Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Religulous – An Atheist movie preaching false ideas about Christianity – Religulous Orthodox Christian perspective

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Religulous-anti-Christian-movie-Psalm-14-vers-1-the-fool-said-in-his-heart-there-is-no-God
Most of my colleagues at work know I am Christian and as we have our lunch  together almost daily, have a friend talks in our rest time etc. … it is quite normally we have talks on topic of philosophy and religion.

Most of them (like a lot of IT people have atheistic views as most people nowdays, even though I'm sure they believe deep in their hearts in good and wait / search for God's salvation and mercy.)
In that short talks often, I've been pranked, questioned and probably even thought crazy for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Gospel. That's okay as this is normal as in almost all ages Christians, were mocked for their faith by skeptics and disbelievers.

In our talks often, my colleagues try to convince me their believe "There is no God" and they think in a way that religion is only for old fashioned and stupid people, because they think the modern dilusion that science and religion are controversial.
Since some time one of my colleague tells me about an atheistic movie of an atheist who made a movie called Religulous. After, I've been told about the movie about 5 times, I decided to spend some and research on it, because I firmly believe it is the next "holywood" style easily digestable movie made "the holywood way". Below is my rationalization and findings about the movie.

The movie title Religulous is selected as a prank from the word "Ridiculous". Before you further read I warn you if you're an Orthodox Christian to not watch it for it is not worthy to spend 1:40 minutes of your wife watching such a nonsense.

Religulous is American documentary film from 2008, directed by Larry Charles and starring comedian Bill Maher. In the Movie Bill Maher travels to different religion holy places (Jerusalem, Vatican, Salt Lake city) and pranks interviewing believers from variety of religions believes. Uneasy questions misleading questions are asked to different people and he makes prank of answers. Of course it is very easy to make someone a fool who doesn't have idea about basics of world religions and present your arguments in a convincing way among people who doesn't have deep understanding on Christianity branches and history.

If one takes a quick time to research on who is Bill Maher, he finds he is a ardently liberal who has deep disrespect and hate for Christianity based on a personal bitter experience in Catholicism (curiously his mother is Jewish) and one finds Maher disregards Christianity not based on facts but on personal bitter experiences from Roman Catholicism.
In religulous it is preached, that religion must die to liberate the family from unneeded slavery which is pretty much what the communists in the bolshevik revolution believed – meaning his idea is nothing new but rebranded atheism. Just for information, there were people with such hatred and ideas during the last 2000 years, so somehow this guy, reinvents the steel.

In the movie Maher travels the world with director of  Borat Cultural Learnings of America for  Make benefit Glorious notion of Khazakstan – Larry Charles (which is another mockery "commedy" movie).
Even by reading IMDB movie description gives you idea the movie is not serious and it is highly ridiculous to use such non-sense to attack Christianity, along which civilization gravitated and thanks to which we have a well developed modern civilization.  What Maher claims is about  1/3 of population on earth – 2.5 billion are stupid and inferior to atheists).

Here is IDMB's storyline quote:

Bill Maher interviews some of religion's oddest adherents. Muslims, Jews and Christians of many kinds pass before his jaundiced eye. Maher goes to a Creationist Museum in Kentucky, which shows that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time 5000 years ago. He talks to truckers at a Truckers' Chapel. (Sign outside: "Jesus love you.") He goes to a theme park called Holy Land in Florida. He speaks to a rabbi in league with Holocaust deniers. He talks to a Muslim musician who preaches hatred of Jews. Maher finds the unlikeliest of believers and, in a certain Vatican priest, he even finds an unlikely skeptic.

It is obvious from this description that the movie is not to consider serious and what the people on this movie would say is not to be considered authoritative as they're not even theologians, but random people. Also what Maher did in this movie is to select weak and mixed people to mock intentionally Christianity.

Even though in the movie various religions are mocked the accent of his mockery is christianity and this is not a coincidense but because, Christianity has most adherents.
The movie is highly manipulative, just like another openly anti-Christian movie Zeitgeist.
The guy opens the movie with a scene on Megiddo, Israel with a false claim that the end of the world is going to happen on this place.

