To claim otherwise is blasphemy

Yulia Latinina, who hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio, explains the religious views of many Orthodox Christians, whom she calls Homo Orthodoxus. They sound quite similar to fanatics in the US, Pakistan, Rome, northern Nigeria – you get the idea.

First, this belief holds that God does not forgive. A typical example: During a recent demonstration against Pussy Riot, an Orthodox activist screamed “God does not forgive, and to claim otherwise is blasphemy,” while  beating a female supporter of the punk group.

And notice one other thing about that – it clearly includes the belief that the Self is authorized to assume it knows exactly what God does not forgive, and to punish people for that unforgivable thing. That’s a lot to assume! Even if the Orthodox activist were right about “God,” why would that justify the activist in beating someone up?

People so easily forget that the first does not lead to the second. “God does not forgive, so I get to beat you up.” No. That doesn’t follow.

The second belief of Homo Orthodoxus is that God bestows lavish  material gifts on the church’s leadership: luxury apartments, fancy cars  and expensive Swiss watches. For the Homo Orthodoxus, such perks are  part of being close to the Godhead.


Third, this God does not make any moral demands on his chosen followers but gives them full authority to make such demands on everybody else.

Aha, there it is. I would love to know exactly how they convince themselves of that…Although I suppose they don’t, really, they just assume it. It’s such a dangerous belief.




  1. smrnda says

    Looks like Russia is sliding back into the Dark Ages.

    And if God doesn’t forgive, yeah, that’s all well and good. People should stop pretending to be authorized to act on God’s behalf, with all that power if God wants someone beaten God can show up and do the job. If this doesn’t happen, either God doesn’t care, doesn’t exist, or people only believe in God when someone else is beating it in to them.

  2. vel says

    “orthodox Christian” = unremarkable subspecies that also declares its version of its religion is the only “right’ one and uses “big words” to declare this.

  3. says

    an Orthodox activist screamed “God does not forgive, and to claim otherwise is blasphemy,”

    Geez. And here I always thought that was, like, half the point of Christianity. But what do I know? I wasn’t Orthodox, rather a Western evangelical (and that before it became a wholly (holy?) owned subsidiary of the US Republican Party).

  4. A. Noyd says

    It’s exactly this sort of thing that makes me laugh when people claim atheists think of ourselves as god.

  5. fastlane says

    I would love to know exactly how they convince themselves of that…Although I suppose they don’t, really, they just assume it. It’s such a dangerous belief.

    If you haven’t read “The Authoritarians”, you should.

  6. GordonWillis says

    OK, so the Orthodox Church thinks that Putin is god because Putin bestows so many nice things. Don’t believe it. The Orthodox Church thinks that god is in his heaven and Putin is a million light years from that blessed state. But the men who govern the Orthodox Church like their comforts and know (because they really really are sincere believers don’t you know) that it’s all vanity (even though it’s a very comfortable vanity) and it will all pass away (eventually — they really do believe this, honest).

    So we have one opportunist on one side and a whole pack of opportunists (but for Christ…) on the other, and each side is trying to manipulate the other in order to win whatever it is they want to win.

    Or: on the one side we have the great I AM who wins millions of votes because he is so obviously a rascal that everybody knows where they are with him, and on the other the Humble Servants of the LORD who try so sincerely not to exult in their mercedeses* and gold watches and who thus manage to set a godly example to the faithful who really really want to believe the message that with more meekness and more humiliation humility they’ll see God — imagine that!

    *If homo orthodoxus (whatever language it’s in) can be plural, then I can write mercedeses.

  7. Cafeeine says

    As a minor point of order, having gotten out of Eastern (Greek to be precise) Orthodoxy, they too believe in divine forgiveness. In fact, its the idea that God doesn’t forgive that would be considered blasphemy.

  8. GordonWillis says

    Yes, I wondered about that (not knowing much about Orthodoxy). My impression is that some “believers”, whatever they are taught, take a self-serving interpretation of what they hear — ergo if one doesn’t like something, god must be against it. This has nothing to do with the teachings of the Church, but everything to do with irrational opportunistic humanity.

