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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

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05 October 2007



Those last few words strike a chord. I came across Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues yesterday and read his account of how he very systematically tried to be good. He says that neither his virtues nor his approach is dependent on a faith, but I wondered why anyone without a faith would actively try to be better than they are because, without God, isn't everything permitted? Better go and read the whole article now!


Ben, a brilliant man in his own right, wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue. Let's give him credit for trying. Making up your own rules is usually a recipe for failure.


God is the transendant highest being. God is the first cause and a self-unmoved mover (because beings seek divinity) otherwise there will be an infinite regress to causes of causes. God is mostly unaware of the world. God is not the author of everything because evil exists. God must be immaterial, unchanging, eternal, unity and simple.

That is all we can infer. The rest is Jewish tribal mythology.


Evil exists because God gives us the freedom to choose between good and evil. We often choose the latter. He is aware of and sees everything and try as we might we cannot hide from Him. Even when we go astray however, God still loves us and is willing to forgive our many sins.

The rest is human folly and arrogance.


It is human folly and arrogance to believe we know the personal attributes of God i.e. love.



Visiting your blog over the last couple of days I have been transfixed by Solzhenitsyn's sepia
face, by that cloven forehead. I wanted to look at other images of him, and that took me to this site:

I enjoyed reading the account by the Swedish journalist of his role as postbox for Solzhenitsyn, such an everday mixture of the mundane and the inspirational, of prams and dissidence. Perhaps you have already seen it.



Thanks, I had not read it though I found it fascinating. Those of us who have grown up in relative freedom often take those freedoms for granted and it takes a guy like Solzhenitsyn to help us realize the price people have to pay to secure and maintain those freedoms. As the events in Burma and so many other places throughout the world make quite apparent, we still have a long way to go.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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