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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: acts420 on March 06, 2011, 01:18:29 PM

Title: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 06, 2011, 01:18:29 PM
Alex, 

Thank you for your thoughtful response.  However, I don't think Tobias is the "model for marriage" any more than Genesis 24 is (the story of Issac and Rebekka).  In Tobias, they decided to wait until 3 days after the ceremony to be with one another.  The fact that they did so does not mean everyone has to.  No orthodox priest would require that.  The priest would require that they wait until after the ceremony.  However, such a priest would not have any clear foundation in Scripture or the Father's for that requirement either (as far as I can tell).  I would say the tradition he follows is not truly Orthodox (in that it doesn't stem from teachings of the Apostles or of the Fathers).  It is a man-made invention, the same types of "traditions of men" the Pharisees piled onto the shoulders of their followers.

Also, unlike Tobias, Song of Solomon is a book almost entirely devoted to courtship and marriage.  If any book was intended to serve as a specific guide for couples considering how to go about courtship and marriage, I would say it is Song of Solomon. 

I'm left with these thoughts.  I can't find anywhere in Scripture that prohibits sex as a part of courtship.  I also can't find any writings of early church father's that do the same.  I understand it is traditionally forbidden in the orthodox church.  However, as I've explored orthodoxy I've discovered that it also has other traditions that are unnecessary restrictions on God's people that were not taught by Christ and the Apostles.  Take, for instance, the requirement for bishops to be celibate.  I think that is quite obviously a requirement that goes against the practice and doctrine of the Apostles. 

These sorts of "made up" traditional rules and doctrines are the exact type of thing that led me away from my Baptist heritage.  I came to orthodoxy because I wanted to find true Christianity.  However, I now suppose there is no such thing as a "perfect" church.  The church is made of human beings, and human beings are all flawed.  I suppose I will just try to be the best Christian I can be and live by what I believe to be the Truth. 

I know of no other church closer to the doctrines that I find in Scripture other than the orthodox church, so I suppose I will continue to attend orthodox churches.  Who knows... maybe some day she will correct herself.  From what I've read, many leaders have openly questioned the celibacy requirement for bishops.  Maybe someday they will also question the restrictions that they have imposed on courtship also.


Quote
The summary of it is that the Song of Solomon is a story about marriage, and the couple plainly and obviously explores sexuality with one another during courtship (chapter 1).  They don't have sex immediately.  However, they eventually do lie with one another before their wedding ceremony, immediately warning us to wait until the right time for this (2:6 and 2:7, wedding ceremony is end of chapter 3).  Therefore, I believe their unification (their 'one flesh', their 'marriage') occurred in private, before they announced it to the world.  I am not saying that sexual promiscuity is okay.  I am saying what Scripture says:  the process of becoming "one flesh" _is_ the formation of marriage.  

The process of becoming married is a process that runs its course over time, constrained by patience and the conscience, and it includes both personal, emotional, and sexual exploration before the ceremony.  At the right time, with a pure conscience, the couple unites with actual intercourse (laying with one another always indicates intercourse in Scripture).  They celebrate and announce this later with nuptial ceremony and celebration.  That is God's story about marriage, given to us in the Song, and my conscience leads me to believe this Scripture if the Church Fathers don't disagree with me.

I don't need to present you the teachings of the Church Fathers. Suffice it to show you that Scripture says it all. LOOK at the true model for marriage in the Bible for the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches: it's in the Book of Tobias, chapters 7 and 8.
In chapter 7, verses 13-17, Tobit is married to Sarah by the hands of her father Raguel. Only after that they were allowed to have sex - and to tell the truth, Tobit and Sarah didn't do this until the third day (due to reasons relating the plot of the book, and not to be applied to all cases). As you can see, sex before marriage was at least UNUSUAL if you like - and the model of pious marriage involves chastity before wedding.

In case you don't know, both RCism and EOxy include Tobias as an inspired Book... but maybe your Protestant way to look at Scriptures will make you deny the validity and authority of this book, in that case how can you aspire to be Orthodox?

In Christ,

Alex
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on March 06, 2011, 06:54:08 PM
Does this "premarital courtship sex" you believe in bond the pair for life, or can one still back out to sexually "try on" others? If the latter, what differentiates this "backing out" to have sex with other people from, say, adultery?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 12:37:42 AM
Nicholas,

One can still back out.  If one couldn't back out then sex would be marriage, not a part of dating or courtship.  I'm not advocating that people go around and sleep with a bunch of people.  Obviously that can lead to a whole host of problems, and I have read in Scripture that promiscuity is sinful.  In fact, I"m not even advocating that people do sleep with one another during courtship.  I think they should do as they feel led and comfortable.  I'm just saying that I can find no place in Scripture or the early church Fathers that says sex is sinful as a part of courtship.  One of the things that turns people off about the church is the restrictions it places on sex in what otherwise seems to be a healthy context (serious courtship).  Ironically enough, another thing that I've found turns people off is the restrictions on bishop's marriage.  And the more I look into them, the more I am convinced that both of these things are inventions of later generations that are now hurting the church.

I was taught over and over in the Baptist church I grew up in that sex before marriage is a sin.  Eventually I realized that a lot of things that church taught me were wrong (for instance, that all you have to do to "get to heaven" is believe in Jesus).  Once I started to realize how mislead my former pastors were, I questioned everything they had taught me.  I became very skeptical of people who claimed to be able to teach me what God wants me to believe.  I realized that I had to re-learn Christianity.  I did this by reading and re-reading Scripture, and assuming nothing other than what is taught in its pages (while also respecting what the early Father's said the Apostles taught).   One of the things that became obvious to me that I was taught incorrectly about was  the "sinfulness" of pre-marital sex. It just isn't taught in the Scriptures or the early Fathers as far as I can tell.

I was very excited when I discovered the orthodox church.  The way they worshiped, the things they believed about salvation... it all seemed very much in line with what I read in Scripture.  I wept the first time I experienced a liturgy because I felt like I had finally found the church I had been looking for for so long.  However, the more I explored it the more I have realized that the very things that turned me off of Protestantism, Non-Apostolic traditions and restrictions that have developed over time, have also infected Orthodoxy.

I suppose I just need to be myself, live what I believe, and enjoy orthodoxy for the wonders of Christianity that it *has* preserved instead of focusing on the things that disappoint me about it.

Does this "premarital courtship sex" you believe in bond the pair for life, or can one still back out to sexually "try on" others? If the latter, what differentiates this "backing out" to have sex with other people from, say, adultery?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: ialmisry on March 08, 2011, 12:55:11 AM
Nicholas,

One can still back out.  If one couldn't back out then sex would be marriage, not a part of dating or courtship.  I'm not advocating that people go around and sleep with a bunch of people.  Obviously that can lead to a whole host of problems, and I have read in Scripture that promiscuity is sinful.  In fact, I"m not even advocating that people do sleep with one another during courtship.  I think they should do as they feel led and comfortable.  I'm just saying that I can find no place in Scripture or the early church Fathers that says sex is sinful as a part of courtship. 

Look up the word "fornication."  You'll find it (or should).  Until you say "I do," you don't.

One of the things that turns people off about the church is the restrictions it places on sex in what otherwise seems to be a healthy context (serious courtship).

LOL. Define "serious."

Ironically enough, another thing that I've found turns people off is the restrictions on bishop's marriage.  And the more I look into them, the more I am convinced that both of these things are inventions of later generations that are now hurting the church.

The Church can bless your marriage. She can't bless your fornication.

I was taught over and over in the Baptist church I grew up in that sex before marriage is a sin.  Eventually I realized that a lot of things that church taught me were wrong (for instance, that all you have to do to "get to heaven" is believe in Jesus).
 
The prohibition on premarital sex wasn't one of those things.

Once I started to realize how mislead my former pastors were, I questioned everything they had taught me.  I became very skeptical of people who claimed to be able to teach me what God wants me to believe.  I realized that I had to re-learn Christianity.  I did this by reading and re-reading Scripture, and assuming nothing other than what is taught in its pages (while also respecting what the early Father's said the Apostles taught).   One of the things that became obvious to me that I was taught incorrectly about was  the "sinfulness" of pre-marital sex. It just isn't taught in the Scriptures or the early Fathers as far as I can tell.
Then you are not looking. You threw the baby out with the bathwater.

I was very excited when I discovered the orthodox church.  The way they worshiped, the things they believed about salvation... it all seemed very much in line with what I read in Scripture.  I wept the first time I experienced a liturgy because I felt like I had finally found the church I had been looking for for so long.  However, the more I explored it the more I have realized that the very things that turned me off of Protestantism, Non-Apostolic traditions and restrictions that have developed over time, have also infected Orthodoxy.

We haven't changed for scores of generations before you. We can't change for you.

I suppose I just need to be myself, live what I believe, and enjoy orthodoxy for the wonders of Christianity that it *has* preserved instead of focusing on the things that disappoint me about it.
Well, then there's still hope for you.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: LBK on March 08, 2011, 01:00:08 AM
acts420, you might wish to examine the text of the Orthodox wedding service. There are constant references to "preserving the marriage-bed undefiled", as well as some good advice in the Epistle, from Ephesians ch 5:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


The submission of the husband to the wife, and the wife to the husband, does not only refer to sex, but it does not exclude it either. A careful reading and reflection on this epistle, and in the marriage ceremonies in general, will soon put paid to the idea that pre-marital sex is somehow acceptable.

Here are links to the Orthodox betrothal and marriage services:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/betrotha.htm
http://www.anastasis.org.uk/crowning.htm
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: David Garner on March 08, 2011, 01:37:03 PM
Acts420, you seem to be saying we have not only a right (in the sense that it is not sinful), but in fact a duty to engage in premarital sex to ensure compatibility.  My question about this is rather simple:

If this is in fact Biblical teaching, how did this work in the days before contraception?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 08:41:07 PM
Look up the word "fornication."  You'll find it (or should).  Until you say "I do," you don't.
I don't see how that helps me at alll in my search for New Testament and early church father references to premarital sex as sinful.  The first recorded use of the noun in its modern meaning was in 1303 AD, with the verb fornicate first recorded around 250 years later.  See The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.   The word derives from Latin.  The word fornix means "an archway" or "vault" and it became a common euphemism for a brothel as prostitutes could be solicited in the vaults beneath Rome.  More directly, fornicatio means "done in the archway"; thus it originally referred to prostitution.

One of the things that turns people off about the church is the restrictions it places on sex in what otherwise seems to be a healthy context (serious courtship).
LOL. Define "serious."

From the LOL I take it you're not.

We haven't changed for scores of generations before you. We can't change for you.

That is easy to say.  However, the prohibition on marriage for bishops is a just one example of how cultural norms and other factors have in fact changed the original church from what it originally practiced.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 08:50:17 PM
Acts420, you seem to be saying we have not only a right (in the sense that it is not sinful), but in fact a duty to engage in premarital sex to ensure compatibility.  My question about this is rather simple:

If this is in fact Biblical teaching, how did this work in the days before contraception?

No, I don't think it is anyone has a duty to engage in premarital sex.  I do think they risk incompatibility if they don't.  On the other hand, they risk other things if they do.  Also, compatibility in that area may be more important to some couples and persons than to others.  I just think each person and couple has the right to make that choice on their own since neither premarital sex nor premarital abstinence is prohibited in Scripture or, from what I can tell so far, the early fathers who have passed it down to us.

Before contraceptive devices and chemicals were used, couples used coitus interruptus, also known as withdrawal.  Onan is recorded as doing it in the very first book of the Bible.  Of course, he was slain.  However, that was not because he used birth control as many Catholics have tried to get me to believe.  It was because he essentially lied to his father about giving a child to his dead brother's wife to preserve the family line and instead simply used her for sex.  Coitus interruptus, if used properly, can actually be a very effective method of birth control.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: LBK on March 08, 2011, 08:55:01 PM
acts420, have you had the chance to examine the links and texts I provided in my earlier post?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 08:58:43 PM
Thank you LBK,

I fail to see anywhere in the passages you cite that refers to premarital sex.  One could read it and come away with the idea the premarital sex is forbidden, but another could read it and see no reference whatsoever to premarital sex.  

Heb 13:4 is where the phrase "preserving the marriage-bed undefiled" comes from.  Many Christians have referred me to that passage in order to show that premarital sex is a sin.  However, they are simply assuming that premarital sex is something that "defiles" the marriage bed.  Once someone rejects the assumptions of his pastors (as I was forced to do in my Baptist heritage) and looks only to the Scriptures and the early fathers for interpretation, that passage takes on a vastly different meaning.  The only reference to someone ever "defiling the marriage bed" in Scripture is adultery (1 Chr 5:1, Gen 35:22), not premarital sex. Never once is "the bed defiled" referring premarital sex elsewhere. The belief that pre-wedding sex "defiles" marriage only comes to us from traditions that, as far as I can tell, have no origin in the original church.

acts420, you might wish to examine the text of the Orthodox wedding service. There are constant references to "preserving the marriage-bed undefiled", as well as some good advice in the Epistle, from Ephesians ch 5:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


The submission of the husband to the wife, and the wife to the husband, does not only refer to sex, but it does not exclude it either. A careful reading and reflection on this epistle, and in the marriage ceremonies in general, will soon put paid to the idea that pre-marital sex is somehow acceptable.

Here are links to the Orthodox betrothal and marriage services:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/betrotha.htm
http://www.anastasis.org.uk/crowning.htm
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on March 08, 2011, 09:02:23 PM
That is easy to say.  However, the prohibition on marriage for bishops is a just one example of how cultural norms and other factors have in fact changed the original church from what it originally practiced.

Episcopal celibacy is a purely disciplinary for the good order of the Church. This can be changed if called for by the Curch.

Celibacy outside of marriage is a doctrinal issue concerning marriage as an image of Christ and the Church. This is an eternal truth.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on March 08, 2011, 09:16:48 PM
The garbage about "sexual compatibility" reduces human persons to masturbation devices. Unlike love, which transcends physical feelings, a relationship made or broken by how enjoyable the sex is, is about as shallow as it gets. That is selfish lust, plain and simple.

And your argument from perceived silence is nonsense. We are not sola scripturists, nor do we set the Fathers against each other. We obey what the Church teaches, led by the Holy Spirit, and the Church teaches that your activity is sinful fornication. There is no point in arguing it. If you don't like it, then you don't have to become Orthodox. But don't bear false witness about the Church, because that's starting to approach the territory of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

And anyway, we can deduce that premarital sex was considered sinful because of how Joseph reacted to the Theotokos' pregnancy out-of-wedlock. If sex was no big deal, then neither would pregnancy, because the use of birth control was also forbidden. Your bizarre theory requires far more exegetical gymnastics than the Church's unwavering teaching.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on March 08, 2011, 09:17:05 PM
I do think they risk incompatibility if they don't.  On the other hand, they risk other things if they do.  Also, compatibility in that area may be more important to some couples and persons than to others.

What happens if two people are "compatible" when they marry, and then a number of years later find themselves to be less satisfied with each other?

Also, this POV promotes promiscuity and carries the implication that one should "try out" as many partners as possible to find the one they are most "compatible" with.

Also, if two people are never with anyone else but each other (that is if they follow Christ's teaching), then there will be no compatibility issues because there will be no outside experience to judge performance by.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 10:32:18 PM
What happens if two people are "compatible" when they marry, and then a number of years later find themselves to be less satisfied with each other?

What you've described is normal.  Couples typically experience ups and downs in terms of their relationship, in all aspects.  Still, such a couple would likely still be more satisfied with one another than a couple that ended up being extremely incompatible to begin with.  Or they may not be.  We could argue this all day. My only point is that unless original Christianity prohibited premarital sex, individuals should choose what is best for them here and not be pressured one way or the other by being told what is "sin" when it really isn't.

Also, this POV promotes promiscuity and carries the implication that one should "try out" as many partners as possible to find the one they are most "compatible" with.

I don't think it does.  Severe incompatibility problems can simply be ensured to not be at issue this way.

Also, if two people are never with anyone else but each other (that is if they follow Christ's teaching), then there will be no compatibility issues because there will be no outside experience to judge performance by.

That is not true.  That is like saying two animals will definitely get along well if neither of them have been in the company of another.  A lion and a sheep may get a long, but on the other hand you might end up with a mess. 

Or that is like saying if two people never talked to anyone else, they will have no compatibility issues with the first person they talk to.  That just is not necessarily the case.  Some people get along very well, find similar things interesting, have similar senses of humor, etc., etc. and some people just plain don't.  It is just a fact of human relationship.

The fact is, people have sexual likes, dislikes, and issues just like they have with anything else.  For instance, different people have different sex drives... sometimes extremely different.  Someone with an extremely high sex drive will probably wish he knew his or her partner was going to want sex once a year right off the bat.  Sure, the average is more typical... but both types of people on the extremes exist and could end up married.  Sure, marriage is about sacrificing for the other's wants.  But no one wants to sleep with someone who they know honestly just doesn't want to have sex.  Well... I take that back, some people do enjoy that.  But most don't.  The point is, argh... most of the time waiting for after marriage works out fine.  However, there are instances in which it presents major problems for the couple that could've easily been avoided (and that would've naturally been avoided had the couple not been taught a made-up tradition about the evil of sex in courtship that, as far as I can tell, has no origin in the early church). 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 10:36:05 PM
That is easy to say.  However, the prohibition on marriage for bishops is a just one example of how cultural norms and other factors have in fact changed the original church from what it originally practiced.

Episcopal celibacy is a purely disciplinary for the good order of the Church. This can be changed if called for by the Curch.

Celibacy outside of marriage is a doctrinal issue concerning marriage as an image of Christ and the Church. This is an eternal truth.

I disagree.  I think episcopal celibacy was instituted in error, and it remains in error.  I think it very much is a doctrinal issue that reflects extremely poorly on marriage, on Christ, and on the Church also. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on March 08, 2011, 10:41:00 PM
What happens if two people are "compatible" when they marry, and then a number of years later find themselves to be less satisfied with each other?

What you've described is normal.  Couples typically experience ups and downs in terms of their relationship, in all aspects.  Still, such a couple would likely still be more satisfied with one another than a couple that ended up being extremely incompatible to begin with.  Or they may not be.  We could argue this all day. My only point is that unless original Christianity prohibited premarital sex, individuals should choose what is best for them here and not be pressured one way or the other by being told what is "sin" when it really isn't.

Also, this POV promotes promiscuity and carries the implication that one should "try out" as many partners as possible to find the one they are most "compatible" with.

I don't think it does.  Severe incompatibility problems can simply be ensured to not be at issue this way.

Also, if two people are never with anyone else but each other (that is if they follow Christ's teaching), then there will be no compatibility issues because there will be no outside experience to judge performance by.

That is not true.  That is like saying two animals will definitely get along well if neither of them have been in the company of another.  A lion and a sheep may get a long, but on the other hand you might end up with a mess. 

Or that is like saying if two people never talked to anyone else, they will have no compatibility issues with the first person they talk to.  That just is not necessarily the case.  Some people get along very well, find similar things interesting, have similar senses of humor, etc., etc. and some people just plain don't.  It is just a fact of human relationship.

The fact is, people have sexual likes, dislikes, and issues just like they have with anything else.  For instance, different people have different sex drives... sometimes extremely different.  Someone with an extremely high sex drive will probably wish he knew his or her partner was going to want sex once a year right off the bat.  Sure, the average is more typical... but both types of people on the extremes exist and could end up married.  Sure, marriage is about sacrificing for the other's wants.  But no one wants to sleep with someone who they know honestly just doesn't want to have sex.  Well... I take that back, some people do enjoy that.  But most don't.  The point is, argh... most of the time waiting for after marriage works out fine.  However, there are instances in which it presents major problems for the couple that could've easily been avoided (and that would've naturally been avoided had the couple not been taught a made-up tradition about the evil of sex in courtship that, as far as I can tell, has no origin in the early church). 

Can you account for how this "made up tradition" made its way into every branch of Christianity that can trace itself back to the apostles? The idea of allowing sex outside of marriage is even relativiely new for Protestants. You keep claiming that someone just out of nowhere inserted this belief into Christianity, when the truth is that it was always there, has always been believed, and up until extremely recently, the allowance of sex outside of marriage was never believed by anyone anywhere.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 10:57:09 PM
The garbage about "sexual compatibility" reduces human persons to masturbation devices. Unlike love, which transcends physical feelings, a relationship made or broken by how enjoyable the sex is, is about as shallow as it gets. That is selfish lust, plain and simple.

Have I called your beliefs garbage?  No.  I've tried to be civil.  I'll say this though... to even separate sex from marital love is ridiculous.  Even Paul says that sexual desire is a hugely important component of marriage and reason for marriage.  No, it isn't the only component of marriage nor the only reason to get married.  Nonetheless, it is very important.  To call the belief that sexual compatibility is important "garbage" and "selfish" is just plain ignorance of reality.  No one in their right mind, viewing the way human sexual relationships work, would come to your conclusion unless they were raised in an environment where people of authority told them they had to work that way or else God would punish the parties involved.

And your argument from perceived silence is nonsense. We are not sola scripturists, nor do we set the Fathers against each other. We obey what the Church teaches, led by the Holy Spirit, and the Church teaches that your activity is sinful fornication. There is no point in arguing it. If you don't like it, then you don't have to become Orthodox. But don't bear false witness about the Church, because that's starting to approach the territory of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

My argument from silence is not at all nonsense.  It is perfectly reasonable to expect that if premarital sex were a sin it would say so somewhere in the Bible or in the early father's writings.  Less common sexual sins like homosexuality, adultery, or even prostitution are plainly condemned.  The most common sexual "sin" in all of history (premarital sex) is never once called sinful.  If I were you, I'd listen to you're own advice.  "Don't bear false witness about the Church, because that's starting to approach the territory of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit."

And anyway, we can deduce that premarital sex was considered sinful because of how Joseph reacted to the Theotokos' pregnancy out-of-wedlock. If sex was no big deal, then neither would pregnancy, because the use of birth control was also forbidden. Your bizarre theory requires far more exegetical gymnastics than the Church's unwavering teaching.

No, that doesn't let us deduce that premarital sex is sinful (or even that it was considered sinful).  Joseph and the Theotokos had not slept with one another.  Some couples abstain even when they are allowed to one another do so out of personal choice, not out of a desire to avoid sin.  Her pregnancy was a huge deal to Joseph because he knew it wasn't his. 

Exegetical gymnastics?  I think you need to look in the mirror.  Josheph's and the Theotokos' story says nothing about sinfulness of premarital sex.  You shouldn't be having to do these exegetical gymnastics.  Again, many sexual sins are plainly described as such in Scripture, whether homosexuality, prostitution, adultery, etc.  Premarital sex would be also, if it were sinful.

My whole point is that I don't see "unwavering teaching" in the Church on this topic through time.  Certainly it is unwavering *now*.  But these ideas you're telling me are unwavering were quite simply not taught in the New Testament or early church, as far as the evidence shows.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 08, 2011, 11:03:05 PM
Can you account for how this "made up tradition" made its way into every branch of Christianity that can trace itself back to the apostles? The idea of allowing sex outside of marriage is even relativiely new for Protestants. You keep claiming that someone just out of nowhere inserted this belief into Christianity, when the truth is that it was always there, has always been believed, and up until extremely recently, the allowance of sex outside of marriage was never believed by anyone anywhere.

If it was always there, wouldn't it be in Scripture or the early Fathers?  Other plainly obvious sexual sins are still very clearly called such.  Premarital sex is never once clearly called sin.  I don't think it "was always there" as sin.

As far as your question, I suppose this made up tradition must have slipped into common Christian thinking and belief sometime after the Apostles and early Fathers and before the great split around 1000 A.D.   
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Anba Bola on March 08, 2011, 11:53:59 PM
My dear brother acts420,

What then can we make of the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife:

"So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.
But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside"

Also St. Ambrose says:
"No one is permitted to know a woman other than his wife. The marital right is given you for this reason: lest you fall into the snare and sin with a strange woman. ‘If you are bound to a wife do not seek a divorce’; for you are not permitted, while your wife lives, to marry another"
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on March 09, 2011, 12:37:25 AM
Can you account for how this "made up tradition" made its way into every branch of Christianity that can trace itself back to the apostles? The idea of allowing sex outside of marriage is even relativiely new for Protestants. You keep claiming that someone just out of nowhere inserted this belief into Christianity, when the truth is that it was always there, has always been believed, and up until extremely recently, the allowance of sex outside of marriage was never believed by anyone anywhere.

If it was always there, wouldn't it be in Scripture or the early Fathers?  Other plainly obvious sexual sins are still very clearly called such.  Premarital sex is never once clearly called sin.  I don't think it "was always there" as sin.

As far as your question, I suppose this made up tradition must have slipped into common Christian thinking and belief sometime after the Apostles and early Fathers and before the great split around 1000 A.D.   

It would have had to have been much earlier than that. The Oriental Orthodox who have been seperated from us since 451 hold the same view, and I'm not sure but I believe the ACE who has been seperated from us since 381 hold the same view too.

It is in the early fathers.

Quote from: St_Justin_Martyr
But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children; or whether we decline marriage, we live continently. And that you may understand that promiscuous intercourse is not one of our mysteries,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.xxix.html

Quote from: St_Irenaeus
[The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”, etc. Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law.” As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these ye indeed have been; but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”. He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xii.html

It is in Scripture.

1Cor 6:15-20
Quote
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Can you find anything in the NT or early fathers that actively supports your claim?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: David Garner on March 09, 2011, 11:07:15 AM
Acts420, you seem to be saying we have not only a right (in the sense that it is not sinful), but in fact a duty to engage in premarital sex to ensure compatibility.  My question about this is rather simple:

If this is in fact Biblical teaching, how did this work in the days before contraception?

No, I don't think it is anyone has a duty to engage in premarital sex.  I do think they risk incompatibility if they don't.  On the other hand, they risk other things if they do.  Also, compatibility in that area may be more important to some couples and persons than to others.  I just think each person and couple has the right to make that choice on their own since neither premarital sex nor premarital abstinence is prohibited in Scripture or, from what I can tell so far, the early fathers who have passed it down to us.

Before contraceptive devices and chemicals were used, couples used coitus interruptus, also known as withdrawal.  Onan is recorded as doing it in the very first book of the Bible.  Of course, he was slain.  However, that was not because he used birth control as many Catholics have tried to get me to believe.  It was because he essentially lied to his father about giving a child to his dead brother's wife to preserve the family line and instead simply used her for sex.  Coitus interruptus, if used properly, can actually be a very effective method of birth control.

So what if it is ineffective, and what if you determine her to be incompatible sexually?

Do you still marry the one you have impregnated, or do you continue on in your search for compatibility?

Same question applies to typical birth control, by the way -- I asked about pre-contraception because coitus interruptus is less reliable than typical forms of birth control.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: David Garner on March 09, 2011, 11:23:44 AM
The fact is, people have sexual likes, dislikes, and issues just like they have with anything else.  For instance, different people have different sex drives... sometimes extremely different.  Someone with an extremely high sex drive will probably wish he knew his or her partner was going to want sex once a year right off the bat.  Sure, the average is more typical... but both types of people on the extremes exist and could end up married.  Sure, marriage is about sacrificing for the other's wants.  But no one wants to sleep with someone who they know honestly just doesn't want to have sex.  Well... I take that back, some people do enjoy that.  But most don't.  The point is, argh... most of the time waiting for after marriage works out fine.  However, there are instances in which it presents major problems for the couple that could've easily been avoided (and that would've naturally been avoided had the couple not been taught a made-up tradition about the evil of sex in courtship that, as far as I can tell, has no origin in the early church). 

I was trying to make a point with my questions earlier, but this really just gets to the heart of it.  As bogdan said, you are reducing human beings to masturbation tools.  Read what you wrote above -- what is the driving factor?  What you want.  What you need.  What your drives and desires are.  Sure, you throw in the phrase "sure, marriage is about sacrificing for the other's wants," and then IMMEDIATELY comes the "but....."

No, rather, marriage IS sacrificing for the other's wants.  That means if your wife doesn't want to engage in your desires and "drives," you don't force yourself on her and you don't decide the two of you are incompatible.  You rather deny yourself so that she may be happy, and she will do the same for you in proper time.  That's what marriage is -- MUTUAL care and self-sacrifice.

The real issue here is two-fold, but it really boils down to one problem -- you are viewing both issues in a self-centered fashion. 

First, you are reading the sexual relationship in marriage through your own eyes.  What makes a couple compatible, to you, is whether the other person wants exactly what you want when you want it.  That's not a healthy relationship at all.  In a marriage, couples work through these issues by BOTH conceding.  In love.  And in that case, the one is not engaging in relations with someone who "doesn't want to," but is in fact engaging in relations with someone who wants to because she is giving of herself rather than feeding her own selfish desires.  Likewise, you refrain from relations when she doesn't want to not because you are being "denied," but because you deny yourself for the good of your spouse.

Second, you keep speaking of the "original Church," but you are ignoring the fact that the original Church is here speaking to you.  We haven't gone anywhere.  You claim the Church's teachings on fornication are an innovation, but your facts are wrong, as has been pointed out to you, and further your assumption that the Church surely would have taught about this at length if it were an issue is wrong.  It is entirely possible that, like ordination of women or infant baptism or a host of other things, it wasn't an issue because, well, it wasn't an issue.  Everyone agreed on it.  You are here in the 21st century basically second-guessing over a thousand years (even by your reckoning) of Church teaching by claiming you are closer to the New Testament Apostolic Church than the numerous Church Fathers who have spoken on the topic.  The real question, if you are correct, is why didn't the Church go into a tizzy when the new teaching (as you claim) was "introduced" into the Church?  Why didn't the bishops speak against it?  Why didn't the Fathers write against it?  Where are your texts from the Fathers denouncing this innovation?

At the end of the day, the problem you are having is you want to be the authority, both on when sexual relations should occur in a marriage and on whether sex before marriage is prohibited to the Church.  The only way around this problem is to submit to the Church, and love your wife as Christ loved the Church.  Neither of those solutions starts with you expressing your wants or desires or making yourself the authority over what is right and wrong.  At the end of the day, the problem you have is you want to be at the center of both issues.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 09, 2011, 11:24:14 AM
Although the Old Testament lacks our modern terminology for sex, and tends to put a lot of time in on topics that we now take for granted (for example, even the most liberal of Christian tendencies still does not acknowledge bestiality), one really cannot say that the OT leaves the door open to premarital sex.

Here’s an example:

"If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not put her away all his days.” (Deuteronomy 22: 28-29)

No, God does not directly say ‘premarital sex,’ but commands that premarital sex must result in a marriage, and one that cannot be divorced from!  Had she been ‘betrothed,’ the punishment would have been death for him and for her, except in the case of rape.

To understand the Divine attitude towards sexual contact with more than one partner, we must look to God’s commands regarding the Levites:

“They (the Levitical priests) shall not marry a harlot or a woman who has been defiled; neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God.  You shall consecrate him, for he offers the bread of your God; he shall be holy to you; for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.  And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.

“And he shall take a wife in her virginity.  A widow, or one divorced, or a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, these he shall not marry; but he shall take to wife a virgin of his own people, that he may not profane his children among his people; for I am the LORD who sanctify him." (Leviticus 21: 7-15)


Here, we are looking for a definition of the term ‘defiled’ which is not otherwise described.  It is juxtaposed to ‘virgin’ and lumped in with divorcees, widows and harlots.  Since only a virgin is a virgin, then a defiled woman is a ‘not-virgin,’ which thus assumes that she has had sex, unless you are willing to tamper with the definition of virginity, in which case we simply can’t have a discussion on the matter at all because words don’t mean anything.

The commands for the Levitical priesthood are not binding on Israel, but they are indicative of Divine view of sex.  Premarital sex is ‘defiling.’  The woman is defiled and the man is a defiler, not a desirable state for either one, since both will have to answer to God for the defiling of His Image.

This leaves us with the question of why the topic of ‘premarital sex’ is not spoken of in a direct manner.  The answer is cultural: those societies understood the importance of sexual continence before marriage.  That’s why societies with looser sexual restrictions tend to not have prostitutes, since they are unnecessary if sex is easy to get.  Even societies with relatively loose rules regarding prostitution still regard sexual conduct before marriage as undesirable.  In fact, prostitution is generally seen as a form of either slavery or purposeful defiling, even if permitted.

Premarital sex is not a happy subject, because sex is not a happy subject.  Even now when we have very loose standards, I doubt one could prove that people are any happier.  Divorces, and unpleasant ones at that, are all too common.  People are gulping anti-depressants and addicted to ‘drugs’ (including non-drug ‘drugs’ such as food, gambling, etc.) at an alarming rate.  Western countries have shut down reproduction with the dissolution of the family, where children become an ‘option’ like whether or not to buy a Jacuzzi.

Student dorms and night clubs are full of lots of opportunity for one to express one’s sexuality, but they rarely produce long-term happiness and security.  In the end, you can mess around a lot and still end up very lonely, which leads to more temporary relationships and more despair.  Studies prove that ‘sexual compatibility,’ living together before marriage, open relationships, etc. do nothing but increase one’s opportunities for one’s unhappiness.

Sex is powerful stuff, and only a Divinely-inspired marriage is equipped to handle it.  It is a sad day indeed when the Church would abandon it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on March 09, 2011, 11:43:54 AM
Although the Old Testament lacks our modern terminology for sex, and tends to put a lot of time in on topics that we now take for granted (for example, even the most liberal of Christian tendencies still does not acknowledge bestiality), one really cannot say that the OT leaves the door open to premarital sex.

Father, I pointed out these passages to him (look at page 3). Then he disappeared from the forum for a year  :)

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 09, 2011, 11:50:34 AM
Well, at least he's coming back for more!

Let's not forget that each person converts differently.  Some quickly and some slowly.

In the end, everyone becomes Orthodox because everyone has to deal with the truth at death.  If one is prepared to meet Christ Jesus in truth, then one converts with joy and accepts rest until His glorious Second Coming and the Last Judgment.  If one is not prepared, then one 'converts' in the sense that he can no longer escape the truth and go back to his false beliefs, though the truth becomes a source of torment.

I hope he keeps struggling with his conscience, since this opens the door to conversion.


Although the Old Testament lacks our modern terminology for sex, and tends to put a lot of time in on topics that we now take for granted (for example, even the most liberal of Christian tendencies still does not acknowledge bestiality), one really cannot say that the OT leaves the door open to premarital sex.

Father, I pointed out these passages to him (look at page 3). Then he disappeared from the forum for a year  :)


Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on March 09, 2011, 10:04:00 PM
Man that original post sounds like something I could have written a few years back. The fact that premarital sex as sin is not spelled out in scripture was something I clinged to with all my life. I really don't understand now, why I was so worried about premarital sex being wrong or not other than to justify my lifestyle. We can follow every rule literally spelled out in the Bible and still not be saved. There is a spirit, however, that we must abide in to be saved and honestly having sex with someone outside of marriage is not in keeping with the spirit of Christ. Sorry, but it really is that cut and dry. Why have sex? Why not wait? The only answer can be, because that person doesn't want to wait, they want to do what they want to do. And I can find plenty of scripture and writings of the Fathers that tell us how important and effective self denial is. It teaches us that God's will be done, not our own. Or does one get satisfaction from feeling they have a truth the rest of the Christian community missed? This was my main pitfall. I wanted to feel like I knew better, but sadly I didn't.

I pray for Acts420. May God enlighten you and have mercy on us all.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on March 10, 2011, 10:27:56 AM
I really don't understand now, why I was so worried about premarital sex being wrong or not other than to justify my lifestyle. We can follow every rule literally spelled out in the Bible and still not be saved. There is a spirit, however, that we must abide in to be saved and honestly having sex with someone outside of marriage is not in keeping with the spirit of Christ. Sorry, but it really is that cut and dry. Why have sex? Why not wait? The only answer can be, because that person doesn't want to wait, they want to do what they want to do.

Exactly. Well said. That is the heart of the matter!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 10, 2011, 12:45:09 PM
Well said, and I would only add that this 'exegesis of self' behind the justification of non-marital sex is behind all other heresy and militant mis-exegesis.

Religion is a very dangerous game, since it can lead to all kinds of self-justification and excuse, which end the process of repentance.  So much of Orthodoxy rests on 'gray areas' (look at what the canons do and do not say about sex) precisely to avoid Pharisaical or Shariac attitudes.  Uncertainty leads to repentance, whereas certainty utterly blocks it.  Being certain that we have a 'green light' to do something, according to the fallen mind, means we can do it without restraint.  Thus we have a less-than-clear-from-a-modern-perspective answer (i.e. looking at sex from an overall Biblical view versus a flat command), and suddenly this becomes certainty that we can do as much as we want because there is no 'clear' prohibition.

The problem is that a 'clear prohibition' would stunt our investigation of the topic.  We can turn off our brains.  we don't need to struggle.  We don't need to repent.

I do believe God wants us to think about what we do.  I think He desires us to come to Him with genuine concern about making the right decisions.  I am certain He desires us to deliberate in light of His mercy and love.  If we had a fatwa for everything, we would have to think about nothing.  But, we would lose a great deal of the intimacy that our struggles to find the right path gives us.  We need to take up the Cross and do our best, all the while being prepared to hear that we have done it wrong and need to repent and start over.  It is injurious to the ego, but the ego is precisely what fights against our salvation.  It needs to the crucifixion of repentance.  This is the self-denial of which Mr. Gardner speaks, the restraint we must have while we seek what is good, even if it means holding off from action until we have a better idea of what we are getting ourselves into.

As an additional note: selfless and restrained sex is in many ways more difficult than abstinence.  The Church's emphasis on virginity is, in addition to being biblical, entirely practical.  Once it is experienced it is impossible to forget and even more difficult resist unless one has done a loooooooot of it.  I have met people who are sexually 'burned out' from years of promiscuity.  They are not so much continent or content as simply tired, like a hunter who gives up chasing his prey.  It is sad.  It also leads to escalations that can drive one right off the map.



Man that original post sounds like something I could have written a few years back. The fact that premarital sex as sin is not spelled out in scripture was something I clinged to with all my life. I really don't understand now, why I was so worried about premarital sex being wrong or not other than to justify my lifestyle. We can follow every rule literally spelled out in the Bible and still not be saved. There is a spirit, however, that we must abide in to be saved and honestly having sex with someone outside of marriage is not in keeping with the spirit of Christ. Sorry, but it really is that cut and dry. Why have sex? Why not wait? The only answer can be, because that person doesn't want to wait, they want to do what they want to do. And I can find plenty of scripture and writings of the Fathers that tell us how important and effective self denial is. It teaches us that God's will be done, not our own. Or does one get satisfaction from feeling they have a truth the rest of the Christian community missed? This was my main pitfall. I wanted to feel like I knew better, but sadly I didn't.

I pray for Acts420. May God enlighten you and have mercy on us all.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: ialmisry on March 10, 2011, 03:04:41 PM
Look up the word "fornication."  You'll find it (or should).  Until you say "I do," you don't.
I don't see how that helps me at alll in my search for New Testament and early church father references to premarital sex as sinful.  The first recorded use of the noun in its modern meaning was in 1303 AD, with the verb fornicate first recorded around 250 years later.  See The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.   The word derives from Latin.  The word fornix means "an archway" or "vault" and it became a common euphemism for a brothel as prostitutes could be solicited in the vaults beneath Rome.  More directly, fornicatio means "done in the archway"; thus it originally referred to prostitution.
If you are going to nitpick, then none of your English words are going to predate Nicea I.   πορνεία predates the NT and early Church Fathers quite a bit, and as the use in the LXX and other literature shows, including premarital and other extramarital sex.
http://books.google.com/books?id=eEITN4tLxtoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:CGyOpNrzHj0C&hl=en&ei=Zah3TdeuAcnprAHTmZW8CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

One of the things that turns people off about the church is the restrictions it places on sex in what otherwise seems to be a healthy context (serious courtship).
LOL. Define "serious."
From the LOL I take it you're not.
As serious as an argument that the New Testament and early Church Fathers were indifferent to premarital sex can be.

We haven't changed for scores of generations before you. We can't change for you.
That is easy to say.  However, the prohibition on marriage for bishops is a just one example of how cultural norms and other factors have in fact changed the original church from what it originally practiced.
We had both unmarried Apostles, and unmarried bishops in the days of the Apostles, who wrote the New Testament, and many of the early Church Fathers are counted among their number.  That is how it was originally practiced.  Just like the prohibition of premarital sex, in the sex saturated culture of the 1st century not unlike the modern one.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 11, 2011, 01:06:11 PM
Dear Anba Bola,

I don't understand your analogy to Joseph and Potiphar's wife.  She was married to another man.  If he slept with her that would be adultery, not premarital sex in the context of courtship.

As far as St. Ambrose, thank you very much for that reference.  Finally, I get something to work with!!  Is there somewhere online that I can read the context of that quote?  What book and chapter is it from?  

From the other sites I see that cite it, it seems the general consensus is that he was referring to married men:  that a married man must not cheat on his wife.  That makes sense given the next line: and "do not seek divorce" either.  He seems to be saying married men must not cheat, and must simply get a divorce to avoid cheating either.  

That being said, I could be wrong.  I am open to the interpretation that you're giving his words.  I would just like to see the entire context where St. Ambrose wrote that so I can better understand for myself what he was saying.  

My dear brother acts420,

What then can we make of the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife:

"So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.
But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside"

Also St. Ambrose says:
"No one is permitted to know a woman other than his wife. The marital right is given you for this reason: lest you fall into the snare and sin with a strange woman. ‘If you are bound to a wife do not seek a divorce’; for you are not permitted, while your wife lives, to marry another"
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 11, 2011, 01:27:11 PM

As far as your question, I suppose this made up tradition must have slipped into common Christian thinking and belief sometime after the Apostles and early Fathers and before the great split around 1000 A.D.  

It would have had to have been much earlier than that. The Oriental Orthodox who have been seperated from us since 451 hold the same view, and I'm not sure but I believe the ACE who has been seperated from us since 381 hold the same view too.

Buddhists in China, Muslims, and many other religions and cultures around the world also believe premarital sex is wrong.  These cultures developed this way for many practical reasons.  However, the only reason I can say premarital sex in courtship is a sin is if God has said it is a sin. For whatever reason, the beliefs of these cultures seemed to have worked their way into Christianity.  However, I haven't yet found any early clear authoritative source from the origins of Christianity (Scripture or the early Fathers) that served as the origin of those beliefs about sex.  So I assume they came from the culture just like they in so many other places around the planet.  All other sexual sins are plainly listed all over the place in Scripture.  I don't see why this one would just be completely left out.  The only time I do see premarital sex in courtship in scripture, it seems to be celebrated (Song of Solomon).


It is in Scripture.

1Cor 6:15-20
Quote
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

You're relying on the English translation, but the word translated  "fornication" (premarital sex, in English) there was "pornea" in the original language.  It did not mean premarital sex in the original language, as far as I can tell.  Pornea simply meant/means "illicit sex."  What sex is illicit is not made clear by the word itself.  One has to search the rest of the Scriptures.  That is where my point that Scripture never condemns premarital sex outright becomes so important.  Scripture clearly condemns adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, promiscuity (origies, a lot of different partners, etc.), bestiality, etc. at various places.  It never once condemns sex in the context of courtship in any clear fashion that I've seen.  In fact, it seems to even celebrate it in the most celebrated book of courtship and marriage in Scripture (Song of Solomon).  In that book, the couple shares a bed during their courtship and before their marriage ceremony.



It is in the early fathers.

Quote from: St_Justin_Martyr
But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children; or whether we decline marriage, we live continently. And that you may understand that promiscuous intercourse is not one of our mysteries,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.xxix.html

Quote from: St_Irenaeus
[The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”, etc. Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law.” As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these ye indeed have been; but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”. He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xii.html

Thank you for this quote.  I'm interested in learning more about it.  

For the reasons stated above, I would like to know what the original word that this translator has translated to "fornication" was.  I've seen a lot of places where translators pick "fornication" more out of a desire to put forth their personal beliefs than out of a desire to be as faithful as possible to the original language.  If the word is the same one from the Corinthians quote above, a better translation would replace "fornication" with "illicit sex", IMO.

Is there somewhere I can look to find the original word used?


Can you find anything in the NT or early fathers that actively supports your claim?

No, but that is my point.  There seems to be a silence (though I'm interested in the quotes you've given, and I look forward to exploring them more).  But, for now, as to this particular point, I don't think we should assume all behaviors are sinful unless the NT or the early fathers expressly say it is permissible.  If that were the case, none of us would ever trim our fingernails.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on March 11, 2011, 01:33:58 PM
My point is, for various reasons, many cultures around the world (and around where Christianity formed) held that sex should be confined to marriage.

There is a simple reason for this. God's law is imprinted on all men's hearts and all people, to one degree or another, feel their conscience call them out in regards to premarital sex. People create other gods and religions because they mistake the true God's call of repentance and twist it or believe half truths. This isn't other cultures sneaking into Christianity, it is the truth of God on our hearts being visible to all.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on March 11, 2011, 01:40:02 PM

As far as your question, I suppose this made up tradition must have slipped into common Christian thinking and belief sometime after the Apostles and early Fathers and before the great split around 1000 A.D.  

It would have had to have been much earlier than that. The Oriental Orthodox who have been seperated from us since 451 hold the same view, and I'm not sure but I believe the ACE who has been seperated from us since 381 hold the same view too.

Buddhists in China, Muslims, and many other religions and cultures around the world also believe premarital sex is wrong.  These cultures developed this way for many practical reasons.  However, the only reason I can say premarital sex in courtship is a sin is if God has said it is a sin. For whatever reason, the beliefs of these cultures seemed to have worked their way into Christianity.  However, I haven't yet found any early clear authoritative source from the origins of Christianity (Scripture or the early Fathers) that served as the origin of those beliefs about sex.  So I assume they came from the culture just like they in so many other places around the planet.  All other sexual sins are plainly listed all over the place in Scripture.  I don't see why this one would just be completely left out.  The only time I do see premarital sex in courtship in scripture, it seems to be celebrated (Song of Solomon).


It is in Scripture.

1Cor 6:15-20
Quote
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

You're relying on the English translation, but the word translated  "fornication" (premarital sex, in English) there was "pornea" in the original language.  It did not mean premarital sex in the original language, as far as I can tell.  Pornea simply meant/means "illicit sex."  What sex is illicit is not made clear by the word itself.  One has to search the rest of the Scriptures.  That is where my point that Scripture never condemns premarital sex outright becomes so important.  Scripture clearly condemns adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, promiscuity (origies, a lot of different partners, etc.), bestiality, etc. at various places.  It never once condemns sex in the context of courtship in any clear fashion that I've seen.  In fact, it seems to even celebrate it in the most celebrated book of courtship and marriage in Scripture (Song of Solomon).  In that book, the couple shares a bed during their courtship and before their marriage ceremony.



It is in the early fathers.

Quote from: St_Justin_Martyr
But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children; or whether we decline marriage, we live continently. And that you may understand that promiscuous intercourse is not one of our mysteries,
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.xxix.html

Quote from: St_Irenaeus
[The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”, etc. Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law.” As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these ye indeed have been; but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”. He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xii.html

Thank you for this quote.  I'm interested in learning more about it.  

For the reasons stated above, I would like to know what the original word that this translator has translated to "fornication" was.  I've seen a lot of places where translators pick "fornication" more out of a desire to put forth their personal beliefs than out of a desire to be as faithful as possible to the original language.  If the word is the same one from the Corinthians quote above, a better translation would replace "fornication" with "illicit sex", IMO.

Is there somewhere I can look to find the original word used?


Can you find anything in the NT or early fathers that actively supports your claim?

No, but that is my point.  There seems to be a silence (though I'm interested in the quotes you've given, and I look forward to exploring them more).  But, for now, as to this particular point, I don't think we should assume all behaviors are sinful unless the NT or the early fathers expressly say it is permissible.  If that were the case, none of us would ever trim our fingernails.

Acts, your study of words, translations, and their roots is good; pursuit of knowledge helps us better know our God. Please, though, ask yourself: Why it is so important to you that premarital sex not be sinful? Even if it was not sinful, would you give it up for God? The things that are closest to our hearts are the things we should try and sacrifice the most. And what about the optics to others? You admit that most people from all cultures think it is wrong, and you won't change their minds, so would it not serve the body of Christ better for one to not appear to be in evil lest we cause another to stumble?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 11, 2011, 01:41:29 PM
Dear Acts,

If you are seriously looking for Patristic sources, there are a few.  But, you can't look for them under 'pre-marital sex,' but rather under 'virginity.'  Remember, the terminology of the ancients is different.

Here are a few sources:

St. Gregory of Nyssa
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2907.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2907.htm)

St. Augustine of Hippo
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1310.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1310.htm)

St. Ambrose of Milan
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/34071.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/34071.htm)

There is a book on the topic by St. John Chrysostom, but it is not available for free:
http://books.google.com/books?id=_j60PgAACAAJ&dq=john+chrysostom+virginity&source=gbs_book_similarbooks (http://books.google.com/books?id=_j60PgAACAAJ&dq=john+chrysostom+virginity&source=gbs_book_similarbooks)

As you review these sources, you will see that the saints bewailed the loss of virginity outside marriage, and even St. Paul recommended abstinence if such a gift is given.

Pre-marital sex is the loss of virginity, first and foremost.  No Fathers recommend it, especially outside marriage.

Misrepresenting virginity was so important in the Old Testament is was punishable by death:

"If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and then spurns her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings an evil name upon her, saying, `I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her the tokens of virginity,' then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the tokens of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate; and the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, `I gave my daughter to this man to wife, and he spurns her; and lo, he has made shameful charges against her, saying, "I did not find in your daughter the tokens of virginity." And yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him; and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought an evil name upon a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if the thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you. (Deuteronomy 22:13-22

Her 'harlotry' was merely not being a virgin at marriage.

I think you get where this is going, yes?

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: orthonorm on March 11, 2011, 01:48:11 PM
You admit that most people from all cultures think it is wrong, and you won't change their minds, so would it not serve the body of Christ better for one to not appear to be in evil lest we cause another to stumble?

You haven't spent much time in most 1st world mega cities, the US, or Western Europe?

It is seen as a good both in terms of pleasure and creating a bond between people, a sport, and a way of determining "compatibility" if and when the couple decides to get married.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on March 11, 2011, 02:10:03 PM
You admit that most people from all cultures think it is wrong, and you won't change their minds, so would it not serve the body of Christ better for one to not appear to be in evil lest we cause another to stumble?

You haven't spent much time in most 1st world mega cities, the US, or Western Europe?

It is seen as a good both in terms of pleasure and creating a bond between people, a sport, and a way of determining "compatibility" if and when the couple decides to get married.

Yes but I think this is a relatively new development within the past 200 years or so with the secularization of society. 

Quote from: http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2001/06/Poll-Majority-Of-Americans-Say-Premarital-Sex-Morally-Acceptable.aspx
In 1969, two-thirds of Americans said premarital sex was wrong and 21% said it was acceptable.

Yes the tides have turned (so says the article) but I still stick to my point. Plus it was Acts that originally asserted that many cultures throughout the world share the view that premarital sex is wrong.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: IsmiLiora on March 11, 2011, 02:23:06 PM
Acts, your study of words, translations, and their roots is good; pursuit of knowledge helps us better know our God. Please, though, ask yourself: Why it is so important to you that premarital sex not be sinful? Even if it was not sinful, would you give it up for God? The things that are closest to our hearts are the things we should try and sacrifice the most. And what about the optics to others? You admit that most people from all cultures think it is wrong, and you won't change their minds, so would it not serve the body of Christ better for one to not appear to be in evil lest we cause another to stumble?
Exactly. Acts, I am an inquirer and I cannot fully grasp or understand a few of the Orthodox rules and traditions. It would be a lie to say that once I discovered the faith, absolutely everything fell in place.

Coming from a Protestant church, I do understand why they pray to saints and revere the Theotokos. But for me right now, it feels downright foreign to do such a thing. However, I do trust the Church on this issue and continue to pray that I will come around to this practice one day. Could this be a similar situation for you?

I don't want to sound callous, but why is this SUCH an issue? Do you foresee your priest hounding you about it during confession (if you did engage in premarital sex)? I had a friend who was one of the poster children for abstinence at her church. She talked about it with all of the other college girls and myself especially, when I began to date my now-husband.

When she was engaged, she decided that she and her husband were already married in God's eyes. She would spend HOURS trying to justify this to me (citing different cultures and Christians who engage in sex prior to marriage), even when I didn't bring up the topic. My husband and I waited to consummate the marriage until our wedding night. I never talked to her about this but she still brought up the topic several times.

For me, I felt like she was struggling with guilt, because she believed her entire life that she should have waited. Perhaps she feels that she is fully justified, but it hasn't stopped her from talking to others, reading on the topic, and finding every single way to support her position. The fact that this thread has already reached 4 pages...kind of reminds me of that. Is this one issue worth that much to get hung up on?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 11, 2011, 03:10:42 PM
I think the thread has gone on so long not out of prudishness or a sense of puritanism, but rather the contention as to what our Tradition teaches.

As a priest, I know that many if not most of my parishioners will fall in this regard.  It is not difficult in this day and age.  Haranguing them is different from telling them what the Tradition teaches.

The original poster, however, is not satisfied with the answers he has received and so the debate goes on.  It is a debate for sure, since the original poster continues to respond.  If he felt oppressed or overly bothered, he would simply stop responding.

Having hung out here for a while, I would have to say that a length of a thread does not necessarily indicate any particular truth about the thread or the hang-ups of the posters.  Sure, there are obvious indicators, but they are more readily discerned by content rather than the number of responses.

In this case, there appears to be a concern as to whether the Church teaches that losing one's virginity outside of marriage is acceptable.  This thread will go until either everyone gets bored or a mutual agreement is reached.  So far, my bet goes on the boredom factor, since all parties thus far seem to have made their minds up long before logging on here.  Perhaps my cooking is getting to me, but I swear I smell troll.  ;)

(http://images.wikia.com/harrypotter/images/8/8b/Troll.JPG)


Acts, your study of words, translations, and their roots is good; pursuit of knowledge helps us better know our God. Please, though, ask yourself: Why it is so important to you that premarital sex not be sinful? Even if it was not sinful, would you give it up for God? The things that are closest to our hearts are the things we should try and sacrifice the most. And what about the optics to others? You admit that most people from all cultures think it is wrong, and you won't change their minds, so would it not serve the body of Christ better for one to not appear to be in evil lest we cause another to stumble?
Exactly. Acts, I am an inquirer and I cannot fully grasp or understand a few of the Orthodox rules and traditions. It would be a lie to say that once I discovered the faith, absolutely everything fell in place.

Coming from a Protestant church, I do understand why they pray to saints and revere the Theotokos. But for me right now, it feels downright foreign to do such a thing. However, I do trust the Church on this issue and continue to pray that I will come around to this practice one day. Could this be a similar situation for you?

I don't want to sound callous, but why is this SUCH an issue? Do you foresee your priest hounding you about it during confession (if you did engage in premarital sex)? I had a friend who was one of the poster children for abstinence at her church. She talked about it with all of the other college girls and myself especially, when I began to date my now-husband.

When she was engaged, she decided that she and her husband were already married in God's eyes. She would spend HOURS trying to justify this to me (citing different cultures and Christians who engage in sex prior to marriage), even when I didn't bring up the topic. My husband and I waited to consummate the marriage until our wedding night. I never talked to her about this but she still brought up the topic several times.

For me, I felt like she was struggling with guilt, because she believed her entire life that she should have waited. Perhaps she feels that she is fully justified, but it hasn't stopped her from talking to others, reading on the topic, and finding every single way to support her position. The fact that this thread has already reached 4 pages...kind of reminds me of that. Is this one issue worth that much to get hung up on?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: IsmiLiora on March 11, 2011, 03:15:57 PM
LOL true, this is an internet forum, land of the long-winded and home of the argumentative!

The tone still reminds me of my discussions with my friend.

And thanks for that picture; I'm not going to get any sleep tonight.  ;D
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 11, 2011, 05:20:23 PM
It was the best pciture I could find of myself.   :laugh:


LOL true, this is an internet forum, land of the long-winded and home of the argumentative!

The tone still reminds me of my discussions with my friend.

And thanks for that picture; I'm not going to get any sleep tonight.  ;D
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 11, 2011, 07:35:40 PM
... I don't want to sound callous, but why is this SUCH an issue? Do you foresee your priest hounding you about it during confession (if you did engage in premarital sex)? I had a friend who was one of the poster children for abstinence at her church. She talked about it with all of the other college girls and myself especially, when I began to date my now-husband.

When she was engaged, she decided that she and her husband were already married in God's eyes. She would spend HOURS trying to justify this to me (citing different cultures and Christians who engage in sex prior to marriage), even when I didn't bring up the topic. My husband and I waited to consummate the marriage until our wedding night. I never talked to her about this but she still brought up the topic several times.

For me, I felt like she was struggling with guilt, because she believed her entire life that she should have waited. Perhaps she feels that she is fully justified, but it hasn't stopped her from talking to others, reading on the topic, and finding every single way to support her position. The fact that this thread has already reached 4 pages...kind of reminds me of that. Is this one issue worth that much to get hung up on?

This is such an issue because of how it affected my previous marriage, which ended in divorce 1 year ago.  I remained a virgin until I was married at 26 years old years old.  My wife and I *immediately* noticed severe incompatibility with regards to sex.  I know that some adjustment, or even some major adjustment, is often necessary.  Without going into details, I will just say we had major, major problems in the area of sexual compatibility.  

We tried counseling, both through our church and through licensed professionals.  Nothing really helped.  We tried for 4 years, and neither of us were ever satisfied.  

It was during that 4 years that I began to realize, somewhat unrelated-ly, how my Baptist tradition had mislead me for so long with regards to salvation.  I began to read Scripture apart from the modern traditions that surrounded me, and found a doctrine that was very different from my Baptist roots.  That brought me to Orthodox, because I only saw the orthodox and the catholics teaching in line with Scripture regarding how works contribute to our salvation.  I knew the Catholics couldn't be right because of their deeds (celibate priests molesting children all over the face of the earth, and higher up bishops hiding it and moving priests around).  

