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Author Topic: Doctrinal unity between Orthodox and Latins?  (Read 6397 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: September 04, 2003, 02:29:54 PM »

      The notion persists is no few Orthodox quarters and many Latin (and even Protestant) quarters that the Orthodox and Latins have similar doctrines--except for the Filioque and a few other items.  This ignores that “when we say the say things, we are not saying the same things.”

     YES we have Grace and Sacraments and tradition and a homoian (similar, not identical) Standard of Belief (symvolon pisteos).  But Grace is defined in opposite terms:
          Orthodox--uncreated Energy, God’s Life
          Latins--not uncreated, not operativa (i.e. energetic)
     YES, we have the Creed, but we have conflicting starting points for God’s Oneness, which leads to more differences than just the Filioque.  
     YES we have been traditional, but the Latins broke from the original Greek-language tradition--ignoring energy, adopting Augustine’s juridicalism and a whole host of deviant teachings (I spent two years reading him in Latin and in English; believe me!).  But there was a paradigm-shift (giving terms different presuppositions and meanings) when the Muslim Aristotle came to the West in Latin translations.
          Two schools arose:
             --the intellect-centered juridical form of the Dominicans (Aquinas).
            --the will-first juridical form of the Franciscans (and Luther’s Augustinian Order);
         Luther claimed to be a follower of Ockham, Scotus’s disciple
     YES, we have a sacramental outlook, but the Latins have non-energetic ex opere operato sacraments, while the Orthodox have energetic Mysteries which can be amenable to ekonomia in the case of certain discrepancies of ritual and ceremonial (which are not the same thing!) in cases of necessity and ignorance.  YES, the Latins have seven, whereas our number of Mysteries is not limited (including what the Latins call sacramentals); Chrismation is part of Baptism.

     Most of our doctrinal similarities don’t have the same semantic import because they are based on contrary paradigms whose “forms” conflict--Orthodox energy ontoogy and Latin (and Protestant) juridical form.  You cannot understand the New Testament Orthodoxy if you do not know the relation of dynamis : energeia to a speaker of Hellenistic (post-Aristotelian) Greek.   Thus St. Paul used energy terminology 26 times.
On these energy terms, see http://orlapubs.com/AR/R75.html.

     This is just a start that can be enlarged as one proceeds.  Remember, the topic is doctrine, not polity (organization), not superficial ceremonials, not pious practices, etc.    
     And do not confuse LOGOS with Western “Word,” ‘omoiosis with Western “Likeness”--both too absurd to defend for anyone who knows Greek and the history of philosophy and theology--as well as much additional terminology laid out on http://orlapubs.com/AR/R191.html.

unworthy Afanasiy, sinner

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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2003, 07:45:21 PM »

Grace.

I actualy thought the differences were just terminoklogical, I always had this view about St. Nektarios explaining grace as the rays of the sun.

From what I knew it didn't differ from what the Latins teach, it's just because of the traditions, Latins also believe sacraments confer grace and all that stuff.

Can you explain this clearly please?
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2003, 12:42:53 AM »

Dear in Christ thread member:

There are three important paradigms that define what terms like Grace, "valid," "Trinity,' etc. mean.  I don't have time to explain the dozens of ramifications, so I will exemplify two:

GRACE is uncreated Energy for the Orthodox.
Standard Latin theologians deny that Sanctifying Grace is either energetic or uncreated.
Protestants say it is virtual righteousness imputed to a sinner.

Unity with God is with the uncreated Energies.
But the West doesn't distinguish energies from essence; Aquinas says that God's Essence is pure existence, an energy.  So:

Latin unity with God's Essence is virtual; it is intentional (conceptual unity with God's ideas).
The Reformers say it is virtual, but this time will-based--covenantal.

These teachings are determined by the axioms of our underlying paradigms.  Salvation is ontoloigcal for the Orthodox--juridical for the West.   Similar differences could be illstrated with the all-pur Theotokos, but I won't forego speaking at length.

One can go through virtually every doctrine--Trinity, Salvation, Church, revelation, etc.  I just don't have time now, but didn't wish to ignore your request.

