Tuesday, 27 October 2009

God’s place in a humanist society (7) [Locul lui Dumnezeu într-o societate umanistă]

Not only that this building doesn’t resemble a ‘church’ – it looks rather like an ancient temple or any secular administrative building, doesn’t it? – but maybe it doesn’t even claim to be a ‘church’.

According to the words at the entrance, “all who seek spiritual meaning in life” + “all who believe that religion is wider than one faith” are welcome to attend the… meetings, as they aren’t hypocritical to call them ‘services’.

Well, I guess it’s no secret that I didn’t see myself as part of those ‘all welcome’, and I wasn’t curious to enter. I’d rather stick to my One and Only Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It may not make me a better person, but I feel like I should shout it every time I’m passing by a devilish trap like the one in these pictures… “wake up, folks, there’s only only One Church, why are you wasting your lives on these surrogates?

Be I regarded as ‘intolerant bigot’, whom these ‘open-mindedunitarians could feel pity for or despise, but I want to stick to Christ’s only Church. There’s no alternative way to salvation, nor a multitude of possible ways like it’s fashionable to believe today.

If you don’t believe that ‘brotherhood-of-all-religions crap’, you’re politically incorrect, and Big Brother may soon consider you a ‘threat’ to the welfare of a democratic society.

One day, claiming that there is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, and also One Church may be a crime, both in the irreligious West, and maybe even within orthodox countries, where some people are not holding on to the Truth defended by our ancestors.

Nevertheless, as long as I freely can, I feel it’s my duty to warn everyone in search of a spiritual meaning not to go to such a ‘church’. And I assume it’s obvious why I’m not giving any links…

I’m only quoting what you can find there on a Sunday, instead of a Divine Liturgy – which is a meeting with Christ: “themed meeting with music, reflection, readings and commentary”.

Don’t worry of getting bored, as the next meeting has a slightly different agenda: “talk on a religious/spiritual subject followed by informal discussion.”

Nor should you worry about getting up early, as you can reserve the whole morning for ‘having fun’. You are supposed to be there in the afternoon, at 14:45.

Finally, don’t claim it’s too tiring to attend meetings which are held only every fortnight! Oh, that’s such a comfortable way of becoming a better human being or to achieve ‘spiritual growth’ as they call it!

[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...

'If you don’t believe that ‘brotherhood-of-all-religions crap’, you’re polically incorrect, and Big Brother may soon consider you a ‘threat’ to the welfare of a democratic society.'

That is why I decided against a blogpost on the Edinburgh University Chaplaincy meeting. No doubt I’d be regarded as a ‘bigot’ for pointing out how weird it was. I wondered if I’d stumbled into a sci-fi convention!

The Church of Scotland was represented by a woman minister dressed as a druid and some personable youths, the Church of England by a woman in a dog collar, the Muslims by two girls, the Methodists by a man who I thought was a self-help guru who didn’t mention God once. There was a very beautiful Indian couple who were promoting a faith with elephant headed sculptures and numerous vague Christian sects.

In marked contrast to these, there were the ‘humanists’ swaggering around with badges such as ‘fully evolved’, ‘rational’ and other laudatory epithets.

I don’t think they realised how simultaneously comical and sinister they appeared. It used to be that one would be considered immensely pretentious to use such words, but in modern Britain, I don’t think that people feel bad about praising themselves.

On their desk I noticed they had a sheet implying that ‘Yahweh’ had lost to Christopher Hitchens. I considered saying ‘is that the Christopher Hitchens who said that there was no starvation in the USSR and that if the USA invaded Iraq they'd be welcomed and there'd be no violence'?

But no. I realised that their cherished ‘rationality’ would disintegrate if it was incompatible with their egocentricity.

And speaking of silliness, there was this PAGAN (no, I’m not being facetious) who walked around with a huge silly insincere grin and told us to do stupid, pointless exercises. First we had to stand according to where born then according to when.

It was the type of thing that is fashionable in modern Britain. We are all friends, we all enjoy being silly, we’re all children at heart. It is very disturbing. As Solovyev said in the short tale of the anti-Christ ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Yes, we have to love everyone, but making insincere displays like that is just stupid. To deny that we have differences is also silly.

Overall, a few thing came out. It could be hypocritical of me to say this (given that I am not a member and find their views on free will abhorrent) but I did feel let down by how the Church of Scotland behaved. I think that an established church has the right to be bullish in its own country, yet whilst they seemed good people who did good work, they were extremely hesitant talking of faith.

