OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 23, 2014, 01:24:59 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Irrationality, Suffering, Uncertainty  (Read 1000 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« on: September 17, 2011, 08:19:04 PM »

This thread got closed, but I want to discuss something I mentioned there,* specifically the idea that the best way for dealing with irrationality and suffering in the world was within a theistic framework (or an Orthodox Christian framework). Or even that irrationality and suffering are evidence for (not against) God. I would also include uncertainty into the mix. What do you all think of these things? I suppose the obvious answer--and I realise it's not necessarily wrong just because it's obvious--is to just have faith. I guess I'm asking what we can make of uncertainty, etc. before we have to say "Well, past that I don't know, I just have faith..."  In what ways can we gain some inkling of an understanding of the senseless, have some degree of reasoned certainty in the midst of uncertainty, etc.? Can they even point towards there being a God?


* I am not trying to circumvent moderatorial actions... I asked Fr. Chris before starting this thread.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,674


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 11:27:19 PM »

One thing I know for certain, in a world of uncertainty, we have the power to make things somewhat certain.  And since all certainty belongs to God, to be that image, that we can somewhat control what is around us, is a testament to the power of the human race.

Suffering will happen because we have not yet reached a certain power to overcome such things, and so we are humbled by this part of uncertainty, but at the same time it frightens many of us.  Unless we have our hopes in God, who in Him lies our certainty of hope in salvation.  Therefore, even in suffering, we can still react to it in many ways, to become stronger and to continue to live life with hope, or to continue to live life as if the suffering overrules us.  With God lies all hope, and without God, there is no point in hope.  Without God, there is nothing but uncertainty.  Or to put it another way, we are only certain that one day, if God doesn't exist, we all will cease to exist.

If you suffer, it's not merely that God is the answer to your problems of suffering, but that even God who through His suffering teaches us that we can rise above the suffering and work our ways upwards to better growth and strength.

So honestly, that's how I define my faith in it.  Either my faith lies in pretending to move on only for a hopeless end, or to grow in finding true hope in the true God.  My faith need not be vain for the former, but alive for the latter.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2011, 09:28:36 PM »

But ... I dunno about non-existence, sometimes I wonder if it isn't so bad. Other times I figure there has to be something more, but I'm trying to figure out how I can know that and not just hope for it. I guess I agree that without God nothing makes sense to a significant degree, yet I can't shake the idea that that shouldn't matter. That doesn't mean there is or isn't a God, only that we'd like there to be a God because we'd like for there to be some meaning or purpose to it all, and some eternally lasting meaning at that.
Logged
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2011, 11:14:36 PM »

...and by "God", you mean....?
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2011, 11:19:11 PM »

...and by "God", you mean....?

Pffh, I don't know. You are certainly welcome to define, describe, or fumble over your words concerning God as you like, and then go from there... I'm not smitten with any particular version... (though since this is on an Orthodox board I would prefer a version of God that wouldn't be considered completely heretical by the Orhtodox Church)  Smiley
Logged
Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,391


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 01:00:29 AM »

We are saved by faith, not by certainty. So I often think that those who honestly wrestle with such questions are perhaps closer to God than they realize. Because, in spite of their existential angst and tremendous doubt, they nevertheless move towards God in faith and hope. Even though they cannot define God, comprehend God, or explain God, they intuitively recognize the divine Presence and do their best to live and move in this shadow of unknown Reality. They may feel agnostic or even atheistic, but they continue to read, study, ask, search, and cry out to that indefinable Truth which is both infinitely transcendent and imminently present.

The vagaries and vicissitudes of life bring us doubts, confusion, and a plethora of unanswered questions. Sometimes we bring great harm to ourselves by our attempts to control some small aspect of our lives. The world seems so replete with senseless evil, and our own lives can often become full of despair. We want to have some modicum of control over something, thus we can fall prey to demonic enticements and temptations. We think, “If I can at least alter the way I feel for a little while, then I can get through this.” But then we become enslaved to addictions and servants of self-destructive habits.