Afanasiy, sinner
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2003, 01:53:22 AM »

afanasiy,

Haven't you noticed how your threads get very little traffic?  I really think that if you would bring your wording/language down several levels, more people would chime in.  I don't think majority here even know what the heck you're talking about most of the time.  For, example, explain in English what you mean by ontological vs juridical (I barely know myself, and I've been Orthodox for over 15 years!).

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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2003, 03:42:00 AM »

Dear in Christ Team,

   I apoligze for unintentionally talking over your heads.  When I went to college, you couldn't get through college (let alone go to grad school) without knowing the differerence between onotology-knowing and juriidicality-willing.
   
   So that I won't offend any further, please remove me from your list.  I have no desire to offend.

   I find so many things that purport to be arguments that are nothing more than definitions (one page on my website has 50 false arguments that have come my way) and things that purport to be Orthodox that I really don't have much to say anyhow, since one cannot argue that a definitionis "wrong," seeing that it is truth-invulnerable and since so many are immersed in the "Latin captivity of Orthodoxy" (whose causes are well-known) rather than in the Patristic consensus.  When some have asked me to explain, I've tried to oblige with concrete examples
 consensus.  

Rather than be a disruptive outsider who, contrary to my intention, bothers you and any others you may be referring to, I would rather turn my attention to other projects.  I am sorry that graduate studies are at the level you say.  I have lived outside of the country for some years and didn't realize that things had come to that . . . though I have read that Harvard now gives everyone an A (or at worst a B)!

    I find it strange to hear of the level of thinking that goes on in Orthodox theological schools, though, if it really is as you say--and who am I to question that?  You know more about it than I do.  But I am no one's judge, and further, all of that is hardly any of my business.  I am sure that Orthodox seminaries achieve much that is good or useful, . . .  that one learns how to say the right prayers at the right time, what canons one should obey, and much else that is all to the good.  Apologetics seems to be a lost art, which may account for why most Orthodox bodies are losing numbers (which an independent study shows are at all events very bloated).

    There is a list mind that assembles facts.  There is a system mentality that see the relations among the facts and their conherence and consistency.  I don't know which schools cater to, but I have seen books in many fields that err in calling themselves "systematic this or that."  I have even heard it denied that Orthodoxy is a system . . . something that can be shown to be erroneous.  THE FATHERS KNEW HOW TO CONNECT THE DOTS well enough for their teachings to endure 2000 years--more than any other discipline or school of thought . . . unless you think the revivers of Plato or Aristotle are exceptions.

    Even when Jesus spoke in simple, non-intellectual terms, he was widely misunderstood . . . so why should I complain?  I have had no desire to put myself forward, only to state the truth when I have seen the chance of error arising.

    I have protested when non-Orthodox on OCNet have told us what the Orthodox believe . . . which is the nadir of something or other.  But apparently no good is accomplshed by trying to set the record straight.  
   
    In any other academic discipline, paradigms would be a commonplace.  Kung has one, that Baptist in Romania has one, and the online Evangelical whose name I have forgotten has one--he has the right idea but the wrong approach.  So it goeth.  I won't upset the smooth course of your very good website in any time soon to come.  I will take your hint and say

Sayonara in Christ,

in Christ God,

Afanasiy
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2003, 11:35:40 AM »

I can sympathise. Discussion on fora is a balance. There's just a certain way in which you can't dumb things down. If we had to "go the long way around" to explain every word we said our posts would all be 3,000 words. One of the biggest advantages of theological terms is exactly that we don't have to go on and on and on to explain ourselves. The term homoousion, for example, as a single word, can do more to explain my position than 20 passages from the Bible. Or the term Theotokos: certain that had a deep and far-reaching meaning! It's hard for people, especially people not used to theology fora or not used to the terminology of a certain religious circle, to understand what is being said. I totally understand that, that's how I feel every time I talk with a Lutheran and they try to ask me questions. I mostly at a loss as to what the heck their terms mean. The thing is, if I'm serious about discussion with them, it's for me to learn their language, it's not my right to ask the to dumb things down to my level. There is a move to dumb things down in America today... I remember Limbaugh talking about that a decade ago, come to think of it. There's even a "modern translation" of the Federalist Papers now. Well, ok, I'm not going to say to avoid the newer translation. Yet, it seems to me that the struggle of understanding something difficult is beneficial in itself. The journey is as important as the end destination sometimes, but it's like we want everyone to just drive us to the end straight away.
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2003, 12:49:00 PM »

