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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 09 May 2016, 01:53
Comrade Gulper wrote:
The idea of opposing the cult of the Emperor with a brand new cult is one that doesn't really cut the mustard in the 21st century. Nowadays, religion has basically been shunted to the fringe as the last stronghold of cultural reactionaries a la Pat Robertson.

And yet, all over the world, we see old interpretations of faiths giving way to new ones to deal with changing circumstances. Let me ask you: why do you hate this so much?

Even Christopher Hitchens did not believe religion would just vanish, because the "God gene" is almost certainly a thing. The modern West has turned its religious impulse to the cults of various Hollywood celebrities or the atomistic cult of the self. As Anton LaVey said, "[LaVeyan/Randian] Satanism is how most Americans live their lives most of time." I don't think the worship of celebrities or "frag you, I've got mine" hyper-individualism can be described as anything but decadence born out of late-capitalist atomization. Meanwhile, the developing world is only strengthening its devotion.

And even in the West, that decadence is largely a disease of financially-stable white people. Every black person I know is shockingly religious in a sense other than rank narcissism or "I spend all day following every single thing Taylor Swift does ever because omg she's a goddess." God calls out to the oppressed.

Quote:
The heroic story of Jesus has sadly degenerated into a Southern-accented shout out to "Jee-zus" which occurs when gay people get rights or New York Value Tyrants attempt to take guns away.

Because Americans are the only Christians?

The Catholic Church is literally as we speak canonizing a patron saint of anti-imperialism, Oscar Romero, a Salvadoran liberation theology anti-poverty Archbishop murdered by right-wing death squads. The Lutherans and Anglicans have already canonized him, you can mostly thank South African liberation theology Anglicans for that last one. And yet you're acting like Christianity is just some conservative American thing.

Quote:
Honestly, when it comes down to it, I just don't see religion as a reliable standard bearer for morality during these times of great change. You can jigsaw the New Testament only so much before you come across Paul's unmistakable homophobia and misogyny.

Paul's so-called "misogyny" is a myth that belies not having actually read the Pauline epistles or paid attention in sunday school. Women were the majority of early Christians and had a key role in the church, up to and including the bishopric. It was Luke, Paul's protege, who emphasizes the egalitarianism of the Sermon on the Mount the most.

Paul's own comments are advice for survival, for women in a specific time and place. Women's equality was exactly one reason why Christianity was seen as so strange by the Romans. Unless we wanted to die, yes, adopting Roman ways of life publicly were for the best. And this is what Paul said, he would have rejected any sort of eternal law. He was an ex-Pharisee who argued first and foremost Christ's death rendered neuter any claim to salvation by following this law or that law.

He was, in fact, homophobic as was any man of his time. But again, commenting on this belies a total lack of understanding of Paul. It was Paul, more than anyone, who said that Christianity is defined by faith in Christ's death and resurrection. That faith will be evidenced in good works, in compassion, in helping your fellow man. If you truly believe in Christ's message, that is the result. "Salvation by works," the ritual law, was rendered invalid because the Temple now lives in man's hearts. Paul's own views thus have no bearing on the nonexistent law, even fundies read his words for theological insight rather than law. Note that they still portray Jesus with long hair, though Paul also opposed carrying that Essene tradition into Christianity as something that would impede Roman conversion and acceptance.

Rejection of Paul is half-assed Christianity, considering the rock on which Christ built his church (Peter) accepted that the ritual law was dead and Christ was also messenger to the gentiles. Over and above James, brother of Christ's, "but this is like Judaism right lol" objections.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 09 May 2016, 04:28
All right, I get that for you, religion comes down to two basic principles (correct me if I'm wrong):

1) Moral initiative. Christ's message makes everyone brothers and sisters, encourages equality, and the stamping out of sexism, racism, greed, pride, war, and class conflict.

2) The essential aesthetic beauty of religion.
_____________________________________

I think that this is the major disconnect between us, because for me, religion comes down to this principle:

1) Proof of a God/Goddess or pantheon of deities that, once believed in, will actually do stuff for you.

