Metropolitan Hilarion: Have Salt Among Yourselves

February 27, 2011

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk delivered the following lecture at the protestant Dallas Theological Seminary on February 12, 2011. An excerpt:

Christian communities today should denounce the imposition of ‘civil society institutions.’ These are a form of ghetto into which secular civilization has driven them and into which they themselves have agreed to enter. Bearing witness to traditional Christian moral values will promote strong opposition to those who conspire to remove them permanently from social life. Following Christ may incur conflict with social forces whose aim is to corrupt and degrade. But if Christians are simply content to exist as honest tax-payers, indifferent to the growth of corruption in society and reliant on the separation of church and state, then they betray Christ and cease to be the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savour, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot (Mt. 5:13).

As never before, today’s society needs to be reminded of traditional, absolute moral values that are based on divine law. It is necessary to educate people, not through complex theological reasoning, but rather with very simple ‘conventional’ truths.  Here are some examples: marriage is the union of a man and a woman; every child has the right to have a father and a mother – not parent number one, two or three; human life is precious; it is inadmissible, at any time between conception and natural death, to terminate life artificially. These and other similar moral axioms, constantly being challenged by modern secular society, should be restored in public consciousness.

Our Saviour says, Have salt among yourselves (Mt. 9:50), which means, be that which does not exist in the world. And in our time it is this salt that constitutes the inner moral content of a unique Christian personality raised on experience and communion with God. It is this personality who serves as a moral guideline for those near us; it communicates to them the life in Christ, so that people will come to appreciate the fruit of this experience and its value for themselves. In these ways, moral values move from the category of individualism to that of collective personhood; they contribute to the common good and to the establishment of peace and harmony in society. Briefly put, sound moral qualities in society breed healthy inter-personal relations, stability, benevolence, joy and happiness to all.

Read the full lecture at:

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