Author Topic: sin, merit, and human goodness  (Read 406 times)

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Offline Daedelus1138

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sin, merit, and human goodness
« on: July 13, 2015, 09:32:19 AM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?

Do you think babies sin when they fight over a toy?

Just wondering on an Orthodox response.   The Lutheran pastor I have been talking to said all our human works, even the best ones, come from mixed motivations, and thus are sinful.    He also said the fact that children do not have to learn how to be selfish is proof of original sin.  And he belongs to a fairly liberal Lutheran church.

Something just didn't sit right with this way of looking at sin.  I wonder how it is not, in fact, nihilistic and antinomian.  What are the Orthodox thoughts on this?

Offline sakura95

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 09:49:19 AM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?

Yes, at least for me personally. Granted people can do what that is seemingly good for the wrong reasons but people can also do them for the right reasons as well. I would even go as far as to actually give this capability of doing a genuinely good act to non Christians as well. This might be due to my personal beliefs that while human nature is corrupted, there is still the Imago Dei that will naturally strive for the good, even if the person will stumble. This is why there are shared moral values between differing cultures and religions. I would even go as far as to claim that the other non Christian religions or at least some of them share an awareness that there is something wrong with the human condition.

Do you think babies sin when they fight over a toy?

No. Their minds aren't developed yet. Babies don't have a Theory of Mind and thus even if they fight for a toy, you can't really call it sinful. However I guess such an act could be evidence for Original Sin and the Fallen Nature of humanity.
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Offline William T

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 10:01:28 AM »
unfortunately I can't think of anything to cite directly right now, maybe I'll give sources later.  Initial impressions:

1)  I think so.  I mean there are lofty concepts like synergy and stuff like that, but more to the point it's the act that 's looked at, not the actor.   If you can hate the sin but not the sinner, this would be the reverse.   Balaam perhaps did good acts by being a good prophet for example, though he was largely a negative person.  Motives are largely hidden for us, and I see no reason to look at them.  That seems like an ultra suspicious mindset.  That may be a more "Augustinian" and pessimistic approach.  But I guess you can still say "no, not one is righteous", but thats a different category.

2)  As for babies fighting:  I would be more worried about being a good parent than if the babies are in sin.  Worry about your duty, not their inner being.

I think looking at problems and forming these kind of questions in this way shows defects in a misplaced rational approach.  Either way,  I think most Catholics and Orthodox acknowledge that the young are innocent in a way adults are not. Once again, I should give citations later. But off the top of my head, don't even Catholics have a "limbo" concept that all innocent unbaptized children go to limbo? If nothing else that shows a lesser degree of culpability. 

The approach you gave once again seems "Augustinian" in its approach to Original sin.   Augustine is great, I just think this may be one of those areas Protestants tend to focus on in a way most others do not.  I don't think it's a matter of liberal or conservative, in spite of different slogans and approaches to problems my guess is much of the anthropology will remain the same.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 10:10:56 AM by William T »
"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars. So the earth, that had been, a moment ago, uncarved and imageless, changed and assumed the unknown shapes of human beings."

Ovid, Metamorphosis Book I

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 11:15:20 AM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?

Do you think babies sin when they fight over a toy?

Just wondering on an Orthodox response.   The Lutheran pastor I have been talking to said all our human works, even the best ones, come from mixed motivations, and thus are sinful.    He also said the fact that children do not have to learn how to be selfish is proof of original sin.  And he belongs to a fairly liberal Lutheran church.

Something just didn't sit right with this way of looking at sin.  I wonder how it is not, in fact, nihilistic and antinomian.  What are the Orthodox thoughts on this?
Yes, I think most acts are genuinely good.

No, I don't think babies sin. Sin requires rational intent which babies have not developed.

Where does it ever say that mixed motivations are sinful? Just because I may have multiple reasons for doing something doesn't make it bad.
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 12:37:21 PM »
The conversations I've had with the pastor are really challenging for him, particularly in the questions asked.  The usual objections aren't that big of an issue for us, it comes down more to the anthropology.  The pastor basically says we believe the same things we just use different language.  I'm not so sure- I think the language we use makes all the difference.

I also see some of the issues he raises, like his example of an ideal Christian love (the babies would basically argue forever about who plays with the toy first), as far too abstract, unrealistic, and irrelevant to real life.  But then I have Asperger's and I'm prone to rejecting abstractions.  And honestly I think God doesn't care for them either- how could he?  He's the Creator.  It just seems like a soft-headed, emotional approach to Christianity that I find a little unnerving.

