Saturday, 1 September 2012

God’s place in a humanist society (24) [Locul lui Dumnezeu într-o societate umanistă]

For the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, closing down their website once a week is a sign of adherence to one of the dearest dogmas, the Holy Sabbath.

This site is closed today in observance of the Lord’s day” – this is what their webpage says every Saturday. They clearly reject the Orthodox view of a renewed Creation, which established a new Holy Day (Sunday) of rest and worship.

This Free Presbytherian Sabbath is nothing but an idol. So is their Bible, and idols are also the gang of much appreciated Scottish reformers and their heritage:

This priceless heritage is not ours without great cost. It was handed to us at the expense of much labour, sweat and blood.

To see the truth of this we do not need to go beyond our native land. Who has not heard of John Knox, George Wishart, Andrew Melville, and Alexander Henderson and a host of others too numerous to be mentioned?

Their life and their struggles on behalf of true religion [?!?!?!] is bound up with the history of Scotland in such a way that no one can read the history of our native land without realising the important part they played in handing us our religious heritage.

I wonder what the epithete ‘free’ means, apart from signifying ‘liberation’ from the obnoxious Roman Catholic Church of the early 1500s?

Of Calvinist descent, iconoclastic, condemning the celebration of Christmas, this so-called church is ‘free’ from most of the ties that the Orthodox Church maintains to the Holy Apostles, and ultimately to its Founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The birth of contemporary British humanism can be traced back to the birth of such self-proclaimed ‘free churches’. It all started with such twisted perceptions of God’s Revelation, and we can witness the results 500 years later, and almost a millennium after 1054/1066!

It’s no wonder that alternative families, abortions, euthanasia, genetic manipulation, and repression of Christianity, founded on a tragic denaturation of human nature, are made possible and cherished as humanist values of paramount importance in today’s Great Britain.

[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 have to admit that I do disagree with you here.

As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I can't deny that I have cultural and theological disputes with the Free Church.

However, it did rise from a Church of Scotland that produced much good (free universal education) but which in the Highlands became a tool of the landowning class.

It is perhaps difficult in retrospect to understand just how revolutionary the Free Church was in the 1840s, in its view that the landowner should not have patronage and the many founding figures lived the Christian life to a large extent.

Afterwards, ironically, it became a deeply reactionary force, and deeply anti-humanistic. I once anotated a book written about Free church members in Sutherland and there were stories of (e.g.) a man who broke the sabbath and drowned, to the glee of many and a youth who teased an elder and then died when his horse bolted: again to their satisfaction.

Still, whilst it's not a culture I would relate much to, I am pleased that it did offer social cohesion without an Irish style dictatorship. Furthermore, whilst you mention humanism and protestantism, I associate that more with the church of England. And whilst I see people like Dawkins cheering at the collapse of the CofE, from my viewpoint they've swapped a self-righteous, imperialistic Protestantism with neo-conservatism which has many of the basic features (idolisation of the middle classes, right to interfere in other countries).

I have to admit, as you noted in an email, I am still quite keen on some free church architecture ;-)

Perhaps it would be out of place in an arid, sunny country like Greece (and maybe Romania?) but it has a certain grandeur against our rocky coastline and under our cloudy skies.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor (part one),

I thank you very much for another lengthy comment.

Although you say from the beginning that you "disagree" with me, it's hard for me to see any substantial disagreement.


[1] There's no doubt that this Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (FPCS) has a twisted perception of the Truth.

Today's individual belivers can't be condemned for that they have inherited along the centuries and they seem to cherish, nevertheless, some kind of boundary (between what Christianity should mean and what some imagine Christianity is) must be drawn.

These theological differences are too visible to be ignored or minimized.

The fact that there are several such 'free' churches is strange from a theological perspective...

What 'bits of truth' could reside in such a myriad of denominations?!


[2] Unfamiliar with Scottish history, I can't doubt the fact that people like John Knox and others (mentioned in the quote from the FPCS's website) may have had 'providential' roles.

Nor could I doubt the fact that they must have suffered greatly for professing 'subversive' beliefs.

