How to read the Holy Bible? – Fr. Thomas Hopko, New York, USA

http://heavenonearthorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY

How to read the Holy Bible?

Fr. Thomas Hopko, New York, USA

Several people have contacted me through email and even in person when I travel around and visit people who listen to Ancient Faith Radio. They ask me about reading the Bible. There’s all kinds of questions that are given to me that I get from people about reading the Bible. Some folks said, “You know, Fr. Tom, you ought to maybe speak on the radio very simply, very directly, offering whatever advice and counsel you would give to people, especially people who are not theologically trained but who are very much participating in Church life and very interested in the Holy Scripture and in the Bible and trying to understand it, if you would give some suggestions, very concrete suggestions, simple, concrete suggestions about Bible reading in the Orthodox tradition, in the Orthodox Church.”

How was the Bible read in the ancient Church? How is it read by the Church Fathers? How is it used in the Liturgy? How should we read it, today, now, in the 21st century? These are the questions that are asked, and so I’m going to just say a few things about that right now.

I would just like to comment, though, that it’s interesting for me, being an old guy, that the very first publication that I ever made in my entire life, way back in 1964, I believe it was… It’s a long time ago. I was a young priest, a very young priest, in my 20s, in Warren, Ohio, in my first parish. We had a deanery there of priests, and we used to publish little booklets. I was assigned to publish a booklet, to produce a booklet called “Reading the Bible.” In that booklet, my task was to convince Orthodox people that we ought to read the Bible, especially if we’re literate; if we’re not literate, we should like to know the Bible, hear the Bible, listen to it, listen to it read, listen to it in church; that the Bible is our book. It’s the book of our covenanted community with God, the Continue reading “How to read the Holy Bible? – Fr. Thomas Hopko, New York, USA”

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New York Street may be named in honor of Holy Patriarch Tikhon, Apostle of America (+1925)

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

New York Street may be named in honor

of Holy Patriarch Tikhon, Apostle of America (+1925)

Source:

http://orthochristian.com

http://orthochristian.com/72743.html

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

The Northern Cross Historical Society of Russian Compatriots in the USA has proposed naming a street in New York City after Holy Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin) of Moscow and All Russia (1865-1925), reports ITAR-TASS.

This initiative is supported by Russians and Orthodox Americans living in New York, hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Patriarchal parishes in the USA.

“The petition concerning this will be submitted to the mayor’s office in the next few days, in September it will go through the City Council, and we feel certain that in the coming months we will have a Patriarch Tikhon Street in the city,” said the president of the Northern Cross Society, Yuri Sandulov. It is supposed to extend along East 97th Street from Park Avenue to Fifth Avenue.

According to present New York City municipal laws, at least 20,000 New York citizens must support the renaming of a street.

“There are more than 300,000 Russian-speaking citizens in the city who consider themselves to be children of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia, which is a part of the former. Most of them are enthusiastic about the idea of perpetuating the memory of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, who became the first patriarch after the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia” in 1918, noted Sandulov.

Patriarch Tikhon’s ministry was closely connected with America: between 1898 and 1907 he was Bishop of North America, Alaska and the Aleutians. Through St. Tikhon’s efforts many Orthodox books were translated into English, and St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York was built (the cathedral is situated on the very part of 97th Street that will probably be named after the patriarch). He also undertook an enormous amount of missionary work—dozens of new churches were open during his time as bishop there.

“Orthodox Christians of America remember that Holy Patriarch Tikhon succeeded in preserving the Church in the circumstances of the most cruel persecutions against the faithful that followed the October revolution in Russia. He was our great compatriot who greatly contributed to the rapprochement between Russia and the USA. It is particularly necessary to remember his spiritual and secular exploits now, when the tension between our countries has increased,” believes the president of the Northern Cross Society.

New York City, August 1, 2014

Cerșetorul Japonez a devenit Călugăr ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* Romanian

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

Cerșetorul Japonez a devenit Călugăr

As vrea sa va dau un mic exemplu de activi­tate misionara. Noi avem un mic metoc in New York. El este asezat intr-o parte foarte saraca a ora­sului, unde traiesc in general vorbitori de spaniola si afroamericani; de jur imprejur droguri, alcool, oameni fara adapost. Cred ca jumatate din popu­latia zonei traieste din alocatiile statului. Pentru adolescenti, in aceasta zona, sa nasti un copil la 14-15 ani este un motiv de deosebita mandrie. Nu, nu sa ai grija de acest copil, ci pur si simplu sa il nasti. De aceea, in cadrul acestei populatii, foarte putini vad pentru ei anumite perspective in viata. La fiecare al doilea colt de strada se afla o biserica romano-catolica sau protestanta, o sinagoga si asa mai departe, toate goale.

