Glory to God for All Things

Modern Man and Coldness of Heart

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I have been listening to a tape of the talk, “The River of Fire,” given by Dr. Alexander Kalomiros in 1980. By now it has become a very frequently cited and discussed document within the modern Orthodox world. Despite the occasional stridency of its tone, I cannot mkae myself disagree with its conclusions. The following is from the opening remarks of the talk – and speak eloquently of the “Christian Atheism” I have written about elsewhere. The greatest enemy of the Christian faith is the distortion of the Christian faith. Orthodox Christians can have no greater task than to live and teach in accordance with the truth – without this the human heart will continue to grow cold – as it turns away from the caricatures of God so often portrayed in our modern world. May God give us grace. The full text of the talk may be found here.

There is no doubt that we are living in the age of apostasy predicted for the last days. In practice, most people are atheists, although many of them theoretically still believe. Indifference and the spirit of this world prevail everywhere.

What is the reason for this state?

The reason is the cooling of love. Love for God no more burns in human hearts, and in consequence, love between us is dead, too.

What is the cause of this waning of men’s love for God? The answer, certainly, is sin. Sin is the dark cloud which does not permit God’s light to reach our eyes.

But sin always did exist. So how did we arrive at the point of not simply ignoring God, but of actually hating Him? Man’s attitude toward God today is not really ignorance, or really indifference. If you examine men carefully you will notice that their ignorance or indifference is tainted by a deep hate. But nobody hates anything that does not exist.

I have the suspicion that men today believe in God more than at any other time in human history. Men know the gospel, the teaching of the Church, and God’s creation better than at any other time. They have a profound consciousness of His existence. Their atheism is not a real disbelief. It is rather an aversion toward somebody we know very well but whom we hate with all our heart, exactly as the demons do.

We hate God, that is why we ignore Him, overlooking Him as if we did not see Him, and pretending to be atheists. In reality we consider Him our enemy par excellence. Our negation is our vengeance, our atheism is our revenge.

But why do men hate God? They hate Him not only because their deeds are dark while God is light, but also because they consider Him as a menace, as an imminent and eternal danger, as an adversary in court, as an opponent at law, as a public prosecutor and an eternal persecutor. To them, God is no more the almighty physician who came to save them from illness and death, but rather a cruel judge and a vengeful inquisitor.

You see, the devil managed to make men believe that God does not really love us, that He really only loves Himself, and that He accepts us only if we behave as He wants us to behave; that He hates us if we do not behave as He ordered us to behave, and is offended by our insubordination to such a degree that we must pay for it by eternal tortures, created by Him for that purpose. Who can love a torturer? Even those who try hard to save themselves from the wrath of God cannot really love Him. They love only themselves, trying to escape God’s vengeance and to achieve eternal bliss by managing to please this fearsome and extremely dangerous Creator. Do you perceive the devil’s slander of our all-loving, all-kind, and absolutely good God? That is why in Greek the devil was given the name of diabolos, “the slanderer.”

21 Responses to “Modern Man and Coldness of Heart”

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  1. epiphanist says:

    The Baptist confronted the pharisees with the arrogance of their position, that they were justified as children of Abraham. A friend of mine, in good conscience, asserts that man is above creation because of being created in God’s image. As the western population ages, the humility which is often enforced by advanced age and sickness has become feared and despised. Technology has provided hope for a restored body in our own lifetime and the possibility of dispersal of our physical remains into the heavens. These are hard times for the humble faithful.

  2. David says:

    I have a former friend who’s a professed atheist. But when pressed admits that the reason he doesn’t “believe” in God is that his father (who was the one sane and loving person in his family and also a devout Orthodox) died suddenly and painfully when he was only 12.

    It devastated him and his family.

    Truthfully he’s angry at God. He very much believes in God and blames God for his father’s death. But he choses to call label himself as an atheist, precisely as an act of vengeance.

