OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 21, 2014, 08:13:32 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Problem Of Evil  (Read 4184 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
SSTeacher
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Cradle Catholic, subsequent Evangelical, now Orthodox Catechumen
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 39


« on: October 05, 2009, 09:39:12 PM »

What answer does Orthodoxy offer to those who struggle with the existence of evil?  In the case of moral evil, is it acceptable to assert that God created the FACT of evil i.e. the possibility for bad things to happen but that it is always people that are responsible for the ACT of evil?  And in the case of natural evil, is the "wrong relationship between good things" argument considered helpful?

Curiously,
Mick
Logged
jnorm888
Jnorm
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,516


Icon and Cross (international space station)


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2009, 10:06:32 PM »

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0624.htm (concerning free will)

Quote:
Quote
"Quote:
"Orthodoxus. Well, then, the connection of these names with substance is owing to its accidents. For murder is not a substance, nor is any other evil; but the substance receives a cognate name from putting it into practice. For a man is not (spoken of as) murder, but by committing it he receives the derived name of murderer, without being himself murder; and, to speak concisely, no other evil is a substance; but by practising any evil, it can be called evil. Similarly consider, if you imagine anything else to be the cause of evil to men, that it too is evil by reason of its acting by them, and suggesting the committal of evil. For a man is evil in consequence of his actions. For he is said to be evil, because he is the doer of evil. Now what a man does, is not the man himself, but his activity, and it is from his actions that he receives the title of evil. For if we were to say that he is that which he does, and he commits murders, adulteries, and such-like, he will be all these. Now if he is these, then when they are produced he has an existence, but when they are not, he too ceases to be. Now these things are produced by men. Men then will be the authors of them, and the causes of their existing or not existing. But if each man is evil in consequence of what he practises, and what he practises has an origin, he also made a beginning in evil, and evil too had a beginning. Now if this is the case, no one is without a beginning in evil, nor are evil things without an origin."
 

Quote:
Quote
"It might be maintained that if all things were made through the logos, and evil is a part of all things, then the whole matter of sin- and everything that is wicked -were also made through the Logos. But we must regard this to be false........In respect that he is the devil, he is not the work of God. Yet, he who is the devil is a created being. Since there is no other Creator but our God, he is a work of God. It is as if we should say that a murderer is not a work of God. However, we would also say that as to his being a man, God made him. He received his existence as a man from God. However, we do not say that he recieved his existence as a murderer from God.".  Origen 228 A.D.
 

Quote:
Quote
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.



The issue of free will has alot to do with this.



God created Lucifer, and Lucifer created satan by falling through pride.

In the ancient world a person would have their name changed after an event or if something special took place. Abrams name was changed to Abraham.

I could be wrong....so please correct me if I am, but jacobs name was changed to Israel.


I could be wrong again so please correct me, but Jesus changed the name of Saul to Paul, he could of changed somebody elses name, but I can't remember.


When I converted to E.O. I could of changed my name from John to something else, but I didn't have to because John is already a christian name. Infact, if we are a new creature in Christ then we should be givin a new name, for we are no longer what we use to be.

To this day Islam changes the names of people that convert to Islam, and that's because it was a middle eastern custom to do so. Now we don't have to change our names, but the custom does have symbolic meaning.


In the book of Rev. we see the idea of "new names":

Revelation 2:17
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.


Revelation 3:12
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."



So when Lucifer fell, he was givin a name change. Just like in batman, the "whitenight" wasn't born as "two-face", he became "two-face" latter in time.



So God created Lucifer, but Lucifer created Satan, when he yielded to pride.

ESV
1 Timothy 3:6
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.


Also if we use the principle found in Ezekiel, then we will see how non of the good things Lucifer has done will be remembered.


Ezekiel 18:24
"But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die."


This would be like non of the righteous things the whitenight has done in the movie batman will be remembered, but only the wicked things of "two-face"


So because of Lucifer's sin, God ignores all the good things he did in pre-fall. When it comes to him.....as well as mankind, God is looking at the time of his fall onward.

The difference between us and them.....is that we can repent:

Ezekiel 18:20-22
"20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live."





So God made Lucifer, and Lucifer made Satan when he yielded to pride.



Thus, evil/sin starts with us and Angels.