See, this is important for me: If I sacrifice some incense or the odd bit of frankincense, a grateful God/Goddess will smile down on me and bestow upon me some important favor, such as $1000 to pay bills, or the remission of a cancer. THIS would be a practical result for me. The whole bit about my soul being salvaged after my death and sent to some great Paradise, while a nice bonus, is a bit of an afterthought while I'm still here on Earth.

And this is where every religion so far fails: Not one of them actually achieves what it sets out to do, i.e., offer concrete proof that there's an Eye in the Sky that's looking out for you and, furthermore, will actually intervene once in a while to give you a bit of help.

Why is it when I stub my toe or cut myself shaving that I can't quickly push the panic button and get a remission for the pain? Hell, even a hug now and then would be great. SOMETHING to let me know that I've got a Guardian Angel/Daemon/Snuffaluppagus that is inclined to offer me a bit of assistance.

Sorry, but without 1)practical proof of the existence of God/Goddess/Gods, and

2)without there being any positive personal benefit to being religious,

I just don't see any reason to believe. I don't know how to state my objection to the whole charade any more strongly.

Now, beyond that, yes, I understand that religion has traditionally been a strong political and social motivator. The history of Constantine and the subsequent Roman Papacy certainly proves this. The Crusades and the Reformation were epochal events. However, this all comes under the heading of political history, not religious history. The fact that millions of people died under the banner of the Cross, or opposing it, does nothing to prove the truth of any of it.

Bottom line? I need $1000. I pray for it. No result? No one listening? No point in continuing.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 09 May 2016, 04:53
Comrade Gulper wrote:
All right, I get that for you, religion comes down to two basic principles (correct me if I'm wrong):

1) Moral initiative. Christ's message makes everyone brothers and sisters, encourages equality, and the stamping out of sexism, racism, greed, pride, war, and class conflict.

2) The essential aesthetic beauty of religion.
_____________________________________

Basically, excepting "class conflict" there depending on your definition.

Inner emotions stirred by story and communal ritual, and even more fundamentally their relationship to relational ethics are at the heart of religion for me. Historical or experiential evidence is helpful, and I have some of each, but not necessary for faith.

You are looking for concrete, empirical proof. But that has only been equated with "truth" for about 3 centuries, and only in the Western world. It's like asking for concrete proof of a work of art's beauty. It's an experiential, emotional thing.

Quote:
Why is it when I stub my toe or cut myself shaving that I can't quickly push the panic button and get a remission for the pain?

What kind of test would that be, where you go through life on god-mode? It's up to us, as a species, to develop that means ourselves. All we do is choose. Sometimes those decisions are careless and we get cut. If we didn't have freedom of choice, including the freedom to fail, that is not a loving relationship with God nor would we then truly be made in God's image.

That said, again, I do have firsthand experiential proof that there is something beyond the sensory. It's the simplest explanation for various convenient happenstances. What, I have no certain knowledge of whatsoever. So, I believe what makes the most sense, but more importantly what's the most rising to the spirit. And even without those experiences, it still would be.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
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Post 22 May 2016, 18:25
Religion is a well-tilled field,
Planted and watered by desire
Of one who longed for Paradise,
Or one who dreaded Hell and Fire.

Aye, were it but for reckoning
At Resurrection, they had not
Worshipped God, nor did repent,
Except to gain a better lot--

As though religion were a phase
Of commerce in their daily trade;
Should they neglect it they would lose--
Or persevering would be paid.



If you two want to bridge the gap between each other's misunderstandings, then I humbly suggest ya'll read up on the philosophies advocated by Kahlil Gibran. Among other things, Gibranism fervently encompasses feminist, socialist, anti-imperialist, internationalist, anti-conservative/traditional values, socially liberal and anti-theist ideas (specifically against organised/institutionalised religion characterized by an official doctrine (or dogma) and a hierarchical or bureaucratic leadership structure with a codified set of rules and practices); yet at the same time Gibran vehemently and passionately espouses the teachings of Jesus the Nazarene.


