"It is interesting how this message serves to further my original thesis in that we see little doctrine presented but rather a "perspectivist" reaction."
I honestly do think that these differences in perspective are what underlie how the churches view each other today, even before you get to the level of theological analysis.
""Feeling more Eastern" versus "feeling Western" is interesting, true, but I don't know if that's applicable."
That's not what I said. What I said was there is a significant difference in how the churches view themselves and define themselves. Surely as an evangelical *protestant* you can understand that your own self-labelling is itself a statement of where your church stands vis-a-vis Catholicism, because it implies of necessity that there is something against which you are Protesting to begin with.
"At any rate, it also seems like the differences between Prot-ism and RCC are downplayed in your post."
No they are real, and they are also differences between Orthodoxy and Protestantism, as I said. However, there are other things that Protestantism and Catholicism have in common that we share with neither. This gets back to the "differences that matter".
"For example, between Prot and RCC, we have the following similarities that are not to be found in EOC:
2. The oft-cited "legal" viewpoint versus the "mystical" viewpoint
3. Descendancy of thought (in some cases) from Augustine and Aquinas
4. Tendency to prefer the Masoretic OT text over the LXX
5. Latin tendency to "overthink," analyse, and commit to verbal description more rather than accept many things as a mystery"
To these I would add a common western worldview and heritage, a common enthusiasm for humanism, a common idea of mission, a common sense of interaction between the church and society, a common emphasis on preaching, and an increasingly common worship style and approach following the post-Vatican-II reforms in Catholicism. Much of this is due to the reality that for centuries Protestantism set the terms of the debate in Western Christianity, and Catholicism reacted to that and adjusted where it thought necessary. But the reality is that you both have a lot more in common with each other than either of you is comfortable to admit
"1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints"
Anglicans have saints too, by the way. Yes, we share this in common with Catholics as a practice. Shiite Muslims also have saints, as do a number of other religions, in their own way.
"2. Venerating and praying to said saints"
Yes we share this in common.
"3. Praying for the dead"
Yes, but we also share this with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.
"4. Rejecting the position of Sola Scriptura"
Not our fight. It never came up in the East. We disagree with it as well, but unlike Catholicism, which views scripture and tradition as distinct but equal, we view it all as Holy Tradition, so the juxtaposition of "scripture" and "tradition" is impossible in Orthodoxy. That kind of thinking which led to sola scriptura would have been impossible in Orthodoxy, and this is another indication of how Protestantism is an outgrowth of Catholicism.
"5. Justification not by faith alone"
Not our fight. We don't share this fascination with soteriology that Western Christians do. In Orthodoxy, we believe in "synergeia", and noone has ever suggested here that it was "one" or the "other", or even juxtaposed them against each other like that. This kind of juxtaposition of "faith" over against "works" is another reflection of the Thomistic tradition of analysis that is the common heritage of Protestants and Catholics, but has nothing to do with Eastern Orthodoxy. And so, again, this reflects the reality that Protestantism is an ofshoot of Catholicism.
"6. The claim that infallible interpreting authority resides within the Church, and by extension..."
We would stop the sentence after "Church". This is one of the more significant and far-reaching differences between Catholicism/Protestantism, on the one hand, and Orthodoxy on the other. Catholicism based the "extension" of that principle on one see's interpretation of a critical biblical passage, over and against the actual practice of how the church functioned for centuries, statements in ecumenical councils and the like. It was, in a sense, the first instance, the seed, of "sola scriptura", because the Roman See's claim to primacy of jurisdiction and, later, infallibility, is based on the Roman See's interpretation of the Bible, even if that disagrees with the interpretation given by the entirety of the Church. So in a sense that "addition" by Catholicism was already a rejection of the idea that the infallibility rests with the entirety of the Church and that one see alone cannot define its powers based solely on its own biblical interpretations. In doing so, the seed was planted, in a way, for sola scriptura to emerge, which leads to the next point ...
"7. ...the excoriation of "personal, private" interpretation of the Scriptures"
Yes, we reject this as Catholicism does. But we see the development of sola scriptura as having come from a certain perspective and spirit already present before that in Catholicism. In a sense, the Pope was the first sola scriptura protestant, believing that his own interpretation of certain biblical passages was definitive, binding and authoritative, regardless of what the rest of the church said and regardless of the practices and traditions of the church in this respect. The devlopment of sola scriptura simply relocates this biblical primacy from the Pope (acting through the remainder of the Church of course) to the individual believer ... each believer becomes his or her own Pope. And this development was made possible by a certain approach to the scriptures in Catholicism from the top, and the juxtaposition of scripture and tradition that is not known in Orthodoxy. So here again, we see you both as being closer in roots than you like to admit, and one as being the offshoot of things present in the other.
"8. The emphasis on Mary"
Yes this is true, it predates our separation from Catholicism, and the Catholics have never eliminated it, although the Catholic Church has certainly, if somewhat unwittingly, de-emphasized Marian devotion dramatically in the last 40 or so years, as compared with what you still see in Orthodoxy. Some in Catholicism see this as a "protestant" influence.
"9. Use of icons in worship"
Actually this is more of a difference than a similarity. Catholics do not reject religious paintings or statues, but they do not carry the same significance in Catholic piety or liturgical practice than they do in Orthodoxy. Catholics acccept them, even encourage them, but they are not "necessary". Icons are "necessary" in Orthodoxy. But I will grant that this is a relatively minor difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.