ICXC NIKA
« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 10:12:37 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
SSTeacher
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Cradle Catholic, subsequent Evangelical, now Orthodox Catechumen
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 39


« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 06:56:15 AM »

Thus, evil/sin starts with us and Angels.

Does Orthodoxy teach that we create the evil in ourselves whenever we attain the age of reason/responsibility or that we are born depraved/evil?

Mick
Logged
AlexanderOfBergamo
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Traditionalist Christian
Jurisdiction: The Original First Millennium Church
Posts: 706


« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 09:23:49 AM »

Quote
I could be wrong again so please correct me, but Jesus changed the name of Saul to Paul, he could of changed somebody elses name, but I can't remember.
The previous are right but this is wrong, so I correct you as you asked: it's Simon who was changed his name to Peter by Jesus himself.

Thus, evil/sin starts with us and Angels.

Does Orthodoxy teach that we create the evil in ourselves whenever we attain the age of reason/responsibility or that we are born depraved/evil?

Mick
Neither.
Orthodoxy teaches that, while we are born unguilty of sin, we are not as pure as Adam and Eve before the Fall. We are in fact victims of the spiritual and physical burden of sin. The spiritual burden of sin is concupiscence.
We might say, in other words, that we are born with a pure soul and with a mind darkened by sinfullness. Since the beginnings of our personal life, we possess a weakened judgment, so that we have a natural tendency to feel attraction for what is hedonistically "good" and not for what is "spiritually sound". Eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve established their own ethics outside of the path proposed by God -  an ethics based on the principle "I do what's good for me, here and now, for the pleasure of my earthly life" and not on the principle "I do what's GOOD in an absolute sense, in the future life, for my spiritual wealth". While we can battle against these feelings and tendencies, our humanity is always menaced by a search for hedonism, and this is at the base of all sins. We must refuge in God's arms to let us be assited by grace to lead a spiritually sound life according to the true Good. In baptism we receive a mystical assistance from Christ in keeping our lives outside of sin as much as possible.

In Christ,  Alex
Logged

"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")
SSTeacher
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Cradle Catholic, subsequent Evangelical, now Orthodox Catechumen
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 39


« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2009, 10:01:19 AM »

Thus, evil/sin starts with us and Angels.

Does Orthodoxy teach that we create the evil in ourselves whenever we attain the age of reason/responsibility or that we are born depraved/evil?

Mick
Neither.
Orthodoxy teaches that, while we are born unguilty of sin, we are not as pure as Adam and Eve before the Fall. We are in fact victims of the spiritual and physical burden of sin. The spiritual burden of sin is concupiscence.

According to Orthodox teaching, what is the source of concupiscence/the misdirected tendency toward sinfulness?

Mick
Logged
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,353



« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 10:18:39 AM »

Orthodoxy teaches us that we only bear the guilt for our own sins, not for the sin of Adam. However, we do experience the consequences of ancestral sin because we are all descended from the same forefather, Adam. Another important point is that the consequences of this ancestral sin are physical and spiritual death. If I can use an imperfect analogy, think of ancestral sin as a disease, like fetal alcohol syndrome. The baby has done nothing and has certainly not abused alcohol but inherits the consequences of its mother’s bad decisions. Yet the baby’s entire life is impacted by those decisions of the parent.

“Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case, amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone. The word amartia, the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity (Romanides, 2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased… through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.” Fr. Antony Hughes
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
SSTeacher
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Cradle Catholic, subsequent Evangelical, now Orthodox Catechumen
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 39


« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2009, 01:53:43 PM »

Orthodoxy teaches us that we only bear the guilt for our own sins, not for the sin of Adam.

So in Orthodoxy Adam is considered to have been a real person?  I had gotten the impression that some Orthodox Christians believed in evolution and regarded much in the Genesis account of creation as allegory.

However, we do experience the consequences of ancestral sin because we are all descended from the same forefather, Adam.  Another important point is that the consequences of this ancestral sin are physical and spiritual death.  If I can use an imperfect analogy, think of ancestral sin as a disease, like fetal alcohol syndrome. The baby has done nothing and has certainly not abused alcohol but inherits the consequences of its mother’s bad decisions. Yet the baby’s entire life is impacted by those decisions of the parent.

That’s a helpful analogy.

“Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case, amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone.

