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Author Topic: Contraception & Natural Law  (Read 42053 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« Reply #495 on: June 20, 2012, 11:26:49 PM »

Just an honest application of your action theory and naturla law, with the implications you have missed, or your "moral theologians" have dishonestly sidelined.
More stupid comments from Izzy. Natural Law is not based on what a person does or is capable of. Natural law is not the "law of the Jungle". Natural law is about a reasoned conclusion concerning a person's factulties' natural end.
Of course because you are an existentialist (i.e. a heretic who actually denies the incarnation), you can't see natural ends.
Rereading Gratian's Treatise on the Laws, and his erroneous contention that "custom is subordinate to natural law" (contradicted by his next, true, contentions on Scripture) I was reminded about this reference to the Law of the Jungle.  The Scholastics could sustain an argument if their Natural Law was the Law of the Jungle: that at least can be observed and seen in the fallen world.  The precept "eat or be eaten; kill or be killed" is in full force.  One can argue, as Scholastics do, if one mediates and considers, he will come up with "thou shalt kill."  But the history of war, especially with the rationalization of "just war," proves otherwise.  Plus, the Scholastic rationalism would require that they could think outside of the Fall.  Such, however, is impossible except for theosis, which does not come from reason, but man's nous, and has nothing to do with imagining the essences of things, but contemplating their logoi. One can reach all sort of reasoned conclusions on ends asserted as natural, but in essence that does not differ from the Star Trek universe. At least the jungle as objective, cogent, existence, and those who live by its law are not LARPing a fictional universe.
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« Reply #496 on: June 21, 2012, 11:48:37 AM »

"An impress of Wisdom has been created in us and in all his works. Therefore, the true Wisdom which shaped the world claims for himself all that bears his image…Wisdom himself is not created, because he is the Creator, but by reason of the created image of himself found in his works, he speaks [of himself] as if he were a creature, and he says: The Lord created me in his works, when his purpose first unfolded.   The likeness of Wisdom has been stamped upon creatures in order that the world may recognise in it the Word who was its maker and through the Word come to know the Father. This is Paul’s teaching: What can be known about God is clear to them, for God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature has been there for the mind to perceive in things that have been made….So there is a wisdom in created things, as the son of Sirach too bears witness: The Lord has poured it out upon all his works, to be with men as his gift, and with wisdom he has abundantly equipped those who love him….and in the light of this wisdom the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands." -  Discourse “Against the Arians” by St Athanasius
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« Reply #497 on: June 21, 2012, 11:53:43 AM »

"An impress of Wisdom has been created in us and in all his works. Therefore, the true Wisdom which shaped the world claims for himself all that bears his image…Wisdom himself is not created, because he is the Creator, but by reason of the created image of himself found in his works, he speaks [of himself] as if he were a creature, and he says: The Lord created me in his works, when his purpose first unfolded.   The likeness of Wisdom has been stamped upon creatures in order that the world may recognise in it the Word who was its maker and through the Word come to know the Father. This is Paul’s teaching: What can be known about God is clear to them, for God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature has been there for the mind to perceive in things that have been made….So there is a wisdom in created things, as the son of Sirach too bears witness: The Lord has poured it out upon all his works, to be with men as his gift, and with wisdom he has abundantly equipped those who love him….and in the light of this wisdom the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands." -  Discourse “Against the Arians” by St Athanasius
wisdom =/= reason

Likeness of Wisdom=logoi of created things sustained by the divine energies.

If it were Natural Law, God would not have to show it to them, as they would, so Scholasticism claims, know it through reason.
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« Reply #498 on: September 07, 2012, 09:09:18 PM »

I was just reminded of this thread, and of something I had thought of a while ago: if natural law is what it is claimed to be, then the mountain Astronomical Observatory are the equal of Mount Athos discerning the Logoi of creation.  Such equality, of course, is consense.  Scientific observation is not theologizing morality.
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« Reply #499 on: November 16, 2012, 11:38:57 AM »

This topic is raising its head again
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,48034.0.html
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« Reply #500 on: November 16, 2012, 11:43:45 AM »

Oh goody. Isa is gonna start pretending that he doesn't recognize differing and equivocal uses of the term "natural."
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« Reply #501 on: November 16, 2012, 04:10:55 PM »

Oh goody. Isa is gonna start pretending that he doesn't recognize differing and equivocal uses of the term "natural."
I can sure tell contorted and strained uses of the term when I see them.
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« Reply #502 on: November 16, 2012, 10:16:15 PM »

To continue....
Well, let's see what Pope Paul of Rome (or Card. Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II of Rome, co-author of the adopted Minority Report of the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control) means by "divine law," the revealed or the natural.