@MissStrangelove
Which Church do you attend specifically? Which denomination?
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 22 May 2016, 21:00
I always thought Gibran was some sort of Sufi Muslim a la Rumi. It seems I was mistaken.

As for the whole ecstatic love thing...dude, I'm fundamentally Western in outlook, with a heavy dose of Slavic melancholy to boot. Ecstacy is alien to me. I can't base a philosophy or a set of life choices around a concept I fundamentally can't understand.

As for religious anarchism, fine. That's exactly why we have a million little Protestant sects floating around. The mountains are filled with little shacks catering to self styled preachers and the odd snake handler. That's what Martin Luther gave us (unintentionally) - the freedom to worship as, when, where, and how we choose. The Constitution of the United States guarantees it.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
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Post 22 May 2016, 21:44
Comrade Gulper wrote:
I always thought Gibran was some sort of Sufi Muslim a la Rumi. It seems I was mistaken.
He was baptised and raised Maronite-Catholic until he was excommunicated by the Church for his anti-theistic writings, although he himself always cherished a personal spiritual belief. By the way the two poems I posted in italics here and in the other thread are actually Gibran's. Half of his works were originally written in English, not Arabic.

Quote:
Ecstasy is alien to me.
You live in vegas right? I'm sure you can find some right around the corner. I was literally talking about MDMA in the other thread.

World peace, I have a vision,
Cannot be obtained through religion,
But can be resolved chemically,
There is a God called Ecstasy!
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 22 May 2016, 21:56
Yeqon wrote:
@MissStrangelove
Which Church do you attend specifically? Which denomination?

Even though I'd characterize my beliefs as closer in-line with Methodism, I attend an Episcopalian service. I find the music and ceremony more beautiful and uplifting; as someone who was raised Catholic, Christianity without chanting is hard to fathom. Methodist services can unfortunately be very staid and dry, the usual exception I've seen is Afro-American Methodism where I don't really fit in for obvious reasons.

Theologically, I still can uphold that decision on the following grounds:

1) The United Methodists have issues related to stuffy conservatism on homosexuality, which the Episcopalians got over a few decades ago. Though I, like John Wesley, think the world Anglican Communion needs serious reform and could not care less about the Queen or her above-the-law family including the ephebophile second son, the Episcopal Church is more in the vein of Desmond Tutu's South African Anglicanism. The Anglican Communion is thankfully very autonomous within its national branches.

2) Plus, I would ultimately like to see the Reformation's schism healed. I think the strong degree of papal authority was a usurpation not found in the early church and Christ's words to Peter, where Rome does appear to have been "first amongst equals." Thus, I believe the Reformation to be a necessity, but it's still a division within the Church (of believers). Once Rome accepts our terms, reunion is a good in and of itself.. Episcopalians make active efforts towards reunion with Rome.

Note that despite taking the same view on the Reformation as the Orthodox, I literally could not be Orthodox because I disagree with their conception of the Trinity on a fundamental level. It's interpreted as three persons mystically united, where Western Christians opt for interpreting it as one figure who is divided into three for our understanding. The Orthodox version, the Muslims are right, is pseudo-polytheistic; and easily gives way to fully-polytheistic beliefs like those of the Mormons.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 22 May 2016, 22:16
The other thing that fundamentally irritates me is that, granted I do possess some sort of after-life, I'm apparently not going to have any more control over it than I do in my current life. This deity of yours gives me nothing but a stark choice between Heaven or Hell, where the future is laid out for me for all eternity in either scenario.

Apart from a few billion degrees of heat, what's the difference? Why can't I make my own rules and do whatever I feel like doing? Does he seriously think me so much of a threat that I have to be neatly contained in either a nice cloudy Heaven or a volcanic flame filled Hell? Why can't I say, "Thanks, dude", and strike out on my own? What does he care? I'd rather be alone for a while.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Post 22 May 2016, 22:41
Comrade Gulper wrote:
The other thing that fundamentally irritates me is that, granted I do possess some sort of after-life, I'm apparently not going to have any more control over it than I do in my current life. This deity of yours gives me nothing but a stark choice between Heaven or Hell, where the future is laid out for me for all eternity in either scenario.

