The Allure of Eastern Orthodoxy

I just finished Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.  He admits that there is the possibility of some sort of being having designed and caused the universe; he just sees no reason to believe this being to be the God of the Bible.  Nor does he see any way to solidly argue the evidence for the existence or character of any such being.  The lack of incontrovertible proof leaves him much unswayed by theists.

And I thought that, this is true.  The physical sciences cannot measure the metaphysical.  God is metaphysical.  Thus, Dawkins and Harris are blind; so are you and I.  The only sure way for us to know that/if there is a divine being would be revelation.

Harris spends large portions of his book attacking the Bible, but rarely with any adroitness, and what I felt was, “It would be much easier to be Eastern Orthodox right now . . . !”

How so?

First, many of the idiocies with which he accuses Christianity (such as torturing heretics [St. Aug] or killing them [St. Tom Aq]) are lacking in pre-Constantinian Christianity (because Christianity is only dangerous when twisted and wielded in the hands of the powerful).  The East has a stronger connection with this era than anyone else.  And why is this?

Tradition (this is also my second thing).

If there is a God, and if he revealed himself to us, and if his revelation was encapsulated in the man, Jesus, then those who were/are closest to Jesus have the truest view of who he is.  And the many troubles and difficulties Harris sees in the Bible are dealt with by a systematic reading of Scripture and by the concept of tradition.  If Jesus handed on his teachings to His Apostles, and these traditions were handed on down the ages, they would help provide the key to proper interpretation of the Bible.  And this is what you have in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

In the West, we used to have it with Rome and the Anglicans, but both of these institutions have recklessly dived into the world of modernity as modernity flounders and sinks.

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4 thoughts on “The Allure of Eastern Orthodoxy

  1. I came across Harris’ “End of Faith” a few years ago. As I was reading, I would say to myself, “This is all true…” But by the time I finished the book, I had had an uneasy feeling that something was missing. Then it dawned on me, in everything Harris says about Christianity, he avoided touching Eastern Orthodoxy. Moreover, every postulate of his about Western Christianity’s doctrines does not even apply to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. And this was something of a revelation. At the time of reading of this book, I knew very little of the enigmatic Orthodox Church; but this atheistic book was a God-sent. Prompted by it, I went into Eastern Orthodoxy without reservation, and it has been one astonishing discovery after another, non-stop.

    While for the most Westerners, there are only two ways at this point – Western Christianity (in any form) and Atheism (in any form), for me and the growing number of Orthodox converts, the world is three-fold: Western Christianity, Atheism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

    And I have Sam Harris to thank for this!

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