Going through and putting in red that teaching on marriage/child-bearing/rearing which the Vatican based (or attempted to base) on Revelation, general appeals to authority based on revelation (but not on point on married life) in blue, and in bold those pronouncements based on Natural Law.
Quote
Value of Self-Discipline

21. The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions.
For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop to their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsibilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers.
This might come as a surprise to those who have been taught I Corinthians 7:5 as the proof text of so called "Natural Family Planning."  The verse has NOTHING to do with family planning, natural or unnatural, at all.  It is not connected in the slightest with a woman's cycle, as, for instance, Lev. 18:19 (Jewish law ending up with allowing intercourse first after the onset of a period around the time of ovulation, but even then the OT nor Halakhah makes that connection).  The period of fasting according to Church tradition (both Orthodox and the Vatican's) run according to the cycles of the sun and moon, not the wife's.

As such, the boldfaced reflects a borrowing from Stoicism, as it, and the claims being made for it, cannot be sustained from revelation, nor from Tradition-other than tradition from Stoicism/Platonism with a little baptismal water splashed on.

Revelation, of course, has much to say on "the true blessings of family life," and mastery over themselves.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 10:16:41 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #503 on: November 16, 2012, 10:41:18 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?
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« Reply #504 on: November 16, 2012, 10:59:27 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?

Read this: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htm

Particularly,
Quote
As stated above (90, 1, ad 2; A3,4), a law is nothing else but a dictate of practical reason emanating from the ruler who governs a perfect community. Now it is evident, granted that the world is ruled by Divine Providence, as was stated in the I, 22, A1,2, that the whole community of the universe is governed by Divine Reason. Wherefore the very Idea of the government of things in God the Ruler of the universe, has the nature of a law. And since the Divine Reason's conception of things is not subject to time but is eternal, according to Proverbs 8:23, therefore it is that this kind of law must be called eternal.

And,
Quote
It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law.

And why natural law is distinct from eternal law,
Quote
So then no one can know the eternal law, as it is in itself, except the blessed who see God in His Essence. But every rational creature knows it in its reflection, greater or less.
from: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2093.htm


This is Natural Law from Aquinas, at least. There are others that pre-date and post-date him.
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« Reply #505 on: November 16, 2012, 11:41:11 PM »

Quote
Promotion of Chastity

22. We take this opportunity to address those who are engaged in education and all those whose right and duty it is to provide for the common good of human society. We would call their attention to the need to create an atmosphere favorable to the growth of chastity so that true liberty may prevail over license and the norms of the moral law may be fully safeguarded.

Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men's baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture (
See Second Vatican Council, Decree on the Media of Social Communication, nos. 6-7: AAS 56 (1964), 147) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities.
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« Reply #506 on: December 06, 2012, 12:45:34 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?

Read this: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htm

Particularly,
Quote
As stated above (90, 1, ad 2; A3,4), a law is nothing else but a dictate of practical reason emanating from the ruler who governs a perfect community. Now it is evident, granted that the world is ruled by Divine Providence, as was stated in the I, 22, A1,2, that the whole community of the universe is governed by Divine Reason. Wherefore the very Idea of the government of things in God the Ruler of the universe, has the nature of a law. And since the Divine Reason's conception of things is not subject to time but is eternal, according to Proverbs 8:23, therefore it is that this kind of law must be called eternal.

And,
Quote
It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law.

And why natural law is distinct from eternal law,
Quote
So then no one can know the eternal law, as it is in itself, except the blessed who see God in His Essence. But every rational creature knows it in its reflection, greater or less.
from: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2093.htm


This is Natural Law from Aquinas, at least. There are others that pre-date and post-date him.
I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
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« Reply #507 on: December 06, 2012, 01:01:22 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
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« Reply #508 on: December 06, 2012, 01:11:17 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
Not exactly. In fact, they are somewhat in opposition to one another, much like Barlaam and St. Gregory Palamas on associated issues.

Btw, Gorazd invoked St. Maximos on the circumcision issue.  The great saint did not only err here: his ideas of an adrogynous anthropology also stems from using pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of this theological idea (I am aware that a majority of the Fathers fall prey to the same idea).
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« Reply #509 on: December 06, 2012, 01:15:37 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
Not exactly. In fact, they are somewhat in opposition to one another, much like Barlaam and St. Gregory Palamas on associated issues.

