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So the Russian Ministry of Defense is going to build a Cathedral of the Armed Forces at the Patriot Park in Kubinka, a town near Moscow which also hosts the country’s premier tank museum.

fortress-monastery-russia

It is supposed to become a “spiritual and educational center for soldiers, Orthodox priests, and Russian citizens.”

I think Russia is really on the right track with this.

Russian Orthodoxy already has all of the aesthetic accoutrements to become our world’s version of the Adeptus Mechanicus, at last melding religious zeal and scientific rationalism into a single unity.

cult-mechanicus-blessing-icbm

Atomic Orthodoxy: +25% splash damage on infidel cities; fallout lingers twice longer.

So the emergence of Fortress Monasteries is the next logical step:

A fortress-monastery is an enormous citadel where a Space Marine Chapter maintains its headquarters. Space Marine Chapters are highly monastic military organisations where the combatant members are all warrior-monks, and their fortress-monasteries are devoted both to battle and near-religious reverence for the Emperor of Mankind. Fortress-Monasteries are usually based on Imperial worlds important to the Chapter for recruiting purposes, or on deserted moons and asteroids.

It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself!

 
• Category: Humor • Tags: Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, Warhammer 
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  1. When uttering the incantation, mark well that the rod is upon and not within the intake. The second incantation should not be uttered until all the fumes have come forth, then the way shall be clear for the sacred words to penetrate unto the heart of the engine. If the mounting be hot say the third rune, if it be cold the fourth rune is more appropriate. For then the wrath of the engine will be aroused…

    Praise the Machine God!

  2. Also appropriate, given the tight correlation of the Mechanicus with both the Imperial Navy and the real Machine Gods.

    AFK now, getting blammed for being a heretic.

  3. Speed the bolt that brings the end of enemy and friend.

    Btw what Warhammer 40k faction is this?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @El Dato
  4. @Spisarevski

    Not a faction, just traitors and heretics to the Imperium.

  5. Dmitry says:

    Church for armed forces is surely not such a bad thing, especially considering they have higher rate of death for the job than other professions. (People usually are becoming religious when they are sad for deaths , and church could be useful for family members).

    As for pictures of priests in front of missile complexes. This is the opposite of real religion. It is “religion” without spirituality (like “music for deaf people”). It’s an image of antispiritual nihilism and postsoviet kitsch.

    In the audience, develops contempt for the priests, as they are seen in a context of being clothed as clowns in costumes, while in front of hi-technological objects they have no understanding of, and were too stupid at school to prepare even the prerequisites to understand.

    It’s important to separate professions from topics that embarrass them. So if you have a scientific apparatus, you do not mix it with people who have no understanding of this apparatus. Just as a photographer doesn’t place ugly old people in a fashion show, or fat people next to sports equipment. (It’s embarrassing for the people and the context they don’t relate to).

    Now if you find someone, who both has a strong scientific and religious training, and a humble respect for both sides – you can see people who could start to achieve a synthesis of the areas.

    melding religious zeal and scientific rationalism i

    There might soon be need for resurgence of religious knowledge again, if new scientific understanding will have to admit its limits.

    For example, it will might be realized not that far in the future, that consciousness can continue after death.

    If you read various interviews with Sam Parnia, he has very good stories of survivors in heart attacks that report details of what happened after their brain activity has ended. And he’s able to publish articles about this in medical journals.

    If we have to soon admit we survive, yet don’t know what happens, in the next life, we could foresee resurgence of demand for religious knowledge. Sure, religions don’t know anything about what will happen either, but at least they give people possible ideas and speculations, which is easier than having nothing.

    But this kind of future religion will have to integrate higher culture and modern philosophy, if it will attract intelligent people. Something like Jung’s project, was trying to basis for new kind of religion that could attract thoughtful people.

    In addition, there should be legalization of drugs which can allow people to access mystic religious states (which would be more useful than dressing in costumes, etc, if the priests could actually drink ayahuasca and then teach based on their personal religious visions).

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    , @AaronB
  6. You guys are so lucky to have your own country, with a more or less uncorupted and widely respected Orthodox church, and now soon a glorious military cathedral. This must be worth at least +400 Prestige to both the Army and the Church. Way to go.

    • Replies: @melanf
  7. melanf says:
    @Dan Bagrov

    uncorupted and widely respected Orthodox church

    funny joke

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  8. @melanf

    Widely loved by Swiss watchmakers.

    • LOL: utu
  9. AP says:

    with a more or less uncorupted and widely respected Orthodox church

    The wishful thinking of Westerners is never-ending.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  10. LondonBob says:

    Religious ideology and soldiering go together like Pimms and lemonade. Cromwell and the New Model Army, with their strong religious and political indoctrination, reached new heights for combat effectiveness, Stonewall Jackson actively encouraged religious education in his Corps and helped spark a religious revival in the Army of Northern Virginia.

    • Replies: @Silva
  11. Talha says:

    Wow – pretty impressive aesthetics! I’d love to see the finished product.

    Peace.

  12. Talha says:

    It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself!

    Do they actually worship the emperor? I never got into WarHammer so I don’t know; I was more of a FASA: Battletech kid growing up…

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  13. @AP

    The Patriarch Kirill is very likely personally corrupt, as is a large percentage of the upper ROC hierarchy. Worse, in my view, is its obscurantist approach to new technologies. This has the potential to become ruinous if/when mature gene editing technologies come along, if nutjobs like Vsevolod Chaplin (“FGM is a traditional Caucasus value”) have their way.

    However, at the same time, the Catholic Church is embroiled in a permanent pedophilia scandal, and both mainstream Catholicism and most Protestant churches have largely become open borders poz enablers at this point. Religiosity continues to collapse in most Western countries, from Ireland to the US; in those countries where there is still something to collapse. Trends in Russia are in the opposite direction.

    My favorite Christian (“Christian”) branch atm is Mormonism, which upholds conservative values more successfully than most, including high TFR’s, and has relatively high retention rates (70%), while also being uniquely technolophilic. But I like the Cult of the Machine God even more and that is what I want the ROC to gradually converge to.

  14. Mr. Hack says:

    A ‘Cathedral of the Armed Forces’ probably bodes well for Russian Orthodox millenialists, at least providing some cover for zealous Christian adventurism. It’s interesting, that in the Western protestant worldview, Russia along with China and Iran will spearhead the final battle of Armageddon, along with the European Union acting as the reconstituted ‘Babylon’. All of these diverse forces are supposedly going to attack and try and annihilate Israel, before the return of Christ and the second coming. ‘The Omega Code’ starring Christopher York put out in 1999 was characteristic of this flavor of Protestant theology that was quite popular about 20 years ago:

    The prophets’ public denunciation of Alexander as the Anti-Christ, their immediate death at the hands of his primary enforcer, and subsequent resurrection from the dead, are drawn from “A Short Tale of the Anti-Christ” by Russian Orthodox theologian and philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. In Solovyov’s depiction, however, they are instead the three leaders of the world’s remaining Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and conservative Protestants.

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

    Looks like its now Russia’s turn to put out some big production sets to prop up its version of the end times…

  15. @Talha

    Yes, the Imperial Cult worships the Emperor as a literal god. His divine power is self-evident as he maintains a psychic beacon in the Warp, a “lighthouse” without which space travel would be much, much harder.

    There is a theological difference with the Adeptus Mechanicus, which holds the Machine God to be holy, but the Emperor is the Omnimessiah, the human representation of the Machine God.

    Such a belief would usually be seen as unforgivable heresy, but well, the Adeptus Mechanicus build all important technology and permanently staff one of the Lords of Terra, so it’s accepted as a mystery.

    • Replies: @Talha
  16. Talha says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Ah OK – thanks for the clarification!

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  17. @Talha

    One of the beauties of the 40k universe is the open question of the Emperor’s divinity does not remove the need for the Imperial Cult. Corpse on a throne or not, belief in him still keeps the Imperium together.

    The Mechanicus and Astartes can have their own complex beliefs, but for 99% of the Imperium, a simple faith is all that is needed.

    • Replies: @Talha
  18. Talha says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Does he get swapped out like the Pharoahs after one of them dies or is he the same guy from the beginning?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  19. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Trends in Russia are in the opposite direction.

    Are you sure? Church attendance monthly was supposedly 10% in 1992. However, this year, only 2% attended Christmas services, with much more old people than young people. Easter attendance statistics around 2,8%

    Priests were complaining online that their parishioners have less momentum and regularity.

    • Replies: @Dan Bagrov
  20. Serrice says:

    The vision of the future in my book sadly lacks a Russian adeptus mechanicus.

    Noting this down for eventual inclusion.

  21. @Talha

    He is the same person on a life support machine. Body is in terrible state, but still technically ticking.

    • Replies: @Talha
  22. Serrice says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Catholicism in Ireland outside of the North is utterly dead. The Holy Joe bible gang 15% of the population (mostly elderly) is universally hated on left and right.

  23. Talha says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Ok I get it, I guess he could be a brain in a vat of liquid and probes hooked up.

    Helps with the whole; “he is immortal!!!” side of the equation…

    Also, if the space marines are monks, they don’t procreate? Is it just a massive imperium sausage-feat?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  24. @Anatoly Karlin

    Ok they may or may not enjoy a little too much of the good life, this is not the sort of “corruption” that is particularly relevant. What I’m talking about is the corruption that has destroyed most of the rest of the Christian churches.

    The ROC isn’t filled with homos and pedos, it isn’t “Christian Zionist” and it isn’t pushing to flood Russia with sub normal refugees. It’s a great institution.

  25. @Talha

    They are barely human, let alone procreative. They don’t even have the same organs as humans. They are recruited from feral worlds, usually from the population who believe that they ascend into the heavens. Kinda true.

    PDF and Guardsman do the bulk of the dying..err.. fighting. Astartes are just an elite to effect breakthroughs or deal with overwhelming odds.

    • Replies: @Talha
  26. Silva says:
    @LondonBob

    “Cromwell and the New Model Army, with their strong religious and political indoctrination, reached new heights for combat effectiveness”

    So did the Swedish Army. Once.

  27. @Dmitry

    I will never understand what is so bloody hard about going to church weekly. What else are people doing? Don’t they realize they were bred for religion (if nothing else)? How else are they going to stretch out their legs and backs after sitting on their asses all week?

    Challenge yourself to go 52 Sundays in a row and you won’t be able to stop. Fasting…that’s harder…

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  28. Talha says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    Wow – OK – that would explain a lot.

    Sounds a bit like HALO and the Great Journey and the Elites – wonder if Bungie borrowed ideas…

    Peace.

  29. A lot of borrowing has happened from 40k, though GW is pretty liberal in borrowing from others too, so meh. Won’t get into licensing silliness, but it’s a great source of inspiration for many. I’ve loved it since I was 13.

  30. Dmitry says:
    @Dan Bagrov

    In 2018, attendance for Easter services (most important services of the year), has fallen again to a new low of 2.7%

    In areas like Chelyabinsk, it’s only 0.8% of people who attend Easter services. The highest attendance figures. were North Caucasus, where in some places it was ten times higher than the national average.

