e. "intolerant" and "opressive" etc. That's it. How can I demonstrate this... ?

If you are American, then you are familiar with Martin Luther King and the black "civil rights" movement. (If you are British, then you might think of the English Civil War, or the Troubles in Ireland etc.) The method is simple enough. The gospel itself is deployed as propaganda for a socio-economic cause and has nothing whatever to do with spiritual matters. "Let my people go" and so forth down to Revelation.

Fast forward to the present day. We don't have a lot of sermons from the Soviet millieu to examine, but one suspects that the import of such sermons would be essentially the same as those that we get from:

Alain Badiou regarding St. Paul

Terry Eagleton on the Prophet Isaiah

Slavoj Zizek on Catholic and Protestant theology (Zizek is a Leninist Slovenian, i.e. a Yugoslavian, who seems to leave the Orthodox Church alone for some strange reason)

Etc. etc. etc.


The Orthodox Catechism doesn't really offer a way to understand Marxist propaganda. Some Orthodox countries have gotten a radical education in Marxism, however, so they can now identify it and suppress it where a western liberal democratic audience is more receptive to the subversion and less likely to censor. Case in point: see posts above.

The utter sychability of divine dispensation and Bible narrative with revolutionary discourse is probably most easily demonstrated within the discourse of Hegel and Post-Hegelianism. Message me if you want more on this. The neo-Marxian Post-Hegelian ediface is simply too complicated for me to expound on here.
 

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Shanghaiski said:
visitor said:
There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.
I would say that the Beatitudes are utterly contrary to Marxism. You would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make them congruous to Marxism. Marx might like, for example, "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger," if we look at St. Luke's version, but he would recoil at the poor inheriting the kingdom of God or those who are hated and reviled on account of the Son of Man receiving a great reward in heaven. Likewise, Marx would have little use for the meek inheriting the earth or the pure in heart seeing God, if we look at St. Matthew's version.

I'm not sure whom you are exhorting to wise up--Marxists, Christians, posters here, errant artists.
And by the way, there is a "God" function in Marxism, and there always has been. One aspect of it is material, the second historical, the third ethical... Oh you'd be amazed at what "History" achieves, decrees, intends, wills or desires even from the ethical on high. No friend, the Beatitudes are perfectly accessible to Marxian interpretation. So is the Paternoster actually. So is a practical sort of what one might even call "piety."

This idea that the discursive features of Christianity are all perfectly opposed to all materialist progressivism (e.g. Marxism) is nothing but a fantasy. Some might say that History has spoken on this repeatedly, but the "elect" as it were are after all obliged to keep some dogmas concealed from the unconverted.

I take no pleasure in reporting this. But some are utterly insensible to the greatest threat that the Church has known in a thousand years. Even the bugbear of "ecumenism" so-called is impossible to fully demystify without an understanding the some of the modern "sythetic" philosophies.
 

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On 8th July in Russia took place celebration of a new state holiday -the day of Saints Peter and Phevronia.
"День семьи, любви и верности" i.e. State popularization of Christian family! And almost all mass media were filled with propaganda counter abortions etc.
 

Irish Hermit

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Irish Hermit said:
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/07/15/russia-europes-most-christian-country/

Russia, Europe's Most Christian Country?

Thursday, July 15, 2010, 2:30 PM
David P. Goldman

Russia appears to be the only Christian country where artists face legal penalties for blasphemy.
The parliament of England re-affirmed England's blasphemy laws in 2005, but abolished them in 2008.

