Orthodox- do you find the argument about Orthodoxy and conservatism to be true?


#1

**Interesting article about coservatives and Orthodoxy. Do Orthodox posters here see this as true or a stretch?

theamericanconservative.com/articles/eastern-right-2/**


#2

It fits generally with my experience.


#3

Interesting article. I would also suggest that there seems to be a growing conservative trend in the Catholic Church in the US as well. My personal interactions, combined with the readings I have come across suggests to me that the trend we are seeing towards traditional Catholic teaching and praxis has brought those who tend to be a bit more politically conservative, or at the least politically moderate along with it, particularly when compared of the baby boomer generation or what one could call the “spirit of Vatican II Catholics”, many of whom have strong liberal leanings.

Anyway, that is my initial response. Thanks for sharing the article.

Peace,


#4

I am not sure I get the gist of the article, but I have to admit that I only just skimmed it. :o However I must caution that we can’t be looking at religion and assessing though the lens of USA political or social movements (which may or may not be the case with this commentary).

Religious conservatism and American political conservatism are not the same. There are areas of convergence, but one does not assume the other. It makes sense to me that people of an extremely conservative turn of mind will appreciate conservative religious groups, but that is a broad category of type which can be identified with Fundamentalist Protestants and Traditionalist Catholics as well as the Orthodox. That Holy Orthodoxy appeals to some of these people is certainly understandable and gratifying.

Orthodoxy must be recognized and appreciated for it’s own unique worldwide characteristics which do not necessarily usually agree with American neo-conservatism. To confuse the two could be a big disappointment for someone.


#5

I don’t think that is what the article is asserting.

What I see it saying is that the mindset that many American conservatives have lead them to Orthodoxy. In other words, it’s not political issues like gun control or gay marriage that lead these conservatives to Orthodoxy, but a mindset. Conservatives tend to reverence tradition, stability, and rationalism. And because the Orthodox Church has essentially been unchanged since the founding of the Church, and it has a hierarchy and a structure that preserves its traditions, it attracts many conservatives to its theology. Much like many (as the article states) were previously influenced by or attracted to Catholicism (pre-Vatican II).

So it’s not a convergence on political issues, it’s a convergence in mindset.


#6

I can understand that. It probably describes me to some extent.


#7

It’s certainly what attracted me to Traditional Catholicism and Orthodoxy. That and a love of history.


#8

Choosing a Church only because you like the liturgy/atmosphere or you like the parishioners better is just silly.


#9

I agree. But we are saved in community, it is a communal faith, so the idea has some merit. If we don’t find this in our community we should endeavor to make it so as best as we can.

Truth trumps all of that. I left a community/parish I really loved very much because of Truth. I have never found so warm and enriching and loving a parish since (some come close), but I simply cannot worship there.


#10

I both agree and disagree, depending on how you intended your comment to be interpreted.

If you are in a parish where your spiritual needs are not being met due to what is happening in the liturgy and you are surrounded by un-orthodox parishioners you would be well-served to switch; or, at the least, not wrong for doing so. There are plenty of places in the world to pick our crosses up and which are harmful to our faith. Going to Mass or the Divine Liturgy and participating in the life of our parishes should not be one of them.

Now, switching from Catholicism to Orthodoxy or from Orthodoxy to Catholicism is a different matter. There, the decision is best made on the perception of truth and fidelity to the Gospel and Sacred Tradition.


#11

Of course I meant the second. Switching parishes within your own Church is another thing than going to, for example, the anglicans because they’re nice and have tasty cookies.


#12

Tasty cookies are pretty important, let’s be honest here. :smiley:

As for the rest, I did not interpret the article as saying that Orthodox Christians are drawn towards political conservatism but rather that people with a certain mindset are drawn to Orthodoxy because of the perceptions of holding on to ancient truths, stability, and tradition. As the article noted, these same people used to be drawn to Catholicism. I would suggest that many such people still are (my wife and I along with some friends for example), but that it is masked due to the disparity in numbers, etc. I would also suggest that if the Catholic Church continues the current trend towards tradition and more ancient expressions of the Faith (and I dearly hope she does), those same people will be drawn to the Holy Catholic Church in large numbers.


#13

I am doubtful about this idea. The capacity to make the discernment on those criteria is probably at least a bit beyond the capacity of most everyone. What we have then is firmly held opinions that make us say: here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. How well has that worked out?


#14

So no one should search for truth, the should just stay where they are? If it is beyond their capacity then why do we have apologetics, or work so hard to evangelize? Part of the process is trying to help people to see the truth of what the Church professes in light of the Gospel and Sacred Tradition. Are we wasting our time?

