The Willful Ignorance of Protestantism

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aserb

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Willfull is a strong word. I beleive some non-Orthodox are willfully ignorant while others are apathetic. In regards to American Culture, I believe many people, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, are ignorant of not only church history but Christian history. I do agree that I hate having to first explain to the ignorant the Orthodoxy is not Catholicism.
 

serb1389

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Brian,

I would be remis if I didn't tell you that when I was writing my response to the subject of "protecting" RC's I really tried to use my words carefully, so that no one would be offended by them.  If that did not happen due to laziness, tired-ness, or any other reason, I sincerely appologize. 

I think you should also realize that if so many people on this forum are having the same expience, and an non-pleasant one at that, then there's something to be said about it. 

I like your approach, and your answer.  If we spent 1/10th of our time actually doing instead of complaining, we would have a lot less complaining in general. 

But I also think that its a good idea to bring these things forward and talk about them.  At least your friends on the porch were willing to talk about it.  A lot of people just sit and stare at their problems go by them, and say nothing. 

Anyway, I really hope that our idiosyncracies have not detered you in any way.  Sometimes when you don't understand something, the dialogue about it can be misunderstanded itself. 
 

Rastaman

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Matthew777 said:
Making the observation that many people are either unable or unwilling to consider the Orthodox faith in a logical way is not being judgemental, it's being honest.

Peace.
You missed my point, but whatever...I am not gonna bother myself over you, I do have more important things to do.

One Love
Ras Marques Benjamin
 

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Brian said:
That sounds just like the lame excuses used by my friends...
Then perhaps you could have taken the time to note that I wasn't using it as an excuse for any behavior on my part but was rendering an opinion based upon what I had observed.

Don't worry about it, though. Such mis-directed "tough love" is somewhat amusing.  :D
 

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serb1389 said:
Brian,

I would be remis if I didn't tell you that when I was writing my response to the subject of "protecting" RC's I really tried to use my words carefully, so that no one would be offended by them.  If that did not happen due to laziness, tired-ness, or any other reason, I sincerely appologize. 

I think you should also realize that if so many people on this forum are having the same expience, and an non-pleasant one at that, then there's something to be said about it. 

I like your approach, and your answer.  If we spent 1/10th of our time actually doing instead of complaining, we would have a lot less complaining in general. 

But I also think that its a good idea to bring these things forward and talk about them.  At least your friends on the porch were willing to talk about it.  A lot of people just sit and stare at their problems go by them, and say nothing. 

Anyway, I really hope that our idiosyncracies have not detered you in any way.  Sometimes when you don't understand something, the dialogue about it can be misunderstanded itself. 
Serb1389,

Nothing said on these boards will deter me from continuing on the path to Orthdoxy, but I appreciate your comments nonetheless.  I expect people to act like, well, the fallen human beings we all are pretty much all the time.  I am under no illusion that your average Orthodox is a saint, nor is your average Protestant.  So even when people are being deliberately (one might even say 'Willfully') insulting of entire categories of people, I can take it in stride.  Of course, that doesn't mean I won't lovingly call them on it, as it would be unChristian of me to not help keep my brother in truth.  ;)

In Christ,
Brian
 

Brian

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BoredMeeting said:
Then perhaps you could have taken the time to note that I wasn't using it as an excuse for any behavior on my part but was rendering an opinion based upon what I had observed.

Don't worry about it, though. Such mis-directed "tough love" is somewhat amusing.  :D
You aren't fooling anyone you know.

::)

Cheers in Christ,
Brian

 
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will you males knock it off!  You guys get your tighties in a bunch over the most absurd things. 

I was a baptist for 33 years, and i can tell you the language is totally different.  The basic understanding of just about every core belief is different.  They piece together history as it suits them, leaving out hundreds and hundreds of years and truths that don't sit well.  And this practice varies within the many demoms.