To be honest, I have never been able to fully wrap my head around the Protestant (I mean magisterial Protestant) mentality without flirting with scrupulosity and self-absorbtion- and I admittedly have a depression-prone personality.  That is one of the things that attracted me to Orthodoxy.   

.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 12:39:02 PM by Daedelus1138 »

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 01:14:43 PM »
unfortunately I can't think of anything to cite directly right now, maybe I'll give sources later.  Initial impressions:

1)  I think so.  I mean there are lofty concepts like synergy and stuff like that, but more to the point it's the act that 's looked at, not the actor.   If you can hate the sin but not the sinner, this would be the reverse.   Balaam perhaps did good acts by being a good prophet for example, though he was largely a negative person.  Motives are largely hidden for us, and I see no reason to look at them.  That seems like an ultra suspicious mindset.  That may be a more "Augustinian" and pessimistic approach.  But I guess you can still say "no, not one is righteous", but thats a different category.

2)  As for babies fighting:  I would be more worried about being a good parent than if the babies are in sin.  Worry about your duty, not their inner being.

I think looking at problems and forming these kind of questions in this way shows defects in a misplaced rational approach.  Either way,  I think most Catholics and Orthodox acknowledge that the young are innocent in a way adults are not. Once again, I should give citations later. But off the top of my head, don't even Catholics have a "limbo" concept that all innocent unbaptized children go to limbo? If nothing else that shows a lesser degree of culpability.
IIRC, Pope Benedict recently made belief in Limbo totally optional for Catholics.
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Offline Vanhyo

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 01:34:04 PM »
I think this might be interesting read for you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfJvdlpaUPw

Offline Dracula

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 03:59:03 PM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?

yes.

Quote
Do you think babies sin when they fight over a toy?

yes.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself. Richard Dawkins

Offline William T

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 04:40:20 PM »
a couple thoughts for now:

The East did not have a concept of "Original Sin" like the West did.   You inherent the consequences of the sin, not the guilt.  It may better be called "Ancestral sin".  One of these consequences is death.  Sin can only be a free personal act.  I think what is going to take center stage would be concepts like "sin", "virtue", "original sin", and maybe the worn out faith and works dichotomy.


you may find Gregory of Nyssa on the death of children interesting (the language is hard to read):

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2912.htm

2)  I guess there is a kind of stereotype I have of Protestants who as overly concerned with dialogue,  conferences,"theology of.." stuff, "profound" hamlet like "existential" self examination and alienation,  and a peculiar look at social activism.  The consequences of such things could tend to be an odd utopianism or sentimentalism.  I guess that goes with their territory though.  I guess I shouldn't really smugly joke though about what I consider their eccentricities, if they are making a genuine effort to deal with you as opposed to the Orthodox, I guess there is something to that as well.

3)  I'm not too sure what you mean by abstract though.  If we look at presuppositions or concepts of actions, abstractions are going to be necessary.  There is nothing wrong with this if you are trying to dig deeper into something (though sometimes you can go "down the rabbit hole" so to speak and lose focus on essential basics).

Oddly most asperger people I know like abstractions and tend to be in a completely different place than me mentally.  From my limited experience they love things like geometry, pure mathematics, engineering and the like.  Philosophically, the ones I know tended to be drawn to Aristotle.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 04:49:29 PM by William T »
"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars. So the earth, that had been, a moment ago, uncarved and imageless, changed and assumed the unknown shapes of human beings."

Ovid, Metamorphosis Book I

Offline Dracula

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2015, 04:48:48 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners. I will never understand why people fetishise children and babies.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself. Richard Dawkins

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2015, 04:50:15 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners.
Crapping in diapers does not equate to sinfulness.

Quote
I will never understand why people fetishise children and babies.
orthonorm is a vampire now?  :o
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Offline William T

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2015, 04:52:26 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners. I will never understand why people fetishise children and babies.


I don't think most people naturally do.  It is / was the custom of most non Christian/Jewish cultures to treat them as pretty dispensible.  I'm tempted to say there is a difference in a more "modern" approach than an ancient approach to marginalizing children, where in modern times most people dont understand "all the fuss about "children and how the two logics and rationalizing differs.... but that should be neither here nor there for the topic at hand.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 04:59:34 PM by William T »
"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars. So the earth, that had been, a moment ago, uncarved and imageless, changed and assumed the unknown shapes of human beings."

