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Author Topic: Article: "Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop"  (Read 9222 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 08, 2008, 08:21:34 PM »

I saw this article today:

Quote
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."

Full article: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html

I don't know a lot about the Orthodox view of life after death. Is this article "OK" by Orthodox standards?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2008, 08:35:29 PM »

From my quick scan of the article it seems to be very spot on Orthodox. There is nothing that I found to be objectionable and most of what he says seems to be very much based in what the fathers of the church teach.
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2008, 08:45:03 PM »

From my quick scan of the article it seems to be very spot on Orthodox. There is nothing that I found to be objectionable and most of what he says seems to be very much based in what the fathers of the church teach.

Ditto.  Took a quick look, seems it's mostly in order.
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2008, 09:38:21 PM »

From my quick scan of the article it seems to be very spot on Orthodox. There is nothing that I found to be objectionable and most of what he says seems to be very much based in what the fathers of the church teach.

Yes, I didn't find it objectionable
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2008, 10:55:21 PM »

Looks good to me as well. But quoting those 'apocryphals'...what next?  Shocked  Love it.
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 10:07:32 AM »

It's not only OK by our standards, it's what we've been teaching for 2000 years.
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2008, 10:25:45 AM »

It seems the correct understanding to me.
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2008, 11:26:16 AM »

Good article!
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2008, 09:52:44 AM »

Just scanned it but for an Anglican this man sure knows what he's talking about.Let's pray he might join The Church Cool
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 04:16:02 PM »

What a great article, thanks! I cannot be the judge about its Orthodoxy as I am myself just a recent convert; but I found it very well-written, deep, and encouraging. It's been always my belief that the eternal life with Christ does NOT mean escape into some "other world," but, rather, the final restoration of THIS world ("heaven and earth"), and our final restoration in it.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 05:23:36 PM »

What a great article, thanks! I cannot be the judge about its Orthodoxy as I am myself just a recent convert; but I found it very well-written, deep, and encouraging. It's been always my belief that the eternal life with Christ does NOT mean escape into some "other world," but, rather, the final restoration of THIS world ("heaven and earth"), and our final restoration in it.

Absolutely correct, Heorhij.  Too many Christians in this world believe that what is in this world has to be destroyed in order to achieve communion with God.  An almost gnostic understanding of the created world, thanks to the large influence and misuse of St. Augustine, has come into the mindsets of various Protestants and Catholics.  And that is why the doctrine of theosis is so foreign and, also, very frightening to them. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 05:15:03 PM »

I am on this forum as an English Evangelical who wishes to learn all he can that is of God from the different branches of Christianity. Wright's article says what I have believed and taught for years, and it warms my heart to read it and to see it on this forum too.
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2008, 05:21:50 PM »

I am on this forum as an English Evangelical who wishes to learn all he can that is of God from the different branches of Christianity. Wright's article says what I have believed and taught for years, and it warms my heart to read it and to see it on this forum too.

Welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2008, 07:53:13 PM »

I am on this forum as an English Evangelical who wishes to learn all he can that is of God from the different branches of Christianity. Wright's article says what I have believed and taught for years, and it warms my heart to read it and to see it on this forum too.
It's good to know that there are some things we all can agree on.
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2008, 11:51:34 PM »

I saw this article today:

Quote
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."

Full article: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html

I don't know a lot about the Orthodox view of life after death. Is this article "OK" by Orthodox standards?

The article demonstrates what I find so frustrating about Anglicanism: here we have someone writing Orthodoxy in the same communion with Bishop Spong.  Such things should not be.
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2008, 11:53:12 PM »

The article demonstrates what I find so frustrating about Anglicanism: here we have someone writing Orthodoxy in the same communion with Bishop Spong.  Such things should not be.

Hence the reason I left Anglicanism.  How can you truly be in communion with someone whose beliefs contradict yours?
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2008, 08:50:39 AM »

What a great article, thanks! I cannot be the judge about its Orthodoxy as I am myself just a recent convert; but I found it very well-written, deep, and encouraging. It's been always my belief that the eternal life with Christ does NOT mean escape into some "other world," but, rather, the final restoration of THIS world ("heaven and earth"), and our final restoration in it.

Absolutely correct, Heorhij.  Too many Christians in this world believe that what is in this world has to be destroyed in order to achieve communion with God.  An almost gnostic understanding of the created world, thanks to the large influence and misuse of St. Augustine, has come into the mindsets of various Protestants and Catholics.  And that is why the doctrine of theosis is so foreign and, also, very frightening to them. 

I wish I were correct, but I do not really know. Gnostics will always beat you down with maxims like "cursed is the earth - Gen. 3:17," "our life is in Heaven - Phil. 3:20," "the present heavens and earth are preserved for the day of judgment and perdition... the earth will be burned - 2 Peter 3:7, 10"; and they will find gazillions of quotes not only from Scripture or Bl. Augustin, but also from the Eastern Holy Fathers that say that the flesh is rotten and awful, that everything earthly and material is filthy and not to be thought or cared about, that after the resurrection of the dead we will be entirely diferent and entirely "spiritual" vs. our present state of "filthy substantiality," etc. etc. etc. When someone like poor me says that Christ became incarnate to sanctify THIS world and the "matter" in this world, that He rose from the dead in His own truly human (i.e. material) body and in that same body ascended into Heaven, they will always sarcastically say that you just ought to agree that right now, Christ is very different and entirely immaterial - otherwise you are a cannibal eating his molecules of hydrogen sulfite during the Eucharist. Christ came to this world with the sole purpose to murder, kill, annihilate the rotten filthy human flesh and to free the REAL (i.e. entirely immaterial, a-substantial, heavenly, spiritual Man) from his bodily, material, "substantial" prison. The mere notion that God aims at restoring the proper relationship between body, soul, and spirit in man is sacrilege to them, UNLESS you agree that "body" is something not consisting of matter, substance, molecules (including the stinking hydrogen sulfite and other crap). We are to become God, i.e. merge with Him, Who is the Spirit with no material body, and we cannot merge with something that has no material body if we ourselves have a material body. Even when I quoted to them the passage from St. Gregory of Nyssa from his homily about resurrection on the Holy Pascha (where he says that the "powder" contained in the coffins will become the resurrected men's bodies and that the present body never disappears as its elements live in the "stikia" of soil, air, moist, and fire), gnostics laugh and write that of course the Holy Father meant the purely SPIRITUAL "stikia" and the purely SPIRITUAL "elements," not the rottening filthy dirty stinky crappy "substance" like H2S.

