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Author Topic: what do you think about universalism?  (Read 2513 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2012, 09:04:56 PM »

Well what are we talking about?

Universalism as in everything is true and nothing is false.

Abominadble.

UNiversalism that everyone is saved?

Wrong.

Since it seems you missed Jetavan's pertinent post, I'll re-post it here:

Quote
There are different types of universalism.

One universalism theory states that it is possible that all may be saved. This universalism is perfectly acceptable in Orthodoxy (and Catholicism).

Another universalism theory states that it is a definite reality that all will be saved. This universalism is rejected by Orthodoxy (and Catholicism).

I agree that the first kind of universalism shouldn't pose a problem for us.

Just one?
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« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2012, 09:30:23 PM »

Well what are we talking about?

Universalism as in everything is true and nothing is false.

Abominadble.

UNiversalism that everyone is saved?

Wrong.

Since it seems you missed Jetavan's pertinent post, I'll re-post it here:

Quote
There are different types of universalism.

One universalism theory states that it is possible that all may be saved. This universalism is perfectly acceptable in Orthodoxy (and Catholicism).

Another universalism theory states that it is a definite reality that all will be saved. This universalism is rejected by Orthodoxy (and Catholicism).

I agree that the first kind of universalism shouldn't pose a problem for us.

Just one?

I'm not sure what it is you are asking, exactly.
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« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2012, 09:57:18 PM »

Quote
Re: what do you think about universalism?

That's easy. All Religions One Path One God ... that kind of stuff (You forgot Indian Shamanism)
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« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2012, 09:58:00 PM »

I’m not really asking a question as much as I am making a statement.  That statement being, Nicene provided one understanding (actually two) of universalism.  You retorted with another.  This means, apparently, there is no standard universalism.  Sort of like the meaning of transsexual, it can mean anything you want it to mean.  If there is no standard resulting in various meanings of the word, I am curious why Jetavan’s one understanding of universalism must be given special recognition over any other.  

I also provided two different aspects of universalism and could look in my theological dictionary and post a page and one half of additional information from another source, but I somehow doubt it would be appreciated.  It’s so much information I don’t think I could even paraphrase it enough to make it an acceptable size post.

The point being, one version of universalism is no better than another.  Not as a result of our doing, but those who claim universalism.  In any event, I dismiss all versions of universalism.  I had a co-worker who became an ordained pastor of a universalist church simply by submitting $25 through the mail and he isn’t even religious.  

In response to Jetavan’s understanding, is it possible that all MAY be saved.  Sure it is.  In the same manner anything is possible.  Is it probable or even feasible?  Not in a gagillion years.
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« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2012, 10:18:25 PM »

What do I think about universalism?

I like the universe. It's the one I was born in. I haven't been to any others, to compare, but this one's pretty nice.
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« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2012, 10:28:55 PM »

In response to Jetavan’s understanding, is it possible that all MAY be saved.  Sure it is.  In the same manner anything is possible.  Is it probable or even feasible?  Not in a gagillion years.

Well, I have read that some of our saints pray(ed) for demons, even the devil. Surely they wouldn't waste their time it if they didn't believe - and hope - that all will be saved. Surely we can hope and pray for the salvation of all.
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« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2012, 10:49:31 PM »

May I ask why?

Sure. You have thus far demonstrated precious little commitment to the Faith and I think you'd more likely anathematize the orthodox for calling out heresy than you would the heretics themselves.
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« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2012, 10:58:53 PM »

What do I think about universalism?

I like the universe. It's the one I was born in. I haven't been to any others, to compare, but this one's pretty nice.

lol!!! are you that naive?
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« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2012, 11:01:44 PM »

May I ask why?

Sure. You have thus far demonstrated precious little commitment to the Faith and I think you'd more likely anathematize the orthodox for calling out heresy than you would the heretics themselves.
I wouldn't. I don't believe in anathematizing. I believe in Letting go, and Letting God decide. However, the Jews didn't believe Jesus who was truly innocent. And I don't expect you to believe ME.
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« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2012, 11:03:01 PM »

In response to Jetavan’s understanding, is it possible that all MAY be saved.  Sure it is.  In the same manner anything is possible.  Is it probable or even feasible?  Not in a gagillion years.