I cannot speak for everyone but I can state that I studied my way into the Catholic Church. I read the Bible, the Church Fathers, Catechism, and scores of articles, etc. before I committed to the Faith. I was searching for the Truth. Many converts that I speak to have gone through the same intellectual and spiritual process. In the place where I came into the Church (East Tennessee) and where I live now (North Texas) there are an overwhelming majority of Christians from an evangelical denomination. Both of the Diocese I have been in are among the smallest in terms of population density in the country. The Diocese of Knoxville only represents approx, 2% of the population in the region. However, it is also the fastest growing Diocese in the country the last time I looked. Every RCIA class in the region has at least a few Baptist or Pentecostal converts who are from a political conservative background and are seeing the truth about Christianity. They know their Bible well, and are looking for the rest of the picture. The last two RCIA classes in my current parish have been pretty much the same.

Doubt all you like, but it seems like it is working out pretty well to me.


#15

So let me amplify my doubtfulness; I hope that will suffice.

Newman talks about his conversion story, that is deeply connected to a search for truth, as a struggle; he was skeptical of his own capacity for discernment.

Newman knew that man has to strive after holiness in order to find truth. Through original sin, man’s understanding has been weakened and he is spiritually blind. Therefore he finds it difficult to grasp the truth. But he can find it, if he is prepared to adopt the spiritual attitudes of humility and docility, which are “qualities of mind necessary for arriving at the truth in any subject, and in religious matters as well as others.”[7] Truth cannot be found without repentance and conversion, without the effort to overcome sin and guilt, without obedience to God’s will. newmanfriendsinternational.org/newman/?p=171

A search that begins with, and holds fast to humility and docility is the opposite of “here I stand” posturing… It is also quiet throughout a lengthy period of growth. And in the end, it entails repentance, not triumphalism; it involves conversion of self, not simply a change of affiliation that better suits a person just the way they are.

Does this mean conversion is impossible and evangelization useless? Not easy but not impossible. Each individuals has a unique situation. Nevertheless, I think the general cautionary doubts I expressed are good and can be helpful. And, of course, some situations are far less subtle than others. And evangelization is intrinsically different because it is not a private judgement, but an interactive process with a community. As challenging as it can be to defend against group dynamics, there is the benefit of feedback, the prioritization of growth in holiness, and the mitigation of dangers of prelest within a community.


#16

Being skeptical of one’s own abilities is quite different from being skeptical of others’.

A search that begins with, and holds fast to humility and docility is the opposite of “here I stand” posturing… It is also quiet throughout a lengthy period of growth. And in the end, it entails repentance, not triumphalism; it involves conversion of self, not simply a change of affiliation that better suits a person just the way they are.

And yet the sincere process of study and discernment in order to seek out the truth comes with a significant level of humility in order to admit that one does not already know what truth is. Newman’s approach is certainly valid but it is hardly the only one. A Dominican, for example, might ask the question of how one can love what one does not know? That can be taken to mean the Church or even God Himself. I have no idea where you are getting the “here I stand” business at all. No one has said anything about posturing in such a manner.

Does this mean conversion is impossible and evangelization useless? Not easy but not impossible. Each individuals has a unique situation. Nevertheless, I think the general cautionary doubts I expressed are good and can be helpful. And, of course, some situations are far less subtle than others. And evangelization is intrinsically different because it is not a private judgement, but an interactive process with a community. As challenging as it can be to defend against group dynamics, there is the benefit of feedback, the prioritization of growth in holiness, and the mitigation of dangers of prelest within a community.

Agreed. There are certainly group dynamics to consider but at the end of the day, as you noted, each individual will make a determination based on his/her particular situation. Community based or otherwise, it will come down to one person’s relationship with God and their understanding of what truth is, or is not.


#17

Actually, internet fora are full of conversion stories that show a change of address rather than understanding, and a triumphal rather than humble outlook. People vary, but the pattern is common enough that it is worth stating in the context of suggestions about seeking the truth.


#18

Almost everyone I’ve talked to who came to the Orthodox Church came to the Church through a very lengthy period of self examination. I’ve never met anyone who just up and decided to change affiliation. I don’t think it very charitable to assume the latter case among all those who discuss it in the article.


#19

I have not made any assumption about any particular persons, but have been intentional in saying that individuals’ situations vary. I have made no reference to the article, whatesoever, but responded to the post that I quoted.

… came to the Church through a very lengthy period of self examination. I’ve never met anyone who just up and decided to change affiliation.

I said nothing about “up and decided”. And rather than “time”, I talked of humility, repentance, and conversion of self.


#20

Perhaps I am misreading it. Your post seemed to be implying that most of those who convert did so without understanding what they were doing. jwinch seems to have interpreted it similarly.

Please clarify. I still don’t understand what you were getting at.


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