Ovid, Metamorphosis Book I

Offline Peacemaker

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2015, 04:54:34 PM »
Yes people can do good. Atheist don't believe in a creator but have the moral sense not to start killing everyone just because they don't believe in an after life.

Can babies sin, I think what your friend is trying to argue is infant baptism, correct? Even if a baby can't willingly sin they are still born with the need to be baptized like the rest of us. Now you might ask, what about the thief at the cross? Well I heard in a sermon once that a baptism by water is ideal, but if we don't have the option (like the thief) God isn't going to reject us just because we were tied up on a cross and couldn't get to water like, "sorry mate, I know your heart was there but no water. Better luck next time." That's why the church fathers talk about different forms of baptism. One of which is baptism by tears (of the heart). However, if we have the means we baptize by water and even our children because we never know when it's our time to go. An interesting side note about babies sinning, my priest once told me that normally children don't go to confession until around 7 years old.

Offline Dracula

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2015, 04:58:28 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners.
Crapping in diapers does not equate to sinfulness.

But being repetitively anoing and ugly, does.

I sometimes feel goodness and evilness is ontological. I believe some are just born and inborn evil/sinners, part of the chaff.

But it might be because their blood just tastes different.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself. Richard Dawkins

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2015, 04:59:05 PM »
Yes people can do good. Atheist don't believe in a creator but have the moral sense not to start killing everyone just because they don't believe in an after life.

Can babies sin, I think what your friend is trying to argue is infant baptism, correct? Even if a baby can't willingly sin they are still born with the need to be baptized like the rest of us. Now you might ask, what about the thief at the cross? Well I heard in a sermon once that a baptism by water is ideal, but if we don't have the option (like the thief) God isn't going to reject us just because we were tied up on a cross and couldn't get to water like, "sorry mate, I know your heart was there but no water. Better luck next time." That's why the church fathers talk about different forms of baptism. One of which is baptism by tears (of the heart). However, if we have the means we baptize by water and even our children because we never know when it's our time to go. An interesting side note about babies sinning, my priest once told me that normally children don't go to confession until around 7 years old.
I suspect not. I've heard this argument from a number of my reformed friends as a means to explain that we are all born in total depravity. It is a counter to the Orthodox position that sin is a sickness by instead contending that we are all intrinsically evil.
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2015, 05:00:51 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners.
Crapping in diapers does not equate to sinfulness.

But being repetitively anoing and ugly, does.

I sometimes feel goodness and evilness is ontological. I believe some are just born and inborn evil/sinners, part of the chaff.

But it might be because their blood just tastes different.
:o
Crying babies and ugly people equate to sinfulness? Who are you, Jennifer Aniston?
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Offline Dracula

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2015, 05:05:33 PM »
Yes people can do good. Atheist don't believe in a creator but have the moral sense not to start killing everyone just because they don't believe in an after life.

Can babies sin, I think what your friend is trying to argue is infant baptism, correct? Even if a baby can't willingly sin they are still born with the need to be baptized like the rest of us. Now you might ask, what about the thief at the cross? Well I heard in a sermon once that a baptism by water is ideal, but if we don't have the option (like the thief) God isn't going to reject us just because we were tied up on a cross and couldn't get to water like, "sorry mate, I know your heart was there but no water. Better luck next time." That's why the church fathers talk about different forms of baptism. One of which is baptism by tears (of the heart). However, if we have the means we baptize by water and even our children because we never know when it's our time to go. An interesting side note about babies sinning, my priest once told me that normally children don't go to confession until around 7 years old.

I don't think he asked any of this.

He asked if babies can have/make personal sin.

I think that even if a person doesn't have awareness of sin but finds love, pleasure, satisfaction in sin doing evil , etc, which some babies do themselves they are sinners. I believe babies can and do sin. Perhaps some are just of bad genes, seeds. And I don't think this has anything to do with the Ancestral or Original Sin. I think that is a fable.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself. Richard Dawkins

Offline Dracula

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2015, 05:07:17 PM »
Often times I find children to be pure and impure from birth clean and unclean just like people are and do. I find some of them the most unclean, the biggest sinners.
Crapping in diapers does not equate to sinfulness.

But being repetitively anoing and ugly, does.

I sometimes feel goodness and evilness is ontological. I believe some are just born and inborn evil/sinners, part of the chaff.

