Sunday, December 11, 2022

Orthodox deconversions

Eastern Orthodoxy has a lot going for it. We share a rite and the first seven great church councils. But it's not perfect; I'm fair. And no; I'm not trying to sell you on the Uniates. Nor do I necessarily believe everything in the linked posts (West good, East bad). From a Protestant Anglican message board.
  • Most people who don't know much about EO think it's just like the Western Church, just a bit cleaner from modernism. Well let me tell you, it is very different from the Western Church; in some ways cleaner, but in other ways far more alien; much more toxic, and very, very hopeless. Reason, human thinking, on a fundamental level is dead in Eastern Orthodoxy... You are never allowed to ask questions; and nothing ultimately has any reasons; those who ask for reasons, or try to use their minds are inspected suspiciously: 'are you one of those dirty western christians? Don't you know that thinking and reason leads to gay marriage and apostacy? Better to not ask any questions and do as you're told.'”
  • “Orthodoxy has no soteriology, theory of atonement, or systematics of any kind.”
  • One peculiar modern Orthodox error (which has been driven almost entirely by just plain bad scholarship repackaged for popular consumption) is that many EO now reject the traditional doctrine of original sin outright, which makes the formulation of an adequate Orthodox understanding of the Atonement radically more difficult if not impossible.”
  • “It seems there’s a pretty big exodus of tradition-minded Westerners out of Orthodoxy.”
  • I suspect that in some mixed marriages you’ll even see the cradle ultimately leave the Church while the convert who was originally forced into it opts to stay. Another thing that is sometimes overlooked is that converts to Orthodoxy are overwhelmingly male. So this creates a huge disparity when those raised in the Church come of age. A lot of the men just leave.”
  • "On the positive side, the liturgy is incomparable and the overall ethos of Orthodox spirituality and the balance between public and private devotion is unique. However, what you see in Orthodoxy is not the liturgy in its fullness but rather an abbreviated version of it. Orthodoxy never reformed its medieval elements, so the solution for parish use was to simply cut out the lengthiest parts of the liturgy - the Psalms - so that the bulk of what the average parishioner is actually exposed to is 2nd millennium hymnody. Pretty, yes; ancient, no. Orthodoxy's own "prayer book" tradition is only about 150 years old and based on Western models; prior to that, daily prayer for the laity was just based on oral tradition, whatever quality that was. Knowledge of the Scriptures was practically nonexistent in most places (and still is). Institutionally, education is not a priority, and Orthodoxy has not produced any systematic theologians or biblical scholars of note. There is only one Orthodox college in the U.S. At neither the parish level nor in seminary is biblical instruction a central focus. Basically once you go through a few liturgical cycles and you're done being overwhelmed by the beauty of the worship and the rigor of the fasting rules, you realize there's nothing lying beneath all of that except bare obedience. Nothing is questioned, goofy scholarship is presented as learning, and there are no solid intellectual resources for apologetics, evangelism, etc. Retention among both cradles and converts is abysmal, so parish membership is often a revolving door. The hierarchy is also highly dysfunctional." 1. I think that lone Orthodox college, a convert project, failed. 2. What about typology, I believe the traditional - patristic? - way of looking at the Bible?
  • "There's all kinds of mythologies spread around in Orthodox circles, I mean incredibly ludicrous ones, such as that St. Luke was an icon painter, and the EO icon tradition is actually the style originated by St. Luke in the 1st century AD."
And now, something positive: "The Priesthood Is." Orthodox priests in their own words.

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