Monday, April 22, 2019

Worldwide persecution of Christians must stop


  1. With all due respect, Father, it "must" do no such thing. Non-Christian creeds are perforce not obligated to respect the Church and her adherents.

    So long as everybody plays by the secular individualist rulebook, religious creeds can co-exist. Otherwise, Christianity needs a Christendom, just as Judaism needs a Zion and Islam needs a Caliphate.

  2. Replies
    1. Putting aside a "in other news, water is wet" shallow interpretation to "Worldwide persecution of Christians must stop", what did you mean really?

      The Anti-Gnostic is right imo - if the dominate religion (in our case in western civ, secularism) has within its creed tolerance, coexistence, and a morality that does not look like "persecution" to those out side of it, well then things look like they do. If the dominate religion is something else, then "persecution" to those outside of it is the norm (even if an unsteady "peace" holds most days) and this has been so throughout written history.

      I was talking with a friend just yesterday and he was opining that those such as Rod Dreher who say that a "hard" persecution is very possible (however likely) from our secular neighbors are misreading things. I brought up that just a few generations ago there was the Indian Removal Act, and not long ago at all there was the Japanese internments.

      This conversation started with him mentioning that the elementary school he sends his daughter too had sent them a letter about the transgender "education" they were starting next school year.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


  5. An Abbot from Mt. Athos once gave a great speech that poorly paraphrased went along the lines of "Its true, they can take everything from us, our rights, our property, our family, our freedom, but they can't take our death, and they might even help us with it!"

    (Props to anyone who can find the actual quote)

    The point being, the world can persecute us to no end, the 'worst' they can do is kill us, and then all the more glory in heaven. Easy to say, hard to live, but still I think it's a fairly universal consensus in Orthodoxy that trials and persecutions give us the opportunity to grow closer to God, whereas prosperity and ease cause us to forget God.

    1. Christianity: the Faith that preaches endless cession to her enemies.

      The problem I have with this sentiment is it's basically gnostic: the fullest expression of our Faith is when we have been wiped out from the Earth!

      I think the Shakers tried a version of this, on the rationale that the Second Coming was imminent anyway, so why bother having children and defending a geographic redoubt in which to raise them?

    2. I mean that has very little to do with what I said, but I could double down if I wanted to considering how many saints preach turning the other cheek in all circumstances.

      Nevertheless, we also have a rich heritage of warrior saints and defending the weak, laying down our lives for our neighbors and defending our homes; fighting to protect our churches and families.

      My only point was that persecutions will always be a part of life in the world.

      Christ didn't come to end suffering, He sanctified it so that when it happens it can be for our salvation instead of just being pointless agony.

      The nice thing about being Orthodox is that it doesn't require some morbid uniformity in human experience/decision.

      We dont all have to be monks or priests or married.

      If you can't stand by while violence takes place, we have warrior saints whose example you can follow.

      If you can't bring yourself to harm someone else made in the image and likeness of God we have the ultimate example of Christ to follow.

      We can pray for an end to persecutions and for the safety of our loved ones etc but we should also be realistic and know that this world is the valley of the shadow of death, and we will struggle no matter what path we pick.

  6. Father, I am a bit confused by the title of this post. If Christianity did not involve the specter of persecution, would it be Christianity? It seems that Christ in the Beatitudes doesn't call for persecution to stop, but calls those who suffer it blessed.
    Another quote that comes to mind is, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

    1. Ok. If I kill your child is your response "I'm a Christian. That's the way it is." or is it "Please, God! Why?!"

      We were told we'd have the poor with us always. Does that mean we should not feed the homeless?

      That something IS happening does not mean we should just accept it. People kill people. People kill Christians. Saying we should stop killing one another is a pretty non-confrontational statement.

    2. Father, every time I write a comment to you, you answer so well that I feel like a fool :) Thank you! I understand what you mean now, and agree with you. Re-reading my own comment, I realized that when other people say what I wrote, I generally don't agree with them. Live and learn. Glory to God!

    3. "We were told we'd have the poor with us always. Does that mean we should not feed the homeless?"

      This is a good example of how my Western mind can get caught up in just how "illogical" Christianity is. Christ tells us that the poor will always be with us and that we should feed the poor: there'a no room here for making a five-year plan for reaching some lofty goal of full fed-ness. There is no goal, there is only salvific work.

      It reminds me of a group I volunteer with - for 11 or so years now, each summer 700 or so volunteers travel to the north of Russia to restore/renovate wooden churches. As a rule, our organization fixes the most remote churches in the worst condition. Little to no local population, no parish, etc. Any time I talk about the work we do people say things like, "what the heck would you do that for?" And reference the fact that these churches rarely start being used actively after we fix them. But as my spiritual father who founded the group has said many times, "People keep thinking that we are saving churches. That's backward. The churches are saving us!" i.e. the traveling, the labor, the fund-raising, the living in tents, the taking vacation to save holy temples - all of this is salvific for us, and perhaps secondarily important as an effort on the level of cultural preservation.

  7. The ground of our being we know is Love, the greatest of virtues. But not the only one!
    Lord, have mercy as we pray for discernment, courage and a stronger faith. Our passions for survival will be challenged at some time. We may only hope for a proper response and it will not be the same for each.

  8. It is unlikely it will stop but that does not mean that the US and other western governments should continue designing and carrying out policies that are sure to encourage persecution of Christians and destruction of Christian communities.

    I am serious when I say the last US President who took action against Islam in defence of Christians was Thomas Jefferson.