[quote="dzheremi, post:2, topic:297624"]
I am going to have to say no, Orthodoxy is not somehow inherently better to deal with today's society. I should say, though, that this is not because Orthodoxy cannot deal with modern problems, but because the problems of the average person are not being met by the majority forms of religion in western societies. But even then, I'm not sure that Orthodoxy, in and of itself, could fix that. The problem is in people, not necessarily the people's religion. No one wants to hear "Take up your cross and follow Me", no one wants to fast 200+ days out of the year, etc. But those things are still what we do. I remember once listening to an interview with a convert to the Antiochian EO church, Rod Dhrier (sp), who made the statement about Muslims that we (Westerners/Americans) need to be a lot more realistic about who Muslims are and who they want to be and how they want to live, because many Muslims want to be MUSLIM more than they want western concepts like democracy, equality before the law, etc. It struck me when listening to the interview that Orthodoxy is for people who really want to be CHRISTIAN, i.e., who want all the stuff I just said most people don't want (fasting, prayer, abstinence, cross-bearing, etc). The trouble is that many people who are technically Orthodox or Catholic or whatever don't actually want to be Christian. They want to have the label of "Christian" while essentially living however they want. This is true in the USA, and in traditionally Catholic countries (NB: the rise of Protestantism in places like Mexico), and in traditionally Orthodox ones, too.
I will say (sorry that this is going on so long, but I think this is an important point) that one of the things that attracted me to the Coptic Orthodox Church during my period of discernment is the fact that its holy men and women of the desert often rejected the idea that there can or even should be such a thing as a "Christian society" (cf. some of the sayings of Amma Syncletica), hence making discussions like this somewhat speculative and secondary to the actual work of being Christian. I like that. In fact, the whole monastic idea was in its own way an alternative to society, as the Copts had lived through brutal repression under the likes of Diocletian, and contended with Berber marauders (such as those who killed St. Moses the Ethiopian at his monastery, with several of his monks), and then found themselves on the outs with the Byzantines in the wake of Chalcedon, and then facing an erosion of their community and more restriction and oppression when the Arab Muslims showed up....really, we/they never had a moment's peace, on the political level. But in all that or through all that, the faith grew and grew. It really tells me something about where their priorities are, and where I'd like my priorities to be, too. I don't think dropping out of society is the answer (nor that this is what monks do), but I think looking for a "Christian society" is just asking for more and more disappointment, if not out and out hostility. I would rather Christianity be embraced by my community than by their political leaders. One will lead to salvation ("our life and our death is with our brother" -- St. Anthony, the Father of the Monks), the other to the kind of mess we're in now. As the psalmist tells us: Put not your trust in princes, in whom there is no salvation.
Great post, I concur. I don't see how there would be anything in Orthodoxy but not Catholicism which makes it more effectively suited to modern society. Having said that, it would likely be a good idea for Latin Catholic Church leaders, priests, religious, etc. to spend some time learning from the experiences of the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox in dealing with these types of issues.
At some point in our not too distant future, we are likely looking at the same thing. The only people who will want to make the claim of being a Christian are those who really want it, and are willing to accept the ramifications of that label. I pray that is not the case, but I fear it is the direction we are going. If it does happen that way, I pray that we all have the strength to be those people.
One of our two political parties in the USA has effectively shut God out of the discussion except when it suits their political agenda. See the floor fight and the number of people who showed up to prayer sessions at the DNC for an example. Pretty soon, the leaders won't even bother putting God back into the platform in a pro forma show to satisfy their political needs to be Christian, or at least pretend to be.
Bottom line? No, it is not an Orthodox thing, it is a Christian thing.
As for what to do. Yes, we need to evangelize, yes we need to catechize, and yes we need to witness, and pick up our own crosses to bear. We must do all of those things. However, that does not mean that we should not engage in the political process. It does not mean that we should not file lawsuits when our rights are being trampled on. There is no reason for us to just sit there and take it for the many years it will take for catechesis and evangelization to bear fruits. If we just sit back and let it happen America and other countries will be fundamentally altered from where they are now. I see no reason to just sit there and let darkness prevail without a fight. We can, and should, fight the battle on many fronts. That, in itself, may be part of the cross we need to bear.