Sunday, August 15, 2010

quote of the week, august 15-21, 2010

It sounds like a paradox, but the basic religion that is being preached and accepted as the only means of overcoming secularism is in reality a surrender to secularism. This surrender can take place - and actually does - in all Christian confessions, although it is differently "colored" in a nondenominational suburban "community church" and in a traditional, hierarchical, confessional and liturgical parish. For the surrender consists not in giving up creeds, traditions, symbols, and customs (of all this the secular man, tired of his functional office, is sometimes extremely fond), but in accepting the very function of religion in terms of promoting the secular value of help, be it help in character building, peace of mind, assurance of eternal salvation. It is in this "key" that religion is preached to, and accepted by, millions of average believers today. And it is really amazing how little difference exists in the religious self-consciousness of members and confessions whose dogmas seem to stand in radical opposition to one another. For even if a man changes religion, it is usually because he finds the one he accepts as offering him "more help" - not more truth. (Schmemman 1973:109)

Schmemman, Alexander. (1973). For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. (Original work published 1963)

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