Anyway... back to why this premarital sex thing is an issue for me.  My ex-wife's divorcing me had to do with a lot of things, including my switch from Baptist churches to Orthodox ones, and also a relocation because of my job.  However, the massive problems we had ever satisfying one another sexually also played an enormous role.

I then decided that perhaps I was taught wrong about premarital sex in courtship also.  So I did the same thing with Scripture regarding premarital sex in courtship that I had done with salvation.  I looked for all the sexual sins in Scripture.  I found them all very plainly, in the original languages... except for premarital sex.  Promiscuity was prohibited, it seemed, but not sex as a part of courtship.  In fact, to my amazement, I discovered the couple celebrated in Song of Solomon shared a bed before getting married.  I had read the book so many times previously, but my eyes had been blinded to that fact because of the traditional teachings about sex I had been immersed all of my life in.  But now I finally saw it... plain as day... right there in Scripture.

So, to answer your question, no I'm not motivated to answer this question because I fear having to admit any sort of premarital sex.  I want to answer this question because God forbid I ever teach my children lies about the sinfulness of premarital sex and destroy their future marriages just as mine was destroyed.  There is a reason that the couple in the Song is celebrated.  They did it the right way, it seems, and enjoyed a wonderful lifelong passion with one another.  Also, I want my next marriage to be one where there is sexual compatibility.  And if God's way of ensuring that is the model He has given and celebrated in the Song of Solomon, then I want to follow that model.

All that being said, I've finally been given some sources from early fathers I can explore (a year after starting this thread in large part to ask for them).  I will now do explore those sources.  Thank you so much to everyone on this page who finally provided me with them.  And no, FatherGirus, I'm not a troll.

thank you for helping me as I continue to seek out the truth,
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 11, 2011, 08:37:04 PM
Well, I think you were trolling, especially since you wrote this:

I want to answer this question because God forbid I ever teach my children lies about the sinfulness of premarital sex and destroy their future marriages just as mine was destroyed.

You know what the Orthodox Church teaches.  You have posted here with your mind already made up, meaning that you already have all the 'right' information.  Nothing of what you are posting is really seeking the truth, but rather confirmation of what you believed before hand, which you already knew to be "unique beliefs" which you list in your initial post.  Again, you know that what you are choosing to believe is contrary to the collective witness of the Church.

No matter how many quotes you may find or not find, your beliefs are not compatable with the Church, which was the original goal of your post.  You may satisfy your need for affirmation (the first part of your stated intention), but this will not lead to your admission into the Church (the second part of your stated intention).

Thus, it is something of a troll.  I think you might very well enjoy the fact that no one is answering your questions to your standards, though you still have not engaged much of what has been offered to you.  So, it smells like a troll rather than a genuine search for the truth.

Your situation is tragic, but I don't think you can make an argument from your experience that premarital sex during 'courtship' (an institution not described in the Bible, written in a time when most marriages were arranged) is all that helpful.  The rise in extra-marital sex coincides with the divorce rate.  Statistics are against you on this one, laying aside the teachings of the Church.

The Church is not making people unhappy.  The world is making itself unhappy seeking its own ends.

Living together, 'hooking up' and all the rest goes on outside the Church, and divorce and misery are aplenty.  You are not a fool, you can see with your own eyes.

The real problem is that you worked very hard to play by 'the rules' and it didn't work out.  That happens a lot, I'm afraid.  It is called the Cross.  Perhaps your Cross was to bear a marriage that was sexually unhappy.  That happens quite a bit, I'm sorry to say, but mostly because the expectations of both parties are way off from one another.

So, what happens if you sleep with a woman and find her 'amazing,' and then she has a car accident and is left paralyzed or deformed?  What then?  Would you divorce her?  Search the Fathers now and see what you will find.

Your story is as tragic as it is common.  I am not belittling you, but pointing out that sex is not a happy topic even for the most free amongst us.

No matter how many Patristic sources you read, this thread will bring you no closer to the Church until you drop your beliefs and come in 'naked' of your assumptions and presumptions.  If you keep them and have no intention of changing based on what you find next, then this is all just a big troll where you can dangle bait and then say, 'No, the Bible I read doesn't say that!'

There is still a lot of Baptist left in you.  That needs to go if you want to enter the Church.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on March 11, 2011, 09:38:36 PM
Well, I think you were trolling, especially since you wrote this:

I want to answer this question because God forbid I ever teach my children lies about the sinfulness of premarital sex and destroy their future marriages just as mine was destroyed.

You know what the Orthodox Church teaches.  You have posted here with your mind already made up, meaning that you already have all the 'right' information.  Nothing of what you are posting is really seeking the truth, but rather confirmation of what you believed before hand, which you already knew to be "unique beliefs" which you list in your initial post.  Again, you know that what you are choosing to believe is contrary to the collective witness of the Church.

No matter how many quotes you may find or not find, your beliefs are not compatable with the Church, which was the original goal of your post.  You may satisfy your need for affirmation (the first part of your stated intention), but this will not lead to your admission into the Church (the second part of your stated intention).

Thus, it is something of a troll.  I think you might very well enjoy the fact that no one is answering your questions to your standards, though you still have not engaged much of what has been offered to you.  So, it smells like a troll rather than a genuine search for the truth.


Just because I had come to some conclusions before coming here doesn't mean I'm a troll either.  I'm here to test my conclusions in the fire that (I was hoping) is Orthodox Christian's knowledge of early Christianity.  Thankfully, after a year of waiting, I've finally gotten some early quotes that will help me explore this issue more.

Yes, I had decided that premarital sex probably wasn't a sin based on Scripture.  Nonetheless, I came here because not only am I open to converting to Orthodoxy, I'm open to converting my mind on the sex issue as well.  I'm still exploring it, and that is why I wanted help from early Father quotes.

Okay... so you think I'm trolling.  I think you're trolling because you are calling out a guy who has come to the "convert questions" section, obviously hurting from being taught lies by Baptists and from past relationship problems, and are implying he is not genuine and is a troll.  So look in the mirror.


Your situation is tragic, but I don't think you can make an argument from your experience that premarital sex during 'courtship' (an institution not described in the Bible, written in a time when most marriages were arranged) is all that helpful.  The rise in extra-marital sex coincides with the divorce rate.  Statistics are against you on this one, laying aside the teachings of the Church.



As far as the statistics, I've already cited a study in this thread showing that the divorce rate for couples that slept with one another before and after marriage remains the same as for couples that abstained before marriage.  Regardless though, any study can be manipulated.  I'm not here to find out how helpful or unhelpful premarital sex in courtship is.  I already know how helpful it would've been in my experience.  I'm here to find out if it is truly a *sin*, taught as such from the beginning of Christianity, or if it is a tradition that slipped into Christian culture a bit later.



The Church is not making people unhappy.  The world is making itself unhappy seeking its own ends.

Living together, 'hooking up' and all the rest goes on outside the Church, and divorce and misery are aplenty.  You are not a fool, you can see with your own eyes.

The real problem is that you worked very hard to play by 'the rules' and it didn't work out.  That happens a lot, I'm afraid.  It is called the Cross.  Perhaps your Cross was to bear a marriage that was sexually unhappy.  That happens quite a bit, I'm sorry to say, but mostly because the expectations of both parties are way off from one another.

So, what happens if you sleep with a woman and find her 'amazing,' and then she has a car accident and is left paralyzed or deformed?  What then?  Would you divorce her?  Search the Fathers now and see what you will find.


No, I wouldn't divorce my wife if she got paralyzed.  Do  you think I'm a monster simply because I suspect Christians may be allowed to follow the model of courtship celebrated in the Song of Solomon?  Lord have mercy.  




Your story is as tragic as it is common.  I am not belittling you, but pointing out that sex is not a happy topic even for the most free amongst us.



Sex is a happy topic for many people I know, and especially for many couples I know who had sex during their courtship and immediately learned that they thoroughly enjoyed sex with their partner.  I, instead, waited for marriage and immediately learned that neither of us enjoyed sex with the other one (and never would, for 4 years).


No matter how many Patristic sources you read, this thread will bring you no closer to the Church until you drop your beliefs and come in 'naked' of your assumptions and presumptions.  If you keep them and have no intention of changing based on what you find next, then this is all just a big troll where you can dangle bait and then say, 'No, the Bible I read doesn't say that!'


Ah... I see... so, I won't find the truth until I blindly accept everything you say.  This is because you decided to accept everything the people before you said (and so on and so forth for hundreds of years), and you feel you have the truth in this matter.  

No thanks, Father.  Been there, done that.  It was called being a Baptist.  God gave me eyes and ears of my own for a reason.  

There was a time when orthodox clergy were bought and sold on the open market and no less corrupt than many Protestant clergy have been in the past.  You claim that doctrine itself was never corrupted.  Well... that is an interesting claim.  Nonetheless, I'm going to put your doctrine to the test, and if I find it lacking support in the Scriptures and the early Fathers, and if the Spirit leads me to instead believe what I read in his Word and see testified to by the ancient Fathers... then I simply will not believe you and your traditions.  If you feel more comfortable closing your eyes and ears and letting the generation before you decide for you what you must believe to be pleasing to God... I wish you the best with that.

I won't be responding to posts here for a little while.  I'm going to explore the quotes from the early Fathers that were (finally) provided for me, and see what I find.

Thank you again to everyone who has been helping me and praying for me.  May God guide all of us along the Way, toward the Truth, that we may live the Life he has for us.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on March 12, 2011, 01:57:34 AM
I think you are missing the point of what I'm getting at.

What you are trying to do have a conclusion, then find evidence for it.  This does not work in science, nor for religion.  Ultimately, you will only find what you want to find.

I have opened my eyes, and I have seen the Truth in the Church, and I have seen the folly of abandoning the wisdom of generations of experience.  When I converted, I had to be willing to give up all my opinions and self-conceived notions.  That included sex, since I thought that anything was fair game until marriage.  I gave it up because I arrived at a point where I wanted the truth more than I wanted to be right.

If you are indeed still in pain from your experience, so much so that you must remind me even after I acknowledge this to be the case, then are you in the best frame of mind to engage in such research?  I speak to you in a plain manner because I assume you can handle direct talk.  If this is not the case and you are still too fragile, then you are probably not in a good place to be passing judgment on a Church that has far more years in the game than you do.

I said you are still a Baptist because you are still engaging in the mentality of that group even though you are no longer a member.  By trying to 'proof-text' a few quotes you think you can ignore the fact that the Church for centuries had advocated virginity.  There is no talk of 'pre-marital sex' because they assume you would know that you can't be a virgin and engaging in sexual exploration.

What's more, you will have an even greater problem proving that the Spirit is truly leading you and not you own impulses.  I imagine before you thought the Spirit led you to wait for marriage, but now you think it will lead you somewhere else? 

I write these things because I care enough to.  I don't want to see you fall into the pattern of self-will as I have seen so many.  You can mock the clergy and the Church (something about being bought and sold?), but then you also want to convert?

You are deeply conflicted, and I would hazard to guess that you are in no shape to be theologizing until you have it in your heart to forgive your Baptist brethren for what they have done for you and come to the realization that more self-will is not going to heal you.  Only God can.

This conflict, where at once you denigrate our Tradition and then talk about converting, led me to believe you are trolling for conflict.  Go back and read your own posts and see how you speak of the Church and us.

Sexual experimentation is not going to bring you the right spouse, only God can.  In some cases, that 'right spouse' seems all wrong, but marriage is a Cross, not a sexual arrangement.  There are so many more important characteristics, ones that open us to God's healing and mercy in ways that therapy and counseling can't.

I've read the Song and I simply don't see anything other than love between a married couple.  It does not say 'courtship.'  So, yes, I am saying that it is a sin to defile a woman and not marry her according to the Scriptures, and that if you do so you will later regret it if you do not marry her. 

In the end, you will do what you want and you will certainly find what you want to find.  That is what I am warning you about.

God be with you.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on March 12, 2011, 10:14:02 AM
You claim that doctrine itself was never corrupted.  Well... that is an interesting claim.

Do you believe that there is a church that has consistently maintained and taught the whole truth about Jesus Christ and what He handed down to His apostles?

As an Orthodox Christian, I believe that the Orthodox Church is the answer to this question, but that's not my point in asking it. My point is wether or not such a church exists at all that fits that description.

Quote
Nonetheless, I'm going to put your doctrine to the test, and if I find it lacking support in the Scriptures and the early Fathers, and if the Spirit leads me to instead believe what I read in his Word and see testified to by the ancient Fathers... then I simply will not believe you and your traditions.

What if you never find a church that believes everything exactly the same as you? Is it possible for any one person to have all the answers and if no one is in complete agreement with them, then they are they only one that is right?

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: quorum on March 13, 2011, 02:18:01 PM
It is in the early fathers.
Quote from: St_Irenaeus
[The apostle], foreseeing the wicked speeches of unbelievers, has particularized the works which he terms carnal; and he explains himself, lest any room for doubt be left to those who do dishonestly pervert his meaning, thus saying in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, luxuriousness, idolatries, witchcrafts, hatreds, contentions jealousies, wraths, emulations, animosities, irritable speeches, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, carousings, and such like; of which I warn you, as also I have warned you, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”, etc. Thus does he point out to his hearers in a more explicit manner what it is [he means when he declares], “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” For they who do these things, since they do indeed walk after the flesh, have not the power of living unto God. And then, again, he proceeds to tell us the spiritual actions which vivify a man, that is, the engrafting of the Spirit; thus saying, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, faith, meekness, continence, chastity: against these there is no law.” As, therefore, he who has gone forward to the better things, and has brought forth the fruit of the Spirit, is saved altogether because of the communion of the Spirit; so also he who has continued in the aforesaid works of the flesh, being truly reckoned as carnal, because he did not receive the Spirit of God, shall not have power to inherit the kingdom of heaven. As, again, the same apostle testifies, saying to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err,” he says: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor rapacious persons, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And these ye indeed have been; but ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified, but ye have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”. He shows in the clearest manner through what things it is that man goes to destruction, if he has continued to live after the flesh; and then, on the other hand, [he points out] through what things he is saved. Now he says that the things which save are the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xii.html

Thank you for this quote.  I'm interested in learning more about it.  

For the reasons stated above, I would like to know what the original word that this translator has translated to "fornication" was.  I've seen a lot of places where translators pick "fornication" more out of a desire to put forth their personal beliefs than out of a desire to be as faithful as possible to the original language.  If the word is the same one from the Corinthians quote above, a better translation would replace "fornication" with "illicit sex", IMO.

Is there somewhere I can look to find the original word used?

Unfortunately, the original Greek text of that book exists only in fragments. The Latin translation made shortly after it was originally published has survived intact, though. It looks like the only Greek left for Book V, Chapter XI is a small paragraph. You can read it here (http://www.textexcavation.com/irenaeusah5.html#chapter11), and can see the Latin and Greek by clicking the blue page links. The two relevant ones are 346-347 and 348-349.

God bless.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 12:56:29 PM
Dear Acts,

If you are seriously looking for Patristic sources, there are a few.  But, you can't look for them under 'pre-marital sex,' but rather under 'virginity.'  Remember, the terminology of the ancients is different.

Here are a few sources:

St. Gregory of Nyssa
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2907.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2907.htm)

St. Augustine of Hippo
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1310.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1310.htm)

St. Ambrose of Milan
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/34071.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/34071.htm)

There is a book on the topic by St. John Chrysostom, but it is not available for free:
http://books.google.com/books?id=_j60PgAACAAJ&dq=john+chrysostom+virginity&source=gbs_book_similarbooks (http://books.google.com/books?id=_j60PgAACAAJ&dq=john+chrysostom+virginity&source=gbs_book_similarbooks)

As you review these sources, you will see that the saints bewailed the loss of virginity outside marriage, and even St. Paul recommended abstinence if such a gift is given.

Thank you.   I read these writings prayerfully, with an open heart and mind.  I have haven't found where any of them "bewail the loss of virginity outside marriage" as you say they do.  What part of which source do you find does that?

As far as I can tell, they are simply expounding on the benefits of virginity for those who choose it (or, rather, for those who are gifted to be able to choose it).   Nonetheless, marriage is also wonderful for those gifted to enjoy it.  As St. Ambrose says in ch. 6 of the source you gave, "I am not indeed discouraging marriage, but am enlarging upon the benefits of virginity."

Those who choose to pursue marriage have not sinned, rather they are enjoying a gift given to them.  And from what I can read in Scripture, the loss of virginity that comes with choosing marriage can occur even before the "ceremony" of a wedding.  Look at the Song of Solomon.  The couple share's a bed in that book before the actual wedding, while they are courting. As to these particular writings, I have found no passages that say such sex in courtship is sin. 

If you can provide particular passages that actually say sex before marriage is a sin I will reconsider my opinion.

Pre-marital sex is the loss of virginity, first and foremost.  No Fathers recommend it, especially outside marriage.

No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either.  In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman, the virginity happened to be lost in the courtship phase of the "marriage" (before a wedding).  I'm simply claiming that is okay; that was not a "sin" on the couple's part.  You're telling me such behavior is sin.  The fact that whoever taught you Christianity told you so may be enough for you to believe it.  That's not the case with me.  I've already been burned by relying on such things in my Baptist past.  From now on I rely on Scripture and the witness of the early Fathers for my Christian beliefs.  And I have yet to find your beliefs about the sinfulness of sex during courtship in either of those places.

Misrepresenting virginity was so important in the Old Testament is was punishable by death:

"If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and then spurns her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings an evil name upon her, saying, `I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her the tokens of virginity,' then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the tokens of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate; and the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, `I gave my daughter to this man to wife, and he spurns her; and lo, he has made shameful charges against her, saying, "I did not find in your daughter the tokens of virginity." And yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him; and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought an evil name upon a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if the thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you. (Deuteronomy 22:13-22

Her 'harlotry' was merely not being a virgin at marriage.

I think you get where this is going, yes?

Non-virgins who were honest about their status were not killed.  The punished woman was killed for misrepresenting her virginity.  Her harlotry was lying about her sexual status in order to gain a husband.  She was taking advantage of a man's sexual desires for her own gain no in much the same way a prostitute does. 

I know you think I'm a "troll" because I disagree with you.  That's fine.  You don't know me nor my heart; I know I'm not a troll.  And in fact, I would say it is much more "troll-ish" to cite duet. 22 as support for the belief that sex in courtship is a sin.  The passage very obviously relates only to women who lied about being virgins.  No woman was ever killed or proscribed to be killed in the Old Testament for having sex before marriage.  They were only killed if they lied about it in order to gain a husband.

The closest the Old Testament comes to prohibiting sex before marriage is the command that a man must pay the father of a virgin he sleeps with her before marriage.  However, that passage is in the context of restitution.  It is in Exodus 22, and the passages before it are all about restitution.  In fact, the verse right before it says someone who borrows an animal that is then injured must pay the animal's owner.  The father deserved to be paid for his daughter's virginity: that was the custom then.  Granted, the man also had to marry the woman if the father wished for it.  However, the running assumption under the same code was that he could divorce her the next day if he wanted to.

The short of it is this: In Scripture, I see promiscuity and an "orgy" lifestyle forbidden (romans 13:13).  However, I don't see premarital sex ever forbidden when it is in the context of courtship.  In fact, in the Song it is celebrated.  Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that your beliefs about sex in courtship are based on traditions found neither in Scripture nor in the early Fathers.

Sex is dangerous.  It is also wonderful.  That is why young people must be taught the proper balance.  Teaching courting couples to abstain from the enjoyment of sexuality during courtship puts their marital sex-life at risk in the same way that teaching them not to talk during courtship would put their marital emotional-life at risk.  Just as there are couples that get along well emotionally and others that don't, there are couples that get along well sexually and others that don't.  The time to figure such things out is before sealing the relationship forever.  That is the model in the Song of Solomon, and that model is never condemned in Scripture or the Father's as far as I can tell. 

Plus it just plain makes sense.  My first marriage was destroyed in part by the false doctrine that sexual pleasure must be abstained from during courtship.  My ex wife and I did not even so much as look at one another sexually until after marriage.  We then found out that we were never able to enjoy sex together.  We simply did not find one another attractive sexually in any way.  We tried for four years.  Since being divorced, we have found others that we can and do enjoy sexuality with.

That is four years I cannot get back.  On top of that, how many years were wasted prior to my first marriage!  I spent my first 26 years being "pure", casting aside relationships simply because she wanted to be intimate before the wedding. Any number of them could've ended up being as wonderful as the Song of Solomon.   

I can not be a part of a Christian church that would teach my children that which has caused me so much pain, and, potentially, destroy so much of their lives and relationships.   But even more importantly, no early Father and no passage of Christian Scripture teaches what you're telling me, so I don't want my children to be taught it either.

False traditions teaching people to abstain from this or that when God never said so plagued Judaism and have long plagued Christianity.  I know orthodox priests that teach young people to even abstain from dating!  They think marriages should be arranged.  Sorry... if it isn't in Scripture and isn't in the early Father's... I"m not buying it. 

Call me a troll if you want.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: mike on April 10, 2011, 01:01:44 PM
I know you think I'm a "troll" because I disagree with you.  That's fine.  You don't know me nor my heart; I know I'm not a troll.  And in fact, I would say it is much more "troll-ish" to cite duet. 22 as support for the belief that sex in courtship is a sin.

I'm sorry but you won't find martyrdom on the internet.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 01:19:54 PM
I know you think I'm a "troll" because I disagree with you.  That's fine.  You don't know me nor my heart; I know I'm not a troll.  And in fact, I would say it is much more "troll-ish" to cite duet. 22 as support for the belief that sex in courtship is a sin.

I'm sorry but you won't find martyrdom on the internet.

Say what?  I'm not a martyr or looking for it.  The guy called me a troll earlier.  I've been consistently defending what I see as the correct position, and I guess that is the definition of a troll in his eyes.  

And now your sarcasm.  Well... I can play that game too.  I'll tell you what ... you orthodox are super friendly to people exploring conversion, especially in this special section of this website for people with questions.  Keep fighting the good fight! 

I've had enough of this sort of attitude in my Baptist heritage.  I'm outa here.  Take care.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 10, 2011, 01:30:49 PM
And now your sarcasm.  Well... I can play that game too.  I'll tell you what ... you orthodox are super friendly to people exploring conversion, especially in this special section of this website for people with questions.

That's right, it's for people with questions, not people looking for approval of their pre-determined answers.

If you look at questions asked by honest seekers, you can see people here are generally very friendly and helpful.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Marat on April 10, 2011, 02:10:24 PM
I know you think I'm a "troll" because I disagree with you.  That's fine.  You don't know me nor my heart; I know I'm not a troll.  And in fact, I would say it is much more "troll-ish" to cite duet. 22 as support for the belief that sex in courtship is a sin.

I'm sorry but you won't find martyrdom on the internet.

Say what?  I'm not a martyr or looking for it.  The guy called me a troll earlier.  I've been consistently defending what I see as the correct position, and I guess that is the definition of a troll in his eyes.  

And now your sarcasm.  Well... I can play that game too.  I'll tell you what ... you orthodox are super friendly to people exploring conversion, especially in this special section of this website for people with questions.  Keep fighting the good fight! 

I've had enough of this sort of attitude in my Baptist heritage.  I'm outa here.  Take care.

I have not read all pages of this thread, only the first and last. Forgive me if I have missed something. And forgive me if my words seem harsh. I mean to be helpful.

First, the people on this site are remarkable friendly. I've dealt with many over the years both on this site, through emails, and a few in person. They have been most helpful. However our different experiences may be due to our different approaches in coming to this site. You have come here with some established doctrines you seem to wish others to submit to. I have come here to learn from others who have more experience than I.

FatherGiryus is right in that you seem to have a lot of Baptist left in you. If you are looking to be persuaded through someone quoting you a text then you will be disappointed in Orthodoxy. This is not the way it works. Scripture is valued highly but also along with tradition and the writings/teachings of the Church Fathers. They are not separate sources in the in Orthodox mindset but one larger, greater source than any of them could be alone. The Baptist/Protestant mindset of finding a verse and then privately interpreting it outside of any historical interpretations or church history is what has led to the multitudes of denominations. It just won't work.

Your judgment of churches by the failures of individuals will always lead you to disappointment. The scandals with Catholics priests, the buying and selling of offices in the Orthodox church in times past - these things are not doctrines of the church. I do understand the concept of judging "by their fruits you will know them" since I've done that in the past myself. It is what led me to years in the Mormon Church. The Mormons have some wonderful fruit. It doesn't make their doctrine truth however.

I am sorry to read of the problems with your first marriage. While your experiences are individual, your challenges are not. What I mean by that is that many if not all of us face something we are challenged by in the Orthodox Church. I do. I know some other posters do on here as well and I am willing to guess almost everyone does. It would make my life easier if a certain doctrine was changed. I have written on here in the past that I am gay (which I still am). I am celibate and have been for many years. I could find a church which approves (MCC). I could be bitter talking about wasted years as you have. I could try to convince those on this board that church doctrine should be changed to accommodate any well reasoned arguments I compose. It would be time and energy wasted on something fruitless when instead I could use that time on bettering myself. And there are amazing things to learn from tradition, the Church Fathers, and those alive in the faith today with more experience to guide us.

I gave up the notion sometime back that I know best. Many of us have that problem. We each become our own little "pope" in that we define infallible interpretation of scriptures and use logic and reasoning, along with modern day science to come up with our own set of religious beliefs. If that is what you are after, admit it. That is why some think you are a troll. You post on this site about joining but argue how unbiblical core beliefs are.

If I have misrepresented the Orthodox faith in any way, please correct me posters. I am a Catholic with a great interest in Orthodoxy.

I wish you the best in your journey.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 10, 2011, 04:34:07 PM
Those who choose to pursue marriage have not sinned, rather they are enjoying a gift given to them.  And from what I can read in Scripture, the loss of virginity that comes with choosing marriage can occur even before the "ceremony" of a wedding.  Look at the Song of Solomon.  The couple share's a bed in that book before the actual wedding, while they are courting. As to these particular writings, I have found no passages that say such sex in courtship is sin.

No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either.  In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman, the virginity happened to be lost in the courtship phase of the "marriage" (before a wedding).

I must say... that's certainly an interpretation of the Song of Solomon I've never heard before.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Veniamin on April 10, 2011, 04:47:30 PM
Those who choose to pursue marriage have not sinned, rather they are enjoying a gift given to them.  And from what I can read in Scripture, the loss of virginity that comes with choosing marriage can occur even before the "ceremony" of a wedding.  Look at the Song of Solomon.  The couple share's a bed in that book before the actual wedding, while they are courting. As to these particular writings, I have found no passages that say such sex in courtship is sin.

No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either.  In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman, the virginity happened to be lost in the courtship phase of the "marriage" (before a wedding).

I must say... that's certainly an interpretation of the Song of Solomon I've never heard before.

That's probably because acts420 just now made it up. ::)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 10, 2011, 05:34:06 PM
Does this "premarital courtship sex" you believe in bond the pair for life, or can one still back out to sexually "try on" others? If the latter, what differentiates this "backing out" to have sex with other people from, say, adultery?

Nicholas,

One can still back out.

...I think they should do as they feel led and comfortable.  

Arch-blasphemy. Imagine if your system were condoned, and one person in a couple was "dissatisfied" with his or her partner sexually; this person backs out, and leaves his or her partner, who is loving and committed to them, in the dust; a soul is crushed while this person searches out his or her idol, the ideal match for their fleshly preferences.

I have done things outside of marriage, Lord have mercy; I am not talking down to you in any way. But what you have tried to preach as doctrine spits on the longsuffering Love that Christ has for his Bride, and it transforms romantic love into a sort of love that even the demons possess.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on April 10, 2011, 08:07:31 PM
Dear Acts,

You have already made up your mind, so nothing that I have for you will be helpful.

I can see that you are still stinging from my 'troll' characterization of your posting, and I still think you are cruising for a fight rather than genuinely seeking conversion.  It is a common mistake for people seeking to enter the Church in part to justify their own opinions.  But, that really isn't 'converting,' but merely 'joining.'  The Orthodox Church requires genuine conversion, when we lay aside all prior opinions and beliefs to become part of the Body of Christ.

You went on a Convert Issues forum, that means you want to know what we teach in order to convert.  I think you know now.

Your questions have been answered and you know what the Church stands for.  You can call us wrong, but they you are not really interested in converting and your your purpose has changed.  You want to convert us.  That ain't happening.

Most of us have survived the opinions you now hold, and have no interest in going back.  I spent more of my live outside the Orthodox Church than in it.  I am no stranger to the ideas you have because I once held them.  Experience taught me otherwise.  You are young and will learn the hard way.  I pray that God protects you from some of what you are opening yourself up to, and heals you from your present torment.

The essays I shared with you discuss virginity.  As I said before, the Fathers aren't going to use your terminology, so you can think you are justified but you are really missing the whole point.

The fact is that most of human history has been lived out with arranged marriages, and somehow multiple societies found that they work.  Right now, we have all the sexual freedom we could imagine and people are just as unhappy as ever.

Sorry, but sometimes life is not fair no matter by what 'rules' you play.  Sometimes bad things happen.  Something bad happened to you, but that does not mean that the whole world is going to change.  The Church certainly isn't.

Go on with your life, and hate us if that's what you must do, though I don't recommend it.  You can look down on us and mock our beliefs, but we will not be upset.  More of us than you know have thought as you have and acted accordingly and reaped the sorrows in great sheaves.  In this day and age, the harvest is rich because the fields are wide.

If you are ever ready to return, the Church will still be here and still be the same.  Whether you like it or not, the Church does not change.

Meanwhile you can enjoy this: http://books.google.com/books?id=cMxzdmLEL8UC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Proverbs,+Ecclesiastes,+Song+of+Solomon+By+John+Robert+Wright,+Thomas+C.+Oden&source=bl&ots=pgC37hCnZH&sig=V5CMm7dbQylCtrYaYdHu_9acqS0&hl=en&ei=Mb_YS-_iHpCS8gTh0KGoBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=where&f=false (http://books.google.com/books?id=cMxzdmLEL8UC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Proverbs,+Ecclesiastes,+Song+of+Solomon+By+John+Robert+Wright,+Thomas+C.+Oden&source=bl&ots=pgC37hCnZH&sig=V5CMm7dbQylCtrYaYdHu_9acqS0&hl=en&ei=Mb_YS-_iHpCS8gTh0KGoBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=where&f=false)

God be with you!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 10, 2011, 08:59:21 PM
In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman,

Have you ever heard of allegory?  The Song of Solomon is an allegory in that the relationship between a man and a woman is analogous to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.  If we look at Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) Chapter 1, Verse 1, the footnotes of the Orthodox Study Bible says....

Quote
Thus, Solomon is a type of the King of Peace, Christ, throughout this allegory.  Christ Himself is portrayed by the Bridegroom (Isaiah 62:5), and the song is that of the marriage of the Lamb (Revelations 19:7-9)

Let's look at Chapter 1, Verse 2:

Quote
The Holy Church, long awaiting the Lord's coming, proclaims here her desire for intimacy with God.

Both footnotes are found on page 882 of the Orthodox Study Bible

Let me define allegory (http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/allegory.html) for you:

Quote
Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy.
Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.

Right now, you're dealing with what you think is the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon; however, you're missing out on the symbolic meaning and how the Old Testament pre-figures the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.

When you calm down and feel ready to discuss the Song of Solomon as a symbolic prefiguring of Jesus Christ, then we can talk....  
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on April 10, 2011, 09:40:46 PM
Arch-blasphemy. Imagine if your system were condoned, and one person in a couple was "dissatisfied" with his or her partner sexually; this person backs out, and leaves his or her partner, who is loving and committed to them, in the dust; a soul is crushed while this person searches out his or her idol, the ideal match for their fleshly preferences.

Hi all,

I have been lurking for a while now but felt a need to comment on this.

The situation Nicholas described happened to me after five years with a girl who I was convinced I would marry. Well, it wasn't so much that she was dissatisfied with me sexually -- she just found someone else to lust after.

I can say without any melodrama that the whole episode robbed me of all happiness and will to live. Three years on and I am still picking up the pieces of my broken heart. Only by God's grace and visitation am I alive this day.

For what it's worth, my view is that, by becoming Christians, we sign up for a life of suffering and faithfulness (and suffering in our faithfulness). Where does this try before you buy mentality Acts is speaking of fit in with that bigger picture?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 10, 2011, 09:44:26 PM
Welcome to the forum akimori makoto!   :)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on April 10, 2011, 09:58:11 PM
Welcome to the forum akimori makoto!   :)

Thank you very much!

I should probably get back to work now after hijacking this thread, hah.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 10, 2011, 10:00:45 PM
Right now, you're dealing with what you think is the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon; however, you're missing out on the symbolic meaning and how the Old Testament pre-figures the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.
Is he really? Cannot one focus on the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon without forgetting, but also without discussing, its allegorical meaning?

When you calm down and feel ready to discuss the Song of Solomon as a symbolic prefiguring of Jesus Christ, then we can talk....  
But that's not being debated here. Let's not confuse things by insisting that acts420 engage us in a study of the allegorical meaning of the Song of Solomon. His already spurious interpretation of the literal meaning of the Song is what we're questioning, so let's remain focused on that.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 10, 2011, 10:10:13 PM
Right now, you're dealing with what you think is the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon; however, you're missing out on the symbolic meaning and how the Old Testament pre-figures the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.
Is he really? Cannot one focus on the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon without forgetting, but also without discussing, its allegorical meaning?

If acts420 is unable to reconcile the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon with what others have cited from Patristics regarding virginity, then discussing the allegorical meaning will help give him a different perspective and perhaps persuade him that the Song of Solomon should not be taken literally like any other sola scriptura interpretations of Scripture.

When you calm down and feel ready to discuss the Song of Solomon as a symbolic prefiguring of Jesus Christ, then we can talk....  
But that's not being debated here. Let's not confuse things by insisting that acts420 engage us in a study of the allegorical meaning of the Song of Solomon. His already spurious interpretation of the literal meaning of the Song is what we're questioning, so let's remain focused on that.

Maybe if I had said "the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church" rather than Jesus Christ alone?   ???  My comments were intended to debunk the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon, which is even confusing from a Patristic perspective, and mention the allegorical meaning.  Mentioning the allegory doesn't detract from the thread since a convert ought to know about the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church that He founded.   ??? :-\  ???
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 11:34:42 PM
And now your sarcasm.  Well... I can play that game too.  I'll tell you what ... you orthodox are super friendly to people exploring conversion, especially in this special section of this website for people with questions.

That's right, it's for people with questions, not people looking for approval of their pre-determined answers.

If you look at questions asked by honest seekers, you can see people here are generally very friendly and helpful.

That sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me of being a liar (of not being honest) because I asked about theology, received your answer, and nonetheless decided to maintain a theological position that is different from yours.  In other words, it sounds an awful lot like you're a bigot.

I'm not looking for approval.  I'm looking for information.  And a little Christian charity wouldn't hurt either.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 11:40:33 PM
Those who choose to pursue marriage have not sinned, rather they are enjoying a gift given to them.  And from what I can read in Scripture, the loss of virginity that comes with choosing marriage can occur even before the "ceremony" of a wedding.  Look at the Song of Solomon.  The couple share's a bed in that book before the actual wedding, while they are courting. As to these particular writings, I have found no passages that say such sex in courtship is sin.

No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either.  In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman, the virginity happened to be lost in the courtship phase of the "marriage" (before a wedding).

I must say... that's certainly an interpretation of the Song of Solomon I've never heard before.

It isn't really an interpretation.  It is more like a fact.  In the order of the book the couple lies with one another (they share a bed) after they begin courting but before they have a wedding ceremony.  I suppose you could call it an interpretation based on the assumption that the book is in chronological order.  However, we assume chronological order for pretty much every story in the Bible. Additionally, the story itself seems to be following the couple from the beginning of their love on through a wedding and beyond.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 11:53:07 PM



Arch-blasphemy. Imagine if your system were condoned, and one person in a couple was "dissatisfied" with his or her partner sexually; this person backs out, and leaves his or her partner, who is loving and committed to them, in the dust; a soul is crushed while this person searches out his or her idol, the ideal match for their fleshly preferences.

I have done things outside of marriage, Lord have mercy; I am not talking down to you in any way. But what you have tried to preach as doctrine spits on the longsuffering Love that Christ has for his Bride, and it transforms romantic love into a sort of love that even the demons possess.


It's called a broken heart.  It happens all the time, even to people who have not had sexual intimacy.  I know a man who's heart remained broken for 7 years after a breakup with a girl he dated for two years and never had any sort of sexual intimacy with.  I know another who got dumped after 3 years by a girl he was sleeping with and was over her in much less time.  Hopefully you see my point.

I would instead say blasphemy is the belief that the order of the Song of Solomon "transforms romantic love into a sort of love that even the demons possess."  But to each his own.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 10, 2011, 11:57:54 PM
In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman,

Have you ever heard of allegory?  The Song of Solomon is an allegory in that the relationship between a man and a woman is analogous to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.  If we look at Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) Chapter 1, Verse 1, the footnotes of the Orthodox Study Bible says....

Quote
Thus, Solomon is a type of the King of Peace, Christ, throughout this allegory.  Christ Himself is portrayed by the Bridegroom (Isaiah 62:5), and the song is that of the marriage of the Lamb (Revelations 19:7-9)

Let's look at Chapter 1, Verse 2:

Quote
The Holy Church, long awaiting the Lord's coming, proclaims here her desire for intimacy with God.

Both footnotes are found on page 882 of the Orthodox Study Bible

Let me define allegory (http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/allegory.html) for you:

Quote
Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy.
Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.

Right now, you're dealing with what you think is the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon; however, you're missing out on the symbolic meaning and how the Old Testament pre-figures the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.

When you calm down and feel ready to discuss the Song of Solomon as a symbolic prefiguring of Jesus Christ, then we can talk....  

Yes I understand the metaphor.  However, it is also a story in and of itself that celebrates marriage.  In that story, the couple lies with one another before the wedding. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 12:09:43 AM
I apologize if I seemed to dismiss the many people who have provided me helpful information in a kind manner.  My distress is at only those who have sarcastically insulted my character, namely FatherGiryus, Iconodule, and any one else who has publicly accused me of being dishonest.  A few bad apples are no reason for me to avoid the entire grove, so I'll continue to try to look at this thread in the future.  I simply will not converse with people who demean me.  Hopefully they will remain few.

I felt like I needed to have my mind made up on this issue as best as possible before pursuing the orthodox faith any further.   That may seem extreme, but this particular "theological" topic has caused an extreme amount of damage in my life.... that's just the way it is.  So, again to those who have kindly helped answer my questions... thank you.  I now feel comfortable enough to talk to a local priest about my Christian faith and about joining the orthodox church, and I look forward to learning more in person.

God Bless,
Jason

P.S. - Hopefully the priest I see won't be FatherGiryus.  And if it is, hopefully he won't take a picture of me, photoshop it with a troll hat, and then pass it around the church so everyone can laugh. "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent--the LORD detests them both."  Proverbs 17
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 11, 2011, 12:10:57 AM
In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman,

Have you ever heard of allegory?  The Song of Solomon is an allegory in that the relationship between a man and a woman is analogous to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.  If we look at Song of Solomon (aka Song of Songs) Chapter 1, Verse 1, the footnotes of the Orthodox Study Bible says....

Quote
Thus, Solomon is a type of the King of Peace, Christ, throughout this allegory.  Christ Himself is portrayed by the Bridegroom (Isaiah 62:5), and the song is that of the marriage of the Lamb (Revelations 19:7-9)

Let's look at Chapter 1, Verse 2:

Quote
The Holy Church, long awaiting the Lord's coming, proclaims here her desire for intimacy with God.

Both footnotes are found on page 882 of the Orthodox Study Bible

Let me define allegory (http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/allegory.html) for you:

Quote
Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy.
Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.

Right now, you're dealing with what you think is the literal meaning of the Song of Solomon; however, you're missing out on the symbolic meaning and how the Old Testament pre-figures the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church.

When you calm down and feel ready to discuss the Song of Solomon as a symbolic prefiguring of Jesus Christ, then we can talk....  

Yes I understand the metaphor.  However, it is also a story in and of itself that celebrates marriage.  In that story, the couple lies with one another before the wedding. 

1In the night on my bed
I sought him on whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but did not find him.
I called him, but he did not hear me.
2I will rise now and go about the city,
In the marketplaces and the streets.
I will seek him whom my soul loves.
I sought him, but did not find him.

3The watchmen who do their rounds in the city
Found me, and I said to them,
"Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"
4 Scarcely had I departed from them
When I found him whom my soul loves,
I held him and would not let him go
Until I brought him into my mother's house,
Into the chamber of her who conceived me.

5I implore you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the hosts and powers of the field,
That you rouse not nor wake my love
Until he wishes.

Song of Songs (or Solomon) 3:1-5 as in the Orthodox Study Bible, page 885-886

Take a look at verse 4, a prophecy fulfilled when Mary Magdalene saw the Resurrected Jesus. (citing footnotes for Song of Songs 3:4 on page 886 of the Orthodox Study Bible)

Now look at verses 1-3 and imagine Mary Magdalene searching for Jesus following his crucifixion and ask yourself if there are any sexual connotations in those 5 verses.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 11, 2011, 12:25:10 AM
11I am by beloved's
And his desire is towards me.
12Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field;
Let us lodge in the villages;

13Let us rise early in the morning in the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has flowered,
If the blossoms have appeared,
If the pomegranates have blossomed,
There I will give you my breasts.

14The mandrakes have put forth an aroma,
And fruits of all kinds, new and old,
Are at our doors.
O my beloved, I have kept them for you.


Song of Songs 7:11-14 on pages 890-891 of the Orthodox Study Bible

acts420, The footnotes for verses 12 and 14 (on page 890) indicate that the above passage is a prophetic description of evangelism by the apostles and the Church.  When a baby is born, even the baby is breastfed for the first couple of months of its life just as the early Church was breastfed by the successors to the Apostles, the martyrs, the Ecumenical Councils, early Patristic writings, et al.  Again, read the passages and ask yourself if there is really any sexual connotation in them.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on April 11, 2011, 12:52:11 AM
Well, now you are just sounding hysterical!   :laugh:

I would not know how to get a picture of you, and I certainly know nothing of Photoshop.  That would also presume that you meant enough to me to make it worth my while.  To be honest, I had entirely forgotten about you until I got a notification that the thread had booted up again.

Seriously, I mean you know ill will.  I do not think you are evil, but you are dishonest.  You are not being honest with yourself nor with the information that has been presented to you.  You accuse the Church of sinning against people by giving them false teachings, yet you bristle when someone hints that you are being less than honest in how you present your 'evidence.'

Perhaps this should have been said a bit earlier: Orthodoxy does not set out a bunch of rules that one is expected to perfectly keep.  In fact, the assumption is that the standard will always be out of grasp.  It is designed that way.  Why?  Because it keeps us from falling into the pride that we can 'will' our way into heaven without repentance.  Instead, we fall and ask for God's help.  he does not always help us maintain perfection, but He always accepts our return to Him when we fail.  If you think you can keep all of the Law, why would you need to repent?

Your problem is that you want a system that is perfectly suited to you.  It is selfish by nature.  We all do that when we hurt, because pain makes us self-oriented.  But, that does not give you the right to twist the Scriptures and Tradition just because you are wounded.  Truly I am sorry that things did not work out for you, but I don't think it has to be the end of the world and it certainly does not merit creating a whole new theology based on your bad experiences and modern culture.

We who pastor know full well the struggles people have with sex.  Most people, including a good many Orthodox Christians, fail to keep their virginity until marriage.  That does not mean that they are automatically condemned to hell and are to be hated.  But, it does mean that they have missed the mark and will have problems later if they do not repent and get back to a proper life.  That is where I come in: my job is to help people recognize the sin, confess it and be restored to the path towards Christ.

I have a very little tolerance when people accuse the Church of sin.  Sure, you are free to do what you want, and you certainly will do what you want.  But, your pain does not justify twisting the Apostolic inheritance.

By the way, before you have that chat with the local priest, do pick up an Orthodox Prayer Book and read our prayers.  We never talk about being innocent, but rather always accuse ourselves first.


I apologize if I seemed to dismiss the many people who have provided me helpful information in a kind manner.  My distress is at only those who have sarcastically insulted my character, namely FatherGiryus, Iconodule, and any one else who has publicly accused me of being dishonest.  A few bad apples are no reason for me to avoid the entire grove, so I'll continue to try to look at this thread in the future.  I simply will not converse with people who demean me.  Hopefully they will remain few.

I felt like I needed to have my mind made up on this issue as best as possible before pursuing the orthodox faith any further.   That may seem extreme, but this particular "theological" topic has caused an extreme amount of damage in my life.... that's just the way it is.  So, again to those who have kindly helped answer my questions... thank you.  I now feel comfortable enough to talk to a local priest about my Christian faith and about joining the orthodox church, and I look forward to learning more in person.

God Bless,
Jason

P.S. - Hopefully the priest I see won't be FatherGiryus.  And if it is, hopefully he won't take a picture of me, photoshop it with a troll hat, and then pass it around the church so everyone can laugh. "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent--the LORD detests them both."  Proverbs 17
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 01:56:01 AM

Song of Songs 7:11-14 on pages 890-891 of the Orthodox Study Bible

acts420, The footnotes for verses 12 and 14 (on page 890) indicate that the above passage is a prophetic description of evangelism by the apostles and the Church.  When a baby is born, even the baby is breastfed for the first couple of months of its life just as the early Church was breastfed by the successors to the Apostles, the martyrs, the Ecumenical Councils, early Patristic writings, et al.  Again, read the passages and ask yourself if there is really any sexual connotation in them.

Not to mention this:

11I am by beloved's
And his desire is towards me.
12Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field;
Let us lodge in the villages;

13Let us rise early in the morning in the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has flowered,
If the blossoms have appeared,
If the pomegranates have blossomed,
There I will give you my breasts.

14The mandrakes have put forth an aroma,
And fruits of all kinds, new and old,
Are at our doors.
O my beloved, I have kept them for you.


It's called a broken heart.  It happens all the time, even to people who have not had sexual intimacy.  I know a man who's heart remained broken for 7 years after a breakup with a girl he dated for two years and never had any sort of sexual intimacy with.  I know another who got dumped after 3 years by a girl he was sleeping with and was over her in much less time.  Hopefully you see my point.
I see that people make mistakes, I certainly have. I thank God that His Church does not attempt to sanctify them. When you fall, you get back up, you don't pretend you never fell.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 02:17:28 AM
It's called a broken heart.  It happens all the time, even to people who have not had sexual intimacy.  I know a man who's heart remained broken for 7 years after a breakup with a girl he dated for two years and never had any sort of sexual intimacy with.
Something doesn't have to be related to eating, drinking or sex to be fleshly, that would be a gnostic perspective. The Israelites whored against their Bridegroom by worshipping the Ba'alim, not by having human intercouse.

How does God treat the one He courts?

"I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD."
-Hosea 2:19-20

How are we to love?

"And the LORD said to me, 'Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods..."
-Hosea 3:1

Glory to God! For His Mercy endures to the ages.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 11, 2011, 02:39:20 AM
And now your sarcasm.  Well... I can play that game too.  I'll tell you what ... you orthodox are super friendly to people exploring conversion, especially in this special section of this website for people with questions.

That's right, it's for people with questions, not people looking for approval of their pre-determined answers.

If you look at questions asked by honest seekers, you can see people here are generally very friendly and helpful.

That sounds an awful lot like you're accusing me of being a liar (of not being honest) because I asked about theology, received your answer, and nonetheless decided to maintain a theological position that is different from yours.  In other words, it sounds an awful lot like you're a bigot.

I'm not looking for approval.  I'm looking for information.  And a little Christian charity wouldn't hurt either.
Actually, I think you'll find that most people here ARE being charitable to you. They're being charitable by pointing out your un-Christian presuppositions and presumptuous behavior. Please don't take it personally, for no one here is truly trying to demean you as a person. (FatherGiryus has in fact shown himself to be consistently one of this forum's most thoughtful, charitable posters, which only makes your criticism of him look even more irrationally defensive.)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 10:37:21 AM
Actually, I think you'll find that most people here ARE being charitable to you. They're being charitable by pointing out your un-Christian presuppositions and presumptuous behavior. Please don't take it personally, for no one here is truly trying to demean you as a person. (FatherGiryus has in fact shown himself to be consistently one of this forum's most thoughtful, charitable posters, which only makes your criticism of him look even more irrationally defensive.)

I'm happy to converse with anyone who calls what I believe "un-Christian".  I didn't come here to hear people call me a Christian.  I came to engage in charitable discussion to find out:
1) what beliefs of mine are orthodox and what aren't according to the people here
2) whether or not the "orthodox" view on the role of sexual intimacy in courtship has actual roots in early Christian teaching or, instead, has just been passed down from generation to generation as a extra-apostolic tradition, and
3) if I want to join the orthodox church, and, if so, how to do it

I don't take it personally if someone says they think my beliefs about courtship are not "Christian".  That is fine, and we can charitably disagree.  When people start calling me dishonest and a troll that is when the discussion is no longer charitable (on their end).  So I simply won't converse with them.  I am not here to trade or receive personal insults; that is a waste of my time and energy.

The reaction of people like FatherGiryus and Iconodule says more to me than their words anyway.  If they feel the need to dismiss me personally as a liar and a fraud because of the ideas I hold, then that means they're having trouble dealing with my ideas logically.  They apparently must resort to ad hominem attacks in an attempt to bolster their position.  That says a lot.

The fact remains that I've not been presented with any strong evidence that the prohibition on sexual intimacy during courtship is apostolic.  It seems to be about as apostolic as the prohibition on marriage for bishops (in other words, not apostolic at all).  Many Orthodox Christians claim to rely on Scripture and Apostolic Tradition for their beliefs; they claim the Eastern Orthodox tradition is the one that has maintained the original Christian beliefs.  Well... Scripture says bishops can marry, and the Apostles taught that bishops can marry.  However, many "orthodox" today nonetheless reject those ideas and instead rely on the cultural realities of past generations for to forbid marriage.  Similarly, Scripture never prohibits sex as a part of courtship and, in fact, assumes it in the one and only book of Scripture devoted entirely to celebrating a story about courtship and marriage.  

It seems pretty obvious to me that many orthodox suffer from the same problem many Jews at the time of Christ did.  They elevated their grandparent's traditions over and above the traditions God and the Prophets had instituted.  I don't say that to insult anyone; it is just what I have observed.  In fact, it saddens me a bit.  I believed what I was told about orthodoxy, and I assumed many of the beautiful traditions I see during the liturgy were apostolic.  I felt like I was taking part in services the way the Apostles did.  Now all of that is out the window.  It is very obvious to me now that some very important aspects of orthodoxy are simply later inventions.  I just don't know how much.

All I want is the truth.  I want to live and believe what Christ and the Apostles taught was best for me, not what a group of later people decided was best for them.  That doesn't make me a fraud or a liar or a fake.  It simply makes me a Christian who, at this point, doesn't agree with the non-biblical, non-apostolic, rules many (if not most) orthodox have decided to impose on themselves with regards to sex and marriage.  I will continue to explore the orthodox church.  If one will have me, I will join because I do believe the orthodox have maintained Apostolic belief much more than my previous Baptist churches did, and I want to learn more about those beliefs.  However, I refuse to blindly accept whatever someone in supposed authority tells me.  Not even Paul expected the Bereans to do that.  I've already wasted too much of my life blindly following other people's invented traditions.  That way of life has caused me enough damage.  From now on, I follow Christ alone.  If that makes me "dishonest" in Mr. Giryus' eyes... then I'm proud to be.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on April 11, 2011, 11:16:34 AM
Actually, I think you'll find that most people here ARE being charitable to you. They're being charitable by pointing out your un-Christian presuppositions and presumptuous behavior. Please don't take it personally, for no one here is truly trying to demean you as a person. (FatherGiryus has in fact shown himself to be consistently one of this forum's most thoughtful, charitable posters, which only makes your criticism of him look even more irrationally defensive.)

I'm happy to converse with anyone who calls what I believe "un-Christian".  I didn't come here to hear people call me a Christian.  I came to engage in charitable discussion to find out:
1) what beliefs of mine are orthodox and what aren't according to the people here
2) whether or not the "orthodox" view on the role of sexual intimacy in courtship has actual roots in early Christian teaching or, instead, has just been passed down from generation to generation as a extra-apostolic tradition, and
3) if I want to join the orthodox church, and, if so, how to do it

I don't take it personally if someone says they think my beliefs about courtship are not "Christian".  That is fine, and we can charitably disagree.  When people start calling me dishonest and a troll that is when the discussion is no longer charitable (on their end).  So I simply won't converse with them.  I am not here to trade or receive personal insults; that is a waste of my time and energy.

The reaction of people like FatherGiryus and Iconodule says more to me than their words anyway.  If they feel the need to dismiss me personally as a liar and a fraud because of the ideas I hold, then that means they're having trouble dealing with my ideas logically.  They apparently must resort to ad hominem attacks in an attempt to bolster their position.  That says a lot.

The fact remains that I've not been presented with any strong evidence that the prohibition on sexual intimacy during courtship is apostolic.  It seems to be about as apostolic as the prohibition on marriage for bishops (in other words, not apostolic at all).  Many Orthodox Christians claim to rely on Scripture and Apostolic Tradition for their beliefs; they claim the Eastern Orthodox tradition is the one that has maintained the original Christian beliefs.  Well... Scripture says bishops can marry, and the Apostles taught that bishops can marry.  However, many "orthodox" today nonetheless reject those ideas and instead rely on the cultural realities of past generations for to forbid marriage.  Similarly, Scripture never prohibits sex as a part of courtship and, in fact, assumes it in the one and only book of Scripture devoted entirely to celebrating a story about courtship and marriage.  

It seems pretty obvious to me that many orthodox suffer from the same problem many Jews at the time of Christ did.  They elevated their grandparent's traditions over and above the traditions God and the Prophets had instituted.  I don't say that to insult anyone; it is just what I have observed.  In fact, it saddens me a bit.  I believed what I was told about orthodoxy, and I assumed many of the beautiful traditions I see during the liturgy were apostolic.  I felt like I was taking part in services the way the Apostles did.  Now all of that is out the window.  It is very obvious to me now that some very important aspects of orthodoxy are simply later inventions.  I just don't know how much.

All I want is the truth.  I want to live and believe what Christ and the Apostles taught was best for me, not what a group of later people decided was best for them.  That doesn't make me a fraud or a liar or a fake.  It simply makes me a Christian who, at this point, doesn't agree with the non-biblical, non-apostolic, rules many (if not most) orthodox have decided to impose on themselves with regards to sex and marriage.  I will continue to explore the orthodox church.  If one will have me, I will join because I do believe the orthodox have maintained Apostolic belief much more than my previous Baptist churches did, and I want to learn more about those beliefs.  However, I refuse to blindly accept whatever someone in supposed authority tells me.  Not even Paul expected the Bereans to do that.  I've already wasted too much of my life blindly following other people's invented traditions.  That way of life has caused me enough damage.  From now on, I follow Christ alone.  If that makes me "dishonest" in Mr. Giryus' eyes... then I'm proud to be.

And what happens if you're wrong?
After all, you've invented your own traditions/interpretations, just like the people you are so angry with. They were wrong - so you could be. If you are honest, you will admit at least the theoretical possibility that you might get it wrong - and that the Church got it right.
You say you follow Christ alone - but you follow a Christ of your own making, a Christ who tells you to do what you want to do, that it won't hurt anyone, and you'll enjoy it, a Christ who wants you to be happy according to your standards and criteria.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on April 11, 2011, 11:23:12 AM
Dear Acts,

I have presented plenty of logical arguments:

1) the Fathers of the Church do not state anywhere that sex before or outside of marriage is sanctioned by the Church.  Therefore, you are reading into them something that is not there.

2) the Scriptures (Old Testament) make allowance for 'pre-marital sex' so long as the couple marries afterwards and does not divorce.  This would preclude your 'test-sex' remedy.

3) the Song of Songs has never been interpreted as an ode to pre-marital intercourse.

4) even if you were to find a citation to your liking, the Church still would not admit you to Baptism if you claimed the sin of extra-marital sex is a good thing.

5) your view that the theology of the Church does not suite your needs and therefore must be changed is unreasonable, since your situation at best would be an exception rather than the norm.

6) perfect keeping of the morality of the Church is an impossibility to all but the saints, and so the Church accepts the repentance of us sinners so long as we admit the sin.  If you deny the sin, then you cannot be received back.  This is hardly a cruel standard as you have charged.

7) your accusation of the Church as holding to non-Apostolic teachings is thusly an accusation of sin against the Church.  This is not acceptable.

8 ) you never established a Biblically- or Patristically-based methodology for discerning when 'pre-marital sex' is being used simply for sex rather than for courtship.  This indicates that you are not certain there is one.

9 ) I sensed you were trolling for a fight (fishing simile) because you continue to argue even after you got the answers we gave you.  You are still trolling, because you already know that you cannot be received into the Church with such irregular opinions regarding basic morality, and yet you keep making like you are going to act on the conversion process.  This is either a lack of honest on your part with yourself (hence the dishonesty charge) or you are trolling for more fights.

If you were honest with yourself, you would realize that your opinions are not in keeping with the Church.  If the Church is sinning, as you claim, then you ought to want to have nothing to do with it.  You would run.  But, you are not.  You are conflicted, calling the Church sinful yet continuing to toy with the idea of 'joining' once you can find that one person in the Church who may agree with you.  It is, at its core, dishonest prima facie.  This is not an insult, but a rhetorical label describing your thinking.

Now, you appear to enjoy the fight and invoking your woundedness, which makes me suspicious as well.  Truly wounded people shrink fom such fights.  They want nothing to do with them.  They are hurt and want the pain to go away.  You are angry.  This is different.  You are spoiling for a fight, which indicates that the real hurt went away sometime back and now you are acting on the passions as a result.

