OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 20, 2014, 04:25:53 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Childfree Orthodox Christians  (Read 37797 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
accrah32
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2


« on: August 04, 2007, 01:06:20 PM »

Hello all,

I am relatively new to this forum although have read some things on here from time to time.

Wondering if I can get some insight into this issue.  My spouse and I are both Orthodox Christians, married for 5+ years, and are really OK with not having children.  Neither of us as kids ourselves felt a strong parental urge -- indeed, we never liked to play "mom" or "dad" when we were little and don't seem to have any burning maternal or paternal instincts. 

The issue is, we feel out of place as married adults in church.  The only other childless couples in church are the newly-married ones, and most of them are "trying" to have children anyway.  It seems to me that as married Orthodox Christians, you should either (a) have children of your own or be actively trying/planning for them, or (b) feel awful that you don't.  We don't have children, but it doesn't really bother us.  We are not interested in having in-depth medical testing done to try to figure out if anything medically is wrong.

Both of us have careers in the "helping" professions (one in healthcare, other in education), so we spend a lot of time working with other people, families, and children, and feel that this is what God wants us to be doing. 

Often I feel that if I were a better orthodox christian, not having children should bother me more. 

But do most Orthodox have children (a) because they really want them, (b) because it's what a good Christian "should" do, or (c) just because children often result from marriage?  Is it not right to be married Orthodox Christians and not be bothered by no children?  Sometimes I think that married Orthodox Christians with no children are supposed to get divorced since their marriage is not living up to the gold standard?
Logged
Aristibule
Your Weaker Brother
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 515


Xeno


« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 01:21:13 PM »

But do most Orthodox have children...

I'd try to give you an answer, but the question makes me blush...  Shocked (That said, we never had to plan our children - everytime we started talking about having a(nother) child, we found out we already were having one!)

(Added: that is to say, it isn't something you should be worrying about. God's Providence provides for the day - worrying about the 'ifs' is only a distraction. Are you called to parenthood? If so - you'll likely become one. If you can't have children - adoption is always a wonderful option.)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 01:38:21 PM by Aristibule » Logged

"We must begin at once to "build again the tabernacle which is fallen down, and to build again the ruins thereof, and to set it up;" for HE WHO GAVE THE THOUGHT IN OUR HEART HE LAID ALSO THE RESPONSIBILITY ON US THAT THIS THOUGHT SHOULD NOT REMAIN BARREN." - J.J. Overbeck, 1866
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2007, 01:26:42 PM »

Hello all,

I am relatively new to this forum although have read some things on here from time to time.
First of all, welcome. Thank you for posting, and I hope this is a rewarding experience for you.

The issue is, we feel out of place as married adults in church.  The only other childless couples in church are the newly-married ones, and most of them are "trying" to have children anyway.  It seems to me that as married Orthodox Christians, you should either (a) have children of your own or be actively trying/planning for them, or (b) feel awful that you don't.  We don't have children, but it doesn't really bother us.  We are not interested in having in-depth medical testing done to try to figure out if anything medically is wrong.
I'm married and have a daughter, but I'll try to help you out. First of all, you shouldn't feel out of place or inferior just because you don't have children. Most of my friends were married before I was, and I never really felt out of place. I was simply at a different stage of my life than they were.

Both of us have careers in the "helping" professions (one in healthcare, other in education), so we spend a lot of time working with other people, families, and children, and feel that this is what God wants us to be doing. 
Then keep doing it. I'm a high school teacher, and I do enjoy being able to interact with children--especially since my daughter won't be that age for a number of years. Teaching is a rewarding experience in itself--if you're comfortable there, then learn what you can from interacting with those children and don't worry yourself too much about not having your own.

Often I feel that if I were a better orthodox christian, not having children should bother me more. 
I can understand how you would feel that way. Children have a prominent place in the marriage service, and most Orthodox Christians I know have children. Really, though, it comes down to whether you're actively preventing children from being in your life (e.g. abortion, birth control, etc.). If that's not the case, I don't see how you could be guilty of anything at all. You have no reason to be ashamed.

But do most Orthodox have children (a) because they really want them, (b) because it's what a good Christian "should" do, or (c) just because children often result from marriage?
Depends on the couple. God gives children, like he does every gift, primarily for our salvation. He gives them at the time when each person is ready. OTOH, if having children were to hinder someone somehow from salvation, I can see how He might withhold them until the time when the person would be positively affected. God never gives anything to us that will hurt us in any way. Stretch us, yes--definitely--but never hurt us.

Is it not right to be married Orthodox Christians and not be bothered by no children?  Sometimes I think that married Orthodox Christians with no children are supposed to get divorced since their marriage is not living up to the gold standard?
Not at all. There's nothing wrong with not having children, again so long as you are not actively hindering them from coming. As long as you are merely accepting of what God does/does not give you, your marriage is not a failure, nor is there any reason you should get divorced. Enjoy the marriage God has given you; you have each other to help with salvation. If children come later, they will help as well; if they don't, then God has given you all you need for salvation as it is. Don't worry about it; God knows what's best for each person.
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,127



« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2007, 02:14:33 PM »


But do most Orthodox have children (a) because they really want them, (b) because it's what a good Christian "should" do, or (c) just because children often result from marriage?  Is it not right to be married Orthodox Christians and not be bothered by no children?  Sometimes I think that married Orthodox Christians with no children are supposed to get divorced since their marriage is not living up to the gold standard?

Accrah,

First of all, welcome the forum.  I hope that you find much here that can help you with your journey as I have.

As to your question, let me give some background first.  I am NOT married, though I am with a wonderful woman to whom I would love to be married.  We have some time before we make that decision, though we have much to do.  One of the sticking points that has been brought up in our conversations is having children.  I never even thought I would be married, ever.  She wants kids, even if she never marries.  That is a definite for her.  I have to admit that I have come along way from my "no kids, ever" stance.  However, it is a strange thing, since both she and I both work with children in our daily lives.  She is a speech language pathologist and deals with kids as young as 10 months.  I teach high school and so I'm around 14-18 year olds every day.  We both enjoy our jobs and with whom we work so why do we need kids?  I believe that you stated a similar sentiment with what you and your spouse do for a living.

Nonetheless, let me put out a few things that you may wish to consider.  First of all, Orthodoxy is NOT Roman Catholicism (I know you know that, but sometimes it has to be restated!  Cheesy).  RC has, because of its over-reliance on St. Augustine, insisted that sex's main purpose is for procreation, a good thing, but sex is still sinful in some ways.  That is why birth control is so frowned upon and even considered an excommunicable offense, especially by radical traditionalists.   Marriage, for the Orthodox, is a spiritual battleground where the salvation of both husband and wife is fought and struggled for.  And that can take many dimensions, including the producing of children.  But as we remember that all services in the Orthodox Church, including the Rite of Matrimony, begin with "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," we remember that what is going on is a glimpse of heaven and that what transpires is for the glory of the Holy Trinity and for our salvation in this world, even for the here and now, with children or without them.

The sticking point comes with birth control.  Now, in all things, especially concerning such controversial things as this, you want to be in direct consultation with your priest and I'm not going to proffer any recommendations here.  Really, you don't want me to go there.  Grin

I will direct you to a few things I know about.  The following article http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/orthodoxchristianmarriage.aspx is written by an Orthodox Priest who is also a monk.  I think you will find that, notably in Orthodoxy, the ones who are the fierecest proponents of marriage are the monks.  It's been that way since St. Pachomios in the third century!  There is some good counsel here and much of it I have already echoed in the paragraphs above.  Consider what it says and talk with your priest. 

Whatever you two decide, remember that your marriage is a spiritual  battle for the two of you.  Never cease to fight.  Hope to see you posting more on the board!
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Linichka
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 22


« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2007, 02:35:35 PM »

At risk of sounding like a "Cafeteria Orthodox". I simply cannot believe God wants us to pop out as many children as is biologically possible.  I had none by choice and consider it preferable to help those already in this world who need special attention.
Logged
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2007, 03:37:28 PM »

Of course the western Europeans don't have that problem - too many Moslems procreating there...
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,094


Goodbye for now, my friend


« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2007, 03:55:28 PM »

While not directly applicable to your situation, the book Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom, by David Ford, might be of some interest to you. It's not available cheaply on Amazon.com, though you could probably pick one up on an Orthodox bookstore site (such as St. Tikhon's).
Logged

Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2007, 04:03:44 PM »

Accrah, welcome to the forum!

First, may I just reply to the last sentence in your post by an emphatic "no, no, no." Of course you should NOT think that you need to divorce your spouse because you do not have children. I am sure any Orthodox priest would say that not having children is not a reason to look for divorce and/or another marriage. When children are born in marriage, that's great, wonderful, a true blessing; but the primary reason for getting married is not to procreate. Marriage is one of the forms of theosis, it's, essentially, about you and your spouse helping each other in your and your spouse's salvation. The question of having or not having children is, actually, very secondary. (Fathers, - please correct me if I am misrepresenting the Orthodox view on marriage here!)

