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112. Jan. 31/Feb. 13,1973. St. Nicetas of Novgorod. Sts. Cyrus and John, Unmercenaries

Unmercenaries
Dear Brother in Christ, Alexey,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. Please forgive our usual long silence, but we’ve really been overwhelmed with happenings of late. I’ve just returned from three days in Seattle, at Fr. Neketas’ request, in order to have a good talk with Fr. Panteleimon — about which more below.

The new Nikodemos arrived and looks good; the Freud article in particular should evoke some interesting response.

The “Evolution” article for the next issue looks very good to us, quite comprehensive and to the point, and also I don’t think there’s anything there to which Fr. Panteleimon and others could object (I’ll tell you what I gathered from them below). However, the article could be improved by expanding a little on several points:

1. At the bottom of p. 1 you mention “any farm of evolution? and at the end of that paragraph you specify: “atheistic physical evolution, or theistic physical evolution, or spiritual evolution.” However, your article is really addressed almost entirely against atheistic physical evolution and its absurdities, and some people might take advantage of this to say you haven’t really considered more “refined” forms of theistic or spiritual evolution. In such as short article, of course, it’s really not possible to go into them, but perhaps a sentence or two more on them will show why they can’t be taken seriously either and are not at all more “refined” (just more vague and confused!). Thus, “theistic” evolution, as I understand its motives, is the invention of men who, being afraid that physical evolution is really “scientific,” stick “God” in at various points of the evolutionary process in order not to be left out, in order to conform “theology” to the “latest scientific discoveries.” But his form of artificial thinking is satisfactory only to the most vague and confused minds (for whom, apparently, “God” supplies the energy and order that can’t be explained according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics): it is satisfactory neither for theology nor for science, but just mixes the two realms up. Again, “spiritual” evolution applies the “conclusions” of atheistic physical evolution to the “spiritual” realm and comes to results which are monstrous and unacceptable either from the scientific or the theological point of view: a mixup and confusion which can only disguise itself in fantastic jargon a la Teilhard de Chardin. Both these kinds of evolution depend entirely on acceptance of physical evolution, and if that is shown to be unsound they fall; and in addition they are self-contradictory because the whole purpose and intent of the theory of physical evolution is to find an explanation of the world without God•, i.e., physical evolution is by its nature atheistic, and it’s only ridiculous when “theologians” run after the latest “scientific” theory in order not to be left behind by the times.

I’m afraid I’m wasting too many words on this point, but you really should tell the reader a little more as to why other kinds of evolution are no more satisfactory. The central point, of course, is that evolution is not at all “scientific, but rather a kind of science-fiction theology, the product of faith (an atheistic faith, but nonetheless faith). That it is still so widely accepted surely shows how low not only theology, but just plain common-sense thinking have fallen today. (I still remember my freshman professor of zoology expatiating on the “great ideas of man”: for him the greatest idea man ever invented was the idea of evolution; much greater, he believed than the “idea of God.”)

2. On Piltdown, Peking, Java Man, etc. on p. 3: Isn’t Piltdown the only one that is universally accepted as a fraud? If so, it would be wisest to emphasize it (citing the book on the subject, if you have the reference at hand) and mention the great doubts and questions surrounding the others, so as not to be accused of racing ahead of the evidence!

3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics: you’d better give a brief definition at the beginning (see also the enclosed clipping, showing what brought a Soviet scientist to God).

4. You end with a reference to the “Gospel of foolishness” — which might inadvertently lead some readers to think that, after all, you admit that evolution somehow makes sense and you have to be higher and more spiritual to see that it doesn’t. No — on every level, from common sense on up, evolution is nonsense! Behold what real, unredeemed foolishness they fall into who try to do without God!

The article, though short, is excellent, with a very good use of quotes from Darwin and others. Probably you will get lots of discussion on this. Perhaps one day you could put together a longer, more detailed article on evolution, with ample citations both from evolutionists (showing their naive faith and sloppy thinking) and their sound critics (I recall a good book I read some years ago by an ornithologist: Francis Dewar, Some Difficulties of the Evolutionary Theory), to serve as a reference source for those who care to think seriously on the subject. In general, people are so afraid of challenging scientists “on their own ground” that they’re afraid to get into this subject; a little clear thinking such as your short article reveals can dispel a lot of this fear and the fog that surround the question.

The other two articles are good, and we have no comments, except that it might be wise to mention with each installment the date of St. Juliana’s commemoration (Jan. 2); and in the editorial it’s really unfair (to the Soviets) to mention “depraved Nazis” without throwing in the Soviets too, who even today continue “horrendous experiments” on their millions of prisoners. Nazism was really but a pale imitation, often greatly tempered by a remnant of still human feelings, of the .Soviet experiment; and its depravity was small compared to the systematic depravity and inhumanity which the Soviet torturers still practice. I’m not defending the Nazis! — but by making the word “Nazi” almost synonymous with 20th-century inhumanity, we can lose sight of the frightful reality of today’s Soviet system. It’s doubtful that the Nazis had any depraved tortures that the Soviets didn’t try first and are still performing. By the way, in the article on Marx it would be good to get some examples of systematic Soviet inhumanity to show Marxism in practice: what the “new man” of Marx actually is, once all Christian and religious “superstition” has been abolished. Do you have quotes from Marx on his idea of “violence” and its role in forming the “new man”? Or Lenin’s quote on the whole world becoming a single factory, with no escape, and all dissenters will be crushed like vermin? Are you going to mention the question of chiliasm, which is what Marxism really is? Marxism is different from your two earlier installments in that in it we can see plainly what “modern ideas,” the “wolves” you are discussing (even with a picture of them!) mean when they are put into systematic practice.

I was in Seattle for three days and had good frank talks with Frs. Panteleimon, Ephraim, and Neketas. I left completely reassured that we are all on the same side of the great battle of our times, that our spirit and emphases are basically the same, and that our occasional differences in attitudes or approaches to some questions do not at all detract from our spiritual unanimity. Fr. Panteleimon is a very strong personality and holds strong views also about some things which seem of secondary importance (for example, the Shroud of Turin), which could understandably cause some friction and conflict. But it Would be a crime if any of us allowed such secondary differences to destroy our unanimity on basic points, especially in view of the great armies of pseudo- and anti-Orthodoxy that surrounds us, and also the great weight of inertia and ignorance which exist even within our Church Abroad. I found Fr. P. just the same as the last time I saw him several years ago, and there was not so much as a hint from him that we should print or think otherwise than we already do. When he or Fr. Neketas make suggestions to you, I am sure it is done not at all with any idea of “pressuring” you, but solely as sincere and well-meant advice, which you should take as such and not as an attempt to pressure or command you. [letter ends]

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