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Author Topic: Do all Christian Traditions teach an "Implied-Fatalistic" theology?  (Read 1173 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 16, 2011, 03:47:35 PM »

Just one point, the "it's harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven..." line most likely refers to a very low gate outside Jerusalem.

Whatever it takes for you to fall asleep at night.  Wink


Greetings Orthonorm:

I am amused by your footnote, if I may attempt to quote it:
"For God was so P.O.d at that world, that He had His only begotten Son tortured to death, and since then He feels so much better."

Now I am inspired to start a new thread: 
Is there such a thing as "implied-fatalistic theology?"  Could it be that Hieromonk Father Seraphim Rose, in his book NIHILISM was only half right:  The modern day philosophical construct of Nihilism didn't just develop out of the blue...could it be that it came from a reaction to asceticism instead?  That it is a natural response to the past when there was such a thing as a "Byzantine Empire" or a "Holy Roman Empire."?  The answer to Nihilism isn't MORE ASCETISM...the PROBLEM WAS ASCETISM???  That when you "get it"....Both RC/OO/EO monasticism is a monasticism of Human Sacrifice?  That to be the "greatest Christian" or a "saint" is to BE A HUMAN SACRIFICE?  Since the only way for humans to be spared from the Wrath of God was for Jesus Christ to be sacrificed since his humanity was the only WORTHY human sacrifice that the Wrathful God could accept?  Even though Martyrdom and Monasticism are the other examples of human sacrifices that Yahweh accepts....since He no longer accepts animal sacrifices like He did in the Old Testament.   Just some thoughts...hey, I'm just a newbie and a layperson...and I see what is implied in theology regardless of whether it is RC/EO/OO or Protestants...it's implied in the theology?  confused,....Orthoconver71.
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 04:19:22 PM »

asceticism is ok.
as long as u don't start flagellating yourself or anything silly.
what are you trying to ask exactly?
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 04:55:46 PM »

asceticism is ok.
as long as u don't start flagellating yourself or anything silly.
what are you trying to ask exactly?
What I am trying to ask is, Why did secularism win?  In the 21st century, I don't see any Christian theocracies/monarchies like there were in the ancient past.  We live in a post-modern era where Nihilism is embraced instead.  In the past, you had your "ascetic rule."  So...what happend to it if ascetism was the answer and not the problem?   If the goal is to be a human sacrifice and as a human being, YOU DON'T LIKE TO SUFFER AND FEEL THAT SUFFERING IS THE PROBLEM AND NOT THE ANSWER, then aren't you going to react to the "implied-fatalism" in Christian theology in a negative way?  Basically, Jesus is the only worthy human sacrifice that keeps God from destroying us, right?  And Christ taught His followers to be human sacrifices as well, right?  And St. Paul in some of his writings also teaches Christians to be human sacrifices, does he not?
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2011, 07:34:26 PM »

A more likely scenario is that hatred of askesis led to over indulgence and the lust for wealth characteristic of the late-19th to mid-20th and this straying from God led to depression and ennui-like the hang over of a drunken orgy, nihilism swept over the earth in the circa 1960's. Those "great" Christian empires feel by and large because most of the people in them were living lives far from anything Christian (think of the two destructions of Jerusalem). In short, secularism has "won" because people hate God, they'd rather worship pleasure.

orthonorm's signature is ironic. He is mocking the Catholic and Protestant theology of penal substitution. The Orthodox view is that God is always eager to forgive the repentant and needs no sacrifice to placate Him. Christ came and died to sanctify human nature thus making it possible for us to overcome sin by the grace of God and return to communion with Him. Askesis is God's gift to us, a method for dying to our sick, sinful flesh. We must crucify the sinful passions by denying them and cling to the Precious Life-Giving Cross of Christ by vigilant prayer and fasting. Only through the burning off our dross can the true beauty and joy which God made us for (the infinite, wonderful, never-ending dance of theosis) can shine through.
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 12:15:26 PM »

