[quote author=“Wikipedia”] Old Believers use 2 fingers while making the sign of the cross (2 fingers straightened, 3 folded) while new style Orthodoxy uses 3 fingers for the sign of cross (3 fingers straightened, 2 fingers folded). That is not the major difference between the two branches of Orthodoxy, but one of the most noticeable (see the picture of Boyarynya Morozova above).
Old Believers reject all changes and emendations of liturgical texts and rituals introduced by the reform of Patriarch Nikon. Thus, they continue to use the older Church Slavonic translation of the sacred texts, including the Psalter, striving to preserve intact the “pre-Nikonian” practices of the Russian Church.
Old Believers only recognize performing the baptism through three full immersions and reject the validity of any baptismal rite that has been performed otherwise (e.g. through pouring, as has been occasionally accepted in the Russian Church since the 18th century).
Old Believers are in principle opposed to ecumenism, even though there had been many instances of good relationship and collaboration with other Eastern Orthodox churches.
This split caused warfare in Russia for a time and many deaths. The most salient difference for many was the most obvious: if you used three fingers or two while making the sign of the cross.
We see similar schisms among western Protestant denominations as well, as they mention in the article.
My feeling, FWIW, is that both metaphysics and morality, as well as issues of daily practice, can be wedge issues between believers. Indeed, virtually anything can become a wedge issue in the right context.
I’ve read and re-read this thread and think we all might agree on this proposition:
Jews, Christians and Muslims might agree they worship the god of the book, (The book is the bible, [old and new testament] and the quran, with or without the shirahs) The disagreement among them involves how they describe that god.
I can’t agree with you.
If you were to ask a Jew what God he/she worships he/she would say, “Yawah”.
If you were to ask a Christian what God he/she worships he/she would say, “Jesus or The Trinity”.
If you were to ask a Muslim what God he/she worships he/she would say, “Allah”.
The three of them worship different gods. All one has to do is ask them.
I think Bob’s on to something here. The liberal believers will say that all three worship the same god, the “god of the Book”, and that basically all the disagreements come down to relatively minor issues of emphasis.
(This is sort of how Protestant, Catholic and Mormon Christians have come to see their differences, which decades and centuries ago seemed vast enough to cause bloodshed).
But more conservative or orthodox believers will not agree that “god of the Book” rhetoric is accurate. They will say that they worship THE true god, and that the others don’t. For them, there isn’t any real “god of the Book” except their god. The other gods are just impostors.
Viz., “There is one god who is Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”
“I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all thing visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages; God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. ...” Et cetera.
These are two of many strictly incompatible “creeds” about the nature of god. Interestingly, to the orthodox, god is largely defined by his human prophets.
Yep, within each religious tradition, they will all say that they are praying to the god of Abraham.
They would all agree: “We pray to the god of Abraham.”
In that sense, objection sustained.
... it’s what comes after that point that concerns me. It’s what they would say to the ones in the other two “religions of the Book”. They might well say, “These other guys don’t really pray to the god of Abraham; I mean, yeah, they say they do, but we know that the god of Abraham [had no further prophets/gives salvation only through JC/had Mohammed as his last prophet] so these guys are infidels. Only we pray to the real god of Abraham.”
I think part of the problem is well laid out in this bit of crib from a Tom Robbins fiction I am very fond of,The Book, Skinny Legs and All is actually he farcical discussion about the big three.
Religion is an improper response to the Divine. Religion is an attempt to pin down the Divine. The Divine is eternally in flux, forever moving, shifting shape. That is its nature. It is absolute, true enough: absolutely mobile. Absolutely transcendent. Absolutely flexible. Absolutely impersonal. It has its god and goddess aspects, but it is ultimately no more male or female than it is star or screwdriver. It is the sum of all those things, but that sum can never be chalked on a slate. The Divine is beyond description, beyond knowing, beyond comprehension. To say that the Divine is Creation divided by Destruction is as close as one could come to definition. But the puny of soul, the dull of wit, aren’t content with that. They want to hang a face on the Divine. They go so far as to attribute petty human emotions (anger, jealousy, etc.) to it, not stopping to realize that if God were a being, even a supreme being, our prayers would have bored him to death long ago.
The Divine is expansive, but religion is reductive. Religion attempts to reduce the Divine to a knowable quantity with which mortals might efficiently deal, to pigeonhole it once and for all so that we never have to reevaluate it. With hammers of cant and spikes of dogma, we crucified and crucified again, trying to nail to our stationary alters the migratory light of the world.
Thus since religion bears false witness to the Divine, religion is blasphemy. And once it entered into its unholy alliance with politics it became the most dangerous and repressive force that the world has ever known.
The founding of a religion is an elaborate version of pitching coins into a wishing well.
Its the reduction that causes all the splits.
Sure, it’s the “reduction” that gives us the creed. In my understanding, Judaism is farthest away from a “creed” religion, but they display their adherence by following strict rituals ... so, if you like, their “creed” is that you have to follow the rituals.
The quotation from Tom Robbins ... well, it’s a bit too much the sort of fuzzy new-age notion of religion for me. I mean, if the thing is totally transcendent and changeable and impersonal, what’s “divine” about it? It sounds like the reification of obscurantism more than anything else ...
At least with an established religion you know what you are dealing with. You can weigh the claims, look at the evidence they provide, hear the arguments and decide for yourself if they’re true or false.
Actually, though I don’t know for certain I believe Robbins to ascribe to Taoism. If that is true he proposes the completely ineffable Tao. but is using the english word [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine] divine
[/url] as opposed to god probably because of all the presupposition that comes with the term god that doesn’t come with the obscure term divine.
The way that can be spoken of Is not the constant way;
The name that can be named Is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
I don’t see how we can claim know what we are dealing with from any religion given the discussion here where we can’t even agree to nail down one god to satisfy Jimmy’s point.
My point being: the core ineffability of every major description of god (read theism) makes for a very difficult time for all.
Much like science, prime concepts of god are meant to be adaptive, ever open to change and new thought. This allows the devious to bend followers to their nefarious will, but may also allow honest thoughtful people an opportunity, if they stop thinking in terms of the dichotomy of us vs. them, our idea vs. theirs. They could start using adaptive inclusive thought and action to bring more followers to welcome the embrace of a secular community of skeptical questioners looking to understand nature AND what is proposed to be supernatural, otherworldly or ineffable.
This is something I see happening in Florida with CFI and UU.