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Question: Do you believe that fornication is a mortal sin??
Yes - 28 (66.7%)
No - 14 (33.3%)
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« on: March 18, 2007, 05:01:22 PM »

Since becoming Orthodox 3 years ago, I have noticed many Orthodox have a very lax attitude towards fornication. Coming from a very conservative Anglo-Catholic background, I had always believed that fornication was a "mortal sin" (for lack of a better term). Is it just me, or is the church permissive with communicants who fornicate? What do the holy cannons say about the issue? Is there a pentence required for this sin?? I am just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 05:14:02 PM »

I have been surprised by the weak attitude of some pastors towards fornication, which is a grave sin (I am not judging anyone who is struggling with this sin and honestly trying to repent of it, but am analyzing the effectiveness of a lax pastoral response, which in my opinion often has the opposite effect intended).

If one commits fornication, technically he is to be excommunicated and can never be a priest.  Again, this is in the context of the canons which are not sticks but guidelines (c.f. Trullo canon 102). But the reason I cite that is that it shows that this sin is ranked very high in the list of sins, which seemed to be your question. Again, there may be circumstances where a priest uses economy on someone for some reason but as a rule to be lax seems counter-productive.

Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2007, 05:30:07 PM »

I think excommunication might be a little bit...extreme. But confession must certainly be sought.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2007, 05:31:02 PM »

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I have been surprised by the weak attitude of some pastors towards fornication, which is a grave sin (I am not judging anyone who is struggling with this sin and honestly trying to repent of it, but am analyzing the effectiveness of a lax pastoral response, which in my opinion often has the opposite effect intended).

I completley agree with you Anastasios. I understand if a person has fallen, and is seriously wanting to repent, but the permissive attitude does not seem to bring about any type of repentance; moreover, it seems to communicate to others that it is not a big deal. Surley continuing in such a sin has to be extreemly harmful to a persons salvation.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2007, 05:34:55 PM »

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I think excommunication might be a little bit...extreme. But confession must certainly be sought.

Excommunication, from my understanding, is to bring about healing to a person. It is not necessarily a means of punishment. If a person continues in the sin of fornication even after going to confession, should the person recieve the Body and Blood of Christ?? Wouldn't taking communion be spiritually harmful to a person who refuses to turn away from such a severe sin???
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2007, 05:46:03 PM »

Excommunication is routinely given out in traditional Orthodox countries. it is not like in other Churches where it is formal and usually lasts a long time--sometimes one can be excommunicated for as little as one week.  The point is to teach the penitent that his sins are severe.  Someone who confessed "a serious sin" on Mt Athos told me he received a year of excommunication and it was one of the most beneficial things that ever happened to him, but it was really hard.  In other cases, someone coming back to the church after years may be told that what he did was terrible BUT he will not be witheld communion because of the effect it would have in chasing him away. So it is really a matter of pastoral praxis, but the issue is when laxity becomes de rigeur.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2007, 07:54:53 PM »

Since becoming Orthodox 3 years ago, I have noticed many Orthodox have a very lax attitude towards fornication. Coming from a very conservative Anglo-Catholic background, I had always believed that fornication was a "mortal sin" (for lack of a better term). Is it just me, or is the church permissive with communicants who fornicate? What do the holy cannons say about the issue? Is there a pentence required for this sin?? I am just curious.

It is my understanding that fornication in an absolute sense is as serious a sin as anything else; but it is considered more serious than others because of its effect on the community: unlike lying or stealing, for example, fornication involves the transmission of disease, the possibiliy of child conception and family issues (engagement and dating breakups, strife with parents, inheritence issues, etc.), emotional issues with both people and their significant others (if they are dating or engaged).  Fornication can have a major effect on the community of believers, and thus the method of dealing with it includes excommunication, which not only has the personal effect of attempting to show a person the gravity of their action and bring them back into closer communion with Christ than before they had sinned, but also has the communal aspect of separating one who has harmed the community from the family of worship, in order to protect the Body and to make the person a better member once they re-enter.

Now, of course, many Orthodox don't consider fornication (not Adultery, which is still considered very very serious) that bad simply because society doesn't consider it that bad (see: the number of out-of-wedlock children born in Orthodox countries and the number of Abortions).  Combine that with how casually dating sex is considered in this country, and it is understandable that the average person probably doesn't think it's as serious as they would have, say, a hundred years ago.