However, they were not the first and surely won't be the last people suffering for their own perception of Christ, for their own ideals, views, beliefs. Sadly, they were unable to turn back to the roots of Christianity.

They built what they could, with the limited theological tools they had, they thought they were saving the Christian belief....

Unfortunately, they teared down some wrong traditions of the Roman Catholic Church only to put new 'idols' instead of them.

Maybe these reformers were ethical people, well-intended and honest, however, claiming that they were fighting for 'true religion' is a gross exaggeration.

These idolatrized reformers were no Saints, from the Orthodox Church's perspective... It's not enough to work wonders, to save millions of people through your actions, to be a kind person (with as few sins as is possible for a human being), in order to be a Saint.

There's another condition of utmost importance: a Saint can only be someone believing in the Lord 'correctly', that is sharing the same Orthodox belief common to all Saints, from all places and all ages, from the dawn of the Church to the end of times.


[3] There's always a risk of mingling theological aspects with the socio-historical effects of the apparition of a peculiar 'church'.

Irrespective of the good effects upon Scottish history, of all the social good done to people, a 'church' should not be regarded as a tool from an earthly perspective, but from a metaphysical one.

A church's (or any religion's) purpose should be leading people to salvation! Thus, the question - to which only the Lord can answer - is did this FPCS helped people find salvation or not?!?!?!

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor (part two),

[4] In the 18th century (from 1699 onwards), the Hapsburg Austrians imposed a new 'church' upon many millions of Romanians in Transylvania.

Orthodox churches were taken over, Orthodox monasteries were destroyed by cannon fire, whilst many priests and laypeople were killed for not willing to renounce Orthodoxy.

In spite of this bloody and unjust birth, a so-called Greek-Catholic Church was born.

It maintained a guise of Orthodox liturgical services and customs, including the right of priests to marry, but every member of the 'church' had to recognize the supremacy of the Pope in Rome.

Up until the mid 20th century, this 'church' had a progressive role, if regarded from a secular historian's perspective. There were several social and cultural benefits for Romanians living in Transylvania.

Nevertheless, how much do these earthly benefits weigh from a spiritual perspective?

In 1948, the Greek Catholic Church was aborbed into the Romanian Orthodox Church, with the help of the Communist authorities of the era.

Since 1989, when the freedom of expression (including religius freedom) was reestablished, very few former believers wanted to be 'united with Rome' again.

Only around 0.8% Romanians declare themselves 'Greek Catholics'.

Nothing based on false premises can last.

The most spectacular cathedrals in Western Europe were built after 1066. So was the entire European culture, but to what avail? I'm sure you are familiar with St. Nikolai Velimirovich's writings on this topic!


[5] Since you invoke two 'anti-humanistic' examples from the Free Church's life (to which of these 'free' institutions are you referring - I'm a bit confused), I believe you can't find much to praise about them.

If they reached such excesses, similar to those of the papist Inquisition, then it means their roots had been rotten from the very beginning, I'd say...

Thus, why should we be in disagreement?


[6] Refering strictly to the term 'humanism', maybe we don't always use it with similar connotations.

I guess what I had always had in mind since the beginning of this series on my blog, is the absurd anthropocentrism of contemporary (and especially British) society.

Putting man at the center of everything explains all the subsequent moral disasters...

Instead of the 'perfect' God-Man (Son of Man and Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ), these so-called protestant churches, as well as secular thinkers, have used as a landmark the 'corrupted' man.

God's commandments are eternal, His moral laws are always the same, while man's morals descend from bad to worse...

Godless, but somehow still worthy of appreciation, were Jean-Jacques Rousseau's natural rights of man.

Now look at today's human rights and what they have become!

Many insist that the right to abort children should be recognized as a human right! Others say that the rights of many 'wacky' minorities should also be protected...

The right to kill oneself (euthanasia), the rights of the pedophiles, the rights of the zoophiles etc come from the same Pandora's box.

Once you've taken Christ out of His rights (over His own Creation), things can only evolve from bad to worse!