I am spending time with you on this thread because I am trying to plant seeds into your insight that will sprout later.  You are too angry to back down, and I understand that.  I don't have to 'win' and get you to repent, because I knew from the beginning you are too angry to do that.  What I am doing is sowing seeds.  They will make sense later, when you are faced with your next round of spiritual growth-opportunity.  You are young, and if God permits, you will have many long years ahead.  This will make sense later, just as it did to many of us.

So, there you have it: this all beings and ends with your post title, 'Is my doctrine correct...?'  You can invent all the doctrines you want, but you can't call them 'Orthodox' because the Church has its own.






Actually, I think you'll find that most people here ARE being charitable to you. They're being charitable by pointing out your un-Christian presuppositions and presumptuous behavior. Please don't take it personally, for no one here is truly trying to demean you as a person. (FatherGiryus has in fact shown himself to be consistently one of this forum's most thoughtful, charitable posters, which only makes your criticism of him look even more irrationally defensive.)

I'm happy to converse with anyone who calls what I believe "un-Christian".  I didn't come here to hear people call me a Christian.  I came to engage in charitable discussion to find out:
1) what beliefs of mine are orthodox and what aren't according to the people here
2) whether or not the "orthodox" view on the role of sexual intimacy in courtship has actual roots in early Christian teaching or, instead, has just been passed down from generation to generation as a extra-apostolic tradition, and
3) if I want to join the orthodox church, and, if so, how to do it

I don't take it personally if someone says they think my beliefs about courtship are not "Christian".  That is fine, and we can charitably disagree.  When people start calling me dishonest and a troll that is when the discussion is no longer charitable (on their end).  So I simply won't converse with them.  I am not here to trade or receive personal insults; that is a waste of my time and energy.

The reaction of people like FatherGiryus and Iconodule says more to me than their words anyway.  If they feel the need to dismiss me personally as a liar and a fraud because of the ideas I hold, then that means they're having trouble dealing with my ideas logically.  They apparently must resort to ad hominem attacks in an attempt to bolster their position.  That says a lot.

The fact remains that I've not been presented with any strong evidence that the prohibition on sexual intimacy during courtship is apostolic.  It seems to be about as apostolic as the prohibition on marriage for bishops (in other words, not apostolic at all).  Many Orthodox Christians claim to rely on Scripture and Apostolic Tradition for their beliefs.  Scripture says bishops can marry, and the Apostles taught that bishops can marry.  Many "orthodox" today nonetheless reject those ideas and instead rely on the cultural realities of past generations for to forbid marriage.  Similarly, Scripture never prohibits sex as a part of courtship and, in fact, assumes it in the one and only book of Scripture devoted entirely to celebrating a story about courtship and marriage.  It seems pretty obvious to me that many orthodox suffer from the same problem many Jews at the time of Christ did.  They have elevated their grandparents traditions over and above the traditions God and the Prophets had instituted.

I don't say that to insult anyone.  I say it because it is what I have gathered from the responses to my questions here.  All I want is the truth.  I want to live and believe what Christ and the Apostles taught was best for me, not what a group of later people decided was best for them.  That doesn't make me a fraud or a liar or a fake.  It simply makes me a Christian who doesn't agree with the non-biblical, non-apostolic, rules many (if not most) orthodox have decided to impose on themselves with regards to sex and marriage.  
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 12:50:55 PM
And what happens if you're wrong?
After all, you've invented your own traditions/interpretations, just like the people you are so angry with. They were wrong - so you could be. If you are honest, you will admit at least the theoretical possibility that you might get it wrong - and that the Church got it right.
You say you follow Christ alone - but you follow a Christ of your own making, a Christ who tells you to do what you want to do, that it won't hurt anyone, and you'll enjoy it, a Christ who wants you to be happy according to your standards and criteria.


I'm not angry at anyone for inventing traditions.  I'm angry at the people who have resorted to ad hominem attacks on my character, calling me a dishonest troll because I have decided against following their customs.  I'll happily converse with people who disagree with me, as most people here probably do.  I'll ignore only the people who insult me.  I know this is a sensitive topic.  So I want to be especially sure to try to keep it charitable.  If I don't ignore those who enjoy insulting and mocking me, then I may end up sinning against them in return.  The last thing I want is for this to turn into some sort of childish insult exchange.

As far as my "invention", I've simply noted the fact that the couple in the Song of Solomon shared a bed with one another in the story before they had a wedding ceremony.  That is a fact, not an invention nor a matter of opinion.  The opinion is that Christians can model their own courtship after the Song.  That opinion of mine could be wrong, sure.  Indeed, that is why I came here: to test my ideas against the knowledge and expertise of orthodox Christians.   Now, after reading more than a year's worth of responses, I feel like I've done that.

What if I'm wrong?  Well, if I am wrong, then God will judge me.  All I can do is follow my conscience to the best of my ability.

You say I follow a Christ of my own making.  However, you may want to look in a mirror.  Wasn't it Christ's very own Apostles that taught that bishops could marry?  Indeed it was, and it was later "orthodox" generations that decided to forbid their marriage.  I would wholly support a married bishop.  If that isn't "orthodox" then that aspect of orthodoxy is simply not Biblical nor Apostolic.  

Likewise, Scripture, in the Song, seems to allow and even celebrate sex during courtship.  No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.  If noting such facts makes me "unorthodox", then unorthodox I will proudly be.  I don't live my life according to my grandparents' opinions.  I want to know their opinions and take them into account.  However, ultimately I will live my life according to what I can best discern is God's opinion through the teachings of Scripture, of Christ, of the Apostles, and of the Apostolic Fathers.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 01:50:51 PM
You say I follow a Christ of my own making.  However, you may want to look in a mirror.  Wasn't it Christ's very own Apostles that taught that bishops could marry?  Indeed it was, and it was later "orthodox" generations that decided to forbid their marriage.
You've already been told that there is no theological reason why Bishops cannot marry. It is forbidden today because, considering the duties of a Bishop in the post-Apostolic Age, it is impractical and potentially abusive to wives and children.

You seem to be confusing Orthodoxy with some form of Reconstructionism; the fact is, the Orthodox Church does not reconstruct faith and praxis according to the early-church idols that men make in their minds; rather, it has preserved, defended and interpreted that faith for 1970 years.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on April 11, 2011, 02:02:33 PM
Likewise, Scripture, in the Song, seems to allow and even celebrate sex during courtship.
For most people in earlier eras, there was no such thing as courtship, not as we understand it today, anyway. And not, though I may be wrong, as I think you are defining it. Marriages were arranged by families - the courtship was the negotiation between families.

Quote
 No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.
See answer above. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As many people have pointed out to you, the Fathers write about virginity. I've heard that it's rather difficult to maintain virginity while having sex.

Quote
 If noting such facts makes me "unorthodox", then unorthodox I will proudly be.
Those are not the beliefs and teachings of the historical Church. They are your own.

Quote
 I don't live my life according to my grandparents' opinions.
Neither do I - otherwise I would still be Lutheran.

Quote
 I want to know their opinions and take them into account.  However, ultimately I will live my life according to what I can best discern is God's opinion through the teachings of Scripture, of Christ, of the Apostles, and of the Apostolic Fathers.

While ignoring and discarding the beliefs, teachings and praxis of His Church, the Church of the Apostles and the Church of the Apostolic Fathers, in favor of your own opinions/interpretations.

Neat trick, btw.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 11, 2011, 02:31:46 PM
As far as my "invention", I've simply noted the fact that the couple in the Song of Solomon shared a bed with one another in the story before they had a wedding ceremony.

Christ (e.g. the Bridegroom) was laid to rest in a tomb, a kind of chamber or bed.

That is a fact, not an invention nor a matter of opinion.  The opinion is that Christians can model their own courtship after the Song.

Christians can model their lives to constantly seek Christ; to evangelize; like what has already been said.

hat opinion of mine could be wrong, sure.  Indeed, that is why I came here: to test my ideas against the knowledge and expertise of orthodox Christians.   Now, after reading more than a year's worth of responses, I feel like I've done that.

What if I'm wrong?  Well, if I am wrong, then God will judge me.  All I can do is follow my conscience to the best of my ability.

Do you want to wait until the Last Judgment to be judged that pre-marital sex was not appropriate or do you want to absolve yourself of any sins of pre-marital sex before being received into the Orthodox Church?  To be received into the Orthodox Church, you would have to cast aside and denounce everything that is not Orthodox.

You say I follow a Christ of my own making.  However, you may want to look in a mirror.

I used to believe and state that pre-marital sex was justified (against my conscience) until I realized how wrong I was.  Thankfully, the Sacrament of Confession exists to receive absolution for these errors and their consequences.

Wasn't it Christ's very own Apostles that taught that bishops could marry?  Indeed it was, and it was later "orthodox" generations that decided to forbid their marriage.  I would wholly support a married bishop.  If that isn't "orthodox" then that aspect of orthodoxy is simply not Biblical nor Apostolic.

Did someone say that hereditary issues of Bishops passing down inheritances (especially titles) to male children Priests and Bishops are one reason that celibacy of Bishops became the norm?  The Church is allowed the flexibility to adapt to real-world circumstances even though the Church is not of this world.  Bishops who married in the USA absconded their sees and titles (which is why there are a bunch of vagante Bishops claiming "apostolic succession" from 2 or 3 Bishops who absconded their sees for the lovely diner waitress).

Likewise, Scripture, in the Song, seems to allow and even celebrate sex during courtship.  No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.  If noting such facts makes me "unorthodox", then unorthodox I will proudly be.  I don't live my life according to my grandparents' opinions.  I want to know their opinions and take them into account.  However, ultimately I will live my life according to what I can best discern is God's opinion through the teachings of Scripture, of Christ, of the Apostles, and of the Apostolic Fathers.

From the Wisdom of Solomon Chapter 1:1-5 and verse 13 from pages 893, 894 & 896 of the Orthodox Study Bible (Note that the Wisdom of Solomon was the last authored book of the canonical Old Testament).

1Love righteousness, you who judge on the earth.
Think about the Lord in goodness
And seek him with sincerity of heart;
2Because He is found by those who do not tempt Him,
And He is manifest to those who do not disbelieve Him.
3For dishonest reasoning separates people from God,
And when His power examines someone,
It convicts the undiscerning;
4For wisdom will not enter the soul that plots evil,
Nor will it dwell in a body involved in sin.
5For a holy spirit of discipline flees from deceit
And sends away undiscerning reasoning;
It will put wrongdoing to shame when it comes near.
13Blessed is the undefiled barren woman
Who has not known sexual promiscuity;
She shall have fruit in the visitation of souls
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on April 11, 2011, 03:12:37 PM
If noting such facts makes me "unorthodox", then unorthodox I will proudly be.

Very well then, should the moderators lock the thread, seeing that you've reached a conclusion?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 03:57:38 PM
You've already been told that there is no theological reason why Bishops cannot marry. It is forbidden today because, considering the duties of a Bishop in the post-Apostolic Age, it is impractical and potentially abusive to wives and children.

You seem to be confusing Orthodoxy with some form of Reconstructionism; the fact is, the Orthodox Church does not reconstruct faith and praxis according to the early-church idols that men make in their minds; rather, it has preserved, defended and interpreted that faith for 1970 years.

Whether you call the rule theological or practical makes very little difference to me because I've already lost faith whatever generation created it.   Past generations have obviously been more than willing to implement restrictions that go against Apostolic teaching when it suits them and their culture.  They can make whatever distinction they wish to make, and I can see how the "theological/practical" distinction would make you more comfortable.  It must be a little unnerving to say you're faith has been preserved since Christ while at the same time admitting your rules concerning the marital rights of your faith's highest leaders were created long after Christ and are the exact opposite of the rules that the Apostles themselves taught!

I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?  Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.  That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!

I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.  It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.

It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 11, 2011, 04:16:43 PM
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?

I don't see why you are stuck on a married Episcopacy - the Anglicans* have it; maybe you belong there?   ???

Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.

Again, the Anglicans seem to have the correct answers in that department; maybe you belong there?   ???

That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!

Do you understand the context from where Paul is speaking or do you wish to retroactively apply what Paul said to "modern society?"

I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.

Mine burns every day and yet I live alone having to "tend" to the temptation by prayer and fasting.  Gambling falls in the same category; I'd like to play the $1/$2 no-limit hold'em poker tables and yet, I play slots knowing that I would lose a lot of money playing poker.

Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.

A wise woman once told me that she didn't want to be the firecracker burning out at the Fourth of July celebration; she wanted her passions to always be simmering and she had a huge icon corner where she prayed to not give into temptation.

It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.

Studies from diverse groups show time after time that premarital sex and living together results in higher divorce rates.  If a study says otherwise, look at who paid for it.   ;)

It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.

Go and sin no more - that doesn't mean anything to you?  That doesn't make it OK to engage in pre-marital sex; however, since your belief system sounds more Anglican then Orthodox; I think Anglicans have the sacrament of confession.

* I use the terms Anglican and Episcopalian interchangeably.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 04:21:29 PM
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.  What is "potentially abusive to wives and children" though?

I don't see why you are stuck on a married Episcopacy - the Anglicans* have it; maybe you belong there?   ???

Teaching couples that it is a sin to court in the way the Scripture celebrates and, instead, telling them they must roll the dice with regards to whether or not they will get along well sexually.

Again, the Anglicans seem to have the correct answers in that department; maybe you belong there?   ???

That's what.  While Paul wrote that God-given sexual desires ("burning with passion", as he put it) are one very important reason to pursue marriage you're telling single people they might as well be pulling cards out of a hat with regards to whether or not they'll get along well with their spouse sexually.  You could end up pairing one person who's sex drive leads them to twice a year intimacy with someone who's drive is more like twice a day.  That would be fine if sexuality was a minor part of marriage... but it isn't!  It is a very important aspect of marriage and reason to get married, according to Paul!

Do you understand the context from where Paul is speaking or do you wish to retroactively apply what Paul said to "modern society?"

I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.

Mine burns every day and yet I live alone having to "tend" to the temptation by prayer and fasting.  Gambling falls in the same category; I'd like to play the $1/$2 no-limit hold'em poker tables and yet, I play slots knowing that I would lose a lot of money playing poker.

Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.

A wise woman once told me that she didn't want to be the firecracker burning out at the Fourth of July celebration; she wanted her passions to always be simmering and she had a huge icon corner where she prayed to not give into temptation.

It isn't that you're rules are just non-apostolic.  It is that they are *opposite* of Apostolic teaching.  They set up the exact opposite situation that Paul was trying to alleviate, and they foster the exact temptations toward sin that he was trying to enable believers to avoid.  You might as well tell couples they have to refrain from talking during courtship and roll the dice with regards to how often the other wants to talk, how well they relate.  Then watch and see how many end up divorced a few years later because they don't get along personally either.

Studies from diverse groups show time after time that premarital sex and living together results in higher divorce rates.  If a study says otherwise, look at who paid for it.   ;)

It seems rather obvious to me why the Song of Solomon celebrates pre-marital sex in courtship. And as far as I can gather at this point, neither Christ nor the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers ever taught anything to the contrary.

Go and sin no more - that doesn't mean anything to you?  That doesn't make it OK to engage in pre-marital sex; however, since your belief system sounds more Anglican then Orthodox; I think Anglicans have the sacrament of confession.

* I use the terms Anglican and Episcopalian interchangeably.

I've never looked into the Anglican church.  Maybe I should.  As to the "studies" you cite, many other studies have shown that premarital sex has no effect on the divorce rate if not decreasing it.  I cited one earlier in this thread when someone made a similar claim.  But regardless, "studies" can be manipulated quite easily.  I think common sense is the better approach here.

"Go and sin no more" is what Jesus said to the woman accused of adultery, never to anyone accused of modeling their courtship after Song of Solomon (bedding with their partner during courtship).  You may equate the two as "sinful", but Christ certainly never did.  As far as I can tell, neither did the Apostles nor the Apostolic Fathers.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 11, 2011, 04:23:33 PM
Go and sin no more is what Jesus said to the woman accused of adultery, not to anyone accused of modeling their courtship after Scripture

Don't worry, no one will accuse  you of that.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 11, 2011, 04:24:27 PM
And what happens if you're wrong?
After all, you've invented your own traditions/interpretations, just like the people you are so angry with. They were wrong - so you could be. If you are honest, you will admit at least the theoretical possibility that you might get it wrong - and that the Church got it right.
You say you follow Christ alone - but you follow a Christ of your own making, a Christ who tells you to do what you want to do, that it won't hurt anyone, and you'll enjoy it, a Christ who wants you to be happy according to your standards and criteria.


I'm not angry at anyone for inventing traditions.  I'm angry at the people who have resorted to ad hominem attacks on my character, calling me a dishonest troll because I have decided against following their customs.
There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on April 11, 2011, 04:24:36 PM
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 04:29:15 PM
For most people in earlier eras, there was no such thing as courtship, not as we understand it today, anyway. And not, though I may be wrong, as I think you are defining it. Marriages were arranged by families - the courtship was the negotiation between families.

Quote
 No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.
See answer above. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As many people have pointed out to you, the Fathers write about virginity. I've heard that it's rather difficult to maintain virginity while having sex.

I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

I've already responded to the writings about virginity.  They contrasted people who decided to remain celibate with people who decided to pursue marriage.  At what point those who pursued marriage slept with their partner (whether before marriage as celebrated in the Song of Solomon or after as required by the modern orthodox church) is not made clear in any of the writings that have been provided to me.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 04:33:53 PM
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.


Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 04:37:40 PM

There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.

When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 11, 2011, 04:43:02 PM
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.


Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 

When you pointed out that passage in the Song of Solomon a year ago, I said this:
Quote
The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a couple of things before this passage prove your point. First, that the Song of Solomon is meant to be a literal guide to the marriage process, and that we are supposed to pattern our marriages on this poem. The Fathers saw it primarily as a spiritual allegory. Secondly, that this love poem follows a completely linear narrative from courtship until marriage, and that the passage refers not to the future and is not a phantasy. Thirdly, you have to show that the above passage is to be taken literally and referring necessarily to sexual intimacy before marriage, and that Christians are thereby exhorted to follow this pattern before marriage. You've got your work cut out for you.

You did not respond; instead, you left the forum for a year.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on April 11, 2011, 04:57:38 PM
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

First of all, tas I said before, that kind of courtship simply didn't exist up until fairly recently - for most of human history, marriages were arranged by families. Sometimes the wishes of the children were taken into consideration - sometimes not. 

And what of the people who fall in love, share a bed and then one decides this just isn't for them. Or what about one or the other partner is not able to fulfill the other's desires, due to illness or incapacitation? What then? Move on to a partner who is better able to fulfill their desires? No harm - no foul, in your opinion?
What happened to love being patient and kind? What happened to loving someone more than you love yourself?

Just because you keep saying that premarital sex would insure better marriages doesn't make it so. In fact, the evidence of our modern society suggests otherwise.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 11, 2011, 05:16:56 PM

There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.

When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
So you see no difference between people saying you're engaging in dishonest, troll-like behavior and people calling you a lying troll? You can't see that the former is a criticism of your behavior while only the latter is a criticism of your person? I don't see anyone here calling you a lying troll, but I do see people criticizing your behavior on this thread.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FormerReformer on April 11, 2011, 05:54:39 PM
For most people in earlier eras, there was no such thing as courtship, not as we understand it today, anyway. And not, though I may be wrong, as I think you are defining it. Marriages were arranged by families - the courtship was the negotiation between families.

Quote
No Apostolic Father or passage I've ever read forbids it.
See answer above. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As many people have pointed out to you, the Fathers write about virginity. I've heard that it's rather difficult to maintain virginity while having sex.

I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

I've already responded to the writings about virginity.  They contrasted people who decided to remain celibate with people who decided to pursue marriage.  At what point those who pursued marriage slept with their partner (whether before marriage as celebrated in the Song of Solomon or after as required by the modern orthodox church) is not made clear in any of the writings that have been provided to me.

First, katherineofdixie brings up a good point as to your model diverging from history as to the way marriages were contracted.

Second, you have to take into consideration that these marriages were "contracted", that is before the wedding ceremony itself the fact that a marriage was taking place between the two parties was considered a given.  In those cases where a couple didn't quite make it to the ceremony itself there was no "Well, we weren't sexually compatible, so let's each go out into the world and date other people."  This was not a case of "try before you buy" but a case of sipping on your freshly poured Big Gulp as you stand in line at the check out counter.

Third, the Song of Songs is just that: a song.  It makes use of many poetic elements, contains no detailed timeline (in the last chapter the "Bride" goes from "having no breasts" to "breasts like towers" in the space of two verses! and this at the END of the song!), while a wedding is mentioned at the end of Chapter 3 it is already spoken of as past tense.  As for parental consent to the courtship/marriage, it is implied all throughout chapter 8 that not only was the Bride's mother involved in negotiations but that the Bride was raised from birth to be the wife of the King!

Finally, Biblical context is all well and good, but you cannot simply proof a text, find there is no mention of something in that text and thus conclude that something didn't exist/was never intended.  Historical context is needed, as well, and in the historical context marriages were arranged between the parents of a girl and her groom.  This was the reality in the time of Isaac and Jacob, the reality of the Law, and the reality that Jesus knew, the reality of the Fathers, and the reality all throughout history until our rather muddled and backward age.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 06:09:33 PM
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.
The Bishop is not abusive, the situation is. Imagine a diocese in 80 AD, now imagine a Diocese in 800 AD.

The Bishop has to travel much farther, manage many more parishes, attend councils, etc. Examine the life of a modern Orthodox Bishop. His family would suffer immense neglect or be dragged around constantly; plus, there is the benefit of appointing those who have lived in the monastic life-- namely, those people are less likely to re-interpret Scripture and Tradition according to the passions. The Scriptural designation is "a husband of one wife" and this has never, ever been understood as a mandated married episcopate.

I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
Your version of Matthew 15:24: "Then acts420 told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him satisfy himself and take up whatever he prefers, and follow it unless it turns out not to be to his liking."

Two people can adapt to each other. I know, I know, that goes against the new-age and relationship blog self-help mantra "don't expect someone to change for you!" It's true, you shouldn't; but two people who live together, work together, sleep together, do indeed adapt to one another to a certain degree. This can even be BIOLOGICALLY OBSERVED.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 06:30:03 PM

There's no ad hominem in saying that you're being dishonest and engaging in trolling behavior.

When the point being discussed in the thread is the fact that the couple celebrated in the Song of Solomon lies with one another before they get married, and when the primary discussion revolves around the fact that apparently no Scripture nor any writings of Apostolic Fathers ever calls such behavior sin, then responding with accusations that I'm a lying troll is pretty much the definition of ad hominem.
So you see no difference between people saying you're engaging in dishonest, troll-like behavior and people calling you a lying troll? You can't see that the former is a criticism of your behavior while only the latter is a criticism of your person? I don't see anyone here calling you a lying troll, but I do see people criticizing your behavior on this thread.

Right.  There is no difference between saying someone is dishonest and calling that person a liar.   I happen to be honest.  However, whether or not I'm honest has nothing to do with the question of whether or not Scripture or the Apostolic fathers ever wrote that sex in courtship is a sin.  The accusation about my honesty was ad hominem.  Please don't try to judge my sincerity from across the internet.  Just let it go, please.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 06:34:47 PM
I'm talking about courtship as expressed in the Song and as often expressed today.  In other words, the couple begins to enjoy one another's company, falls in love, begins to express that love physically, shares a bed, then gets married, then enjoys one another for the rest of their lives.  That is courtship as I read in the Song of Solomon and as I see creating many successful marriages today also.  There is no family negotiation involved.

First of all, tas I said before, that kind of courtship simply didn't exist up until fairly recently - for most of human history, marriages were arranged by families. Sometimes the wishes of the children were taken into consideration - sometimes not.  

And what of the people who fall in love, share a bed and then one decides this just isn't for them. Or what about one or the other partner is not able to fulfill the other's desires, due to illness or incapacitation? What then? Move on to a partner who is better able to fulfill their desires? No harm - no foul, in your opinion?
What happened to love being patient and kind? What happened to loving someone more than you love yourself?

Just because you keep saying that premarital sex would insure better marriages doesn't make it so. In fact, the evidence of our modern society suggests otherwise.

"That kind of courtship" is written about in Song of Solomon.  So you can't say it didn't exist until recently.  Read the book.  There is no arrangement by families.  Arranged marriages were not the only way marriage occurred in the past.  In fact, I've read books by Jewish historians who say it was extremely rare in judaism.

To answer you:  Spouses who are incapacitated are cared for by the other.  Millions of couples (and many orthodox couples) have sex before the wedding and don't just leave one another at the slightest whim or when the going gets tough.  You ask what happened to patience and kindness and love.  They're all still there  The only thing missing is the non-biblical, non-apostolic restriction on courtship.  Marriage remains marriage. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 06:45:28 PM
I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.
Actually that is precisely the point. Marriage is a sacrament, a means of God's grace. With mutual love, compassion and consideration, married people have the opportunity to work out whatever problems arise in their relationship, with prayer and repentance and mutual submission, as they help each other achieve salvation.


Then we should just arrange marriages by drawing straws and not letting couples meet first.  That way couples will get perhaps even more ample opportunity to work out even more problems!  Of course I'm not serious.  The point is that the modern orthodox prohibition on sexual intimacy in courtship simply creates the potential for marriages between people who don't get along sexually.  Marriage is hard enough.  There is no need to make it harder. 

All that logic is besides the point though.  The main point I'm making here is that the couple celebrated in the Song lies with one another before they get married.  I see no Scripture that ever calls such behavior sin in any clear sense whatsoever, nor do I see any writings of Apostolic Fathers that do the same. 

When you pointed out that passage in the Song of Solomon a year ago, I said this:
Quote
The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate a couple of things before this passage prove your point. First, that the Song of Solomon is meant to be a literal guide to the marriage process, and that we are supposed to pattern our marriages on this poem. The Fathers saw it primarily as a spiritual allegory. Secondly, that this love poem follows a completely linear narrative from courtship until marriage, and that the passage refers not to the future and is not a phantasy. Thirdly, you have to show that the above passage is to be taken literally and referring necessarily to sexual intimacy before marriage, and that Christians are thereby exhorted to follow this pattern before marriage. You've got your work cut out for you.

You did not respond; instead, you left the forum for a year.

The Fathers saw the entire Old Testament as spiritual allegory, but that doesn't mean the stories therein are not also guides containing wisdom for us.   Indeed, they are, and the Apostles often referenced Old Testament stories as examples of godly behavior.

I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.  As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.

I'm not saying that Song of Solomon commands Christians to engage in sexual intimacy during courtship.  I'm not saying it is the pattern Christians must follow.  I'm only saying that SoS celebrates a couple that lies with one another before they are married.  And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.  Therefore, it is perfectly okay for Christians to court that way.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 07:57:40 PM
I'm only saying that SoS celebrates a couple that lies with one another before they are married.  And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.  Therefore, it is perfectly okay for Christians to court that way.
*Even if*, *even if*, we agreed with this statement,

It would not logically lead to permit your "backing out", as other posters have commented.

Your position lacks any sense, morality, or continuity with the Apostolic Faith. Please reconsider it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on April 11, 2011, 08:13:13 PM
I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.  As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.
As to the rules of debate, YOU are the one challenging the consensus belief of this forum that premarital sex is sinful and that the Song of Solomon cannot be interpreted to support such sinful behavior. Therefore, since YOU are the challenger and the opinion you're challenging is the consensus opinion, the burden of proof falls on YOU to persuade us to abandon our position. We bear no burden to prove anything to you.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 08:26:10 PM
I don't see how a married Bishop would be any more "abusive" to a wife now than it was in 80 A.D.
The Bishop is not abusive, the situation is. Imagine a diocese in 80 AD, now imagine a Diocese in 800 AD.

I understand that.  I'm talking about the situation too.  I also understand that a Diocese is would be bigger.  However, there are other solutions besides contradicting Apostolic teaching.  One other answer is a smaller Diocese.  Another is more bishops.  Prohibiting an extremely large class of godly men from being bishops (the class of men gifted with the calling toward marriage) only makes the problem worse.   If an Apostle or a president of the United States can maintain a successful, healthy marriage that isn't an abusive situation (and many have done so) then I think the Bishop of a Diocese is quite capable of doing the same.

The Bishop has to travel much farther, manage many more parishes, attend councils, etc. Examine the life of a modern Orthodox Bishop. His family would suffer immense neglect or be dragged around constantly; plus, there is the benefit of appointing those who have lived in the monastic life-- namely, those people are less likely to re-interpret Scripture and Tradition according to the passions. The Scriptural designation is "a husband of one wife" and this has never, ever been understood as a mandated married episcopate.

I'm not saying marriage is mandated by Scripture for Bishops.  I'm saying bishops were clearly allowed to marry or be celibate, the choice was their's.  Now the orthodox have disallowed marriage for their bishops.  That is in complete contradiction to Apostolic teaching.


I suppose next you could say the less sexually-interested spouse just gets the opportunity to sacrifice and serve the other one's desires or something along those lines, or visa versa.  But that is besides the point.  What if the more interested spouse desires to enjoy mutually-interested encounters.  He will get that twice a year while his inward, God-given passion burns for 350 times a year.  Meanwhile, he learns that the woman next door has a sex drive similar to his and... you see where that's going.
Your version of Matthew 15:24: "Then acts420 told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him satisfy himself and take up whatever he prefers, and follow it unless it turns out not to be to his liking."

Two people can adapt to each other. I know, I know, that goes against the new-age and relationship blog self-help mantra "don't expect someone to change for you!" It's true, you shouldn't; but two people who live together, work together, sleep together, do indeed adapt to one another to a certain degree. This can even be BIOLOGICALLY OBSERVED.

I'm not saying people can't adapt to a certain extent.   You could randomly pick names out of a hat and marry people off and they could adapt personally, emotionally, and sexually to whatever extent possible.  The point is, *why should they have to*?  Has God commanded that type of courtship?  If so, I don't see where.  Marriage is hard enough when people have already figured out that the get along fairly well personally and sexually.  These sorts of unbiblical, ungodly (it seems to me) restrictions only make it potentially much, much harder.  

I'm living testimony that if you take two people who don't get along well sexually and make them marry without allowing a period of sexual discovery they may indeed not get along well sexually for the rest of their lives (or at least until one spouse has had enough and leaves).  The release and experience of sexual passion is an important reason someone should marry, says the Apostle Paul.  Sexual preferences, likes, dislikes, desires, and such things are very similar to emotional or personal likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, etc.  They are individual, personal characteristics.  Some couples who abstain from intimacy before marriage get along fine.  Others don't.  It is a flip of the dice when what would otherwise be a natural step in the course of marriage, a Song of Solomon style courtship involving sexual intimacy and discovery, is prohibited.

Oh, this sounds fun.  Can two can play at this "you're version of Scripture" game?  Matthew 15:24: "Then NicholasMyra told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him load himself with burdens that God has never commanded, take up whatever non-Apostolic restrictions the previous generation thought fit to burden the children of God with, and follow that generation instead of the Apostles'.'"
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 08:35:52 PM
Do you think St. Paul would have encouraged a sexual courtship, and the ability to back out after sexual intercourse "to loose a burden"?

Really? Be honest with yourself.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 08:36:23 PM
I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.  As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.
As to the rules of debate, YOU are the one challenging the consensus belief of this forum that premarital sex is sinful and that the Song of Solomon cannot be interpreted to support such sinful behavior. Therefore, since YOU are the challenger and the opinion you're challenging is the consensus opinion, the burden of proof falls on YOU to persuade us to abandon our position. We bear no burden to prove anything to you.

I'm not trying to persuade anyone of anything.  I came here with questions about the basis for a common orthodox teaching (that sex during courtship is sinful).  Specifically, I hoped for quotes from early Fathers that clearly supported the teaching (since I had been unable, up to that point, to find support for it in Scripture).   At this point I feel my questions have been answered to the best extent they will be on this board.  Now I'm simply responding to questions asked of me, clarifying my position for people who have misunderstood me, and responding comments directed at me.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 08:41:36 PM
Do you think St. Paul would have encouraged a sexual courtship, and the ability to back out after sexual intercourse "to loose a burden"?

Really? Be honest with yourself.

I certainly think he would've allowed sexual intimacy in courtship.  To what extent he would've encouraged it I have no idea.  

It certainly was all around him then just as it is now.  He never said anything against it that I've been able to find.  He spoke and wrote against adultery, prostitution, promiscuity, and other sexual sins quite clearly.  However, I can't find one passage where he speaks against sex in a courtship situation.  Given his immense respect for the Old Testament Scripture, given his rejection of many un-biblical traditional restrictions, and given the example celebrated in Song of Solomon, I see no reason to assume that Paul believed it to be sinful.

I don't know what you mean by "loose a burden".  In any event, certainly the tradition of waiting for marriage was also prevalent in Paul's day.  I don't know which he would've encouraged more.  I do think, though, that he never prohibited sexual intimacy in courtship.  I suspect he would've left couples free in Christ to do as they saw best for one another.  Every person is different, and Paul strikes me as someone who understood that very well.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 11, 2011, 08:49:02 PM
I do think, though, that he never prohibited sexual intimacy in courtship.  I suspect he would've left couples free in Christ to do as they saw best for one another.

In Christ? This is taking place in Christ? Going against the nature of Christ is part of being in Him?

Sure. In the context of repentance, though, not of permission.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 11, 2011, 08:49:58 PM
The Fathers saw the entire Old Testament as spiritual allegory, but that doesn't mean the stories therein are not also guides containing wisdom for us.   Indeed, they are, and the Apostles often referenced Old Testament stories as examples of godly behavior.

The Song is a procession of imagery and ideas which clearly aren't meant to be taken as a literal guide to love, courtship, or anything else. It's a poem, and not just a prose history with allegorical implications, like, say, Exodus. Your entire argument in favor of fornication hangs on one vague passage from a poem. You take the words "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" and make the assumption that it must imply sexual intercourse, and then make a further assumption that this must be a literal depiction of premarital sex which shows God's approval of it. Your assumptions are a much bigger stretch than our assumption that a poem talking about someone's teeth being a flock of sheep is not to be taken literally.  

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I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.

It's also obvious that it is a love poem, full of symbolism, and that it is not meant to be read as a literal prose narrative, which is the way you're treating it.

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As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.

I don't have to show any such thing, because your assumption that it's a "story", with a linear progression of literal events depicting literal people, is erroneous. It's not "out of order." It's a love poem. And you have yet to prove that "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" necessarily implies sexual intercourse. Can you cite any commentator who back your interpretation?

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And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.
The laws in Deuteronomy say otherwise.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 11, 2011, 11:41:43 PM
The Fathers saw the entire Old Testament as spiritual allegory, but that doesn't mean the stories therein are not also guides containing wisdom for us.   Indeed, they are, and the Apostles often referenced Old Testament stories as examples of godly behavior.

The Song is a procession of imagery and ideas which clearly aren't meant to be taken as a literal guide to love, courtship, or anything else. It's a poem, and not just a prose history with allegorical implications, like, say, Exodus. Your entire argument in favor of fornication hangs on one vague passage from a poem. You take the words "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" and make the assumption that it must imply sexual intercourse, and then make a further assumption that this must be a literal depiction of premarital sex which shows God's approval of it. Your assumptions are a much bigger stretch than our assumption that a poem talking about someone's teeth being a flock of sheep is not to be taken literally.  

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I don't have to "prove" that the Song of Solomon is an example of courtship and marriage celebrated in Scripture.  Just read the book, that much is obvious.

It's also obvious that it is a love poem, full of symbolism, and that it is not meant to be read as a literal prose narrative, which is the way you're treating it.

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As far as whether or not it is a linear narrative, I'm simply noting the order of the book itself.  If you want to claim the book is out of order then I would say that burden is on you.  You should show why such a story would be intentionally written to have the couple lie with one another and then, later in the story, get married, displaying (and seemingly celebrating) an example to us of what you believe to be a terrible sin against God.

I don't have to show any such thing, because your assumption that it's a "story", with a linear progression of literal events depicting literal people, is erroneous. It's not "out of order." It's a love poem. And you have yet to prove that "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me" necessarily implies sexual intercourse. Can you cite any commentator who back your interpretation?

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And I'm saying that no other passage or Apostle or Apostolic Father ever condemns such behavior as a sin.
The laws in Deuteronomy say otherwise.

There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Even if you dismiss the Song of Solomon, the only book in Scripture devoted entirely to courtship and marriage, as useless for gaining any insight into marriage and courtship (as you seem want to do), nonetheless the fact remains that no passage of Scripture or of the Apostolic Fathers ever prohibits sexual intimacy in courtship.

The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.  The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.  The same chapter is filled with other commands concerning restitution (for instance if you borrow an animal and it dies, then you must pay the owner for it).

In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry, and there was no punishment for her (or for him).  It was restitution paid to the father.  The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry, but he could then divorce her the next day.  To take that and say the Law calls premarital sex a "sin" is beyond a stretch.   This restitution payment system is all throughout the Old Law, and restitution was common for things that were not sinful.  The passage really doesn't even come close to calling premarital sex a sin. This was simple restitution for something the father was considered the owner of (his daughter's virginity).  

On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution) for what you are saying was some sort of grave sin against God!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on April 12, 2011, 12:03:36 AM
This may be a stupid question (in that I feel it's probably been implicitly previously answered in this thread, if not explicitly), but isn't there a bit of a threshold question to get over here?: ie -- is the Song even meant to present a morally-appropriate paradigm of love?

We all know that plenty of morally-questionable things happen in the Old Testament which are not necessarily recounted in order that we should emulate them. They are simply recounted. Or even recounted that we might know not to emulate them.

The Song doesn't read as a moral treatise or exhortation to me.

I know it's already been said, but Paul's comments as to the purpose of marriage ("better to marry than to burn" and all that) seem pretty conclusive to me. Paul seems to be saying if you can't keep it in your pants, you'd better get married so you don't do anything which might lead to your judgment. I don't see any way around this passage and others like it.

I can accept that perhaps, as a concession to human weakness in this age where marriage is delayed (questionably), sex with one's betrothed before the actual marriage ceremony could be free from condemnation. However, I think there's a lot of truth in FormerReformer's "try before you buy" v. "sipping on your freshly poured Big Gulp as you stand in line at the check out counter" contrast.

"Compatability" strikes me as a bit of a worldly construct. One can never plumb the true depths of one's spouse's nature deeply enough to be assured of total "compatability" before marriage. To my mind, what matters more than this "compatability" is the keeping of promises and the mutual taking up of crosses in following the Lord, whatever issues of "incompatability" might arise over the course of the marriage. It seems trite for me to note it now, as it has been noted so many times already, but divorce seems all the more prevalent in this culture of repeated taking up and casting aside of romantic partners. How do we explain this phenomenon if sexual trying before buying were so important to marital happiness?

My partly coherent two cents.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: choirfiend on April 12, 2011, 12:08:43 AM
I'm living testimony that if you take two people who don't get along well sexually and make them marry without allowing a period of sexual discovery they may indeed not get along well sexually for the rest of their lives (or at least until one spouse has had enough and leaves).  


Have you ever yet considered that the lack of "sexual compatibility" was CAUSED by other issues within your marriage; issues that gave way to the divorce, in the end?

Some people marry and never have sex. They still have a marriage. "Sexual compatibility" is a poor term. Marriage is not about even being compatible, it is about giving up yourself for the other.


People have made points over and over again. The fact that you choose to redefine "porneia" according to your own ideas, are adding all kinds of biases and interpretations to passages that have been explicitly understood for 5 millenia by Jews and Orthodox, and continue to read those same extreme biases and interpretations into sources offered to you indicates that you are so STUCK in your biases that nothing, not even common sense, can get through.

While I don't believe you're a troll, your experience has so scarred your soul that you would rather continue to scar it than allow the wound to heal. The pain is easier than the healing. Self-gratification and self-determination on what is True is easier than self-denial and humility before God. That's no new thing, but no one here will support you in your continued scarring of yourself.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on April 12, 2011, 12:27:49 AM
acts420, have you attended this course (http://www.the-intimate-couple.com/index.html), which uses selected excerpts from the Song of Solomon (aka Songs) as a basis for Marriage workshops focused on sexual intimacy?   ???

I can cite a whole bunch of websites from Baptist and non-denominational Churches insisting that the Song of Songs represents a literal sexual relationship between a man and a woman.  Some of the more extreme websites reference King Solomon's numerous concubines and mistresses (which the Orthodox believe King Solomon repented of his sins either prior to death or during his stay in Hades). 

Here is what one Baptist Church Blog (http://www.mainstreetbaptist.org/blog/2008/10/6/song-of-solomon-married-love-book-of-the-week.html) says about the first 5 chapters of the Song of Solomon:

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Suppose, though, your personal love notes and reflections were found and printed for the whole world to read? That is exactly what the Song of Solomon is: a love story written by the husband but using the woman’s memories. It reminisces about their courtship, wedding and early struggles. It’s private and personal, but God included it in the Bible for us to study....

WEDDED LOVE (1:1-5:1) The first half of the book talks about their wedding day and night. Solomon evidently met Shulamith when he went north to Galilee to take care of business interests. She was different from the big-city, high-society girls who were so available to him in Jerusalem. Her freshness and open honesty won his heart and he came to see here whenever they could. They used this time to work through problems (defeat the “little foxes”) and strengthen their relationship for when they would wed. Clearly they abstained from sex before marriage, in fact three times the reader is warned that no physical desires must be even aroused before marriage (2:7; 3:5; 8:4). Where does God draw the line before marriage? Nothing can be done or said to in any way start what should ultimately lead to sex. How far to go? God says don’t even start anything at all! That’s the way Solomon and Shulamith were.

To the Orthodox, we consider this entire interpretation (after all, it is an interpretation being presented as a fictional literary device) as blasphemous other than noting the references to abstaining from sex before marriage.

If your interpretation of the Song of Solomon is as fictitious as the example cited above, then only self-realization will demonstrate the error of your ways.  May the Lord give you strength to find the error within your own logic....
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 12, 2011, 12:47:06 AM
Acts, why is your interpretation of the Song of Solomon "courtship model" superior to the Book of Hosea "courtship model"?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: ialmisry on April 12, 2011, 01:10:09 AM
I'm living testimony that if you take two people who don't get along well sexually and make them marry without allowing a period of sexual discovery they may indeed not get along well sexually for the rest of their lives (or at least until one spouse has had enough and leaves).  


Have you ever yet considered that the lack of "sexual compatibility" was CAUSED by other issues within your marriage; issues that gave way to the divorce, in the end?

Some people marry and never have sex. They still have a marriage.
And some woman had a child without sex, but you would be hard pressed to build the institution of motherhood around that.

Except for some extrenuating circumstances, a marriage devoid of lovemaking is barely a marriage in name.

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"Sexual compatibility" is a poor term. Marriage is not about even being compatible, it is about giving up yourself for the other.

True, but that doen't void "sexual compatiblity" as a problem.

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People have made points over and over again. The fact that you choose to redefine "porneia" according to your own ideas, are adding all kinds of biases and interpretations to passages that have been explicitly understood for 5 millenia by Jews and Orthodox, and continue to read those same extreme biases and interpretations into sources offered to you indicates that you are so STUCK in your biases that nothing, not even common sense, can get through.

Here you are entirely correct.  For instance, the number of couples that prove that premarital sex solves few if any problems of sexual incompatibility and aggrevates and creates far, far more, are legion.

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While I don't believe you're a troll, your experience has so scarred your soul that you would rather continue to scar it than allow the wound to heal. The pain is easier than the healing. Self-gratification and self-determination on what is True is easier than self-denial and humility before God. That's no new thing, but no one here will support you in your continued scarring of yourself.
we have a correct diagnosis.  Not a pleasant one, but the ugliest truth heals more than the loveliest lie.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: ialmisry on April 12, 2011, 01:35:23 AM
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
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Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.v.iii.x.html
See also St. John's "The Right Way for Parents to Bring up their Children"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 12, 2011, 08:08:31 AM
There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.

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The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.

No. Deut. 22: 21 refers to consensual premarital sex with a man other than the one whom the girl marries. She is executed for "playing the whore in her father's house." We've been over this before. If you lived in Old Testament times, your selfish antics could cost a girl her life.

 
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The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.

Which would make your model of "courtship" prohibitively expensive to anyone but a very rich man. We've been over this before. And, again, he must marry the girl if the father says so.  The law is obviously meant to punish/ discourage premarital sex. Or do you go around paying a fortune to the father every time you deflower a girl?

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In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry,

Once again that is the father's decision, not the couple's. If the father said so, they very well did have to marry.

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 The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry,


Nice to see you finally admit that.

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but he could then divorce her the next day.

Oh really? And on what grounds? Give evidence please.

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On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution)

There are consequences if she marries- if she is found not to be a virgin, she can be executed for "playing the whore" (not for lying). If everyone already knows she's not a virgin, then no one will likely marry her.

Your whole position rests upon one novel interpretation of scripture resting upon another and another. You make exceptions into rules. It's a good indicator that you've got a very weak case.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on April 12, 2011, 11:17:02 AM
I feel you, acts420, make physical compatibility the most important aspect of sex. It is so complex and affects us on so many different levels, more could have been wrong in your relationship than that. I mean you attribute everything that went wrong to you not having sex; that is a skewed conclusion. I have been engaged, living with the girl, and us being intimate; and I can tell you that I put too much stress and importance on sex and sexual compatibility. I said all the same things you're saying. I would argue anyone who said premarital sex was wrong. Incompatibility in the bedroom is a symptom of a larger disconnection. Healthy couples have sex because they are healthy, not that having sex makes a healthy relationship. Everything else must come before the physical intimacy. And you know what? My fiancé left me. We were wrong for each other but I created a bond with her (sex) before I found those things out and that made it hard to see my faults.

I doubt anyone here will convince you otherwise, but if you think you know more than the traditions of the church then thats on you man. When I encounter anything that seems wrong or doesn't fit, I have to conclude it is I who needs reform not the church. Plus you are going to the Bible looking for support of what you think is right rather than reading it in light of Holy Tradition and the Holy Orthodox Church which is how we are supposed to read it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 12, 2011, 12:06:06 PM
There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.


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The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.  It clearly lists sexual sins (such as adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.) and proscribes the punishment for them as death.  The passage in Duet. you may be referring to has to do with rape.

No. Deut. 22: 21 refers to consensual premarital sex with a man other than the one whom the girl marries. She is executed for "playing the whore in her father's house." We've been over this before. If you lived in Old Testament times, your selfish antics could cost a girl her life.


You have totally misrepresented the passage.  Read what it actually says and you'll see that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.  

The passage does not say what you cite it as saying, that non-virgins who married were to be killed.  If a woman's husband-to-be was aware of her sexual past there was no punishment at all for her.  The passage deals only with women who were basically caught tricking their husband-to-be about their virginity.  The fact that you're willing to misrepresent this passage so massively says a lot about how difficult it has been for you to find any passage that actually prohibits premarital sex.  



 
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The closest the law comes to "prohibiting" consensual premarital sex is in Exodus 22, and it is actually a far cry from any sort of prohibition.  For having sex with a virgin outside of marraige a payment of the regular "bride price" (since dad owned her virginity) was required to be paid to dad.

Which would make your model of "courtship" prohibitively expensive to anyone but a very rich man. We've been over this before. And, again, he must marry the girl if the father says so.  The law is obviously meant to punish/ discourage premarital sex. Or do you go around paying a fortune to the father every time you deflower a girl?


You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.  It is only the rare case that a couple would be on such vastly different pages sexually that they would mutually decide marriage is just not right for them.  My marriage just happened to be one of those cases.  That is what led me on this quest to discover whether or not God had actually commanded us to flip the dice on that issue.

Also, you assume the Hebrew bride price was expensive.  As far as I can tell, it wasn't.  But that is besides the point... see paragraph above.


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In this case, this payment was the same exact payment as was made for a marriage. But the couple did not have to marry,

Once again that is the father's decision, not the couple's. If the father said so, they very well did have to marry.

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 The man did have to marry the woman if the father insisted that they marry,


Nice to see you finally admit that.


Finally?  The passage says it directly and I've never denied it.  More misrepresentation on your part.


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but he could then divorce her the next day.

Oh really? And on what grounds? Give evidence please.


Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.   Granted, Jesus later said such divorce was permitted because the Israelite's hearts were hard.  However, we have no idea what else in the law was written for such reasons.  For all we know, the father may have been able to force the marriage because his heart was hard.  We can't assume anything.  So the larger point is that there was no lasting consequence to a man for premarital sex except, perhaps, a restitutionary payment to reimburse the father for the price of his daughters virginity.   If she was not a virgin, there was not even a restitutionary payment.  In that case, there were no consequences at all for what you claim to be a terrible, grievous sin against God and body.



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On top of that, after such an event the woman was no longer a virgin and so if she and a later man were to have premarital sex there were no consequences at all (not even restitution)

There are consequences if she marries- if she is found not to be a virgin, she can be executed for "playing the whore" (not for lying). If everyone already knows she's not a virgin, then no one will likely marry her.


"Playing the whore" can mean anything.  Obviously it doesn't mean she exchanged money for sex.  The passage itself says she is killed if she is discovered to be a non-virgin *after the wedding*.  The passage itself describes a surprised husband.  Therefore, the punishment is only if she earlier lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.


Your whole position rests upon one novel interpretation of scripture resting upon another and another. You make exceptions into rules. It's a good indicator that you've got a very weak case.

It is pretty clear to me who has the weak case, who is in denial, and who has to misrepresent passages in order to claim that the Scripture teaches that premarital sex is sinful.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Iconodule on April 12, 2011, 12:31:06 PM
There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.

It. Is. A. Poem. Again, you are picking out one symbol from a poem full of symbols, and claiming to have found the undeniable meaning of it, without any supporting sources.

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Have you read the passage?  I have to ask because you have totally misrepresented it.  If you read it, it is obvious that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.

Wrong again. It says "she played the whore in her father's house," not "she lied." Read it again. You are in very clear denial about this passage.  

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You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.
But if they must, they can sleep around a lot. I have not mischaracterized your position.

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Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.

Surprise, surprise. Once again you omit to mention some key words: "...because he hath found some uncleanness in her." Anyone who reads this passage can see that you are misrepresenting it, as if he can just divorce her on a whim.
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That is only if she is found not to be a virgin on the wedding night.  And that would only happen if she lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.

And why do you think a woman might be motivated to lie about her virginity?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 12, 2011, 12:59:21 PM
There are actually several passages in the Song of Solomon that refer to them lying with one another before their wedding.  One is the passage you cite.  Another is in the first chapter when they say "our bed is verdant".  Verdant as in "green" or "novice".  They are beginning to explore in the bed.  Their wedding comes afterward.

Are you serious? "Our bed is verdant" can only mean they are beginning to explore in the bed? I could just as well argue that it means they haven't done anything in bed. Once again, you take a vague passage and extrapolate from it an absolute interpretation, with nothing to back you up. I'll ask again, can you find any other commentators to support your interpretation? Again, you have yet to prove that these vague, poetic passages constitute a description, much less an approval, of premarital sex.



Of course I'm serious.  When a couple says "our" (plural) "bed" (singular) that means they have a bed that they share, together.  That would only be "vague" to me if I was in denial and unwilling to accept the fact that they're sleeping together.

It. Is. A. Poem. Again, you are picking out one symbol from a poem full of symbols, and claiming to have found the undeniable meaning of it, without any supporting sources.

Yes, it is a poem.  A poem that celebrates love and marriage. And in the poem the couple shares a bed before they have a wedding ceremony.  If you want to take that to mean they didn't share a bed before their wedding ceremony, feel free.  I'll just take it as it is.  I don't feel comfortable twisting Scripture so that it complies with the traditions I was raised under.  I already did that long enough as a Baptist.  Now I'd rather just deal with and beleive what is said.

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Have you read the passage?  I have to ask because you have totally misrepresented it.  If you read it, it is obvious that the passage deals only with a girl who was discovered to be a non-virgin on her wedding night.  That would only happen if she married a man that she either lied to (telling him she was a virgin when she wasn't) or misrepresented herself to (allowing him to assume she was a virgin when she knew she was not). If a girl was open and honest about her sexual past, there were no consequences under this passage.  This passage only teaches that it is a sin to misrepresent virginity to get a man to marry you.

Wrong again. It says "she played the whore in her father's house," not "she lied." Read it again. You are in very clear denial about this passage.  

The question is what does "play the whore" mean.  You're saying it means sleeping with someone else before marriage.  However, I'd rather derive the meaning from the passage itself than just take you're word that it means whatever you want it to mean.  The passage itself deals only with a woman who's lack of virginity was discovered on her wedding night.  If "playing the whore" was simply premarital sex, then all who had premarital sex would be punished regardless of whether or not they were honest about it to their fiances.  However, there was no punishment ever proscribed for non-virgins for simply being non virgins (in other words, for those who married honestly).  Therefore, "playing the whore" does not mean what you say it means.  It most likely means she tricked a guy for wealth (in this case, marriage).

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You falsely assume that my model of courtship has someone sleeping around a lot.  If done properly, with patience, where the couple waits until they have discovered whether they are in love and whether they are compatible emotionally and personally, then most couples would likely find themselves compatible sexually and marry.
But if they must, they can sleep around a lot. I have not mischaracterized your position.

Yes you have.  My position is that promiscuity is a sin.  Romans 13, "excess in sex" is listed as a sin along with drunkenness.  So no, people can't "sleep around a lot."  The purpose of sex is marriage.  My position is simply that, as in the Song, a couple is free to allow sex to be part of their courtship.  They must obviously be careful though.  

Quote
Look just two chapters ahead of the passage you mis-cited above (Duet. 22) to Duet 24.  It says a man could divorce his wife if she found no favor in his eyes.

Surprise, surprise. Once again you omit to mention some key words: "...because he hath found some uncleanness in her." Anyone who reads this passage can see that you are misrepresenting it, as if he can just divorce her on a whim.

All women were "unclean" at some points in the month by the law's standards (during their period, for instance).   So those words are not key.  What it comes down to is any man could divorce his wife if he wanted to.  He simply had to testify that he found her to be unclean and wanted a divorce.

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That is only if she is found not to be a virgin on the wedding night.  And that would only happen if she lied about or misrepresented her virginity.  No woman who was honest about the state of her virginity was ever punished under the law.

And why do you think a woman might be motivated to lie about her virginity?

Because it has long been seen as a dishonor in many cultures (though not all) for a woman to lose her virginity before a wedding ceremony.  You've managed to take that cultural phenomena and turn it into "God has said it is a sin for a woman to not be a virgin."  That simply isn't the case.  Nowhere in the law is anyone ever punished for having sex outside of marriage if that is all they did.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Gkterra on April 12, 2011, 01:29:50 PM
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Quote
Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.v.iii.x.html
See also St. John's "The Right Way for Parents to Bring up their Children"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

sorry to intrude but acts420 i noticed you were quick to jump at responnding to Iconodule's prior 2 posts but have yet to respond to ialmisry's post which was made prior
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 12, 2011, 01:51:22 PM
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.

Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Quote
Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.v.iii.x.html
See also St. John's "The Right Way for Parents to Bring up their Children"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

sorry to intrude but acts420 i noticed you were quick to jump at responnding to Iconodule's prior 2 posts but have yet to respond to ialmisry's post which was made prior

I just got online, got here, and started looking at the latest posts from the bottom up.  Give me a second, please.  :)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: acts420 on April 12, 2011, 02:03:51 PM
The old testament does not list premarital intimacy as a sin anywhere that I've seen.
Then you are not looking.


That's easy for you to say.  Please show me the passage.


Ditto the Fathers, e.g.
Quote
Moral. Hear this, ye fathers and mothers, that your bringing up of children shall not lose its reward. This also he says, as he proceeds, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children.” (1 Tim. v. 10.) Among other commendations he reckons this one, for it is no light praise to devote to God those children which are given them of God. For if the basis, the foundation which they lay be good, great will be their reward; as great, if they neglect it, will be their punishment. It was on account of his children that Eli perished. For he ought to have admonished them, and indeed he did admonish them, but not as he ought; but from his unwillingness to give them pain he destroyed both himself and them. Hear this, ye fathers, bring your children up with great care “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. vi. 4.) Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage. “All bread,” it is said, “is sweet to the fornicator.” (Ecclus. xxiii. 17.) Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf113.v.iii.x.html
See also St. John's "The Right Way for Parents to Bring up their Children"
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Chrysostom--Vainglory_and_Children.pdf

Thank you for this.  Don't take my response to mean I dismiss this quote.  I don't.  I am definitely going to note this as I continue to explore orthodoxy and pray about this issue.  This is actually the first obviously applicable quote that has been provided to me (from a Father), so I thank you very much.   This is exactly the sort of thing I've been looking for.

It would be more powerful to me if it were from an earlier Father.   Again, don't take that to mean I dismiss it.  Here is the problem I'm dealing with:  

When what happened to my marriage happened, I was not yet interested in early church history.  I was a typical Baptist.  I set out to find if the Bible actually ever said premarital sex was a sin.  I did not find any passages that said so.  As I explored Scripture more I discovered that eastern orthodoxy was teaching the more "biblically" correct doctrines about salvation.  I had to reject the Baptist version of "salvation by faith alone" as I explored the Scriptures, and so I became more interested in orthodoxy.  Therefore, I've become more interested in what the Fathers said about this sex issue.  However, the earlier the Father the more interested I am.    This is because I've already been burned by a Christian tradition that changed over time until it was no longer teaching Apostolic teachings (the Baptists).

So, while I'm interested in orthodoxy for what it has preserved, at the same time it seems obvious that some changes from Apostolic belief have slipped into common orthodox teaching over time.  For instance, at the same time St. John was alive, a Council of Carthage (~400) decreed, "that bishops, priests and deacons, guardians of purity, abstain from conjugal intercourse with their wives, so that those who serve at the altar may keep a perfect chastity."  (The Canons of the CCXLII Blessed Fathers Who Assembled at Carthage, canon III)   That does not seem Apostolic at *all*.  Paul gave very detailed instructions about bishops, priests, and deacons.  He mentioned that they could be married (to one wife).  However, he never mentioned that they should refuse to have sex with their wives!  I don't think he would've skipped that "little" detail if that is what he believed and taught.  Also, elsewhere in Paul's instructions about marriage, he was very adamant that husband and wife should *not* stop having sex so that the wouldn't be tempted toward adultery (except for a short time to devote themselves to prayer). THerefore, it seems obvious to me that, over time, large segments of the orthodox church began to leave Apostolic teaching with regards to sex and marriage.