As a universalist, I believe the idea of an eternal Hell contradicts an all-loving God. If all do not eventually go to Heaven, if there is such a thing as an irredeemable soul (which I doubt), the destruction of those souls would have to be true. Eternal torment cannot be, logically; it's a monstrosity.

So, I believe you have choice through your actions and beliefs over going to Heaven (being a saint; literally a saint is someone who has confirmably reached Heaven) or being like most people and experiencing Purgation, a way of coming to grips with your sins. I do not believe Purgatory is permanent. I believe even the Devil will one day be redeemed, even Hitler will eventually reach Heaven.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Universalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annihilationism
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
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Post 22 May 2016, 22:56
Sounds like you're more pissed off at Him rather than not believing in Him Gulper. That's OK. My chosen name is also that of the first angel who rebelled against Father's will for not letting his children have it their own way.

@MissStrangelove
I agree with your sentiment regarding the existence of a literal hell. The very concept is an abomination to humanity.

Gibran said: "Hell is not in torture but in an empty heart."

As for the afterlife, Gibran believed in human reincarnation. Admitedly to me the reincarnation of an individual consciousness is by far the most reasonable to believe in logically speaking, based on the fact that given enough time, what existed once may again come into being ad nauseam times; and because no matter what, it gives us an unlimited amount of chances to forget and start over anew. It seems like the only theoretically sound version of an afterlife from a purely materialistic and scientific point of view.
Last edited by Yeqon on 23 May 2016, 01:41, edited 5 times in total.
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
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Post 22 May 2016, 23:20
I'm agnostic on whether reincarnation is or is not a thing. I really don't know. Nietzsche's argument for it was actually pretty sound, but only "reincarnation" in a very loose sense and it only dealt with the fact that eventually, given enough time, the same set of circumstances will eventually arise. It didn't deal with individual human consciousness, which would not transfer from life to life.

But a hypothetical afterlife would be beyond the bounds of the material world, something science is not really made to comment on. I suppose you could interpret it as another dimension of reality, but it'd likely be extra-sensory by our understanding if its physical laws are not the same as our own. So, it's relegated to theological/philosophical discussion more than scientific.
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Post 22 May 2016, 23:40
Origen was thrown out of the Founding Fathers Hall of Fame, and Erigena was condemned out the wazoo, for their Universalist beliefs. Why? Because the idea conflicted with the "all or nothing", "for us or against us" power concentration of the emerging Imperial Orthodox Church under Constantine. You can't go around saying, "Everyone gets saved in the end whether they like it or not" when you're trying to eradicate heresy and build a totalitarian power structure.

And this is also why there will never be, and never can be, an ultimate reconciliation of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Tower of Babel, guys.

Of course, here and there, huge monolithic structures are built, usually by irresistible force in the same manner that Alexander unified the Greek world and Rome then swallowed up most of Alexander's gains. Politics and religion are motivated by tectonics in the same manner as the Earth itself. Push and pull, attraction and repulsion.

In the meantime, tax all churches.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 23 May 2016, 00:22
Comrade Gulper wrote:
Origen was thrown out of the Founding Fathers Hall of Fame, and Erigena was condemned out the wazoo, for their Universalist beliefs. Why? Because the idea conflicted with the "all or nothing", "for us or against us" power concentration of the emerging Imperial Orthodox Church under Constantine. You can't go around saying, "Everyone gets saved in the end whether they like it or not" when you're trying to eradicate heresy and build a totalitarian power structure.

Constantine's conversion, on the one hand, made Christianity far more acceptable and led to a flowering of belief worldwide. On the other hand, watered it down beyond recognition as power-seekers converted to it just to be closer to the Emperor. The fruits of that belief were weakened. It's the most tremendous mixed blessing in Christendom's history.

