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Author Topic: Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin?  (Read 55518 times) Average Rating: 1
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Quinault
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« Reply #225 on: May 17, 2011, 06:47:16 PM »

If indeed you do have Aspergers  it is all the more important to keep sex in the proper context. There is nothing more muddled and confusing than the world of premarital sex and dating. If you can't understand others NOW while not having sex, you will be completely clueless and end up not only hurting yourself, you will simply shatter other people with you.

I don't need to tell you my history, but the fact that I have ever even had sex voluntarily is nothing short of a miracle given what I endured during my formative years. Factoring in that I have been married for almost 15 years, and it is even more miraculous.
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« Reply #226 on: May 17, 2011, 06:53:37 PM »

I highly doubt Quinault was trying to devalue what you said, she is almost always more than kind. I'm just surprised to see you trying to throw out Asperger's as an excuse to engage in premartial relations.

  You're being very presumptuous and judgemental here.   I never said I wanted to excuse anything.    You're jumping to conclusions when you think I view premarital sex as the answer to my problems.  I don't have the answer truthfully, other than to pray.   If the possibility for a loving relationship with somebody came into my life, i wouldn't turn it down though, no matter what some so-called Christian thougt about it.  Emphasis upon "loving" though.   But getting to the point i am OK with relationships of that nature may take time, it may not come at all.  I pray alot to God to deal with these feelings, i'm tempted constantly with despair.

 Frankly, the attitude of people here is... shocking.  You rush into my life to judge me and comment, instead of just listening.   There's nothing discerning about this,  you are just parroting religious ideology and presuming alot about me.

Forgive me if I did assume too much but from your posts you seem to have that mindset. You say "but to live a joyless life focusing only on self-denial is to damn my own soul, because then i will not be looking at God as a friend, but a tyrrant I would want to avoid." From this I see you saying that no premarital sex or 'loving relationship'  equals a joyless life. Thus your perscription for a life of joy is the 'loving relationship.'
Echoing the teachings of the church isn't 'parroting.'
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« Reply #227 on: May 17, 2011, 07:06:21 PM »

life will suffer IF you are having premarital sex. Period. And you are not just disagreeing with whether we should have pews, or the style of icons. You are disagreeing with a MAJOR tenet within Christianity, not just Orthodoxy. You cannot bear fruit if you are having premarital sex.

  Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.   I don't think its anybody short of a spiritual father's position, to comment on these matters, to pretend to prioritize what is the graver sin for an individual.

 Also please read Nikolai Molovitov's book where he interviews St. Seraphim of Sarov, talking about the prostitute whose prayers raised the dead... the fruit we produce is not dependent on our outward behaviors, acting like a "good person", its dependent on our love for God and our neighbor.  

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Daedelus1138 have you spoken with your Priest about these issues? Why become Orthodox if you never intend to follow the strict moral code that Orthodoxy upholds?


 I have spoken somewhat, I told him my concerns months and months ago, that I had many gay friends i cared about, that I struggled with the tradition teaching on homosexuality, and we discused the Church's views on sexuality (he said in the past the church sometimes excommunicated people for years but experience has taughth us that is unhelpful and unrealistic). Then eventually I came out myself (I consider myself bisexual).  So yes, i have talked about it with him.
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Quinault
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« Reply #228 on: May 17, 2011, 07:10:52 PM »

There is the heart of it. You have issues with the teaching of the church in general on sexuality. Homosexuality and premarital sex are both considered a sin within the Orthodox church, and you take issue with both points.
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« Reply #229 on: May 17, 2011, 07:15:00 PM »

 Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  
If I hand you a glass of water spiked with arsenic and you drink it, is your death resulting from said poison a death wrought by juridicial thinking and rules?

Also please read Nikolai Molovitov's book where he interviews St. Seraphim of Sarov, talking about the prostitute whose prayers raised the dead... the fruit we produce is not dependent on our outward behaviors, acting like a "good person", its dependent on our love for God and our neighbor. 
Nobody here is disputing this.

Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.  
He also dealt with murderers, adulterers, and even with idol-worshiping kings like Pharaoh and Cyrus the Great. Just because God is merciful and philanthropic does not mean that sins are not sins.

You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51.

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« Reply #230 on: May 17, 2011, 07:23:12 PM »


You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51


  Right... the only time God actually shows displeasure with David's extramarital sex, in this case adultery, is when it is tied to murder to conceal the consequences of his actions.   Other than that, God doesn't seem to ever have much to say in the Old Testament about David's many women (this isn't to say his behavior measured up to an ideal,  but clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith).   Anyting else you are trying to imply from the 51st Psalm is a distortion of the biblical record.
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« Reply #231 on: May 17, 2011, 07:24:30 PM »

clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith
And repentance.


You speak of King David, but you forget Psalm 51


  Right... the only time God actually shows displeasure with David's extramarital sex, in this case adultery, is when it is tied to murder to conceal the consequences of his actions.   Other than that, God doesn't seem to ever have much to say in the Old Testament about David's many women (this isn't to say his behavior measured up to an ideal,  but clearly it wasn't stopping David from a relationship with God based on faith).   Anyting else you are trying to imply from the 51st Psalm is a distortion of the biblical record.
Nobody here is saying that one can't be a repentant sinner and still have a relationship with God. What you're saying is that pre-marital sex is not a sin. These are not the same thing.
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« Reply #232 on: May 17, 2011, 07:31:44 PM »

Wow, so much for theosis being a process...  you place it in very juridical terms, a bunch of rules to follow or else somehow God is not working in your life.  Go read your Old Testament please.  God delt with plenty of people that had premarital/extramarital sex.  Look at David, the king of Israel for instance.

Theosis is indeed a process. That doesn't mean God lowers his standards when we fail.

The rules exist for our own good. Is a human father a tyrant for stopping his children from playing in the street?

I have spoken somewhat, I told him my concerns months and months ago, that I had many gay friends i cared about, that I struggled with the tradition teaching on homosexuality, and we discused the Church's views on sexuality (he said in the past the church sometimes excommunicated people for years but experience has taughth us that is unhelpful and unrealistic). Then eventually I came out myself (I consider myself bisexual).  So yes, i have talked about it with him.

I have two friends at my parish who suffer homosexual temptations. They have come to grips with them and struggle against them. They have long overcome the fact that they will be alone for their whole lives, and they have resolved to focus their energies toward their own salvation and serving others. That is the Orthodox path for those who are not called to marriage. That is not unrealistic.

As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.

But ultimately it is your choice whether you will practice humility and obedience or not. It's not easy, my homosexual friends have assured me of that. But it will lead to true happiness, which casual sex and sinful lifestyles cannot offer.
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« Reply #233 on: May 17, 2011, 07:32:32 PM »

"You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into gehenna. And if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than that thy whole body be cast into gehenna."
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« Reply #234 on: May 17, 2011, 08:07:25 PM »

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  I don't think its anybody short of a spiritual father's position, to comment on these matters, to pretend to prioritize what is the graver sin for an individual.
Ok, so for a third time I ask you:
HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR SPIRITUAL FATHER ABOUT ANY OF THESE CONCERNS???!!
He will have the EXACT same opinion that we do, because it is the Church's opinion on the matter. Stop ignoring my question. What has your Priest said to you about this topic?
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« Reply #235 on: May 17, 2011, 08:10:15 PM »


Theosis is indeed a process. That doesn't mean God lowers his standards when we fail.  

