Compatible with liberalism and Christianity? Response to Patriarch Kirill
On the eve of Patriarch Kirill after the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and other politicians took up the criticism of liberalism. “The modern so-called liberal idea, it is, in my opinion, just exhausted themselves completely,” — said the summer of this year the head of state in an interview with The Financial Times. “Placing himself in the center of life is the liberal idea, — continued the theme of the head of the ROC. — But if “I” in the center, above me? In a sense, this is a sinful idea, because placing in the center of life itself — this is the falling away from God. In the center of life should be God.” In addition, the ecclesiastical head of the identified times of political and economic crisis of liberalism: “After 90 years, a significant portion of our educated society began to understand what liberalism is”. It should be noted that the words of the Patriarch in the spirit of a typical Communist or “left”, nostalgic for the Soviet Union. Only here forgot to have a similar status in society and to make didactic tone of these statements, he can only through the implementation of the liberal ideas, which he criticizes. Let’s try to understand how the idea of liberalism is contrary to Christianity and belief in God in General, regardless of denomination.
“The heresy of chelovekovedenija”
This is not the first attack Patriarch Kirill on the liberal idea of the position of the churchman. Remember, in 2016, he described human rights is one of the pillars of liberalism. “I’m talking about global heresy chelovechestva, the new idolatry taketh God from human life, preaching the Lord. — In the scale of the whole planet develops the idea of life without God… In some countries there are attempts by the law to approve the right of any human choice, including the very sinful… Many Christians may have adopted these views, and gave priority to human rights over more than the word of God… We have to protect Orthodoxy from the heresy of our time”.
At the level of the hierarchs of the ROC liberalism has long ago turned into a dirty word. They do not mind even the fact that the Constitution embodied the liberal principles as to who they may be called. And the property, which is owned by the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church; the bourgeois way of life which they lead; and the free flow of information, which they are daily engaged, there is nothing like the achievement in practice of liberal principles. Of course, in Orthodoxy and liberal circles, but they are not influential, marginal, and most often today, their path lies in the Church dissidence.
“God gave man a free will — freedom of choice goals”
Should determine the terms. Liberalism was born at a time when science was not developed, atheism was not a common worldview, and religion were maintained and protected by the state. Already proceeding from here, he could not be the ideology, challenging the faith itself. What says the leader of the Russian Orthodox, is called anthropocentrism. And it’s not an ideology, and a philosophical concept. The funny thing is that this view of the world and man is not a product of the modern era. It is the fruit of antiquity, and hence pre-Christian period of mankind. Even the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras formulated the thesis: “Man is the measure of all things existing, that they exist, and nonexistent, that they do not exist.” Then none of what liberalism and the speech was not.
Interestingly, the idea of anthropocentrism has been developed further in Christian philosophy in the Renaissance. “I put You in the middle of the world, that You could freely observe all directions and to look the way You want. I have not created You nor the earth nor heaven, neither mortal nor immortal. Because You Yourself according to His will and honor can be His own Creator and the Creator of You and of suitable material to form Itself. So, You’re free to descend into the lower stages of the animal world, but You can also raise Yourself to the higher realms of God”, — wrote the thinker of that time about the role of man in the world Pico della Mirandola.
The press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia / Priest Igor Palkin
Note that one of the principles of Christianity, not just Orthodoxy is the freedom. Remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus from the gospel of Luke. Quote: “the poor man Died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Died and the rich man, and buried him. And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and cried, and said, father Abraham! have mercy on me and send Lazarus to moist end of his finger in water and prohadil my tongue, for I am tormented in the flame this. But Abraham said, son! remember that you received your good things in your life, and Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are suffering.” This parable clearly shows that man is given free will to choose their path, knowing where it will lead. In itself free will is not sin. Besides, in Christianity there is a doctrine of repentance, that is, the recognition of wrong chosen path, and repentance in order to the gaining of Paradise. Yes there are, after all, the old Testament story of the fall of Adam and eve all about the same — about freedom to choose their path.
As he wrote Russian religious philosopher Semyon Frank, traditional Church theology understands freedom of will as freedom of choice. “We have the ability in determining their actions, their way of life “freely”, ie, in its sole discretion, to “choose” between different possibilities — and thus between good and evil. Because sin and moral evil exist in the world, they are, therefore, the result of free will, ontologically nothing certain of the will’s free choice. God gave man the freedom of will — freedom of choice of goals and ways of his life as the only worthy form of existence; He wanted people without coercion, namely, their own free choice followed the path that pleases Him. People “abuse” this freedom, chose the path of sin. So, on the one hand, the existence of sin, and, on the other hand, sin occurring only arbitrary decision, is not rooted in bogaardlaan order of being” — gives his interpretation of free will in Christianity, Frank. By the way, a member of the party of the constitutional Democrats, standing on the platform of moderate liberalism.