Well, I have read that some of our saints pray(ed) for demons, even the devil. Surely they wouldn't waste their time it if they didn't believe - and hope - that all will be saved. Surely we can hope and pray for the salvation of all.
doesn't the bible however state that the devil will at the end be destroyed?
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« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2012, 11:05:48 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.
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« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2012, 11:42:52 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.

what will happen to it then?
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« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2012, 11:44:21 PM »

What do I think about universalism?

I like the universe. It's the one I was born in. I haven't been to any others, to compare, but this one's pretty nice.

lol!!! are you that naive?

Okay, I am not going to dignify you with an answer anymore.
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« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2012, 11:45:30 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.

what will happen to it then?

It may exist forever...
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« Reply #59 on: December 30, 2012, 10:00:27 AM »

I’m not really asking a question as much as I am making a statement.  That statement being, Nicene provided one understanding (actually two) of universalism.  You retorted with another.

BTW... I didn't mean it as a retort, although I can see how one could take it that way having read my post again. I was going to type my own understanding of universalism as it relates to Orthodoxy, but I felt that Jetavan had already done a better job than I would have. So I re-posted his. Indeed, it seems that a lot of people are having entirely different understandings of the word "universalism" here! 

Sorry if I was rude to you, Nicene.


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« Reply #60 on: December 30, 2012, 10:04:27 AM »

In response to Jetavan’s understanding, is it possible that all MAY be saved.  Sure it is.  In the same manner anything is possible.  Is it probable or even feasible?  Not in a gagillion years.

Well, I have read that some of our saints pray(ed) for demons, even the devil. Surely they wouldn't waste their time it if they didn't believe - and hope - that all will be saved. Surely we can hope and pray for the salvation of all.
doesn't the bible however state that the devil will at the end be destroyed?

I wasn't trying to challenge scripture. I was just pointing out that many saints have so purified their hearts that they cannot help but pray for the salvation of all.
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« Reply #61 on: December 30, 2012, 09:12:14 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.

what will happen to it then?

It may exist forever...

and keep ruining the lives of the innocent?
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« Reply #62 on: December 30, 2012, 09:24:19 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.

what will happen to it then?

It may exist forever...

and keep ruining the lives of the innocent?

In what way would that happen? If they end up there they wouldn't be innocent. Or so the theory usually goes...  Huh
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« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2012, 09:42:09 PM »

You are speaking of Rev. 20 I assume? It isn't clear that it speaks of being destroyed, however.

what will happen to it then?

It may exist forever...



and keep ruining the lives of the innocent?

In what way would that happen? If they end up there they wouldn't be innocent. Or so the theory usually goes...  Huh



If heaven and hell are both in the presence of God. Then the devil will keep sticking his nose. Unless of course he is  destroyed.
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« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2012, 09:56:46 PM »

Maybe God will bind him with really really strong chains  Huh
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« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2012, 10:13:01 PM »

My understanding is that there is no Salvation outside the Church.

The exception are primitive or distant people who have not heard the Gospel if they live a moral life. They may be saved.

Otherwise, both the Orthodox and Roman Church hold that there is no Salvation outside the Church. Various modernist tendencies have fudged this of late especially among the Latins.
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« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2012, 10:18:18 PM »

My understanding is that there is no Salvation outside the Church.

The exception are primitive or distant people who have not heard the Gospel if they live a moral life. They may be saved.

Otherwise, both the Orthodox and Roman Church hold that there is no Salvation outside the Church. Various modernist tendencies have fudged this of late especially among the Latins.

So... are you saying that everyone outside of the Church (except for those who have not heard the Gospel) is destined for hell?
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« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2012, 10:42:48 PM »

My understanding is that there is no Salvation outside the Church.

The exception are primitive or distant people who have not heard the Gospel if they live a moral life. They may be saved.

Otherwise, both the Orthodox and Roman Church hold that there is no Salvation outside the Church. Various modernist tendencies have fudged this of late especially among the Latins.

So... are you saying that everyone outside of the Church (except for those who have not heard the Gospel) is destined for hell?

God can do whatever he wills. There is also a question where The Church may or may not be present.

But that is the teaching of the Church both Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

 
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« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2012, 10:47:38 PM »

Specifically to your comment, Marc, I found this on page 247 of The Orthodox Church, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. It both confirms what you wrote, and expands on it (and kind of further answers my question to you):

"Orthodoxy also teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation... Does it therefore follow that anyone who is not visibly within the Church is necessarily damned? Of course not; still less does it follow that everyone visibly within the Church is necessarily saved. As Augustine wisely remarked, 'How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!' While there is no division between a 'visible' and an 'invisible Church', yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense we cannot always say."