  3. Margaret says:

    Very interesting post to consider going into the New Year. I will read the complete article as upon very brief examination it promises to delve into the topic in greater detail. I found this fragment a little “off putting” but that probably means I will just have to use my mind a little more than I am comfortable with at times!

    And use my heart and really listen to those around me in this hurting world. The devil is no “winner take all”. So we know Who has the victory. In the meantime I am honestly puzzled by the fact that hurting humanity desperately needs this loving God and all the while pushes Him away.

    David, I will pray for your friend. He is not alone in what he has gone through and I believe that God knows where your friend is “at” in his pilgrim’s journey.

  4. david puline says:

    Amen to the article. I had a sermon last month where I indict how much the image of our earthly father distorts what our Heavenly Father image is. This was one of the main reasons why christians have a very difficult time in knowing God as their Heavenly Father. Many came up after saying how true this was for them. I am a Luth christian who is studying Orthodoxy. In Him, david p.

  5. tilts_at_windmills says:

    I’m an atheist who was never part of an organized religion, who has a lovely relationship with both my parents, who has been generally lucky in life, and who is no colder of heart, I expect, than any of you.

    There certainly are atheists who were at some point in their lives Christian, Mormon, Muslim, Jewish, etc, and who left their church out of anger with its teaching. Some of those people genuinely stopped believing, forgave and forgot, and were happier for it. Some of them genuinely stopped believing, but remained bitterly (and often justifiably) angry about what was done to them, and have set out to prevent it being done to others. I think this is the largest group among the ex-devout who are now vocal atheists. Finally, there are some who really are angry at God, and I think I speak for most atheists when I say I wish those people wouldn’t call themselves atheists, because they are not. They’re maltheists, if I had to put a philosophical name to it, but mostly they’re just miserable and confused.

    There are people who become atheists because of some personal misfortune, but I think that number is quite small. It’s more of a fictional trope than a real world phenomenon. If there’s an atheist on television, it’s guaranteed to be because his wife got cancer, or a drunk driver ran over his kid, or some such nonsense. In real life, not so much.

    I think most instances where a believer concludes that an atheist secretly believes in God, however, result from a rather willful misunderstanding on the part of the believer. I can say that Iago is wicked without anyone assuming I believe he is real. Yet when I say the Biblical God is morally questionable, I often get people saying, aha! so you believe in him! I don’t get it.

  6. Tilts at windmills,

    I think your account of modern atheism is generally correct – it is a very diverse category as you point out. Kalomiros is describing an historical phenomenon that can be fairly easily traced out. Post-Christian society at some point moved from one of general belief to a rejection of that belief. It is certain an important point of conversation for Christians to examine what exactly the nature of that phenomenon was and in some cases still is.

    In the complete essay, Kalomiris will point out that distortions within the world of Christian teaching (particularly in the West) yielded a concept of God that was not worthy of worship and produced reactions in many quarters.

    It is a way of looking at distinctions between Eastern and Western Christianity which had (have) very differing histories and teachings.

    I have gained a lot of understanding of modern atheism in the past year and do not assume that all atheists are simply post-Christian, nor that they are cold-hearted, etc. Many of them put many Christians to shame in their kindness and generosity.

    Orthodox Christianity makes particular claims about the revelation of God to man – for others to take it seriously – we’ll have to live the life that it teaches. I think the jury is still out on modern atheism. Several regimes who have espoused atheism have been among the most bloody and repressive regimes in history. I know that Christians do not have clean hands either. But I do have concerns about the future even of a positive humanism that has no theological rooting. Ethics without theological guidance tend to find very convenient arguments to support anything that makes money and relieves somebody’s suffering. But there are schools of ethics within liberal Christian teaching in the West that I could not distinguish from an atheist moral teaching. There is a place for dialog and sharing, and always kindness.

