Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good." (Psalm 13:1)
[In the Ninth Hour prayers on Holy and Great Friday, at the hour of Christ's death, the Church intones, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (v.1). Even the pagan centurion who saw Christ our God crucified on the Cross believed in Him. Only the "corrupt" (v.3) could see Him die and deny that He exists!]
"Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It is not a mere lack of belief in God, nor is it a belief in ignorance of God, but specifically that there is no God. The belief that we cannot know or understand God or anything of a supra-material order (the previously mentioned belief in ignorance) is today generally termed "agnosticism". Both positions are condemned by the Orthodox Church for being a belief in error or denial (explicitly in the case of atheists and some agnostic, implicitly in the case of other agnostics) of the truth of God and Jesus Christ". (OrthodoxWiki)
"Although the word "atheism" is actually more appropriately applicable to "agnosticism." The 'a-' prefix meaning 'lack of,' and '-theism' indicating belief in a higher power, an atheist is etymologically one without belief in a higher power, not someone who specifically denies the existence of such as the 'atheists' of today do by definition. The more appropriate term for the denial of the supernatural would be 'antitheism,' 'anti-' meaning 'against,' indicating opposition to belief in a higher power." (OrthodoxWiki)
As has been reported, and as I perceive it personally, the globalization effort by the various governments throughout the world have a secret agenda when it comes to the future of Christianity. We have seen over the years the deliberate and systematic effort to discredit, undermine, persecute and render Christianity unacceptable for the "modern" man. Christianity is seen as a hindrance and an obstacle to the plans of turning the world into a totally secular world and an "open" society which everything and anything is condoned. A world without God and a world without any ethics and Judeo-Christian moral values and principles. Eastern Europe experienced the atheistic and totalitarian system for 74 years and the people under this rule experienced personally the evil in it. Millions of Orthodox Christians, bishops, priests, monks, and nuns suffered not only persecution but martyrdom under communism. It is my opinion that those dark powers that introduced and imposed that system on Eastern Europe have not given up on the idea of a Godless society. Our children and grandchildren are living in very threatening, precarious, and dangerous times. Saint Paul warns us, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:3-5).
On February 21st of 2014 His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate spoke on "the Christian Values In An Age of Globalization Symposium in London, England.
Allow me to present to all of you excerpts from his lecture. "I recall," he says, "the sincere but unsuccessful attempts by the European Christian communities to restore historical and moral justice by insisting on the mention of Christianity in the basic documents of the European Union (EU). The authors of Europe's future were deaf to the voice of common sense, pointing out that a reference to the Christian heritage may offend the feelings of representatives of other religions or atheists. In fact, secularism is in no way a neutral venue for all religions. On the contrary, this is a perception of the world that is rejected by all religious traditions. Militant secularism has declared war on the religious worldview as such as it proceeds from completely different premises and leads to completely different results.
The Church's most important task is to help the human person in his struggle against sin and the passions which destroy the person and lay waste to his soul. The secular worldview proceeds from the fact that the concept of sin has no right to exist: there is nothing sinful in itself, what is wrong is only the impingement by one person on the rights and freedoms of another person. And as regards personal morality, then each person is free to define the scale of moral values around which he can orientate himself. What is sinful and amoral for one person may be justified and encourage by another. The main thing is that everybody lives in peace and harmony.
I was born and grew up in a country where the authorities violently uprooted religion and imposed atheism. Throughout the whole expanse of the Soviet Union there was a monstrous experiment in destroying religion as such. The idea of educating a new universal human person, a citizen of the world devoid of religious prejudice was for the peoples of the Soviet Union a genuine historical experience. We paid dearly for this ideology which cost the lives of millions of people who did not fit into the Marxist-Leninist notion of the bright future.