Considering this shift in the general populace, it is also understandable that fewer people are being excommunicated for the sin, considering that the worshipping community doesn't seem to be as affected.  I'm not saying this is better or worse, just making an observation.  In the end, Spiritual Fathers who take their vocations seriously do indeed excommunicate people for fornication when needed - and if it's not beneficial they don't, and those who don't take their vocations seriously have more to answer for God than just that.
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2007, 08:10:21 PM »

...the possibiliy of child conception and family issues

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 08:36:37 PM »

It's about time that we started discussing these issues in Orthodoxy. You rarely hear anything pertaining to fornication in the church and I have to wonder why our priest and bishops never discuss such matters. In fact, I can’t even recall this being talked about once since I have been Orthodox by the various priest I have had the opportunity to listen to.  There seems to be a stark contrast between the Roman Catholic Church and even Protestantism where they have no problem telling their parishioners that fornication is a mortal sin. The other night I was watching EWTN and caught a homily given by Father John Corapi. He was discussing the seriousness of sexuality sins/impurity and bluntly said that you will be cut off from God by engaging in such activities. Even more serious are those that put themselves in further judgment when they walk up and take communion. It was a relief to actually hear a priest so profoundly educate his parishioners on such important matters, its too bad that it had to be a Roman Catholic priest and not Orthodox. This is something that has always bothered me about Orthodoxy and have to wonder why the 'silence' on such important matters that could put an individuals salvation in jeopardy.   
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2007, 08:42:26 PM »

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.

Tom,

Premarital sex is harmful to those who engage in it psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.  While sexually we seem to be interested in many different partners, as part of our animal tendencies and fallen nature, spiritually and emotionally man longs for a partner that will support him or herself, in most cases.  Premarital sex and fornication creates too many problems to be considered good--it exacerbates the problems of people finding a good spouse because when you are busy fornicating you are usually not thinking clear enough about the person to make good choices, etc.

The Church bans this activity not because of property rights (although that was and is a good corollary reason--we taxpayers still pay for the effects of pregnancies whether via welfare or stated-funded abortions or through insurance we pay for teenagers on contraception so I think it is fair to keep this on the table).  The Church, in 2000 years, has amassed more wisdom than the average person who learns through trial and error. The facts remain clear: engaging in this behavior leads to hurt and impedes spiritual and emotional development, and as such, it is a grave error and rightfully not permitted.

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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2007, 09:06:54 PM »

What sin is not a mortal sin?

I've had the pleasure and honour of studying under the guidance of H.E. Archbishop Stylianos who stated only a week or two ago something to the effect of: "What difference does it make if you drown under 1 metre of water, or if you drown under 50 metres of water? If you drown, you drown...you die, and that's all that matters."

I do, nevertheless, appreciate the emphasis others have placed on the extra-personal implications of fornication. I also agree that "spiritual recovery" may require alot more effort and energy given its "addictive" nature, and the tendency for the desires and the fulfillment thereof to seem consistent with our physiology.
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2007, 09:10:17 PM »

The Church, in 2000 years, has amassed more wisdom than the average person who learns through trial and error.
Very true.
People want to find their own way through life and not listen to the wisdom accrued through the ages. You can't force people in Christianity- you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink- and I think this is also part of the Wisdom of the Orthodox Church today. Like a good Mother, basically, she says to her children: "This is what I know is the best way for you, but you don't believe me, so what can I do? The only way you are going to learn is by your mistakes, but I'll still be here if you realize you were wrong and you want to come home." Some people may view this as "laxness", but I think it shows a much better understanding of the fallen human condition than a constant nagging and threatening approach which leads to neurosis and an even worse rebellion to the point where the child never returns home.
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 09:17:34 PM »

Premarital sex is harmful to those who engage in it psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

This is WAY too general of a statement to be applied to todays environment. Although I do agree that in the past when young women were denied any sort of life outside of their father/husband, this statement is probably 100% correct in the impact of premarital sex on the young woman. It completely ruined her future.

However, nowadays with the ability of a women to make a life for herself without the support of a father/husband these outdated rules need to be see for what they were: Ensuring the marketability of the young woman.

From the words of a wise sage: "C'mon and do it, Do it, Do it till your satisfied!"  Cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 10:04:22 PM »

This concept of fornication as a mortal sin is simply a cultural issue of property and control rights of the father over the daughters. Religion has simply been used as an excuse.
Codswhollop.
The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.
So, Tom, it could also be that your denial of the sinful nature of fornication is simply because you as a man want women to be available for you to use for your pleasure at your whim and then discarded.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 11:29:22 PM »

So, Tom, it could also be that your denial of the sinful nature of fornication is simply because you as a man want women to be available for you to use for your pleasure at your whim and then discarded.

Cold.

But basically you have backed up my point - this is an issue that does not come from the idea that God objects to an unmarried woman who has had sex with a man. It is really a "do unto others issue"

God created pleasure for us to enjoy. If a woman today decides, of her own free will, that she wants to experience pleasure, why would that be a sin? Simply because a bunch of men wanted to impose THEIR morals during a specific period in history in order to protect their property?

And to protect then from themselves? Silly, emotional, girls! What's next, a 2010 Church Canon saying it is a sin to not wear a seatbelt?Huh



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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2007, 12:42:25 AM »

The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.

George,

The consequences are much worse than feeling deceived or used. How about having to deal with stress, eating disorders, depression, cutting oneself, and of course, sexually transmitted diseases. I included this article to illustrate the problems.


Unprotected

By Mona Charen

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Meet the liberated college woman. You may pity her.