And on page 262 of the same book, he has this to say about the possibility of universal salvation:

"Hell exists as a final possibility, but several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day comes, we must not despair of anyone’s salvation, but must long and pray for the reconciliation of all without exception. No one must be excluded from our loving intercession. ‘What is a merciful heart?’ asked Isaac the Syrian. ‘It is a heart that burns with love for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons, for all creatures’. Gregory of Nyssa said that Christians may legitimately hope even for the redemption of the Devil."
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« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2012, 10:51:57 PM »

Some other quotes:

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

"The Church visible, or upon earth, lives in complete communion and unity with the whole body of the Church, of which Christ is the Head. She has abiding within her Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit in all their living fullness, but not in the fullness of their manifestation, for she acts and knows not fully, but only so far as it pleases God. Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and (according to the words of Paul the Apostle, to the Corinthians, (1 Cor. 5. 12) does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day." - Alexei Khomiakov, The Church is One, p. 11

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« Reply #70 on: December 30, 2012, 10:55:51 PM »

Specifically to your comment, Marc, I found this on page 247 of The Orthodox Church, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. It both confirms what you wrote, and expands on it (and kind of further answers my question to you):

"Orthodoxy also teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation... Does it therefore follow that anyone who is not visibly within the Church is necessarily damned? Of course not; still less does it follow that everyone visibly within the Church is necessarily saved. As Augustine wisely remarked, 'How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!' While there is no division between a 'visible' and an 'invisible Church', yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense we cannot always say."

And on page 262 of the same book, he has this to say about the possibility of universal salvation:

"Hell exists as a final possibility, but several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day comes, we must not despair of anyone’s salvation, but must long and pray for the reconciliation of all without exception. No one must be excluded from our loving intercession. ‘What is a merciful heart?’ asked Isaac the Syrian. ‘It is a heart that burns with love for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons, for all creatures’. Gregory of Nyssa said that Christians may legitimately hope even for the redemption of the Devil."

Bishop Ware is considered to be somewhat Liberal on the topic. He also says that we can't teach Universal Salvation because it would make people lazy so by implication the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church is an expedient. However, the first paragraph you posted seems to sum up what I was referring to.

The folks with the bigger problem are the Roman Catholics who have in their ranks many who teach Universal Salvation in one form or another which is a heresy.
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« Reply #71 on: December 31, 2012, 03:02:09 AM »

What do I think about universalism?

I like the universe. It's the one I was born in. I haven't been to any others, to compare, but this one's pretty nice.

lol!!! are you that naive?

Okay, I am not going to dignify you with an answer anymore.

biro,  you're my hero. Cheesy
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« Reply #72 on: December 31, 2012, 04:41:10 AM »

What do I think about universalism?

I like the universe. It's the one I was born in. I haven't been to any others, to compare, but this one's pretty nice.

lol!!! are you that naive?

Okay, I am not going to dignify you with an answer anymore.

biro,  you're my hero. Cheesy

Thank you.  Smiley
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« Reply #73 on: December 31, 2012, 04:50:08 AM »

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.
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« Reply #74 on: December 31, 2012, 06:44:51 AM »

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I know of a 17th century Patriarch of Alexandria who taught that everyone who believed that Christ is the head of the Church is in the Catholic Church. That included, according to him, Latins and "those from Luther."
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« Reply #75 on: December 31, 2012, 08:56:52 AM »

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I know of a 17th century Patriarch of Alexandria who taught that everyone who believed that Christ is the head of the Church is in the Catholic Church. That included, according to him, Latins and "those from Luther."

Who he was? Did he say that we cannot be sure where the Church is not?
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« Reply #76 on: December 31, 2012, 08:57:40 AM »

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I know of a 17th century Patriarch of Alexandria who taught that everyone who believed that Christ is the head of the Church is in the Catholic Church. That included, according to him, Latins and "those from Luther."

Who he was? Did he say that we cannot be sure where the Church is not?

Apparently he was very confused about it. Ιt was Patriarch Meletius Pegas btw.
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« Reply #77 on: December 31, 2012, 12:12:39 PM »

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

 I agree. The statement is true but it is done with a wink and a nudge. It is promulgated to allow for Universal Salvation in a scope and manner that goes against the Orthodox understanding of salvation.