  Yeah, but God doesn't really judge us using abstract rules, the Psalmist is fairly clear about this "he knows our frame, he remembers we are dust".  Rules ask the impossible of us, God does not.

Quote
The rules exist for our own good. Is a human father a tyrant for stopping his children from playing in the street?  

  A limited analogy.  For one thing, God allows us alot more freedom than a human father.    Maybe some people find that concept of freedom terrifying,  go read the Grand Inquisitor from The Brother's Karamazov?

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have two friends at my parish who suffer homosexual temptations. They have come to grips with them and struggle against them. They have long overcome the fact that they will be alone for their whole lives, and they have resolved to focus their energies toward their own salvation and serving others. That is the Orthodox path for those who are not called to marriage. That is not unrealistic.  

  Not unrealistic according to you.  There are alot of people who find that way of life unbearable.  And they aren't all wickedly evil people that deserve to be chased out the Church.   I know a few people like that (partnered gays or lesbians) that are Roman Catholic- they are basicly delt with by their own kind of "economia" from years of experience of priests dealing with the gay community.  It probably isn't in accord with the Vatican's Magisterium but then, 2/3 of the Roman Catholic laity and half the priests don't agree with the Vatican's position on homosexuality.    

    And FYI,  I have asperger's and i'm bisexual (and sometimes i've questioned my gender identity).  I am not identified as gay.

Quote
 As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.  

 I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

Quote
But ultimately it is your choice whether you will practice humility and obedience or not. It's not easy, my homosexual friends have assured me of that. But it will lead to true happiness, which casual sex and sinful lifestyles cannot offer.

FWIW, i would pray to God for the humility to live that kind of life but I feel deep down forcing that cross upon other people is deeply wrong, and by emulating an "obedient" lifestyle like that, i'd be legitimizing indifference to suffering.  I do not want to stand by while people are suffering in silence, that is not what God calls us to do.  I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?),  when they fail to listen to the experinces of gay Christians in that manner.     People in the Church can talk about homosexuals as needing healing but that just overlooks the fact that we are all in need of healing, there is nothing special about gays in that matter, sin daamges and distorts every human relationship.  So much of what religion embodies in this is not of God, its just cultural prejudice against things people don't understand.   Caring for the sojourner and the stranger shouldn't just apply to people from foreign lands it should also apply to people that we don't understand and people that frighten us.
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« Reply #236 on: May 17, 2011, 08:11:45 PM »

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Nobody here is saying that one can't be a repentant sinner and still have a relationship with God. What you're saying is that pre-marital sex is not a sin. These are not the same thing.
Exactly. Stop shuffling around the issue. God forgives those that repent of sin. If you don't consider premarital sex sinful, you are operating on a whole other level than David, Solomon, the Prophets, the entire OT, and the entire NT.
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« Reply #237 on: May 17, 2011, 09:21:09 PM »

So you're comparing following Nazi Germany to following the teachings of the Church? I think we can clearly see one is ok while the other is not. The Church is Christ's Bride being led by the Holy Spirit so I'm pretty sure we don't need to worry about genocide  laugh Unless you don't believe the church is guided by the Holy Spirit. 

  When St. Maximos was being jailed for refusal to go along with monothelitism,  appeals were made to the Church and other authorities as well (including to the Latins).   St. Maximos ended up losing a tongue and a hand in the process, but he didn't recant, even though the Patriarch of Constantinople and half the Christian east was against him speaking as "the Church".

 Your making an appeal to authority.  Appeal to authority and to consensus are both logical falacies for truth.   The Church's , if it be the "pillar and ground of truth", cannot rest on "whatever people have always agreed on" or "whatever somebody with authority said".   It has to be self-evident under scrutiny.

 
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  But the need to individulize everything is by no means Christ's plan and why we see much splintering in those groups. 

   Well, they  see that as prefferable to using the power of the state to persecute or kill heretics.  For hundreds of years actually the Church of England (Anglican) was the only official church in England, for instance. Lutheran princes were very ruthless in persecuting baptists.   It was not until the late enlightenment that religious freedom was granted in Protestant countries.   Eastern European, Orthodox countries mostly have religious homogeny because of the power of the state and the legacy of repressive regimes like the Byzantines, the Tsars, etc.  No different from the situation in England during the Tudor to the Victorian eras.   Eastern Christianity's apparrent homogeneous character was largely derived from powerful empires wanting an end to schisms and divisions within the Christian movement (Constantine called the First Ecumenical Council after all, to end political problems in his empire caused by religion).

  To me this speaks more to certain people being afraid their particular brand of Christianity cannot stand up to scrutiny.  Should the Truth fear scrutinty?  I think not.

Quote
If the ultimate arbitor of what is truth is one's self then no man is wrong since he is right in his own mind. No, we need the rebuke and sheparding of the Church to guide us. Yes your sins are between you and God alone, but that doesn't mean your whole life direction and choice of right and wrong is between you and God. 

 Are you a convert?  Then you made yourself arbiter of truth when you decided to abandon your western tradition and choose Orthodoxy.  You made a choice about truth.  This is the big spiritual fault I discovered in myself, about 1 1/2 years ago i was a zealous convert to Orthodoxy, but to individually choose to follow a tradition that tends to be skeptical of individuality, is the ultimate hypocrisy.   So it unmasked some serious hypocrisy and judgementalism, so that's where I am today.  I really hurt my relationship to other Christians who did not embrace "Orthodoxy", and i did this needlessly and sometimes I think God is chastising me.  So watch out.  Of all the sins i've done- I feel almost dead inside since i did this.  I replaced an earnest desire to serve God as best I could with "religion",a head full of dogma but a heart unsure about God's love.  Alone in a religious tradition that also didn't care to support me much in my spiritual and material issues.  Not fun, i'm not sure i have made my peace with it yet.

   We do walk alone with God...  Christianity is ultimately not a religion, its a relationship...  If we are looking to other people constantly for our spiritual validation, we are immature.  We should be looking to Christ, not to men, who will always fail.  Christ alone is he who was dead "and behold I am alive forevermore, and i hold the keys to Death and Hades".   Your priest can't say that, even the greatest saint can't say that, only Christ can.  Do people have such little faith they don't allow Christ to speak to them Himself directly?
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« Reply #238 on: May 17, 2011, 09:26:47 PM »


Exactly. Stop shuffling around the issue. God forgives those that repent of sin. If you don't consider premarital sex sinful, you are operating on a whole other level than David, Solomon, the Prophets, the entire OT, and the entire NT.

