Thursday 30 September 2010

Brave New Religion

From The Holy Spirit Lost - Brave New Religion, by Father Andrew Phillips - 


"To Orthodox missionaries coming from abroad (and I am one of them) modern English society presents a very strange face. 

"Often we feel as imaginary visitors from other planets might feel, such are the strange contradictions and incongruities of modern life in England. The loss of faith and so the advance of practical and theoretical paganism under the mask of humanism, has been very rapid. 

"A once Christian nation now wallows in depravity. There is astonishment at how quickly a once Christian society can lose the Holy Spirit, can lose its faith, crumble and collapse. 

"However, an analysis of the problem shows us that the roots of the essential problem of the loss of the Holy Spirit, the loss of faith, lie deep within the inner workings of Heterodoxy and stretch back nearly one thousand years.

"For this reason the collapse of Heterodox Christianity in England has not taken place because of fierce persecution or because it has been rejected from the outside. The collapse has occurred from inside, its collapse has been voluntary, self-inflicted, suicidal, the result of the internal logic of a false doctrine, the filioque. 

"The loss of the Holy Spirit, the loss of faith has not occurred because English Heterodox have been persecuted, but because the essential nature of English Heterodoxy has for centuries been worldly and world-loving. 
"Without the Tradition of the Church, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, without monastic life, Heterodoxy has gradually, at first imperceptibly, then perceptibly, openly encouraged and then fallen into worldliness. 

"The brave new religion of secular humanism has in fact developed because worldliness has since the mid-eleventh century been an integral and systemic part of Heterodoxy.

There is reason for despair only if one has oneself lost faith. But those who still have faith also know that the present great apostasy can be reversed. 

"At the beginning, at Pentecost, there were only the Twelve. But an Empire fell to them. The same can happen again, if humanity turns back to Christ. 

"Although it may seem unlikely that humanity will yet return, like the Prodigal Son to the embrace of the Father, to a new age of the Christian Faith, to the rediscovery of the Holy Spirit, the last word in history has not yet been uttered. 

"And this is our hope."


The rest of this very interesting and hard-hitting essay is at:


a Finn said...

Well written and so true. I am searching for a Finnish congregation which resembles that Orthodox church, but I haven't found yet. State church, i.e. liberalism worship, is out of the question, then there are useless commercial feel good consumer churches, pseudo-conservative churches, which have pages telling how politically correct they are in every way, i.e. worldly liberal, and then there are various religious communities, and yes, cults too, which are quite hard to evaluate from their generally information scarce internet pages, although things can be inferred from certain details, including the intellectual level of writing. Community could be all right, but I exclude cults.

At this stage it seems that pseudo-conservative churches might be the best options, not because of their pseudo-conservatism, but because they are umbrella organizations composed of versatile congregations and communities. In these subunits there are likely more possibilities to find genuine and good traditional conservative Christian communities.


Worldly society? From another angle:

Society is created by repeating endlessly simple formulas, and by making them grow on top of each other like lush plants growing to every direction. Formula of society is X --> Y, i.e. X counts as Y, which means words, announcements, proclamations rituals, processes etc. count as institutions under certain situations, times, places, done by certain people (when requirements, definitions, clauses, numbers, percentages etc. are fulfilled).

Colored paper or bits in a electronic memory are money, because certain institutional authorities have proclaimed them to be legal tenders. This spawns other institutions or institutional facts; accounts in a bank, investment firms, taxes in modern form, inflation, malls, stock exchange, etc.

"Yes" under certain circumstances and places, as a part of a ritual, counts as marriage with many legal, societal, family and social consequences.


Continued ...

a Finn said...

Part 2.

In these institutions or connected to them are niches, which are filled with people. Their interests are connected to rewards and punishments of the institutions. Punishments, whatever their form from gossip (mild) to capital punishment (less mild), prevent alternative rules, processess and methods from being used, so the institutions and their units function coherently together as planned. People need resource, social, spouse, psychological, intellectual etc. rewards, so they are drawn to institutions which offer them, either reciprocally or ostensibly freely.

Institutional words are flimsy, but people and their interests make the institutions durable. They guard their niches carefully and work to uphold them. If the institutions are disrupted or connections cut, people will repair them automatically or inform those who will repair them. Institutions become self-repairing and self-perpetuating.

Some institutions are society wide, some are local. Society wide institutions are more likely objects of important power struggles in society. There is no balanced point between traditional conservative society and worldly liberal society. Depending on the institutions, it goes either way. Because of psychological and spiritual weaknesses, traditional conservative society requires energy, effort and will; liberal society means largely letting things go on at people's weaknesses' own weight or according to them; thus the latter is more the default -position of people. Fairly small changes in society's institutions is enough to "let things go", hence to change traditional conservative society to liberal society. People's weaknessess and often drug addict like wanting of liberal things will make the changes self-perpetuating and self-growing.

Many genuinely traditional conservative communities in the society is the natural antidote to liberalism. Government is in the long run always unreliable and dangerous.


Mark Richardson, the Australian traditional conservative teacher, outlines society too (more parts is published in the future):

Bruce Charlton said...

@a Finn. Thanks for this - I've explored the Mark Richardson links and they look good.

As a psychological strategy - to mainatain hope, direction and motivation - it may be useful to think about the Orthodox Catacomb Church in the Soviet Union - Seraphim Rose wrote about this in several places, many online, if you do a search using these terms.