There is really so much of THAT in the patristic literature and in catechisms. There is no plain language saying that after the general resurrection of the dead we will be material, consisting still of all the molecules (even the ... H2S). There really is this general "vector" that points toward immateriality, "angel-like" state of our beings in the life after the resurrection, or, esentially, to really, truly ANOTHER world, where everything will be different - space, time, dimentions, elements, activities, experiences. Gnostics may be actually right, and Wright and other "progressive-minded people" like myself - wrong. Maybe even Origen will be one day exonerated from all charges in "heresy." I just don't know and have hard time figuring this all out.
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2008, 09:39:21 AM »

What a great article, thanks! I cannot be the judge about its Orthodoxy as I am myself just a recent convert; but I found it very well-written, deep, and encouraging. It's been always my belief that the eternal life with Christ does NOT mean escape into some "other world," but, rather, the final restoration of THIS world ("heaven and earth"), and our final restoration in it.

Absolutely correct, Heorhij.  Too many Christians in this world believe that what is in this world has to be destroyed in order to achieve communion with God.  An almost gnostic understanding of the created world, thanks to the large influence and misuse of St. Augustine, has come into the mindsets of various Protestants and Catholics.  And that is why the doctrine of theosis is so foreign and, also, very frightening to them. 

I wish I were correct, but I do not really know. Gnostics will always beat you down with maxims like "cursed is the earth - Gen. 3:17," "our life is in Heaven - Phil. 3:20," "the present heavens and earth are preserved for the day of judgment and perdition... the earth will be burned - 2 Peter 3:7, 10"; and they will find gazillions of quotes not only from Scripture or Bl. Augustin, but also from the Eastern Holy Fathers that say that the flesh is rotten and awful, that everything earthly and material is filthy and not to be thought or cared about, that after the resurrection of the dead we will be entirely diferent and entirely "spiritual" vs. our present state of "filthy substantiality," etc. etc. etc. When someone like poor me says that Christ became incarnate to sanctify THIS world and the "matter" in this world, that He rose from the dead in His own truly human (i.e. material) body and in that same body ascended into Heaven, they will always sarcastically say that you just ought to agree that right now, Christ is very different and entirely immaterial - otherwise you are a cannibal eating his molecules of hydrogen sulfite during the Eucharist. Christ came to this world with the sole purpose to murder, kill, annihilate the rotten filthy human flesh and to free the REAL (i.e. entirely immaterial, a-substantial, heavenly, spiritual Man) from his bodily, material, "substantial" prison. The mere notion that God aims at restoring the proper relationship between body, soul, and spirit in man is sacrilege to them, UNLESS you agree that "body" is something not consisting of matter, substance, molecules (including the stinking hydrogen sulfite and other crap). We are to become God, i.e. merge with Him, Who is the Spirit with no material body, and we cannot merge with something that has no material body if we ourselves have a material body. Even when I quoted to them the passage from St. Gregory of Nyssa from his homily about resurrection on the Holy Pascha (where he says that the "powder" contained in the coffins will become the resurrected men's bodies and that the present body never disappears as its elements live in the "stikia" of soil, air, moist, and fire), gnostics laugh and write that of course the Holy Father meant the purely SPIRITUAL "stikia" and the purely SPIRITUAL "elements," not the rottening filthy dirty stinky crappy "substance" like H2S.
George, you got to get a better set of friends.
Quote
There is really so much of THAT in the patristic literature and in catechisms. There is no plain language saying that after the general resurrection of the dead we will be material, consisting still of all the molecules (even the ... H2S). There really is this general "vector" that points toward immateriality, "angel-like" state of our beings in the life after the resurrection, or, esentially, to really, truly ANOTHER world, where everything will be different - space, time, dimentions, elements, activities, experiences. Gnostics may be actually right, and Wright and other "progressive-minded people" like myself - wrong. Maybe even Origen will be one day exonerated from all charges in "heresy." I just don't know and have hard time figuring this all out.
Ask your gnostic friends about venerating relics.  They're all molecules.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2008, 10:14:00 AM »

George, you got to get a better set of friends.

Actually, it's just one person, and he is not my friend. He is just a frequent poster on a Ukrainian web forum where serve as a moderator, a forum I feel deeply attached to because of its tremendous supportive role in the Ukrainian Orange Revolution of Nov. 2004 - Jan. 2005. But he is worth an army. The most bitter thing to me is that whenever I open a lot of chapters from the New Testament, or almost anything written by the Fathers, or some official catechism of the Orthodox Church, or - especially - a prayer book with historical prayers to the saints, I do, indeed, see where he is coming from. There are megatons of body-substance-matter loathing in there. Saint so-and-so is a shining example to us, because he/she "did not care at all about the body, which is temporal, but cared about the soul, which is immortal." Christ after His resurrection passed through locked doors, so, says an Orthodox catechim (!!!), "His body after His resurrection was not like ours, but spiritual." Those who are Christ's "crucified their body." Christ came to "punish sin in the body." St. Paul wants to get rid of his filthy rotten body and "be with Christ." The major theme of almost all prayers in Orthodox prayer books is taming the mortal body and desire to live in "purity." The best example of a married man is St. John of Kronshtadt who trumpeted that he and his wife lived all their married life as brother and sister. On and on and on and on it goes...

Ask your gnostic friends about venerating relics.  They're all molecules.

Useless. He will say that we are not venerating molecules but the Holy Spirit Who lives in the filthy rotten stinking cursed body remains, because He chose to.
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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2008, 01:21:54 PM »

The most bitter thing to me is that whenever I open a lot of chapters from the New Testament, or almost anything written by the Fathers, or some official catechism of the Orthodox Church, or - especially - a prayer book with historical prayers to the saints, I do, indeed, see where he is coming from.

Forgive me if I've posted on this before, Heorhij...I've read some prayers like what you mention here and have wondered about it myself; it seems very gnostic-sounding.  But I think the necessary caveat to all of this is that the body isn't bad...it's just the battlefield.