Does the teaching of the Eastern Fathers presuppose that both Adam and Eve were real people and that the Garden was a real place?

The word amartia, the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity (Romanides, 2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine.

I’m finding it challenging trying to comprehend the Orthodox stance apropos Saint Augustine.

Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased… through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a). It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.” Fr. Antony Hughes

It seems, then, that the human inclination to sin i.e. to do wrong in the eyes of God and “miss the mark” was always an inevitability.  We can’t save ourselves, which is why need a Savior, and although nobody really understands how the Atonement works we can still declare by faith that it does indeed work.  Therefore, the task before us is to repent and work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

Am I correctly Orthodox in asserting this?

Well, I guess I’d be correct in concluding that prior to their first sin neither Adam nor Eve had the disposition or the inclination to sin.  Nevertheless, they did sin.  And because of their sin, for which the Eastern Fathers have evidently decided that they alone are culpable, we now have an inclination or predisposition to sin that they didn’t have and we now sin as a matter of routine just as Adam and Eve doubtless did after their first sin.  And each one of us is to be held accountable only for his or her own sins.

So where does Orthodoxy teach that the evil – the sin – the missing the mark – the desire to do one’s own thing rather than obey God – come from?  Sin is apparently inevitable, which means it has to fit into God’s plan somehow.  From whence came the evil that caused Adam and Eve to sin?  How do Orthodox Christians understand and explain the problem of evil?  And do Orthodox Christians differentiate between moral evil and natural evil?

Mick
Logged
AlexanderOfBergamo
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Traditionalist Christian
Jurisdiction: The Original First Millennium Church
Posts: 706


« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2009, 02:44:36 PM »

Quote
I’m finding it challenging trying to comprehend the Orthodox stance apropos Saint Augustine.
That's true, and it is evident. You are making a lot of confusion on the subject. I would suggest you to have a talk with your spiritual father, as you are a catechumen and he'll obviously be glad to explain you everything before you're baptised.

Anyway, let's have a look to your conclusions, and see which are right and which are wrong.

1) Adam and Eve were, so to say, 'real'. Most Orthodox, as I and many others here, confess two historical persons, yet many believe in Adam and Eve to be fictional characters created to show the passage from an initial Golden Age of innocence to a Fallen Age of sinfullness in the primordial history of humanity. How this happened, this is subject to private interpretation... my mind finds it easier to keep the two characters as real as possible to have better in mind the possible allegorical meanings too, but somebody may think it different. To share questions and doubts on this, there's a billion threads already open on the subject, in particular a recent one on Adam and Eve.
2) You say that, in your eyes, the introduction of sin was inevitable, and so that God is somehow an efficient cause of evil. That's wrong. God was the direct cause of FREE WILL. The purpose of free will is to make humans freely love God, and not to hate Him and introduce sin. Still, free will implies also the freedom to sin, yes. If outside of a shop you see the words "Free Entrance", are you obliged to enter? Of course not. Free will admits the free choice to accept God's love or to reject it. For our spiritual wealth, it is natural accept it, because it costs a bit must gains a lot, when the prize is life and joy eternal. Nevertheless, there exists the free choice to welcome evil, i.e. to reject God's gift. Adam and Eve were born with the gift of immortality, and in the Garden of Eden they were proving it temporarily. The only condition was to persevere in God's love, a thing which didn't occur. While not concupiscent by themselves, they were tempted from outside. The snake is a different character then Adam and Eve. He is the agent of our spiritual and physical death: Jesus himself calls him "Murderer since the beginning". Satan had been given himself that choice, and he decided to sin, dropping down from heaven all his legions of fallen angels with him. On earth, he did the same with us (or better, our ancestors). Like angels, we became sinners by nature - i.e. concupiscent. The contagion passed through all generations unto us, and we are delivered (partially) from it baptism.
3) -Did Adam have a choice not to sin? Yes, he did.
-Why did he sin then? Because he wanted to, as we also do in our lives. Only that Adam chose something which was contrary to his own original state of grace, while his descendants act according to their fallen nature.
-Can we choose to work against our fallen nature? Yes, with God's help, we can. Adam did the opposite, so we can reverse the process. God provided a way in Christ Jesus. Sin is not inevitable... it is just extremely difficult to eradicate. May the Immaculate Theotokos be our example!It is right to say we need a Saviour, but it is wrong to say that we can't ourselves. We can save ourselves ACCEPTING Christ our Saviour. Jesus doesn't choose whom to save (a Calvinist opinion...). Jesus offers His grace to ALL, but even if we are damaged by the effects of ancestral sin, we can still find out that God is calling us, and accept his help. This way, God will offer his hand to us, and he will lead us on the way to salvation.

