(About changing faith) At our best, Christians embrace it, leaving enough space within orthodoxy for God to surprise us every now and then.
Orthodoxy is idolatry if it means holding the 'correct opinions about God' - 'fundamentalism' is the most extreme and salient example of such idolatry - but not if it means holding faith in the right way, that is, not holding it at all but being held by God, in love and service. Theology is idolatry if it means what we say about God instead of letting ourselves be addressed by what God has to say to us. Faith is idolatrous if it is rigidly self-certain but not if it is softened in the waters of 'doubt.
As I ponder my pilgrim’s progress to Orthodoxy, however, I realize that I didn’t make the trip alone, but in a two-seater. And I wasn’t the one driving.
The first thing I fell in love with about Orthodoxy was that my opinions are irrelevant, which is a sign of the preservation of Truth. I wanted a sound and stable faith, one that was maintained and preserved, not one that was changed and influenced by the tastes and opinions of sinners like me.
Atheism, true 'existential' atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God.… Nietzsche, in calling himself Antichrist, proved thereby his intense hunger for Christ.
Everything in this life passes away — only God remains, only He is worth struggling towards. We have a choice: to follow the way of this world, of the society that surrounds us, and thereby find ourselves outside of God; or to choose the way of life, to choose God Who calls us and for Whom our heart is searching.
Have you ever thought what a God would be like who actually ordained and executed the cruelty that is in [the biblical Book of Revelation]? A holocaust of mankind. Yet so many of these Bible-men accept the idea without a second thought.
I will raise up prophets to make conflicting pronouncements that inevitably will be garbled in transcription, resulting in mutually exclusive definitions of orthodoxy from which the open-minded will flee in dismay.
Many [Tudor-era religious radicals] believed then, exactly as Christian fundamentalists do today, that they lived in the 'last days' before Armageddon and, again just as now, saw signs all around in the world that they took as certain proof that the Apocalypse was imminent. Again like fundamentalists today, they looked on the prospect of the violent destruction of mankind without turning a hair. The remarkable similarity between the first Tudor Puritans and the fanatics among today's Christian fundamentalists extends to their selective reading of the Bible, their emphasis on the Book of Revelation, their certainty of their rightness, even to their phraseology. Where the Book of Revelation is concerned, I share the view of Guy, that the early church fathers released something very dangerous on the world when, after much deliberation, they decided to include it in the Christian canon.]
Orthodoxy as right belief will cost us little; indeed, it will allow us to sit back with our Pharisaic doctrines, guarding the ‘truth’ with the purity of our interpretations. But orthodoxy, as believing in the right way, as bringing love to the world around us and within us … that will cost us everything. For to live by that sword, as we all know, is to die by it.
One century's saint is the next century's heretic ... and one century's heretic is the next century's saint. It is as well to think long and calmly before affixing either name to any man.
To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance)really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.
Christ’s public life extended only over three years, and for this he had been silently training his mind for around thirty years. For years he had been breaking all the sociologically imposed ties of religious fundamentalism. For years he had been working in solitude to become liberated from the manacles of dogmatic bondage. And it is in the solitude that legends are born, and idiots are born in packs.
Orthodoxy, however, entails a revolution in our metaphysical conception of the relationship between God and humanity, and therefore between the uncreated Unum and the maior dissimilitudo of the creature before the Unum. Properly understood, the apostolic confession of the unity of Christ does not stand midway between a “too unitive Christology” on the one hand, and a “too differentiating Christology” on the other; rather, it wholly recapitulates the nature of the difference of man before God.
We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.
Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disres
Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.
Man is free only within communion. If the Church wishes to be the place of freedom, she must continually place all the 'objects' she possesses, whatever they may be (Scripture, sacraments, ministries, etc.) within the communion-event to make them 'true' and to make her members free in regard to them as objects, as well as in them and through them as channels of communion. Christians must learn not to lean on objective 'truths' as securities for truth, but to live in an epicletic way, i.e. leaning on the communion-event in which the structure of the Church involves them. Truth liberates by placing beings in communion.