Put it this way: our bodies have been polluted through the fall and will only be redeemed at the resurrection.  Yet...we still discipline our bodies in an attempt to "renew our inner man day by day," even as our outer man -- which we are using as a vehicle to renew the inner man now and which will one day itself participate in said renewal as well if it is indeed sown to incorruption through virtuous renewal of the soul -- is passing away.

It's important to remember that when we say that Christ's body was "spiritual" that we are not saying that it was ethereal or immaterial.  Christ could pass through doors, yes, but St. Thomas could still touch him.  Why?  Because the body had been renewed and purified of the Fall's effects.  This is an important distinction: we do not long for the evil, stinking body's eventual dissolution into nothingness and await the pure, platonic existence of the ether.  Rather, we acknowledge the corruption present in the flesh, even as we USE the flesh to practice virtue and purify our nous.  Once this is done throughout our lives, the body is sown in corruption to one day be reaped in incorruption.  The "did not care at all about the body, which is temporal, but cared about the soul, which is immortal" quotes refer not to a hatred of the tangible, but of the realities of this fallen world -- the tangible loved for its own sake, as it were.  The saints realized that there were realities out there that were at odds with fallen creation; upon adopting the Lord's spiritual (read: NOT intangible) way of living, the body becomes a battleground wherein we become -- even in our still-fallen bodies and even -- even! -- as yet-fallen corpses -- temples of the Holy Spirit and eventual "seeds of immortality."
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2008, 03:07:06 PM »

Forgive me if I've posted on this before, Heorhij...

Not a problem, thank you so much for replying.

I've read some prayers like what you mention here and have wondered about it myself; it seems very gnostic-sounding.  But I think the necessary caveat to all of this is that the body isn't bad...it's just the battlefield.

Put it this way: our bodies have been polluted through the fall and will only be redeemed at the resurrection. 

Were they really "polluted?" I understand that it's one of our Orthodox dogmats that after the Fall, our bodies and souls, our entire beings became separated from God (His "energies," His Grace). Because of that, they became MORTAL - i.e. rather than being sustained endlessly by the Divine energies, they became demanding the natural sustenance (nutrients, physical and psychological pleasure etc.). However, correct me if I am wrong, but there are no reasons to think that something in our bodies per se - their molecular, cellular, tissue, organ buildup - changed in any way after the Fall. Chist was born as a 100% human being, but the Fathers insist that his humanity was coming from the Theotokos, i.e. He from the moment of His conception had the same DNA, the same genetic code, the same developmental programs, the same homeostasis etc. that we have. His humanity was as "injured" as our humanity is, in that He hungered, thirsted, suffered from pain, and had very human emotions. Yet, it became immortal because He completely subjugated His human will to the Divine will, and so the "injury" was healed by the divine energies, and death could not keep Him - so He rose from His tomb; and He rose in the very same material, physical, molecular-cellular-tissue-organ human body, and He ascended into heaven in this same body also. Is this correct? But then, if the answer is yes, how come He does not have a particular location right now, and how come He is bodily present in the Eucharist? That's what I do not understand and that's where gnostics will always beat me...

Yet...we still discipline our bodies in an attempt to "renew our inner man day by day," even as our outer man -- which we are using as a vehicle to renew the inner man now and which will one day itself participate in said renewal as well if it is indeed sown to incorruption through virtuous renewal of the soul -- is passing away.

Does "passing away" mean disappearing? You see, that's, again, where I see a certain dead end. On the one hand, Christ's human material body did not disappear - He, according to the patristic thought, rose in the same body in which He suffered. Yet, when this body began to ascend, it resisted the force of gravity; and afterwards, like right now, this body, as it is sometimes said, "transcended space and time," became something totally mysterious and undescribable, something that, for example, is "always divided and never exhausted," is present fully (not "by pieces" or "slices") in every single chalice in thousands of parishes during the Eucharist, and so on. So it's NOT quite like our bodies. Then, in some patristic writings - notably, in the Homily on the Holy Easter by St. Gregory of Nyssa - one can see thoughts that the material of our bodies, the "powder," the ultimate product of bodily corruption that is contained in coffins, will not disappear, but will one day be forming, again, the bodies of the resurrected humans. Yet, this same St. Gregory of Nyssa in his another work - the dialogue with St. Macrina - points out that we leave EVERYTHING earthly here, on earth, and that nothing that we have right now shall we have after the resurrection...

It's important to remember that when we say that Christ's body was "spiritual" that we are not saying that it was ethereal or immaterial.  Christ could pass through doors, yes, but St. Thomas could still touch him.  Why?  Because the body had been renewed and purified of the Fall's effects.  This is an important distinction: we do not long for the evil, stinking body's eventual dissolution into nothingness and await the pure, platonic existence of the ether.  Rather, we acknowledge the corruption present in the flesh, even as we USE the flesh to practice virtue and purify our nous.  Once this is done throughout our lives, the body is sown in corruption to one day be reaped in incorruption.

Well, my gnostic opponent argues that this episode of touching the body by the apostle Thomas was merely a teaching tool, something that urged the doubting man to believe that Christ really rose from the dead, that it was not an illusion. And yes, he goes on to say, indeed, we DO long for the material body's total dissolution into nothingness and we DO await the pure, platonic, immaterial, asubstantial body to be given to us after the resurrection. These new bodies will have no outward appearance, and no dimensions - JUST LIKE CHRIST'S BODY AT PRESENT, AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, HAS NO OUTWARD APPEARANCE AND DIMENSIONS (indeed, we do not see His fingernails in the Eucharist, do we?). This "glorified" post-resurrection body IS what the body of the human SHOULD be - limitless, endless in both space and time, and eternal, infinite.

As far as "using the flesh" goes - this would probably be my opponent's biggest pet peeve. Such expressions inevitably cause his fury because he views them as "attempts to justify sin." Everything bodily is sinful, in his view. Especially something that is associated with feelings of physical pleasure. We have to hate it all. That's what 1 John 2:15, 16 means. The "earth" (i.e. the entire material universe) is cursed. The matter is the quintessential expression of this curse (God created purely spiritual earth, stars, planets, and humans, and all that "acquired the disgusting materiality" as Adam and Eve sinned). Our bodily sensations are, in turn, the quintessential expression of this "disgusting matter." Whenever we "use flesh" - we are Satan's fellow workers. All our existence, all our doings must be completely spiritual.