Btw, Gorazd invoked St. Maximos on the circumcision issue.  The great saint did not only err here: his ideas of an adrogynous anthropology also stems from using pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of this theological idea (I am aware that a majority of the Fathers fall prey to the same idea).
I disagree with you.  I believe that the logoi, the principle of things and actions, is very similar to the natural law theory of the Roman Church.  I wish the Roman Church would use St. Maximos' ideas instead of relying so much on Aristotelian metaphysics, but the outcome is very similar.  Contraception is immoral either way.
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« Reply #510 on: December 06, 2012, 01:17:00 PM »

Contraception is certainly not something that the Fathers would have endorsed.  In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.
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« Reply #511 on: December 06, 2012, 01:19:06 PM »

In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.

"ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple"

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« Reply #512 on: December 06, 2012, 01:24:05 PM »

In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.

"ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple"


You may wish to disparage the asceticism of the Church Fathers, but I respect them as authorities on matters of faith.  I find it odd that Orthodox on internet fora like to take a basically secular view on contraception.  I do have some Orthodox friends who tell me that they reject contraception, because they see it as contrary to the true purpose and meaning of sex in marriage, and that they do not try to "space births," but simply keep the marital fast for spiritual reasons, which has the side effect of spacing the births of their children, but without that being an intended outcome on their part.
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« Reply #513 on: December 06, 2012, 02:38:42 PM »

In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.

"ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple"


You may wish to disparage the asceticism of the Church Fathers, but I respect them as authorities on matters of faith.  I find it odd that Orthodox on internet fora like to take a basically secular view on contraception.  I do have some Orthodox friends who tell me that they reject contraception, because they see it as contrary to the true purpose and meaning of sex in marriage, and that they do not try to "space births," but simply keep the marital fast for spiritual reasons, which has the side effect of spacing the births of their children, but without that being an intended outcome on their part.
The marital fast has absolutely NOTHING to do with spacing births  and so called "NFP."  Nothing.

I would like to see some data on a dramatic drop in the birth rate 9 months after one of the prolonged fasts, for instance.  Because, looking at the birth dates of a number of saints, such is not the case.

I basically have the view of the Russian Orthodox Church on contraception:
Quote
XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.

At the same time, spouses are responsible before God for the comprehensive upbringing of their children. One of the ways to be responsible for their birth is to restrain themselves from sexual relations for a time. However, Christian spouses should remember the words of St. Paul addressed to them: «Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency» (1 Cor. 7:5). Clearly, spouses should make such decisions mutually on the counsel of their spiritual father. The latter should take into account, with pastoral prudence, the concrete living conditions of the couple, their age, health, degree of spiritual maturity and many other circumstances. In doing so, he should distinguish those who can hold the high demands of continence from those to whom it is not given (Mt. 19:11), taking care above all of the preservation and consolidation of the family.

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in its Decision of December 28, 1998, instructed the clergy serving as spiritual guides that «it is inadmissible to coerce or induce the flock to… refuse conjugal relations in marriage». It also reminded the pastors of the need «to show special chastity and special pastoral prudence in discussing with the flock the questions involved in particular aspects of their family life».
http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/3/14.aspx

Perry Robinson somewhere made the astute observation that the Scholasticism of the Vatican looks at contraception as an issue of essences, while Orthodoxy sees it as an issue of persons.

And Fr. Roman Braga advises that monks should not make a habit of giving marital advice, not living in and having families.

Since "natural law" is created and then imposed on creation by other creatures, its results vary-Aquinas might have a problem with contraception but I don't think Aristotle did.  Nor do I think that the logoi mandate Aquinas' conclusion.

The ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple as endorsed by monastics often leads to a marriage like St. John of Kronstadt and his wife.  Not a role model for family life.
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« Reply #514 on: December 06, 2012, 04:14:06 PM »

In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.

"ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple"


You may wish to disparage the asceticism of the Church Fathers, but I respect them as authorities on matters of faith.  I find it odd that Orthodox on internet fora like to take a basically secular view on contraception.  I do have some Orthodox friends who tell me that they reject contraception, because they see it as contrary to the true purpose and meaning of sex in marriage, and that they do not try to "space births," but simply keep the marital fast for spiritual reasons, which has the side effect of spacing the births of their children, but without that being an intended outcome on their part.
The marital fast has absolutely NOTHING to do with spacing births  and so called "NFP."  Nothing.

Apotheoun never implied that it did. I'm almost positive that he rejects NFP as well.
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« Reply #515 on: December 06, 2012, 04:30:06 PM »



Since "natural law" is created and then imposed on creation by other creatures, its results vary-Aquinas might have a problem with contraception but I don't think Aristotle did.  Nor do I think that the logoi mandate Aquinas' conclusion.

The ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple as endorsed by monastics often leads to a marriage like St. John of Kronstadt and his wife.  Not a role model for family life.
There is no imposition on creation in suggesting that sex has a purpose. It seems that this is the consistent view of the scriptures and the Fathers. All Natural Law theory says is that anyone can know the intended purpose of sex, even non-Christians. Hence, no one is without guilt if they engage in acts of sexual perversion. Certainly God reveals himself both in the scriptures, and in creation, as St. Paul teaches in Romans.

