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#391246 02/18/13 06:50 AM
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Hello, I hope this topic fits here, if it doesn't I'm very sorry for the post.

But one of my friends, who is a very iconoclastic Protestant insulted my faith the other day quite profoundly. He said he saw no difference between us Eastern Christians and the Roman Catholics. Which is offensive, because he REALLY hates Roman Catholics. So he basically said he hated my believes in a round about way.

I am trying to handle my extreme anger towards this slight, and I am also trying to forgive him but I can't seem to do it. I actually feel sick when I'm forced to be at school with him or anything. His wife is also equally anti-non-Protestantism. So I'm having a hard time just understanding this.

Can anyone offer any advice, be it a dogmatic lesson, some sort of spiritual guidance? Anything will help at this point.

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EasternRomioi3:

Some years ago I answered a question about Roman bullies at #127287. It has parallels to you.

First of all, step back and ask yourself why this person is a "friend." Friends are not bullies and that appears to be what you've got going on here.

Why be angry? This person has shown his true nature.
Sometimes you can't change a person or open his/her mind. He appears to have found a symbiotic person to share his life with. You don't have to share yours with either one.

You don't indicate your age or level of education, but, if it were me, I'd tell them both outright that you don't agree with them on faith-related issues and will not debate with them. I'd also tell them they come across as anti-Christian bigots; their sect has no lock on who or what Christianity is or who is a follower of Christ. Theirs is also not the only brand of Protestantism. We have several members here who are Protestant and whose faith is open to other ways of looking and experiencing the Mystery of God among us in Christ. Any one of them I'd be honored to spend my eternity with. Christianity is not based on hatred of another; this type of foundation is anti-Christ in its most blatant form.

Then, walk away from this duo. These relationships are caustic to your growth in relationship with Jesus Christ. Let nothing and no one disturb your peace in that He is in charge of everything that happens to you. In everything, we have to choose. What we choose deepens or erodes our relationship with Christ. Choose.

Prayers for you,

Bob

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I agree with Bob. Just try to forget it, and avoid him the best you can. He is not a nice or polite person.

These days, what he said is far less offensive than someone telling you that you are an idiot to believe in God because He is a myth...

So leave it alone, and try not to discuss religion if you do not have to.

Alice

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I have family/friends who are mainline protestants, reformed protestants, "non-denominational" protestants, and do-it-yourself protestants -- sometimes the same folks in some or all of these at different points in their life or even at the same time; I see them all in the same light - sincere people in a religious system lacking in foundation. I openly oppose their religious system as illogical, and usually clearly state why; but I love each of them as individuals and do not question their utmost sincerity or love of God, nor judge their salvation. I can't say the same is reciprocated; some don't care one way or the other. Others hate the Church and think I'm hell-bound for being in it and believing it's teaching. The common denominator seems to be lack of knowledge of history and not caring to learn.

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Yeah, I agree with you, Michael Thoma, that the biggest problem is lack of knowledge. What makes me even more upset is I willingly met them half way and went to their non-denominational church on campus. We're seniors at the University of Pittsburgh, but I'm older as I'm working on my second degree.

With regards to their church, I went, I was willing to hear them out, and first, they had that modern "Christian rock" stuff, which I utterly detest from a musical stand point. But like the Word felt woefully incomplete. Also, random fact, the lights from their projectors caused me to faint from like a seizure effect. Kinda lost a lot of face at that moment.

But recently I invited them to a Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at my church because it's later in the evening and easier to get to with class and all that. They flat out refused. He then said "Catholicism isn't for us." To which I said, "Orthodoxy, not Catholicism." He said "I don't really see a difference."

See, that upsets me. I feel like he has not only insulted my religious beliefs, but he has insulted my family, and my ancestor's religious-cultural beliefs! Being raised in a very strict Southern Italian family, I'm almost culturally bound to deck him for that perceived insult.

Finally, they are unwilling to try with me, but they still invited me to their church, and they invite me to participate in things. They even finally got me to say grace publicly, which is something I usually can't muster the courage to do. See, I just feel like they kicked mud in my face when I was trying to be polite.

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"Depart ye out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet."

Alexandr

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Originally Posted by EasternRomioi3
Yeah, I agree with you, Michael Thoma, that the biggest problem is lack of knowledge. What makes me even more upset is I willingly met them half way and went to their non-denominational church on campus. We're seniors at the University of Pittsburgh, but I'm older as I'm working on my second degree.

With regards to their church, I went, I was willing to hear them out, and first, they had that modern "Christian rock" stuff, which I utterly detest from a musical stand point. But like the Word felt woefully incomplete. Also, random fact, the lights from their projectors caused me to faint from like a seizure effect. Kinda lost a lot of face at that moment.

But recently I invited them to a Pre-Sanctified Liturgy at my church because it's later in the evening and easier to get to with class and all that. They flat out refused. He then said "Catholicism isn't for us." To which I said, "Orthodoxy, not Catholicism." He said "I don't really see a difference."

See, that upsets me. I feel like he has not only insulted my religious beliefs, but he has insulted my family, and my ancestor's religious-cultural beliefs! Being raised in a very strict Southern Italian family, I'm almost culturally bound to deck him for that perceived insult.

Finally, they are unwilling to try with me, but they still invited me to their church, and they invite me to participate in things. They even finally got me to say grace publicly, which is something I usually can't muster the courage to do. See, I just feel like they kicked mud in my face when I was trying to be polite.
They - I include my earlier mentioned f&f in this - won't "try" because they think all they need is Jesus and the Bible, not realizing (and, in many cases blatantly *refusing* to realize by studying further) that they accept all kinds of things on face value as "in the Bible" without knowing the struggle the Church had to go through to eradicate the heretical views of their day. They do this even on a daily basis, since they accept their own or their pastor's Bible reading as true and all other denominations (or at least some) as false. The only other way to contort reality to fit this perspective is to assume every other Christian and denomination is either insincere or sincere but false and not led by the Spirit (leaving only their own as true) - the problem with the latter is it disproves Bible-alone.

