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Archive for April, 2010

Atheism = Nihilism

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 25, 2010

Why is Atheism these days so aggressive and destructive?

In a basement apartment near downtown San Francisco in the earl 1960’s, Eugene Rose, the future Fr. Seraphim, sat at his desk covered with stacks of books and piles of paper folders. The room was perpetually dark, for little light could come in from the window. Some years before Eugene had moved there, a murder had occurred in that room, and some said that an ominous spirit still lingered there. But Eugene, as if in defiance of this spirit and the ever-darkening spirit of the city around him, had one wall covered with icons, before which red icon-lamp always flickered.

In this room Eugene undertook to write a monumental chronicle of modern man’s war against God: man’s attempt to destroy the Old Order and raise up a new one without Christ, to deny the existence of the Kingdom of God and raise up his own earthly utopia in its stead. This projected work was entitled The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom, of God.

Only a few years before this, Eugene himself had been ensnared in the Kingdom of Man and had suffered in it; he too had been at war against God. Having rejected the Protestant Christianity of his formative years as being weak and ineffectual, he had taken part in the Bohemian counterculture of the 1950’s, and had delved into Eastern religions and philosophies which taught that God is ultimately impersonal. Like the absurdist artists and writers of his day, he had experimented with insanity, breaking down logical thought processes as a way of “breaking on over to the other side.” He read the words of the mad “prophet” of Nihilism, Friedrich Nietzsche, until those words resonated in his soul with an electric, infernal power. Through all these means, he was seeking to attain to Truth or Reality with his mind; but they all resulted in failure. He was reduced to such a state of despair that, when later asked to describe it, he could only say, “I was in Hell.” He would get drunk, and would grapple with the God Whom he had claimed was dead, pounding on the floor and screaming at Him to leave him alone. Once while intoxicated, he wrote, “I am sick, as all men are sick who are absent from the love of God.”

“Atheism,” Eugene wrote in later years, “true ‘existential’ atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state; it is a real attempt to grapple with the true God Whose ways are so inexplicable even to the most believing of men, and it has more than once been known to end in a blinding vision of Him Whom the real atheist truly seeks. It is Christ Who works in these souls. The Antichrist is not to be found primarily in the great deniers, but in the small affirmers, whose Christ is only on the lips. Nietzsche, in calling himself Antichrist, proved thereby his intense hunger for Christ….”

It was in such a condition of intense hunger that Eugene found himself in the late 1950’s. And then, like a sudden gust of wind, there entered into his life a reality that he never could have foreseen. Towards the end of his life he recalled this moment:

“For years in my studies I was satisfied with being ‘above all traditions’ but somehow faithful to them…. When I visited an Orthodox church, it was only in order to view another ‘tradition.’ However, when I entered an Orthodox church for the first time (a Russian church in San Francisco) something happened to me that I had not experienced in any Buddhist or other Eastern temple; something in my heart said that this was ‘home,’ that all my search was over. I didn’t really know what this meant, because the service was quite strange to me, and in a foreign language. I began to attend Orthodox services more frequently, gradually learning its language and customs…. With my exposure to Orthodoxy and to Orthodox people, a new idea began to enter my awareness: that Truth was not just an abstract idea, sought and known by the mind, but was something personal–even a Person–sought and loved by the heart. And that is how I met Christ.”

While working on The Kingdom of Man and the Kingdom of God in his basement apartment, Eugene was still coming to grips with what he had found. He had come upon the Truth in the Undistorted Image of Christ, as preserved in the Eastern Orthodox Church, but he yearned to enter into what he called the “heart of hearts” of that Church, its mystical dimension, not its boring, worldly, organizational aspect. He wanted God, and wanted Him passionately. His writings from this time were a kind of catharsis for him: a means of emerging out of untruth, out of the underground darkness and into the light. Although they are philosophical in tone, much more so than his later works, these early writings were born of an intense suffering that was still very fresh in his soul. It was only natural that he would write much more about the Kingdom of Man, in which he had suffered all his life, than about the Kingdom of God, of which he had as yet only caught a glimpse. It was still through the prism of the Kingdom of Man that he viewed the Kingdom of God.

Of all the fourteen chapters Eugene planned to write for his magnum opus (see the outline below), only the seventh was typed in completed form; the rest remain in handwritten notes. This seventh chapter, which we present here, was on the philosophy of Nihilism.

