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Author Topic: Christianity and Philosophy- Opposed or Cautioned Against?  (Read 2156 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: March 30, 2010, 11:56:31 PM »

So, a number of years ago I took a philosophy class and enjoyed it.  This was the period in my life where I had just left Islam.  The class textbook, I thought, was brilliant, eye-opening and simply put, amazing.  Soon though, I realized that it was causing me to doubt almost everything.  Fast forward a few years.  I wasn't yet an Orthodox Christian, but I considered myself a Christian and was reading Holy Scripture devoutly.  In Colossians 2:8, we read that St. Paul warns us,

 "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ."

What exactly is the Holy Apostle warning us against?  All philosophy?  I don't know about all philosophies, but many can and do lead to emptiness and ruin for souls. 

On the other hand, some of our Saints incorporated, some might say 'sanctified', some philosophies and readily employed them in their arsenal against heresies. 

What are we to make of this?
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 12:09:33 AM »

I've seen Oneness Pentecostals use that verse to argue against the Holy Trinity, as they see it as an advanced philosophical proposition rather than a simple truth of the Holy Scriptures. In many ways I can sympathize, but ultimately I wouldn't consider the concept overly philosophical.
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 12:38:22 AM »

What meaning did the Holy Apostle have when he warned us about it, though?
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 01:18:12 AM »

What meaning did the Holy Apostle have when he warned us about it, though?

Watch out for things of human origin rather than Divine origin? Read: human tradition vs. divine tradition. That would seem like a bit of a false dichotomy anyway, as we believe in a synthesis of the two; a synergy or cooperation.
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 01:59:19 AM »

A great question. Everyone has a philosophy (or worldview), whether they realize it or not. Most people embrace philosophies that are opposed to the Gospel. It seems to me that St. Paul is cautioning us to steer clear of philosophies based on human tradition (as opposed to Holy Tradition), philosophies based on deceit (as opposed to love and truth), and philosophies according to the elemental spirits of the universe (demonic) rather than according to Christ.

Elsewhere, St. Paul writes: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ."  [II Corinthians 10:5]

I think the study and pursuit of philosophy has led more people away from Christ than to Christ. As St. Paul points out, the philosophies of this world are very deceptive, containing just enough truth to divert men from the Truth. If one has not fully entered into the Church of Christ, they will not possess the spiritual discernment necessary to distinguish spiritual truth from spiritual error. And even those of us within the Church must diligently guard against pride and presumption, against becoming "wise in our own eyes" and "leaning on our own understanding."

Every philosophy must be measured against the truth of Christ and the Teachings and Tradition of the Church. The Scholastics sifted the Holy Scriptures through philosophical logic, but we must submit all philosophical logic before the eternal truths of Christ, His Scriptures, and His Church. Protestants devised "systematic theologies" in order to accommodate biblical truth to their mortal reasoning; but we must affirm Holy Mysteries even though they transcend the capabilities of our mortal intellect.

Philosophy itself is not evil, but rather what the particular philosophy is. But I would venture to say that the pursuit of philosophy is a distraction from that which we were originally created to pursue- that is, Christ.


Just my two cents for now.


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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 08:48:20 AM »

Thanks for the redirection from the other thread. Smiley I think it's a great subject,  but I'm not really in a position to offer much in the way of thoughts. I will only say two things. First, that while some Christians have been quite vocal against non-Christian philosophies (is Tertullian and his Athens/Jersualem question the most famous?), others have been quite vocal in their support of learning from non-Christian philosophies. And second, that there were those who I think fall in the middle, and I'd put Paul there. After all, whatever Paul might have said generally about worldly philosophies, the fact is that when it came time to make a point he didn't shy away from quoting specific pagan philosophers/writers (1 Cor. 15:33; Tit. 1:12).
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2010, 09:11:19 AM »

Philosophy is the love of Wisdom.  There is nothing wrong with this.  However, we must understand the Scriptures where they say "The wisdom of man is foolishness in the eyes of God".   I used to believe that the study of other religions and of the ancient philosophers would help me to better understand my own beliefs.  However, after starting to study the Fathers of the Church, I have found that there is so much Wisdom recorded in the Tradition of the Church, that one could spend a lifetime just studying what has been translated into English.  Never mind the volumes and volumes that have not.  My view now is that every hour that I spend studying non-Orthodox philosophy is time missed that I could be gaining the Wisdom of God as put down by His Saints.  Perhaps this is what the Apostle was trying to tell us.  For a heathen, or in my case, a heretic, the study of philosophy and dogma brought me to the Church.  Now that I am in the Church, the former tools are no longer needed.  The Priest that brought me into the ROCOR put it to me this way:

"When you were in the jungle looking for the path, your machete was a useful, if not indispensable tool.  However, once you have found the road that leads to salvation, the machete is no longer needed and other tools, such as a walking staff, may be of more use."