The "did not care at all about the body, which is temporal, but cared about the soul, which is immortal" quotes refer not to a hatred of the tangible, but of the realities of this fallen world -- the tangible loved for its own sake, as it were.  The saints realized that there were realities out there that were at odds with fallen creation; upon adopting the Lord's spiritual (read: NOT intangible) way of living, the body becomes a battleground wherein we become -- even in our still-fallen bodies and even -- even! -- as yet-fallen corpses -- temples of the Holy Spirit and eventual "seeds of immortality."

My opponent would not even listen to your explanation, unfortunately. When I tried to make explanations of a similar sort, he only wrote that I was, as is my permanent habit and custom, wickedly twisting the sacred words of Scripture, Fathers and "lex orandi." Whenever I say something like "yes, but..." - he gets absolutely furious and says that in this "yes, but" is all of my disgusting persona of the faithful, cheap servant of the Antichrist.
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2008, 03:23:28 PM »

The "earth" (i.e. the entire material universe) is cursed. The matter is the quintessential expression of this curse (God created purely spiritual earth, stars, planets, and humans, and all that "acquired the disgusting materiality" as Adam and Eve sinned).

I take it that your gnostic interlocutor is un-married?
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2008, 03:32:04 PM »

The "earth" (i.e. the entire material universe) is cursed. The matter is the quintessential expression of this curse (God created purely spiritual earth, stars, planets, and humans, and all that "acquired the disgusting materiality" as Adam and Eve sinned).

I take it that your gnostic interlocutor is un-married?

He is married and has two sons, pre-teens. But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed). According to his testimony, his wife completely agrees with this because she is a good Christian wife and "is one with her husband" whatever the husband says. When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.

Also, he says that he eats only once a day and sleeps no more than 3-4 hours.
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2008, 04:11:08 PM »

The "earth" (i.e. the entire material universe) is cursed. The matter is the quintessential expression of this curse (God created purely spiritual earth, stars, planets, and humans, and all that "acquired the disgusting materiality" as Adam and Eve sinned).

I take it that your gnostic interlocutor is un-married?

He is married and has two sons, pre-teens. But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed). According to his testimony, his wife completely agrees with this because she is a good Christian wife and "is one with her husband" whatever the husband says. When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.

Also, he says that he eats only once a day and sleeps no more than 3-4 hours.

Excuse me, I have not been following this thread very closely, but the above scenario makes absolutely no sense to me whatsover. In fact, I find it upsetting.
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« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2008, 04:37:18 PM »

The "earth" (i.e. the entire material universe) is cursed. The matter is the quintessential expression of this curse (God created purely spiritual earth, stars, planets, and humans, and all that "acquired the disgusting materiality" as Adam and Eve sinned).

I take it that your gnostic interlocutor is un-married?

He is married and has two sons, pre-teens. But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed). According to his testimony, his wife completely agrees with this because she is a good Christian wife and "is one with her husband" whatever the husband says. When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.

Also, he says that he eats only once a day and sleeps no more than 3-4 hours.

Excuse me, I have not been following this thread very closely, but the above scenario makes absolutely no sense to me whatsover. In fact, I find it upsetting.

Me too... but I feel powerless, unable to change anything. The people who visit the "Maidan" forum are not clergy (except one Eastern Rite Catholic priest - but he is young and rather timid), and the majority there is very anti-Christian. To my bewilderment, my Gnostic opponent finds ways to communicate very well with them, as they all are convinced that Christianity is all about hating the body. They write to him that he as a Christian is wrong; he writes to them that no, it's them who are wrong, but one happy day they will come to the Truth if they really are looking for this Truth (i.e. that body is equal to abomination and sin). However, his attitude to me is absolutely different - he considers me a hypocrite, a real servant of the Antichrist, because I PRETEND to be a Christian while in actuality all I care about is body and sensuality. I am not to be argued with, I am to be destroyed, dipped in the mud. The general conclusion of the anti-Christian crowd on "Maidan" is that my gnostic opponent is a real Christian and I am just a watered-down, in-between, an opportunist who tries to reconcile the un-reconcilable ("humanism" and this awful barbaric body-loathing Christianity).

I have already had heart attacks because of this two-year-long debate, and I have episodes of arhythmia about every 2-3 days. Even though I am taking an antidepressant, I am still a nervous and emotional wreck.
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« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2008, 05:06:07 PM »

Oh George, this is completely unnecessary and ridiculous that your precious health should be jeopordized because of such a total misunderstanding (in my opinion) of the beautiful way the Master of the Universe created us, his dear children. I myself have engaged in  heated arguments with some of my Russian female friends who are completely convinced of these very same, identical "truths".  You know the kind of strictness I grew up with, but even THERE no one ever came close to such "body hatred"(and they were pretty close to being gnostics too-as I now realize-the "spiritual" was always preferred to the "material"). I held a several months long moratorium from conversing on any sort of controversial topic with these friends and learned to keep my lips firmly sealed the minute the conversation would swerve dangerously onto such topics, and you know, I am now under a bit less stress. What is tragic in your Maidan case is that your gnostic friend is giving your athiest friends real cause to avoid chrisitianity and to make christianity appear like an absurdity. Apparently even they know better.

So sorry about this, George. It doesn't seem right that you should have to endure this horror. Couldn't you take a breather from this? Give yourself a vacation from it all, please- be kind to yourself-please!
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2008, 05:22:00 PM »



I have already had heart attacks because of this two-year-long debate, and I have episodes of arhythmia about every 2-3 days. Even though I am taking an antidepressant, I am still a nervous and emotional wreck.