Second, I can relate to your feeling of some discomfort being a Christian adult and a spouse without child(ren). Indeed, my wife and I sometimes feel strange, awkward, because whenever they talk about "family" here in the US (in the "world" as well as in Church), they usually imply the traditional nuclear family of mom, dad, and *several* kids. We never perceived "family" this way. We both grew up in extended families (with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, second and third cousins, etc.), and we both are NOT used to families where mom and dad have several kids; my wife has only one sister, and I am the only child of my parents (and they both were the only children of their parents). While we both love children and admire parents who beget and take care of several children, we both sometimes feel somewhat "discriminated against" in that we have only one daughter, who is now 23 and out of the nest. We sometimes feel that when people talk and write about "families" - look, even here there is a "family" forum, - it's NOT about us; we, two adults living without our child, aren't a "family," we are something different...

Those are very minor "issues" though. I think it's just old traditions, nothing really characteristic of, or intrinsic to, Orthodox Christianity. Do not feel bad about yourself and your family. You ARE a family regardless of you and your spouse having or not having children, and you should be absolutely welcome and cherished in any Orthodox parish!

George
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 04:05:05 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2007, 07:00:49 PM »

Hmm. Yet again, a thread on childbirth has become about abortion. Can we get off that kick, for once, and talk about actual family issues? The OP is certainly not considering an abortion, so let's quit the politics, please.


The posts regarding abortion have been split into their own thread - "Abortion Again?"
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12413.0.html

If you feel like they were a good part of the discussion, I apologize.  But I'm moving this topic into the family forum (since it deals with "family issues" as husband + wife w/ no children is still a family) and abortion talk gets too polemical. - Cleveland, GM
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 06:52:01 AM by cleveland » Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2007, 07:16:16 PM »

Amen!
...although abortion isn't politics - it's a politicized issue.
My wife and I are childless and would not consider divorce (and the inevitable excommunication on these grounds).
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
JawaMan
Bishop of All Tatooine
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 59

n00b


« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2007, 01:04:15 PM »

This is a somewhat confusing issue for me, though I'm not married. We were commanded to "be fruitful and multiply" and were not asked if we want to do that, but simply told we must. It seems to me that marriage is not only about kids, but kids are expected in some way. However, it also seems like the world has changed with regard to children. For example, only a few hundred years ago, a good amount of children died before they reached the age of five, and the world population basically hovered at the same point. Also, children tended to help financially, and would work from a very young age. Today, the world has a lot of people, but more importantly it is becoming harder and harder to raise a family, and then send them to college and the whole deal. I know in Orthodoxy there seems to be no unified view on this, but in my opinion a couple ought to have kids that they can afford. I know many think that this is unnatural, though, because contraception would be the only tool you could use to do this other than abstinence. I would agree that it is unnatural, but I also think the situation we live in today in the world is also artificially made; now most children grow up with man-made medicines and shots, and now most children need tons of money pumped into them to live decently in the world. I don't hold to this view dogmatically, though, and would be interested to see what others have to say.

Also, I've wondered: would adoption be a good alternative to having kids biologically? I'm not sure, but I think so.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 01:06:10 PM by JawaMan » Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,094


Goodbye for now, my friend


« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2007, 01:13:53 PM »

Fwiw, some Fathers said that passages like "be fruitful and multiply" could be taken spiritually, by helping fellow Christians (in essence, spiritual children). They said this mainly as a defense of monasticism, if I recall correctly, though I guess the idea could be applicable in marriages as well.
Logged

Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2007, 01:37:42 PM »

Also, I've wondered: would adoption be a good alternative to having kids biologically? I'm not sure, but I think so.
Depends on the circumstance. In many cases, it can be a wonderfully fulfilling situation for both the parents and the children. I had a good friend in junior high who was adopted. Her biological mother was a teenager and could not afford to take care of her. In this case, it was a merciful thing for the mother to give her up for adoption. My brother also had a good friend when we were much younger whose parents adopted three Romanian children in addition to the two of their own. The Romanian children had a much harder time adjusting to the biological children than they did the Romanians. The biological children, though, took to the adopted children very quickly and treated them like siblings. Eventually, the adopted children came to adapt to that family's culture and acted the same as if they were biologically part of the family.

I do agree, though, that a family should only have as many children as they can afford. I realize that sometimes a child comes unexpectedly, but there are reasonable, non-chemical, non-abortive methods of birth control than can help families to plan to have children when it is economically possible. I do not believe the "be fruitful and multiply" means to have as many children as possible or to spend one's entire adult life pregnant. We always must consider God's commandments and fulfil them in the best way possible (which I have found is very rarely the most literal way, if ever).
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Fr. George
formerly "Cleveland"
Administrator
Stratopedarches
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox (Catholic) Christian
Jurisdiction: GOA - Metropolis of Pittsburgh
Posts: 20,089


May the Lord bless you and keep you always!


« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2007, 01:47:51 PM »

This is a somewhat confusing issue for me, though I'm not married. We were commanded to "be fruitful and multiply" and were not asked if we want to do that, but simply told we must. It seems to me that marriage is not only about kids, but kids are expected in some way. However, it also seems like the world has changed with regard to children. For example, only a few hundred years ago, a good amount of children died before they reached the age of five, and the world population basically hovered at the same point. Also, children tended to help financially, and would work from a very young age. Today, the world has a lot of people, but more importantly it is becoming harder and harder to raise a family, and then send them to college and the whole deal. I know in Orthodoxy there seems to be no unified view on this, but in my opinion a couple ought to have kids that they can afford. I know many think that this is unnatural, though, because contraception would be the only tool you could use to do this other than abstinence. I would agree that it is unnatural, but I also think the situation we live in today in the world is also artificially made; now most children grow up with man-made medicines and shots, and now most children need tons of money pumped into them to live decently in the world. I don't hold to this view dogmatically, though, and would be interested to see what others have to say.

Part of what is left out of the command "be fruitful and multiply" but what is reinforced in the service and in the Fathers is that marital relations in the Orthodox perspective are good (not just for procreation).  If one is not having children because they're not "with" their spouse, then the couple should examine why they're not "with" each other... If one person is dictating when marital relations can/not happen, then it may be a defilement of the marital bed (read Chrysostom's On Marriage and Family Life as published by SVS Press).

The other situations (contraception, NFP, only having kids one can afford, etc.) I'll leave either as they have been covered already, or for someone else to comment on.

Also, I've wondered: would adoption be a good alternative to having kids biologically? I'm not sure, but I think so. 

I would think so as well.  We are commanded to treat children very well (through direct command, and through warnings against the converse - i.e. millstones and whatnot); when they are left without a family, I would think that it is a good and holy thing to adopt them to bring them into a stable and loving environment (and I'm sure my dogmatics professor would argue that there is a sacramental quality to this).
Logged

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
---------------------
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Linichka
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 22


« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2007, 02:06:01 PM »

Could it not as well be a good and holy thing to avoid having them if you not only cannot provide for them, but - honestly - do not want any?
Logged
accrah32
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2


« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2007, 02:47:36 PM »

Thanks all for your feedback.

Not sure what to say about the "have as many children as you can afford" point.  I wonder if some hard-liner positions are tempered by reality and non-judgmentalism.  We know a couple who are both physicians and have 2 children -- clearly they can afford more, but they don't have them.  Should they be judged by us for this?

Likewise, we know a family with 5 children who probably can't afford them.  Should they be labeled irresponsible?

We also know a young, Orthodox Christian woman who is married and who knows that she never wants children.  She never felt any maternal instinct and (apparently) has no burning maternal desires (per her own admissions).  I guess her husband is OK with this.  Is she an "inferior" Orthodox Christian?  She still communes at our church, so I guess our priest is OK with this too (or maybe is not aware of the situation).

I guess there are some hard-line dogmatists who think that if you know you don't want children, you should not be married in the Orthodox Church.  The only "acceptable" reason to not have any is if you physically cannot, and then you should consider adoption.  I suppose I am more lenient.  Also, if this were the case, then ALL Orthodox priests should refuse to marry people unless it is crystal clear to them that the couple wants to have children.  (The priest who married us did not do this.... in fact, he seemed uncomfortable talking about reproductive issues and children altogether.)
Logged
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2007, 03:31:29 PM »

About the "have as many children as you can afford" idea: my comments were directed mainly against the idea that God commands us to have as many children as possible, with no thought as to how we are to care for them, assuming that God will provide. Such thinking is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

The couple who have five children but are in a tight spot financially and are simply trusting God to provide for them I have no quarrel with. Essentially, "you shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (Deut. 6:16).
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2007, 03:53:16 PM »

About the "have as many children as you can afford" idea: my comments were directed mainly against the idea that God commands us to have as many children as possible, with no thought as to how we are to care for them, assuming that God will provide. Such thinking is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

The couple who have five children but are in a tight spot financially and are simply trusting God to provide for them I have no quarrel with. Essentially, "you shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (Deut. 6:16).