"Unprotected" is a hard slap at the sexual free-for-all that prevails on American campuses and throughout American life. The author, revealed since publication as Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist at the student health service at UCLA, was hesitant to put her name on this book. The orthodoxy within the academic world is a strict one, and those who transgress often pay with their jobs. Let's hope for her sake, but particularly for her patients' well being, that she is not punished for her heterodox views.

What does Dr. Grossman believe that is so dangerous to admit? Well, start with ordinary sex. She believes that casual, promiscuous sex is tough on many women. They are hard-wired to bond with those they have sex with (the hormone oxytocin is implicated), and she sees countless female students reporting stress, eating disorders and even depression for reasons they cannot understand. After all, the world sells them on the notion that sex is pure recreation, that the "hook-up" culture is natural and even empowering to women, and that love and sex are two completely different things.


She describes a 19-year-old, "Heather," who is depressed. She has a "friend with benefits," but only with the help of psychotherapy is she able to acknowledge that the relationship is causing her pain. She'd like to do things with him, like see movies or go out for dinner, but he is interested only in sex. Dr. Grossman helps Heather to see that her needs are being neglected.

Another student, "Olivia," is devastated after her first serious boyfriend breaks up with her. Her grades suffer, she weeps constantly and suffers a relapse of an eating disorder, making herself vomit up to six times a day. "'Why, doctor,' she asked, 'why do they tell you how to protect your body -- from herpes and pregnancy -- but they don't tell you what it does to your heart?'"

And that may be the least of it. Health service physicians and nurses at UCLA and other colleges actually cheerlead for promiscuity. The author points to goaskalice.com, a question and answer service of the Columbia University Health Education Program. A man who was considering a menage a trois was told, after a few advisories about discussing the matter with his wife, "As far as where to find a third, often personal ads are placed in local alternative newspapers for people seeking different types of sexual encounters. And, don't forget to think about people you know as possibilities. . . . Have fun and BE SAFE!" The site also offers tips on how to clean a cat-o'-nine-tails between uses and advice on drinking urine. At the University of Missouri, "external water sports" is described as one form of "safer sex." (Hint: It has nothing to do with swimming pools.)


"Stacey" is paying a heavy price. An athlete and vegetarian who avoided preservatives, sodas and nicotine, and prided herself on discipline and a low body mass index, Stacey showed up at the health service after repeatedly cutting her forearms. Dr. Grossman reports that such self-injurious behavior is epidemic on campuses.


Stacey, it seems, had been diagnosed with HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. And while college health brochures and women's magazines suggest that the virus is no big deal, that's rubbish. In some cases it can lead to cancer. In every case it requires time-consuming and emotionally draining tests. And 43 percent of college women get it. Stacey's strain can lead to cancer, so she must be tested every six months for the rest of her life. Chlamydia, which is difficult to detect and cure, can cause infertility. Each year, 3 million women are treated for it. An unknown number never get treatment.


American campuses are, for the most part, laboratories of liberalism. You want an abortion? No problem. But if you grieve afterward, your pain is ignored or delegitimized. Dr. Grossman does not contest that most women may be emotionally fine after undergoing an abortion, but notes that a significant minority, perhaps 20 percent, do suffer depression and other symptoms afterward. Yet the politically correct position is to deny this medical reality.


No effort is spared to teach young people about the dangers of smoking, saturated fat, "unsafe sex" and even osteoporosis. But no one tells young women that if they want to be mothers they would do well to plan their careers around the unavoidable biological fact of declining fertility after age 35. The establishment encourages the fiction that women can expect to remain fertile well into their 40s.


It's sad that this book is so necessary, but all the more welcome for that. Buy it for yourself, for your sons, but especially for your daughters.

http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/charen010507.php3
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2007, 01:17:22 AM »

Just my luck, I'm away from my computer for a day and I miss a wonderful opportunity to shock and scandal...and TomS gets to have all the fun. Though I'll now do my part to magnify the scandal.

First of all, Toms, thanks for being the voice of reason in a sea of insanity...not that this is any deviation from the norm...it's good to see you posting again. Wink

The fact of the matter is that TomS' argument is not only historically and culturally accurate, it's also legally and canonically accurate.

From the The Julian Law on Adultery, codified in the Digests of Justinian, Book XLVIII, Title v, Section 20, which quotes Papinianus, On Adultery, Book I, we read,

Quote
The right is granted to the father to kill a man who commits adultery with his daughter while she is under his control. Therefore no other relative can legally do this, nor can a son under paternal control, who is a father, do so with impunity.

And lest there be any confusion as to whether this refers to adultery alone, Book L, Title xvi (concerning the signification of terms), Section 101, quotes Modestinus, Differences, Book VI stating,

Quote
Some authorities think that a distinction exists between fornication and adultery, because adultery is committed with a married woman, and fornication with a widow. The Julian Law on Adultery, however, uses this term indiscriminately.

