Bellow you’ll find some questions about the sins in Orthodoxy. I’ll first explain what my view on that specific sin is, and then the answer to that of the priest I go to. I consider this to be very open.
The answer’s scale:
1 – Completely wrong
2 – Maybe wrong
3 – Neutral
4 – Maybe right
5 – Completely right
I consider that a Christian can save his soul wherever he may live. Had that person lived in a country where Orthodoxy is not a confession accepted even by a minority, that person can still be an Orthodox. I don’t believe that there are any correlations between saving one’s soul and the country where one lives;
4 – you need to find an Orthodox community, other than this is fine
Regarding attention in church
First of all a quote by C. S. Lewis on rigid forms of worship
“The advantage of a fixed form of service is that we know what is coming. Ex Tempore public prayer has this difficulty: we don’t know whether we can mentally join in it until we’ve heard it – and it might be phony or heretical. We are therefore called upon to carry on a critical and a devotional activity at the same moment: two things hardly compatible. In a fixed form we ought to have ‘gone through the motions’ before in our private prayers; the rigid form really sets our devotions free. I also find the more rigid it is, the easier it is to keep one’s thoughts from straying. Also it prevents getting too completely eaten up by whatever happens to be the preoccupation of the moment (i.e. the election, or what not). The permanent shape of Christianity shows this.” (from The Business of Heaven)
So, I don’t think that attention in church on the ceremony is that important. On the other hand, I don’t think about God things when in church, my mind wonders around.
2 – actually, despite what C. S. Lewis says, one should pay attention in church at the ceremony.
About church time
I consider that 20 minutes per week going to church is the required minimum.
2 – Make that two hours per week.
On praying time
10 minutes per day for actual praying is the required minimum.
2 – It should rather be 10 minutes in the morning + 10 in the evenings = 20 minutes per day.
About the church one chooses to pray in
I don’t think that, from God’s point of view, there is any difference with my presence at a certain church (Orthodox one, of course) or within a certain community. And even if there is, there is only a minor importance.
3 – Perhaps;
About praying in public
I think I should restrain making the sign of a cross while I’m around people that know me, so I won’t get any beneficial treatment by them for praying. Making the sign of a cross while in a bus with strangers is fine, though.
2 – If you pass by a church, you should make the sign of a cross;
About presenting your faith in public
Let’s say I’m in a discussion and my main argument has something to do with Christian arguments. Should I invoke such an argument? I would say no.
2 – Perhaps you should say yes.
On being proud
I consider it a sign of health. Sure one can be modest, as long as it has reasons to be modest.
3 – Neutral.
About valuing oneself
This is very important to me. I don’t say I’m a good man, but I might as well think like this. A lot. Just might.
3 – Neutral.
About loving God
Love God? For being perfect? For being impossible to be anything than perfect? Sorry, that’s not for me. He doesn’t seem to deserve it. Sure, I like Him a lot, it’s a model, and I value Him. And if you put it in prayer, I love Him. But, for one reason or another, I love people who strive to be better a lot, rather than loving God.
4 – Although not a perfect thinking, it’s not that bad.
On the fear of God
I fear hell. I fear hell as hell.
5 – That’s fine.
About making use of religious affirmations in a pejorative way
See above – “I fear hell as hell”. To me, that’s VERY fine to say. Yes, it’s a bit funny on the joking side, but it’s fine.
3 – Neutral.
About saying small funny things on God
My favorite quote is this:
“In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.” It’s by a person who values atheism – Ellen DeGeneres.
Is it anything wrong with it? I think not.
3 – Neutral
About saying big, though jokes on God
I like jokes. And I like jokes about God. Since a joke is mostly by a surprise, jokes with God are actually covering my top 10 jokes ever. They actually are the funnies jokes I know. Is it wrong to make jokes on God? I’d say not.
2 – It depends, but you rather shouldn’t.
There isn’t such a thing as madness laughter. One can laugh in a loud voice, this is very much permitted. It’s good sense.
3 – Neutral
Up until a point, I think it’s a sane thing to do. Making a positive remark (yet false) on someone else, to make that person feel better is a good way of lying.
2 – You should rather avoid lying.
I don’t buy things which will prevent me from fasting. Yet whenever I’m invited to eat something, or I’m in a public place, I don’t fast. Ever.
1 – Fast. Always. It shows that you listen to the principles of the Church.
Regarding state rules
I don’t value them all that much. They’re there, ok, but from a Christian point of view, it’s not mandatory to respect a rule which you don’t personally prefer.
2 – You should rather respect State rules.
About caring about the looks
I tend not to care about dress code and other stuff related to this, up to a point (so being clean & smelling nice is important, looking top notch isn’t).
5 – True!
About politeness rules
They’re not that important.
2 – On the contrary, they are.
Regarding the importance of Holidays
I value them, they’re important, but just as a formal thing. Not that important to go to church that day or spend it in a special way.
2 – Holidays are important.
On working on Sundays
I have the habit of working anytime, don’t really care about Sundays. I don’t plan to work on Sundays more, but if it’s a thing I must do, I do it.
1 – That’s false. Working on Sundays is prohibited.
I shouldn’t set standards and objectives for reading the Bible.
1 – False. Out of no standards usually come no results.
The aim of life
The aim of life is mostly making good deeds, while following the 10 commandments (avoid, as possible, sinning). Praying is also fine, but not that much. Thus, life is mostly applying a code of ethics (being like a machine – rules and regulations applied to the maximum), while striving to do good deeds (and sometimes pray). To better perform all these tasks – being ethical, doing good deeds, even praying – one has to improve oneself (continuous self improving, via either reading or life experiences). This is the aim of life. And why? To prove by these methods that one loves God.
5 – You’re right!
God really wants me to be healthy.
4 – Excepting the fact that sometimes an unhealthy period of time may trigger some good-for-the soul thoughts, yes, God wants you to be healthy.
This is a very important aspect for an orthodox. Put emphasis on this one.
4 – Also put emphasis on the ecology of the soul, not only the nature. Start from there.
If the aim of life is the one described above, simple desires (wasting time, sitting and doing nothing, eating, playing games, watching movies), if they don’t have a very specific meaning (they aren’t good deeds, they don’t contribute to overall health, they make me improve in a not-that-rapid way – so I only improve little while watching a movie, instead of reading a book), should be, mostly, dismissed. Eating sweets, for example, is pure pleasure, yet unhealthy, so, mostly, it should be dismissed. Listening to poor quality music is just for fun. I can still do any of these, but they’re no real use to me. Thus, life is mostly the life of a machine – desire becomes irrelevant, I become a machine following rules and regulations.
5 – True.
So, quite a few changes in my life starting from this. Thanks for listening.