As for what Aristotle would think about contraception, it is difficult to say. He did not have a full-blown Natural Law theory of ethics. Though, if his function argument, about the nature of human person is any indication of how he approaches ethics, then it is likely that he would have rejected contraception.

A couple final points. First You seem to think that Thomistic and Aristotelian metaphysics puts essence before persons, but it is quite the opposite. Aristotle was a very vocal and, at times, harsh critic of platonism. For Aristotle, universals do NOT have independent substantial existence in some fantastical world of ideas. Individuals are the only truly substantial things. The forms only existent in particulars, and in a particular way. It is only in the mind, as abstracted from the particulars, that forms possess any kind of universal nature. And this is because this active intellect actualize the potential universal nature of such forms.
I realize that you disagree with Aristotelian metaphysics and epistemology, and I certainly have no problem with that. There are multiple approaches to philosophy, and no one of them exhausts reality. I think that thinkers like kierkegaard, phenomenologists, and personalists certainly make important contributions to the field that are easily over looked by scholastic philosophy. That all being said,  I think that it is best that you don't misrepresent the view with which you disagree. I'm sure as an honest scholar, you don't want to make that mistake.
First, if you think we have swallowed Aristotelianism in its totality, and that is simply not the case. A great deal of what Aristotle thought was evident is simply incompatible with Christianity. He thought that he could prove that the universe was eternal. He didn't realize that there was such a thing as creation and contingent being. He thought that there were up to 55 Prime Movers. He even thought friendship with God was impossible. All of this is incompatible with Christianity. So we are not Aristotelians; however, just as the Fathers picked and choosed which parts of Plato's work was compatible with Christianity, so too did Aquinas pick those aspects of Aristotle that could reconciled with the faith.
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« Reply #516 on: December 06, 2012, 04:37:21 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
Did the fathers use Plato's pagan philosophy too much?

That being said, I agree with you to a point. I think that Aquinas' philosophy is a fantastic intelligible approach to philosophy. However, I think that when it comes to theology, he often goes too far in defining things. While I like Aquinas for philosophy, l prefer the Byzantine approach for theology.
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« Reply #517 on: December 06, 2012, 04:40:01 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?

Read this: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htm

Particularly,
Quote
As stated above (90, 1, ad 2; A3,4), a law is nothing else but a dictate of practical reason emanating from the ruler who governs a perfect community. Now it is evident, granted that the world is ruled by Divine Providence, as was stated in the I, 22, A1,2, that the whole community of the universe is governed by Divine Reason. Wherefore the very Idea of the government of things in God the Ruler of the universe, has the nature of a law. And since the Divine Reason's conception of things is not subject to time but is eternal, according to Proverbs 8:23, therefore it is that this kind of law must be called eternal.

And,
Quote
It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law.

And why natural law is distinct from eternal law,
Quote
So then no one can know the eternal law, as it is in itself, except the blessed who see God in His Essence. But every rational creature knows it in its reflection, greater or less.
from: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2093.htm


This is Natural Law from Aquinas, at least. There are others that pre-date and post-date him.
The Natural Law is not distinct from the Eternal Law in its essence, only in its consideration. Aquinas defines the Natural Law as the "rational creature's participation in the Eternal Law." The Natural Law is what we know of God's Eternal Law, insofar as it is revealed in creation.
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« Reply #518 on: December 06, 2012, 04:43:37 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?
The Natural Law is what Aquinas calls "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law." Man, by knowing his own essence (of course in a limited way) can deduce the purpose of his natural powers. Hence, man is oriented to live in community, and hence crime against one's brother is gravely evil because it frustrates this end. Man's sexual powers are for the purpose of procreation. Artificially manipulating this separates sex from its purpose, hence, gravely evil. So on and so forth.
Of course, this theory of ethics rests on the principle that there is such a God, and that he is the one who has created reality in such a way that man's nature is oriented toward a purpose. Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
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« Reply #519 on: December 06, 2012, 06:54:46 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?
The Natural Law is what Aquinas calls "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law." Man, by knowing his own essence (of course in a limited way) can deduce the purpose of his natural powers. Hence, man is oriented to live in community, and hence crime against one's brother is gravely evil because it frustrates this end. Man's sexual powers are for the purpose of procreation. Artificially manipulating this separates sex from its purpose, hence, gravely evil. So on and so forth.
until you reach Pelagius' conclusion that man can achieve his own salvation.
Of course, this theory of ethics rests on the principle that there is such a God, and that he is the one who has created reality in such a way that man's nature is oriented toward a purpose.