Dear brother Heorhij, forgive me if this sounds trite or crass, but don't we already have a savior?  Why do you feel the need to subject yourself to this person's abuse?  If they don't want to hear the truth, or are unable to hear it, then there's nothing you can do except pray for them and move on.  Really.  It's not a sin to do so; you haven't 'lost' the fight, nor have you given up on them either.  But if you're having to resort to medication, you need to seriously reconsider your loyalty to this group. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2008, 05:31:38 PM »

Oh George, this is completely unnecessary and ridiculous that your precious health should be jeopordized because of such a total misunderstanding (in my opinion) of the beautiful way the Master of the Universe created us, his dear children. I myself have engaged in  heated arguments with some of my Russian female friends who are completely convinced of these very same, identical "truths".  You know the kind of strictness I grew up with, but even THERE no one ever came close to such "body hatred"(and they were pretty close to being gnostics too-as I now realize-the "spiritual" was always preferred to the "material"). I held a several months long moratorium from conversing on any sort of controversial topic with these friends and learned to keep my lips firmly sealed the minute the conversation would swerve dangerously onto such topics, and you know, I am now under a bit less stress. What is tragic in your Maidan case is that your gnostic friend is giving your athiest friends real cause to avoid chrisitianity and to make christianity appear like an absurdity. Apparently even they know better.

So sorry about this, George. It doesn't seem right that you should have to endure this horror. Couldn't you take a breather from this? Give yourself a vacation from it all, please- be kind to yourself-please!

Thank you, sister! Yes, I actually stopped replying to his posts and do not even read them, even though I am a moderator...

But regardless of that person, I don't have my answers, honestly. I still do not understand, just what does 1 John 2:15, 16 mean, and I have read some very different, very contradicting exegeses of it (some Fathers explained that the "world" actually means the world of human passions, but there are other explanations as well). I don't understand, just in what way is our body "corrupted" while biologically I am the same with Christ. I do not understand why St. Gregory of Nyssa (himself having lived a married life only very briefly, as he became a widower very soon after marriage) compared human sexuality with something that is fitting to the cattle, and St. John the Golden Mouth (who was never married) very eloquently argued that first humans in Paradise had no need whatsoever in "that awful thing." I do not understand why our Orthodox catechisms never write simply and plainly that marital sex is a wonderful thing, and there is nothing wrong or "fallen" about experiencing orgasms yourself and giving orgasms to your spouse (or at least it is not any more "fallen" than any other experience!), that strong mutual orgasm in the marital bed is actually one of the best and the most spiritual things that happen in the human life. Maybe because my opponent is right, after all?
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2008, 05:55:48 PM »

Heorhij, one of the most valuable things I have learned over the years is this: Individual Fathers can seem contradictory in their writing, but the truth, the consensus patrum of the Church is found in her iconography and liturgical texts. Two which come to mind immediately are the Vigil texts for the feasts of Apostle Thomas (October 6, and the first Sunday after Pascha), and, of course, the marriage service. The Holy Week services, particularly the Vespers and Matins of Great Friday, are also instructive. If I put my mind to it, I could come up with many more examples.

We must be careful to distinguish between "the body", and "the flesh". The body was created "good", but the flesh (our passions) is what corrupts humanity. Greek texts are clear, in that two distinct words are used: soma and sarka. Unfortunately, many English translations of scripture and the Fathers are less careful in their use of body and flesh, hence the potential for misunderstandings.
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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2008, 05:56:39 PM »

Dear brother Heorhij, forgive me if this sounds trite or crass, but don't we already have a savior?  Why do you feel the need to subject yourself to this person's abuse?  If they don't want to hear the truth, or are unable to hear it, then there's nothing you can do except pray for them and move on.  Really.  It's not a sin to do so; you haven't 'lost' the fight, nor have you given up on them either.  But if you're having to resort to medication, you need to seriously reconsider your loyalty to this group. 

Thank you, Gabriel, you are right... Maybe it's really this competitiveness, this desire to always win an argument. But then, again, like I wrote above, I have doubts and "gaps," if you will, in my understanding of the Orthodox anthropology. It's all so wonderfully simple to our brothers and sisters Protestants, because they never read all these Fathers.Smiley (And especially all these Fathers' modern interpreters.Smiley)
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« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2008, 06:10:04 PM »

We must be careful to distinguish between "the body", and "the flesh". The body was created "good", but the flesh (our passions) is what corrupts humanity. Greek texts are clear, in that two distinct words are used: soma and sarka. Unfortunately, many English translations of scripture and the Fathers are less careful in their use of body and flesh, hence the potential for misunderstandings.

But the text in John 1:15 says, the Word became FLESH (not body) (Καί ό λόγος σαρξ  εγένετο). According to my opponent, yes, the Word became a stinking rottening piece of meat, like us, with the sole purpose to show us that this piece of meat is worthless and all we really need to do is to mortify it ("and those who are Christ's cricified their bodies (or fleshes)").
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« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2008, 06:39:03 PM »

He is married and has two sons, pre-teens. But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed).
sounds like the Heaven's Gate cult would suit this guy. His views are certainly not Christian, because in Christianity "Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled". (Hebrews 13:4)

According to his testimony, his wife completely agrees with this because she is a good Christian wife
I see. So a "good Christian wife" accepts whatever lunacy and heresy her husband comes up with.

and "is one with her husband" whatever the husband says.
Au contraire. She is not "one with her husband"- the two are now separated and no longer one flesh in accordance with God's Laws.


When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.
Then he shouldn't have married then, should he?

Also, he says that he eats only once a day and sleeps no more than 3-4 hours.

How pious!
There you go- he has just received the reward he sought for for his ascesis.

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."(Matthew 6:16-18)

"But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments." (Matthew 23:5)
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« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2008, 07:50:15 PM »

Quote
But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed).

Doesn't this violate the canons from the Council of Gangra, at least in spirit?

"If anyone should remain a virgin or observe continence as if, abominating marriage, he had become an anchorite, and not for the good standard and holy feature of virginity, let him be anathema." - Council of Gangra, Canon 9

"If anyone leading a life of virginity for the Lord should regard married persons superciliously, let him be anathema." - Council of Gangra, Canon 10
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« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2008, 07:59:26 PM »

Forgive me if I disagree with the accolades so quickly offered up for Wright's interview, but...

First, I have never heard any Christian say what Wright uses as the bases for his interview: "I've often heard people say, "I'm going to heaven soon, and I won't need this stupid body there, thank goodness.'"  Of course some may reply, Wright said "people" not Christians., but even conceding that point I am not certain that his question begs a conclusion that those people were "gnostic".   Is it really beyond reason to agree with the statement when considering that these "people" are not aiming for theological precision?  Will anyone of us really need this stupid body there (wherever or whatever that perception of heaven might be)?  Does not even St. Paul say this body is sown in corruption and raised in in-corruption?  And could that not also mean that we "won't need this stupid body there..."?  Does not Wright himself acknowledge the possibility of this meaning when he states "The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but [also...] our bodies."?