I have heard some protestant Christians took Revalation chapter of Holy Bible and interpret the written there about an End of the World all world armies battle. Actually I'm not aware that this idea is ever preached by any orthodox Christian priest, monk or elder but it is more a "free interpretation" of the holy scriptures by some protestant denomination.
Actually an interesting thing about Megiddo is on Megiddo is located the earliest Christian Church, so I guess it is a not a coincidense movie criticism starts from there. The first half of the film is mostly focused on evangelical Christians, how they believe in things like a 5,000-year-old earth, etc. Maher takes a trip to the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky, where he interviews creationism guru Ken Ham against the backdrop of animatronic dinosaurs with saddles (for humans to ride on).
And he also interviews young-earth evangelical Mark Pryor, a democratic senator from Arkansas who creates some of the funniest moments of the film. To be fair, Maher also interviews Christian evolutionist Francis Collins, but he too comes out looking a bit buffoonish.

All along the journey, Maher and Charles jazz up the images with achingly sardonic voiceovers and music, and some very clever quick-cut editing (inserting 2 seconds of Charlton Heston-as-Moses at opportune moments, for example).

To show off his openness Maher, smokes pot on camera obviously preaching "freedom" the american way and live quickly and die rock'n'roll culture message. The movie is quite agressive and made in a way to make converts. The movie presents the so called self-fulfilling prophecies, believed and preached by people involved into experimental psychology (which nowdays uses early occult and shamanistic magical methods and whose practices are not based on science but on believe).

Of course to make such a movie look authentic, any connection with real historic facts in the movie are omitted.

Maher's thesis that all things evil and destructive are a result of religious delusion simply does not hold water historically!
There are already thousands of recent proofs, that lack-of religion is not panacea for all problems, take for example communism in Russia and the disbandlement of the USSR, Communistic China and the countraless atheistic regimes throughout history leading to violence and calamity in the world, totally outside of any religious motivation.

To make the non-sense movie more fun and convincing, the psychologic method of mockery is heavily used,  everything in the movie is presented in a commedy form.

Religulous a movie meant to make religious people look stupid, to "prove" that religious belief and intelligence are mutually exclusive.

Maher spends the second half of the film undermining religions and cults of every shape and size. He goes to Utah and skewers Mormonism, interviews Puerto Rican cult leader Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda (who claims to be the Antichrist), and even gets high with a leader of a religion based around marijuana. He goes to the Vatican and interviews some crazy Catholic priest, and Jerusalem to deconstruct Judaism and Islam. Maher is particularly hard on Islam, offering somewhat surprising pronouncements about the inherent violence and barbarism of that most touchy of all world religions. At moments like these, Maher might actually find allies in conservative Christian circles??

In the movie, during a debate with a Christian, Maher repeats a version of Christ myth theory derived from Gerald Massey's 1907 thesis that the myth of the Egyptian deity Horus was the source of the story of Jesus. He makes riduculous connection between the Book of the Dead and Jesus Christ.

It is pretty interesting that we Christians are often being blamed for evangelism and because of that most of Christians, fear to talk about their faith, just because true Christian faith and modern society living in confort does not align well together.

The inner essence of man is very similar in both atheists, christian, muslims, jewish, buddhists hindu etc. we are all looking for a higher meaning in life sooner or later in life. We all live by certain believes daily (I know atheists would ignore it but, a lot of the actions even the hardest atheist takes are pushed by certain belief system and faith in something (disbelieve in God is also a faith just like believe in God). Actually being an atheist is a tough thing, because atheists just like us christians spend time to reinforce their disbelieve with, stories, question and answer sessions, scientific facts.

Most of atheists fall in the trap of disbelieve either because they're dishonest in their research on is there God? or because events in their life turned in a way they didn't wanted too (because of lack of what saints call humility) or because they want to justify their bad deeds. Anyways for good or bad most of people who define themselves as atheists and follow the "spiritual wind of the times" are nowadays living in the well developed high economies world and it is interesting that in this parts of the world, people have as heritage to live with general Christian mentality and Christian mindset. Christian understanding of life in most countries full of atheists is so strongly rooted in society and culture, so even the biggest anti-christ or atheist has a tendency to do goo. That a lot of those atheists who disbelieve God actually do Christiain deeds not realizing a lot of their deeds paradoxally are deeds of people who actually believe there is God.

