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Author Topic: The FREAKS are at it again. Again  (Read 2412 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: May 14, 2005, 12:36:55 PM »

Bobby wrote:

"no need for this.

closed."

WHY? I question whether you would have been so quick to close that thread if I was referring to a Protestant site? History seems to show that you would not.

That's not right - FREAKS ARE FREAKS!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 06:36:52 PM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2005, 05:32:38 PM »

I went over and took a look at some of the postings, in particular the one you singled out and took an excerpt from.

I will state a few things, as they've been explained by people I trust in these matters.

- What are most commonly called the "passions" are the natural energies of the soul, but operating in a fallen, contra-natural way.  Thus, if one wanted to be very specific, you could speak of "fallen passions" and "non-blameworthy passions."  However, most spiritual authors (in particular the Fathers) will speak of the fallen ones simply as "passions", and only rarely speak of of the non-fallen manifestations of these spiritual energies/activities as being "passions" in any sense.

- There are certain energies and capacities of the soul, not to mention of our lives, which while not always blameworthy, are strictly a part of this fallen world, and will pass away.  One example is our capacity for fantasy, or the "phantasms" we form in our mind after perceiving things.  While strictly speaking this doesn't have to be a bad thing, it is a way of knowing which will come to an end, and it certainly is prone to causing problems.  It is where logismoi take up residence.  While this term is often translated as "thoughts", it really refers to thoughts/images formed in the mind which have a certain effect on the passions.  Because we are fallen, we have a tendency to distort these unwittingly, or be vicitimized by them (when they are associated with past sins, or evil things we've beheld in passing.)

- Christ our Lord experienced the unblameworthy passions.  Now strictly speaking, this did not have to happen.  For example, when the Saints go into the condition of theoria (vision of God), even in the Old Testament times (as Moses did atop of Mt.Sinai, where he stayed atop the mountain with no food or water for fourty days, communing with our Lord), natural/worldly processes will be suspended.  In fact in such a state, they get a taste of what the renewed, ressurected life of the saints will be.  They are not harmed by the elements, they are not harmed by lack of food or water, etc.  Also, they know perfect peace.  It is because of such a profound experience of grace that the God-seer Moses could stay atop of a fiery mountain as he did with no food or water, or why St.Simeon Stylites could stay atop of his pillar as he did, or why St.Seraphim of Sarov could enter into the incredible ascetic acts he did.

- Part of our Lord's kenosis (condescension) was not simply Incarnating (taking on a human nature - body and soul), but also allowing Himself in His Humanity to experience the "passions" (as in the unblameworthy ones), and doing so without ever sinning (an incredible thing!).  This is precisely why, for example, He could taste the bitterness of suffering and exhaustion beginning in the Garden of Gethsemene, and as He carried the Cross, or upon being crucified and dying.  Where as after the Ressurection, I guess you could say His humanity enjoys a condition like that of the Saints who enter theoria, but even "more so"...thus why He had a body which while still a physical body, was a "spiritualized" one (appearing wherever He would, passing through walls, doors, etc.)

I'm explaining all of this as background - one has to know what we fell from, where we are, and what our future is, to "get" what the Fathers generally say about laughter.

Laughter is a passion obviously, and while I don't think it's always blameworthy, it very often can be.  We tend to find humour in the misfortune or foolishness of others.  At best, while humour obviously isn't always bad, it is something that will pass away.  Thus why at least in the Jordanville prayer-book's daily examination of conscience/penitential prayer, "immoderate laughter" is mentioned as a sin.  Is it the worst thing in the world?  Perhaps not, but neither is stealing a pen - but it's still a sin.

One thing that's hard to shake from even very "conservative" western Christian (heterodox) backgrounds, is a legalistic attitude about sin.  Such a view has two tendencies, often at work at the same time; on one hand making people very intolerant and "rule crazy".  On the other hand though, it creates a kind of self satisifcation and minimalism - feelings of "well, that's not really a bad sin, so who cares?"  I'm not saying that this is officially what these heterodox religions want from their followers, but they do engender this attitude.  This mindset also creates all sorts of hair splitting, where the spirit of intent of things gets forgotten, and people can become smug or content in their current state and stop actually struggling onward.  It's kind of funny that two such different manifestations can come from the same attitude, but it's been my observation and that of others much wiser than myself (which isn't really that difficult now that I think about it.)

Christ our Lord, while experiencing un-blame-worthy passions, and really and truly struggled and mastered them (as a perfect ascetic), also did not indulge necessarily everything which this current age grants us.  Thus, He did not take a wife, and enjoy marital relations (which are not sinful obviously, but neither are they a part of the future life).  It's the same reason why monastics do not marry - not to say marriage is evil, or that what goes on within a good marriage is bad (indeed, to say such is heretical) - but because they're trying to live the future life, the life to come, while shedding their sinful ways and acquiring the spirit of silence.

I don't know that Christ never laughed, but I don't find evidence of this in the Scriptures either.  Nor could I picture Him being overcome with any immoderate, blameworthy passion, precisely because He was without sin.  It's also worth noting that the "laughing Jesus" image was a hallmark of heretical gnosticism - this having to do with how they misunderstood sin, our relationship to the body, etc.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2005, 06:07:00 PM »

Quote
which are not sinful obviously, but neither are they a part of the future life

I think St. Athanasius took a much more positive view of marriage and marital relations than saying it was "not a sin."  There have always been errors on both sides of the argument.  One saying marriage is barely toloerable, the other saying monasticism was intolerable.  Both positions are extremes. 

The same is true of laughter.  Laughter can be a passion but it often is not.  It can be a natural reaction to seeing something unexpected.  I'll ask my priest about this issue, but I can already guess at his reaction. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2005, 06:20:30 PM »

I see that St. John Chrysostom dealt with this subject as well.