In fata casei noastre este o mica adancitura, pe care noi o numim fantana. Aceasta exista pentru a se putea ajunge prin ea la subsol. Odata, pe la mijlocul lui februarie, ningea cu ploaie si era frig. Deodata, printre tomberoanele de gunoi pe care, de asemenea, le tinem in acest put, am auzit un zgomot. Eu m-am gandit ca, asa cum se intampla deseori, vreun cersetor scormoneste in gunoiul nostru si cauta sticle goale. Eu nu sunt impotriva ca cersetorii sa stranga sticle goale, dar ei, de obicei, arunca peste tot gunoiul care le cade in mana, si aceasta nu am vrut s-o permit.

Asadar, deschid usa si vad in fata mea un om cu infatisare asiatica. Il intreb:

– Ce faci?

– Iertati-ma, va rog, raspunde el, caut si eu ceva de mancare.

– Pai, de ce scormonesti in gunoi? Haidem in casa!

– Nu-nu, nu pot, zice el, sunt murdar tot si mi­ros urat.

– Haide-haide, ii zic eu.

In timpul scurtei conversatii, i-am povestit ca noi avem o incapere in care poate face dus, isi poa­te schimba hainele si poate manca.

Omul s-a speriat:

– Ce vrei de la mine? Pentru ce faci toate astea?

Eu zic:

– Nu vreau sa imi arunci gunoiul in prag. Atat si nimic mai mult.

Dupa ce a mancat, m-am asezat langa el si a inceput discutia. Parea un om destul de destept. L-am intrebat:

– Unde locuiesti?

– Niciunde.

– Adica nu ai unde?

– Ei, zice el, in fiecare noapte faceam curat intr-un restaurant japonez, si ei imi dadeau voie sa locuiesc la ei la subsol.

– Dar cum ai ajuns fara adapost?

Si el mi-a povestit ca era inginer si ca a venit din Japonia. La inceput, lucrurile i-au mers foarte bine, dar apoi a inceput sa fie atras de droguri, co­caina, heroina, si in scurt timp a pierdut tot.

Eu i-am propus sa ramana la noi.

– O, nu, nu pot, a raspuns el.

– Dar de ce?

– Pentru ca eu caut adevarul! a spus omul.

Eu zic:

– Nu trebuie sa mergi nicaieri, adevarul este aici!

– Toti zic asa, a raspuns el. Am fost la catolici, la mormoni, la martorii lui Iehova, la iudei, la budisti. Toti promit unul si acelasi lucru, dar nu dau nimic.

– Bine, zic eu, totusi, mai ramai putin!…

Si a ramas sa stea la noi cateva zile. Am ince­put sa discutam. Apoi el s-a botezat si l-am numit in cinstea Sfantului Nicolae al Japoniei. Acum s-a intors deja in Japonia si a primit acolo calugaria intr-o manastire ortodoxa. Dar totul a inceput pen­tru el cu faptul ca noi i-am dat posibilitatea sa devina o parte din obste, ca i-am ingaduit sa vietuias­ca impreuna cu noi. El a vazut Evanghelia inainte de a o auzi sau de a o citi.

Sursa:

(Schiarhimandrit Ioachim Parr, Convorbiri pe pământ rusesc, Editura Egumenita, 2015)

ttps://marturieathonita.ro/cersetorul-japonez-devenit-calugar/

Μοναχός Νικόλαος: Ο Ιάπωνας άστεγος της Νέας Υόρκης που έγινε Ορθόδοξος Μοναχός στην Ιαπωνία

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

Μοναχός Νικόλαος:

Ο Ιάπωνας άστεγος της Νέας Υόρκης που έγινε

Ορθόδοξος Μοναχός στην Ιαπωνία

Θα ήθελα να δώσω ένα μικρό παράδειγμα ποιμαντικής δραστηριότητας. Εμείς έχουμε ένα μικρό μετόχι στην Νέα Υόρκη. Βρίσκεται σε μία πολύ φτωχή συνοικία της πόλης όπου ζουν κυρίως ισπανόφωνοι και μαύροι: Παντού ναρκωτικά, αλκοόλ, άστεγοι. Πίστευω πως πάνω από τους μισούς κατοίκους της περιοχής ζουν από τα επιδόματα του κράτους.

