Voices from Russia

Friday, 1 August 2008

Fr Gerogi Ryabykh Compares the Current Situation of Christianity in Europe to the Epoch of Militant Atheism in the USSR

Sources in the MP expressed concern with the contemporary position of Christianity and the general state of morals in Europe. “We see the Soviet atheistic policy of a bygone era echoed in attempts to artificially limit the influence of faith on the larger society and restrict it only to divine services and social care for poor people”, Fr Georgy Ryabykh, Secretary for the Interrelation of Church and Society at the MP Department for External Church Relations, said as a part of a dialogue attended by delegates from the MP and members of the European People’s Party in Kiev.

He said that Orthodox Christians “cannot help but be concerned with the development of aggressive secularism in Western European countries, as its spirit is similar to the Soviet attitude towards religion. Frequently, an unattractive or even intentionally-perverted image of Christianity is promoted in the public sphere. Indeed, some believers in the West seriously speak of seeing Christophobia [in some quarters]. They even created a website to record such incidents”, Fr Georgi noted.

He pointed out that “frankly anti-Christian films and materials” are increasingly and more frequently seen on the public square. “People from Eastern Europe, where new churches are being built, are pained to hear that Christian churches in the West are sold or leased for commercial purposes. Some European cities are even thinking of selling Christian churches to other religious communities”, Fr Georgi said. From time to time, he further said, “one sees outbreaks of hostility against Christian symbols in public places, for example, the removal of crosses and Christmas trees from schools”, and the heads of some European states greet their citizens with “season’s greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

Fr Georgi also worried that we shall have to contend with “moral relativism and lawless nihilism” in Europe. “Contemporary European pop culture promotes material consumption, homosexual relations, debauchery, and a relaxed attitude to abortion and drugs. On the political level, it’s difficult to give moral tolerance to the violations of the rights of national minorities in some counties of the European Union along with glorification of various types of fascism” (Fr Georgi is speaking of the situation in the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, where the Russian minority is largely denied political rights and the local veterans of the SS are honoured: editor’s note), he said.

Furthermore, Fr Georgi believes it is an “explicit deviation from moral standards” that “some European states are indifferent to the heritage of the Orthodox people of Serbia and the situation in Kosovo. Sometimes, Orthodox Christians get the impression that they see a new dogmatic ideology appearing, but, today, in a ‘liberal’ variant. It has the same hostility to moral values as Communist ideology did”, he concluded.

31 July 2008

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=25825

Editor’s Note:

This is worth reading twice. Reflect on the fact that as Russia returns to the Faith, the West is abandoning it. That is to say, NATO and the USA no longer stand for freedom, free speech, and a freedom to worship as one pleases. Rather they have become politically correct, restrict expression through “hate speech” codes, and believers are told to restrict themselves to private belief. Russians are aghast at this. One of my Russian friends said, “If you do not have the freedom to offend, you have no freedom of speech”. She is right. If one says the “wrong” thing in the US, Canada, and Western Europe, one can lose one’s job or position at school. How the worm has turned… The rights of pornographers are protected and the rights of ordinary folk are trampled in the dust. No wonder that my Russian friends are bemused… so am I.

PS:

There is nothing wrong with heavy metal rock… I just thought that the logo for the band Nihilist was a great illustration for “nihilism”. It is NOT a criticism, explicit or implicit.

BMD

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