I've noticed there are at least 3 types of atheists:

  • Passive
  • Indifferent
  • Militant (Active)

My personal observations on Atheism (as an ex-atheist), is that atheists have minimal or wrong understanding on different religions and know nothing about Orthodox Christianity and most even didin't hear about its existence, from the movie I got the impression Maher also doesn't have

I think it is not righteous to criticize Christianity without even taking full time to study it. As Orthodox Christianity is hard to grasp and unpopular faith, often the image of modern Christian is made up by protestant Church denominations and even in best cases by Roman Catholic church, so most people in even officially christian protestant / catholic countries does not have the opportunity to see true Christian ascetic faith which is still present in the Orthodox Church.

The most common attack of an atheist against Christianity is using arguments about the Roman Catholic's Crusades and Inquisition, which were conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. Most Atheists however does not knowthat in Orthodox Church, there was no inquisition and no Crusades.
Even worse Roman Catholic crusaders came and invaded and killed orthodox christians in the same way they killed anyone who rejected to accept their faith, this act never happened in Orthodox Church.

Passive and indifferent atheists often, keep calm and either haven't thought whether there is God or don't take position when one talks about faith.
Often passive and indifferent atheists are amazed to learn things pointing them that there is God and that the holy writtings are true.

The Militant (active) atheist is a rare thing to see nowadays as people are tought to be tolerant and respectful to others, however if you start talking on topic that has to deal with faith, somehow a lot of atheists start being agressive and blame you and your faith for responsible for all the evils that happened in the world.

Often active atheists are such because of some personal problem or disappointed connected to Christianity just like Maher. 
Maher and other atheists like him start developing blaming attitude to the Lord and the Church. The fact that Christianity doesn't fit someone's desires doesn't mean it is true.

In the movie one sees quite of crazy people and religious leaders, which are either uninformed about their faith or suffer from some mental problems, as with most movies to discredit Christianity, Orthodox Christianity stand point on faith is not shown. Maher suggests, as a alternative method to faith, the method of doubt actually by creating such a movie with the aim to discredit religion, he demonstrates totally the opposite, as all his findings are based on his personal faith that "There is no God" and Christianity is based on fairy-tales.

Faith has difficulties, there are a lot of sick people in the Church, things are not ideal in christian-dome, and we have to be careful not to believe or follow blindly everything we hear, but I think Maher's attitude is seriously disrespectful to things and people's believe.

In the movie, a lot of the people to be interviewed were radical and the movie makes an image of Christianity as very radical, but Maher and his movie is just like as radical as them. It is fact that there is radical things in many of protestant christian denominations and many start-up (newly believed) Christians, have the tendency to be radical, however to make his point solid  I think, Maher should have interviewed stable and educated theologian and not look for the weirdiest individuals and places in the world.

And often try to look for arguments to approve their disbelieve (finding such arguments is a tought think and this is why a lot of people who try to look for arguments against Christ and Christianity – like me some 10 years ago often end up Christian). There is not one or two movies made on topic of "Scientific Atheism" in same spirit as Religulous, if one research on the facts presented in this movie he quickly understands a lot of the presented movie facts are either untrue or are true but have nothing to do with authentic Christianity which one can find in the most ancient of Churches Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches (like for example Syriac Orthodox and Copts).

Religulous and atheistic movies from its genre are not based on true facts either historical or scientific and even often doesn't follow strong rationalism  but more or less on particular person believe. They're looking to disprove God looking from answers in a very biased way.

I would close the post with a quote from the Holy Bible Psalms chapter, clearly addressing atheist people like Maher.
 

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.
Psalm 14:1

Why does Orthodox Christian priests and monks wears long beards and why Roman Catholics does not

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A really Long bearded Orthodox Christian Priest

One might question why does Orthodox Christian priests wear beards? and why does the long beards of our Orthodox priests makes differences with the Roman Catholics?