Για τους εφήβους της περιοχής το να γεννήσεις ένα παιδί στα 14-15 σου χρόνια είναι λόγος να υπερηφανεύεσαι. Όχι να το φροντίζεις, απλώς να το γεννήσεις. Γι᾽ αυτό πολλοί λίγοι ατενίζουν το μέλλον με κάποια προοπτική. Σε κάθε δεύτερη γωνία θα βρεις μία Ρωμαιοκαθολική ή Προτεσταντική εκκλησία, μία συναγωγη, αλλά όλες είναι άδειες.

Μπροστά από το οίκημά μας βρίσκεται ένα βαθούλωμα, το οποίο εμείς ονομάζουμε “πηγάδι”. Χρησιμεύει για να κατέβεις σ’ένα υπόγειο μέρος. Μία φορά, μέσα Φεβρουαρίου ήταν, έριχνε χιονόνερο και έκανε κρύο. Ξαφνικά ανάμεσα στους κάδους των σκουπιδιών, που επίσης βρίσκονται σε αυτό το βαθούλωμα, άκουσα ένα θόρυβο. Σκέφτηκα πως κάποιος ζητιάνος ψάχνει μέσα στους κάδους άδεια μπουκάλια και όπως συνήθως γίνονταν, θα πέταγε τα σκουπίδια έξω από την πόρτα μας. Αυτό δεν ήθελα να το επιτρέψω.

Ανοίγοντας την πόρτα είδα έναν άνθρωπο με ασιατικά χαρακτηριστικά…

-Τι κάνεις;

-Συγχωρέστε με. Ψάχνω κάτι να φάω.

-Γιατί ψάχνεις τα σκουπίδια; Έλα μέσα

-Όχι. Δεν μπορώ, είμαι βρώμικος και μυρίζω.

-Έλα, έλα μέσα, του λέω εγώ

Κατά την διάρκεια του σύντομου διαλόγου μας του εξήγησα πως έχουμε ένα δωμάτιο όπου μπορει να κάνει μπάνιο, να αλλάξει τα ρούχα του και να φάει κάτι.

Ο άνθρωπος φοβήθηκε:

-Τι θέλεις από μένα;

Του λέω:

-Δεν θέλω να πετάς τα σκουπίδια στο κατώφλι μου. Αυτό μόνο, τίποτα περισσότερο.

Αφού έφαγε, κάθησα κοντά του και αρχίσαμε να συζητάμε. Φαινόνταν ένας άνθρωπος έξυπνος. Τον ρώτησα

-Πού μένεις;

-Πουθενά

-Δηλαδή δεν έχεις που;

-Να, κάθε βράδυ καθάριζα ένα γιαπωνέζικο εστιατόριο και μου επέτρεπαν να κοιμάμαι στο υπόγειο.

-Πώς έφτασες χωρίς στέγη;

Μου διηγήθηκε πως ήταν μηχανικός και πως ήλθε από την Ιαπωνία. Στην αρχή τα πράγματα πήγαν καλά, αλλά έπειτα έμπλεξε με τα ναρκωτικά, κοκαΐνη, ηρωίνη και σύντομα τα έχασε όλα.

Του πρότεινα να μείνει σε εμάς.

-Ω, δεν μπορώ, απάντησε.

-Γιατί;

-Επειδή ψάχνω την αλήθεια!, απάντησε ο άνθρωπος

Του λέω τότε:

-Δεν πρέπει να πας πουθενά, εδώ βρίσκεται η αλήθεια!

-Όλοι έτσι λέτε, μου απάντησε. Πήγα στους Καθολικούς, στους Μορμόνους, στους Ιεχωβάδες, στους Βουδιστές. Όλοι υπόσχονται το ίδιο πράγμα αλλά δεν δίνουν τίποτα.

-Καλά, του λέω εγώ, Μείνε ωστόσο λίγο..!