A more likely scenario is that hatred of askesis led to over indulgence and the lust for wealth characteristic of the late-19th to mid-20th and this straying from God led to depression and ennui-like the hang over of a drunken orgy, nihilism swept over the earth in the circa 1960's. Those "great" Christian empires feel by and large because most of the people in them were living lives far from anything Christian (think of the two destructions of Jerusalem). In short, secularism has "won" because people hate God, they'd rather worship pleasure.

orthonorm's signature is ironic. He is mocking the Catholic and Protestant theology of penal substitution. The Orthodox view is that God is always eager to forgive the repentant and needs no sacrifice to placate Him. Christ came and died to sanctify human nature thus making it possible for us to overcome sin by the grace of God and return to communion with Him. Askesis is God's gift to us, a method for dying to our sick, sinful flesh. We must crucify the sinful passions by denying them and cling to the Precious Life-Giving Cross of Christ by vigilant prayer and fasting. Only through the burning off our dross can the true beauty and joy which God made us for (the infinite, wonderful, never-ending dance of theosis) can shine through.

You said that God needs no sacrifice?  Here is what Orthodox Wiki says in regards to the Eucharist in Orthodox Christianity:
Eucharist as a sacrifice:  The Orthodox Church believes the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. As is heard in the Liturgy, "Thine of Thine own we offer to Thee, in all and for all." 
1.At the Eucharist, the sacrifice offered is Christ himself, and it is Christ himself who in the Church performs the act of offering: He is both priest and victim.
2.We offer to Thee. The Eucharist is offered to God the Trinity — not just to the Father but also to the Holy Spirit and to Christ Himself. So, what is the sacrifice of the Eucharist? By whom is it offered? and to whom is it offered? In each case the answer is Christ.
3.We offer for all: according to Orthodox theology, the Eucharist is a propitiatory sacrifice, offered on behalf of both the living and the dead.
The Church teaches that the sacrifice is not a mere figure or symbol but a true sacrifice. It is not the bread that is sacrificed, but the very Body of Christ. And, the Lamb of God was sacrificed only once, for all time. The sacrifice at the Eucharist consists, not in the real and bloody immolation of the Lamb, but in the transformation of the bread into the sacrificed Lamb.
All the events of Christ's sacrifice, the Incarnation, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension are not repeated in the Eucharist, but they are made present.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eucharist

So now I'm confused.  I am aware of some teachers in Eastern Orthodoxy who make the claim that there is a distinction between RC/Protestant Penal Substistion and what EO teaches. Yet, how do you explain St. John the Baptist referring to Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."  ?  Anyone who knows something about Judaism knows what that means and it means only one thing:  A sinless, spotless lamb was chosen as an animal sacrifice to be offered to the God of the Jews (Yahweh) so that the Jews (all other ethnicities were excluded of course) could be forgiven for their offenses and sins.  Therfore, somewhere between referring to Christ as the Lamb of God and the Eucharist being an actual human sacrifice that you offer to God, it sounds like to me that either I am confused or I have a point?  What is the point about "bragging" about martyrdom if God desires no sacrifice from humans?  Ultra-ascetics who make a cross out of everything are a human sacrifice.  If they do this successfully and are content, then they are saints, right?

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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 06:00:21 PM »

Yes, I'm aware that Christ is a sacrifice and we are told by Saint Paul to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, but the sacrifice works differently in Orthodoxy. The Orthodox conceptions of the wrath of God and the justice of God are rehabilitative rather than retributive as in the West. Christ died to "trample down death by death" and we are called to emulate Him-not because God needs this in order to balance the celestial scales, but because it is ontologically the way that sin, death, and satan are overcome.

The only way out is through. When God comes upon us and envelops us, the ties of corruption that bind us to the love of this world must naturally be broken-this is what we experience as askesis and it is for all Christians, not just monastics. Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross and in the Eucharist because this was the only way to assume and heal us, we could not do it ourselves.

