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Question: Homosexuality comes up frequenbtly on Orthodox forums because..
Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet. - 19 (26.8%)
Since drunkeness, adultery, theft and dishonesty have been eradicated it's the only sin left to fight - 10 (14.1%)
Apparently most Orthodox Christians have lots of gay family, friends and associates - 7 (9.9%)
Orthodox forums attract a lot of self torturing closet cases and men with doubts about thier own masculinity - 20 (28.2%)
Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet. - 15 (21.1%)
Total Voters: 71

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Author Topic: Yet Another Gay Marriage Thread  (Read 67804 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #495 on: November 03, 2009, 05:41:22 PM »

On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?

AFAIK, they could not see homosexual behavior as "normal" because in their mind it was a CHOICE of an individual. A bad, wrong choice. I don't see any reasons to view it that way now, when we know that homosexuality is not a choice, and that the ability of any person, homo- or heterosexual, to live all of his/her life in the state of celibacy is a relatively rare gift.

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BTW, in patristic sources that I have studied, depression is called a sinful passion, and we are called to fight it in ourselves with the help of prayer and fasting. While prayer and fasting are certainly great, a person with a serotonin imbalance in the brain simply CANNOT be cured of depression unless he or she takes a special medication that inhibits serotonin reuptake. Yet another subject that our dear Fathers could never have predicted...
But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?

Maybe not, but serious cases of depression are always somehow linked to alterations in brain chemistry. And they usually have nothing to do with an individual's morality or faith.
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« Reply #496 on: November 03, 2009, 05:41:23 PM »

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But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?

My depression may be caused partially by a serotonin imbalance, but that would be only one factor among many that are probably having an impact. Regardless, medications were needed to make me (more or less) stable.

Same here. I used to take antidepressants intermittently, but recently my doctor said that I should perhaps stay on them all the time, perhaps for the rest of my life, or else I might end up like my dad.Sad
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« Reply #497 on: November 03, 2009, 05:41:23 PM »

On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?


Isn't the point of Orthodox praxis to alter our behavior? Isn't that the point of fasting and confession and all the rest? Isn't our goal to alter our behavior to become more like Christ? Isn't that theosis?

Marriage is also theosis. Some people SHOULD marry "rather than burn" (1 Cor. 7:9).
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« Reply #498 on: November 03, 2009, 05:42:49 PM »

I also wonder what the original words those particular Fathers used for this "sinful passion" we are calling "depression" in this thread.  Father Hopko, in one of his recent talks on AFN, made a distinction between "depression" and "despair," calling the former a medical condition while the latter is a spiritual problem.
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« Reply #499 on: November 03, 2009, 05:51:20 PM »

Heorhij appears to be trying to creat some equivalency between pre-modern and modern understandings of depression and homosexuality. But in fact he's arguing opposites--the position that modern understanding of the biological/genetic aspects of homosexuality should transform our view of the morality of homosexual behavior is as if one were to argue that since we now realize that there is a biological/genetic component to depression, we should not treat it as a mental problem but rather declare depressive mental states to be just as good and worthy as 'normal' mental states and indulge them rather than using those insights to attempt to treat/suppress/control them.

Well, I guess we actually might look at some cases of chronic depression as "just as good and worthy." Like I said, people like yours truly perhaps MUST remain on antidepressants as long as they live - same thing homosexuals will be homosexuals as long as they live. Rather than judging what is "normal" or "healthy" and dreaming about "curing" me (a person with depression) or my homosexual brother or sister, maybe it is time to say that both my condition and theirs can be MANAGED in certain ways. For some of them it will be celibacy, for other - their kind of marriage, the homosexual marriage. And the latter, I am sure, CAN be as committed, as monogamous, as lifelong, and as assisting in theosis as a heterosexual marriage can be.


Alcoholism is another one that could fit into this pattern--the fact that we now realize that for some people there is a genetic component to being unable to control their drinking does not mean we should encourage alcoholics to embrace their problem and indulge at will. We should certainly recognize that the alcoholic has a 'harder row to hoe' than those of us who never feel tempted to drink excessively, and pastorally treat their failures. But we do them no favors by saying, 'oh, that's just the way you were born--drink up.'

But alcoholism physically ruins a person rather quickly, causing liver cirrhosis and other deadly conditions. Not so homosexual unions. Gore Vidal is still alive and well, in his 80-s. Jean Marais died when he was in his 80-s or even 90-s.
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« Reply #500 on: November 03, 2009, 06:13:17 PM »

I also wonder what the original words those particular Fathers used for this "sinful passion" we are calling "depression" in this thread.  Father Hopko, in one of his recent talks on AFN, made a distinction between "depression" and "despair," calling the former a medical condition while the latter is a spiritual problem.

