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Author Topic: What do the Eastern Othodox mean when they reject scholasticism?  (Read 17233 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 25, 2006, 04:09:37 PM »

When the Eastern Orthdox say that they reject scholasticism does this mean that they deny reason with regard to God? Can some one explain to me what they mean?
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2006, 06:52:41 PM »

When the Eastern Orthdox say that they reject scholasticism does this mean that they deny reason with regard to God? Can some one explain to me what they mean?

In nomine Ieus I offer you peace Papist,

"Reasoning" is a loaded word in Greek Philosophical terms and thus is a 'lower' form of knowing as opposed to "intellection". One is the preoccupation with mental concepts and the other an encounter with reality, often without the convenience of mental constructs.

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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2006, 08:28:32 PM »

When the Eastern Orthdox say that they reject scholasticism does this mean that they deny reason with regard to God? Can some one explain to me what they mean?

We do not deny the faculty of human reason for it is truly a gift of God.  However, the insistence of RC scholasticism to assume as a premise that God exists and then use such reason to prove it according to some philosophical methodology.  It is wholly anithetical to the Church's understanding of faith which is God revealing Himself to us, not so that we can understand revelation but so that we can be purified and cleansed of the sinful corruption which inhabits us. 

Scholasticism also tried to understand the world in terms of natural and supernatural rather than created and uncreated.  For with natural truths, the scholastics believed they could prove such things as God's existence with articulate phrases and observations whereas supernatural truths could neither be proven nor disproven.  In both cases, the philosophical methodology becomes the focus rather than God.  This is a good time to also contrast what the East means by theologian.

A theologian for the Orthodox is one who prays, is one who is engaged in silence.  It is not someone who can go through proofs and tangents and what not.

Another problem the Orthodox see with scholasticism is that it was made out to be a further growth of the Fathers.  But scholasticism itself is rooted in Aristotle's Metaphysics which the Fathers rejected.  This "further revelation" is contradictory to the faith which was "delivered once and for all to the saints" (Jude 3).

There are more reasons and better people than I can explain it.  I hope this at least answered a question or two.

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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2006, 08:34:03 PM »

We do not deny the faculty of human reason for it is truly a gift of God.  However, the insistence of RC scholasticism to assume as a premise that God exists and then use such reason to prove it according to some philosophical methodology.  It is wholly anithetical to the Church's understanding of faith which is God revealing Himself to us, not so that we can understand revelation but so that we can be purified and cleansed of the sinful corruption which inhabits us. 

Scholasticism also tried to understand the world in terms of natural and supernatural rather than created and uncreated.  For with natural truths, the scholastics believed they could prove such things as God's existence with articulate phrases and observations whereas supernatural truths could neither be proven nor disproven.  In both cases, the philosophical methodology becomes the focus rather than God.  This is a good time to also contrast what the East means by theologian.

A theologian for the Orthodox is one who prays, is one who is engaged in silence.  It is not someone who can go through proofs and tangents and what not.

Another problem the Orthodox see with scholasticism is that it was made out to be a further growth of the Fathers.  But scholasticism itself is rooted in Aristotle's Metaphysics which the Fathers rejected.  This "further revelation" is contradictory to the faith which was "delivered once and for all to the saints" (Jude 3).

There are more reasons and better people than I can explain it.  I hope this at least answered a question or two.

Scamandrius
Thanks for the reply. That is a big help with regard to understanding Eastern Orthodoxy. But did St. Paul not say that we can know God's power and deity through the things God had made? Furthermore, the Church's concept of natural revelation has nothing to do with us discovering God. Rather, it is simply  one of the manners in which God reveals himself to us.
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 08:34:57 PM »

We do not deny the faculty of human reason for it is truly a gift of God.  However, the insistence of RC scholasticism to assume as a premise that God exists and then use such reason to prove it according to some philosophical methodology.  It is wholly anithetical to the Church's understanding of faith which is God revealing Himself to us, not so that we can understand revelation but so that we can be purified and cleansed of the sinful corruption which inhabits us.

The world's foremost philosopher of religion, Richard Swinburne, is Greek Orthodox. He came into the Church precisely because such arguments  work so well in the Orthodox Church's favour.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 08:42:54 PM »

Does this all mean that we should believe in God based on a blind faith?
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2006, 09:28:29 PM »

Does this all mean that we should believe in God based on a blind faith?

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Papist,

Christianity has never been about the acceptance of second-hand testimonies that we might believe but recognition of this evidence as an invitation so we might encounter Him first-head and know.

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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2006, 02:18:19 AM »

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Papist,

Christianity has never been about the acceptance of second-hand testimonies that we might believe but recognition of this evidence as an invitation so we might encounter Him first-head and know.

Pax

I am sure that you are aware that the Vactican council declared, "If anybody says that the one true God, Our creator and Lord cannot be known with certainty in the light of human reason by those things which have been made, anathema sit."
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2006, 02:57:35 AM »

...
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 03:00:25 AM »

Does this all mean that we should believe in God based on a blind faith?

Empiricism, which is Aristotelian, is fine as long as its limitations are recognized.  For instance, people must admit that having faith in inductive reasoning is blind for it is logically impossible for the particular to become general.