    In general trends, Orthodox religiosity was probably at its high point during the 1990s (and possibly extending into the early 2000s), and interest was slowly falling for more than a decade now. 1990s was a more difficult epoch socially and economically, which would also correspond with higher church attendance (people are becoming more religious in difficult times).

    Spirituality of the population is a different thing. For many musical people, going to a classical music concert is also like a religious experience. For literary people, reading a work of literature. For a nature fan, to walk in the forests. Spirituality is the important thing, not religiosity (the latter can even often become opposed to the former).

    There’s clearly psychological problems developing when people can go too much time without “spiritual experiences”. This is unrelated to church attendance though.

    I don’t see “church attendance” as the important indicator of spirituality of a population at all. But it’s not really clear how you would measure the latter.

  31. utu says:
    @Dmitry

    In 2018, attendance for Easter services (most important services of the year), has fallen again to a new low of 2.7%

    I was not ware it was so bad. All the hype of the rebirth or Russia’s Christianity just a hype.

  32. @Dmitry

    These numbers are worse than I remembered or would have guessed, but I can’t find anything to contradict them off hand. As a believer I can’t agree with your sentiments but from a purely materialistic standpoint, I’d note that going to church promotes fertility, rock concert or a book, not so much. The Orthodox faith, properly practiced is also a form of psychotherapy (just from a functionalist/materialist understanding), people are missing out on a lot. There’s a reason it lasted so long and survived so much. You Russians have such great church infrastructure on hand, loads of monks, great leadership, yet few value it.

    Oh well, at least they’re building this cathedral.

  33. @utu

    It’s not entirely hype. The state is backing it in a big way, churches are and have been rebuilt in great numbers. Russian monasticism has massively recovered (the heart of the church). The proportions of people who say they are Orthodox has also recovered, it’s just that hardly anyone bothers to go to church or confession, let alone fast and follow a prayer rule.

    2008 numbers but probably not changed a whole lot:

    http://www.pewforum.org/2014/02/10/russians-return-to-religion-but-not-to-church/

  34. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    In the audience, develops contempt for the priests, as they are seen in a context of being clothed as clowns in costumes, while in front of hi-technological objects they have no understanding of, and were too stupid at school to prepare even the prerequisites to understand.

    My girlfriend, when she went to the local Episcopal church, had a Russian immigrant priest who was a chemist or something before becoming a priest. Actually, he was originally a Russian Orthodox priest who switched to the Episcopalians because he was gay.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  35. @Dmitry

    This doesn’t comport either either polls I’ve seen (which tend to register a steady increase in people identifying as Orthodox/professing faith in God since they began) or my personal observations (church services in provincial Russia 15 years ago – almost all elderly woman; today – still mostly elderly woman, but now joined by elderly men, middle-aged women, families).

    • Replies: @jbwilson24
  36. AaronB says:
    @Dmitry

    There is a role for religion in military affairs and in the training of soldiers, although it obviously isn’t Karlins misunderstanding of it as blessing weapons to be more lethal, lol.

    Rather the opposite. Religion reduces the pitiless barbarity of the soldier by creating codes of chivalry. Religion did this in the Middle Ages and created the Knight, a far more attractive and appealing figure than the Viking, and Buddhism did this in Japan with Bushido.

    The true standpoint of religion must always be close to pacificsm, but this is too difficult in the real world for most people, so it will do the next best thing and reduce barbarity.

    If those priests are blessing those missiles with the thought that may they spare the innocent and only be used in a just cause, they are doing religious work.

    Similarly for this new Church – if it inculcates Russian soldiers with pity and humanity, and reduces their ferocity, it will be doing good work.

    Of course, this is the opposite of what some people want it to do – and there is often that danger.

    And I also agree that Church’s and institutional religion often become anti-spiritual in practice, and the best religion is outside an institutional framework. But I’m not sure the masses can do without an institution.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  37. Not Raul says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I agree with you about Mormonism — they seem pro-science.

    I didn’t always think so; but then I happened upon David Bailey’s website http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/lds/lds-science-quotes.php

  38. inertial says:

    The cathedral will be topped with the pre-Mongolian invasion style helmet domes rather than the stereotypical onion domes. Interesting.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
  39. Not Raul says:
    @inertial

    There’s a debate over what came first in Russia: helmet domes or onion domes.

    Zagraevsky, Voronin, and other historians have found strong evidence that onion domes came first.

  40. Yevardian says:

    Low level (((Chaos))) Cultists, obviously.

    Funny how easily you can correlate most ethnic groups to the 40K universe.

  41. Yeah, technology is great.

    Atomic bombs.

    Agent Orange.

    Surveillance.

    Thalidomide.

    The increased lifespan is caused by 3 things, improved hygiene, improved diet, and immunization, only one of which is technological.

    We live in a science fiction nightmare and you love it. There is a name for that.

  42. @obwandiyag

    We live in a science fiction nightmare and you love it. There is a name for that.

    But Mecha-Karlin isn’t our ruler yet.

  43. ussr andy says:
    @obwandiyag

    Yeah, technology is great.

    Atomic bombs.

    Agent Orange.

    Surveillance.

    Thalidomide

    .

    Typical stupid reply. White cops shot totally unarmed man in suburban neighborhood. It was filmed. The man was endangering nobody. Even the whites in the neighborhood don’t like it. Unlike you you stupid braindead racist.

    sour grapes much?

    Sailer’s law of female journalism needs a corollary.

    The most heartfelt a̶r̶t̶i̶c̶l̶e̶s̶ posts by f̶e̶m̶a̶l̶e̶ ̶j̶o̶u̶r̶n̶a̶l̶i̶s̶t̶s̶ ̶ african posters tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the j̶o̶u̶r̶n̶a̶l̶i̶s̶t̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶s̶e̶l̶f̶ ̶ poster himself will be considered h̶o̶t̶t̶e̶r̶-̶l̶o̶o̶k̶i̶n̶g̶.̶ coming from a technologically sophisticated culture.

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
  44. dux.ie says:

    On witnessing the detonation of the first atomic device, Oppenheimer recalled the “Bhagavad Gita”, the dialog between the Hindu Lord Krishna with Prince Arjuna, about “duty, fate and faith” before a battle,

  45. @Anatoly Karlin

    “or my personal observations (church services in provincial Russia 15 years ago – almost all elderly woman; today – still mostly elderly woman, but now joined by elderly men, middle-aged women, families).”

    I second this, from personal experience going to many small towns in Russia in the last few years. (Russian wife, you see, plus I like to explore).

    I saw a ton of young children in the churches, vastly more than in any Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian church that I have seen in North America. They did not in any way seem dead to me, and there were quite a few attractive 20-30 year old women as well. Not so many men in that age range, but it wasn’t the white haired set like you find in the Anglican churches (etc) these days.

    I plan to move there at some point and encourage church attendance to all and sundry as a means of preserving Russian culture. (It’s one thing to hear your old uncle Alexei tell you to go to church, but when a crazy wild eyed Amerikanski starts pointing fingers at you and telling you about the Pakis taking over England…)

    If we could reform some of the Christian military orders it might be a useful counterweight to the growing Islamic threat, btw.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  46. It would be interesting if AK wrote a post with statistics about the Russian Orthodox Church, but here is some anecdotal evidence partly in contrast with what others have said:

    In cities, and in suburbs, I have found churches full of families, not just elderly women (although the latter play an important role). In Moscow, there are even some parishes with a decidedly youthful atmosphere. For example, if I were single and looking to meet an intelligent young Orthodox maiden, I’d go to the church of St. Nicholas on Trekhgorny, and would go to events at the “art club” in the basement of that church: http://www.clubarteria.ru/.

    In Moscow at least, it is not uncommon to find believers in scientific circles, or priests with a scientific background. A colleague of mine seriously considered becoming a priest before being advised by his spiritual father to pursue science instead.

    During the last few years, food suitable for Orthodox fasting periods has become increasingly common in Moscow restaurants.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Talha
  47. El Dato says:

    Final Step will be Leto’s Fortress-Throne on Dune. With Fish Speakers, please.

    Meanwhile, what the hell is going on here? Is it the work of the Red Heifer?

    Recognizing Ukrainian Church would bring schism to Orthodox Christianity – Moscow

    Russian clergy have urged the Patriarch of Constantinople against establishing an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, warning it will result in “dramatic deterioration” of situation in Ukraine as regular worshippers oppose it.

    “The president of that country has said that, since Ukraine is an independent state, the church should be independent as well. However, ordinary believers do not want the unity with the Russian Orthodox Church to be broken, while the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not want autocephaly and has not asked for it,” Dr. Vladimir Legoida, the chief of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for relations between the church and society, said Monday.

    Legoida pointed out that Constantinople, which had signaled its intention to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a separate entity back in April, flatly rejects any dialog on the issue with the Russian Orthodox Church.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  48. El Dato says:
    @obwandiyag

    The increased lifespan is caused by 3 things, improved hygiene, improved diet, and immunization, only one of which is technological.

    No, all three are. And they demand serious IQ and capital infrastructure, too.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  49. Talha says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    So do you think the stats are being cooked by someone with an agenda to keep people despondent or are the methods in recording these stats not reliable?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  50. @Talha

    I haven’t seen the stats, and being a church-going believer, my own sample is obviously biased. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the absolute number of people who go regularly to church is small. But the interesting question is about the first and second derivative.

  51. @Dmitry

    “Attending church” and being “spiritual” is against the Christian religion, and real priests (like those in Russia) will actively discourage both behaviors. The Christian religion is three things, in ascending order:

    a) Prayer
    b) Fasting
    c) Confession and Eucharist

    It’s much better to do the full sacramental cycle once a year than to “attend church” every Sunday. “Attending church” is a blasphemy if you’re not doing fasting, confession and Eucharist.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @The Big Red Scary
  52. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    My favorite Christian (“Christian”) branch atm is Mormonism, which upholds conservative values more successfully than most, including high TFR’s, and has relatively high retention rates (70%), while also being uniquely technolophilic. But I like the Cult of the Machine God even more and that is what I want the ROC to gradually converge to.

    Actually, before you start to proselytize for Zardoz*, Anatoly, perhap you should first better acquaint yourself with your favorite Chrsitian branch? Do you even know anything at all about their theology?

    the part about their special underwear is true! :-)

    *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zardoz

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @Talha
  53. Talha says:
    @anonymous coward

    Very interesting point; should/can all religions be measured on the same metrics for what constitutes religious behavior or adherence to practice…?

    It would appear not even from within different strains of Christianity, if what you are saying is accurate.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  54. @Mr. Hack

    I’m familiar with their rules and theology. That’s why I said they’re “Christian”.

    Obviously, I have no intention of becoming Mormon. But that doesn’t stop me from recognizing that Mormonism is strongly competitive (high TFRs, high retention rates, technophilic).

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Dmitry
  55. Talha says:
    @Mr. Hack

    First time I came across this was from a Christian who has debate them (and Muslims) many times, Dr. Janes White. He considers them to be fully polytheistic and I don’t think that is inaccurate.

    I do wonder how they solve the infinite regress problem though…

    I used to know plenty in high school, but we never discussed their theology; for a Muslim, you cannot find better non-Muslims to help keep you on the straight and narrow. I was very impressed by their commitment and sacrifice though; they used to attend religious class every morning before school and were expected to do a year abroad as missionaries. I was invited to one of their weddings – no alcohol, just carbonated apple juice!