  7. Reader John says:

    My experince is that most atheists are latent believers who have still yet to hear a profound and/or numinous enough definition of God that will truly move them. Many Christians share a watered down God of “cheap grace” that is too accessible, comprehensible, and compartmentalized. The God people offer through pathetic “definitions” is no God worthy of belief or worship. The atheist is more often, in my experience, reached by the shimmering beauty of Orthodox worship or in the wonder evoked by a spiritual experince during, say, a walk on the beach at night. or the painful loss of a loved one that makes the idea of a “crucified God” more resonant to him.
    Still, there are atheists who are driven by a pride that simply states, “Non servium.” Others are trapped in a defiant state of arrested adolescence and God is merely the object of displaced anger towards their parents.

    Ultimately God is found in his saints,i.e. the community that is the Church/hsopital of sick souls. If He is love (agape) He must by definition be relational (Trinity) and thus, we encoutner him in the unconditional love that is shown us by Him in His saints (“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” St. Paul’s definition of a saint, wherein we encounter such radical Love/amazing grace.).

    I feel that the article by Kalomiros is one of the best that I have read in years.

  8. Reader John,

    I appreciate your thoughts. I do believe that I have met a number (or corresponded with) of modern atheists who are not stuck in adolescence or mad at anyone but simply do not believe or have reason to believe (as yet). Some hardly give religion any thought at all. We’re not relevant to their lives (as they perceive them).

    Some of this, I believe from a Christian perspective, is that the imagery and language of the two-storey universe (see the articles I’ve done on the topic) created an account of God that is just not very believable. It created both the secularized modern world (yes, Christians created secularism) and made atheism a common phenomenon (what would be more at home if the world is just secular?).

    I feel that an important part of the proclamation of the Orthodox faith is to be sure that we proclaim the whole gospel – particularly not relegating God to a distant heaven, etc. – but proclaiming that God is with us! We should proclaim that He is everywhere present and filling all things, and more than that, we should actually live like it.

    Secular Orthodoxy, which I think is a modern phenomenon, is an oxymoron, a phenomenon of which we should repent. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

    I cannot and do not blame or judge the many atheists I see or correspond with. Most of them were either created by Christians, or by a world-view that Christianity itself created. And most mean no harm – which is not true of all Christians.

    I once knew an atheist, a friend, who was a former Catholic, and probably became an atheist as he rejected the false teachings of his childhood in Catholic schools. But he was also one of the most compassionate and generous persons I’ve ever known and more than willing to engage in friendly, serious discussion of beliefs. I still admire him. He was probably more “Christian” than many Christians I’ve known.

    I think of Christ’s conversation with the Centurion (which I read again yesterday during a Molieben). He upbraids Israel with the faith of the Centurion and reminds us that many will come from East and West and sit at His Father’s table in the Kingdom while the Sons of the Kingdom will be cast out.

    The River of Fire (which I agree with you about) could give a very cogent account of that phenomenon.

    I really think that the great mission field of the present is Western Europe and America – but I’ve said too much already. With the feast!

  9. Dear Father,

    My name is John, and I am an Orthodox christian, from Romania, and I believe in the truth of Orthodoxy, but am nonetheless a beginner in faith… This letter is about atheism. I really hope it doesn’t upset you, as it did torment me… I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on these ideas, as they are spreading like wildfire, via mass-media, in my country.

    I have to say I am very angry at myself for not searching harder for the truth: it was jus yesterday that I discovered your blog, and found the words to help me through some harsh times, and to understand atheists a little more. But some things essentially still upset me…

    To tell you a little about myself, first, I’m 20 years old and have no official training in theology (although it was, for a while, my dream to become a father, a priest, I thought about it too late). But I do enjoy searching for the truth… And I wish to protect the truth. And, to this point, I feel (although, sadly, I cannot explain it formally), that Orthodoxy is the truth. And yes, I was baptised, at birth, in Orthodoxy, although I am a shame to its way of life… I have read a few articles (I am still trying to understand them fully; please excuse me if I misunderstood them or if my understanding is incomplete), from the Atheism category on this blog, and was surprised to find out that what I was “feeling” wasn’t just mine. I too feel that Orthodoxy offers me much more than a world without God can… I too feel that life without God is, to say the least, not beautiful, or too little in comparison to what our hearts can do. I too agree that through their mistakes, small or large, through not defending the truth about God, through not living or feeling the Orthodoxy, through not living with God in their soul, Christians contributed significantly to the unbelief of others… I see that, day by day…

