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Author Topic: Is Christianity Unnatural?  (Read 1145 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: February 28, 2013, 05:01:28 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

The excuse I always hear is that we changed after the "Fall of Man"--but, that seems like a very vague answer with no real evidence as far as I could see. It also begs the question of what humans were like before the Fall occured, and so far I haven't seen an answer to that.

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 05:05:15 PM »

Yes, it is. Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature and restore you to what God intended.
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 05:09:30 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

It's not natural.  It's supernatural.  That's the whole point of grace.

Quote
For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

Why would we all choose monasticism?  There probably wouldn't be many December babies anymore, but that's about it. 

If one fasts according to the Church's guidance, why would there be health problems?  The Church specifically tells us that if you are endangering your bodily health, you should not be fasting.

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Thoughts?

Get your head out of your rear end.
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 05:13:09 PM »


I don't know....it comes rather naturally to me.

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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 05:16:40 PM »

What is natural?

Sin is not natural. Death is not natural. What is natural is that pertaining to the the original beauty, not the marred present state.
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 05:16:45 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

Quote
...and restore you to what God intended.

Then why did He allow us to become so "fallen" if He doesn't want us to be that way? I never asked to be "fallen"--I'm apparently fallen because our ancestors apparently did something bad. It's not our fault, so why do we have to make the effort and toil?
Why would we all choose monasticism?

Because as much as people will deny it, monasticism is the higher path that even Christ Himself says is a higher calling. If we all took the maximalist approach to life, then we would strive for monasticism opposed to marriage.
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 05:17:51 PM »

Quote
then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.
Nope. There shouldn't be health problems because of fasting. Even the strictest ascetic saints had often a long life. I know many pious orthodox families who have not less children than others.


Thank God that we've such natural passions. Without passion there wouldn't be struggling and suffering and nobody would be saved. We need to struggle , we need the process of getting up and falling again, we need suffering, in order that we can acquire humility. Without humility we cannot have a place in our heart for the mercy of God.
The problem with passion is, that although it's natural, it fills our heart completely out, so that we cannot offer our heart to God any more. Instead to be "addicted" to God, we're addicted to wordly things.
A person who completely lives his passions out is worse than a demon.
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 05:22:08 PM »

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If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

There're two natures in us. One is created in God's image but the other not. I suppose.
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 05:22:52 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

The excuse I always hear is that we changed after the "Fall of Man"--but, that seems like a very vague answer with no real evidence as far as I could see. It also begs the question of what humans were like before the Fall occured, and so far I haven't seen an answer to that.

Thoughts?

That all sounds like hog wash. Fasting is medically recognized as healthy and confers numerous health benefits (the only people it causes actual health issues for are those who have never controlled their eating in their life and have damaged their bodies, fasting is closer to the normal state of eating for practically everyone in human history up till the past century). Chastity is not 'repressed' sexuality but simply self controlled sexuality.
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 05:24:19 PM »

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

We're mortal, for one. You can take it from there yourself.

Then why did He allow us to become so "fallen" if He doesn't want us to be that way? I never asked to be "fallen"--I'm apparently fallen because our ancestors apparently did something bad. It's not our fault, so why do we have to make the effort and toil?

Funny, one Adam used that same argument once upon a time. Ever heard of him?

You fall every time you do something contrary to God's will. Quit with the responsibility shifting and get back to work. You're not in Kansas middle school anymore.
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 05:25:45 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

I think Arachne is wrong. There is nothing about Christianity that is about transcending human nature. The original, normal human nature was exactly as God intended. Christ restores and perfects our humanity. Human nature is not the problem, broken human nature is.
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 05:26:35 PM »

Nature is contrary to Christianity.

And a person's "nature" need not be transcended as it is always and forever transcendent.
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 05:26:41 PM »

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It's not our fault, so why do we have to make the effort and toil?
We're all in some way one.
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 05:27:05 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

I think Arachne is wrong. There is nothing about Christianity that is about transcending human nature. The original, normal human nature was exactly as God intended. Christ restores and perfects our humanity. Human nature is not the problem, broken human nature is.

What is "human nature"?
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 05:28:26 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

I think Arachne is wrong. There is nothing about Christianity that is about transcending human nature. The original, normal human nature was exactly as God intended. Christ restores and perfects our humanity. Human nature is not the problem, broken human nature is.

What is "human nature"?

The way God made us originally (it is not the way average people are currently).
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2013, 05:28:59 PM »

Of course it's our fault. Who else made the decision to do something wrong?

And it's not just wrong or bad actions we're talking about - it's all those failures, large and small, to love each other.

