Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy: Exploring Belief Systems through the Lens of the Ancient Christian Faith by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick (2011) Paperback (Englisch) Taschenbuch
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I am Orthodox, but now I understand some of the things a Pentecostal friend has said. I don't agree, but now I understand how hard it would be for him to think differently given his background. I think this will help me in many relationships to be more understanding, less likely to think someone is really strange to believe some of what they believe.
I could sit all day and discuss difference beliefs with someone. But this book gives insight into how those beliefs developed, what made people start thinking in that direction in the first place. That's information that a lot of people aren't aware of themselves and so couldn't share in a discussion. It also hows where there is a common ground.
I think anything that helps people understand each other is good. I love this book and can't say enough good about it!
The best part for me is how he brings the ancient heresies forward in time, and shows how they are still being taught in parts of the Church today. Whole denominations are founded on teachings that the Church actually dealt with centuries ago. They have been repackaged and given new covers, but Father shows how there is truly "nothing new under the sun," and how and where many of these heresies still have traction in the modern world.
This is not a "gotcha" book, and there is no sense of "We're better than you because you believe this;" he makes that clear from the beginning. There is, on the other hand, a good grounding in what the Church has believed to be true for centuries, and precisely how the various false teachings deviate from that truth.
He also explores other religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. and shows how, sadly, we do not "all believe in the same God," or are all "going to the same place." I was not aware of the fundamentally different views of God and the afterlife that these other religions have, but now I am on a much firmer footing when I talk to my Muslim and Hindu friends at work.
My only complaint - and it is a small one - is that I would have liked the book to be longer; I wanted to keep reading. I have since listened to his series of pod-casts, and there is a wealth of detail in them that, if included in the book, would have made it very long indeed.
This book is an excellent buy for any Christian of any denomination. It will not only show you what was taught in the early church, but how and why many Christians have drifted, or have been led away from,that fundamental teaching.
I have reread the book and relistened to the podcasts because my wife has converted to Orthodoxy, and I was wrong about the podcasts and the book. The book has a wealth of detail that was not included in the podcasts, and it offers a much more complete picture of the other denominations Father Damick comments on. Consequently I have changed my rating from four to five stars.
This concise reference also serves as a guide for understanding the schism of Christendom and the subsequent splintering along doctrinal lines following the Reformation. There is probably a better reference out there concerning this topic, but I am at a loss to think of one.