Ytterbiumanalyst, that's pretty much how I think, too. We should not be judgmental. If these parents have five kids and are experiencing some material trouble, but still care for their kids the best they can - great, wonderful! Generally, I think, the question how many children to have is so personal, so unique to each individual family. I admire families that have many children, both mothers and fathers. The only thing I am uncomfortable with is setting some "one size fits it all" standard and judging others who do not fit. That goes both ways; I think it is equally wrong to leap into the conclusion that all moderate- or small-income families with many children are "irresponsible," AND to leap into the conclusion that all families with no children or just one child are "selfish." We don't know other people's histories and circumstances.
Logged

Love never fails.
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2007, 03:57:45 PM »

Of course there is another avenue one can take instead of procreating, an important one involving many parental aspects---sponsoring a new Christian as a Godparent. Properly done this is much more than a simple symbolic task. It is an active, necessary function.
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
sohma_hatori
Earthbending Novice
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Roman Catholic
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Posts: 526


The Blind Bandit


« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2007, 07:30:11 PM »

Could it not as well be a good and holy thing to avoid having them if you not only cannot provide for them, but - honestly - do not want any?

Well said, it is indeed a greater sin to raise children you never wanted to have. Just live your married life the way you want it, if its your not having children that keeps you united with your wife then, just let things stay the way they are.
Dont feel out of place...
Im not really married but just wantd to help in any way I can.

Good luck and God bless...
Logged

""Pride is not the opposite of shame, but it's source. True humility is the only antidote to shame.""
— Iroh- Avatar:The Last Airbender
Thomas
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,812



« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2007, 07:39:02 PM »

While I would never tell a married couple to not have children, as I see the having of children (if one is able) as the fulfilling of the "two becoming one flesh" in a very literal sense. However there are cases of Orthodox Saints who married and lived as brother and sister (without sexual intercourse)  because they did not feel called to have children (a recent example is Saint John  of Kronstadt) and this was a mutual decision.

A couple who is childless can make wonderful Godparents and share in some of the joys of the domestic church and the  educating of children in the ways of the Lord.

if you choose to live fully as husband and wife however and choose to have no children then you enter the arena that you need to speak with your priest frankly as the issue now becomes one of birth control and what that means in the life of the Orthodox Christian. As the Orthodox jursidictions  have various stands on this matter and it is best dealt with in consultation with your spiritual  father and priest.

Thomas
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 07:40:24 PM by Thomas » Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2007, 10:13:54 PM »

It should also be noted that in his treatise 'On Virginity', Chrysostom (perhaps the first person to notice the problem of overpopulation in the world, 1600 years ago) essentially argued that the commandment 'be fruitful and multiply' was moot today and was reserved for a time when the human race was very few in number, in essence this commandment was intended only to preserve the race of men at a time when its continuation could have been in doubt. He went on to suggest that this was not even a legitimate reason to engage in sexual intercourse, even within marriage, rather that the only legitimate reason for intercourse in marriage was the one given by St. Paul, to prevent fornication and preserve chastity.

I would argue that if one wanted kids that adoption is better than having one's own, why bring additional children into the world if we are unable to care for the ones already here?
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,127



« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2007, 10:25:03 PM »

It should also be noted that in his treatise 'On Virginity', Chrysostom (perhaps the first person to notice the problem of overpopulation in the world, 1600 years ago) essentially argued that the commandment 'be fruitful and multiply' was moot today and was reserved for a time when the human race was very few in number, in essence this commandment was intended only to preserve the race of men at a time when its continuation could have been in doubt.

If anyone can help, isn't there a church father who said something along the lines that the command was given so humanity would continue until it saw the Saviour?  Afterwards, procreation was no longer a necessary commandment.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about or am I out in left field again?  Smiley
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,094


Goodbye for now, my friend


« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2007, 10:31:54 PM »

GIC,

What you say about Chrysostom's comments concerning the population of his time is true (he also says this in On Those Words of the Apostle, 'On Account of Fornication'... I always had to chuckle when I ran across ancient comments about the earth being filled). However, in other places Chrysostom says--or at least implies--that procreation is a valid justification for sexual relations within marriage  (e.g., Homily 12 on Colossians and Homily 20 on Ephesians). He also speaks of children as a "bridge" that helps "two become one" (though he allows exceptions for couples that don't have children, so it's largely symbolic).
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 10:32:55 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

Paradosis ≠ Asteriktos ≠ Justin
calligraphqueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: GOA
Posts: 341


« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2007, 02:20:31 PM »

here in our society "not being able to provide" hardly means the same thing it does in a third world country.  We are far too materialistic and selfish in the US to be using that "out"  My children don't need the Nike's I bought, I just liked them and they were at outlet prices.  They could just as easily have worn some off brand.  They don't need the new xbox, the old one causes enough fights-and I didn't buy it.  'need' is a subjective term to many of us.

Godly children raised in the faith are a type of offering to God.  Certainly doesn't mean you can't make another type of offering to Him.  If you aren't having children because you don't want to marr your bikini line or don't like pain,  or don't want to mess up your self based schedules,then you could probably figure out your reasons are selfish.  However, that isn't what I read in the OP.    As long as you aren't using abortive birth control methods, and you sound quite intelligent enough to read the inserts on those, then I would not worry about it.  You don't have children just because everyone else is, or because people expect you to do so.  You may eventually find that as you grow in your faith, and with each other, that God impresses upon you to have children.  Who knows?  But please don't have children simply because it's expected.  Yes, it's part of the marital relationship and there are many that do believe it is an expected part.  I do take the role seriously, obviously, but not because it's something anyone has placed on my shoulders.
I have been married over 15 years and dh and I didn't start having children for 4 or 5 years.  Life changes, dont' worry about anyone else's take on the matter.  you don't answer to them. FWIW, I said I would never have any children and never marry....
Logged
Linichka
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 22


« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2007, 02:29:20 PM »

calligraphqueen rules!  Very well said indeed.
Logged
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2007, 02:43:44 PM »

here in our society "not being able to provide" hardly means the same thing it does in a third world country.  We are far too materialistic and selfish in the US to be using that "out"  My children don't need the Nike's I bought, I just liked them and they were at outlet prices.  They could just as easily have worn some off brand.  They don't need the new xbox, the old one causes enough fights-and I didn't buy it.  'need' is a subjective term to many of us.

It means exactly the same thing everywhere. Food, clothing, housing, love. I would argue that if you can give your children an Xbox, you have enough to provide for them. Those things are $480 now for the newest one (though I imagine you can find an older one cheaper). Xbox certainly is no "need." Note the last item on my list costs no money, only energy.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2007, 02:44:23 PM by ytterbiumanalyst » Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
PhosZoe
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 346

One foot in the cradle


« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2007, 12:04:41 PM »


I read your inquiry it seems that you are not "preventing" (ie using birth control) but have not conceived for one reason or another.  There is nothing at least that I have read that indicates that you MUST find out WHY you have not conceived.  This is a choice you and your spouse must answer. NOBODY ELSE.

Based on observation,  I have seen very little good that has come from so called fertility treatments. The fertility work up is simple unto itself and answers why one cannot conceive. However, I have seen more people come out on the losing end of "fertility treatment" than winning. The early "simple" solutions of taking hormone pills will snowball into treatments that are even more costly and based on what I know morally wrong.  You are right to avoid this.

The simple answer is, if you are actively preventing children because you simply "don't want them" and find them a "nuisance" and "expensive" This is wrong. Any priest and most reputable books on Orthodox Christian family life will tell you that.
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2007, 12:17:50 PM »

I read your inquiry it seems that you are not "preventing" (ie using birth control) but have not conceived for one reason or another.  There is nothing at least that I have read that indicates that you MUST find out WHY you have not conceived.  This is a choice you and your spouse must answer. NOBODY ELSE.

Based on observation,  I have seen very little good that has come from so called fertility treatments. The fertility work up is simple unto itself and answers why one cannot conceive. However, I have seen more people come out on the losing end of "fertility treatment" than winning. The early "simple" solutions of taking hormone pills will snowball into treatments that are even more costly and based on what I know morally wrong.  You are right to avoid this.

The simple answer is, if you are actively preventing children because you simply "don't want them" and find them a "nuisance" and "expensive" This is wrong. Any priest and most reputable books on Orthodox Christian family life will tell you that.

'Any priest'? Let's not add misinformation to this propaganda spiel.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
PhosZoe
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 346

One foot in the cradle


« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2007, 02:35:56 PM »

'Any priest'? Let's not add misinformation to this propaganda spiel.

Can you find me at least 5 Orthodox priests who advocate using artificial birth control simply for "preventing" children?  I understand there are other good reasons why a couple may not want to bring a child in the world. Those reasons could include health of the mother or if both parents are carriers of some dreadful genetic disease.
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2007, 02:52:10 PM »

Can you find me at least 5 Orthodox priests who advocate using artificial birth control simply for "preventing" children?  I understand there are other good reasons why a couple may not want to bring a child in the world. Those reasons could include health of the mother or if both parents are carriers of some dreadful genetic disease.

Yes, I can, with relative ease...possibly even as many bishops...it's amazing what you learn at seminary. Wink

However, I'm not going to post names on a public message board. PM me if you want more details.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Elisha
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 4,440


« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2007, 02:54:33 PM »

Can you find me at least 5 Orthodox priests who advocate using artificial birth control simply for "preventing" children?  I understand there are other good reasons why a couple may not want to bring a child in the world. Those reasons could include health of the mother or if both parents are carriers of some dreadful genetic disease.