I don't sympathise. Why leave just because someone asked for posts to be made intelligible. I enjoy this forum a lot because people seem both committed to their faith and to warm and genuine spiritual conversation. The whole point of such conversations is surely to communicate not use the longest words possible. I belong to lots of forums where theological language is not common currency, many of them are not populated by Orthodox folk even, and explaining terms like Theotokos is absolutely necessary to communicate properly. I haven't found the folk on this forum to be dim so why disappear with comments about the state of US education. I read a lot of theology and I don't always understand what afanasiy's posts are about. No-one is asking for posts to be kindergarten level I am sure, but if someone simply asks for explanations then it is not good to disappear in a huff.

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2003, 01:23:02 PM »

I agree with Peter, alot of us don't have those degrees in Theology, and it is rude to talk down brethern when you know they have their limitations. IMHO of course.


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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2003, 01:48:43 PM »

That is the second person this week who said he was quitting!

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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2003, 01:52:20 PM »

Also, by the way, I take offense Afanasiy at your saying that the reason we can't understand you is because academics has gone way down.  Even some of the scholars I know at St. Vladimir's don't write the way you do.  I, too, am somewhat confused by your posts, not because of the terms you use but because I think your thoughts are somewhat disorganized.  It's hard for many of us to organize our thoughts on a web forum though because the tempation to write and click is so great compared to on paper where we have to think out and write out what we think slowly. So I am not trying to be overly critical.  But the problem is one of communication, not one of us not getting you because of your high-level academic education.

anastasios

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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2003, 02:03:56 PM »

Since when is Christianity about how much education one has received? I have read about plenty of saints who never progressed beyond what we would define as university.

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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2003, 02:07:51 PM »

I can just picture going to a rap or hip hop forum and insisting that people speak in words that I can understand and stop using the language that is utilized within the sub-culture in question. I have no theology degrees, and a half dozen years ago I had never even heard of words like ecclesiology, consubstantial, etc... certainly not Theotokos and so forth. You learn. And if you can't learn, you try as best you can, and hopefully others can help. You can't stop every second to explain every word though; your posts would be nothing but digressions. Then you'd accuse the person of speaking in a way that was incomprehensible and tell them that they have to stop talking so much and just spit out what they mean! You can't win either way. It is rude to talk down to brethren, but that also includes talking them down because they would dare use the language that Orthodox thinkers should. Perhaps they would be better off at a more academic forum such as Monachos.net; I certainly don't think it's any less rude to essentially judge this fellow in the way that is being done (e.g., so what if we don't "all have degrees in theology"? I understand him just fine without a degree, and if he uses a term that I don't understand, I either hit back on the browser or I go and try to figure it out.) Look at my own writing. I try to incoporate analogy and example and quotes into what I say a lot of the time, and it just comes out to be a jumbled mess. I sometimes wonder if it'd be better to just say things in a "scholarly" way (not that I consider myself a scholar).

PS. I was a vo-tech student in high school, had an average SAT, got a 2.0 my only year in college (well, that was mostly because I skipped all my classes the last semester), and I don't have any problem understanding him. I don't think the problem is FORMAL education, I think the problem is SELF education. I think we've got it drilled into our heads that others teach us, and that that is what schools are for. Colleges, universities, high schools, seminaries, etc. But what if you recognize the public school system, and the liberal university system, for the sinking titanic that it is? You have to make a conscious decision to self-educate. I attended public school for 12 or 13 years. I then went through a process of delearning what I'd learnt, and then essentially home-schooling myself. So, perhaps I have a bit of a different perspective on these type of things, as I actually hope that people will try and seek and learn, rather than just being taught. Formal education, and intelligence, have very little to do with it. Many desert Fathers (e.g., Saint Arsenius the Roman) said that the simple egyptian peasants were far more learned than they. Most people would look at that example and say "this means we should keep things simple". I see the opposite: I see this as meaning that secular education and intelligence mean nothing: a life in God's grace, purifying one, leads to knowledge. Certainly we should take the time to explain terms and concepts to those who don't understand. Yet if we get bogged down in explaining every little thing, we'll never explain the big picture in any coherent, persuasive way. We'll constantly be admiring the trees, but never see the forest.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2003, 02:36:10 PM »

I have no trouble with theological language, but I have difficulty understanding afanasiy's arguments. This has nothing to do with the language of a sub-culture. Reading theology is my preference all the time. But afanasiy has responded to someone who did not understand his posts by saying that he was leaving and that those who don't understand him must be dim. That's not reasonable. It doesn't take 3000 words to explain any term if we really want to communicate - and the people here seem plenty intelligent enough to understand what is meant if it is explained once.

I agree with what you say about educating ourselves, but surely it is the responsibilty of those of us who have been reading theology to help others, not dismiss them. I know that if someone took the time to say they had read one of my posts and could I explain it a bit more I'd be overjoyed to do so - since it meant that at least one person had read it. Smiley

I don't agree with you though that explaining things is a hindrance. It is a means of communicating, and if we don't communicate then there is no point in posting. I don't have a degree by the way. I am self-educated. But if I post something that people don't understand then I consider myself to have failed, not others. I am still not sure what afanasiy is arguing, and now I am afraid to ask him for clarification - that can't be good.

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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2003, 07:38:36 PM »

Like I said it isn't his use of terms that is confusing to me but his organization of paragraphs and jostling of too many terms. I don't have trouble understanding Lossky but I do have trouble understanding Afanasiy so that should be an indication.

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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2003, 07:52:59 PM »

Quote
I certainly don't think it's any less rude to essentially judge this fellow in the way that is being done (e.g., so what if we don't "all have degrees in theology"?

I don't think I understand you so I am going to ask you so I don't assume what you are saying, etc.  Are you saying that WE are judging Afanasiy? All I saw in this thread were two things: 1) someone asked him to explain what he meant and 2) someone else said "Orthodoxy is not about education".  I also didn't see any reference to explaining every little thing.  So I don't see judging going on, so could you please point out where judging is going on?

Thanks

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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2003, 07:58:39 PM »

Peter, I agree with you.  We shouldn't consider it a hindrance if we have to keep trying to explain something to somebody else in a way that they can understand.  That is something that I have to work on, as I tend to get very frustrated.  Each person is made in God's image and we're supposed to put that person first.  To God, each person is part of Him and is precious to Him.   If that means that we have to keep trying to explain something different ways until the person can understand what we are trying to say, then so be it.  We have to work on learning love and patience.  

I've known people that had very little education and didn't know all the big words, but they were more like Christ than people who did have all the knowledge.  They actually llived the life.  Which is more important?  I like theology a lot and read a lot, but I am cutting down on some of that, because I need to work on the basics first.
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2003, 08:45:32 PM »

That is the second person this week who said he was quitting!

anastasios

I don't know who quit, anastasios, but I want my brothers and sisters here to know that it was *not* I.

And Subdeacon Peter: I very much like reading your balanced posts.  You are a real breath of fresh air with your approach.  Thank you.

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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2003, 09:07:12 PM »

Hypo,

This week we had Aristocles and Afanasiy saying they weren't coming back.

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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2003, 09:18:17 PM »

Hypo,

This week we had Aristocles and Afanasiy saying they weren't coming back.

anastasios

Well, anastasios, of course this can only be their decision if they follow through.  But it will be their loss, and I shall miss them, and I hope that they will reconsider.

Hypo
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2003, 09:26:38 PM »

Hypo,

I of course agree that it is each person's decision and I also agree that I will miss them.  I also think that it is sad when people quit because they don't like what X person said and they get worked up about it.  I can understand not wanting to engage in never-ending polemics but it saddens me when someone quits over a thread or what not.

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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2003, 11:08:06 PM »

Sometimes people like to impress others with their knowledge, me I struggle to use correct spellings and grammar.

Guess the last 5 years of my Kalifornia public schooling ruined what I had from my early Bostonian schooling.

Kinda feel bad bout the talking down to brethern statement, usally get that way at sundown.

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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2003, 02:00:35 AM »

Guys,

There still seems to be some confusion here.  It's not really a question of "dumbing down", as it is more talking at a level your audience can understand.  I'm actuary for a property & casualty insurance company.  We us lots of data, sometime use complex math and forumulas, and can just plain confuse the hell out of all of our businss partners (and other actuaries) if we don't be careful.  In a business environment, sucessful people usually suceed on their communication skills - not their technical skills.  The technical skills will usually only get you so far up the corporate ladder.  Being able to take complex ideas and explain them in a way your audience can understand is what will set you apart.  If you can't, you'll be relegated to the back room, and you'll end having to communicate only through your manager.  I hope this helps clear things up.
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2003, 01:31:19 PM »

I thought the audience that I write to included people smart enough to look terms up in a dictionary (or do a google search) Smiley

Maybe it isn't dumbed-down. Maybe it's watered down. Maybe St. John of Damascus should have put out a watered down version of his Exact Exposition? Ever read that thing?
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2003, 01:43:56 PM »

Maybe it isn't dumbed-down. Maybe it's watered down. Maybe St. John of Damascus should have put out a watered down version of his Exact Exposition? Ever read that thing?

Hiya Paradosis

Yes, I've read the Exact Exposition and found it useful. likewise the writings of St Cyril, St Athanasius, St Justin Martin, St Irenaeus etc etc. All wonderful works. Sometimes the translation into English is done rather clumsily and it is harder to read with pleasure, at other times it is as though the writings have just come from the pen of a dear and God-inspired saint.

I agree with you entirely about the need for intelligent reading and participation in forums such as these - I mean making an effort and not expecting to be spoon fed all the time. But surely the issues are that many of us found Afanasiy's posts potentially very interesting but in fact rather obscure because of their arguments, and that it seemed rather counter-productive to complain when one's audience failed to understand something.

I am put in mind of Our Lord Himself, and how often he took time to try and help his disciples understand. It is not disrespectful to wonder how we might have been filled with exasperation in his place as the disciples kept showing that they had failed to understand his teachings. Yet he persevered with them - and especially with us - and most especially with me. Thank God that he bears with our density and dim appreciation of spiritual things.

Once more I must express a sadness that the topics which Afanasiy was raising are now closed to us because he seemed unwilling to bear with the different levels of understanding and grasp of terminology which any list represents.

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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2003, 02:24:55 PM »

If I may enter this thread late, I'd like to echo something of Anastasios' remarks here.  I've read some of Afanasiy's posts, and I don't consider myself theologically bright, but I haven't had a problem with what he says so much as how he expresses it: I agree with Anastasios that it seems unorganised and "all over the place".
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« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2003, 05:56:57 PM »

I thought I understood afanasiy's writings and wasn't personally offended by them at all - I just didn't think I agreed with his main thesis that the two brands of Christianity are so different.
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2003, 11:47:16 PM »

I thought I was off of the forum (who used that word “fora” for forums?  Well it’s at least correct, not like acti and stati as plurals for actus and status--which are as wrong as are corpi (for corpora) and opi (for opera, the plural of opus if one insists on not using English plurals like “forums.”)).  

Since I continue to receive postings on this thread, I will comment.  For the list minds who cannot connect the dots <quote>Like I said it isn't his use of terms that is confusing to me but his organization of paragraphs and jostling of too many terms. I don't have trouble understanding Lossky but I do have trouble understanding Afanasiy so that should be an indication.</quote>all I can say is that the dots are all connected in my postings on this thread, as anyone with a system mind can verify.   (Note that  Lossky’s “mystical” theology isn’t mystical at all--it’s mysteric--incarnational, matter-married to-uncreated-Energy.  Have you really understood him?)

