Author Topic: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?  (Read 1500 times)

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Offline Papist

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Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« on: October 22, 2012, 04:24:37 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 04:37:32 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 04:39:55 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.

Oh, and he is not a Christian.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 04:43:38 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

Sure, there is Richard Swinburne for instance.

Quote
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

We're all wrong about something!  ;)
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 04:46:24 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
Who says philosophy deals only with reason?
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Shiny

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 05:05:47 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
Who says philosophy deals only with reason?
He never said that.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 05:07:39 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
Who says philosophy deals only with reason?
He never said that.

Prove it!
Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.

Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 05:30:44 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.
Can you clarify on this? There are numerous philosophers who have asserted that the existence of God could be proven through reason alone (Descartes and Leibniz come to mind). Would you assert that neither of them are in fact "philosophers"?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 05:31:14 PM by Ioannis Climacus »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 05:34:53 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.
Can you clarify on this? There are numerous philosophers who have asserted that the existence of God could be proven through reason alone (Descartes and Leibniz come to mind). Would you assert that neither of them are in fact "philosophers"?

Today they wouldn't be.

Please note my defense of both men you've mentioned on this board.

In fact, I believe Descartes should be mandatory reading in junior high. So that people understand exactly the underpinnings of the time in which they are living.

Even Thomas Aquinas can be respected within an understanding of his own era, but to those who hang on to his thought, there can be no quarter given.
Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 05:43:12 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
Who says philosophy deals only with reason?
He never said that.

Prove it!
Can't prove a negative. //:=)
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Offline Papist

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 06:22:04 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.
Can you clarify on this? There are numerous philosophers who have asserted that the existence of God could be proven through reason alone (Descartes and Leibniz come to mind). Would you assert that neither of them are in fact "philosophers"?

Today they wouldn't be.

Please note my defense of both men you've mentioned on this board.

In fact, I believe Descartes should be mandatory reading in junior high. So that people understand exactly the underpinnings of the time in which they are living.

Even Thomas Aquinas can be respected within an understanding of his own era, but to those who hang on to his thought, there can be no quarter given.
Ah, I see. "What's new is better."  ;D
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Offline Papist

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 06:24:22 PM »
Sure, there is Richard Swinburne for instance.
An Orthodox Christian, influenced by the philosophy of Aquinas? Is outrage!!!!!  :D
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Offline Shiny

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 06:46:24 PM »
I haven't heard Swinburne's name in over a year. Him and David Bently Hart were two I was recommended when I first started inquiring. I got sidetracked on other things and never got around to him. Maybe one day, but I'm bored of philosophy at the moment.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2012, 07:04:21 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

Many are.

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
What of it?  You can prove that Elizabeth II is the right heir to the English throne. I believe that.  That still wouldn't make me believe in her and accept her as my sovereign.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 07:05:56 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

Many are.

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
What of it?  You can prove that Elizabeth II is the right heir to the English throne. I believe that.  That still wouldn't make me believe in her and accept her as my sovereign.
Or course it takes more than knowledge of God's existence to be Christian. I just wanted to know if an Orthodox Christian in good standing can believe that God's existence if demosntrable.
You are right. I apologize for having sacked Constantinople. I really need to stop doing that.

Offline Samn!

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 07:53:29 PM »
Who or what would (or would have the authority to) say that Orthodox Christians couldn't believe that God's existence is rationally demonstrable?

I mean, if we look at Chapters 1 through 10 of Book I of St John of Damascus' Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, it would seem that St John believed that not only could the existence of God be proven naturally, but so could the Trinity and many of the divine attributes... Chapter 3 is taken up entirely with a proof for God's existence.

So, in Chapter 1, he says "God has not gone so far as to leave us in complete ignorance, for through nature the knowledge of the existence of God has been revealed by Him to all men" and in Chapter 3, "the knowledge of God's existence has been revealed to us through nature."

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 09:18:14 PM »
What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?

He ain't no philosopher.
Can you clarify on this? There are numerous philosophers who have asserted that the existence of God could be proven through reason alone (Descartes and Leibniz come to mind). Would you assert that neither of them are in fact "philosophers"?

Today they wouldn't be.

Please note my defense of both men you've mentioned on this board.

In fact, I believe Descartes should be mandatory reading in junior high. So that people understand exactly the underpinnings of the time in which they are living.

Even Thomas Aquinas can be respected within an understanding of his own era, but to those who hang on to his thought, there can be no quarter given.

Sorry, what's true is true regardless of its era. We're not Hegelians here, or at least we shouldn't be. I'm not going to defend Descartes or Aquinas in particular, but your general principle is pretty silly.

And the persistence of ideas, good or bad, over time is pretty well proved by the fact that today's popular atheists are pulling arguments screaming from the 18th century vault... and being taken seriously.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 09:33:15 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline Papist

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 09:23:44 PM »
Who or what would (or would have the authority to) say that Orthodox Christians couldn't believe that God's existence is rationally demonstrable?