Secondly, the Muslims were some of the few to leave with any dignity. Oddly they were represented by two girls, though it is allegedly ‘patriarchal’.

Thirdly, the humanists reflected the spirit of the age with their immense vanity and egocentrism. They said that they wanted to invite ‘controversial speakers’ to ‘encourage debate’ which is nonsense. There cannot really be a debate about faith.

Lastly, I spoke to a very sincere and educated young friar from the Roman Catholic Church. I do get the impression that there are many good people in this faith and it is not so different from ours, and whilst we must not submit to the Vatican, I do think that they have the scope to move in the right direction.

Overall, I felt really uncomfortable though I would not say it wasn’t interesting. It seemed to emphasise that Protestantism is gasping its last breaths, but what will replace it? Islam with its gravitas, values and the poetically-written Koran, but which lacks any emphasis on love and kindness? Or on the other end of the scale, humanism which appeals to the vast egos of modern Brits? Who knows? Maybe it will be something darker still.

MunteanUK said...

My dear Gregor,

Please receive my warmest thanks for this amazing account of the 'ecumenical event' you attended.

If I were to make a list of the best contributions to my blog, this comment of yours would reach the 'top three' - or maybe it is simply... the best :-)

In spite of not having been a 'delightful' experience, I'm sure it was a very instructive life lesson, which our Lord gave you.

Undoubtedly, the poor people you described are sad characters, unaware of "how simultaneously comical and sinister they appeared."

We can only pray for such people, as no discussion, conversation, debate whatsoever are possible. We couldn't heartlessly decree that they are all 'damned', but it breaks my heart to witness they are on a highway to hell.

The Lord is always working miracles, and true believers can (theoretically) appear out of nowhere, from all possibile backgrounds.

Harlots, murderers, robbers, even former abortionist doctors + numerous atheists, Muslims or people of other faiths are coming to the true Light of Christ and His Orthodox Church, but it is very unlikely that stubborn heretics will ever come to Him :-(

All we are left to do is pray, pray, and pray for the entire world, believers & unbelievers, family & enemies! Any 'discussion' with most of these people is pointless, and it actually does more harm than any possible good.

I couldn't deny that, every now & then, one could find people like the Catholic friar with whom you had an interesting chat. No matter how 'anti-papist' I may be, I also acknowledge the fact that there are some Catholics who are at least attempting to lead a spiritual life.

It even sometimes happens that they convert to Orthodoxy, that is come back... Home. Let's pray that the Lord will save their souls, and help anyone (who truly wants to be saved) reach out to Him!


One final point I want to make for now: after my forays into Scotland's heartland, I was also gravely disappointed with how far away from Christ this Church of Scotland is. Don't worry; the Anglicans are no better!

God willing, one of the episodes of this series will deal with my impressions about this so-called 'Church', and I'd also have some views concerning Muslims in contemporary Britain.

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

Thank you for your kind comments; as I said, if I wrote it on my blog, it could have landed me in trouble.

I myself haven’t given up hope about the Bishop of Rome; it is the seat of Peter and remember, Moses’ brother built the golden calf, yet returned to God.

Of course that isn’t to endorse their heresies (purgatory, papal infallibility etc) or to waste time with hypocritical ecumenical movements but to say we shouldn’t give up hope that those who seek will find.

Still, I am trying to work a lot out historically. In the late dark ages, the Hapsburgs/ Lombards in the South and the Plantagenets in Northern France just appeared ABSOLUTELY out of nowhere and became vastly powerful overnight, spreading the papal heresies through Europe.

Yet, after the reformation in Scotland, previously obscure clans such as the Campbells appeared from nowhere and massacred Catholics, spreading masonry and other vile ideas (like predestination) through Scotland.

There is a force at work in the world, and I don’t know where it came from, yet I do think it leaves institutions to find new outlets. Now the papacy is a lone voice of reason when it comes to protecting the unborn in the west.

As for the rest, it was disconcerting, especially this pagan who wanted us all to do these silly games. Britain is changing so rapidly my friend, and it is disturbing. Hitler had limited technology and managed to manipulate a country with many ethical and educated people where a majority were Christian. I suspect that change in Britain will be even more sudden. As I said in my blog, even up north, there are vast numbers of CCTV.