I would emphasize too that these 5 priests have to be selected using some sort of unbiased random methodology and not subjectively selected.   Wink
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2007, 03:03:58 PM »

I would emphasize too that these 5 priests have to be selected using some sort of unbiased random methodology and not subjectively selected.   Wink

Actually, my objection was in response to the claim that 'Any priest' will tell you that using birth control because you don't want children is wrong. Logically, I only have to find one priest, anywhere in the world, who disagrees, to disprove such a claim. Wink

Now, if we're talking about majorities that's another issue, but the majority of priests are uneducated peasants in third world countries...so go figure. If you limit your discussion to priests with doctorates from secular institutions the demographics may change a bit.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2007, 03:17:50 PM »

It's as if GiC has morphed into TomS
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2007, 03:41:22 PM »

It's as if GiC has morphed into TomS

It was a shame to see him go, he was, by far, one of the best posters here.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2007, 03:49:06 PM »

Now, if we're talking about majorities that's another issue, but the majority of priests are uneducated peasants in third world countries...so go figure. If you limit your discussion to priests with doctorates from secular institutions the demographics may change a bit.

As Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said in a recent homily,

Education is an ambiguous word. It guarantees nobody’s humanity. It’s quite possible to be very well educated in a modern sense and at the same time to be shallow, smug, credulous, bigoted, and even murderous. Historian Niall Ferguson notes in his latest book, The War of the World, that when Poland fell to the Germans in 1939, the SS sent in five special units to murder Jews and political opponents. Of the twenty-five top leaders in those units, fifteen had doctorates.

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=843

A doctorate does not a moral authority make.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 03:51:15 PM by lubeltri » Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2007, 04:01:01 PM »

As Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said in a recent homily,

Education is an ambiguous word. It guarantees nobody’s humanity. It’s quite possible to be very well educated in a modern sense and at the same time to be shallow, smug, credulous, bigoted, and even murderous. Historian Niall Ferguson notes in his latest book, The War of the World, that when Poland fell to the Germans in 1939, the SS sent in five special units to murder Jews and political opponents. Of the twenty-five top leaders in those units, fifteen had doctorates.

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=843

A doctorate does not a moral authority make.

However, such a degree, especially in the sciences, does indicate that one is more likely to view the world in an objective manner. They will be less influenced by folk customs and past prejudices. They generally have an understanding of the world that exceeds the narrow experience of the masses. Furthermore, they are more likely to understand the depth and complexities of issues and dismiss simplistic understandings. As for the commanders in the SS, they were military officers following orders, what would have had them do? Betray their country, disobey direct orders, and undermine the chain of command inorder that they may uphold your moral code? I'm sorry, but that's not how war works...at least not if you want to have any chance at victory. The Archbishop's simplistic approach to this issue is the very thing I am taking issue with.

Of course, I question anyone who claims to be a moral authority; more often than not they are using it as a pretext for the establishment of ther personal power.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 04:06:23 PM by greekischristian » Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2007, 04:06:05 PM »

Scholasticism run amok...
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2007, 06:12:50 PM »

Can you find me at least 5 Orthodox priests who advocate using artificial birth control simply for "preventing" children?  I understand there are other good reasons why a couple may not want to bring a child in the world. Those reasons could include health of the mother or if both parents are carriers of some dreadful genetic disease.

I am wondering, both parents (mom and dad) being committed scientists who spend crazy hours at work, and who live in a 13-square meter one-room apartment in the former USSR, and have one toddler living in this apartment with them, and no perspective of improving their housing conditions, ever  - still not a good reason to use birth control when they have sex? That was my wife and me in the 1980's...

Or, a woman who gets pregnant and miscarries with awful bleedings every single time her husband decides to be "good" and not to use those "ungodly" birth control things, but, rather, rely on the "godly" "rhythm" method - does that, er, ... fit? Again, my wife and me... in the 1980's and -90's...
Logged

Love never fails.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2007, 06:28:19 PM »

I am wondering, both parents (mom and dad) being committed scientists who spend crazy hours at work, and who live in a 13-square meter one-room apartment in the former USSR, and have one toddler living in this apartment with them, and no perspective of improving their housing conditions, ever  - still not a good reason to use birth control when they have sex? That was my wife and me in the 1980's...

Using birth control for economic reasons? I'm sure the fundamentalists would send you straight to hell over that one. Roll Eyes

Fortunately, most modern Orthodox, at least in the west, don't have these adverse reactions to scientific advancements in the field of reproductive health. Thank you for your very pragmatic (and personal) examples.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
authio
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 369



« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2007, 07:17:10 PM »

Birth control is an economy.  In my experience, most people have an economy of one kind or another.  Doesn't matter to the Lord - he just wants to save us.
Logged

Christ is risen!
Cristo ha resucitado!
Христос Воскресе!
Χριστός Ανέστη!
 المسيح قام
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2007, 09:00:39 AM »

Using birth control for economic reasons? I'm sure the fundamentalists would send you straight to hell over that one. Roll Eyes

Fortunately, most modern Orthodox, at least in the west, don't have these adverse reactions to scientific advancements in the field of reproductive health. Thank you for your very pragmatic (and personal) examples.

You are most welcome. Unfortunately, on the Ukrainian forum "Maidan" that I mentioned earlier, I got hammered for these pragmatic and personal examples so badly that I had angina pectoris and lost my last non-gray hair. Mostly by Evangelicals and (especially badly) by Eastern Rite Catholics, but also by Orthodox. I was repeatedly called a hypocrite and a servant of Antichrist.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 09:01:06 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2007, 08:14:06 PM »

You are most welcome. Unfortunately, on the Ukrainian forum "Maidan" that I mentioned earlier, I got hammered for these pragmatic and personal examples so badly that I had angina pectoris and lost my last non-gray hair. Mostly by Evangelicals and (especially badly) by Eastern Rite Catholics, but also by Orthodox. I was repeatedly called a hypocrite and a servant of Antichrist.

Dear George,

You seem like a really sweet man who takes everything to heart. Don't let the judgemental non-contraceptive folks get to you. Don't even bother arguing with them...it is a waste of time. Many of them are so stressed out and exhausted from having six or more children that most likely their bad behavior is a reflection of their mood of the moment. Or it is possible many of these hardcore fellows are lonely bachelors that could never attract a woman even if they tried because of their zealous and outrageous attitudes.

I would just like to note that I have many good friends with large families who would never dream to lay a heavy burden of guilt on me and my smaller sized-family. Not every family can be a large one for various reasons. What is important is how we raise our children, not how many children we raise.


Logged
SiviSokol
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: SOC
Posts: 135


Tamburica u mom srcu


« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2007, 08:29:39 PM »

Hi,  since Phoszoe is my wife, I can say that the examples that you gave, Heorhij, are not what she had in mind.  She was simply reiterating what we were taught, and that which we believe:  marriages have to be eventually open to children if biologically possible.  There are reasons to delay (which we did while I was in grad school), or to avoid (health of the mother, overwhelmingly oppressive economic conditions, etc.). 

Those who are married and are healthy (biologically and economically), who wish to put off children indefinitely so that they can more easily afford to drive an Escalade and live in a McMansion would seem to be shirking one of the most important responsibilities of marriage.

GiC:  Since you are convert to cultural Orthodoxy with Transhumanist leanings, I think that I would be wasting my time engaging you on this issue. 
 
Logged
PhosZoe
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 346

One foot in the cradle


« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2007, 08:33:46 PM »

I am wondering, both parents (mom and dad) being committed scientists who spend crazy hours at work, and who live in a 13-square meter one-room apartment in the former USSR, and have one toddler living in this apartment with them, and no perspective of improving their housing conditions, ever  - still not a good reason to use birth control when they have sex? That was my wife and me in the 1980's...

Or, a woman who gets pregnant and miscarries with awful bleedings every single time her husband decides to be "good" and not to use those "ungodly" birth control things, but, rather, rely on the "godly" "rhythm" method - does that, er, ... fit? Again, my wife and me... in the 1980's and -90's...

 Heorhij,

What you had mentioned would be probably considered a good reason for using birth control. Situations like this should be handled by a priest. 
Logged
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2007, 08:36:27 PM »

No insult intended here, but I've got to be frank.

And this from EO who always trumpet their adherence to longstanding tradition? I'm sorry, I am sympathetic to the circumstances, but contraception is unjustifiable for reasons of preventing the God-directed miracle of conception. By using it, you are essentially saying that either God does not have control over the creation of human life or that God's control over the creation of human life should be circumvented by your own judgement. It cannot be justified by scripture and ancient Church teaching to usurp control of this process, however well-meaning intentions may be. And this is not just some crazy Catholic saying this---a substantial number of EO still hold to this Church teaching held from time immemorial. Even a heretic like Calvin was firm on this moral principle.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 08:37:19 PM by lubeltri » Logged
SiviSokol
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: SOC
Posts: 135


Tamburica u mom srcu


« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2007, 08:49:53 PM »

An important point to remember, Lubeltri, is that the rock-ribbed anti-contraception folks in your church base their arguments on different theology than us Orthodox.  Marriages should be open to children, not every single "marital act."

