Speaking to Secular America: The God You Don’t Believe in

Speaking to Secular America: The God You Don’t Believe in

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“The God You Don’t Believe in – Conversations with a Secular World”

 

A crowd gathered in the Maliotis Cultural Center of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox of Theology on the evening of October 29, 2015, the last night of the Speaking to Secular America Conference hosted by the Missions Institute. The room was filled and bustling with excitement for Fr. Stephen Freeman’s talk entitled: “The God You Don’t Believe In – Conversations with a Secular World”. Fr. Stephen is the pastor of St. Anne’s Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, TN and the author of “Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Story Universe”.

The priest began by quoting the late Father Alexander Schmemann, who said that secularism is the “greatest heresy of our time.” He went on to explain how secularism has created a great misunderstanding of God in the minds of nones and dones. People view God as an imposing commander, a terrible tyrant, an enabler of their consumerism, or a therapeutic deity.

Father pointed out what he recognized as one of the major consequences of prevalent secularism: “The Modern Project”. He talked in length about the modern obsession with progress and transhumanism. People want to use consumer products and advanced technology to take the human race to the next level of existence, but this is a false trajectory. The items and methods that we think will improve our life such as are subtly burying our natural humanity. The reality is not that we need to transcend our humanity but get back to the baseline of being human, below which we have fallen because of sin.

Fr. Stephen recognized Calvary as the finishing point of the human project, which we have tried to imitate. Christ takes us back to the baseline of living as human and then beyond it to the heights of deified humanity. Thus, we have to repent and makes ourselves witnesses of Christ’s greater reality. That way, Orthodoxy will not just be another product for consumerist religious seekers but the simple truth of how to live a righteous human life.

 

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Kamal Hourani

Kamal Hourani is a first year student in the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.