I am a man of firm convictions and rigid beliefs. But that doesn’t mean that I am close to God or that I don’t have tremendous doubts. But the beliefs and values I hold so firmly are based on a few simple things that I believe I know. Intuition, observation, emotion, logic, and experience lead me to believe that the existence of the universe and my finite presence in it is the result of an Infinite Source, some Eternal Creator. Intuition, observation, emotion, logic, and experience also lead me to believe that where there is life, there is hope; and thus I hold firm to my conviction that violence and killing are always bad. Intuition, observation, emotion, logic, and experience also lead me to believe that love is right and hate is wrong.

Now, do not mistake me; faith, life, and love are no easy things. Faith, life, and love are fraught with struggle, agony, disappointment, sorrow, and confusion. That is why some people tragically choose not to believe, not to live, and not to love. At times it is easier not to do so, and the devil relentlessly whispers this incessant lie into our hearts and minds.

Ours is a tenuous existence. There are no easy answers, no easy solutions. I guess this is why Orthodoxy emphasizes struggle. And I confess that I hate to struggle! I want to know with certainty that my children will grow up healthy, wise, and devout in their love for Christ. I want to know with certainty that my marriage will survive and flourish. I want to know with certainty that I won’t drop dead from a third heart attack in my sleep tonight. I want to know with certainty that I won’t be homeless one day. I want to know with certainty that my family and friends won’t betray me. I want to know with certainty that I will go to heaven and live forever in the loving presence of Our Lord. I want to know with certainty that all my beliefs are nothing less than facts.

But I cannot know such things with certainty. I can only struggle to cultivate the little bit of faith that I have, and struggle to draw nearer to the God Who alone can bring peace to the angst of my soul.

Sorry for those rambling, incoherent thoughts. Anyway, that’s my off the cuff “answer” FWIW.



Selam
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 01:04:23 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

"Don't register. Don't vote.
Don't enlist. Don't deploy.
Don't take oaths. Don't say the pledge.
Pray to God, and start a revolution instead!"
Selam, +GMK+
orthonorm
Warned
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,610



« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 01:28:25 AM »

Gebre,

You've already had two heart attacks?

Or is my ever decreasing body temp affecting my ability to read?

Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,391


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


WWW
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 01:41:09 AM »


Gebre,

You've already had two heart attacks?

Or is my ever decreasing body temp affecting my ability to read?




Yeah, the first one when I was only 29 and then another at 34. Was about to have a third when I was 39, but they did a pre-emptive angioplasty and put in two stints. I have a hereditary cholesterol condition. I was always in good physical shape, played sports all my life, but my arteries were clogging up the whole time. In fact, how's this for irony: when I had my first heart attack I was working as a fitness instructor at the YMCA! lol. But I'm thankful to still be here.  Wink


Selam
Logged

"Don't register. Don't vote.
Don't enlist. Don't deploy.
Don't take oaths. Don't say the pledge.
Pray to God, and start a revolution instead!"
Selam, +GMK+
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,674


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 02:05:16 AM »

But ... I dunno about non-existence, sometimes I wonder if it isn't so bad. Other times I figure there has to be something more, but I'm trying to figure out how I can know that and not just hope for it. I guess I agree that without God nothing makes sense to a significant degree, yet I can't shake the idea that that shouldn't matter. That doesn't mean there is or isn't a God, only that we'd like there to be a God because we'd like for there to be some meaning or purpose to it all, and some eternally lasting meaning at that.

Perhaps there is an inner deep feeling that makes one want to believe in God.  But in the end, knowing is important and it's growing in that knowledge that is important.  At least with experience, to live with God's existence as a lifestyle is better in my life and my interactions than to live without God's existence.  It's not just the moral aspect of it all, or caring about others, but it's also the life of practical prayers and sacraments that allow me for a fuller me.

And honestly this whole discussion only helps rear you into living out God's life in you, and not just believing it.  But I can't help but tell you that ya, in the end, life literally means nothing without God.  Or as you put it "nothing makes sense," not that there's isn't anything that makes sense, but really, probably in a strict materialistic scientific sense, we as nothing is the only thing that makes sense.  If we that insignificant, why do we continue to pretend to enjoy the things of life, when we're nothing but nothing in the end?  But with God, we're something.  And that's how I feel when I continue my relationship with Him, not just an intellectual understanding of how to believe in God.  Just as one would romantically feel when they finally meet the right person, where they can say that before you laid eyes on her, none of the days before that can count, as if you never even existed.  God is like that to me, but of course much more.  Without Him, or with a day wasted when I don't pray to Him, I feel that I no longer live.  Something is just not right.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 02:07:10 AM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
orthonorm
Warned
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,610



« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 02:08:45 AM »


Gebre,

You've already had two heart attacks?