Blasphemy remains a criminal offence in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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visitor said:
As for the art: Terrible. Disaster. Pure garbage. Aesthetically useless.
"Aesthetically useless" is an oxymoron. :) As for the work, I consider to be art that which causes me to feel some emotion, and think and reflect on the work as it pertains to things in my life. "P*** Christ" does exactly this. I feel disgust, which is an emotion, and then I think and reflect on how I have treated Christ and His message. Because of this inner reflection, to me it is a very uplifting piece. I can, however, understand how it would affect others differently, and I respect your opinion. I realise that Serrano's main goal was to shock, and perhaps he thought nothing more of it. The wonderful thing about the arts, though, is that the audience can participate in the artistic creation. What I bring to this piece causes me to consider it very seriously, and what I receive for my efforts is remarkably rewarding.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
visitor said:
As for the art: Terrible. Disaster. Pure garbage. Aesthetically useless.
"Aesthetically useless" is an oxymoron. :) As for the work, I consider to be art that which causes me to feel some emotion, and think and reflect on the work as it pertains to things in my life. "P*** Christ" does exactly this. I feel disgust, which is an emotion, and then I think and reflect on how I have treated Christ and His message. Because of this inner reflection, to me it is a very uplifting piece. I can, however, understand how it would affect others differently, and I respect your opinion. I realise that Serrano's main goal was to shock, and perhaps he thought nothing more of it. The wonderful thing about the arts, though, is that the audience can participate in the artistic creation. What I bring to this piece causes me to consider it very seriously, and what I receive for my efforts is remarkably rewarding.
I've actually been professionally trained in aesthetics. LOL. So I guess you're in for a ride.

I like the idea of "aethetic use" being an oxymoron. It reminds me of the late great Alan Watts ;D rejecting the idea that America is "materialist." "Materialism," he said, "is a love of materials." He then went on to say that America is really obsessed with turning everything into garbage: "Just look at L.A.," he said.

But I meant the picture's aesthesis in a trans-Platonic sense (or a Heideggerian sense if you prefer). Aesthetic is not just whatever you think it is, and it does have a use. I am not going to say that it's all objective, but there is some real objectivity to it, and we should recognise this. Okay, here we go.

No. The main "goal" or effect here is subversion, which has worked its magic on you, sad to say. This is not an attack. Watch the flow of ideas:

You have reasoned a subjective, psychological value for what is, in point of fact, a peice of real blasphemy. It's supposed to be very progressive to be devoid of preference about these things, and it's very Kantian (or "modern") of you to assert that it is the viewer who supplies the content... But there is a larger dialectic at play, and your quaint individual evaluation of the image actually goes to work for other interests when you fail to acknowledge the real social and historical (and ethical and legal) significance of the peice. It is nihilistic in the extreme. This is a picture of the King of Heaven we are talking about, not just a little one-off manufactured phenomenon of "the arts" la-dee-da. The artist chose the subject, and he defamed the subject. That sort of approach is kind of hard to justify outside of psychoanalysis or existentialism for examples, but it is very, very easy to justify in terms of revolutionary discourse and sociological poststructuralism. So, all things being equal, the image is actually semiotic and/or sociological, but not aesthetic. Or, one might say, it is no more aesthetic than a "readymade," or the Soviet flag, perhaps.

Plus there is the question of your audience. Here's me for an example: No matter how highly I think of Nikos Kazantzakis (and I think he's just brilliant and has a great deal to offer a Christian audience trained in Hegel, Fichte, the logic of violence, and Greek Classics), nevertheless I'm not going to get on an Orthodox Christian discussion forum and pretend to be naive about his offenses to the Church, or pretend to be lambish about the theological implications of his writing. You see the Church already has "participated" with Nikos Kazantzakis, and she has already "participated" in iconography as well.

But here's the most important thing that I can impart to you. There is absolutely nothing alethic disclosed in the P******* X that is not better disclosed in a genuine icon of the Passion. That's the wonderful thing about real art, it's a Window to Heaven, and not just a vacant space for one's own self-reflection.

Hope this helps, if only to explain my own bit.

And Russia did the right thing (see top).
 

AntoniousNikolas

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visitor said:
Shanghaiski said:
visitor said:
There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.
I would say that the Beatitudes are utterly contrary to Marxism. You would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make them congruous to Marxism. Marx might like, for example, "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger," if we look at St. Luke's version, but he would recoil at the poor inheriting the kingdom of God or those who are hated and reviled on account of the Son of Man receiving a great reward in heaven. Likewise, Marx would have little use for the meek inheriting the earth or the pure in heart seeing God, if we look at St. Matthew's version.

