Monday, August 13, 2007

Fanaticism



I was privileged to spend some time today in a nearby Orthodox monastery, which did my soul the power of good, on all sorts of levels. The above is a photo that I took in their refectory (one of their refectories!) I plan to go back before too long. I was very struck by a quotation in an icon of St Nicodemus about humility, which I now can't find, but I found this instead, which will serve:
Fanaticism can appear on two levels, individual and collective. On an individual level, fanaticism is bold in sick minds and psychologies. It stems from personal pride, lust for power over others. It says 'I am right', and therefore cuts itself off from all others in sectarian self-righteousness. It uses its supposed exclusive truth as an axe to grind, as a stick with which to beat others. It loves laws, behind which it can conceal its own insecurities. In saying that he alone is right, the fanatic is automatically wrong. The Saints never said that they were right. The signs of absence of fanaticism are peace, humility and love - not saying that one is right. Fanaticism and intolerance stem in fact from a weak faith, insecurity, and often affect neophytes, recent converts. True religion does not admit of fanaticism.
(found here, my emphasis)

1 comment:

  1. Ever see the Armenian and Greek monks beating each other with broom handles? Supposedly these are neither neophytes nor ignorant-what's up with these people? Was the Council of Chalcedon that important that they have to assault each other? Or is this just Middle Eastern tribalism?
    Either way, Orthodoxy may have its problems in different areas than the Catholics or the Protestants, but it certainly has many seriously unattractive features.

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