Έμεινε λίγες ημέρες σε εμάς. Αρχίσαμε να συζητάμε. Έπειτα βαπτίστηκε και πήρε το όνομα του Αγίου Νικολάου Κασάτκιν, του Φωτιστή των Ιαπώνων. Τώρα επέστρεψε στην Ιαπωνία και έγινε Μοναχός σ’ ένα Ορθόδοξο Μοναστήρι. Όλα όμως άρχισαν επειδή του δώσαμε την δυνατότητα να γίνει μέρος της Αδελφότητάς μας και του επέτρεψα να μείνει μαζί μας. Είδε το Ευαγγέλιο πριν το ακούσει ή το διαβάσει.

Από το βιβλίο του Μεγαλόσχημου Μοναχού Ιωακείμ Πάρρ
«Συνομιλίες στη Ρωσική Γη»
Απόδοση στα ελληνικά π. Γεώργιος Κονισπολιάτης

Πηγή:

https://proskynitis.blogspot.com

https://proskynitis.blogspot.com/2016/02/blog-post_51.html

ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΗΤΗΣ

Facebook: Holy Cross Monastery in East Setauket, New York, USA

http://e-o-c-m.blogspot.com

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCHES

AND MONASTERIES

32151

East Setauket, New York, USA

holy_cross_monastery_in_east_setauket_ny_011

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monastery-of-The-Holy-Cross/116195805068476

Holy Cross Monastery

in East Setauket, New York, USA

Holy Cross Monastery
140 Main St
East Setauket, NY 11733-2834

Fr. Parthenios

Email: frparthenios@gmail.com

tel.: (631) 681-5319

Holy Cross is an Eastern Orthodox (ROCOR) monastery, located on 140 Main Street in East Setauket, New York, consists of monastery church, residence, hall-and-bookstore, candlehut and lawn. Services are in English, with a smattering of Greek, Church-Slavonic, Romanian, Georgian, Arabic and Spanish.

Click HERE

OCA – Find an Orthodox Parish in USA, Canada and Mexico

http://oca.org/parishes

OCA – Find an Orthodox Parish in USA, Canada and Mexico

The parish is a local community of the Church having at its head a duly appointed priest and consisting of Orthodox Christians who live in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church, comply with the discipline and rules of the Church, and regularly support their parish. Being subordinate to the Diocesan Authority, it is a component part of the Diocese.

Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

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Called To Orthodoxy

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith.

by

Sherie Mercier, Michigan, USA

Where do I begin? I was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, on the shores of SW Lake Michigan – across the lake from Chicago, 61 years ago. My parents were not very religious, in fact, they attended a Methodist church in my hometown. The pastor was a medical doctor and eventually left the active ministry and set up shop as a General Family practitioner. My parents stopped attending church and after that I never remember them ever stepping into a church at all, even to this day. My mother is deceased but my father is still alive and I have never seen him enter a church.

So, eventually, around the age of 7 or so, I went to a Baptist church with my neighbors and continued to do so until my teenage years. I then set out to check different denominations, usually joining them, then leaving because something didn’t “feel right”. Of course, our home town had a huge Roman Catholic following, plus my maternal grandmother had been Roman Catholic herself.

I remember seeing statues of Mary and crucifixes. Our public school in that day followed the Roman Catholic system of meatless Fridays, usually fish sticks or mac and cheese. So, Continue reading “Sherie Mercier, USA: Called To Orthodoxy ╰⊰¸¸.•¨* A former Pentecostal minister and Independent Old Catholic Priest’s conversion story to the Orthodox faith”

Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox

http://conversionstoorthodoxy.wordpress.com

CONVERSIONS TO ORTHODOXY

Fr. David, New York, USA: 

From Protestant to Orthodox

Source:

http://fromprotestanttoorthodox.blogspot.com

FROM PROTESTANT TO ORTHODOX

Monday, March 20, 2006

This will be the only post on this blog, and it’s for the sole purpose of sharing my testimony of how I converted from Evangelical Protestantism to the Eastern Orthodox Church. After the text of the testimony, there are two appendices: the first is a breakdown of the earliest bishops in the Christian Church and their beliefs, and the second is a brief defense addressing from Scripture certain issues Evangelicals have with Orthodoxy. Enjoy.