Speaking of which (BTW..you aren't married are you?) your church seems to be "ok" with NFP, or at least turns a blind eye toward it.  That, without mincing words, is a very effective form of contraception. My wife and I practiced it, after taking classes on it from the Couple to Couple league at a Catholic hospital.  I have to put in a plug for it... it's quite effective and accurate.  We were able to plan for my wife's pregnancy quite accurately using the methodology they taught us, and as a spacing method it does work over the long-haul.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2007, 08:52:14 PM »

Dear Tamara and SiviSokol,

Thank you, both of you; you are both very kind. I really appreciate your replies.

I know, I should probably be more balanced, un-emotional in my discussions with anti-contraception folks. There is, however,a bigger issue at stake. My principal opponent on the "Maidan" site is not one of those people who were just too "shy" to use contraception (because they thought it's "ungodly"), and ended up with six or eight kids who have nothing to eat. No, he - a professional, an electric engineer, - had fathered two kids, and he deliberately, conscientiously decided not to have any more (because it's not good for him from the purely economical point of view); and, very importantly, he *also* decided not to have any more of the sexual relations with his wife, ever... And he - for months in a row! - keeps building a whole "theology" on that "Maidan" site, arguing that sex is an abomination, it's just filth, people who engage in it - even in marriage, - are just "weak," unable to fathom anything more important and beautiful in life than these sleazy, stinky "body fluids," etc. And he REALLY QUOTES HUNDREDS OF PAGES from the Fathers, supporting his views!!! Moreover, he has this idea that humans were created "non-material" - although they were made "from the dust of the ground," "the ground" itself was not yet "cursed" (as it became later, after the Fall), hence, it was itself "non-material." *EVERYTHING* material, bodily, made of atoms and molecules, etc, to him is disgusting, filthy, horrible, detestable; and AGAIN, HE QUOTES MANY PAGES FROM THE FATHERS (esp. St. Athanasius) to support his claims.

I am worried about all this. I haven't read much of the Fathers, honestly, but what I HAVE read strikes me, indeed, as grim and very aggressively anti-sensual. And I am worried that in my native Ukraine there is a movement pressuring on the government to ban all contraception - literally, all of it, condoms, pills, diaphragms, everything; and in the heart of this movement is this idea that SEX IN MARRIAGE IS ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHILDBIRTH!!! And this idea finds a lot of support among the Ukrainian clergy, especially Eastern Rite Catholic but ALSO ORTHODOX...
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 08:55:34 PM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2007, 08:58:15 PM »

No insult intended here, but I've got to be frank.

And this from EO who always trumpet their adherence to longstanding tradition? I'm sorry, I am sympathetic to the circumstances, but contraception is unjustifiable for reasons of preventing the God-directed miracle of conception. By using it, you are essentially saying that either God does not have control over the creation of human life or that God's control over the creation of human life should be circumvented by your own judgement. It cannot be justified by scripture and ancient Church teaching to usurp control of this process, however well-meaning intentions may be. And this is not just some crazy Catholic saying this---a substantial number of EO still hold to this Church teaching held from time immemorial. Even a heretic like Calvin was firm on this moral principle.

Dear Luberti,

I am nobody. I am naive. I am uneducated in Scripture or Fathers or teaching of the Church. And I do believe that it is my wife and I who decide, when are we going to have children. And that's all there is to it.

Burn me at the stake?
Logged

Love never fails.
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2007, 09:12:43 PM »

Dear Tamara and SiviSokol,

Thank you, both of you; you are both very kind. I really appreciate your replies.

I know, I should probably be more balanced, un-emotional in my discussions with anti-contraception folks. There is, however,a bigger issue at stake. My principal opponent on the "Maidan" site is not one of those people who were just too "shy" to use contraception (because they thought it's "ungodly"), and ended up with six or eight kids who have nothing to eat. No, he - a professional, an electric engineer, - had fathered two kids, and he deliberately, conscientiously decided not to have any more (because it's not good for him from the purely economical point of view); and, very importantly, he *also* decided not to have any more of the sexual relations with his wife, ever... And he - for months in a row! - keeps building a whole "theology" on that "Maidan" site, arguing that sex is an abomination, it's just filth, people who engage in it - even in marriage, - are just "weak," unable to fathom anything more important and beautiful in life than these sleazy, stinky "body fluids," etc. And he REALLY QUOTES HUNDREDS OF PAGES from the Fathers, supporting his views!!! Moreover, he has this idea that humans were created "non-material" - although they were made "from the dust of the ground," "the ground" itself was not yet "cursed" (as it became later, after the Fall), hence, it was itself "non-material." *EVERYTHING* material, bodily, made of atoms and molecules, etc, to him is disgusting, filthy, horrible, detestable; and AGAIN, HE QUOTES MANY PAGES FROM THE FATHERS (esp. St. Athanasius) to support his claims.

I am worried about all this. I haven't read much of the Fathers, honestly, but what I HAVE read strikes me, indeed, as grim and very aggressively anti-sensual. And I am worried that in my native Ukraine there is a movement pressuring on the government to ban all contraception - literally, all of it, condoms, pills, diaphragms, everything; and in the heart of this movement is this idea that SEX IN MARRIAGE IS ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHILDBIRTH!!! And this idea finds a lot of support among the Ukrainian clergy, especially Eastern Rite Catholic but ALSO ORTHODOX...

George,

My belief is this fellow on the other site may have some problems with either human sexuality (his own) or with his marriage and he is using his faith as a cover to avoid his own personal problems. And it sounds like he doesn't even hold to the Catholic beliefs on human sexuality. He seems to be creating his own set of beliefs from what he has read in the fathers  without the guidance of a priest to help him understand what Eastern Catholics hold as truth.

If he is taking quotes from the fathers out of context I wouldn't even bother trying to refute it. Most of the fathers were celibates who had to encourage the monks under their care to hold fast to their celibacy and cherish it. Fighting the passion of lust was a tough one so they had use all kinds of language and imagery to encourage them in their pursuit of bodily purity.
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #50 on: September 15, 2007, 09:13:11 PM »

GiC:  Since you are convert to cultural Orthodoxy with Transhumanist leanings, I think that I would be wasting my time engaging you on this issue.

Yes, yes, I know, I'm going to hell anyway, so why bother? See you there Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
lubeltri
Latin Catholic layman
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archdiocese of Boston
Posts: 3,795



« Reply #51 on: September 15, 2007, 09:14:02 PM »

Burn me at the stake?

Certainly not. I'm only saying it cannot be justified according to scripture or the constant teaching of the universal Church. Your reasons and acts are your own. I am not your pastor.

I've tried and tried, but I still don't see how this is different in motivation than the innovations pushed by liberal "personal experience trumps Scripture/Tradition" folks. Our respective Churches (along with the rest of Christendom) were pretty clear on this for almost 19 centuries. I have great trouble distinguishing this from other recent cave-ins to modernism. They seem all of a piece---to inculturate the Church with worldly values. I'm sorry to be blunt. I know this is a sensitive issue, and I am certainly sympathetic to your circumstances.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 09:16:47 PM by lubeltri » Logged
Nyssa The Hobbit
Used to be OrthodoxFairyQueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian as of 1/10/09
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 396



WWW
« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2007, 09:23:23 PM »

Dear Tamara and SiviSokol,

Thank you, both of you; you are both very kind. I really appreciate your replies.

I know, I should probably be more balanced, un-emotional in my discussions with anti-contraception folks. There is, however,a bigger issue at stake. My principal opponent on the "Maidan" site is not one of those people who were just too "shy" to use contraception (because they thought it's "ungodly"), and ended up with six or eight kids who have nothing to eat. No, he - a professional, an electric engineer, - had fathered two kids, and he deliberately, conscientiously decided not to have any more (because it's not good for him from the purely economical point of view); and, very importantly, he *also* decided not to have any more of the sexual relations with his wife, ever... And he - for months in a row! - keeps building a whole "theology" on that "Maidan" site, arguing that sex is an abomination, it's just filth, people who engage in it - even in marriage, - are just "weak," unable to fathom anything more important and beautiful in life than these sleazy, stinky "body fluids," etc. And he REALLY QUOTES HUNDREDS OF PAGES from the Fathers, supporting his views!!! Moreover, he has this idea that humans were created "non-material" - although they were made "from the dust of the ground," "the ground" itself was not yet "cursed" (as it became later, after the Fall), hence, it was itself "non-material." *EVERYTHING* material, bodily, made of atoms and molecules, etc, to him is disgusting, filthy, horrible, detestable; and AGAIN, HE QUOTES MANY PAGES FROM THE FATHERS (esp. St. Athanasius) to support his claims.

This sounds like Gnosticism to me.  I find it hard to believe that a consensus of Church Fathers would support Gnostic views.

Logged

Author of "Tojet" (fantasy) and "The Lighthouse" (Gothic), info available at my website URL.
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #53 on: September 15, 2007, 09:29:20 PM »

No insult intended here, but I've got to be frank.

I'm slightly scared by the possibility that you may actually believe what you're posting, and very entertained in either case...but insulted? Nah. Wink

Quote
And this from EO who always trumpet their adherence to longstanding tradition? I'm sorry, I am sympathetic to the circumstances, but contraception is unjustifiable for reasons of preventing the God-directed miracle of conception. By using it, you are essentially saying that either God does not have control over the creation of human life or that God's control over the creation of human life should be circumvented by your own judgement.

Ummm, I think you're forgetting something...this is the 21st century. Really. It is.

As you may (or may not) have heard, human life was 'created' by natural evolutionary processes. There is a very good biological explanation for reproduction...it's not a magic trick. God's 'control over the creation of human life' has been 'circumvented' by randomness, natural selection, and various enviromental factors for billions of years. Yet, somehow all of a sudden it's wrong? You do understand that if a selection method governing reproduction hadn't existed for billions of years, we wouldn't be here today? Right?

So, considering that for billions of years outside factors influenced reproduction, I would think that it is most reasonable to expect a degree of control over whether or not your genes are used in the reproductive act. It's certainly a more reasonable approach than random genetic mutation which has been and really still is the norm.

Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that this is a medical question related to scientific facts. Religion has no role to play in this matter so let each at according to the dictates of science and medicine. So, are you going to be consistant with your argument and extend the reasoning to its logical conclusion? Surely we must conclude from your reasoning that vaccines and penicillin are evil...well to modify your words:

'I'm sorry, I am sympathetic to the circumstances, but medicine is unjustifiable for reasons of preventing the God-directed reality of death. By using it, you are essentially saying that either God does not have control over the mortality of human life or that God's control over the mortality of human life should be circumvented by your own judgement.'

I hope you see the problem with your reasoning now?

Quote
It cannot be justified by scripture and ancient Church teaching to usurp control of this process, however well-meaning intentions may be. And this is not just some crazy Catholic saying this---a substantial number of EO still hold to this Church teaching held from time immemorial. Even a heretic like Calvin was firm on this moral principle.

Shocked Calvin said birth control was wrong? Now I see the error of my ways. Roll Eyes

Burn me at the stake?

Meet you there, I'll bring the marshmallows Wink
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2007, 09:35:34 PM »

Certainly not. I'm only saying it cannot be justified according to scripture or the constant teaching of the universal Church. Your reasons and acts are your own. I am not your pastor.

I've tried and tried, but I still don't see how this is different in motivation than the innovations pushed by liberal "personal experience trumps Scripture/Tradition" folks. Our respective Churches (along with the rest of Christendom) were pretty clear on this for almost 19 centuries. I have great trouble distinguishing this from other recent cave-ins to modernism. They seem all of a piece---to inculturate the Church with worldly values. I'm sorry to be blunt. I know this is a sensitive issue, and I am certainly sympathetic to your circumstances.

Thank you, Luberti, that was very honest and also very kind. Believe me, I am totally lost in this issue myself. On the one hand, I was baptized in the Presbyterian Church (USA), one of the bastions of secularism and liberalism, and I know the snare of this "inculturating the Church" trend from inside, and I do not like it one bit. But, on the other hand, I just can't help but believe that the Fathers of our Church lived in a different world and their views on sensuality, sexuality and childbirth in marriage were very different from what seems to be simply, er, ... sane in our age...
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2007, 09:40:19 PM »

This sounds like Gnosticism to me.  I find it hard to believe that a consensus of Church Fathers would support Gnostic views.


Yes, Nyssa, I believe you hit the nail on the head. But this guy won't listen. He refuses to listen even to his own Eastern Rite Catholic priest on that forum. Calls him "weak," and "hypocrite," and... quotes the Fathers... Cry
Logged

Love never fails.
SiviSokol
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: SOC
Posts: 135


Tamburica u mom srcu


« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2007, 10:14:53 PM »

Hi Heorhij,

I'm a lurker at this site, and I've only delurked to lend support to my wife...normally I don't post much.  I have, however, read most of your posts since you've joined the board.  I agree with GiC as far as how to handle your "friend" on the Maidan board: don't get into a proof-text war.  He's a Gnostic, or shows quite strong Gnostic leanings. He also may be twisting translations to suit his ideological goals...do you know whether he's "massaging" his translations from the original Greek and Latin?    The simple fact is that he's wrong, although one cannot go too far to the other side.  What I said I was taught as the Orthodox teaching on sex and marriage: marriages need to be open to kids if at all possible (just look at the number of times children are mentioned in the wedding service!).  Likewise, virginity is one of the toughest, but also one of the most richly rewarding, pathways to deification.

It seems that this fellow is troubling you, so I would caution you (as perhaps others should or have) that the internet is not necessarily a place to seek spiritual advice unless you know and have reason to respect the giver of said advice.  I know that you are isolated from other Orthodox living where you are, but caveat lector...message boards are filled with cranks.

Over and against what you've mentioned about this guys arguments, I would mention that Christ's first miracle was at a wedding.  I would also take to heart 1 Corinthians 7:1-7.   As far as quotes from the Fathers, the following struck me:

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Quote
"We are not ignorant of the fact that marriage also is not deprived of God's blessing.   But since there is sufficient support for it and since the common nature of humanity, bestowed upon all who come to birth through marriage, automatically inclines in this direction, whereas virginity somehow goes against nature, it would be superfluous to go to the trouble of wring a plea for marriage and eulogy of it emphasizing its indisputable inducement, I mean pleasure, unless there should be need of such words because of some people who tamper with the teachings of the Church on marriage, whom the apostle calls "those having their conscience branded." These, forsaking the guidance of the Holy Spirit because of the teaching of demons, engrave scars and brands upon their hearts, detesting God's creatures as abominations, addressing them as evil-bringers, causes of evil, and the like.  But He speaks saying: "What have I to do with judging those outside?" For they are truly outside of the court of the mysteries of the word, being lodged, not in the shelter of God, but in the stable of the wicked one, being captives of his will, according to the voice of the apostle.  And this is because they do not understand that evil is the turning to extremes, all virtue being looked upon as lying in the mean, since one everywhere distinguishes virtue from evil by taking the mean between the slack and taut...


-From the same

Quote
One should neither remain aloof from the more divine desires, nor should one reject the idea of marriage.  It is not reasonable to disregard the economy of nature or to slander what is honorable as disgusting.  For just as we said in the illustration of the water and the source, when the farmer directs the water to a certain place and draws it off, there is a need for a small central stream to facilitate the flow in proportion to the amount required for it to be mingled again easily with the main stream.  But if someone imprudently and unskillfully opens up a channel for the water, there is the risk that the whole stream will abandon its straight course and be broken up into gullies.  In the same way, since there is need in life also for the succession of one thing from another, if someone uses reproduction similarly while spiritual considerations hold priority, exercising his desire for such things sparingly and fearfully in accordance with the holy Virgin which served the unblemished childbirth, he is blessed on the grounds that the offspring does not destroy virginity and virginity does not stand in the way of such begetting.  For, as Isaiah says, where "the spirit of salvation is born the wishes of the flesh are entirely useless."


John Chrysostom

Quote
You hear this word virginity-a concept which contains within itself much trial and struggle. do not alarm yourself over it.  It does not deal with a precept, nor does it have the force of a commandment (St. Paul); it concern only those who freely and of their own impulse choose it in expectation of the reward.  On the other hand, those who hold back and do not wish to choose it will not have any punishment inflicted on them, nor will they be forced to observe it against their will.


Quote
When Christ came down from heaven, to make angels out of people, and to implant the heavenly mode of life on earth, He did not venture to prescribe it (virginity) and give it the force of a law.  God has commanded that one should sacrifice one's life if necessary; and what can be more difficult than that? Also, that one must be crucified continually, and that one must do good to one's enemies; but that one should live a life of virginity, that He has not commanded.  That He leaves to the free will of His listeners when He says: "He who can take it, let him take it."


Maximos the Confessor-

Quote
Theologians call the divine sometimes an erotic force, sometimes love, sometimes that which is intensely longed for and loved.  Consequently, as an erotic force and as love, the divine itself is subject to movement; and as that which is intensely longed for and loved it moves towards itself everything that is receptive of this force and love.  To express this more clearly:  the divine itself is subject to movement since it produces an inward state of intense longing and love in those receptive to them; and it moves others since by nature it attract the desire of those who are drawn towards it.  In other words, it move others and itself moves since it thirsts to be thirsted for, longs to be longed for, and loves to be loved.


Quote
The divine erotic force also produces ecstasy, compelling those who love to belong not to themselves but to those whom they love.  This is shown by superior beings through their care of inferiors, by those of equal dignity through their mutual union, and by lower beings through their divine conversion towards those that are highest in rank.  It was in consequence of this that St. Paul, possessed as he was by this divine erotic force and partaking of its ecstatic power, was inspired to say: "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."  He uttered these words as a true lover and, as he himself says, as one who has gone out from himself to God, not living his own life but that of the beloved, because of his fervent love for Him.


