Orthodoxy (Possible Convert)

I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I have ordered a copy of the Second Edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and, on the points where the Orthodox believe the Catholics are incorrectly teaching (i.e. the filioque and Purgatory, Eucharistic adoration), I believe that the Catholics have the more correct teaching; in some issues (removing part of the Eucharistic blessing, celebrating a more traditional liturgy, especially post-Vatican II, but there is a church in full communion with the Pope that celebrates the Tridentine Mass in my area, so that’s not a problem, and Papal superiority), I believe the Orthodox have the correct teaching; but, numerically, I believe the Catholics teach more correct doctrine than the Orthodox, although the differences are minimal (as confirmed by both EC and RC episcopate), and mostly political (e.g. the nature of ecumenical councils that don’t include all of Christendom).

I believe the Catholic way is superior to the Orthodox, but a “via media” is needed: the Orthodox are too unorganised, too organic, and too mystical: I appreciate the organisation and Scholastic philosophy that has helped to form the Catholic faith, myself being a philosophy graduate; I prefer theoretical knowledge - I VASTLY prefer theoretical knowledge - to experiential knowledge, abstractions are superior to existence. Orthodoxy does not agree with this; Catholicism, as I understand, does, to a point, or at least tolerates it.

I believe a more perfect understanding of anything can be found in a book and in reflection and meditation than in experience: to me, the description of something, the philosophy, so to speak, of it, is vastly more beautiful and perfect than experience.

I would go so far to say that I dislike direct experience of anything (even things most find pleasurable, such as sex, for a crude and carnal example), especially in comparison to philosophic abstraction and reflection.

In a way, I never believed in God; no amount of “God is great, these miracles happened, God changed my life” made me believe in God, but once I was presented with the arguments of St Thomas Aquinas, on an abstract and logical, and completely non-experiential and non-existential level, I immediately was convinced of the truth of God: experience doesn’t count for much for me, theory does.

And, although it should have no bearing on my faith, I love Rome, ancient and modern, Italy, and Latin, which I can speak, read, and write fluently, which can’t be said for my limited Greek.

I was formerly a Muslim, but this has no bearing on the thread: I have come to see in fullness the perverted and evil doctrines of that “faith”. After I admitted it may have errors in it, it collapsed under its own weight and that of its false holy books and nearly-satirical/parody legalistic teachings.

My current Father is great: this is a stumbling block in my conversion to Catholicism, where my spiritual Father may not be as par excellence as my current one is. He’s intelligent and educated enough (four bachelor’s, two master’s, two doctorates) to talk with me on my own level: not many people are.

I also hope to one day take Holy Orders, and become a missionary or a minister of some sort, to spread the Word that I have received, and which has changed my life and saved my Immortal Soul; please take this in to consideration.

Please, tell me what the major differences are between EC and RC from a RC perspective?

And, if you care too, why, theoretically or philosophically, are the RC teachings correct? (Although I can likely figure that one out for myself). And anything else you believe may be helpful.

Thank you, and be blessed in God’s Most Holy Name and that of His Son and the Saviour of the World Jesus Christ,

Christophoro Adam John Chrysostom Mayo, formerly Khalid Furqan bin Ya’qub.

With all due respect, in March you claimed to be Muslim, also claimed to have been baptized Eastern Orthodox (which would include Chrismation and Communion) and to have been Confirmed and practicing Catholicism.

If you’ve already been confirmed Catholic, why are you asking about converting to Catholicism now?

I never claimed I was converted/baptised or confirmed in to Catholicism… I was baptised and confirmed in (“chrismated in to”) and received Eucharist in Orthodoxy (I think the baptism is considered valid by Catholics as well).

I converted to Orthodoxy because it’s ancient and one of the two originals (it’s obvious that all of the Protestant sects, constantly schisming with each other, are wrong, and most are anti-intellectual to some degree, and none are philosophically or theologically inclined, with the possible exception of the Church of England), and because my grandmother was a Greek Orthodox (I come from Turkey); there’s no history of RC in my family.