”If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Cor. 5:17

BEGINNINGS

When I talk with people “who knew me when”—during my first twenty years of life as an Evangelical Protestant—I usually am met with a variety of reactions when I tell them that, in the middle of my time at one of the nation’s foremost charismatic universities, I decided to convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some are offended, as though I were rejecting everything I’d been taught to believe as a good Protestant; others react with genuine, open curiosity, since the Orthodox Church is still relatively unknown to many Americans; still others react with dismay, convinced that I’ve traded in biblical, relationship-based Christianity for the rules and regulations of the Pharisees, the exotic “smells and bells” of Orthodoxy’s “foreignness,” and the off-base traditions of men that only serve to take a soul away from a true, unadulterated relationship with Jesus Christ. It is my hope that this essay will help to shed light on the issues that were central to my conversion, as well as provide insight both to those who are thinking about converting to Orthodoxy and to those who have a loved one on the way into (or already in) the Orthodox Church and are concerned for their spiritual well-being. The Orthodox Church has been, for me, the ultimate revelation of what it means to be “in Christ”; my upbringing in Evangelical Protestantism has not only helped me appreciate this now, but was very much preparing me for this all along [1].

My childhood was one of sharp contrasts between my mother’s and father’s homes—they divorced when I was an infant—for while my mother (with whom I spent most of my time growing up) was devoutly religious and marked the week with several outings to Church, my weekends spent with my father were quite devoid of any religious observance. This is not to say that my mother was a saint and my father a horrible person; I thank God for both of the loving, morally sound parents He gave me, and I feel the debt of gratitude that any child raised by good parents (even separately) feels upon reaching adulthood. Since, however, my religious environment was shaped almost completely by my mother’s influence, we’ll begin there.

My mother became a Christian around the time I was born, and was extremely devout and passionate about knowing God through reading the Scriptures. From the time I could understand what was going on, my mother and I read a chapter out of the Bible each night, almost without fail. My mother made it clear to me that this Bible was “God’s book,” and that in it He told us the story of His Son, Jesus, and how we could be forgiven of all our sins. It’s perhaps not surprising that a small child would believe all this unquestioningly. What was surprising was how naturally I took to Scripture memorization and things having to do with Church, worship, etc. From the most impressionable years onward, I was given the steady example of a person who knew that, if God had Continue reading “Fr. David, New York, USA: From Protestant to Orthodox”

Saint Raphael of Brooklyn (+1915) on the Episcopalians

http://protestantsmetorthodoxy.wordpress.com

PROTESTANTS MET ORTHODOXY

Saint Raphael of Brooklyn on the Episcopalians

Today being the ninety-eighth anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael of Brooklyn (+1915), here is a pastoral letter he sent out in 1912 regarding relations with the Episcopal Church, mostly likely written on his behalf by Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine. Thanks to Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of Houston for posting it today.

* * *

To My Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Syrian Greek-Orthodox Catholic Church in North America:

Greetings in Christ Jesus, Our Incarnate Lord and God.

My Beloved Brethren:

Two years ago, while I was a Vice-President and member of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union, being moved with compassion for my children in the Holy Orthodox faith “once and for all delivered to the Saints” (St Jude ver. 3), scattered throughout the whole of North America and deprived of the ministrations of the Church; and especially in places far removed from Orthodox centres; and being equally moved with a feeling that the Protestant Episcopal (Anglican) Church possessed largely the Orthodox faith, as many prominent clergy professed the same to me before I studied deeply their doctrinal authorities and their liturgy — the “Book of Common Prayer” — I wrote a letter as the Bishop and Head of the Syrian Catholic Mission in North America, giving permission, in which I said that in extreme cases, where no Orthodox priest could be called upon at short notice, the ministrations of the Protestant Episcopal (Anglican) clergy might be kindly asked. However, I was most explicit in defining when and how the ministrations should be accepted, and also what exceptions should be made. In writing that letter I hoped, on the Continue reading “Saint Raphael of Brooklyn (+1915) on the Episcopalians”

Saint Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, New York, USA (+1915) – Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of USA – February 27

http://saintsofmyheart.wordpress.com

SAINTS OF MY HEART

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Saint Raphael Hawaweeny,

Bishop of Brooklyn, New York, USA (+1915)

Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of USA

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Feast day: February 27

Holy Relics: February 14

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/straphael.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

“He shall be filled with the spirit of understanding; he shall pour forth his words of wisdom and give thanks to the Lord in his prayer” (Sir 39:6).

Our holy Father Raphael was born in Syria in 1860 to pious Orthodox parents, Michael Hawaweeny and his second wife Mariam, the daughter of a priest of Damascus. The exact date of Raphael’s birth is not known, but he estimated it to be on or near his Name Day, the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven (November 8). Due to the violent persecution of Christians, at which time their parish priest, St Joseph of Damascus (July 10) and his companions were martyred, the Hawaweeny family was forced to flee to Beirut for their safety. It was here that the future saint first saw the light of day, and not in the city of his parents. Indeed, as the child’s life unfolded, it was evident that he would have no continuing city in this world, but would seek the city which is to come (Heb 13:14).

