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Calling all ex-Eastern Orthodox!!!


Joshpantera
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I need some of you eastern Europeans or anyone else who's left the EO to talk to me about the reasons and what you found wrong with it. These EO snobs are going around in philosophy groups painting a picture that they are so much more sophisticated than American Christianity.As if their shit doesn't stink. And it obvious does.

 

But counter apologetics against the EO are not exactly the same counter apologetics that we often employ towards American protestants and Catholics. 

 

I want to sharpen up the counter apologetics against the EO specifically. To put this snobbery going around to rest. Join me please. Let's get this worked out into something standard that anyone can use as these EO snobs pop up on social media or wherever else. 

 

What exactly do you ex-EO's argue with your former peers? 

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9 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

It’s a simple correction that starts to fall apart as helpful the more one realizes the Orthodox Christian perspective. You keep acting like you have some meaningful understanding of Christianity because of some fake, shallow version from your youth. I’m cool that you do that, but Orthodox icons are what Bernardo hangs on the wall; not the Christianity you are referring to.    

 

The above was the EO apologist. 

 

9 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:
There are many ex eastern orthodox Christians included in the ex Christian communities. Who have had similar nightmares with the EO to that of which we've had with American Protestantism.
It’s not just an American issue.
How much do you know about that? The counter apologetics against the EO?

 

This was my response above. 

 

9 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

I’ve only spent about 1000 hours studying the material, so far. Ego and pride, even amongst those who have never accomplished anything in life, is rampant. I won my first murder trial at 27 and started experiencing glimpses of nondual awareness and sensations of pure-love at 49 (I’m 50 now). This doesn’t mean I’m correct or more insightful, only that shallow life claims of people who have never tried hard at anything above-average, aren’t particularly persuasive. Also, I find such geniuses have rarely developed a meditation practice, so they are out to lunch whatever they are inferring.

 

This is the exchange that went down this morning with the EO proponent in discussion with me. You can see which posts are mine and which are his. 

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We’ve had a former Romanian Orthodox member here but he hasn’t been around for the last couple of years, unfortunately; I hope he’s OK.

 

I think traditional Catholicism is closer to EO Christianity than it is to Protestantism, which is why I’m chiming in here.  I was raised Catholic and even though I fell in with the Church of Christ in my late 20s, I can still see some of the the appeal of Catholicism.  I still occasionally accompany my wife to Saturday evening mass - although she goes less often now - and I can tell you there is something that appeals to me in it.  The church is gorgeous.  The stained glass is beautiful. The music of the organ moves me.  Even though I join in reciting the various ritual prayers, when it comes to reciting the Nicene Creed, I stay firmly silent.  It’s my semi-private way of rejecting the entire theology.  So, how can any of it possibly appeal to me?

 

I might put it as comparing poetry and prose.  Churches like the Catholic Church, the EO churches and even some “high” Protestant churches (to a lesser extent) know their poetry, and the more old-fashioned they are, the more poetic they are.  And who doesn’t feel the power of great poetry?  Who doesn’t feel the emotion that a great piece of music provokes?  
 

I think this is what your EO adversary is referring to - to some extent - when he says “You keep acting like you have some meaningfulunderstanding of  Christianity because of some fake, shallow version from your youth.”

I think he’s suggesting that as somebody who grew up in a literalist, spiritually primitive version of christianity (if that’s a fair description of SDA-ism), you don’t grasp the spiritual sophistication of EO.  You haven’t heard or felt the poetry in church.  
 

You’ve often said, Josh, how spiritually unsophisticated christianity is, especially compared to eastern religions  and philosophies.  That’s more true of some versions than of others.  Maybe I should say that it appeals more deeply to one’s  emotions, even if it is intellectually just as bankrupt as any other flavor

of christianity.  And I think that will keep it going even as more literalist but emotionally barren versions of the religion fall by the wayside.  I’m sure I’m not the only one at the Saturday mass who doesn’t buy the dogma one bit.  There are of course those who believe it all sincerely.  Probably more who think they believe it but with a gun to their head would be stammering and stuttering.  And yet they keep going back, for the comfort of the ritual, the beauty of the sculptures and paintings and stained glass, the emotional power of the organ music.  
 