I mean, if we look at Chapters 1 through 10 of Book I of St John of Damascus' Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, it would seem that St John believed that not only could the existence of God be proven naturally, but so could the Trinity and many of the divine attributes... Chapter 3 is taken up entirely with a proof for God's existence.

So, in Chapter 1, he says "God has not gone so far as to leave us in complete ignorance, for through nature the knowledge of the existence of God has been revealed by Him to all men" and in Chapter 3, "the knowledge of God's existence has been revealed to us through nature."
I think I need to spend some more time reading St. John of Damascus. Aquinas quoted him extensively.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 09:26:34 PM »
St. John clearly thinks that there is enough evidence in nature and the universe to discern God's work/hand, but I think this is different than the notion of philosophically proving God's existence. But perhaps I am just saying the same thing but in a different way... I think all here agree that both faith and reason are involved in recognizing God, no?
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2012, 09:27:38 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
What sort of God would reason prove?
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Offline Papist

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2012, 09:35:41 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
What sort of God would reason prove?
Well, I'm not really debating whether or not God's existence is provable... I'm only asking if a philosopher can believe it is and still be Orthodox.
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Offline Samn!

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2012, 09:47:11 PM »
St. John clearly thinks that there is enough evidence in nature and the universe to discern God's work/hand, but I think this is different than the notion of philosophically proving God's existence. But perhaps I am just saying the same thing but in a different way... I think all here agree that both faith and reason are involved in recognizing God, no?

St John's point is that we can know of God's existence (which in this framework also implies His unity) through nature, which is the same thing as through reason. He contrasts this with what can be known through revelation. The dichotomy of reason/faith comes quite a lot later historically than St John's time. For him and most others, the important contrast is reason/revelation. He certainly does seem to think that it is provable, insofar as he attempts to offer a rational proof for this. This is not that uncommon in the Fathers. In the generation after the Damascene, Theodore Abu Qurrah (and other Arab Orthodox authors) are very enthusiastic about providing rational proofs for all aspects of the Christian faith.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2012, 09:55:22 PM »
Nonetheless, I think this is different than the notion of philosophically proving God's existence.
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Offline Samn!

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2012, 10:07:23 PM »
I fail to see the distinction, especially since in the text at hand this is all being said within the context of giving a classical cosmological proof from harmony for God's existence. I don't think the distinction you're trying to make is coherent unless you allow for the possibility of "pure nature" existing aside (or in abstraction from) God, which was a late and controversial introduction to Latin scholasticism and alien to patristic thought.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2012, 10:21:40 PM »
Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?

What if he believes that reason can prove that there is a God?
What sort of God would reason prove?
Well, I'm not really debating whether or not God's existence is provable... I'm only asking if a philosopher can believe it is and still be Orthodox.
  Christianity is faith based. Philosophy is no different. If you can reach a philosophical rendering of foreseeable truth.  It still requires a degree of faith. Because for most of us. Truth is measured via existential reality. Unless we see and hold god in the physical realm. We can't complete our concept of truth. Just like doubting Tomas stated. Unless he put his finger in his wounds. He couldn't believe. I'm sure he wanted to believe and there are many that do. Blindly of course. Most people that "question" need the physical element when it comes to knowledge. That is the only way to fore fill the tryfecta of truth. If it sounds like, looks like and feels like. Than it must be.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2012, 10:22:39 PM »
I suppose part of it is a difference between discernment (experience + reason + faith) versus trying to prove God's existence in such a way that skeptics relying only on reason will accept. I'm also trying to stay faithful to the rejection of such proof of God's existence by my patron saint, Justin Popovich.
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Offline Samn!

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2012, 10:27:01 PM »
Well, St Justin Popovic may have disagreed, but there are ample examples from the Orthodox tradition of using proofs for God's existence, specifically the proof from harmony and the cosmological proof for the prime mover. Part of the ethos of much of Orthodoxy during the 20th century was quite anti-intellectual, but that's only one possible (and by no means predominant) position within a tradition that is much broader historically....

Offline Cavaradossi

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2012, 05:26:34 AM »
Well, St Justin Popovic may have disagreed, but there are ample examples from the Orthodox tradition of using proofs for God's existence, specifically the proof from harmony and the cosmological proof for the prime mover. Part of the ethos of much of Orthodoxy during the 20th century was quite anti-intellectual, but that's only one possible (and by no means predominant) position within a tradition that is much broader historically....

You have it reversed. Those who reject that the existence of God can be proved by reason alone are not typically objecting on anti-intellectual grounds.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Can a philosopher be an Orthodox Christian?
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2012, 07:53:11 AM »
In answer to your first question: St Justin the Martyr and Philosopher.

I have no answer to the second.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 07:53:43 AM by akimori makoto »
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