I’m not here to judge any person, I just judge ideas and let the chips fall where they may.
I am a linguist.  I believe non-linguists past the sixth grade can look up basic terms in a dictionary, one of which is available in every library I ever visited, since I was able to use a simple dictionary at a younger age (well before getting degrees in linguistics).

The letter I responded to was from an Orthodox seminarian who I presumed had access to a dictionary.  But here goes.  Humanity has two basic capacities (Greek dynameis)--(i) reason and (ii) will; these correspond respectively to (i) being and (ii) commands/laws--the (i) ontological aspect and a (ii) juridical aspect of experience and outlook.  The only complication I see is that those in a non-ontological framework accept other kinds of being--metaphorical, virtual (imputation), etc.  I would expect such an outline to be clear to anyone, but above all to Orthodox seminarians and any who set up a discussion list, whether they have an AB degree or not.  I am not  a rationalist.  (I accept that transcendent nous is higher than logos “reason.”)   I do not write in order to snow readers.  I set the message down, sometimes too hastily no doubt, but with sufficient clarity--unless I send a PS or edit the message, twice recently immediately after sending it.. When people have asked me to explain something, I’ve done it.

If my response erred, it was forgivably based on reasonable assumptions.  Of course, maybe I should’ve known.  Aside from being misquoted, I have received fifty false arguments online (all are listed on httt://www.orlapubs.com/AR/R177.html).  Only a couple have come from this forum.

Anyone who wishes to email me and ask for the characterization of a term will be answered in due course, assuming (an unlikely possibility) I am not overwhelmed.  At least, I have always done so promptly in the past.   Does the Team castigate postings that it deems moronic?

I will conclude with saying that you cannot understand the Orthodox outlook and its conflict with the Western frameworks if you don’t understand dynamis : energeia in Greek.   Depending on whatever level you judge yourself, you can read Aristotle’s
Metaphysics (e.g. IX.1-6) in Greek or go to an analysis of St. Paul’s 26 uses in
http://orlapubs.com/AR/R75.html.  If you don’t understand paradigms, read Kuhn earliest booklet--not very long.

NB:  This thread seem, despite the Team’s comments to be getting a fair number of responses.   Maybe it’s thanks to the Team.  Smiley

Afanasiy, sinner
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2003, 11:55:24 PM »

Did it never both readers when they read "corruption" in an apparently odd context?

In the Orthodox ontological context, it means decay.
In the Western juridical frameworks, it has to do with moral corruption.  
 
Confused?

Afanasiy Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2003, 02:31:12 AM »

afanaisy,

Your writing is still as clear as mud.  For one who so styles him(her?)self a "linguist", you have a lot of grammar mistakes (and cyber mistakes - quoting).  Again, organize your arguments better and remember who your audience is.  If you're really just targeting a certain poster (the Orthodox Seminarian you referenced), then PM him/her.  Otherwise, you're open to criticism from the whole cyberworld.  Thanks. Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2003, 01:57:42 PM »

Did it never both readers when they read "corruption" in an apparently odd context?

In the Orthodox ontological context, it means decay.
In the Western juridical frameworks, it has to do with moral corruption.  
 
Confused?

Well, no. Again, you're asserting as a big distinction something which is hardly a distinction at all.

I can see online that the American Heritage Dictionary lists five verb senses of "corrupt", not counting a sixth terminological (but closely related) sense. All of these buy into the same overall image of something which was originally whole and healthy but which is now decayed through the influence of some outside agency-- infected, if you will.

The juridical sense isn't different. Moral corruption conveys a sense of sinfulness not as merely the violation of a bunch of rules, but a systematic defilement which leads to unhealthy/unrighteous acts.

This is an example of how I think your theory of Western thought just doesn't work. Using the word "corruption" in a juridical sense carries with it the more general sense of rot and defilement which you ascribe to the East; hence, whatever difference there may be is slight.
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« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2003, 08:41:42 AM »

afanasiy,

Haven't you noticed how your threads get very little traffic?  I really think that if you would bring your wording/language down several levels, more people would chime in.  I don't think majority here even know what the heck you're talking about most of the time.  For, example, explain in English what you mean by ontological vs juridical (I barely know myself, and I've been Orthodox for over 15 years!).