In fact, this right, which underlines more so than any other right the role of paterfamilias in the issue of fornication, grants the aforementioned right to a faither regardless of the marital status of his daughter, for Book XLVIII, Title v, Section 22, Subsection 4 states,

Quote
Hence the father, and not the husband, has the right to kill the woman and every adulterer; for the reason that, in general, paternal affection is solicitous for the interests of the children, but the heat and impetuosity of the husband, who decides too quickly, should be restrained.

And to further illustrate that this is not merely an excuse for those unable to control their tempers to get away with murder, ibidem, Section 23, Subsection 4 states,

Quote
Where the law says, "He may kill his daughter at once;" this must be understood to mean that having to-day killed the adulterer he can not reserve his daughter to be killed subsequently; for he should kill both of them with one blow and one attack, and be inflamed by the same resentment against both. But if, without any connivance on his part, his daughter should take to flight, while he is killing the adulterer, and she should be caught and put to death some hours afterwards by her father, who pursued her, he will be considered to have killed her immediately.

Thus we see very clearly laid out in the case of fornication (and adultery), the father filled with 'paternal affection is solicitous for the interests of the children' is given power of life and death in the case of his daughter's marital value comprable to those generally associated with the protection of property rights in the Twelve Tables, such as the right to kill the person violating his property rights (including his daughter) if caught in the act, but if caught afterwards he is required to go through the formal legal proceedings before the court, as is also the case if one discovers who stole his property after the act has been completed.

Canonically, however, distinction between adultery and fornication is well understood, for adultery is an offense against the husband (and possibly the father as well) and fornication is an offence against the father alone. No one less than St. Basil, who is called the Great, said in his 21st 'pastoral' canon,

Quote
If any man cohabiting with a woman fails afterwards to rest content with inatrimony and falls into fornication, we judge such a man to be a fornicator, and we consider him to deserve even more in the way of penances. We have not, however, any Canon by which to task him with the charge of adultery if the sin is committed with a woman free from marriage. For an adulteress, it says, being defiled shall be defiled, and shall not return to her husband. And 'anyone who keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious.' One, however, who has committed fornication cannot be denied the right to cohabit with his wife. So that a wife must accept her husband when he returns from fornication, but a husband must send a defiled wife away from his home.'

Thus we see established in the above canon that a married man who sleeps with a woman who is not his wife, but neither is the wife of any other man, is not an adulterer, for he has not offended another husband, he has only offended the father and thus is merely guilty of fornication, and as such his wife does not even have the right to divorce him...though if the opposite were to occur, the wife sleeping with an unmarried man, she would be an adulterer and, thus, he would be required to divorce her (yes, the canons do mandate divorce at times, so much for our high view of marriage)...Well, so much for the theory that these rules were designed to protect women from the evolutionary tendencies of men...the only exclusive limitations seem to be placed on women; it's just a typical dogmatization of a misogynistic cultural practice.

Fortunately for us as Orthodox Christians, our Canons are not cast in stone and their interpretations can evolve to reflect the cultural realities of a given society. Since the legal bases for property rights over other human beings, especially over children and spouses, are no longer valid, thanks to the great philosophers and visionaries of the enlightenment, we must logically conclude that the legal principles that were derived from these assumptions are likewise no longer valid.

Thus, to appeal to ancient canons on fornication and adultery today is as anachronistic as appealing to canons restricting the riding of horses by clerics. They are an embarrassing reminder of a dark page in the Church and World's history, and simply have no place in our modern society.
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2007, 01:27:36 AM »

The consequences are much worse than feeling deceived or used. How about having to deal with stress, eating disorders, depression, cutting oneself, and of course, sexually transmitted diseases.

How prevalent are these problems? If your going to cry about the evils sex generates, please have the statistics to back it up. The only one of these problems I know to be well documented is STD's (as well as AIDS), but in that case condoms (as well as various medications for certain STD's, and let's not forget the HPV Vaccine) are proven to be quite effective in prevention. With proper safe sex practices the risks are minimal.

Quote
I included this article to illustrate the problems.

An 'article' full of anecdotal stories and assumed but unproven claims of causality...I'm sure you could do better than that if you tried, unless you have some good quality original research with proper controls to present, let's stick to academic journals.
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2007, 02:34:07 AM »

Hey greek,

It sounds to me like you think that fornication and adultry are no big deal. Am I wrong? I thought the Bible said that fornicators and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God? I guess the Bible was only relevant to people back in that day.

The church must not bend on morality no matter what the given state of morality is in society. Adultry and fornication are unbecoming of a Christian. It is one thing for a person to fall and repent, it is quite another for a person to live an immoral life style. It is the Priests job to guide the sinner on the path of salvation. When clergy are lax on the issue of sexual immorality, it sends a message to the faithful that it is alright. This breeds more immorality, and destroys the salvation of many.

The church is supposed to be the light of the world. It is disappointing when sexual immorality is allowed to run rampent in the church. When the world sees this and the hetrodox see this, it causes them to question the validity of our faith. I know this first hand.