    Peace.

  56. Mr. Hack says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m curious whether you’ve been following the doings within the Ukrainian Orthodox church world? Of course I’m referring to what looks like the imminent proclamation of the ‘tomos’ by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew? Even through secular eyes (which I believe that you use to look at the world) this would be a huge blow to any last vestiges of the dying ‘Triune’ worldview. Although it’s not a done deal yet, you’ve not let loose with even a whimper?..The Russian propaganda department is certainly working overtime on this one, and you must be aware of it.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    , @Talha
  57. @Talha

    Two points:

    a) There’s really only one Christianity, the orthodox kind, including the Roman Catholic schismatics. Protestants call themselves “Christian”, but the whole history of their religion consists of rejecting Christian norms and values. It’s like when a country has ‘democratic’ in its name — that’s a surefire way to know it’s a totalitarian hellhole.

    b) The word ‘religion’ itself doesn’t denote anything that really exists. There’s nothing at all in common between Christianity and Islam, calling them both ‘religions’ is useless. It’s something liberal secular gnostics do as a shibboleth, to mark beliefs they hold to be false teachings (these are called ‘religions’) versus the beliefs they tolerate to exist. (These are called ‘ideologies’ or ‘theories’.)

    • Replies: @Talha
  58. @anonymous coward

    a) Prayer
    b) Fasting
    c) Confession and Eucharist

    Indeed.

    It’s much better to do the full sacramental cycle once a year than to “attend church” every Sunday. “Attending church” is a blasphemy if you’re not doing fasting, confession and Eucharist.

    To clarify, are you saying that one should not come to Divine Liturgy to pray unless one receives the Eucharist? If that is your position, then let me point out that it is an extreme one and would not be endorsed by any parish priest I have ever met.

    A much more common practice (currently and historically) is that coming to the Divine Liturgy to pray every Sunday is considered obligatory, except in case of illness, that frequent confession and communion are strongly encouraged (not so in all historical periods), and that they are obligatory at least once a year. Parish priests that I know in Russia strongly encourage confession and communion at least once a month, and coming to the Divine Liturgy every Sunday, regardless of whether you have prepared for communion, as well as Vespers and Matins the night before.

  59. @Dave Pinsen

    He wasn’t “gay.” He was homosexual.

    Good riddance. Let the Episcopalians have him. Take the Roman Catholic perverts and traitors too.

  60. @Mr. Hack

    To some degree I follow the goings-on, and it is very concerning. Compared to most of the commentariat here, I am a Ukrainophile, and I am not in principle opposed to eventual autocephaly for the church in Ukraine, but this is clearly a political move and no good will come of it. All it will do is further divide the Orthodox within Ukraine, as well as in many other Orthodox countries.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  61. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I share your viewpoint, but only because I have a lot of views on different topics.

    Mormons of America and Dati Leumim of Israel, are examples of two cult groups which are more conventionally successful than average. They have higher economic success and more children.

    The basis religion is a mystical insights, which are very distant from practical modern life. As I can understand it, Dati Leumi society they keep these mystical insights restricted to a very small number of people. And then they teach the rest of the people more practical guidance and lifestyle. So Dati Leumi society has something similar to “nobel lie” of Plato’s Republic. Mormons are probably similar.

    By comparison, in Israel – Haredim are a society, where almost a majority of men are trying to be mystics themselves. And the result are a kind of lumpenproletariat, of “hippies”, living on welfare.

    -

    A society with only people like Mormons or Dati Leumim, would be more powerful than one with other groups.

    But I’m not sure such society is conceivable. These people are more like just a standard bourgeoisie with some cultic elements.

    Just like any bourgeoisie, I think they are constantly pushing people out of the cult who don’t meet the requirements, or cannot afford to belong to the club.

    They might not function as “state religions”, because their coherence is based on being kind of “elite clubs” distinct from other people, with their own special customs. And when people lose the passion for these religious groups, then they are constantly leaving them. The end result, is that only people who conform groups’ ideology are remaining. And this is probably explanation of their bourgeois characteristics.

    In Dati Leumi society, I think people with “hippie” and “mystical” orientation are constantly leaving the society to become Haredim. While sceptical people, are leaving constantly to become secular. So the core population is maintaining its ideological consistency by constantly losing characters who do not agree with it.

    In Mormon society, it is very geographically specific. So presumably people who don’t conform to Mormon ideal, can go in a car and drive to another town.

  62. @The Big Red Scary

    How many of these expert parish priests are perverts and liars? Who cares what they think, exactly?

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  63. @RadicalCenter

    We are discussing practice in the Orthodox Church, which anonymous coward is perhaps misrepresenting. Since the practice of a given parish is very much influenced by that of its priest, their opinions are relevant, whether or not you agree with them.

    While sexual perversion is not unheard of among parish priests in the Orthodox Church, almost all are
    married, have children, and lead normal, wholesome lives. If you want examples of bad apples, a search engine will help you find them, but I have not yet personally encountered one in twenty years and ten parishes (I moved around frequently).

    • Replies: @AP
  64. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    There is no time that will be a good time for this move to be made, according to Russophiles. At first, there may be some minor bumps in the road, but in time this will all pass and the Ukrainian church will grow by leaps and bounds. It is the right move, at the right time!

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  65. @Mr. Hack

    Perhaps you need to refresh your memory concerning the heresy of ethnophyletism.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  66. Dmitry says:
    @utu

    In terms of numbers of people associating with the church, this is low as a proportion of the population.

    Among self-identifying 85% of the population who are Orthodox (which is partly like nationality identification and includes a large proportion of atheists), monthly communion attendance seems around 1.2% according to self-reports.* So around 1% of the population doing regular communion attendance.

    If you talk about other topics, like the level of spirituality in the population in Russia. There is all kinds of evidence of a strong spirituality (and perhaps the level could be higher than other countries).

    -
    * – No English source

    https://takiedela.ru/2017/04/takaya-rossiya-cerkov

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  67. @utu

    Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, you said. It’s a start. More palatable for me in terms of belief than Mormonism, despite it’s generally healthy nature.

  68. @The Big Red Scary

    To clarify, are you saying that one should not come to Divine Liturgy to pray unless one receives the Eucharist?

    “Should not” is too strong a word. The fact is that the Church in Russia today makes it their explicit policy to discourage useless ‘church attendance’. Their goal is communities and a genuine sacramental life, not ‘butts in the pews’. For example, priests will deny infant baptism if they see that the parents don’t lead a Christian life. The phenomenon of low ‘church attendance’ and a growing population of Christians isn’t a paradox, it’s the result of deliberate policy by the Russian Church.

  69. Talha says:
    @anonymous coward

    Protestants call themselves “Christian”, but the whole history of their religion consists of rejecting Christian norms and values.

    Not all of them. I mean, Shiahs have plenty of differences with Sunnis about validity of sources, practices and even core beliefs, but they are still Muslim (even if heterodox). But it’s your religion so you guys figure out who is and who is not and let the rest of us know.

    There’s nothing at all in common between Christianity and Islam

    Actually, the scary thing is that there is a lot in common. If you read the assessment of the first Orthodox Christians that made first contact with Islam, it is very obvious they thought it was a Christian heresy, they even called the Muslims things like “Hagarenes” (from Hagar, the Sons of Ishmael, etc.). “Saracen” – according to John of Damascus, was derived from the meaning “rejected by Sarah”. They thought is was analogous to the take over of Rome by Germanic tribes espousing Arianism and thought it would melt away in the same way…miscalculation.

    The word ‘religion’ itself doesn’t denote anything that really exists…It’s something liberal secular gnostics

    Let’s keep the liberals out of it – there aren’t that many on Unz honestly. But the word religion has a lexical meaning and has been used to mean something:

    1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
    1.1 A particular system of faith and worship.

    Origin
    Middle English (originally in the sense ‘life under monastic vows’): from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) ‘obligation, bond, reverence’, perhaps based on Latin religare ‘to bind’.

    I don’t even see why Satanism shouldn’t be called a religion – defining one has nothing to do with one’s like or dislike of it.

    The phenomenon of low ‘church attendance’ and a growing population of Christians isn’t a paradox, it’s the result of deliberate policy by the Russian Church.

    That is the most interesting statement I have read in a long time! But again, not my religion so it’s very difficult to know how accurate it is.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  70. Talha says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Do you have a source or article for this (in English)? It would be extremely interesting to read.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  71. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    I’ll do that immediately after you explain to me why other nations have their own national Orthodox churches:
    Russian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Georgian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, etc;?…

    • Agree: AP
  72. Dmitry says:
    @AaronB

    Obsession with religion can be bad for general mental health of people, as well as societal stability. Especially searching for “deeper sources” of the religion (which had an origin in altered consciousness) – would not be good for mental stability and practical life.

    It’s for societal stability, that organized religions operate more to hide deeper knowledge, than to reveal it, and are therefore mostly teaching primitive superstitions.

    This can vary between religions, depending on audience quality. Islam probably the most primitively superstitious religion, due to the lower level of its societies and greater instability of its diverse population.

    The diversity and instability of the Muslim world, results in a religion of “lowest common denominator”, and with a mission to discipline unruly cattle.

    The least misleading, mass religion, is maybe in Japan, where there is the most sophisticated population. But even there, the most popular religion, Shin Buddhism, is considered the least subtle.

    -
    Sources of real religious insight are from mystical experiences, which often required extreme fasting, walking in the desert for a month with no food until hallucinating (like Jesus), or mysterious Ancient drugs (such as soma juice, which is discussed in Upanishads).

    Historically, people clearly knew about mushrooms, and hallucinogenic ones as well as the poisonous and edible ones. Even 6000 years ago.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12231-011-9152-5

    Use of hallucinogenic mushrooms highly restricted to religious experts, shamans or druids in most cultures where they are used.

    For example, Amanita muscaria (Mukhomor krasnyi) was used historically by the people of Siberia, but precisely restricted by shamans , who were the only ones allowed to eat them.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Talha
    , @dfordoom
  73. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    I am not in principle opposed to eventual autocephaly for the church in Ukraine, but this is clearly a political move and no good will come of it.

    Religion should not mix with nationalism but in this case the Russian Orthodox Church is already mixed up in Russian nationalism. It is thus absurd, and detrimental for Orthodoxy within Ukraine, for the local Orthodox Church to be mixed up with the nationalism of a hostile power. The result is that most Orthodox believers in Ukraine belong to a schismatic Church. Granting autocephaly rectifies this, despite doing so being a “lesser evil” due to the nationalism that the local Orthodox Church will be mixed up with.

    A secondary point is that the Ukrainian Church lost its autonomy in the first place, in the 17th century, due to rather unseemly circumstances – Moscow bribed the Turkish infidels to pressure the Patriarch in Constantinople to agree to this. So this corrects an ancient wrong.

  74. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    I agree. But I know of rather shocking goings-on in Russian Orthodox monasteries. Celibacy includes saintly figures but it also attracts degenerates, regardless of Church.

  75. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    Please explain how the fact that every other nation having its own Church is less ethnophyletism than Ukraine having its own Church? There is an Orthodox Church in the USA, as well as Russian, Greek, Serbian, etc. Orthodox Churches in the USA.

