From Orthodoxy in Dialogue: Trouble in American Orthodoxy
The blog Orthodoxy in Dialogue recently criticized the standard conservative Christian response to legal abortion. The more I read this blog on various issues which are big in politics and religion today, the more I see kindred spirits:
For a while, back in the early 00’s, I was becoming more and more liberal. But I also wanted to find out what the original Church believed about various theological issues and practices. That led me to Orthodoxy, which led to a period of time in which I was much more conservative about many things.
But then I realized I was, in a sense, being brainwashed:
First there was the very persuasive and charismatic person who first suggested Orthodoxy to me: Richard. He was a convert from the Foursquare Church; time eventually revealed that he’s also a narcissist. Not sure if he’s malignant or not, but a lot of those narc traits are there. He did a LOT of talking to me about Orthodoxy: not just about its beauty, but about the many things which the local church did wrong because it wasn’t “Orthodox” enough, and how I was wrong for not being “Orthodox” enough.
Then there was the constant presence on the Net (where, in the early days, I spent most of my time with Orthodoxy) of “Netdoxy” and “Ameridoxy.” Orthodoxy has been getting a lot of converts in recent decades from American Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches. I wanted to get away from Evangelical/Fundamentalist influences, but many are bringing them into Orthodoxy.
OID’s most recent post, Notes from Underground, describes this phenomenon as a peculiarly American “mob mentality,” where you get attacked for disagreeing with the prevailing views of the group you’re in. You see it in politics; you see it in discussions on social issues; you see it on narcissism forums; you see it within Evangelicalism; you see it on Orthodox forums on the Internet. This is one reason why I stopped going to such forums some years ago.
Anyway, I finally began to break away from Netdoxy and, with it, away from the conservatism which had been pulling me back in. I began to move back toward liberalism.
But by this time, I had already become a full Orthodox Christian, so it wasn’t as if I could just pick up and leave. I still saw many things in worldwide Orthodoxy (as opposed to Ameridoxy or Netdoxy) which were refreshing and did not hold to American Republican politics. For example, the Ecumenical Patriarch actually believes in climate change and working to get along with Catholics, Muslims, and others. But the more I examine issues such as abortion and gay marriage, the more I agree with liberals–which means a huge disconnect with official Orthodox positions.
This has made me wonder if I should’ve stayed in a liberal Protestant church all those years ago. I’ve often wondered if I’ll be allowed to stay Orthodox, if at some point I’ll be excommunicated for my views, especially now that I’ve discovered an Orthodox friend is LGBTQ–and I sympathize rather than telling this person to change.
But finding OID is reassuring. Finally, I feel like, if there’s room for the writers/editors of OID, there’s room for me in Orthodoxy. Maybe I can still stay in, rather than leaving all the richness of Orthodox tradition.
Anyway, OID also has insightful posts on abortion and how the usual “Right to Life” response does nothing at all to stop abortion, while pro-choice policies have actually caused a huge decrease. In the past I posted a link to a blog post by someone who is now atheist and made the same points, but I suppose some Christians may not give her any credibility because she’s an atheist. Well, here’s a Christian saying many of the same things.
Basically, that money on marches is wasted, when it could be spent on helping women afford contraception or afford to raise a child, leading to fewer abortions. That when abortion is against the law, women die along with their babies from backroom butchers and coat hangers.
The response OID received to these posts was enlightening–but, sadly, not surprising: Orthodox women were grateful. Orthodox men were furious. And Netdoxy attacked it as well.
Chew on that for a bit.
Here are the posts on abortion:
Abortion, Contraception, and Christian Faith
Another January, Another Celebration of our Moral Superiority
I liked your groupthink comments. I’ve written about these and related issues, too: