Not at all... actually those texts had a part in my becoming an atheist. I just think that, if you're gonna do the whole traditional orthodox Christian thing, you might as well try to be consistent, and not not cast obedience and reverence for tradition out any time it puts you in an uncomfortable position, or clashes with contemporary thinking.
I may be a theist, but surely you're not accusing ME of being a Traditionalist?
The ancient writers (including Paul) had specific reasons for what they taught, whether they were right or wrong, or effected more by cultural considerations than theological ones.
They had reasons, and generally they even had well developed arguments. We don't have to disagree with the (mostly neo-platonic) presuppositions to disagree with the details of the Argument. Or we can disagree with the presuppositions if we want, there's nothing dogmatically Christian about neo-platonic philosophy, it's just the basis of traditional Christian thought. Perhaps we could challenge this presupposition today using empiricism or some other philosophy as our foundation, there's nothing inherently unchristian, that is to say unchristlike, about this. The fathers, and even apostles, engaged in intellectual debate, there's no reason we cannot continue that debate. The mere fact that we live a few centuries later does not make un incapable of contributing, infact due to our unique experiences we may be in a better position to debate the issues relating to our faith than they were, human knowledge has increased, not decreased, at time...putting us at a clear advantage. Athanasios, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, etc. were all learned and intelligent men, who knows how they would have formulated their thoughts had they enjoyed the benifit of the corpus of human knowledge we take for granted today. Looking at their thought processes we can only guess at how they would have responded with a better understanding of the world around them, many were them were already remarkably enlightened and progressive for their day.
I don't think the matter is as simple as following ancient codes and canons, rather we must consider the philosophy and reasoning behind those ancient laws and teachings and reevaluate them embracing, not shunning, the knowledge we now enjoy. Nothing is absolute, nothing is above reconsideration, even an Oecumenical Synod can be overturned by a body of equal authority.
If heaven is the ultimate goal, and pursuing theosis/clarity is the immediate aim, then avoiding a lot of sexual contact makes sense within the anthroplogical framework that the Fathers accepted.
Have you forgot that I'm an advocate of the Biblical Doctrine of Apokatastasis?
They also set up a framework for tradition where Christians were supposed to assume that what has been handed down by tradition over time (and among many people) is more likely to be true and pious than your own individual wishes.
I disagree, if you read the great fathers, they are great because they do not pontificate, but rather they make skilled arguments which demonstrate a masterful command of language, philosophy, rhetoric, etc. Traditionally tradition was a scholarly and intellectual discussion/debate, the blind acceptance of tradition without critical thought is the product of another era, of the era of captivity and the turkokratia, of a time when we simply did not have means to maintain these debates on any scale. Now that we have entered a new era of freedom and prosperity, we can reopen these ancient debates, we can approach these matters in an intellectual and open-minded fashion as the great fathers did so many centuries ago.
I don't buy any of that for a second (actually I just made a vid on youtube giving some reasons that I think the Vincentian canon is pretty weak), but I admire consistency, and would rather someone be consistent within their own world view--even if I disagree with those actions or thoughts--than pick and choose based on personal whim. After all, we too are also effected by cultural and subjective personal considerations, not just the people who wrote "obscure fourth century texts"
I have some inconsistancies here and there, but I dont believe I'm entirely inconsistant, I generally use a similar methodology to arrive at all my conclusions. Atheism and fundamentalism arn't the only two logically consistant positions.
But I can understand that you'd want to distort my position, it's certainly a time-tested rhetorical tactic for making your own position stronger.
It's how the game is played; to quote the late president Truman, 'If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.'
I guess it's sort of a subjective judgment as to what actually constitutes being consistent, I guess I'd describe it as being more about methodology, rather than actual conclusions. If you believe certain things about anthropology, ecclesiology, tradition, etc., then it would be inconsistent to follow the path that ignored those beliefs. So, if you believe--as some do--that the Church Fathers had cleansed their nous, reaching a state of clarity and insightfulness that normal people (who had not become as holy) don't have, then you'd have to have some pretty substantial evidence to follow a different path than them.
That's an interesting take on the Church Fathers; I always viewed them as philosophers, some better at it than others, intelligent men, no doubt...but so was Nietzsche, and they all have a place. This doesn't mean that any of them are infallible and, as such, they are certainly not above criticism.