Most of my patristic reading was in Russian translation, where the terms were пeчаль or уныниe. Both of them can be translated into English as "sadness" or "depression," and they were called sinful passions on par with gluttony, lust, love of money, envy, pride, etc.
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« Reply #501 on: November 03, 2009, 06:13:48 PM »

It's the Greek (presumably) I'm most interested in.
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« Reply #502 on: November 03, 2009, 06:30:19 PM »

Is the term accidie translated as both depression and despair in English, or are there different terms for these concepts?
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« Reply #503 on: November 03, 2009, 06:38:08 PM »

AFAIK, they could not see homosexual behavior as "normal" because in their mind it was a CHOICE of an individual. A bad, wrong choice. I don't see any reasons to view it that way now, when we know that homosexuality is not a choice, and that the ability of any person, homo- or heterosexual, to live all of his/her life in the state of celibacy is a relatively rare gift.

That is a *serious* mischaracterization of the Patristic position. It might be accurate for a 19th-century Victorian alienist but has no relationship to the actual teaching of the Church.

'Desires' and 'temptations' are NOT an individual choice. The Father *always* recognized that desires arise naturally from the human soul without any action of the will. However, simply because a desire is 'natural' doesn't make it moral. In fact, to the contrary, because we are fallen beings *all* our desires are corrupted and twisted from their proper orientation to some extent. The particular corruption and its strength varies from individual to individual based on a host of things--and the fact that we can now identify that the vehicle for this particular twisted desire is primarily genetic while the vehicle for that one is primarily cultural doesn't alter the underlying Patristic understanding. One person's desire for food is out of all proportion to the needs of his body (gluttony), another person's desire to accomplish is twisted into a need to conspicuously achieve (vanity) and crush his competitors (lovelessness), and a third person's desire for love is twisted in oriention to an inappropriate target. But we are all twisted--that is in fact one major difference between this discusion in an actual Orthodox context and a repetition of the ongoing 20th century Westernized debate. The Fathers didn't prioritize or obsess about any one particular desire--we all have messed up desires and my continuous temptation to vanity or greed or gluttony or nubile virgins is not different in kind from another person's sexual desire being twisted to the same sex.

Will/choice comes in on the choice to act on one's twisted desires, or to resist them and to work to purify them.

Quote
Well, I guess we actually might look at some cases of chronic depression as "just as good and worthy." Like I said, people like yours truly perhaps MUST remain on antidepressants as long as they live

But again, you are arguing against yourself with your example of depression. You take antidepressants. You take action to *not* indulge the twisted appetite which feeds that negative emotion. That makes you the same as the homosexual who chooses not to act on his homosexual desire--or who the heterosexual who devotes himself to celibacy and the lifelong struggle to control and suppress the natural (but still twisted) desire for members of the opposite sex.

Just as you are ignoring the Father's actual teaching to attach some strawman, you are ignoring the fact that the great majority of Fathers who were making this teaching were themselves *exemplars* of the fact that the sexual urge, whatever its orientation, *can* be controlled, *can* be purified. What was St. Anthony's sexual orientation? St. Dmitri of Rostov? St. Gregory the Great? I don't know. I don't want to know. I don't need to know.

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Gore Vidal is still alive and well, in his 80-s. Jean Marais died when he was in his 80-s or even 90-s.

And I can point to plenty of vain, angry, selfish people who lived 'alive and well' into their 80s. And martyrs who died in their teens. The fact that something may not kill you quickly is not a relative argument when we are talking about what is right or wrong, what produces saints and what doesn't.
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« Reply #504 on: November 03, 2009, 06:43:34 PM »

witega,

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But the Fathers never said 'don't take medicine for your depression'. What they said--that depression is a bad thing and that the individual should struggle against it with the tools available--is fully compatible with the modern realization that for many people there is a biological component which can and should be addressed with medicine. There is no conflict between the use of anti-depressants and standard Orthodox practices like prayer and fasting in the pursuit of mental health.

I guess my issue is, had I lived in a previous century, and certainly had I lived in the 1st or 10th centuries, I probably would have been told that I had demons in me. The implication would have been that something was wrong with me, maybe I was wicked, or not vigilant enough, not watching the door to my heart or whatever. I would agree that Orthodoxy has nothing against using medications, but I still agree that the understanding of the ancients in such issues is nowhere near what the understanding of moderns are.
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« Reply #505 on: November 03, 2009, 06:49:43 PM »

This is why I think that a 'cafeteria Orthodox', one that accepts some doctrine but rejects others, is simply in a transitional period towards complete unbelief. If one cannot, for example, believe scripture and the fathers on their teachings of sexuality, how can one believe their teachings on Christ's divinity, a matter far more fantastic and unbelievable than the teachings on sexuality

Because if you don't believe in the Church's idea's about  Divinity you don't concurrently become isolated, horny and lonely..............  Just saying  Smiley

Exactly, exactly! For many of us, our belief in Christ can be a soothing, comforting, costless belief with no negative consequences. For the martyrs, it was not, so I can only imagine the doubt and internal conflict they had. For someone like Bishop Spong, too, it was not soothing - it caused an intellectual conflict that he could not simply avoid. Christianity can be hard and demanding.