Here you said “I am a Muslim, baptised an Eastern Orthodox, who was confirmed in and practised Catholicism”

I don’t mean to accuse you of lying or something, I’m just confused as to your background.

That’s a simple misinterpretation: Orthodoxy is “Orthodox Catholicism”, but most non-Orthodox don’t call it that.

I got my tenses mixed up as well: “I was a Muslim who is a baptised Eastern Orthodox Christian…who was [after leaving Islam] confirmed in and practised [Orthodox] Catholicism.”

I got some of the tenses of irregulars messed up as well (be, is, am, are, was).

In an addendum, luckily, my wife converted back to RC within about a week of her “conversion” to Islam (thank God) after she started trying to learn Islamic Law for herself and saw how twisted, contradictory, and backwards it was, although she still doesn’t practise often: she’s been going to the Divine Liturgy with me recently, as I do practise whatever religion I’m in.

I apologise for any misunderstanding or confusal of my English: my English gets better by the day :slight_smile:

I see you’re Orthodox as well - I think my Father already covered most of the differences between Orthodoxy and RC from an Orthodox perspective, so I came to a RC forum to get an RC perspective, and to try to resolve issues, errors, or differences that have not been satisfactorily resolved at the time.

Fair enough. I thought it might be a language issue, but you speak so well I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t going to insult you by asking if English was your second language (and you really, really do speak very well).

Thank you very much :smiley:

If you look at my posts, I usually write/edit/read/write/edit/read about ten times within the first minutes after they are posted.

In my experience, people with English as a second language often use more consistently more correct grammar than native speakers, and depending on language intellect (which, for me, tends to be great, as I can pick up languages easily - I’ve only been speaking English for about 12 months, but I learned the Latin or Romance alphabet when I learned Spanish [my wife’s language] around 3 years ago), vocabulary is often larger.

However, as you pointed out, there are some things (mainly idiom and consistency, and irregular verbs) that are very hard to pick up on, as English has many less cases and tenses than Arabic (my native language), and is much more “full” and less idiomatic - Arabic leaves much up to the reader to complete.

Even I can see the improvement in my English in the last four months - my spoken English has increased even more quickly, as I search for words or stutter much less now, and I understand that my accent is much less pronounced.

As an aside, I find it unique as as soon as I begin to live in a country where freedom of religion and expression is allowed, if not encouraged, that Islam becomes much less attractive, and the flaws in it become much more evident and prevalent. And Turkey has a much greater freedom of religion than any other Middle Eastern country (like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), it still is very very repressive compared to America.** If one thing is, that is, the “American Dream”, freedom of thought, expression, and religion, without the mandate of state to enforce it.**

As I re-read that old post, it is very contradictory: it sounds as if I was saying, “I was Christian X who became Muslim Y and then converted to Christianity Z before converting back to Islam A and then finally converting to Christianity X again.” I can understand it only because I know what I was attempting to say, although I’m not sure if even I could reconstruct it.

i would like to say congratulations first off for being Christian and converting from islam and second i think the main differnce is RC define all the details and EO just let it be a mystery but i could be wrong on this

In all honestness, that I believe is a main difference.

When I asked my Father about the Real Presence or Transubstantiation, he said, “Yes, we teach the real presence, but do not confine it or define it with philosophical language or words, we let it remain a mystery to the understanding of a believer” or something similar to that.

I very much appreciate the philosophical definitions; there is advantage in both approaches, though, with both extremes having negative impact:

I believe it was Benedict XVI who made the statement about the “Church breathing with both lungs”, and John Paul II who said that the teachings of the two churches are very similar, and not irreconcilable (evidenced by the fact that the term “church” is used only for EOC and RC, and not any kind of Protestantism).

Is it true that a RC priest will give communion to an Eastern Orthodox?

And, that a EOC baptism is a valid RC baptism as well?

Roman Catholics even recognize protestant Baptism

I moved to Columbus Ohio very recently - I see you are living in Southern Ohio - and I didn’t know there was such a hotbed of Evangelical Fundamentalist Protestantism (the kind that views the King James as the only Bible, the Deuterocanon as inspired by Satan - even though the 1611 KJV included the Deuterocanon - and the Roman Catholics and Orthodox as “the whore of Babylon”) in the entire world. From what I understand Southern Ohio, bordering West Virginia and Kentucky, is even more full of conservative Evangelical Fundamentalist Protestants.