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 02:45:45 PM by AlexanderOfBergamo » Logged

"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2009, 02:48:05 PM »

Orthodoxy has what one may consider various 'levels' of theology. 

The first level is Dogmatic.  Dogmas are unquestioned truths, which are best summarized in the Ecumenical Councils.

The second level is Consensus.  These are beliefs that are generally accepted as true, but there is no definitive statement from the Church in this regard, and so one cannot be excluded from the Church for not accepting them as unquestionably true (like Dogmas).  While their is a general consensus regarding the actual personhood of Adam and Eve, it is not a dogmatic belief and there are some Orthodox theologians who prefer a parable approach.

The third level is Speculative.  In this case, there is no consensus and Christians can have one of several opinions on the matter.  Obviously, there are limits as to how wild one's speculations can get, and there are some speculations the Church has ruled out through Consensus or Dogma.

The frustrating thing for inquirers and catechumens is trying to discern the three levels, which can be complicated by the catechist's own ignorance of the topic.  However, the real measure on one's catechetical progress ought not necessarily be the intellectual grasping of the Faith, but rather the flourishing of the virtues and the increasing love of God.

In summary, Orthodoxy is not about what or how you think, but it is a change in perception that changes your thoughts.  You can't think your way into the Church.


Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,353



« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2009, 03:29:31 PM »

Because he wanted to, as we also do in our lives.

And that's sin in a nutshell, IMHO.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,353



« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2009, 03:34:12 PM »

I’m finding it challenging trying to comprehend the Orthodox stance apropos Saint Augustine.

Well, there also you can find a gamut of opinions, though most think he has a lot to answer for. Purely IMHO a lot of the things that Western Christianity "gets wrong" are due to his influence, and he is generally not considered a saint by the Orthodox. Remember that he was a Manichean for years, and I personally think this, along with his personal problems  laugh contributed to his views on sin.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
SSTeacher
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Cradle Catholic, subsequent Evangelical, now Orthodox Catechumen
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 39


« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2009, 03:46:36 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

No, I can't say that it does but that's probably my fault.  I have a feeling that I'm wasting mine, and everybody else's, time by continuing to make inquiries on this site.  Thanks for spending time on me, though.  Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.

Peace,
Mick
Logged
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2009, 06:01:36 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

No, I can't say that it does but that's probably my fault.  I have a feeling that I'm wasting mine, and everybody else's, time by continuing to make inquiries on this site.  Thanks for spending time on me, though.  Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.

Peace,
Mick

Yes, I think that if you are looking for important answers from an open internet forum then, yes, Orthodoxy is not for you.

The Faith is not about set answers to set questions.  It is a spiritual experience.  It is not acquired through collecting correct data, but experiencing the presence of God with the help of others with whom one has trusting, established relationships.  You should be getting help from someone, not everyone.  And, that someone should be a someone who has a demonstrated, proven and fruitful walk in the Faith, not merely the most clever.

Reread St. Paul and see what he has to say about the clever of speech.  If St. Paul admonishes us to be careful, then be careful even here.  The mind is broken, and so the mind cannot be relied upon.  Something else must shine through.

I've had mixed feelings about participating in forums like this.  I think it can be a less-than-harmful supplement.  But, forums cannot replace real relationships in the Church.

God be with you in your search.


Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Papist
Patriarch of Pontification
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Catholic
Jurisdiction: Byzantine
Posts: 12,254


Praying for the Christians in Iraq


« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2009, 06:05:43 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

No, I can't say that it does but that's probably my fault.  I have a feeling that I'm wasting mine, and everybody else's, time by continuing to make inquiries on this site.  Thanks for spending time on me, though.  Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.

Peace,
Mick

Yes, I think that if you are looking for important answers from an open internet forum then, yes, Orthodoxy is not for you.