You were probably being ironic, but I feel I should say that I would think that our faithful non-heterosexual brothers and sisters would want you to know that they are not all 'isolated, horny, and lonely...'! Some may be, some not, and then again, we cannot possible measure the spiritual comfort they receive from God.
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« Reply #506 on: November 03, 2009, 06:55:12 PM »

So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?
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« Reply #507 on: November 03, 2009, 07:34:54 PM »

So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?

The Church always gets it right, eventually.
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« Reply #508 on: November 03, 2009, 07:39:14 PM »

But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?
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« Reply #509 on: November 03, 2009, 07:42:07 PM »

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So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?

I didn't consider the church infallible when I was Orthodox. I consider infallibility not only to be impossible, but also a largely meaningless concept even in theory. But then, some would say that I wasn't being orthodox in that view. Wink
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« Reply #510 on: November 03, 2009, 07:47:50 PM »

'Desires' and 'temptations' are NOT an individual choice.

But the acting on them is. Granted. You are born heterosexual - act on your desire when you are married. Born homosexual - don't even think about it. And... why?

The Father *always* recognized that desires arise naturally from the human soul without any action of the will. However, simply because a desire is 'natural' doesn't make it moral. In fact, to the contrary, because we are fallen beings *all* our desires are corrupted and twisted from their proper orientation to some extent.

So why can't the sexual desire of homosexuals be made LESS corrupted and twisted in a committed, lifelong monogamous marriage? Or do we accept that heterosexual sexual desires aren't made any less twisted and corrupted in a heterosexual committed, monogamous, lifelong marriage? What IS the difference?

Will/choice comes in on the choice to act on one's twisted desires, or to resist them and to work to purify them.

No argument here. But why can a heterosexual "purify" his twisted desire, and a homosexual cannot?

You take antidepressants. You take action to *not* indulge the twisted appetite which feeds that negative emotion. That makes you the same as the homosexual who chooses not to act on his homosexual desire--or who the heterosexual who devotes himself to celibacy and the lifelong struggle to control and suppress the natural (but still twisted) desire for members of the opposite sex.

Right, except not all heterosexuals can be successful in that struggle even if they want to be. I am positive that the same applies to homosexuals. So, for those heterosexuals who cannot be celibate, there is a choice between chaste, monogamous marriage and a "porneia," sexual immorality of various sorts. And for homosexuals who cannot be celibate? Only "porneia?"

I can point to plenty of vain, angry, selfish people who lived 'alive and well' into their 80s. And martyrs who died in their teens. The fact that something may not kill you quickly is not a relative argument when we are talking about what is right or wrong, what produces saints and what doesn't.

But I was only objecting to the analogy with alcoholism.
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« Reply #511 on: November 03, 2009, 07:47:50 PM »

So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?

I believe She is totally infallible in those things that are not addressable by science, for example in Her understanding of the Person of Christ as fully Divine and fully human, or in eschatology, etc. However, She can, IMHO, adapt in Her teachings to the new knowledge gained by us through science. And I see it happen in some areas but not in other areas.
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« Reply #512 on: November 03, 2009, 07:47:51 PM »

witega,

Quote
But the Fathers never said 'don't take medicine for your depression'. What they said--that depression is a bad thing and that the individual should struggle against it with the tools available--is fully compatible with the modern realization that for many people there is a biological component which can and should be addressed with medicine. There is no conflict between the use of anti-depressants and standard Orthodox practices like prayer and fasting in the pursuit of mental health.

I guess my issue is, had I lived in a previous century, and certainly had I lived in the 1st or 10th centuries, I probably would have been told that I had demons in me. The implication would have been that something was wrong with me, maybe I was wicked, or not vigilant enough, not watching the door to my heart or whatever. I would agree that Orthodoxy has nothing against using medications, but I still agree that the understanding of the ancients in such issues is nowhere near what the understanding of moderns are.

Exactly. And I believe the same applies to the understanding of ancients of homosexual sex as necessarily deplorable and un-amenable by monogamous and chaste same-gender marriage.
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« Reply #513 on: November 03, 2009, 07:47:51 PM »

So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?

The Church always gets it right, eventually.

YES! No doubt about it. Eventually...
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« Reply #514 on: November 03, 2009, 07:47:51 PM »

But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?

Maybe, in certain areas.
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« Reply #515 on: November 03, 2009, 08:11:55 PM »

But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?