[7] What do you mean by "social cohesion without an Irish style dictatorship?"


[8] I understand that you associate humanism more with the Church of England than with the various 'churches' in Scotland...

Indeed, there's not much to hope for the future of Anglicanism:


[9] I also find that kind of architecture to be in tune with Scotland's landscape.

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

I suppose my disagreement was that I think the Free Church is an institute that did a lot of good in Scotland from a secular viewpoint. It did stand against landlords and it did form social cohesion; I suppose my points about their being sometimes strict to the point of cruelty was a comment on their excesses and why it wasn't my culture, but I wouldn't compare it to the inquisition.

I also don't know why you've tagged this with 'abortion' given that Russia, Romania and Greece have some of the highest abortion rates in the developed world.

I suppose, unfortunately, my thoughts here might not be coherent but my overall point is that the Free Church (and the Church of Scotland) gave a kind of identity to the Scots that I think makes us different from the English and the Americans and maybe the West European masonic leaders. It seems to me that in this post and its comments you are suggesting (and I'd agree) that the west can be quite aggressive in its ideology. And I'd agree with this. But I think Scotland is quite different and whilst the Free Church may have many theological views that we would disagree with, socially it is far more conservative than most western churches and I think there is an aspect of Scottish identity that wants to respect other cultures more.

I found a lot to agree with in your comments but wondered if you think that there is more of a general Romanian (maybe Central European) feeling of dissatisfaction towards the West?

I was reading that Croatia now has some of the most fiercely secular laws in the world, probably before being admitted to the EU. I wonder how they now feel about supporting the war on their Orthodox neighbours in favour of Islam and secularism?

Whilst a lot of east/central European nations traditionally were pro-west because of the USSR it seems to me that whilst the west is currently aggressive to Russia, I get the impression (to be metaphorical) that they'd like to knife Russia but to smother the Central European nations with a pillow: they dislike the thought of Orthodox Romanians/Moldovans as much as Orthodox Russians but would like to use political correctness to turn the Orthodox Church there into a church of England style pseudo-church.

I don't know; these are my views. Maybe I've drifted off course a bit.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Scottish friend,

First of all, I was looking forward to reading some details about which is the 'church' we are discussing here.

The one I was referring to, which has its website closed on Saturdays is the 'Free Presbyterian' Church of Scotland:

There's another (more mainstream, more famous?!) Free Church of Scotland:

And, the apparently less known (at least for foreign observers like me) United Free Church of Scotland:


Anyway, I don't doubt the social cohesion + other benefits that the 'Free Churches' (which of them?!) brought to Scotland.

I also believe that their excesses - such as cruel enforcements of the Sabbath - were rather accidental, and by no means programmatic. In this regard, they can't be compared to the Inquisition, of course.


My intention was not to suggest any connection between abortions and these churches, which (as far as I know) don't condone this type of murder.

What I wanted to say is that the more people (no matter how full of good intentions) drift away from the Truth, the more they leave room to relativism.

If there are more churches, more possible truths, then maybe that there's no life after death, and surely - at least this is what we can control through murderous means - there's no life before birth.


This relativisation process took centuries in Britain, before the infamous 1967 Abortion Act.

Unfortunately, it all happened very quickly in Greece, Romania and Russia. Thanks to the spread of nihilistic ideas in Eastern Europe and to Communist atheism, abortion very soon became 'normal' in these Orthodox countries.


You seem confident that Scotland is 'different' than the bulk known as the 'Western World'.

Do you want to suggest that, after centuries of being subjected to various 'pressures' from a bigger neighbour (England), people in Scotland are more understanding of other cultures?


Your final ideas may be offtopic, but you've made some remarkable observations.

Indeed, many people in Eastern Europe are fed-up with the the more and more visible shallowness of 'Western values', and especially the aggressive secularism.

Britain is today one of the flag-bearers of these dubious 'values', and so is the EU bureaucracy, although there are many conflicting views on the future of the EU between London and Brussels.


"They'd like to knife Russia but to smother the Central European nations with a pillow" - this brilliant remark deserves a full distinctive post :-)