For me, the Philosophy of the Ancients and the writings of Lao Tsu, Plato, Luther and the like were my machete.  Now, I find that I am more in need of the staff of the Fathers and the writings of Scripture and the Church.  So, I do not believe that Philosophy is, in and of itself, wrong or evil.  However, if the pursuit of "the wisdom of man" is impeding your acquisition of the Wisdom of God, then it becomes and evil that should be avoided.  My vote goes to "Cautioned Against".
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2010, 10:15:28 AM »

St. Basil tells us to study the philosophers, as well as the secular poets and other literature, with the qualification that we shun anything contrary to the revealed truth.
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2010, 10:42:04 AM »

St. Basil tells us to study the philosophers, as well as the secular poets and other literature, with the qualification that we shun anything contrary to the revealed truth.

He certainly did.  But this brings up a question - how does one know the "revealed truth"?  Also, St. Basil lived 1700 years ago.  Since his time, we have had the Councils and 1700 years of more Orthodox writings than he had at his disposal.  Is his statement still valid today?

I am not countering what you are saying, but only putting forth the questions that I struggle with regarding this issue.  For what it is worth, I have read and DO occasionally read secular writings.  My question is this - is it for my edification or at my peril?  I find the secular writings tend to lead me into doubts about my Faith.  But this is countered by my belief that the Truth will prevail and weather these doubts.  To that extent, the secular writings could be seen as a trial, proof, or refining fire for my beliefs.  I truly question if this is true, or if I am "leading myself into temptation".  I really look forward to further discussion of this topic.
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2010, 11:01:10 AM »

I don't think being a Christian is opposed to being well-read, especially since this modern phenomenon of more and more people having a chance to be well-read. Even while reading the New Testament we are indirectly reading Hellenistic philosophy. Also, both the Apostles and the Fathers employ various modes of logic in order to communicate the truth. I think that with the proper disposition towards God, philosophy can exercise the mind and nourish the heart. "Whatever is true is ours" and all that.
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2010, 11:54:35 AM »

St. Basil tells us to study the philosophers, as well as the secular poets and other literature, with the qualification that we shun anything contrary to the revealed truth.
He certainly did.  But this brings up a question - how does one know the "revealed truth"?  Also, St. Basil lived 1700 years ago.  Since his time, we have had the Councils and 1700 years of more Orthodox writings than he had at his disposal.  Is his statement still valid today?

I am not countering what you are saying, but only putting forth the questions that I struggle with regarding this issue.  For what it is worth, I have read and DO occasionally read secular writings.  My question is this - is it for my edification or at my peril?  I find the secular writings tend to lead me into doubts about my Faith.  But this is countered by my belief that the Truth will prevail and weather these doubts.  To that extent, the secular writings could be seen as a trial, proof, or refining fire for my beliefs.  I truly question if this is true, or if I am "leading myself into temptation".  I really look forward to further discussion of this topic.

Holy Basil, reveal to us your meaning!
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2010, 03:57:04 PM »

St. Basil tells us to study the philosophers, as well as the secular poets and other literature, with the qualification that we shun anything contrary to the revealed truth.
He certainly did.  But this brings up a question - how does one know the "revealed truth"?  Also, St. Basil lived 1700 years ago.  Since his time, we have had the Councils and 1700 years of more Orthodox writings than he had at his disposal.  Is his statement still valid today?

I am not countering what you are saying, but only putting forth the questions that I struggle with regarding this issue.  For what it is worth, I have read and DO occasionally read secular writings.  My question is this - is it for my edification or at my peril?  I find the secular writings tend to lead me into doubts about my Faith.  But this is countered by my belief that the Truth will prevail and weather these doubts.  To that extent, the secular writings could be seen as a trial, proof, or refining fire for my beliefs.  I truly question if this is true, or if I am "leading myself into temptation".  I really look forward to further discussion of this topic.

Holy Basil, reveal to us your meaning!

Amen!
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 04:18:11 PM »

St. Basil tells us to study the philosophers, as well as the secular poets and other literature, with the qualification that we shun anything contrary to the revealed truth.