Go back in time a few generations before that council at Carthage, and you'll find the Greek ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Sozomen report that the First Council of Nicaea (325) considered ordering all married clergy to refrain from conjugal relations, but the Council ultimately decided against it. (see The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen).  So it seems to me that, generation after generation, slowly common orthodox thought became more negative toward sex.  At first bishops could be married and have sex (as the Apostles taught).  Then leaders and thinkers began suggesting that married bishops abstain.  Then they it was declared that bishops could be married but couldn't have sex.  Now they can't even be married!

So the evidence seems to say that there have been very massive change in common church thinking and writing with regards to sex and marriage over time, not only from the Apostles until now but even from the Apostles until the time of St. John.  It seems that even in 325 there were many thinkers in the church with non-Apostolic, negative attitudes towards sex in the church, and that their number only grew generation by generation.  

So, long story short:  If the only sources I have that condemn premarital sex are from nearly 20 generations after Christ, it starts to seem like that may just be the time that particular belief drifted into orthdoxy (in other words, that it wasn't Apostolic).  That being said, thank you for the quote.  I'm definitely saving it, and I will continue to hunt for more and earlier ones to see what I can find.  Despite what some here think, I am open to change with regards to this issue.  

I'm going to bow out of this discussion for a while.  The company I work for dissolved yesterday, and I just am not going to have time to discuss/debate as I try to deal with unemployment a new job search.  I'll continue to pray though, and I'll be back.  Please feel free to leave me any ideas, quotes, or passages you think may help me in my journey.  Thank you for your help, and for your kind words and advice (those of you who have had them).

thank you all.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on April 12, 2011, 03:28:38 PM
I would say that there are two levels of this problem which we define as premarital sex... the first 1 is the church level or the christian level... on it- one can find strict pieces of advice and a straight line which is in concordance with the bible and the fathers... there is not much space (strictly speaking) here... the other level I like to refer to as the personal level of every christian... it is our personal relation with God and what we do in our lives- our deepest motifs and fears... everything we put in front of God's feet... here there is much space which often stays unallocated  ;D

This is because the Bible is not a set of regulations but rather a living word of God which tends to reach its fulfillment in us... in life... this stands for the church canons too... they do change in time and although I know quite a few christians who think that canons are un unchangeable category and that the same canons have the answer to all our problems- I relly think that the bottom line of all that is our brain in a jar...

And I think we all agree that a brain in a jar is not the true message of Christ,our Lord...

The paradox here is that these 2 levels I have mentioned r not diametrically opposed at all... they are being reconciled in Christ and we do this when we take the responsibility for what we do... sometimes I think it's better to make a mistake and use your God given freedom than to obey every word and be a robot....  :angel:
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: authio on April 12, 2011, 03:57:35 PM
I hear you say two things, Mr Acts.

You don't like when others change without you (like the millions of dead who lived before you).  But you want to change everyone for yourself.

You also won't accept that Marriage is Martyrdom and not only sexual union.  "Sexual compatibility" is unnecessary.  Besides, if your partner lies about an STD, or has an affair, or had a sex change, the Church allows divorce.


No need to defend your divorce here.  What's done is done.  Repentance is a lifestyle, not a debate.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: choirfiend on April 12, 2011, 04:57:06 PM
The question is what does "play the whore" mean.  You're saying it means sleeping with someone else before marriage.  However, I'd rather derive the meaning from the passage itself than just take you're word that it means whatever you want it to mean.  The passage itself deals only with a woman who's lack of virginity was discovered on her wedding night.  If "playing the whore" was simply premarital sex, then all who had premarital sex would be punished regardless of whether or not they were honest about it to their fiances.  However, there was no punishment ever proscribed for non-virgins for simply being non virgins (in other words, for those who married honestly).  Therefore, "playing the whore" does not mean what you say it means.  It most likely means she tricked a guy for wealth (in this case, marriage).

There WERE none who had pre-marital sex. Any who were discovered to not be a virgin on their wedding, which is the ONLY time they would be having sex for someone to discover that, was punished. No man married a non-virgin. Women who were non-virgins were either prostitutes or like the passage says, stoned to death.

Have you read any secular historical information about sex in biblical times? The practices, the standards that were upheld by the culture and supported by their scriptural content? No women were having sex outside of marriage, ever, without taking on the threat of being killed if discovered. We certainly don't encourage stoning, but even Christ said "go and sin no more" to the woman who was caught in the act. In modern times, in countries in the middle east, women are STILL not even allowed to be alone with men who are not of their immediate family. This is to absolutely prevent them from having sex and "shaming" the family. While we would not agree with the method or the punishments, this is all clear historical evidence of what everyone is saying---there is no sex outside of marriage.

How about St. John Chrysostom on sex? What about even Fr. Tom Hopko, to give you a modern writing which would reference plenty of fathers?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on April 12, 2011, 05:24:58 PM
if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.
It is difficult to discern what's what. From the time he tasted the fruit of knowledge of good and evil,   man is no longer able to clearly discern what is right and wrong, and often what he thinks is good  turns out  to be bad. That is why man must have Christ as the measure of things...

btw sex can bring destruction in marriage as well...

there is much about what the bible said about this.. is that the only answer to a question like this...
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on April 13, 2011, 09:17:28 AM
if we want to be a God-like beings,we must control our instincts and not only them but also their gifts, desires and all the other features. Sexuality as a gift from God, should be to the glory of God, or to serve for the salvation of man not to enslave us. this sounds simple but it isnt.We should not condemn a man if he or she had sex before marriage, but it is bad  he or she  wants it  at any cost, because it takes the form of idolatry.

Well said.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: jah777 on April 13, 2011, 03:33:16 PM
No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either. 

Please forgive me if this statement has already been sufficiently addressed in this thread.  I admit I haven’t had the time to read each post carefully.  Nevertheless, I did want to pass on a few quotes on the subject from the Fathers, since it seems that such quotes are of interest here.

Below are some canons (rules) from the Holy Fathers which equate sex before marriage with fornication, a serious sin that is considered equal with sodomy and bestiality.  Those guilty of this sin would be deprived of Communion for a considerable length of time, but while the disciplinary measures presented here are uncommonly applied today, the point of presenting the information is to demonstrate that the Fathers did consider pre-marital sex to be the sin of fornication, as typically distinguished from adultery.  No distinction is or should be made between pre-marital sex between dating, courting, or engaged couples, as none of these states represent the binding commitment of marriage (“cleaving”) which is the only lawful context for sexual union. 

Quote
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/canons_fathers_rudder.htm


St. Basil the Great

Canon 26. Fornication is not matrimony, but is not even the beginning of matrimony. So that if it be possible to separate persons joined in fornication, this would be the best course to take. Rut if they insist upon marriage at all costs, let them pay the penalty for fornication, and let them have their way, lest anything should happen that is still worse.

(Ap. c, LXVII; cc. XXII, XXIII, XXV of St. Basil.).

Interpretation.

After allowing those who have been raped before the wedding to contract a marriage in his cc. XXII and XXV, the Saint finally in the present Canon decrees this generally and more exactly, to wit: that as for those men who fornicate beforehand, either with a virgin or with a whore, and after the fornication seek to marry, the truer and better course is for them not to marry, but even if they should succeed in marrying, it is better that they be separated, since it is for this reason that marriage is called honorable and the marriage bed undefiled, namely, because it is free and clean from any previous sin and rape, whereas, on the contrary, fornication and rape are neither marriage nor a beginning of marriage. But if the fornicators themselves will on no account consent to being separated, let them be punished as fornicators, with a seven-year sentence, that is to say, but let them remain unseparated, in order to avoid having any more serious thing happen, or, more explicitly speaking, in order that after being separated they may not keep on secretly indulging in fornication, or, in order that while both of them are united with other persons they may not secretly commit adultery with each other, or in order to keep them from committing suicide because of their being unable to put up with excessive love and separation. Read also Ap. c. LXVII and the Footnote thereto.


Canon 38. Maidens who without the consent and advice of their father run after men are guilty of fornication. But if the parents can be reconciled, the matter would seem to be susceptible of remediation. But they are not to be restored to communion directly; they must, on the contrary, be sentenced to three years.

Interpretation.

The present Canon prescribes that all maidens and virgins who are under the control and authority of their father and run after men, or, in other words, willingly and of their own accord have offered themselves to their lovers, are fornicating and cannot be married. But if thereafter the parents of such virgins become reconciled and consent to let the lovers and ravishers of their daughters cohabit with them, it seems that what happened in the beginning of the affair may be remedied, and that their fornication may be changed into marriage and matrimony. Nevertheless, when men and women do such things, they are not to be pardoned at once and forthwith allowed to partake of communion, but are to be canonized three years.

Concord.

Canons XL, XLI, and XLII of the same St. Basil make it plain that marriages of the daughters and slave girls that have been made without the consent and approval of their fathers and masters, respectively, are to be considered cases of fornication and are to be dissolved. But after their consent has been obtained, they may be validated, and in that event they become true marriages. See also the Footnotes to cc. XXVII and XLII of Carthage.


St. Gregory of Nyssa

Canon 4. As for sins done for the satisfaction of desire and for pleasure, they are divided as follows: It has pleased some of the more accurate authorities, indeed, to deem the offense of fornication to be tantamount to adultery; for there is but one lawful state of matrimony and conjugal relationship, namely, that of wife to husband and of husband to wife. Everything, then, that is not lawful is unlawful at any rate, including even the case in which a man has no wife of his own, but has that of another man. For only one helper was given to man by God (Gen. 2:20), and only one head was set over woman. "That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor," as divine Paul says (I Thess. 4:4-5), the law of nature permits the right use of it. But if anyone turns from his own, he will infringe upon another’s in any case; but another’s is whatever is not one’s own, even though its owner is not acknowledged. Hence it is evident that fornication is not far removed from the offense of adultery, as has been shown by those who give the question more accurate consideration, seeing that even the divine Scripture says: "Be not too intimate with another man’s wife" (Prov. 5:20). Nevertheless, inasmuch as a certain concession was made by the Fathers in the case to weaker men, the offense has been distinguished on the basis of the following general division to the effect that whenever a man fulfills his desire without doing any injustice to another man, the offense is to be called fornication; but when it is committed by plotting against and injuring another man, it is to be called adultery. Copulation with the lower animals, too, and pederasty are considered to belong to this class of offenses, because they too are a sort of adultery, or in the nature of adultery. For the wrongfulness consists in infringing upon what belongs to another or acting contrary to nature. This division, then, having been made also in connection with this kind of sin, the general remedy for it consists in the marts becoming purified and being made pure as a result of regret for the passionate madness for such pleasures. But inasmuch as no injustice has been made admixed with the sin of those polluting themselves by fornication, therefore and on this score the length of time fixed for the return of those tainted by adultery has been double that fixed for the other forbidden evils. For, the penalty for copulation with lower animals and for the madness practiced upon males has been doubled, as I have said, because such cases involve one sin consisting in the enjoyment of a forbidden pleasure, and another sin consisting committing an injustice with what belongs to another man, after the manner of abusing another marts wife. The difference between cases testing upon repentance, and offenses committed for the sake of pleasure amounts to the following. For any man who on his own initiative and of his own accord proceeds to confess the sins, the mere fact that he has condescended on account of secret acts to become an accuser of himself as a result of an impulse of his own, is to be considered proof that the cure of the disease has already begun, and since he has shown a sign of improvement, he is entitled to kinder treatment. One, on the other hand, who has been caught in the act of perpetrating the offense, or who has been exposed involuntarily as a result of some suspicion or of some accusation, incurs an intensification of the penalty, when he returns; so that only after he has been purified accurately may he then be admitted to communion of the Sanctified Elements. The canon, therefore, is such that as for those who have polluted themselves by fornication, they are to pray along with kneelers for three years in a state of return, and are then to be allowed to partake of the Sanctified Elements. But in the case of those who have made better use of their reversion and life and are showing a return to what is good, it is permissible for the one entrusted with the management of the matter, with a view to what is of advantage to the ecclesiastical economy, to reduce the length of time of listening and to allow a quicker reversion’, and again he may even reduce the length of time and allow Communion to be administered sooner, as he may by actual test be persuaded to approve the condition of the person under treatment (Matt. 7:6). For precisely as it has been forbidden to throw a pearl to swine, so too it is a piece of absurdity the man in question of the most precious Pearl through indifference and insistence upon purity. A transgression committed after the manner of adultery, or, in other words, after the example of the other kinds of filthiness, as has been said previously, shall be treated in all respects in the same way of judgment as is the abominable sin of fornication, but the length of time shall be doubled. But the disposition of the person being treated shall be observed in regard thereto, in the same manner as in the case of those who have allowed themselves to be polluted by fornication, so that sooner or later they shall be allowed the privilege of partaking of the essence of the good.


St. John the Faster

Canon 12. Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he consents to submit to xerophagy after the ninth hour and to do two hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill the whole term fixed by the Fathers.

Interpretation.

The present Canon canonizes every monk or layman that fornicates even once to abstain from Communion for two years and every day to do two hundred and fifty metanies, and after the ninth hour of every day to confine himself to xerophagy, or, more explicitly speaking, to the eating of bread alone and the drinking of water alone; but if he should neglect or refuse to do this, let him abstain from Communion for as many years as the divine Fathers have fixed. See c. XLIV of the 6th, c. XXII of Basil, and c. XVI of the 4th.


St. Nicephorus the Confessor

Canon 35. Any man who even once only has committed fornication ought not to be made a priest, even though he has given up the sin. For Basil the Great asserts that such a man cannot be made a Priest even though he bring dead men back to life.


St. John Chrysostom

Homily XXXIII on the Epistle to the Hebrews
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf114.v.xxxvii.html?highlight=undefiled#highlight

“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness: being content with such things as ye have.”  See how large is his discourse concerning chastity. “Follow peace,” he said, “and holiness; Lest there be any fornicator or profane person” (Heb 12:14); and again, “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb 12:16) In every case, the prohibition is with a penalty. “Follow peace with all men,” he says, “and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: But fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

And having first set down “Marriage is honorable in all men, and the bed undefiled,” he shows that he rightly added what follows. For if marriage has been conceded, justly is the fornicator punished, justly does the adulterer suffer vengeance.

Of course, much else could be provided, but the matter should be very clear to anyone who reads the Scriptures or the Fathers.  The Scriptures clearly speak affirmatively about sexual union (becoming one flesh) only within the context of marriage, or of “leaving and cleaving”.  The Scriptures and the Fathers distinguish between adultery and fornication, with adultery generally describing sexual acts between two people where one or both are already married to another person, and fornication pertaining to nearly every other kind of sexual activity by an unmarried person or between unmarried people, from pre-marital sex to masturbation, sodomy, pederasty, etc.  This distinction between fornication and adultery is reflected in the Scriptures, for instance in St. Paul’s letter to the Galations where he says:

Quote
Galations 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication[/u], uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before , as I have also told you in time past , that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Scriptures also are very clear that through the sexual union, a man and a woman become “one flesh”, such that to become one flesh with any person who is not one’s spouse, who one does not intend to “cleave to” forever, is indeed a great sin, that of fornication. 

Quote
St. John Chrysostom, Homily LXII on the Gospel of St. Matthew
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LIX.html

How then doth He answer them? “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? So that they are no more twain but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

See a teacher’s wisdom. I mean, that being asked, Is it lawful? He did not at once say, It is not lawful, lest they should be disturbed and put in disorder, but before the decision by His argument He rendered this manifest, showing that it is itself too the commandment of His Father, and that not in opposition to Moses did He enjoin these things, but in full agreement with him.

But mark Him arguing strongly not from the creation only, but also from His command. For He said not, that He made one man and one woman only, but that He also gave this command that the one man should be joined to the one woman. But if it had been His will that he should put this one away, and bring in another, when He had made one man, He would have formed many women.

But now both by the manner of the creation, and by the manner of lawgiving, He showed that one man must dwell with one woman continually, and never break off from her.

And see how He saith, “He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female,” that is, from one root they sprung, and into one body came they together, “for the twain shall be one flesh.”

After this, to make it a fearful thing to find fault with this lawgiving, and to confirm the law, He said not, “Sever not therefore, nor put asunder,” but, “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

But if thou put forward Moses, I tell thee of Moses’ Lord, and together with this, I rely upon the time also. For God at the beginning made them male and female; and this law is older (though it seem to have been now introduced by me), and with much earnestness established. For not merely did He bring the woman to the man, but also commanded to leave father and mother. And neither did He make it a law for him merely to come to the woman, but also “to cleave to her,” by the form of the language intimating that they might not be severed. And not even with this was He satisfied, but sought also for another greater union, “for the twain,” He saith, “shall be one flesh.”

Then after He had recited the ancient law, which was brought in both by deeds and by words, and shown it to be worthy of respect because of the giver, with authority after that He Himself too interprets and gives the law, saying, “So that they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Like then as to sever flesh is a horrible thing, so also to divorce a wife is unlawful. And He stayed not at this, but brought in God also by saying, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” showing that the act was both against nature, and against law; against nature, because one flesh is dissevered; against law, because that when God hath joined and commanded it not to be divided, ye conspire to do this.

The fact that a man leaves father and mother and then cleaves to the woman, representing a commitment to remain with the woman forever, precedes becoming “one flesh” with her, is of great significance here.  That becoming “one flesh” with another is involved in the sex act itself and not by mere marriage is clear also from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

Quote
1 Cor. 6:16

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he , shall be one flesh.

It should be clear from all of this that to unite with one’s girlfriend or even one’s fiancé before marriage is condemned by the Fathers and the Scriptures as fornication, the becoming of one flesh with another person before marriate.  If fornicators wish to marry each other, according to St. Basil’s canon, they should still be disciplined as fornicators even if after becoming “one flesh” they do not “put asunder” this union but rather choose to marry rather than to commit further fornication by separating and uniting with others.  That those who have not “cleaved” through marriage sin by uniting in the flesh prior to cleaving should be obvious since without the “cleaving” of marriage there is little assurance that those united in the flesh will remain together afterwards, which may set both parties up for putting asunder the union of the flesh and committing further fornication with others in the future.  If two people say that they intend to “cleave” and therefore their pre-marital fornication with each other is not condemnable, they deceive themselves because if they truly intended to “cleave” in marriage then they would crown this intention with action and proceed to the “cleaving” in order that such a union of the flesh would be lawful and without sin.

To use the Song of Solomon to justify pre-marital sex is a particularly strange venture for a Christian, as the New Testament is very clear about this issue, and that which was permitted by condescension in the Old Testament is shown by the New Testament to be not in accordance with God’s will.  If one wishes to discard the New Testament and return to the Old Testament as a basis of determining what is or is not considered sexually immoral or in the category of fornication, one could just as easily justify polygamy along with pre-marital sex. 










Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Doubting Thomas on April 15, 2011, 04:16:13 PM
Well said, Jah777.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on April 15, 2011, 04:48:36 PM
Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Doubting Thomas on April 15, 2011, 06:18:48 PM
Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

My husband and I dated or "courted" for three years. In those three years we didn't even come close to having sex. We waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. I had plenty of people asking me about sexual compatibility. How could I know it would "work" if I didn't try things out? My answer then is the same as it would be now;

1) We have compatible working sexual parts.
2) We have the rest of our lives to perfect sexual compatibility.

If the sex life in a marriage isn't mutually satisfactory then the couple needs to COMMUNICATE to make it better. You tell each other what you like/dislike and what you want/don't want. Sexual experience doesn't necessarily mean sexual pleasure. If there is an issue with the marriage bed it is often a symptom of poor communication. Sex is the icing on the cake of marriage. If the icing is falling apart then it could be a sign that the foundations of the marriage are crumbling beneath.

And other than the 2 deployments in 3 years I haven't had any disappointment with our marital bed. I didn't need a test drive to know that this was a union that would work quite well.

Very good points.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Master on April 15, 2011, 08:16:21 PM
times are different my friend. in the early days the orthodox population was NOT 300 million... bishops did not have nearly as much responsibility and so they could still 'submit themselves to their wives'. however, what kind of a husband will travel all the time visiting all different churches in his duristiction having almost NO time for his wife? i do not think he can truly submit himself to his wife and so, the church would rather have the bishop not marry rather than marry and be in direct violation of the word of God :)

also, he is married to the church and he submits himself to her :)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: ignatius on April 22, 2011, 12:19:43 AM
Grace and Peace,

I'm confused... If we commit adultery if we even look on a woman to lust after her, then we have already committed adultery. What is adultery? To argue that relations with a woman outside of marriage isn't wrong... I don't know what adultery is?

You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. ~ Mat 5:27-28

I'm very sorry that you had a bad experience with your first marriage and because of that experience you feel you need to blame this teaching for ruining your marriage but I think you're overreaching.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on April 26, 2011, 05:09:07 PM
Acts, why is your interpretation of the Song of Solomon "courtship model" superior to the Book of Hosea "courtship model"?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 06, 2011, 05:18:48 PM
    I've read similar things to what Mr. Acts is saying among some Anglican writers.  I believe he would be happier there, though in Anglicanism the attitudes to premarital sex differs widely, on the whole you will find few clergy people endorsing a "try before you buy".   I have an online friend who is a fairly liberal Episcopalian priest (favors the blessing of gay unions) and yet I doubt he would be very OK with making up an endorsement of premarital sex.  Unlike Orthodox though, Anglicans are very much into questioning traditions and trying new things, whereas Orthodoxy favors consensus... avoiding scandalizing the faithful, and strong continuity across time and space.

 One tragedy doesn't make a norm.   I think Mr. Acts situation is a pastoral issue.   The whole point of the rules in any church focused on penintence, is to learn we cannot live by rules.  Live by grace and not the law.  The Baptist tradition sometimes focuses on outward conformity but this is the least thing that we should be focused on as Christians, this grace has to be extended to others in forgiveness and suspending judgement, which is why there are rules- to learn that if God should count iniquities "who could stand?".  Wheather any particular sin leads to guilt and condemnation is a pastoral issue too, since God does not reward us according to what our sins deserve- he deals with us as unique persons and knows our weaknesses.  

   I know what it is to feel hurt, and to feel maybe a response you are getting from the Church is not particularly sensitive, sometimes i have felt in the past even a bit frustrated at the Orthodox Church in my quest.  But one thing about the Orthodox tradition, my pain and sorrow are welcome there.   In Orthodoxy life is always touched by sadness, you see it in the icons, its a reminder of the fact we live in a world tarnished by sin.    The Fathers of the Church say a life of "ceaseless mourning" is not uncalled for.   In a sinful world, we all have crosses to bear.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 06, 2011, 05:36:53 PM
Sexual compatibility is simply an excuse people use to make premarital sex OK. I lived a fairly wild life before I met my husband, I did things I am not proud of and I was not a virgin when we wed. I am sad that I simply gave away an aspect of myself because I could. My husband was a stronger person and came to our relationship completely pure despite being a gigging musician.

  That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.   You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.   Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).   Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.

  I don't believe that the Patristics are totally wrong about sex but, they lack the experiences we have had in a millenium and live in a very different culture.  I believe in our present culture their views of sexuality are not completely realistic.  The Church should not be in the business of being a  counsellor, therapist, or sexologist for that matter.  Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 06, 2011, 06:27:42 PM
Ones spiritual life is distinct from ones psychological life and the two must be delt with differently, sometimes concessions must be made in the name of keeping the total person in balance.

In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.

Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.

Furthermore, the Church does not lower her standards simply because our culture is going all to hell. The Church is in the business of saving souls, not necessarily making us happy or giving us what we want. Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about.

We can "eat, drink and be merry", but tomorrow we die, and that is when we'll find out whether we used our lives wisely. There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 06, 2011, 07:12:53 PM
Daedelus1138, you are mourning the idea of something. You don't actually have any evidence that losing your virginity at an early age outside marriage is a positive thing. I have twin brothers that are 37 and virgins. One has the symptoms of Aspergers due to some birth complications. He has all the symptoms/signs/behaviors of Aspergers due to prematurity, oxygen poisoning and other complications. His twin didn't suffer the same side effects from the complications. It is more like he acquired Aspergers rather than having it genetically. The effects are the same, but can't be assisted with any medications to manage the symptoms since his symptoms derive from lack of sensory/brain ability. Both of my brothers struggle with the same issues regarding sex/sexuality and modern culture.

It sounds like you should seek counseling on your feelings rather than think that the secular world view of sexuality is better. Your issues with it have as much to do with do with the current cultural ideas of sexuality and sexual health as anything. The sexual climate of today is not more lax than the society that people have dealt with in the last 2,000 years off and on. We like to think that today is the pinnacle of sexual depravity, but it really isn't close to certain other eras. The words on sexuality by church fathers/mothers shouldn't be discarded completely because "they just don't understand." That is a complete cop-out. Even pornography isn't a new innovation.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 06, 2011, 09:34:18 PM
I think we're being a bit unfair on Daedelus.

Let us not forget that the church's preference is for all of us to marry young and start experiencing our sexuality thereafter if we feel a calling to the married life. Paul and the fathers are clear that one of the purposes of marriage is to create healthy conditions for the expression of sexuality.

Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?

I agree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.

I am not the first person to point this out, but right now, many of us Orthodox Christians are living in a (sub)culture which has one foot in the Christian tradition and the other in the secular ethos. None of us want our children committing fornication, but how many want them marrying at 18 or 19? I agree that asking someone who is not a monk and not married to remain virgin into their 30s and 40s is probably something we are bound by the force of scripture and the tradition to do, but we should do so acknowledging that this situation is not and should never be normative.

There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Asteriktos on May 06, 2011, 09:51:26 PM
Daedelus1138

Nothing that I say here is meant to imply that I fully understand where you're coming from. I had a different experience, so the most I can do is try to understand (intellectually, if not experientially). I was a virgin until I got married at the age of 23. After that, well let's just say that I swung in the opposite direction and we didn't exactly have a traditional marriage. And at times I regretted waiting that long, and  I wondered what I'd missed. I now find myself at the age of 32 again not having a relationship, and I'm wondering what the future holds. While monasticism itself is not really an option for me, celibacy might very well be the route I go. Somewhat related to what you and akimori have said, I wonder what it would be like to be "single" for the rest of my life. As akimori was saying, the Church does seem to stress family (or if not family then monasticism). I know my situation is different, having been married and experienced all that sex stuff, so I don't really know what you're going through. But for what it's worth, at least in my opinion, there's no need to regret going without a serious relationship (and all that goes with it, including sex), until the right situation comes along. Even if it's hard to accept what the Church says... still, don't despair. Struggles, yes, I can only imagine they'd be natural, not only in an Orthodox culture, but especially in a western culture... but there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 06, 2011, 11:43:44 PM
Being single and/or virginal in the world can be a great cross to bear. Virginity can manifest as a feeling of rejection rather than a state of exaltation. It can feel like, if everyone else is worthy of the intimate touch of another, what is so wrong with me that I am not?  

  Yes, that's pretty much it.  I come from a WASP protestant background (nominal Wesleyan/Methodist background, coupled with years of unbelief), marriage and family life are normative, but different from the Orthodox ideas:  a spouse is not a procreating outlet for sexuality that fits into a religious ideology or icon for the Church, a spouse is a "soul-mate" that helps you fulfill your purpose in life.  

   It is not just about genital lust, for me even this may not be that important.  Just not having anybody close to me physically/intimately sometimes bothers me.  After years of struggling to get to terms with having people near me and touching me, I'm finally OK with it to a certain extent, and I find sometimes touch helps me stay sane.

Quote
I aree that part of the pain of singleness/virginity comes from buying in to secular logic about sex and its place in our lives, but I think there is also an element of that pain which is simply human.  

  I am in the world, I have to deal with being a wordlly person, to some extent, until the day I die.  Maybe sometimes I've entertained the idea of monasticism as an "escape" from this.   I'm afraid this is something if I did, i would hold against God forever, i would not feel I was making a real sacrifice, just accepting something grudgingly.  Not a good place to be.

Quote
There is very little support for single people in Christian ministry. Everything is about families, families, families. A priest, in preaching on the great blessing that childrern are, can also alienate a person who is longing for martial intimacy and parenthood but just can't seem to make any progress in that direction.

 I struggle with it alot, being upset and jealous at other peoples seeming happiness.  I go to an OCA church full of converts and young families.  I feel like St. Anna lamenting that she's barren to God, looking at the other creatures that seem to be fulfilling their natural ends, exceept for her.  As you said, a great deal of this is not cultural, its just human.  

 Thank you for your understanding perspective there.  FWIW, I do go to a therapist about this.   It's difficult to find ones that say unequivocally supporting things about the Orthodox faith though.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 07, 2011, 12:06:54 AM
In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements.  

  But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life.  

Quote
Since we are spiritual beings, that aspect of our lives is affected by all the others, and so, everything is spiritual. Because of this, the Church absolutely has the right—and obligation—to tell us how to live our lives.  

  We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.   It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.   If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.

Quote
 Heaven knows there are things I desire that the Church has determined are not good for my salvation, and that's what this life is all about. ...  There are a lot of people who are having a lot of "fun", but it's actually destroying their souls. And as hard as it is to sit on the sidelines of life while others are living it up, it is far better to do what pleases God, because God is who we'll be facing on that Day.  

   What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 07, 2011, 12:29:03 AM
  What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?

We can choose to be free or we can choose to be slaves to our passions.  The Church exists to heal us and help us get back on the path to theosis; which is the ultimate goal for an Orthodox Christian.

I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.

You have to carry Christ's cross to do that.  Your (and our) reward, on Judgment Day, will be the world where there are no tears and everyone walks with the Lamb on their foreheads.  We have to struggle to get there in this world.

 I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.

You are creating your own interpretations of Gospel and declaring them as Scripture.  That is doomed to failure....
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: HumbledDaily on May 07, 2011, 01:24:55 AM
I can understand how lonely it must feel in a community where there is such a great emphasis on family. But on the bright side, it really does feel like a safe refuge from the world outside, where people often get divorced at the first sign of trouble.

As for premarital sex, it reminds me a little of getting drunk. Sure, it feels great when it's happening. But the next day the guy doesn't call you back, or you get a phone call from the guy's girlfriend who you didn't know existed, or three years later you realize he still never wants to marry you (that's the hangover). It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.

There seems to be some idea in society that losing one's virginity "makes" a man. We have this stereoype of the cool guy who has lots of wild sex and the nerdy guy who just can't get a girl to save his life. But it's really not like that. (My husband was not a virgin when we met, but to this day he's still plenty awkward and nerdy! ;)) Virginity is not just another sign of failure. It's a sign of success!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 07, 2011, 05:19:47 PM
  That's OK just realize not everybody feels the same way.    I myself, well, i'm a 35 year old virgin and have deep regrets about it.  I have Aspergr's syndrome, for me my virginity is a sign of social failure.  It grieves me.   You can talk all you want about virginity being a blessing but...  I don't feel it.  It cuts me off from most people for one thing, and hardly makes me any holier.   Its one thing for teenage kids or young adults to just give their virginity away casually, its another thing to tell somebody in their thirties that premarital chastity is some kind of bliss (I've had that happen from well-meaning Christians).   Be realistic:  people can potentially have alot of regrets with them in life, regardless of what we choose.
What if it doesn't work?
We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.
Then leave whatever religion that is and become Orthodox.

There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.
Even the demons have something they call love.

If you were married and felt compelled to cheat on your wife, would you view your marriage as a tyranny, as joyless self-denial? Would you want to avoid your wife in this life and the next?

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 07, 2011, 06:42:16 PM
What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid. Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.


You have a huge hole in your logic here. That passage doesn't speak of only marital love. And sex is no more love than eggs are a cake. Yes, there are eggs in a cake, but you can make a cake without eggs and it will still be a cake.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 07, 2011, 06:53:49 PM
Daedelus; you are prescribing yourself premarital sex for your mental health? You are only a catechumen and you are already picking and choosing what aspects of Orthodox theology to adhere to? Are you sure you even want to be a catechumen? Either Orthodoxy is the truth, or you can choose what you want like those in the Protestant church do. Talk to your priest about your struggles, it is obvious that you aren't going anywhere spiritually or emotionally healthy by your current train of thought.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: serb1389 on May 07, 2011, 09:58:58 PM
Acts,

How about God creating Eve for Adam (thus uniting them, in the mystical act of union), and AFTER the fall they "know" each other? 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 08, 2011, 09:07:03 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Morality-Contemporary-Greek-Theologians/dp/0881410284


someone shoul take a look at this... and read it,as well
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 09, 2011, 10:30:00 AM
It's not that sex is inherently bad. It's a gift! But after years of heartbreak and finally in a happy, healthy marriage, I really believe that any prohibition from premarital sex is not to restrict human enjoyment but to protect us from the kind of heartbreak that we can't even imagine would result from offering ourselves at our most vulnerable to someone who is not absolutely committed to us.

Just thought that this needed to be repeated. This is excellent and very much to the point.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 10, 2011, 06:59:29 PM
this is fear... dressed up in existentialism
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 10, 2011, 07:14:34 PM
In Orthodox spirituality we believe we are single body-soul-spirit beings. We cannot be reduced to separate elements. 

  But you can certainly distinguish between between these different spheres of ones life. 

Of course. But you cannot say "This is in area X, therefore the Church has nothing to say about it." We're Christians—the Church has jurisdiction in every part of our lives.

  We are not just spiritual beings we have obligations to our fellow human beings, to family, that are beyond those obligations to a religion.   It is true that Jesus Christ asks for alot, to leave family and friends behind if necessary, but my own priest told me that the Church's asceticism should not become an excuse to divest oneself of these responsibilities.   If salvation is saving the whole person, that must also include my relationshps in which i find myself.    Part of the responsibility to my fellow human being and my family is to keep guard over my psychological health, to not live in a way that harms myself psychologically.    And here perhaps the Church does not have the expertise, wheather or not it has the right should not be the issue.

Celibacy (or any other similar thing) will only hurt one's psychology if one becomes so fixated and obsessed with what they can't have that they become mentally ill. The day a person accepts their station in life and lives for God's will instead of their own, it will not become such an overriding need that it interferes with other things.

I don't mean to make that sound easy. That is the struggle of our lives. But it is true. God gives us what we need in his own time. If we attempt to do it our own way, then we're on our own. God will accept us back if we mess up and repent, but it's a lot easier to simply obey from the outset and not become obsessed with what we can't have right now (or ever, in those cases).

One could say the same with a married person. If a married man falls in love with another woman and becomes obsessed with her, it will hurt his psychological health too. His other relationships, especially with his wife, will suffer. But that would be his own doing; it's not the Church's fault for telling him not to commit adultery.

What about "Christ is risen and life is freed"?   I thought Christ came into the world to redeem this world, not to whisk us away to another one.  I left a religion that I ultimately decided was too often distorted into a nihilistic death cult, despite the lofty claims (Buddhism), I don't see the Gospel as compatible with an otherworldly vision of life at all.   There's many things when I meet my Creator I will regret, but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid.   Remember 1 Cornithians 13... all the right morality and asceticism in the world is useless without love.

Christ is redeeming this world, but it will only find its fulfillment after the Second Coming. If we are looking for ultimate joy and fulfillment in other people, including a spouse, we will be sorely disappointed. (I personally believe that's part of the dismal state of marriage today—everyone is searching for The One who will make them happy, but they're looking for a spouse, not Christ. When it gets old, marriages often suffer because it's built on a bad foundation. Marriage is a means for our salvation; it's not some end-all destination, nor is anything else in this world.)

Christ calls us to be his slaves. We can only be free—living the way we were designed to live—when we are slaves to Christ. This is not a tyrannical relationship, any more than a father is tyrannical for stopping his young child from running into the street. God prohibits us these things because they're not good for us. It doesn't matter how joyous and fun they are in the moment, they are not good for us.

You're right about 1 Cor 13. But love does not mean having sex outside of marriage. That is uncommitted lust, masturbation, not love. Love sacrifices, takes pains, makes commitments, etc. Love is about the other, not about the self.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: RyanS on May 11, 2011, 02:45:08 AM
Okay, so technically this isn't an argument FOR premarital sex, per se, but here are some reasons why I don't see premarital sex as being a big deal in modern Western culture. Here's why:

In the time of the New Testament, and indeed for much of human history, marriages were arranged. There was no dating beforehand, no "getting-to-know-you" phase, no living together, no time to really do anything. Marriage had nothing to do with love and instead was an economic union between the two families. Sure, arranged marriages could conceivably blossom into love, but that wasn't the main point.

However, nowadays, in modern Western culture, this type of marriage is inconceivable. Indeed, I can't imagine it any other way, but this is only because I've grown up in this culture my whole life. Now, marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.

So, with this distinction in mind, it's easy to see why premarital sex was a big deal in NT times. It completely shattered the union between the two families, especially if you had sex with the "wrong person". Whereas now, there is no economic union to worry about. Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon. There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.

Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice. Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.

Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown. There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs. Please don't mistake me here. I'm not one of those incredibly over-sexed people who masturbates 20 times a day and has one-night-stands with all the women in town. Believe me. That is definitely not who I am. But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Nigula Qian Zishi on May 11, 2011, 04:22:10 AM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: RyanS on May 11, 2011, 04:39:21 AM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: John of the North on May 11, 2011, 05:03:30 AM
Also, birth control has significantly improved in the past couple centuries. Now, chances of contracting STD's are pretty slim, IF you practice safe sex. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but your chances are much lower now than they were in NT times. Having sex then was an unsafe practice.

Employing birth control happens to cut out one of the major results of sex--having children.

Quote
Imagine if we still followed the OT law of not sitting on anything a woman touches when she's on her period. That's ridiculous now, because we have tampons, sanitary pads, etc. The risk is virtually zero of contracting anything if the woman practices good sanitation habits. Same with sex now. We have condoms, birth control, etc.

I'm no expert on Jewish law, but my understanding of such practices was that the motivation had nothing to do with the fear of "contracting anything."

Quote
Now, I'm still formulating my opinion on this which is why I'm awaiting your responses. But as far as I'm concerned, it's like masturbation. I actually seek out things that tell me that practicing masturbation or premarital sex is NOT a good idea. But instead, I get the opposite. Masturbation and premarital sex are completely normal practices, as far as studies have shown.

Good luck finding spiritual feedback in academia.

Quote
There's really no reason to think otherwise other than outdated beliefs.

You haven't proven that such beliefs are outdated. You have simply indicated that academia has not produced a study that indicates the negative effects of such behaviours.

Quote
But I simply don't understand how the Church can hold to these beliefs when literally every bit of evidence is to the contrary. Can't the Church abandon beliefs in light of new evidence?

What new evidence?? The church has 2000 years experience that says sexual behaviour is only spiritually healthy when it takes place between one man and one woman living together in the sacrament of Holy Marriage.


Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 11, 2011, 05:27:10 AM
in modern Western culture... marriage is about getting to know someone beforehand. The ultimate end goal is being together with someone who makes you happy emotionally (and physically), not necessarily economically.
And in Orthodoxy, it's about being crowned a martyr.

Here's a question for you. If Christianity only advocated sex within marriage for economic/social/health reasons, then why did Christ, the founder of Christianity, seek to "unnecessarily" add to this limitation?

"And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?' He answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' They said to him, 'Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?' He said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

For our Lord Jesus Christ, the sanctity of marriage seems to be an issue of the heart, not of money or status.

The Holy Apostle Paul adds,

"Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, 'THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH."

Now, everything is based on love (supposedly) so having sex with your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't frowned upon.There's no shame being brought on the family, no risk of doing it with the person you're not supposed to marry, etc. As long as it's based in love, I don't see the problem.
What is love?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 11, 2011, 06:39:17 AM
Dude, I don't mean to be flippant, but can't you see that your entire argument is not an argument for pre-marital sex but rather an argument against modern western notions of romance and love?

Rather than conform the scripture to modern notions of romance, sex and love, we should seek to conform our ideas of romance, sex and love to the scripture. Not in a stupid, fundamentalist way, but in a nuanced and thoughtful manner.

Kh. Frederica Matthewes-Green, as inexplicably unliked as she is around these parts, has the right idea on this matter: asking the vast majority of people to remain celibate into their late 20s/early 30s (which is what we are essentially doing by buying into the modern, western notion of marriage) is both unscriptural and unnatural.

You are comitting a fundamental error by seeking to impose your own mindset on the scripture. Rather, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your heart/mind/nous.

PS: by the way, every argument you have made is also an argument for homosexual sex -- it, too, is ubiquitous, widely approved of, mostly safe, doesn't cause pregnancy, &c., &c.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 11, 2011, 06:41:03 AM
Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage" [...]

Yeah, cos marriage is in such great shape in the modern west.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Jason.Wike on May 11, 2011, 06:52:43 AM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

You're making the wrong assumption that it is based in ontological materialism and reasons set within that context (its for health, its for economics, etc), rather than being the divine order (that is how things are supposed to be, how they were made to be, according to Gods purpose).

If that doesn't make any sense, in other words, you're trying to conform the truth according to your own desires, with a world view that doesn't actually admit a spiritual reality or God which could take precedence over what we want, or understand. And there's all kinds of problems with that.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Orthodox11 on May 11, 2011, 08:31:30 AM
It's quite normal that a person moving from a culture where pre-marital sex is not only accepted, but promoted in every possible way to the point of obsession, to one where it is absolutely forbidden would feel the need to rationalise and justify it. I held similar views when I initially encountered real Christianity.

As you immerse yourself more fully in the life of the Church, and try to understand Biblical precepts with a Christian mind rather than a secular one, you'll find that the need to justify modern Western attitudes slowly withers. Until you're convinced, it's better to err on the side of caution. It's difficult, but worth it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 11, 2011, 12:41:29 PM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   ???
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Asteriktos on May 11, 2011, 12:47:29 PM
I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   ???

Only if the animal consents.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 11, 2011, 01:39:20 PM
I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   ???

Only if the animal consents.

Does the animal voluntarily consent to being a companion?   ;)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Asteriktos on May 11, 2011, 01:45:51 PM
Does the animal voluntarily consent to being a companion?   ;)

Most do, but not all I suppose. Dogs seem quite happy, and cats as well, though in a different way. Now, as far as animals that need to be caged to keep them from running away...  ??? ;D
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Schultz on May 11, 2011, 01:51:30 PM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   ???

Nice slippery slope there.

The definition of a pet is "...animal...companion" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pet) in any number of dictionaries.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 11, 2011, 03:39:01 PM
Daedelus; you are prescribing yourself premarital sex for your mental health? 

  No, not necessarily.  You are reading too much into what I said.  But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.

Quote
You are only a catechumen and you are already picking and choosing what aspects of Orthodox theology to adhere to? Are you sure you even want to be a catechumen? Either Orthodoxy is the truth, or you can choose what you want like those in the Protestant church do. Talk to your priest about your struggles, it is obvious that you aren't going anywhere spiritually or emotionally healthy by your current train of thought.

 So many Christians have no compassion or understanding because they have been graced with an "average life".  I wonder who is cursed more, me or you?  In the end, we will all be stripped naked of pretenses of holiness and the only thing we'll be judged by is how much we have loved.  Maybe you should consider that before you uncritically judge my motivations.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 11, 2011, 03:51:52 PM
Don't presume to know about how average my life is/was/ or will be. I am fairly sure you wouldn't desire to live the life I have led. I won't go into the difficulties I have undergone, because there is no point. Rest assured that what you think is easy, another person will think is hard and vice versa.

I do have the ability to know what it is like to be celibate and to desire a sexual relationship since my husband was deployed for almost 3 years between two deployments.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 11, 2011, 03:55:41 PM
One could say the same with a married person. If a married man falls in love with another woman and becomes obsessed with her, it will hurt his psychological health too. His other relationships, especially with his wife, will suffer. But that would be his own doing; it's not the Church's fault for telling him not to commit adultery.  

  There's a huge difference between a spouse commiting adultery and two unmarried people having sex.  One is a betrayal of trust to another human being, the other is not necessarily.

Quote
Christ is redeeming this world, but it will only find its fulfillment after the Second Coming. If we are looking for ultimate joy and fulfillment in other people, including a spouse, we will be sorely disappointed. (I personally believe that's part of the dismal state of marriage today—everyone is searching for The One who will make them happy, but they're looking for a spouse, not Christ.

  I think there is alot of truth to that, still focusing on denial too much, denies the supposed goodness of creation.  

Quote
We can only be free—living the way we were designed to live—when we are slaves to Christ.  

  We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.   If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.

Quote
You're right about 1 Cor 13. But love does not mean having sex outside of marriage. That is uncommitted lust, masturbation, not love. Love sacrifices, takes pains, makes commitments, etc. Love is about the other, not about the self.

 Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".   Reducing these relationships to nothing but selfish lust dos a disservice to our humanity.  On the other hand, plenty of people get married and its all about themselves (even moreso if they view their wife as a posession), but its all masked behind layers of religious ideology so its suddenly "sacred" and their relationships are safe from scrutiny?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 11, 2011, 04:10:42 PM
We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.
Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?

Quote
  If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.
Again your logic and reasoning are somewhat obscure. He wanted to us to make up our own minds to love Him, willingly.

Quote
Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".
Pretty much, yeah, it is, if we're honest.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 11, 2011, 04:22:35 PM
I do have the ability to know what it is like to be celibate and to desire a sexual relationship since my husband was deployed for almost 3 years between two deployments.

   That's a stretch to compare 3 years of loneliness against decades of it.   Presuming to jump into my life and diagnose my spiritual malaise when you don't even know much about my life at all is arrogant.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 11, 2011, 04:27:03 PM
But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.

I really don't want to be mean, and I should probably shut up, but I laughed so hard at this statement that I choked on my diet coke.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 11, 2011, 04:36:18 PM
Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?  

  God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Quote
 
Again your logic and reasoning are somewhat obscure. He wanted to us to make up our own minds to love Him, willingly.  

 If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.  And God certainly doesn't need our love... so I think people having a certain amount of self-focus is not in itself evil, I think its part of God's creation.   (Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 11, 2011, 04:41:31 PM
(Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
It was a choice on the part of Man.


God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.
Making a mistake and condoning it are two different things. Also, if you're really studying Orthodoxy, you know that human creativity is considered sacred.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 11, 2011, 04:47:01 PM
It seems like you don't want to look at God as revealed through Christ. Christ took celibacy and marriage very seriously. Marriage is a microcosm of God's relationship to the Church, and is founded on agape love.

The type of sex/relationship you want contains, as I believe the Coptic Pope Shenouda III said, "the germ of self-destruction". What it calls "love" is uncommitted, fickle, self-serving, and highly individualistic.

You might say "but it's not always like that!" Well, the more it's "not like that", the more it approaches what marriage looks like, marriage being the end result of holy romantic love between men and women.

If you can understand why the Orthodox Church has closed communion, then you will be able to understand why it restricts premarital sex.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 11, 2011, 04:47:07 PM
There's a huge difference between a spouse commiting adultery and two unmarried people having sex.  One is a betrayal of trust to another human being, the other is not necessarily.

And they're both sins according to the Orthodox Church. They both separate us from God. The rest is a matter of degrees and commentary.

I think there is alot of truth to that, still focusing on denial too much, denies the supposed goodness of creation.

We can only enjoy the good when it's enjoyed in its proper context. And the proper context for sex is marriage.

We were designed to have free will, right?  In a real sense when we are doing what we want and what we find fulfilling, we are doing God's will.   If he didn't want us making up our own minds, he could have made us as robots without the will or intellect.

We do have free will. We are free to either pick up our cross and follow Christ, or we can live our own way.

We do make up our own minds. We make up our minds to be slaves to God or be slaves to our brokenness. We are supposed to be willing servants, and willingly sacrifice our broken wills for God's Perfect Will.

The things we find fulfilling are not necessarily good for us. A lot of people think getting drunk or shooting up with heroin is enjoyable and fulfilling too, but it's obvious to everyone else they're destroying themselves.

We are not robots, obviously. Robots cannot grow, cannot love, and cannot attain theosis. A robot cannot bear the image of God.

Not every non-marital intimate relationship is about "the self".   Reducing these relationships to nothing but selfish lust dos a disservice to our humanity.  On the other hand, plenty of people get married and its all about themselves (even moreso if they view their wife as a posession), but its all masked behind layers of religious ideology so its suddenly "sacred" and their relationships are safe from scrutiny?

What is a disservice to our humanity is denying our humanity by following our sexual impulses like animals. As I said above, sex and intimacy are good things, but only within their proper context. Everything in life is this way.

And as someone said earlier, marriage is a martyrdom. Sure there are selfish marriages, but it's still more grace-filled than unmarried and unbounded escapades.

You're tagged as a catechumen; have you spoken to your priest about all this?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 11, 2011, 04:55:33 PM
God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Why would we try new things and make mistakes? There is nothing new under the sun; we have several thousand years of Hebrew and Christian history to show us what is right and wrong. Someone once said: "A smart man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

And having sex outside of marriage, which has been going on since Genesis, hardly qualifies as creative.

If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.

We don't obey rules for its own sake. We obey because God is trying to teach us the way humans were meant to live.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 11, 2011, 04:56:09 PM
Your logic and reasoning escape me. How can being selfish and self-centered (only doing what we want and what we find fulfilling) possibly be God's will? Or even real life?  

God didn't create us just to have us sit in a garden forever.   This may not be part of Eastern theology but certainly in other theologies, God's goodness is revealed in human creativity.  Trying new things, even making mistakes, is all part of the divine order.

Did I say anything like that? We are to be what God meant us to be, and that is a struggle. Making mistakes is a by-product, not the goal, as I'm sure you would agree.
 
Quote
If God really willed obedience to rules as the highest good, he wouldn't have willed us to be free.
Again, who said obedience to rules? The things you call "rules" are not God's way of spoiling all our fun. They are His way of healing and helping us.

Quote
 And God certainly doesn't need our love...
You're absolutely right - that's why the totally amazing thing is that He wants our love. He wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to have joy and an abundant life.

Quote
so I think people having a certain amount of self-focus is not in itself evil, I think its part of God's creation.
No. It's a choice. Self-focus? Is that a fancy word for being selfish and self-centered?
Let me know how that works for you. It didn't (and doesn't) work worth a darn for me.

Quote
  (Likewise, a strict understanding of the Falll as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will).
Huh?
Where did this come from?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 11, 2011, 04:58:12 PM
Preamble: Our cultural attitude toward marriage, which pushes marriage back into the time period between the late 20's and early 40's, and which also devalues the hard work and sacrifice necessary to sustain a long-term relationship with another person, does much harm toward the pursuit of a chaste pre-marital life.  Living as a celibate individual in the modern era is extremely difficult, and that fact should not be discounted even 1% in the course of this conversation.  There is little support for those who decide to wait for marriage, and instead we find numerous social roadblocks in he way.  Add to this the abuse of authority from those who have expertise in the human psyche and sociology - an abuse that recklessly tells us that "it's just sex" - and the conditions are borderline unbearable for someone committed to putting off sexual relations until they are married to Mr/Mrs Right.

But when a priest or well meaning Orthodox Christian's advice goes against the advice of mental health counsellors, I think I will have to carefully weigh the expertise of one vs. the other.
 I really don't want to be mean, and I should probably shut up, but I laughed so hard at this statement that I choked on my diet coke.

Mental health counselors don't always have the right answer because of a skewed POV; I should know, having a degree in Psychology and having worked with a number of psychologists and psychiatrists over the years (professionally, not personally).  Some people disparagingly discuss the negative effects of prolonged celibacy, and then suggest becoming sexually active, without recognizing that most of the issues that arise with prolonged celibacy have more to do with the support structure (familial, cultural, etc.) than with an individual being celibate.

I think, too, the perpetuation of the "its just sex" myth is extremely harmful - it's only "just sex" if you want to make it that way, and only after devaluing it through emotionally detached practice.  Otherwise, it's never "just sex," which is why we universally admit that in our modern era, for example:

- kids should never have sex before they're 16 (while I've believed this thoroughly, I was floored when I heard renowned therapist and love-line host Dr. Drew Pinsky reaffirm this point over the air; I never thought I'd hear that come from someone who hosts a talk show about sex)

- people age 18 and under should never have sex with someone who is not their own age (this is an extension of a similar principle: people 18 and under should never date someone who is not their own age)

Why is rape the terrifying experience that it is?  Why are rape victims quite often more traumatized than assault victims and war veterans?  Yes, for the rapist rape is about control - but they're using the most physically and emotionally intense means of control, and the most scarring abuse of the human psyche, to accomplish that exercise in control.  It's never "just sex."  Sex is a beautiful gift from God, a means of intimate union - and that union was only designed to be made once, never broken, never shared with others.  When we go against this principle, we cheapen the effect that sex has on us, we wound ourselves emotionally, and we risk becoming sexual sociopaths - completely divorcing meaningful emotional (and spiritual) union from the sexual act.

I have more thoughts on the issue, but I must stop for now - I have a pressing commitment to attend to.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 11, 2011, 04:59:17 PM
(Likewise, a strict understanding of the Fall as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will). 

Theology fail.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 11, 2011, 05:03:59 PM
Mental health counselors don't always have the right answer because of a skewed POV; I should know, having a degree in Psychology and having worked with a number of psychologists and psychiatrists over the years (professionally, not personally).  

Not to veer too far off the track, but when my husband and I were looking for a marriage counselor, it was unbelievably difficult to find one that accepted much less respected and honored (rather than disparaged and even ridiculed) our Orthodox Christian pov, values and beliefs.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 11, 2011, 05:56:38 PM
So you are saying:

Western culture > God's Commandments

That is the religion of secularism and self.

No. I am simply saying that modern technology as well as the type of society we have constructed have made this a non-issue. In NT times this was a big deal. With the advent of "safe sex" and Western cultures emphasis of a "love throwaway-based marriage", the original reasoning behind the issuance of this commandment is lost.

I had to correct that for you.  Marriage has become a throwaway item in the secular West - people want to call pets "animal companions"; what's next, legal bestiality?   ???

Nice slippery slope there.

The definition of a pet is "...animal...companion" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pet) in any number of dictionaries.

We live in an era of disposable marriages and as humanity evolves - the ethicists are laying the groundwork for inter-species relationships above and beyond "pets."

Quote
The linguistic debate, which Serpell said has been covered previously in various academic journals, stems from animals being in a gray area: they are sentient creatures - more than objects or property - but less than fully human.

source (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/04/2849145/pet-companion-animal-ethicists.html)

Humans can have disposable relationships with other humans ... and with their "animal companions" as evident by how many pets are left behind in foreclosed homes.  God told Man to have dominion over the animals; not to form inter-species relationships with them.   ???
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 11, 2011, 06:58:24 PM
God told Man to have dominion over the animals; not to form inter-species relationships with them.   ???
St. Seraphim of Sarov made friends with all the animals and fed a bear out of his hand.

God has dominion over us, but is still our Philanthropos.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 11, 2011, 08:30:56 PM
I do have the ability to know what it is like to be celibate and to desire a sexual relationship since my husband was deployed for almost 3 years between two deployments.

   That's a stretch to compare 3 years of loneliness against decades of it.   Presuming to jump into my life and diagnose my spiritual malaise when you don't even know much about my life at all is arrogant.

It is the difference between wishing you had been able to have something, and having it and losing it. I was married for a decade before my husband was deployed the first time. Not to mention the fact that I was a single parent of 2-4 children during those deployments.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: authio on May 11, 2011, 08:55:54 PM
Why is rape the terrifying experience that it is?  Why are rape victims quite often more traumatized than assault victims and war veterans?  Yes, for the rapist rape is about control - but they're using the most physically and emotionally intense means of control, and the most scarring abuse of the human psyche, to accomplish that exercise in control.  It's never "just sex."  Sex is a beautiful gift from God, a means of intimate union - and that union was only designed to be made once, never broken, never shared with others.  When we go against this principle, we cheapen the effect that sex has on us, we wound ourselves emotionally, and we risk becoming sexual sociopaths - completely divorcing meaningful emotional (and spiritual) union from the sexual act.

This is a powerful paragraph.
Wow.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 11, 2011, 11:44:48 PM
God told Man to have dominion over the animals; not to form inter-species relationships with them.   ???
St. Seraphim of Sarov made friends with all the animals and fed a bear out of his hand.

God has dominion over us, but is still our Philanthropos.

You're preaching to the choir.   ;)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on May 12, 2011, 12:05:37 AM
In the end, we will all be stripped naked of pretenses of holiness and the only thing we'll be judged by is how much we have loved.

Let's all smoke a bong and do a stranger.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 12, 2011, 01:02:40 AM
(Likewise, a strict understanding of the Fall as a mistake makes no sense, since an omnipotent being just doesn't let mistakes "just happen" outside his will). 

Theology fail.
Priceless.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 14, 2011, 02:45:58 PM
 Some people disparagingly discuss the negative effects of prolonged celibacy, and then suggest becoming sexually active, without recognizing that most of the issues that arise with prolonged celibacy have more to do with the support structure (familial, cultural, etc.) than with an individual being celibate. 

  An individual is never seperate from that support structure, or lack thereof, so to talk about celibacy abstractly like this ignores the lived reality of most people who are single.

Quote
I think, too, the perpetuation of the "its just sex" myth is extremely harmful - it's only "just sex" if you want to make it that way, and only after devaluing it through emotionally detached practice.  

  I've delt with several counsellors who would not support alot of the views of certain Orthodox theologians, and yet they treat sexuality seriously and realize it is emotionally risky.  Its not a black or white thing, not everybody that rejects medieval justifications for these mores views it as "just sex".  And for what its worth, I don't view sex without the oppenness to love as being responsible behavior.  I don't view sex as recreational as many people do now in our culture, but at the same time i have trouble seeing the medieval Christian ideals about sexuality as realistic.





Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 14, 2011, 03:40:37 PM
I haven't really read this whole thread, so forgive me if this has been dealt with.
Daedelus1138 have you spoken with your Priest about these issues? Why become Orthodox if you never intend to follow the strict moral code that Orthodoxy upholds?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 14, 2011, 08:10:35 PM
Daedelus1138, I like your posts very much... some people just dont realize that saints i.e. fathers are not infallible...  only the proclamations of the councils are the true teaching of our Church
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 14, 2011, 09:04:02 PM
Daedelus1138, I like your posts very much... some people just dont realize that saints i.e. fathers are not infallible...  only the proclamations of the councils are the true teaching of our Church

 THAT is why I want to be Orthodox.  Not because i think St. So-and-So's thoughts on human sexuality are infallible eternal truth, but because I believe in the Nicene Creed and the 7 Ecumenical Councils expresses the catholic Faith.  I also happen to think the Eastern understanding of "the atonement" and salvation is, on the whole, more relevent to the modern world than the western juridical tradition (otherwise i might be Anglican, and there's still some Anglicans that worship at the feet of the Reformation).   Other than that, i'm a thinking person and i'm not going to shut off my critical thought stuff just because i'm told to do so.    Some people like to bash the West and our tradition of critical thinking and skepticism but perhaps these things are God's gift to humanity and not the curses some people make them out to be.

 Beyond that i have thought of just being an "emergent christian" and non churchgoer but honestly i think my spiritual life would suffer, so this is why I want to becom Orthodox.  Most people don't agree with everything their church does, how would one more person like me make much difference?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 14, 2011, 09:18:06 PM
I left one of the forerunner churches in the emergent movement. The voice behind the currtain is extremely unimpressive.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 14, 2011, 10:06:03 PM
Quote
i think my spiritual life would suffer, so this is why I want to becom Orthodox.  Most people don't agree with everything their church does, how would one more person like me make much difference?
Your spiritual life will suffer IF you are having premarital sex. Period. And you are not just disagreeing with whether we should have pews, or the style of icons. You are disagreeing with a MAJOR tenet within Christianity, not just Orthodoxy. You cannot bear fruit if you are having premarital sex. I ask again:
Quote
Daedelus1138 have you spoken with your Priest about these issues? Why become Orthodox if you never intend to follow the strict moral code that Orthodoxy upholds?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 15, 2011, 12:02:42 AM
And for what its worth, I don't view sex without the oppenness to love as being responsible behavior.
Do you believe that such non-committal love is something Christ would have advocated? Keeping in mind that He is the self-same Word who spoke to the Prophets Hosea, Isaiah, etc.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 15, 2011, 07:00:08 PM
THAT is why I want to be Orthodox.  Not because i think St. So-and-So's thoughts on human sexuality are infallible eternal truth, but because I believe in the Nicene Creed and the 7 Ecumenical Councils expresses the catholic Faith.  I also happen to think the Eastern understanding of "the atonement" and salvation is, on the whole, more relevent to the modern world than the western juridical tradition (otherwise i might be Anglican, and there's still some Anglicans that worship at the feet of the Reformation). 
my dear brother,you are a greater orthodox than you think... I happen to live in the othodox country and I see that people like to be given recipes and not to use their freedom (freedom in Christ,of course)-if a saint said something-it is true... that is because the mind of the majority of christians wants patterns and not freedom.Freedom is dangerous and the masks of the rules give us security-that is how they think...

and I will remind you of the words of st.Isaac the Syrian -When you step on the path of the righteousness,you will know that freedom is everything

God bless u from Serbia...





Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: William on May 15, 2011, 07:05:58 PM
And where, in any of the writings of the Fathers, in any of the books of the scriptures, or in any of the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods is 'freedom in Christ' defined as freedom to disobey the teachings of Christ and His Church?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on May 15, 2011, 07:25:17 PM
And where, in any of the writings of the Fathers, in any of the books of the scriptures, or in any of the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods is 'freedom in Christ' defined as freedom to disobey the teachings of Christ and His Church?
One always has freedom to disobey the teachings of Christ and His Church. One doesn't have license to do so.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 16, 2011, 03:51:35 AM
And where, in any of the writings of the Fathers, in any of the books of the scriptures, or in any of the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods is 'freedom in Christ' defined as freedom to disobey the teachings of Christ and His Church?

we already made a clear distinction between the fathers and the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods- the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods do not talk about the private life of christians-they mostly talk about dogmatics... sex does not have to be a destructive force before the marriage-it can also be destructive in the marriage-its a thing of our intimacy...   my bishop says that sex without love is a masturbation for two...

please note that I am not saying that premerital sex is obligatory- in our world,teenagers have sex earlier than ever -if premarital sex was a condition for better marriage-marriages would be perfect,which they are not.What i am saying is that you cant be exclusive and one-sided and say that premarital sex is a sin... because (now I ask you) where in the bible can you find a sentence claming that sex is a sin-we only see that fornication and adultery are sins...  sex is an understatment ... there is only love or fornication...we choose from these 2
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: biro on May 16, 2011, 06:36:54 AM
In the ancient world, people did get married earlier. It probably was not so hard to wait if the average age at first marriage was sometime in the teens. However, today, the dangers of sexual activity outside of a committed relationship (marriage) have increased. Waiting is not easy. However, if you don't wait, it's certainly not all fun and games.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Shanghaiski on May 16, 2011, 10:42:23 AM
Morality is not relative, and it cannot be divorced from dogma. The two have always been together, from the time of the holy apostles.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 16, 2011, 12:02:28 PM
THAT is why I want to be Orthodox.  Not because i think St. So-and-So's thoughts on human sexuality are infallible eternal truth, but because I believe in the Nicene Creed and the 7 Ecumenical Councils expresses the catholic Faith.  I also happen to think the Eastern understanding of "the atonement" and salvation is, on the whole, more relevent to the modern world than the western juridical tradition (otherwise i might be Anglican, and there's still some Anglicans that worship at the feet of the Reformation). 
my dear brother,you are a greater orthodox than you think... I happen to live in the othodox country and I see that people like to be given recipes and not to use their freedom (freedom in Christ,of course)-if a saint said something-it is true... that is because the mind of the majority of christians wants patterns and not freedom.Freedom is dangerous and the masks of the rules give us security-that is how they think...

and I will remind you of the words of st.Isaac the Syrian -When you step on the path of the righteousness,you will know that freedom is everything

God bless u from Serbia...


Wow so you think you're own knowledge surpasses that of the Holy Fathers? What they got it wrong and the Orthodox world has just blindly been following some crazies? To be truly free one must reject all freedom and become a slave to all. Having sex before marriage and sinning doesn't make you free, it makes you a slave to those sins.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 16, 2011, 06:36:26 PM
 for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks... fathers are not crazy but they werent proclaimed HOLY because of what they spoke and because they never said anything wrong... the things which are not negotiable in the church are the dogmats e.g. one cannot say that God is not the holy trinity and call himself a christian... on the other hand,the opinion of every father,priest,bishop etc. which is not a dogmatic opinion of the Church is only their opinion and we can discuss about it/them.It doesnt mean that they are not important(opinions) -they are often very important but we can talk about them and analyze them.

About the fathers... how did God let ...

- st.Gregory of Nyssa talk about his belief in apocatastasis?
-st. Irineos talk about chiliasm?
- st. Justin talk about the subordination of the Holy Trinity?
-st. John of Damascus talk using the ancient greek philosophy and Aristotle and to put those writings into a book called"An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith"?




Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 16, 2011, 06:45:30 PM
and one more thing...

"And  even that man has not sinned, again would the Son of God become flesh (man)." -Saint Maxim the Confessor.

"If man hadn't sinned,the son of God would not become flesh (man)." Saint Augustine.

Both proclaimed saints by the Church : )

p.s. once again,I'm not saying this to make fun of the fathers(God forbid! ) but to show what I have already said-fathers are not infallible...  (http://www.monkrock.com/pictures/buttons-christsinai.jpg)  is infallible
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 16, 2011, 07:14:47 PM
There is a difference between taking one quote of a Father and parading it around as infallible vs. there being a giant consensus throughout the life of the Church that premarital sex is not how God intended us to use sex. In this discussion, the latter is the case.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Melodist on May 16, 2011, 07:31:08 PM
"And  even that man has not sinned, again would the Son of God become flesh (man)." -Saint Maxim the Confessor.

"If man hadn't sinned,the son of God would not become flesh (man)." Saint Augustine.

Both proclaimed saints by the Church : )

This is pure speculation, the fact is we did and He did and that is reality. What the Church teaches about human sexuality is not speculation based on a non-existent "what if".
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: biro on May 16, 2011, 07:35:45 PM
A person can repent and overcome their sins. This does not mean that the sins they used to do, suddenly, magically become things that were never sinful to begin with.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: William on May 16, 2011, 10:20:00 PM
we already made a clear distinction between the fathers and the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods- the decrees of the Ecumenical Synods do not talk about the private life of christians-they mostly talk about dogmatics...
If this is the case, how can you possibly claim that their silence on the matter is a license for fornication?

I suppose that Arius, Nestorius or Eutyches could have claimed the same thing as you are claiming. No Ecumenical Synod had yet to anathematize their heresies, either. But they were still heresies. Still wrong. Arianism, Nestorianism and Monophysitism (note that I'm referring to Eutyches and not the OO) were wrong even before the Synods condemned them, as their heretical nature is clear from tradition and scripture. In the same way, fornication is wrong and will always be wrong even if no Ecumenical Synod ever decrees it.
Quote
What i am saying is that you cant be exclusive and one-sided and say that premarital sex is a sin... because (now I ask you) where in the bible can you find a sentence claming that sex is a sin-we only see that fornication and adultery are sins...  sex is an understatment ... there is only love or fornication...we choose from these 2
"Fornication" IS premarital sex, and you yourself just admitted that the Bible condemns fornication.

I'll give credence to your belief if you can name one single Father who professed it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 17, 2011, 03:37:21 PM
no,their silence is a sign that tells me it is something which I myself must settle within my inner being with the help of God... it is a personal decision...

About your interpretation of "Fornication" (being a premarital sex ) I dont want to go any further because we clearly have a different experience of love in Jesus Christ,our Lord... I will just say that monks in  mount Athos often say that-nothing is wrong by itself.What is wrong is a misuse or abuse of the function God intended for the specific thing,phenomenon or function.  ;D  of course,u can always say that premerital sex is the misuse... and that would mean that u know the hearts of people who have that kind of sex

God bless  :angel:
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 03:46:31 PM
I will just say that monks in  mount Athos often say that-nothing is wrong by itself.What is wrong is a misuse or abuse of the function God intended for the specific thing,phenomenon or function.  ;D  of course,u can always say that premerital sex is the misuse... and that would mean that u know the hearts of people who have that kind of sex

God bless  :angel:
Logical conclusion: We can't know the hearts of rapists, so we have no way of knowing if their actions are a misuse of sexuality or not.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 17, 2011, 03:54:08 PM
Mozart, are you having premarital sex? It is likely that you are. At least it seems so based on your arguments. And I don't need to know the hearts of others engaging in premarital sex. If they think what they are doing is holy and acceptable before God, they are completely deluded. Name one Orthodox saint that argued for sex OUTSIDE marriage.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: katherineofdixie on May 17, 2011, 04:49:11 PM
it is something which I myself must settle within my inner being with the help of God... it is a personal decision...


That is a trap. With this kind of thinking we can justify any kind of behavior. Of course, perhaps you are a better and stronger person than I, but as human beings we generally have the fatal tendency to be able to rationalize anything, if it's what we want to do. We say to ourselves, "there's really nothing wrong with (insert favorite sin here) because I've made the personal decision that it's ok. Surely God wants me to be happy and do what I want to do." God does want us to be happy but He knows what will bring us true happiness.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 17, 2011, 04:53:58 PM
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and save us.

Premarital sex and masturbation are forms of fornication. We are to flee from sexual immorality.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 17, 2011, 04:55:43 PM
I'm quite surprised by how many new posters have been generated by this thread. This thread should be renamed to:
I have premarital sex and need to justify my actions because I want to do what I want to do.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 17, 2011, 05:01:36 PM
I'm quite surprised by how many new posters have been generated by this thread. This thread should be renamed to:
I have premarital sex and need to justify my actions because I want to do what I want to do.

Frank's song comes to mind: My way.

"I'll do it my way." This is a very self-centered song which shows the age in which we are in.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: JimCBrooklyn on May 17, 2011, 05:07:10 PM
it is something which I myself must settle within my inner being with the help of God... it is a personal decision...


That is a trap. With this kind of thinking we can justify any kind of behavior. Of course, perhaps you are a better and stronger person than I, but as human beings we generally have the fatal tendency to be able to rationalize anything, if it's what we want to do. We say to ourselves, "there's really nothing wrong with (insert favorite sin here) because I've made the personal decision that it's ok. Surely God wants me to be happy and do what I want to do." God does want us to be happy but He knows what will bring us true happiness.
Katherine is so right on here. I struggled for a long time coming to grips with the real implications of being a Christian, coming to grips with the fact that if I wanted to truly be a follower of Christ, to invite him into my life, and experience all of the blessings that come with that, I needed to let go of many of my desires. I see too many people bounce around for years in this very trap, and I've seen tragedy come of it. To know Christ, but not to consistently obey Him and His church, can be worse than not knowing Him, in my experience.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 17, 2011, 05:09:07 PM
For those poor souls who may be peeking in on this conversation wondering what on earth is going on, let me clarify one thing:

It is the unquestioned belief of the Orthodox Church (Eastern, Oriental, and Old Calendarists alike) that the only context proper for sexual activity is within marriage.  While we affirm and acknowledge the age-old Judeo-Christian prohibition on sex outside of marriage, and indeed see sex outside of marriage as missing the mark (literally amartia, sin) of human life according to God's plan and command, we also proclaim Christ crucified and Resurrected who came to save us from our sin, and we thus declare that no sin can doom us eternally if we choose to repent in this life.  For those who have had sexual relations outside of marriage (either premarital, or extramarital), there is forgiveness and new life waiting for you in Christ.  For those who wish to justify a life of pre/extramarital sexual activity, be warned that leading others astray compounds one sin with the other (premarital sex) - but there can be forgiveness and new life for you also.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 17, 2011, 05:11:44 PM
no,their silence is a sign that tells me it is something which I myself must settle within my inner being with the help of God... it is a personal decision...

We are deluded if we think that our "personal decisions" do not affect others.  I try and convince myself frequently that certain lifestyle decisions are "personal decisions" that must only be settled "between me and God."  This belief was no less false before I was married than it is after marriage (with two children to boot).
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: JimCBrooklyn on May 17, 2011, 05:17:29 PM
I'm quite surprised by how many new posters have been generated by this thread. This thread should be renamed to:
I have premarital sex and need to justify my actions because I want to do what I want to do.
"When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on it's crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?"
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
This, to me, is the end result of the kind of reasoning that is going on here.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 17, 2011, 05:31:23 PM
We are deluded if we think that our "personal decisions" do not affect others.  I try and convince myself frequently that certain lifestyle decisions are "personal decisions" that must only be settled "between me and God."  This belief was no less false before I was married than it is after marriage (with two children to boot).

your statement has no place in the experience of living Christ and his body in the divine liturgy because my personal decisions are those of me and Christ... as for the others,I thought the aim of this topis was to change our experiences in Christ about the topic and not to preach and  save souls... once again I ll tell you and I wont repeat-the main problem is the belief that the fathers are infallible in every aspect of their teaching... however,this does not degrade them,which some may think...  (http://www.pouke.org/forum/Smileys/perfect/smil4385c03b80886.gif)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 17, 2011, 05:36:39 PM
Mozart if you are trying to say that premarital sex is OK based on your relationship and how you have come
to know Christ, then I must say you are following a demon NOT Christ. Look up the word "prelest" if you need to...
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 06:16:26 PM
It is the difference between wishing you had been able to have something, and having it and losing it. I was married for a decade before my husband was deployed the first time. Not to mention the fact that I was a single parent of 2-4 children during those deployments.

  I don't see this as comparable and i'm not sure how I can see what you are saying as anything but an attempt to devalue my feelings.   The issue for me is not just lust so much as  its feeling alienated from other human beings, yet wanting at the same time to live a Christian life  where i'm suppossed to love these people i can barely identify with.  Feeling robbed, cheated, angry, humiliated, and devalued are things i struggle with alot.  People like you have the nerve to whine about a few years of seperation...   You simply do not understand what it is like to live with asperger's and feel the brokeness of the world so severely.

 I think Aki is the only one so far that has really grasped where i am comming from...
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 17, 2011, 06:17:15 PM
We are deluded if we think that our "personal decisions" do not affect others.  I try and convince myself frequently that certain lifestyle decisions are "personal decisions" that must only be settled "between me and God."  This belief was no less false before I was married than it is after marriage (with two children to boot).

your statement has no place in the experience of living Christ and his body in the divine liturgy because my personal decisions are those of me and Christ... as for the others,I thought the aim of this topis was to change our experiences in Christ about the topic and not to preach and  save souls... once again I ll tell you and I wont repeat-the main problem is the belief that the fathers are infallible in every aspect of their teaching... however,this does not degrade them,which some may think...  (http://www.pouke.org/forum/Smileys/perfect/smil4385c03b80886.gif)

This is Protestant thinking at its best. Everything is a 'personal choice' that is made between you and God; that ultimately faith is a private matter. Sorry but Christian life is to be lived within a community. You can't hide inside yourself and expect to find the truth. As I've heard "We're saved together, but damned alone."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 17, 2011, 06:25:31 PM
It is the difference between wishing you had been able to have something, and having it and losing it. I was married for a decade before my husband was deployed the first time. Not to mention the fact that I was a single parent of 2-4 children during those deployments.

  I don't see this as comparable and i'm not sure how I can see what you are saying as anything but an attempt to devalue my feelings.   The issue for me is not just lust so much as  its feeling alienated from other human beings, yet wanting at the same time to live a Christian life  where i'm suppossed to love these people i can barely identify with.  Feeling robbed, cheated, and angry are things i struggle with alot.  People like you have the nerve to whine about a few years of seperation...   You simply do not understand what it is like to live with asperger's and feel the brokeness of the world so severely.

I highly doubt Quinault was trying to devalue what you said, she is almost always more than kind. I'm just surprised to see you trying to throw out Asperger's as an excuse to engage in premartial relations. Do you really think that is the answer to you feeling robbed, cheated, and angry? I guarantee if you live you that life you will be left feeling even more angry, even more robbed, even more cheated. And I know this from expeirence unfortunately. Without Christ and His commandments no one will find happiness. I'd like to quote the Eagles, "Every form of refuge has its price."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 06:29:58 PM
This is Protestant thinking at its best. Everything is a 'personal choice' that is made between you and God; that ultimately faith is a private matter. Sorry but Christian life is to be lived within a community. You can't hide inside yourself and expect to find the truth. As I've heard "We're saved together, but damned alone."

   Not everything "Protestant" is evil, its time to throw that out.   Taken to an extreme the attitude you are suggesting leads to denial of personal responsibility found in every totalitarian ideology and movement.  How many people at Nuremberg pleaded that they were "only following orders"?  Most certainly we should be listening to our inner conscience over the voices of any man (or woman) we are lead to believe is in error, no matter what title they have for themselves.  

 And at the final judgement before God, we will most certainly be judged as individual persons, not as groups.  Other people cannot answer for our sins and failures beyond their participation in those sins, we have to do that ourselves.  So i don't see how it isn't ultimately between "us and God" really.  Anything else doesn't respect human freedom.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 06:42:43 PM
I highly doubt Quinault was trying to devalue what you said, she is almost always more than kind. I'm just surprised to see you trying to throw out Asperger's as an excuse to engage in premartial relations.

  You're being very presumptuous and judgemental here.   I never said I wanted to excuse anything.    You're jumping to conclusions when you think I view premarital sex as the answer to my problems.  I don't have the answer truthfully, other than to pray.   If the possibility for a loving relationship with somebody came into my life, i wouldn't turn it down though, no matter what some so-called Christian thougt about it.  Emphasis upon "loving" though.   But getting to the point i am OK with relationships of that nature may take time, it may not come at all.  I pray alot to God to deal with these feelings, i'm tempted constantly with despair.

 Frankly, the attitude of people here is... shocking.  You rush into my life to judge me and comment, instead of just listening.   There's nothing discerning about this,  you are just parroting religious ideology and presuming alot about me.

 Ordinarily I would have more humility and just remain silent but I feel this issue is beyond me as an individual, when people are ignoring my voice, I am speaking as a person with asperger's, a member of a group of people who have suffered at the hands of an indifferent and cruel world, a world presuming to do things in our name for our own good (at best), I need to speak the truth on this matter and I won't be silenced.  You do not understand, listen to my story and the story of people like me before you comment.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 17, 2011, 06:43:44 PM
This is Protestant thinking at its best. Everything is a 'personal choice' that is made between you and God; that ultimately faith is a private matter. Sorry but Christian life is to be lived within a community. You can't hide inside yourself and expect to find the truth. As I've heard "We're saved together, but damned alone."

   Not everything "Protestant" is evil, its time to throw that out.   Taken to an extreme the attitude you are suggesting leads to denial of personal responsibility found in every totalitarian ideology and movement.  How many people at Nuremberg pleaded that they were "only following orders"?  Most certainly we should be listening to our inner conscience over the voices of any man (or woman) we are lead to believe is in error, no matter what title they have for themselves.  

 And at the final judgement before God, we will most certainly be judged as individual persons, not as groups.  Other people cannot answer for our sins and failures beyond their participation in those sins, we have to do that ourselves.  So i don't see how it isn't ultimately between "us and God" really.  Anything else doesn't respect human freedom.

So you're comparing following Nazi Germany to following the teachings of the Church? I think we can clearly see one is ok while the other is not. The Church is Christ's Bride being led by the Holy Spirit so I'm pretty sure we don't need to worry about genocide  :laugh: Unless you don't believe the church is guided by the Holy Spirit.
Correct, not everything Protestant is evil as you can see since that's not what I said. But the need to individulize everything is by no means Christ's plan and why we see much splintering in those groups. If the ultimate arbitor of what is truth is one's self then no man is wrong since he is right in his own mind. No, we need the rebuke and sheparding of the Church to guide us. Yes your sins are between you and God alone, but that doesn't mean your whole life direction and choice of right and wrong is between you and God. You don't get to make the choice what is a sin and what isn't, and that was my point.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 17, 2011, 06:47:16 PM
If indeed you do have Aspergers  it is all the more important to keep sex in the proper context. There is nothing more muddled and confusing than the world of premarital sex and dating. If you can't understand others NOW while not having sex, you will be completely clueless and end up not only hurting yourself, you will simply shatter other people with you.

I don't need to tell you my history, but the fact that I have ever even had sex voluntarily is nothing short of a miracle given what I endured during my formative years. Factoring in that I have been married for almost 15 years, and it is even more miraculous.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on May 17, 2011, 06:53:37 PM
I highly doubt Quinault was trying to devalue what you said, she is almost always more than kind. I'm just surprised to see you trying to throw out Asperger's as an excuse to engage in premartial relations.

  You're being very presumptuous and judgemental here.   I never said I wanted to excuse anything.    You're jumping to conclusions when you think I view premarital sex as the answer to my problems.  I don't have the answer truthfully, other than to pray.   If the possibility for a loving relationship with somebody came into my life, i wouldn't turn it down though, no matter what some so-called Christian thougt about it.  Emphasis upon "loving" though.   But getting to the point i am OK with relationships of that nature may take time, it may not come at all.  I pray alot to God to deal with these feelings, i'm tempted constantly with despair.

 Frankly, the attitude of people here is... shocking.  You rush into my life to judge me and comment, instead of just listening.   There's nothing discerning about this,  you are just parroting religious ideology and presuming alot about me.

Forgive me if I did assume too much but from your posts you seem to have that mindset. You say "but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid." From this I see you saying that no premarital sex or 'loving relationship'  equals a joyless life. Thus your perscription for a life of joy is the 'loving relationship.'
Echoing the teachings of the church isn't 'parroting.'
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 07:06:21 PM
life will suffer IF you are having premarital sex. Period. And you are not just disagreeing with whether we should have pews, or the style of icons. You are disagreeing with a MAJOR tenet within Christianity, not just Orthodoxy. You cannot bear fruit if you are having premarital sex.

  Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.   I don't think its anybody short of a spiritual father's position, to comment on these matters, to pretend to prioritize what is the graver sin for an individual.

 Also please read Nikolai Molovitov's book where he interviews St. Seraphim of Sarov, talking about the prostitute whose prayers raised the dead... the fruit we produce is not dependent on our outward behaviors, acting like a "good person", its dependent on our love for God and our neighbor.  

Quote
Daedelus1138 have you spoken with your Priest about these issues? Why become Orthodox if you never intend to follow the strict moral code that Orthodoxy upholds?


 I have spoken somewhat, I told him my concerns months and months ago, that I had many gay friends i cared about, that I struggled with the tradition teaching on homosexuality, and we discused the Church's views on sexuality (he said in the past the church sometimes excommunicated people for years but experience has taughth us that is unhelpful and unrealistic). Then eventually I came out myself (I consider myself bisexual).  So yes, i have talked about it with him.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 17, 2011, 07:10:52 PM
There is the heart of it. You have issues with the teaching of the church in general on sexuality. Homosexuality and premarital sex are both considered a sin within the Orthodox church, and you take issue with both points.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 07:15:00 PM
 Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  
If I hand you a glass of water spiked with arsenic and you drink it, is your death resulting from said poison a death wrought by juridicial thinking and rules?

Also please read Nikolai Molovitov's book where he interviews St. Seraphim of Sarov, talking about the prostitute whose prayers raised the dead... the fruit we produce is not dependent on our outward behaviors, acting like a "good person", its dependent on our love for God and our neighbor. 
Nobody here is disputing this.

Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.  
He also dealt with murderers, adulterers, and even with idol-worshiping kings like Pharaoh and Cyrus the Great. Just because God is merciful and philanthropic does not mean that sins are not sins.

You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 07:23:12 PM

You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51


  Right... the only time God actually shows displeasure with David's extramarital sex, in this case adultery, is when it is tied to murder to conceal the consequences of his actions.   Other than that, God doesn't seem to ever have much to say in the Old Testament about David's many women (this isn't to say his behavior measured up to an ideal,  but clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith).   Anyting else you are trying to imply from the 51st Psalm is a distortion of the biblical record.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 07:24:30 PM
clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith
And repentance.


You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51


  Right... the only time God actually shows displeasure with David's extramarital sex, in this case adultery, is when it is tied to murder to conceal the consequences of his actions.   Other than that, God doesn't seem to ever have much to say in the Old Testament about David's many women (this isn't to say his behavior measured up to an ideal,  but clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith).   Anyting else you are trying to imply from the 51st Psalm is a distortion of the biblical record.
Nobody here is saying that one can't be a repentant sinner and still have a relationship with God. What you're saying is that pre-marital sex is not a sin. These are not the same thing.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 17, 2011, 07:31:44 PM
Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.

Theosis is indeed a process. That doesn't mean God lowers his standards when we fail.

The rules exist for our own good. Is a human father a tyrant for stopping his children from playing in the street?

I have spoken somewhat, I told him my concerns months and months ago, that I had many gay friends i cared about, that I struggled with the tradition teaching on homosexuality, and we discused the Church's views on sexuality (he said in the past the church sometimes excommunicated people for years but experience has taughth us that is unhelpful and unrealistic). Then eventually I came out myself (I consider myself bisexual).  So yes, i have talked about it with him.

I have two friends at my parish who suffer homosexual temptations. They have come to grips with them and struggle against them. They have long overcome the fact that they will be alone for their whole lives, and they have resolved to focus their energies toward their own salvation and serving others. That is the Orthodox path for those who are not called to marriage. That is not unrealistic.

As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.

But ultimately it is your choice whether you will practice humility and obedience or not. It's not easy, my homosexual friends have assured me of that. But it will lead to true happiness, which casual sex and sinful lifestyles cannot offer.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 07:32:32 PM
"You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into gehenna. And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into gehenna."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 17, 2011, 08:07:25 PM
Quote
  I don't think its anybody short of a spiritual father's position, to comment on these matters, to pretend to prioritize what is the graver sin for an individual.
Ok, so for a third time I ask you:
HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR SPIRITUAL FATHER ABOUT ANY OF THESE CONCERNS???!!
He will have the EXACT same opinion that we do, because it is the Church's opinion on the matter. Stop ignoring my question. What has your Priest said to you about this topic?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 08:10:15 PM

Theosis is indeed a process. That doesn't mean God lowers his standards when we fail.  

  Yeah, but God doesn't really judge us using abstract rules, the Psalmist is fairly clear about this "he knows our frame, he remembers we are dust".  Rules ask the impossible of us, God does not.

Quote
The rules exist for our own good. Is a human father a tyrant for stopping his children from playing in the street?  

  A limited analogy.  For one thing, God allows us alot more freedom than a human father.    Maybe some people find that concept of freedom terrifying,  go read the Grand Inquisitor from The Brother's Karamazov?

Quote
have two friends at my parish who suffer homosexual temptations. They have come to grips with them and struggle against them. They have long overcome the fact that they will be alone for their whole lives, and they have resolved to focus their energies toward their own salvation and serving others. That is the Orthodox path for those who are not called to marriage. That is not unrealistic.  

  Not unrealistic according to you.  There are alot of people who find that way of life unbearable.  And they aren't all wickedly evil people that deserve to be chased out the Church.   I know a few people like that (partnered gays or lesbians) that are Roman Catholic- they are basicly delt with by their own kind of "economia" from years of experience of priests dealing with the gay community.  It probably isn't in accord with the Vatican's Magisterium but then, 2/3 of the Roman Catholic laity and half the priests don't agree with the Vatican's position on homosexuality.    

    And FYI,  I have asperger's and i'm bisexual (and sometimes i've questioned my gender identity).  I am not identified as gay.

Quote
 As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.  

 I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

Quote
But ultimately it is your choice whether you will practice humility and obedience or not. It's not easy, my homosexual friends have assured me of that. But it will lead to true happiness, which casual sex and sinful lifestyles cannot offer.

FWIW, i would pray to God for the humility to live that kind of life but I feel deep down forcing that cross upon other people is deeply wrong, and by emulating an "obedient" lifestyle like that, i'd be legitimizing indifference to suffering.  I do not want to stand by while people are suffering in silence, that is not what God calls us to do.  I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?),  when they fail to listen to the experinces of gay Christians in that manner.     People in the Church can talk about homosexuals as needing healing but that just overlooks the fact that we are all in need of healing, there is nothing special about gays in that matter, sin daamges and distorts every human relationship.  So much of what religion embodies in this is not of God, its just cultural prejudice against things people don't understand.   Caring for the sojourner and the stranger shouldn't just apply to people from foreign lands it should also apply to people that we don't understand and people that frighten us.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 17, 2011, 08:11:45 PM
Quote
Nobody here is saying that one can't be a repentant sinner and still have a relationship with God. What you're saying is that pre-marital sex is not a sin. These are not the same thing.
Exactly. Stop shuffling around the issue. God forgives those that repent of sin. If you don't consider premarital sex sinful, you are operating on a whole other level than David, Solomon, the Prophets, the entire OT, and the entire NT.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 09:21:09 PM
So you're comparing following Nazi Germany to following the teachings of the Church? I think we can clearly see one is ok while the other is not. The Church is Christ's Bride being led by the Holy Spirit so I'm pretty sure we don't need to worry about genocide  :laugh: Unless you don't believe the church is guided by the Holy Spirit. 

  When St. Maximos was being jailed for refusal to go along with monothelitism,  appeals were made to the Church and other authorities as well (including to the Latins).   St. Maximos ended up losing a tongue and a hand in the process, but he didn't recant, even though the Patriarch of Constantinople and half the Christian east was against him speaking as "the Church".

 Your making an appeal to authority.  Appeal to authority and to consensus are both logical falacies for truth.   The Church's , if it be the "pillar and ground of truth", cannot rest on "whatever people have always agreed on" or "whatever somebody with authority said".   It has to be self-evident under scrutiny.

 
Quote
  But the need to individulize everything is by no means Christ's plan and why we see much splintering in those groups. 

   Well, they  see that as prefferable to using the power of the state to persecute or kill heretics.  For hundreds of years actually the Church of England (Anglican) was the only official church in England, for instance. Lutheran princes were very ruthless in persecuting baptists.   It was not until the late enlightenment that religious freedom was granted in Protestant countries.   Eastern European, Orthodox countries mostly have religious homogeny because of the power of the state and the legacy of repressive regimes like the Byzantines, the Tsars, etc.  No different from the situation in England during the Tudor to the Victorian eras.   Eastern Christianity's apparrent homogeneous character was largely derived from powerful empires wanting an end to schisms and divisions within the Christian movement (Constantine called the First Ecumenical Council after all, to end political problems in his empire caused by religion).

  To me this speaks more to certain people being afraid their particular brand of Christianity cannot stand up to scrutiny.  Should the Truth fear scrutinty?  I think not.

Quote
If the ultimate arbitor of what is truth is one's self then no man is wrong since he is right in his own mind. No, we need the rebuke and sheparding of the Church to guide us. Yes your sins are between you and God alone, but that doesn't mean your whole life direction and choice of right and wrong is between you and God. 

 Are you a convert?  Then you made yourself arbiter of truth when you decided to abandon your western tradition and choose Orthodoxy.  You made a choice about truth.  This is the big spiritual fault I discovered in myself, about 1 1/2 years ago i was a zealous convert to Orthodoxy, but to individually choose to follow a tradition that tends to be skeptical of individuality, is the ultimate hypocrisy.   So it unmasked some serious hypocrisy and judgementalism, so that's where I am today.  I really hurt my relationship to other Christians who did not embrace "Orthodoxy", and i did this needlessly and sometimes I think God is chastising me.  So watch out.  Of all the sins i've done- I feel almost dead inside since i did this.  I replaced an earnest desire to serve God as best I could with "religion",a head full of dogma but a heart unsure about God's love.  Alone in a religious tradition that also didn't care to support me much in my spiritual and material issues.  Not fun, i'm not sure i have made my peace with it yet.

   We do walk alone with God...  Christianity is ultimately not a religion, its a relationship...  If we are looking to other people constantly for our spiritual validation, we are immature.  We should be looking to Christ, not to men, who will always fail.  Christ alone is he who was dead "and behold I am alive forevermore, and i hold the keys to Death and Hades".   Your priest can't say that, even the greatest saint can't say that, only Christ can.  Do people have such little faith they don't allow Christ to speak to them Himself directly?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 09:26:47 PM

Exactly. Stop shuffling around the issue. God forgives those that repent of sin. If you don't consider premarital sex sinful, you are operating on a whole other level than David, Solomon, the Prophets, the entire OT, and the entire NT.

  David and Solomon both had a huge harem of wives and concubines.  Are we to believe he suddenly jettisoned those after writing the 51st Psalm? I  don't think so.   We don't find God approving of Solomon's behavior, but at the same time we don't see God moralizing about it either.  My guess is in a world where people were enslaving each other, offering their babies as burnt offerings to idols, selling women off as property, who you slept with was the least of God's concerns.
 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 09:29:08 PM
 David and Solomon both had a huge harem of wives and concubines.  Are we to believe he suddenly jettisoned those after writing the 51st Psalm? I  don't think so.   We don't find God approving of Solomon's behavior, but at the same time we don't see God moralizing about it either.  My guess is in a world where people were enslaving each other, offering their babies as burnt offerings to idols, selling women off as property, who you slept with was the least of God's concerns.
God was progressively revealing himself to the Israelites. God's full revelation of who He is came in Jesus Christ. Have you read the Sermon on the Mount and how Christ's teachings relate to the OT Laws?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 17, 2011, 09:30:06 PM
Daedalus, I defended you earlier in the thread because I can see the sadness in your words but I must now say, you have not acquired an Orthodox phronema. By appointing yourself the final arbiter of what you will accept as truth, you have adopted the m/o of protestantism.

It's true that Orthodoxy is not so big on rules and regulations, but there are certain things which tend towards being dangerous to one's soul most, if not all, of the time. The witness of five thousand years confirms this wisdom in the case of pre-marital sex (by which its proponents usually mean bed-hopping promiscuity, as much as they like to deny this).
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 17, 2011, 09:39:37 PM
Yeah, but God doesn't really judge us using abstract rules, the Psalmist is fairly clear about this "he knows our frame, he remembers we are dust".  Rules ask the impossible of us, God does not.

Orthodoxy does not ask the bare minimum of us. Christ commands us to be holy—nothing less. And this IS possible. Far greater sinners than you or I have reached the heights of holiness. But not while hanging onto their sins for dear life.

You seem stuck in a juridical view of salvation. We don't have this view. The rules are not arbitary yardsticks. They tell us how to amend our souls and become holy. Salvation is union with God, and we can only accomplish union if we cooperate with God. God will not force us into union against our will. If we don't want to be holy, we don't have to be.

Not unrealistic according to you.  There are alot of people who find that way of life unbearable.

Not unrealistic. Period. It's only unbearable to those who refuse to "let go and let God", as some Protestants say. When you let go of the stranglehold you have on your own life, it all becomes much easier.

But again, God won't force us. We can walk right into our own destruction if we want to. We have that right.

And they aren't all wickedly evil people that deserve to be chased out the Church.   I know a few people like that (partnered gays or lesbians) that are Roman Catholic- they are basicly delt with by their own kind of "economia" from years of experience of priests dealing with the gay community.  It probably isn't in accord with the Vatican's Magisterium but then, 2/3 of the Roman Catholic laity and half the priests don't agree with the Vatican's position on homosexuality.     

Partnered homosexuals are acting against their church, and their priests will be held responsible for leading these little ones astray. And anyway, this is beside the point; Roman Catholics can do whatever they want.

And FYI,  I have asperger's and i'm bisexual (and sometimes i've questioned my gender identity).  I am not identified as gay.

Well that's fine. I am fully aware of the complexities of sexuality issues and didn't mean to lump you in with other people. But there are principles that apply across the board, including having sex outside of marriage and marrying a person of the opposite sex.

I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

It's not about whether a Church is right for you, though. Its about whether the Orthodox Church is the true Church. That is the issue you must focus on. That answer will determine everything else.

FWIW, i would pray to God for the humility to live that kind of life but I feel deep down forcing that cross upon other people is deeply wrong, and by emulating an "obedient" lifestyle like that, i'd be legitimizing indifference to suffering.  I do not want to stand by while people are suffering in silence, that is not what God calls us to do.

Christ is the one who told us to pick up our crosses and follow, regardless of how heavy they are. The Apostles told us to rejoice in our suffering and thank God for being counted worthy to suffer for His sake.

Jesus was not released from His suffering, why would we be? Are we better than Him? Is He not able to help us?

I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?),

Nature is fallen. We have never observed a single unfallen organism, so we have no way of saying whether something is natural or not. Besides, many species are incestuous and cannibalistic too, so...

People in the Church can talk about homosexuals as needing healing but that just overlooks the fact that we are all in need of healing, there is nothing special about gays in that matter, sin daamges and distorts every human relationship.

Amen. We are all in need of healing. You just summarized Orthodox Christianity. Welcome home.

The problem is, not many people say that hatred, drunkenness, murder, etc are not sins. But people say that fornication and sodomy aren't sins. So we have to fight these mistaken ideas. But yes, we are all in need of healing, absolutely.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 17, 2011, 09:55:40 PM
We are deluded if we think that our "personal decisions" do not affect others.  
your statement has no place in the experience of living Christ and his body in the divine liturgy because my personal decisions are those of me and Christ...

First: sure, you're a human being with free will, so yes, only you can make that decision.  But I don't think that this is the principle we're disagreeing on.  I'm certainly not debating this point.  Otherwise:

How does your decision to have premarital sex not affect others?  It at least affects one other person, if not more.  If you eventually get married, then it has affected at least two people, and that baseline number will increase based on the number of children you have.  Add any future potential partners/spouses for your partner, and the number increases even more.  This doesn't take into account how your attitude will change, and how that is communicated to your friends, family, and acquaintances.  So your decisions, while you feel that they're made between you and God, affect many people, and are influenced by them (and by those who do not wish you to be in communion with Christ - unless you deny the influence of evil, then you pile delusion upon delusion).

If you choose to live alone (i.e. making decisions without regard to the Lord's commands, or their impact on others; this statement isn't directed to those who are single, just to those who isolate themselves from others & God) then you choose to live a life not reflective of the Trinity (3 in 1 relationship), or of created humanity (2 in 1 harmony), even if physically you choose to join yourself to others.

I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?

One can continue to delude themselves into thinking that the choice to have or not have premarital or extramarital sex is personal, between them and God; while on the surface every decision is such a decision, we must also see that He Who made all and gave us His law has given us a chosen path to take, and we can only be righteous if we choose that path (and can repent if we do not choose that path, but that repentance requires a change and non-repetition of the mistake).
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 17, 2011, 10:01:52 PM
I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?

Bless, Father.

What does this mean for people who have made the mistake of engaging in extra-marital sex but repented of it? Does the person to whom they were conjoined in one flesh hold a piece of their soul forever? What does this mean for the conjoining of the flesh in any future marriage?

Just to be clear, I am not speaking literally or with precision in my questions.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 17, 2011, 10:03:48 PM
Quote
 As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.  

 I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

So why are you inquiring into Orthodoxy?  To find Christ, or to find someone who supports the religion you've created in your heart?  God is worshiped in Spirit and Truth, but that is all in the context of His Body, His Bride, His Church.  Based on Christ's revelation to the world, He is present in Orthodoxy, and the Orthodox Way is a sure way to be one with Him in His Kingdom.  You can choose a sure way, or you can choose your own way - but know that there is little in the way of certainty that your way will lead to oneness with God.  If you choose God's way, then you must submit yourself in humility to it, just as we who call ourselves Orthodox strive to each day.  We choose to struggle to avoid blasphemy, anger, wrath, fornication, theft, adultery, violence, indifference, lack of charity, etc.  Join the struggle if you dare - the road is not easy, as our individual Crosses are heavy.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Fr. George on May 17, 2011, 10:12:37 PM
Bless, Father.

May the blessing of the Risen Lord be with you!

I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?
What does this mean for people who have made the mistake of engaging in extra-marital sex but repented of it?

Repentance is the washing of a new baptism; if we are truly repentant, then we can rest in the Lord's assurance of grace and mercy.

Does the person to whom they were conjoined in one flesh hold a piece of their soul forever?

Well, we don't give and take pieces of our soul; the soul is simple (not complex like the flesh) and not divisible.  We are mystically united - what that means for the future, I don't know.

What does this mean for the conjoining of the flesh in any future marriage?

I'm not quite sure.  I think the complexity of this question is why there are canons against marrying if you've committed fornication.  Such canons have been relaxed in modern days, but this doesn't reduce the importance of the question.  IMO: For those who have had premarital or extramarital sex and have repented (and are either in a marriage or are celibate), I would encourage prayer for their former partner(s) and, if possible, to maintain a friendship where they can encourage spiritual growth toward Christ.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on May 17, 2011, 10:15:51 PM
Thank you for that, Father.

I pray that the Lord will forgive.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 10:19:28 PM
I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?)
I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.
Perhaps you should read this introductory article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_hormones_and_sexual_orientation
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 17, 2011, 11:15:32 PM
Orthodoxy does not ask the bare minimum of us. Christ commands us to be holy—nothing less. And this IS possible. Far greater sinners than you or I have reached the heights of holiness. But not while hanging onto their sins for dear life.  

  It seems clear to me that in this life we'll always be sinners.   Even in people that seem to be saintly, have wonderworking powers, one can find things that seem to be off, or in error.

Quote
You seem stuck in a juridical view of salvation. We don't have this view. The rules are not arbitary
yardsticks. They tell us how to amend our souls and become holy. Salvation is union with God, and we can only accomplish union if we cooperate with God. God will not force us into union against our will. If we don't want to be holy, we don't have to be.

   I'm not certain myself that "union with God" is why God created humanity, and thus the purpose of human life.   I think perhaps God created human beings just because that's what God does- create.  And perhaps God became man for no other reason than we'ld be free, not free to be slaves to rules, but free from fear and oppression.  Mystical union is something that will happen as a consequence of that, not something we strive for but something that happens to us by living in the reality of the Incarnation.

  I'm not sure the historical Jesus really preached about mystical union (though its emphasized alot in Orthodox spirituality, due to the influence of monasticism).  3 of the 4 Gospels emphasize the Kingdom of God as being about justice, mercy, and forgiveness ruling in peoples hearts (and yes I think Jesus alludes that this involves sacrifice and renunciation).  Only the 4th approaches mysticism.In some ways, i think looking at western history, the Kingdom of God is clearly present.  We've gone in 2000 years from a society that was OK with keeping human beings as slaves and watching people die as etertainment, to a society that has human rights based on intrinsic dignity at the center of our discourse.  

  At this point in my life I am not focused on being holy.  I'm trying to learn to forgive and get along with my family and my situation in life, which is not easy at all.  Holiness is too lofty for me.  If i really love people i have to forgo the idea of me being holy and just focus on improving myself as best as i can, without being harsh on myself or other people.   I will leave judgement up to God, and i hope you would be gracious enough to do the same.

Not unrealistic. Period. It's only unbearable to those who refuse to "let go and let God", as some Protestants say. When you let go of the stranglehold you have on your own life, it all becomes much easier.  

  There's truth in that, I am not wholeheartedly rejecting the teachings iin that manner.   But this idea sounds nice in practice but i know some gay Christians still struggling with this issue, and they would very much like to "let go and let God" and it doesn't happen.  They feel alienation and rejection from other Christians, for one, which certainly doesn't help.

Quote
 But again, God won't force us. We can walk right into our own destruction if we want to. We have that right.  

  I don't think a loving gay relationship is automaticly destructive.  Its true we could all i guess go off and try to become a St. Seraphim or a St. Mary and please the hierarchy of the Church rather than live an openly gay life, but when you force people to do that, tell them "do this or go to hell", the message so many gay Christians get, you get pain and estrangement.  And if an Orthodox congregation basicly does that to a gay person, that is the message being sent.  I feel deep down this is not how Jesus Christ would treat a gay prson, having known several gay people know in the past few years, and comming to realize that many religious people and groups intentionally avoid dealing with them as human persons with the same needs and issues as other people (if you do not I applaud you, but honestly before engaging this issue in myself, I realized i had simply avoided taking the lives of gays and lesbians seriously, and was even in denial with myself about my own same-sex attractions).

I
It's not about whether a Church is right for you, though. Its about whether the Orthodox Church is the true Church. That is the issue you must focus on. That answer will determine everything else.  

  To be honest i'm leaning towards the branch theory... and i'm pretty sure most Orthodox would reject that, i'm not sure what Bishop Kallistos Ware would think of that even, and he seems closest to that point of view. In that case then yes, it may well be about "which Church is right for me".  As an Episcopalian friend said, it isn't ultimately about what is true, its about who you can make the journey with.  A truth that cannot be lived will do me or you no good.

   There's actually a certain beauty in an Anglican interpretation of branch ecclessiology; that the Church is the incarnate body of Christ on earth, broken due to the sins of the world, without necessarily defeating it in its purpose (after all, the risen, glorified body of Christ is simultaneously wounded).   And Anglicans don't see a huge problem for the most part, with the theology and praxis of Rome or the Orthodox.   I  have thought about Anglicanism in the past but, I found it disappointing that Anglicanism is basicly split over wheather it will affirm the first seven ecumenical councils (the current Archbishop of Canteburry would there's a significant minority that are biblicists who would tend to want to pit the Bible against the councils).  I also am basicly post-protestant, I don't accept the Protestant ideals of the Reformation as the essence of Christianity, i would rather look to the seven ecumenical councils to figure out "what is the Church", rather than basing th Church's identy on the "correct inteprretation of Scriptures" (is there even one?  I tend to doubt its so simple)

Christ is the one who told us to pick up our crosses and follow, regardless of how heavy they are. The Apostles told us to rejoice in our suffering and thank God for being counted worthy to suffer for His sake.

  Christ also promised that his yoke is light.  The Apostles suffering was due to the world ridiculing them and beating them, imprisoning them and jailing/killing them.  Alot more like how gays were/are treated than how ascetics live.  

Quote
Jesus was not released from His suffering, why would we be? Are we better than Him? Is He not able to help us?  

  Well, Jesus suffering was redemptive, is our suffering redemptive too in the same degree?  Are we adding to the works of Christ?   Is it evil to look up to the sufferings of Christ and say "I can't do that".  I don't think so.  Sometimes that's humility.   And it doesn't mean that God can't help us just because we don't carry a cross measured up to some ideal.   Sometimes i think this reminds me of Catholics from a bygone era praying to be victims of God's wrath... sometimes i think that kind of spirituality is a denial of the kind of freedom that God created and redemed us for.  Christ died so that one day (hopefully soon), there would be a world without any more victims... or ascetics.   For this Christ deserves our love and worship, but to reduce our salvation to some legalistic formula of do's and dont's is a distortion of that.

Quote
Nature is fallen. We have never observed a single unfallen organism, so we have no way of saying whether something is natural or not. Besides, many species are incestuous and cannibalistic too, so...  

  Please understand I have a very high respect for science.  For studying fallen nature, our science sure works very well in helping to understand this world in prarctical ways.  Why would there be a disconnect metaphysically with the spiritual world?  Do the rules change that much?  Do things that help with human and animal flourishing suddenly change.  Is  God not sovereign over this world, or does he  just let things happen agaist his will- is he arbitrary and lets the physical work work one way then says "gotcha" when it comes to spiritual matters?  Then he's not really good, if his laws have nothing to do with the way the world actually works.  Either way, things don't look so good for both a rational worldview and somebody that clings to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural.   Either way, i have faith in God, beyond the idols created by religioous ideology, I do not believe God is actually bad, thoughtless, uncaring or arbitrary.  So I figure that the understanding of sexuality is probably incomplete and needs further analysis.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 11:21:59 PM
So many false dichotomies... :/

Daedelus, I have a feeling that the only thing that you would be open to influencing your viewpoint is in-person conversation. Unfortunately I don't think we can provide that, unless you want to meet up with a nearby member.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 12:17:00 AM
I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.

    I am thinking of a recent Italian study that found evidence for a hypothesis that homosexuality is connected to a hypothesized "androphilia" in both men and women.  Women that have this gay gene may breed more than those that do not, which may give evolutionary advantages during times of famine.  The researchers tested this hypothesis by looking at the female relatives of gay and bisexual men, and found this to be the case (the female relatives of these men had more children than those that had no gay or bisexual relatives), supporting their hypothesis.  And the males that do not reproduce as much, that have this gay gene, will have free time to help raise their female kin's offspring, something called "kin selection" (seen in ant colonies).  In Samoan society this is the case, as homosexuality is relatively accepted there as a "third gender", and these men tend to spend more time helping relatives children, but not children in general.   http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080208_gaygene.htm

  It is true we don't know the exactly mechanism of why a small percentage of men are exclusively gay, but it can no longer be said with certainty that being gay is socially malignant or has no evolutionary advantages (from the POV of evolution, individual survival is not important, only the propagation of genes, in the grand scheme it is life in general filling biological niches).  I suppose this doesn't necessarily say that sex between two men itself is good, but the sexual orientation for a man to be only attracted to another man sexually, doesn't seem to be something that is abnormal, its a variation on normal, part of the diversity of reproductive strategies found in nature.

  I know in the Asperger's community, being queer or transgender/gender variant is somewhat more common than in neurotypical people.   Particularly with women with Asperger's.  Asexuality is also common, where the level of sexual attraction or interest is so low that sexual relationships don't interest people, combined with the difficulties that having an autism spectrum condition produces socially.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 18, 2011, 12:17:34 AM
Daedelus, do you think Christ had relations outside of marriage? Do you think it would have been appropriate for Him to have these relations?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: biro on May 18, 2011, 12:26:03 AM
I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later. Yes, Our Lord is very forgiving, but I do not think we ought to regard everything as okay anyway just because we have really strong desires for it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: IsmiLiora on May 18, 2011, 12:31:21 AM
I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 18, 2011, 01:32:14 AM
I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.

    I am thinking of a recent Italian study that found evidence for a hypothesis that homosexuality is connected to a hypothesized "androphilia" in both men and women.

  It is true we don't know the exactly mechanism of why a small percentage of men are exclusively gay, but it can no longer be said with certainty that being gay is socially malignant or has no evolutionary advantages
Are you open to the possibility that the basis is prenatal hormonal rather than genetic?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: JimCBrooklyn on May 18, 2011, 01:46:47 AM
I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
The sin of presumption, probably the most dangerous of all sins. We are to live as if Christ is coming tomorrow.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 18, 2011, 02:35:32 AM
I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
The sin of presumption, probably the most dangerous of all sins. We are to live as if Christ is coming tomorrow.

Exactly, we are to live as if we will die tomorrow.

Not: live, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall die

But: live each moment in the presence of Christ because we shall live eternally in His presence (either in Heaven or Hell).

It is imperative to read the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom where he states that all of us are welcome to the Feast of the Lamb. However, we must repent in a timely manner in order to come to the Feast. We cannot wait until after we die. We must repent while we have breath.

"Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Shanghaiski on May 18, 2011, 09:35:59 AM
The Orthodox Church does not drive anyone away. People separate themselves from the Church by not following Christ's commandments, even though they might be doing this openly, with people cheering them on. If one has no intention of following Christ's commandments, or of accepting that He has given commandments to be followed, and that these relate to our behaviors, thoughts, and all aspects of our lives, than I'm not sure that being in the Church is going to be a help to one's soul. If we don't repent and humble ourselves and accept the Church's teachings, how can we claim to be disciples of Christ? Christ is our King and our Master, not our President. We did not vote for Him, nor did He consult with us on what His commandments should be. We did not choose Him, but He chose us, that we should bear fruit, according to His commandments and be well pleasing to Him, not to ourselves or the world. As He said, every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit, and every branch that does not bear fruit, He removes and burns. So, it seems to me we have a very simple choice--repent and  humble ourselves to His light yoke and follow His commandments, or do our own will stubbornly and take ourselves to hell.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 18, 2011, 10:55:01 AM
It seems clear to me that in this life we'll always be sinners.   Even in people that seem to be saintly, have wonderworking powers, one can find things that seem to be off, or in error.

This is true. But Christ desires us to change and become holy. This theme is present throughout the New Testament.

Based on what you've said, you seem to be suffering from Martin Luther's perspective. That is, sin with boldness so we can experience true forgiveness. That is not Orthodoxy. We do not destroy ourselves, banking on forgiveness. That is to slap Christ in the face, who died to free us, while we enslave ourselves again and again.

Our failures do not justify us to go on failing. "God loves us exactly as we are, and loves us way too much to let us stay that way."

I'm not certain myself that "union with God" is why God created humanity, and thus the purpose of human life.   I think perhaps God created human beings just because that's what God does- create.  And perhaps God became man for no other reason than we'ld be free, not free to be slaves to rules, but free from fear and oppression.  Mystical union is something that will happen as a consequence of that, not something we strive for but something that happens to us by living in the reality of the Incarnation.

But either way, union is the ultimate end. This is a matter of emphasis.

At this point in my life I am not focused on being holy.  I'm trying to learn to forgive and get along with my family and my situation in life, which is not easy at all.  Holiness is too lofty for me.  If i really love people i have to forgo the idea of me being holy and just focus on improving myself as best as i can, without being harsh on myself or other people.   I will leave judgement up to God, and i hope you would be gracious enough to do the same.

You are focusing on being holy, whether you know it or not. Treating others well is part of that journey.

I am not judging you, I am simply telling you what the Orthodox Church has taught since Pentecost. God wants us to live, and He tells us how to do so. We can accept it or reject it. But if we reject it, we can't expect to live. If a cancer patient doesn't take his treatment, he will die, it's just a fact. And we sinners will die if we do not take our spiritual treatment.

There's truth in that, I am not wholeheartedly rejecting the teachings iin that manner.   But this idea sounds nice in practice but i know some gay Christians still struggling with this issue, and they would very much like to "let go and let God" and it doesn't happen.  They feel alienation and rejection from other Christians, for one, which certainly doesn't help.

In my experience, those who feel alienated are those who have made homosexuality their identity. When we identify ourselves with our sins, it becomes very difficult to live in a Church whose teachings on morality are crystal-clear. But if we identify our sins as brokenness, it is very easy to deal with.

I don't think a loving gay relationship is automaticly destructive.

The Church says otherwise. Just because two men can get "married" and live happy lives together doesn't mean they aren't destroying themselves. (Worldly happiness is not an indicator of our spiritual state, that is largely a Calvinist concept.)

Its true we could all i guess go off and try to become a St. Seraphim or a St. Mary and please the hierarchy of the Church rather than live an openly gay life, but when you force people to do that, tell them "do this or go to hell", the message so many gay Christians get, you get pain and estrangement.

But the Church is not some arbitrary power structure. It is the Body of Christ, led by the Holy Spirit. The Church isn't there to step on us, it's there to give our salvation a framework. The bishops and priests exist to help us to be saved.

Our goal is not to please the hierarchy. Our goal is to prepare ourselves for the reality that someday we will step into God's presence. We can't be prepared for that if we are doing everything our own way, because we are not in this alone.

I feel deep down this is not how Jesus Christ would treat a gay prson, having known several gay people know in the past few years, and comming to realize that many religious people and groups intentionally avoid dealing with them as human persons with the same needs and issues as other people (if you do not I applaud you, but honestly before engaging this issue in myself, I realized i had simply avoided taking the lives of gays and lesbians seriously, and was even in denial with myself about my own same-sex attractions).

Really? He was pretty harsh to the Woman at the Well. She was living a life full of sexual sin, and Jesus called her to repentance. Jesus' love is based on doing what is right for us, not in making us comfortable in our sin.

To be honest i'm leaning towards the branch theory... and i'm pretty sure most Orthodox would reject that, i'm not sure what Bishop Kallistos Ware would think of that even, and he seems closest to that point of view. In that case then yes, it may well be about "which Church is right for me".  As an Episcopalian friend said, it isn't ultimately about what is true, its about who you can make the journey with.

I'm sorry, but that's just silly. It sounds like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" It's not about "my truth", it's about "Truth." The Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, and we can only come to Him in the context of the Church He established.