Modern Orthodox doctor of theology Alexey Osipov writes that Christianity in the metaphysical sense, freedom is understood as one of the most fundamental properties of human nature — free will, expressed primarily in moral self-determination of personality in the face of good and evil. “Free will is the property the loss of which leads to full degradation of the personality. But while free will remains, above this freedom is not the power no one: neither the other person nor society, nor laws, nor any power, nor demons, nor angels. Moreover, on this person’s freedom to a certain extent, no power even of God Himself. Otherwise, evil people in committed the atrocities in those post-mortem sufferings that would come upon him for these acts, could blame God,” he explains.
However, those who would reduce Christianity, especially the Orthodox, to the secular humanism, yet we should not delude ourselves, it does not approve of such things, as a free sexual choice, gender transformation, and the like. “Modern Western civilization, which care protects the freedom of the flesh, cultivating her baser passions, at the same time, with the steady straightforwardness is destroying the purity and sanctity of soul. Having lost the concept of sin, becomes an inexorable, tyrannical, arbitrary and increasingly plunges the Nations of the world in the last circle of death. Ultimately, all modern crises have as their source that is absolutized external freedom: instead of morality, modesty, purity — the tyranny of instincts, of selfishness, of flesh,” says the same official. This does not mean that the interpretation Osipov denies human rights, believing their heresy was said Patriarch Kirill. But the thinker finds them this explanation: “Freedoms and rights are just the means and conditions of establishing such a moral and legal atmosphere in society that would facilitate spiritual growth of man, and not emptied it, did not stimulate the passion that kills the soul and the body. Here is the Foundation upon which Christianity builds understanding of freedom, rights and duties of man.”
The second paragraph of Christianity, distinguishing it from other religions, is an individual journey of salvation. Community, of course, important. But every saved person. Even the stories in the gospel is the story of how each in their own way turned to Jesus. The story of the death of Jesus on the cross says the same thing. On one side was the crucified thief who mocked Jesus, and received him as Savior, the other, on the contrary, confessed his sins and turned to Christ: “Lord, Remember me when thou COMEST into Thy Kingdom!” On what received the answer: “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” Isn’t the individual way of salvation, and the manifestation of Agency?
To some it may seem that Orthodoxy, unlike Protestantism, is a congregational religion, and there is no place for individualism. But, as wrote Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, “the Church has become an institution in which they deal with individual souls for healing. This is the version of Christian individualism, indifferent to the fate of human society and the world. The Church exists for the salvation of individual souls but not interested in the creativity of life, transformation of social and cosmic life”. However, the most Berdyaev don’t like it, but nevertheless it diagnoses: the Church is a place for personal salvation. By the way, in 2014, the Kremlin officials recommended to read Nikolai Berdyaev. It seems that it can be recommended to read and Patriarch Kirill together with his advisers.
So, freedom and individualism — things are not alien to the Christian understanding of human nature and its relationship with the Evangelical God.
And they eventually went to the liberal idea. Although today’s Russian Orthodox ultra-conservatives sometimes try to file them as a kind of Satanism, and semiofficial propaganda identifies liberalism with the rebellion. The impression that guardians was struck by amnesia. History does not recall a single regime built on liberal principles, which would impose on society atheism. But recently Russia has emerged from the womb of the Soviet atheistic society, which today is cultivated nostalgia among the faithful conservatives.
“Do not free a society in which the individual has freedom of thought and speech”
Return to the phrase of the Patriarch regarding liberalism. The main mistake or deliberate manipulation of meaning in his words is equating liberalism to a certain metaphysical doctrine. Liberalism was originally a socio-political doctrine and were intended to changes in the structure of society, and not to religious reforms. Yes, by coincidence that liberalism developed around the same era, and Protestantism. And probably if you dig, you can find something in common. But to equate these things — a complete lack of awareness.
Liberalism is not about soul, not about the afterlife, not about God. It is about life on earth. In addition, we must understand that in our time there are a lot of versions of liberalism. Ranging from classic, traditional to social liberalism, left-liberalism, neo-liberalism, liberalism in which hypertrophied the protection of minorities, and so on. By the way, and so-called conservatism in the West — is, in fact, is also one of the versions of liberalism. It’s funny that in Russia liberalism opposes communism and Soviet past. Although the same US conservatives scornfully called liberals just the same leftists. Russian liberalism has brought to the economic determinism of the reformers, which, of course, nonsense. Vladimir Putin in an interview with Western publishing, in saying that liberalism has outlived its usefulness, brought him to the understanding of opening borders to migration flows. Either he deliberately distorts his understanding, or, as they say, not in the subject.
But to stop all guile, you should look at least one source of liberalism. This doctrine actually preaches the freedom of the individual and her rights. But whether it is about relationship with God? Not at all.