But it might be because their blood just tastes different.
:o
Crying babies and ugly people equate to sinfulness? Who are you, Jennifer Aniston?

People are as ugly as their characters. Life is fair in that aspect.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself. Richard Dawkins

Offline Peacemaker

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2015, 05:11:48 PM »
Yes people can do good. Atheist don't believe in a creator but have the moral sense not to start killing everyone just because they don't believe in an after life.

Can babies sin, I think what your friend is trying to argue is infant baptism, correct? Even if a baby can't willingly sin they are still born with the need to be baptized like the rest of us. Now you might ask, what about the thief at the cross? Well I heard in a sermon once that a baptism by water is ideal, but if we don't have the option (like the thief) God isn't going to reject us just because we were tied up on a cross and couldn't get to water like, "sorry mate, I know your heart was there but no water. Better luck next time." That's why the church fathers talk about different forms of baptism. One of which is baptism by tears (of the heart). However, if we have the means we baptize by water and even our children because we never know when it's our time to go. An interesting side note about babies sinning, my priest once told me that normally children don't go to confession until around 7 years old.

I don't think he asked any of this.

He asked if babies can have/make personal sin.

I think that even if a person doesn't have awareness of sin but finds love, pleasure, satisfaction in sin doing evil , etc, which some babies do themselves they are sinners. I believe babies can and do sin. Perhaps some are just of bad genes, seeds. And I don't think this has anything to do with the Ancestral or Original Sin. I think that is a fable.

If it's a fable as you say, then what was God's reason for sending Jesus?

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2015, 05:41:56 PM »
The East did not have a concept of "Original Sin" like the West did.   You inherent the consequences of the sin, not the guilt.  It may better be called "Ancestral sin".  One of these consequences is death.  Sin can only be a free personal act. 

Yeah... I believe people inherit the tendency to sin, but that actual sins are always personal.

Lutherans technically believe original sin is accidental to human nature, but not essential to it (people are essentially good but their nature is poisoned).


Quote
I guess I shouldn't really smugly joke though about what I consider their eccentricities, if they are making a genuine effort to deal with you as opposed to the Orthodox, I guess there is something to that as well. 

Well, the pastor is concerned because he believes Lutheranism is not sufficiently mystical, in his opinion.  He is Greek-American and knows a thing or two about Orthodoxy, but he was raised Lutheran.

Having said that, I purchased a book called Theology of the Heart which is about the German mystical background of Martin Luther, particularly the mysticism of Tauler and the Friends of God.

Quote
3)  I'm not too sure what you mean by abstract though.  If we look at presuppositions or concepts of actions, abstractions are going to be necessary.  There is nothing wrong with this if you are trying to dig deeper into something (though sometimes you can go "down the rabbit hole" so to speak and lose focus on essential basics). 

Different people with Asperger's have different strengths and weaknesses.  I actually am horrible at math, it is a learning disability for me.  But I'm quite good with words, even though I use language very technically.   It's been suggested to me I'd make a good technical writer because I'm very precise and logical.  It probably also explains my issues with doctrines, because most people in my experience do not treat doctrinal issues very precisely. 

I guess I just clicked with the Orthodox emphasis on mysticism and "doing" stuff.  A lot of that is very much against the grain for Protestants, who focus on passive hearing of "the Word" and reception of the Lord's Supper (if they do this routinely at all, the Lutheran parish I've been visiting has Holy Communion every sunday).  And Lutherans have a reputation for not having much of a prayer life.  My hangup with Lutheranism is on the doctrinal emphasis- the Book of Concord is voluminous and much of it is very polemical.   Doctrines in my mind have always been secondary to practice, and in Lutheranism its all about doctrine with practice being very much secondary, a "thing indifferent".  Meaning almost everything is "optional", so in practice, it's minimalistic.

I actually recognize Lutheranism as Christian- probably moreso than most other Protestant sects, but to me its like someone took Orthodoxy and pruned it back to a bare minimum, injected it with a big dose of Augustine, and put training wheels on it. I've met almost as many lapsed Lutherans as I've met lapsed Catholics- I believe the culture breeds nominalism.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 05:46:19 PM by Daedelus1138 »

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2015, 06:56:59 PM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?
Yes.

Quote
Do you think babies sin when they fight over a toy?
In one sense yes, in another sense no.