God is his purpose.  Otherwise you have deism.
Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
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« Reply #520 on: December 06, 2012, 06:56:14 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
Did the fathers use Plato's pagan philosophy too much?
Yes.
That being said, I agree with you to a point. I think that Aquinas' philosophy is a fantastic intelligible approach to philosophy. However, I think that when it comes to theology, he often goes too far in defining things. While I like Aquinas for philosophy, l prefer the Byzantine approach for theology.
you're learning.
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« Reply #521 on: December 06, 2012, 10:49:55 PM »

I feel really embarassed asking this in front of a crowd of geniuses locked in a heated debate, but what does 'Natural Law' even mean?
The Natural Law is what Aquinas calls "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law." Man, by knowing his own essence (of course in a limited way) can deduce the purpose of his natural powers. Hence, man is oriented to live in community, and hence crime against one's brother is gravely evil because it frustrates this end. Man's sexual powers are for the purpose of procreation. Artificially manipulating this separates sex from its purpose, hence, gravely evil. So on and so forth.
until you reach Pelagius' conclusion that man can achieve his own salvation.
Of course, this theory of ethics rests on the principle that there is such a God, and that he is the one who has created reality in such a way that man's nature is oriented toward a purpose.

God is his purpose.  Otherwise you have deism.
Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
Isa, while I respect your intellect, and your level of education (distant goals for me), I have object to what you have written here. There is nothing about Natural Law theory which suggests that man can achieve is own salvation. Even if we can know the Natural Law, even if we know that God is our highest purpose and end, Aquinas argues that we still need supernatural grace and divine revelation. First of all, knowledge of Natural Law, and natural Knowledge of God is very difficult to achieve without making many errors. Our intellects are darkened by sin, and we often error in our reasoning. Hence, in order to be sure that we are certain that we know our end, and we know how to act morally, it is necessary that we have divine revelation. Second, supernatural grace is absolutely necessary for us to achieve our end, and this is something Aquinas argues very specifically. Union with God is absolutely beyond our natural capacity. Hence, in order to achieve union with him, theosis is required. What is more, our fallen nature so easily falls into sin and away from the divine, so we need supernatural grace in order to live the holy life that leads to union with God.
I would also like to point out that I agree with you. God is our purpose. And I agree with your conclusion: "Otherwise you have deism." Again, the whole point of Aquinas Natural Law theory is that we are ultimately directed toward God. If we are not directed toward God, it doesn't make sense to use our powers according to his intended purpose.
Finally, Darwin's theory of evolution is in no way related to Aquinas' theory of Natural Law. When Aquinas speaks of "natural" or "nature" he does not mean what Darwin means. This is a common mistake on the part of opponents of Natural Law theory. By "natural" Aquinas does not mean what happens alot among animals. By "natural" Aquinas does not mean the law of the jungle. Rather, by natural, Aquinas is referring to the "quiddity" of a thing insofar as it is directed to its ends. So in the case of man, nature means the essence of man, insofar as he is directed to his end which is God. This has nothing to do with Darwin, nor with evolution. Animals in no way participate in the natural law because they are neither moral nor rational creatures. Keep in mind that Aquinas' interpretation of the Natural Law is "The rational creatures participation in the Eternal Law."
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« Reply #522 on: December 06, 2012, 11:51:18 PM »

Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
Thomistic Natural Law presupposes both a Divine Law and an Eternal Law, neither of which could exist without a deity. How could atheistic Darwinism establish a Divine or Eternal Law? Huh
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« Reply #523 on: December 07, 2012, 12:25:58 AM »

Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
Thomistic Natural Law presupposes both a Divine Law and an Eternal Law, neither of which could exist without a deity. How could atheistic Darwinism establish a Divine or Eternal Law? Huh
Exactly.
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« Reply #524 on: December 07, 2012, 10:31:52 AM »

Natural Law theory does not work at all in an atheistic framework.
au contraire, Darwinism, for instance, works quite fine in it.
Thomistic Natural Law presupposes both a Divine Law and an Eternal Law, neither of which could exist without a deity. How could atheistic Darwinism establish a Divine or Eternal Law? Huh
Exactly.
answered here:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,48471.msg847034/topicseen.html#msg847034
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« Reply #525 on: December 12, 2012, 03:11:58 PM »

I stumbled on this:
Quote
Monty Python and the Holy Truth: A Lesson in Natural Law

...For years I have wanted to employ a scene from this film to illustrate the fallacy of contradicting natural law. Since the film parodies some aspects of Christianity (as does some of their other work), I've exercised caution, concerned that some may not hear the message if I use Monty Python as a source.