Freedom is not from God but from unwarranted and illegal pressure of the state and society to the individual. If Patriarch Kirill God and state — is identical concepts, then it is very worth checking out for heresy.
One of the major liberal thinkers was John Stuart mill. In his treatise “On liberty” he writes: “the Purpose of this study is to establish the principle, which should be based on the attitude of the society to the individual, i.e. on the basis of which should be defined as those enforcement and regulatory actions against the individual, committed by physical force in the form of legal prosecution, and those actions which are moral violence against the individual through public opinion. This principle is that people, individually or collectively, can rightly interfere in the actions of the individual only for the sake of self-preservation that every member of a civilized society only in this case can fairly be subjected to some coercion, if this is necessary in order to warn his side of things harmful to other people, the personal benefit of the individual, physical or moral, is not sufficient grounds for any interference in its action. No one has the right to force individual to do anything or something not to do on the grounds that he himself would be better, or that he would have become happier, or, finally, on the basis that, in the opinion of others, act in a known manner it would be noble and even populnea”.
A special place mill premium not the economic side, and the freedom of speech and thought. “Not free society, whatever its form of government in which the individual has freedom of thought and expression, freedom to live as he wants, freedom of Association, and only that society is free in which all of these types of individual freedom is absolutely and equally indifferent to all its members. Only kind of freedom deserves the name of freedom, when we can freely seek to achieve what we consider to be good, and to seek those ways, which recognize the best, with the only restriction that our actions do not deprive other people of their benefits or hinder others in their efforts to achieve it”.
This is enough to understand that cuts across all versions of liberalism to the present. The main thing we notice is the absence of God theme in these reflections. Not with God argues liberalism, and the role of the state and society in one’s personal life. To believe or not to believe is personal choice, and liberalism imposes nothing. So where in the head of the Patriarch had the idea to mix cold with a square?
“The feat we have to go, sacrifices on the cross…”
Take a look at the statement of Cyril under one view. He says: “Placing himself at the center of life is a liberal idea… In a sense, this is a sinful idea, because placing in the center of life itself — this is the falling away from God. In the center of life should be God.” What kind of life he says, if we are talking about liberalism — a political doctrine? Apparently, on the socio-political life. But then that alternatively offers the head of the ROC, if the center of socio-political life should be God? Then Russia needs a theocracy, like in Iran, where the highest governing person of the country is not the President, and irremovable spiritual leader. Is this the stone in the garden of the constitutional system of Russia?
Moreover, denoting the essence of liberalism, we emphasize that the Russian Constitution contains a liberal idea. As a reminder, if anyone forgot: “Everyone is guaranteed freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with others any religion or not to profess any, freely to choose, possess and disseminate religious and other convictions and act in accordance with them. Everyone is guaranteed freedom of thought and speech. No one can be forced to Express his views and convictions or to reject them. Everyone has the right freely to seek, receive, transmit, produce and disseminate information by any legal way. The list of information constituting a state secret is defined by Federal law. Guaranteed freedom of the media. Censorship is prohibited”. And so on. If all this is not a liberal idea, then what? Conservative, extreme right or can be any particular mental screenie? If these ideas for Russia whether in practice the Constitution is already topics for other articles. But fix: the Russian Constitution is based on liberal ideas that originated in Europe. Like it or not, but it is a fact.
Finally I would like to give one more argument that liberalism and faith in God are the perfect accompaniment. Remember Valeria. It would seem that someone in Russia is still so vehemently defended the liberal idea among publicists? Maybe a bit naive, youthful, but nonetheless. But remained a believer.
“I’m also a Christian with great experience, including the prison (one of the pilgrims read the Bible in the cell of the Lefortovo prison?), argue that a three-kilometer queue for made by handicraftsmen-singles from mount Athos by takemochi suffered absolutely nothing, ‘ she wrote in 2011. For grace do not stand in line, she does not live in the temple of Christ the Savior (there are too many from Luzhkov, Putin and Medvedev), and it is earned not hysterics, not standing on the knees, not rasshireniem forehead, not even prayers, and certainly not a bribe, this allou, not special permit, not by participation in the pagan spectacle in the center of Moscow, but with good deeds, the service of the truth and hard and painful work on his weak, cowardly, egoistic essence. The feat should go to the victims, to the cross, and not in the line to mark… … Faith is an individual treasure. Religion — the danger of fanaticism is a crime. God has no benches for the faithful. He has the burden, he has the cross, he has the lions in the Roman amphitheatre. Christianity is a religion of ascetics and heroes, not of interested parties and hoarders. And, of course, not idiots.”
Perhaps Patriarch Kirill and his followers will not like this approach to the understanding of faith in Christ. What we remember: “judge Not, that ye be not judged, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1).
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