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Re: [orthodox-synod] Re: Digest Number 2107

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  • George
    It s an interesting idea, but I don t think that would really be applicable here. The stated purpose of the class is not to teach theology, but to teach
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 27, 2006
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      It's an interesting idea, but I don't think that would really be applicable here.

      The stated purpose of the class is not to teach theology, but to teach traditions, and history.

      The purpose of that being, according to those pushing for the program, introducing immigrants and ethnic-non-Russians to the Russian culture. This does serve a purpose; folks who embrace the Russian culture, and Orthodox religion don't wage terrorist civil wars or revolutions. They don't blow themselves up on the metro, or take theaters hostage.

      People seem to be confusing this with a full theology course and it's not, nor is it intended to be. It is a course on traditions, practices, and history which has been reviewed by the church to not be in error.

      George

      On Friday, October 27, 2006, at 02:41PM, "interestedplus" <asvetlov@...> wrote:
      >Hi Michael and Aleks,
      >
      >An alternative to both no religious teaching and a state approved
      >program is what we have in our state in Australia. There is an
      >allocated time for "scripture" when Catholic, Anglican and any
      >denominations who send "teachers" to public schools teach their
      >theology. Parents nominate the particular religion they want their
      >children to attend. The kids of parents who do not nominate a
      >religion, have puzzles/finish-homework-early/reading time in the
      >school hall.
      >
      >The Roman Catholics and Anglicans are in the majority and have formal
      >accreditation for "scripture teachers". My girls have attended
      >Anglican scripture, and Catholic scripture. The courses tought are
      >basic - and I reviewed the material with them when they came home
      >(keeping an eye on any non-Orthodox ideas and putting them in
      >context). Now they attend a Greek Orthodox lesson with a thick
      >accented Greek lady, and are learning some Greek words (a class of
      >about 6 Orthodox children).
      >
      >This is not a bad alternative. Parents have the ultimate say,
      >but "nominal" Christians get their kids to have basic Christian ideas
      >tought as well.
      >
      >Your thoughts.........
      >
      >
      >In Christ,
      >
      >Alex
      >
      >--- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Woodson"
      ><singingmountains@...> wrote:
      >>
      >> Dear Aleks,
      >>
      >> Now that was a respectful, well thought out post, and you deserve a
      >> respectful response without any irritation from me. Please follow
      >> responses below.
      >>
      >>
      >> --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Aleksandr Andreev"
      >> <aleksandr.andreev@> wrote:
      >> >
      >> > Michael Woodson wrote:
      >> > "I'll bet their [the Duke Philosophy department] trophy department
      >> is elated
      >> > though, because I think you just set a record."
      >> >
      >> > I think that reference is not necessary. The Duke philosophy
      >> department does
      >> > not participate on this list, and there is no need to comment
      >about
      >> > them.
      >>
      >>
      >> You're right. My apology.
      >> That is also true of other things stated.
      >>
      >>
      >> >
      >> > Michael, in all of your attacks of my (supposed) "logical
      >> > fallacies",
      >>
      >>
      >> Aleks, those were not attacks. If they were, the one who produced
      >them
      >> is your attacker. I just pointed them out. I don't want you
      >> "attacked." I want you to listen, respond in context, be specific,
      >and
      >> not think I'm here just to waste time. The point is, there are
      >causes
      >> for the immense damage done to Russia, and the folks ruling now have
      >> lots to do with it, but would like to blame "the West" for it. They
      >> are running from responsibility and teaching the people that it is
      >OK
      >> for leaders to do that.
      >>
      >> You seem sympathetic with that propaganda, however, you may only be
      >> making statements you think are necessary to balance someone else's
      >> (mine, likely) point of view. If that is what is happening,
      >> understanding may come by taking down the debate tone a notch, and
      >> entering into a discussion. We all at times make statements that
      >> assume everyone knows something we do, or are aware, which seem
      >> extreme without the context. So we make statements to balance what
      >we
      >> perceive to be extremes or simplistic points of view of another's.
      >> Perhaps there is more you would think or say. Well, I'm open to
      >> hearing it in a discussion.