I'm not sure whom you are exhorting to wise up--Marxists, Christians, posters here, errant artists.

But the most troubling thing that I find in your response is evidence that you think that M@rxism is some sort of debate that you can weigh your own opinion against. Ha! It isn't. Your opinion is either congruent or contrary i.e. "intolerant" and "opressive" etc. That's it. How can I demonstrate this... ?

If you are American, then you are familiar with Martin Luther King and the black "civil rights" movement. (If you are British, then you might think of the English Civil War, or the Troubles in Ireland etc.) The method is simple enough. The gospel itself is deployed as propaganda for a socio-economic cause and has nothing whatever to do with spiritual matters. "Let my people go" and so forth down to Revelation.
It's not fair or accurate to suggest that the Gospel was "employed as propaganda for a socio-economic cause and has nothing to do whatever with spiritual matters" with regards to the Civil Rights struggle here in the USA (Not sure why you put “Civil Rights” in quotes, as if the appellation is inaccurate or disingenuous.  It is not.).  The church was at that time the backbone of the black community, and the black clergy were the driving force behind the struggle for equality and Civil Rights.  As Adam Clayton Powell said, "There is no separation of church and state in the black community”.  This is part of the appeal of Orthodoxy to me, as I believe that African-Americans and the various traditionally Orthodox nationalities have this idea in common.

Of course, the Civil Rights Movement had socio-economic goals, but these were not divorced from what its leadership, and indeed the rank-and-file, felt were the message of the Gospel regarding God’s plan for man.  This went back way further than the 1950s and 1960s.  The role of the church in the struggle for freedom went back to the time of slavery.  White Southern Christians, like the Quakers and Methodists, also attacked slavery, Jim Crow, and other such institutions on purely theological grounds when they had everything to lose and nothing to gain in terms of their socio-political situation, and they later became integral parts of the Civil Rights struggle. 

Most of the people singing Christian hymns and We Shall Overcome were sincere, convinced Christians, and for them, the struggle for equality was integrally linked with their Christian faith.  Their Christian perspective on this struggle is what kept many of them (including some of my relatives) from turning to violence in their frustration.  You seem to see everything through the lenses of your obsession with Marxist propaganda and conspiracies, but you’re way off the mark with this one.

The Civil Rights Movement began in the basement of a Baptist church, and when the cowardly enemies of the struggle wanted to attack it, they knew just where to go.  Not the local offices of the Socialist Workers Party, but to the 16th Street Baptist Church where they murdered four little girls with dynamite.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
visitor said:
Shanghaiski said:
visitor said:
There's pretty much nothing contrary to Marxism in the Beatitudes, for example.
I would say that the Beatitudes are utterly contrary to Marxism. You would have to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make them congruous to Marxism. Marx might like, for example, "Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger," if we look at St. Luke's version, but he would recoil at the poor inheriting the kingdom of God or those who are hated and reviled on account of the Son of Man receiving a great reward in heaven. Likewise, Marx would have little use for the meek inheriting the earth or the pure in heart seeing God, if we look at St. Matthew's version.

I'm not sure whom you are exhorting to wise up--Marxists, Christians, posters here, errant artists.

But the most troubling thing that I find in your response is evidence that you think that M@rxism is some sort of debate that you can weigh your own opinion against. Ha! It isn't. Your opinion is either congruent or contrary i.e. "intolerant" and "opressive" etc. That's it. How can I demonstrate this... ?

If you are American, then you are familiar with Martin Luther King and the black "civil rights" movement. (If you are British, then you might think of the English Civil War, or the Troubles in Ireland etc.) The method is simple enough. The gospel itself is deployed as propaganda for a socio-economic cause and has nothing whatever to do with spiritual matters. "Let my people go" and so forth down to Revelation.
It's not fair or accurate to suggest that the Gospel was "employed as propaganda for a socio-economic cause and has nothing to do whatever with spiritual matters" with regards to the Civil Rights struggle here in the USA (Not sure why you put “Civil Rights” in quotes, as if the appellation is inaccurate or disingenuous.  It is not.).  The church was at that time the backbone of the black community, and the black clergy were the driving force behind the struggle for equality and Civil Rights.  As Adam Clayton Powell said, "There is no separation of church and state in the black community”.  This is part of the appeal of Orthodoxy to me, as I believe that African-Americans and the various traditionally Orthodox nationalities have this idea in common.