    Adding to Mr. Hack’s response – once Kiev has its own canonical autocephalous Church will the Russian Church urge ethnic Russians within Ukraine to belong to this Church or will it promote an ethnic Russian Church within Ukraine?

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  76. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I found this interesting article also:

    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/why-independence-for-ukraine-s-orthodox-church-is-an-earthquake-for-putin

    Poroshenko himself belongs to the canonical Orthodox Church under Moscow in Ukraine; I didn’t know that he was a deacon in that Church. As such, the perfect vehicle to make this happen.

    It is probably good for global Orthodoxy, which had been lopsidedly dominated by Russia and subject to its nationalism. While Ukraine has less than 1/3 of Russia’s population, it probably has a similar number of practicing Orthodox believers. Quite a loss for Moscow’s patriarchate.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  77. AaronB says:
    @Dmitry

    Well, from the perspective of a materialistic society, religion is indeed bad for mental health (defined in psychoanalytic terms as being successfully adapted to your society) and the practical concerns of such a society, for obvious reasons that need no elaboration.

    But if one were to think that the most successful life is one where so-called mystical experiences predominate (which are really widespread and nothing else than experiences not communicable in terms of basic animal drives, such as hunger, sex, possessions, etc. Lying at night beneath a sky full of stars full of awe and wonder is a mystical experience, but that isn’t communicable in terms of basic drives like hunger, possessions, etc), then a rather different perspective about mental health and successful adaption emerges.

    You are correct that organized religion places social stability – preserving existing power relations from which it benefits – center stage and above genuine religion. This is an inevitable consequence of the Church becoming a political institution, which was its first corruption.

    OTOH, fully admitting the corrupt and even anti-spiritual tendencies of organized religion, mixed in with all the superstition and social control is an element of genuine spirituality, and its hard to see how the masses, ruled by their animal appetites (and I do not mean low IQ when I say the masses. Many high IQ people are utterly ruled by animal passions, desire for wealth, status, and power, and frequently less spiritual than the so-called “stupid” – who are often merely the unambitious), can be exposed to anything higher than animal concerns without some kind of organized religion.

    I think you’re being too hard on Islam – it does seem like its succeeded in raising the masses above a concern with mere animal passion while allowing space for a true spiritual elite to develop (Sufis). I also don’t see how it’s any more primitive than Judaism. They are steady equally primitive, although I think Judaism is significantly less spiritual.

    Which sort of undermines your attempt to link supposedly sophisticated religions to supposedly intelligent populations – for that matter, Orthodox Christianity is far more mystical and spiritual than Protestantism, yet is the religion of the lower-achieving half of Europe.

    In reality, there is probably an inverse relationship between genuine spirituality and achievement – as achievement in the practical realm only seems important to those who’ve lost sight of spirituality.

    That being said, I tend to agree with you that Eastern religions are the most mystical and genuinely spiritual – it’s almost like the further West you go, spirituality drops, with the nadir, of course, being America.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  78. @Talha

    If you read the assessment of the first Orthodox Christians that made first contact with Islam, it is very obvious they thought it was a Christian heresy

    Christian heresies aren’t Christianity, they’re anti-Christianity.

    The other point I was making is that everybody has some sort of religion. Even atheist liberals believe in a cosmic pantheistic force called ‘Evolution’. ‘Evolution’ is inhuman and inscrutable, but nonetheless it is a guiding force behind everything that happens in the Universe, driving it towards some inhuman and inscrutable end goal.

    There’s little difference between this ‘Evolution’ and any given pantheistic cult. In fact, belief in ‘Evolution’ is more compatible with Islam than Islam is compatible with Christianity.

    And yet Islam and Christianity are called ‘religions’, while calling belief in Evolution a religion will get you labeled as a crackpot crazy guy.

    This only shows that the word ‘religion’ is just a pejorative that’s used to belittle beliefs liberals don’t like. There’s really no other sense to the word in 2018.

    (See above, where (((Dmitry))) is going all-in on this one uncool semantic trick.)

    • Replies: @Talha
  79. @AP

    Please explain how the fact that every other nation having its own Church is less ethnophyletism than Ukraine having its own Church?

    As I said, I’m not opposed to it in principle (and besides, what difference does it make what I think?), but it will take a long time and a lot of diplomacy to arrange it without a schism. I don’t have a particular affection for the Russian Orthodox Church, but Orthodox people everywhere are too given to fragmentation.

    As I get older, I have to admit that I am more and more in favor of the status quo, since I’ve seen so little good come out of revolutions.

    The comment about ethnophyletism was for Mr.Hack, who seems more concerned about being Ukrainian than being Orthodox. Too many Russians have a similar problem.

    There is an Orthodox Church in the USA, as well as Russian, Greek, Serbian, etc. Orthodox Churches in the USA.

    Yes, and this is scandalous, and non-canonical when jurisdictions overlap. As I heard one American priest put it, “Choose your disease.”

    Adding to Mr. Hack’s response – once Kiev has its own canonical autocephalous Church will the Russian Church urge ethnic Russians within Ukraine to belong to this Church or will it promote an ethnic Russian Church within Ukraine?

    Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I have seen some splits, and usually after some years, one side turns out to be a better spiritual authority. We’ll see.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  80. Talha says:
    @anonymous coward

    Christian heresies aren’t Christianity, they’re anti-Christianity.

    OK – but what makes them dangerous from a Christian perspective is how much they have in common with Christianity, i.e. much of the West is Protestant (which you consider heretical) rather than going all in on Hinduism.

    ‘Evolution’ is more compatible with Islam than Islam is compatible with Christianity.

    Uh…OK.

    There’s really no other sense to the word in 2018.

    No problem, I guess the rest of us who disagree with this will continue to find use in the word without quotes. Left-liberals have already ruined a bunch of other things by trying to hijack the discourse and terms – I don’t see why we should give ground to them on yet another term or concept.

    Peace.

  81. Talha says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    How does this work exactly; do the people in the Greek Orthodox Church not take people in, say, the Russian or Ethiopian as authorities on religious matters?

    Peace.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  82. Talha says:
    @Dmitry

    Sources of real religious insight are from mystical experiences

    Correct.

    which often required extreme fasting, walking in the desert for a month with no food until hallucinating (like Jesus), or mysterious Ancient drugs (such as soma juice, which is discussed in Upanishads).

    I can guarantee you that you can have mystical experiences without resort to any extreme measures and literally sitting in a corner and meditating. Have you actually tread any of the various spiritual paths across the world for any serious amount of time or are you talking from book-knowledge? Because mystical experience/insight is like taste – it is impossible to describe it in mere words; for instance describe the taste of honey (an any number of words) to a person that has never tasted anything sweet.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Dmitry
    , @dfordoom
  83. @Talha

    The Coptic and Ethiopian churches are “non-Chalcedonian”, so separate.

    The Greek and Russian churches (and many others) are “in communion”, and any disagreements are largely petty and political (like what we are discussing now), rather than theological or spiritual. If there were a major controversy, then there should be a council of all Orthodox bishops to solve it, and all bishops would have equal authority in the council, though there would be various traditional protocols about who spoke first, second, and so on. In terms of practical spiritual influence, there is translation work so that Greek, Russian, and other Orthodox peoples can share with each other. I know for example that the lives of modern Greek elders are popular in both English and Russian, and I’ve heard from Greeks that they do value translations from Russian.

    • Replies: @Talha
  84. Talha says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    The Coptic and Ethiopian churches are “non-Chalcedonian”, so separate.

    Ah yes, I forgot – thank you.

    The rest of what you say makes sense; thanks for sharing.

    Peace.

  85. AaronB says:
    @Talha

    You don’t even have to sit in a corner and meditate. All you have to do is change your basic orientation to the world – no longer try and possess it or dominate it, no longer try and control it, no longer see it instrumentally – as an arena for the accumulation of power, wealth, and control, and the meaning of the world reveals itself to you.

    You can stand in front of a window on a rainy day in a city and be suffused with a sense of wonder. It’s actually very simple – mysticism isn’t some forbidding and difficult thing.

    These experiences were once widespread, but the entire modern world is organized to make them very rare. Today from an early age you are told to focus only on trying to control, dominate, and acquire, and you can’t find a job or have a social life if you don’t behave that way. Society will do its best to discard you if you approach the world in a way that makes meaningful and interesting experiences possible.

    The best act of revolt against the modern world is simply to stop – not be in a hurry, be relaxed. Just don’t do anything. Like Bartleby the Scrivener – seriously.

    I have found that simply doing my job efficiently but in a relaxed, unhurried, serene manner is a radical act that can be reliably counted on to create rage in certain others. In many American workplaces, you must be seen to be very intense, and refusing to do so, is seen as an act of subversive radicalism. Which it is.

    In my own way, I am Bartleby – I simply prefer not to :)

    • Replies: @Talha
  86. Talha says:
    @AaronB

    You don’t even have to sit in a corner and meditate.

    Agreed – often the mystical experience is completely spontaneous, comes out of nowhere. The meditation and silence helps simply to facilitate. A skhaykh I respect greatly said that one of the reasons that mystical experience comes unannounced is a mercy and gift to the student; the Divine is making sure the student does not assume it is through the results of his own efforts and thus fall into the sin of pride.

    You can stand in front of a window on a rainy day in a city and be suffused with a sense of wonder…These experiences were once widespread, but the entire modern world is organized to make them very rare.

    Indeed. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf once mentioned that he thought one of the reasons for the rising rates of atheism is because we are no longer able to see the stars as human beings living in urban environments. I actually remember seeing the stars one day on the road from Makkah to Madinah in the clear desert on a night with no clouds – absolutely breathtaking.

    In my own way, I am Bartleby

    Rage against the machine…

    Peace.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  87. AaronB says:
    @Talha

    the Divine is making sure the student does not assume it is through the results of his own efforts and thus fall into the sin of pride.

    The key thing seems to be passivity; letting go control; thus making space for the Divine.

    But this is impossible for moderns; the essence of modernity is control.

    Take away the mania for control, and modernity collapses.

    Rage against the machine…

    The Machine rages against me, precisely because I refuse to rage along with it.

    Love live Bartleby.

  88. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    Thanks for the citation – the article is indeed an interesting one. I too didn’t know that Poroshenko was a deacon within the UOC-MP church. No doubt he has influenced other Ukrainian priests within that church to see the benefits of a really complete autonomy, an independent church cut away from the undue influence of the Russian one.

  89. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    The comment about ethnophyletism was for Mr.Hack, who seems more concerned about being Ukrainian than being Orthodox. Too many Russians have a similar problem.

    Wanting an autocephlous, and independent Ukrainian church in no way diminishes my life as an Orthodox Christian. Does it do so for all of the practitioners of the other independent Orthodox churches that I brought up in comment #72? Be careful not to project your own opinions and phobias unto others.

  90. Dmitry says:
    @Talha

    I can guarantee you that you can have mystical experiences

    Shamans, prophets, mystics , founders of religions – they talk to angels and demons. Historically often with very extreme methods – fasting to near-death and hallucinogenic drugs.

    The above experiences are close to mental illness, and not recommendable for a normal person, who is in the office in the day.