The Faith is not about set answers to set questions.  It is a spiritual experience.  It is not acquired through collecting correct data, but experiencing the presence of God with the help of others with whom one has trusting, established relationships.  You should be getting help from someone, not everyone.  And, that someone should be a someone who has a demonstrated, proven and fruitful walk in the Faith, not merely the most clever.

Reread St. Paul and see what he has to say about the clever of speech.  If St. Paul admonishes us to be careful, then be careful even here.  The mind is broken, and so the mind cannot be relied upon.  Something else must shine through.

I've had mixed feelings about participating in forums like this.  I think it can be a less-than-harmful supplement.  But, forums cannot replace real relationships in the Church.

God be with you in your search.



Because Christianity is true, should it not provide answers?
Logged

Note Papist's influence from the tyrannical monarchism of traditional papism .
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2009, 09:55:43 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

No, I can't say that it does but that's probably my fault.  I have a feeling that I'm wasting mine, and everybody else's, time by continuing to make inquiries on this site.  Thanks for spending time on me, though.  Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.

Peace,
Mick

Yes, I think that if you are looking for important answers from an open internet forum then, yes, Orthodoxy is not for you.

The Faith is not about set answers to set questions.  It is a spiritual experience.  It is not acquired through collecting correct data, but experiencing the presence of God with the help of others with whom one has trusting, established relationships.  You should be getting help from someone, not everyone.  And, that someone should be a someone who has a demonstrated, proven and fruitful walk in the Faith, not merely the most clever.

Reread St. Paul and see what he has to say about the clever of speech.  If St. Paul admonishes us to be careful, then be careful even here.  The mind is broken, and so the mind cannot be relied upon.  Something else must shine through.

I've had mixed feelings about participating in forums like this.  I think it can be a less-than-harmful supplement.  But, forums cannot replace real relationships in the Church.

God be with you in your search.



Because Christianity is true, should it not provide answers?

Sometimes there are no answers....
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2009, 12:16:17 AM »

Because Christianity is true, should it not provide answers?

There's quite a difference between 'proof' and 'answers.'  Proof bears witness to itself.  For example, the proof that alligators bite comes when one gets bitten.

However, an answer presupposes a question, and not all questions are either answerable or even logical.  Think of the question regarding angels fitting on heads of pins. 

There is ample proof that Christianity is true.  However, you can ask questions of it that simply can't be answered, either by the ineffability of God or simply that the question is totally inappropriate.  For example, you can't ask someone to divide the number 14 by the color orange and expect an 'answer.'

I submit that the proof of Christianity's truth is in the lives that are transformed by the experience of Christ's love for mankind, rather than in biblical hermeneutics.


Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2009, 01:36:06 AM »

Mick,

Being a catechumen has been one of the most challenging experiences i've gone through in my life. There is a reason why there is a specific prayer for the catechumens during the Divine Liturgy. Most (if not all of us) have various types of baggage that are attached to us with varying degrees of adherence. Although my concerns and questions are not necessarily the same as yours, they often appear to me as completely overwhelming or insurmountable to overcome. My priest has been much help to me in this regard, but I have also received much moral support from the kind people on this board and on others that have encouraged me to persevere when I start to doubt. The Christian life is a corporate act, not one that is to be lived alone.  I think one of the most important roles of forums like these is that one can realize that there are others out there going through the same difficulties, trials, and issues, and that you are not alone by any means. Persevere, my friend, and I will keep you in my prayers.

In Christ,

Trent
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 01:37:10 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
Liz
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Church of England
Posts: 989



« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2009, 06:25:13 AM »

Because Christianity is true, should it not provide answers?

There's quite a difference between 'proof' and 'answers.'  Proof bears witness to itself.  For example, the proof that alligators bite comes when one gets bitten.

Forgive me, but that is not a good example, which may be why discussions like this one get so tangled up. One alligator biting you does not 'prove' that alligators bite. You generalize from specific examples and call the result 'proof'. Proof is internally consistent.

Quote
However, an answer presupposes a question, and not all questions are either answerable or even logical.  Think of the question regarding angels fitting on heads of pins. 

There is ample proof that Christianity is true.  However, you can ask questions of it that simply can't be answered, either by the ineffability of God or simply that the question is totally inappropriate.  For example, you can't ask someone to divide the number 14 by the color orange and expect an 'answer.'