  David and Solomon both had a huge harem of wives and concubines.  Are we to believe he suddenly jettisoned those after writing the 51st Psalm? I  don't think so.   We don't find God approving of Solomon's behavior, but at the same time we don't see God moralizing about it either.  My guess is in a world where people were enslaving each other, offering their babies as burnt offerings to idols, selling women off as property, who you slept with was the least of God's concerns.
 
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« Reply #239 on: May 17, 2011, 09:29:08 PM »

 David and Solomon both had a huge harem of wives and concubines.  Are we to believe he suddenly jettisoned those after writing the 51st Psalm? I  don't think so.   We don't find God approving of Solomon's behavior, but at the same time we don't see God moralizing about it either.  My guess is in a world where people were enslaving each other, offering their babies as burnt offerings to idols, selling women off as property, who you slept with was the least of God's concerns.
God was progressively revealing himself to the Israelites. God's full revelation of who He is came in Jesus Christ. Have you read the Sermon on the Mount and how Christ's teachings relate to the OT Laws?
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« Reply #240 on: May 17, 2011, 09:30:06 PM »

Daedalus, I defended you earlier in the thread because I can see the sadness in your words but I must now say, you have not acquired an Orthodox phronema. By appointing yourself the final arbiter of what you will accept as truth, you have adopted the m/o of protestantism.

It's true that Orthodoxy is not so big on rules and regulations, but there are certain things which tend towards being dangerous to one's soul most, if not all, of the time. The witness of five thousand years confirms this wisdom in the case of pre-marital sex (by which its proponents usually mean bed-hopping promiscuity, as much as they like to deny this).
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« Reply #241 on: May 17, 2011, 09:39:37 PM »

Yeah, but God doesn't really judge us using abstract rules, the Psalmist is fairly clear about this "he knows our frame, he remembers we are dust".  Rules ask the impossible of us, God does not.

Orthodoxy does not ask the bare minimum of us. Christ commands us to be holy—nothing less. And this IS possible. Far greater sinners than you or I have reached the heights of holiness. But not while hanging onto their sins for dear life.

You seem stuck in a juridical view of salvation. We don't have this view. The rules are not arbitary yardsticks. They tell us how to amend our souls and become holy. Salvation is union with God, and we can only accomplish union if we cooperate with God. God will not force us into union against our will. If we don't want to be holy, we don't have to be.

Not unrealistic according to you.  There are alot of people who find that way of life unbearable.

Not unrealistic. Period. It's only unbearable to those who refuse to "let go and let God", as some Protestants say. When you let go of the stranglehold you have on your own life, it all becomes much easier.

But again, God won't force us. We can walk right into our own destruction if we want to. We have that right.

And they aren't all wickedly evil people that deserve to be chased out the Church.   I know a few people like that (partnered gays or lesbians) that are Roman Catholic- they are basicly delt with by their own kind of "economia" from years of experience of priests dealing with the gay community.  It probably isn't in accord with the Vatican's Magisterium but then, 2/3 of the Roman Catholic laity and half the priests don't agree with the Vatican's position on homosexuality.     

Partnered homosexuals are acting against their church, and their priests will be held responsible for leading these little ones astray. And anyway, this is beside the point; Roman Catholics can do whatever they want.

And FYI,  I have asperger's and i'm bisexual (and sometimes i've questioned my gender identity).  I am not identified as gay.

Well that's fine. I am fully aware of the complexities of sexuality issues and didn't mean to lump you in with other people. But there are principles that apply across the board, including having sex outside of marriage and marrying a person of the opposite sex.

I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

It's not about whether a Church is right for you, though. Its about whether the Orthodox Church is the true Church. That is the issue you must focus on. That answer will determine everything else.

FWIW, i would pray to God for the humility to live that kind of life but I feel deep down forcing that cross upon other people is deeply wrong, and by emulating an "obedient" lifestyle like that, i'd be legitimizing indifference to suffering.  I do not want to stand by while people are suffering in silence, that is not what God calls us to do.

Christ is the one who told us to pick up our crosses and follow, regardless of how heavy they are. The Apostles told us to rejoice in our suffering and thank God for being counted worthy to suffer for His sake.

Jesus was not released from His suffering, why would we be? Are we better than Him? Is He not able to help us?

I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?),

Nature is fallen. We have never observed a single unfallen organism, so we have no way of saying whether something is natural or not. Besides, many species are incestuous and cannibalistic too, so...

People in the Church can talk about homosexuals as needing healing but that just overlooks the fact that we are all in need of healing, there is nothing special about gays in that matter, sin daamges and distorts every human relationship.

Amen. We are all in need of healing. You just summarized Orthodox Christianity. Welcome home.

The problem is, not many people say that hatred, drunkenness, murder, etc are not sins. But people say that fornication and sodomy aren't sins. So we have to fight these mistaken ideas. But yes, we are all in need of healing, absolutely.
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« Reply #242 on: May 17, 2011, 09:55:40 PM »

We are deluded if we think that our "personal decisions" do not affect others.  
your statement has no place in the experience of living Christ and his body in the divine liturgy because my personal decisions are those of me and Christ...

First: sure, you're a human being with free will, so yes, only you can make that decision.  But I don't think that this is the principle we're disagreeing on.  I'm certainly not debating this point.  Otherwise:

How does your decision to have premarital sex not affect others?  It at least affects one other person, if not more.  If you eventually get married, then it has affected at least two people, and that baseline number will increase based on the number of children you have.  Add any future potential partners/spouses for your partner, and the number increases even more.  This doesn't take into account how your attitude will change, and how that is communicated to your friends, family, and acquaintances.  So your decisions, while you feel that they're made between you and God, affect many people, and are influenced by them (and by those who do not wish you to be in communion with Christ - unless you deny the influence of evil, then you pile delusion upon delusion).

If you choose to live alone (i.e. making decisions without regard to the Lord's commands, or their impact on others; this statement isn't directed to those who are single, just to those who isolate themselves from others & God) then you choose to live a life not reflective of the Trinity (3 in 1 relationship), or of created humanity (2 in 1 harmony), even if physically you choose to join yourself to others.

I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?

One can continue to delude themselves into thinking that the choice to have or not have premarital or extramarital sex is personal, between them and God; while on the surface every decision is such a decision, we must also see that He Who made all and gave us His law has given us a chosen path to take, and we can only be righteous if we choose that path (and can repent if we do not choose that path, but that repentance requires a change and non-repetition of the mistake).
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« Reply #243 on: May 17, 2011, 10:01:52 PM »

I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?

Bless, Father.

What does this mean for people who have made the mistake of engaging in extra-marital sex but repented of it? Does the person to whom they were conjoined in one flesh hold a piece of their soul forever? What does this mean for the conjoining of the flesh in any future marriage?

Just to be clear, I am not speaking literally or with precision in my questions.
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« Reply #244 on: May 17, 2011, 10:03:48 PM »

Quote
 As I've said before in this thread, the problem is with your expectations and notions, not with the Church's teachings. If you become obsessed with the sinful things you can't have, you will be unhappy. But if you accept that Christ and His Church know best, you can very easily find true happiness in it.  