Better to emphasize that we should bring as many people as possible into the Church. 
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« Reply #78 on: December 31, 2012, 12:16:40 PM »

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I know of a 17th century Patriarch of Alexandria who taught that everyone who believed that Christ is the head of the Church is in the Catholic Church. That included, according to him, Latins and "those from Luther."

I just attended a Chrismation of a formally Roman Catholic Woman being received into The Church. She was read a list of heretical RC doctrines that she had to publicly denounce. One question was if she rejects the idea that a single Bishop can be the head of The Church and accepts that only Christ is the Head of The Church.
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« Reply #79 on: December 31, 2012, 12:46:59 PM »

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I am reading that book right now, and Met. Kallistos' point seems to be the same as the way the Catholics spin the same thing, that everyone who winds up being saved is a member of the true Church, whether they found their way into the visible organization before death or not; all salvation is through Jesus Christ so if you're saved, it's specifically and only because of the grace of God. It doesn't mean we should just relax and not try to tell anyone about Jesus, just that we shouldn't despair for the salvation of anyone who has died. Which a lot of other Orthodox seem to teach, so I'm not sure why that's controversial. But then, this is an Internet forum.  Grin
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« Reply #80 on: December 31, 2012, 01:56:45 PM »

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I am reading that book right now, and Met. Kallistos' point seems to be the same as the way the Catholics spin the same thing, that everyone who winds up being saved is a member of the true Church, whether they found their way into the visible organization before death or not; all salvation is through Jesus Christ so if you're saved, it's specifically and only because of the grace of God. It doesn't mean we should just relax and not try to tell anyone about Jesus, just that we shouldn't despair for the salvation of anyone who has died. Which a lot of other Orthodox seem to teach, so I'm not sure why that's controversial. But then, this is an Internet forum.  Grin

I went to a funeral a year or so ago for a Woman who had been born a Catholic but had no interest in the Church or any religion throughout her life.

A Priest spoke at the memorial service. He said "Don't let anyone tell you that you must attend Church in order to go to Heaven"
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« Reply #81 on: December 31, 2012, 02:14:35 PM »

Well, I have often been told by Orthodox that there's no "Sunday obligation" in Orthodoxy, so why was that priest wrong?  ;-)
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« Reply #82 on: December 31, 2012, 02:23:03 PM »

Bishop Ware is considered to be somewhat Liberal on the topic. He also says that we can't teach Universal Salvation because it would make people lazy so by implication the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church is an expedient. However, the first paragraph you posted seems to sum up what I was referring to.

The folks with the bigger problem are the Roman Catholics who have in their ranks many who teach Universal Salvation in one form or another which is a heresy.

I think you are dismissing him too easily. He is not alone in what he says, and besides, he is by far the most prominent and influential Orthodox author writing in English.
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« Reply #83 on: December 31, 2012, 02:31:28 PM »

"We know where the Church is but we cannot be sure where it is not." - Met. Kallistos, The Orthodox Church, p. 308

One of the greatest nonsenses of modern Orthodoxy. Historically the Orthodox have been fairly confident about where the Church is and where it isn't.

I am reading that book right now, and Met. Kallistos' point seems to be the same as the way the Catholics spin the same thing, that everyone who winds up being saved is a member of the true Church, whether they found their way into the visible organization before death or not; all salvation is through Jesus Christ so if you're saved, it's specifically and only because of the grace of God. It doesn't mean we should just relax and not try to tell anyone about Jesus, just that we shouldn't despair for the salvation of anyone who has died.

I agree with that but in my corner of the World that kind of sayings are sometimes interpreted basically as "Look what this prominent theologian writes! We must be open to the World! We know that Orthodoxy is the Church but Metropolitan Kallistos says that Lutheranism and Catholicism could be too!"
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« Reply #84 on: December 31, 2012, 05:36:33 PM »

Universalism is not just one uniform idealogy but an umbrella term with several sub-idealogies and levels. What exactly are you referring to in this thread? If you mean universalism in the sense that everyone will "be saved"--which is actually a Protestant concept that's foreign to us Orthodox--then we would disagree with that, because ultimately it reduces all religions to being the same and leads to the frightening conclusion that we could live however we want and that it doesn't matter because either way we will "be saved" in the end.
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« Reply #85 on: December 31, 2012, 05:53:21 PM »

Universalism is not just one uniform idealogy but an umbrella term with several sub-idealogies and levels. What exactly are you referring to in this thread? If you mean universalism in the sense that everyone will "be saved"--which is actually a Protestant concept that's foreign to us Orthodox--then we would disagree with that, because ultimately it reduces all religions to being the same and leads to the frightening conclusion that we could live however we want and that it doesn't matter because either way we will "be saved" in the end.