Hi Elisha,
Just immagine what would happen if our salvation depended on understanding the theological mumbo jumbo some folks like to spout. No one would be saved!   :'( Except for a hand full of theologins, maybe. Hehe, We are saved by our faith in Christ and because of that faith we become his followers and strive by his Grace to do as he taught.  Wink Even non Catholics in the various Protestant sects can be saved if they accept Christ and strive to follow his teachings.
Jesus said we must have the faith of a child. A child would have no idea what our learned brother is talking about.
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2003, 12:22:17 PM »

Quote
Just immagine what would happen if our salvation depended on understanding the theological mumbo jumbo some folks like to spout. No one would be saved!

If all of this discussion of energies/essence or similar points were merely theoretical/intellectual matters, to be held solely as an article of dogmatic knowledge, then I'd be inclined to agree.

However, the energies/essence distinction is one which is born out in experience, which is definately essential to salvation.  Dogmas are not little factoids to be held gnostically, as some kind of secret key which will unlock the pearly gates - but rather, their affirmation (explicit, but even implicitly in the case of many simple, pious Orthodox believers) is something lived.  And that is the "stuff" of salvation.

False ideas however, will have an effect on this experiential, lived Orthodoxy.  Praxis will be affected, which will corrupt the medicinal aspect of Orthodoxy.  The Orthodox mind understands that salvation is a journey to acquire the Divine Nature (as St.Peter taught.)  Such is impossible, if what one is continually growing in, is a created, mediating "habit", as Catholicism teaches.  This is not the Divine Nature, but a creaturely analogy for it.  This is why theosis, so central to the patristic/biblical mindset, is almost totally disappeared as a goal in western thought (whether RC or Protestant.)  No Orthodox Christian would be scandalized by St.Athanasios' words "God became man, so that man could become God" - however, that such words are so often a revelation to westerners, and even a scandal in need of mountains of qualification, is evidence enough that false ideas about grace have corrupted the "way" western confessions offer as being salvific.

Seraphim
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« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2003, 04:18:40 PM »

I have to admit that I agree with SR on this one, that such beliefs definitely affect one's salvation. Someone ignorant of them could be saved but knowing these doctrines contributes to theosis.

anastasios
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« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2003, 12:40:31 AM »

Quote
Just immagine what would happen if our salvation depended on understanding the theological mumbo jumbo some folks like to spout. No one would be saved!

If all of this discussion of energies/essence or similar points were merely theoretical/intellectual matters, to be held solely as an article of dogmatic knowledge, then I'd be inclined to agree.

However, the energies/essence distinction is one which is born out in experience, which is definately essential to salvation.  Dogmas are not little factoids to be held gnostically, as some kind of secret key which will unlock the pearly gates - but rather, their affirmation (explicit, but even implicitly in the case of many simple, pious Orthodox believers) is something lived.  And that is the "stuff" of salvation.

In whose experience? How can you tell that the piety of the simple differs, be it Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant?

The problem in this never actually seems to be the essence/energies distinction. The problems start, after all, with the accusation that the Latins (and therefore the Protestants) do observe this distinction so severely that they supposedly place the energies among creation.

This is so totally divorced from the language of modern theology that it is beginning to appear that there's no point in even attempting to refute the accusation. Nobody here seems to willing to step up to the task of trying to make that translation-- at least, there's been a dearth of attempts to do so over in the "energies" thread.

Western spirituality is such a wide field that a characterization such as

Quote
The Orthodox mind understands that salvation is a journey to acquire the Divine Nature (as St.Peter taught.)  Such is impossible, if what one is continually growing in, is a created, mediating "habit", as Catholicism teaches.  This is not the Divine Nature, but a creaturely analogy for it.  This is why theosis, so central to the patristic/biblical mindset, is almost totally disappeared as a goal in western thought (whether RC or Protestant.)

