Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries About God


Theology “for the fun of it

By the Rev. Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlasios, fr. Hierotheos Vlachos



    Our age – an age of information and informatics – daily provides us with events that arouse surprise and emotions within us.  We encounter and we observe tragic events, depressing situations, inhuman acts, and we reach the point of saying:  “Look at the outcome of Man – God’s most wonderful creation!”

    Recently, we read in the newspapers a shocking piece of news that grieved us immensely – not only of the suicide of a young person, but also of the means of suicide he had chosen.

    “A shocked public opinion is pursuing the details that led to the tragic ending of the life of an 18-yr old student from the Athens suburb of Ambelokipi, who had obtained the information on how to commit suicide through his electronic correspondence over the Internet.  When the person who gave him the information regarding the potency of the fatal pesticide was informed of the dramatic outcome by the Officers of the Athens Security, he collapsed psychologically, claiming that he had given those instructions “for the fun of it!”.  (Newspaper “ELEFTHEROS TYPOS”, 21-1-08 issue)

    This somber event is indicative of people’s frivolity or inhumanity, when, for the sake of amusement or even for the sake of the crime itself, they thoughtlessly give advice that can lead a person – and especially a young one – to his demise, to annihilation, to his physical and eternal death; the reason being that suicide is the most tragic thing that can occur in a person’s life.

    However, when reading this article, it occurred to me that there are other people, who are equally frivolous and immature inasmuch as they too give theological counsel “for the fun of it” and thus become the cause for the spiritual death of their fellow man and of numerous young people.  I am not limiting this category to the self-proclaimed “spiritual” persons, who write, teach and counsel young people recklessly; I am also including those “theologians” who may come from within the Church, yet they too preach a theology “for the fun of it”.

    The Church’s theology is a word of counsel that pertains to life itself; it is revelatory and therapeutic and for this reason, salvific. It is not a counsel intended to justify or to cloak Man’s passions and weaknesses.  The theological word speaks of those passions and their therapy, and it essentially shows the way for one’s union with God.  We can observe this in all of the major Fathers of the Church, but also in the so-called “Philokalian” Fathers, although most of the Fathers of the Church are in essence Philokalian.

    Thus, whenever there are “theologians” in our time who speak and write contemplatively, psychologically, or use their own imagination and in essence are merely expressing a theology of passions, then such a theology will inevitably be a theology “for the fun of it”, which will lead people to spiritual suicide.  And what is worse, when the danger behind their actions is brought to their attention, they feel no remorse, nor do they collapse, the way that the person mentioned in the article above collapsed psychologically; instead, they continue to rejoice and to “theologically” justify their theology “of amusement”, which leads to spiritual suicide. 

   And an existential suicide such as that is an eternal crime.

Article published in English on: 26-1-2008.

Last update: 26-1-2008.