Further, the results of scholasticism in the West have not been very impressive over the last centuries.  For one, we have so-called theologians hanging around in libraries instead of doing meditation and fasting.  It has got to the point wherein these people no longer know how to pray!  And worst of all, people have become agnostics and atheists due to scholasticism.

I think the easiest way to recognize the limitations of scholasticism is to read any book on textual criticism.  Most likely, people would find them intellectually satisfying (or bankrupt, depending on their taste); however, there is nothing more to it that would affect people's souls.  They're just straightforward presentation of theories and evidences that do little to inspire us.  In a nutshell, that's what scholasticism is; it is this dry approach to seeking God which Orthodoxy rejects.

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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 04:23:24 AM »

Empiricism, which is Aristotelian, is fine as long as its limitations are recognized.  For instance, people must admit that having faith in inductive reasoning is blind for it is logically impossible for the particular to become general.

Further, the results of scholasticism in the West have not been very impressive over the last centuries.  For one, we have so-called theologians hanging around in libraries instead of doing meditation and fasting.  It has got to the point wherein these people no longer know how to pray!  And worst of all, people have become agnostics and atheists due to scholasticism.


Excellent! Your first two statements above caused me to anticipate your last statement above. How true.
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 10:52:42 AM »

I am sure that you are aware that the Vactican council declared, "If anybody says that the one true God, Our creator and Lord cannot be known with certainty in the light of human reason by those things which have been made, anathema sit."

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Papist,

All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him.  - Matthew 11:27 DRB

All one can do within the limits of reasonable argumentation is 'point' to the ineffable. All certainty and knowability is left to Him to initiate not for our minds to seize. To know God is to be known by Him.

By His Word God calls into existence all things that are, disposes them according to His wisdom, and perfects them by His goodness. God is invisible, because too bright for our sight; intangible, because too find for our sense of touch; immeasurable, because He is beyond the grasp of our senses; infinite, limitless. His real magnitude being known to Him, therefore we can only measure Him fittingly when we call Him immeasurable. Here is my candid opinion: a man who thinks to know God’s magnitude diminishes it; he who does not wish to diminish it knows it not. Minucius Felix - Letter To Octavius, 18 ML 3, 290

It would be my guess that you are misunderstanding any anathema proclaimed by Vatican I or II.

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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2006, 02:48:42 PM »

Empiricism, which is Aristotelian, is fine as long as its limitations are recognized.  For instance, people must admit that having faith in inductive reasoning is blind for it is logically impossible for the particular to become general.

Further, the results of scholasticism in the West have not been very impressive over the last centuries.  For one, we have so-called theologians hanging around in libraries instead of doing meditation and fasting.  It has got to the point wherein these people no longer know how to pray!  And worst of all, people have become agnostics and atheists due to scholasticism.

I think the easiest way to recognize the limitations of scholasticism is to read any book on textual criticism.  Most likely, people would find them intellectually satisfying (or bankrupt, depending on their taste); however, there is nothing more to it that would affect people's souls.  They're just straightforward presentation of theories and evidences that do little to inspire us.  In a nutshell, that's what scholasticism is; it is this dry approach to seeking God which Orthodoxy rejects.


Aristotilian Logic has nothing to do with empericism but rather when one discusses what most people call "Aristotilian Logic" they simply DEDUCTIVE logic and not inductive logic. This is what is employed in the Summa.
As for scholastic theologians spending alot of time reading and not enough time praying... St. Thomas used to go into extacies when he was writting theology, St. Bernard of Clairveux did theology through the Lexio Divino (a prayer), John Paul II of blessed memory was a most learned theologian and spent hours of his day in prayer, and His Holiness Benedict the XIV functions in a similar manner.
As for people becoming Atheists and Agnostics due to scholastocism, the same can be said for feidism because it offers no objective reason to believe in God or his Church. Remember that good things can be used in a bad way. As for me, if it was not for the philosophical proofs for the existence of God, I would not have been able to maintain my faith through the dry periods. I mean if we base our faith on some entirely subjective experience, how are we do determine if our "experience" is any more valid than the next person's. How am I to know if Christianity is true or Buddhism, if I only use "experience" as my guide? As St. Paul said, "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity, has been  clearly perceived in the things he has made." (Romans 1:20). It looks like St. Paul is arguing that we can reason from the creature to the creator. Perhpas he was one of those dangerous scholastic theologians Grin.
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2006, 04:51:45 PM »

Probably one of the cheifiest reasons for rejecting scholasticism is what I see as two reasons:
1.) It invents doctrine - over time, scholasticism has led to "developing doctrine" in the west as all of a sudden something makes sense philosophically.
2.) It places a higher value on reason than other.  Do not get me wrong, human kind has a great capacity for knowledge.  In addition, we are also able to try to better understand God with reason.  However, this is far from the best way to know God.  God was not meant to be known intellectually.  HE cannot be understood intellectually.  Basing your entire theology off of this, is faulty.  God can be encountered through prayer and the Grace of the Holy Spirit.  This, indeed is what I'd call a fuller understanding.
In addition, I cannot accept that you can prove the Trinitarian God through scholasticism. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 04:57:35 PM »

As St. Paul said, "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity, has been  clearly perceived in the things he has made." (Romans 1:20). It looks like St. Paul is arguing that we can reason from the creature to the creator. Perhpas he was one of those dangerous scholastic theologians Grin.

