By Monk Vsevolod (Filipyev)
Reprinted from “Orthodox Russia,” No. 14, 2006
Nowadays in Russia and in the whole world a certain principle has become topical – that of “tolerance.” The modern meaning of “tolerance” comes from the Latin tolerantia and is interpreted as “religious tolerance.” The concept of tolerance is being actively introduced into mass consciousness: entire books are written about tolerance, and diversely-scaled events are being conducted within its framework.
For Russian society the apotheosis of the policy of tolerance was the World Summit of Religious Leaders, which took place in Moscow on 3-5 July 2006 at the initiative of official representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate and clearly with the active support of the government. The summit gathered the leaders and delegates of Christian, Moslem, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Shinto communities from 49 countries. The final result of the work of this interfaith assembly was a joint “Declaration of the summit of religious leaders.”
The document states: “We need to build a world order which combines democracy – as the way of harmonizing different interests and as people’s participation in national and global decision-making – with respect for the moral feeling, way of life, various legal and political systems, and national and religious traditions of people.” That is, the superstructures may be different, but the base must be the same – democracy.
At this point the words of the righteous Saint John of Kronstadt come to mind, that “in hell there is democracy and in Heaven there is a Kingdom.” No matter how strange such words may appear to the modern “civilized” Christian, but if one stops to think, he will invariably come to the conclusion that at least the second part of the statement is correct.
Truly in Heaven – to which all Christians are striving – there is the Kingdom of God, and not a republic or a democracy.
In the above-mentioned citation [the leaders of world religions] indicate directly the kind of world order we must establish, and they further explain that “the world should have many poles and many systems, meeting the requirements of all individuals and nations.” Thus not only all expressions of religious zeal, but all monocultures in general (which Christianity is to some degree) fall under the suspicion of being untrustworthy.
It seems to us that a substitution of concepts is now taking place: there is an attempt to replace genuine religious tolerance and love of mankind with indifference and lukewarmness.
Christ taught tolerance and love for all people, no matter what their faith: if a person is in need of help, he should be fed, clothed, visited in prison, or simply offered compassion. But Christ did not teach tolerance for such a person’s false beliefs. We must love people, but at the same time reject their false faiths.
Aside from the above-mentioned citations, the “Declaration” contains many more general words and utopian slogans, which are crowned, from the Orthodox point of view, with a truly apocalyptic appeal: “Let us help one another and all well-intentioned people in building a better future for the entire human family.”
Belief in a better future here on earth for the entire human family is – at best – the chiliastic heresy condemned by the Church, and – at worst – a conscious attempt to participate in the creation of the universal government of the universal ruler who, according to the Scriptures, will be the Antichrist. Such an appeal is already an open apostasy from the Christian doctrine expressed in the Creed: “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.”
Nowhere in the Creed does it speak of an expectation of earthly happiness for the entire human family, but it does clearly speak of an expectation of a forthcoming eternal life in Christ. In general, the entire contemporary principle of tolerance, with its fruits that are similar to the current Moscow summit – is very earthy and worldly.
We are subjected to an inexhaustible fund of naive (or hypocritical?) speeches about a bright future, about mankind’s universal overcoming of natural disasters, illnesses, and wars.
And not a word about the repentance that is truly needful for the salvation of mankind!
H/T Joanna Higginbotham - http://startingontheroyalpath.blogspot.com/