I submit that the proof of Christianity's truth is in the lives that are transformed by the experience of Christ's love for mankind, rather than in biblical hermeneutics.

[/font][/size]


Logged
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,353



« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2009, 09:13:46 AM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.


And this got me to thinking. It seems to me that Orthodoxy is not necessarily about a good fit - it's about what's true and what has been true for centuries.
For example, in some ways, Orthodoxy is probably a terrible fit for me. Among other things, my dream was to become an ordained minister in my former church. Also, I'm much too proud, selfish, self-centered, greedy et. dreary cetera to "fit" in well. I tend to be a rebellious smart-aleck who has serious authority issues. So I have to struggle and struggle and struggle some more to fit myself into an Orthodox mindset and style of life.
But here's the thing I've learned: it's the struggle that's important - not whether or not it's a good fit.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2009, 11:21:44 AM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.


And this got me to thinking. It seems to me that Orthodoxy is not necessarily about a good fit - it's about what's true and what has been true for centuries.
For example, in some ways, Orthodoxy is probably a terrible fit for me. Among other things, my dream was to become an ordained minister in my former church. Also, I'm much too proud, selfish, self-centered, greedy et. dreary cetera to "fit" in well. I tend to be a rebellious smart-aleck who has serious authority issues. So I have to struggle and struggle and struggle some more to fit myself into an Orthodox mindset and style of life.
But here's the thing I've learned: it's the struggle that's important - not whether or not it's a good fit.

Good point, Katherine.  I would only add that for some people, the 'fit' means whether it fits their desires.  Some people are opposed to Orthodoxy because it does not fit their preconceived notions of the Truth, in which case it is a 'bad fit.'  Others, such as yourself, aren't looking for that kind of 'fit' to your opinions, and so you have been able to accept it, albeit with difficulties.

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer, quoted in Alcoholics Anonymous, 1935.

You are absolutely correct that the struggle is what it is all about.  Sometimes it is a struggle to accept, but other times it is a struggle to not know or have the answer we want.  If having all the answers is what Mick is seeking, Orthodoxy will definitely disappoint him.

However, as to Liz's contention regarding my imperfect analogy, one thing is for sure: once bitten by an alligator, you will never, ever be convinced that they don't bite. Wink

I'm no professional logician, nor a magician, but just a priest in a parish who has seen and experienced more things than I can describe or explain.  Given that I am not all that bright, I suppose I have all the proof I need, and others need more.  The great challenge comes when you have to change once you have received all the proof you asked for.  That's what Herbert Spencer was on about.


Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Liz
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Church of England
Posts: 989



« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2009, 12:00:16 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.


And this got me to thinking. It seems to me that Orthodoxy is not necessarily about a good fit - it's about what's true and what has been true for centuries.
For example, in some ways, Orthodoxy is probably a terrible fit for me. Among other things, my dream was to become an ordained minister in my former church. Also, I'm much too proud, selfish, self-centered, greedy et. dreary cetera to "fit" in well. I tend to be a rebellious smart-aleck who has serious authority issues. So I have to struggle and struggle and struggle some more to fit myself into an Orthodox mindset and style of life.
But here's the thing I've learned: it's the struggle that's important - not whether or not it's a good fit.

Good point, Katherine.  I would only add that for some people, the 'fit' means whether it fits their desires.  Some people are opposed to Orthodoxy because it does not fit their preconceived notions of the Truth, in which case it is a 'bad fit.'  Others, such as yourself, aren't looking for that kind of 'fit' to your opinions, and so you have been able to accept it, albeit with difficulties.

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer, quoted in Alcoholics Anonymous, 1935.

You are absolutely correct that the struggle is what it is all about.  Sometimes it is a struggle to accept, but other times it is a struggle to not know or have the answer we want.  If having all the answers is what Mick is seeking, Orthodoxy will definitely disappoint him.

However, as to Liz's contention regarding my imperfect analogy, one thing is for sure: once bitten by an alligator, you will never, ever be convinced that they don't bite. Wink

I'm no professional logician, nor a magician, but just a priest in a parish who has seen and experienced more things than I can describe or explain.  Given that I am not all that bright, I suppose I have all the proof I need, and others need more.  The great challenge comes when you have to change once you have received all the proof you asked for.  That's what Herbert Spencer was on about.