From Homily XV

Quote
There is no harm in laughter; the harm is when it is beyond measure, and out of season. Laughter has been implanted in us, that when we see our friends after a long time, we may laugh; that when we see any persons downcast and fearful, we may relieve them by our smile; not that we should burst out violently and be always laughing. Laughter has been implanted in our soul, that the soul may sometimes be refreshed, not that it may be quite relaxed. For carnal desire also is implanted in us, and yet it is not by any means necessary that because it is implanted in us, therefore we should use it, or use it immoderately: but we should hold it in subjection, and not say, Because it is implanted in us, let us use it.

I don't read there or in Scripture "Christ never laughed."  That's just as silly as saying He laughed a lot.

My mother claims that Christ never drank wine because the Bible never says he did and because you can get drunk on wine.  So you can laugh too much as well.  That doesn't make it sinful.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 06:21:49 PM by cizinec » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2005, 06:53:40 PM »

cizenec,

Quote
I think St. Athanasius took a much more positive view of marriage and marital relations than saying it was "not a sin."  There have always been errors on both sides of the argument.  One saying marriage is barely toloerable, the other saying monasticism was intolerable.  Both positions are extremes.

Well, what I wrote was that marital relations are not sinful, but not part of the future life either.  That isn't the same as saying "barely tolerable" or anything like this.  However, the Holy Fathers don't seem to assign to sexuality the same exalted, romaticized, and frankly juvenile views modern westerners are prone to.  For example, the phrase "become one flesh" from what I've been taught was understood to refer to the begetting of children - since children, the result of procreative activities, are a mixing of the mother and father's flesh into one being - "one flesh."  Now days though, this is typically understood solely in a romanticized sense.  There are also views put forward, which all too often sound like stuff out of the occult and ceremonial magic (refering to sexual relations as having a certain "mysticism" to them, or drawing close parallels between them and the divine economy.)

Quote
The same is true of laughter.  Laughter can be a passion but it often is not.  It can be a natural reaction to seeing something unexpected.  I'll ask my priest about this issue, but I can already guess at his reaction.

I agree, not all laughter is blameworthy.  However, immoderate laughter is a "passion", understood as a manifestation of our fallen condition (the misdirected energies of our souls.)

re. St.John Chrysostom

Thank you for the passage.  Though still, it does not say anything about the Saviour laughing.  Note I'm not saying He did not - just that there's no record of it either.  Nor can I see Him laughing immoderately, as all of us have at some point, precisely because He was free from sin.

I think what some folks are concerned about (and I think they're more right than wrong here) is the "buddy Christ" of popular western heterodoxy now days, where in a subtle way an understanding of God and the God-Man are put forward which are contrary to reality (and thus, what is found in Orthodox dogmatics.)

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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2005, 07:22:39 PM »

There is the innocent way of human laughing and there is horselaughing.
There is the innocent way of human talking and there is the abuse of talking.

As for marriage and chastity I suggest to start a new thread because this is an issue of great importance.

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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2005, 07:24:37 PM »

TomS is right.

Administrator's decision to close the thread that TomS had started is the definition of censorship.

It had nothing to do with the "rules" of the Forum or any other administrative obligation. The only logical explanation is that the administrator did not like the content of the thread, or that he did not like TomS personally.

All that administrator said was: "no need for this....closed".

Let me say something that it is not so obvious: "WE ARE NOT THAT STUPID"
« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 07:29:55 PM by lpap » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2005, 08:56:47 PM »

why do you feel the need to be such a dick about it?

I don't think you're stupid.

Since you are so privy on how to do my job, why don't you do it?

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2005, 08:57:51 PM »

and for the record, I like TomS very much, and also for the record I don't really give 2 shits about what the thread was about. 
When I receive several complaints, I follow through on it.

Take your attitude elsewhere.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2005, 09:32:16 PM »

Great posts, Augustine.

This is the first time I've heard about a sin of immoderate laughter and controversy over such. Guess I'd better stop listening to dirty jokes. laugh (Whoops! Is a blameless virtual laugh a sin??? Do the guys at the Cafe have laugh emoticons? LOL!)
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2005, 12:13:40 AM »

TomS is right.

Administrator's decision to close the thread that TomS had started is the definition of censorship.

So what? We own this board, not you and no one else. We pay for it except when certain people who are very generous donate money to us (and believe me, out of the 1100 members, there are about 10 people who have ever donated us even one dollar). We can do what we want, when we want, pure and simple. We try to be fair, but if something is decided by us to be something we don't want on our board, we will take it off, period. Furthermore, on no other site that I know of would an administrator even tolerate a public challenge of his rights. Yet you will notice we left this thread up. There is no censorship in that no one was ever guaranteed free speech on our site.

Quote
It had nothing to do with the "rules" of the Forum or any other administrative obligation. The only logical explanation is that the administrator did not like the content of the thread, or that he did not like TomS personally.

First of all, we don't have any obligations as we provide this website to you because we are nice people that take hours out of our week to do it. Second of all, you are pretty much right that Robert closed the thread because we didn't LIKE the content of the thread. Seeing people rag on other websites is not exactly the kind of thing we are wanting to be known for.

Quote
All that administrator said was: "no need for this....closed".

Let me say something that it is not so obvious: "WE ARE NOT THAT STUPID"

Which would indicate you think we are trying to hoodwink you. Quite simply, Robert didn't like the thread, so he closed it. His decision.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: May 15, 2005, 12:22:32 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching.

I served as an Orthodox priest from June 2008 to April 2013, before resigning for personal reasons
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