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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2007, 02:43:29 AM »

I fear you have misunderstood the nature of my argument. I did not say that the Church's morality should always reflect society's morality; rather I said that the legal presuppositions on which the prohibitions against fornication and adultery were based are now understood, by both society and the Church, to be invalid. Neither the Church nor society would insist upon protecting the concept of property rights over other humans. Because of this, the canons and laws based upon these legal presuppositions can no longer be said to be valid.

The canons and laws against fornication and adultery are not inapplicable because fornication and adultery are common place in our society, the canons and laws against fornication and adultery are inapplicable because we as a Church and as a society have rejected the concept of humans as property and ownership of the same.
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2007, 05:21:08 AM »

Quote
I fear you have misunderstood the nature of my argument. I did not say that the Church's morality should always reflect society's morality; rather I said that the legal presuppositions on which the prohibitions against fornication and adultery were based are now understood, by both society and the Church, to be invalid. Neither the Church nor society would insist upon protecting the concept of property rights over other humans. Because of this, the canons and laws based upon these legal presuppositions can no longer be said to be valid.

The canons and laws against fornication and adultery are not inapplicable because fornication and adultery are common place in our society, the canons and laws against fornication and adultery are inapplicable because we as a Church and as a society have rejected the concept of humans as property and ownership of the same.

This sounds like a red herring to me. So what are you going to tell your daughters then? It's ok to fornicate because the church may have had some bad cannons to begin with, or ones that may not be applicable today. What about the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit and living a chaste virtuous life? What about commitment and having respect for others? Do these values no longer hold true today because everyone wants to whore around? These values are clearly seen throughout the bible and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There are not only spiritual consequences to engaging in such dangerous behavior, but other devastating physical things such as diseases & STD's. I know that in the area I live, the transmission of STD's is reaching close to 40%, especially among those who are younger. Many of these STD's not only affect the individual for life, there are consequences for the whole community. Our local paper has highlighted this problem many times. If people can no longer find holiness and good examples in the church, where are they supposed to find it? Maybe they can turn to the Hindu's or Buddhist whole still extol such principles in practice and their societies. This seriously makes me question if I would want to raise my children in the Orthodox Church if this is indicative of the attitude throughout the whole church. Why is it that Rome can clearly teach Christian theology & morality through catechesis but we can't.... Roll Eyes 

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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2007, 05:45:51 AM »

I included this article to illustrate the problems.
Thanks for that article, Tamara. I'm glad that someone else sees a link between the "sexual revolution" in our culture and the indisputable and unprecedented upsurge  in neurotic and psycho-affective problems among young women such as eating disorders, self mutilation, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, depression etc. And what's more, it's heartening to hear this coming from women.

this is an issue that does not come from the idea that God objects to an unmarried woman who has had sex with a man. It is really a "do unto others issue".
Yes, I agree, it's a "do unto others issue", but I think it's a "do unto others" issue which does come from God. I know that isn't a fashionable thought, and you would probably rather that I talk in naturalistic terms as though God were functionally irrelevant, but that's not possible in this case.

God created pleasure for us to enjoy.
Absolutely. And I agree with you that sex is fun for both men and women and is created by God. The same God Who created our eyes and ears also created our genitals, hormones and neurotransmitters. The thing is, though, He knows how everything works and how He wired us.

If a woman today decides, of her own free will, that she wants to experience pleasure, why would that be a sin?
To answer this, we have to understand the Orthodox view of sin. Sin is an "illness" in the same way that influenza is an illness. In the case of influenza, the homoeostasis of the body is thrown out of whack in response to an invading organism- so, the hypothalamus which normally regulates your body temperature switches it's thermostat up and you get a fever. In other words, the body is behaving abnormally and contrary to it's proper functioning. In the same way, sin is the abnormal (or as the Fathers say: "contranatural") use of Human Nature. And not only is it a misuse of our own Human Nature, but also someone else's. "Every sin that a man doeth is outside the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Men and women are wired differently. Women equate sex with love and nurturing. This isn't simply an "emotional" thing, it's actually a physiological thing, related in part to their higher levels of the hormone Oxytocin. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus- that's the reality. What you want is for women to think about things like men do, and they simply cannot; just as you cannot think about things the way a woman does. Men and women need each other. The article Tamara posted above comes from a Jewish source, and in Judaism, the ritual of the Shabbat Kiddush (the Sabbath Blessing) clearly acknowledges the different roles of men and women. The Husband/Father blesses the wine and the challah (leaven bread) for the family, because men are programmed to provide for the physical needs of the their families, and the Wife/Mother lights and blesses the Sabbath candles, because it is the woman who is programmed to bring insight, wisdom, and warmth into the family. Separately, they could only provide either the bodily needs or the psycho-emotional needs of the family, but together they provide everything that's needed for the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing of the family.