    And the problem… Father, my soul feels very ill when I think about some ideas that some people who regard themselves as atheists, non-believers or just dissapointed, propose. Some of these people are my friends and they are wonderful. I was confronted, as I grew up, with a tough dilemma: if my beloved ones say that God lets them suffer for the wrong-doings of others, that God is hurting them, and I believe in God, than that would make me cruel… Or they are angry at the wrong-doings of those who are Christian officials, or public Christian figures, and cannot believe in God for that reason… So it seems that I tolerate corruption… And it gets more difficult.

    I entered, being very tired spiritually, an atheist (or so they called themselves; I took note of tilts_at_windmills’ comment, he is indeed a pleasant surprise for me) page on a social network. And began to tremble… These who call themselves atheists, say that it is scientifically unprovable that God exists, so, by continuing to believe in Him, without scientific reason, I, as a Christian, it doesn’t matter of what faith, am mad and ill (some use tougher words). They say Christianity, and all religion for that matter, are evil, so, I am evil, or a hypocrite. First, being angry, I replied with coldness of heart that communism was atheist, and I thought that would be the end of it… I was wrong. The things they were saying made me feel bad, so I wanted to stand up for Orthodoxy, on an atheist page… Great mistake, before them and before God, because I tried to convince them that I am right and they are wrong, and because I reduced God to an idea, entering those conversations. I then tried to explain that they misunderstand the God I believe in, the God of Orthodoxy, but they will not accept any religion, on the basis that religion is artifical and bad. I really felt that Who they were talking about was not my God, that the subject was not Orthodoxy as I felt it and discovered it. I couldn’t get through those stereotypes, they were certain that they knew more than I know and that that is the only reason I still believe; some of the atheists studied theology, and that is a shame for me, as a Christian. I was outmatched theologically and scientifically and my soul felt like poisened. They also believe in the wonders of a world in which there is no religion, so, I am an obstacle in the way of human progress and a free and happy society. They believe, or know, I really don’t understand, that science has got rid of God for good, and are quite unmovable from that idea. I tried to “attack” atheism, reminding them of the example of communism or national-socialism. No succes; they rejected both and blamed it all on the church. I was stupefied, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I have abandoned my God, through leaving my peace and engaging in a conflict of ideas, meaningless and endless ideas… I tried to explain, in plain words, what I understood of Orthodoxy, the answers I have for their problems, and none was acceptable; I became angry, had to fend off insults and ironies, tried to apologise, then became again angry because they reduced me to being delusional. I tried to move to the essence of God: love; I was ridiculed. And stopped… I had to stop, it was hurting me.

    I, a mere beginner, a nothing, thought I can defend Orthodoxy. I failed miserably, but, to my surprise, they still cannot convince me that atheism is better. For this, they called me indoctrinated, and said I cannot bear the truth, because religion comforts me. I feel poisoned and their ideas torment me, as if I am in true Hell. And, as you described, I feel like a Christian atheist now…

    Reading your blog helped me regain some confidence, in Beauty, in Good, in the true God, in Orthodoxy, in that which cannot be decomposed logically and scientifically, in what I feel about God, in what all human beings can feel, even if they are not scholars, geniuses. I can identify with some, or most, of your reasons to believe. I do not feel that alone anymore. For that, I thank you honestly and I thank God that you are.

    So… is there something you can recommend me, Father?

    I apologise if this letter upsets anybody, as it expresses some very sad feelings… I am sorry.
    I apologise for misjudging atheists, because of those few disoriented people who consider themselves also atheists. I am sorry.

    Thank you for your patience, in advance. Please forgive me.