He certainly did.  But this brings up a question - how does one know the "revealed truth"?  Also, St. Basil lived 1700 years ago.  Since his time, we have had the Councils and 1700 years of more Orthodox writings than he had at his disposal.  Is his statement still valid today?

I am not countering what you are saying, but only putting forth the questions that I struggle with regarding this issue.  For what it is worth, I have read and DO occasionally read secular writings.  My question is this - is it for my edification or at my peril?  I find the secular writings tend to lead me into doubts about my Faith.  But this is countered by my belief that the Truth will prevail and weather these doubts.  To that extent, the secular writings could be seen as a trial, proof, or refining fire for my beliefs.  I truly question if this is true, or if I am "leading myself into temptation".  I really look forward to further discussion of this topic.

I think Christianity can constructively reinterpret/adapt the philosophies of the various cultures it encounters. The Word of God, the Logos, is a Greek philosophical concept redefined for Christian use. What is dangerous is when pagan/secularist philosophies reinterpret Christianity.
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 04:28:19 PM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 04:58:16 PM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.

Actually, at my Greek parish, the sunday school building has the names of Greek philosophers permanently affixed onto the walls all around the outside of the building. I disagree with it, but who knows, maybe people think, "Whoa, those Orthodox must be smart!" Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2010, 06:57:07 PM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.

Actually, at my Greek parish, the sunday school building has the names of Greek philosophers permanently affixed onto the walls all around the outside of the building. I disagree with it, but who knows, maybe people think, "Whoa, those Orthodox must be smart!" Cheesy

I have read once that the study of the ancient philosophers was not detrimental because God had not fully revealed Himself in the form of Jesus.  As such, men like Plato did not reject God, but were seeking to understand him better.  This is as opposed to the modern philosophers who have had 2000 years of revelation through the witness of the Church, which many (if not most) reject.  Thoughts on this idea?
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2010, 10:43:51 PM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.

Actually, at my Greek parish, the sunday school building has the names of Greek philosophers permanently affixed onto the walls all around the outside of the building. I disagree with it, but who knows, maybe people think, "Whoa, those Orthodox must be smart!" Cheesy

I have read once that the study of the ancient philosophers was not detrimental because God had not fully revealed Himself in the form of Jesus.  As such, men like Plato did not reject God, but were seeking to understand him better.  This is as opposed to the modern philosophers who have had 2000 years of revelation through the witness of the Church, which many (if not most) reject.  Thoughts on this idea?

I do agree that generally the modern philosophers are anti-Christian and are certainly not on par with Plato or Laozi in terms of a genuine search for truth. I can't imagine Christians deriving much benefit from reading Hume, Nietzsche, or Baudrillard. That said, I wouldn't rule out the study of modern philosophers per se. I personally derived much benefit from reading William Blake in my struggle with materialist thinking, even though he is deeply heretical in many ways. I think there is also much enrichment that can be gained by reading Dante or Milton, though perhaps not for everyone.

I think studying some of the philosophers, especially ancients, is worthwhile because it helps us better understand our faith, both by the contrasts and the similarities. It sharpens our minds for understanding the revealed Truth. It makes us better thinkers, better writers, better orators, but also can humble us when we sense the limitations of human reasoning. Of course there is 2000 years of Christian literature, but I don't think this ever negates the value of broad learning and finding truth wherever it turns up.
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2010, 10:53:40 PM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.

Actually, at my Greek parish, the sunday school building has the names of Greek philosophers permanently affixed onto the walls all around the outside of the building. I disagree with it, but who knows, maybe people think, "Whoa, those Orthodox must be smart!" Cheesy

I have read once that the study of the ancient philosophers was not detrimental because God had not fully revealed Himself in the form of Jesus.  As such, men like Plato did not reject God, but were seeking to understand him better.  This is as opposed to the modern philosophers who have had 2000 years of revelation through the witness of the Church, which many (if not most) reject.  Thoughts on this idea?

I cannot verify this, but I think some early Christians (possibly Justin Martyr) speculated that many of the pre-Christian philosophers/reigious figures, such as Plato, the Buddha, and Zoroaster, would be saved in the next world. This is just an ancient theologoumenon, but it shows the openness and universality of the Christian message in the eyes of our forefathers. It is true that although pagan philosophies and religionsdo not contain the One True Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, they nonetheless often contain great pearls of wisdom. My personal experience, though, is that the fullness of truly edifying doctrine can only be found in the Church of God. That is why I am Orthodox!

