The story is told about a number of frogs which were placed by scientists in a tub of water whose temperature was exactly the same as the pond from which they were taken. The scientists slowly increased the temperature and were soon astonished to see that, even though the water gradually became warmer, the frogs did not react. It was only when the temperatures were increased to a boiling point that the frogs reacted. It was too late. Before they knew it, they burned to death. Had they realized the slow increase in the water temperature, they would have reacted and thus spared their lives. The frogs grew accustomed to the slow rise in temperature and adapted. The change in water temperature occurred slowly but deliberately, and because of this process, the frogs failed to pay attention.
For us Orthodox Christians, the changes in the moral standards in our society have occurred so slowly that they have become imperceptible. We have adapted to the slow deterioration of moral life in society to the point where we have adapted to the moral decay in our midst and have taken it for granted. Sadly we live in a world of moral and ethical relativism, hedonism and selfishness; in a world in desperate need of spiritual renewal. Sunday is no longer the day that we worship Almighty God and then sit at our dinner table to enjoy fellowship. Rarely do we read the Bible. Prayers are no longer offered in our schools. The Ten Commandments have been removed from our civil courts. Lifestyles previously kept in the closet are now championed as reputable and worthy of emulation. The other day while driving to a liturgical service, a fellow priest pointed to a decal placed prominently on the bumper of the car in front of us. It was the symbol of a new atheist group in America.
The admonition of Saint Paul addressed to the Ephesians should echo in our hearts, “no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” (Eph.4:17) We need to re evaluate our lives and ask ourselves how the way we live differs from the way others live who have no faith. Do we differ as Orthodox Christians from our secular and oftentimes atheist neighbors? How do we live our Orthodox Faith?
I am concerned that we have become so accustomed to sin and immoral behavior, that we do not notice it. We must not accept the prevailing permissive immoral and unethical standards of modern day society which are clearly at odds with the tenets of Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.
Remember the frogs in the experiment, and be wary of their mistake of growing accustomed to an environment which eventually caused their demise.
+ Metropolitan Methodios of Boston