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Pilgrim
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« on: July 24, 2009, 10:58:56 PM »

Is this doctrine found in Holy Orthodoxy. I've read things in the Protestant and Catholic traditions (including some pre-schism stuff) which sugest that there is hope for rightous pagans. I am thinking of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, cicero, Virgil...non Greco-Romans include Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), Confucius (kung fu-Tzu), Lao Tsu, and if what I heard about St. John of damascus is tru, even Siddharta Gautama!

I haven't heard much about this from Orthodox theologians. If anyone has info, it would be appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 11:15:41 PM »

Is this doctrine found in Holy Orthodoxy. I've read things in the Protestant and Catholic traditions (including some pre-schism stuff) which sugest that there is hope for rightous pagans. I am thinking of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, cicero, Virgil...non Greco-Romans include Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), Confucius (kung fu-Tzu), Lao Tsu, and if what I heard about St. John of damascus is tru, even Siddharta Gautama!

I haven't heard much about this from Orthodox theologians. If anyone has info, it would be appreciated.

There is the old saying among some Orthodox that "We know where grace is, but we don't know where it is not". I don't know if that is helpful regardless there is a very active opinion among some Orthodox that 'all' will eventually be united in Christ "and all will be one". As I understand it many in the west hold to this eventuality with great zeal.
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 11:23:23 PM »

Is this doctrine found in Holy Orthodoxy. I've read things in the Protestant and Catholic traditions (including some pre-schism stuff) which sugest that there is hope for rightous pagans. I am thinking of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, cicero, Virgil...non Greco-Romans include Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), Confucius (kung fu-Tzu), Lao Tsu, and if what I heard about St. John of damascus is tru, even Siddharta Gautama!

I haven't heard much about this from Orthodox theologians. If anyone has info, it would be appreciated.

Maybe in their adherance to truth and conformity to moral law they were acknowledging Christ without realizing it. In the next life they will see that it was Christ by Whom they were being led and to Whom they were being drawn. Thus I have hope for them, and am even willing to say that we can learn many things from them. I especially think of people such as Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, who so deeply wedded themselves to peace, love, and the sanctity of Life. And yet Gandhi clearly stated that he rejected the idea that Christ could atone for for another man's sins. He felt that we have to atone for our own sins. So I don't know how to reconcile all of this, but I know that God knows. Thus I leave it to Him and pray for these "righteous pagans" even as I pray for the unrighteous pagans. And I seek to learn from their good deeds and avoid their errors. That's how I see it, but I may be wrong.

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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2009, 12:13:43 AM »

Here is a statement made in 2003 by a very wise man of blessed memory, an iconographer and hieromonk, who gave this advice regarding the recent phenomenon of the appearance of "icons" of various well-known people, many of whom were not Orthodox. While he is referring to iconography, there is plenty here which is relevant to the subject of this thread:

It seems to be a new fad to paint "icons" of secular, non-Orthodox, or even non-Christian persons. While in the worldly sense, they might have lived good and decent lives, it simply is not possible to portray them in an iconographical manner from the Orthodox point of view. Since all icons are a reflection of Christ, and since the saints, as St Ignatius of Stavropol says, "express in themselves daily, the Holy Trinity", and since the Holy Spirit can only reside where there is Truth, then non-Orthodox people cannot achieve that sanctity which would put them in the same spiritual realm as St Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Great-martyr Catherine, or St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

One can hardly think of Harvey Milk, a slain homosexual city councilman, as either a saint or a martyr. It is for God alone to judge his soul, but how could one list him as among the saints? Each generation of mankind has produced its heroes, great generals, great rulers, and so on, but it is the province of Christ's Church, the Holy Orthodox Church alone, to set aside those who are to be venerated as saints. The memories and lives of great men and women most certainly can be respected and held up as a good example, but the appellation saint, is in another realm completely. It is a rather curious phenomenon that people have such high opinions of themselves; "I am a very spiritual person" is often heard, and people write books and go on television to discuss their "Angels" who are some sort of demigods, but usually these people never mention God, or Christ!


Food for thought, folks.
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2009, 01:09:14 AM »

On the other hand, what about men like Socrates, who rejected the gods of pagan Hellas and worshipped the 'Unknown God' (an interesting note, someone once pointed out that Socrates, who worshipped the Unknown God, was a stonecutter. Perhaps he created something to give in homage to the Unknown God. Something on Mars Hill, perhaps? Wink ). Also, Zoroaster, who rejected the paganism of ancient Persia and preached about the one God, Ahura Mazda. We know of gentile prophets. Remember Balaam, who lived while Moses led the people out of Egypt? Or Ruth? Were they not saved?

That said, I'm of course not saying that we should paint Icons of 'St. Plato'.
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 09:19:38 AM »

Early Christians discussed that. It was Chrystostome who encouraged us to teach our children about the Greek philosophers (a citation would do, I know).
Also, read Justin's The Second Apology, chapter 10.

For whatever either lawgivers or philosophers uttered well, they elaborated by finding and contemplating some part of the Word. But since they did not know the whole of the Word, which is Christ, they often contradicted themselves.
[...]
For no one trusted in Socrates so as to die for this doctrine, but in Christ, who was partially known even by Socrates (for He was and is the Word who is in every man, and who foretold the things that were to come to pass both through the prophets and in His own person when He was made of like passions, and taught these things)

Plato                          Aristotle


Sophocles                    Solon



Plato's Republic is a great book against paganism (hah) and most (if not all) philosophers and wise men in Ancient Greece believed in an perfect unmoved mover, one who created everything. But they wouldn't dare to call Him god, that was a title for the inferior demons of their religion.
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2009, 01:47:30 PM »

THANKS GAMMARAY! Grin
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2009, 02:56:06 PM »

Of course the Greek philosophers gave us Democracy, which I don't necessarily see as a good thing. (I prefer a Christian monarchy like Ethiopia and Russia once had.) And Greek philosophy is also the foundation of Western rationalism which isolates people from experiencing Divine Mystery. So I guess it's a matter of perspective.