But those who manage to genuinely place their hopes totally in God will never be disappointed. God will be with them continuously. They will then be able to bear witness to the miraculous way Providence works in their lives, yet without recognizing it. All of us have such experiences if we pay attention.
He (Jesus) gave up his life not because of the so-called sins of humanity, but because he was too adamant to give in to orthodox monstrosity.
I felt in my bones; first, that this world does not explain itself. It may be a miracle with a supernatural explanation; it may be a conjuring trick, with a natural explanation. But the explanation of the conjuring trick, if it is to satisfy me, will have to be better than the natural explanations I have heard. The thing is magic, true or false. Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art; whatever it meant it meant violently. Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons. Fourth, that the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them. We owed, also, an obedience to whatever made us. And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as Crusoe saved his goods: he had saved them from a wreck...And all this time I had not even thought of Christian theology.
St. John the Solitary: “Be attentive to the thoughts of the mind. If some evil thought passes through you, do not get upset, for it is not the transient thoughts of your mind that the knowledge of the Lord of all observes, rather He looks at the depths of the mind to see if you take pleasure in that evil thought which resides there; for hateful thoughts float over the surface of the mind, but it is the senses that are lower down which can chase away hateful thoughts, which the Lord of all examines. He does not judge what just passes over the mind, but rather the thoughts that are lower down than those hateful ones, namely those which appear in the depths of the mind, which can drive them away with its hidden hand. For He does not pardon the thoughts which spring up from the depth of the mind, for it is they which should be chasing away those which pass over the surface of the mind; He judges those thoughts which have a passage into the heart.
The truth of history lies simultaneously in the substratum of created existence (since all beings are the willed realizations of God's love); in the fulfillment of the future of history (since God's love, in His will and its expressions - namely, created existence - is identifiable with the final communion of creation with the life of God); and in the incarnate Christ (since on God's part the personification of this loving will is the incarnate Christ). Whereby Christ becomes the principle and end of all things, the One who not only moves history from within its own unfolding but who also moves existence even from within the multiplicity of created things, toward the true being which is true life and true communion.
People often ask me, what my religion is. I tell them, I am a Christian to the Christian, a Jew to the Jew, a Muslim to the Muslim, a Hindu to the Hindu, an atheist to the atheist, but the brightest nightmare to the fundamentalist.
It is more practical to make people transform their mindset about religion and religiousness and walk in the path of creed-less religious harmony, than to convert the entire religious population on earth into atheists.
But why do some people support [the heretics]? Because it serves their purposes, which concern the faith rarely, and more often the conquest of power. Is that why the church of Rome accuses all its adversaries of heresy? That is why, and that is also why it recognizes as orthodoxy any heresy it can bring back under its own control or must accept because the heresy has become too strong.
The word 'heresy' not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word 'orthodoxy' not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical.
There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account. They had played a similar trick with the instinct of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way
...The life of the parents is the only thing that makes good children. Parents should be very patient and ‘saintlike’ to their children. They should truly love their children. And the children will share this love! For the bad attitude of the children, says father Porphyrios, the ones who are usually responsible for it are their parents themselves. The parents don’t help their children by lecturing them and repeating to them ‘advices’, or by making them obeying strict rules in order to impose discipline. If the parents do not become ‘saints’ and truly love their children and if they don’t struggle for it, then they make a huge mistake. With their wrong and/or negative attitude the parents convey to their children their negative feelings. Then their children become reactive and insecure not only to their home, but to the society as well...
I will admit that we as young rebels always wanted fundamentalists to understand our take on their religion, but rarely, if ever, the other way around. The fundamentalists are the real artists. If you saw only a masterpiece of an original painting and someone threw a splash of red across it saying that their version is better, you would be offended too.
The very fact of having fixed conclusions to strive for in orthodox belief does not render the Christian philosopher dogmatic but rather intellectually fruitful, willing to take and follow reason further than the putatively undogmatic unbelieving philosopher
Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committ