    Best wishes,
    John

  10. Dino says:

    You reminded me of the advise of Elder Paisios to beginners and and intermediates alike: “do not enter even into conversation with them…”
    One thousand lawyers cannot win an argument with a single demon as he says… it is fruitless and, as you say, whether you win or lose, you lose, on account of your peace of mind and love towards God growing cold while the Ego becomes hardened through the verbal altercations (all in the name of “defending the Church”)
    Better to guard the little flame you have in your beautiful soul at present than dissipate its warmth. Your silence can be more convincing then – yes, even on the internet if accompanied by trustful (in God’s all-powerful providence) prayer.
    May the Lord God be with always John!

  11. Thank you very much, Dino. You are right, and, to my shame, I felt what Elder Paisios and you are advising… But there was something in me that wouldn’t let me rest… I was weak and a fool, and wrong. And I later read that the one who opposes God, wishes in his wickedness, if he could only, to turn the believers against the non-believers and to destroy them all at once… That this world is all a test of our patience and love, towards everyone, and that harsh times await everyone. Love your enemies… it is a great test, it means living, and not arguing. I hope I will get that as soon as possible.

    I apologise.

    Thank you! And may the Lord God be with all of you!

  12. Paula says:

    John-Romania, I have had the exact same experience when entering conversation with people who call themselves Christians, but are of the protestant varieties. Dino, thank you for passing along Elder Paisios’ advice.

    May I ask, though, how are we to evangelize and spread the good news of the Orthodox faith to the people around us who are so badly in need of it?

  13. Michael Bauman says:

    Paula, Evangelizing is not arguing, it is proclaiming the Word by thoughts, deeds and words. Sow the seed and let those who have ears to hear, hear.

    St. Herman of Alaska is beloved by so many Native Alaskans because he cared for people in the name of the one God.

    Caring for people and telling them why you care for them is the way to evangelize. Listening to them, affirming what truth there is in what they say and how they live but adding to it with the fullness of the truth.

    Arguing is about being ‘right’. Since none of us is good save God, it is difficult to be ‘right.’

  14. Dino says:

    John,
    the general advise to ‘pay no heed’ to “logismoi” is also invaluable concerning such ‘falls’ as what you described, there is absolutely no need to say I was weak and a fool and wrong…. The more we love our Lord, the more we will be in a very healthy “oblivion of self”, even concerning such ‘falls’… We won’t know if we are right or wrong because we never ‘return’ to “me” being utterly engrossed with our beloved Lord!
    We follow a different path to truth – a different path to evangelizing…
    As Elder Sophrony used to say about his Spiritual Father St Silouan:
    The Staretz [St Silouan] was unlettered but no one surpassed him in craving for true knowledge. The path he took was, however, quite unlike that of speculative philosophers. Knowing this, I follwed with the deepest interest the way in which the most heterogeneous problems were distilled in the alembic of his mind, to emerge in his consciousness as solutions. He could not develop a question dialectically and express it in a system of rational concepts – he was afraid of ‘erring in intellectual argument’; but the propositions he pronounced bore the imprint of exceptional profundity…
    …Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life.

  15. mary benton says:

    John – Romania,

    It sounds as though you have learned a valuable lesson in your effort to argue with the atheists. Allow it to be a lesson and add to your humility – but please do not be too hard on yourself either. Allow yourself to learn.

    I note that you are only 20 years old. I don’t say “only” as though it is an insult to be young. Rather, I know that I was much more inclined to argue when I was younger because I felt things passionately and did not have the perspective that more years have given me. (Though I am not free of the temptation to argue, even in my 50′s.)

    The problem with arguing is that it seldom changes anything. Few people are won over by it, no matter how good or logical the case is made. This is because most of us remain dominated by ego (false self) that does not want to ever admit being wrong.

    This is a wonderful community of believers. I hope you will continue to visit this site for support of your faith. Blessings.

  16. Thank you for sharing you thought, Paula. I appreciate.

    And again, thank you Dino. I agree fully: Christianity is life, not doctrine. Thank you for the advice.