I agree though, that modern philosophy, unlike that of the ancients, is usually crass, detatched from reality, and unenlightening. It's just one guy's philosophical jargon against another's.
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2010, 11:35:53 PM »

I cannot verify this, but I think some early Christians (possibly Justin Martyr) speculated that many of the pre-Christian philosophers/reigious figures, such as Plato, the Buddha, and Zoroaster, would be saved in the next world.

St. Justin certainly did not know who the Buddha was. But anyway, the Buddha is already a Saint in our Church, known by the name St. Ioasaph.
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2010, 11:55:17 PM »

I cannot verify this, but I think some early Christians (possibly Justin Martyr) speculated that many of the pre-Christian philosophers/reigious figures, such as Plato, the Buddha, and Zoroaster, would be saved in the next world.

St. Justin certainly did not know who the Buddha was. But anyway, the Buddha is already a Saint in our Church, known by the name St. Ioasaph.

Actually, some Roman historian did mention the Buddha. News got around more than we think. I will look up St. Ioasaph.
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2010, 11:58:31 PM »

St. Justin certainly did not know who the Buddha was. But anyway, the Buddha is already a Saint in our Church, known by the name St. Ioasaph.

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2010, 12:04:53 AM »

Haha I should have known, I read part of Barlaam and Ioasaph when I was learning Greek in high school! I never made the connection!
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2010, 01:57:15 AM »

I know that Greek Orthodox are very big into studying the old philosophers of antiquity in the Greek parish schools.  I remember attending a Greek dance festival that was held in the gym of a Hellenic cultural center.  There were various banners which had quotes from Greek philosophers hanging on the walls.  It was quit obvious that, while being Christian, they non the less respected and revered their pre Christian past as having value.

This is what I have always liked about Greek Orthodoxy.  In becoming Christian, the Greeks did not disregard their entire past up until that point, but saw it as having a great value for future generations to learn from as a pre cursor to Christian truth.

Actually, at my Greek parish, the sunday school building has the names of Greek philosophers permanently affixed onto the walls all around the outside of the building. I disagree with it, but who knows, maybe people think, "Whoa, those Orthodox must be smart!" Cheesy

I have read once that the study of the ancient philosophers was not detrimental because God had not fully revealed Himself in the form of Jesus.  As such, men like Plato did not reject God, but were seeking to understand him better.  This is as opposed to the modern philosophers who have had 2000 years of revelation through the witness of the Church, which many (if not most) reject.  Thoughts on this idea?

I cannot verify this, but I think some early Christians (possibly Justin Martyr) speculated that many of the pre-Christian philosophers/reigious figures, such as Plato, the Buddha, and Zoroaster, would be saved in the next world. This is just an ancient theologoumenon,
This sounds like unsubstantiated nonsense.  If you cannot verify this then you shouldn't be repeating it.  Sorry for sounding harsh, but we need to be very careful about the things we speculate about.
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2010, 02:00:45 AM »

I cannot verify this, but I think some early Christians (possibly Justin Martyr) speculated that many of the pre-Christian philosophers/reigious figures, such as Plato, the Buddha, and Zoroaster, would be saved in the next world.

St. Justin certainly did not know who the Buddha was. But anyway, the Buddha is already a Saint in our Church, known by the name St. Ioasaph.

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2010, 02:19:07 AM »

St. Justin certainly did not know who the Buddha was. But anyway, the Buddha is already a Saint in our Church, known by the name St. Ioasaph.

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

Yeah, that seems wierd to me too. I'd be interested in learning more about how this came about (if it is indeed true.)


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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2010, 02:20:08 AM »

This sounds like unsubstantiated nonsense.  If you cannot verify this then you shouldn't be repeating it.  Sorry for sounding harsh, but we need to be very careful about the things we speculate about.

"...those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious." (Ch. 46)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2010, 02:54:20 AM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2010, 02:59:01 AM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2010, 03:04:23 AM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

No need to shout, old chap. Bad form!

I suppose canonizing people that don't exist is better than canonizing the Buddha.
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2010, 03:07:21 AM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

No need to shout, old chap. bad form!

I agree completely, that's why I was simply highlighting.  ALL CAPS is indicative of SHOUTING.  Smiley 
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2010, 03:53:05 AM »

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« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2010, 06:59:40 PM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

No need to shout, old chap. bad form!

I agree completely, that's why I was simply highlighting.  ALL CAPS is indicative of SHOUTING.  Smiley 

How insulting to this great Saint who prays for us.
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« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2010, 07:58:29 PM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

No need to shout, old chap. bad form!

I agree completely, that's why I was simply highlighting.  ALL CAPS is indicative of SHOUTING.  Smiley  

How insulting to this great Saint who prays for us.