But the scene illustrates so masterfully the flawed thinking of relativism, and exposes its errors so precisely, that I'm finally taking it off the shelf. With apologies to anyone who may dislike the film as a whole, I invite you to consider this one scene, and the the pointedly Christian wisdom Monty Python wove--most likely unwittingly--into the dialogue...The only oppressors faced by relativism are the interior forces blinding its proponents to the truth and leading them down a false path. Their hope lies in the realization of the truth, and, like the knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail after having reaching Camelot, arriving at a similar conclusion: "Let us not go to relativism. It is a silly place."
http://www.catholic.org/ae/movies/review.php?id=37229

Natural Law theorists, however, have to show that all who oppose their theory must adopt relativism.

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« Reply #526 on: August 11, 2013, 10:48:55 PM »

I was reminded of this talking with someone how said the Humanae Vitae is in perfect accord with the commandment "to be fruitful and multiply," and I recalled that HV doesn't reference that commandment-or any scripture on point for that matter, including not citing the prooftexts in Romans for "Natural Law"


To continue:
To continue....
Well, let's see what Pope Paul of Rome (or Card. Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II of Rome, co-author of the adopted Minority Report of the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control) means by "divine law," the revealed or the natural.

Going through and putting in red that teaching on marriage/child-bearing/rearing which the Vatican based (or attempted to base) on Revelation, general appeals to authority based on revelation (but not on point on married life) in blue, and in bold those pronouncements based on Natural Law.
Quote
Appeal to Public Authorities

23. And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways by which a government can and should solve the population problem—that is to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both safeguarded.

Seeking True Solutions

We are fully aware of the difficulties confronting the public authorities in this matter, especially in the developing countries. In fact, We had in mind the justifiable anxieties which weigh upon them when We published Our encyclical letter Populorum Progressio.
But now We join Our voice to that of Our predecessor John XXIII of venerable memory, and We make Our own his words: "No statement of the problem and no solution to it is acceptable which does violence to man's essential dignity; those who propose such solutions base them on an utterly materialistic conception of man himself and his life. The only possible solution to this question is one which envisages the social and economic progress both of individuals and of the whole of human society, and which respects and promotes true human values." (Encyc. letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331]) No one can, without being grossly unfair, make divine Providence responsible for what clearly seems to be the result of misguided governmental policies, of an insufficient sense of social justice, of a selfish accumulation of material goods, and finally of a culpable failure to undertake those initiatives and responsibilities which would raise the standard of living of peoples and their children. (See encyc. letter Populorum progressio, nos. 48-55: AAS 59 (1967), 281-284 [TPS XII, 160-162]) If only all governments which were able would do what some are already doing so nobly, and bestir themselves to renew their efforts and their undertakings! There must be no relaxation in the programs of mutual aid between all the branches of the great human family. Here We believe an almost limitless field lies open for the activities of the great international institutions.
Pope Paul here misses the irony that his preaching here is based on the utterly materialistic conception of man himself and his life among the Stoics.
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« Reply #527 on: August 11, 2013, 11:31:28 PM »

In fact, it is the opposite of an ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple.

"ascetic approach to the spiritual life of a married couple"


You may wish to disparage the asceticism of the Church Fathers, but I respect them as authorities on matters of faith.  I find it odd that Orthodox on internet fora like to take a basically secular view on contraception.  I do have some Orthodox friends who tell me that they reject contraception, because they see it as contrary to the true purpose and meaning of sex in marriage, and that they do not try to "space births," but simply keep the marital fast for spiritual reasons, which has the side effect of spacing the births of their children, but without that being an intended outcome on their part.
The marital fast has absolutely NOTHING to do with spacing births  and so called "NFP."  Nothing.

Apotheoun never implied that it did. I'm almost positive that he rejects NFP as well.
Correct. I do not support NFP.
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« Reply #528 on: August 12, 2013, 10:03:20 PM »

Quote
To Scientists

24. Our next appeal is to men of science. These can "considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family and also peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they strive to elucidate more thoroughly the conditions favorable to a proper regulation of births."
(Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 52: AAS 58 (1966), 1074 [TPS XI, 294].) It is supremely desirable, and this was also the mind of Pius XII, that medical science should by the study of natural rhythms succeed in determining a sufficiently secure basis for the chaste limitation of offspring. (Address to Family Campaign and other family associations: AAS 43 (1951), 859.) In this way scientists, especially those who are Catholics, will by their research establish the truth of the Church's claim that "there can be no contradiction between two divine laws—that which governs the transmitting of life and that which governs the fostering of married love." (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 51: AAS 58 (1966), 1072 [TPS XI, 293].)
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« Reply #529 on: August 12, 2013, 10:32:16 PM »

