The Age of Loneliness (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 2)

We live in strange times. Modern technology has nearly obliterated the constraints of distance, allowing us to become interconnected with one another to an extent unimaginable even a few short decades ago, and yet nevertheless at the same time we find ourselves living in an age of absolutely unprecedented loneliness. According to a recent article in Psychology Today: In the last 50 years, rates of loneliness have doubled in the United States. In a survey of over 20,000…

Prophets, Priests, and Kings (Anthropology of Antichristianity, Part 1)

Introduction Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) has — quite correctly — stated that “the most important theological issue today is ‘what is man,’ how do we understand the human person. That is particularly important both in our own Orthodox theology and in our discussions with other Christians.” I would add that the question of anthropology is also the fundamental lens through which modernity as a whole must be viewed and understood. Indeed, this question is at…

The Consequences of Contraception

50 years ago, Pope Paul VI issued a papal encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, which he addressed not only to Catholics but also “to all men of good will.” In it, he reaffirmed the universal and unbroken teaching of the Church Fathers, both of the East and of the West, that artificial contraception is intrinsically sinful and incompatible with the Christian life. At the time of its publication, the widespread Orthodox response was…

Of Tolerance and Tyranny

In our modern age there is nothing praised so much as tolerance, nor despised so much as tyranny. This is because we prize individual freedom above all else, and we worship it in nearly every form and at almost any cost. In a very real sense, we view freedom as the essential quality which makes us human. And in this we are indeed not far wrong. The only restriction on individual liberty…

How to Socially Engineer Secularism

Apparently, using AI to learn how to socially engineer the secularization of vast numbers of Middle Eastern refugees really is a thing. It seems that, to paraphrase Turkey’s Erdoğan, “pluralism” is a train you get off once you have reached your destination. The goal of the project is to give politicians an empirical tool that will help them assess competing policy options so they can choose the most effective one. It’s a noble idea:…

The Leaven of the Pharisees and the Kingdom of God

The secret thought nestles within me: ‘Who knows what happens after death?’ If I say I believe in immortality, then I am speaking about my mind only; and my heart is far removed from a firm conviction about it. That is openly witnessed by my conduct and my constant care to satisfy the life of the senses. -The Way of a Pilgrim It is a striking fact that in the Gospels, Christ…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 3)

Tradition, Fundamentalism, and Modernity In my two most recent posts, I responded in depth to an article from Public Orthodoxy about fundamentalism. The first response concerned the view taken by the article toward the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition, and the second had to do with the relationship between Orthodoxy and the modern world. There is one section of the article that I have not yet discussed, and that is its conclusion. In this case…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 2)

The Church and Modernity Earlier this week, I began examining an article from Public Orthodoxy entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism.’” In this article, the author laments what is, in his opinion, “our long-standing captivity to a sad caricature of Orthodoxy.” In the first part of my analysis I discussed two of his four main allegations: that the Orthodox world has developed an idolatrous attitude towards the Holy Fathers, and that it has additionally come to an…

On Allegations of Orthodox Fundamentalism (Part 1)

On the Holy Fathers and Holy Tradition Recently Public Orthodoxy published an article entitled “Fundamentalism as ‘Orthodoxism’.” The content is extremely characteristic not only of Public Orthodoxy in particular, but also of a growing trend in wider Orthodox circles, especially those of an academic character (Public Orthodoxy is published under the auspices of Fordham University, a Catholic institution). Seeing that the exemplified attitudes and beliefs are steadily gaining influence among Orthodox believers, I…

Seeing is Not Believing

At first glance, the Gospel passage appointed for this Sunday appears to be about two separate events during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ: the healing of two blind men, and the casting out of a demon from a dumb man. Yet the Church in Her wisdom has joined these two events together in order to draw out a deeper meaning hidden beneath the surface of today’s Gospel reading. The…