Secondly, Wright states "At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, "Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven."  I am uncertain whom he has in mind to have said otherwise, does anybody reading the article know whom he had in mind?

Quote: "St. Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet..."

Is the above statement true? [reply to second question] The first part of his statement appears agreeable, but need we agree with the second part of his statement and does it agree with what we actually confess...?

His answer to the second question is silent about the intermediate state of hades/hell/Sheol, and in my experience more "people" have believed they were going to that intermediate state than the former of heaven, but your actual experience might differ.

To the fifth question Wright said, "But in Luke, we know first of all that Christ himself will not be resurrected for three days, so "paradise" cannot be a resurrection."

Is this statement compatible with what Saints have said, such as St John of Damascus among many others?

Michalangelo's Last Judgment is an interesting piece of art and could result in some worthwhile discussion...but I am not certain that it proves his point.  I concede many people have very earthy views even of the Last judgement and no doubt also of Michalangelo's painting.

I don't know that Wright's statement about the Saints all running this/newly created world is very clear and his social/political comments are no clearer: "  Yes. If there's going to be an Armageddon, and we'll all be in heaven already or raptured up just in time, it really doesn't matter if you have acid rain or greenhouse gases prior to that. Or, for that matter, whether you bombed civilians in Iraq."  

I also am unclear as to what is his end game and whether it is actually Orthodox.  "But the end of Revelation describes a marvelous human participation in God's plan. And in almost all cases, when I've explained this to people, there's a sense of excitement and a sense of, "Why haven't we been told this before?"

I am left wondering what he is thinking and whether it is actually conformable to the Ecumenical Councils, but that is what the interview was all about, correct?  That is to sell his book...everything is a commodity, especially eschatology.  
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« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2008, 07:48:30 AM »

When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.
Then he shouldn't have married then, should he?


Actually, people on the Maidan forum, including the only representative of the clergy (the young Eastern Rite Catholic priest from L'viv, Western Ukraine) asked him this question, but he immediately responded that it's just in our sick perverted minds sex and mariage are the same thing. Again, look at the shining example of St. John of Kronshtadt. And, he goes on, do you seriously believe that those people who are now saints in heaven HAD SEX??? Especially AFTER they begot children??? How pervert of you.
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« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2008, 07:58:10 AM »

Quote
But he announced, about 2 years ago, that he would not have any sexual relationships with his wife any more, because that's "cattle-like" (a number of quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa followed).

Doesn't this violate the canons from the Council of Gangra, at least in spirit?

"If anyone should remain a virgin or observe continence as if, abominating marriage, he had become an anchorite, and not for the good standard and holy feature of virginity, let him be anathema." - Council of Gangra, Canon 9

"If anyone leading a life of virginity for the Lord should regard married persons superciliously, let him be anathema." - Council of Gangra, Canon 10

Excelent point, but again, you see, whenever my opponent sees or hears the word "marriage," he immediately comments that marriage and sex and not the same thing. Even when people tell him that in the Greek language, the word "gamo" (or its derivatives) indicate both marital union and bodily union in a sexual act, he always replies that this doesn't convince him. Look at St. John of Kronshtadt. Read a gazillion of quotes from Orthodox clergymen who adamantly preach that sex in marriage is EXCLUSIVELY for the purpose of childbirth (there indeed are thoughts of this kind, expressed in homilies of some old Russian clergymen, they can be easily found on the Internet). So, my opponent says that he is no against marriage per se, but only against sex that does not pursue the goal of making a new baby. After the birth of children, unless the husband and the wife want more children, there should be no sex. Again (closer to the topic of this thread), this whole line of reasoning is inspired by the notion, which my opponent sincerely believes to be the CENTRAL notion of all Christianity, that we have been created immaterial - yes, the Bible says that God made us from the dust of the earth, but that was BEFORE the earth was "cursed"! And this "curse," according to my opponent, is a peculiar "transfer" of everything from immateriality to materiality. Now, we have to RETURN to immateriality, and THAT''S why Christ killed his material flesh, and THAT'S what Christ teaches us to do.
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« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2008, 08:07:26 AM »

Heorhij, ask your friend if he venerates icons, and if he regards them as a necessary and essential aspect of Orthodox worship and devotion. This question is not as irrelevant as it may seem.
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« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2008, 09:36:33 AM »

Heorhij, ask your friend if he venerates icons, and if he regards them as a necessary and essential aspect of Orthodox worship and devotion. This question is not as irrelevant as it may seem.

He is not a friend of mine, just a "colleague" from the Web forum that discusses philosphy, religion and spirituality in Ukrainian. As for icons - yes, we talked about it and he said that he loves icons, but, again, not because they represent matter, substance. On the contrary, icons are created according to a certain set of rules that aim at excluding the "material," the bodily, the sensual. Bodies depicted in icons are carefully hidden by clothes, so that they almost escape the viewer's attention. The main part of any icon is the saint's face, especially the eyes and the forehead. So the icon has nothing to do with this world and its materiality. It's a "passageway" to that OTHER world, the world where there is no such thing as this "disgusting rotten bestial cattle-like substantiality." (My opponent loves this expression, in Ukrainian, "гидотна рeчовинність," which is extremely strong - literally, "the substance-ness which is disgusting/abomibnable/turning-off/vomit-causing." He borrowerd it from St. Gregory of Nyssa...)
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« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2008, 03:04:40 PM »

When people asked him, was it that he lost his sexual drive or potency or something, he said no; "I am made of the same material as everyone else" - but he has made a conscious decision to "crucify the body" and to follow Christ.
Then he shouldn't have married then, should he?


Actually, people on the Maidan forum, including the only representative of the clergy (the young Eastern Rite Catholic priest from L'viv, Western Ukraine) asked him this question, but he immediately responded that it's just in our sick perverted minds sex and mariage are the same thing. Again, look at the shining example of St. John of Kronshtadt. And, he goes on, do you seriously believe that those people who are now saints in heaven HAD SEX??? Especially AFTER they begot children??? How pervert of you.