    ; for instance describe the taste of honey (an any number of words)

    A nonsense. Everyone, if we assume immortality, has come here from another place, and will go somewhere else after death (and has a lot of intuition). Every soul dreams at night, and walks around quite distant places there. Everyone has at some level, a very similar consciousness. People suffering from certain organized religions will try to repress this though, as many other aspects of life.

    Most people even will have experiences like synchronicity, deja vu, prophetic dreams, etc, especially in childhood – the memories often being repressed or dismissed by teenage years.

  91. Dmitry says:
    @AaronB

    passion while allowing space for a true spiritual elite to develop (Sufis). I also don’t see how it’s any more primitive than Judaism. They are steady equally primitive, although I think Judaism is significantly less spiritual.

    In the Mediterranean region, there are commonly esoteric, or “mystery” religions, which reveal its strangely secret doctrines only for a small number of experts, while telling the cattle something else. This is pattern of Ancient Greek mystery cults. A structure (of exoteric vs esoteric) continues in religions like Druze religion, Judaism and (in America) in Scientology.

    Judaism has public and private faces. Public face is very simple and dumb, like mainstream (non-esoteric) Islam (although it doesn’t have so many immoral aspects like rewards for loyalty in an afterlife). Private face is like something created by mystics eating very large numbers of certain mushrooms.

    In Islam, there are sophisticated groups – the Druze religion is an example, and Sufism is another, who may have deep insights, not less than other religions. Esoterism likely developed in Islam in particular considering the oppressive and conformist external environment.

    But most parts of Islam are designed for ruling cattle and pure conformism.

    For example, obsession with modesty, promises of rewards for loyalty in afterlife. These are immoral kind of antispiritual superstitious, which is why most secular people are much more spiritual and moral than many of these religions.

    Some of these aspects of organized religion are making people far less “spiritual” than any kind of atheism can. It’s how you end up with a reality, where secular people become often much more “religious” in good sense, than practitioners of more corrupted religions, or parts of those religions.

    Burning of witches is an interesting case of this evil of the organized religion, where probably many real mystics, were being persecuted by conformists of corrupted religions.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  92. Bliss says:
    @El Dato

    Russian clergy have urged the Patriarch of Constantinople against establishing an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church

    Hmmm, so the dictators of the religion that is supposed to be the core of Russian identity are citizens of a foreign Muslim country.

    That does not behoove a self-respecting, nationalist Superpower does it?

  93. Talha says:

    The above experiences are close to mental illness, and not recommendable for a normal person, who is in the office in the day.

    Never said the experiences are of the same intensity.

    My teachers have taught that the soul (specifically the spirit) grows (often) inversely with a repression of the animal/material self. Think of it like exercising a muscle. This is universal to the human being; that is why many mystical states and experiences are often shared across the human race and across religious traditions – and many of them are very similar.

    not recommendable for a normal person, who is in the office in the day.

    Agreed – I would never recommend something that extreme. It can actually take people to the brink of insanity – even in Sufi circles, one has a guide often for this reason alone. But moderate mystical experiences – of a very profound quality can certainly be experienced by your common-era man. It is impossible to assume the Divine is so unjust as to forsake post-modern man; post-modern man is the one who turned his back.

    A nonsense.

    OK – describe the feelings of an orgasm to an eunuch who has never had one. Words are inadequate. The most you will get is describing similitudes which may certainly be enough to get the point across…or not.

    Everyone, if we assume immortality, has come here from another place, and will go somewhere else after death (and has a lot of intuition). Every soul dreams at night, and walks around quite distant places there. Everyone has at some level, a very similar consciousness.

    Agreed – see my last point above. It may simply be enough to describe a phenomena to someone, but – as they say…seeing is believing.

    Most people even will have experiences like synchronicity, deja vu, prophetic dreams

    I agree – this is quite common. I described on another thread how a friend had his lung collapse and was taken to the ER and his mother was nowhere around and had no clue, but started going into a panic that something was wrong with her son. If the metaphysical realm exists; our denial of its reality is irrelevant any more than someone scoffing at the idea of atoms in the 5th century.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  94. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    If you talk about other topics, like the level of spirituality in the population in Russia.

    I’m not actually sure that this “spirituality” thing you talk about actually exists. “Spirituality” is just atheistic self-indulgence and sentimentality. It’s possibly the most dangerous form of atheism. And it has a huge appeal to women (which is one of the reasons it’s so dangerous).

    • Replies: @Matra
    , @Bliss
  95. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    Sources of real religious insight are from mystical experiences, which often required extreme fasting, walking in the desert for a month with no food until hallucinating (like Jesus), or mysterious Ancient drugs (such as soma juice, which is discussed in Upanishads).

    No, I don’t think so. The hippies were wrong. A drug trip is not a religious experience. If you induce the same effect by fasting it’s still not a religious experience. Inducing the symptoms of schizophrenia does not give you religious insights. It gives you schizophrenia.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  96. Dmitry says:
    @Talha

    Articles of Sam Parnia from ER departments, could become interesting in the future, and already with a lot of kind of stupid media attention (he publishes a lot of articles recently on experience of patients after heart resuscitation).

    He’s man talking from 3:00 in video below. His summarizes kind of strange stories he’s writing papers about, from 6:00 in the video:

    • Replies: @Talha
  97. Matra says:
    @dfordoom

    Basically, Stuff White People Like:

    White people will often say they are “spiritual” but not religious. Which usually means that they will believe any religion that doesn’t involve Jesus.

    Popular choices include Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah and, to a lesser extent, Scientology. A few even dip into Islam, but it’s much more rare since you have to give stuff up and actually go to Mosque.

    Mostly they are into religion that fits really well into their homes or wardrobe and doesn’t require them to do very much.

  98. Bliss says:
    @El Dato

    No, all three are. And they demand serious IQ and capital infrastructure, too.

    Then explain why in the ranking of nations by lifespan Russia ranks at #110, well below Maldives (#34), Jamaica (#51), Bahamas (#53), Barbados (#62), Sri Lanka (#70), Mauritius (#77) etc, etc ?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

  99. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Talha

    I can guarantee you that you can have mystical experiences without resort to any extreme measures and literally sitting in a corner and meditating. Have you actually tread any of the various spiritual paths across the world for any serious amount of time or are you talking from book-knowledge?

    To me it seems that taking drugs or inducing hallucinations by fasting is cheating. It’s trying to take a shortcut. And maybe genuine religious experience can’t be reached by shortcuts. With these shortcuts what you get are hallucinations and an emotional buzz. You’re only engaging the body and (at the very crudest levels) the emotions.

    My feeling is that the sitting in a corner and meditating method you mention is probably much more like hard work, there’s no guaranteed buzz and no guaranteed cool sparkly visions, but it’s probably more likely to give you a genuine religious experience. I always figured religion was rewarding partly because it involved some work and some commitment and some discipline.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Talha
    , @Bliss
    , @Dmitry
  100. AaronB says:
    @dfordoom

    Oy.

    Actually meditating is about letting go – the opposite of hard work. You watch things come you watch them go.

    Even the effortful kind of meditating – focusing on a single point – is about letting go of plans for the future and regrets about the past, dreams and imaginings, and simply being in the present.

    Can we get over the nightmare of Protestantism already? Can we make a serious effort to overcome modernity or we will we be forever trapped in its assumptions and values?

    This is why I’m so pessimistic about the alt right – it sits squarely within the assumptions of modernity and does not represent a real break with it.

    The satisfaction of hard work is at best personal ego satisfaction – religion asks of you to surrender to something higher than yourself. Its no longer YOU doing anything.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @Bliss
  101. Talha says:
    @dfordoom

    To me it seems that taking drugs or inducing hallucinations by fasting is cheating.

    Well, I can’t speak on behalf of other traditions, but there’s a good reason why we aren’t allowed to take intoxicants and hallucinogens…I’m sure steroids also gets faster results, but I’d avoid them.

    there’s no guaranteed buzz and no guaranteed cool sparkly visions, but it’s probably more likely to give you a genuine religious experience

    And time. People do not understand that your soul is not a microwave dinner that you heat for 2 minutes, turn over and heat again. Small, but consistent effort over years and even decades is what my teachers have taught (I doubt many other serious traditions teach anything different). I don’t know of a single spiritual guide (in this day and age) in our tradition that didn’t have to go through at least a decade or more of serious training.

    There are a lot of analogies in life – a man that has a small but consistent daily exercise routine will make gains in health as long as he also (importantly) minds what he puts into his body. A guy who eats chili cheese dogs, pizza and grape soda all the time while going to the gym three days a month (and working out for 5 hours straight each session) may in fact put in close to the over all time the former man does, but he will likely gain nothing but sore muscles.

    I always figured religion was rewarding partly because it involved some work and some commitment and some discipline.

    Exactly! Human beings like challenges (a thousand guys will try out for the Navy SEALs knowing full well that only a couple hundred will make it) – even the spiritual kind. A man who is disciplined and in control of his own soul and desires versus another is like comparing the athlete to the corpulent mountain of flesh walking on two legs that never met a meal he didn’t like.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  102. Talha says:
    @AaronB

    Actually meditating is about letting go

    Actually, in my particular tradition that is the path we tread. That is where the actual effort lies – in letting go. The issue is that modern human beings have so much gunk that is stored up and trashed our hearts that it actually requires effort to try to go into silent mode and ward off distractions – the vast majority of people get anxiety if you simply ask them to sit quietly in a corner for just 5-10 minutes – they can’t handle it.

    A simply goat herder will likely not have the same challenge due to how stripped down and simple his life is.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  103. Talha says:
    @Dmitry

    Thanks for that video! I would love to hear his future presentation.

    Peace.

  104. Bliss says:
    @Talha

    A man who is disciplined and in control of his own soul

    No man is in control of his soul. That is ass-backwards.

    Soul is not something inferior to man that he can control like his sensory or worldly desires. It is the controller itself.

    • Replies: @Talha
  105. Talha says:
    @Bliss

    We seem to have a difference of opinion on the nature of the soul (nafs) vis-a-vis the nature of the spirit (ruh). Nothing to get worked up about.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  106. Bliss says:
    @AaronB

    Actually meditating is about letting go – the opposite of hard work. You watch things come you watch them go.

    You make it sound too easy.

    If Detachment/Surrender was so easy there would be numerous saints walking the Earth.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  107. AaronB says:
    @Talha

    Ok, I can agree with that. Your tradition sounds like Zen :)

    Right, letting go is a choice, and can be a difficult and scary one for moderns, who think security lies in control, and only action has value.

    I’m just revolting against the modern cult of action – the basis of modernity – and in favor of the ancient preference for contemplation. Although action too has its place – but the grotesque Protestant “work ethic” has to die if we are to overcome modernity.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  108. Bliss says:
    @Talha

    We seem to have a difference of opinion on the nature of the soul (nafs) vis-a-vis the nature of the spirit (ruh).

    Either way it is absurd to say that man has power over his soul. That assumes that man is a superior entity to his soul. How does that make sense to you?

    • Replies: @Talha
  109. AaronB says:
    @Bliss

    Well, most people don’t see the value in it – they are ruled by fear and desire control, and value “hard work”.

    But I agree it can be scary and disorienting at first for moderns, and requires a real decision on our part.

