"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Between Relativism and Fundamentalism

Berger, an outstanding sociologist, has here gathered together essays by sociologists and theologians to consider the interrelated and uniquely modern phenomena of fundamentalism and relativism. Especially noteworthy is the last essay by Michael Plekon, offering “An Eastern Church Perspective from the ‘Paris School’ and Living Tradition.” Plekon rightly notes that fundamentalism also afflicts Orthodoxy in Russia and North America, especially among converts. He calmly and lucidly demonstrates that it is entirely possible to be fully Orthodox and fully tolerant of non-Orthodox without descending into relativism. Indeed, it is precisely the Orthodox position to affirm at one and the same time the universal truth of Orthodoxy and the universal freedom of human beings to accept or refuse that truth who is Christ. This is a very welcome and useful essay to have close at hand when next confronted by some sectarian “traditionalist” hyperventilating about ecumenism as the “pan-heresy.”   


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