You have to UNDERSTAND protestant teaching, prot. beliefs in order to minister to them. You have to speak kindly in their "language", or your just another arrogant twit.  Just pulling on the many lose threads of their faith while they are at your door isn't enough.  Most will walk away not even seeing their nakedness, they are that imbedded in the teaching.  I do not say this to put anyone down at all, remember I was protestant far longer than I have been Orthodox.  Rather than rant like Yosemite Sam about how ignorant protestants are, do something about your attitude then reach out correctly. You can't be ignorant of what they have been taught and programmed with, then call them ignorant.
Not every protestant is ready to hear the truth, remember!  Only the Holy Spirit can prepare a fertile heart for a truth so foreign to most of us here in the US.  It's FAR easier to remain a protestant that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home and a vacation home, and has the rapture to hang onto.  The mind loses a lot when it converts to Orthodoxy, little matter many protestant bastions are false.



 

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Brian said:
You aren't fooling anyone you know.

::)

Cheers in Christ,
Brian
Brian,
Also try to keep in mind that M777 has a habit of starting these out of left field or outlandish threads.  It amuses most of us other posters too.
 

Elisha

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ozgeorge said:
Perhaps we should rename this the "Sweeping Generalisations Thread".
Nah, because then we'd be discriminating against the threads that make sweeping generalizations.  ;D
 

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I would be interested in what your definition of "Protestant" is.  I suspect that there is a lot of question begging involved, as in:

Protestants are by definition people who claim they have found the truth based on their emotions, as opposed to their reason, unlike us rational Orthodox and Catholics.  Therefore "I think the "deal" is that most Protestants rely too much on their emotions in discerning the truth.  It is this theatrical and carnal approach to Christianity that sets them apart from both Catholicism and Orthodoxy."
You are misconstruing my statement.  Don't make it appear that your assumptions are mine.  I never said that Orthodoxy relies on reason, nor did I say that the Protestants discovered the truth based on their emotions. 

By the way, I am a Lutheran (you know, THOSE Protestants), inquiring into Orthodoxy.  Last I checked there was little theatrical carnality in our Lutheran liturgy, just heartfull (you know, that central faculty of the soul) prayer in and with the Spirit and thanks to and in communion with the Lord.  Perhaps you didn't get the memo?
I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".

Or perhaps you think that the TBN crowd is representative of Protestantism?
Talk about elevating carnality to the HIGHEST level. 

And for the other commenters on this thread, I would note that I have never expected an Orthodox to defend a Catholic on a point of faith - seems kind of like asking a Calvinist to defend a Mormon.
I am also one of those who defend the Catholic Faith next to Orthodoxy.  Ironic isn’t it?

Do I detect a bit of sinful pride at work in this Protestant bashing?
Do you not detect "sinful pride" in taking potshots at the TBN crowd?  I don't.  In the first place, criticizing religios groups for being emotional is not bashing.

By the way again, for those of you who have this chip on your shoulder about how little known or understood Orthodoxy is among Protestants, perhaps you should stop blaming their ignorance on them and look at yourselves.  If their ignorance so offends you, it is your responsibility to do something about it.  That is what we in the adult world call "taking responsibility", an integral part of "growing up."
But we should know who we are dealing with first--in this case, the Protestants--before we introduce Orthodoxy to them.

Now that I think on it, this whole thread reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a couple young male co-workers.  We were out on the town one night sitting at an outdoor cafe and they were complaining about how they didn't have girlfriends at the time.  Meanwhile I looked over and saw plenty of pretty young things also out enjoying the summer evening.  So I said to them straight up, "Why are you sitting here over your suds complaining to me about it?  If you were really desperate for a girlfriend you would be out there getting one!"  At this they both sort of started, looked at me, looked at each other, then one of them said, "Damn, you're absolutely right!" and we all busted out laughing.  The moral of the story?  Simple: Be a man.  If you see something you don't like that you have the power to do something about, don't sit around complaining in your suds to your buds.
But don't expect us to knock on your door.  You have to go out and seek for yourself.  The doors of Orthodoxy are open to those who want to come in.