 I  will talk to my priest then, perhaps the Orthodox church is not the church for me.  My conscience is firm on this issue.  I will not stand by and be a voice against any minority that lacks power and influence and is voiceless, it is not what God calls us to do as Christians.   This is not loving, to have a closed mind.   Right after the closed mind comes the closed heart.   To me what that amounts to is standing by and driving another nail into Christ with indifference to truth.

So why are you inquiring into Orthodoxy?  To find Christ, or to find someone who supports the religion you've created in your heart?  God is worshiped in Spirit and Truth, but that is all in the context of His Body, His Bride, His Church.  Based on Christ's revelation to the world, He is present in Orthodoxy, and the Orthodox Way is a sure way to be one with Him in His Kingdom.  You can choose a sure way, or you can choose your own way - but know that there is little in the way of certainty that your way will lead to oneness with God.  If you choose God's way, then you must submit yourself in humility to it, just as we who call ourselves Orthodox strive to each day.  We choose to struggle to avoid blasphemy, anger, wrath, fornication, theft, adultery, violence, indifference, lack of charity, etc.  Join the struggle if you dare - the road is not easy, as our individual Crosses are heavy.
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« Reply #245 on: May 17, 2011, 10:12:37 PM »

Bless, Father.

May the blessing of the Risen Lord be with you!

I still don't see how people can dance around the admonitions in 1 Corinthians 6.  It is against all premarital and extramarital sex.  Take the following:
"Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two,' He says, 'shall become one flesh.'" (1 Cor 6:16)
"η ουκ οιδατε οτι ο κολλωμενος τη πορνη εν σωμα εστιν εσονται γαρ φησιν οι δυο εις σαρκα μιαν"

How can you not see that the union achieved in sex is intended only for 1 relationship per person?  How many people do you want to be united to in this means, only to spiritually and physically abandon them?  How many people do you want to influence your eternal soul through this union?
What does this mean for people who have made the mistake of engaging in extra-marital sex but repented of it?

Repentance is the washing of a new baptism; if we are truly repentant, then we can rest in the Lord's assurance of grace and mercy.

Does the person to whom they were conjoined in one flesh hold a piece of their soul forever?

Well, we don't give and take pieces of our soul; the soul is simple (not complex like the flesh) and not divisible.  We are mystically united - what that means for the future, I don't know.

What does this mean for the conjoining of the flesh in any future marriage?

I'm not quite sure.  I think the complexity of this question is why there are canons against marrying if you've committed fornication.  Such canons have been relaxed in modern days, but this doesn't reduce the importance of the question.  IMO: For those who have had premarital or extramarital sex and have repented (and are either in a marriage or are celibate), I would encourage prayer for their former partner(s) and, if possible, to maintain a friendship where they can encourage spiritual growth toward Christ.
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« Reply #246 on: May 17, 2011, 10:15:51 PM »

Thank you for that, Father.

I pray that the Lord will forgive.
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« Reply #247 on: May 17, 2011, 10:19:28 PM »

I do not believe reactionaries are beeing open to what science is saying about human sexuality (if it were unnatural why is it found in hundreds of species and probably has evolutionary advantages through kin selection?)
I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.
Perhaps you should read this introductory article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_hormones_and_sexual_orientation
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« Reply #248 on: May 17, 2011, 11:15:32 PM »

Orthodoxy does not ask the bare minimum of us. Christ commands us to be holy—nothing less. And this IS possible. Far greater sinners than you or I have reached the heights of holiness. But not while hanging onto their sins for dear life.  

  It seems clear to me that in this life we'll always be sinners.   Even in people that seem to be saintly, have wonderworking powers, one can find things that seem to be off, or in error.

Quote
You seem stuck in a juridical view of salvation. We don't have this view. The rules are not arbitary
yardsticks. They tell us how to amend our souls and become holy. Salvation is union with God, and we can only accomplish union if we cooperate with God. God will not force us into union against our will. If we don't want to be holy, we don't have to be.

   I'm not certain myself that "union with God" is why God created humanity, and thus the purpose of human life.   I think perhaps God created human beings just because that's what God does- create.  And perhaps God became man for no other reason than we'ld be free, not free to be slaves to rules, but free from fear and oppression.  Mystical union is something that will happen as a consequence of that, not something we strive for but something that happens to us by living in the reality of the Incarnation.

  I'm not sure the historical Jesus really preached about mystical union (though its emphasized alot in Orthodox spirituality, due to the influence of monasticism).  3 of the 4 Gospels emphasize the Kingdom of God as being about justice, mercy, and forgiveness ruling in peoples hearts (and yes I think Jesus alludes that this involves sacrifice and renunciation).  Only the 4th approaches mysticism.In some ways, i think looking at western history, the Kingdom of God is clearly present.  We've gone in 2000 years from a society that was OK with keeping human beings as slaves and watching people die as etertainment, to a society that has human rights based on intrinsic dignity at the center of our discourse.  

  At this point in my life I am not focused on being holy.  I'm trying to learn to forgive and get along with my family and my situation in life, which is not easy at all.  Holiness is too lofty for me.  If i really love people i have to forgo the idea of me being holy and just focus on improving myself as best as i can, without being harsh on myself or other people.   I will leave judgement up to God, and i hope you would be gracious enough to do the same.

Not unrealistic. Period. It's only unbearable to those who refuse to "let go and let God", as some Protestants say. When you let go of the stranglehold you have on your own life, it all becomes much easier.  

  There's truth in that, I am not wholeheartedly rejecting the teachings iin that manner.   But this idea sounds nice in practice but i know some gay Christians still struggling with this issue, and they would very much like to "let go and let God" and it doesn't happen.  They feel alienation and rejection from other Christians, for one, which certainly doesn't help.

Quote
 But again, God won't force us. We can walk right into our own destruction if we want to. We have that right.  

  I don't think a loving gay relationship is automaticly destructive.  Its true we could all i guess go off and try to become a St. Seraphim or a St. Mary and please the hierarchy of the Church rather than live an openly gay life, but when you force people to do that, tell them "do this or go to hell", the message so many gay Christians get, you get pain and estrangement.  And if an Orthodox congregation basicly does that to a gay person, that is the message being sent.  I feel deep down this is not how Jesus Christ would treat a gay prson, having known several gay people know in the past few years, and comming to realize that many religious people and groups intentionally avoid dealing with them as human persons with the same needs and issues as other people (if you do not I applaud you, but honestly before engaging this issue in myself, I realized i had simply avoided taking the lives of gays and lesbians seriously, and was even in denial with myself about my own same-sex attractions).

I
It's not about whether a Church is right for you, though. Its about whether the Orthodox Church is the true Church. That is the issue you must focus on. That answer will determine everything else.  