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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2009, 03:37:00 PM »

Sometimes I think the east rejects using reason and rational arguements too quickly. The fact is that if the west is to be reevangelized rational arguements will need to be used. This is just the way the west is. Look at our father in the faith St. Justin Martyr, who was a Greek philosopher, and wore the philosophers garb EVEN AFTER converting. More recently, do you know William Lane Craig. Check out his reasonable faith website. He is an Evangelical (Catholic friendly) and he debates many leading atheists, such as Antony Flew (back when he was an atheist), as well as liberal Protestants on doctrines such as the Ressurection (yes, using historical arguements). His debates were VERY helpful to me on my journey.
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 03:38:29 PM »

On having a Monarchy, I think the risk is simply to great for corruption. A Monarchy seems to me too idealistic. Of course here in Canada we are a constitutional monarchy, but I myself support a Canadian Republic.
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2009, 03:44:55 PM »

On having a Monarchy, I think the risk is simply to great for corruption. A Monarchy seems to me too idealistic.

You just have to look at the history of various monarchies to see that eh?  Whether it be Roman Emperors, Kings of England, or Russian Tsars.
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2009, 04:20:13 PM »

Of course, republics can turn out the same. The republic of Florence drove Machiavelli to near insanity.
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2009, 05:23:20 PM »

It could be argued that there is more hope for a one corrupt King to become virtuous than for millions of individualists in a democracy to establish righteousness in the land. And of course whenever the Communists overthrow a monarchy they always do so in the name of "Democracy." But I guess this is a debate for another thread, and I'm sure you guys would win it anyway.

That's interesting what you say about Justin Martyr. I'm not very familiar with his life, but now you've sparked my curiosity. I think there has to be a balance. We cannot reject logic, because God is the Author logic. So indeed we must never be afraid to use logic to articulate and defend our Christian Faith. But neither should we make logic the foundation of our Faith, because to do so can lead to the corruption and dissolution of Faith.

I appreciate those who devote their lives to Christian apologetics, but these days I'm a bit leery of the whole apologetics movement. Mystery is not irrational, it is simply that which transcends our finite logical capacities. And nothing is more logical than recognizing our intellectual impotence and deferring to the certainty of Divine Mystery.

I always go back to Blessed Augustine's quote, "I believe, therefore I know." I just love that! Smiley

Selam
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2009, 06:18:51 PM »

Of course the Greek philosophers gave us Democracy, which I don't necessarily see as a good thing. (I prefer a Christian monarchy like Ethiopia and Russia once had.) And Greek philosophy is also the foundation of Western rationalism which isolates people from experiencing Divine Mystery. So I guess it's a matter of perspective.
Yeah, but Plato was against it and he proposed an oligarchy where the kings would be virtuous philosophers. And democracy in Ancient Greece was direct, much different than today's pseudo-democratic liberal oligarchy...
I totally agree with rationalism though. But this is why the Easterners gained a much better view of God; because they were willing to change for God and reject what their nation has been saying for so many years. Westerners acted in a kind of nationalistic way for sticking to their guys, they should have expanded and open their minds to new ideas.
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2009, 06:41:01 PM »

Of course the Greek philosophers gave us Democracy, which I don't necessarily see as a good thing. (I prefer a Christian monarchy like Ethiopia and Russia once had.) And Greek philosophy is also the foundation of Western rationalism which isolates people from experiencing Divine Mystery. So I guess it's a matter of perspective.
Yeah, but Plato was against it and he proposed an oligarchy where the kings would be virtuous philosophers. And democracy in Ancient Greece was direct, much different than today's pseudo-democratic liberal oligarchy...
I totally agree with rationalism though. But this is why the Easterners gained a much better view of God; because they were willing to change for God and reject what their nation has been saying for so many years. Westerners acted in a kind of nationalistic way for sticking to their guys, they should have expanded and open their minds to new ideas.

Yeah, I always liked Plato's concept of an Oligarchy of "Philosopher-Kings." But these days it would be a mighty small oligarchy. Everywhere all we have is fools running things these days!

The irony of Western Civilization is that people thnk they are enlightened and open minded when in reality they are enslaved to the same demonic lifetyles that have plagued mankind since the time of the Fall. 

Selam
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2009, 06:55:19 PM »

Not that it was ever easy to find one. Power brings corruption, Plato's idea is a utopia. But let's leave out for the politics section in the forum.

Maybe Immanuel Kant's views on transcendentalism will make them change their minds and finally accept that there are things which cannot be understood by reason!
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2009, 07:02:26 PM »

"Maybe Immanuel Kant's views on transcendentalism will make them change their minds and finally accept that there are things which cannot be understood by reason!"

First hearing about his theory really made me think. I like many assumed that all could be known through reason. But what if it isn't true. Dinesh D'Souza in his book What's So Great About Christianity gives a good outline.

"So indeed we must never be afraid to use logic to articulate and defend our Christian Faith. But neither should we make logic the foundation of our Faith, because to do so can lead to the corruption and dissolution of Faith. "

Amen. Logic and reason are means and tools, not ends.
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Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth help us to walk the way of Life, which is Christ Jesus.

St. Cyril, St. Leo, and St. Severus pray that the Church may be united and one, Eastern and Oriental.St. Issac the Syrian, pray that Assyria would return to the Holy Church. St. Gregory, pray for Rom
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