  9. E.A. Blair says

    I have observed Ms. Latinina’s third point becoming more and more business as usual:

    “Third, this God does not make any moral demands on his chosen followers but gives them full authority to make such demands on everybody else.”

    Examples include the Pope trying to dictate policy on contraception to non-Catholics; elders, imams, bishops, rabbis, pastors and priests of numerous cults religions trying to impose their notions of modesty and sexual morality universally; enactment of blasphemy laws; Muslims imposing their artistic standards on non-muslims (e.g., the Mohammad cartoon riots). Yeah, my answer ito this is, “If your deity is so damned powerful, why does it need you to defend it?”.

    The flip side to this is that people often seem more than willing to bow to the dictates of religious bodies that have no authority whatsoever over them. Some of you may be too young to remember the 1990s flap over the Southern Baptist Convention declaring, as part of their doctrine, that wives should “graciously submit” to their husbands*. We have also seen instances of clerical exploitation of this, in the US Catholic bishops’ claim that church-affiliated business’ requirements to provide contraceptive coverage is religious discrimination, or a rising trend of objection to male circumcision (a hot topic in Europe) being called anti-Semitic** or anti-Muslim. There are two aspects to this uproar that are problematic.

    The first is the degree to which non-Southern Baptists were upset by this. If you aren’t a member, why should you worry about what their elders say? You don’t have to listen to them any more than a Buddhist is obliged to avoid condoms and the pill because the pope says it’s naughty.

    The second is something of a uniquely American thing, and that is the fact that a large number of politicians are members of conservative religious cults bodies that don’t have a problem with mixing church and state. These politicians are in positions to take the dictates of their religious overlords masters leaders and enact them as civil law, thus imposing their religious values on the population as a whole (note that this is a situation that the US, ironically, shares primarily with Islamic theocratic states).

    The dilemma, then, is personally ignoring these religious dictates while remaining aware of their political consequences (much as we would prefer to ignore them altogether).

    *When this became a news item, my wife asked me whether I agreed with the SBC. I said, “Only when we’re naked, and if we take turns.”

    **Conveniently forgetting, of course, that Arabs are ethnically Semitic as well.

  10. Smokey Dusty says

    I perceived a sneer at Australian aboriginies that I didnt like. There seems to be an idea that, done properly, Orthodoxy (orthodox Orthodoxy?) is more legitimate than Aboriginal spirituality.

  11. David Hart says

    GordonWillis@8: “*If homo orthodoxus (whatever language it’s in) can be plural”

    Homines orthodoxes if my Latin and Greek serve me, but I don’t think you pluralise Linnaean names anyway…

    “then I can write mercedeses.”

    Yes. Yes you can 😛

    Was it the Russian top clergyman who was embarrassingly pictured in a photo where they’d photoshopped out his Rolex, but forgotten to photoshop out the reflection of his rolex in the polished tabletop?

  12. Bruce Gorton says

    *If homo orthodoxus (whatever language it’s in) can be plural, then I can write mercedeses.

    Not really. Mercedes is a proper noun – capitalise it man, capitalise! :p

  13. GordonWillis says

    Mercedes is a car, but I accept the rebuke and apologise to all mercedeses and rollses etc. for the shocking insult to their dignity.

    Orthodoxos isn’t classical — apparently some ecclesiastical fiction — so it’s not in my Liddell & Scott, but I would guess that it’s Nom masc plural would be orthodoxoi, hence orthodoxi in Latin.

  14. GordonWillis says

    @Smokey Dusty #13

    The Homo Orthodoxus religion more closely resembles primitive Australian totemic beliefs, a Stone Age religion that entirely replaces the idea of a moral code with ridiculous prohibitions, neurotic taboos and a primitive, spiteful and petty god who lavishes his believers with worldly goods and punishes his enemies.

    And quite apart from that she misses the fact that it’s all in the Bible.


    The problem is that although most of Putin’s friends and associates are devoted members of Homo Orthodoxus, actual believers comprise a small minority in the population at large.

    Er, but it’s still in the Bible.

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