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17584Re: The MP, the ROCOR and ecumenism

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  • Aleksandr Andreev
    Aug 4, 2006
      Mike Woodson writes:
      "Here, in discussions about involvement between Moscow and the WCC and
      the interreligious body it recently hosted, ecumenism is the movement
      toward unity between non-Orthodox Christian churches (heterodox) or
      non-Christian faiths, and the Orthodox Church of Christ at the cost of
      Orthodoxy in Christ."

      "Ecumenism" is one of the most frequently used, and misused, terms in
      the Orthodox world. I think that it's important to distinguish between:

      a. "Ecumenism" per se, that is, a belief that either the whole truth
      does not exist in one "confession" or "denomination", and that the whole
      truth can be re-established by bringing together different "confessions"
      or "denominations"; or, a belief that dogmatic differences are
      unimportant and should be ignored. I once met a guy on campus who told
      me he didn't believe in creeds because creeds divide people.

      b. "Pluralism", that is, an understanding that multiple religions exist,
      and casting aside debate over truth and falsity, learning to cooperate
      between religions. (because, quite frankly, any unbiased observer can
      conclude which religion is true. The problem is, there are few unbiased

      The point of the latest inter-religious assembly, which gathered in
      Moscow before the G8 summit was clearly not "ecumenical" but
      "pluralistic". The point was to let G8 leaders know that religious
      people are in the world, that they're active, and that political leaders
      should consider their views. The point was also to discuss common
      problems, like terrorism and inter-religious violence. All of these are
      noble reasons, and should be praised: in our increasingly secular world,
      religious people do need to have their voice heard, so that next time
      politicians are about to do something stupid, they consider what we have
      to say about it.

      But then, perhaps some were disappointed that the G8 summit was held in
      the dark, dismal, atheist, autocratic Russia and that Russian Church
      hierarchs and leading Russian historians and sociologists were telling
      delegates about how to deal with inter-religious violence. But then,
      what's wrong with that? After all, Russia didn't know religious violence
      until 1917. Russia didn't exterminate its native populations. Russia
      didn't forcibly convert anyone to (or from) anything.


      Aleksandr Andreev
      Duke University
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