      >>
      >> > "factual" and "ethical" errors, "straw men", etc, you have not
      >> > answered the
      >> > question at hand, which is: how do you propose Russia run its
      >> > education system, since you don't like the fact that religion is
      >> > being taught in Russian public schools right now.
      >>
      >> See other posts in which I have discussed this, especially those
      >> posted in response to George on similar issues. Also see responses
      >to
      >> Fr. Stefan. I've set out my thinking on the question throughout
      >those
      >> posts. I'll briefly touch on those views and add some comment here.
      >>
      >> I don't think the government should be involved in teaching at all,
      >> because it has conflicts of interest with intellectual freedom. I
      >> think governments should be involved in collecting funds for
      >> distribution to parents with children per capita/child. Like social
      >> security, once that voucher or draft leaves the government, it
      >belongs
      >> to the private party receiving it.
      >>
      >> Education, like social security, comes from tax-collected funds, but
      >> the funds are really a trust account for which the government is not
      >> the owner, but the irrevocable trustee on behalf of all children and
      >> each child. I don't, as the Congress does, believe in the Social
      >> Security or an education fund should be subject to borrowing except
      >in
      >> extreme national emergencies dealing with survival of the nation
      >itself.
      >>
      >> The government could collect and equally allocate funds for
      >> facilities, transportation and equipment, that is, be a competitve
      >> market participant "equipper" to the educational effort in
      >reasonable
      >> competition with private companies supplying educators and children.
      >> But it should be barred from teaching.
      >>
      >> The government ought not be given the job of teaching, instructing,
      >> disciplining or otherwise babysitting our children for 6 to 7 hours
      >a
      >> day in the first place, much less intrude on catechism, calls to
      >> prayer and other spiritual things that will become secularized
      >simply
      >> because of adjustments and artificialities related to the government
      >> context. Worse, government refereeing among the faiths will cause
      >> strife among people of different faiths and against the government
      >> ultimately.
      >>
      >> Remember again, Russia was not brought to Jesus Christ by Greek
      >> teachers in Russian public schools. Russian delegations went to
      >> services in the epicenter of Orthodox spirituality, and brought back
      >> the news that this was the True faith.
      >>
      >>
      >> > Now here's what I think. In this country, religion has been, for
      >a
      >> > long time, kicked out of public classrooms, culminating in a
      >series
      >>
      >> This seems to assume that it would be alright with you as an
      >Orthodox
      >> Christian here in the US for baptists to hold hands in class and
      >force
      >> you to pull your hands away while someone "leads the class in
      >prayer,"
      >> saying things that are not what you believe. Or, for a Muslim to
      >issue
      >> a call to prayer to all in the class while everyone sits there inert
      >> who is not a Muslim. Or for a Catholic to state the dogmas of Rome
      >as
      >> fact and differing views can't respond without a shouting match or
      >> fist fight. Children of other faiths sometimes are expected to stand
      >> up against certain official conduct.
      >>
      >> The point here is not kicking the goodness of religions out of
      >> schools, the point was keeping schools focused on education and not
      >> religious battles between factions that happen despite the good
      >faith
      >> (ever if erroneous at times) of many people of one or another
      >> religions. People fight over that sort of thing, as our Serb and
      >Irish
      >> friends can tell us.
      >>
      >> > of court cases, like McLean v. Arkansas Board of Ed, and, more
      >> > recently, Kitzmiller v. Dover, which decided that "Intelligent
      >> > Design" cannot be taught in public schools becaue it is religious
      >in
      >> > its nature. Now personally I am not a fan
      >> > of the ID movement because of its serious logical fallacies,
      >factual
      >> > errors, etc.
      >>
      >> I'm for intellectual freedom. That is not possible in a tense
      >> educational environment in which varied religious affiliations can
      >> become a flash-point of conflict. Arguments erupt over those topics
      >> and later, fights can erupt. Worse, riots can erupt where government
      >> authorities must settle the disputes and it is settled in a way that
      >> appears unfair to one religious group or another.