For example, I don't hate my neighbor. I don't want to murder him or steal his stuff. On the contrary, I wish him well. But I wouldn't necessarily even inconvenience myself for him, much less love him as I love myself.
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2013, 05:31:26 PM »

If I am involved in it, it is probably unnatural on some level.
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2013, 05:31:42 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

I think Arachne is wrong. There is nothing about Christianity that is about transcending human nature. The original, normal human nature was exactly as God intended. Christ restores and perfects our humanity. Human nature is not the problem, broken human nature is.

What is "human nature"?

The way God made us originally (it is not the way average people are currently).

That is hardly an answer.

What way were "we" made originally?

(Sorry but you don't even seem to understand your own argument. You and I weren't made originally by God except in an ontological manner. And I doubt the method of God's creation is what you are referring to, so the "way" in which Adam was made ain't it either.)

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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2013, 05:33:48 PM »

Of course it's our fault. Who else made the decision to do something wrong?

And it's not just wrong or bad actions we're talking about - it's all those failures, large and small, to love each other.

For example, I don't hate my neighbor. I don't want to murder him or steal his stuff. On the contrary, I wish him well. But I wouldn't necessarily even inconvenience myself for him, much less love him as I love myself.

To think that sin has something to do with decision necessarily is quite wrong.
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 05:36:41 PM »

Christ is "the new Adam".  We can do what the old Adam did and expect the same consequences or we can try to be like the new Adam.  We are predisposed to be like the old one, so it is an effort to try and be like the new one.
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2013, 05:38:30 PM »

Christ is "the new Adam".  We can do what the old Adam did and expect the same consequences or we can try to be like the new Adam.  We are predisposed to be like the old one, so it is an effort to try and be like the new one.

We are also "predisposed" to be like the New Adam otherwise Christ would have never been possible in the first place, at least not within manner as the Incarnation ought to be properly understood.
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2013, 05:39:53 PM »

No one has offered an explicit definition of "human nature". And thus this whole discussion is based a lot of uncovered prejudices. Some of which have been exposed.

I would imagine it would take thousands of back and forths to get anywhere meaningful.
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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2013, 05:42:21 PM »

Sex isn't necessarily bad. But there's a right place and a wrong place for it.

Eating isn't necessarily bad. But there's a right amount and a wrong amount.

Anger isn't necessarily bad. But there is a time to be angry and a time not to be.

All your desires must be restrained and directed toward the good. You seem to be demanding a world where you can live on pure disordered id with no negative consequences. You're not going to get that world. But you err if you think your natural desires are bad in themselves.

Water is good. I don't recommend you submerge yourself in it for extended periods of time without breathing equipment.

Food is good. I don't recommend you eat everything in sight.

Exercise is good. I don't recommend you lift weights till you pass out.

Get my point?
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« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2013, 05:43:25 PM »

You seem to be demanding a world where you can live on pure disordered id with no negative consequences.

. . .

Get my point?

You don't understand what id means?
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2013, 05:46:02 PM »

You seem to be demanding a world where you can live on pure disordered id with no negative consequences.

. . .

Get my point?

You don't understand what id means?

Possibly not. I was working from this definition:

"the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends;" from Wikipedia.
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2013, 05:52:31 PM »

You seem to be demanding a world where you can live on pure disordered id with no negative consequences.

. . .

Get my point?

You don't understand what id means?

Possibly not. I was working from this definition:

"the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends;" from Wikipedia.

LOL! Thank you.
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2013, 06:10:35 PM »

There is a bacteria that causes simple acne. 

Once the bacteria is infected with a virus, but becomes diphtheria.

Which state is natural for the bacteria? 

We were once made in the Image of God - a true being of light and life.
We became infected with sin - becoming a corrupted being, much like the infected bacteria - a different creature all together with fruits of that corruption.

Diphtheria cannot act like the original bacteria until the infecting virus pops back out of its DNA. 

It's unnatural for us to reject God, to HAVE passions, to sin. 

It is natural for us to be children of light and life - but we are so infected and corrupt.  We seek what the parasitic disease of death in us seeks, just as a parasite infected brain seeks what it never really cares about in order to support the parasite.

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2013, 06:55:39 PM »

There is a bacteria that causes simple acne. 

Once the bacteria is infected with a virus, but becomes diphtheria.

Which state is natural for the bacteria? 

Diphtheria cannot act like the original bacteria until the infecting virus pops back out of its DNA. 

Hope this helps.

Yes. It means that teenagers potentially carry gross diseases on their oily faces and should be avoided at all costs.
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2013, 07:01:43 PM »


But, what's so unnatural?