I agree, Katherine's point is a really good one. (And btw, interesting insight! I would never have had you down as a wannabe-minister! Perhaps you come across as more orthodoxly Orthodox than you realize  Wink ).

I hope my post didn't offend, Father Giryus. I only meant that we do seem to get into tangles when one person is satisfied with anecdotal or empirical truths, or even with persuasive images, and another is wanting all the questions answered. I don't think it's necessarily good to try to answer all questions, by the way.

I don't think the kind of Truth there is in Christianity is about intelligence or rationality. Some of the most intelligent people I have met and read, are the ones who have the simplest faith.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 12:02:19 PM by Liz » Logged
AlexanderOfBergamo
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Traditionalist Christian
Jurisdiction: The Original First Millennium Church
Posts: 706


« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2009, 12:10:46 PM »

Hope this helps,   
in Christ,  Alex

Orthodoxy may not be a good fit for me, after all.


And this got me to thinking. It seems to me that Orthodoxy is not necessarily about a good fit - it's about what's true and what has been true for centuries.
For example, in some ways, Orthodoxy is probably a terrible fit for me. Among other things, my dream was to become an ordained minister in my former church. Also, I'm much too proud, selfish, self-centered, greedy et. dreary cetera to "fit" in well. I tend to be a rebellious smart-aleck who has serious authority issues. So I have to struggle and struggle and struggle some more to fit myself into an Orthodox mindset and style of life.
But here's the thing I've learned: it's the struggle that's important - not whether or not it's a good fit.

Good point, Katherine.  I would only add that for some people, the 'fit' means whether it fits their desires.  Some people are opposed to Orthodoxy because it does not fit their preconceived notions of the Truth, in which case it is a 'bad fit.'  Others, such as yourself, aren't looking for that kind of 'fit' to your opinions, and so you have been able to accept it, albeit with difficulties.

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." - Herbert Spencer, quoted in Alcoholics Anonymous, 1935.

You are absolutely correct that the struggle is what it is all about.  Sometimes it is a struggle to accept, but other times it is a struggle to not know or have the answer we want.  If having all the answers is what Mick is seeking, Orthodoxy will definitely disappoint him.

However, as to Liz's contention regarding my imperfect analogy, one thing is for sure: once bitten by an alligator, you will never, ever be convinced that they don't bite. Wink

I'm no professional logician, nor a magician, but just a priest in a parish who has seen and experienced more things than I can describe or explain.  Given that I am not all that bright, I suppose I have all the proof I need, and others need more.  The great challenge comes when you have to change once you have received all the proof you asked for.  That's what Herbert Spencer was on about.



I agree and subscribe to every single bit of your post. We should look NOT for a church which mirrors our thoughts (otherwise we'll become the founders of some other Christian denomination) but for the only church which mirrors truth - i.e. the original belief of the Apostles.

In Christ,   Alex
Logged

"Also in the Catholic Church itself we take great care that we hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and properly Catholic" (St. Vincent of Lérins, "The Commonitory")
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,353



« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2009, 02:10:08 PM »

(And btw, interesting insight! I would never have had you down as a wannabe-minister! Perhaps you come across as more orthodoxly Orthodox than you realize  Wink ).

Wink

Quote
I don't think the kind of Truth there is in Christianity is about intelligence or rationality. Some of the most intelligent people I have met and read, are the ones who have the simplest faith.
True dat.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2009, 11:37:34 AM »


I agree, Katherine's point is a really good one. (And btw, interesting insight! I would never have had you down as a wannabe-minister! Perhaps you come across as more orthodoxly Orthodox than you realize  Wink ).

I hope my post didn't offend, Father Giryus. I only meant that we do seem to get into tangles when one person is satisfied with anecdotal or empirical truths, or even with persuasive images, and another is wanting all the questions answered. I don't think it's necessarily good to try to answer all questions, by the way.

I don't think the kind of Truth there is in Christianity is about intelligence or rationality. Some of the most intelligent people I have met and read, are the ones who have the simplest faith.


No offense.

Right now, I'm plugging through Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind, which, aside from some of the off-colour humor, is rather interesting.  He does point out how flawed human perception is.  Relying on reason and rationality seems almost useless, especially right now when you look at American politics.  He's helped me understand more about the human mind than any three books I've read so far on the topic (aside from Phantoms in the Brain, which is one of my all-time favourites).  I suppose because Brown has made a livelihood out of tricking people.  No theories, only what works.