Simply because a bunch of men wanted to impose THEIR morals during a specific period in history in order to protect their property?
This again....You seem a bit stuck on this erroneous thought.
Thankfully, here in Australia, sex education in public schools recently began including gender differences. Young girls in the last few years are being taught that "having sex doesn't mean he loves you", and this in in response to the scientific findings of the differences between how the genders view sex, and in recognition of the fact that females are wired to equate sex with a lifelong bond and partnership. What you are saying is that women must live in a world where their natural desire for a life partner must be denied or suppressed for them to be able to get on...and we wonder why they're suddenly becoming neurotic in unprecedented numbers with eating disorders, self mutilation, depression etc...... Tom, can't you see that you as a man are now imposing your morals on women and telling them how they should live out their femininity?
Fornication is a sin (in the Orthodox sense of "illness") because it's a misuse of the created purpose and nature of sexual intercourse which is to establish and strengthen the bond between a man and a woman who become "one flesh" as the Scriptures say. The message to men is clear: "don't toy with women's affections". And the message to women is: "If you want to have sex because you think he will love you always, then get him to prove it first."

Tom, I should hasten to add that I think the judicial view of sin as a "debt" owed to God is also wrong. If young people make a mistake, it's a mistake, and the Orthodox Church views it as illness requiring medicine and loving therapy. To tell them that they now owe a "debt" to God because they have fornicated creates just as much neurosis as anything else. Even if there was a debt, it was paid by Christ anyway Who alone could have possibly paid it. To put people in the psychological situation of "owing a debt" they cannot possibly pay not only sets them up for neurosis, it's heresy. And the classic example is the famous occultist, Aleistair Crowley, the son of strict Plymouth Brethren whose mother called him "the Beast" when she caught him masturbating and he turned to the occult and died a heroin addict at age 72 after a lifetime of embracing bizarre occult practices and philosophies.
Contrast this with the Orthodox view that our created nature is inherently good, but due to the Fall, we tend to easily misuse it. I wonder what Crowley might have become if his mother had explained this view instead of her Puritanist one? 
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2007, 06:43:03 AM »

I don't think GiC said that fornication is fine.  I think GiC is saying that the canons behind fornication seem to imply opinions that seem to demean women.

Instead, perhaps new canons can be developed, like no communion for six months, whether man or woman.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

God bless.
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2007, 07:54:28 AM »

Codswhollop.
The psychology of men and women is different, and is reflected in the different part they play in the sexual act. Women are receptive, nurturing. Men are ejaculatory. Women view sex as an expression of intimacy and love. Men mainly need to just get their rocks off. The problem is that many young women will have sex because they believe the young man truly loves them, and they young man probably thinks that he does love her, but the reality is that he will move on to the next partner, and she'll be left feeling decieved and used.


While true for me personally and probably plenty of other women, you can't generalize like that.  I've known women just as predatory as men, and plenty of men that feel the way I do.  At this point in my life I wish I'd done things a bit differently, but well, I didn't.  I think that is the true value of confession...because it gives you a way to make peace with things you may have done, so you can get on with life.  I mean what's the point of going to church and trying at all if you are going to go straight to hell because you had one too many everclears and woke up next to some random frat guy? (no I wasnt a slut, but there was a time or two. I'm not proud, but no point in beating about the bush)

Quote
The Husband/Father blesses the wine and the challah (leaven bread) for the family, because men are programmed to provide for the physical needs of the their families, and the Wife/Mother lights and blesses the Sabbath candles, because it is the woman who is programmed to bring insight, wisdom, and warmth into the family.

I take issue with that. Programmed? I'll ask my rabid feminist Jewish parents about that.  *snort*  If they are programmed for that, why was it my dad who did all the "womens work" and my mom who was the breadwinner a vast majority of the time?  Or my next door neighbor, for that matter, he's a stay at home dad.

edit: I did not mean to insult ozgeorge personally, it is the attitude I find sexist.  I apologize for my wording error.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2007, 08:08:16 AM »

I take issue with that.
With the choice of word "programmed" or the the concept that men and women are psycho-emotionally (as well as physically) different? If the former, I apologise for the bad choice of word and accept your correction. If the latter, I'm sorry if you disagree, but I won't withdraw my opinion.

Don't be such a sexist. It's insulting.
By saying that men and women are wired differently or by using an inadequate word to describe it?
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2007, 08:46:32 AM »

The latter on both counts.  I think "programmed" implies that one sex cannot be more inclined to the attributes of the other when it really is a case by case thing.  I've known too many nurturing men and... I'm not too sure of the word I want, but my sister in law comes to mind.  She is a complete hard a@@.  I think there are a lot of ways we are different psych/emotionally based on sex, but I really dont think you can make that sweeping of a statement without noting that there are exceptions.  I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes, I think it is a whole different socio-cultural thing.