Here are the few reasons:

1. Long beards wearing’s tradition among Orthodox Christian priests and monks comes after Christ

Christ himself had a beard as it was normal and considered proper for a man to wear long beard.

The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ had a long beard himself can clearly be observed on all our Orthodox Christian icons:
The Lord Jesus Christ Sinai monastery ancient icon Pantocrator from the 6th century

The Lord’s Pantecrator Icon (Pantocrator / Pantecrator ) from the 6th century

2. Long beards priest wearing comes as a natural tradition from the Old Testament’s times and the tradition of early Church

If one reads thoroughfully the old testament, he will find out that even from Moses and Aaron and onwards the tradition is the same.
All the Godly man and the priests had their long beards unshaved as a mark for their belongship and dedication to God.
To generalize the long beards wearing is according to ancient old testamential ancient tradition.
The long beards tradition as an ancient Jewish religion (Old testamental) tradition can still be clearly observed in Jewish rabbis (nowdays the jewish priests), who still wears their beards long, like for example you can see in the picture below:

Jewish Rabbi weiss picture
A modern day Jewish Rabbi notice the beard 🙂

The long beards tradition later was adopted by Muslims when Islam emerged as a religion and more specificly by the muslim priests the Hodjas:

Sait Muslim Hodja Picture

One very interesting historical source of information which proofs that the ancient Church’s priests had the tradition not to cut their beards is given by the historian Egezit who writes in his Chronicles that st. Apostle James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem, never cuts his hair.

A source of confirmation that the long hear and beards wearing was an established tradition that dates back to the old testament is found in the old testament in (Ezekiel 8:3)

Here is what exactly we read there:

He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head.
The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem,
to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood.

3. Long hair and beards wearing by the Monks

An interesting fact is why does the Monks and novice neophyte lay brothers also stick to the ancient tradition.
It appears long hair and beards wearing traces back to the holy life of the ascetics of the deserts (e.g. the hermits).

The reason why ascetics did not shaved their hairs or bears as a way to avoid vanity and therefore this old hermitage practice has also had a spiritual reason.

4. The Nazarite old testament tradition

In the old testament in Numbers 6:1-21, we read about the term nazarite which means consecrated / separated

Each boy or man who was to become a Nazarine has been devoted to God for a certain period of time or in some cases for his all life, one of the many conditions for one to be a nazarite is not to shave his beard or hair.
One can read about this in the old testament in Leviticus 21:5

Leviticus 21:5
"They shall not make baldness upon their head,
neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh."

There are some other prohibitions relating to Nazarite’s one of the most notable ones is found in Numbers 6:4:

All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine,
from the pressed grapes even to the grapestone.

One example for people who gaves vow to become temporary Nazarites is found in 1 Maccabees 3:49 (this book is only available in the Orthodox Holy Bible).
One of the most important figure in Christianity that used to be Nazarite is Samson, his life can be read in the old testament in Judges 13 – 16

As we read in Judges , Samson’s great God given power consituted in a prohibition to shave his hair and not to drink wine.

5. Reason why Roman Catholic Priests and monks abandoned the ancient tradition of wearing long hairs and beards

In the early Roman Empire it was a customfor a men to shave. The “enlightened” Romans believed that only the barbarians did not shaved themselves, and as you can imagine Jewish people and early Christians were of course considered to be barbarians, e.g. being unshaved was a sign for a cultural inferiorness in according to Romans comprehension.

The long hairs and beards tradition in the Western Church has started disappearing and consequentially completely lost with the Tyranny of Charlemagne at the end of the eight century.
With his massive ‘barbarian’ inferiority complex, it was his desire in all things to imitate pagan classical Rome.
It was therefore under him that Western clergy were ordered to shave regularly.
For example at the Council of Aachen (816), it was stipulated that priests and monks were to shave every two weeks.

By the beginning of the 11th century the tradition of wearing long beards was already completely torned apart and almost all the Roman Catholic clergy was regularly shaving.

In the sixteenth century beardlessness for Roman Catholic clergy was enforced by further canons,
which appear to have been dropped since the Second Vatican Council.