  To be honest i'm leaning towards the branch theory... and i'm pretty sure most Orthodox would reject that, i'm not sure what Bishop Kallistos Ware would think of that even, and he seems closest to that point of view. In that case then yes, it may well be about "which Church is right for me".  As an Episcopalian friend said, it isn't ultimately about what is true, its about who you can make the journey with.  A truth that cannot be lived will do me or you no good.

   There's actually a certain beauty in an Anglican interpretation of branch ecclessiology; that the Church is the incarnate body of Christ on earth, broken due to the sins of the world, without necessarily defeating it in its purpose (after all, the risen, glorified body of Christ is simultaneously wounded).   And Anglicans don't see a huge problem for the most part, with the theology and praxis of Rome or the Orthodox.   I  have thought about Anglicanism in the past but, I found it disappointing that Anglicanism is basicly split over wheather it will affirm the first seven ecumenical councils (the current Archbishop of Canteburry would there's a significant minority that are biblicists who would tend to want to pit the Bible against the councils).  I also am basicly post-protestant, I don't accept the Protestant ideals of the Reformation as the essence of Christianity, i would rather look to the seven ecumenical councils to figure out "what is the Church", rather than basing th Church's identy on the "correct inteprretation of Scriptures" (is there even one?  I tend to doubt its so simple)

Christ is the one who told us to pick up our crosses and follow, regardless of how heavy they are. The Apostles told us to rejoice in our suffering and thank God for being counted worthy to suffer for His sake.

  Christ also promised that his yoke is light.  The Apostles suffering was due to the world ridiculing them and beating them, imprisoning them and jailing/killing them.  Alot more like how gays were/are treated than how ascetics live.  

Quote
Jesus was not released from His suffering, why would we be? Are we better than Him? Is He not able to help us?  

  Well, Jesus suffering was redemptive, is our suffering redemptive too in the same degree?  Are we adding to the works of Christ?   Is it evil to look up to the sufferings of Christ and say "I can't do that".  I don't think so.  Sometimes that's humility.   And it doesn't mean that God can't help us just because we don't carry a cross measured up to some ideal.   Sometimes i think this reminds me of Catholics from a bygone era praying to be victims of God's wrath... sometimes i think that kind of spirituality is a denial of the kind of freedom that God created and redemed us for.  Christ died so that one day (hopefully soon), there would be a world without any more victims... or ascetics.   For this Christ deserves our love and worship, but to reduce our salvation to some legalistic formula of do's and dont's is a distortion of that.

Quote
Nature is fallen. We have never observed a single unfallen organism, so we have no way of saying whether something is natural or not. Besides, many species are incestuous and cannibalistic too, so...  

  Please understand I have a very high respect for science.  For studying fallen nature, our science sure works very well in helping to understand this world in prarctical ways.  Why would there be a disconnect metaphysically with the spiritual world?  Do the rules change that much?  Do things that help with human and animal flourishing suddenly change.  Is  God not sovereign over this world, or does he  just let things happen agaist his will- is he arbitrary and lets the physical work work one way then says "gotcha" when it comes to spiritual matters?  Then he's not really good, if his laws have nothing to do with the way the world actually works.  Either way, things don't look so good for both a rational worldview and somebody that clings to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural.   Either way, i have faith in God, beyond the idols created by religioous ideology, I do not believe God is actually bad, thoughtless, uncaring or arbitrary.  So I figure that the understanding of sexuality is probably incomplete and needs further analysis.
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« Reply #249 on: May 17, 2011, 11:21:59 PM »

So many false dichotomies... :/

Daedelus, I have a feeling that the only thing that you would be open to influencing your viewpoint is in-person conversation. Unfortunately I don't think we can provide that, unless you want to meet up with a nearby member.
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« Reply #250 on: May 18, 2011, 12:17:00 AM »

I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.

    I am thinking of a recent Italian study that found evidence for a hypothesis that homosexuality is connected to a hypothesized "androphilia" in both men and women.  Women that have this gay gene may breed more than those that do not, which may give evolutionary advantages during times of famine.  The researchers tested this hypothesis by looking at the female relatives of gay and bisexual men, and found this to be the case (the female relatives of these men had more children than those that had no gay or bisexual relatives), supporting their hypothesis.  And the males that do not reproduce as much, that have this gay gene, will have free time to help raise their female kin's offspring, something called "kin selection" (seen in ant colonies).  In Samoan society this is the case, as homosexuality is relatively accepted there as a "third gender", and these men tend to spend more time helping relatives children, but not children in general.   http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/080208_gaygene.htm

  It is true we don't know the exactly mechanism of why a small percentage of men are exclusively gay, but it can no longer be said with certainty that being gay is socially malignant or has no evolutionary advantages (from the POV of evolution, individual survival is not important, only the propagation of genes, in the grand scheme it is life in general filling biological niches).  I suppose this doesn't necessarily say that sex between two men itself is good, but the sexual orientation for a man to be only attracted to another man sexually, doesn't seem to be something that is abnormal, its a variation on normal, part of the diversity of reproductive strategies found in nature.

  I know in the Asperger's community, being queer or transgender/gender variant is somewhat more common than in neurotypical people.   Particularly with women with Asperger's.  Asexuality is also common, where the level of sexual attraction or interest is so low that sexual relationships don't interest people, combined with the difficulties that having an autism spectrum condition produces socially.
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« Reply #251 on: May 18, 2011, 12:17:34 AM »

Daedelus, do you think Christ had relations outside of marriage? Do you think it would have been appropriate for Him to have these relations?
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« Reply #252 on: May 18, 2011, 12:26:03 AM »

I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later. Yes, Our Lord is very forgiving, but I do not think we ought to regard everything as okay anyway just because we have really strong desires for it.
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« Reply #253 on: May 18, 2011, 12:31:21 AM »

I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
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« Reply #254 on: May 18, 2011, 01:32:14 AM »

I don't think that science has shown your "evolutionarily advantageous homosexuality" claim to be true. By that logic, because we see malignant cancer and birth defects in a number of animals, such phenomena would be evolutionarily advantageous.

    I am thinking of a recent Italian study that found evidence for a hypothesis that homosexuality is connected to a hypothesized "androphilia" in both men and women.

  It is true we don't know the exactly mechanism of why a small percentage of men are exclusively gay, but it can no longer be said with certainty that being gay is socially malignant or has no evolutionary advantages
Are you open to the possibility that the basis is prenatal hormonal rather than genetic?
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« Reply #255 on: May 18, 2011, 01:46:47 AM »

I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
The sin of presumption, probably the most dangerous of all sins. We are to live as if Christ is coming tomorrow.
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« Reply #256 on: May 18, 2011, 02:35:32 AM »

I think it is dangerous to plan ahead to act the way one wants, and then bank on forgiveness later.
I think that this is pretty antithetical with the core of Christianity. I agree, anyone who thinks that we can just do what we want, knowing that Christ will forgive us later, is really missing the point.
The sin of presumption, probably the most dangerous of all sins. We are to live as if Christ is coming tomorrow.