Thank you for your apology on the word choice.  Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2007, 08:56:48 AM »

I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes.
Now I take issue with the word "nurturing". Wink The challah and wine are just as nurturing as the candles. The difference is how they nurture. The candles shed light, provide insight....just as you have done with correcting my poor choice of words. Wink

BTW, on the subject of shabbat candle lighting, have you seen this: http://fridaylight.org/page/index.php?
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2007, 08:58:31 AM »

No I havent but I'll pass it on to Mom, it sounds like it is right up her alley.  Cheesy
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2007, 11:25:14 AM »

This again....You seem a bit stuck on this erroneous thought.
Thankfully, here in Australia, sex education in public schools recently began including gender differences. Young girls in the last few years are being taught that "having sex doesn't mean he loves you", and this in in response to the scientific findings of the differences between how the genders view sex, and in recognition of the fact that females are wired to equate sex with a lifelong bond and partnership. What you are saying is that women must live in a world where their natural desire for a life partner must be denied or suppressed for them to be able to get on...and we wonder why they're suddenly becoming neurotic in unprecedented numbers with eating disorders, self mutilation, depression etc...... Tom, can't you see that you as a man are now imposing your morals on women and telling them how they should live out their femininity?
Fornication is a sin (in the Orthodox sense of "illness") because it's a misuse of the created purpose and nature of sexual intercourse which is to establish and strengthen the bond between a man and a woman who become "one flesh" as the Scriptures say. The message to men is clear: "don't toy with women's affections". And the message to women is: "If you want to have sex because you think he will love you always, then get him to prove it first."

That's a nice theory about the Orthodox prohibitions against fornication and adultery...but as Basil 21 demonstrates, your idealistic approach is inconsonant with the traditional Orthodox canonical and legal approach. For the canons, in many ways protected promiscuous men from the charge of adultery and, as such, denied the wife any recourse in the case of marital infidelity. The canons only protect men from promiscuous women, reinforcing the concept that canonical prohibitions against adultery and fornication relate solely to the issue of property rights. The well-being of the woman and her rights and interests were an afterthought at best.
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2007, 11:39:04 AM »

When you finally get over the idea that "we have to believe everything we are told because the Church speaks for God" and start to look at the evolution of the Church's teachings over the years you can easily see the inconsistencies in this house of cards.

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's. So, if you want to say that the prohibition against fornication and adultery was created by the Church to help people live together and to protect young girls from being exploited - Like GiC, I got no PROBLEM with that.


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« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2007, 11:40:20 AM »

That's a nice theory about the Orthodox prohibitions against fornication and adultery...but as Basil 21 demonstrates...

I never mentioned the Canons did I? As far as I know, I only mentioned the Scriptures, and the Divine Commandments, and offered a suggestion as to why they might have been revealed (or weren't the Seventh Commandment of the Decalogue and Christ's teaching on adultery Divinely revealed?)
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« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2007, 11:49:57 AM »

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's.
How do we know anything about God, Tom, unless He reveals it to us? What you seem to be suggesting is that the Scriptures are not Divinely inspired, but simply man-made laws. So lets follow that to it's logical conclusion: If Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are not revealed truths but merely human conceptions, that means that God has never revealed Himself, and all we have to go on are human concepts. In other words, we worship not a Living Being, but simply an idea. God is functionally irrelevant.
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2007, 11:59:31 AM »

In other words, we worship not a Living Being, but simply an idea. God is functionally irrelevant.

That is correct.
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2007, 12:04:08 PM »

When you finally get over the idea that "we have to believe everything we are told because the Church speaks for God" and start to look at the evolution of the Church's teachings over the years you can easily see the inconsistencies in this house of cards.

As a rule, Christian morals are fine and good to live by, but they are man-made morals, and not God's. So, if you want to say that the prohibition against fornication and adultery was created by the Church to help people live together and to protect young girls from being exploited - Like GiC, I got no PROBLEM with that.




How should we examine the evolution? By reading the primary sources or, reading issues of Archaelogy Digest and Newsweek? Wink
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« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2007, 12:05:49 PM »

Ok fly in the ointment here. Is any one forgetting commandment #6 "thou shalt not commit adultery"?

Ok now I have read all of the arguements pro and con and historical and the respect of male property rights, blah blah blah blah blah and mind you I am no saint here, but in my humble opinion it best if all parties involved abstain from pre-marital sex to the best of their abilities and with the help of almighty God. I have said my peace, you rationalizers and theologians can now duke it out yourselves.

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« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2007, 12:07:01 PM »

George,

As a woman I agree with what you have written. You have it right about the oxytocin hormone too. It really kicks into high gear after you have your baby. The connection you feel to your little one is indescribable. Anyway, I think most women are hard-wired differently than men. My feminity and nurturing qualities are a part of my identity (which I love by the way). I have always resented a feminist society telling me I must behave in a more masculine way. I believe it is possible to retain one's feminity and modesty and still retain a strong self-esteem and a strong-will.

My father was about as clear as he could be about how men think about having sex. He warned my sister and me while we were young teenage girls. Fathers don't be afraid to warn your daughters and protect them. It really helped me having a father who was very honest about sex and who was protective but in a healthy way (you can't keep them in a glass cage). Even so I made a few mistakes while dating. But the mistakes I made were mine. In other words, no man was ever able to manipulate or coerce me into something I didn't want to do.
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« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2007, 12:09:13 PM »

That is correct.