6. Why does protestants does not wear beards

As we all know protestant Church denominations has emerged as schismatics from Roman Catholic church and therefore mostly the influence they had was from Roman Catholics which already had the tradition within their clergy to regularly shave, thus pastors shaving was completely out of question and never come to an established reality among the Protestant Church pastors.

7. Is the Orthodox Christian layman obliged to wear beards

Absolutely not! The layman within the Orthodox Church can choose for themselves, if they want to wear their hair and beard and through that possess an image physically similar to Christ.
In my view it’s more righteous for us the layman to wear our hairs and beards as I personally believe long hair and beards demonstrates mans dignity and God’s dedication, but this is my own private opinion.
At many cases wearing beards or long hairs is an obstacle for a good integration in nowdays society, so if wearing a beard or hair as laymans does become an obstacle for our normal daily lifes then I believe cutting a long beard or hair is perfectly acceptable.
Moreover even the Orthodox Christian priests are not enforced to wear beards and in some cases where the priest’s wife is against the beardness the Orthodox priest is allowed to shave himself, though as a matter of fact having a completely shaved priests in our Orthodox Churches is rare and less common today.

In conclusion wearing of beard and long hair by Orthodox Christna clergy, has come from the desire to physically resemble Christ.
This physical resemblance is a symbol of the spiritual resemblance of Christ’s humility, which is the ultimate aim of our life.

The Church feast of St. Tsar (King) Boris Mihail (Michael) I – Baptizer of Bulgaria – 2nd of May a Triumph for Bulgarian Autocephalous Church and Church Slavonic

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

saint Tsar Boris the baptizer of all Bulgaria

Today on Second of May every year in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church calendar we commemorate the memory of Saint King Boris (Michael) who is a baptizer of Bulgarian nation and among the greatest saint of Bulgaria, perhaps second in saintship after St. John of Rila.

St. King Boris was the ruler of the First bulgarian Empire (852-889) the actual title as we know it from the chronicles is not king but archont which literally means ruler, but as the main chronicles who came to us are Byzantine we have to take in consideration that Byzantine Chronicles aimed to discredit the Bulgarian rulers because of feeling inferior every non-Byzantines who in Byzantine terms were considered barbarians.

He had a notable correspondence with Pope Nicolas II head of the Western Church before the Great Schism.
Saint Boris I is famous with with 115 Questions (which are fully preserved). He  beseech the pope to sent an apostoles of faith who will teach the new nation to faith in the same time he lead a correspondence with the Byzantine emperor and the Eastern Church.

The pope sent 2 missionaries cardinal Formiosa of Portuens and Bishop Paul of Papulon. King Boris requested for Cardinal Formiosa to become a future archibishop of Bulgaria, but the pope Nicolas II being afraid of loosing ground of a choice of future Bulgarian archibishop rejected king Boris request it is interesting fact that the same cardinal Formiosa become the next Pope of the Roman Western Church in period (891 – 896).

Taking in consideration the papal's desire to dominate over him and the more freedoms given by the Byzantine Church along with the fact that Saint Cyril and Methodius's pupils came to him with a ready Church Slavonic Glagolic version of the Holy Bible and a new Church language (and considering the fact that the seven pupils of St. Cyril and Methodius were being chased away from Great Moravia (Saint Clement of Ohrid (Kliment Ohridski) and Naum Ohrdiski with Sava, Angelarius and Gorazd) and seeing the fallacy of the filioque addition to the Creed of Faith finally King Boris received baptism by the hands of Patriarch Photius.

He received holy baptismal in year 864, receiving the Christian name Michael (Mihail) receiving his Christian name from his godfather, Emperor Michael III.

According to Church tradition the reason to Baptize in Christian faith was his amazement of an icon of the Judgement Day he saw in one of his visits to Constantinople.

The Church tradition also says saint Boris I's sister have lived for a long time in Constantinople, where she received baptism and once returning to the Bulgaria she bring the light of faith here too.

Besides that some of his family has already earlier converted to Christianity and some earlier Bulgarian Khans such as Trivelius (Tervel) who is considered to saved Europe from Muslim Invasion earlier were already Christians.

