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The Path of Reason in Search of the Truth - A.I. Osipov

The Path of Reason in Search of the Truth - A.I. Osipov

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The Path of Reasonin Search of the Truth
A. I. Osipov
Moscow. Danilovsky Blagovestnik. 1997Translated by Victor Astapov/ A. Pederera/ N. Semyanko/ T. Pavlova
Content
:
 
Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission
“I think, that everyone with a mind will admit that learning is our greatest blessing, and not only
this noblest and our learning which, scorning all embellishment and fertility of speech, is garneredfor one salvation and for beauty of mental contemplation, but also external learning, which manyChristians, through poor understanding, disdain, as evil artistry, dangerous and distancing from
God…
 On the contrary, one must admit as dumb and ignorant those, who keeping to this opinion, wantto see everyone like themselves, in order to hide their own deficiency in the common deficiency
and avoid the exposure of their ignorance”
St. Gregory the Theologian. Word 43
.
 
Preface.
It is natural for a Christian
―to know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been i
n-
 structed‖
(Luke 1:4). But as the Apostle Paul writes, he must
―be ready always to give an a
n-swer to every man th
at asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear‖
(1Pet. 3:15). For the Lord Himself commands:
―Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you‖
(Math 28:19-20).
 
The preaching of Christianity is a difficult and responsible act, because the salvation of many people depends on its success. It demands the knowledge of the truths of Christianity inrelation to the teaching of faith and morals, the understanding of spiritual life and the specificacquaintance with the basic aspects of human life and activity, first of all, with the religious, phi-losophic, and scientific ones. It necessarily supposes that one knows the answer to the main andmore disturbing questions of our contemporaries. All this requires special preparation, which isprimarily the subject of apologetics (Basic Theology).Apologetics is orientated towards people of different convictions and levels of belief:both those, who have just come into the Church and still have many doubts, and those, who are
―near the Church walls,‖ but are looking for the Truth, the meaning of life, and are interested in
Christianity. Both the first and the second, who in the majority do not have any spiritual expe-ri
ence and have not yet ―experienced‖ God within themselves, need the substantiation of the
truths of faith, need proofs, inasmuch as they are one of the natural means towards acquiring andstrengthening faith. The following work, examining many questions on apologetics, both thosecommon to all religions as well as those of a specifically Christian character, is orientated to-wards this goal.The present work consists of the following parts:
 
Holy Trinity Orthodox Mission
3
 
The concept
of apologetics, its aims, tasks and place in the system of theologicalsciences; also a brief review of the history of apologetics (Chapter 10).
 
Religion
and its origin.
 — 
The positive disclosure of the question, and the analysis of the negative points of view (Chap. II-III).
 
The Existence of God
.
 — 
The basic arguments and the analysis of counter-arguments (Chap. IV).
 
Religion and human activity.
 
 — 
Science, philosophy, Orthodoxy; the problem of cognition; the social activity of the Church; freedom of man, the Church and religiousfreedom; exorcism and the attitude towards it of the holy fathers of the Church (Chap.V).
 
The Revelation
 — 
The natural and supernatural search for God; its types, signs and
criteria of verity; the holy fathers‘ teaching abo
ut the attitude towards miracles, vi-sions, etc. (chap. VI).
 
Spiritual life
. The bases of Orthodox spiritual life, sanctity. (Chap.VII).
 
Heathenism
.
 — 
The origin, basic types, assessment. (Chap.VIII).
 
The Religion of the Old Testament
.
 — 
Faith and life; the Old and New Testaments
(Chap. IХ).
 
I. The Concept of Apologetics.
APOLOGETICS (Greek 

 — 
protection, justification, intercession; a speech, said orwrit
ten in someone‘s defense;

 
 — 
to defend oneself, to justify oneself, to state orprese
nt in one‘s personal defense) in the general sense is any kind of defense of Christianity from
the accusations and criticism of its enemies; in the specific sense
 — 
a branch of theology, whosegoal is to reveal and substantiate the truths of Christian faith, and which has to give an answer toanyone asking, or to refute the incorrect religious, philosophic or other world views which standin opposition to Christianity. Apologetics as the defense of Christianity has existed since its veryappearance and continues as such to this day. As a special branch of theology, or as a separatescience, apologetics appeared with the development of scholastic theological education.Throughout history its range and content have changed greatly, and has appeared under variousnames: the apologetics of Christianity, natural theology, philosophical or basic dogmatics, spe-culative theology, general theology, introductory theology, basic theology. In the second half of the 19
th
century, such independent disciplines from the field of apologetics gradually appear asthe History of Religion, Biblical archeology and textology, Biblical history, Exposal (Compara-tive) theology. In the 19-20
th
centuries, in theological schools both in the West and in Russia,apologetics was included in the courses of 
basic theology
or was treated as the same discipline
(for example, I. Nikolin. ―The Course on Basic Th
e
ology or Apologetics.‖ Sergiev Posad, 1904).
 In 1996, the reformed study program of theological schools of the Russian OrthodoxChurch treats apologetics and basic theology as two separate subjects. In addition, apologeticspreserves its specificity, and is mainly orientated towards the defense of Christianity from thecriticism of other world-views and systems of thought. The task of basic theology is the exami-nation and analysis of the main Christian truths of faith and life from the point of view of the in-tellectual, moral, cultural and other generally accepted norms and criteria.

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