John Klimakos

Quote
some people living carelessly in the world put a question to me:  "how can we who are married and living amid public cares aspire to the monastic life?"
I answered:  "Do whatever good you may.  Speak evil of no one.  Rob no one.  Tell no lie. Despise no one and carry no hate.  Do not separate yourself from the Church assemblies.  Show compassion to the needy.  Do not be a cause of scandal to anyone.  Stay away from the bed of another, and be satisfied with what your own wives can provide you.  If you do all this you will not be far from the kingdom of heaven."


Alexander Elchaninov-

Quote
Marriage, fleshly love is a very great sacrament and mystery.  Through it is accomplished the most real and at the same time the most mysterious of all possible forms of human relationship.  And, qualitatively, marriage enables us to pass beyond all the normal rules of human relationship and to enter a region of the miraculous, the superhuman.


Quote
In fleshly love, besides its intrinsic value ass such, God has granted the world a share in His omnipotence:  a human being creates a human being, a new soul is brought into being.  A human being enters deeply into the texture of the world through his family alone.



I would recommend "Love, Sexuality and the Sacrament of Marriage" by John Chryssavgis (the source of the above quotes), as well as "The Sacrament of Love" by Paul Evdokimov.
 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 10:25:03 PM by SiviSokol » Logged
SiviSokol
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: SOC
Posts: 135


Tamburica u mom srcu


« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2007, 10:17:23 PM »

Quote
Yes, yes, I know, I'm going to hell anyway, so why bother? See you there Wink

Oh, don't be silly.  I share leanings toward your apokatastasis hobbyhorse, although I don't share your view that divine justice mandates a restoration of all things to the one.  Wink
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,638


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #58 on: September 15, 2007, 10:58:03 PM »

Yes, Nyssa, I believe you hit the nail on the head. But this guy won't listen. He refuses to listen even to his own Eastern Rite Catholic priest on that forum. Calls him "weak," and "hypocrite," and... quotes the Fathers... Cry
But what of Christ, the Holy Apostles, the great monastics, and all those Holy Fathers who spoke with unanimous consensus that we are not to judge our brother?  Does this guy follow THAT teaching?  That, IMO, seems to be much more important (speaking relatively) than what goes on in the marriage bed.
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,638


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #59 on: September 15, 2007, 11:32:54 PM »

Ummm, I think you're forgetting something...this is the 21st century. Really. It is.

As you may (or may not) have heard, human life was 'created' by natural evolutionary processes. There is a very good biological explanation for reproduction...it's not a magic trick. God's 'control over the creation of human life' has been 'circumvented' by randomness, natural selection, and various enviromental factors for billions of years. Yet, somehow all of a sudden it's wrong? You do understand that if a selection method governing reproduction hadn't existed for billions of years, we wouldn't be here today? Right?

So, considering that for billions of years outside factors influenced reproduction, I would think that it is most reasonable to expect a degree of control over whether or not your genes are used in the reproductive act. It's certainly a more reasonable approach than random genetic mutation which has been and really still is the norm.

Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that this is a medical question related to scientific facts. Religion has no role to play in this matter so let each at according to the dictates of science and medicine. So, are you going to be consistant with your argument and extend the reasoning to its logical conclusion? Surely we must conclude from your reasoning that vaccines and penicillin are evil...well to modify your words:

'I'm sorry, I am sympathetic to the circumstances, but medicine is unjustifiable for reasons of preventing the God-directed reality of death. By using it, you are essentially saying that either God does not have control over the mortality of human life or that God's control over the mortality of human life should be circumvented by your own judgement.'

I hope you see the problem with your reasoning now?
So you're saying that we, as Orthodox Christians, are to ignore the ancient and venerable doctrines of our faith and are to define our practices and the basis for their morality solely on... the theories of modern science? Roll Eyes
Logged
GiC
Resident Atheist
Site Supporter
Merarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Mathematician
Posts: 9,490



« Reply #60 on: September 15, 2007, 11:44:43 PM »

So you're saying that we, as Orthodox Christians, are to ignore the ancient and venerable doctrines of our faith and are to define our practices and the basis for their morality solely on... the theories of modern science? Roll Eyes

My argument was a bit more nuanced than that...but you've got the gist of it. Basically these 'ancient and venerable doctrines' were made on false pretenses. Through no fault of their own those who opined on the matter simply did not have an adequate understanding of biology, evolution, and reproduction to make an educated statement on the act of reproduction itself...to say nothing of the moral implications of the same. It's not so much that the fundamental principles of the faith need to be overturned, but rather that these need to be used in conjunction with our modern scientific understanding to establish doctrines based on reality and not incorrect conjecture.
Logged

"The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." -- Patrick Henry
prodromas
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Under the Green Pope
Posts: 1,239

Greek Orthodox


« Reply #61 on: September 15, 2007, 11:48:56 PM »

Heorhij read in a book about the nature of faith called (If only I could Believe) written by a prominent protestant pastor (alliteration  Grin) who gave the details of a story which involved a man who suffered from a mental disease in which he believed that he was dead but could still talk, now the doctor attempted to reason with the man and said "If I pricked a dead mans finger would it bleed" the patient said "I suppose not" then the doctor pricked the patients finger and to his surprise it bled then the doctor said "you see your alive" then the patient said "all this time I believed that dead people don't bleed but I was very much mistaken". Now this story can be paralleled to a lot of people heard of heart to not listen to reason and after very infuriating conversations with some fundamental Christians about creationism, the ancient church and the bible they still stuck with there own positions only changing the way they get to there own idea's to fit the new evidence. The point is that this "friend" of yours will not be changed by reason as you stated he wont even listen to his priest so try not to persuade him or make him look for more "confirmations" only ask that he truly look in to himself with a fresh set of eyes and to pray on it.
Logged

The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #62 on: September 16, 2007, 09:02:48 AM »

The simple fact is that he's wrong, although one cannot go too far to the other side.  What I said I was taught as the Orthodox teaching on sex and marriage: marriages need to be open to kids if at all possible (just look at the number of times children are mentioned in the wedding service!).  Likewise, virginity is one of the toughest, but also one of the most richly rewarding, pathways to deification.

(...) Over and against what you've mentioned about this guys arguments, I would mention that Christ's first miracle was at a wedding.  I would also take to heart 1 Corinthians 7:1-7.   As far as quotes from the Fathers, the following struck me:(...)


Many, many thanks, SiviSokol.
Logged

Love never fails.
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #63 on: September 16, 2007, 09:08:53 AM »

But what of Christ, the Holy Apostles, the great monastics, and all those Holy Fathers who spoke with unanimous consensus that we are not to judge our brother?  Does this guy follow THAT teaching?  That, IMO, seems to be much more important (speaking relatively) than what goes on in the marriage bed.

Peter, no, no! Moreover, he accuses me, all the time, that I, a real hypocrite, twisted the true teaching of Christ about judging others. He says that in the Sermon on the Mount, when Christ said "do not judge" (or "judge ye not"), under "ye," He meant hypocrites like Judas Iskariote (who was definitely present there during the sermon). It was said to THEM, NOT to "real" inspired Christian believers. To prove his point, the huy quotes 1 Cor. 2:15-16 and says that as long as he is "in the Spirit" and has "the mind of Christ," he is entitled to judging everybody, calling people bad names, "exposing" their apostasy, etc.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 09:12:38 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #64 on: September 16, 2007, 06:25:13 PM »

Peter, no, no! Moreover, he accuses me, all the time, that I, a real hypocrite, twisted the true teaching of Christ about judging others. He says that in the Sermon on the Mount, when Christ said "do not judge" (or "judge ye not"), under "ye," He meant hypocrites like Judas Iskariote (who was definitely present there during the sermon). It was said to THEM, NOT to "real" inspired Christian believers. To prove his point, the huy quotes 1 Cor. 2:15-16 and says that as long as he is "in the Spirit" and has "the mind of Christ," he is entitled to judging everybody, calling people bad names, "exposing" their apostasy, etc.

Dear George,

From what you have described you are dealing with someone who is delusional and perhaps he has fallen into prelest. There is no reasoning with someone like that...in fact, since he has obviously effected your inner peace I would suggest you cut off anymore discussions with him. He is dangerous.

sincerely, Tamara
Logged
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,638


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #65 on: September 16, 2007, 09:51:04 PM »

Peter, no, no! Moreover, he accuses me, all the time, that I, a real hypocrite, twisted the true teaching of Christ about judging others. He says that in the Sermon on the Mount, when Christ said "do not judge" (or "judge ye not"), under "ye," He meant hypocrites like Judas Iskariote (who was definitely present there during the sermon). It was said to THEM, NOT to "real" inspired Christian believers. To prove his point, the huy quotes 1 Cor. 2:15-16 and says that as long as he is "in the Spirit" and has "the mind of Christ," he is entitled to judging everybody, calling people bad names, "exposing" their apostasy, etc.
I wonder what patristic evidence he can dig up to support THIS pov, because I'm certainly not aware of any Father who taught THIS interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.  The judgmental spirit you portray in this man is evidence to me that he in fact is NOT "in the Spirit" and does NOT have "the mind of Christ."