King_Boris I bapttish of Byzantine Emperor Michael III

During his holy reign he has established mass Christianization of Bulgaria, where the traditional ancient pagan traditions and belief in fake gods like Tangra were abolished completely.

St. Tsar Boris has secured the Bulgarian Church an autocephalousy, he also received the saints Cyril and Methodius, when they were banished from Great Moravia.

Our saint king has secured a refuge for st. Cyril and Methodius and provided them with assistance to develop the Slavonic alphabet and literature.

After he abdicated in 889, his eldest son and successor tried to restore the old pagan religion but was deposed by Boris I. During the Council of Preslav which followed that event, the Byzantine clergy was replaced with Bulgarian and the Greek language was replaced with Old Bulgarian as an official language of the Church and the state.

Bulgaria_under_rule_of_Boris_I-st-the-baptizer-king-of-Bulgaria

In 889 Boris abdicated the throne and became a monk. His son and successor Vladimir attempted a pagan reaction (to return the Bulgarians to the old belief in Tanra), which brought Boris out of his monastic life in 893 out of zeal for Christ and a fatherhood for the future of Bulgarian nation.

Vladimir was defeated and blinded by a miracle of God as Boris had less soldiers than his pagan son but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ he showed victorious.

Once defeating his unbelieving son, Boris gathered the Council of Preslav in which the Old Greek language in Church was replaced with Church Slavonic and most imporantly on the council King Boris on the Church assembly placed his third son, Simeon I of Bulgaria on the throne, threatening him with the same fate if he too apostatized.

Simeon I was reluctant to become a secular ruler as according to some of the written sources he was preparing to become a great spiritual leader a monk and perhaps a next archibishop or even patriarch in the newly established autocephalous Bulgarian Church but following the monk rule of humility he decided and accepted the throne but throughout his life he kept his great zeal for monasticism and enlightenment. His ruling become a golden age for the Church Slavonic he financed seriously and worked hardly to prepare educated monks and to translate a major works of the Holy Fathers such as Shestodnev (The Six Days of Creation), Simeonov Sbornik (Simeon's Collection) and many of the key works of saint Athanasius the Great, Saint Basyl the Great, Saint John of Damascus etc.

According to some historians it was King Simeon who later give birth to the second by size Monastic Community in Byzantine Emperire the Stone Monasteries of (Meteora).

Boris returned to his monastery, emerging once again in c. 895 to help Simeon fight the Magyars, who had invaded Bulgaria in alliance with the Byzantines. After the passing of this crisis, Boris resumed monastic life and led a holy life until he pass out in year 907.

Here is the daily troparion assigned by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sang at the churches today (the text is translation from Bulgarian):

St. Boris-Michael, prince of Bulgaria, Troparion

Full of the fear of God, and enlightened by holy baptism, thou becamest a habitation of the Holy Spirit,
O right-believing King Boris; and having established the Orthodox Faith in the land of Bulgaria,
and set aside the scepter of kingship,
thou madest thine abode in the wil derness,
didst flourish in ascetic struggles, and found grace before the Lord.
And now, standing before the throne of the Most High, pray thou, that He grant unto us who entreat thee salva tion for our souls.

About Me

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Hey there,


My name is Georgi Dimitrov Georgiev and I'm a 29 years old Free Software enthusiast, hobbyist Presently my competences are into the field of System administration. I am also a devoted Orthodox Christian. With a deep interests into religion in general and in Christianity in particular. I am a big fan of all kind of Unix like systems like: GNU/Linux, FreeBSD,DOS and other various obscure computing. I'm also interested into philosophy and business administration. My hobbies include playing old arcade games, trips to a new places, preferably nature filled places, Mountain, Waterfalls, Woods etc. In my free time I also like watching movies: Mostly spiritual movies, or movies with a deeper meaning.Currently I am a student in Arnhem Business School in the stream of HRQM (Human Resources and Quality Management) nowadays known as IBS (International Business Studies).
Here in my blog you'll find mostly stuff about my unix/linux adventures and other geek tech adventures, personal life, thoughts on life, religion, christianity, philosophy and art. To know a bit more about my professional comptenences and work experiense please see my CV

Wish you Best in your life question and Thanks for dropping by!