You're seeing a strong reappraisal of Origen among Mainline Protestants today though. Most Presbyterians would outright agree with him, although to me that seems like trying to worm Calvinism around in such a way that it's not utterly horrific and ceases to be Calvinism. "An elect are the only ones called to redemption, even though Jesus totally says exactly the opposite in the Sermon on the Mount... but the elect is everyone, so, actually it doesn't contradict him!" A significant minoriy of Episcopalians/Anglicans, Lutherans, Dutch and Swiss Reform are universalist too. From personal experience I can say it's about half of all Episcopalians, with the other half being split between annihilationists and (usually very stuffy WASP types who are Episcopalian only because their great-granddaddy Nigel Winthrop Worthington-Russell VIII was) damnationists.

Frankly, under Vatican II even the Roman Catholics have adopted some of Origen's beliefs. A sincere believer in effectively anything beyond "self" goes to purgatory, not hell, under the modern doctrine. Logically this is not-fully-thought-out near-universalism, confining Hell to just sociopaths.

Quote:
And this is also why there will never be, and never can be, an ultimate reconciliation of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Tower of Babel, guys.

There have been strong overtures on the part of the Anglicans and Lutherans, as well as Eastern Orthodoxy, towards Rome. Meanwhile, you're seeing increased unity between the Church of Scotland (Presbyterians) and Church of England. I think ultimately you will in fact see the Reformation schism ended, and the East-West one, on Protestantism/Orthodoxy's terms. There is no feasible way to end it without ending papal supremacy, because Orthodoxy and high-church/tradition-based Protestantism will never accept it. Meanwhile, a Pope who wants "St. Whatshisface the Great" appended would probably be perfectly willing to push for unity at the expense of his own supremacy, in favor of the traditional "first amongst equals" understanding.
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Post 23 May 2016, 00:40
Comrade Gulper wrote:
And this is also why there will never be, and never can be, an ultimate reconciliation of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Tower of Babel, guys.
Quote:
Pope Francis’ meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has been hailed as an historic event. The meeting took place on Friday 12 February in Cuba. It marks the first encounter in history between a Pope and a Russian Orthodox Patriarch in the nearly 1,000 years since Eastern Orthodoxy split with Rome.

“Finally!” Pope Francis said as he embraced Patriarch Kirill in a private room at Havana’s airport where the three-hour encounter took place. “We are brothers” he said. The two leaders signed an unprecedented joint declaration in which they express their hope that the meeting “may contribute to the re–establishment of [the] unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed”.

“May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!” the declaration reads.

"We are brothers!"
Image


Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill wrote:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.
We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.
We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom. It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).
The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.
We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.
We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another's foundation” (Rm 15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!
Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!
Last edited by Yeqon on 23 May 2016, 14:50, edited 2 times in total.
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 23 May 2016, 01:49
I'm just not interested in a bunch of ancient salvation salesmen joining forces to form a giant spiritual Walmart.

The only conception of Jesus that resonates with me is the Gnostic version of the trickster fox who came down from Heaven, stuck it to the man, and then cheated the Devil (who was really Jehovah in a Darth Vader mask, anyhow) by pretending to croak it on the cross.

For that matter, the cross is the biggest red herring in all of religion. Shouldn't putting Jesus' body on it and emphasizing his sufferings in excruciating detail be regarded as blasphemy?

It's not like he stayed there...or did he? Are we keeping him there somehow by going all Mel Gibson on the poor guy? Aren't we missing the point? He tricked the Devil or whomever by pretending to die on that pop stand, then split the tomb and ascended up to the Right Side of the Tracks where he abides in comfortable Old Money eternity. Shouldn't that be enough?

