Monday, 22 June 2009

God’s place in a humanist society (5) [Locul lui Dumnezeu într-o societate umanistă]

I was just wondering… As long as many Brits describe themselves as atheists, seculars, humanists or irreligious (I personally heard some of them) – and saying this about oneself is a typically British attitude, as many other Europeans lack religious feelings, but didn’t seem to me equally keen on displaying it as the Brits do – how come this country has quite a bunch of people interested in weird esoterical things?!

One of these is Tarot card reading… One could hardly find any average size British city without ‘specialists’ in this… how should I call it? …art (as some of them would like to name their ‘skills’)? …crookery? …or just call it by a name which can’t have any meaning for most secular Brits, that is satanic deceit?

Maybe Tarot reading is not a mass phenomenon in the UK, however, the fact that these guys are organised into a national association, and they don’t remain ‘unnoticed’ by someone just passing by like me can only prove my point that anywhere the only One God is rejected ‘surrogates’ necessarily appear.

Many Brits may imagine that they can do just fine without God. This doesn’t mean that they are not worshipping an idol (alcohol, promiscuity, cars), an esotereic (mis)conception of life, an ideology (democracy, prosperity, global warming) etc.

Bowing to a god – be it the Lord or any false god – lies in our deepest human nature, and no matter what people imagine the Truth to be, He is only One. Atheist ideologies or esoterical myths can only brainwash a human being, but not turn a man into a genuinely irreligious creature.

Therefore, entering this horseless caravan which I photographed on the Brighton Pier is by no means an innocent ‘break’ (as the the above invitation implies), but a religious act. And any religious act can have consequences on our everlasting life.

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

I've been very busy recently and am in Edinburgh (hence not using my blogger account). Just a few points.

I read recently that paganism is the fastest growing religion in Britain.

At first sight this is appalling news. However, from my own life, I think God gives grace to those furthest from his Church.

It is interesting , historically, to look at Christianity. The first Christians came from a Jewish monotheistic culture in the Middle East.

They could proselytise to the Jews and Samaritans, to the Zoroastrian Persians who had a vague monotheism, or to the Graeco-Bactrian region which was Buddhist: having a faith that has a strong concept of peace and generosity.

Instead they converted Europe; probably the darkest area in the known world, where people ate each other and performed bloodthirsty rituals.

In the Divine Liturgy, there is the line 'we offer you this sacrifice without shedding of blood'. To us this is poetry, or maybe a distant reference to the bulls sacrificed in the Old Testament.

However, in pagan Europe, when St John Chrysostom wrote, many people would still be sacrificed to the demons.

Speaking from my own depraved heart, I know the meaning of St John's message. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact quote, but the meaning was: 'Christ came into the world primarily to save sinners'.

The people who visit Tarot, or who go to the Beltane fire festival are misguided souls. They probably look for meaning. Perhaps my friend you do not know the level of vehement anti-Christian propaganda in Britain; it may even be worse than many communist countries. Faced with a culture where choosing what packet of crisps to buy, or what clothes to wear or what football team to support are regarded as existential questions, we have to understand why people are drawn to those who offer answers to deeper questions.

We must never think we are better than these people, but to remember them in our prayers.

With love in Christ

MunteanUK said...

You are right, dear Gregor, in noting that there's often a higher likelihood of seeing '(neo)pagans' turned to Christ, than countless hedonist atheists who never asked themselves question about the deeper maning of life.

For all people who are in search of a 'meaning', who are looking for the Lord without knowing that it is Him the Answer to all their questions... there may be a chance!

I don't know what chances are left for many 'irreligious' Britons (but this applies to 'lukewarm' Romanian believers) to find Christ... as long as the devil has a carefully crafted masterplan to seduce contemporary mankind with 'nothings'.

Countless nothings (clothes, cars, gadgets, culinary delights, sports, consumption literature, 'entertainment', tourist services, amusement parks, useless 'sciences' etc) are being served to us as 'existential choices'.

None of these really matters... And if it were for us to live not in poverty but more decently - more with God, and less with our objects as 'idols' - no economic recession could harm us...

However, I can only agree with you that we should always pray for everyone, no matter how far from Christ they may seem to us. And, if Fathers in Mt Athos pray for the entire world (this is the holy 'duty' of all monks), I guess we could pray at least for some of the people around us.

I'm not saying to 'pray for all' as this (although a desirable Christian attitude) is often hard to do, and could lead on a prideful path. It's 'desirable' to pray for everyone, but I don't think is 'healthy' for all of all, who are so far away from the purity of heart which some contemporary monks still have.

Anyway, I'm sure our prayer could work miracles, if we persistently prayed for our dear ones, for atheists with whom we interact...

...because, let's be honest to ourselves: we may have been blessed to believe in the only thing worth believing in (the true Lord and Savior), but every now and then we can learn good things from atheists.

We may often become pharisaic, and not notice that there is kindness, decency, patience, civility, 'a helping hand' etc even among those who consider themselves
'irreligious'. We should always strive to behave better to those around us...

Sadly, at least sometimes happens that atheists can teach us lessons of bing kind to others. We wouldn't need any lessons from anyone if we obeyed all our Lord's commandments.

We should never forget that, according to the Tradition of the Church, St Barnabas, Saul's best friend, was persistently praying for the one who'd eventually became St Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles.


'bloodthirsty rituals' - I'm afraid that (once Christian) Europe is back there in those dark ages. How else could we call the millions of aborted children? Let alone the fact that assisted suicide is slowly getting Europeans' acceptance.

'vehement anti-Christian propaganda in Britain' - I only experienced this personally to a little extenr, but I'm reading every day about it, therefore this topic is worth a full episode of this series.

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

Sadly, you are right about Europe. But America is really no better, with the Masonic Republicans who have been in power for most of the past 40 years doing nothing to undo the Democrats’ handiwork.

As for praying for those around us, my friend Andrew sometimes mentions God in our conversations (which he did not previously do) and even the ten commandments. It is interesting because after being largely indifferent, we are both gradually coming to understand what is happening in the material world and how forces are trying to enslave us.

Maybe that is the strangest paradox of Christianity. Love and Freedom (which are largely inter-related) are the greatest gifts from God. Yet it is when people try to take freedom from us, that we realise that it is divine.

In this there is an even greater irony. Whilst it was many years ago, it was a book that was regarded as horrific that first gave me a sympathetic insight into Christianity. This was ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

Whilst this was a ‘racy’ some would say obscene work, it did have a very serious message. It was about a great sinner who is subject to ‘aversion therapy’. The state removes his ability to sin.

This does not make him a ‘good’ person but a machine. In fact their crime is very great because (great sinner though he is) they destroy a soul made by God.

Indeed, God moves in mysterious ways. Please pray for my friend Andrew. There are not many such honest and generous people.

as for those around us. My father, brothers and sister are either atheists or agnostics. As are some of my friends. I pray for them all.

Anonymous said...

besides this "the tarot guess" if you visit the Museum of Witchcraft from Boscastle (I think I already said smth. about this in another comment) you will see whom they worship.
and when you think that this museum is one of the most popular museums in Cornwall....

MunteanUK said...

@ C.L.

I'm afraid that the interest of so many in Tarot reading is just the 'tip of the iceberg' of the resurgence of paganism in the UK.

For most Brits, witchcraft is no more than another aspect of the concemporary popular culture.

Rare are those who attach any spiritual meaning to it, as the British society (and Western society in general) is so ingnorant of the true (spiritual) meaning of life.

As long as so many people don't know (because they REFUSE to) anything about the Lord, the Maker of all things visible and invisible, it's obvious that most people are unaware of the true dangers of 'playing with the devil'.