Or is my ever decreasing body temp affecting my ability to read?




Yeah, the first one when I was only 29 and then another at 34. Was about to have a third when I was 39, but they did a pre-emptive angioplasty and put in two stints. I have a hereditary cholesterol condition. I was always in good physical shape, played sports all my life, but my arteries were clogging up the whole time. In fact, how's this for irony: when I had my first heart attack I was working as a fitness instructor at the YMCA! lol. But I'm thankful to still be here.  Wink


Selam


I am very sorry to hear that. I understand more than you know. I redacted a long prosaic reply. Stories are always better. And they sell better.

I just want one more year myself to be selfishly honest. I have two more humans out there to find. Then whether I like it or not, I can bow out of the show.

When people ask why I am single, and they frequently do. And why I don't date anymore, and people frequently do. This is why, for the most part.

I hope your children are not bereft of their father anytime soon.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 02:11:04 AM by orthonorm » Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 02:10:48 AM »


Gebre,

You've already had two heart attacks?

Or is my ever decreasing body temp affecting my ability to read?




Yeah, the first one when I was only 29 and then another at 34. Was about to have a third when I was 39, but they did a pre-emptive angioplasty and put in two stints. I have a hereditary cholesterol condition. I was always in good physical shape, played sports all my life, but my arteries were clogging up the whole time. In fact, how's this for irony: when I had my first heart attack I was working as a fitness instructor at the YMCA! lol. But I'm thankful to still be here.  Wink


Selam


I am very sorry to hear that. I understand more than you know. I redacted a long prosaic reply. Stories are always better. And they sell better.

I just want one more year myself to be selfishly honest. I have two more humans out there to find. Then whether I like or not, I can bow out of the show.

When people ask why I am single, and they frequently do. And why I don't date anymore, and people frequently do. This is why, for the most part.

I hope your children are not bereft of their father anytime soon.
So you don't have long to live? And what two humans do you have to find?

Sorry but this is fascinating.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
orthonorm
Warned
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,610



« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 02:12:22 AM »


Gebre,

You've already had two heart attacks?

Or is my ever decreasing body temp affecting my ability to read?




Yeah, the first one when I was only 29 and then another at 34. Was about to have a third when I was 39, but they did a pre-emptive angioplasty and put in two stints. I have a hereditary cholesterol condition. I was always in good physical shape, played sports all my life, but my arteries were clogging up the whole time. In fact, how's this for irony: when I had my first heart attack I was working as a fitness instructor at the YMCA! lol. But I'm thankful to still be here.  Wink


Selam


I am very sorry to hear that. I understand more than you know. I redacted a long prosaic reply. Stories are always better. And they sell better.

I just want one more year myself to be selfishly honest. I have two more humans out there to find. Then whether I like or not, I can bow out of the show.

When people ask why I am single, and they frequently do. And why I don't date anymore, and people frequently do. This is why, for the most part.

I hope your children are not bereft of their father anytime soon.
So you don't have long to live? And what two humans do you have to find?

Sorry but this is fascinating.

You can wait till I interview myself, //:=). Or until the up in the air, probably never, memoirs are out.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 02:12:45 AM by orthonorm » Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 02:26:35 AM »

Finding time to get into that chatroom might require me to make a wormhole.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 07:05:06 PM »

Not as sure about the suffering stuff... but irrationality... leap of faith... just do it... yeah, I guess...
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2011, 12:56:40 AM »

Anyone else? (not that I haven't appreciated the thoughts thus far)  Smiley
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,179


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 11:30:27 AM »

B-to-the-UMP
Logged
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »

As someone once said: "Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,
And knowing the truth and how to live with insecurity
Is the only security."
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
stavros_388
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: +
Posts: 1,258



« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2013, 01:46:44 PM »

As someone once said: "Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,
And knowing the truth and how to live with insecurity
Is the only security."

Pema Chodron, maybe? Anyway, it's a tough pill to swallow. But it's so true.

Logged

"The kingdom of heaven is virtuous life, just as the torment of hell is passionate habits." - St. Gregory of Sinai

"Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." - Thomas Merton
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.12 seconds with 45 queries.