Exactly, we are to live as if we will die tomorrow.

Not: live, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall die

But: live each moment in the presence of Christ because we shall live eternally in His presence (either in Heaven or Hell).

It is imperative to read the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom where he states that all of us are welcome to the Feast of the Lamb. However, we must repent in a timely manner in order to come to the Feast. We cannot wait until after we die. We must repent while we have breath.

"Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts."
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« Reply #257 on: May 18, 2011, 09:35:59 AM »

The Orthodox Church does not drive anyone away. People separate themselves from the Church by not following Christ's commandments, even though they might be doing this openly, with people cheering them on. If one has no intention of following Christ's commandments, or of accepting that He has given commandments to be followed, and that these relate to our behaviors, thoughts, and all aspects of our lives, than I'm not sure that being in the Church is going to be a help to one's soul. If we don't repent and humble ourselves and accept the Church's teachings, how can we claim to be disciples of Christ? Christ is our King and our Master, not our President. We did not vote for Him, nor did He consult with us on what His commandments should be. We did not choose Him, but He chose us, that we should bear fruit, according to His commandments and be well pleasing to Him, not to ourselves or the world. As He said, every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit, and every branch that does not bear fruit, He removes and burns. So, it seems to me we have a very simple choice--repent and  humble ourselves to His light yoke and follow His commandments, or do our own will stubbornly and take ourselves to hell.
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« Reply #258 on: May 18, 2011, 10:55:01 AM »

It seems clear to me that in this life we'll always be sinners.   Even in people that seem to be saintly, have wonderworking powers, one can find things that seem to be off, or in error.

This is true. But Christ desires us to change and become holy. This theme is present throughout the New Testament.

Based on what you've said, you seem to be suffering from Martin Luther's perspective. That is, sin with boldness so we can experience true forgiveness. That is not Orthodoxy. We do not destroy ourselves, banking on forgiveness. That is to slap Christ in the face, who died to free us, while we enslave ourselves again and again.

Our failures do not justify us to go on failing. "God loves us exactly as we are, and loves us way too much to let us stay that way."

I'm not certain myself that "union with God" is why God created humanity, and thus the purpose of human life.   I think perhaps God created human beings just because that's what God does- create.  And perhaps God became man for no other reason than we'ld be free, not free to be slaves to rules, but free from fear and oppression.  Mystical union is something that will happen as a consequence of that, not something we strive for but something that happens to us by living in the reality of the Incarnation.

But either way, union is the ultimate end. This is a matter of emphasis.

At this point in my life I am not focused on being holy.  I'm trying to learn to forgive and get along with my family and my situation in life, which is not easy at all.  Holiness is too lofty for me.  If i really love people i have to forgo the idea of me being holy and just focus on improving myself as best as i can, without being harsh on myself or other people.   I will leave judgement up to God, and i hope you would be gracious enough to do the same.

You are focusing on being holy, whether you know it or not. Treating others well is part of that journey.

I am not judging you, I am simply telling you what the Orthodox Church has taught since Pentecost. God wants us to live, and He tells us how to do so. We can accept it or reject it. But if we reject it, we can't expect to live. If a cancer patient doesn't take his treatment, he will die, it's just a fact. And we sinners will die if we do not take our spiritual treatment.

There's truth in that, I am not wholeheartedly rejecting the teachings iin that manner.   But this idea sounds nice in practice but i know some gay Christians still struggling with this issue, and they would very much like to "let go and let God" and it doesn't happen.  They feel alienation and rejection from other Christians, for one, which certainly doesn't help.

In my experience, those who feel alienated are those who have made homosexuality their identity. When we identify ourselves with our sins, it becomes very difficult to live in a Church whose teachings on morality are crystal-clear. But if we identify our sins as brokenness, it is very easy to deal with.

I don't think a loving gay relationship is automaticly destructive.

The Church says otherwise. Just because two men can get "married" and live happy lives together doesn't mean they aren't destroying themselves. (Worldly happiness is not an indicator of our spiritual state, that is largely a Calvinist concept.)

Its true we could all i guess go off and try to become a St. Seraphim or a St. Mary and please the hierarchy of the Church rather than live an openly gay life, but when you force people to do that, tell them "do this or go to hell", the message so many gay Christians get, you get pain and estrangement.

But the Church is not some arbitrary power structure. It is the Body of Christ, led by the Holy Spirit. The Church isn't there to step on us, it's there to give our salvation a framework. The bishops and priests exist to help us to be saved.

Our goal is not to please the hierarchy. Our goal is to prepare ourselves for the reality that someday we will step into God's presence. We can't be prepared for that if we are doing everything our own way, because we are not in this alone.

I feel deep down this is not how Jesus Christ would treat a gay prson, having known several gay people know in the past few years, and comming to realize that many religious people and groups intentionally avoid dealing with them as human persons with the same needs and issues as other people (if you do not I applaud you, but honestly before engaging this issue in myself, I realized i had simply avoided taking the lives of gays and lesbians seriously, and was even in denial with myself about my own same-sex attractions).

Really? He was pretty harsh to the Woman at the Well. She was living a life full of sexual sin, and Jesus called her to repentance. Jesus' love is based on doing what is right for us, not in making us comfortable in our sin.

To be honest i'm leaning towards the branch theory... and i'm pretty sure most Orthodox would reject that, i'm not sure what Bishop Kallistos Ware would think of that even, and he seems closest to that point of view. In that case then yes, it may well be about "which Church is right for me".  As an Episcopalian friend said, it isn't ultimately about what is true, its about who you can make the journey with.

I'm sorry, but that's just silly. It sounds like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" It's not about "my truth", it's about "Truth." The Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, and we can only come to Him in the context of the Church He established.

A truth that cannot be lived will do me or you no good.

It can be with God's help. But not if you give up before even trying.

i would rather look to the seven ecumenical councils to figure out "what is the Church", rather than basing th Church's identy on the "correct inteprretation of Scriptures"

That's fine. What Church held the Seven Ecumenical Councils? It wasn't the Anglicans, that's for sure.

Christ also promised that his yoke is light.

His yoke is light, but not when we fight endlessly to take it off.

Well, Jesus suffering was redemptive, is our suffering redemptive too in the same degree?  Are we adding to the works of Christ?

I didn't say that. Our works do not add to Christ's, but we do have to cooperate with Him.

Is it evil to look up to the sufferings of Christ and say "I can't do that".  I don't think so.

It's only human. But Christ promised we would be able to do it, with His help.

Sometimes that's humility.

Refusing to let God change us is actually pride, not humility. Humility is saying "I am broken, Lord help me."

For this Christ deserves our love and worship, but to reduce our salvation to some legalistic formula of do's and dont's is a distortion of that.