      >>
      >>
      >> >However, the legal landscape has made it quite clear
      >> > that there can be no religion in public education, period.
      >> > (Culminating in the disastarous Ninth Circuit ruling in Newdow v.
      >US
      >> > that said we can no longer recite the Pledge with the words "under
      >> > God" in it).
      >>
      >> As history or civics, there is no limit on teaching what religous
      >> folks have done for the good and the bad, if true.
      >>
      >> Newdow was overruled on the basis that he lacked standing suing as
      >> next friend of his daughter in such a case. Conservative justices
      >> wanted him to get standing so that they could decide on the merits,
      >> and they were going to decide that the Pledge did not violate
      >> establishment.
      >>
      >> >
      >> > I think this is problematic for several reasons:
      >> > 1. It creates an unnecessary dichotomy between "science" and
      >> > "religion".
      >>
      >> True.
      >>
      >> > 2. It renegates religion to the home instead of the public sphere.
      >> > Why can't
      >> > ninth graders discuss Darwinism and Genesis in schools?
      >>
      >> Precisely. Ninth graders should be able to, and I think often do,
      >> depending on the teacher. But a teacher employed by the government
      >may
      >> not spin, mischaracterize or teach Genesis, because governments will
      >> then be expected to police how it is taught so that it does not
      >offend
      >> one Christian group's view of it versus another's, and so give rise
      >to
      >> the argument that the government is establishing a heresy in one
      >> group's eyes, and a bona fide teaching in the other's. Where I went
      >to
      >> high school at a public school in Texas, teachers frequently made
      >> reference to God in the positive. Many students thought that was
      >nerdy
      >> and identified what was cool by whatever the teacher didn't teach,
      >> believe or represent.
      >>
      >> > 3. It promotes atheism.
      >>
      >> Or, it may cause the opposite. If any system as retarded as the
      >public
      >> school system teaches one thing, most kids of average intelligence
      >or
      >> above who don't like being herded through that mess of a process
      >will
      >> come out strongly believing the opposite. There's a principal also
      >> with young people -- what is dictated to them in the political
      >> environment of adult-taught schooling, they usually end up
      >distancing
      >> themselves from if and when their teachers or parents lose moral
      >> authority by acting inconsistent with the teaching. Or, they
      >question
      >> what they learned in high school because they are out to think for
      >> themselves.
      >>
      >> >
      >> > Moreover, I think that the Establishment Clause of the First
      >> Amendment was
      >> > not intended to drive religion completely out of public life.
      >>
      >> Neither do I. It was designed to protect religion from the state,
      >and
      >> the state from any one version of religion which due to the feeble
      >> efforts of men, could be wrong or off-base with the entire mind of
      >the
      >> Church.
      >>
      >> > I think
      >> > several current and past Supreme Court justices would agree with
      >me.
      >> >
      >> > In Russia, on the other hand, things are different. After 80 years
      >> > of
      >> > state-sponsored atheism, things have changed. Allowing the
      >Orthodox
      >> Church
      >> > to teach religion in public shools is the best thing the
      >government
      >> can do
      >> > for its citizens today and the best way it can make up for 80
      >years of
      >> > religious oppression.
      >>
      >>
      >> I do not agree that it is the best way. It is one way.
      >>
      >>
      >> > Why should Russia adopt American secular notions for
      >> > how it should run its education system? There are many things that
      >> > Russia ought to adopt from America, but secularism is not one of
      >> > them.
      >>
      >>
      >> The notions are not secular if the First Amendment assumes religion
      >> worthy of protection, which it does. What is American is what is in
      >> that First Amendment. And so, I would not argue that Russia should
      >> adopt secularism from America any more than it should continue in
      >its
      >> own secularism against America, treating it like an opponent and
      >> scapegoat and failing to take responsibility for the Russia we see
      >> today. Waxing nostalgic about the USSR is certainly not the way to
      >> make Russia more spiritual, yet that is what is happening there.