I'm not trying to insult anyone, I just don't believe Siddhartha Gautama is a Saint in our Church.  Can anyone prove that Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a. The Buddha) is saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church?  The Orthodox Wiki article is anything but conclusive.
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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2010, 10:19:01 PM »

How insulting to this great Saint who prays for us.

Your penchant to incorporate anything connected with Far-Eastern culture into Eastern Orthodoxy based on your ethnicity is all fine and good when it is appropriate, but in this instance it is entirely inappropriate.

Based on the hagiography and the record of the Holy Church of Christ, you should ask for the prayers of St. Ioasaph as he is spoken of, not as what you would like him to be. Could you please show me the authoritative Church source which recognizes Siddhartha Gautama, as recorded by the various Buddhist sects, as a Christian saint?

Christ hadn't even come yet when the historical "Buddha" walked the earth. I could see perhaps you trying to make some convoluted argument that he is a pre-Christian saint like the great Holy Prophets of the Old Testament, or something like what Hieromonk Damascene argues about Lao Tsu (which most secular scholars agree is not even an historical person). Even though I would argue with such a statement for a great many reasons, it would still be far more tenable a position than the blasphemous syncretism you're pushing for here. On a related note, I seem to recall you asking at some point in another thread about placing a Buddha statue in your icon corner. I hope that you spoke with your priest about this...

The only thing that is appropriate to do is to read the hagiography as it has been preserved in the Church, and pray to that Holy Saint of Christ. It seems to me that you want Eastern Orthodoxy to be something that it simply is not. We have no association with a Buddhist patrimony, nor do we need one to be hip and cool. Buddhism is fine as far as it goes, it just doesn't go far enough. As much as you might want Eastern Orthodoxy to have some deep legitimate cultural roots in the Far-East, the only Christian Church with that connection from antiquity is the Assyrian Church of the East (the Nestorians). If you move into more modern history, then a legitimate connection belongs to the Roman Catholics in especially the Philippines and early Japan, nowadays in Korea. Also I believe the Presbyterians have a strong presence in Korea. At any rate, all of these legitimate connections to Christianity in the Far-East have little to nothing to do with our Church. Sure Japan has an autonomous Orthodox Church, but it represents such a small portion of the population one can hardly consider it a substantial or historically viable presence.

At any rate, Siddhartha Gautama is not a Christian Saint, and his teachings are not compatible with the Supreme Sophia of the fully Incarnate Logos; the Master of the Cosmos: Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2010, 10:34:59 PM »

Elements of the story of Joasaph bear similarity with teachings of the Buddha. Perhaps the story of St. Joasaph was in part based on the life of the Buddha. It is a very dubious leap in logic to thence conclude that the Buddha is an Orthodox saint. The St. Joasaph that the Church venerates is the one whose life is described in the hagiography by St. John Damascene, a Christian whose teaching is incompatible with the Buddha-Dharma.
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« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2010, 04:45:13 AM »

How insulting to this great Saint who prays for us.

Your penchant to incorporate anything connected with Far-Eastern culture into Eastern Orthodoxy based on your ethnicity is all fine and good when it is appropriate, but in this instance it is entirely inappropriate.

Based on the hagiography and the record of the Holy Church of Christ, you should ask for the prayers of St. Ioasaph as he is spoken of, not as what you would like him to be. Could you please show me the authoritative Church source which recognizes Siddhartha Gautama, as recorded by the various Buddhist sects, as a Christian saint?

Christ hadn't even come yet when the historical "Buddha" walked the earth. I could see perhaps you trying to make some convoluted argument that he is a pre-Christian saint like the great Holy Prophets of the Old Testament, or something like what Hieromonk Damascene argues about Lao Tsu (which most secular scholars agree is not even an historical person). Even though I would argue with such a statement for a great many reasons, it would still be far more tenable a position than the blasphemous syncretism you're pushing for here. On a related note, I seem to recall you asking at some point in another thread about placing a Buddha statue in your icon corner. I hope that you spoke with your priest about this...