I don't usually recommend this, but I think you are struggling to understand how Orthodoxy can have rules but not be legalistic. So, I really want you to read this essay. It will help you understand this concept:

http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm

Why would there be a disconnect metaphysically with the spiritual world?  Do the rules change that much?  Do things that help with human and animal flourishing suddenly change.  Is  God not sovereign over this world, or does he  just let things happen agaist his will- is he arbitrary and lets the physical work work one way then says "gotcha" when it comes to spiritual matters?  Then he's not really good, if his laws have nothing to do with the way the world actually works.  Either way, things don't look so good for both a rational worldview and somebody that clings to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural.   Either way, i have faith in God, beyond the idols created by religioous ideology, I do not believe God is actually bad, thoughtless, uncaring or arbitrary.  So I figure that the understanding of sexuality is probably incomplete and needs further analysis.

The world is fallen. This was not God's intention, but in our freedom He allowed it. So God now had to save us. He sent Christ, who has taught us the way back to the perfection we had in the Garden. God does not create people gay; they are gay because the natural world has been corrupted by sin. He allows gay people to be born, just like the blind man in the Gospel, so His power can be displayed by those who fight againt their tendencies.

Our ideology is not an idol. That is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Who lives in the Church and guides Her into all truth, as Christ promised He would.
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« Reply #259 on: May 18, 2011, 01:43:03 PM »

Really? He was pretty harsh to the Woman at the Well. She was living a life full of sexual sin, and Jesus called her to repentance. Jesus' love is based on doing what is right for us, not in making us comfortable in our sin. 

  I read the opposite into that story- he wasn't harsh at all, and certainly didn't condemn her.   I can't remember him in that story telling her to repent, merely pointing out she told the truth about her life.  When my priest gave a sermon on this gospel reading, he didn't talk about Christ condemning the woman or calling her to repentence.   I have to wonder what you are taking away from that story that you see a harsh Christ there?  He is merely talking about religion with her, pointing out that God is above what hill one decides to pray on, and at the end performs a miracle to demonstrate he is the Messiah, by revealing a part of her life she is ashamed of.  Yet by saying nothing condemning, she is freed from all condemnation and she goes away happy and becomes an apostle to her people.

I'm sorry, but that's just silly. It sounds like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" It's not about "my truth", it's about "Truth." The Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, and we can only come to Him in the context of the Church He established. 

  Right...  many Christian bodies have a lineage back to the Apostles.  It is not so simple.   I honestly decided in the end to go with my heart on this matter, having come to the conclusion that the claims had about as much weight.   I am not sure thre is a "right" or "wrong" answer I could tell somebody else.  Perhaps i have no business being an Orthodox Christian then, that's not for you to decide that's up to my priest.

 I  think connecting Jesus Christ with the hierarchy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a 1 to 1 fashion is dangerous.  Is this the same hierarchy that was OK with torturing St. Maximos becaus he wouldn't submit to politically expedient heresy, or the hierarchy that banned icons for nearly a century?  It is a mistake to see Jesus Christ as somehow dependent on an ecclessiastic hierarchy, as if Christ were only present as a memory carried on by an organization... is he not the risen Lord?   I am not sure I agree with this kind of ecclessiology that reduces the Church to the hierarchy of bishops and patriarchs.  I think the Church is more than that.  When I asked my priest about this stuff (the errors and abuses that have been commited by Orthodox clerics), he told me I was thinking too much in terms of an institutional model of the Church.  I should ask him for further clarification. 

Quote

  Right, its a "therapeutic model".  But a great deal of harm has been done by similar approaches in the real world.  The Soviets were notorious for viewing many things as sickness, and as a result, ignoring human rights and self-determination   In the real world, i have a right to a second opinion on health matters, and my doctor won't accuse me of being a troublemaker or lacking faith.  Again, the therapeutic vs. juridical sounds nice until one realizes that in practical terms it makes no difference.  Either way, therapeutic or juridical, there can be a disrepresct for critical thought and reason.   

Quote
   The world is fallen. This was not God's intention, but in our freedom He allowed it. 

  This makes no sense, does freedom trump God's providence and foreknowledge?  I think not, that sounds more like a naive kind of process theology where God just allows things to happen and is constantly in a state of learning or improvement.

Quote
  So God now had to save us. He sent Christ, who has taught us the way back to the perfection we had in the Garden.

  Definitely not true.  Orthodoxy doesn't say Adam was created perfect, merely innocent. (I've heard this from several Orthodox Christians including my priest)   St. Ambrose even implies that Adam's sin will in the end, be shown to produce a greater good,  since it allows us to exist in a higher state than Adam.  This is why in the western Easter vigil liturgy, at one point the priest intones- "O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere Redemptorem "  - "O happy fault, that should merit such and so great a Redeemer".   Christ is not bringing us back to Adam,  to immitate a prelapsarian existence of pure innocence.  Indeed, Christ himself is not without the effects of sin as part of his person, he bears the wounds of his crucifixion now and for ever.

Quote
God does not create people gay; they are gay because the natural world has been corrupted by sin. He allows gay people to be born, just like the blind man in the Gospel, so His power can be displayed by those who fight againt their tendencies. 

  So God did not create the natural world, sin acting as some demiurge did?  How is this not gnosticism?   Thank goodness the Jewish people did not take their creation story to such logical leaps. If what you say is true,  God is not our Creator, sin is.   Else what exactly about a person is created by God? 
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« Reply #260 on: May 18, 2011, 01:58:11 PM »

Daedelus, do you think Christ had relations outside of marriage? Do you think it would have been appropriate for Him to have these relations?

  No, I don't think so, but looking at it from a more "Latin" perspective, perhaps,  I do not think his rejection of that necessarily implies that is wrong, or that celibacy is an automatic good.  Rather he gave up something good to pursue a greater good- our salvation.   Christ gave up alot of things to save us,  "foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head", that doesn't mean that having a nice house to live in is sinful, or that being without a house automaticly makes one spiritual.   Only if we insist on thinking of it dialectically.  Its all about context and intentions.
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« Reply #261 on: May 18, 2011, 02:03:05 PM »

So what did your Priest say about all of this?
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« Reply #262 on: May 18, 2011, 02:31:14 PM »

Quote
Perhaps i have no business being an Orthodox Christian then, that's not for you to decide that's up to my priest.
Why do you want to be a Christian at all? Will you answer my question??? Have you told your Priest any of this???
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« Reply #263 on: May 18, 2011, 03:30:34 PM »

I read the opposite into that story- he wasn't harsh at all, and certainly didn't condemn her.   I can't remember him in that story telling her to repent, merely pointing out she told the truth about her life.  When my priest gave a sermon on this gospel reading, he didn't talk about Christ condemning the woman or calling her to repentence.   I have to wonder what you are taking away from that story that you see a harsh Christ there?  He is merely talking about religion with her, pointing out that God is above what hill one decides to pray on, and at the end performs a miracle to demonstrate he is the Messiah, by revealing a part of her life she is ashamed of.  Yet by saying nothing condemning, she is freed from all condemnation and she goes away happy and becomes an apostle to her people.

My mistake; I conflated two different stories. However Christ did call the people to repentance (Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15; Lk 3:8, 5:32, 13:3) and threatened people (Mt. 4:17, 11:21) and told the Apostles to do the same (Mk 6:12, Lk 24:47).