The Lutheran pastor I have been talking to said all our human works, even the best ones, come from mixed motivations, and thus are sinful.
James 2:23
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 06:57:07 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Offline William T

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2015, 08:12:41 PM »
The East did not have a concept of "Original Sin" like the West did.   You inherent the consequences of the sin, not the guilt.  It may better be called "Ancestral sin".  One of these consequences is death.  Sin can only be a free personal act. 

Yeah... I believe people inherit the tendency to sin, but that actual sins are always personal.

Lutherans technically believe original sin is accidental to human nature, but not essential to it (people are essentially good but their nature is poisoned).


Quote
I guess I shouldn't really smugly joke though about what I consider their eccentricities, if they are making a genuine effort to deal with you as opposed to the Orthodox, I guess there is something to that as well. 

Well, the pastor is concerned because he believes Lutheranism is not sufficiently mystical, in his opinion.  He is Greek-American and knows a thing or two about Orthodoxy, but he was raised Lutheran.

Having said that, I purchased a book called Theology of the Heart which is about the German mystical background of Martin Luther, particularly the mysticism of Tauler and the Friends of God.

Quote
3)  I'm not too sure what you mean by abstract though.  If we look at presuppositions or concepts of actions, abstractions are going to be necessary.  There is nothing wrong with this if you are trying to dig deeper into something (though sometimes you can go "down the rabbit hole" so to speak and lose focus on essential basics). 

Different people with Asperger's have different strengths and weaknesses.  I actually am horrible at math, it is a learning disability for me.  But I'm quite good with words, even though I use language very technically.   It's been suggested to me I'd make a good technical writer because I'm very precise and logical.  It probably also explains my issues with doctrines, because most people in my experience do not treat doctrinal issues very precisely. 

I guess I just clicked with the Orthodox emphasis on mysticism and "doing" stuff.  A lot of that is very much against the grain for Protestants, who focus on passive hearing of "the Word" and reception of the Lord's Supper (if they do this routinely at all, the Lutheran parish I've been visiting has Holy Communion every sunday).  And Lutherans have a reputation for not having much of a prayer life.  My hangup with Lutheranism is on the doctrinal emphasis- the Book of Concord is voluminous and much of it is very polemical.   Doctrines in my mind have always been secondary to practice, and in Lutheranism its all about doctrine with practice being very much secondary, a "thing indifferent".  Meaning almost everything is "optional", so in practice, it's minimalistic.

I actually recognize Lutheranism as Christian- probably moreso than most other Protestant sects, but to me its like someone took Orthodoxy and pruned it back to a bare minimum, injected it with a big dose of Augustine, and put training wheels on it. I've met almost as many lapsed Lutherans as I've met lapsed Catholics- I believe the culture breeds nominalism.

Cool beans.  I think you have the right attitude towards this stuff, though I'm not really qualified to look to much into this kind of thing.  I think you're right about Lutheranism (and probably Anglecianism too)  having the best approach to these kind of things on the Protestant side.   I was unaware of their "passivity", and how that plays out in what you're talking about.  When it comes to Protestants I guess I'm used to either evangelicals, fundamentalists, or pure liberal academic types of groups.

As for lack of mysticism:

http://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Love-German-Baroque-Contextual/dp/0810862204


It's a great read, and will hopefully be of help if you have reservations about a lack of that kind of thing not being extant in Lutheranism.

EDIT:

I just realized that book is 84.00.  I got the pdf for free.  if you want I can try a d dig the pdf for you.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 08:21:49 PM by William T »
"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars. So the earth, that had been, a moment ago, uncarved and imageless, changed and assumed the unknown shapes of human beings."

Ovid, Metamorphosis Book I

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2015, 07:03:02 AM »
... I think you're right about Lutheranism (and probably Anglecianism too)  having the best approach to these kind of things on the Protestant side.   I was unaware of their "passivity", and how that plays out in what you're talking about. ...

Compared to my Eastern Orthodox experience, Lutheranism seems passive.   It could be that the pastor at the church I attend is from a more conservative, orthodox background as well.

Offline xariskai

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Re: sin, merit, and human goodness
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2015, 04:23:55 AM »
Do you think it is possible for someone to do a genuinely good act?
Yes.

John 3:21:  "...he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

What is important, though, is not "brownie points" or "merit," but communion/union with God.

"The notion of merit is foreign to the Eastern tradition. The word is seldom encountered in the spiritual writings of the Eastern Church, and has not the same meaning as in the West." -Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 197.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 04:51:42 AM by xariskai »