Which is why I pre-emted you by saying:
  Yes, I agree, it's a "do unto others issue", but I think it's a "do unto others" issue which does come from God. I know that isn't a fashionable thought, and you would probably rather that I talk in naturalistic terms as though God were functionally irrelevant, but that's not possible in this case.

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« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2007, 12:09:30 PM »

Tamara There are times like this when I Absolutley love you. I have a little girl and "God willing" I am doing everything in my power to keep her on the straight and narrow. Men have a protective instinct over their families. God Bless Your Father.
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« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2007, 12:15:09 PM »

How should we examine the evolution? By reading the primary sources or, reading issues of Archaelogy Digest and Newsweek? Wink

Prmary sources? These primary sources are usally copies of copies.

And the answer is: All. In matters of history, the real truth usually does not reside in a specific document/documents. As I am sure you know, the victors write the history.
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2007, 12:16:23 PM »

The latter on both counts.  I think "programmed" implies that one sex cannot be more inclined to the attributes of the other when it really is a case by case thing.  I've known too many nurturing men and... I'm not too sure of the word I want, but my sister in law comes to mind.  She is a complete hard a@@.  I think there are a lot of ways we are different psych/emotionally based on sex, but I really dont think you can make that sweeping of a statement without noting that there are exceptions.  I don't necesaarily think that shabbat divisions are soley based on the nurturing (or lack thereof) attributes of the sexes, I think it is a whole different socio-cultural thing.

Thank you for making that point. I do believe that there are some biological differences but I believe them to be very fundamental such as agression levels related to hormones...the more complex emotions being discussed here are mostly phenotypical and socio-cultural in nature and there are more than enough exceptions to these generalizations undermine any attempts to derive universally applicable laws from the same.

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...it may be true in some cases, and there is some motivation behind it (largely cultural, no doubt), but it is hardly applicable to everyone; and to suggest that it is is rather insulting to those who do not fit your paradigm.
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« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2007, 12:24:22 PM »

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...
Then "feminine" and "masculine" are meaningless words.
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« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2007, 12:26:32 PM »

Ultimatley, George, the picture your painting for us is one of stereotypes...

Aww c'mon. he's a Aussie. Ya know, "Where women glow and men plunder?" or, possibly "blunder?"  Cheesy
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« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2007, 12:35:52 PM »

I don't think GiC said that fornication is fine.  I think GiC is saying that the canons behind fornication seem to imply opinions that seem to demean women.

Instead, perhaps new canons can be developed, like no communion for six months, whether man or woman.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

God bless.

I agree completely; there are good reasons to avoid fornication and adultery. However, we must realize that our traditional prohibitions and our traditional views of the offences are derived from property law (Roman and Jewish). What we need to do is reevaluate these 'sins' from a perspective that is free from the influences of property law. The concept of a contractual act (Marriage) legalizing sex (because was essentially a property transfer) is simply outdated. This does not mean that there is no value to commitment, but only that it cannot be viewed in our traditional framework. Ultimately we have changed the issue from one of property to one of humans, thus making it far more complex. I would submit that under this new framework, there are cases in which fornication is not sinful and cases where sex in the context of marriage is sinful (and no, I'm not talking about that fasting from sex during lent or the night before liturgy nonsense). Now, generally speaking, I would say that the old paradigms are mostly true, though for incomparably different reasons. But they are not exclusively true, and thus they should only be used with extreme care.
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« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2007, 12:38:40 PM »

I have a few general thoughts.

Having both a boy and a girl, it is obvious there are major differences in how we will handle issues like this with them.  The PC thing would be to say that isn't/shouldn't be the case, but it isn't the reality.  It's also not a Father/Daughter issue, but something for both parents to deal with for boys and girls.  I will also say based on what I've heard from some other parents with middle school aged kids that what I had considered issues that we would have to deal with in high school are now getting moved up in the timetable considerably.

I think I agree at least in part with what GreekChristian is saying.  It does seem to me that some of the attitudes of the church were developed with a perception of women that was not healthy or balanced.  I will also say that in what I've read of the church fathers, they had an almost total disregard for the value of sexual relations between a man and wife beyond simple procreation.  In other words they saw no unitive aspect to it, and thought fornication was very possible in sexual relations *between a married couple*.

In general I think the framework of this topic could be a mortal sin, in that preoccupation with such issues could lead us to destroy our own souls.

Lastly, I will also throw one thing out for consideration.  In at least two Orthodox parishes I've been around, people have looked the other way when it is readily apparent a certain lifestyle is preferred by at least some of the active members of the church.
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« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2007, 12:42:57 PM »

Then "feminine" and "masculine" are meaningless words.

They are not meaningless, they describe 'gender classes,' to quote Prof. Deborah Tannen. Ultimately they are socio-cultural distinctions that have developed roughly around gender, but not exclusively so. They are useful, but not the limiting distinctions that you would suggest.
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