Christ certainly didn't come to make people comfortable in their sins. Nor did he excuse their sins.

Right...  many Christian bodies have a lineage back to the Apostles.  It is not so simple.   I honestly decided in the end to go with my heart on this matter, having come to the conclusion that the claims had about as much weight.   I am not sure thre is a "right" or "wrong" answer I could tell somebody else.

But that's not Orthodox. It's not Orthodox to decide for oneself what is true in the Church. If you decide that the Orthodox Church is the Church, then you must accept her teachings. That's just how it works. That's how Christianity has always worked. This picking and choosing is Protestantism, and is not authentic Christianity.

I  think connecting Jesus Christ with the hierarchy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in a 1 to 1 fashion is dangerous.  Is this the same hierarchy that was OK with torturing St. Maximos becaus he wouldn't submit to politically expedient heresy, or the hierarchy that banned icons for nearly a century?  It is a mistake to see Jesus Christ as somehow dependent on an ecclessiastic hierarchy, as if Christ were only present as a memory carried on by an organization... is he not the risen Lord?   I am not sure I agree with this kind of ecclessiology that reduces the Church to the hierarchy of bishops and patriarchs.  I think the Church is more than that.  When I asked my priest about this stuff (the errors and abuses that have been commited by Orthodox clerics), he told me I was thinking too much in terms of an institutional model of the Church.  I should ask him for further clarification.

You are introducing a false dichotomy. You seem to reject the hierarchy wholesale, and imply I accept it wholesale. There have been serious heresies, but the bishops who propograted them were not part of the Church. They removed themselves from the Church when they taught heresy.

Right, its a "therapeutic model".  But a great deal of harm has been done by similar approaches in the real world.  The Soviets were notorious for viewing many things as sickness, and as a result, ignoring human rights and self-determination   In the real world, i have a right to a second opinion on health matters, and my doctor won't accuse me of being a troublemaker or lacking faith.  Again, the therapeutic vs. juridical sounds nice until one realizes that in practical terms it makes no difference.  Either way, therapeutic or juridical, there can be a disrepresct for critical thought and reason.   

The Church is led by the Holy Spirit. There is no second opinion beyond that. The Church is One, so who else would you appeal to?

This makes no sense, does freedom trump God's providence and foreknowledge?  I think not, that sounds more like a naive kind of process theology where God just allows things to happen and is constantly in a state of learning or improvement.

This is a whole different topic. If you want to discuss this, open a new thread about it.

Definitely not true.  Orthodoxy doesn't say Adam was created perfect, merely innocent.

We must regain our innocence before we can become perfect. Innocent people don't sin.

So God did not create the natural world, sin acting as some demiurge did?  How is this not gnosticism?   Thank goodness the Jewish people did not take their creation story to such logical leaps. If what you say is true,  God is not our Creator, sin is.   Else what exactly about a person is created by God? 

You are twisting my words.

Does God create people deformed or predisposed to sin? No, because there were no deformed people or sinful people before the Fall. People become deformed because our very biology is corrupted.

By chance, are/were you a Calvinist? Because I have observed many Calvinist tendencies in your discussion. Here, for example, is an absolute need for God's absolute sovereignty. If someone has same-sex attraction, it doesn't mean God made them that way. It means they are fallen people and need to be healed.
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« Reply #264 on: May 18, 2011, 05:06:55 PM »

Bogdan, thank you for your eloquence.
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« Reply #265 on: May 18, 2011, 10:14:00 PM »

But that's not Orthodox. It's not Orthodox to decide for oneself what is true in the Church. If you decide that the Orthodox Church is the Church, then you must accept her teachings. That's just how it works. That's how Christianity has always worked. This picking and choosing is Protestantism, and is not authentic Christianity.

  You're being intellectually dishonest.  There are dozens of Orthodox bodies in the US, or bodies all claiming to be the Orthodox Church, several with impaired, and not full, communion with each other.  I "choose" one to go to, and you most certainly decided for yourself which was the true church.  Why avoid responsibility?  All I sense in your appeal to authority is fear, and appeal to fear is not a good basis to pursue truth.

Quote
 Does God create people deformed or predisposed to sin? No, because there were no deformed people or sinful people before the Fall. People become deformed because our very biology is corrupted.  

  There were deformed neanderthals living in caves, I know that for sure.   We need to keep that in mind.  Adam and eve are mythical stories, time to face up to that.  Our religion must interact with the world of science or we are sticking our heads in the sand and retreating into a spiritual disneyland.

Quote
 by chance, are/were you a Calvinist? Because I have observed many Calvinist tendencies in your discussion. Here, for example, is an absolute need for God's absolute sovereignty. If someone has same-sex attraction, it doesn't mean God made them that way. It means they are fallen people and need to be healed.

  I am not a calvinist no but I would want to believe that God uses my imperfections for greater goods, than simply allowing evil to happen in the world beyond his control.     I was born with the genetics for asperger's syndrome ,it is part of who I am at a deep level, it brings things I don't like but it is also part of who I am... is God not my creator just because I cannot seperate these things in my person?  What you are suggesting is that I somehow deny that God isn't providentially caring for the world, but is instead "just letting things happen" beyond his control.

  The God you are talking about that just lets evil enter the world against his will, is not a God I can worship.   I am a person with asperger's and disabilities, its part of who I am.   You are basicly saying God didn't create significant aspects of who I am?  I'm confused.  I'm in the process of being made every moment of my life by thigs that happen, good or bad.  I may not like the bad things but they ultimately create who I am.  It is nihilistic for me to not accept the bad with the good.
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« Reply #266 on: May 18, 2011, 10:15:28 PM »

 There were deformed neanderthals living in caves, I know that for sure.
Are you calling neanderthals deformed Homo sapiens?
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« Reply #267 on: May 18, 2011, 10:17:02 PM »

What you are suggesting is that I somehow deny that God isn't providentially caring for the world, but is instead "just letting things happen" beyond his control.
Do you believe that God gave man dominion, or that he merely pretended to give man dominion, and that dominion merely exists as an extension of sovereign predestination?
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« Reply #268 on: May 18, 2011, 10:22:12 PM »

Is it right to blame one's sinfulness and temptations to sin on a disability such as Asperger's syndrome?

We are all humans, and part of our condition in this fallen world is to struggle against temptation and sin.

I could have blamed my addictive allergy to chocolate for my sinful indulgences, but instead, I chose to work with my spiritual father and resist the urge to eat such delicacies through prayer and fasting.

Through the prayers of the Most Pure Theotokos, St. Nectarios of Aegina, and St. John of San Francisco, have mercy on us, O Christ God, and save us.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 10:23:33 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #269 on: May 18, 2011, 10:28:41 PM »

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Are you calling neanderthals deformed Homo sapiens?

 No..  I minored in anthropology and know for a fact that there were neanderthals and "cave men" that had broken bones and deformities.    
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