On the Feast of Theophany in 1861, he was baptized with the name Rafla, and later that spring the family was able to return to Damascus. The child attended elementary school, where he did very well, but in 1874 it appeared that Michael Hawaweeny would no longer be able to afford his son’s tuition. Fortunately, help came from Deacon Athanasios Atallah (later Metropolitan of Homs), who recommended to Patriarch Hierotheos of Antioch that Rafla be accepted as a student of the Patriarchate in preparation for the priesthood.

He was such a good student that he was selected to be a substitute teaching assistant in 1877. The following year he was appointed as a teacher of Arabic and Turkish. On March 28, 1879 he was tonsured as a monk by Patriarch Hierotheos, and served as His Beatitude’s personal attendant.

Since the Balamand Seminary had been closed in 1840, Patriarch Joachim III of Constantinople invited the Patriarch of Antioch to send at least one Continue reading “Saint Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, New York, USA (+1915) – Equal to the Apostles and Enlightener of USA – February 27”

Computer Scientists “Prove” God Exists – David Knight, SPIEGEL

http://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

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Computer Scientists “Prove” God Exists

by

David Knight, SPIEGEL

Two scientists have formalized a theorem regarding the existence of God penned by mathematician Kurt Gödel. But the God angle is somewhat of a red herring — the real step forward is the example it sets of how computers can make scientific progress simpler.

As headlines go, it’s certainly an eye-catching one. “Scientists Prove Existence of God,” German daily Die Welt wrote last week.

But unsurprisingly, there is a rather significant caveat to that claim. In fact, what the researchers in question say they have actually proven is a theorem put forward by renowned Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel — and the real news isn’t about a Supreme Being, but rather what can now be achieved in scientific fields using superior technology.

When Gödel died in 1978, he left behind a tantalizing theory based on principles of modal logic — that a higher being must exist. The details of the mathematics involved in Gödel’s ontological proof are complicated, but in essence the Austrian was arguing that, by definition, God is that for which no greater can be conceived. And while God exists in the understanding of the concept, we could conceive of him as greater if he existed in reality. Therefore, he must exist.

Even at the time, the argument was not exactly a new one. For centuries, many have tried to use this kind of abstract reasoning to prove the possibility or necessity of the existence of God. But the mathematical model composed by Gödel proposed a proof of the idea. Its theorems and axioms — assumptions which cannot be proven — can be expressed as mathematical equations. And that means they can be proven.

Proving God’s Existence with a MacBook

That is where Christoph Benzmüller of Berlin’s Free University and his colleague, Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo of the Technical University in Vienna, come in. Using an ordinary MacBook computer, they have shown that Gödel’s proof was correct — at least on a mathematical level — by way of higher modal logic. Their initial submission on the arXiv.org research article server is called “Formalization, Mechanization and Automation of Gödel’s Proof of God’s Existence.”

The fact that formalizing such complicated theorems can be left to computers opens up all kinds of possibilities, Benzmüller told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “It’s totally amazing that from this argument led by Gödel, all this stuff can be proven automatically in a few seconds or even less on a standard notebook,” he said.

The name Gödel may not mean much to some, but among scientists he enjoys a reputation similar to the likes of Albert Einstein — who was a close friend. Born in 1906 in what was then Austria-Hungary and is now the Czech city of Brno, Gödel later studied in Vienna before moving to the United States after World War II broke out to work at Princeton, where Einstein was also based. The first version of this ontological proof is from notes dated around 1941, but it was not until the early 1970s, when Gödel feared that he might die, that it first became public.

Now Benzmüller hopes that using such a headline-friendly example can help draw attention to the method. “I didn’t know it would create such a huge public interest but (Gödel’s ontological proof) was definitely a better example than something inaccessible in mathematics or artificial intelligence,” the scientist added. “It’s a very small, crisp thing, because we are just dealing with six axioms in a little theorem. … There might be other things that use similar logic. Can we develop computer systems to check each single step and make sure they are now right?”

“An Ambitious Expressive Logic”

The scientists, who have been working together since the beginning of the year, believe their work could have many practical applications in areas such as artificial intelligence and the verification of software and hardware.