Of course, the Civil Rights Movement had socio-economic goals, but these were not divorced from what its leadership, and indeed the rank-and-file, felt were the message of the Gospel regarding God’s plan for man.  This went back way further than the 1950s and 1960s.  The role of the church in the struggle for freedom went back to the time of slavery.  White Southern Christians, like the Quakers and Methodists, also attacked slavery, Jim Crow, and other such institutions on purely theological grounds when they had everything to lose and nothing to gain in terms of their socio-political situation, and they later became integral parts of the Civil Rights struggle.  

Most of the people singing Christian hymns and We Shall Overcome were sincere, convinced Christians, and for them, the struggle for equality was integrally linked with their Christian faith.  Their Christian perspective on this struggle is what kept many of them (including some of my relatives) from turning to violence in their frustration.  You seem to see everything through the lenses of your obsession with Marxist propaganda and conspiracies, but you’re way off the mark with this one.

The Civil Rights Movement began in the basement of a Baptist church, and when the cowardly enemies of the struggle wanted to attack it, they knew just where to go.  Not the local offices of the Socialist Workers Party, but to the 16th Street Baptist Church where they murdered four little girls with dynamite.

This has nothing whatever to do with Christ. It's about social struggle. You are right now using an Orthodox Christianity web forum to propagandize for a socio-economic cause---you are doing exactly what they did in the past, just like I said. And you imagine that your little political myth is too prestigous, too sacred to have its angelic little plastic mask lifted, that's pretty common among ideologically fixated activists. So what do you know about modern art in Russia? I think I can guess what you know about it.

You need to come to terms with the reality that using the gospel as a prompt or justification for subversive social mobilization is a sin. This is the same reason why real muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a heretical cult; it's the same sin that's at issue. Plus, and this is a big point, there's nothing whatever about "Rights" in the Bible or Church history. All this liberal stuff about what people are entitled to is just a bunch of bunk made up by bums who were jealous of their divinely established betters---I would mention a bit of Russian history here, but what would be the point?

...And there really is nothing whatever in your response to support your claim that my classifications of Marxist phenomena are "way off." Do I try to dispute Ethiopian agiography with you? No. Why would I? I don't even dispute Monophysitism with you! I leave it, because it's not my bag!

This urge you have to prove me wrong about things concerns me. Maybe we should just ignore each other from now on, okay?
 

AntoniousNikolas

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visitor said:
This has nothing whatever to do with Christ. It's about social struggle.
You’re wrong.  All men are made in the image and likeness of God and are equal before Him.  If you can’t see that there was a religious component to this struggle, then you’re in denial.  For those of us who are sincere Christians, that ethos informs everything we do.

visitor said:
You are right now using an Orthodox Christianity web forum to propagandize for a socio-economic cause
No, I’m not.  But you, by contrast, are using this forum to propagandize your warped little conspiracy theories about Madison Avenue, capitalism, and Marxism.  In fact, you endeavor to drag almost every topic you post on back to your apparent obsession with these topics.

visitor said:
And you imagine that your little political myth is too prestigous, too sacred to have its angelic little plastic mask lifted, that's pretty common among ideologically fixated activists.
I don’t imagine anything of the kind.  I’m not surprised at the fact that a person with your leanings would be opposed to the Civil Rights movement, I just challenge your erroneous claims and your misconstruing its nature to suit your own warped worldview.

visitor said:
So what do you know about modern art in Russia? I think I can guess what you know about it.
I know as much about that as you apparently do about the history of my people in my country.  Next to nothing.  That’s beside the point anyway.  I didn’t address you about modern art in Russia, I addressed your outlandish claims concerning the history of my people.

