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Contemporary Thinking

“The culture of our own time continues this separation from Christianity, but not only from Christianity. Contemporary culture is losing its religious spirit, its meaning, and its beauty…The standard of permanent Christianity must be kept clear in our minds and it is against that standard that we must test all contemporary thought. In fact, we must at all costs not move with the times. We serve One who said ‘Heaven and Earth shall move with the times, but my words shall not move with the times.” (Ivan Ilyin, C. S. Lewis)

“Obsessed with novelty and innovation, our society lacks a sense of history. One of the results of the disregard of the past is that we forget what we owe to those who have gone before us. Instead, each of our modern generations considers itself superior to the previous one. And most contemporary people would rather break tradition than follow it.” (Fr. Basil)

“As “civilized” people, however, we seem to have a drive towards an imaginary, disembodied existence. In our contemporary setting of the internet-webbed world, this drive is all the stronger. Jesus as “idea” is all the more tempting. The life of the early Church was, on the contrary, a life of sacrament, a world in which the taste, touch, and feel of Christ and the gospel were primary. It was also a world in which, to an extent far greater than today, the biological aspect of our existence was far more prominent and undeniable. Technology has allowed us to “manage” the necessity of biology in a manner in which it largely becomes an inconvenience in comparison to the unfettered imaginary existence of the mind. We say of the passions that run through our brains, “This is my true self, my freedom, my undeniable truth,” while we suppress our biological reality with baths of chemicals and surgeries, which, like the costumes we assume, seek to hide and obscure the naked truth of our being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Alone and insecure, anxious and disorderly, modern man and particularly the contemporary young person attempts to build bridges, to raise flags, to shout slogans…without a guide or with bad guides he is readily disillusioned and becomes hard and aggressive, a plaything for political exploiters and power-hungry anarchists…It is particularly unfortunate that all this is happening where least expected even with young people of good education, exceptional intelligence, energy and talent. Unsatisfied with material prosperity and disillusioned by the hypocrisy of their elders, these young people struggle for simpler life, for quality in life, for a better way of life but unfortunately they do not manage to make the right beginning.” (Monk Moses)

“Even after the fall, the image of God is preserved in man and so it is natural for him to seek for the absolute in his life. The tragedy of the contemporary man is that, just with one click, he has access to an ocean of information, but in that ocean he cannot find the one thing he has been created for: to receive the revelation, the life of God by grace in his heart. Therefore, man is now starving: ‘The days come… that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread,… but of hearing the words of the Lord’ (cf. Amos 8:11). When the Lord was tempted in the desert, His infallible mouth uttered these words: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matt. 4:4). Therefore, the word of God is the source of life, without which man’s soul is completely dried up. Even through music, entertainment, cinema or theatre, man is seeking in fact for the word of God. These substitutes give him only temporary pleasure, but can never fill the void in his soul. It is so unfortunate that he remains with these earthly pleasures, not knowing that only the word of God accompanied by prayer can elevate his life to the uncreated.” (Archbishop Peter)


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