17584Re: The MP, the ROCOR and ecumenism
- Aug 4 7:24 PMMike 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.
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