Looking at the census statistics, it says Ohio has 21% Roman Catholics - where are they? There are quite a few Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches around me: what is the issue, is it just that Evangelical Fundamentalists are very loud, obnoxious, and high-profile compared to everyone else?

most people around were i live are either non denominational(which is still a denomination) and baptist there is no orthodox church’s in my town and only two RCC and yea your right and there’s so much anti Catholicism down here too like every catholic worships Mary, all priest rape children etc. it sickens me all the racism and ignorance down here

That’s funny… the “non-denominational” denomination, which is more than true. All of the “non-denominational” megachurches.

“Non-denominational” Christianity is a mix of the denominations of Pentecostalism, Charismatic, Holiness, and Baptist, but far-gone enough that even the denominations they drew from would not have them as a member.

There’s a crazy “non-denominationalist” preacher, Rodney Parsley, in Columbus Ohio with a 15,000+ strong church, called “World Harvest”. He’s a Protestant televangelist in his spare time, rich off of the donations of his poor parishioners, the kind who punch you in the face to heal you of paraplegia.

I went in to a similar church once, and when the preacher called for the plates to be passed, and gave a speech on, “give everything you have, it goes to help the poor,” one could not help looking around and realising the people he was asking for money were the poor that he was claiming to help.

i cant stand them corrupt preachers who say the come in the name of God and are just trying to get rich the ruin God for some people and they teach false doctrine

Have you studied Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address? (The one that ignited a media storm out of context) As a former muslim, you might appreciate his views on the relationship between faith and reason from the catholic perspective that might also be germane to your examination of the Catholic view of the role of philosophy and that of the Eastern Orthodox.

I’m not scholar of the EO, but I get the sense from EO posters here that they value explicit revelation so greatly that they often almost disdain the examination and evaluation of the implications of revelation. That’s great for guarding against novelties/innovation errors, but isn’t so great if Christ’s revelation to us was like a mustard seed of faith that he intended to grow over time.


well I believe that Catholic teachings are correct, of course as I am Catholic :slight_smile: I’m also a convert. I think you might find it helpful to investigate the Papacy.

Do you live near any Eastern Catholic churches? You’ll find the same spirituality and liturgy there as the Orthodox have, but they’re in communion with Rome.

As for Roman Catholic churches, to be honest the absolute best ones I’ve found are FSSP: they’re priests who do the Mass according to the Tridentine Missal, and are fully in communion with the Church and supported by the Pope. In fact Pope Benedict recently issued a document that supports the increase of the Latin Mass. These priests are very knowledgeable, well formed, they’re good spiritual directors, and are dedicated… the reverence is also great in those parishes, - sadly there are some parishes that are not very reverent, but that’s because of some attacks the Church has gone through over the past few decades. If you don’t live near a Latin Mass parish, try to just find a very conservative, traditional parish, - especially if it has Adoration and such devotions.

God bless :slight_smile:

"I’m not scholar of the EO, but I get the sense from EO posters here that they value explicit revelation so greatly that they often almost disdain the examination and evaluation of the implications of revelation. That’s great for guarding against novelties/innovation errors, but isn’t so great if Christ’s revelation to us was like a mustard seed of faith that he intended to grow over time. "

As I’ve mentioned, I was not, and never have been, convinced of God or religion from any experiential knowledge - it was St Thomas Aquinas’ arguments that brought me around to a personally theistic view, although I did practise religion before that (I just didn’t believe in a god).

I get that sense too: I like the more organic nature of the EO, but I do not like the emphasis on “theoria” and “hesychasm” - it seems to have nearly Buddhist elements, especially “hesychasm”. In my opinion, and according to my knowledge, theology is best gained through the rightful application of the rational mind, which God has granted us, deriving principles and laws from observation.