Benzmüller also pointed out that there are many scientists working on similar subject areas. He himself was inspired to tackle the topic by a book entitled “Types, Tableaus and Gödel’s God,” by Melvin Fitting.

The use of computers to reduce the burden on mathematicians is not new, even if it is not welcomed by all in the field. American mathematician Doron Zeilberger has been listing the name Shalosh B. Ekhad on his scientific papers since the 1980s. According to the New York-based Simons Foundation, the name is actually a pseudonym for the computers he uses to help prove theorems in seconds that previously required page after page of mathematical reasoning. Zeilberger says he gave the computer a human-sounding name “to make a statement that computers should get credit where credit is due.” “human-centric bigotry” on the part of mathematicians, he says, has limited progress.

Ultimately, the formalization of Gödel’s ontological proof is unlikely to win over many atheists, nor is it likely to comfort true believers, who might argue the idea of a higher power is one that defies logic by definition. For mathematicians looking for ways to break new ground, however, the news could represent an answer to their prayers.

David Knight, SPIEGEL

Source:

ABC NEWS

Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA

http://orthodoxweb.blogspot.com

ORTHODOX WEB

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Which Came First: New Testament or the Church?

by Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

Which Came First: New Testament or the Church?

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

A convert to Christianity from Judaism, Fr. James was a teenage chess champion whose dramatic conversion experience at the age of 16 led him to Christianity, and is also one of the founders of Jews For Jesus. His journey led him directly to the Orthodox Christian faith, and his journey is recounted in his book “Surprised By Christ,” the story of a man searching for the truth and unable to rest until he finds it. He is the priest at St. Paul Church in Brier, WA.

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As a Jewish convert to Christ via evangelical Protestantism, I naturally wanted to know God better through the reading of the Scriptures. In fact, it had been through reading the Gospels in the “forbidden book” called the New Testament, at age sixteen, that I had come to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our promised Messiah. In my early years as a Christian, much of my religious education came from private Bible reading.

By the time I entered college, I had a pocket-sized version of the whole Bible that was my constant companion. I would commit favorite passages from the Scriptures to memory, and often quote them to myself in times of temptation-or to others as I sought to convince them of Christ. The Bible became for me-as it is to this day-the most important book in print. I can say from my heart with Saint Paul the Apostle,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

That’s the good news!

The bad news is that often I would decide for myself what the Scriptures meant. For example, I became so enthusiastic about knowing Jesus as my close and personal friend that I thought my own awareness of Him was all I needed. So I would mark verses aboutJesus with my yellow highlighter, but pass over passages concerning God the Father, or the Church, or baptism. I saw the Bible as a heavenly instruction manual. I didn’t think I needed the Church, except as a good place to make friends or to leans more about the Bible so I could be a better do-it-yourself Christian. I came to think that I could build my life, and the Church, by the Book. I mean, I took sola scriptura (“only the Bible”) seriously! Salvation history was clear to me: God sent His Son, together they sent the Holy Spirit, then came the New Testament to explain salvation, and finally the Church developed.

Close, maybe, but not close enough.

Let me hasten to say that the Bible is all God intends it to be. No problem with the Bible. The problem lay in the way I individualized it, subjecting it to my own personal interpretations-some not so bad, others not so good.

A STRUGGLE FOR UNDERSTANDING

It was not long after my conversion to Christianity that I found myself getting swept up in the tide of religious sectarianism, in which Christians would part ways over one issue after another. It seemed, for instance, that there were as many opinions on the Second Coming as there were people in the discussion. So we’d all appeal to the Scriptures.

“I believe in the Bible. If it’s not in the Bible I don’t believe it,”

became my war cry.

What I did not realize was that everyone else was saying the same thing! It was not the Bible, but each one’s private interpretation of it, that became our ultimate authority. In an age which highly exalts independence of thought and self-reliance, I was becoming my own pope! The guidelines I used in interpreting Scripture seemed simple enough: When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. I believed that those who were truly faithful and honest in following this principle would achieve Christian unity.

To my surprise, this “common sense” approach led not to increased Christian clarity and unity, but rather to a spiritual free-for-all!

Those who most strongly adhered to believing “only the Bible” tended to become the, most factious, divisive, and combative of Christians-perhaps unintentionally. In fact, it seemed to me that the more one held to the Bible as Continue reading “Which Came First: New Testament or the Church? – Fr. James Bernstein, WA, USA”