 

serb1389

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calligraphqueen said:
will you males knock it off!  You guys get your tighties in a bunch over the most absurd things. 
um...this may be a little extreme

In fact, I would LOVE to hear what you think we are getting our "tighties in a bunch over" 

It's FAR easier to remain a protestant that drives a mercedes, lives in a million dollar home and a vacation home, and has the rapture to hang onto.
Really?  How do you figure?  (genuinly interested in knowing) 

The mind loses a lot when it converts to Orthodoxy, little matter many protestant bastions are false.
Would you mind following this up with something...more substantive? 
 

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Theognosis said:
You are misconstruing my statement.  Don't make it appear that your assumptions are mine.  I never said that Orthodoxy relies on reason, nor did I say that the Protestants discovered the truth based on their emotions. 
I didn't misconstrue your assumptions as you haven't stated them.  I asked what your assumptions were, and stated that I suspected some question begging may be (not 'is') occuring.  As you still haven't defined 'Protestantism' I have no way of really knowing what your assumptions are.

I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.
You can believe whatever you want, but assertions are not arguments.  So I ask you to prove it - make a real argument so we can examine your premises and evidences.  It would help if you would first define what exactly you mean by 'Protestantism' and 'Western Christianity' before making your argument for general characteristics.  Otherwise you are just making blanket assertions that no one can discuss or refute since only you know what you mean or who you are referring to.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".
I think this author is trying to compare apples to oranges to make a predetermined point.  He talks about western secular art on religious themes, such as by Grunwald.  Then he compares that to Orthodox art used for liturgical purposes.  I would agree that secular art on religious themes is inherently carnal - that is why it is 'secular'.  I even agree that Western art tends towards realism since the Renaissance.  However, I totally disagree with his claim that one can properly compare western secular art with eastern liturgical art and thereby make some claim as to the inferiority of western liturgical art or practice.  To make the comparison apples to apples one needs to compare the use of aesthetics in the actual organized non-secular worship - the images, rituals, architecture, music, etc.  Only then can you decide whether carnality is a general characteristic of either Protestantism or Western Christianity, or both.  To do the comparison properly would require that we examine the various styles of liturgical art used in the West, which naturally requires that we have a clear idea of the various categories, such as 'Protestant', Roman Catholic, non-Protestant Christian, etc.  Even before you start, however, I state that you are going to have a hard time arguing that the simplicity and abstract character of traditional Protestant liturgy is very carnal.  If anything, carnality is a criticism that Protestants level against Orthodox (though I think this is a mistaken charge), just as they have traditionally leveled it against Catholics with their realistic and emotional statuary, crucifixes, murals, etc.

Talk about elevating carnality to the HIGHEST level. 
Yes, I agree many there is a distinct section of American Christendom that is prone emotionalism and drama, maybe even a few modern Protestant denominations qualify as many have drifted from the principles of the reformation.  So what?  You STILL haven't given a clear definition of what you mean by 'Protestant'.

I am also one of those who defend the Catholic Faith next to Orthodoxy.  Ironic isn’t it?
And I went to a Catholic university and have enormous respect for the Catholic faith and heritage.  I too would defend Catholics against unwarranted criticism.  I would also defend Orthodox, Baptists, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists and any other tradition against false charges.  Ironic isn't it?  Actually what I said is that I wouldn't expect an Orthodox (or any non-Catholic for that matter) to defend a Catholic point of faith.  If they wished to do so and were able to do so that would of course be just fine.  I like truth and precision, which is why I'm insisting on you clearly defining 'Protestantism'.

Do you not detect "sinful pride" in taking potshots at the TBN crowd?  I don't.  In the first place, criticizing religios groups for being emotional is not bashing.
You are correct, I retract my comment and sincerely apologize to any and all devotees of TBN for making it.  I think it would be appropriate for others here to also retract blanket and unwarranted statements about Protestantism, which I note once again that you haven't defined.

But we should know who we are dealing with first--in this case, the Protestants--before we introduce Orthodoxy to them.
I agree, you SHOULD know who you are dealing with before trying to evangelize them, that way you don't make unwarranted blanket statements that immediately discredit your evangelical efforts.  It would help if you first defined who you mean when you say 'Protestant' so that WE know who you THINK you are dealing with, as well as knowing who you think you are NOT dealing with.