I’m not suggesting that your EO adversary doesn’t believe the literal truth of christianity: maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.  But it’s undoubtedly real to him in an emotional and I suppose a “spiritual” sense.  It’s hard to argue against that, even if you are convinced it’s weak sauce compared to other kinds of spirituality.  So I guess I’d advise you you keep pounding away against the literal “truth” of christian dogma.  And maybe the problem of evil and suffering under a supposedly benign god.  That’s a killer argument.  
 

Emotional appeal is all well and good, but if it’s built on a fiction posing as fact, it’s ultimately discredited, in my opinion.  
 

I hope this provides a little food for thought until an actual ex-EO shows up!

 

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12 hours ago, TABA said:

I’m not suggesting that your EO adversary doesn’t believe the literal truth of christianity: maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.  But it’s undoubtedly real to him in an emotional and I suppose a “spiritual” sense.  It’s hard to argue against that, even if you are convinced it’s weak sauce compared to other kinds of spirituality.  So I guess I’d advise you you keep pounding away against the literal “truth” of christian dogma.  And maybe the problem of evil and suffering under a supposedly benign god.  That’s a killer argument.  
 

Emotional appeal is all well and good, but if it’s built on a fiction posing as fact, it’s ultimately discredited, in my opinion.

 

The guy I've quoted was raised Mormon, went atheist, then decided that EO would be good because a therapist suggested it. He's joined idealist philosophy and thinks that the EO church is in line with that. But I don't see where it is. The Nicean Creed alone curbs any depth of sophistication. And they list that as part of the EO beliefs. That is a dualistic minded creed which is openly self-contradictory and isn't conducive to non-dual philosophy at all, which, is what analytic idealism is. It's much more like Vedic philosophy than any version of christianity. 

 

The game they're playing is to try and conflate EO with Vedic tradition. Which requires turning a blind eye to monotheism and at the same time playing a historical revision game that amounts to a game of "twister." As you can tell, he's 100% emotional in his conversion to the EO. I've checked him out. He doesn't know much about the history of christian origins, the Christ Myth Theory, the evolution of monotheism, or any relevant information that constitutes an "intellectual atheist" understanding. And true to form, not ever having been an intellectual atheist, he was taken in by an emotional appeal that weighed heavy on him now at mid age. And I've tried to coach him through it, in front of everyone else reading and watching the back and forth. 

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11 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

The guy I've quoted was raised Mormon, went atheist, then decided that EO would be good because a therapist suggested it. He's joined idealist philosophy and thinks that the EO church is in line with that. But I don't see where it is. The Nicean Creed alone curbs any depth of sophistication.


I can see why the therapist suggested he look into EO.  The rituals, the artwork do provide a degree of emotional comfort and peace for many people.  The problem is, every version of christianity demands exclusivity.  Once you embrace it, any further thinking or exploration is off limits, pretty much.  It is a jealous god indeed. I like what you said in the other thread:
 

“The apologists who come here are generally not very sophisticated philosophically. It's a lot of low hanging fruit most of the time. You get into these philosophy groups and they're a little more on top of their game. But they're still trying to cling to Christianity, which, will always put them at a disadvantage over those who don't cling to Christianity

 

This is the situation your EO guy finds himself in, whether he realizes it or not.  Having left Mormonism for “atheism”, supposedly, he has now stepped into a trap by embracing a version of christianity that while it does provide emotional support, is strictly limited by the dogma.  It’s a dead end.  Maybe a comfortable dead end for him, but he would have been better off if he had explored buddhism maybe instead.  Do you think he’s sufficiently invested in christian theology that he won’t be able to expand his horizons?

 

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Some people just dig in their heels, Josh. Idealism isn't Christianity. Though the bible does teach some Buddhist things that Christians ignore so they can worship their hero. Idealism isnt hero worship. It puts everyone at the same levels as Jesus. We're all the same substance. There are not two things.