I really don't get how people come to this conclusion.  Saying everyone will be saved doesn't mean there is no reason to live a Godly life.  Saying everyone will be saved doesn't negate a purgation of the soul after death, a purgation that would probably be all the more painful the less like God one has been in this life. 

And besides, I don't know that it is a very good thing to argue for the whole "You should do what God tells you because otherwise you're gonna suffer!" angle.  Shouldn't we be like God to be close to God?
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« Reply #86 on: December 31, 2012, 06:00:44 PM »

I really don't get how people come to this conclusion.

It's simple. Saying that everyone in the end will arrive at the same destination negates the affect of any of our actions today on Earth, thus, there is no reason to do anything but to live the way you want. This is what every determinist philosophy ultimately leads to.

Quote
Saying everyone will be saved doesn't mean there is no reason to live a Godly life.

Speak for yourself

Quote
Saying everyone will be saved doesn't negate a purgation of the soul after death, a purgation that would probably be all the more painful the less like God one has been in this life.

That's speculation, and you are assuming that there is a clear doctrine of purgation in universalism, whereas most Protestant idealogies--universalism included--don't believe in any form of purgation but rather it's BOOM, you are either in western Heaven or western Hell right after death. Plus, even if there is a purgation according to the idealogy, many people would still be tempted to do whatever they want now and pay the heavy purgation later knowing that eventually they'll arrive at the same destination as everyone else. I know I at least would.

Quote
And besides, I don't know that it is a very good thing to argue for the whole "You should do what God tells you because otherwise you're gonna suffer!" angle.  Shouldn't we be like God to be close to God?

Aren't they the same thing? You should be close to God to be close to God or else you will suffer. The two concepts are interconnected. Anything other than closeness to God will lead to suffering sooner or later.
[/quote]
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« Reply #87 on: December 31, 2012, 06:16:54 PM »

I really don't get how people come to this conclusion.

It's simple. Saying that everyone in the end will arrive at the same destination negates the affect of any of our actions today on Earth, thus, there is no reason to do anything but to live the way you want.
Saying that everyone will arrive at the same destination also includes the possibility that everyone will do "whatever it takes", in order to arrive at the same destination. If "whatever it takes" includes "carrying one's cross," then everyone will arrive at the same destination by carrying their cross -- which is very different from "living the way you want".

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« Reply #88 on: December 31, 2012, 06:35:25 PM »

I would say that "all are saved" cannot necessarily be equated with "we end up the same". You and I might both be saved, but you might be a lot further along in the process of theosis than I. Thus even if we were all saved, nonetheless cooperation with God and our efforts here on earth wouldn't be for nothing, but would still have a very real benefit, both in this life and in the next.
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« Reply #89 on: December 31, 2012, 10:16:52 PM »

I really don't get how people come to this conclusion.

It's simple. Saying that everyone in the end will arrive at the same destination negates the affect of any of our actions today on Earth, thus, there is no reason to do anything but to live the way you want. This is what every determinist philosophy ultimately leads to.

Quote
Saying everyone will be saved doesn't mean there is no reason to live a Godly life.

Speak for yourself

Quote
Saying everyone will be saved doesn't negate a purgation of the soul after death, a purgation that would probably be all the more painful the less like God one has been in this life.

That's speculation, and you are assuming that there is a clear doctrine of purgation in universalism, whereas most Protestant idealogies--universalism included--don't believe in any form of purgation but rather it's BOOM, you are either in western Heaven or western Hell right after death. Plus, even if there is a purgation according to the idealogy, many people would still be tempted to do whatever they want now and pay the heavy purgation later knowing that eventually they'll arrive at the same destination as everyone else. I know I at least would.

Quote
And besides, I don't know that it is a very good thing to argue for the whole "You should do what God tells you because otherwise you're gonna suffer!" angle.  Shouldn't we be like God to be close to God?

Aren't they the same thing? You should be close to God to be close to God or else you will suffer. The two concepts are interconnected. Anything other than closeness to God will lead to suffering sooner or later.
[/quote]

some people lead a better life just because they love God. Not because they will suffer if they don't.
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