Quote
To Christian Couples

25. And now We turn in a special way to Our own sons and daughters, to those most of all whom God calls to serve Him in the state of marriage. While the Church does indeed hand on to her children the inviolable conditions laid down by God's law, she is also the herald of salvation and through the sacraments she flings wide open the channels of grace through which man is made a new creature responding in charity and true freedom to the design of his Creator and Savior, experiencing too the sweetness of the yoke of Christ. (See Mt 11. 30)

In humble obedience then to her voice, let Christian husbands and wives be mindful of their vocation to the Christian life, a vocation which, deriving from their Baptism, has been confirmed anew and made more explicit by the Sacrament of Matrimony. For by this sacrament they are strengthened and, one might almost say, consecrated to the faithful fulfillment of their duties. Thus will they realize to the full their calling and bear witness as becomes them, to Christ before the world. (See Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 48: AAS 58 (1966), 1067-1069 [TPS XI,290-291]; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 35: AAS 57 (1965), 40-41 [TPS X, 382-383].) For the Lord has entrusted to them the task of making visible to men and women the holiness and joy of the law which united inseparably their love for one another and the cooperation they give to God's love, God who is the Author of human life.

We have no wish at all to pass over in silence the difficulties, at times very great, which beset the lives of Christian married couples. For them, as indeed for every one of us, "the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life." (Mt 7. 14; see Heb 12. 11) Nevertheless it is precisely the hope of that life which, like a brightly burning torch, lights up their journey, as, strong in spirit, they strive to live "sober, upright and godly lives in this world," (See Ti 2. 12.) knowing for sure that "the form of this world is passing away." (See 1 Cor 7. 31.)

Recourse to God

For this reason husbands and wives should take up the burden appointed to them
, willingly, in the strength of faith and of that hope which "does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5. 5) Then let them implore the help of God with unremitting prayer and, most of all, let them draw grace and charity from that unfailing fount which is the Eucharist. If, however, sin still exercises its hold over them, they are not to lose heart. Rather must they, humble and persevering, have recourse to the mercy of God, abundantly bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance. In this way, for sure, they will be able to reach that perfection of married life which the Apostle sets out in these words: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church. . . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Eph 5. 25, 28-29, 32-33.)
Now, near the end, does HV come to draw its inspiration from Revelation, and on point.
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« Reply #530 on: November 19, 2013, 03:47:44 PM »

I was thinking how semi-Pelagian the Vatican's natural law is.  Gorazd gave me the example of circumcision: a revealed command which now is condemned by recourse to using "natural law" against the Creator.
It's not as bad as you make it sound.  Sure Rome tends to use pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of a lot of theological ideas, but one can just as easily use St. Maximos' theory of the logoi to argue for a more or less natural law position on morality.
Not exactly. In fact, they are somewhat in opposition to one another, much like Barlaam and St. Gregory Palamas on associated issues.

Btw, Gorazd invoked St. Maximos on the circumcision issue.  The great saint did not only err here: his ideas of an adrogynous anthropology also stems from using pagan philosophy too much in the formulation of this theological idea (I am aware that a majority of the Fathers fall prey to the same idea).
I disagree with you.  I believe that the logoi, the principle of things and actions, is very similar to the natural law theory of the Roman Church.  I wish the Roman Church would use St. Maximos' ideas instead of relying so much on Aristotelian metaphysics, but the outcome is very similar.  Contraception is immoral either way.
I was reminded of this broad topic-of the difference between logoi and natural law-recently.  We all agree that sickness and catastrophe come from sin, but yet hesitate (or should) to state that someone is sick or a town has suffered a catastrophe (e.g. Washington IL this week from the tornado.  Lord have mercy!) from their own sin.  We need to know the person to make that diagnosis, not just his nature.

Natural law, however, deals only with essences and natures, as I noted above.  It is not by accident that Calvinism grew out of it.  Natural law can only conclude that Washington sinned (although Chicago resembles Sodom far more).  One who sees the logoi, however, can see the interplay between fallen nature and the grace of God (i.e. the Divine Energies that give rise to the logoi) and see how the latter can use the circumstances of the former in a tornado to bring about theosis.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #531 on: November 26, 2013, 10:42:43 PM »

Condoms are more open to life, as is withdrawal.  Nautural enough?

Withdrawal was punished by death in the Old Testament. Condoms are a form of withdrawal, and neither are natural as the sperm is spilt or destroyed. Again live sperm are destroyed. Besides introducing a filthy condom into a woman is not natural at all.

Or do you not read the Old Testament?

I would focus more on understanding than reading. Onan's sin was not coitus interruptus, it was the denial of the levirate union and refusing his dead brother an heir.