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I live in Utah - The Mormons will invite your children to "primary" but you should see what happens if you invite their children to Catechism.

In my life - the way I was attracted to a religion was by it's inclusivity and willingness to be challenged and share what thye have and yes even attend others events.

Those religions who hyperactively protect their own members or themselves from exposure to other forms of worship are
a) afraid they might see the flaws in their own religion
b) they are extremely cultish - common in evangelical charismatics and cult like religions such as Mormonism, scientology etc.

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Laughter and ridicule are the best antidotes to truculent ignorance. When he says you are no different than Roman Catholics, just give him a hearty guffaw and tell him, no, we're not. Our graven images are much nicer than theirs, our vestments are way cooler, we have more smells and bells, the Body and Blood of Christ are tastier, and we love Mary a whole lot more fulsomely. Tell him, "If you hate Roman Catholics, you've really got to loathe us". Embrace his stupidity and throw it back at him.

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I like to include historical factoids as food for thought: Munster Rebellion, Calvin's Geneva, Witch hunts, Michael Servantus, Luther and Cathars/Albigensians - all anti-visible church aka Bible alone, all couldn't stand each other. All Holy Spirit inspired? or the spirit of discord and disunity?

Many protestants like to use these as examples of crypto-protestantism in the early church, but just a surface level look at the beliefs of these sects will show you how off-the-wall they were. If they still want to claim these as the "real church" - take Alexander's example: shoes, dust off, walk.

Last edited by Michael_Thoma; 02/21/13 03:58 PM.
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I think I would agree with several of those who've already responded--this exchange marks a sort of turning point in your relationship with this person. In general, I think I would avoid talking with this person about religious matters.

However, I do think you perhaps owe him--since you counted him a friend--an explanation of this changed appraisal of your relationship. Tell him that his conflating your religious identity with others was and is offensive to you...This shouldn't reallly require a lot of substantive theological agreement to get across--would he understand that it's insulting to refer to a Puerto Rican as 'Mexican' on the grounds that 'you're really all the same?' Also, tell him that his dismissal of your own Christian faith and practice has really called into question for you the value of continuing any meaningful exchange. Likewise this also shouldn't really require much theological agreement to get across--Why did they invite you to their church if they are unwilling to attend yours? After all, it is clear that their church isn't really 'for you' either, but that you accepted their invitation out of a basic sense of respect and a sense of some shared Christian solidarity. Clearly, they did not reciprocate.

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First, with regards to what StuartK said, I really like that. That little colorful description of the Orthodox tradition put a smile on my face.

Second, eastwardlean?, your second paragraph is completely rational and morally sound. In a REAL friendship, friends are to exchange likes, dislikes, understandings, misunderstandings, etc, etc in a healthy and save fashion. If the safety is gone, the friendship turns sour and you form enemies or even worse, personal feuds.

Also, he is extremely proud of his Hungarian roots. From what I've seen, people who have a deep old-world cultural background tend to be more enjoyable along my lines. Most of my friends at school are either Chinese immigrants, highly Roman Catholic Italians, modern day Jews, or "main-line" Protestants with no sense of ethnic identity. I find them to be the hardest to rationalize with.

So yeah, this is like calling a Mexican a Puerto Rican, or calling a Chinese a Japanese. They are not the same people, Catholics, especially the Catholics who really promote Papal infallibility, are very different from any Eastern Rite, not only just the Byzantines, but the Syrians, Coptics, etc. We didn't maintain our way and our tradition just to have it be deemed "the same as Roman Catholicism."

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As one whose perspective is "outside" I may be out of line with these comments. If so I shall accept the consequences.

In the interest of full disclosure: Many years ago I walked away from my family's religious tradition because I found many places where their practice quite differed from the plain reading of Holy Writ. I now gather for worship with a few primitive fundamentalist believers who would be classified as "Five Solas" heretics by some.

That said, I note in very many places Scripture plainly adjures me to love (to agape) other believers. I see no gain in acting disrespectfully toward another violating the Christian precept to love them.

I am no eccuminicalist, but irrespective of the ecclesiastical views another holds I am nevertheless compelled to love them and treat them with respect and dignity as those beloved of God. Those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ also belong to Him. He said we shall men shall know us by our love. Believers may not agree over important details, but they shouldn't fight.

Besides, many people reciprocate the way they are treated.

There are means by which differing points of view can be discussed without rancor or polemic hostility. Organized scholarly debates can serve this purpose. Also, mature adults should be able to discuss different views without hateful speech.


μιχαηλ η αιρετικη

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EasternRomoi3,

The Protestants you describe come from the extreme Zwinglian end of the spectrum, sectarian, and downright Pharisaic in their contempt for others.

You demonstrate a true catholicity of spirit.

For a good laugh, I share this description of such hyper-separatists posted on another forum site a couple of years ago:

Quote
The Reformed are like vampires. They are horrified by the sign of the cross, literally run away from holy water (I wonder if it burns them?) and suck any good ceremonial out of a congregation. No wonder they dress in that dreary black robe of death. God forbid we should have something beautiful, colorful and worthy of the King of Kings like a Gold colored Chasuble or a Gold plated chalice instead of some plastic, disposable Nyquil cup for the Sacrament.

“BrotherBoris” ALPD Forum 09/04/09


Moderated by  Alice, Father Deacon Ed, theophan 

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