      >>
      >>
      >> > Now please allow me to comment on the end of your post:
      >> > "... not some half-baked feint at a Constitutional and free
      >> government of
      >> > the Russian people, by the Russian people and for the Russian
      >people,
      >> > attempted by a former East Germany based KGB guy whose job it was
      >to
      >> screw
      >> > the Russian people and who did that job efficiently enough to end
      >up
      >> where
      >> > he is now."
      >> >
      >> > I think:
      >> > 1. That comment is deeply offensive to:
      >> > a. Vladimir Putin, who has done immense things for Russia and
      >> > Russians
      >>
      >> I hate to say it, but Putin is a killer of Russians and has been a
      >> killer of East Germans, Aleks, whether by order, consent, action or
      >> inaction, he has murdered many, many innocent people from his own
      >> country. He is just now responding to the unbelievable health care
      >> breakdown that is killing so many people. See the recent LA Times
      >> investigative series in three parts from this months Times.
      >>
      >>
      >> > during his tenure as President. No, he is not perfect. Neither is
      >> any one of
      >> > us. Have you been to Russia recently, Michael? Or at least
      >followed what
      >> > goes on there?
      >>
      >>
      >> Yes, I've followed what has been going on there. See the Rand study
      >> posted. There a few other sources I've run across too, here and
      >> there. Actually, make that hundreds.
      >>
      >>
      >> > b. Russians in general, who elected Mr. Putin so that he could do
      >> good for
      >> > the country; just because the president of a country is not
      >someone
      >> you like
      >> > does not mean that those people "are screwed" or "were screwed".
      >>
      >>
      >> That's a non-sequiter -- its the reality that tells us.
      >>
      >>
      >> > 2. I have never made any claims of, or calls for,
      >a "Constitutional
      >> and free
      >> > government of the Russian people, by the Russian people, and for
      >the
      >> Russian
      >> > people."
      >>
      >> Lincoln would support the First Amendment because it protects the
      >> faith from the wolves in politics, such as Putin. Lincoln and Putin
      >> aren't in the same league.
      >>
      >> >Neither did Abraham Lincoln. I don't know what kind of government
      >> > Mr. Lincoln would support for the modern Russian state, but I'm
      >> pretty sure
      >> > it's would not be rooted in modern American secular ideology. From
      >> what I
      >> > know, Mr. Lincoln was a deeply religious man.
      >> >
      >> > +Aleks
      >>
      >> If Mr. Putin repents and steps down, telling the Russian people the
      >> whole truth about what he has been doing, not doing, and what he did
      >> under the USSR, followed by Patriarch Alexei II who should do the
      >> same, I will come to respect both men for doing the right thing for
      >> Russia. Otherwise, Putin's attempts at fixing things in Russia are
      >too
      >> little too late in the game. He only waited until he'd gorged
      >himself
      >> and his cronies before tending to the dying flock. There's an AIDs
      >> epidemic from drug abuse, rampant alcoholism, broken infrastructure
      >> etc. because the man fiddled while Rome burned. It is totally
      >> unnecessary and stupid what has happened. Yeltsin too, is
      >responsible.
      >> He drank while Rome burned.
      >>
      >> Those are the facts, and there's no room for sentimentality in
      >support
      >> of someone who ignores the cries of the poor and doesn't take
      >lessons
      >> from other transitions to democracy. If Putin had listened to
      >> Gorbachev, he might have made a difference earlier on, or, studied
      >the
      >> struggles that the US went through in the early 20th century, and
      >> subtract the influence of the Cold War on the US to get an idea of
      >> what the US would have become if not for the Soviet Union as a
      >menace
      >> to the world.
      >>
      >> Much of the 60s unrest and moral unravelling in America came out of
      >> the moral judgment of young Americans against their elders for doing
      >> what their elders deemed necessary to balance like Soviet tactics.
      >So
      >> before Russians think that Sovietism didn't hurt the United States,
      >> think twice. Just reflect on it a while and it will become
      >apparent.
      >>
      >> > ------------------
      >> > Aleksandr Andreev
      >> > Duke University
      >> > aleksandr.andreev@
      >> > http://www.duke.edu/~aa63/
      >> >
      >> >
      >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >> >
      >>
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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