Author Topic: the limits of reason  (Read 458 times)

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Offline mcarmichael

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the limits of reason
« on: October 25, 2017, 11:42:44 PM »
Reason is limited first by knowledge, according to the proverb: "there is no knowledge without an observer."

Anyone else?
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" - St. Paul the Apostle
"Just hang on!" - Luke Skywalker
"Do not worry about tomorrow..." - Jesus

Online Asteriktos

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Re: the limits of reason
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 10:55:02 AM »
“For as reasonings divide, and shake loose, so faith causes solidity and compactness. For seeing God has bestowed upon us benefits surpassing man's reasoning, suitably enough He has brought in faith. It is not possible to be steadfast, when demanding reasons. For behold all our lofty doctrines, how destitute they are of reasonings, and dependent upon faith alone. God is not anywhere, and is everywhere. What has less reason in it than this? Each by itself is full of difficulty. For, indeed, He is not in place; nor is there any place in which He is. He was not made, He made not Himself, He never began to be. What reasoning will receive this, if there be not faith? Does it not seem to be utterly ridiculous, and more endless than a riddle? Now that He has no beginning, and is uncreate, and uncircumscribed, and infinite, is, as we have said, a manifest difficulty; but let us consider His incorporealness, whether we can search out this by reasoning. God is incorporeal. What is incorporeal? A bare word, and no more, for the apprehension has received nothing, has impressed nothing upon itself; for if it does so impress, it comes to nature, and what constitutes body. So that the mouth speaks indeed, but the understanding knows not what it speaks, save one thing only, that it is not body, this is all it knows.” - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 5 on Colossians

Or for something a little more snappy:

“Thus it is blasphemy to search into divine things by our own reasonings. For what have human reasonings in common with them?” - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 5 on First Timothy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: the limits of reason
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 03:50:41 PM »
Iconodule was really on fire in this old thread.

Iconodule

When I first started posting here a number of years ago, GiC was still a practicing Orthodox Christian, as was Asteriktos.  I am not sure when GiC lost his faith, but I am sure that I lost my faith just before he did.  There were a number of doubts I continously encountered while a Christian of various sects, and I was never able to find the answers to my questions.
Too name a few at the time:
*How can I know what the will of God is for me in my life?
*How do I reconcile Christian teaching within a secular society?
*Is the Christian God a God of love?  If yes, how do I resolve and justify the actions of God (who is the same yesterday, today, and forever) in the Old Testament with the teachings of Christ in the New Testament (e.g. Christ's willingness to forgive sinners, yet God's command of genocide within the Old Testament)?
*While Orthodox, how do I explain the miracles and revelations of post-schimatic saints which I strongly adhered to while Catholic?  Do I simply reject them, do I ignore them, or do I try to understand them as demonic?
I discussed these issues mulitple times with my Father of Confession, as well as seminarians and priests of Orthodox forums.  I encountered many ideas, some I found more attractive than others (in fact, even though GiC never accepted the OO churches as truly Orthodox, and thus rejected me being an Orthodox Christian, I found many of the ideas he put forth quite attractive) but I could never be 100 percent sure that I was following orthodox thought.
I know many Catholic and Orthodox Christians encourage those in doubt to "trust in the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and the Hierarchs" (though I found it to be funny when an Orthodox Christian would tell me this after I converted to Orthodoxy; if I had trusted in the teachings of Holy Mother Church, I would never have converted to Orthodoxy in the first place).  This type of thinking is too much of a cop out in my opinion, and the only person I could really trust with the salvation of my eternal soul was myself.

So your reason for leaving Christ is because you couldn't find neat and easy answers to your questions. What's the real "cop out" here? Some of these questions are just as well left alone; some of them don't have definitive answers comprehensible to ordinary men; some of them are just idle curiosity borne of an urge to be correct about everything. Trying to find a potted answer to all your questions isn't real spiritual struggle- it's a distraction, a form of escapism. Of course it's easier to find your answers when you cut yourself loose from the Church. When the only authority is yourself, the convenient answers to everything are quick in coming (though they have a funny fluidity to them, according to circumstances). I remember- I was an atheist most of my life.  Eventually, I hope, you'll find that the real burden, the one that carries no reward, is that of unbelief, of closing yourself to spiritual realities and the Truth that is beyond yourself. As an atheist, I continually caught glimpses of these realities, through art, through nature, through friendship, and I found myself painfully closing myself to them because they didn't fit with my "principles". I realized that atheism did nothing for me, except imbue me with a sense of being right about everything, which turned out to be hollow. Reason, cut off from higher spiritual realities, is moldable like a piece of clay. It can create countless, seemingly coherent and foolproof ideologies, according to the whims of the wielder and the passions to which he is a slave. Finding a clear, simple answer to a spiritual question, based on your personal reasoning, doesn't really solve it; it just closes you off from a real understanding of it, which may not be entirely apprehensible to rational faculties.

Emphasis mine.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: the limits of reason
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 03:59:57 PM »
I get very nervous when someone digs up something I wrote in 2010.
Quote
When a time revolts against eternity, the only thing to set against it is genuine eternity itself, and not some other time which has already roused, and not without reason, a violent reaction against itself.
- Berdyaev

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Offline Volnutt

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Re: the limits of reason
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 04:17:28 PM »
I get very nervous when someone digs up something I wrote in 2010.

Sorry.

I was just reading through that thread yesterday and that post resonated with me.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.