If we follow the "restrictions" set by the Church, we in fact, live how we ought to.

Fasting is healthy for us.  There's no better diet than vegetarian.  However, the Church allows us non-fasting, as well.  So, it's bonus.

Not fooling around, is also healthier than fooling around.  When one is in a committed relationship (aka marriage) than each partner is "safer"...both physically (less chance of contracting any kind of disease) and mentally/spiritually (less likely to be hurt by the other partner).

No addictions allowed.  That's great!  When someone is addicted to something, any thing....they are not themselves.  They crave only that one thing.  So, not being an alcoholic, drug addict, constant gamer, magazine reader, etc., is in fact, healthy - and natural.

Giving up our vices isn't easy.  However, once we make an effort, it gets easier....and in truth, we are so much happier and healthier as a result.
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2013, 07:22:39 PM »

Definition of Id:

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« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2013, 07:31:02 PM »

I actually find the teachings of Orthodoxy to be very natural.  It actually makes a lot of sense and would solve a lot of the world's problems if followed and understood.
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« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2013, 07:38:40 PM »

There is a bacteria that causes simple acne.  

Once the bacteria is infected with a virus, but becomes diphtheria.

Which state is natural for the bacteria?  

Diphtheria cannot act like the original bacteria until the infecting virus pops back out of its DNA.  

Hope this helps.

Yes. It means that teenagers potentially carry gross diseases on their oily faces and should be avoided at all costs.

*sigh*
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 07:39:06 PM by quietmorning » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2013, 07:47:38 PM »


But, what's so unnatural?

If we follow the "restrictions" set by the Church, we in fact, live how we ought to.

Fasting is healthy for us.  There's no better diet than vegetarian.  However, the Church allows us non-fasting, as well.  So, it's bonus.

Not fooling around, is also healthier than fooling around.  When one is in a committed relationship (aka marriage) than each partner is "safer"...both physically (less chance of contracting any kind of disease) and mentally/spiritually (less likely to be hurt by the other partner).

No addictions allowed.  That's great!  When someone is addicted to something, any thing....they are not themselves.  They crave only that one thing.  So, not being an alcoholic, drug addict, constant gamer, magazine reader, etc., is in fact, healthy - and natural.

Giving up our vices isn't easy.  However, once we make an effort, it gets easier....and in truth, we are so much happier and healthier as a result.


How is being an addict not being oneself?

Really these questions should be addressed elsewhere.

The thread is predicated on what amounts to nonsense and any reaction which takes the nonsense seriously is going to be nonsense as well.

Folks who ain't engaged in serious research in such matters should scratch the word nature and all its variations. Follow up with essence, substance, being, identity and you might begin to engage in thought.

Then you might be able to revisit these former extremely loaded words and find how and why they've created many of their own problems.
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« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2013, 07:49:00 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

The excuse I always hear is that we changed after the "Fall of Man"--but, that seems like a very vague answer with no real evidence as far as I could see. It also begs the question of what humans were like before the Fall occured, and so far I haven't seen an answer to that.

Thoughts?

But the secular psychologists only look at individual persons, not their relationships with others.  We become so individualistic.  They say if you are angry, "its normal and good to express it", and some studies even say swearing is good for you.  Okay, but how would that affect your relationships?  A lot of these studies are short sighted.  I can start dropping the F-bomb at work everytime I am frustrated.  Sure, my tension is released, but my coworkers will hate me and I might even get fired.  So overall, how is that good for me?  Now I am more stressed because I have a mortgage, car payments, and a family to feed.  Often these "scientific studies" don't look in the large scale or long term.  At least in Christianity I can see the synergy of the commandments of Christ to affect everything in our lives.

Look at it this way, these secular claims are the "get rich quick" schemes, while Christianity offers the true solutions.
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« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2013, 08:01:27 PM »

But the secular psychologists only look at individual persons, not their relationships with others.  We become so individualistic.

The obvious error of the first sentence nearly caused me to stop reading, but I am glad I didn't, cause your second sentence gave me a chuckle.

How can we "so individualistic" without recourse to the notion of being in relation?

Individuals relate. Persons commune.
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« Reply #35 on: February 28, 2013, 08:25:10 PM »

Its aim is to take you above and beyond human nature

If humans are created in God's image, then what is so wrong with human nature that we have to transcend beyond it?