visitor said:
You need to come to terms with the reality that using the gospel as a prompt or justification for subversive social mobilization is a sin.
The fact that you would categorize equality for African-Americans as “subversive social mobilization” is telling.  No one utilized the Gospel as a prompt or justification for the movement.  In fact, the opposite was true.  The Gospel was the impetus for the movement and informed its ethos.  And based on his writings on the subject and his marching with Dr. King, Archbishop Iakovos felt much the same way.  But I guess he’s part of the conspiracy as well, right?

visitor said:
This is the same reason why real muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a heretical cult; it's the same
No, real Muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a cult because it claims that a man, Wallace D. Fard, was Allah incarnate.  Again, you know not of what you speak concerning African-American history.

visitor said:
Plus, and this is a big point, there's nothing whatever about "Rights" in the Bible or Church history. All this liberal stuff about what people are entitled to is just a bunch of bunk made up by bums who were jealous of their divinely established betters---I would mention a bit of Russian history here, but what would be the point?
Now we’re coming to the meat of the matter.  In your skewed interpretation of the Scriptures, God created some people to be “bums” and others to be their “divinely established betters”, and “race’ apparently has a place in that system for you.  Yes, I’m sure that this was what He had in mind when He created Adam and Eve, and that the perversions the human race has visited upon one another are not the result of the fall of man, but rather of God’s will for us.

You assume I know so little of Russian history that your mentioning it here would be pointless.  I’ve not yet opened my mouth to confirm or deny this.  But you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you know only the rudiments of African-American history, and even that in a warped, skewed, and distorted fashion.

visitor said:
...And there really is nothing whatever in your response to support your claim that my classifications of Marxist phenomena are "way off."
In fact, I did demonstrate that the movement was Christian in ethos and nothing you’ve said here has adequately addressed or contradicted my claims.

visitor said:
Do I try to dispute Ethiopian agiography with you? No. Why would I? I don't even dispute Monophysitism with you! I leave it, because it's not my bag!
I’m not a monophysite, so it’s not my bag either.  And I did in fact notice that you shot your mouth off with a bunch of inaccuracies about the position of the Coptic Church on that heresy in another thread.  I figured that you were simply misinformed.

visitor said:
This urge you have to prove me wrong about things concerns me.
What makes you think that you’re so special?  I’ve ignored the lion’s share of your posts.  I’m not singling you out.  If I had the urge to prove you wrong, I wouldn’t be so selective about addressing the inaccuracies bandied about in a great many of your posts, including what you’ve had to say about the Coptic Church supposedly not repudiating monophysitism.  This is a public forum.  If you make an inaccurate statement and I feel like addressing it, I will.  If I don’t, I won’t.  Get over it.  In fact, if I eventually do feel like addressing your inaccuracies concerning the Coptic Church, I’ll do that too.

You obviously can’t comprehend what my people have gone through on this continent, or perhaps you feel that it was “ordained” for us to be beasts of burden for our “divinely established betters”, but I agree rather with St. Gregory of Nyssa.  He obviously doesn’t agree with your theory of divinely ordained bums and betters either.

"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?"

visitor said:
Maybe we should just ignore each other from now on, okay?
As I said, it’s a public forum.  For the most part, I do ignore you.  If you make a post I’d like to comment on, however, at the risk of upsetting those who think themselves my divinely ordained betters, I’ll feel free to speak my mind.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
visitor said:
This has nothing whatever to do with Christ. It's about social struggle.
You’re wrong.  All men are made in the image and likeness of God and are equal before Him.  If you can’t see that there was a religious component to this struggle, then you’re in denial.  For those of us who are sincere Christians, that ethos informs everything we do.

visitor said:
You are right now using an Orthodox Christianity web forum to propagandize for a socio-economic cause
No, I’m not.  But you, by contrast, are using this forum to propagandize your warped little conspiracy theories about Madison Avenue, capitalism, and Marxism.  In fact, you endeavor to drag almost every topic you post on back to your apparent obsession with these topics.