Yes. During the iconoclastic years, it took a long time for Orthodoxy to be reflected in the praxis of the time. It was noted by someone that if a straw poll was taken in the run up to Nicaea, the Church would be Arian now.

What this does not mean is that the Faith evolves. The Faith does not evolve or change beliefs, there are times when the Church slips, and steps must be taken to restore the image of the Faith as reflected in Church teachings. It also does not mean that the minority is automatically correct, just because they are in the minority.
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« Reply #516 on: November 03, 2009, 08:22:15 PM »

heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.
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« Reply #517 on: November 03, 2009, 09:28:02 PM »

heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.

Could it be that the standard of what is good is found in our ability to love, not simply to follow rules; love in all its forms - loving God; loving neighbour; loving enemy?
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« Reply #518 on: November 03, 2009, 09:40:20 PM »

heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.

Could it be that the standard of what is good is found in our ability to love, not simply to follow rules; love in all its forms - loving God; loving neighbour; loving enemy?

QFT. Thank you Riddikulus.
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« Reply #519 on: November 03, 2009, 09:47:00 PM »

But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?

Yes. During the iconoclastic years, it took a long time for Orthodoxy to be reflected in the praxis of the time. It was noted by someone that if a straw poll was taken in the run up to Nicaea, the Church would be Arian now.

What this does not mean is that the Faith evolves. The Faith does not evolve or change beliefs, there are times when the Church slips, and steps must be taken to restore the image of the Faith as reflected in Church teachings. It also does not mean that the minority is automatically correct, just because they are in the minority.

The Truth was true from the beginning, is true today, and will be true until the end of time. It never changes. I think we can agree on that.

Human doctrines and philosophical/religious understanding change and adapt as we slowly discover the Truth. Do you think it is possible that this process of perfecting mankind's understanding of Truth - spiritually, morally, metaphysically - is something that could take millennia?

Or was everything that there possibly is to know about everything laid out in the Bible and the teachings of the Early Fathers?
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« Reply #520 on: November 03, 2009, 10:07:42 PM »

The scriptures and the Church's interpretation of the scriptures on the issue of homosexual relationships are rather clear, I believe.

Relationships yes, mariage - no. There is simply no concept of homosexual marriage in Scripture, like there is no concept of biological evolution, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, protons, neutrons, women having rights independently of fathers or husbands, integrals, differentials, other galaxies...

Homosexuality is a sin according to the Church. Can we just decide that something isn't a sin anymore? People say masturbation can reduce stress and has health benefits (or something like that) so should we then say that it isn't a sin anymore? A lot of people also cheat on their spouses, should we just say no big deal to that since everyone does it? Relationships and marriage are similar, since homosexual relations are condemned in the Bible and by the Church, then how can we allow them to marry?
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« Reply #521 on: November 03, 2009, 11:12:12 PM »

heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.

But why do you equate homosexual predisposition with sinful one?

We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".

True, but again, this "thorn" of homosexuality, wasn't it considered a "thorn" because marriage has always been viewed, historically, as a means of procreation - and thus no homosexual sexual relation, given this view of marital relationship, could be seen as marital? What do we say about marital relations now? Are they only for procreation? A man and a woman who has underfone hysterectomy - will they be prohibited by the Church to have sexual relations, when they are married? If a man falls in love with a woman who has no uterus, will he be prohibited by the Church to be married to her and to have sex with her?


Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?

Of course not, but just what are these "passions?" Why in the world a love of a man to a man or a woman to a woman is automatically, and irreversibly, deemed a "passion," while the love of our own Fr. George to his wife is not?

Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.

Really? Are you one of them? Please PM me, let's talk. I somehow suspect that you are not speaking of experience. I would like to see your arguments convincing me that I am wrong as far as this choice goes.


Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.

Hmmm. Please PM.
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« Reply #522 on: November 03, 2009, 11:51:21 PM »

Human doctrines and philosophical/religious understanding change and adapt as we slowly discover the Truth. Do you think it is possible that this process of perfecting mankind's understanding of Truth - spiritually, morally, metaphysically - is something that could take millennia?

It is wrong to speak of understanding in this sense, which implies use of Reason. The use of reason is very dangerous when combined with the Orthodox faith. Truth in the sense of Orthodoxy is not really understood so much as it is experienced. Any understanding that is there is not from us and is not projected on to the Holy Scriptures, rather the understanding is given to us from His Revelation, which is guarded by the Church Fathers.

"The Orthodox Church does not endorse the view that the teachings of Christ have changed from time to time; rather that Christianity has remained unaltered from the moment that the Lord delivered the Faith to the Apostles (Matt. 28: 18-20). She affirms that "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) is now what it was in the beginning. Orthodox of the twentieth century believe precisely what was believed by Orthodox of the first, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth centuries."