Really? Not to be interrogative, but could you please provide a source that backs this up? As far as I know, the tradition interpretation has always been that the sin was coitus interruptus, hence the term "Onanism."

Honestly, I don't have a source for that. That's just what I've been taught by priests and deacons in my Church.
the term "Onanism" is a renaissance invention.

Withdrawal was punished by death in the Old Testament.
only if you were doing your sister-in-law, and defrauding her and your brother of an heir.
Or do you not read the Old Testament?
Sure do.  So did St. Clement of Alexandria, so I'm little curious, given his retaining of Stocism's abhorence of "wasting seed," why he didn't bring up Onan when he expounded on it.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
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« Reply #532 on: November 26, 2013, 10:53:47 PM »

Condoms are more open to life, as is withdrawal.  Nautural enough?

Withdrawal was punished by death in the Old Testament. Condoms are a form of withdrawal, and neither are natural as the sperm is spilt or destroyed. Again live sperm are destroyed. Besides introducing a filthy condom into a woman is not natural at all.

Or do you not read the Old Testament?

I would focus more on understanding than reading. Onan's sin was not coitus interruptus, it was the denial of the levirate union and refusing his dead brother an heir.

It was BOTH.

Other people who refused to honor the levirate union were not killed by God.
Name another person.  Note: this is different than the kinsman at the end of the Book of Ruth.  He didn't agree to marry Ruth and then use her as a sex toy instead of begetting an heir as he promised.  He simply refused to marry her and let Boaz do it.  Notice also that the kinsman didn't take the field either.

The onerous act was the deliberated spilling of sperm.
With all the talk about seminal emissions (and there are a LOT), none talk about "thou shalt not spill seed."
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
ialmisry
There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
Warned
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« Reply #533 on: November 26, 2013, 11:16:19 PM »

sperm isn't an unborn child.  

St. John Chrysostom said somewhere that killing of sperm is akin to homicide.

I take him at his word as sperm are alive. When we deliberately kill any living thing that God has created, be it sperm, spiders, or ducks, we are not acting in a very Christian manner.



Not only does this imply that you dont eat meat but...you do realise plants are alive also, right?

Eating of food is different from killing just for the pleasure of it. When men and women kill sperm so that they can experience pleasure without the risk of pregnancy, this is a lustful and sick act.
you are aware, that even in the event of pregnancy, the couple kill/let die millions of sperm(azoa), no?

sperm isn't an unborn child.  

St. John Chrysostom said somewhere that killing of sperm is akin to homicide.

I take him at his word as sperm are alive. When we deliberately kill any living thing that God has created, be it sperm, spiders, or ducks, we are not acting in a very Christian manner.
He wasn't an embryologist.  Nor a cartographer nor geographer, nor an astronomer nor a geophysicist.  So if he told me the earth was flat, I would have to point out his error.

Btw, if sperm isn't ejaculated, it is killed by the body.  What would St. John have to say on that?



C'mon, NFP people, is it really this difficult to assemble a coherent argument?

Isn't the blatant and deliberate use of chemical, physical, and biological weapons to kill sperm and an unborn child a coherent argument against the use of artificial birth control?

sperm isn't an unborn child.  We know that now for at least 80 years.  don't mix the orange juice in the apple juice.
Isn't the use of such chemical, physical and biological weapons not making war against an innocent and defenseless new life?
Against a new life, yes.  Against sperm, no.
Artificial Birth Control (ABC) is closed to life because it uses chemical and biological warfare, and these weapons can and do damage a woman's body by interfering with her hormones, perforating her uterus (IUDs) and causing ectopic pregnancies. There is also the increased risk of cancer. Spiritually, a woman who uses ABC and her man who is complicit in this wicked deed, is guilty of murder as ABC causes abortion.
Use a condom.

NFP, on the other hand, does not wage a relentless and hostile chemical, physical, and biological war against sperm and the unborn. It is open to life.
Condoms are more open to life, as is withdrawal.  Nautural enough?

Btw, how are you on chemical, physical and biological fertility treatments?

I suspect a trick question.

I oppose fertility treatments that are unnatural, unsafe, and that use pharmaceutical drugs to induce ovulation. Kegal contractions, consumption of capsicum to develop a better liquid mucus, and use of natural thyroid to normalize hormones are the only ones that I would recommend. Some surgical procedures might be warranted, but I would hope that most women would not volunteer for unsafe or questionable procedures.
No trick.  But St. Luke the Evangelist wasn't compelled to give up the medical profession, nor has any Christian than I have ever heard of.

Curing infertility isn't a sin.  About as natural as eating.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 11:25:29 PM by ialmisry » Logged

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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