I’ll be interested on your views concerning Muslims. They seem very polite, yet their Koran is not the book that multiculturalists wish it was. Having said that, any thoughts yourself concerning the hrhrmhrm ‘Al Quaeda’ bombing in London?

On a more lighter note, God willing, I'll be traveling to Edinburgh tomorrow!!

MunteanUK said...

My dear friend,

1) What kind of 'trouble' are you speaking about? Maybe a little 'inconvenience', maybe some 'apostles' of political correctness could have criticized you... but do you think that Big Brother is carefully monitoring blogs?

Do you think someone makes 'files' of people, and being politically incorrect could deny someone a job or a certain right (a passport)?

Is Britain becoming such a frightening place to live in?


2) It's good to hope for the better; there's no divine or human (not yet, in this case) law against hoping that people would eventually make the best decisions.

You are a good man, and thus you can find very good examples like the one in Moses' times. But I (does this make me a bad person?!)seriously doubt this hopeful perspective of yours.

As far as I know, the only thing Catholics want to attain through their interconfessional dialogue is make us accept the supremacy of their pope. If we did that, they would even be willing to give up some of their other heresies, as a proof of 'goodwill'.

They have many heresies to bargain with; we have none. Nevertheless, according to today's humanist values (dialogue, tolerance, fraternity of all, blah-blah...) the Catholics would place themselves in a good position.

"Look at us, we gave us so many of our point, why can't they do not the same, but accept something 'symbolic' as the supremacy of the pope?" - this is what they could say.

In my humble view, all these ecumenical meetings can't bring anything good... And I'm afraid they are not helpful for those who genuinely seek the Truth. They only get more and more confused :-(


3) We may not be aware, but nothing comes out of nowhere. The rise of Papism, then the counteraction of the Reformation - all these have reasons which we may not know for now.

Sadly, man's wish to make himself god without God, his pride, his greed, his lack of empathy to his fellow men... all these are the same root-causes of all heresies.


4) I agree that, given all the insanities praised as a form of 'wisdom' in the irreligious West, the Pope's stance on some issues is the only one correct.

Too bad that Pope Benedict is talking only on behalf of himself... Millions of Catholics in Europe don't agree with him, and abortions + contraceptives are undeniable 'rights' for them, rights which no Pope should contest.


5) As I sometimes said during this series, I think Britain is the best country where to experience a completely Godless society, the 'brave new world' of tomorrow.


6) I'll try to write soemthing on my views about Muslims, and Islam in the UK, but that's seriously offtopic here.


7) I see you are often in Edinburgh. A lovely city, indeed!

Ximenaanairda said...

I know there is a wonderful Orthodox Monastery in Essex. Have you been there? A relative of mine was a monk there...
I am glad you write about religion, but please try not to offend anyone,people are really sensitive...
I like your realism ...
How is life there? Do you think it's worth it?
Hope to communicate more often with you!
Simona Iliasa

MunteanUK said...

@ Ximenaanairda

Welcome on my blog!

1) It is a joy that the Lord gives me anytime I find a new reader 'landing' on my Website, where - I guess it's no secret for any 'older' readers - I may not be writing too much, but I'm investing a great deal from the depths of my soul!


2) However, I am also a bit puzzled to witness that all my efforts to keep my blog 'in good order' often prove to be pointless.

People today are always in a hurry, and unable to look for all the explanatory posts that I published. Anyway, please check the "Contens / Cuprins" link which you can find at the end of my every post!

If you do so, you can find there:

- that I am no longer in the UK (at least for now), but still blogging (not only about Britain);

- what I intend with this blog:

- or that I've already written four episodes about the lovely monastery you are refering to:
A crossroads of the Orthodox World [O răscruce a Lumii Ortodoxe] – (1), (2), (3), (4)


3) I don't doubt the fact that you are full of good intentions when you recommend me to try not to offend anyone.

But I don't understand how exactly I could have given the impression that I'm not paying attention to people's 'sensitivities', nor can I see how else than 'heresy' we could call this 'Unitarianism' (?!)

Feel free to express any precise 'critiques', so that I could learn from them, admit them or defend myself. If you have none, I thank you for your advice anyway!


4) My 210 posts so far have been trying to offer answers to your question about how life in the UK seemed to me, and all of them are 'little windows' open to sharing thoughts.

The best way to draw my attention, and make me 'communicate' is to drop a comment on my blog! :-) But, obviously, I prefer comments to be related to a certain post, not offtopic ones.