    And I would also like to thank you, Ms. Benton, for your kind words. I don’t really know why I didn’t believe that arguing won’t solve anything, why I didn’t stop and wonder. It’s quite straight-forward…

    Although I am repeating myself… And I know this is a tough one for anybody… I just want to be sure…

    The problem that really shook me, years ago, was that of the suffering of my friends and family. I believe in God, and they blame important failures or very sad events on Him (consider the loss of a beloved, in any way, or poverty)… It seems, in such circumstances, that I have to choose: Him or them… But I don’t make a choice, because I feel God and my family can’t be on opposite sides, but I can’t really understand… I just end up suffering and passing the blame around… And eventually I get up and walk on. And so do they… But the problem is still there, I feel it.

    And I don’t really know what to do… Because, God is all I really know, all I can… If it is painful for them to even hear about Him… What could I do to help them believe, or stay strong? I can’t, in these situations, redeem what is lost, on a material level; it is beyond me, a problem of the world, of the people around us… And if the world doesn’t offer you anything, and you also are upset about God, then you’re left with nothing. This is where my knowledge ends. Is this where I should start praying hard, or is there something I can do (actually, say)?

    Blessings,
    John

  17. fatherstephen says:

    John – Romania,
    Sorry to be slow in responding – I’ve had a very busy schedule the last couple of weeks and have only been able to tend to the blog sporadically. Your questions are good – as has been the responses others have shared.

    In many ways, people are not willing to live with not knowing everything. Family and friends suffer (everyone suffers and some suffer terribly). But rather than admit that they simply do not understand, they turn their bitterness and grief towards God and blame Him for what they are unwilling to not know. If God is to blame, then they can know that and be made or angry with God. And God doesn’t fight back – unlike so many others – and so He becomes a safe place for our anger and blame.

    This also means that we become “stuck” in our lives to a certain extent. Putting the blame and anger on God doesn’t mean that it goes away, or that anything has been resolved or healed. And unresolved, unhealed anger and blame hang over us like a cloud and color everything we do and can poison many things in our lives.

    The truth is that we know very little. We are glad to give God thanks for the good things that happen to us, but even then we tend to think that we understand His goodness, and we don’t.

    I believe that God is good because of the teachings, life, death and resurrection of Christ. When I say, “God is good,” I mean, that in the Resurrection of Christ, I see the victory of the good God over death, evil, corruption, etc. And through the promise of Christ, I believe that His resurrection will ultimately triumph over all evil things – whether I see this in my own life or not. At certain points in history, many believers have not seen the goodness of God (in many ways) for the whole of their lifetime. Having said that, I believe it is also possible to see the goodness of God always and everywhere, but this is a great gift of grace and only comes slowly, with patience, and with a very deep change of heart (so that it becomes more pure).

    What can we do?

    We can be patient with God, with ourselves and with everyone around us. We grow patiently in Christ, day by day, praying, fasting as we can, being kind to others around us especially the poor and those who are hurting, confessing our sins and making communion. That is our Orthodox life.

    We can live that life, and, as God gives opportunity, we can share it with others. Many times we have to stay silent (or we are wise to). What others think or feel is something we can never make ourselves responsible for – it’s simply not within our power.

    If you are kind and merciful to others, it will help them stay strong, as will your prayers. Being angry with God is like being angry with the sky or the air or the ground. He loves us and cares for us – our anger won’t change Him – but it can keep us from enjoying the sky, breathing the air, or walking lightly on the ground.

  18. fatherstephen says:

    Paula,
    How do we evangelize? We share the good news of the good God who loves us and gave Himself for us. If we allow ourselves to be kind and merciful, and seek to remember God at all times, opportunities will arise – and God will help us. Remember, God cares much more about everyone and everything than we do. He will use us – in fact He uses everything – for the salvation of everyone.

    There is a modern anxiety about “saving” the world, or about evangelization, etc. To a great extent, this is born out of the false teachings of the Evangelicals who have permeated much of modern culture with their thoughts. Only God is in charge of history. We have no idea how to change or influence it. The management of the world is a false belief and ultimately leads to violence.