I think the only problem with a sex-minimal or sex-less marriage arises when one spouse would actually prefer sex. If both agree to abstain, especially for 'spiritual' purposes, then there really isn't a problem (cf. Josephite marriage in the Latin Church).

I'm curious about what this guy does for a living? And how does he interact with the neighbors, his family, and society at large? Does his gnosticism have a 'negative' effect on any of that?

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« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2008, 03:30:59 PM »

I think the only problem with a sex-minimal or sex-less marriage arises when one spouse would actually prefer sex. If both agree to abstain, especially for 'spiritual' purposes, then there really isn't a problem (cf. Josephite marriage in the Latin Church).

Maybe, but it should hardly be a model... Again, it's all based on opposing sexuality to spirituality. Sexuality is of this world, spirituality of the other (better). Is this doctrinally right? Yes, I know, Christ said that "over there" people do not marry but are like angels in heaven, but what does that actually mean? What do we really know about angels? And are we really to oppose body to mind, sensual from spiritual? Is sex, sexuality, bodily sensuality ALWAYS and necessarily "un-spiritual?"

I'm curious about what this guy does for a living? And how does he interact with the neighbors, his family, and society at large? Does his gnosticism have a 'negative' effect on any of that?

I am not sure what his profession is, or even does he have one. He immigrated to the US from Ukraine about 6 years ago. In Ukraine, he was an electric engineer, but I don't think he works as an engineer in the US, because he knows very little English. All I know is that he seems to be very computer-literate, so maybe he works as a technician somewhere in a computer firm or in an IT office.

As far as his dealings with other people: he is usually very polite in his online communications, cordial, well-wishing - but only up to the point when he senses that the other person in a discussion disagrees with his theology AND states that he (the disagreeing one) is a Christian. When that happens, P.M. (that's his nickname on "Maidan") becomes furious and relentlessly attacks that other person. He can even write straightforward obscenities; and when I, as a moderator erase them or block the topic, he becomes even worse. He begins to open more and more and more of new threads on the same topic, or sends the same material to a different "Maidan" section. He was banned a couple of times, but he always managed to return under a slightly different nickname (like p.m. or PM instead of the regular P.M.). When his IP was blocked, he used his son's computer and loudly complained that of course the moderator, this well-known cheap servant of Antichrist, is persecuting him, but he will prevail anyway.
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« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2008, 03:42:10 PM »

I think the only problem with a sex-minimal or sex-less marriage arises when one spouse would actually prefer sex. If both agree to abstain, especially for 'spiritual' purposes, then there really isn't a problem (cf. Josephite marriage in the Latin Church).

Maybe, but it should hardly be a model... Again, it's all based on opposing sexuality to spirituality. Sexuality is of this world, spirituality of the other (better). Is this doctrinally right? Yes, I know, Christ said that "over there" people do not marry but are like angels in heaven, but what does that actually mean? What do we really know about angels? And are we really to oppose body to mind, sensual from spiritual? Is sex, sexuality, bodily sensuality ALWAYS and necessarily "un-spiritual?"

I'm curious about what this guy does for a living? And how does he interact with the neighbors, his family, and society at large? Does his gnosticism have a 'negative' effect on any of that?

I am not sure what his profession is, or even does he have one. He immigrated to the US from Ukraine about 6 years ago. In Ukraine, he was an electric engineer, but I don't think he works as an engineer in the US, because he knows very little English. All I know is that he seems to be very computer-literate, so maybe he works as a technician somewhere in a computer firm or in an IT office.

As far as his dealings with other people: he is usually very polite in his online communications, cordial, well-wishing - but only up to the point when he senses that the other person in a discussion disagrees with his theology AND states that he (the disagreeing one) is a Christian. When that happens, P.M. (that's his nickname on "Maidan") becomes furious and relentlessly attacks that other person. He can even write straightforward obscenities; and when I, as a moderator erase them or block the topic, he becomes even worse. He begins to open more and more and more of new threads on the same topic, or sends the same material to a different "Maidan" section. He was banned a couple of times, but he always managed to return under a slightly different nickname (like p.m. or PM instead of the regular P.M.). When his IP was blocked, he used his son's computer and loudly complained that of course the moderator, this well-known cheap servant of Antichrist, is persecuting him, but he will prevail anyway.
(speaking as one moderator to another) So why do you even take this flamethrowing troll seriously enough to even engage him beyond what is minimally necessary to moderate him?  "Don't feed the trolls." Cheesy
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« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2008, 05:37:55 PM »

(speaking as one moderator to another) So why do you even take this flamethrowing troll seriously enough to even engage him beyond what is minimally necessary to moderate him?  "Don't feed the trolls." Cheesy

You see, perhaps you are right, formally speaking... but I still felt like I had to defend our faith, and if I give up, the un-truth will win.
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« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2008, 05:52:16 PM »

You see, perhaps you are right, formally speaking... but I still felt like I had to defend our faith, and if I give up, the un-truth will win.
Yeah, been there. Tongue  If you ever have a chance to post on any of the MSN.com discussion boards, AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE!  I got into a similar battle with an obscene, militantly anti-Christian atheist while there and felt, much like you do with this Gnostic fellow, that I needed to stand my ground lest the lie win.  I finally realized that I just wasn't going to get anywhere with a fellow that didn't care what I had to say and was going to call me stupid just because I was a Christian, and that I was letting him have too much of my time.  I just had to walk away and shake the dust off my feet, so to speak, as a witness against him.  (Fortunately, I didn't have any moderatorial responsibilities while I was there, so I could walk away easily without being derelict of my duties.)
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« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2008, 06:00:13 PM »

Quote
He is not a friend of mine, just a "colleague" from the Web forum that discusses philosphy, religion and spirituality in Ukrainian. As for icons - yes, we talked about it and
Quote
he said that he loves icons, but, again, not because they represent matter, substance.
On the contrary, icons are created according to a certain set of rules that aim at excluding the "material," the bodily, the sensual. Bodies depicted in icons are carefully hidden by clothes, so that they almost escape the viewer's attention. The main part of any icon is the saint's face, especially the eyes and the forehead. So the icon has nothing to do with this world and its materiality. It's a "passageway" to that OTHER world, the world where there is no such thing as this "disgusting rotten bestial cattle-like substantiality." (My opponent loves this expression, in Ukrainian, "гидотна рeчовинність," which is extremely strong - literally, "the substance-ness which is disgusting/abomibnable/turning-off/vomit-causing." He borrowed it from St. Gregory of Nyssa...)