Direct experience, or direct revelation, is inadequate for all but the few who may achieve it; and, as Orthodoxy achieves it, by hesychasm, I believe it to be a form of auto-suggestion, leading possibly to malformed ideas (like the essence-energies distinction, which, as far as my philosophical capacity extends, is false and antithetical to a Triune and immanent God).

I believe the definitions are required, as is theoretical or scholastic theology: this may be one of the reasons that although the Orthodox church seems pure and ancient, it also seems too ancient - as it has failed to advance: modern Orthodox theology is unrefined - in the Apostolic age, which is good in a sense (purity of doctrine) and bad in a sense (inhibits even good innovation, and limits philosophico-logical inquiry, which is the only way that I can try to understand or love God, or even His existence).

I also can’t square the Orthodox view of St Thomas Aquinas - who brought me to an actual personal instead of societal belief in God, and Christianity - which is negative at best. No amount of anecdotal support of God ever got me to believe in Him, but just made me think to myself, “these people are lunaticks”.

Experience is worth about nothing for me: it is not where I find beauty and meaning in life. I find these things, and spirituality, inside of theory, explanation, analysis, and symbolic representation.

It should be my creed, "Why do something, when you can read a book about it?" or “Why do something, when you can think about it instead?”.

Based on “purity”, it seems Orthodoxy is the way to go: but, pure water, being pure, is deadly: it is hypo-osmotic and eventually causes death by electrolyte imbalance. Impure water - that containing magnesium, calcium, sodium, etc. - is not pure, but it is required to sustain life.

If this is the case, the “mystical” nature of Orthodoxy - I never had any idea that it ran so deeply, in honesty, all-pervasive, or it seems, as my Father can not, or refuses to, describe, in proper philosophical terms, any doctrines I ask:** I have held my own logical descriptions of such doctrines in my mind, but, invariably, they align with the Roman Catholic position (as the method itself of holding logical descriptions of “theology” that’s not “theoria” itself is).**

If this is so, as it seems, I will be converting to Roman Catholicism post haste. The phrasing of that question is rhetorical: do you have any advice for a catechumen, converting from Orthodoxy (beyond “go see a priest!”) to Roman Catholicism, due to the issues I have been discussing in this thread, e.g. the relegation of reason and logical inquiry to second-class in Orthodoxy, and the relative primacy of reason in Roman Catholicism?

**Catholicism values reason, or so it seems, and the analysis of first principles, etc. leading to true theology, i.e. theoretical knowledge, as practised by the Scholastics. Orthodoxy prefers a mysticism, and direct experience that one can’t tell if it be legitimate or not.

A merciful, just God, who is not a God of confusion, creates an order that is amenable to reason, as God created both the order and the reason to analyse it: I can not deny this.**

Mahometanism* took the way of mysticism: it went so far as to say that God can not be bound by anything, not even natural laws he created, but only by the experience of God, so, therefore, natural laws do not exist (this was expounded by al Ghazali): within a century, any meagre learning of the Mahometans was stopped, and learning anything other than the Quran and hadith (oral law) remains looked-down-upon to this day, and anything theoretical is considered blasphemous: the mathematical concept of infinity is not taught in many schools, because “only ‘Allah’ is infinite”.

*I believe “Mahometan” to be the correct appellation as a once-insider looking back in: Muhammad invented a god, and people worship that god (and Muhammad himself, no matter what the official doctrine is, or at least offer dulia). If I invented a god, and people worshiped that god, it wouldn’t be called “god worship”, but “worship of a figment of Mayo’s imagination” or “Mayonism”. Of course, Mahometans do worship the true God, in a sense, because there is only one Creator, and to worship any creator is to worship the creator; but God doesn’t listen, as I, with presumption, believe that the Mahometan creed must be abhorrent to any loving, kind, just, and merciful God, (“Allah” is vicious, bellicose, and “the best of deceivers” - in Christianity, that last appellation is reserved for Satan, I believe) as the True Triune God is faithfully represented in the NT: I can not believe that the Triune God would listen to that which is virtually human blood sacrifice, with an unhealthy dose of Pharisaic legalism.

One of my only problems with the RC church has been the Petrine supremacy, but, the more I have learned about the history of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople, the less of a problem it is (although I still don’t buy Papal infallibility).