    It is given to us to be faithful – to do what we know to do. We know to pray, to fast, to give alms to the poor and needy, to forgive everyone for everything, to be kind and merciful to everyone. We live our lives in the Church as Christ has given us. And this will change (has changed!) the world. I think of the emissaries of St. Vladimir of Kiev. He sent them everywhere to learn about the true God and the true religion. They came back from Constantinople with the good news, “We know for a truth that there, God lives among men.” And St. Vladimir led his people into the faith. It did not come as a result of a careful plan of Byzantium, etc. True, there had been missionaries of many sorts – who did what God gave them to do. But no one could have seen the turn that events would take. It is always like this. True conversion is always a mystery and a miracle. Reason is interesting and it plays a part for some, but reason alone is insufficient for the Christian life. I tell people in my parish (we are a very “missionary” parish) that “some people will come here looking for the Orthodox faith…it is our job to be true, Orthodox Christians, so that when they come looking for us they can actually find us.” And it has been true. They come. I would like for a lot more of them to come…but all of that is a mystery. But living what is given to us is not so mysterious.

    St. Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing.” or better “Don’t worry about anything.” When I went looking for Orthodoxy in the 1970′s – it barely spoke English in America and was not interested in me. I can also see, in hindsight, that I wasn’t ready for Orthodoxy either. In the “fullness of time” we found each other. God is saving the world…in the fullness of time.

  19. Dear Father and fellow Christians, and neighbours,

    Thank you for the response. It wasn’t slow at all. I’m sorry if I’m tiring you all with my enthusiasm… It’s just great that I can speak to other fellow Orthodox Christians that are trying to keep up with the necessities of the present, of this fast-moving world.

    I understand. I will continue reading on your blog, learning and improving. My wish, and I hope it is not at all wrong, or pride, would be that I become able to help people understand why I believe, why God is good, when I am asked, and not to offer any more potential reasons for people to believe that Orthodoxy can’t be good…

    Thank you. I really needed some thoughts, especially about understanding atheism. It’s a growing movement in our country. I apologise for calling it a movement, but that is how it seems to be…

    If things work as planned, I will be teaching Mathematics (I’ll be starting University, this autumn, so help me God…) in a few years, and I cannot conceive good education without God’s love and patience, his justice, without His forgiveness, without the peace He can offer, and the courage or strength to face life’s harshness, without the example He offers us through Christ, without a higher purpose. Some officials are trying to take religion out of school (their most convincing argument is the mistakes of Christians, the way people (don’t) understand religion, or, in fact, Orthodoxy, for my country’s part…), and I am quite fearful… I might have to silence myself to be able to teach, although, nobody can silence good deeds, kindness, forgiveness and the understanding for those around us; these I can still do, or try to do. I have a section on my blog (which I hope will be a future platform for courses for students) named “Faith”, where I posted some of the more easy to understand and beautiful quotes from the New Testament (short quotes, for different needs: faith, poverty, weakness, dissapointment, sadness, loss of sense, injustice, and so on), and a motivation for how maths can be meaningful, even from a Christian’s perspective. I hope it won’t bother anybody, although, I am having second thoughts of whether or not to silence myself and to delete this section…

    People don’t often understand Orthodoxy, although in Romania, the official Church is the Orthodox one, and we are, in majority, baptised as Orthodox Christians… I do not wan’t to say any more about this, it is quite sad… Mass-media, including the Internet, isn’t of much help either, for understanding our faith… It’s hard (at least I find it hard, I tried…) to find accesible, official, professional materials, help, to support the teachings of Orthodoxy, to fend off heresies and stop misunderstandings, and to find the courage to constructively criticise the mistakes made by us Romanian Orthodox Christians and to separate them from the teachings. It is why I came to this blog.

    Sorry again for such a long comment, or request… I appreciate your patience.

    Blessings,
    John

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