I think Arachne is wrong. There is nothing about Christianity that is about transcending human nature. The original, normal human nature was exactly as God intended. Christ restores and perfects our humanity. Human nature is not the problem, broken human nature is.
Agreed.  Christianity leads us toward our original, natural state as God created us.  Without it, we live in a deep un-natural state.
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« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2013, 08:46:41 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

The excuse I always hear is that we changed after the "Fall of Man"--but, that seems like a very vague answer with no real evidence as far as I could see. It also begs the question of what humans were like before the Fall occured, and so far I haven't seen an answer to that.

Thoughts?

James, I could write you a book on this.  I'll try to keep this very short though.

They have convinced you of evolution.  They have convinced you that people don't want a monogamous relationships.  They have convinced you that anger is a natural response.  They have convinced you that monasticism & celibacy is "far superior".   They have convinced me as well, or had me convinced, or I am coming out of being convinced. (emphasis on the last)

There is a life outside of this.  Life where you love a wife and only desire her.  Life where you believe that God created man in his image and there was nothing evolutionary about it.   A life when responding in kindness versus anger will make you feel better.  A life where contentedness will bring you happiness.  A life where a man and women can have children, and live good Christian lives that are very wholesome.
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« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2013, 09:01:44 PM »

Quote
Is Christianity Unnatural?

No.

There may be some kind of merge of the natural with the supernatural.

I think you're supposed to used Bible Study and Church Ministry to learn how to be a Christian.
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« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2013, 10:04:39 PM »

To me, this is one of the greatest secular doubts to Christianity, and something I oftentimes struggle with. If humans were created in the image of God, then how come the life of the Church is so unnatural for our bodies? And how come we have to fight and resist pretty much every physical passion and/or desire that arises, even when so many of them are natural and have roots in biology?

It's not natural.  It's supernatural.  That's the whole point of grace.

Quote
For example, anger is very natural, along with selfishness. Both of which have roots in our evolutionary survival, or being told to totally suppress all of our sexual passions (even though they are biologically natural) via celebacy, or to limit them to only one person via the Sacrament of monogamous marriage. Or, to neglect our desire to eat via fasting, even though eating is natural. If everyone in the world lived fully by Orthodox principles and took the maximalist view in everything, then the human race would easily die out within a few generations, due to more people choosing monasticism, dying from health problems related to fasting and not birthing enough children because of our repressed sexuality.

Why would we all choose monasticism?  There probably wouldn't be many December babies anymore, but that's about it. 

If one fasts according to the Church's guidance, why would there be health problems?  The Church specifically tells us that if you are endangering your bodily health, you should not be fasting.

Quote
Thoughts?

Get your head out of your rear end.


 QFT
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« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2013, 10:47:05 PM »

The more we become like Christ, the more human we become. Makes plenty of sense to me.

I have my passions, but just because I have them does not mean I am justified in thinking they are natural.

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« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2013, 12:20:02 PM »

in that we do are not supposed to comply with this natural world, that while society changes the faith should be kept and not altered. But Natural in that Christianity is what is good and what we were intended for.
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« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2013, 01:26:56 PM »

But the secular psychologists only look at individual persons, not their relationships with others.  We become so individualistic.

The obvious error of the first sentence nearly caused me to stop reading, but I am glad I didn't, cause your second sentence gave me a chuckle.

How can we "so individualistic" without recourse to the notion of being in relation?

Individuals relate. Persons commune.

Thank you for your correction, I am humbled by your intellectual superiority.
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« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2013, 01:30:51 PM »

But the secular psychologists only look at individual persons, not their relationships with others.  We become so individualistic.

The obvious error of the first sentence nearly caused me to stop reading, but I am glad I didn't, cause your second sentence gave me a chuckle.

How can we "so individualistic" without recourse to the notion of being in relation?

Individuals relate. Persons commune.

Thank you for your correction, I am humbled by your intellectual superiority.
Don't worry, he will give you many opportunities to thank him. It must be difficult form him to live in a world where everyone else is so far beneath him.
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« Reply #43 on: March 01, 2013, 01:53:41 PM »

James, for the last time, later hominids are not harem-based.
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« Reply #44 on: March 01, 2013, 02:18:59 PM »

But the secular psychologists only look at individual persons, not their relationships with others.  We become so individualistic.

The obvious error of the first sentence nearly caused me to stop reading, but I am glad I didn't, cause your second sentence gave me a chuckle.

How can we "so individualistic" without recourse to the notion of being in relation?

Individuals relate. Persons commune.

Thank you for your correction, I am humbled by your intellectual superiority.

Rather than address the critique you continue with your personal barbs.

Your notion that "secular" psychologists don't focus or take into consideration relationships is just flat and absolutely false.

The more subtle point that critiquing individualism while hailing relationalism without knowing one relies upon the other is poor thinking.
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