The experiment in the deconstruction of religious values was an experiment on the very nature of the human person. It was reflected in Russian literature. Thus, the writer Mikhail Bulgakov in his story The Heart of a Dog in allegorical form depicted the formation of the new person from a dog by means of a surgical operation by transplanting a dog's heart into a person. This experiment led to the creation of a human-looking animal which knew no moral norms. The writer used this grotesque image to convey the idea of the meaninglessness of human existence if a human does not have a human soul, if his entire life is motivated by instincts and passions, if he is deprived of a conscience.
I am fully aware that among non-believers there are people who lead a morally exemplary life, as there are among believers, sinners and criminals. Religion is not a panacea for moral degradation, in the same way as atheism does not necessarily lead to a life of vice. However, there is a cardinal difference between the believer and the contemporary bearer of the secular worldview. The former, when committing a sin, is aware of the sinful nature of his act, whereas the latter does not believe sin to be sin and elevates vice to a norm, justifying this on the basis of specially created ideological paradigms. These paradigms lay at the basis of the new type of person devoid of absolute moral orientations...
I shall give concrete examples of the difference between Christian and secular morality. Both the Christian and liberal tradition speak of the dignity of the human person, of the value of human life. Yet this value is understood in different ways. The Christian tradition declares that human life is inviolable from the moment of conception, proceeding from the fact that every embryo in nine months time will become somebody's son or daughter. The secular consciousness, however, tends to view the embryo as a mass of chromosomes and stem cells which can be used for rejuvenation and prolonging the lives of other people by means of the destruction of the embryo itself. One may justify the manipulation of embryos by various good motives, but we should not forget that experiments on people in the Nazi camps also benefited science. The question is whether we need this benefit, are we ready to use the benefits which have cost human life?
It transpires that in modern-day democratic society the declared notion of the dignity of the human person and the value of human life extends only to certain categories of people. It is not extended to unborn children whom it is considered permissible to put to death without any pangs of conscience. It is not extended to seriously ill people who are offered the possibility of 'exiting with dignity' by means of euthanasia--the legalized murder in a number of countries of the elderly, terminally ill adults and even children...
What is freedom? This concept has key meaning for the Christian tradition. "Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty", says Saint Paul (Gal. 5:13). However, he does not mean freedom as moral anarchy but the liberation of the human person from the power of sin, of passions, of instincts; it is the inner freedom which is founded on the observance of God's Commandments. From the perspective of Christianity, the freedom of the human person is inseparable from moral responsibility. Human freedom possesses a great power for it likens the human person to God, yet it contains an explosive potential if it goes against God. Freedom may be compared to a nuclear reaction which is of benefit only where it is active in a nuclear power station and not when it is turned into a destructive weapon. Moral responsibility is the system of spiritual security which preserves the human person from disintegration under the influence of the power of one's own freedom...
Today there are a number of European countries where prostitution is legal. Its presence is justified ideologically by the person's right to choose their sexual partner as they please and the right of the other person to make money by any means possible. I say this not in order to condemn those women who sell their bodies. If they return to the Church in repentance, as happened with Saint Mary of Egypt who was transformed from a prostitute into a great Saint, the Church receives their repentance and forgives their sins. Yet the Church can never agree to their way of life being elevated to a norm or recognize as normal the behavior of those persons who use their services.
When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Christ he said to those who demanded that she be stoned to death: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." He not only did not condemn the woman but saved her from death. And yet he said to her: "Go, and sin no more" (St. John 8:2-11). If we are to follow the secular notions of free choice and human dignity, then the Savior of the world ought not to have said these words but recognize her behavior to be normal and say: "Go and continue to do the same."
...A brief examination of European values which are developing within the framework of a global world leads us to the following conclusion. These values have been violently torn, often against the wishes of many, from their moral context which for centuries was formed in a Christian civilization. Values are meant to help build up a just world, but is impossible to build this world on the basis of an ideology that views the world without God and without faith. A world without God, without absolute moral values rooted in Divine Revelation, irrevocably turns into the realm of the rule of slavery and lawlessness.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which has paid in millions of lives for the godless Soviet experiment, can and must testify before the adherents of militant secularism to the fact that a society torn from its spiritual roots and faith has no future.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God