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html

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Or was everything that there possibly is to know about everything laid out in the Bible and the teachings of the Early Fathers?

It is impossible to "know everything" that is in the Scriptures and Church Fathers, even if they did contain everything. Orthodox Christianity is a vast and deep ocean. Those who dived in and tried to drink in everything, drowned. We must only take sips of the water. Slow and steady wins the race.

Although some here will use reason or science to argue for or against homosexuality, I do not. A person who engages in homosexual behaviour will answer to themselves, their spiritual father, and God. It is not my concern, and their behaviour is not really your concern either.
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« Reply #523 on: November 04, 2009, 12:01:26 AM »

The scriptures and the Church's interpretation of the scriptures on the issue of homosexual relationships are rather clear, I believe.

Relationships yes, mariage - no. There is simply no concept of homosexual marriage in Scripture, like there is no concept of biological evolution, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, protons, neutrons, women having rights independently of fathers or husbands, integrals, differentials, other galaxies...

Homosexuality is a sin according to the Church. Can we just decide that something isn't a sin anymore? People say masturbation can reduce stress and has health benefits (or something like that) so should we then say that it isn't a sin anymore? A lot of people also cheat on their spouses, should we just say no big deal to that since everyone does it? Relationships and marriage are similar, since homosexual relations are condemned in the Bible and by the Church, then how can we allow them to marry?


Or we could recognise that the natural human desires of sexuality have traditionally been perceived as sinful, evil, wrong, etc due to an inherently flawed underpinning philosophy which stemmed from a backwards cultural zeitgeist in ancient Judaea.

Adults who love each other having sex to strengthen their loving bond should not be a sin. It strengthens and expresses love, it hurts no one.

The argument that homosexuals only have sex out of lust is, quite frankly, rubbish. They have sex for the same reasons that heterosexuals do - and you probably don't need to be reminded that even religious married couples have sex for reasons other than procreation. It strengthens their bond and forms an important part of participating in an intimate act of love within their relationship. Sexuality is healthy and forms a positive part of the human condition.

I'm not talking about casual sex, prostitution, meet-and-screw-in-a-hotel relationships, orgies, and other activities which occur purely due to lust. A good case for calling such activity 'sinful' can be made because it involves sex outside of love and committment.

However, sexually active homosexual couples are no different from sexually active heterosexual couples in their motivations for having sex. I'm sure if homosexual couples could have kids, they would; but as we know that's not the reason that the vast majority of couples have sex, is it? I'm sure even the priest at your local parish uses a condom when he has sex with his wife, as does pretty much everyone who doesn't want (or can't afford to support) a new child every nine months. Unless you want to condemn and persecute every heterosexual couple who uses condoms (and thus commit the gross social/moral irresponsibility of Roman Catholics, who tell Africans in AIDS-ravaged nations not to use contraceptives), drop the case.

Monks and nuns take vows of chastisy because intimate human relationships are totally inappropriate for their lifestyle, which is meant to wholly focus on God, Christ and spirituality. Intimate loving relationships are beautiful, but they would certainly distract monks and nuns from their mission, so it makes sense for monks and nuns to be celibate. They are abstaining from a distraction - not something inherently evil. Not all human beings can be expected to live as monks or nuns - we simply weren't intended that way.

The scriptures were written by human beings who were inspired by God, not by God Himself. And like all human beings, the prophets, scribes, Apostles, evangelists, etc were capable of making mistakes or reflecting the cultural attitudes of their time in their works. The deeper spiritual truths of the scriptures don't lie in the literal surface meanings of the words chosen by their authors. The only entity who has access to Ultimate Truth is the Ultimate Reality (i.e., God) himself. Men make mistakes. Unless you actually expect me to believe that God dictated every word of the Pentateuch to Moses on Mt Sinai - an idea which archaeological evidence and textual analysis discredits extensively.

Christianity has the cause of social justice and humanism at its core, not bigotry. Religion has fostered and promoted bigotry for too long, and it has to stop.
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« Reply #524 on: November 04, 2009, 12:06:09 AM »

The scriptures and the Church's interpretation of the scriptures on the issue of homosexual relationships are rather clear, I believe.

Relationships yes, mariage - no. There is simply no concept of homosexual marriage in Scripture, like there is no concept of biological evolution, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, protons, neutrons, women having rights independently of fathers or husbands, integrals, differentials, other galaxies...

Homosexuality is a sin according to the Church.