The same flawed mind that gets 'tricked' by hypnotists and magicians is the same one that makes religious decisions effecting one's eternity.  A bit scary when you think about it.

Well, at least we have coffee and doughnuts.


Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2009, 12:11:20 PM »


I agree and subscribe to every single bit of your post. We should look NOT for a church which mirrors our thoughts (otherwise we'll become the founders of some other Christian denomination) but for the only church which mirrors truth - i.e. the original belief of the Apostles.

In Christ,   Alex

Agreed. Truth can oftentimes be a bitter pill. Nevertheless, for some reason or another, many of us were called upon to search for this truth. Once we find it, the only thing left to do is swallow, which can sometimes prove to be the hardest part of all. 
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 12:11:44 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
BoredMeeting
Loving the Life of a Council Member
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic Christian
Jurisdiction: Serbian Orthodox/OCA
Posts: 721



« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2009, 02:45:01 PM »

I've always understood evil to be the absence of God, sort of the same way as cold is the absence of heat, right down to absolute zero where no heat exists at all and even the electrons stop moving.
Logged
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2009, 03:10:34 AM »

The Doctrine of Evil
Rev. George C. Papademetriou, Ph.D.
http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7079
To understand the Orthodox view and practice of exorcism, one must know the Orthodox presuppositions of evil and its doctrine of Satan. The patristic evidence points to the fact that the cause of evil in the world is the devil. The devil was created by God as an angel, who was free, and as a free agent chose to oppose the plan of God. That is, the devil is a fallen angel. Satan is not evil by nature, but by will and action. In Satan there is no truth whatsoever; he is absolute falsehood and deception. Satan is not just a negation or deprivation of good, but a positive force with free will that always chooses evil. The devil has the ability to recognize divine power, as in the incident of recognizing Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-3). Satan has under his leadership legions and invisible powers, with their own "satanic teachings." The devil and evil spirits know that God exists and recognize true and devoted Christians, but pious Christians discern the plans of the devil. The devil, however, constantly employs every method of deception to enslave man to satanic forces and causes rebellion against God. He is the cause of corruption and disorder, a parasitic power in the world that will ultimately be destroyed by the power of God in the "last days." Because there is no compromise between God and the devil, the struggle will continue until the end.

The Orthodox doctrine of God is that He is eternal, uncreated and incorporeal. All other creatures, both visible and invisible, were created by God as free. The power of the devil will ultimately be destroyed by the resurrection of the dead and the renewal of creation. Salvation from all evil will be attained by obedience to God and His plan. This world is a battleground between the acceptance of good and evil. It must be pointed out that the world as the creation of God is not evil. What is evil is the satanic power, destroyed by the power of the cross and the resurrection of Christ.

---------------------------

"If we desire to acquire faith -- the foundation of all blessings, the door to God's mysteries, unflagging defeat of our enemies, the most necessary of all the virtues, the wings of prayer and the dwelling of God within our soul -- we must endure every trial imposed by our enemies and by our many and various thoughts.

Only the inventor of evil, the devil, can perceive these thoughts or uncover and describe them. But we should take courage; because if we forcibly triumph over the trials and temptations that befall us, and keep control over our intellect so that it does not give in to the thoughts that spring up in our heart, we will once and for all overcome all the passions; for it will not be we who are victorious, but Christ, who is present in us through faith." REF:St. Peter of Damaskos, "God's Universal And Particular Gifts", from G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, "The Philokalia: Vol. III," (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), pp. 172 - 173.
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,816



« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2009, 09:10:28 AM »

A Big Thank you to Ukiemeister for posting a good example of what the Convert Issues Forum likes to see in response to a question! Note how he cited the article , gave a reference for the convert Forum member to read for him/herself, and then may comment upon it with his or her thoughts in the forum.

We must all remember that one of the purposes of the Convert Issues Forum is to present simple answers backed by resources that enable the convert or inquior to come to a deeper understanding of orthopraxis and belief.

Once again, Thank you Ukiemaster for giving a good example of how to do it.

Thomas
Convert Issues Forum Moderator
Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
Tags: evil 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.137 seconds with 55 queries.