The reason not all us living sacrifices jump ship and go to a monastery is because God wills each of us to have different vocations in life. If we were all celibate, the species would go extinct, for one thing. So, some of us are called to raise up godly children before the Lord and help and be helped by our families to be better sacrifices. Often times money is needed for this-that is how you have it in it's proper place, not as mere useless luxury. Where there are families, there must be parish communities with priests to watch over their souls, hence some of us are called to be sacrifices though the life of the cloth.

Obviously neither a parent or a priest will be able to take on the kind of heavy prayer rule and fast regiment that a monk is used, he would be neglected his other duties. He must find other ways to sacrifice himself, such as forgoing watching TV in order to spend time with family when he really doesn't want to, or getting up early to prepare for services when he would rather sleep in. These thousand little deaths to self per day are important and in there own way can be as dramatic and precious to God as even physically laying down one's life. For this reason, the Fathers called the Apostle John, the Living Martyr. He could have gone his way and lived a life of idle dissipation, but he chose to live as a holy priest before the Lord and serve the people of God, not himself.

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2011, 06:47:35 AM »

great answer, this explains very well the orthodox position.
 Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 06:58:41 AM »

Thanks!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 08:45:34 AM »

Yet, how do you explain St. John the Baptist referring to Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."  ?  Anyone who knows something about Judaism knows what that means and it means only one thing:  A sinless, spotless lamb was chosen as an animal sacrifice to be offered to the God of the Jews (Yahweh) so that the Jews (all other ethnicities were excluded of course) could be forgiven for their offenses and sins. 

Does scripture say anywhere that God is punishing the Passover lamb for the sins of the children of Israel?
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2011, 04:57:10 PM »

Yet, how do you explain St. John the Baptist referring to Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."  ?  Anyone who knows something about Judaism knows what that means and it means only one thing:  A sinless, spotless lamb was chosen as an animal sacrifice to be offered to the God of the Jews (Yahweh) so that the Jews (all other ethnicities were excluded of course) could be forgiven for their offenses and sins.

Does scripture say anywhere that God is punishing the Passover lamb for the sins of the children of Israel?

Okay...good point.  You have all made a good point.  It's why I ask the questions I ask.  I am a newbie convert so I have my questions.  Thank you for the very good responses you gave. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2011, 04:59:59 PM »

Yes, I'm aware that Christ is a sacrifice and we are told by Saint Paul to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, but the sacrifice works differently in Orthodoxy. The Orthodox conceptions of the wrath of God and the justice of God are rehabilitative rather than retributive as in the West. Christ died to "trample down death by death" and we are called to emulate Him-not because God needs this in order to balance the celestial scales, but because it is ontologically the way that sin, death, and satan are overcome.

The only way out is through. When God comes upon us and envelops us, the ties of corruption that bind us to the love of this world must naturally be broken-this is what we experience as askesis and it is for all Christians, not just monastics. Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross and in the Eucharist because this was the only way to assume and heal us, we could not do it ourselves.

The reason not all us living sacrifices jump ship and go to a monastery is because God wills each of us to have different vocations in life. If we were all celibate, the species would go extinct, for one thing. So, some of us are called to raise up godly children before the Lord and help and be helped by our families to be better sacrifices. Often times money is needed for this-that is how you have it in it's proper place, not as mere useless luxury. Where there are families, there must be parish communities with priests to watch over their souls, hence some of us are called to be sacrifices though the life of the cloth.

Obviously neither a parent or a priest will be able to take on the kind of heavy prayer rule and fast regiment that a monk is used, he would be neglected his other duties. He must find other ways to sacrifice himself, such as forgoing watching TV in order to spend time with family when he really doesn't want to, or getting up early to prepare for services when he would rather sleep in. These thousand little deaths to self per day are important and in there own way can be as dramatic and precious to God as even physically laying down one's life. For this reason, the Fathers called the Apostle John, the Living Martyr. He could have gone his way and lived a life of idle dissipation, but he chose to live as a holy priest before the Lord and serve the people of God, not himself.