Icons are indeed painted in an abstracted, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way. However, his statement which I have rendered in bold, flies in the face of the whole purpose of iconography, the central principle over which the iconodules fought, and eventually prevailed, over the iconoclasts. As so elegantly put by St John of Damascus:

Of old God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was not depicted at all. But now that God has appeared in the flesh and lived among men, I make an image of the God who can be seen. I do not worship matter, but I worship the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease from venerating the matter through which my salvation has been effected.

and:

Since the invisible One became visible by taking on flesh, you can fashion the image of Him whom you saw. Since He who has neither body nor form nor quantity nor quality, who goes beyond all grandeur by the excellence of His nature, He, being of divine nature, took on the condition of a slave and reduced Himself to quantity and quality by clothing Himself in human features. Therefore, paint on wood and present for contemplation Him who desired to become visible.

and, the kontakion of the Triumph of Orthodoxy:

The indefinable Word of the Father made Himself definable, having taken flesh from you, O Mother of God, and having refashioned the soiled image of man to its former state, has suffused it with divine beauty. Confessing salvation, we proclaim it in deed and word.

The sullied human body was "made good" again by the Incarnation. Iconography, being made of created matter, which glorifies the Creator, is a prime manifestation of this.

One cannot be Orthodox and gnostic at the same time. It's either one or the other. All credit to you, Heorhij, for your defence of the faith in the face of this man's heresies.
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« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2008, 06:53:37 PM »

One cannot be Orthodox and gnostic at the same time. It's either one or the other.

I agree. Just for the record, P.M. (my Gnostic opponent) was baptized Orthodox as an infant but now attends a Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholic church, because he believes that the Orthodox Church is "disorderly" as it does not have one single earthly prelate. For example, it infuriates P.M. that the Orthodox Church does not have one universal doctrinal statement on contraception, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church that is guided in this issue by the papal "Humanae Vitae" encyclic. However, when it comes to beliefs abot matter and body, P.M. very passionately argues not just with me, an Orthodox, but even with an ordained priest of his own church, calling him a "sissy," an "ignoramus in theology" etc. etc. etc.

All credit to you, Heorhij, for your defence of the faith in the face of this man's heresies.

Thank you. And many thanks for the quotes from Damascene. Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2008, 11:58:31 AM »

Hmmm, it sure seems these postings have veered from the subject line...

Quote:"...baptized Orthodox as an infant but now attends a Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholic church, because he believes that the Orthodox Church is "disorderly" ..." 

IMO he may indeed be correct about the "disorderly" state of the Orthodox Church(s) and certainly the Apostle Paul put orderliness as what is supposed to be characteristic of Churches, but one only has to read his own epistles to see that the disorderly condition of the Church is a human reality and uniting oneself with the Pope of Roman and the ERCC will not resolve that issue, for having passed through the Easter Rite in my journey into Orthodoxy my opinion is their are stooges everywhere...in the court and in churches, yes, even in the Orthodox Church..., but your actual experience may vary.
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« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2008, 03:29:02 PM »

I am sorry if I was the reason why the thread deviated friom its original title and course.

My point, as close to the topic as possible, is that it is not clear to me whether Bishop Wright was correct or not.

On the one hand, yes, we, the Orthodox, seem to believe unanimously that God created ONE world and that THIS ONE world is being saved, redeemed, restored by Christ. So, we are not dreaming about some kind of travel to another universe when we die; rather, we have a hope that after our temporary physical death, we will rise with Christ to live eternally in this same God-created world, and in this world we will be God's fellow workers (συνεργοι).

On the other hand, there are indications in Scripture and Fathers that our experience after the general resurrection of the dead will be very different from our present experience. What it will be, precisely, we do not know, but we know that it will be different. Maybe, indeed, the Earth and other planets and stars and galaxies will just disappear, and maybe, indeed, we will have no limitations not only in time (eternal life), but also in space, the way Christ seems to have no spatial limitations now. So, what exactly will be our role after the Resurrection, what shall we be doing, in what exact way shall we be God's συνεργοι, is an open question. In a way, perhaps, Christians are both wrong about Heaven, and right.
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« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2008, 10:43:11 PM »

"Icons are indeed painted in an abstracted, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way."


 Shocked  I thought keeping the fast was difficult and Hesychism also, but having to attain to an "abstract, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way" just to paint an Icon...and there seems to be so many Icon painters advertising on the Internet...WOW!
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« Reply #48 on: October 29, 2008, 12:28:53 AM »

"Icons are indeed painted in an abstracted, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way."


 Shocked  I thought keeping the fast was difficult and Hesychism also, but having to attain to an "abstract, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way" just to paint an Icon...and there seems to be so many Icon painters advertising on the Internet...WOW!

Let me assure you, zoarth, that a good number of present-day "iconographers" peddling their wares online have little or no real understanding of what iconography is truly about.
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« Reply #49 on: October 29, 2008, 12:50:26 AM »

Let me assure you, zoarth,

I think its "Zoar". Short for "Zoar the Gleaner"
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« Reply #50 on: October 29, 2008, 01:01:09 AM »

However, when it comes to beliefs about matter and body, P.M. very passionately argues not just with me, an Orthodox, but even with an ordained priest of his own church, calling him a "sissy," an "ignoramus in theology" etc. etc. etc.

He sounds like a real winner.  So much for love.
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« Reply #51 on: October 29, 2008, 04:09:30 AM »

"Icons are indeed painted in an abstracted, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way."


 Shocked  I thought keeping the fast was difficult and Hesychism also, but having to attain to an "abstract, non-sensual, "spiritualised" way" just to paint an Icon...and there seems to be so many Icon painters advertising on the Internet...WOW!

I'm not sure how an Icon can be "non-sensual" when colour depends on the sense of vision. And to say an Icon is "spiritualized" when it is made of materials (wood, plaster, pigments and egg yolks etc.) seems strange to me. Nor can I see how an Icon is abstract. Jackson Pollock's work is abstract. Pablo Picasso's work is abstract.
This is abstract:


This is not abstract:


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