I'm hoping that this will be my final post in this thread, although I may get drawn back in depending on the responses, if any. I hope not.
The RC mortal/venial designation is a definitive statement on what is guaranteed to send someone to hell; this is not something the Orthodox Church does.
This almost sounds like the Protestant friend who tried to tell me that re-using an uncancelled postage stamp was just as sinful as raping and killing children. Was my Protestant friend telling me about an Orthodox teaching on sin that I've never heard of?
We may not break sins down into lists of "mortal" and "venial", but I think the concept is still there. There are sins that lead unto death, i.e. serious sins. All sin is bad, but I think it's just common sense that some are worse than others. Perhaps the problem is that some think this makes God a monster, waiting for us to trip up so he can pull the lever and watch us fall into flames, when the truth is that when we commit such sins, we commit "spiritual suicide" (for lack of a better term). Of course, there is always the opportunity for repentance, but the sin is deadly to us when we commit it, and although we should put our trust in God's mercy and pray for His forgiveness and repent, we shouldn't just do as we please and presume that God will forgive us. That's Protestant, not Orthodox.
Besides, the requirements for an individual to be guilty of mortal sin in RCism are kinda tough to meet, given how many people are these days. So relax, guys...the situation may not be as bleak as you think we think it is.
Furthermore, it would seem that getting angry because someone else is cooking in the parish kitchen during Liturgy...
I actually do not have much of a problem with this, although in my experience it is not really necessary (the only thing in my parish that must be prepared there rather than brought from home is rice).
or leaving Liturgy in a huff because a few folks are chatting outside the sanctuary or stragglers come in late are egregious sins in themselves of greater proportion. In that case, if the behavior of others in Liturgy arouse such feelings within you, probably staying home where such enmity isn't provoked is the least sinful route.
OK, but is this something we want to improve or something we just accept as a part of life? Would we be justified in not going to church indefinitely for these reasons? We are supposed to bear with one another: patience is a tough thing (I know, I'm very impatient), and I can't see how one could do it without God's grace, especially through the sacraments.
In other words, the rules exist to help us become better people, more humble, more self-aware, more attuned to God’s will, more loving, etc. A person who eats meat on Fridays is neglecting his/her soul. How that affects his/her eternal salvation is up to God. As St. Paul writes, 'The kingdom of heaven is not food and drink.' The Lord once said, 'It is not what goes into a person, but rather what comes out of a person that defiles him.' Nevertheless, the Church teaches that fasting on Fridays (and Wednesdays) is beneficial to spiritual growth. The same could be said regarding all Orthodox Christian practices."
So at what point do we get to say that we've reached such spiritual perfection that we don't need the Liturgy every Sunday when we are able to make it?
What people are calling legalism is:
- The idea that a person who wants to go to a football game on Sunday morning, so they skip Mass Sunday morning, but go to one 5:30 Saturday night, then dies, is in the clear, but someone who does the same thing, but attends the Saturday Mass at 3:00 in the afternoon goes to Hell.
So there is no difference between the seventh day of the liturgical week and the first day of the liturgical week? The guy in the original hypothetical example probably would've known the difference if he was as faithful as the story made him out to be.
- The idea that someone who dies without recourse to confession, despite the state of their character or life, goes to Hades and has to be prayed out by survivors or God will damn them to Hell for bad timing. The reason this is legalism is it fails to take sin seriously. Sin is not a short list of 'serious' infractions that we can all avoid and thereby ensure our salvation. Sin is a reality that goes to the very core of our being. We could spend every moment of the rest of our lives in confession and repentance (and indeed we should), but even if we do so, we will not die 'in the clear'. As St. Sisoes the Great said immediately before his repose, he regreted only that he had just made a beginning of repentance. I wouldn't call this view of the Fathers 'feel good religion', would you? Nowhere do the Fathers teach that we are at some point in a 'state of Grace', i.e. temporary moral perfection. Quite the opposite. The process of positive Theosis described by Strelets is paralleled by an unending process of repentance and tears.
True. Then again, I don't think we are denying this (at least I'm not...if there is reason to, I'm too stupid to know what it is).
- We feel that it is legalistic to hold that any human person can judge his or her brother based upon some piece of outward behavior.[/i]
But no one is suggesting that it is OK to condemn individuals for this or that sin. Just because you say "If someone does X and dies unrepentant, they may find themselves in hell" doesn't mean you are saying "You're going to hell". There is no salvation outside the Church, but that doesn't mean I think Buddhists are hell-bound jackasses.
So, unless you or others care to defend any of those three objections above, I think we can call this thread closed, because, as I said before: EVERYONE AGREES THAT MISSING LITURGY IS A SERIOUS SIN.
I'm not so sure I believe this...
In fact, I would go so far as to include all of the services of the Church, and personal prayer as required of us, not just showing up on Sunday. I would also include conducting your life in such a way and confessing such that one is eligible to fully participate in the Eucharist every Sunday Liturgy. I would go much farther than what you are proposing, but I would also reject any kind of legalism that provides for judging one brother as facing eternal damnation and another brother as being 'righteous'.
I agree with this.
What I find unseemly is to spend time pointing out someone else's sin of missing Liturgy while failing to take note of the huge ass stick protruding from your own eye because you attend Liturgy in a state of anger and agitation towards other Orthodox. After all, anger is in that list of grievous sins, while missing Liturgy is not.
I know I sorta addressed this earlier, but I'm beginning to wonder where this came in. The only story I thought we were concerned with was the one in the original post. There was nothing in there about the guy going to a football game because he was pissed off about scantily clad female eucharistic ministers or the like.
But it's being presumptuous on our part to single out a sin of another as a guaranteed ticket to hell, when in fact there are no safe sins. You are cutting yourself from God by intentionally sinning, period. Making a list of really bad sins does nothing but serve to inflate one's ego and give a false sense of security for abiding by the letter of the law.
You're right that there are no safe sins. Does the mortal/venial distinction lead to people perceiving themselves as safe for not committing big sins while committing little ones all over the place? It's quite possible (probably the case for many), but the abuse of good things doesn't make them intrinsically bad: they are just being abused. Is the mortal/venial distinction "good"? I'm not sure if it's good or bad, I'm just of the opinion that it is self-evident, at least in certain cases.
...tracing the justification for the Sunday obligation leads one back to church authority, not to the benefits/hazards of attending or not.
But why does the Church authorise it? Is it merely to warm pews or fill coffers, or is it done with a view toward the spiritual benefit of her children?
What I see that, on the one hand, churchgoing for the members of this forum isn't really all that big a deal for themselves. But on the other hand, as stated it is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance.
If the Liturgy is nothing more than a matter of ritual observance, then I can completely understand why people don't think it's such a big deal to miss it. If the Liturgy is what the Orthodox teach it is, however, then it's much more than the mere ritual observance it is in Protestant denominations.
If it is that serious, then so is everything else-- which it is...
I don't think murder and selling black market videos are equal except in the fact that they are both sins.
And far, far more important to be going to church because you have a spiritual need to do so than because you have an ecclesial obligation to do so.
Who is perfect?