It is the Orthodox spirituality - which is disdainful, as was said, of theoretical knowledge - that is causing me to look elsewhere so immediately. Theory and reason reign supreme over divine experience, Buddhist-like mysticism, mantra-chanting/hesychasm, or “theoria”.

My conversion will be due to: 1) the role of reason, which is of far the most import, 2) the essence-energies distinction, 3) the kind and role of prayer (prayer is not valid theology, hesychasm is too “mystical”), 4) the filioque, which I believe is a correct addition to the Nicene creed, 5) teachings on heaven, purgatory, and hell, and as a distant 6) coherence amongst the churches (off the top of my head).

I also have a church very near my house - holyfamilycolumbus.org - that performs both the Tridentine and Vatican II Mass and I believe is in good standing with Rome; this is the church that I would attend, as I prefer the dignified forms of worship (one advantage of Orthodoxy) in the ancient languages to the modern, vulgar-colloquial kind, made to be “easier to understand” but robbed of meaning, in my opinion.

As I believe Einstein said, “Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler;” Orthodoxy seems to have a theoretical foundation that is “simpler than possible”, and this also has a bearing on the vulgar-colloquial worship compared to the ancient forms.

I also feel like a mercurial traitor changing from Orthodoxy to RC so quickly: I joined the Orthodox church because it was 1 of 2 ancient churches, and because my lineage has ties to it (Copts and Cypriots); they are very similar, it seems, except in the role of learned reason, which is of utmost importance to me (although, I think that many people probably prefer the “from the instinct, emotive, emotional, anecdotal” kind of religion to the intellectual one, based on most people I know believing in God because of a “feeling”: I don’t feel one way or another about it, but my intellect knows there is a God thanks to St Thomas Aquinas).

I had a 50% chance of choosing correctly: I chose incorrectly, and am now going to attempt to correct the situation.

Thank everyone for your input so far: I welcome it to continue.

Be blessed in the Most Holy Name of God and His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

If you like St Thomas Aquina, i’m sure you will like Etienne Gilson. I believe he is the greatest Aquinas scholar.
Doctines like the distinction of essentia/esse which is Aquinas major contribution to metaphysics and the theory of analogy allow us to see a very esthetical and mystical universe.

Catholicism is not without mysticism, see for exemple St Bonaventure who was a great scholastic but also one of the greatest medieval mystic.
There also was Albert the Great who commented Pseudo Dyonisus who influenced the scholastics.
And theoria can also be found in catholicism and is also thought to be a superior knowledge of God because in theoria it is God that makes you know him. It is not a “mediate” natural knowledge with concepts but an immediate (and therefore supernatural) knowledge of God.

Your mind seems much more focused than mine. I don’t have the attention span for deep philosophical learning. But I know enough to agree that it is strange for someone who found God in Thomism to proceed to convert from Islam to Greek Orthodoxy!

Actually, that provokes a thought. As an American, I can see clearly how American culture has influenced catholic behavior and thought in this country, even in ways in which catholics should stand firm AGAINST American culture. I wonder if some of the EO outlook on revelation versus theological conclusions is influenced by living for centuries under the boot of Islam with its vision of an ‘inscrutable’ God?

As you may know, Catholics and EO see the issue of contraception quite differently in recent decades. From how you describe yourself, you may have the intellectual chops to read and comprehend John Paul II’s book “Love and Responsibility.” In it, JP2 presented an ordered and logical explanation on catholic sexual morality and how it is rooted firmly in both reason and revelation.

I know it raises EO hackles, but it is my own (amatuer) opinion that the EO are waffly on the subject of contraception mostly because they are so reliant on revelation for guidance that they have a reduced capacity for recognizing old sins wrapped in new packaging. Yes, that’s a broad, ridiculous over-generalization, I realize. It’s meant as a general comment on their approach to leadership, not an evaluation of any individual.

Catholicism, by the way, has major problems too in application if not in theory. For all the genius of JP2 on human sexuality, only a tiny percentage of catholics comprehend it and are willing to learn it and live it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.