The only thing that is appropriate to do is to read the hagiography as it has been preserved in the Church, and pray to that Holy Saint of Christ. It seems to me that you want Eastern Orthodoxy to be something that it simply is not. We have no association with a Buddhist patrimony, nor do we need one to be hip and cool. Buddhism is fine as far as it goes, it just doesn't go far enough. As much as you might want Eastern Orthodoxy to have some deep legitimate cultural roots in the Far-East, the only Christian Church with that connection from antiquity is the Assyrian Church of the East (the Nestorians). If you move into more modern history, then a legitimate connection belongs to the Roman Catholics in especially the Philippines and early Japan, nowadays in Korea. Also I believe the Presbyterians have a strong presence in Korea. At any rate, all of these legitimate connections to Christianity in the Far-East have little to nothing to do with our Church. Sure Japan has an autonomous Orthodox Church, but it represents such a small portion of the population one can hardly consider it a substantial or historically viable presence.

At any rate, Siddhartha Gautama is not a Christian Saint, and his teachings are not compatible with the Supreme Sophia of the fully Incarnate Logos; the Master of the Cosmos: Jesus Christ.
Christ is Risen. A few things:

1) I am not, and have never been a Buddhist. Nor do I think that Buddhism and Christianity are compatible. I am a communing member of good standing in the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

2) When have I ever said that Buddhist doctrines and Christian doctrines are compatible? My position is that the Buddha was like one of the righteous pagans. I'm not sure how convoluted my arguments are.

3) Though it is none of your business what I talk about with my priest, he is a holy man, and I have regularly discussed these issues with him. My opinions are based on my interaction with my priest, what I have heard from Fr. Thomas Hopko, what has been said personally to me by a certain abbot of an OCA monastery in California, and what I have read from Fr. Damascene.

4) Did you become a catechumen to be an expert on Orthodoxy and judge people?

5) What is it about my "ethnicity" exactly that makes me do such foolish things? Sometimes, if we don't watch what we say, we can appear racist even if we don't mean to be.

But forgive me, a sinner, if I have caused you to stumble. It probably was not appropriate to state a personal opinion unqualified on a public Orthodox forum.
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« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2010, 04:46:38 AM »

 x
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« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2010, 06:06:29 AM »

That's quite a leap, to tie a Christianized Buddha to the real man, because in doing so you seem to be endorsing his teachings as Orthodox, which they of course are not.

St. Joasaph is more legendary than real.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Josaphat

The Buddha is not a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy.  

"Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized  version of the story of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.  In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

No need to shout, old chap. bad form!

I agree completely, that's why I was simply highlighting.  ALL CAPS is indicative of SHOUTING.  Smiley  

How insulting to this great Saint who prays for us.

I'm not trying to insult anyone, I just don't believe Siddhartha Gautama is a Saint in our Church.  Can anyone prove that Siddhartha Gautama (a.k.a. The Buddha) is saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church?  The Orthodox Wiki article is anything but conclusive.

I am completely neutral here. All I want to say is that I am shocked. I am utterly shocked that the Buddha, the Prophet of a non-Christian Religion founded before Christ, could actually be a Christian Saint. If there is a chance for Buddha to be canonized, why not Plato? Why not Heraclitus? Why not Aristotle? I mean Aristotle's book Magna Moralia is really great! So Christian-like!

So why not them? (I am not asking an actual question here  Smiley) I mean, if Orthodoxy canonized Buddha, the it would be OK to canonize other pre-Christian, non-Jewish and non-Jewish related people.
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« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2010, 10:03:12 AM »

It is a very dubious leap in logic to thence conclude that the Buddha is an Orthodox saint.

Indeed.  Especially dubious since, by all accounts, the theory that the hagiography is really based on the life of the Buddha is coming from Buddhists.  I would call that, at the very least, a self-interested theory, and at worst an act of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting.
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« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2010, 03:02:01 PM »

Forgive me. This is only a private theory (though i know i'm not alone). By no means should I have expected it not to be controversial. It's better if we pretend I never mentioned it.
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2010, 03:07:11 PM »

It is a very dubious leap in logic to thence conclude that the Buddha is an Orthodox saint.

... and at worst an act of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting.


 Very sad to see that it's working.   Sad
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« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2010, 08:16:10 PM »

On the subject of pagan philosophers and their place in Orthodoxy, the blog Logismoi (by Aaron Taylor) has a whole bunch of fascinating entries. Here's one on Plato: http://logismoitouaaron.blogspot.com/2010/02/plato-redeemed-in-poetry-prose.html
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« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2010, 02:22:42 PM »

It is a very dubious leap in logic to thence conclude that the Buddha is an Orthodox saint.

Indeed.  Especially dubious since, by all accounts, the theory that the hagiography is really based on the life of the Buddha is coming from Buddhists.  I would call that, at the very least, a self-interested theory, and at worst an act of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting.


First time I ever heard this theory was from Fr. Thomas Hopko. My priest confirmed it.
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