visitor said:
And you imagine that your little political myth is too prestigous, too sacred to have its angelic little plastic mask lifted, that's pretty common among ideologically fixated activists.
I don’t imagine anything of the kind.  I’m not surprised at the fact that a person with your leanings would be opposed to the Civil Rights movement, I just challenge your erroneous claims and your misconstruing its nature to suit your own warped worldview.

visitor said:
So what do you know about modern art in Russia? I think I can guess what you know about it.
I know as much about that as you apparently do about the history of my people in my country.  Next to nothing.  That’s beside the point anyway.  I didn’t address you about modern art in Russia, I addressed your outlandish claims concerning the history of my people.

visitor said:
You need to come to terms with the reality that using the gospel as a prompt or justification for subversive social mobilization is a sin.
The fact that you would categorize equality for African-Americans as “subversive social mobilization” is telling.  No one utilized the Gospel as a prompt or justification for the movement.  In fact, the opposite was true.  The Gospel was the impetus for the movement and informed its ethos.  And based on his writings on the subject and his marching with Dr. King, Archbishop Iakovos felt much the same way.  But I guess he’s part of the conspiracy as well, right?

visitor said:
This is the same reason why real muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a heretical cult; it's the same
No, real Muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a cult because it claims that a man, Wallace D. Fard, was Allah incarnate.  Again, you know not of what you speak concerning African-American history.

visitor said:
Plus, and this is a big point, there's nothing whatever about "Rights" in the Bible or Church history. All this liberal stuff about what people are entitled to is just a bunch of bunk made up by bums who were jealous of their divinely established betters---I would mention a bit of Russian history here, but what would be the point?
Now we’re coming to the meat of the matter.  In your skewed interpretation of the Scriptures, God created some people to be “bums” and others to be their “divinely established betters”, and “race’ apparently has a place in that system for you.  Yes, I’m sure that this was what He had in mind when He created Adam and Eve, and that the perversions the human race has visited upon one another are not the result of the fall of man, but rather of God’s will for us.

You assume I know so little of Russian history that your mentioning it here would be pointless.  I’ve not yet opened my mouth to confirm or deny this.  But you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you know only the rudiments of African-American history, and even that in a warped, skewed, and distorted fashion.

visitor said:
...And there really is nothing whatever in your response to support your claim that my classifications of Marxist phenomena are "way off."
In fact, I did demonstrate that the movement was Christian in ethos and nothing you’ve said here has adequately addressed or contradicted my claims.

visitor said:
Do I try to dispute Ethiopian agiography with you? No. Why would I? I don't even dispute Monophysitism with you! I leave it, because it's not my bag!
I’m not a monophysite, so it’s not my bag either.  And I did in fact notice that you shot your mouth off with a bunch of inaccuracies about the position of the Coptic Church on that heresy in another thread.   I figured that you were simply misinformed.

visitor said:
This urge you have to prove me wrong about things concerns me.
What makes you think that you’re so special?  I’ve ignored the lion’s share of your posts.  I’m not singling you out.  If I had the urge to prove you wrong, I wouldn’t be so selective about addressing the inaccuracies bandied about in a great many of your posts, including what you’ve had to say about the Coptic Church supposedly not repudiating monophysitism.  This is a public forum.  If you make an inaccurate statement and I feel like addressing it, I will.  If I don’t, I won’t.  Get over it.  In fact, if I eventually do feel like addressing your inaccuracies concerning the Coptic Church, I’ll do that too.

You obviously can’t comprehend what my people have gone through on this continent, or perhaps you feel that it was “ordained” for us to be beasts of burden for our “divinely established betters”, but I agree rather with St. Gregory of Nyssa.  He obviously doesn’t agree with your theory of divinely ordained bums and betters either.

"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?"

visitor said:
Maybe we should just ignore each other from now on, okay?
As I said, it’s a public forum.  For the most part, I do ignore you.  If you make a post I’d like to comment on, however, at the risk of upsetting those who think themselves my divinely ordained betters, I’ll feel free to speak my mind.
Thanks for proving my point for me. You have even radicalized the thread itself with your non sequitor. Attack me again and I'll report you to the administrator.
 