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1 hour ago, TABA said:

but he would have been better off if he had explored buddhism maybe instead

 

 

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On 8/21/2022 at 10:28 AM, TABA said:


I can see why the therapist suggested he look into EO.  The rituals, the artwork do provide a degree of emotional comfort and peace for many people.  The problem is, every version of christianity demands exclusivity.  Once you embrace it, any further thinking or exploration is off limits, pretty much.  It is a jealous god indeed. I like what you said in the other thread:
 

“The apologists who come here are generally not very sophisticated philosophically. It's a lot of low hanging fruit most of the time. You get into these philosophy groups and they're a little more on top of their game. But they're still trying to cling to Christianity, which, will always put them at a disadvantage over those who don't cling to Christianity

 

This is the situation your EO guy finds himself in, whether he realizes it or not.  Having left Mormonism for “atheism”, supposedly, he has now stepped into a trap by embracing a version of christianity that while it does provide emotional support, is strictly limited by the dogma.  It’s a dead end.  Maybe a comfortable dead end for him, but he would have been better off if he had explored buddhism maybe instead.  Do you think he’s sufficiently invested in christian theology that he won’t be able to expand his horizons?

 

 

You're right on top of this thing. 

 

He's hit a brick wall with a lot of members. And suggested that he's going to stop trying to preach this stuff in the group. I'll believe that when I see it! There was another EO member that took offense to a video that I posted a while back pointing out how inferior spiritually christianity is to Advaita Vedanta. Which were a lot of the same arguments I put forward in my debate with Ed. 

 

It escalated to the point where this EO apologist came out with his 'theory' on what's going on right now. He thinks that the stage is being set for the "anti-christ," which will come from the wreckage of materialism with a blend of atheism and spirituality to deceive the world and undermine jesus!!!!

 

His theory is based on popular trends, and then stamping the "anti-christ" label on the trends he's seeing. More of the same ole, same ole, that has kicked the can of christianity out for 2,000 years. 

 

I made an example of the guy. I posted the video about 666 and 616 both reading "Nero Caesar" in Greek and Latin. The difference between the two numbers being the difference in spelling and numerical value in the Greek versus the Latin. Breaking his balls a bit for not being on top of his academic research game. Sorry to say, the beasts and anti-christs mentioned in the bible are all long dead and completely forgotten aside from in history books. And it illustrated how an EO apologist is on no better footing than a southern baptist or any number of fundie examples. They don't have some high ground to stand on in the grand scheme, like you pointed out. 

 

The guy I've quoted is not that far gone. I think this EO thing is pretty new and he's all jazzed up about it. But if he sees where it's wrong, he may be able to drop it and move on with some other path. 

 

 

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On 8/21/2022 at 10:38 AM, midniterider said:

Some people just dig in their heels, Josh. Idealism isn't Christianity. Though the bible does teach some Buddhist things that Christians ignore so they can worship their hero. Idealism isnt hero worship. It puts everyone at the same levels as Jesus. We're all the same substance. There are not two things.

 

That's where I'm going to center in on and hold these apologist's against the ropes. Right exactly on the issues of same level as jesus, same substance, and never two different things.

 

I'm going to push them to try and manage a non-dual system of logic while at the same time trying to balance some denominational sect of christianity like the EO or any other. It will expose their cognitive dissonance and make it obvious and clear. 

 

I can shine a bright light on it. Maybe they'll start pissing off and give up on trying to usurp the modern idealist movement for christianity. Although I bet more will keep showing up. Then it will be a matter of "whack-a-mole." 

 

And the other EO apologist lurking around will be further convinced that this is it, the spirit of anti-christ is in the world right now and the non-theistic and agnostic mystics are going to bring about Armageddon!!!!!

 

Bring it on baby, yeah!!!!!!

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It's not just the EO apologist.  A lot of people are looking for some glitzy, pie in the sky stuff these days.  Something to ward off the emptyness and sense of doom they are feeling.  They are grabbing at straws for something to believe in.  Good luck breaking through the emotion with your logic.  They prefer glitzy magic to reality.  Jesus and Trump are going to save them because they are special!  😉

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9 hours ago, Weezer said:

It's not just the EO apologist.  A lot of people are looking for some glitzy, pie in the sky stuff these days.  Something to ward off the emptyness and sense of doom they are feeling.  They are grabbing at straws for something to believe in.  Good luck breaking through the emotion with your logic.  They prefer glitzy magic to reality.  Jesus and Trump are going to save them because they are special!  😉

 

When Trump returns to office .... 

