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Famous Russian Theologian: Don't Even Think You Can Get Away With Smoking

A few days ago, the Russian President personally awarded him with the Order of Friendship, an illustrious metal that rewards, among other things, active conservation, development and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage of Russia

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Professor Osipov is undoubtedly one of Russia's foremost Christian theologians and has been already for many decades. 

A few days ago, the Russian President personally awarded him with the Order of Friendship, an illustrious metal that rewards, among other things, active conservation, development and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage of Russia.

But although he is indeed a most respectable figure, his appeal depends more on how amusing his lectures are, replete with politically incorrect responses and full of dry, sarcastic humour.

Here he tackles (indeed, tackles perfectly describes his always energetic, exacting rebuttals) the following question: "Why is the Church opposed to smoking when it does not have a negative effect on the human character (unlike drinking or drug use)?"

Professor Osipov gives an excellent response that shows the deep wisdom of Orthodox theology.

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He immediately describes an example of a student who came up to him at the beginning of class to tell him that he couldn't come to class because he has a severe toothache.

So the professor jokingly replied, "But it's not you that is in pain, just your tooth." 

Obviously, his point is that it is ridiculous to say that the tooth can be in pain or danger, without affecting the entire person: their body, their mood, their character and emotions. Every part of the human being feels and processes the pain, not just the tooth.

The Orthodox view of human ontology is holistic. We would find it ridiculous to say something can harm the body but not the soul. Likewise, the reverse can be applied:  nothing can harm the soul without ultimately harming the body. 

In Orthodox theology, man is the only creature which possesses a body, soul, and spirit. Angels, for example. have only spirits and souls, whereas animals have only souls and bodies, and plants have only bodies. Humans possess all three, and they must work together in harmony.

"The soul of man is the link between the body and spirit, being, as it were, a bridge from the body to the spirit." (The Law of God The Sacred History of the OT, 4. The Life of the First People in Paradise, 2. Soul)

Therefore one can say that all three elements of the human being must be honoured because we bare upon ourselves the image and likeness of God.

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