    But in a sense it’s exceedingly simple and easy and there is no reason to overconplicate it, once you see the value in it.

    But it is also a total lifestyle, and one that isn’t easily made compatible with the demands of modernity – and really would require real sacrifice from us if it is to really become the rule of our life.

  110. Bliss says:
    @AaronB

    the grotesque Protestant “work ethic” has to die if we are to overcome modernity.

    What’s your problem with the work ethic? Heard of Karma Yoga?

    If your goal is Detachment/Surrender and it is as easy to achieve as you keep insisting, then what does it matter to you if the world you find yourself in is fast-paced modern not slow-moving medieval?

    • Replies: @AaronB
  111. Talha says:
    @Bliss

    “Man” is an amalgam of all his composite parts – spiritual, mental, physical. His spirit being his primary identity. He struggles in life to bring his soul into line (from it being the lower self/ego into its maturation and elevation into the disciplined, higher soul whose desires are in line with his spirit – which, by its very nature, wants to be in accord with the Divine will.

    Allah (swt) said: “Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall declare war upon him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more beloved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with voluntary extra worship so that I shall love him. When I love him; I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks.” -reported in Bukhari

    • Replies: @Bliss
  112. AaronB says:
    @Dmitry

    I don’t entirely disagree with you about the evils of organized religion or the exotetic/esoteric feature of Mediterranean region religions – although I disagree with some of your details.

    However, while organized religion can fall very low, I am not entirely sure “Westerners” can dispense with it. Historically, this has been the form of religion in the West. It may have something to do with the character of the people – just as Westerners seem to have a greater propensity towards actionthan Easterners, although historically this was held in check by the great religions, which faithfully preserved the correct preference for contemplation over action.

    But I am not decided on this point, and have not fully given it thought.

    Also, esoteric elements within religion are so called not because anything is kept deliberately hidden but because they deal with experiences that are beyond words – mysticism.

    The exception to this seem to be The ancient Mystery Cults, but in fact we know next to nothing about them, and at their center was probably an incommunicable experience.

    High Paganism of the kind practiced by Plotinus was already very similar to Eastern traditions, and was incorporated into Christianity (and was strikingly consistent with the character and sayings of Jesus), and probably influenced Sufism.

    As for Judaism vs Islam, when I was growing up my Rabbis constantly emphasized reward in Heaven, although granted it was not of a corporeal nature. A point in favor of Islam is its universalism, whereas Judaism has a rather harsh and restrictive insider/outsider outlook, albeit admittedly as an exoteric overlay on an essentially universalist vision.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  113. AaronB says:
    @Bliss

    Well, it matters to me because modern life makes it harder for me to live out my values – although not impossible, and I’m increasingly finding ways to do so, by giving up many aspects of modern life, which, in the end, is a Good Thing :)

    Aside from that, I think the mania for actionto be harmful to humanity at large – and so I offer the ancient perspective. Of course others are free to refuse it, and I’m under no illusions many will accept it.

    Karma Yoga is a perfectly legitimate path for a certain level, but it too is inconsistent with a life bent on acquiring wealth, power, and control – the modern Trinity – where most of your time must necessarily be spent on these goals and only a few moments per day can be spent on work.

    Nor is Karma Yoga large scale “industrial level” charitable works meant to fundamentally transform life on earth, that might require tremendous, indeed industrial scale, activity – that is modern, where making life on earth comfortable and secure is the highest goal.

    It is a much more serene affair carried out in one’s individual life, and is meant to lead up to a life of contemplation.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  114. Bliss says:
    @Talha

    “Man” is an amalgam of all his composite parts – spiritual, mental, physical.

    “Soul” is not something physical/material is it?

    So how can something that is also physical, like man, be superior to something that is spiritual/non-material like the soul?

    Allah (swt) said…..reported in Bukhari

    If it is ”reported in Bukhari” it is a Hadith. Only the Quran is the “word of Allah”.

    • Replies: @Talha
  115. Talha says:
    @Bliss

    Ok so you don’t agree with the definitions I proposed; no problem.

    Only the Quran is the “word of Allah”.

    So you don’t believe Muslims can derive lessons from hadith (especially those termed hadith qudsi). Again, no problem.

  116. Bliss says:
    @AaronB

    Well, it matters to me because modern life makes it harder for me to live out my values –

    This is amusing coming from someone who chose to live in New York City, and sings it’s praises often.

    I think the mania for actionto be harmful to humanity at large – and so I offer the ancient perspective.

    So much for Detachment and Surrender.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  117. AaronB says:

    Also I want to clarify I am not in favor of enforced passivity – there are many things we naturally need to do in life.

    I am just against enforced activity, which is the vice of modern times, action that isn’t necessary but undertaken out of a furious project to control the world, and often just agitation for its own sake (novelty).

    Either one of these is one-sided and dualistic.

    This mirrors the process of meditation – you neither suppress thoughts nor develop them and pursue them. You let go.

    True bliss is found not in control but in collaborating with Heaven, as the Taoists say.

  118. AaronB says:
    @Bliss

    Bliss – I don’t choose to live here. I would move immediately if I could. Like most people, for the time being I am trapped by economic necessity.

    But I hope not for long.

    Detachment does not mean abandoning humanity – if that were the case, no Sage would ever have taught detachment :)

    Even the hermit who lives alone in a cave seeks Union – it is not mere misanthropic abandonment of humanity.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  119. Bliss says:
    @dfordoom

    To me it seems that taking drugs or inducing hallucinations by fasting is cheating.

    Don’t lump fasting with hallucinogenic drugs. The benefits of fasting are known through experience by practically all spiritual traditions. For example, here’s a poem by Rumi:

    There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.

    We are lutes, no more, no less.
    If the soundbox
 is stuffed full of anything, no music.

    If the brain and belly are burning clean
 with fasting
    Every moment a new song comes out of the fire.

    The fog clears, and new energy makes you
 run up the steps in front of you.

    Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.

    Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.

    When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
 where your spirit should
    .

    • Replies: @Bliss
  120. Bliss says:
    @AaronB

    Detachment does not mean abandoning humanity

    How can you be truly Detached if you are still clinging to “humanity”?

    Even the hermit who lives alone in a cave seeks Union

    FYI, the hermit meditating alone in his cave, or hut or room, is not seeking Union with humanity. He is seeking Union with God.

    it is not mere misanthropic abandonment of humanity.

    Detachment by definition is not misanthropic.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  121. Bliss says:
    @dfordoom

    I’m not actually sure that this “spirituality” thing you talk about actually exists. “Spirituality” is just atheistic self-indulgence and sentimentality. It’s possibly the most dangerous form of atheism.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to equate spirituality to atheism. Spirituality affirms what Atheism denies: existence of a higher reality than matter-energy.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  122. AaronB says:
    @Bliss

    How can you be truly Detached if you are still clinging to “humanity”?

    By not clinging to any particular human, or even humanity as a collective. By seeking unity with the All, you forego attachment to any particular fragment, while remaining committed to the welfare of all.

    FYI, the hermit meditating alone in his cave, or hut or room, is not seeking Union with humanity. He is seeking Union with God.

    The hermit seeks union with the Absolute, which contains humanity.

    There is a reason hermits flourished during collectivist and religious eras – because social collectivism on one level, and religious solitude on another, both express the desire for Union.

    By contrast our era, which is highly individualistic and atomistic, not only doesn’t have hermits, but is hostile to the concept. Because we believe in competitive struggle of atoms and are against any level of unity- social or higher.

    Detachment by definition is not misanthropic.

    Some detachment may be inspired by a bitter rejection of mankind, and some by a search for deeper Unity with the Absolute which may require one to remove himself from the competitive and strife-filled social realm.

    I notice Bliss that you frequently introduce dualities into your analyses.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  123. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    As I said, I’m not opposed to it in principle (and besides, what difference does it make what I think?), but it will take a long time and a lot of diplomacy to arrange it without a schism.

    There already is a schism. 2/3 of Orthodox in Ukraine, the worlds’ second largest Orthodox country, belong to a schismatic Church because the recognized one in their country belongs to a foreign country, colludes with a foreign state with whom their country is in a low-grade undeclared war, and is mixed up with the nationalism of that foreign country.

    Giving Ukraine what every other Orthodox country has fixes the problem.

  124. @obwandiyag

    Anybody who uses the term “capital infrastructure” is an idiot.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    , @obwandiyag
  125. Bliss says:
    @AaronB

    By not clinging to any particular human, or even humanity as a collective.

    Right. And that contradicts your previous assertion: Detachment does not mean abandoning humanity.

    By seeking unity with the All, you forego attachment to any particular fragment, while remaining committed to the welfare of all.

    There you go backsliding again. Commitment to the welfare of humanity is not Detachment. It is not Surrender when you can’t let go.

    Some detachment may be inspired by a bitter rejection of mankind

    Misanthropy cannot lead to Detachment. It too keeps one clinging to the Dream/Illusion.

  126. Bliss says:
    @Bliss

    One could distill Rumi’s poem to:

    There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness
    If the brain and belly are burning clean
 with fasting
    The fog clears, and new energy makes you
 run up the steps in front of you
    When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
 where your spirit should.

  127. @AP

    Let me clarify my prior and my position: I am familiar with at least one case of an Orthodox jurisdiction breaking up, with one side staying under the Patriarch of Moscow and the other side joining the Patriarch of Constantinople. It lead too much scandal for all involved, though fortunately no physical violence, with some parishes being driven out of the churches they built many decades ago. In the end, one side more or less fell apart in terms of spiritual authority, with most people joining the other. In Ukraine, I suspect it will be much worse, likely even violent. This is why I have a “phobia”, as Mr. Hack puts it. But if it does come down to it, the question will ultimately be who is able to establish spiritual authority, and the most devout and patient people will decide.

    Questions (you may have better information than me):

    You say that two thirds of Orthodox Ukrainians belong to the schismatic church. What exactly is being counted here? Self-proclaimed affiliation? Baby baptisms? Receiving communion at Pascha? Weekly confession and communion? How do these numbers compare to those of the recognized church?

    Suppose Constantinople is willing to support a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Presumably Filaret, who was excommunicated from the Russian Church, will be expected to become primate, thus creating schism between the Ukrainian and Russian Church, forcing every Orthodox Christian in both countries to take sides.

    (Actually, I’m not sure this even possible canonically. The relation of being in communion should be transitive. So this scenario could create a schism between Moscow and Constantinople. Or Constantinople and Moscow will have to agree on a new primate.)

    What do you expect for the steady state of such a situation? Do you think that the number of Ukrainians who will choose to stay in communion with Moscow will be insignificant? How do you expect Onuphry to respond to this? Even if a large majority of devout Ukrainian Orthodox join a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church not in communion with Moscow, is this really the best of various imperfect solutions?

    (By the way, I don’t buy that Russia is a “hostile power” to Ukraine, and even if it were, I don’t think this would be relevant. Should Orthodox churches in America cut off relations with the Patriarch of Moscow?)

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  128. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    By the way, I don’t buy that Russia is a “hostile power” to Ukraine, and even if it were, I don’t think this would be relevant.