But don't expect us to knock on your door.  You have to go out and seek for yourself.  The doors of Orthodoxy are open to those who want to come in.
I have sought for myself, and I agree the doors of Orthodoxy are generally open (if you go to a congregation that is open to converts).  I have had no negative experiences in this regard for which I am thankful, but what's your point?  Until you define your terms you are just making unwarranted blanket statements about millions of undefined people. Even if I didn't consider myself a Protestant or wasn't moving towards Orthodoxy I would STILL step up and defend Protestants against the kinds of ignorant blanket statements made by many in this thread.  There's nothing personal in this for me, except not letting falsehood lie unanswered.  There are far too many falsehoods passed around casually these days, particularly in the form of unsupported generalizations, and Internet boards are often the worst.

Here's the deal.  If you want to critique Protestantism that's fine by me, there's a lot there worth looking at.  But make darn sure you aren't judging Protestants by the characteristics of non-Protestant Christians.  And also make darn sure that you aren't taking a few anecdotal or personal experiences and blowing them up into blanket assertions about millions of real Protestants.  I'm a statistician so I expect at least an attempt to present solid evidence on claims about large and diverse populations, but first I'd like you to precisely define your terms so we know what groups you are including and excluding.

Well, isn't this fun?  ;D

Sincerely in Christ,
Brian the possible Protestant (depending on definition)
 

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You have to UNDERSTAND protestant teaching, prot. beliefs in order to minister to them. You have to speak kindly in their "language", or your just another arrogant twit. 
This is one of the best things posted on this forum, IMO.  Many Orthodox apologists seem to be lacking even basic respect for those whom they seek to convert. 
 

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Elisha said:
Brian,
Also try to keep in mind that M777 has a habit of starting these out of left field or outlandish threads.  It amuses most of us other posters too.
It is not "left field" to make the observation that to understand history is to seize being a Protestant.


Evangelical Protestant: Do you have Jesus in your heart as your personal savior?

Orthodox Christian: Yes, but there is much more to the faith than that. Accepting Christ is only the beginning of salvation.

Evangelical Protestant: Oh, so you believe in salvation by works?

Orthodox Christian: Sola Fide is a relatively recent idea, you must understand that. What do you know concerning the history surrounding the New Testament? How long did Christianity exist before the Reformation? How can you understand Scripture once removed from the context of the Apostolic Fathers?

Evangelical Protestant: I believe in Jesus, and that's all that matters! Don't bother me with your church history!

Orthodox Christian: I have this short book, an Orthodox Christian Response to Evangelical Claims, would you care to read it?

Evangelical Protestant: I'm set in my beliefs, thank you very much!

Orthodox Christian: You need not change your mind, but at least you could understand where I'm coming from.

Evangelical Protestant: I said I've made up my mind!!!


This kind of behavior, in other circumstances other than religious, would be attributed to mental illness.
This salvation by faith alone concept has gone so far that facts no longer matter. But my decision to become an Orthodox Christian was based in fact, that only the Orthodox Church could trace itself, theologically, liturgically, and historically, to the earliest Christian communities.

Peace.

 
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Matthew777 said:
Evangelical Protestant: Do you have Jesus in your heart as your personal savior?

Orthodox Christian: Yes, but there is much more to the faith than that. Accepting Christ is only the beginning of salvation.

Evangelical Protestant: Oh, so you believe in salvation by works?

Orthodox Christian: Sola Fide is a relatively recent idea, you must understand that. What do you know concerning the history surrounding the New Testament? How long did Christianity exist before the Reformation? How can you understand Scripture once removed from the context of the Apostolic Fathers?

Evangelical Protestant: I believe in Jesus, and that's all that matters! Don't bother me with your church history!

Orthodox Christian: I have this short book, an Orthodox Christian Response to Evangelical Claims, would you care to read it?

Evangelical Protestant: I'm set in my beliefs, thank you very much!

Orthodox Christian: You need not change your mind, but at least you could understand where I'm coming from.

Evangelical Protestant: I said I've made up my mind!!!
You're not seriously resorting to the lame "let's create a dodgy fictional dialogue that seriously misrepresents the other's position" tactic are you?

