He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mises On The Greek Church

In Socialism, Ludwig von Mises said some pretty awful things about Orthodoxy, and I laugh whenever I read them:

There was the same inertia in the polytheistic religions of antiquity and there still is in the Eastern Church. The Greek Church has been dead for over a thousand years.[1] Only in the second half of the nineteenth century did it once more produce a man in whom faith and hope flared up like fire. But Tolstoy's Christianity, however much it may bear a superficially Eastern and Russian hue, is at bottom founded on Western ideas. It is particularly characteristic of this great Gospeller that, unlike the Italian merchant's son, Francis of Assisi, or the German miner's son, Martin Luther, he did not come from the people but from the nobility which, by upbringing and education, had been completely Westernized. The Russian Church proper has produced at most men like John of Kronstadt or Rasputin. These dead churches lack any special ethics. Harnack says of the Greek Church: [2] "The real sphere of the working life whose morality is to be regulated by the Faith, falls outside its direct observation. This is left to the state and the nation."

What Mises says here can be juxtaposed interestingly with Fr. Stephen's post, Why Morality is Not Christian.


John said...

I've been thinking recently about how absolutely ignorant I was of Orthodoxy back in my Protestant days. What little I knew, I knew wrong. After reading this bit from von Mises, I'm a little comforted by the fact that I was hardly alone.

Maxim said...

Brilliant commentary on why Tolstoy is not Orthodox; it should ideally be followed by an examination of why Dostoyevsky is not Orthodox.