Heorhij

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Irish Hermit said:
Under former Prime Minister (now President) Vladimir Putin,
The other way around. Putin was President, and now is the Prime Minister of Russia (Medvedev is its President).

Last night, I was on the plane with an American professor who teaches Soviet history at a major university. It turned out that the guy did not know, who is the current president of Ukraine.

What a shame. Father, don't use sources like this one for any information. These people are simply incompetent.

To find out, just how "Christian" Russia is, try to live there.:)
 

AntoniousNikolas

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visitor said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
visitor said:
This has nothing whatever to do with Christ. It's about social struggle.
You’re wrong.  All men are made in the image and likeness of God and are equal before Him.  If you can’t see that there was a religious component to this struggle, then you’re in denial.  For those of us who are sincere Christians, that ethos informs everything we do.

visitor said:
You are right now using an Orthodox Christianity web forum to propagandize for a socio-economic cause
No, I’m not.  But you, by contrast, are using this forum to propagandize your warped little conspiracy theories about Madison Avenue, capitalism, and Marxism.  In fact, you endeavor to drag almost every topic you post on back to your apparent obsession with these topics.

visitor said:
And you imagine that your little political myth is too prestigous, too sacred to have its angelic little plastic mask lifted, that's pretty common among ideologically fixated activists.
I don’t imagine anything of the kind.  I’m not surprised at the fact that a person with your leanings would be opposed to the Civil Rights movement, I just challenge your erroneous claims and your misconstruing its nature to suit your own warped worldview.

visitor said:
So what do you know about modern art in Russia? I think I can guess what you know about it.
I know as much about that as you apparently do about the history of my people in my country.  Next to nothing.  That’s beside the point anyway.  I didn’t address you about modern art in Russia, I addressed your outlandish claims concerning the history of my people.

visitor said:
You need to come to terms with the reality that using the gospel as a prompt or justification for subversive social mobilization is a sin.
The fact that you would categorize equality for African-Americans as “subversive social mobilization” is telling.  No one utilized the Gospel as a prompt or justification for the movement.  In fact, the opposite was true.  The Gospel was the impetus for the movement and informed its ethos.  And based on his writings on the subject and his marching with Dr. King, Archbishop Iakovos felt much the same way.  But I guess he’s part of the conspiracy as well, right?

visitor said:
This is the same reason why real muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a heretical cult; it's the same
No, real Muslims regard the Nation of Islam as a cult because it claims that a man, Wallace D. Fard, was Allah incarnate.  Again, you know not of what you speak concerning African-American history.

visitor said:
Plus, and this is a big point, there's nothing whatever about "Rights" in the Bible or Church history. All this liberal stuff about what people are entitled to is just a bunch of bunk made up by bums who were jealous of their divinely established betters---I would mention a bit of Russian history here, but what would be the point?
Now we’re coming to the meat of the matter.  In your skewed interpretation of the Scriptures, God created some people to be “bums” and others to be their “divinely established betters”, and “race’ apparently has a place in that system for you.  Yes, I’m sure that this was what He had in mind when He created Adam and Eve, and that the perversions the human race has visited upon one another are not the result of the fall of man, but rather of God’s will for us.

You assume I know so little of Russian history that your mentioning it here would be pointless.  I’ve not yet opened my mouth to confirm or deny this.  But you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you know only the rudiments of African-American history, and even that in a warped, skewed, and distorted fashion.

visitor said:
...And there really is nothing whatever in your response to support your claim that my classifications of Marxist phenomena are "way off."
In fact, I did demonstrate that the movement was Christian in ethos and nothing you’ve said here has adequately addressed or contradicted my claims.

visitor said:
Do I try to dispute Ethiopian agiography with you? No. Why would I? I don't even dispute Monophysitism with you! I leave it, because it's not my bag!
I’m not a monophysite, so it’s not my bag either.  And I did in fact notice that you shot your mouth off with a bunch of inaccuracies about the position of the Coptic Church on that heresy in another thread.   I figured that you were simply misinformed.

visitor said:
This urge you have to prove me wrong about things concerns me.
What makes you think that you’re so special?  I’ve ignored the lion’s share of your posts.  I’m not singling you out.  If I had the urge to prove you wrong, I wouldn’t be so selective about addressing the inaccuracies bandied about in a great many of your posts, including what you’ve had to say about the Coptic Church supposedly not repudiating monophysitism.  This is a public forum.  If you make an inaccurate statement and I feel like addressing it, I will.  If I don’t, I won’t.  Get over it.  In fact, if I eventually do feel like addressing your inaccuracies concerning the Coptic Church, I’ll do that too.