No. Homosexuality, according to what a number of posters (some of them Orhtodox priests) said on this forum, is quite natural. Humans, men and women, millions and millions of them, are born with it according, obviously, with the will of our Creator. Not homosexuality, but what people do with their homosexuality is the matter of the present discourse. Historically, if people chose to not exercise their HETEROsexuality and become monks,  - that was viewed positively by the Church; but the Church never said that every single heterosexual could do it (Matthew 19:10-12). Why, then, is there this tacit presumption that every single homosexual can do it - i.e. become a lifelong celibate person? Yes, I understand there is a notion that they SHOULD. But CAN they? Why is it that not all HETEROsexuals can or should - and yet all HOMOsexuals can and should?

Can we just decide that something isn't a sin anymore? People say masturbation can reduce stress and has health benefits (or something like that) so should we then say that it isn't a sin anymore?

Well, for masturbation, at least there is a rational explanation that it is a pleasing of SELF and not that one, only one, unique person who is your spouse, who is complimenting you, who is ypur lifelong partner in theosis... For a monogamous and committed and lifelong homosexual marriage, there is no such explanation, other than that "it is not real because it cannot be real because we say so..."

A lot of people also cheat on their spouses, should we just say no big deal to that since everyone does it? Relationships and marriage are similar, since homosexual relations are condemned in the Bible and by the Church, then how can we allow them to marry?

YOU allow THEM???
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« Reply #525 on: November 04, 2009, 12:08:47 AM »


It is wrong to speak of understanding in this sense, which implies use of Reason. The use of reason is very dangerous when combined with the Orthodox faith. Truth in the sense of Orthodoxy is not really understood so much as it is experienced. Any understanding that is there is not from us and is not projected on to the Holy Scriptures, rather the understanding is given to us from His Revelation, which is guarded by the Church Fathers.

"The Orthodox Church does not endorse the view that the teachings of Christ have changed from time to time; rather that Christianity has remained unaltered from the moment that the Lord delivered the Faith to the Apostles (Matt. 28: 18-20). She affirms that "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) is now what it was in the beginning. Orthodox of the twentieth century believe precisely what was believed by Orthodox of the first, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth centuries."

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html

The teachings of Christ haven't changed. Christ said nothing about homosexuality, and very little about sexuality at all, really. He said not to look at another person in lust. That's fine. Love =/= lust. Christ's teachings are irrelevant to this issue, because Christ said nothing about this issue at all.

If Christ had actually said, 'sex is morally wrong and should only be used when necessary for the continuation of our species' then we would be having a different discussion altogether. But he didn't.  
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« Reply #526 on: November 04, 2009, 12:16:08 AM »

Cheating on one's spouse is WRONG because it is a betrayal of trust, a betrayal of love, and it hurts them deeply. It involves deception and betrayal and harm.

Homosexual relations between two consenting adults who are in love is a totally seperate matter. Your analogy does not work in this debate.
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« Reply #527 on: November 04, 2009, 12:17:53 AM »

YOU allow THEM???

That's kinda how the whole religion thing works George Wink

As Ambrose Bierce put it in his 'Devil's Dictionary':

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    One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.

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« Reply #528 on: November 04, 2009, 12:19:57 AM »


It is wrong to speak of understanding in this sense, which implies use of Reason. The use of reason is very dangerous when combined with the Orthodox faith. Truth in the sense of Orthodoxy is not really understood so much as it is experienced. Any understanding that is there is not from us and is not projected on to the Holy Scriptures, rather the understanding is given to us from His Revelation, which is guarded by the Church Fathers.

"The Orthodox Church does not endorse the view that the teachings of Christ have changed from time to time; rather that Christianity has remained unaltered from the moment that the Lord delivered the Faith to the Apostles (Matt. 28: 18-20). She affirms that "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) is now what it was in the beginning. Orthodox of the twentieth century believe precisely what was believed by Orthodox of the first, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth centuries."

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html

The teachings of Christ haven't changed. Christ said nothing about homosexuality, and very little about sexuality at all, really. He said not to look at another person in lust. That's fine. Love =/= lust. Christ's teachings are irrelevant to this issue, because Christ said nothing about this issue at all.

If Christ had actually said, 'sex is morally wrong and should only be used when necessary for the continuation of our species' then we would be having a different discussion altogether. But he didn't.  


Christ never said "Don't wear a duck on your head when shooting potatoes at an abandoned factory," either. Your point is?

The Christian life as outline in the Scriptures is neither about dead legalism nor is about doing what makes you happy or is socially acceptable. It is, however, about living a life holy and pleasing towards God.

Paul easily could have given his blessing to homosexual acts as homosexuality was widespread in the Roman empire. As was idol worship (duh). But he said neither idolaters nor homosexuals have no part in the kingdom of God.

Christians of course cannot force other people to conform to a sanctified way of living. But the institution of the Church exists not only to partake in the Body and Blood of Christ but also for the edification (spiritual, physical and moral) of its members. It is then necessary to give those who transgress over to Satan, as it were, so the transgressors can either choose the way of Satan or realise the error of his/her way and return to the Church.