"You will know them by their fruits."  -- Matthew 7:16

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law."  -- Galatians 5:22-23


I agree with Tamara on this.  If this guy has affected your inner peace as much as your recent posts seem to indicate, he is a danger to your salvation, and you should avoid him.
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #66 on: September 17, 2007, 10:53:14 AM »

I wonder what patristic evidence he can dig up to support THIS pov, because I'm certainly not aware of any Father who taught THIS interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount.  The judgmental spirit you portray in this man is evidence to me that he in fact is NOT "in the Spirit" and does NOT have "the mind of Christ."

"You will know them by their fruits."  -- Matthew 7:16

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law."  -- Galatians 5:22-23


I agree with Tamara on this.  If this guy has affected your inner peace as much as your recent posts seem to indicate, he is a danger to your salvation, and you should avoid him.

Well, a number of people pointed out to him that he is acting like an angry person. but he always says, "You don't know me, you don't know how I live; actually, it's you who are emotional because you do not like the truth. I am always calm, peaceful and joyful in the Spirit." And immediately after saying this, he makes a quote from somebody's post where that person admonishes him not to judge people, and comments something like, "see, how a hypocrite twists the teaching of Christ, which, as this hypocrite knows, is so well explained to us in 1 Cor. 2:15-16? This hypocrite just hates the truth, because this hypocrite is posessed by the evil one. OK, never mind, never mind, I'll just keep exposing you, hypocrite!" etc.

I understand that the best thing to do in this situation would be just leave him alone, not react to any of his postings. But the thing is, "Maidan" is a point of connection of very many people, only a tiny fraction of whom has any experience of Christian living. I have already seen a few posts from some non-Christians (one from a man who identifies himself as a Krishnaite, and a couple from esoterically inclined "God-searchers"), where people expressed their agreement with the idea that matter and bodily things, particularly sex, are intrinsically evil and disgusting. I am worried about this, partially because in Ukraine at the moment there are broad discussions on contraception, and some Eastern Rite Catholic clergy keep initiating petitions to the government to ban all contraceptive devices, arguing if not quite the same as my opponent, then close (i.e. that sex has to be "justified" by the desire of the couple to procreate, or else it is just filth).
« Last Edit: September 17, 2007, 10:53:30 AM by Heorhij » Logged

Love never fails.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #67 on: September 17, 2007, 11:08:06 AM »

Dear George,

From what you have described you are dealing with someone who is delusional and perhaps he has fallen into prelest. There is no reasoning with someone like that...in fact, since he has obviously effected your inner peace I would suggest you cut off anymore discussions with him. He is dangerous.

sincerely, Tamara

While falling into the sin of judgment of my fellow brother myself, I'd say that the definitely has fallen into prelest.  Smiley

He's a whacko who I would ignore completely and suggest to others (privately) that they do the same. 
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Tamara
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of America
Posts: 2,208


+Pray for Orthodox Unity+


« Reply #68 on: September 17, 2007, 01:30:51 PM »

While falling into the sin of judgment of my fellow brother myself, I'd say that the definitely has fallen into prelest.  Smiley

He's a whacko who I would ignore completely and suggest to others (privately) that they do the same. 

Dear Schultz,

There are many crazy characters on the internet and I hate to see a sweet guy like George get cyber-bullied by one of them.

Logged
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,423



« Reply #69 on: September 18, 2007, 10:50:07 AM »

Frankly, the way the person on "Maidan" writes reminds me of the Phelps/WBC people.  There is no disagreeing with them, no arguing, no counter views allowed.  He is locked into a mindset of "My Ideas and Preferences and Likesand Dislikes are the Law and Rule of the Universe(tm) (C) pat.pend."  I would suggest that he does not really see/understand anyone on that forum as a Human Being like he is.  (he sees words on a screen so opponents aren't "Real" as it were.)

It took me a bit to find, but perhaps this cartoon "Flame-Warrior" will amuse you in regards to this person (who I concur is going "Gnostic" in spades)
http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/ferouscranus.htm

It reads like dealing with him isn't good for your health or wellbeing George.

Ebor
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 10:53:03 AM by Ebor » Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #70 on: September 18, 2007, 10:59:09 AM »

Dear Schultz,

There are many crazy characters on the internet and I hate to see a sweet guy like George get cyber-bullied by one of them.

I'd hate to see our good friend George bullied, as well, but sometimes you just have to ignore people who, while they may not necessarily be Internet Trolls (tm) in the literal sense, certainly act like one.  Smiley 
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #71 on: September 18, 2007, 01:36:44 PM »

Tamara, Schultz, Ebor - thank you for your support, but it's actually not about me... You see, aside from his gnostic exegesis of Genesis, his main point is, sex needs "justification" (childbirth), or else it is a yucky, disgusting, evil thing to do, even in marriage. This is what I cannot accept, and, unfortunately, I do not have good support not only from Roman Catholics, but also from at least some Orthodox. One way or other they all say that sex is not to the end of pleasing, satisfying your spouse, but for some other purpose (procreation or "relieving tension" to help a person avoid the sin of lust and the danger of adultery). And I always - naively? - thought that sex is, first and foremost, something you GIVE, a gift to your spouse, a unique gift of all of yourself. That's exactly where my opponents say that oh, well, forget it, that's un-Christian, pagan, satanic...
Logged

Love never fails.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #72 on: September 18, 2007, 02:10:30 PM »

And I always - naively? - thought that sex is, first and foremost, something you GIVE, a gift to your spouse, a unique gift of all of yourself. That's exactly where my opponents say that oh, well, forget it, that's un-Christian, pagan, satanic...

That's been my understanding of sex as well and I grew up in what most people would think to be a pretty sexually repressed environment.  I find otherwise committed, caring Christians oftentimes are reacting to the excess and abuse of sexuality by secular society in such a way that unfortunately demonizes things such as sex.  It's very sad. 
Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #73 on: September 18, 2007, 02:33:39 PM »

That's been my understanding of sex as well and I grew up in what most people would think to be a pretty sexually repressed environment.  I find otherwise committed, caring Christians oftentimes are reacting to the excess and abuse of sexuality by secular society in such a way that unfortunately demonizes things such as sex.  It's very sad. 

Yes, but the thing is, they claim that it's Scripture and the Fathers who demonize sex, not they...
Logged

Love never fails.
Schultz
Christian. Guitarist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,481


Scion of the McKeesport Becks.


WWW
« Reply #74 on: September 18, 2007, 02:38:42 PM »

Yes, but the thing is, they claim that it's Scripture and the Fathers who demonize sex, not they...

There's an old Southern saying that the Devil can quote Scripture (and, by extension, the Fathers) to suit his needs.

The overall consensus of the Church, at least as I have been taught, is that a) Adam and Eve were as real and corporeal as you and I are and b) sex is in and of itself not evil, but it can be turned by Man into evil.

Logged

"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,423



« Reply #75 on: September 18, 2007, 02:46:08 PM »

If He had wanted, God could have made it that human beings budded, or exchanged genetic material by some impersonal method that didn't involve pleasure and caring.  But He didn't. He made female and male and the way to make more of them.  God made the Universe and 'saw that it was very good.' *He* made the pleasures.  We can misuse them, or focus only on them and not on what goes with them. But that doesn't take away that God made fruit that tastes nice (and gives us vitamins) and flowers that look/smell nice (as well as the weird ones like the Titan Arum that reek) and bonds between two people that can be a delight (even if they do snore  Grin )

Ebor
Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Ebor
Vanyar
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,423



« Reply #76 on: September 18, 2007, 02:47:41 PM »

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but I can think of a couple of C. S. Lewis books that look at some of this idea: "The Screwtape Letters" and (an early work and an allegory but don't let that stop you) "The Pilgrim's Regress". Both had some things about the idea of being "purer then the average bear" that is taking a personal idea of "purity" to extremes.

Ebor
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 02:51:47 PM by Ebor » Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Amdetsion
Worship God with all thy strength and all thy might
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Patriarchate; Addis Abebe Ethiopia
Posts: 931


HH Abuna Pawlos - Patriarch of Ethiopia


« Reply #77 on: September 18, 2007, 02:49:03 PM »

At risk of sounding like a "Cafeteria Orthodox". I simply cannot believe God wants us to pop out as many children as is biologically possible.  I had none by choice and consider it preferable to help those already in this world who need special attention.

May God continue to enrich you and bless you and keep you.

Your Servant
Deacon Amde
Logged

"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
Eugenio
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I love them all
Posts: 460



« Reply #78 on: October 22, 2007, 12:00:25 AM »

accrah32,

Did you ever have discussions about this issue with the priest who married you? (No need to answer on a public list...this is just a question worth thinking about).

I think folks on this list could give you 100 answers, and all of them could be different. But I think that your priest or father confessor needs to be the one who you (and your spouse) should pose this question to.

Last,  please forgive me if this offends. I know this is a very personal issue. But these tough decisions are why I think we need relationships with our priests.
Logged
Tags: abortion birth control contraception marriage 
Pages: 1 2 All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.248 seconds with 105 queries.