You obviously can’t comprehend what my people have gone through on this continent, or perhaps you feel that it was “ordained” for us to be beasts of burden for our “divinely established betters”, but I agree rather with St. Gregory of Nyssa.  He obviously doesn’t agree with your theory of divinely ordained bums and betters either.

"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?"

visitor said:
Maybe we should just ignore each other from now on, okay?
As I said, it’s a public forum.  For the most part, I do ignore you.  If you make a post I’d like to comment on, however, at the risk of upsetting those who think themselves my divinely ordained betters, I’ll feel free to speak my mind.
Thanks for proving my point for me. You have even radicalized the thread itself with your non sequitor. Attack me again and I'll report you to the administrator.
So when someone contradicts something you’ve posted they’re “attacking” you?

Tell the moderators what you like.  It’s clear for all to see that I’ve not attacked you, and what I’ve posted is not a non-sequitor, following logically, as it does, the issues you’ve raised.  You made some erroneous claims, and I rebutted.  The thread has only been “radicalized” by your radical and outrageous contentions.

Thank you for proving my point (and the point of Northern Pines) that when asked to clarify or validate your claims, you merely call the asker “radical” or “hysterical”.  I’m not sure which is the more radical claim, that, as St. Gregory said, God created all men to be equal, or, as you’ve indicated, He created some to be masters and others to be slaves.  At any rate, I’ve answered each of your arguments, and you apparently have no answer for mine, and so now you’re resorting to threats.  Very telling indeed.
 

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visitor said:
But here's the most important thing that I can impart to you. There is absolutely nothing alethic disclosed in the P******* X that is not better disclosed in a genuine icon of the Passion.
Actually, I agree with you here.

visitor said:
That's the wonderful thing about real art, it's a Window to Heaven, and not just a vacant space for one's own self-reflection.
A workable definition of art. Unfortunately, it's not a concept easily pinned down.
 

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Not to be haughty but I would like to suggest that the most Christian countries based on church attendances are the Catholic ones. Protestant church attendances by country hovers around 2-8% of believers while in Catholic countries the amount of churchgoers is 19-57% with the exception of France which fits more into the statistical trends of Protestant countries. If I remember correctly 30% of Italian Catholics go to church each Sunday 42% of Polish Roman Catholics and 50%+ in Ireland and Malta.
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
visitor said:
But here's the most important thing that I can impart to you. There is absolutely nothing alethic disclosed in the P******* X that is not better disclosed in a genuine icon of the Passion.
Actually, I agree with you here.

visitor said:
That's the wonderful thing about real art, it's a Window to Heaven, and not just a vacant space for one's own self-reflection.
A workable definition of art. Unfortunately, it's not a concept easily pinned down.
Except in catechism.  Is "windows to heaven" a phrase unknown to you?  ???
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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visitor said:
ytterbiumanalyst said:
visitor said:
But here's the most important thing that I can impart to you. There is absolutely nothing alethic disclosed in the P******* X that is not better disclosed in a genuine icon of the Passion.
Actually, I agree with you here.

visitor said:
That's the wonderful thing about real art, it's a Window to Heaven, and not just a vacant space for one's own self-reflection.
A workable definition of art. Unfortunately, it's not a concept easily pinned down.
Except in catechism.  Is "windows to heaven" a phrase unknown to you?  ???
No, I know what you meant. I love iconography; I have a couple dozen icons in my home. I treat them differently than I do the works of art that decorate my home. It's not that non-iconographic art is less art than icons are; it's just art with a different purpose.
 
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