Close-mindedness is a human problem; not a strictly "Evangelical" one. I'm quite certain that many Orthodox are close-minded and not even willing to seriously consider the reasons why those Protestants with genuine and well-thought out objections to Orthodoxy hold to those objections in the first place.

In any event, you disturbingly speak of Orthodoxy as if it is some sort of abstract truth to be logically deduced from a set of historical premises. If I were you, I would invest more time understanding what Orthodoxy actually is than making open-blanket criticisms of those who don't know it any better than you do.
 

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Theognosis said:
I believe that carnality is a general characteristic of Western Christianity.  Roman Catholicism introduced it, and Protestantism elevated it to another level.  One can better understand this by comparing western art with Orthodox iconography.

http://www.traditionaliconography.com/webgalleryart.html
Also from Photios Kontoglou: "The works of Western religious art are emotional and dramatic. The dramatic element is carnal, even though it is thought to be spiritual. In the Orthodox icon there exists the liturgical element. Wherever the liturgical element is present, there the dramatic and emotional [or carnal] element is neutralized. In the works of Western religious art there is no spiritual ascent. The saints, Christ, the All-holy Mother of God are simply people painted from life, ordinary people who portray Christ, the All-holy One, or the saints. With us the iconographer is not an ordinary painter as in the West; he has a special service [liturgy] to perform through this art, a spiritual service [liturgy] and for this reason his is called "iconographer".
Oh, please. This is one of THE lamest East vs. West comparisons out there.

A REAL hyper-Protestant would point out that Eastern liturgical art and architecture are emotional and dramatic out the wazoo. And while we're at it, you can find easily enough those who will say that using a real person as the model for Christ emphasizes his humanity in a way that Eastern iconography incorrectly obscures. Not every difference is meaningful, but it's imprtant that the difference actually exists.
 

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Keble said:
Oh, please. This is one of THE lamest East vs. West comparisons out there.
Keble,
I think what Photios Kontoglou is referring to is the rules of Orthodox iconography to portray all figures in icons as "dispassionate". We are forbidden to portray Christ's face as being tormented in agony on the Cross, for example. Thus, a martyr's face is shown as unmoved even during their torture, and the one executing them is similarly depicted as dispassionate. Saints and evildoers are portrayed the same way in icons except for haloes. Similarly, the expression of Christ's Face in the Icon of the Transfiguration is no different to the expression on His Face in the "Nymphios" ("Ecce Homo") Icon. Compare the expression on Christ's face in these two icons.


And in the Icon of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, there is little to distinguish the executioner's face from St. John's other than St. John's halo, and they certainly show no signs of emotion, not even Salome.


Now look at the equivalent portrayals in Western art:

 

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Why hasn't an honest and thorough investigation of Church history converted <xyz Protestant> to the Orthodox faith?
Protestantism is fundamentally ahistorical.  Its various forms are built on denial or disregard for whole portions of the received tradition of the church (and in some places on insertions of invented history such as with the Mormons).  One of course may go back and revisit one’s assumptions, but you can’t get around the fact that the founders of the Reformation started out by tossing things in the trash heap (literally and figuratively).

The situation with American Protestantism, both liberal and conservative, probably shares some common elements.  In no particular order I would say they are:

Complete (or near complete) reliance on individual autonomy and authority.
Distrust and suspicion of institutions and hierarchy.
Emphasis on the spiritual and not the material (in other words quasi to full Gnosticism).
Iconoclasm (related to the previous).
A general disinterest in history itself.

So on and so forth.  I’m sure there are other reasons why simply a "reading of church history" would do nothing to sway people.  I know it wouldn't have worked on my wife.

I think really we have to drop some of our hubris though.  The fact is many more people become Protestant (and leave Orthodoxy and Catholicism) than go the other direction.  Pentecostals are exploding in terms of numbers in the Global South (read the excellent study by Philip Jenkins on this).  What is it in Protestantism that resonates with these people and where are we failing?  That seems like a worthy question for consideration.
 
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