Hope this helps.

Very good answer.  Thank you.  I was chrismated into the Serbian Orthodox Church many years ago but I admit that I currently don't attend church.  I am going to ask a lot of questions so I ask for your patience.  Thank you.
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2011, 05:12:25 PM »

No problem. Keep pressing on in the Lord.  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 03:06:05 PM »

No problem. Keep pressing on in the Lord.  Smiley

Thank you for your prayers and patience. 

I would like to offer my Facebook page for anyone on this forum who would be interested in being my Facebook friend:
http://www.facebook.com/inquirer7781#!/inquirer7781

Please pray for me.
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 03:23:36 PM »

I'm not on fb, but I will pray.
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2011, 04:44:10 PM »

asceticism is ok.
as long as u don't start flagellating yourself or anything silly.
what are you trying to ask exactly?
Why is flagellation silly?
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« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2011, 03:54:07 AM »

asceticism is ok.
as long as u don't start flagellating yourself or anything silly.
what are you trying to ask exactly?
Why is flagellation silly?

My opinions of flagellations:

One day I was watching a documentery on the Great Plague (this was before I even knew about Orthodoxy, by the way). I saw them describing the flaggallents, wiping themselves and i've when I saw that I always thought, "Wow, those people are really pious. I wish I could have been one of them!" (i was only like 12 back then, by the way! or maybe 14... i dont know years dont matter too much to me now... i feel old being 18  Roll Eyes )

But I later saw some problems with them. First of all, I researched them more and noticed a fair chunk of them were full of debauchery! But besides that, I resently read many translations of the Holy Fathers. One about the Genesis, by Saint Basil, had much to talk about the human body, soul, and heart. He many times emphesised that we are made in the Image of God, as it is said. Also, read Corinthians, and among the various wisdom in it you will find this:

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

Though perhaps that should not be quoted, as it not exactly in the context we are talking about. I wish I had the book I read, I could find what Saint Basil said!

Anyway, those are sort of how it has gone with me (although I put it very confusingly in explaination)
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« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2011, 04:21:00 AM »

Do Orthodox monastics flagellate? I have no idea.
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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2011, 05:16:16 AM »

Do Orthodox monastics flagellate? I have no idea.

I can tell you what I have read at least:

In the letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, he mentioned the use of his cane to sometimes hit himself painfully in his thighs sometimes when he had very sinful thoughts (I think it was lustful thoughts). It might have been him giving advice to a fellow monk, telling him to pray and if he still had problems to try whacking himself, as pain will ussually get rid of lustful thoughts quite quickly!

But do not quote me on this! It was almost a month ago that I read this and I don't have the best memory!

In short, I know at least some monastics sometimes use pain (though not pain as in where it would cause blood or anything) to help combat sinful thoughts. But that does not mean in any respect that they go around whipping themselves!
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2011, 05:48:53 AM »

Do Orthodox monastics flagellate? I have no idea.

I can tell you what I have read at least:

In the letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast, he mentioned the use of his cane to sometimes hit himself painfully in his thighs sometimes when he had very sinful thoughts (I think it was lustful thoughts). It might have been him giving advice to a fellow monk, telling him to pray and if he still had problems to try whacking himself, as pain will ussually get rid of lustful thoughts quite quickly!

But do not quote me on this! It was almost a month ago that I read this and I don't have the best memory!

In short, I know at least some monastics sometimes use pain (though not pain as in where it would cause blood or anything) to help combat sinful thoughts. But that does not mean in any respect that they go around whipping themselves!
Ok, thanks.
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2011, 07:49:38 AM »

I read that Orthodox ppl don't do flagellation because it focuses on the flesh and that its part of the Catholic rite along with a tonne of other things they do that focus on the flesh.
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2011, 12:39:50 PM »

Yeah, me too.
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