If the Church's way is too harsh for you, well, atheism lets you do whatever you want and I hear that's quite popular these days.
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« Reply #529 on: November 04, 2009, 12:23:44 AM »

Or we could recognise that the natural human desires of sexuality have traditionally been perceived as sinful, evil, wrong, etc due to an inherently flawed underpinning philosophy which stemmed from a backwards cultural zeitgeist in ancient Judaea.

Why should we use "backwards cultural zeitgeist" as a scapegoat?? And who says that cultural perspective was flawed?

Quote
Adults who love each other having sex to strengthen their loving bond should not be a sin. It strengthens and expresses love, it hurts no one.

Thank you for your opinion. However, it is quite clear that two people having sex in an relationship that is not blessed by the Church, would have a profoundly negative effect on their spiritual health.

Quote
The argument that homosexuals only have sex out of lust is, quite frankly, rubbish. They have sex for the same reasons that heterosexuals do - and you probably don't need to be reminded that even religious married couples have sex for reasons other than procreation. It strengthens their bond and forms an important part of participating in an intimate act of love within their relationship. Sexuality is healthy and forms a positive part of the human condition.

Sexuality in the proper context.

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However, sexually active homosexual couples are no different from sexually active heterosexual couples in their motivations for having sex.

That's a rather broad--and unprovable--generalization.

Quote
I'm sure if homosexual couples could have kids, they would; but as we know that's not the reason that the vast majority of couples have sex, is it?

Procreation is a main goal of sexual activity.

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I'm sure even the priest at your local parish uses a condom when he has sex with his wife...

That's an inappropriate comment. Not mention that the behaviour of any priest has no bearing on this. His behaviour is not YOUR concern.

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Unless you want to condemn and persecute every heterosexual couple who uses condoms (and thus commit the gross social/moral irresponsibility of Roman Catholics, who tell Africans in AIDS-ravaged nations not to use contraceptives), drop the case.

Actually, contraceptives are not quite as reliable as people think, especially in Africa. Abstinence is the better option.



Quote
The scriptures were written by human beings who were inspired by God, not by God Himself. And like all human beings, the prophets, scribes, Apostles, evangelists, etc were capable of making mistakes or reflecting the cultural attitudes of their time in their works. The deeper spiritual truths of the scriptures don't lie in the literal surface meanings of the words chosen by their authors.

Debateable.

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The only entity who has access to Ultimate Truth is the Ultimate Reality (i.e., God) himself. Men make mistakes. Unless you actually expect me to believe that God dictated every word of the Pentateuch to Moses on Mt Sinai - an idea which archaeological evidence and textual analysis discredits extensively.

The Church is possession of the entirety of God's revelation.

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Christianity has the cause of social justice and humanism at its core, not bigotry. Religion has fostered and promoted bigotry for too long, and it has to stop.

I'm not sure where bigotry enters into anything. The Church is in opposition to homosexual behaviour, not homosexuals themselves. Everyone has a Cross to bear. And as for humanism, that is a philosophical viewpoint that is contrary to Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #530 on: November 04, 2009, 12:25:16 AM »

Feanor,

I'm guessing you haven't read much on polyamory, because in your couple posts that have touched on more than two people being in a relationship, you haven't described polyarmory at all, but rather are describing swinging or other activities. Given your ideas about love, I don't see what argument you could bring against three people being in love being together. It need not have anything to do with lust, and people in polyamorous relationships often speak of fidelity and honesty as the most important goals for keeping the relationships stable and together.
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« Reply #531 on: November 04, 2009, 12:26:16 AM »

The teachings of Christ haven't changed. Christ said nothing about homosexuality, and very little about sexuality at all, really. He said not to look at another person in lust. That's fine. Love =/= lust. Christ's teachings are irrelevant to this issue, because Christ said nothing about this issue at all.

If Christ had actually said, 'sex is morally wrong and should only be used when necessary for the continuation of our species' then we would be having a different discussion altogether. But he didn't.

Actually, you don't know if Christ never said anything about homosexuality, because not everything He said or did was in the Bible. Which is why we rely on the Bishops, the clergy, and the Church to communicate the Divine Revelation.

Once again, I'm not really sure what is your whole issue with this. The behaviour of others is not your concern.

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« Reply #532 on: November 04, 2009, 12:28:29 AM »

If the Church's way is too harsh for you, well, atheism lets you do whatever you want and I hear that's quite popular these days.

Hey, I'm supposed to be the only one proselytizing for Atheism, but thanks for the assist. Wink

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« Reply #533 on: November 04, 2009, 12:37:03 AM »

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Christ never said "Don't wear a duck on your head when shooting potatoes at an abandoned factory," either. Your point is?