Nihilism–the belief that there is no Absolute Truth, that all truth is relative–is, Eugene affirmed, the basic philosophy of the 20th century: “It has become, in our time, so widespread and pervasive, has entered so thoroughly and so deeply into the minds and hearts of all men living today, that there is no longer any ‘front’ on which it may be fought.” The heart of this philosophy, he said, was “expressed most clearly by Nietzsche and by a character of Dostoyevsky in the phrase: ‘God is dead, therefore man becomes God and everything is possible.”‘

From his own experience, Eugene believed that modern man cannot come to Christ fully until he is first aware of how far he and his society have fallen away from Him, that is, until he has first faced the Nihilism in himself “The Nihilism of our age exists in all,” he wrote, ” and those who do not, with the aid of God, choose to combat it in the name of the fullness of Being of the living God, are swallowed up in it already. We have been brought to the edge of the abyss of nothingness and, whether we recognize its nature or not, we will, through affinity for the ever-present nothingness within us, be engulfed in it beyond all hope of redemption-unless we cling in full and certain faith (which ‘ doubting, does not doubt) to Christ, without Whom we are truly nothing.”

As a writer, Eugene felt he must call his contemporaries back from the abyss. He wrote not only out of his own desire for God, but out of his concern for others who desired Him also–even those who, as he himself had once done, rejected God or warred against Him out of their very desire for Him.

Out of his pain of heart, out of the darkness of his former life, Eugene speaks to contemporary humanity which finds itself in the same pain and darkness. Now, three decades since he wrote this work, as the powers of Nihilism and anti-Christianity enter more deeply into the fiber of our society, his words are more needed than ever. Having faced and fought against the Nihilism in himself, he is able to help prevent us from being captured by its soul-destroying spirit, and to help us cling to Christ, the Eternal Truth become flesh.

Fascinating stuff – please continue reading…


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Iceland Volcano — God’s Wrath?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 22, 2010

Eruption of the Iceland volcano is a display of God’s wrath, the Association of Orthodox Experts believes.

“Is it possible that Europe further abandoning its Christian heritage does not to see that eruption of the Iceland volcano with its ash cloud that paralyzed life of the “most progressive” society is a menacing sign of God?” the Association’s activists said in their statement conveyed to Interfax-Religion.

They noted that Iceland “has recently become a center of European neo-paganism of Aryan occult kind, which has Nazi character” as Iceland has headquartered the Association of European Ethnic Religions that has recently worked out a draft of merger between the World Pagan Assembly and International Pagan Alliance.

The authors of the statement remind that PACE at its April session plans to discuss rights of various minorities, especially sexual, and that “major part of European deputies propose that all states of the Council of Europe should introduce a subject on peculiarities of homosexual behavior in the school curriculum.”

“Is it possible that once Christian Europe has forgotten the Holy Scripture and the destiny of Sodom and Gomorrah?” the experts wonder urging deputies of Russia, Ukraine and other Orthodox states to oppose such attempts.

Sorce: Interfax

Fascinating Images


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Pure African Christians

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 9, 2010

The Spanish art photographer, Luis López ‘Gabú’,  shows his great work under the title, ‘Pure African Christians’ in the city of Santiago de Compostela – with a very intimate photographic vision and pictorial on the Christians of the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea, who have their origin in the era of Jesus, unlike Christians in other parts of Africa whose faith was imposed by European colonization.

Photo Gallery


Posted in Ethiopia, Faith | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pigeons — More Democratic Than Humans

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 9, 2010

During flight, pigeons in a flock follow the leader

Pigeons wearing miniature backpacks containing tracking devices have revealed that the birds rapidly shift direction during flight in response to cues from the leading members of their group.

“It is the first study demonstrating hierarchical decision-making in a group of free-flying birds,” says Tamás Vicsek, a biophysicist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest who led the study, which is published today in Nature1.

The discovery became possible only recently with the introduction of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that can collect data at a high rate: five times per second. Vicsek’s team strapped lightweight GPS devices to individual pigeons and tracked flocks of up to 10 birds during free flights lasting around 12 minutes and 15-kilometre homing flights. In total, the GPS logged 32 hours of data and captured 15 group flights. The researchers couldn’t pinpoint individuals’ exact positions within a flock, but were able to accurately compare birds’ directions of motion.

Within flocks, the authors looked first at the behaviour of pairs of birds. For each possible pairing, the team identified a leader — the bird that changed direction first — and a follower, which copied the leader’s motion. Followers reacted very quickly, within a fraction of a second.

Next, the scientists constructed a network of relationships among birds in the group during each flight. They uncovered a robust pecking order: birds higher up the ranks had more influence over the group’s movements, and each individual’s level of influence was consistent across specific free and homing flights.