A truth that cannot be lived will do me or you no good.

It can be with God's help. But not if you give up before even trying.

i would rather look to the seven ecumenical councils to figure out "what is the Church", rather than basing th Church's identy on the "correct inteprretation of Scriptures"

That's fine. What Church held the Seven Ecumenical Councils? It wasn't the Anglicans, that's for sure.

Christ also promised that his yoke is light.

His yoke is light, but not when we fight endlessly to take it off.

Well, Jesus suffering was redemptive, is our suffering redemptive too in the same degree?  Are we adding to the works of Christ?

I didn't say that. Our works do not add to Christ's, but we do have to cooperate with Him.

Is it evil to look up to the sufferings of Christ and say "I can't do that".  I don't think so.

It's only human. But Christ promised we would be able to do it, with His help.

Sometimes that's humility.

Refusing to let God change us is actually pride, not humility. Humility is saying "I am broken, Lord help me."

For this Christ deserves our love and worship, but to reduce our salvation to some legalistic formula of do's and dont's is a distortion of that.

I don't usually recommend this, but I think you are struggling to understand how Orthodoxy can have rules but not be legalistic. So, I really want you to read this essay. It will help you understand this concept:

http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

Why would there be a disconnect metaphysically with the spiritual world?  Do the rules change that much?  Do things that help with human and animal flourishing suddenly change.  Is  God not sovereign over this world, or does he  just let things happen agaist his will- is he arbitrary and lets the physical work work one way then says "gotcha" when it comes to spiritual matters?  Then he's not really good, if his laws have nothing to do with the way the world actually works.  Either way, things don't look so good for both a rational worldview and somebody that clings to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural.   Either way, i have faith in God, beyond the idols created by religioous ideology, I do not believe God is actually bad, thoughtless, uncaring or arbitrary.  So I figure that the understanding of sexuality is probably incomplete and needs further analysis.

The world is fallen. This was not God's intention, but in our freedom He allowed it. So God now had to save us. He sent Christ, who has taught us the way back to the perfection we had in the Garden. God does not create people gay; they are gay because the natural world has been corrupted by sin. He allows gay people to be born, just like the blind man in the Gospel, so His power can be displayed by those who fight againt their tendencies.

Our ideology is not an idol. That is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Who lives in the Church and guides Her into all truth, as Christ promised He would.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 01:43:03 PM
Really? He was pretty harsh to the Woman at the Well. She was living a life full of sexual sin, and Jesus called her to repentance. Jesus' love is based on doing what is right for us, not in making us comfortable in our sin. 

  I read the opposite into that story- he wasn't harsh at all, and certainly didn't condemn her.   I can't remember him in that story telling her to repent, merely pointing out she told the truth about her life.  When my priest gave a sermon on this gospel reading, he didn't talk about Christ condemning the woman or calling her to repentence.   I have to wonder what you are taking away from that story that you see a harsh Christ there?  He is merely talking about religion with her, pointing out that God is above what hill one decides to pray on, and at the end performs a miracle to demonstrate he is the Messiah, by revealing a part of her life she is ashamed of.  Yet by saying nothing condemning, she is freed from all condemnation and she goes away happy and becomes an apostle to her people.

I'm sorry, but that's just silly. It sounds like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" It's not about "my truth", it's about "Truth." The Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, and we can only come to Him in the context of the Church He established. 

  Right...  many Christian bodies have a lineage back to the Apostles.  It is not so simple.   I honestly decided in the end to go with my heart on this matter, having come to the conclusion that the claims had about as much weight.   I am not sure thre is a "right" or "wrong" answer I could tell somebody else.  Perhaps i have no business being an Orthodox Christian then, that's not for you to decide that's up to my priest.

 I  think connecting Jesus Christ with the hierarchy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a 1 to 1 fashion is dangerous.  Is this the same hierarchy that was OK with torturing St. Maximos becaus he wouldn't submit to politically expedient heresy, or the hierarchy that banned icons for nearly a century?  It is a mistake to see Jesus Christ as somehow dependent on an ecclessiastic hierarchy, as if Christ were only present as a memory carried on by an organization... is he not the risen Lord?   I am not sure I agree with this kind of ecclessiology that reduces the Church to the hierarchy of bishops and patriarchs.  I think the Church is more than that.  When I asked my priest about this stuff (the errors and abuses that have been commited by Orthodox clerics), he told me I was thinking too much in terms of an institutional model of the Church.  I should ask him for further clarification. 

Quote
http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm 

  Right, its a "therapeutic model".  But a great deal of harm has been done by similar approaches in the real world.  The Soviets were notorious for viewing many things as sickness, and as a result, ignoring human rights and self-determination   In the real world, i have a right to a second opinion on health matters, and my doctor won't accuse me of being a troublemaker or lacking faith.  Again, the therapeutic vs. juridical sounds nice until one realizes that in practical terms it makes no difference.  Either way, therapeutic or juridical, there can be a disrepresct for critical thought and reason.   

Quote
   The world is fallen. This was not God's intention, but in our freedom He allowed it. 

  This makes no sense, does freedom trump God's providence and foreknowledge?  I think not, that sounds more like a naive kind of process theology where God just allows things to happen and is constantly in a state of learning or improvement.

Quote
  So God now had to save us. He sent Christ, who has taught us the way back to the perfection we had in the Garden.

  Definitely not true.  Orthodoxy doesn't say Adam was created perfect, merely innocent. (I've heard this from several Orthodox Christians including my priest)   St. Ambrose even implies that Adam's sin will in the end, be shown to produce a greater good,  since it allows us to exist in a higher state than Adam.  This is why in the western Easter vigil liturgy, at one point the priest intones- "O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere Redemptorem "  - "O happy fault, that should merit such and so great a Redeemer".   Christ is not bringing us back to Adam,  to immitate a prelapsarian existence of pure innocence.  Indeed, Christ himself is not without the effects of sin as part of his person, he bears the wounds of his crucifixion now and for ever.

Quote
God does not create people gay; they are gay because the natural world has been corrupted by sin. He allows gay people to be born, just like the blind man in the Gospel, so His power can be displayed by those who fight againt their tendencies. 

  So God did not create the natural world, sin acting as some demiurge did?  How is this not gnosticism?   Thank goodness the Jewish people did not take their creation story to such logical leaps. If what you say is true,  God is not our Creator, sin is.   Else what exactly about a person is created by God? 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 01:58:11 PM
Daedelus, do you think Christ had relations outside of marriage? Do you think it would have been appropriate for Him to have these relations?

  No, I don't think so, but looking at it from a more "Latin" perspective, perhaps,  I do not think his rejection of that necessarily implies that is wrong, or that celibacy is an automatic good.  Rather he gave up something good to pursue a greater good- our salvation.   Christ gave up alot of things to save us,  "foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head", that doesn't mean that having a nice house to live in is sinful, or that being without a house automaticly makes one spiritual.   Only if we insist on thinking of it dialectically.  Its all about context and intentions.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 18, 2011, 02:03:05 PM
So what did your Priest say about all of this?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 18, 2011, 02:31:14 PM
Quote
Perhaps i have no business being an Orthodox Christian then, that's not for you to decide that's up to my priest.
Why do you want to be a Christian at all? Will you answer my question??? Have you told your Priest any of this???
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 18, 2011, 03:30:34 PM
I read the opposite into that story- he wasn't harsh at all, and certainly didn't condemn her.   I can't remember him in that story telling her to repent, merely pointing out she told the truth about her life.  When my priest gave a sermon on this gospel reading, he didn't talk about Christ condemning the woman or calling her to repentence.   I have to wonder what you are taking away from that story that you see a harsh Christ there?  He is merely talking about religion with her, pointing out that God is above what hill one decides to pray on, and at the end performs a miracle to demonstrate he is the Messiah, by revealing a part of her life she is ashamed of.  Yet by saying nothing condemning, she is freed from all condemnation and she goes away happy and becomes an apostle to her people.

My mistake; I conflated two different stories. However Christ did call the people to repentance (Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15; Lk 3:8, 5:32, 13:3) and threatened people (Mt. 4:17, 11:21) and told the Apostles to do the same (Mk 6:12, Lk 24:47).

Christ certainly didn't come to make people comfortable in their sins. Nor did he excuse their sins.

Right...  many Christian bodies have a lineage back to the Apostles.  It is not so simple.   I honestly decided in the end to go with my heart on this matter, having come to the conclusion that the claims had about as much weight.   I am not sure thre is a "right" or "wrong" answer I could tell somebody else.

But that's not Orthodox. It's not Orthodox to decide for oneself what is true in the Church. If you decide that the Orthodox Church is the Church, then you must accept her teachings. That's just how it works. That's how Christianity has always worked. This picking and choosing is Protestantism, and is not authentic Christianity.

I  think connecting Jesus Christ with the hierarchy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a 1 to 1 fashion is dangerous.  Is this the same hierarchy that was OK with torturing St. Maximos becaus he wouldn't submit to politically expedient heresy, or the hierarchy that banned icons for nearly a century?  It is a mistake to see Jesus Christ as somehow dependent on an ecclessiastic hierarchy, as if Christ were only present as a memory carried on by an organization... is he not the risen Lord?   I am not sure I agree with this kind of ecclessiology that reduces the Church to the hierarchy of bishops and patriarchs.  I think the Church is more than that.  When I asked my priest about this stuff (the errors and abuses that have been commited by Orthodox clerics), he told me I was thinking too much in terms of an institutional model of the Church.  I should ask him for further clarification.

You are introducing a false dichotomy. You seem to reject the hierarchy wholesale, and imply I accept it wholesale. There have been serious heresies, but the bishops who propograted them were not part of the Church. They removed themselves from the Church when they taught heresy.

Right, its a "therapeutic model".  But a great deal of harm has been done by similar approaches in the real world.  The Soviets were notorious for viewing many things as sickness, and as a result, ignoring human rights and self-determination   In the real world, i have a right to a second opinion on health matters, and my doctor won't accuse me of being a troublemaker or lacking faith.  Again, the therapeutic vs. juridical sounds nice until one realizes that in practical terms it makes no difference.  Either way, therapeutic or juridical, there can be a disrepresct for critical thought and reason.   

The Church is led by the Holy Spirit. There is no second opinion beyond that. The Church is One, so who else would you appeal to?

This makes no sense, does freedom trump God's providence and foreknowledge?  I think not, that sounds more like a naive kind of process theology where God just allows things to happen and is constantly in a state of learning or improvement.

This is a whole different topic. If you want to discuss this, open a new thread about it.

Definitely not true.  Orthodoxy doesn't say Adam was created perfect, merely innocent.

We must regain our innocence before we can become perfect. Innocent people don't sin.

So God did not create the natural world, sin acting as some demiurge did?  How is this not gnosticism?   Thank goodness the Jewish people did not take their creation story to such logical leaps. If what you say is true,  God is not our Creator, sin is.   Else what exactly about a person is created by God? 

You are twisting my words.

Does God create people deformed or predisposed to sin? No, because there were no deformed people or sinful people before the Fall. People become deformed because our very biology is corrupted.

By chance, are/were you a Calvinist? Because I have observed many Calvinist tendencies in your discussion. Here, for example, is an absolute need for God's absolute sovereignty. If someone has same-sex attraction, it doesn't mean God made them that way. It means they are fallen people and need to be healed.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: JimCBrooklyn on May 18, 2011, 05:06:55 PM
Bogdan, thank you for your eloquence.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 10:14:00 PM
But that's not Orthodox. It's not Orthodox to decide for oneself what is true in the Church. If you decide that the Orthodox Church is the Church, then you must accept her teachings. That's just how it works. That's how Christianity has always worked. This picking and choosing is Protestantism, and is not authentic Christianity.

  You're being intellectually dishonest.  There are dozens of Orthodox bodies in the US, or bodies all claiming to be the Orthodox Church, several with impaired, and not full, communion with each other.  I "choose" one to go to, and you most certainly decided for yourself which was the true church.  Why avoid responsibility?  All I sense in your appeal to authority is fear, and appeal to fear is not a good basis to pursue truth.

Quote
 Does God create people deformed or predisposed to sin? No, because there were no deformed people or sinful people before the Fall. People become deformed because our very biology is corrupted.  

  There were deformed neanderthals living in caves, I know that for sure.   We need to keep that in mind.  Adam and eve are mythical stories, time to face up to that.  Our religion must interact with the world of science or we are sticking our heads in the sand and retreating into a spiritual disneyland.

Quote
 by chance, are/were you a Calvinist? Because I have observed many Calvinist tendencies in your discussion. Here, for example, is an absolute need for God's absolute sovereignty. If someone has same-sex attraction, it doesn't mean God made them that way. It means they are fallen people and need to be healed.

  I am not a calvinist no but I would want to believe that God uses my imperfections for greater goods, than simply allowing evil to happen in the world beyond his control.     I was born with the genetics for asperger's syndrome ,it is part of who I am at a deep level, it brings things I don't like but it is also part of who I am... is God not my creator just because I cannot seperate these things in my person?  What you are suggesting is that I somehow deny that God isn't providentially caring for the world, but is instead "just letting things happen" beyond his control.

  The God you are talking about that just lets evil enter the world against his will, is not a God I can worship.   I am a person with asperger's and disabilities, its part of who I am.   You are basicly saying God didn't create significant aspects of who I am?  I'm confused.  I'm in the process of being made every moment of my life by thigs that happen, good or bad.  I may not like the bad things but they ultimately create who I am.  It is nihilistic for me to not accept the bad with the good.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 18, 2011, 10:15:28 PM
 There were deformed neanderthals living in caves, I know that for sure.
Are you calling neanderthals deformed Homo sapiens?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 18, 2011, 10:17:02 PM
What you are suggesting is that I somehow deny that God isn't providentially caring for the world, but is instead "just letting things happen" beyond his control.
Do you believe that God gave man dominion, or that he merely pretended to give man dominion, and that dominion merely exists as an extension of sovereign predestination?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 18, 2011, 10:22:12 PM
Is it right to blame one's sinfulness and temptations to sin on a disability such as Asperger's syndrome?

We are all humans, and part of our condition in this fallen world is to struggle against temptation and sin.

I could have blamed my addictive allergy to chocolate for my sinful indulgences, but instead, I chose to work with my spiritual father and resist the urge to eat such delicacies through prayer and fasting.

Through the prayers of the Most Pure Theotokos, St. Nectarios of Aegina, and St. John of San Francisco, have mercy on us, O Christ God, and save us.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 10:28:41 PM
Quote
Are you calling neanderthals deformed Homo sapiens?

 No..  I minored in anthropology and know for a fact that there were neanderthals and "cave men" that had broken bones and deformities.    
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 10:35:18 PM
Is it right to blame one's sinfulness and temptations to sin on a disability such as Asperger's syndrome?

  Re-read my post carefully and you will realize I was not trying to justify sin, I was trying to discuss in what sense God creates human beings and their dispositions.

  Avoiding eating chocolate a major spiritual struggle?  Are you serious?     I almost laughed at that one...   
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 18, 2011, 10:45:38 PM
Quote
Are you calling neanderthals deformed Homo sapiens?

 No..  I minored in anthropology and know for a fact that there were neanderthals and "cave men" that had broken bones and deformities.    
Oh, I see what you meant.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 18, 2011, 10:49:52 PM
Is it right to blame one's sinfulness and temptations to sin on a disability such as Asperger's syndrome?

  Re-read my post carefully and you will realize I was not trying to justify sin, I was trying to discuss in what sense God creates human beings and their dispositions.

  Avoiding eating chocolate a major spiritual struggle?  Are you serious?     I almost laughed at that one...  

Yes, I am highly addicted to chocolate. I cannot eat it because it causes hives, major stomach upsets, and tachycardia. I also have allergies that can cause anaphylaxis, and chocolate might be one of them if I were to eat it often. For example, grasses, codeine and that family of drugs will cause anaphylaxis. The last time I went to the dentist and had an injection of Novocaine, my throat started to swell and I had to have emergency intervention. Whenever my neighbors cut their lawn, I must stay inside with all the windows closed and in spite of those measures, I have had asthma attacks.

I am living in God's time, and taking one day at a time.

Want to trade afflictions? j/k My cross would be too much for you.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 18, 2011, 10:50:30 PM
You're being intellectually dishonest.  There are dozens of Orthodox bodies in the US, or bodies all claiming to be the Orthodox Church, several with impaired, and not full, communion with each other.  I "choose" one to go to, and you most certainly decided for yourself which was the true church.  Why avoid responsibility?

Huh?  ??? I don't know what this is about. Only one of the "Orthodox Churches" has all four marks of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.

There were deformed neanderthals living in caves, I know that for sure.   We need to keep that in mind.  Adam and eve are mythical stories, time to face up to that.  Our religion must interact with the world of science or we are sticking our heads in the sand and retreating into a spiritual disneyland.

So mankind never fell, is that what you're saying? Mankind never existed in a state of innocense or grace before our present condition? (Notice I'm not arguing for a literal Creationist Garden 6000 years ago, but for a spiritual reality.)

I am not a calvinist no but I would want to believe that God uses my imperfections for greater goods, than simply allowing evil to happen in the world beyond his control.

He allows our imperfections so we can struggle against them, to His glory and our own.

What you are suggesting is that I somehow deny that God isn't providentially caring for the world, but is instead "just letting things happen" beyond his control.

Is that how it worked with Job? God lets these things happen so we can overcome them. We aren't born into some pure, floaty, happy state. Ancestral sin took that away from us. So now we have to work hard to get back to that state, and beyond. God will help us, but we have to cooperate with Him.

The God you are talking about that just lets evil enter the world against his will, is not a God I can worship.

It was not God's will that man would fall. But we are able to rebel against his will. God gave us the freedom to choose. If you want a God who forces us to be robots, then you will have to look elsewhere, I guess. This belief in man's freedom is shared by pretty much all Christians, Orthodox or not.

I am a person with asperger's and disabilities, its part of who I am.   You are basicly saying God didn't create significant aspects of who I am?  I'm confused.  I'm in the process of being made every moment of my life by thigs that happen, good or bad.  I may not like the bad things but they ultimately create who I am.  It is nihilistic for me to not accept the bad with the good.

God did not create your disabilities, he allowed them. He wants you to overcome whatever issues or passions they may cause in you, because it will cause you to grow in holiness and bring you closer to union with him. It will also be a testament to others of God's power working in your life.

God does not abandon us. He loves us enough to become one of us and die for us. He wants us to be perfect, and he has given us guides to help us travel down that narrow road to salvation. But we have to first let go of all the burdens we hang on to. He cannot do it for us. He cannot perfect us unless we want to be perfect and cooperate with him.

Have you ever read Pilgrim's Progress? That book explains it very well. Salvation is a journey—a long and difficult journey. But the more of our sin and junk that we throw off, the easier the journey becomes. But again, if we hang onto our sins for dear life, then we will get bogged down, tired out, and eventually die. God doesn't want that for us.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 10:52:12 PM
So what did your Priest say about all of this?

  I'm going to try to meet with him and we will talk about some of these issues.  I've been told by my therapist i need to be asking these questions to somebody that can be a spiritual mentor who also has alot of intellectual capability.  I think my priest isn't equipped to answer some of them adequately, and am careful not to want to burden him too much.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 18, 2011, 10:58:35 PM
So what did your Priest say about all of this?

  I'm going to try to meet with him and we will talk about some of these issues.  I've been told by my therapist i need to be asking these questions to somebody that can be a spiritual mentor who also has alot of intellectual capability.  I think my priest isn't equipped to answer some of them adequately, and am careful not to want to burden him too much.

Priests usually have their Masters in Divinity or perhaps even two Master's degrees. Some even have a Ph.D or Doctor in Theology.
Many posters here also have their Masters or Doctorate. I studied Asperger's Syndrome while working for my Master's degree.

If you approach your priest like he is an idiot, that approach will go over like a lead balloon.

Please do some role playing with your therapist before seeing your priest. That might help.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PoorFoolNicholas on May 18, 2011, 11:34:50 PM
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 I think my priest isn't equipped to answer some of them adequately, and am careful not to want to burden him too much.
Let me translate this quote for everyone:
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I don't want to talk to my priest about this because he will tell me exactly what I don't want to hear, and absolutely refuse to accept. The TRUTH!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 11:38:28 PM
Huh?  ??? I don't know what this is about. Only one of the "Orthodox Churches" has all four marks of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.  

  Well, they can't agree they are one.  If they are one, it is in a spiritual sense, not an organic, institutional sense.  And who is to say the Lutherans and Anglicans are'nt also one then?  You'ld think with all the doctrinal similarities would make unification obvious... if it were not for sin being present in their members.  And that's my point exactly, the Church is full of imperfect sinners, why would it be greater than its members?  I'm not a metaphysical Platonist.  the Church being the body of Christ is true but at the same time it doesn't mean that the Church perfectly incarnates Christ into the world in every way.  Certainly not enough for me to shut off my critical thinking and just accept some authority.

So mankind never fell, is that what you're saying? Mankind never existed in a state of perfection or grace before our present condition? (Notice I'm not arguing for a literal Creationist Garden 6000 years ago, but for a spiritual reality.)  
 
  If that is required to be believed as a Christian, then I don't want to be one.  I don't think beeing a follower of Jesus Christ requires me to take any stand on human origins contrary to science.

  No, I don't think a human man and a woman literally were living in idealic existence and then the universe went to helll because they ate a fruit, with death somehow being imposed upon our world due to the actions of the first humans.   Not at all.  I think as evolution shows, death has been there for a long, long time.  I don't think understanding Jesus Christ necessarily has to involve a literal Adam and Eve who fell from grace with God imposing a real curse on the world. I think its more like, Jesus Christ's resurrection shows that death is a new beginning not a final end (perhaps this is a more western than eastern understanding).  St. Paul seems to hint at this, when he talks about the body planted in corruption like a seed giving birth to incorruption.  Rather than death being an end, its more like a metamorphosis.  "We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences"-  Fr. Pierre Teillhard de Chardin's words sum it up I think.   I also think Jesus resurrection is a victory over political power and corrupt religion and is God rebuking these things, and by extension it is an attack on the ambition, greed, and pride that motivates them (sexuality is just a very minor part of what I see as "sin" in the world)- God showing us what true humanity and divinity is, because the power that raised Jesus from the dead is love, and that is what God ultimately is.

  I'm open to hearing other perspectives how science reconciles with faith but that is my own understanding.

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I am not a calvinist no but I would want to believe that God uses my imperfections for greater goods, than simply allowing evil to happen in the world beyond his control.

He allows our imperfections so we can struggle against them, to His glory and our own.  

 I  don't believe so, I think that God allows diversity into the world because if we were all the same it would be very boring and ugly- God doesn't create according to a single pattern or ideal and the world falls away from that ideal.  He allows some things into the world we perceive as unfortunate or ugly because ultimately greater good comes from them.  There is nothing to "struggle against" in the case of asperger's, just something to accept and a challenge for other people to see the image of God in people who have this.   Extreme asceticism is misguided in this perspective, bcause the real asceticism is acceptance, accepting ourselves and other people as God made them to be.  I agree we are all in a process of growth in life but life is not meant to be marked only by denial or rejection of life.  Its finding the strength to change the things in us we can that we don't like, accepting the things we cannot change that we dislike and finding the wisdom to distinguish the two.   That is Reinhold Neihbhur's famous prayer but its been echoed by pople like Albert Ellis (who was an agnostic until he died recently), etc.   In short what Jesus is teaching in the heart of the Gospel is wisdom over arbitrary rules, where ever we are at in life, God has something to say to us.  Loving relationships change us, not rules imposed by people that cannot know you.  God doesn't have problems working with the worst sinners and bringing good out of evil, that's people who have the moralistic objections, the same people who think that either God must punish somebody or somehow God cannot save everybody.

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God did not create your disabilities, he allowed them. He wants you to overcome whatever issues or passions they may cause in you  

  allow, create what's the difference? It did not happen against his will.  Certain things about myself, i may want to struggle against if I want to have certain goals in life, but honestly I don't think God's purposes for me are defeated by my choices.  Self-acceptance is very important to me, you do not have the right to take that away from me, just when i'm struggling to find it finally.  My life as it is, disabilities and all, is something I am struggling to accept as having beauty, and here you come and tell me, "no, you have to struggle against it, to measure up to some kind of ideal, be like something else".  Why?  
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 18, 2011, 11:49:24 PM
Priests usually have their Masters in Divinity or perhaps even two Master's degrees. Some even have a Ph.D or Doctor in Theology.
Many posters here also have their Masters or Doctorate. I studied Asperger's Syndrome while working for my Master's degree.

If you approach your priest like he is an idiot, that approach will go over like a lead balloon.

 I do not treat my priest with disrespect and he is somebody i personally respect alot.  He is a very sincere person and his heart is in the right place.  Even if I'm not sure we agree always, I do not view him as an idiot.  Please understand though I've stumped some people with masters degrees before with my questions, and I have a deep interest in the past in philosophy and interests in science.

 And FWIW I do not need to roleplay.  For somebody with Asperger's I have decent social skills and empathy, i get along socially OK in these encounters.  I  just find socializing draining and I have sensory integration issues, and of course it has left me with painful memories of being bullied and rejected, and facing alot of grief. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 19, 2011, 12:05:23 AM
Priests usually have their Masters in Divinity or perhaps even two Master's degrees. Some even have a Ph.D or Doctor in Theology.
Many posters here also have their Masters or Doctorate. I studied Asperger's Syndrome while working for my Master's degree.

If you approach your priest like he is an idiot, that approach will go over like a lead balloon.

 I do not treat my priest with disrespect and he is somebody i personally respect alot.  He is a very sincere person and his heart is in the right place.  Even if I'm not sure we agree always, I do not view him as an idiot.  Please understand though I've stumped some people with masters degrees before with my questions, and I have a deep interest in the past in philosophy and interests in science.

Thanks for sharing that information. Yes, many with Asperger's Syndrome are highly intelligent, have doctorate degrees, and even teach at the collegiate level. One person with AS owns a successful body shop here in the valley. Although he has a doctorate in physics, he would rather work with cars than teach in a classroom. He has good social skills when dealing with his customers. It is just painful for him to be in front of students as he was previously ridiculed and rejected while he was a student.

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And FWIW I do not need to roleplay.  For somebody with Asperger's I have decent social skills and empathy, i get along socially OK in these encounters.  I  just find socializing draining and I have sensory integration issues, and of course it has left me with painful memories of being bullied and rejected, and facing alot of grief.  

I hope the therapist has helped you with your grief and feelings of being rejected.

Furthermore, I hope you can accept that God does love you, and wants you to grow in theosis, but this takes a lot of self-denial and spiritual war fare. Yes, we are engaged in a spiritual battle that will take all our energy, and will last the rest of our lives. We must struggle until the day we die, but we will gain the crown of victory. It will be worth all the effort and energy we can muster.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 12:41:31 AM
 No, I don't think a human man and a woman literally were living in idealic existence and then the universe went to helll because they ate a fruit, with death somehow being imposed upon our world due to the actions of the first humans.   Not at all.  I think as evolution shows, death has been there for a long, long time.  I don't think understanding Jesus Christ necessarily has to involve a literal Adam and Eve who fell from grace with God imposing a real curse on the world.
The strawman you just attacked is not the Orthodox position on the Fall.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 19, 2011, 12:57:34 AM
Thanks for sharing that information. Yes, many with Asperger's Syndrome are highly intelligent, have doctorate degrees, and even teach at the collegiate level.

  I have a high IQ but last time I worked I was a teenager I cannot get hired by anybody when i have tried.  I do not have an advanced degree at all I only have a 2 year degree, my knowledge is self-taught.

   At this point in my life sometimes I just want to be alone, being around people trying to feel normal is sometimes imposible now, even going to church and trying to be part of a community like that is a burden  (I am thinking of asking my priest what can be done- if i want to be accepted into the church but don't want to attend often, just pray at home?).  I struggle with ugly things, the ugliest things in my life have nothing to do with sex, they have everything to do with being hurt by people who didn't understand me, and a desire in turn not to live a good life at all, but to become bent on dstruction and anger/justice. I don't need a religion to tell me that's wrong, it is painful enough in my exprience to dwel in that.   

  If anything I think I have a tendency to be a "calvinist", I believe people are basicly totally depraved, seriously. I  do not think the human being is a naturally good creature, its only when we face our ugliness in the mirror we are redeemable.  Many people won't ever do that, so I don't think human beings are good.

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I hope the therapist has helped you with your grief and feelings of being rejected.  

   Well, it starts with self-acceptance and for my therapist it has been alot of cautions about religion, she doesn't understand why I am religious, most people with asperger's are irreligious, and she doesn't agree being gay is immoral or wrong.   The only reason i returned to church was because I like the Lenten season and I was hoping to approach my priest again trying for a new start and so far it has worked, we agreed to try a different tone dealing with each other, I was scared in the past because I came out as bisexual around the same time I was dealing with a whole lot of other issues.

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Furthermore, I hope you can accept that God does love you, and wants you to grow in theosis, but this takes a lot of self-denial and spiritual war fare.

  I don't even know what self-denial means at this point.  If it means not accepting myself the way I am, I can't do that, my therapist has been pushing me to just accept myself and other people, "radical acceptance" as she calls it.  Its so hard, esp. when somebody like me wants things to be different than the way they are so badly.   Spiritual warfare makes sense I try to pray now when i am overwhelmed with stuff.  It does help sometimes.  For many months I did not pray at all because I figured God didn't want to hear from me I had rejected the church and all, but then i started to pray once and a while again, and finally a friend asked me to pray for them and I had a prayer answered, I prayed for a friend who had a gravely ill sister and it surprised me because I am basicly lving outside the church, so I started to think maybe this is a wrong idea about God.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 19, 2011, 01:09:37 AM
The strawman you just attacked is not the Orthodox position on the Fall.

 What is it?  I wish my priest spent alot more time talking about the Orthodox view of the fall and things like that during my catechumen classes but he did not.  My understanding is that its basicly the same as western christianity except you do not view human beings as having guilt imputed through Adam's disobedience?

  From my reading of Augustine, I believe he said that doctrines in Christianity should not be such that they conflicte with science to hold up the faith to ridicule.  In his scheme of how the Creation worked, it was entirely possible that Adam was a mortal.    If we make the teleology and purpose of things totally inaccesible to science, then we are no longer talking about real people that live in a physical world with evolutionary impulses, we are talking about unreal ideals being imposed over the real world... why not just accept the world as it is and say "our religious impulse and  desires are disordered, we need to conform our desires and religious impulses to the way the world actually is, according to the best scientific understanding we have?"  why impose these unreal ideals on it?  In which case Christianity doesn't bring clarity to our condition, it brings obscurantism.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 01:13:51 AM
 I don't even know what self-denial means at this point.  If it means not accepting myself the way I am, I can't do that, my therapist has been pushing me to just accept myself and other people, "radical acceptance" as she calls it.  Its so hard, esp. when somebody like me wants things to be different than the way they are so badly.   Spiritual warfare makes sense I try to pray now when i am overwhelmed with stuff.  It does help sometimes.  For many months I did not pray at all because I figured God didn't want to hear from me I had rejected the church and all, but then i started to pray once and a while again, and finally a friend asked me to pray for them and I had a prayer answered, I prayed for a friend who had a gravely ill sister and it surprised me because I am basicly lving outside the church, so I started to think maybe this is a wrong idea about God.
You bear the image of God. Nobody would ask you to reject who you really are.

Self-denial means dening passions-- that is, fallen sufferings. Greed, obsession, selfishness. Your emotions and feelings aren't bad just because they can be misused as passions, you shouldn't interpret the teaching that way.

I think Christianity takes a radical self-acceptance. You have to accept where you are, no matter where that is. That's a major part of humility; accepting that you are where you are, you've done what you've done, and you've arrived at whatever state you've arrived at.

Where you go from there is Theosis.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 01:23:25 AM
From my reading of Augustine, I believe he said that doctrines in Christianity should not be such that they conflicte with science to hold up the faith to ridicule.
I know what you're referring to. At his time, there were some Gnostics who were attempting to project a specific out-dated Greek cosmology onto the Christian worldview and history. Everyone knew it was bad science, and so it made Christians look quite bad. Things like Creation Science, Intelligent Design, the "vapor canopy", and other Protestant junk science do the same thing today.

By contrast, Orthodoxy is not saying that we must create junk science systems to defend the Fall. Orthodoxy is stating a truth: Man is in a state of disobedience to God, and is corrupted. Christ came to save us from that corruption. So let us think; on one hand, we have human evolution, the old earth, the accretion disk, and all that modern science has shown us; These things are True. And for us who have met Christ and believe that He has saved us from corruption and death, Orthodoxy's truth is also true.

So, we have two Truths. Science and Christian Revelation. Daedelus, you don't know exactly how to reconcile the two at their cores, do you? Do you reject Quantum Physics or Newtonian Physics because we don't yet understand why they contradict sometimes? No. It is perfectly scientific to accept apparently contradictory Truths if you have reason to believe in both of them, and simply have not yet discovered how to reconcile the two.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 01:28:52 AM
I wish my priest spent alot more time talking about the Orthodox view of the fall and things like that during my catechumen classes but he did not.  My understanding is that its basicly the same as western christianity except you do not view human beings as having guilt imputed through Adam's disobedience?
The entire notion of what Death is may be different than how you understand it. To the Fathers, Death was not merely the termination of biological processes. Death was an ontological corruption that affected all parts of Humanity, darkening the perception of the Nous. Thus, you could be physically "alive" but Dead, as St. Paul says, "Dead in your sins."

That is why St. Irenaeus believed that God allows us to experience physical death because of his Mercy, not his Judgment. The Fall is seen as the corruption of the created, by the created; free agents, both human and non-human, turning away from the source of Life. God allows us the freedom to love him, he doesn't deterministically and fatalistically force all things to happen the way they do. If that were the case, creation would be "sound and fury, signifying nothing" as Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth.

And Adam and Eve didn't Fall just because they broke a rule. They Fell because they kinked their IV's, so to speak.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 19, 2011, 03:18:21 AM
The entire notion of what Death is may be different than how you understand it. To the Fathers, Death was not merely the termination of biological processes. Death was an ontological corruption that affected all parts of Humanity, darkening the perception of the Nous. Thus, you could be physically "alive" but Dead, as St. Paul says, "Dead in your sins."  

  That's not entirely differnt, no.  Most western Christians talk about "spiritual death" as "seperation from God".

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That is why St. Irenaeus believed that God allows us to experience physical death because of his Mercy, not his Judgment. The Fall is seen as the corruption of the created, by the created; free agents, both human and non-human, turning away from the source of Life. God allows us the freedom to love him, he doesn't deterministically and fatalistically force all things to happen the way they do. If that were the case, creation would be "sound and fury, signifying nothing" as Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth.  

  Wel, you ask earlier  Ithink if i was a Calvinist.  No, I have not.  I practiced Buddhism for several years, then returned to dabled in the Episcopalian/Anglican world.  I have studied some Stoicism however and it seems to me a good philosophy to explain some things in the world.  Both Buddhism and Stoicism do not believe libertarian free will is real, neither one is focused on human responsibility, instead both emphasize understanding the reasons and motivations for behavior and this will lead to compassion rather than a desire to blame or judge.

   I understand Orthodoxy has this concept of the passions but its very different in some ways from Stoicism (BTW, the founder of Stoicism, Zeno, was basicly in modern terms gay).  In Stoicism the passions are not thought of at all moralisticly- Stoicism is not a  guide to how one "should" live in an absolute sense, its merely a guide to human happiness/inner peace (eudaimonia).  It was practice by people that had no desire to give up a worldly life or renounce the world.  "Self help" is more apt.   One thing that stuck with me,  I guess, is a desire to see everything that happens as working towards an ultimate good, this is essentially what Stoicism says, everything that happens is being directed by the Logos, Reason, to a good end providentially.  And as Marcus Aurelius says, since nobody willing chooses to do evil except out of ignorance, its foolish to hold their bad behavior against them.  And at any rate, aspects of this philosophy have influenced me alot, particularly thinking about good and bad as illusory labels and the importance of trying to have understanding and compassion rather than judgementalism.    Carl Rogers' and Albert Ellis' views of human nature seem rather similar - human freedom isn't that important, people are basicly good or at least, igonrant of goodness and blaming them is counterproductive   I realize though these ideas sound cotradictory with Christianity so at some point I'll have to really let one view become part of me and discard the other. I guess I feel the Christian community is prone to being judgemental, the Christian worldview requires blame to fall some place, if we insist that humans have freedom and are responsible for their behavior and there's this idea that the world isn't really as it is suppossed to be, that there's not this providence in control of it that is good (you seem to be suggesting that?).  Maybe its an error in the worldview, or an error in my understanding.

  BTW, people with Asperger's tend to prefer mechanistic thinking if possible, maybe that's why I like Stoicism or Buddhism's view of human motivation/will and i'm not uncomfortable with the idea of predestination/fate.  "Choice" is problematic because rarely do I feel my choices are at all free, usually i feel presusred by many things at once.  I've gone through periods in my life where I do not at all identify a "chooser" making choices, just as observing watching things unfolding.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 03:45:56 AM
there's this idea that the world isn't really as it is suppossed to be, that there's not this providence in control of it that is good (you seem to be suggesting that?).  Maybe its an error in the worldview, or an error in my understanding.
God is in control of everything, but does not force everything. God allows us creatures to have the freedom to love him by allowing us a certain degree of freedom.

So you want God to fatalistically decide your choices for you? Well, I can see how that's quite a safe of perceiving things.

I've shared a lot of your ideas in the past. I used to be a philosophical Taoist. I've read some of the Meditations.

 BTW, people with Asperger's tend to prefer mechanistic thinking if possible, maybe that's why I like Stoicism or Buddhism's view of human motivation/will and i'm not uncomfortable with the idea of predestination/fate.  "Choice" is problematic because rarely do I feel my choices are at all free, usually i feel presusred by many things at once.  I've gone through periods in my life where I do not at all identify a "chooser" making choices, just as observing watching things unfolding.

What sect of Buddhism were you part of?

If you cannot identify a "chooser" then you are either identifying another free agent or choosing not to choose, which is itself a choice.  ;)

Is there is a lot of pressure from the Aspergers community to view the syndrome as a self-identification?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 03:52:35 AM
 That's not entirely differnt, no.  Most western Christians talk about "spiritual death" as "seperation from God".
But in Western Christianity, Sin causes Death. In Eastern Christianity, Death causes Sin.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 19, 2011, 09:43:24 AM
Well, they can't agree they are one.  If they are one, it is in a spiritual sense, not an organic, institutional sense.  And who is to say the Lutherans and Anglicans are'nt also one then?  You'ld think with all the doctrinal similarities would make unification obvious... if it were not for sin being present in their members.

Oneness is defined by physical communion, nothing less. How can those who do not share communion possibly be part of the same Body? The Church is a physical organism, not a mental construct.

And that's my point exactly, the Church is full of imperfect sinners, why would it be greater than its members?

Because it's the Body of Christ, not merely some human organization.

the Church being the body of Christ is true but at the same time it doesn't mean that the Church perfectly incarnates Christ into the world in every way.  Certainly not enough for me to shut off my critical thinking and just accept some authority.

The Incarnation requires that the Church be a physical organism. As does the Creed, which says the Church is One. The Nicene Fathers meant it was One physically, not conceptually. You can't change the meaning of the Creed.

I'm open to hearing other perspectives how science reconciles with faith but that is my own understanding.

The discussion about the Fall is worthy but I really think it deserves its own thread so it can be focused on better.

I  don't believe so, I think that God allows diversity into the world because if we were all the same it would be very boring and ugly- God doesn't create according to a single pattern or ideal and the world falls away from that ideal.

He doesn't, but sinful tendencies don't count as "diversity".

He allows some things into the world we perceive as unfortunate or ugly because ultimately greater good comes from them.

Yes. Fighting against the ugly things helps us towards salvation.

There is nothing to "struggle against" in the case of asperger's, just something to accept and a challenge for other people to see the image of God in people who have this.

I agree with this. (I was speaking to SSA with those comments.)

Extreme asceticism is misguided in this perspective, bcause the real asceticism is acceptance, accepting ourselves and other people as God made them to be.

It depends. In the case of asperger's, that may very well be true. And in fact, Orthodoxy does not teach that the inclination towards SSA is itself sinful. That, like asperger's, or an addictive nature, is a product of our fallen humanity. But to lust after fellow men, or to do sexual activities with them, would be sinful.

But I would also say that asceticism is a main cornerstone of Orthodox theology and praxis. The exact formula is different for each person, but we do not believe we are saved by simply living however we want and feeding every hunger that we have.

God doesn't have problems working with the worst sinners and bringing good out of evil, that's people who have the moralistic objections, the same people who think that either God must punish somebody or somehow God cannot save everybody.

I never said anything to the contrary.

The rules are not arbitrary. They are signposts directing us toward God. They are the proven roadmap to salvation, proven by millions and millions of saints. On the other hand, we do not have a single saint who reached salvation by giving in to their passions and doing it their own way.

God can bring good out of evil. God can save an evil person who does evil things and repents. But someone who wants to remain evil will not be saved, because God will not save someone who doesn't want to be saved—he's not a tyrant, after all.

I don't think God's purposes for me are defeated by my choices.

They are. If you give God nothing to work with, then nothing will change. Orthodoxy believes in Synergy. We cannot do it ourselves, and God does not do it himself. We must work in concert with God.

Self-acceptance is very important to me, you do not have the right to take that away from me, just when i'm struggling to find it finally.

We indeed must accept ourselves. But we cannot accept our sinful tendencies. You are painting with far too wide a brush. Not everything that comes naturally is good, or from God.

To save your life, you have to lose it. That is what Christ said. That means you cannot be saved if you hang on to everything and give God no room to work.

My life as it is, disabilities and all, is something I am struggling to accept as having beauty, and here you come and tell me, "no, you have to struggle against it, to measure up to some kind of ideal, be like something else".  Why?   

Nobody ever said your life wasn't beautiful. You do not have to struggle against what is good or morally neutral (such as a disability). But we do have to struggle against sinful tendencies, and same-sex attraction and extramarital sex are examples of that.

A disability is morally neutral, but it can give rise to sinful tendencies, and those must be struggled against.

We measure ourselves against Christ because He told us to be perfect. We measure ourselves against the Saints because they reached salvation. So we know they reached the destination.

Why would anyone, traveling through a thick forest, wander off the road without a map? (I actually did this once. I was lost in a swamp for an entire day. It was hellish and frightening.) The Saints have already cut a clear path through the brush, and so that is the path we travel, because it is sure.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 19, 2011, 01:47:49 PM
So you want God to fatalistically decide your choices for you? Well, I can see how that's quite a safe of perceiving things.   

   I think sometimes I am aware of this feeling of choice but it doesn't mean my choice is a free one.

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What sect of Buddhism were you part of? 

  Humanistic Buddhism, the lineage of Thitch Nhat Hanh.  I also read and studied some Tibetan Buddhism.

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  Is there is a lot of pressure from the Aspergers community to view the syndrome as a self-identification? 

     Yes,  I am not as extreme as some, some people do not regard it as a disability at all, do not want any kind of treatment, and view it purely as a civil rights issue.     I self-identify because frankly it would be wrong of me not to do so, its an issue that is in need of justice.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 19, 2011, 06:38:24 PM
  Humanistic Buddhism, the lineage of Thitch Nhat Hanh.  I also read and studied some Tibetan Buddhism.
Interesting. Last summer I went through Tibet and saw many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries; some scholars believe their mural tradition was influenced by the Church of the East, and I must say after seeing many buddhas and boddhisatvas and "protector god" paintings, it's very possible.

I think sometimes I am aware of this feeling of choice but it doesn't mean my choice is a free one.
Well, there's a difference between a choice free from compulsion and a choice free from influence. We certainly don't have the latter.

Yes,  I am not as extreme as some, some people do not regard it as a disability at all, do not want any kind of treatment, and view it purely as a civil rights issue. I self-identify because frankly it would be wrong of me not to do so, its an issue that is in need of justice.
What kind of justice?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 19, 2011, 09:06:40 PM
Interesting. Last summer I went through Tibet and saw many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries; some scholars believe their mural tradition was influenced by the Church of the East, and I must say after seeing many buddhas and boddhisatvas and "protector god" paintings, it's very possible.  

   Tibetan thangka painting is similar to iconography.  I have also seen Taoist art that is in a similar style.  I think this is due more to the reality that many peoples at one time emphasized representational art over realism.  I have some east Asian Buddhist art that is more modern and this style is a combination of traditional Asian representationalism with modern realism (I have one print whose original is from a hospital in Taiwan, intentionally meant to look similar to Catholic depictions of the Mother of God).   I never got into statuary, just had a picture, a votive light, incense and a gong bowl.

  Thitch Nhat Hanh's tradition is part of humanistic buddhism, its widespread in east Asia.  Its not very moralistic at all, people wre suppossed to live by certain moral precepts but they were not defined in an absolute way, it was expected people would think for themselves alot and be reponsible for their choices.  Lots of people in my group were recovering alcoholics or dealing with anger.  There was some ritual (mostly bowing and dedication of merit), once in a while one of the older women in the group would sing gathas (hymns).   I really did love the Buddha and the Dharma, but after a while I started to feel that I was not being authentic to my culture and myself, because deep down I had trouble internalizing the mythos of the Buddhist world.  I grew up with Christian myths, not Buddhist ones.

Quote
Yes,  I am not as extreme as some, some people do not regard it as a disability at all, do not want any kind of treatment, and view it purely as a civil rights issue. I self-identify because frankly it would be wrong of me not to do so, its an issue that is in need of justice.
What kind of justice?

     In school children with Asperger's experience ever more bullying and ostracism than gays.   A widely quoted figure is around 90 percent in fact, experiuncing some form of bullying.  Depression is common in Asperger's as well, many believe its due to the rejection and bulying almost all people with Asperger's face.  There's little inherent in Asperger's itself that should lead to the higher rates of depression- its possible but rare to grow up with Asperger's and not be depressed, especially with the right support structure around the individual.  It is not just a matter of Asperger's being a disabiility, its also a civil rights issue. The current chair of the President's Council on Disabilities, Ari Ne'eman, who himself has asperger's, agrees.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 20, 2011, 02:22:59 AM
I really did love the Buddha and the Dharma, but after a while I started to feel that I was not being authentic to my culture and myself, because deep down I had trouble internalizing the mythos of the Buddhist world.  I grew up with Christian myths, not Buddhist ones.
Ever heard of this before? The scholarship's a bit shakey, but it's intriguing:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1436370/posts

    In school children with Asperger's experience ever more bullying and ostracism than gays.   A widely quoted figure is around 90 percent in fact, experiuncing some form of bullying.  Depression is common in Asperger's as well, many believe its due to the rejection and bulying almost all people with Asperger's face.  There's little inherent in Asperger's itself that should lead to the higher rates of depression- its possible but rare to grow up with Asperger's and not be depressed, especially with the right support structure around the individual.  It is not just a matter of Asperger's being a disabiility, its also a civil rights issue. The current chair of the President's Council on Disabilities, Ari Ne'eman, who himself has asperger's, agrees.
From what I recall in my high-school days, Aspergers kids were often ignored or ostracized rather than directly bullied; but that's really a form of passive bullying anyway. I certainly hope things improve.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: orthonorm on May 20, 2011, 02:31:12 AM
Daedelus,

Much respect for hanging in there with some good, sincere questions. And respect for those sincerely answering them.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 20, 2011, 11:29:33 AM
I really did love the Buddha and the Dharma, but after a while I started to feel that I was not being authentic to my culture and myself, because deep down I had trouble internalizing the mythos of the Buddhist world.  I grew up with Christian myths, not Buddhist ones.
Ever heard of this before? The scholarship's a bit shakey, but it's intriguing:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1436370/posts

    In school children with Asperger's experience ever more bullying and ostracism than gays.   A widely quoted figure is around 90 percent in fact, experiuncing some form of bullying.  Depression is common in Asperger's as well, many believe its due to the rejection and bulying almost all people with Asperger's face.  There's little inherent in Asperger's itself that should lead to the higher rates of depression- its possible but rare to grow up with Asperger's and not be depressed, especially with the right support structure around the individual.  It is not just a matter of Asperger's being a disabiility, its also a civil rights issue. The current chair of the President's Council on Disabilities, Ari Ne'eman, who himself has asperger's, agrees.
From what I recall in my high-school days, Aspergers kids were often ignored or ostracized rather than directly bullied; but that's really a form of passive bullying anyway. I certainly hope things improve.

I remember being bullied when I was in the fifth grade. The wise teacher nipped this in the bud and kept both of us in detention with permission of our parents. The teacher had both of us talking and kept up the dialogue until the situation was resolved. That red headed girl and I became best friends because we had a lot in common. Yes, my hair was a beautiful reddish brown at that time.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 20, 2011, 02:45:45 PM
Oneness is defined by physical communion, nothing less. How can those who do not share communion possibly be part of the same Body? The Church is a physical organism, not a mental construct.

  We should start a new thread on this topic, but in my brief research, there are multiple ecclessiologies within the tradition of the Orthodox Church.   Your view may be dominant, but it how does it interact with views that say the Church has existed since the beginning of time, or that the Church is defined primarily by the presence of certain sacraments properly administered (St. Augustine's view- the power of the Church in his mind extends beyond those that are strictly orthodox in physical communion), views closer to what some Protestants believe about the nature of the Church?

Quote
The Incarnation requires that the Church be a physical organism. As does the Creed, which says the Church is One. The Nicene Fathers meant it was One physically, not conceptually. You can't change the meaning of the Creed.  

 I don't understanding why you emphasize the physicality against the conceptualization.

Quote
And in fact, Orthodoxy does not teach that the inclination towards SSA is itself sinful. That, like asperger's, or an addictive nature, is a product of our fallen humanity....  

 This is not specific to SSA but I think a certain amount of "lust" is normal in life.  Wheather or not the Church calls it a sin.  Being heavy-handed and obsessive about this issue leads to unneeded scrupulosity and is psychologically damaging.  The fact is its normal to feel "lust" at a certain age.  If there were no lust, nobody would procreate.

Quote
 But I would also say that asceticism is a main cornerstone of Orthodox theology and praxis. The exact formula is different for each person, but we do not believe we are saved by simply living however we want and feeding every hunger that we have.  

 I believe this is true also, while I question alot of the traditional understanding of homosexuality and same-sex attraction in the Christian tradition, when dealing with some people who are "gay-affirming" and Christian, I sometimes feel they do not respect this aspect of the tradition.  

Quote
 The rules are not arbitrary. They are signposts directing us toward God. They are the proven roadmap to salvation, proven by millions and millions of saints. On the other hand, we do not have a single saint who reached salvation by giving in to their passions and doing it their own way.

  There aren't many married saints either in Orthodoxy.  I don't see how that proves wheather being openly gay or not, in itself, is good or bad in terms of ones final salvation.

 I'm wary of putting saints on too high a pedestal to the point a saint's works are emphasized at the expense of God's grace.  In Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats, religious works are what the goats boast about, but the Lord looks at the sheep's corporal works of mercy... these are within the power of anybody to do.  I simply don't see why Christianity should be dominated only by the opinions of monastics, concerning what holiness should look like.   I respect monasticism for those who feel called to it but simply being a monastic makes one no better than anybody else ultimately.  

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God can bring good out of evil. God can save an evil person who does evil things and repents. But someone who wants to remain evil will not be saved, because God will not save someone who doesn't want to be saved—he's not a tyrant, after all.  

    The trouble is when other people go about judging another person's repentence by looking at how they live, ignoring their innate dispositions.  

Quote
We indeed must accept ourselves. But we cannot accept our sinful tendencies. You are painting with far too wide a brush. Not everything that comes naturally is good, or from God.

  "Hate the sin love the sinner" simply doesn't work.  You can't seperate what people do from what they are.  This doesn't deny that people can grow, but it does mean that how we view their behavior is a statement about how we view them as a person.


Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 20, 2011, 03:03:37 PM
The trouble is when other people go about judging another person's repentence by looking at how they live, ignoring their innate dispositions.  
Period.

 There aren't many married saints either in Orthodoxy.  I don't see how that proves wheather being openly gay or not, in itself, is good or bad in terms of ones final salvation.

 I'm wary of putting saints on too high a pedestal to the point a saint's works are emphasized at the expense of God's grace.  In Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats, religious works are what the goats boast about, but the Lord looks at the sheep's corporal works of mercy... these are within the power of anybody to do.  I simply don't see why Christianity should be dominated only by the opinions of monastics, concerning what holiness should look like.   I respect monasticism for those who feel called to it but simply being a monastic makes one no better than anybody else ultimately.  
There are quite a few married saints or widow/er saints. Nobody's saying that monastics are better than everyone else.

Plus, saints are not venerated at the expense of God's grace. In fact, it's the exact opposite.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on May 20, 2011, 03:19:54 PM
Ever heard of this before? The scholarship's a bit shakey, but it's intriguing:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1436370/posts

 

  Yes,  it seems fairly clear that Christians adopted an Arab story that is about the Buddha's life.  I don't think the scholarship is shakey at all.

   Another area where Christianity and Buddhism may have traded ideas- in East Asia the Bodhisattva of compassion,Avalokiteshvara, is portrayed as a woman, but in the original sutras from India he is male (his name means "the one who listens (to the world)".  Some scholars speculate this change of gender was due to the spread of Christianity to China in the early medieval period.  I think this is more speculative than concluding that St. Josaphat is drawn from the historical Siddartha Gauthama.

From what I recall in my high-school days, Aspergers kids were often ignored or ostracized rather than directly bullied; but that's really a form of passive bullying anyway. I certainly hope things improve.

 I knew nobody else with asperger's so I really cannot compare myself to others.  I didn't even know what I "had", I knew in a vague way I was different from other people, though.    I was not physically bullied alot but, with Asperger's I don't think it requires alot of bullying to hurt a person severly, because people with Aspereger's often have less social support to deal with this sort of thing.  My religious life as a Methodist was nominalist and honestly I found very little help in it, dealing with the pain I was feeling, I went to relatively liberal Methodist churches whre the sermons were about worldly matters and politics etc.   God was a distant moralist who was irrelevent.    I think I would have done better as an Episcopalian or Catholic or something.  Buddhism was the first religion I really made my own, that I could actually practice beyond intellectualize about it.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 20, 2011, 05:56:48 PM
I knew nobody else with asperger's so I really cannot compare myself to others.

http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/Local.aspx (http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/Local.aspx)

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive 6 hours each way to the nearest city....

I didn't even know what I "had", I knew in a vague way I was different from other people, though.    I was not physically bullied alot but, with Asperger's I don't think it requires alot of bullying to hurt a person severly, because people with Aspereger's often have less social support to deal with this sort of thing.  My religious life as a Methodist was nominalist and honestly I found very little help in it, dealing with the pain I was feeling, I went to relatively liberal Methodist churches whre the sermons were about worldly matters and politics etc.   God was a distant moralist who was irrelevent.    I think I would have done better as an Episcopalian or Catholic or something.  Buddhism was the first religion I really made my own, that I could actually practice beyond intellectualize about it.

And here you are on an Orthodox Christian forum using Premarital sex as a straw man for communicating your loneliness at having to live with Asperger's.  That is your cross to bear and I don't see how Buddhism helps you besides helping you separate your spiritual needs from your physical reality.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 20, 2011, 10:11:57 PM
And here you are on an Orthodox Christian forum using Premarital sex as a straw man for communicating your loneliness at having to live with Asperger's.  That is your cross to bear and I don't see how Buddhism helps you besides helping you separate your spiritual needs from your physical reality.
That's totally untrue and unfair.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on May 21, 2011, 12:31:10 AM
And here you are on an Orthodox Christian forum using Premarital sex as a straw man for communicating your loneliness at having to live with Asperger's.  That is your cross to bear and I don't see how Buddhism helps you besides helping you separate your spiritual needs from your physical reality.
That's totally untrue and unfair.

Quote from: Daedelus1138
"Hate the sin love the sinner" simply doesn't work.

It works although there's no apparent logic in that.  The Orthodox Church is ONE.  While we all live in sin and separate ourselves constantly from the ONE, the Church helps bring us back to ONE.  If we have premarital sex, homosexual sex, and/or marry in a civil ceremony (using these 3 significant examples in this thread), we separate ourselves from the ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  For our own protection, the Church does not permit such individuals to partake of Communion as a consequence of our self-imposed separated state.  Even if one confessed to any of these 3 significant sins to one's Priest, only the Priest can permit us to take Holy Communion for the remission of sins and for live everlasting at his discretion.  If one is not an Orthodox Christian, then one remains outside of the ONE even as the Church welcomes sinners into the Church and prevents them (for their own protection) from receiving Holy Communion until being unified with Christ via Baptism and/or Chrismation. 

Hence, the Church loves the sinner and hates the sin because the wages of sin are death as the Apostle Paul eloquently stated in Romans 6:23.  Christ shattered death through His death on the Cross - opening Heaven to us; however, we have a lot of hard work to do (e.g. carrying the crosses to resist sins like masturbation, premarital sex, homosexual sex and marrying (gay or straight) in a civil ceremony to name just a few sins) to even have a chance to stand before Him on Judgment Day and be counted with the sheep rather than with the goats.

I tend to be terse with what I say so forgive me for my earlier comments.   :angel:

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on May 21, 2011, 12:58:21 PM
Daedelus, do you think Christ had relations outside of marriage? Do you think it would have been appropriate for Him to have these relations?

this question understand not I  :laugh:  being the eternal God,Christ became a man but why would he have these relations? we r all his children
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on May 21, 2011, 03:24:03 PM
We should start a new thread on this topic, but in my brief research, there are multiple ecclessiologies within the tradition of the Orthodox Church.   Your view may be dominant, but it how does it interact with views that say the Church has existed since the beginning of time, or that the Church is defined primarily by the presence of certain sacraments properly administered (St. Augustine's view- the power of the Church in his mind extends beyond those that are strictly orthodox in physical communion), views closer to what some Protestants believe about the nature of the Church?

All of these are true.

The Church has indeed existed since the beginning of time, in an embryonic form, continuing with Israel, and finding fulfillment on Pentecost.