    You must be blind? Do you consider the sham plebscite put on in Crimea to be the acts of a friendly neighbor? How about the support and backing (actually inspiration and the planning of) the hybrid war in Donbas also to be the actions of a non hostile and friendly neighbor? Your masquerade as a ‘UKRAINOPHILE‘ that you self proclaimed in comment #61 is falling apart quickly.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  129. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    I wanted to give you a thumbs up on this comment, however, my ability to do so has been curtailed? Whenever I click on the AGREE/DISAGREE feature, my options are all whited out? You wouldn’t happen to know why or how this could be corrected? A ‘right on’ comment!

  130. @Mr. Hack

    My attitude toward the state is pragmatic, not romantic, supporting legitimate government everywhere, which proves itself legitimate by stability and a monopoly on the means of force. And the only effective way to do this is the long-term is by providing good government. There was a violent coup against the government of Ukraine, followed by a power struggle among various actors, which was inevitable in the circumstances. In short, Ukraine was a failed state. Poroshenko’s government re-established some degree of legitimacy in Ukraine (though it is still rather weak and apparently beholden to paramilitary organizations), the Russian government established legitimacy in Crimea, and Donbass is a bloody mess. I support the restoring of order there by any party that has the fortitude to do it.

    The sense in which I am a Ukrainophile is that I recognize a Ukrainian identity distinct from Russian identity as a phenomenon with real roots worthy of respect. Moreover, I sincerely hope that the best interests of Ukrainian people are pragmatically realized. My reading of the situation is that the best interests of the Ukrainian people would be to formally declare neutrality with respect to NATO and Russia (it will never be secure without this), to build up its military to the point where it can credibly defend its current borders, and to work out a harmonization of trade between the EU and Russia. What people in my wife’s ancestral village need most are good jobs and an assurance that they are not going to be drafted to fight in pointless conflicts.

    So I am a Ukrainophile in the exact same way as I am a Russophile. If the Russian state should happen to fail at some point, there will inevitably be a nasty power struggle, and if some strong man from Kiev or Minsk was able to restore peace, order, and good government, I’d approve even of that.

  131. @AP

    ROC has actually been remarkably neutral on the Donbass War – for instance, one priest who blessed NAF volunteers was barred from continuing to preach.

    https://topwar.ru/71954-svyaschennik-blagoslovivshiy-opolchencev-iz-ekaterinburga-na-poezdku-v-donbass-otluchen-ot-sluzheniya.html

    This wasn’t the only example, either.

    It is quite humorous. Official ROC went out of its way to avoid taking a stance on the Donbass War, inviting the enmity of Russian nationalists, and is getting spat on for its trouble by Ukrainians anyway. But one might argue that it serves it right. Rugs are to be trod upon, after all.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
  132. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    Whereas I don’t completely agree with you, I respect your positions and enjoy your posts.

    You say that two thirds of Orthodox Ukrainians belong to the schismatic church. What exactly is being counted here? Self-proclaimed affiliation? Baby baptisms? Receiving communion at Pascha? Weekly confession and communion? How do these numbers compare to those of the recognized church?

    Various polls consistently show that the number of people claiming adherence to the Kiev Patriarchy (KP) and the much smaller UAOC outnumber those loyal to the Moscow Patriarchy (MP) 2:1:

    https://orthodoxyindialogue.com/2018/09/09/the-will-of-orthodox-christians-in-ukraine-metropolitan-hilarion-alfeyev-vs-the-statistics/

    This discrepancy has increased. Moreover, the regions with the most monolithic adherence to MP are in longer under Kiev’s control. The MP inherited the Soviet-era infrastructure, so it controls a lot of the most famous monasteries and churches (such as the famous Pecherska Lavra in Kiev), while having fewer adherents.

    I do not have data on specific baptisms and communions; however the most religious parts of Ukraine are in the country’s west and center (where the KP is strongest) and least religious are in the south and east (where MP has the most support) so in general the KP adherents take their faith more seriously.

    Suppose Constantinople is willing to support a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Presumably Filaret, who was excommunicated from the Russian Church, will be expected to become primate, thus creating schism between the Ukrainian and Russian Church, forcing every Orthodox Christian in both countries to take sides.

    Ideally someone other than Filaret would be chosen (he, like most Russian hierarchs, is tainted by association with the KGB). You know more about Church “political” maneuvers than I do. Might Russia rescind the excommunication once Filaret is approved by Constantinople?

    What do you expect for the steady state of such a situation?

    Official recognition of the Kiev Church would probably result in further erosion of number of adherents of the MP Church in Ukraine, because it would remove an obstacle for those who fear belonging to a Church that is considered schismatic by Orthodoxy. MP would be simply the Church of Russian nationalists or ethnic Russians indifferent to the Ukrainian state, in Ukraine.

    How do you expect Onuphry to respond to this

    He seems to be a hardcore Russian nationalist and would respond however a hardcore Russian nationalist would.

    Even if a large majority of devout Ukrainian Orthodox join a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church not in communion with Moscow, is this really the best of various imperfect solutions?

    I think it is better than 2/3 of the religious people belonging to a schismatic Church and the steady erosion of support and legitimacy of the only recognized Church in the country.

    I don’t buy that Russia is a “hostile power” to Ukraine

    Stories of 10,000s of Russian troops in Ukraine and the official dogma that the Donbas war is a Russian invasion (vs. a civil war) are false. But, Russia did grab a chunk of Ukrainian territory and does send a steady stream of volunteers and bullets into Ukraine, extending the life of the ongoing civil war and killing Ukrainian people. It’s doing to Ukraine what the West has done to Syria, albeit on a smaller and less lethal scale. That qualifies as very hostile. The Russian Church is closely bound to the Russian State. You have people in Ukraine being killed by Russian-supplied bullets and a Church whose leader is very friendly with the guy who sends those bullets. Understandably, this degrades support for the Church by devout people. It’s a different form of problem than the sex abuse scandal plaguing the Roman Catholic Church but it is a huge problem in Ukraine, that is easily solved by no longer having the Church in Ukraine be under Moscow. People either switch to the schismatic Church or stop going to Church.

    Should Orthodox churches in America cut off relations with the Patriarch of Moscow

    The Orthodox Church of America is under Moscow (because the first Orthodox in Russia were Russians and Ukrainians in Alaska and California). However:

    1. Russia is not as hostile towards America as it is towards Ukraine.

    2. Orthodoxy in the USA is a relatively marginal faith, and most Orthodox do not belong to the OCA but to various ethnic Churches not under Moscow. The Ukrainian Orthodox in the USA is under Constantinople, for example. But if the OCA was something like a state church it would certainly make sense for it not to be under the authority of a Patriarch who serves a foreign state and rival. Russia is not the Vatican.

  133. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    ROC has actually been remarkably neutral on the Donbass War – for instance, one priest who blessed NAF volunteers was barred from continuing to preach.

    It has had to tone things down due to all of those adherents within Ukraine but neutral is going a bit far. Rather, it is as pro-Russian as it feels it can get way with given that it has a lot of adherents in Ukraine and is not yet simply the Church of Russian nationalists within Ukraine. In some respect it can be considered the last Soviet-era institution uniting the two countries, promoting the Soviet-era brotherhood of two nations ideally in one state idea.

    Ukrainian wiki lists various ways in which the UOC-MP sides with Russia.

    Some of them are trivial (UOC MP Church in Poltava uses the Russian Two-headed Eagle) but the overall picture is that it is pro-Russian and serves the interests of the Russian State as best it can under the circumstances it is in. And has done so historically.

  134. Dmitry says:
    @AaronB

    although historically this was held in check by the great religions, which faithfully preserved the correct preference for contemplation over action.

    Influence of “great religions” – historically, mainly negative, as they are becoming to an extent, exploitative (based on false promises) political ideologies for ruling empires, with some spiritual legacy discernible, or being reawakened from time to time (as with Martin Luther).

    Also, esoteric elements within religion are so called not because anything is kept deliberately hidden but because they deal with experiences that are beyond words – mysticism.

    Distinction between exoteric/esoteric teaching is quite explicit in these small “family-size” religions (or maybe call them “cults”).

    Scientology has applied this model with capitalism (if you buy all their courses, then you are receiving their real doctrines).

    In Judaism, only married rabbis, over 35 years, with adequate qualifications, are learning the deeper doctrines of the religion (reincarnation, revealed vs hidden god, hermeneutics of the text, etc).

    Druze follow a similar structure – only a small religious elite of men of particular Druze heritage are allowed to be learn their doctrines.

    However, if we look further back. In tribal society, a common structure, that religious knowledge is restricted only to a shaman, as with psychedelic drugs which they have special rights in their tribe for.

    The experience of shaman (being drunk on large amounts of psychedelic drugs and fasting in the forest), are not assimilable to normal or practical life, and their knowledge would make a normal person going insanity. Deeper experiences like this are necessarily restricted, and not something most people who have to do practical tasks, really want to know.

    “Religious experience will make crazy”. – This is much more honest, than some Western and Eastern views, which try to calm people only, or tell them reassuring things.

    A point in favor of Islam is its universalism

    Universalism – just a sign that it is no longer spiritual, but more political ideology, designed for ruling empires and homogenizing distinct culture into vast numbers of cattle, often using very exploitative lies (e.g. false promises of a reward for political loyalty in an afterlife).

    Genuine religion is not universal, but has to respond very individual needs, as the spiritual needs of souls vary rapidly between people and cultures.*

    If you want a historical example. Look at witch hunting in Early Modern Europe. This is an example of spontaneous, real religious mystics, being persecuted by conformists, using universalist, antispiritual versions of Middle Eastern doctrines that were completely foreign and unsuitable for Europe until adopted by the world’s most powerful empire, and converted into suitable form of political ideology.

    -

    * Jung is writing a lot about this topic, while acknowledging universal themes in mythology.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  135. @AP

    Thanks for the link. Unfortunately it linked further to iri.org, which seems to be blocked in Russia, and I don’t have Tor on this device. I can believe, though, that the statistics are as stated. As I said, ultimately such disputes are decided over time by the faithful.

    Ideally someone other than Filaret would be chosen (he, like most Russian hierarchs, is tainted by association with the KGB). You know more about Church “political” maneuvers than I do. Might Russia rescind the excommunication once Filaret is approved by Constantinople?

    I know very little of political maneuvers, and only have vague ideas about the relevant canons, which I’ve picked up second-hand from history books. Currently Constantinople has appointed “exarchs” from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America and Canada. This is problematic, but let us hope for the best.

    OT: The website to which you linked is less than Orthodox. Exhibit A:

    https://orthodoxyindialogue.com/2018/08/18/to-be-gay-is-to-be-a-person-why-real-orthodoxy-liberates-a-romanian-case-study-by-richard-razvan-vytniorgu/

    • Replies: @AP
  136. @AP

    But, Russia did grab a chunk of Ukrainian territory and does send a steady stream of volunteers and bullets into Ukraine, extending the life of the ongoing civil war and killing Ukrainian people. It’s doing to Ukraine what the West has done to Syria, albeit on a smaller and less lethal scale. That qualifies as very hostile.

    I explained my position on these matters above, in a reply to Mr. Hack. Honestly, I think Crimea has been a success, given the circumstances. As for Donbass, since it is politically impossible for Poroshenko to implement the Minsk agreement, and politically impossible for Putin to let Ukraine take back Donbass, the horror will continue. Perhaps UN peacekeepers could work. The only other practical solution is for Russia to invade, and that seems rather unlikely.