However, this influence was not always consistent between flights, with some rearrangement occurring among birds at the head of the flock. Vicsek speculates that this may have occurred because an original leader had tired. Co-author Dora Biro, an animal behaviour expert at the University of Oxford, UK, says, “This kind of group decision-making is more complicated than previous models suggested.”

Follow the leader

Although pigeons have an almost 340º field of view, the researchers found that the birds at the front of a flock tended to make the navigational decisions. Moreover, birds responded more readily to a leader’s movements if the leader was on their left side. These findings concur with previous work that indicated that social cues entering a bird’s left eye receive preferential processing in the brain.

“No other study has contributed more to our understanding of collective decision-making in actively homing animals, not by a long shot,” says Todd Dennis, an expert in pigeon navigation at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He likens the birds’ group behaviour to that of a cabaret dance troupe, in which less-experienced dancers towards the rear correct themselves by watching experts at the front. “The study provides a very important model for how collective behaviour and leadership can be assessed in a range of animal groups,” he says.

The authors say that a hierarchical arrangement may foster more flexible and efficient decision-making compared with that of singly led or egalitarian groups. In future studies, the scientists plan to investigate whether leaders are better navigators, and whether hierarchies persist in larger groups and in other types of social animal. “If it’s true that there’s an evolutionary advantage to making decisions in this way, then there’s absolutely a reason to assume that it could have evolved in other species too,” Biro says.

Source: Nature


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Happy Tinsae

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 5, 2010

A Reflection on The Feast of the Resurrection – Tinsae

The scene of Mary Magdalene, weeping before the Lord’s tomb that had been sealed by the order of Pontius Pilate, reminds us of the scene of the Apostle Saint John weeping before the Scroll that had been sealed with Seven Seals (Revelation 5:4); and no one was found worthy to open and read the Scroll or to look at it. All the Seven Seals had to be loosened before all the kingdoms could become the Lord’s Kingdom (Revelation 11:15).

The similarity between the reason for Mary Magdalene’s tears and that for St. John’s is prominent. Mary was weeping because “they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him” (St. John 20:2). For her, the Lord Who was once the hope of Israel’s redemption was dead; and His tomb sealed through Pilate’s decree to ensure and proclaim His death to everybody. To Mary, there did not seem any more hope in redemption, salvation, or life. The Master was dead and so were she and all of Israel.

St. John the Apostle wept for the same reason. Humanity was delivered to the sentence of death (the sealed scroll) and no one was found worthy to open the scroll or loosen its seals (Revelation 5:3). Such were the consequences of our sins and the subsequent death sentence which reigned over us; whereby we were bound and sold as slaves. Both seals, the one before Mary’s eyes and the other before St. John’s send the same message: WE ARE HOPELESSLY DEAD!

But the Heavenly Hosts had SOME good news for both; Mary Magdalene and St. John the Apostle. At the tomb, the Angels said to Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (St. John 20:13) and in the book of Revelations, one of the Elders said to St. John “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed” (Revelation 5:5).

Mary Magdalene turned around and saw the Risen Lord, but thought He was the gardener. In the same manner, St. John turned around expecting to see the Lion; but, to his surprise, he saw a Lamb as though it had been slain.

In a matter of few minutes, both of them came to a new realization. Mary Magdalene knew that the gardener is the Risen Lord, and St. John knew that the slain Lamb is the prevailing Lion.

Praise and worship have filled heaven and earth because of the glad tidings of the Resurrection of the Lord. On earth, St. Mary Magdalene spread the Goods News to the Disciples and the Disciples in turn to the rest of the world. Similarly, in heaven, praises and worship started among the Four living creatures and the Twenty Four Elders (Revelation 5:8) and then spread to the rest of the Angelic hosts numbered by thousands of thousands and ten thousands times ten thousands (Revelation 5:11). After that the praise and worship spread to include every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them (Revelation 5:13).

Today we rejoice because the slain Lamb has RISEN becoming the prevailing Lion. Let us call upon all the heavenly orders and earthly ranks to praise with us because the Lord has broken death seal; trampling upon it by His death granting us a new life in Him.

Praise the Lord, He is RISEN! The slain Lamb is alive. This means we are also alive in Him, by Him, and through Him. The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has indeed wiped away and cancelled our sins. Therefore, my brethren, with St. Paul’s words echoing in our ears that “if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17); let our mouth be truly filled with joy and our tongue with gladness because the Lord Jesus Christ has Risen from the dead!

May all the blessings of the victorious Resurrection of our Lord fill your hearts with the heavenly and glorious joy!

Source: Ninesaintsethiopianorthodoxmonastery


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