When Jesus returns to earth ....

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16 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

And the other EO apologist lurking around will be further convinced that this is it, the spirit of anti-christ is in the world right now and the non-theistic and agnostic mystics are going to bring about Armageddon!!!!!


Do you feel a lot of pressure, knowing you embody the spirit of anti-christ, and are helping to bring about Armageddon?  Or does it energize you?

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Armageddon. Isn't that god's wonderful plan for the universe?

 

 

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3 hours ago, TABA said:


Do you feel a lot of pressure, knowing you embody the spirit of anti-christ, and are helping to bring about Armageddon?  Or does it energize you?

 

You think pimpin's tough, try embodying the spirit of anti-christ and hailing the end of the world through deceiving everyone into thinking that reality is non-dual and physical reality isn't as it appears! 

 

1 hour ago, midniterider said:

Armageddon. Isn't that god's wonderful plan for the universe?

 

 

 

Yeah, we're just doing as directed. Making sure the plan is followed through to conclusion. Predestined and predetermined to do so. 

 

Great shall be our rewards!!!

 

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15 hours ago, Weezer said:

It's not just the EO apologist.  A lot of people are looking for some glitzy, pie in the sky stuff these days.  Something to ward off the emptyness and sense of doom they are feeling.  They are grabbing at straws for something to believe in.  Good luck breaking through the emotion with your logic.  They prefer glitzy magic to reality.  Jesus and Trump are going to save them because they are special!  😉

 

That's where this idealist philosophy may have some utility. When you assume that reality is a type of singular energy-awareness, everything takes on a different outlook. This why they're trying to insert themselves into the middle of it and trying to claim it as their own. It's threatening to them. And they want to try and control it. But they can't. Not without dumping monotheism, literal interpretations of the bible, and the notion of anything existing separate or independently of anything else. 

 

So with the one guy, it's easier to stamp the whole thing with an anti-christ allegation and move on....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there.

 

I guess I fit the bill. Long time break posting.

 

      At the outset. The Eastern Orthodox church is a bit....how should I put it? It's a bit....weird in the sense that it can take on different forms dependending on the person. It has some unitary things, of course, but they are not SO centralised as the Catholic Church, nor so local as some Protestants.

      Also, there can be significant differences in attitude in traditional vs non traditional EO countries, especially for converts. Your usual American convert is a different person than my peasant grandmother who barely knew to read and write. My grandmother barely knew anything about Church dogma, but was very fond of rituals, which is common with lay people. Fond of the Lithurgy and will notice small changes like when to hold a candle, when to kneel, almost ignorant of why the Crucifixion had to happen, etc.

    As for specifics, they hold to a Ecclesialism vs Sola Scriptura. This means that when they refer to authority they do not say the Bible says, but the Church says. The Bible is a product OF the Church, to be interpreted BY the Church IN the Church. This, in practice, among other things, means the Bible means what the Church says it means, not what YOU, individually, think it means.

     Ecclesialism is a combination of the Bible, written and unwritten tradition, decisions of former Church Councils, the most important being the first seven Ecumenical Councils, and modern day clergy/ saintly persons. The monastic tradition is HUGELY influential, bishops have to be tonsured monks, and there is a huge piety and respect for monasteries and monks. The opinions of Mount Athos monks and local saintly monks are often regarded with more authority by the commoners than the official Church.

    Because of this monastic tradition, there is a highly developped inner prayer tradition, to obtain deification, which means becoming godlike through His uncreated energies. This is probably why many converts think it is "superior" to other forms of Christianity. Along with all the bells and whistles of the services.

      Eastern Orthodox mysticism is not the type of subject that can be easily summarized, plus there is a lot of skepticism towards conceptualisation and it's limits. If you point out to them, you know, these concepts are contradictory or at least confusing, many will reply saying they know, but that is the best you can do with language, understanding comes ONLY through experiencing the life of the Church, through it's Sacraments and ascetical practices.