The Church does indeed exist by the presence of properly-administered sacraments. And since in Orthodoxy the priesthood is contingent upon membership in the Visible Church, it also works. (We have no "valid but illicit" sacraments in Orthodoxy; it's either in the Church or it is not.)

I don't understanding why you emphasize the physicality against the conceptualization.

Because Jesus Christ was a physical being, not a mental construct. If the Church is His Body, then the Church must be physical as well. (Its more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it.)

This is not specific to SSA but I think a certain amount of "lust" is normal in life.  Wheather or not the Church calls it a sin.  Being heavy-handed and obsessive about this issue leads to unneeded scrupulosity and is psychologically damaging.  The fact is its normal to feel "lust" at a certain age.  If there were no lust, nobody would procreate.

Lust is different from the procreative inclination. Christ and the Apostles say lust is a sin, so it's a sin unquestionably. Scrupulosity is also a sin, but lust is recognized as one of the more dangerous and harmful sins.

I can't remember where I read this, but it was one of the Fathers. The gist of it was that we should be willing to subject ourselves to some low level of temptation in our sins so we are able to grow and overcome them. But lust was explicitly excluded from this, because it is so much more powerful than almost all other passions. So, when it comes to lust, the threshold of scrupulosity is much higher than other sins.

In short, fleeing from lust is not scrupulous.

I believe this is true also, while I question alot of the traditional understanding of homosexuality and same-sex attraction in the Christian tradition, when dealing with some people who are "gay-affirming" and Christian, I sometimes feel they do not respect this aspect of the tradition. 

No, they often don't. Honoring Holy Tradition has disappeared among Protestants, and many Catholics and Orthodox as well. But that does not change the standards, it just means the number of Faithful has dramatically shrunk.

There aren't many married saints either in Orthodoxy.  I don't see how that proves wheather being openly gay or not, in itself, is good or bad in terms of ones final salvation.

There are plenty of married saints in Orthodoxy. It's just that monks and clergy interact with more people, so their reputations for holiness grow a lot more. There are many more people in heaven than the saints who are painted on the walls of our churches.

Being openly gay is different from engaging in male-male sexual activity. Though I would say it is a gray area and a potentially slippery slope. To me, it's as nonsensical as being an "open alcoholic" or an "open glutton". And it could potentially lead weaker persons astray. But identifying oneself as gay is not itself a sin per se.

I'm wary of putting saints on too high a pedestal to the point a saint's works are emphasized at the expense of God's grace.

A saint can only do good works in synergy with God's grace. You introduce a false dichotomy.

The trouble is when other people go about judging another person's repentence by looking at how they live, ignoring their innate dispositions. 

Nobody should be judging others' sins, except for priests during confession.

However, it is possible to know one's own repentance by our own actions. Repentance literally means to turn around. So if I am not repentant, then I will continue to commit the same sins. This is a question to ask oneself, not someone else.

"Hate the sin love the sinner" simply doesn't work.  You can't seperate what people do from what they are.

Um, yes you can. It is imperative. A person is not their sin.

If a person cannot separate their essence from their sins, then they are hanging onto their sins and repentance will be impossible.

For instance: if having sex with men (or outside of marriage), or the desire to do so, is something that defines me as a person, in the sense that my passions and my personhood are inseparable, then I will be incapable of overcoming that passion. Because I will view that passion as part of my personhood, and will come to view that brokenness as an integral part of my humanity which God must have created me with.

This is wrong. Our sinful inclinations are not part of our God-given nature. When we come to realize this, it becomes a lot easier to repent and eventually overcome our passions.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Quinault on May 21, 2011, 03:30:15 PM
A better example would be a serial killer. If a serial killer can't separate the urge to kill (and the identity of being a killer) from their personhood then they can't ever exist properly in society, let alone be forgiven of their sins.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Maria on May 24, 2011, 06:40:02 PM
Yaiyai will disagree with you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmD-wDEeOds&feature=relmfu
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 06, 2011, 04:15:27 PM
   I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on June 06, 2011, 04:55:35 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.
Take it slow, my friend. I'm sure God sees your struggle to believe and I'm also sure it is much better that you refuse to pretend to believe at this time. Fr. Thomas Hopko said that even when we are in doubt about God himself, we should still pray "to whom it may concern" and ask for a true answer that is not just a construct of our own egos.

We'll be here for you if you want to keep working through these issues with Orthodoxy and/or anything else.

But might I recommend that you work through these issues at a... human pace, and not an internet pace? I've become quite convinced that a healthy human pace and the internet pace of things have become quite dissonant.  ;)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on June 08, 2011, 11:43:12 AM
I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.

There is noting "new" about the experiences that you describe, which is why the Church doesn't need to reconsider them endlessly until it acts less like a rudder that guides one but as a weather vane that blows whichever way the most recent wind points it.

It sounds as if the Episcopalians would be a good fit for you. You'll be able to see where being open to "new experiences" can lead a church.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on June 08, 2011, 02:51:19 PM
   Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.

Think about it when you receive the Eucharist from a many times divorced and remarried openly lesbian Anglican * Bishop and ask yourself is this what Christ wanted for His Church to become?

* I use the terms Anglican and Episcopalian interchangeably.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: orthonorm on June 08, 2011, 04:11:21 PM
Daedelus1138,

You honesty, openness, and candor are strengths. I've enjoyed many of the posts you have written here. I hope you stick around the forum and keep asking the tough questions and not accepting easy answers.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on June 10, 2011, 04:37:43 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on June 10, 2011, 05:28:03 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
So you take Fr. Paul Evdokimov as representative of the Orthodox faith?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: GabrieltheCelt on June 10, 2011, 05:43:09 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
So you take Fr. Paul Evdokimov as representative of the Orthodox faith?
PetertheAleut, you know very well that there is no representative of the Orthodox faith (which Orthodox are you talking about BTW?)  However, Fr. Paul Evdokimov is a well-known and well-respected Eastern Orthodox Christian and teacher of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  His diagnosis of today's Western Christian (and Western influenced EOxy) is spot on.  He and Fr. Philotheos Faras should be read when it comes to understanding the differences between Eastern and Western Christianity. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Shlomlokh on June 10, 2011, 05:54:43 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
So you take Fr. Paul Evdokimov as representative of the Orthodox faith?
PetertheAleut, you know very well that there is no representative of the Orthodox faith (which Orthodox are you talking about BTW?)  However, Fr. Paul Evdokimov is a well-known and well-respected Eastern Orthodox Christian and teacher of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  His diagnosis of today's Western Christian (and Western influenced EOxy) is spot on.  He and Fr. Philotheos Faras should be read when it comes to understanding the differences between Eastern and Western Christianity. 
I thought Pavel Evdokimov was just a layman?

In Christ,
Andrew
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on June 10, 2011, 06:01:09 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
So you take Fr. Paul Evdokimov as representative of the Orthodox faith?
PetertheAleut, you know very well that there is no representative of the Orthodox faith (which Orthodox are you talking about BTW?)  However, Fr. Paul Evdokimov is a well-known and well-respected Eastern Orthodox Christian and teacher of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  His diagnosis of today's Western Christian (and Western influenced EOxy) is spot on.  He and Fr. Philotheos Faras should be read when it comes to understanding the differences between Eastern and Western Christianity.  
1.  I was not talking to you, GabrieltheCelt, though I recognize your right to pipe up on any subject and in reply to any post on an Internet forum, even if your words show that you don't really understand what you're replying to.
2.  I wasn't talking about Fr. Paul's diagnosis of the today's Western Christian. I was talking instead about Fr. Paul's view of Orthodox doctrine on human sexuality.

W.A. Mozart has argued that in some circumstances, and/or guided by some motives, premarital sex can be NOT sinful. This context he set has shaped how I read his reference to Fr. Paul Evdokimov and what he says about Orthodox views on human sexuality.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on June 10, 2011, 06:02:20 PM
  I thought it over, talked to my priest, and I decided I will not become an Orthodox Christian at this time.  I have too many differences with the priests in the church, and wth fellow Orthodox Christians.  I have not attended Liturgy in a few weeks, I probably won't for some time, if ever.  I still pray every day but... honestly  don't know what to think about the organized religious aspects.

  Several Anglicans I know have suggested I become Episcopalian.  I am considering this but alot of my heart is n Orthodoxy, the style of worship and the theology appeals to me. I just don't agree with your church's views of human sexuality and gender.  I would not say it is "wrong", but many people are not open to new experiences or listening to the experiences of others.   This s a sad thing and makes the religion less relevent to my life, or to the lives of many people in general.

please note that the Orthodox church does not have a mainstream teaching of human sexuality and gender and if it does,it is not the one which is  mainly presented here... like fr paul evdokimov said

please,do find this book

The sacrament of love: the nuptial mystery in the light of the Orthodox ...
 By Paul Evdokimov, Anthony P. Gythiel

and now from the same author.... an article called-to the Church of Christ ... only 1 part

the christians have emerged the gospel into a certain fluid which made it neutral-they sterilizsed it.... after 2 millennia of christianity,the horrifying judgment which can be proclaimed by the world, a judgment of the world for the Church is that the Church became a mirror of the same world in which the Church sees the word as its own heresy,the body of Her body.The christians of today are heretics in their existantion and being and their theology is that of an eunuch(can eunichs talk about giving birth-asked st.Atanasios) .Even when it is correct,the theology of christians living today is shocking us with the absence of life...

think about this... and believe me,whatever you do-God will find you-there is no alternative  ;D
So you take Fr. Paul Evdokimov as representative of the Orthodox faith?
PetertheAleut, you know very well that there is no representative of the Orthodox faith (which Orthodox are you talking about BTW?)  However, Fr. Paul Evdokimov is a well-known and well-respected Eastern Orthodox Christian and teacher of the Eastern Orthodox faith.  His diagnosis of today's Western Christian (and Western influenced EOxy) is spot on.  He and Fr. Philotheos Faras should be read when it comes to understanding the differences between Eastern and Western Christianity. 
I thought Pavel Evdokimov was just a layman?

In Christ,
Andrew
I thought so, too (though I've been referring to him as Fr. Paul, even if this is only because others have and I'm too ignorant to know for sure).
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on June 11, 2011, 02:48:02 PM
I made a mistake,forgive me-maybe i was thinking of schmemann while typing  ;D  -of course he wasnt a priest

Paul Evdokimov, a twentieth century Russian philosopher and theologian.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 12, 2011, 04:24:45 PM

Think about it when you receive the Eucharist from a many times divorced and remarried openly lesbian Anglican * Bishop and ask yourself is this what Christ wanted for His Church to become?


  The Eucharistic theology, especially in Anglicanism, affirms that the faith of the recipient, and not the piety of the priest, is critical to the validity of the sacraments.  Thus, a many times divorced lesbian priest still stands in for Christ, beacuse the validity of being a priest is not dependent on his or her own personal holiness.

 There's so much ugliness in this statement I don't know where to begin.    I'd look on that person with compassion because we all need mercy, forgiveness, and understanding in ths life, and I know that forgiveness doesn't come wthout being forgiving.  And fortunately I know you do not speak for the Orthodox church...
 



  
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: GabrieltheCelt on June 12, 2011, 04:37:25 PM
1.  I was not talking to you, GabrieltheCelt, though I recognize your right to pipe up on any subject and in reply to any post on an Internet forum, even if your words show that you don't really understand what you're replying to.
Why PtA, do I detect a little contempt?  That makes me sad.  :( 
 
2.  I wasn't talking about Fr. Paul's diagnosis of the today's Western Christian. I was talking instead about Fr. Paul's view of Orthodox doctrine on human sexuality.
The way I read your comments, seems like you took umbrage with W.A.Mozarts' usage of only one source; as if doing so means he discredits all other viewpoints.  Sorry if I misread your words.  There, now we can be friends again.  ;)   


Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on June 12, 2011, 05:58:42 PM

Think about it when you receive the Eucharist from a many times divorced and remarried openly lesbian Anglican * Bishop and ask yourself is this what Christ wanted for His Church to become?

  The Eucharistic theology, especially in Anglicanism, affirms that the faith of the recipient, and not the piety of the priest, is critical to the validity of the sacraments. 

Even Priests are sinners - does that mean that man can do away with the Eucharist or reframe the Eucharist from his understanding?

Thus, a many times divorced lesbian priest still stands in for Christ, beacuse the validity of being a priest is not dependent on his or her own personal holiness.

Did Christ have many times divorced lesbian Apostles and Disciples?  Do we have to wait for Spong to conjure up evidence of homosexuality among Christ's Apostles and Disciples to retroactively justify the Anglican Church's decisions to ordain women, homosexuals and multiple divorced people?

There's so much ugliness in this statement I don't know where to begin.    I'd look on that person with compassion because we all need mercy, forgiveness, and understanding in ths life, and I know that forgiveness doesn't come wthout being forgiving.  And fortunately I know you do not speak for the Orthodox church...

Who said I did ... then again, I would never join an Anglican forum.   ;)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 12, 2011, 09:56:45 PM

Even Priests are sinners - does that mean that man can do away with the Eucharist or reframe the Eucharist from his understanding? 

  From the Anglican perspective having a hypothetical divorced lesbian priest is not altering the nature of the Eucharist.   For Anglicans the Eucharist is primarily about faith, not in a mechanistic or magical view of apostolicity.   If one is worrying about the sex life of the priest, the focus is in the wrong place.

Did Christ have many times divorced lesbian Apostles and Disciples?  Do we have to wait for Spong to conjure up evidence of homosexuality among Christ's Apostles and Disciples to retroactively justify the Anglican Church's decisions to ordain women, homosexuals and multiple divorced people?   

  The Bible and Christian tradition at one time seemed to approve of slavery, and not condemn it, too.  This is a big area to talk about but, I honestly do not beleve that a lesbian cannot follow in the apostles and disciples of Christ.  The apostles were not impeccable.  One does not have to be sinless to be a "God-bearer" into the world (read St. Seraphim of Sarov's "On Acquiring the Holy Spirit" some time).  Holding up heterosexuality as some unreal ideal, divorced from the concrete needs of the individual queer or transgender person, doesn't help them live better lives, all it does is subject them to shame, guilt, and other unhelpful feelngs.  Love heals people,  the other things do not.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on June 12, 2011, 10:18:21 PM

Even Priests are sinners - does that mean that man can do away with the Eucharist or reframe the Eucharist from his understanding?  

  From the Anglican perspective having a hypothetical divorced lesbian priest is not altering the nature of the Eucharist.

We already disagree on what is the nature of the Eucharist because the Anglican Church is long separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  The Eucharist symbolizes one - if we're not talking about the same Eucharist then we're talking over each other.

  For Anglicans the Eucharist is primarily about faith, not in a mechanistic or magical view of apostolicity.

Once upon a time, the Orthodox in the USA (e.g. early 20th Century) thought that the Anglican Church was Apostolic enough.  To this day, Orthodox Churches are structured like Anglican Churches although canonically they remain Orthodox rather than Anglican.  Why do you think that the Orthodox took a step back from the Anglican Communion?

  If one is worrying about the sex life of the priest, the focus is in the wrong place.

Why is the focus in the wrong place?  What is wrong with trying to be holy whether a Priest or a layperson?

Did Christ have many times divorced lesbian Apostles and Disciples?  Do we have to wait for Spong to conjure up evidence of homosexuality among Christ's Apostles and Disciples to retroactively justify the Anglican Church's decisions to ordain women, homosexuals and multiple divorced people?  

  The Bible and Christian tradition at one time seemed to approve of slavery, and not condemn it, too.  

You use the term "slavery."  The Greek term used in the OT is οἰκέται which translates as servants (not slaves).  We are slaves to sin and if the "slavery" of the Hebrews was not condemned, they would never have been delivered to the Promised Land.

This is a big area to talk about but, I honestly do not beleve that a lesbian cannot follow in the apostles and disciples of Christ.  

An actively practicing lesbian/homosexual or one who has lesbian/homosexual urges and temptations?

The apostles were not impeccable.  One does not have to be sinless to be a "God-bearer" into the world (read St. Seraphim of Sarov's "On Acquiring the Holy Spirit" some time).  Holding up heterosexuality as some unreal ideal, divorced from the concrete needs of the individual queer or transgender person, doesn't help them live better lives,

Show me where St. Seraphim of Sarov states that active homosexuality is an acceptable state for anyone, including an Orthodox Christian.  What if your whole misunderstanding about sexuality/gender stems from your inability to understand St. Seraphim of Sarov?  If someone is born transgender, that individual should have decided to live life as one gender or the other ... not flaunt both of them and demand special treatment.  Sure, secular government will recognize transgenderism ... what about God who made them male and female ... not male, female and both.   ???

all it does is subject them to shame, guilt, and other unhelpful feelngs.  Love heals people,  the other things do not.

I know active homosexuals as well as people who have had premarital sex; I do love them and I hope that they repent (or have repented) of their active sins.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 12, 2011, 11:39:16 PM
We already disagree on what is the nature of the Eucharist because the Anglican Church is long separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  The Eucharist symbolizes one - if we're not talking about the same Eucharist then we're talking over each other.  

  There's only one baptism, and Anglicans are most definitely baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.  So, there is your "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".   Perhaps we aren't perfectly united but i'm tired of hearing this knd of triumphalism as justification for anti-intellectualism.  Simply saying you are apostolic and others are not, does not make it so.  Its not a one way walking away from faith, the Anglican patrimony has tried to follow Christ and the Apostles as best they could... the same as the East.   That the east chooses to see some issues as communion breaking does not necessarily reflect poorly on Anglicanism.

Quote
 Why do you think that the Orthodox took a step back from the Anglican Communion?  

   Mistrust, cultural issues.  This doesn't necessarily mean that Anglicans are outside the Church.  Anglicans have not always appreciated the benefit to try to be visibly united with the Christian East, either-  its a comprehensve, non-confessional church and some  schools of Anglicanism have their own triumphalist issues (more Evangelical anglicans often simply don't pay that much attenton to the "objective" issues of the Christian faith).

  Lest you think Anglican theology is all garbage, you should read Archbishop Rowan Williams some time.  I have both his books on praying with icons, he revealed things about certan icons i had not noticed wth all my readng and liturgical attendance in Orthodox churches.  And yet Archbishop Williams is a man that is familiar wth the west and the issues of modernity and doesn't pretend to hide from it- he's an affirming catholic after all, he does not need a spiritual Disneyland to coddle him.

Quote
Why is the focus in the wrong place?  What is wrong with trying to be holy whether a Priest or a layperson?  

  Is holiness merely about following the right rules, or is it about bearing God's love in this world?   And how would we know exactly who is and is not holy, through some kind of formula, a checklist perhaps?  The Pharisees tried that 2,000 years ago and failed badly.


Quote
Show me where St. Seraphim of Sarov states that active homosexuality is an acceptable state for anyone, including an Orthodox Christian.  What if your whole misunderstanding about sexuality/gender stems from your inability to understand St. Seraphim of Sarov?  

   You're trying to lower the conversation down to a yes/no type discussion, I think what I'm drawing from St. Seraphim is that holiness is not merely conformity to rules or trying to be virtuous , it is acquiring the Holy Spirit.  In ths respect even a prostitute can be a wonder-worker (read the book some time).  Works and outward virtues do not save a person, only love does.  In this respect it is posible to be religious and far from God, or to be irrelligious and very close to God.   God doesn't save us to be religious, he saves us to be loving.

 
Quote
 someone is born transgender, that individual should have decided to live life as one gender or the other ... not flaunt both of them and demand special treatment.  Sure, secular government will recognize transgenderism ... what about God who made them male and female ... not male, female and both.

   Male and female are not cosmicly universal categories. There are plants and animals that defy male/female classification.   And God does apparrently create even human beings in that manner  (Jesus talks about some being born eunuchs after all, what else is he referring to- in the ancient world eunuchs were often a third gender).   I've met a few like that (intersexed individuals), why should they have to classify themselves according to simplistic ideas about male and female, why can't they be happy as God created them, and decide for themselves what to call themselves?  Sexual assignment of intersxed indivduals early in life can create alot of pain later, often times the child's gender identity wll not match what is assigned.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: NicholasMyra on June 12, 2011, 11:56:36 PM
  The Bible and Christian tradition at one time seemed to approve of slavery
Nuh uh.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on June 13, 2011, 12:24:02 AM
From the Anglican perspective having a hypothetical divorced lesbian priest is not altering the nature of the Eucharist.   For Anglicans the Eucharist is primarily about faith, not in a mechanistic or magical view of apostolicity.   If one is worrying about the sex life of the priest, the focus is in the wrong place.

Sacraments are not magic. The rules are in place to safeguard their integrity and certainty, not because we need to bind God into a magical and mechanical formula.

It's like the FDA seal of approval. You can get milk straight from a cow if you want, but who knows what kinds of things are growing in it. But the FDA seal is backed by regulations and safeguards for the consumer's health. That is what the rules are for.

And incidentally, a priestess cannot have the sacramental priesthood. Thus she is not the proper minister of the Eucharist, and thus her sacrament cannot be effected. She has not the charism to call down the Holy Spirit upon the holy Gifts. Unless you view the conferring of authority to be magical and mechanical...then I can't help you.

The Bible and Christian tradition at one time seemed to approve of slavery, and not condemn it, too.

To use slavery as an example is terribly anachronistic. Involuntary servitude has been a widespread part of the human experience for basically all but the last ~100 years of our existence. The Bible tells masters and slaves how to regard one another. That is not making an endorsement. That is speaking to reality.

Next we'll be trashing the ancients for not providing preventative healthcare and for allowing too much collateral damage in their warfare. "How could they stand idly by when they had 12-year-old children working sunup to sundown in filthy conditions?!" It's a silly and irrelevant exercise.

Christianity is not merely a bunch of pithy idealisms. Christianity is about real people living in the real world. And for most of history, there have been masters and slaves. That is reality. It's not Christianity's fault.

Love heals people,  the other things do not.

Would it be loving for the Church to love people right into Hell? Because that is where unrepentant sinners go.

The Church loves people by helping them to repent and showing the way to salvation. It's not loving to enable people as they destroy themselves. You may not agree that such things are self-destructive, but the Church's 2000 years of experience and eternal perspective beg to differ.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on June 13, 2011, 12:48:01 AM
 There's only one baptism, and Anglicans are most definitely baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.  So, there is your "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".

Sorry Anglican Communion, I don't know you.

 Perhaps we aren't perfectly united but i'm tired of hearing this knd of triumphalism as justification for anti-intellectualism.

Man invented anti-intellectualism and all the other isms you just spouted.  You want to worship what was created by Man?

Simply saying you are apostolic and others are not, does not make it so.  Its not a one way walking away from faith, the Anglican patrimony has tried to follow Christ and the Apostles as best they could... the same as the East.   That the east chooses to see some issues as communion breaking does not necessarily reflect poorly on Anglicanism.

You know how the Anglican Church was founded; hence, I will not beat that dead horse.  Let's just say that a whole bunch of isms resulted in the creation of the Anglican Church.

  Mistrust, cultural issues.  This doesn't necessarily mean that Anglicans are outside the Church.  Anglicans have not always appreciated the benefit to try to be visibly united with the Christian East, either-  its a comprehensve, non-confessional church and some  schools of Anglicanism have their own triumphalist issues (more Evangelical anglicans often simply don't pay that much attenton to the "objective" issues of the Christian faith).

  Lest you think Anglican theology is all garbage, you should read Archbishop Rowan Williams some time.  I have both his books on praying with icons, he revealed things about certan icons i had not noticed wth all my readng and liturgical attendance in Orthodox churches.  And yet Archbishop Williams is a man that is familiar wth the west and the issues of modernity and doesn't pretend to hide from it- he's an affirming catholic after all, he does not need a spiritual Disneyland to coddle him.

There were nice icons on display in Westminster Abbey during the Royal Wedding.   :)

The most liberal elements in Archbishop Rowan Williams' Communion have written him off for straddling the fence between actively homosexual clergy and Hierarchy.  Are you aware that some Roman Catholic groups are ordaining female Priests under penalty of excommunication from Rome?

Quote
Why is the focus in the wrong place?  What is wrong with trying to be holy whether a Priest or a layperson?  

  Is holiness merely about following the right rules, or is it about bearing God's love in this world?   And how would we know exactly who is and is not holy, through some kind of formula, a checklist perhaps?  The Pharisees tried that 2,000 years ago and failed badly.

1.  The Orthodox has a modern Saint, St. Nektarios, who lived in the early part of the 20th Century.  He was also persecuted for speaking the truth to those who didn't want to hear it.  People knew that he was holy based on how he lived and the miracles that were performed before and after his death.  To this day, people are healed due to intercessions to St. Nektarios and/or receiving Holy Unction from the oil at his convent in Greece.  There are other Orthodox Saints whose remains are incorrupt to this very day.

2.  There are still Pharisees today.  You've seen disputes in this forum over Bishops and Churches arguing over less than $50,000 in financial commitment.  Sometimes the Pharisees can be in the Hierarchy and most of the time, the Pharisees are among the laity especially with hypocrisy.

Quote
Show me where St. Seraphim of Sarov states that active homosexuality is an acceptable state for anyone, including an Orthodox Christian.  What if your whole misunderstanding about sexuality/gender stems from your inability to understand St. Seraphim of Sarov?  

   You're trying to lower the conversation down to a yes/no type discussion,

This is a yes/no discussion.  Apparently, you can't say with authority that St. Seraphim of Sarov approved of active homosexuality and/or glorified transgenderism.  Since St. Seraphim of Sarov is an Orthodox Saint, it is safe to say that St. Seraphim of Sarov did not deviate from the practice of the Orthodox Church.  Why do you interpret St. Seraphim of Sarov to suit your own agenda ... I have no clue.   :-\

I think what I'm drawing from St. Seraphim is that holiness is not merely conformity to rules or trying to be virtuous , it is acquiring the Holy Spirit.  In ths respect even a prostitute can be a wonder-worker (read the book some time).

I hope to read the book one of these days.  Meanwhile, let's remember that St. Seraphim of Sarov had the gift of clairvoyance - something that neither you or I possess.

 Works and outward virtues do not save a person, only love does.  In this respect it is posible to be religious and far from God, or to be irrelligious and very close to God.   God doesn't save us to be religious, he saves us to be loving.

God wants us to love one another; however, the word love is a major tripping point.  Does "love" mean having sex with my girlfriend or does "love" mean spending time with each other, getting to know each other, supporting each other, attending Church together without having sex before any Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.  Would a homosexual couple "love" each other in the latter manner I described without having sex PERIOD?   ???

Quote
 someone is born transgender, that individual should have decided to live life as one gender or the other ... not flaunt both of them and demand special treatment.  Sure, secular government will recognize transgenderism ... what about God who made them male and female ... not male, female and both.

   Male and female are not cosmicly universal categories.

So you're saying that God created male and female as some kind of allegory?


There are plants and animals that defy male/female classification.

And that's why we can't put God in a box and make that statement for plants and animals.  For humans, God created both male and female - no allegory there.


  And God does apparrently create even human beings in that manner  (Jesus talks about some being born eunuchs after all, what else is he referring to- in the ancient world eunuchs were often a third gender).

Eunuchs were persecuted and killed in ancient times.  Eunuchs were also sinners even when being persecuted.  However, man created the transgendered rights movement, which is fine in secular world because man has elevated himself to God.


   I've met a few like that (intersexed individuals), why should they have to classify themselves according to simplistic ideas about male and female, why can't they be happy as God created them, and decide for themselves what to call themselves?

Man has to have a name for everything.


  Sexual assignment of intersxed indivduals early in life can create alot of pain later, often times the child's gender identity wll not match what is assigned.

Man invented ways to deal with transgendered persons thanks to humanism and rationalism.  A transgendered person remains a child of God; if the child (assuming that the child was baptized an Orthodox Christian) rejects the Orthodox faith because of persecution - who deserves the greater reward: the child, the community that rejected him/her or the community which embraced his/her transgendered nature?
Title: Porneia/fornication according to major scholarly and philological resources
Post by: xariskai on June 13, 2011, 03:58:54 AM
Mods feel free to merge this topic in the "Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin" thread if preferred; I was thinking a similar but different thread focusing on scholarly language resources might be worthwhile.

The first recorded use of the noun in its modern meaning was in 1303 AD, with the verb fornicate first recorded around 250 years later.  See The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.   The word derives from Latin.  The word fornix means "an archway" or "vault" and it became a common euphemism for a brothel as prostitutes could be solicited in the vaults beneath Rome.  More directly, fornicatio means "done in the archway"; thus it originally referred to prostitution.


To look at the philology and philological historiography (the latter is based upon the former) behind and inclusive of OT, NT, and post-apostolic terms, rather than the likes of The American Heritage Dictionary acts420 consulted, one is better off with the major resources like Gerhard Kittel, ed., TDNT (http://www.christianbook.com/theological-dictionary-the-new-testament-volumes/9780802823243/pd/2324) (10 Volumes), Colin Brown, ed., DNTT (4 Volumes including index), and the like. As I have some of these in electronic form...

Here is some selected excerpts from H. Reisser, “porneia,” DNTT 1.497–501:
Quote from: H. Resser, porneia, in DNTT I.497ff.
CL [i.e. in Classical Greek literature]
1. The word-group can describe various extra-marital sexual modes of behaviour insofar as they deviate from accepted social and religious norms (e.g. homosexuality, promiscuity, paedophilia, and especially prostitution)...

OT
3. In later Jewish Rab. language zenut (porneia) is to be understood as including not only prostitution and any kind of extra-marital intercourse (Pirqe Aboth 2:8) but all marriages between relatives forbidden by Rab. law (cf. SB II 729 f.). Incest (Test. Rub. 1.6; Test. Jud. 13, 6; cf. Lev 18:6-18) and all kinds of unnatural sexual intercourse (e.g. Test. Ben. 9.1) were viewed as fornication (porneia). One who surrenders to it shows ultimately that he has broken with God (cf. Wis. 14:17f.) ...Correspondingly the Dead Sea Scrolls give frequent warnings against such fornication (1QS 1:6; 4:10; CD 2:16; 4:17, 20).

NT
In the NT the main weight of the word-group (used in all 55 times, of which porneia alone accounts for 25) falls clearly in Paul (21 times, of which 1 Cor and 2 Cor account for 15) and in Rev (19 times). From this one realizes that the question of porneia comes up for discussion particularly in the confrontation with the Gk. world and in the context of final judgment (there again linked with a person's relationship with God)...

2. In the Pauline writings the word-group porne denotes any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse... If the congregation does not separate from such unchaste persons, the whole church is endangered (5:9ff), and stands under God's judgment (see art. Destroy, olethros). Since gnostic dualism saw in corporeality something that decayed and perished, sexual needs relating to one's body could be freely and spontaneously expressed. Paul passionately resisted this outlook (1 Cor 6:9-20). The stomach is meant for food, but the human body is not meant for unchastity (6:13). Human existence cannot be dissected into two realities, a sarkik and a pneumatic (v. 15 ff.). From porneia as from eidolatria, idolatry, one must flee (6:18; 10:14), because pornea cannot be secularized in the way the Corinthians hold. It is rather as if a religious and demonic power is let loose in porneia: "It is manifestly a different spirit, a pneuma akatharton (Matt 10:1), a spirit that is incompatible and irreconcilable with Christ, which takes control of man in porneia (Iwand, op cit, p. 615). Because man does not have a soma (body) but is a soma (i.e. is conceived as an indivisible totality), he is either a member of the body of Christ with his total reality or equally totally linked to a porne (1 Cor 6:15-19; cf. Heb 12:16). Thus Paul has to keep on warning not only his congregation (1 Cor 7:2; 10:8), but also others (Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; 1 Thess 4:3) specifically against porneia, and with the greatest urgency, because it effects the whole person.

Here is a brief excerpt from F. Hauck and S. Schulz, “porneia” TDNT VI, pp. 579–595:

Quote from: F. Hauck and S. Schulz, porneia, TDNT VI, pp. 579-595
The NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse... the concrete directions of Paul bring to the attention of Gentile Christians the incompatibility of porneia and the kingdom of God (in the list of vices in Rom 1:24-32; 13:13; 1 Cor 5:10f.; 6:9f.; 2 Cor 12:20f.; Gal 5:19-21; Col  3:5, 8f.; cf. also Eph 4:25-31; 5:3f.; 1 Tim 1:9f.; 2 Tim 3:2-5). Porneia occurs 8 times; akatharsia 4 times, while in 5 instances he begins with porneia or sexual sins, cf. Juncker, 113-117 and Exc. "Lasterkataloge" in Ltzm. R. on 1:31). No pornos has any part in this kingdom: 1 Cor 6:9; Eph 5:5. In 1 Cor 6:9 the sexual vices (pornoi, moichoi, malakoi, arsenokoitai) are put next to the chief sin of idolatry... As individuals are to steer clear of porneia, so it is the apostle's supreme concern to keep the communities free from such sins, since toleration of the offender makes the whole church guilty and constitutes an eschaltological thread (1 Cor 5:1ff.; cf. Heb 12:14-16. Thus Paul demands thta the congregation expel the impenitent wrong-doer (1 Cor 5:13) and break off all felowship with those who live licentious lives (5:9). 2 Cor 12:19-21 expresses a concern lest the impenitence of those who have committed fornication should make necessary his intervention in the affairs of the community. The porneia of individual members makes the whole church unclean and threatens the whole work of the apostle, which is to present pure communities to Christ, 2 Cor 11:2... God's mighty will for the salvation of men is hagiasmos, 1 Thess 4:3; cf. also Eph 5:3-5. This includes sanctification of the body too and thus excludes any acceptance of fornication, 1 Thess 4:1-5... A man shames his own body by fornication, 6:18 He also brings shame on the body of Christ. Licentiousness is one of the expressions of the sarx, Gal 5:19. It is totally opposed to the work of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22. It belongs to what is earthly (Col 3:5), whereas Christians should seek what is above (Col 3:1-3). Paul again and again mentions porneia alongside akatharsia, 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; Col 3:5; cf. also Eph 5:3-5). He realizes not every one has the gift of continence. As a protection against the evil of fornication the man who does not have it should take the divinely prescribed way of a lawful marriage, 1 Cor 7:2. Severe though Paul's condemnation of fornication may be, there is no doubt that for him it is forgiven through Christ like all other sins. Along the same lines as Paul Hebrews ascribes the salvation of Rahab the harlot to her faith (11:31), though James (2:25) takes another view and thinks she is justified by her works. Among the seven letters of Revelation that to Pergamon accuses the Nicolatians of leading the congregation astray by compromising with the cultural life of the surrounding world in the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and the practicing of free sexual intercourse (porneia), 2:14. For the author the OT model for this is the doctrine of Balaam who led Israel astray in the same fashion, Num 25:1ff; 31:16. Along the same lines the church of Thyatira is charged with tolerating a prophetess who teaches the same practices, 2:20f... Among the leading pagan sins to which men will cling in the last days despite all the divine judgments, Rev 9:21 mentions idolatry, murder, witchcraft, and theft, and along with these unrestricted sexual indulgence... E. The Post-Apostolic Fathers. Herm. m. 4.1 warns against porneia which is the result of carnal desire. Cf. also Did 3.3."

Here is one more brief excerpt from D. F. Wright, "Sexuality, Sexual Ethics" in Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contemporary Scholarship (1993), pp. 871- 875:

Quote from: D. F. Wright, Sexual Ethics, in DPL"
"Paul never addressed the subject of human sexuality in a systematic manner, but said much about it in response to particular questions. Nevertheless, 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8 suggests that his basic teaching to a community of new converts covered sexual behavior. This was only to be expected in the Greco-Roman world where various forms of sexual license were common. Paul now reminds the Christians at Thessalonica that God’s will for their sanctification required abstinence from porneia (1 Thess 4:3, “sexual immorality” NIV). This Greek word and its cognates as used by Paul denote any kind of illegitimate—extramarital and unnatural—sexual intercourse or relationship...
        
   3.2. Sex, Self and Christ. For Paul sexual intercourse is not on a par with the satisfying of other natural appetites like eating. To that extent his approach is as inimical to the post-Christian West’s obsession with unbridled sexual gratification as it was to Corinthian licentiousness. Sexual intercourse is uniquely expressive of our whole being. “All other sins a person commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18). To deal with a blatantly intolerable perversion of Christian freedom (unlike the subtler ascetic alternative), Paul applies his richly articulated concept of “body” (soma), which may mean—almost at one and the same time—a person’s physical nature (“the body is not meant for sexual license,” 1 Cor 6:13), the whole human self (“your bodies are members of Christ himself,” 1 Cor 6:15; “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” 1 Cor 6:19) and the church as Christ’s body... Undergirding such teaching lies Paul’s distinctive anthropology, in which the flesh, or body, is no mere external expression or instrument of the true person that resides in some inner essence (see Psychology). For Paul it is truer to say that a human being is a body rather than has a body. In the Corinthian context this is a way of speaking about a Christian both as a sexual being and as a being “in Christ,” a member of his church -body. Hence, when Paul declares porneia to be uniquely a sin against our own body (1 Cor 6:18), he is not referring merely to the misuse of our sexual organs. Nor is he distinguishing sexual sins on the grounds that drunkenness or gluttony, for example, involve things outside the body—drink and food in this case. He may be picking up a notion advanced by some libertine Corinthians, that nothing one does sexually or physically can touch the inner citadel of the soul. (Such sentiments are found among later Christian gnostics.) For Paul nothing could be further from the truth. Because sexual activity embodies the whole person, sinful union with a prostitute—or adultery or other extramarital intercourse—desecrates a Christian’s bodily union with Christ. “The association between Christ and the believer is regarded as just as close and physical as that between the two partners in the sex act” (Schweizer, 1065).

   3.3. Sex in Relationship. Paul cites Genesis 2:24 (“the two will become one flesh”) to demonstrate what is involved in the seemingly casual one-night stand with another woman; you become one body with her (1 Cor 6:16; note that Paul substitutes his own favorite soma for the Septuagint’s sarx. It is the peculiar dignity of the one-flesh union of heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, that not only is it quite compatible with spiritual union with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17), but also it expresses the mysterion (“mystery”) of the union between Christ and his church (Eph 5:31–32; 2 Cor 11:2). The analogy covers not merely reciprocal mutual love, respect and care but the union itself... But if 1 Corinthians 6 responds to an antinomian “permissiveness” current in Corinthian Christianity, 1 Corinthians 7 deals with issues reflecting a more ascetic streak. At the outset Paul cites a statement from the Corinthians’ letter (so most commentators agree), “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor 7:1; NIV margin, “not to have sexual relations with.” See Col 2:21–23 for a possible parallel). The teaching this evokes from Paul is concerned solely with marriage and sexual relations within marriage. The assertion Paul quotes almost certainly expresses the conviction of some Corinthian Christians that sexual activity between male and female, even if married (hence NIV’s rendering “good ... not to marry,” 1 Cor 7:1, is misleading), had no place in the Christian’s life. (Perhaps teaching such as 1 Cor 6:15–16 had been misunderstood as warranting this conclusion. See also 1 Tim 4:1–5 for a reaffirmation of God’s good creation of marriage.) The fact that Paul proceeds to speak only about marriage is highly significant: for him there is no acceptable context for sex except within marriage. Yet the issue is not marriage as such but sexual intercourse—or perhaps better still, marriage as inseparably entailing sexual relations... Marriage (i.e., monogamy) is needed and right because porneia as an outlet for sexuality is intolerable (1 Cor 7:2). The implication is clear: the satisfying of sexual desires is not wrong, and marriage is its appointed setting. (The parallels with 1 Thess 4:3–5 exclude the reduction of marriage to merely a cover for uncontrolled sexual gratification.) Moreover, sex is not a dispensable dimension of marriage; like responsible love and respect (cf. above on Eph 5), it is one of the mutual obligations of husband to wife and wife to husband (1 Cor 7:3). For within marriage neither partner retains sole ownership of his or her own body (1 Cor 7:4). Sex within marriage must exemplify what Paul teaches later in 1 Corinthians: “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (1 Cor 11:11; see Man and Woman).

   3.5. A Place for Abstinence. From the perspective established by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:2–4, the issue is no longer “is sex (within marriage) ever good?” but “when, if ever, is abstinence from sex within marriage right?” Paul sets out three criteria: (1) mutual consent, (2) for a limited time only, and (3) for religious purposes (1 Cor 7:5). And even this provision for abstinence is a concession—for verse 7 (Paul’s recognition that singleness—involving abstinence—is possible by divine gift alone) suggests that the “concession” of verse 6 refers to verse 5, and not to verse 2–4. The underlying assumption is that by divine appointment marriage and sexual relations go together, as do singleness and abstinence from sex; what God has joined together, humans should not separate. Hence the concessionary character of verse 5, perhaps with the Corinthian ascetics particularly in mind.
   The teaching of this chapter so far obviously disallows an understanding of sexual intercourse as intended solely for procreation. Even if artificial means of contraception are not in view, the accent falls unambiguously on sexual relations as expressive of selfless mutuality between married partners, of their belonging in the Lord to each other, not to him- or herself.

   1 Corinthians 7:8–9 adds little to the picture painted so far. For reasons that Paul will spell out later, at 1 Corinthians 7:29–35, his preference is for the unmarried and widowed to remain so, like himself. But for those who lack the charisma of sex-free singleness, it is much better to marry than be consumed with inward desire—even, it seems, if that desire is controlled and not given vent in porneia

4. Conclusions.
The prevalent sexual license of Western society makes Paul’s teaching both peculiarly relevant—for it was addressed to Christians in a world in this respect not too dissimilar to ours—and painfully sharp. He allows no compromise of the restriction of sexual activity to (heterosexual) monogamous marriage. Such an ethic must seem almost utopian to our sex-besotted age, in which it appears at times that one’s identity is made to reside in one’s sexual organs and their untrammeled exercise. Paul espouses an altogether higher view of sex that could never allow it to be casual or promiscuous, simply because it is an act uniquely expressive of one’s whole being. From a Pauline perspective a cavalier freedom in sexual behavior can be bought only at the cost of trivializing the human person. His emphasis on mutuality, including sexual mutuality, within marriage—so marked an advance on the practice and precept of contemporary Hellenism and Judaism —is attractive in a day of increasing sexual violence and exaggerated insistence on individual sexual rights.
   And if for Paul the eschatological urgency accentuated the advantages in remaining unmarried—but only with God’s enabling charisma —he provides an example of a teacher on sexuality sensitive to differences of circumstances and persons. If his situation heightened the note of sexual discipline, it is arguable that it was in every way healthier—spiritually, psychologically, physically—than alternatives offered and promoted today."
I have some other sources on this which I may add later.

It seems to me almost 2000 years of Orthodox teaching is clearly in agreement with mainstream historiographical/philological scholarship on this. One occasionally sees the argument of the "Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin" thread advanced today, seeking to take some attested marginal reading as "the" meaning of the word and obscuring the ethical teaching of the scriptures and the Church; frankly having looked at a great deal of the major philological data (not only that of the sources above) I consider those holding similar positions to have their heads firmly embedded in the sands of ignorance and wishful thinking. I wouldn't recommend wagering one's eternity upon it :-)
Title: Re: Porneia/fornication according to major scholarly and philological resources
Post by: ialmisry on June 13, 2011, 05:47:22 AM
In semitic the term is Z-N-Y, and it means sex with other than your spouse, with no distinction between adultery, fornication and prostitution.
Title: Re: Porneia/fornication according to major scholarly and philological resources
Post by: ozgeorge on June 13, 2011, 05:53:49 AM
What I don't understand is why this is in the Greek forum.
Title: Re: Porneia/fornication according to major scholarly and philological resources
Post by: orthonorm on June 13, 2011, 03:06:38 PM
Mods feel free to merge this topic in the "Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin" thread if preferred; I was thinking a similar but different thread focusing on scholarly language resources might be worthwhile.

The first recorded use of the noun in its modern meaning was in 1303 AD, with the verb fornicate first recorded around 250 years later.  See The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.   The word derives from Latin.  The word fornix means "an archway" or "vault" and it became a common euphemism for a brothel as prostitutes could be solicited in the vaults beneath Rome.  More directly, fornicatio means "done in the archway"; thus it originally referred to prostitution.


To look at the philology and philological historiography (the latter is based upon the former) behind and inclusive of OT, NT, and post-apostolic terms, rather than the likes of The American Heritage Dictionary acts420 consulted, one is better off with the major resources like Gerhard Kittel, ed., TDNT (http://www.christianbook.com/theological-dictionary-the-new-testament-volumes/9780802823243/pd/2324) (10 Volumes), Colin Brown, ed., DNTT (4 Volumes including index), and the like. As I have some of these in electronic form...

Here is some selected excerpts from H. Reisser, “porneia,” DNTT 1.497–501:
Quote from: H. Resser, porneia, in DNTT I.497ff.
CL [i.e. in Classical Greek literature]
1. The word-group can describe various extra-marital sexual modes of behaviour insofar as they deviate from accepted social and religious norms (e.g. homosexuality, promiscuity, paedophilia, and especially prostitution)...

OT
3. In later Jewish Rab. language zenut (porneia) is to be understood as including not only prostitution and any kind of extra-marital intercourse (Pirqe Aboth 2:8) but all marriages between relatives forbidden by Rab. law (cf. SB II 729 f.). Incest (Test. Rub. 1.6; Test. Jud. 13, 6; cf. Lev 18:6-18) and all kinds of unnatural sexual intercourse (e.g. Test. Ben. 9.1) were viewed as fornication (porneia). One who surrenders to it shows ultimately that he has broken with God (cf. Wis. 14:17f.) ...Correspondingly the Dead Sea Scrolls give frequent warnings against such fornication (1QS 1:6; 4:10; CD 2:16; 4:17, 20).

NT
In the NT the main weight of the word-group (used in all 55 times, of which porneia alone accounts for 25) falls clearly in Paul (21 times, of which 1 Cor and 2 Cor account for 15) and in Rev (19 times). From this one realizes that the question of porneia comes up for discussion particularly in the confrontation with the Gk. world and in the context of final judgment (there again linked with a person's relationship with God)...

2. In the Pauline writings the word-group porne denotes any kind of illegitimate sexual intercourse... If the congregation does not separate from such unchaste persons, the whole church is endangered (5:9ff), and stands under God's judgment (see art. Destroy, olethros). Since gnostic dualism saw in corporeality something that decayed and perished, sexual needs relating to one's body could be freely and spontaneously expressed. Paul passionately resisted this outlook (1 Cor 6:9-20). The stomach is meant for food, but the human body is not meant for unchastity (6:13). Human existence cannot be dissected into two realities, a sarkik and a pneumatic (v. 15 ff.). From porneia as from eidolatria, idolatry, one must flee (6:18; 10:14), because pornea cannot be secularized in the way the Corinthians hold. It is rather as if a religious and demonic power is let loose in porneia: "It is manifestly a different spirit, a pneuma akatharton (Matt 10:1), a spirit that is incompatible and irreconcilable with Christ, which takes control of man in porneia (Iwand, op cit, p. 615). Because man does not have a soma (body) but is a soma (i.e. is conceived as an indivisible totality), he is either a member of the body of Christ with his total reality or equally totally linked to a porne (1 Cor 6:15-19; cf. Heb 12:16). Thus Paul has to keep on warning not only his congregation (1 Cor 7:2; 10:8), but also others (Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; 1 Thess 4:3) specifically against porneia, and with the greatest urgency, because it effects the whole person.

Here is a brief excerpt from F. Hauck and S. Schulz, “porneia” TDNT VI, pp. 579–595:

Quote from: F. Hauck and S. Schulz, porneia, TDNT VI, pp. 579-595
The NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse... the concrete directions of Paul bring to the attention of Gentile Christians the incompatibility of porneia and the kingdom of God (in the list of vices in Rom 1:24-32; 13:13; 1 Cor 5:10f.; 6:9f.; 2 Cor 12:20f.; Gal 5:19-21; Col  3:5, 8f.; cf. also Eph 4:25-31; 5:3f.; 1 Tim 1:9f.; 2 Tim 3:2-5). Porneia occurs 8 times; akatharsia 4 times, while in 5 instances he begins with porneia or sexual sins, cf. Juncker, 113-117 and Exc. "Lasterkataloge" in Ltzm. R. on 1:31). No pornos has any part in this kingdom: 1 Cor 6:9; Eph 5:5. In 1 Cor 6:9 the sexual vices (pornoi, moichoi, malakoi, arsenokoitai) are put next to the chief sin of idolatry... As individuals are to steer clear of porneia, so it is the apostle's supreme concern to keep the communities free from such sins, since toleration of the offender makes the whole church guilty and constitutes an eschaltological thread (1 Cor 5:1ff.; cf. Heb 12:14-16. Thus Paul demands thta the congregation expel the impenitent wrong-doer (1 Cor 5:13) and break off all felowship with those who live licentious lives (5:9). 2 Cor 12:19-21 expresses a concern lest the impenitence of those who have committed fornication should make necessary his intervention in the affairs of the community. The porneia of individual members makes the whole church unclean and threatens the whole work of the apostle, which is to present pure communities to Christ, 2 Cor 11:2... God's mighty will for the salvation of men is hagiasmos, 1 Thess 4:3; cf. also Eph 5:3-5. This includes sanctification of the body too and thus excludes any acceptance of fornication, 1 Thess 4:1-5... A man shames his own body by fornication, 6:18 He also brings shame on the body of Christ. Licentiousness is one of the expressions of the sarx, Gal 5:19. It is totally opposed to the work of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22. It belongs to what is earthly (Col 3:5), whereas Christians should seek what is above (Col 3:1-3). Paul again and again mentions porneia alongside akatharsia, 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; Col 3:5; cf. also Eph 5:3-5). He realizes not every one has the gift of continence. As a protection against the evil of fornication the man who does not have it should take the divinely prescribed way of a lawful marriage, 1 Cor 7:2. Severe though Paul's condemnation of fornication may be, there is no doubt that for him it is forgiven through Christ like all other sins. Along the same lines as Paul Hebrews ascribes the salvation of Rahab the harlot to her faith (11:31), though James (2:25) takes another view and thinks she is justified by her works. Among the seven letters of Revelation that to Pergamon accuses the Nicolatians of leading the congregation astray by compromising with the cultural life of the surrounding world in the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and the practicing of free sexual intercourse (porneia), 2:14. For the author the OT model for this is the doctrine of Balaam who led Israel astray in the same fashion, Num 25:1ff; 31:16. Along the same lines the church of Thyatira is charged with tolerating a prophetess who teaches the same practices, 2:20f... Among the leading pagan sins to which men will cling in the last days despite all the divine judgments, Rev 9:21 mentions idolatry, murder, witchcraft, and theft, and along with these unrestricted sexual indulgence... E. The Post-Apostolic Fathers. Herm. m. 4.1 warns against porneia which is the result of carnal desire. Cf. also Did 3.3."

Here is one more brief excerpt from D. F. Wright, "Sexuality, Sexual Ethics" in Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contemporary Scholarship (1993), pp. 871- 875:

Quote from: D. F. Wright, Sexual Ethics, in DPL"
"Paul never addressed the subject of human sexuality in a systematic manner, but said much about it in response to particular questions. Nevertheless, 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8 suggests that his basic teaching to a community of new converts covered sexual behavior. This was only to be expected in the Greco-Roman world where various forms of sexual license were common. Paul now reminds the Christians at Thessalonica that God’s will for their sanctification required abstinence from porneia (1 Thess 4:3, “sexual immorality” NIV). This Greek word and its cognates as used by Paul denote any kind of illegitimate—extramarital and unnatural—sexual intercourse or relationship...
        
   3.2. Sex, Self and Christ. For Paul sexual intercourse is not on a par with the satisfying of other natural appetites like eating. To that extent his approach is as inimical to the post-Christian West’s obsession with unbridled sexual gratification as it was to Corinthian licentiousness. Sexual intercourse is uniquely expressive of our whole being. “All other sins a person commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18). To deal with a blatantly intolerable perversion of Christian freedom (unlike the subtler ascetic alternative), Paul applies his richly articulated concept of “body” (soma), which may mean—almost at one and the same time—a person’s physical nature (“the body is not meant for sexual license,” 1 Cor 6:13), the whole human self (“your bodies are members of Christ himself,” 1 Cor 6:15; “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” 1 Cor 6:19) and the church as Christ’s body... Undergirding such teaching lies Paul’s distinctive anthropology, in which the flesh, or body, is no mere external expression or instrument of the true person that resides in some inner essence (see Psychology). For Paul it is truer to say that a human being is a body rather than has a body. In the Corinthian context this is a way of speaking about a Christian both as a sexual being and as a being “in Christ,” a member of his church -body. Hence, when Paul declares porneia to be uniquely a sin against our own body (1 Cor 6:18), he is not referring merely to the misuse of our sexual organs. Nor is he distinguishing sexual sins on the grounds that drunkenness or gluttony, for example, involve things outside the body—drink and food in this case. He may be picking up a notion advanced by some libertine Corinthians, that nothing one does sexually or physically can touch the inner citadel of the soul. (Such sentiments are found among later Christian gnostics.) For Paul nothing could be further from the truth. Because sexual activity embodies the whole person, sinful union with a prostitute—or adultery or other extramarital intercourse—desecrates a Christian’s bodily union with Christ. “The association between Christ and the believer is regarded as just as close and physical as that between the two partners in the sex act” (Schweizer, 1065).

   3.3. Sex in Relationship. Paul cites Genesis 2:24 (“the two will become one flesh”) to demonstrate what is involved in the seemingly casual one-night stand with another woman; you become one body with her (1 Cor 6:16; note that Paul substitutes his own favorite soma for the Septuagint’s sarx. It is the peculiar dignity of the one-flesh union of heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, that not only is it quite compatible with spiritual union with the Lord (1 Cor 6:17), but also it expresses the mysterion (“mystery”) of the union between Christ and his church (Eph 5:31–32; 2 Cor 11:2). The analogy covers not merely reciprocal mutual love, respect and care but the union itself... But if 1 Corinthians 6 responds to an antinomian “permissiveness” current in Corinthian Christianity, 1 Corinthians 7 deals with issues reflecting a more ascetic streak. At the outset Paul cites a statement from the Corinthians’ letter (so most commentators agree), “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (1 Cor 7:1; NIV margin, “not to have sexual relations with.” See Col 2:21–23 for a possible parallel). The teaching this evokes from Paul is concerned solely with marriage and sexual relations within marriage. The assertion Paul quotes almost certainly expresses the conviction of some Corinthian Christians that sexual activity between male and female, even if married (hence NIV’s rendering “good ... not to marry,” 1 Cor 7:1, is misleading), had no place in the Christian’s life. (Perhaps teaching such as 1 Cor 6:15–16 had been misunderstood as warranting this conclusion. See also 1 Tim 4:1–5 for a reaffirmation of God’s good creation of marriage.) The fact that Paul proceeds to speak only about marriage is highly significant: for him there is no acceptable context for sex except within marriage. Yet the issue is not marriage as such but sexual intercourse—or perhaps better still, marriage as inseparably entailing sexual relations... Marriage (i.e., monogamy) is needed and right because porneia as an outlet for sexuality is intolerable (1 Cor 7:2). The implication is clear: the satisfying of sexual desires is not wrong, and marriage is its appointed setting. (The parallels with 1 Thess 4:3–5 exclude the reduction of marriage to merely a cover for uncontrolled sexual gratification.) Moreover, sex is not a dispensable dimension of marriage; like responsible love and respect (cf. above on Eph 5), it is one of the mutual obligations of husband to wife and wife to husband (1 Cor 7:3). For within marriage neither partner retains sole ownership of his or her own body (1 Cor 7:4). Sex within marriage must exemplify what Paul teaches later in 1 Corinthians: “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman” (1 Cor 11:11; see Man and Woman).

   3.5. A Place for Abstinence. From the perspective established by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:2–4, the issue is no longer “is sex (within marriage) ever good?” but “when, if ever, is abstinence from sex within marriage right?” Paul sets out three criteria: (1) mutual consent, (2) for a limited time only, and (3) for religious purposes (1 Cor 7:5). And even this provision for abstinence is a concession—for verse 7 (Paul’s recognition that singleness—involving abstinence—is possible by divine gift alone) suggests that the “concession” of verse 6 refers to verse 5, and not to verse 2–4. The underlying assumption is that by divine appointment marriage and sexual relations go together, as do singleness and abstinence from sex; what God has joined together, humans should not separate. Hence the concessionary character of verse 5, perhaps with the Corinthian ascetics particularly in mind.
   The teaching of this chapter so far obviously disallows an understanding of sexual intercourse as intended solely for procreation. Even if artificial means of contraception are not in view, the accent falls unambiguously on sexual relations as expressive of selfless mutuality between married partners, of their belonging in the Lord to each other, not to him- or herself.

   1 Corinthians 7:8–9 adds little to the picture painted so far. For reasons that Paul will spell out later, at 1 Corinthians 7:29–35, his preference is for the unmarried and widowed to remain so, like himself. But for those who lack the charisma of sex-free singleness, it is much better to marry than be consumed with inward desire—even, it seems, if that desire is controlled and not given vent in porneia

4. Conclusions.
The prevalent sexual license of Western society makes Paul’s teaching both peculiarly relevant—for it was addressed to Christians in a world in this respect not too dissimilar to ours—and painfully sharp. He allows no compromise of the restriction of sexual activity to (heterosexual) monogamous marriage. Such an ethic must seem almost utopian to our sex-besotted age, in which it appears at times that one’s identity is made to reside in one’s sexual organs and their untrammeled exercise. Paul espouses an altogether higher view of sex that could never allow it to be casual or promiscuous, simply because it is an act uniquely expressive of one’s whole being. From a Pauline perspective a cavalier freedom in sexual behavior can be bought only at the cost of trivializing the human person. His emphasis on mutuality, including sexual mutuality, within marriage—so marked an advance on the practice and precept of contemporary Hellenism and Judaism —is attractive in a day of increasing sexual violence and exaggerated insistence on individual sexual rights.
   And if for Paul the eschatological urgency accentuated the advantages in remaining unmarried—but only with God’s enabling charisma —he provides an example of a teacher on sexuality sensitive to differences of circumstances and persons. If his situation heightened the note of sexual discipline, it is arguable that it was in every way healthier—spiritually, psychologically, physically—than alternatives offered and promoted today."
I have some other sources on this which I may add later.