..is hardly creditable. Indeed, it is hardly even coherent. It is hard for me to imagine any Orthodox monastic saying that one should avoid making holiness habitual-- indeed, that it practically the premise of monasticism. Perhaps it is the meaning of this habituation that is contested. We cannot say, because only one side of the argument is represented.

It always seems to come back to the same point. I simply cannot find any interest in the West in making any of these distinctions. Perhaps something could be excavated out of Aquinas, but at that point you must then subject yourself to the criticisms of modern Thomists, not to mention the rest of the Western theological spectrum.
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« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2003, 04:22:14 PM »

Hi all,
Jesus never ever taught that to be saved a person must understand theology. Jesus said you must have faith and follow after him. It is necessary for the Church higherarchy to develop and understand theology in order to protect the faith against heresy that would cause a loss of salvation for those whom are in the care of the Church. I believe that would have to be extreme error or errors. Such as denying the diety of Christ or denying he came in the flesh or denying the true presence etc. Even then would God hold those who were taught these errors by false teachers responsible? Are all JW's condemned, even those with no real education in what the true faith teaches?

To claim that 1 billion Catholics and all who came before them after the Great Schism are going to hell is rediculous. Just as it would be rediculious for me to say all 100 million Orthodox are condemned and that all Protestants are hell bound.
Jesus said we need the faith of a child not of a theologen.
Jesus said anyone who gives you a cup of water because you are one of his shall not loose his reward. That appears right after he tells the apostles that they should leave alone people who weren't in their assemblies but claiming things in Jesus' name.
Scripture says that those who are teachers and leaders in the Church will be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. I'm certainly not qualified in any sense to be in that higher standard group.
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #35 on: September 29, 2003, 04:31:51 PM »

To claim that 1 billion Catholics and all who came before them after the Great Schism are going to hell is rediculous. Just as it would be rediculious for me to say all 100 million Orthodox are condemned and that all Protestants are hell bound.

...and none of us are saying that.  We're just saying that you're outside of the Church (and the RCC to us).

Oh, and that Orthodox number is more like 2-300 Mill.
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« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2003, 04:40:24 PM »

To claim that 1 billion Catholics and all who came before them after the Great Schism are going to hell is rediculous. Just as it would be rediculious for me to say all 100 million Orthodox are condemned and that all Protestants are hell bound.

...and none of us are saying that.  We're just saying that you're outside of the Church (and the RCC to us).

Oh, and that Orthodox number is more like 2-300 Mill.

Actually I believe that is what he is saying when he calls us heretics. How can a baptised believer with faith in Christ be outside The Church? Outside the communities who are called Orthodox perhaps but the Church is a communion of saints and all us are a part of the Body of Christ. Although we are seperated by schism we are still members of The Church.
I'm glad to hear the Orthodox are 200-300 million. The more saints the better!  Kiss
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2003, 04:43:19 PM »

Polycarp,

The Orthodox understanding is that sacraments outside of it are a big Huh

Since the Church is a communion of those celebrating the Eucharist in union with one another, and since the Church is one, it can't dogmatize on those outside of it who do not share communion with it or its doctrines.

Whether you are baptised by Catholics is irrelevant as such baptism only is completed if you enter the Orthodox Church.

It is permissible for Orthodox to privately hold the opinion that God's grace is in the Catholic Church, but not in the same full way that we know it to be in the Orthodox Church.  A saying of some modern saints is: "We know where the Church is, we don't know where it isn't."

anastasios
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« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2003, 05:10:27 PM »

Polycarp,

The Orthodox understanding is that sacraments outside of it are a big Huh

Since the Church is a communion of those celebrating the Eucharist in union with one another, and since the Church is one, it can't dogmatize on those outside of it who do not share communion with it or its doctrines.

Whether you are baptised by Catholics is irrelevant as such baptism only is completed if you enter the Orthodox Church.

It is permissible for Orthodox to privately hold the opinion that God's grace is in the Catholic Church, but not in the same full way that we know it to be in the Orthodox Church.  A saying of some modern saints is: "We know where the Church is, we don't know where it isn't."

anastasios

Dear Anastasios,
That sounds reasonable.
Peace,
Polycarp
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