Except it never is. Jesus bleeds real raw blood every time someone sins against the faith, the Church, the Pope, Pat Robertson, or Ronald Reagan. My heart bleeds for him whose heart bleeds for me - on cue - every time I screw up.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 23 May 2016, 03:54
Comrade Gulper wrote:
The only conception of Jesus that resonates with me is the Gnostic version of the trickster fox who came down from Heaven, stuck it to the man, and then cheated the Devil (who was really Jehovah in a Darth Vader mask, anyhow) by pretending to croak it on the cross.

For that matter, the cross is the biggest red herring in all of religion. Shouldn't putting Jesus' body on it and emphasizing his sufferings in excruciating detail be regarded as blasphemy?

It's about how God became an example to humanity by truly becoming human, in every sense. Including the ability to suffer, even to die. In traditional Christianity, he did in fact die. And then rose, as we rise after death. He went Obi-Wan on the Devil, in a sense he did in fact trick the Devil. And it's more than that, that's the signal of the end of Adam's fall. That's the death of the Last Adam, birth of the New Man. That's the signal of the way to get out of Adam's mess, out of the mess we've created for ourselves. That's God's way of pulling us out from under the foot of his lesser, the Devil; a foot we willingly crawled under. And now we must work towards the New Jerusalem.

We should also emphasize what he suffered for, what caused the Passion in the first place. Many Christians worldwide, especially in the third world, do. But his suffering is a tremendous part of the Christian faith, his bleeding as a man.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 23 May 2016, 04:47
I just can't help but question the entire point of it. It just seems so lacking in logic. Why let all of this happen in the first place? It's just ridiculous. Textbook bad parenting.

Meanwhile, Yeqon apparently wants to sell me Ecstacy. Thanks, but one Syd Barrett is enough.

"Wouldn't you miss me??? Wouldn't you miss me at alllllllllllllllll?"
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Soviet cogitations: 1078
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 23 May 2016, 06:13
Comrade Gulper wrote:
I just can't help but question the entire point of it. It just seems so lacking in logic. Why let all of this happen in the first place? It's just ridiculous. Textbook bad parenting.

Textbook good parenting. Give your children, made in your image, a choice. If they screw it up, provide them the means to help themselves out. Adam's fall has been traditionally interpreted (back to Augustine) as symbolic of our failings, Christ's example is the means out.

What you're asking for is a parent who gives you whatever you want, whenever you want. This is a good way to produce spoiled brats, who are unable to cope with life on their own as they grow dependent.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Philosophized
Post 23 May 2016, 06:35
MissStrangelove wrote:
What you're asking for is a parent who gives you whatever you want, whenever you want. This is a good way to produce spoiled brats, who are unable to cope with life on their own as they grow dependent.

Why couldn't he just give us the power to create and control our own circumstances? If none of us could exactly do better, I don't see how any of us could screw it up any worse.

I don't need to co-depend on anyone, much less the grand creator. Just let him give me what I need to function on my own -which is the power to determine my own surroundings and make my own destiny on an appropriate scale, not the pittance he currently mocks us with - and I'll do just fine.

Instead, when a son of his asks for something more than a dollar for school lunch, we get this big shuck and jive story about the fall of Lucifer and the creation of Hell, etc.

It reminds me of Oliver Twist: "Please, Sir, may I have some more?"
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Soviet cogitations: 1078
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 23 May 2016, 07:06
Comrade Gulper wrote:
Why couldn't he just give us the power to create and control our own circumstances? If none of us could exactly do better, I don't see how any of us could screw it up any worse.

I don't need to co-depend on anyone, much less the grand creator. Just let him give me what I need to function on my own -which is the power to determine my own surroundings and make my own destiny on an appropriate scale, not the pittance he currently mocks us with - and I'll do just fine.

So, you're asking as an individual to have all of his powers. You are asking to be able to make whatever you want, whenever you want. It's up to us as a species to get there, and even then I'd be shocked if any one individual man has all that power.

We also have far more power than you seem to think. We already have the power to destroy all life on Earth's surface, the whole nuke thing is a good example of Revelations-level stuff. The consequences of climate change likewise. "And I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." The Bhagavad Gita, or J. Robert Oppenheimer?
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