It seems to me almost 2000 years of Orthodox teaching is clearly in agreement with mainstream historiographical/philological scholarship on this. One occasionally sees the argument of the "Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin" thread advanced today, seeking to take some attested marginal reading as "the" meaning of the word and obscuring the ethical teaching of the scriptures and the Church; frankly having looked at a great deal of the major philological data (not only that of the sources above) I consider those holding similar positions to have their heads firmly embedded in the sands of ignorance and wishful thinking. I wouldn't recommend wagering one's eternity upon it :-)

Hope it goes without saying, but the sources you offer and the "academic" voice you present them and your understanding with are appreciated.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 14, 2011, 08:35:49 PM
Sacraments are not magic. The rules are in place to safeguard their integrity and certainty, not because we need to bind God into a magical and mechanical formula.

  Well, if you can appreciate that you can see how it is at least possible the Anglican sacraments may be legitimate.

Quote
And incidentally, a priestess cannot have the sacramental priesthood. Thus she is not the proper minister of the Eucharist

  I don't see why not, its very simple, a woman is created in the image of God.  To suggest women are somehow incapable of being icons of Christ suggests their humanity is defective, but we know this is not the case otherwise women could not be saved as men can be, through Christ, so Christ assumes both male and female human beings into his lfe, and both are capable of representing him.  To select for maleness as the only significant characteristic to resemble Christ iconicly is arbitrary.  Perhaps men without beards and long hair, or men that aren't Jewish cannot represent Christ either?

  This is another area I'd disagree with many Orthodox traditionalists of course.

Quote
  Would it be loving for the Church to love people right into Hell? Because that is where unrepentant sinners go. 

  I would argue the eternal destiny of openly gay individuals is not Hell, merely for being openly gay.  I just don't see it.  If God doesn't gratuitously punish individuals merely for breaking rules (and Orthodoxy denies He does, divine punishment is always a consequence of actions, not something externally imposed), then how can being gay seperate one from the friendshp of God anymore than being straight can? Being openly gay doesn't imply ones life is consumed by lust anymore than being a marred heterosexual does.   Leave the judgement of the heart to God, please.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on June 14, 2011, 09:38:44 PM

Think about it when you receive the Eucharist from a many times divorced and remarried openly lesbian Anglican * Bishop and ask yourself is this what Christ wanted for His Church to become?


  The Eucharistic theology, especially in Anglicanism, affirms that the faith of the recipient, and not the piety of the priest, is critical to the validity of the sacraments.  Thus, a many times divorced lesbian priest still stands in for Christ, beacuse the validity of being a priest is not dependent on his or her own personal holiness.

 There's so much ugliness in this statement I don't know where to begin.    I'd look on that person with compassion because we all need mercy, forgiveness, and understanding in ths life, and I know that forgiveness doesn't come wthout being forgiving.  And fortunately I know you do not speak for the Orthodox church...
 



  

That last statement is quite bold for a catechumen. Please explain how you KNOW that SolEX01 does not speak for the Orthodox Church. BTW, where in the world can you or anybody else for that matter know what the Lord wanted  or would approve of if He had not stated it or condoned/encouraged it? Or, for that matter, if His followers had ordained women to the priesthood, even in the absence of any direct trace to the Lord? Finally, I am very perplexed why a cathecumen would still retain such heterodox thinking and ideas.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on June 16, 2011, 04:52:27 PM
  The Bible and Christian tradition at one time seemed to approve of slavery
Nuh uh.
Seriously, how badly does one have to distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ to find support for enslaving another?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on June 16, 2011, 04:57:14 PM
Finally, I am very perplexed why a cathecumen would still retain such heterodox thinking and ideas.
Didn't he clearly state in the previous page that he was no longer a cathecumen since the Church wouldn't adapt to his teachings?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on June 16, 2011, 05:45:30 PM
Finally, I am very perplexed why a cathecumen would still retain such heterodox thinking and ideas.
Didn't he clearly state in the previous page that he was no longer a cathecumen since the Church wouldn't adapt to his teachings?


You are right; my bad. I am now even more perplexed that he is still arguing his case.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on June 16, 2011, 07:22:52 PM
Sacraments are not magic. The rules are in place to safeguard their integrity and certainty, not because we need to bind God into a magical and mechanical formula.

  Well, if you can appreciate that you can see how it is at least possible the Anglican sacraments may be legitimate.

It's possible, I suppose. I wouldn't bet my [eternal] life on it, however.

Quote
And incidentally, a priestess cannot have the sacramental priesthood. Thus she is not the proper minister of the Eucharist

  I don't see why not, its very simple, a woman is created in the image of God.  To suggest women are somehow incapable of being icons of Christ suggests their humanity is defective, but we know this is not the case otherwise women could not be saved as men can be, through Christ, so Christ assumes both male and female human beings into his lfe, and both are capable of representing him.  To select for maleness as the only significant characteristic to resemble Christ iconicly is arbitrary.  Perhaps men without beards and long hair, or men that aren't Jewish cannot represent Christ either?

No, it means that a hypothetical priestess would destroy Christian anthropology. Christ is masculine relative to the Church, so on a masculine human can stand in His stead. See this post for more details: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36577.msg577876.html#msg577876

This is another area I'd disagree with many Orthodox traditionalists of course.

That would be all Orthodox people, save perhaps a few moonbats. But if any bishop ever attempted to ordain a woman, the Church would overwhelmingly throw him out, though he would be automatically excommunicated anyway.

Women can do many things, and the way I see it, women keep the Church actually functioning. That's how it is at my parish. The only thing women cannot be is sacramental ministers. I mean, please, a woman—the Theotokos—is the pinnacle of holiness and second in glory and honor only to the Trinity Himself. Anyone who argues that Orthodoxy tramples on women is silly.

Quote
  Would it be loving for the Church to love people right into Hell? Because that is where unrepentant sinners go. 

  I would argue the eternal destiny of openly gay individuals is not Hell, merely for being openly gay.  I just don't see it.  If God doesn't gratuitously punish individuals merely for breaking rules (and Orthodoxy denies He does, divine punishment is always a consequence of actions, not something externally imposed), then how can being gay seperate one from the friendshp of God anymore than being straight can? Being openly gay doesn't imply ones life is consumed by lust anymore than being a marred heterosexual does.   Leave the judgement of the heart to God, please.


Openly gay is different from people engaging in homosexual sex. One can claim the label "gay" without engaging in homosexual behavior. (Personally I think it's unorthodox to claim a sinful passion for one's identity, but that's different from engaging in said passion.)

I'm not judging, incidentally. I am articulating the Church's position, and She is in a position to judge.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: orthonorm on June 16, 2011, 07:55:13 PM
Openly gay is different from people engaging in homosexual sex. One can claim the label "gay" without engaging in homosexual behavior. (Personally I think it's unorthodox to claim a sinful passion for one's identity, but that's different from engaging in said passion.)

First point, in full agreement.

The parenthetical I am not so sure about in praxis, since how many of us do claim sinful passions as our identities at least in our day to day speech?

I am a liar.
I am (fill in the blank).

And I am not sure if same sex orientation is any more of a passion most of the time than opposite sex orientation. And could be very well constitutive of the person's being. I am not quick to write off the affect of biology and environment (read degree and manner of falleness) we are all open to.

Openly homosexual persons are able to give wonderful testimony to overcoming the affects of the passions as written by biology and environment on their bodies and souls. Just as a recovering alcoholic can.

Then again I ain't really big on "identity" as such to begin with, but that discuss would take us a long way from the matter at hand.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on June 16, 2011, 08:39:48 PM


  I would argue the eternal destiny of openly gay individuals is not Hell, merely for being openly gay.  I just don't see it.  If God doesn't gratuitously punish individuals merely for breaking rules (and Orthodoxy denies He does, divine punishment is always a consequence of actions, not something externally imposed), then how can being gay seperate one from the friendshp of God anymore than being straight can? Being openly gay doesn't imply ones life is consumed by lust anymore than being a marred heterosexual does.   Leave the judgement of the heart to God, please.


Why would one be openly gay if they didn't engage in that lifestyle? The Bible is clear that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong so I'm not sure why a Christian would trumpet that. If you feel attracted to the same sex tell your priest or close people you trust and recognize it first as sin, not first as nature. Even if you came out of the womb liking dudes that doesn't make it natural. Spiritual warfare begins before birth. 
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on June 17, 2011, 03:00:33 PM
Finally, I am very perplexed why a cathecumen would still retain such heterodox thinking and ideas.
Didn't he clearly state in the previous page that he was no longer a cathecumen since the Church wouldn't adapt to his teachings?

You are right; my bad. I am now even more perplexed that he is still arguing his case.
Some people just like to throw rocks at the church as they proclaim the divinity of their own opinions.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: W.A.Mozart on June 18, 2011, 04:03:30 AM
let us say-some things would be much clearer if we werent explained so many times
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on June 22, 2011, 11:03:55 AM
You can't do this if you shut out other peoples perspectives in the name of your own way of doing things being sacrosanct and beyond questioning.

It's rather comical to hears you say that considering that appears to be exactly how you perceive your role in re-educating all of us ignorant Orthodox.

So, why is an ex-catechumen still posting here?

More importantly, why is this even permitted?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on June 22, 2011, 11:25:16 AM
You can't do this if you shut out other peoples perspectives in the name of your own way of doing things being sacrosanct and beyond questioning.

It's rather comical to hears you say that considering that appears to be exactly how you perceive your role in re-educating all of us ignorant Orthodox.

So, why is an ex-catechumen still posting here?

More importantly, why is this even permitted?

It is permitted because the Forum rules regarding this section permit it. More importantly, this thread provides everybody with an opportunity to learn, to be inspired and to see the error of their ways. I cannot say when Daedelus1138 will "see the light" but it remains a possibility. And, as long as it is so, I cannot see how we can in good conscience even consider closing this thread. As I said before, the Forum rules do not support such a draconian action anyway. By the way, there is a forum rule that asks folks to contact the moderators via Private Message regarding Forum rules and their applications. This requirement has been put into place so that posters do not start assuming the prerogatives of moderators. I hope this helps. Second Chance, Moderator for Religious Topics.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 02, 2011, 06:57:00 PM
Why would one be openly gay if they didn't engage in that lifestyle? The Bible is clear that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong so I'm not sure why a Christian would trumpet that. If you feel attracted to the same sex tell your priest or close people you trust and recognize it first as sin, not first as nature. Even if you came out of the womb liking dudes that doesn't make it natural. Spiritual warfare begins before birth. 

  There are peopel like Jose Cabezon who are openly gay but at various points in there life, lived celibate lives (Cabezon did as a Buddhist monk).  He did not view being attracted to the same sex as immoral but at that particular time in his life, it was not helpful to himself spiritually to engage in sex.    I see it as similarly for myself (though I am bisexual), I do not want to be part of a church that says being gay is immoral or sinful, no matter how I decide to live and what I think benefits me spiritually.  I don't want to hurt young people with a damaging message that leads only to closeted, lonely lives.    And this is what mesage I was getting in the Orthodox church.  IT was not a loving message, it was a message that me, my whole person, was unwwelcome, and I would have to suppress parts of myself to be accepted.  This is not acceptable for me, or for the people that will come after me, the people who suffer in silence within the church, obeying these "rules".
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 02, 2011, 09:16:49 PM
Why would one be openly gay if they didn't engage in that lifestyle? The Bible is clear that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong so I'm not sure why a Christian would trumpet that. If you feel attracted to the same sex tell your priest or close people you trust and recognize it first as sin, not first as nature. Even if you came out of the womb liking dudes that doesn't make it natural. Spiritual warfare begins before birth. 

  There are peopel like Jose Cabezon who are openly gay but at various points in there life, lived celibate lives (Cabezon did as a Buddhist monk).  He did not view being attracted to the same sex as immoral but at that particular time in his life, it was not helpful to himself spiritually to engage in sex.    I see it as similarly for myself (though I am bisexual), I do not want to be part of a church that says being gay is immoral or sinful

1.  There is no distinction between practicing/active gay person and practicing/active heterosexual person in the Orthodox Church.  You are drawing that distinction based on how you interpreted what Orthodox people have told you things that you didn't want to hear.

2.  There are 15 independent Orthodox Churches (and a few that are not in Communion) on this planet.  Until you visited a Church in each of the 15 Orthodox Churches (and those not in Communion), you can't draw the conclusions that you have drawn.  There's a 1/32,768 (or less) chance that you will feel left out by attending one Church in the 15 independent Orthodox Churches

, no matter how I decide to live and what I think benefits me spiritually.  I don't want to hurt young people with a damaging message that leads only to closeted, lonely lives.

What does that mean "you don't want to hurt young people?"

And this is what mesage I was getting in the Orthodox church.  IT was not a loving message, it was a message that me, my whole person, was unwwelcome, and I would have to suppress parts of myself to be accepted.  This is not acceptable for me, or for the people that will come after me, the people who suffer in silence within the church, obeying these "rules".

See point 2 regarding "unwelcome."
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on July 03, 2011, 05:37:56 PM
And this is what mesage I was getting in the Orthodox church.  IT was not a loving message, it was a message that me, my whole person, was unwwelcome, and I would have to suppress parts of myself to be accepted.  This is not acceptable for me, or for the people that will come after me, the people who suffer in silence within the church, obeying these "rules".

Any sense of being unwelcome most likely extended from holding an unrepentant spirit before God.

The Church exists to lead sinners back to God, not to make God bow before our sins.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 04, 2011, 12:23:12 AM
Any sense of being unwelcome most likely extended from holding an unrepentant spirit before God.

The Church exists to lead sinners back to God, not to make God bow before our sins.

 
 Yes, if you mean I refuse to treat myself or other queer people like a doormat in the name of religious fundamentalism.  Being queer is not something to repent of.  Homophobia is.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on July 04, 2011, 12:37:35 AM
Daedalus, I have some sympathy with you and your arguments, but even your language betrays the contamination of your way of doing theology by the mores of the world.

Christianity has always been counter-cultural and will continue to be, if the promises given to us by the Saviour can be trusted at all.

You will not succeed in finding a Christianity which is compatible with the ways and methods of the world which has not already had the Living Water drained out of it.

If you want to convince us our way of doing things is not what was envisioned by Christ and the very Spirit which was promised to guide us, start by speaking to us in the same voice in which the Lord, the Apostles and the Fathers spoke.

Bludgeoning each other with the twin mallets of "sodomy is abomination!" and "homophobia is evil!" probably gets us nowhere.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 04, 2011, 12:38:31 AM
Any sense of being unwelcome most likely extended from holding an unrepentant spirit before God.

The Church exists to lead sinners back to God, not to make God bow before our sins.

 Yes, if you mean I refuse to treat myself or other queer people like a doormat in the name of religious fundamentalism.  Being queer is not something to repent of.  Homophobia is.

Homophobia is a sin, an error.  You hate me; I still love you as an individual even as I disapprove of your lifestyle and the inherent rejection of God for something created by man.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on July 05, 2011, 08:44:23 AM
Yes, if you mean I refuse to treat myself or other queer people like a doormat in the name of religious fundamentalism.

The Orthodox Church doesn't treat anyone in that manner. Please don't slander the Church.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 05, 2011, 11:31:13 AM
I don't want to hurt young people with a damaging message that leads only to closeted, lonely lives.

I spent some time thinking about the above passage.  Do you have children that you (and your partner) fear may be mocked by "judgmental" and "ignorant" people in an Orthodox Church because your children have 2 same sex parents?  Is this where the entire thrust of your posts is derived from - your fears that your children will be mocked because of the sexual choices you and your partner have made and that other institutions define marriage differently?   ???

And this is what mesage I was getting in the Orthodox church.  IT was not a loving message, it was a message that me, my whole person, was unwwelcome, and I would have to suppress parts of myself to be accepted.  This is not acceptable for me, or for the people that will come after me, the people who suffer in silence within the church, obeying these "rules".

People will talk ... and mock.  That is a reflection of those who talk and mock; not of the Orthodox Church.  If no one on this forum can slander homosexuals, you can cut Orthodox Christianity a little slack and not condemn a faith based on the actions of the "judgmental" and the "ignorant."

If I saw a same sex family enter my Church, maybe there will be a nervous silence; maybe a few gasps; maybe business as usual - I don't know.   ???  Would I approach them and welcome them?  I don't know.   ???  Would I mock them and sit in judgment of them ... NO.  Would I hope that they feel welcomed and come back ... YES!
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on July 05, 2011, 11:59:38 AM
Any sense of being unwelcome most likely extended from holding an unrepentant spirit before God.

The Church exists to lead sinners back to God, not to make God bow before our sins.

 
 Yes, if you mean I refuse to treat myself or other queer people like a doormat in the name of religious fundamentalism.  Being queer is not something to repent of.  Homophobia is.

Once we had a priest who was indeed homosexual. We assumed that he was not a practicing homosexual as he was a celibate, a monk. We could not judge him for his conduct, and neither did we judge him for his orientation. So, it simply not true that the Church as a whole or Her members treat homosexuals as doormats. That does not mean that the Church does not take seriously the source documents and thus ask homosexuals not to commit sins, one of which is homosexual sex. That is the way in any Christian church that doers not change to accommodate sinful conduct. Why would you, or anyone else for that matter, join a Church that does not take Her source documents seriously anyway? I cannot understand why you insist on the Church and God Himself to change when it is imperative for you yourself to change. You should strive to sin no more and if you do to confess, reconcile yourself to God, and try again.You are no different than anybody else. One thing is certain however; God will not be mocked and that is equally applicable to you as it is to me. Your sexual orientation does not make you a superior person--you are as much a sinner as myself and you need the Lord and His Church as much as I do.

PS: If you do end up finding a church that doers not consider homosexual sexual practice to be a sin, you may be assured only of one thing; that is not a Church of the Lord Jesus the Christ.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 05, 2011, 11:12:20 PM
I spent some time thinking about the above passage.  Do you have children that you (and your partner) fear may be mocked by "judgmental" and "ignorant" people in an Orthodox Church because your children have 2 same sex parents?  

  No... I am celibate and a virgin honestly but my sexual orientation is bisexual.   I would like to have a partner, male or female, someday, and I occaisonally attend a support group at a gay community center.   I'm moved by compassion and solidarity with other people that are gay, especially young people, that would be raised in a church that considers their orientation to be depraved..  I can't be part of this anymore, even if it hurts me emotionally.

  And I just see no point if I aspire to some day have a partner and we wouldn't be welcome at a church, better to cut my losses now.  Orthodoxy Christianity is not a religion for me.  Truth for me is what I can live out.  I cannot live out a life of denial and loneliness, this is not loving to demand on me either.  I have to have faith in myself first, in my own experiences, and my heart says this is bad.

Quote
If I saw a same sex family enter my Church, maybe there will be a nervous silence; maybe a few gasps; maybe business as usual - I don't know.   ???  Would I approach them and welcome them?  I don't know.   ???  Would I mock them and sit in judgment of them ... NO.  Would I hope that they feel welcomed and come back ... YES!
 
  I appreciate this... that you recognize that gays have real families just like everybody else.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 05, 2011, 11:47:29 PM
I spent some time thinking about the above passage.  Do you have children that you (and your partner) fear may be mocked by "judgmental" and "ignorant" people in an Orthodox Church because your children have 2 same sex parents?  

  No... I am celibate and a virgin honestly but my sexual orientation is bisexual.   I would like to have a partner, male or female, someday, and I occaisonally attend a support group at a gay community center.   I'm moved by compassion and solidarity with other people that are gay, especially young people, that would be raised in a church that considers their orientation to be depraved..  I can't be part of this anymore, even if it hurts me emotionally.

FWIW, I never thought for a second that a gay and/or transgendered orientation is depraved.  Unfortunately, the mere mention of homosexuality in most Orthodox Churches is stigma primarily due to the "judgmental" and "ignorant" people out there.

 And I just see no point if I aspire to some day have a partner and we wouldn't be welcome at a church, better to cut my losses now.  Orthodoxy Christianity is not a religion for me.  Truth for me is what I can live out.  I cannot live out a life of denial and loneliness, this is not loving to demand on me either.  I have to have faith in myself first, in my own experiences, and my heart says this is bad.

We all worship ourselves and have put ourselves before God on numerous occasions.  Yet, we are not all active homosexuals.  If you want to trust yourself first, is that a rejection of trusting in God?   ???

Quote
If I saw a same sex family enter my Church, maybe there will be a nervous silence; maybe a few gasps; maybe business as usual - I don't know.   ???  Would I approach them and welcome them?  I don't know.   ???  Would I mock them and sit in judgment of them ... NO.  Would I hope that they feel welcomed and come back ... YES!
 
  I appreciate this... that you recognize that gays have real families just like everybody else.

Until 2009, I never heard of Iron Chef Cat Cora until being stumped by her picture during a trivia question.  I find her very attractive even though she is in a same-sex marriage with 4 boys.  The American Hellenic Institute (http://www.ahiworld.com/press_releases/2009_016.html) recognized Cat Cora for her achievements in 2009.  Note that the American Hellenic Institute is the formal name for the Greek-American lobby.  Also note that it is not known whether Cat Cora practices the Orthodox Christian faith - it is her business, not ours.

I'm sad that you didn't receive a positive reception in the Orthodox Church.  The only thing I can suggest is not to give up.   :)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: CBGardner on July 06, 2011, 12:35:25 PM
Why would one be openly gay if they didn't engage in that lifestyle? The Bible is clear that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong so I'm not sure why a Christian would trumpet that. If you feel attracted to the same sex tell your priest or close people you trust and recognize it first as sin, not first as nature. Even if you came out of the womb liking dudes that doesn't make it natural. Spiritual warfare begins before birth. 

  There are peopel like Jose Cabezon who are openly gay but at various points in there life, lived celibate lives (Cabezon did as a Buddhist monk).  He did not view being attracted to the same sex as immoral but at that particular time in his life, it was not helpful to himself spiritually to engage in sex.    I see it as similarly for myself (though I am bisexual), I do not want to be part of a church that says being gay is immoral or sinful, no matter how I decide to live and what I think benefits me spiritually.  I don't want to hurt young people with a damaging message that leads only to closeted, lonely lives.    And this is what mesage I was getting in the Orthodox church.  IT was not a loving message, it was a message that me, my whole person, was unwwelcome, and I would have to suppress parts of myself to be accepted.  This is not acceptable for me, or for the people that will come after me, the people who suffer in silence within the church, obeying these "rules".

But your sexual preference isn't any less welcome then this guys addiction to porn or this girls need to gossip. Everybody has things they like and enjoy that are wrong. I am the king of loving what the Church counsels us to avoid. Everyone is sinful. Everyone has some sort of delusion, liking something that is wrong. Why is being gay so different in your mind? We don't get to choose what is or isn't sin, only God does and we just have to deal with that reality. Every single person in all of history who has come to the church is called a sinner. To accept God and the Church is to accept that you're a sinner. Why do you get so offended though? And sorry Sir, but it isn't about which religion is " right for you." Its about which one is the pillar of truth and the ark of the Living God. If you expect to find a religion that lines up exactly with how you think requiring no change from you, stop looking and make one after your own ideas. That is all you're doing anyway.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 06, 2011, 08:21:53 PM
Christianity has always been counter-cultural and will continue to be, if the promises given to us by the Saviour can be trusted at all.  

  Of course, but unthinkingly condemning homosexuality as a sin is hardly counter-cultural.  And neither is holding up sacred texts or traditions as unquestionable truth.  Every religion has plenty of examples of this.  Its a poison which doesn't help us live wisely.

Quote
 You will not succeed in finding a Christianity which is compatible with the ways and methods of the world which has not already had the Living Water drained out of it.  

   Of course but this applies to Orthodoxy as well.  In response to the Emperor's appeal to attend the Council of Constantinople, St. Gregory of Nanzianzus refused.  He'd seen first hand that church councils did not produce reconciliation, and had misgivings about the response to the Council of Nicea.  Bishop still fought with each other, only now they did it in plain sight, ie, they had labels to call each other.  I think St. Gregory had wisdom borne of true humility when he did this- beyond a desire to merely feel right or see oneself as right in the eyes of the powerful into a desire to put things right.  Merely calling something "Orthodox" doesn't make it Jesus' brand.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: IsmiLiora on July 06, 2011, 08:23:41 PM
And neither is holding up sacred texts or traditions as unquestionable truth.  Every religion has plenty of examples of this.  Its a poison which doesn't help us live wisely.

I understand what you are trying to say, but I would be careful about making this statement. So, with statements about homosexuality, we're going to throw out the Trinity and the Eucharist? Way to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 06, 2011, 08:28:44 PM

We all worship ourselves and have put ourselves before God on numerous occasions.  Yet, we are not all active homosexuals.  If you want to trust yourself first, is that a rejection of trusting in God?   ??? 

   God is unknowable which means we take God on faith... and faith requires trust in our own experiences.  So yes, we have to trust our own experiences first. I merely doubt that somebody else has knowledge of God that I don't.  In this case I doubt people calling themselves, speaking for "Christ's Church".  I do not have to accept their claims, I can live with ambiguity.  People do it all the time.   And yet at the same time, that I doubt, I don't have to hold onto my beliefs as absolute truth.  I can be open to listening to other people and changing my mind.  But I don't see any reason to at present.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: bogdan on July 06, 2011, 08:49:38 PM
God is not unknowable. He has revealed himself in numerous ways. Foremost in Jesus Christ, and his church is the only entity with the authority and ability to verify our personal experiences. We do not even accept the experiences of obvious saints without the church's collective blessing.

Show me someone who leans on his own understanding and I'll show you someone who is wide open to delusion.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 06, 2011, 09:12:12 PM
I understand what you are trying to say, but I would be careful about making this statement. So, with statements about homosexuality, we're going to throw out the Trinity and the Eucharist? Way to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

   Why does the Trinity have to be absolute truth?  What would that even mean?   I thought Orthodoxy was mystical- knowledge of God above human conceptualizations.  In which case ideas like the Trinity are just provisional, people trying to understand the ineffible using Greek philosophical categories.  "Ideas lead to idolatry, only wonder leads to knowing" St. Gregory said.  That's ironic because you could find a Buddhist saying the same thing.  Our ideas about reality sometimes useful but when we get cling to them we don't have the openness to wonder.  Religious ideas are no different.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on July 06, 2011, 09:37:31 PM
I understand what you are trying to say, but I would be careful about making this statement. So, with statements about homosexuality, we're going to throw out the Trinity and the Eucharist? Way to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

   Why does the Trinity have to be absolute truth?  What would that even mean?   I thought Orthodoxy was mystical- knowledge of God above human conceptualizations.  In which case ideas like the Trinity are just provisional, people trying to understand the ineffible using Greek philosophical categories.  "Ideas lead to idolatry, only wonder leads to knowing" St. Gregory said.  That's ironic because you could find a Buddhist saying the same thing.  Our ideas about reality sometimes useful but when we get cling to them we don't have the openness to wonder.  Religious ideas are no different.

You are half-right. You are also half-wrong because you neglect to take into account that God has revealed himself.

If faith were based on experience alone we would not keep the Book of the Gospels on the altar but, like some Buddhists, would burn that very book once we had gone beyond it or become too attached to it.

The apophatic and the cataphatic cannot be held apart. Yes, the most spiritually advanced of us plunge into the Divine Darkness to meet the Creator but, until we get there, he guides us to himself as a Pillar of Fire.

It does not lie in the lips of those of us who have not even taken the first step towards partaking of the Divine Nature to cast to the wind the experience of those who have tasted richly of the Living Water welling up unto eternal life.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 06, 2011, 11:02:43 PM
   God is unknowable which means we take God on faith... and faith requires trust in our own experiences.

Read the story of St. Thomas.  Thomas wanted to place his hands in the wounds of the Lord because of his doubt.  Read what Jesus says at the end of the story....

  So yes, we have to trust our own experiences first. I merely doubt that somebody else has knowledge of God that I don't.

What knowledge of God are you looking for?  The God who will unconditionally accept your lifestyle?

In this case I doubt people calling themselves, speaking for "Christ's Church".  I do not have to accept their claims, I can live with ambiguity.

Are you sure you can live with ambiguity given that you have clearly defined your belief system?   ???

 
People do it all the time.   And yet at the same time, that I doubt, I don't have to hold onto my beliefs as absolute truth.

Including your sexual lifestyle?  Is that an absolute or can that be subject to ambiguity or perhaps change?

I can be open to listening to other people and changing my mind.  But I don't see any reason to at present.

Because of your rigid belief system which you may be doubting.

PS: I know quoting some of my multi-level quotes can be challenging.   ;)

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 06, 2011, 11:27:44 PM
  Why does the Trinity have to be absolute truth?  What would that even mean?   I thought Orthodoxy was mystical- knowledge of God above human conceptualizations.  In which case ideas like the Trinity are just provisional, people trying to understand the ineffible using Greek philosophical categories.  "Ideas lead to idolatry, only wonder leads to knowing" St. Gregory said.  That's ironic because you could find a Buddhist saying the same thing.  Our ideas about reality sometimes useful but when we get cling to them we don't have the openness to wonder.  Religious ideas are no different.

When you are speaking of the Trinity, you are speaking of Three Persons who either exist or they don't.  For example, you either exist or you don't.  I either exist or I do not.  It is fairly simple.  You can wonder plenty about the mystery of three eternal Beings, but they either exist or they do not.  Having ideas about the Trinity is one thing, but relegating the Trinity to an idea is quite another.

Thus, there is an inherent logic problem in trying to conflate Orthodox mysticism regarding how things can be with Post-modernist 'personal realities.'

Religion is precisely about applying conceptual categories to experiences so that experiences can be described and absorbed.  This is why even the most mystically-inclined Fathers of the Church were also students of religion, philosophy, history and even science.  They did not stand about with slack jaws having mystical experiences all day long, nor did they validate every other person's experiences.  Rather, they actually set boundaries to discern when experiences were the results of imagination versus genuine contact with God.

Mysticism is not about departing reality, and it is not about departing from the material world.  It is about seeing the entire world in light of God's profound love.  Thus, things are more real because they are seen as they really are.  Buddhism denies the reality of existence, but Orthodoxy states that we do not fully appreciate or understand reality without God's light, and such light reveals that thing really do exist and exist in a much more profound sense than what we are generally capable of appreciating.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 06, 2011, 11:44:19 PM
Quote from: SolEX01 link=topic=35214.msg596591#msg596591

Read the story of St. Thomas.  Thomas wanted to place his hands in the wounds of the Lord because of his doubt.  Read what Jesus says at the end of the story....  

  That assumes I take the biblical account as the actual words of Jesus.  It is quite likely that the Gospel of John is theologically pedantic, perhaps even polemical, not historical.

What knowledge of God are you looking for?  The God who will unconditionally accept your lifestyle?  

  Perhaps I do not believe in your "God".  He seems to demand obedience to an arbitrary will and ordain suffering, by creating beings destined to be afflicted with "sins" that he doesn't like (such as homosexuality).  I'd rather hold all idols of God up to critique and burn the ones that just do not measure up.  And this one reeks of absurdity.  Why would God detest the work of his own hands?   If God doesn't create gay people as gay, with all their feelings and desires, then he's not really their creator, because people are what they do.   The reality is, gay people flind acceptance every day.  If God really hated what gay people do and "detested" them, he would not allow gays to exist.  Truth is greater than religions idols of God, which are mostly dictated by social prejudices and fear.  The blind leading the blind, making God in their own anthropomorphic images...

 I believe in love.  I believe in compassion and acceptance.   These things are worthy of veneration.  Not blind obedience, condemnation, or fear.  The kind of judgementalism behind Christian notions of "sin" is very flawed.  We don't need to "Hate the sin" at all, that sort of thing is VERY unproductive.  Acceptance is much better at producing a life of virtue, it leads to clear thinking and discernment.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on July 06, 2011, 11:51:07 PM
You mean the God of Oprah?
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 06, 2011, 11:55:20 PM
Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=35214.msg596601#msg596601
  Buddhism denies the reality of existence, but Orthodoxy states that we do not fully appreciate or understand reality without God's light, and such light reveals that thing really do exist and exist in a much more profound sense than what we are generally capable of appreciating.

  You've misunderstood what Buddhists believe.  Buddhists do not deny existence, they deny that thing exist in an absolute way.  Everything is interdependent.   I'd be careful on this issue saying that Christians automaticly accept that things exist absolutely, as self-existing phenomena.  If something exists in an absolute way, where are God's energies/grace in the matter?  God would be rendered unneccessary, like materialism or deism.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: SolEX01 on July 06, 2011, 11:58:18 PM
Perhaps I do not believe in your "God".

I haven't crafted God in my own image.  The thousands of other members on this forum (including those who struggle with sexuality like you do) believe in the same God, which you happen to disagree with.

 He seems to demand obedience to an arbitrary will and ordain suffering, by creating beings destined to be afflicted with "sins" that he doesn't like (such as homosexuality).

The same God has given us the Saints to emulate.

I'd rather hold all idols of God up to critique and burn the ones that just do not measure up.  And this one reeks of absurdity.  Why would God detest the work of his own hands?  

How about if you answer the question based on your knowledge of the Orthodox faith?

If God doesn't create gay people as gay, with all their feelings and desires, then he's not really their creator, because people are what they do.

Like Eve did in the Garden of Eden with the serpant ... oh, since you think the Gospel of John is polemical, I'm afraid to know what you think about Genesis.   :o

The reality is, gay people flind acceptance every day.  If God really hated what gay people do and "detested" them, he would not allow gays to exist.

God loves the world he created.  As Father Giryus eloquently said, the world is seen in the light of God's profound love.  In your darkness, you see idols....

Truth is greater than religions idols of God, which are mostly dictated by social prejudices and fear.  The blind leading the blind, making God in their own anthropomorphic images...

That includes you. 

I believe in love.  I believe in compassion and acceptance.   These things are worthy of veneration.  Not blind obedience, condemnation, or fear.  The kind of judgementalism behind Christian notions of "sin" is very flawed.  We don't need to "Hate the sin" at all, that sort of thing is VERY unproductive.  Acceptance is much better at producing a life of virtue, it leads to clear thinking and discernment.

Eve knew she was naked and needed to cover herself in the Garden of Eden.  Welcome to clear thinking and discernment.   :)
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 07, 2011, 01:34:08 AM
Well, I'm sitting here with my copy of The Teachings of the Buddha, and it says:

"There are four truths in this world: first, all living beings arise from ignorance; second, all objects of desire are impermanent, uncertain and suffering; third, all existing things are impermanent, uncertain and suffering; fourth, there is nothing that can be called an 'ego,' and there is no such thing as 'mine' in all the world.

"These truths that everything is are impermanent and passing and egoless, have no connection with the fact of the Buddha's appearing or not appearing in this world.  These truths are certain: Buddha knows this and, therefore, preaches Dharma to all people."


So, Buddhists do not believe in the reality of existence as we do.  It is very clear from the above quote.

Christians believe that God creates in absolute terms, in that He does not create 'illusory objects' as the Buddha describes.

If a person withdraws from God, he does not cease to exist as you are implying.  Rather, he begins to die when he departs from God, and suffers from this rebellious departure that cannot lead to an end.  Thus we have eternal torment rather than the elimination of existence.

The truth behind this suffering is that God's grace and love and mercy are inescapable, and so you really cannot speak of withdrawing from it.  There is only the fruitless effort and the suffering it causes.  Suffering requires awareness.  Awareness requires existence.

The Buddha describes existence in a negative manner (see above) which Christianity rejects.

I don't see why you would have a problem with what I said.


Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=35214.msg596601#msg596601
  Buddhism denies the reality of existence, but Orthodoxy states that we do not fully appreciate or understand reality without God's light, and such light reveals that thing really do exist and exist in a much more profound sense than what we are generally capable of appreciating.

  You've misunderstood what Buddhists believe.  Buddhists do not deny existence, they deny that thing exist in an absolute way.  Everything is interdependent.   I'd be careful on this issue saying that Christians automaticly accept that things exist absolutely, as self-existing phenomena.  If something exists in an absolute way, where are God's energies/grace in the matter?  God would be rendered unneccessary, like materialism or deism.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 07, 2011, 01:57:44 AM
Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=35214.msg596629#msg596629
So, Buddhists do not believe in the reality of existence as we do.  It is very clear from the above quote.  

  That is the reality I believe, I believe things change constantly.  I'm not the same person I was yesterday, are you?   Everything is changing and passing away.  People die.  The more I'm attached to things being permanent, the more I suffer.  The fact you see this as a negative view of life really says that you somehow see suffering as justified, whereas Buddhism sees suffering as a harsh reality that is unwelcome.   Theodicy is one of those things I've grown weary of myself, I believe the only moral response to suffering is to seek to help end it, not to rationalize it and call views that seek to end suffering "negative".  

  The Christian Bible describes the world as passing away too.  Jesus tells his disciples not to store up things that decay, and Ecclessiastes is very close to anything the Buddha would say in its tone.  And St. Peter says the world will be destroyed by fire.  So, it would see that Christianity is "negative" towards existence, if you want to force the issue.

Quote
The truth behind this suffering is that God's grace and love and mercy are inescapable, and so you really cannot speak of withdrawing from it.  There is only the fruitless effort and the suffering it causes.  Suffering requires awareness.  Awareness requires existence.

  What a monsterous belief.  So God is sadistic and cruel?  Why would he create beings knowing they would reject him in the end, and furthermore allow them to suffer forever?  This is not a loving being, because love implies not allowing ignorant people to make decisions that they cannot see the consequences of.  This is not an endorsement for your religion.  If this is the "True God", i'll take refuge in the Buddha... very soon.  I do not have to choose between your "God" and nihilism, get informed on this issue.

Quote
The Buddha describes existence in a negative manner (see above) which Christianity rejects.  
 
  Not true.  To desire non-being, nonexistence is a kind of craving that leads to suffering.  Buddhism is about acceptance, not denial.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Father Peter on July 07, 2011, 03:22:23 AM
Where on earth is Christianity negative about existence?

This world is certainly passing away but only so that a renewed and eternal one might take its place. Existence with God is so central to the Christian message that it is described as being endless.

How could you possibly pick up such a distortion of Christianity that allows you to suggest that it teaches that existence is negative?

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 07, 2011, 10:28:58 AM

I think you are misunderstanding my statements. 

First, look back at the passage I quoted, here specifically:

There are four truths in this world: first, all living beings arise from ignorance;

Did you arise from ignorance, or were you fearfully and wonderfully made to exist for all eternity?

Why are we here and why were we made?

Suffering is not avoidable, but the whole point of what you call 'monstrous' is that human beings can choose to either reject God or accept His love.  One cannot reject the love that surrounds us and not suffer.

third, all existing things are impermanent, uncertain and suffering;

And you do not find that 'monstrous?'  I do.

I believe that all human existence begins with suffering, but by allowing God to rescue us from suffering we eventually pass through it to a state of blessedness.  Therefore, we have the hope to get through our temporary situations and enter into our true state united to God.  It is not that I was one thing and now am another, but rather all of us are developing into the fullness of who we are meant to be.

The sins of my youth are still with me, and they are inescapable, but I do not have to despair of them because they have led me to repentance and thus driven me to God's love and mercy.  I regret them, yet I know that I had to pass through them in order to come to this place and to grow beyond it.  I do not wish suffering on anyone, I can only say that my own suffering is well-deserved and is ultimately helpful to me if I repent and ask God for help.

This is very clear in the Bible. 

If you do decide to embrace Buddhism, I strongly suggest you read up on some of its beliefs regarding sexuality: http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/buddhism.htm (http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/buddhism.htm).

Lay Buddhists who have not chosen to follow the path of enlightenment have a bit more leeway, but that's because they are waiting for a future incarnation in which to do the work the Buddha taught.  It is kind of like auditing a college class.  Buddhism rejects all sexuality for those seeking enlightenment.  Christianity does not require the rejection of sexuality, but rather its proper usage.  Some are broken and cannot use it at all, but we do not condemn them.

From reading your responses to my posts, you appear to have some deep-seated resentment of Christianity.  Or, perhaps just of Christians.  Before you decide to chuck it all out for another religion, first find your peace with it.  Release the inner turmoil s that you can make the right decision without emotions blinding you to what is real.









Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=35214.msg596629#msg596629
So, Buddhists do not believe in the reality of existence as we do.  It is very clear from the above quote.  

  That is the reality I believe, I believe things change constantly.  I'm not the same person I was yesterday, are you?   Everything is changing and passing away.  People die.  The more I'm attached to things being permanent, the more I suffer.  The fact you see this as a negative view of life really says that you somehow see suffering as justified, whereas Buddhism sees suffering as a harsh reality that is unwelcome.   Theodicy is one of those things I've grown weary of myself, I believe the only moral response to suffering is to seek to help end it, not to rationalize it and call views that seek to end suffering "negative".  

  The Christian Bible describes the world as passing away too.  Jesus tells his disciples not to store up things that decay, and Ecclessiastes is very close to anything the Buddha would say in its tone.  And St. Peter says the world will be destroyed by fire.  So, it would see that Christianity is "negative" towards existence, if you want to force the issue.

Quote
The truth behind this suffering is that God's grace and love and mercy are inescapable, and so you really cannot speak of withdrawing from it.  There is only the fruitless effort and the suffering it causes.  Suffering requires awareness.  Awareness requires existence.

  What a monsterous belief.  So God is sadistic and cruel?  Why would he create beings knowing they would reject him in the end, and furthermore allow them to suffer forever?  This is not a loving being, because love implies not allowing ignorant people to make decisions that they cannot see the consequences of.  This is not an endorsement for your religion.  If this is the "True God", i'll take refuge in the Buddha... very soon.  I do not have to choose between your "God" and nihilism, get informed on this issue.

Quote
The Buddha describes existence in a negative manner (see above) which Christianity rejects.  
 
  Not true.  To desire non-being, nonexistence is a kind of craving that leads to suffering.  Buddhism is about acceptance, not denial.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 07, 2011, 11:00:06 AM
Correct me if I am wrong, Daedelus, but it seems to me that you want to find a religious system that at once challenges you to grow while at the same time does not regulate any of your impulses.  After all, that's what religions in the modern sense do: people these days want to 'grow' because they do not want to be where they are.  The people I know who are happy 'where they are' have no need for religion.

The problem with choosing Buddhism over Christianity is that Buddhism (unless you go for the Hollywood variety) is going to ask you to reject all of your desires thus reject the very same sexual orientation that you are now seeking to protect from Christianity as you understand it.

Orthodox Christianity teaches very plainly that we are all broken in some way.  For some of us, we are broken profoundly.  Your break appears to be in your attractions, while I have plenty worse breaks than that.

God does not condemn us for our brokenness, all the unrefined language aside.  Our forefathers did not expect people to be so thin-skinned.  But, it is clear that our broken thoughts lead to broken actions, and so we must work to heal our broken persons so that we can pass through these temporary hardships to eternal life.  If our goal is to have a life here without suffering, then Orthodox Christianity is not for you.

We are strugglers, fighting with broken minds and uncooperative bodies.  It seems terribly hopeless, until one meets the saints who show us that God is helping us along the way.  We bear heavy crosses, you and I, but we are not without hope.

Unless we put the cross down and say it is too hard to bear.

Of course it is too hard!  It is too much, but only to the extent that we try to rely on our own strength to bear it.  We must surrender to God completely and unreservedly in order to fully partake of His help.

I myself rejected Buddhism in my younger days because I could not see how it was possible to attain a state of egolessness while relying entirely on the force of that same ego that was needed in order to meditate and carry out the instructions of Buddha.

This is what I see as the problem (from none other than the Dalai Lama):

"I'm Buddhist, I'm a Buddhist practitioner. So actually I think that according to nontheistic Buddhist belief, things are due to causes and conditions. No creator. So I have faith in our actions, not prayer. Action is important. Action is karma. Karma means action. That's an ancient Indian thought. In nontheistic religions, including Buddhism, the emphasis is on our actions rather than god or Buddha. So some people say that Buddhism is a kind of atheism. Some scholars say that Buddhism is not a religion — it's a science of the mind.

"Do you agree with that?

"Oh, yes. I even consider Buddha and some of his important followers like Nagarjuna (one of Buddha's leading disciples) to be scientists. Their main method is analytical. Analyze, analyze — not emphasis on faith. And these masters are not magicians. (Jokingly pretends to clip me around the head and laughs.)"
Japan Times, Sunday, December 02, 2007


I don't believe that a broken mind can fairly analyze itself.  We need divine healing and help.

In my life, I have had encounters with the Divine, and so I have no doubt that there is is a Creator.  And, He is a loving one.  I experience His love through my brokenness and struggle along in it with the hope that His love will eventually conquer over even my stubborn self.

Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 07, 2011, 03:21:42 PM
Did you arise from ignorance, or were you fearfully and wonderfully made to exist for all eternity?  

  Read it in the context of the Hindu-Buddhist worldview of the Buddha's day, we come into the world because of karma from a previous life, karma caused by ignorance of reality.

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Why are we here and why were we made?  

  Buddha considered that question irrelevent to dealing with human suffering.  Looking for some explanation is a distraction from being aware of the negative habit-energy that blinds a person in the here and now.   Buddha uses the parable of a man shot with a poisoned arrow- unless he gets the arrow out, asking who made the arrow is a waste of time and foolish.

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 Suffering is not avoidable, but the whole point of what you call 'monstrous' is that human beings can choose to either reject God or accept His love.  One cannot reject the love that surrounds us and not suffer.  
 

  How do you know about this love that surrounds us?  Why is your religion the only voice on this issue that could be true?  Buddhism has a large school called Pure Land that is all about entrusting in a Higher Power that is the love that surrounds us and embraces us... but the Higher Power (Amitabha Buddha) is not a reified Creator God concept, instead it represents the ordinary experience of compassion we can experience in life that is part of an enlightened consciousness.  The Buddhist "Higher Power" accepts everyone without judgement, the Christian God, as I understood in Orthodoxy, judges everyone, whereas judgement is completely alien from the Buddhist concept.   Nor is moral reform a demand, only an an entrusting or faith - it is less moralistic than Christianity on the whole, especially Orthodoxy.  In the Middle Ages Shin Buddhism became popular in Japan because it offered hope to butchers and prostitutes, people who were the untouchables of the society spiritually.  

 Many, many religions know about love, grace... these are not unique to your religion.

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third, all existing things are impermanent, uncertain and suffering;

And you do not find that 'monstrous?'  I do.  

  No.  Looking to the world for things to be satisfactory and pleasing is a source of suffering.  It doesn't mean that things cause suffering, rather its the clinging to things that cause suffering.  Things are dukha, unsatisfactory, dissatisfying.  Nothing will ultimately make you happy except giving up the idea that something out there can make you happy.  Basicly the Buddha is saying that sensuality leads to suffering.  This isn't that far from what Orthodox believe, is it?

  Buddhism like Orthodoxy is a medicine for the human condition . Its a mistake to see it necessarily as a rationalistic system to explain the world.   Merely reading Buddhism as philosophy misses the great deal of religious and spiritual content, much of which is about cultivation of positive attitudes to life despite the presence of suffering.  

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 .  I do not wish suffering on anyone, I can only say that my own suffering is well-deserved and is ultimately helpful to me if I repent and ask God for help.  

   He makes people suffer because he wants then to love them?  That's incoherent.  That is not love, its manipulation.
I've seen too much suffering in life to believe suffering is justified by some greater end it produces.  

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Lay Buddhists who have not chosen to follow the path of enlightenment have a bit more leeway, but that's because they are waiting for a future incarnation in which to do the work the Buddha taught.  It is kind of like auditing a college class.  Buddhism rejects all sexuality for those seeking enlightenment.  Christianity does not require the rejection of sexuality, but rather its proper usage.  Some are broken and cannot use it at all, but we do not condemn them.  

  At least in Buddhism they don't give blessing to sexual relations to some and not to others.   Orthodox basicly bless sexuality for heterosexuals willing to make a commitment to the same religion, but nobody else.  While it is true that Buddhism doesn't see human nature at its center as sexual, with ultimate human fulfillment in sex, neither does Orthodox Christianity.   In both Orthodoxy and Buddhism, the quest for wisdom and truth has to be the center of ones life above everything else.

  Pure Land Buddhism or Vajrayana (esoterica and/or Tibetan Buddhism) come to mind as more sex-positive Buddhist traditions.  Lay people, even married clergy, monks, and nuns, can have sex and be "good Buddhists" who can even be enlightened in this lifetime.   I was involved with the Order of Interbeing in the past, the only precept on sex for laity was it should to be in the context of love and commitment.  Buddhists do not believe "marriage" changes sexual ethics and traditionally buddhists had no marriage ceremony.  

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 From reading your responses to my posts, you appear to have some deep-seated resentment of Christianity.  Or, perhaps just of Christians.  

  Both.. Christianity is a religion that has been shaped by political forces and is only loosely connected with what Jesus of Nazareth actually taught.  Its an accretion mass of cultural prejudices and political conveniences mixed with genuine wisdom.  Instead of trying to discern what is good from what is dross, some people insist its all holy and beyond question.





Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 07, 2011, 04:23:32 PM
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Correct me if I am wrong, Daedelus, but it seems to me that you want to find a religious system that at once challenges you to grow while at the same time does not regulate any of your impulses.  After all, that's what religions in the modern sense do: people these days want to 'grow' because they do not want to be where they are.  The people I know who are happy 'where they are' have no need for religion.  

  OK,  that seems like a fair analysis of me.  The issue I have, the Orthodox church asks me to be completely healed before I am allowed to participate fully in the life of the church.  I ran on empty, i had no access to sacraments.  I did not feel loved.  I was running on empty spiritually.  I do not feel a loving God behind that.  I feel hurt immensely.  Actions speak louder than words.  Your church did not embrace me in my pain, it placed a bunch of demands on my life before they would accept me.

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The problem with choosing Buddhism over Christianity is that Buddhism (unless you go for the Hollywood variety) is going to ask you to reject all of your desires thus reject the very same sexual orientation that you are now seeking to protect from Christianity as you understand it.  

  It will also let me part with this rigid idea of God anyways, and the hurtful system attached to it.    Maybe its worth giving up my sexuality for, just to get away from that brutality (FWIW, not all Buddhists consider homosexual sex any worse than heterosexual sex). .   I've prayed enough for an answer to "why" and the past few months I've not really got an answer.  It was an intellectual quest that got me to Orthodoxy, a misguided one.   I cannot run on empty spiritually.

  My only desire left in life, is to have something like a family of my own.  And if I stay in Orthodoxy that will never happen.  So what am I losing by becomming a Buddhist?  Nothing.  I may not hae all my desires fulfilled as a Buddhist perhaps, but in Orthodoxy they aren't going to be fulfilled either.  I'd rather be in a religion or spiritual environment where I can just let go of everything altogether, but as a Christian I have to constantly pressure myself to "struggle", to "judge" myself, accuse myself.   And you dare talk about a negative view of life?  Buddha said "You can search the whole world and not find anyone more deserving of kindness than yourself".  Those are wise words and I intend to take them to heart.  I have neglected this wisdom in my quest into the Orthodox church.  Perhaps I did not get proper pastoral care but my interpsection in the past month has taught me I have abused myself and not been kind to myself in the past 2 years because I was riddled with fear and shame, some of it brought on by Christian beliefs and practices.

 
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 and so we must work to heal our broken persons so that we can pass through these temporary hardships to eternal life.  If our goal is to have a life here without suffering, then Orthodox Christianity is not for you.  

  Healing comes from acceptance and being your own friend and then extending that to other people as well.  It doesn't come from some sky-spirit doing magic to us.

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I myself rejected Buddhism in my younger days because I could not see how it was possible to attain a state of egolessness while relying entirely on the force of that same ego that was needed in order to meditate and carry out the instructions of Buddha.

  FWIW,  I am not a meditation novice, I meditated for several years in the past to a moderate degree.  I have been meditating again the past month consistently also.   I have had some kinds of realizations when meditating and experienced a loss of the angst around death, but, I do not necessarily claim to be enlightened.  But I'm no novice.  One doesn't force enlightenment, it is not "self-power".  The heart of enlightenment is acceptance, receptivity, openness... there's no force involved.  Trying to force yourself to be enlightened is pointless.   Indeed a great deal of the culvitation of virtue that must accompany a quest for samadhi concentration involves the cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion for oneself and for others.  The mind of a person seeking insight in meditation is firm, not harsh and judgemental and not loose and chaotic.  It's regulated and balanced.  
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: BoredMeeting on July 07, 2011, 04:58:05 PM

From reading your responses to my posts, you appear to have some deep-seated resentment of Christianity.  Or, perhaps just of Christians.  Before you decide to chuck it all out for another religion, first find your peace with it.  Release the inner turmoil so that you can make the right decision without emotions blinding you to what is real.

There is the entire issue in a nutshell.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: akimori makoto on July 07, 2011, 06:09:12 PM
Both.. Christianity is a religion that has been shaped by political forces and is only loosely connected with what Jesus of Nazareth actually taught.

In this one statement, you totally undid any respect I had for your position.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 07, 2011, 08:49:11 PM
Daedelus, I wondering why you think you need to have a religion at all.  Why be anything at all?

What Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity share is a commitment to an absolute truth (or truths depending on how you look at it), which you seem more convinced of in terms of which is more permissive.  I don't think that is a very healthy way to arrive at truth.  What it seems to imply is that religion is just an 'opinion' or a wild guess.

Reality and truth are not always accommodating.  In fact, they can be downright unfair.  You may be upset that your desires for physical union with another person of the same gender are forbidden, but there are lots of other things that are forbidden as well.  Pride, anger, resentment... things that even heterosexuals find as their desires.

You will have to renounce your sexual desires as a Buddhist just as much as you will as an Orthodox Christian, unless you are going to be a smells-and-bells Buddhist.  I suppose I could have taken that road as well, but I wanted to find the truth.

Orthodoxy is very difficult for me without jumping into the matter of sexuality.  It has been a heavy cross to bear at times, but it has also given me great gifts from God that I would not have been able to receive any other way.

The question we must all ask ourselves: how much are you willing to give up for the sake of the truth?

The cost for you may be your sexual desires (a price you will pay either for Christian theosis or Buddhist enlightenment), but others pay their price as well.  You may think their price is lower than yours, but they may beg to differ.

As for the love aspect, I don't know what happened in your experience.  My spiritual experiences and how they shaped my opinions are my own and can't be readily described.  I am certain that God's love permeates the universe, and I believe that all creation stands as witness to that.

You can insult my beliefs as an Orthodox Christian (something I have not done to Buddhists, nor have I engaged in insults against homosexuals), but it does not really matter in the long run because your misery is ultimately your own responsibility.  You get to make your own choices.  I speak out of love when I say that, as a thinking person, you will never be entirely happy with picking a religion simply because it conforms to your present desires.

Deep down, I am certain you know that there will be a cost, a change that must be effected in you in order for you to know happiness.  Buddhism promises changes just as much as Orthodoxy does, though what those changes are and how they are effected and even the agency of that effect are not mutually agreed upon between the two.

You can say my beliefs are far-fetched, as one could say about Pure Land Buddhism both as a late-comer to Buddhist thought and as the absolute strangeness of its mechanics.  The perfectly 'logical' religion is atheism: we simply die and that's that.  We also know it does not work for human beings.

Christian happiness is often found in the strangest places: prison camps, cancer wards, dark caves, etc.  It is not about getting what we want, but rather knowing the One behind it all.  I hope someday you will 'get' what we are about.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on July 07, 2011, 11:13:03 PM
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What Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity share is a commitment to an absolute truth (or truths depending on how you look at it), which you seem more convinced of in terms of which is more permissive.  I don't think that is a very healthy way to arrive at truth.  What it seems to imply is that religion is just an 'opinion' or a wild guess.  

  From the 14 Precepts of Ven. Thitch Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing:

 "Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times."

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You will have to renounce your sexual desires as a Buddhist just as much as you will as an Orthodox Christian, unless you are going to be a smells-and-bells Buddhist.  

  The BCA (Buddhist Churches of America) is fairly mainstream as far as Buddhist organizations go in the US and they do conduct gay weddings (Where do you think George Takei, the semi-famous actor who came out a few years ago, was married?)  Yes, you will find some who argue that homosexuality is a hinderance and unacceptable (the Dalai Lama, but he is not "the Pope" of anything, he's just a monk that some revere), but Buddha had nothing to say about gay relationships.  The little he defined sexual misconduct mostly had to do with adultery.  In asia prejudice against gays has more to do with disappointment at the possibility of not having grandchildren continue a lineage or simple fear of being a nail that stands up too much, rather than morality.

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You can say my beliefs are far-fetched, as one could say about Pure Land Buddhism both as a late-comer to Buddhist thought and as the absolute strangeness of its mechanics.  

  Pure Land is at least 2000 years old, and it's a practice of Buddhism with a particular emphasis.  It doesn't invalidated the Buddhadharma at all, in fact it is a particular vehicle for its truths lived out through the power of faith.  The mechanics of it are rooted in a philosophical understanding that has been lived out by generations of Buddhists.  It is not necessary that the beliefs be "absolute truth" for it to bring people spiritual benefits.   People become part of a community, they are accepted by others and shown kindness, that is Amithaba Buddha... not some being outside time and space but the ordinary experience of caring and love.  Then that kindness and love becomes part of ones life and is shared with other people because the experience of faith and acceptance has transformed a persons consciosuness.
Title: Re: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?
Post by: FatherGiryus on July 08, 2011, 12:04:14 AM
Again, we are going round-and-round on squaring the "Four Truths" that I have previously cited with your desire for a homosexual relationship.  They just don't go together.  Go back and look.  What does Buddhism teach about desires and suffering?

"There are four truths in this world: first, all living beings arise from ignorance; second, all objects of desire are impermanent, uncertain and suffering; third, all existing things are impermanent, uncertain and suffering; fourth, there is nothing that can be called an 'ego,' and there is no such thing as 'mine' in all the world.

"These truths that everything is are impermanent and passi