Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Questions and Answers 93 - 97

Three Favorite Poetic Quotes

Question 93: I was asked in a school assignment what my three favorite poetic quotes are, and I can't think of any. Can you tell me what yours are?

Answer: You probably shouldn't use my favorite poetic quotes as being your own, nor would you probably not want to, but I'll answer your question:

1. "I was in the death struggle with self:
God and Satan fought for my soul those three long hours.
God conquered —
now I have only one doubt left —
which of the twain was God?" - Aleister Crowley

2. "And so being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy." - Edgar Allan Poe

3. "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." - Willy Wonka

The Myth of the Christianization of Pagan Holidays

Question 94: I read your inspiring piece on The Men who Failed to Paganize the Origins of Christmas and I wanted to pick your brain for more information.

I would like more insight onto this idea of the myth of how Church holidays are christianizations of old Pagan holidays, not just Christmas, but Easter, All Hallows Eve, and several others Church Holidays.

I am Latin so I hope that does not matter. (:

If you could could you recommend to me some books and resources for further research?

Answer: The best thing for you to do is read the relevant articles in these resources, some of which make reference to other sources for further research.

St. Prokopios and the Orthodox Marriage Service

Question 95: I have a question, I was not able to find an answer to it. Why is the name of St. Procopius included in the Service of Matrimony?

Answer: I have answered this question in a post from 2012, titled "Sts. Prokopios and Constantine, Protectors of Orthodox Marriage". You can read it here:

Saints Who Physically Ascended to Heaven

Question 96: Does in the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Churches exist any case of a saint who would ascend to heaven with his living, physical body as did Jesus Christ and the Theotokos?

Answer: There is a tradition that the Apostle John ascended physically into heaven three days after his death. This is why there are no relics of the Apostle John.

Dr. Jordan Peterson

Question 97: I am a Hieromonk in Serbia and still maintain some contact with my family from the states and this is mostly through my older brother. In the past year or more he has been highly intrigued by Dr. Jordan Peterson. He recently visited me this past March and gave me Petersons recent book 12 Rules for Life. He asked me to read it and Peterson has been somewhat of a platform for most of our conversations. I honestly have really little time for reading due to my responsibilities here so my introduction into Peterson's philosophy has been quite slow. For my brother, he asks interesting questions now and is trying to understand aspects of Christianity such as our intense history of martyrdom and why did Christ have to (or choose to) die on the Cross and the significance of this action. It was about that time that I was sent a post by Orthodox Witness with the Crucified Messiah recording of Fr. Thomas Hopko. He listened to it three times and it was interesting because at first he showed real enthusiasm and then after the second and third time he realized that Fr. Thomas really never answers the question. For my brother it became a “because he had to” type of argument. What he prefers in Peterson is Peterson’s capacity to explain in a way that my brother would say “now I understand completely.” I was interested in knowing if you have run into Dr. Peterson and if you have a particular interest in discussing his recent impact or book which seems to be influencing Orthodox circles as well.

Answer: I am not familiar with Dr. Peterson enough to make an authoritative comment on him. I have read some things by him and about him, seen some of his videos and debates, and have seen him on television a number of times such as on Fox News. I have not read 12 Rules. I have the book, as it was given to me by someone, but have not read it. I may have to read it soon and write a review on my website New Myriobiblon. As far as politics and sociology are concerned, I like what he has to say for the most part. He is somewhat of a conservative and highly decries such things as political correctness and liberalism. Theologically he seems to be an enigma. He has high regard for Orthodox theology, but he comes off as an agnostic to me from the little I have heard him speak on the issue. I think the reason a lot of Orthodox like him is because he talks about symbology and Christianity, which many Orthodox find intriguing. Personally I have never met an Orthodox interested in Dr. Peterson, so I have no firsthand knowledge of the reasons why. He believes that human beings have evolved to see the world in a religious way, though he himself is not religious. He forces young people especially to think on deeper issues, and by doing this he is making them seek religion, which I suspect is what is happening with your brother. For example, he exhorts people to follow Christian morality, such as to tell the truth, pursue what is meaningful, and assume the person you are listening to might know something that you don’t. A lot of it is common sense, though few people live according to common sense. His approach to the Bible is purely metaphorical and psychological. After all, he is a Jungian psychologist who seeks for the Archetypes in all religions. I have read that people call Peterson "a gateway drug" into Orthodoxy. If this is the case, I see it as a good thing. There may be some problems if Orthodox themselves go to him for answers, however. His approach is purely secular and psychological, even though he often references the Bible and Christianity. I will look more deeply into him to give a better answer.

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