Analogy fail. Maybe you should go back to first-year college Philosophy and learn the difference between morality, immorality and amorality.

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The Christian life as outline in the Scriptures is neither about dead legalism nor is about doing what makes you happy or is socially acceptable. It is, however, about living a life holy and pleasing towards God.


Agreed. To get a proper understanding of what constitutes a holy life, we should perhaps examine the scriptures a bit more closely.

Quote
Paul easily could have given his blessing to homosexual acts as homosexuality was widespread in the Roman empire. As was idol worship (duh). But he said neither idolaters nor homosexuals have no part in the kingdom of God.

Yes, Paul said that. Paul was a Jew, and as we know he did and said many things from a Jewish perspective. Judaism did not approve of homosexuality for reasons which make perfect sense in the historical context of the development of Jewish Halakha.

Quote
Christians of course cannot force other people to conform to a sanctified way of living. But the institution of the Church exists not only to partake in the Body and Blood of Christ but also for the edification (spiritual, physical and moral) of its members. It is then necessary to give those who transgress over to Satan, as it were, so the transgressors can either choose the way of Satan or realise the error of his/her way and return to the Church.

If the Church's way is too harsh for you, well, atheism lets you do whatever you want and I hear that's quite popular these days.

Tell me what you think Christ would have said if the Pharisees had brought forth to him a pair of monogamous homosexual lovers? Would he have judged and condemned them? Told them their love was invalid and wrong? "You can't love each other. Stop loving each other and force yourself to love people of the opposite sex instead, or don't love at all." That doesn't sound very Christ-like at all in my opinion.
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« Reply #534 on: November 04, 2009, 12:41:25 AM »

Feanor,

I'm guessing you haven't read much on polyamory, because in your couple posts that have touched on more than two people being in a relationship, you haven't described polyarmory at all, but rather are describing swinging or other activities. Given your ideas about love, I don't see what argument you could bring against three people being in love being together. It need not have anything to do with lust, and people in polyamorous relationships often speak of fidelity and honesty as the most important goals for keeping the relationships stable and together.

I understand what polyamory is, but I don't believe I referred to it in any of my posts. If I did, I was referring to 'swinging', two-timing etc. Polyamory is an entirely different kettle of fish which I didn't mean to bring into this discussion, if it seems I have done so. 
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« Reply #535 on: November 04, 2009, 12:42:42 AM »

Tell me what you think Christ would have said if the Pharisees had brought forth to him a pair of monogamous homosexual lovers? Would he have judged and condemned them? Told them their love was invalid and wrong? "You can't love each other. Stop loving each other and force yourself to love people of the opposite sex instead, or don't love at all." That doesn't sound very Christ-like at all in my opinion.

"Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11
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« Reply #536 on: November 04, 2009, 12:44:24 AM »

Once again, I'm not really sure what is your whole issue with this. The behaviour of others is not your concern.

As a Christian, social justice is of my concern. This is the human rights movement of this generation. If this was 1920, you'd be telling me how interracial marriage is sick and wrong, and that those who find themselves in love with someone of another race "have a cross to bear," and I'd be arguing that interracial love is perfectly acceptable.
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« Reply #537 on: November 04, 2009, 12:48:53 AM »

Once again, I'm not really sure what is your whole issue with this. The behaviour of others is not your concern.

As a Christian, social justice is of my concern. This is the human rights movement of this generation. If this was 1920, you'd be telling me how interracial marriage is sick and wrong, and that those who find themselves in love with someone of another race "have a cross to bear," and I'd be arguing that interracial love is perfectly acceptable.

No. Because our bishops marched with MLK at Selma. Race is not homosexual behaviour. This is not a human rights issue.
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« Reply #538 on: November 04, 2009, 12:49:14 AM »

Tell me what you think Christ would have said if the Pharisees had brought forth to him a pair of monogamous homosexual lovers? Would he have judged and condemned them? Told them their love was invalid and wrong? "You can't love each other. Stop loving each other and force yourself to love people of the opposite sex instead, or don't love at all." That doesn't sound very Christ-like at all in my opinion.

"Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11

How do you know he wouldn't have said, 'Love one another as I have loved you' John 15:12?
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« Reply #539 on: November 04, 2009, 12:51:56 AM »

Tell me what you think Christ would have said if the Pharisees had brought forth to him a pair of monogamous homosexual lovers? Would he have judged and condemned them? Told them their love was invalid and wrong? "You can't love each other. Stop loving each other and force yourself to love people of the opposite sex instead, or don't love at all." That doesn't sound very Christ-like at all in my opinion.

"Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:11

How do you know he wouldn't have said, 'Love one another as I have loved you' John 15:12?

I don't. But in reference to a sexual sin, He said "Sin no more." Therefore I identified a quote from a similiar context.
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