    I think the comparison to Syria is inaccurate, not only in scale. In particular, there is no demand on the part of the Russian government that “Porky must go” as a precondition for any agreement.

    • Replies: @AP
  137. Dmitry says:
    @dfordoom

    Religious experience and madness are not far distant, at all.

    In both cases, it is radically altering the normal, evolutionarily useful consciousness, which we use in daily life. Often the altering, has to be very, extreme.

    The founders of major religions – whether Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, entered into (what we would now consider) total insanity at various points in their lives.

    Jesus was fasting (the most biologically simple method to induce hallucinations) in the desert, wresting with demons, for 40 days. This is on a very extreme level, which probably no-one in the 21st century could even imagine. The desert where he was doing this is also extremely hostile (I’ve found it stressful walking for an afternoon, with all water and sunscreen, in the winter there – so you can imagine how extreme his actions were).

    Traditional task of the shaman, however, is not only to enter insanity, but also to try to integrate knowledge from their altered consciousness, into something useful for the others of the society.

    So religion in the authentic sense, involved integration between the different realms (of normal practical. consciousness, and the altered consciousness which can lead to madness).

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  138. AaronB says:
    @Dmitry

    I think you’re coming from a Jungian perspective, which is a good start, but you might want to read up on the actual religious experiences described by members of the great religions.

    Shamanic experiences are only one type of religious experience, and your remarks seem to be limited to them.

    Mystics do not describe their experiences in terms of visions, hallucinations, or strange and terrifying experiences that bring them to the brink of insanity and make them unable to function in practical affairs.

    Rather it is an experience that cannot be communicated in terms of earthly things, as a vision can, but to be of a wholly different order, and to be of an overwhelmingly positive nature and to lead to feelings of the goodness and rightness of the world despite all its apparent ills.

    Most importantly and what should be emphasized, this experience does not have any practical utility whatsoever and does not lead to any knowledge in the ordinary sense – it’s only effect is to make one kinder and more compassionate and life more satisfying and meaningful.

    So instead of being a case of bringing useful knowledge from another realm that aids in tribal survival, which is instrumental knowledge (having an end other than itself), this experience is seen as an end in itself, the summum bonum of life.

  139. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    Honestly, I think Crimea has been a success, given the circumstances.

    I agree. Almost no lives were lost (Something like 1 Russian and 1 Ukrainian soldier), most people there are satisfied, and Ukraine has 1 million fewer pro-Russian voters, which is good for national consolidation.

    But a lot of people see it, correctly, as theft of a nation’s territory. If Finland grabbed a chunk of Karelia this would clearly be a hostile act.

    Interestingly, Crimea remains under the jurisdiction of the Ukraine branch of the Russian Orthodox Church rather than be directly under Moscow. An example of Soviet traditions living on through the ROC, at the highest administrative levels.

    I think the comparison to Syria is inaccurate, not only in scale. In particular, there is no demand on the part of the Russian government that “Porky must go” as a precondition for any agreement.

    A good point. But the West seems to be resigned to the fact that Assad will probably stay so it’s a Russia-like position. At any rate, arming, aiding, and providing diplomatic cover to a rebellion against a state as Russia does to Ukraine is clearly hostility towards that state.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  140. Dmitry says:
    @dfordoom

    Meditation is also very discipline, and it’s more a form of training, than one for mystical experience. It increases concentration, and is not something that is only religious, or related to mysticism. It can be useful for many kinds of people for practical reasons.

    Actual mystical experiences can happen to people spontaneously, in normal day life (often after great stress and lack of sleep, as well as particular brain injuries). Also it happens not so uncommonly during intense meditation studies, where they also partly restrict participants’ sleep. (Neurological studies of this subject discussed in the book “Zen and the Brain” – MIT Press).

    -

    But traditional method to create the removal of consciousness from our evolutionary useful consciousness, is including fasting or psychedelic drugs (depending on the religion and epoch).

    Probably because of the ease of entering experiences with psychedelic drugs, and the negative consequences for mental health – this method often seems quite hidden from history (as in Ancient Greece – Eleusinian Mysteries).

    When people like Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, were saying they had been fighting demons, and riding on angels – they were not lying. .

    With Muhammad for example. His experience of flying to heaven in a moment, is completely analogous to experiences of people smoking skin venom of Sonoran Desert toad.

    This experience very similar to Muhammad’s (even flying to heaven – they use metaphor of rocket ride, while Muhammad described it as a flying horse):

  141. @Mr. Hack

    Are you trying to construct another horseshoe theory?

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  142. Mr. Hack says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    Better than just another horsesh__ theory? Yes?…(at least I’m providing several articles that offer a substantially different point of view, unlike Karlin’s weak one trick pony!

  143. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Bliss

    It is absolutely ridiculous to equate spirituality to atheism. Spirituality affirms what Atheism denies: existence of a higher reality than matter-energy.

    I my experience people who describe themselves as spiritual rather than religious are people who are too selfish, too self-indulgent, too lazy, too lacking in self-discipline and too lacking in self-awareness to submit themselves to the discipline of religion. They want the warm fuzzy feelings that religion brings but they want those feelings for nothing.

    If they’re not out-and-out atheists then they’re certainly anti-religion and they’re a menace.

    You can choose religion or you choose atheism. “Spiritual” people want the advantages of both. These people are part of the disease of modernity.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  144. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    Religious experience and madness are not far distant, at all.

    Madness is easily mistaken for religion.

    I’m intensely suspicious of this kind of search for personal revelation. It seems like it would often lead to heresy.

  145. dfordoom says: • Website
    @AP

    But a lot of people see it, correctly, as theft of a nation’s territory.

    But wasn’t the transfer of the Crimea to Ukraine back in the 50s a blatant theft of Russian territory?

    Nations steal other nation’s territories all the time if they think they can get away with it. A large part of the United States was stolen from other countries. The U.S. annexation of California was much more legally and morally dubious than Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

    If you’re not strong enough to do anything about it then all you can do is accept it. Maybe one day you will be strong enough to do something about it. If Mexico ever becomes strong enough then California will be Mexican again.

    • Replies: @AP
  146. AP says:
    @dfordoom

    But wasn’t the transfer of the Crimea to Ukraine back in the 50s a blatant theft of Russian territory?

    In the 1950s Crimea had a Russian majority for about 10 years. And Ukraine didn’t steal it, it was given by Moscow itself.

    Nations steal other nation’s territories all the time if they think they can get away with it

    Sure. My point was simply that stealing territory from a state indicates hostility towards that state – Russia is hostile towards Ukraine.

  147. Bliss says:
    @dfordoom

    You can choose religion or you choose atheism

    You can choose any religion? Or do you have a specific religion in mind?

    What if one finds both atheism and the established religions to be insults to their intelligence?

    Most likely you are not curious about the true nature of reality. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  148. Joe Walker says: • Website
    @obwandiyag

    Only if they put quotation marks around the term capital infrastructure.

  149. @obwandiyag

    Wrong. But if their sobriquet is Joe Walker they are proven stupid beyond argument. Idiot can’t even make a joke.

  150. @AP

    Giving Ukraine what every other Orthodox country has fixes the problem.

    I think you’re saying that every other Orthodox country has an autocephalous church (speaking here of the officially recognized, not of those in schism). The reality is much more complicated.

    Majority Orthodox countries without an autocephalous church: Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Macedonia, Montenegro.

    Minority Orthodox countries without an autocephalous church: Finland, Korea, all of Africa except Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Japan, Latvia, Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

    Minority Orthodox countries with an autocephalous church: USA, Albania, Czech/Slovakia, Poland.

    If the “problem” you’re referring to is how to attain Life Eternal, it doesn’t matter which canonical Orthodox church you belong to.

    If the “problem” you’re referring to is how to attain political independence, you don’t need a church for that.

    • Replies: @AP
  151. AP says:
    @Chet Bradley

    Majority Orthodox countries without an autocephalous church: Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Macedonia, Montenegro.

    Which one is not like the others?

    If the “problem” you’re referring to is how to attain Life Eternal, it doesn’t matter which canonical Orthodox church you belong to.

    Correct.

    Unfortunately various Churches do happen to mix up nationalism and in many cases to work hand-in-hand with their local government. In this case, Ukraine is under a Church that cooperates with a government that is hostile to its government and which is mixed up with a rival nationalism. This drives many people towards schism or away from religion. It’s a problem that is easily solvable and which is being solved, against the wishes of the Russian nationalist Church.

    You are, presumably, a Serb? At various times your country has had hostile relationships with the Greeks and the Bulgarians. Would your people have calmly acquiesced at those times, to be under a Greek or a Bulgarian patriarch who supports his country’s nationalistic aims regarding Serbia? Would you have urged them to do so, arguing that whatever their complaints, they have nothing to do with the Life Eternal?

    • Replies: @Chet Bradley
  152. Orthodox aesthetics need to be propagandised in the West, where the most coherent image of Orthodox architecture is “hurr durr looks like a mosque” (because, apparently, so do the Capitol, Santa Maria dei Fiori, St. Peter’s Basilica and other domed structures).

    Also, I really wish the ROC were the Last Uncucked Church of the Based White Man of alt-right fantasies.

  153. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Bliss

    What if one finds both atheism and the established religions to be insults to their intelligence?

    In that case you’ll probably drift from one screwball cult to another, from one loony pseudo-religion to another, and you’ll have a bookshelf full of books on crystals, the healing powers of dolphins and shamanism.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  154. @AP

    Which one is not like the others?

    Well, Belarus is not a shithole, Moldova is not Slavic, and Macedonian doesn’t have cases. So none is like the others.

    In this case, Ukraine is under a Church that cooperates with a government that is hostile to its government and which is mixed up with a rival nationalism. This drives many people towards schism or away from religion. It’s a problem that is easily solvable and which is being solved, against the wishes of the Russian nationalist Church.

    It is not easily solvable if the goal is to preserve canonical unity of the Orthodox churches. Currently the atempt to solve it is to deepen the existing schism. Which is just fine if your goals are political, but it’s horrible if your goal is salvation. You may pretend that you can serve two masters, but you can’t.

    Would you have urged them to do so, arguing that whatever their complaints, they have nothing to do with the Life Eternal?

    I am at odds with my people over many things, so I doubt they would take my advice on this or on many other matters. To make a more general statement, I am at odds with most people over most things.

    • Replies: @AP
  155. AP says:
    @Chet Bradley

    Currently the atempt to solve it is to deepen the existing schism.

    It brings tens of millions of schismatics into the fold.

    Which is just fine if your goals are political

    The action I have described is not political in nature.

  156. Bliss says:
    @dfordoom

    How is that a bigger insult to common sense than whatever you believe in now?

    I am guessing you believe in an eternal hell from which you were saved by the blood sacrifice of an innocent man. Right?

    Correct me if I am wrong…

  157. @obwandiyag

    ONLY ONE OF WHICH IS TECHNOLOGICAL. I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG.

  158. AP says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    What do you think of the arguments made in this interview?

    https://risu.org.ua/en/index/expert_thought/interview/72661/

    Assuming what is said is accurate, it seems that Constantinople is on very solid ground here.

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