     So, while they may enter into rational debate somewhat, many will quickly point out it's limits. You cannot really talk to someone who thinks talking is at best incomplete. I recently had a discussion with a former friend from the Church and she repeteadly accused me of being too rational, intelectual, that I had no chance to understand outside of practice/experience. 

      I suspect the Orthodox Church life, if you REALLY get into it, is very hypnotic, from the services to the prayer methods. So you might be talking to someone who is in a literal altered state of consciousness. Their perception of reality and cognitive processes can get really freaky :)). And intense.

        Like I said, it matters who you are discussing with, because if they adhere to a practice model of understanding, plus have an opinion that well, it's kind of your fault you don't understand because you "block" God's grace with your ego driven reason, discussion is pointless. 

    That's a short simplified take I have right now. :).

 

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1 hour ago, Myrkhoos said:

Like I said, it matters who you are discussing with, because if they adhere to a practice model of understanding, plus have an opinion that well, it's kind of your fault you don't understand because you "block" God's grace with your ego driven reason, discussion is pointless. 

    That's a short simplified take I have right now. :).

 

 

Certainly, they slither around like tricky dicks. Trying to avoid being pinned down. 

 

 

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Good to see you again, @Myrkhoos.

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20 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Certainly, they slither around like tricky dicks. Trying to avoid being pinned down. 

 

 

An analogy I wouldn't have thought of :)) but yes, very slippery. They constantly shift between personal- collective , literal - allegorical, logical - experiental, historical - transcendental, love-fear, mystical - realism, faith -reason. That is why I think EO mindbending strategies seem so dangerous in a way. They build this web of interconnected confusion that if you really get into it, it is hard to know your way back, or even know what back or forward really means anymore. 

     Maybe that COULD work with some people, pointing out this web and showing them how it's basically a mind trap :).

   I mean my starting point out was, I think,  when, searching for a "spiritual father" I realised that those ways of relating to my faith was basically something that "works" with every type of belief. Replace God with the Tooth Fairy and nothing fundamentally changes. Or Allah and Muhammad. It was like a basic Screenwriting structure ( I have BA and MA in Screenwriting) . You can change the timeline, the location, names, gender, race, etc, and you have a new movie but same structure. So I couldn't justify to myself why Orthodox Christianity and not any other denomination or religion.          That's why I can only, even now, interact with belief systems that accept uncertainty as a basic principle. I am into Daoism right now, but it's a a form that acknolowdges a basic uncertainty. I have found no way towards the absolute certainty coupled with exclusivity many abrahamic religions require for membership. And certainty, in the case of Orthodoxy towards ALL the official canons of the Church, and that's a WHOLE lot certainty requirements. :)

 

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17 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

That's why I can only, even now, interact with belief systems that accept uncertainty as a basic principle. I am into Daoism right now, but it's a a form that acknolowdges a basic uncertainty. I have found no way towards the absolute certainty coupled with exclusivity many abrahamic religions require for membership. And certainty, in the case of Orthodoxy towards ALL the official canons of the Church, and that's a WHOLE lot certainty requirements. :)

 

I've been paying attention to Taoism more closely as well. Being the flow. Also the 7 Hermetic Principles. Which are considered "Western Taoism."

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I would like to emphasize again the altered states of consciousness "problem". It is really hard, in my experience, to have ANY significant on a person like that outside person to person live contact. Not through anonymous forums. And even then. Bk it seemed to me so many methods/teachings are used to block reasoning , especially in some cases of "spiritual" fathers. 

     Of course, it could be a positive thing for people reading as they could see the "arguments" given, which are actually not usually arguments, but some sort of personal confession like reading a testimony under the influence. :)

.    If they are not very far gone, I think the EO can be VERY sensitive to Church history, historical theology, history of the services, etc, so some critiques about how they ARE NOT REALLY like the early church could have an effect. But, again, that's not a sure bullet or anything, but if you know your stuff, it at least could serve to make people really study stuff, which can have a positive effect overall.

 

 

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