You should have read further...

Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened. For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. - Romans 1:21-22 DRB

Let us be careful how we use Sacred Scripture.

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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2006, 01:16:28 PM »

You should have read further...

Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened. For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. - Romans 1:21-22 DRB

Let us be careful how we use Sacred Scripture.

Pax

Exactly. We can know God from natural revelation, and thus we are without excuse.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2006, 01:34:02 PM »

Probably one of the cheifiest reasons for rejecting scholasticism is what I see as two reasons:
1.) It invents doctrine - over time, scholasticism has led to "developing doctrine" in the west as all of a sudden something makes sense philosophically.
The development of doctrine is simply the Church delving deeper into her own mysteries. The Church did not sudenly lose its ability to think after the seventh ecumenical council. Furthermore, the Ecumenical councils were all the about the development of Doctrine, the Church delving into its own mysteries, formally defining that which had not previously defined. Finally, one can look at the history of the Doctrine of the Trinity and see a clear development of doctrine. It is clear that if you read the writtings of very orthodox Fathers, like
St. Iranaeus and St. Justin Martyr, you will see that they did not have a very clear understanding of the Trinity and were even outright wrong about it sometimes. Heck, Tertullian, a heretic, had the clearest understanding of the Trinity up until his time, but even he was wrong about it at times. To be sure, the Doctrine developed.

2.) It places a higher value on reason than other.  Do not get me wrong, human kind has a great capacity for knowledge.  In addition, we are also able to try to better understand God with reason.  However, this is far from the best way to know God.  God was not meant to be known intellectually.  HE cannot be understood intellectually.  Basing your entire theology off of this, is faulty.  God can be encountered through prayer and the Grace of the Holy Spirit.  This, indeed is what I'd call a fuller understanding.
In addition, I cannot accept that you can prove the Trinitarian God through scholasticism. 
If God was not meant to be known intellecutally, then How? I cannot know him through my foot. Grin My intellect is that only part of me that can know anything. If not intellecutally, then nothing at all.
As for faith and reason, The Church certainly teachers that faith is superior because Supernatural revelation is superior to Natural revelation, in that it is clear and it is God speaking directly to us and not indirectly to us throught the things he as created. However, if there were no natural revelation, no way to know for sure that God exists, no historical evidence that Christ is God, then there would be no reason to pick any religion over the next because it would all be based on my subjective "experience" of God. To be sure, an experience of God is necessary to achieve Holiness and enter into heaven, but reason is what tells me my experience is in accord with reality and that I am following the true faith and just one that fits my "personal tastes".
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2006, 04:34:35 PM »

The development of doctrine is simply the Church delving deeper into her own mysteries. The Church did not sudenly lose its ability to think after the seventh ecumenical council. Furthermore, the Ecumenical councils were all the about the development of Doctrine, the Church delving into its own mysteries, formally defining that which had not previously defined. Finally, one can look at the history of the Doctrine of the Trinity and see a clear development of doctrine. It is clear that if you read the writtings of very orthodox Fathers, like St. Iranaeus and St. Justin Martyr, you will see that they did not have a very clear understanding of the Trinity and were even outright wrong about it sometimes. Heck, Tertullian, a heretic, had the clearest understanding of the Trinity up until his time, but even he was wrong about it at times. To be sure, the Doctrine developed.

Developed or was further revealed by the light of the divine spirit? Just to clarify...
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2006, 04:43:28 PM »

Empiricism, which is Aristotelian, is fine as long as its limitations are recognized.  For instance, people must admit that having faith in inductive reasoning is blind for it is logically impossible for the particular to become general.

Further, the results of scholasticism in the West have not been very impressive over the last centuries.  For one, we have so-called theologians hanging around in libraries instead of doing meditation and fasting.  It has got to the point wherein these people no longer know how to pray!  And worst of all, people have become agnostics and atheists due to scholasticism.

I think the easiest way to recognize the limitations of scholasticism is to read any book on textual criticism.  Most likely, people would find them intellectually satisfying (or bankrupt, depending on their taste); however, there is nothing more to it that would affect people's souls.  They're just straightforward presentation of theories and evidences that do little to inspire us.  In a nutshell, that's what scholasticism is; it is this dry approach to seeking God which Orthodoxy rejects.



Excellent response.

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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2006, 04:50:22 PM »

Exactly. We can know God from natural revelation, and thus we are without excuse.

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Papist,

I do believe that you and I are discussing two different kinds of 'know'. One could state that one 'knows' that one has a neighbor because one witnesses that the house beside one is occupied. Another could state that one 'knows' that one has a neighbor because one has a 'relationship' with him. I am speaking about the second meaning of 'know' and you are speaking about the first. Reason can determine that one has a neighbor but it cannot establish a relationship. That is the point that I and others are trying to make.

The first without the second is of no avail.

Pax
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2006, 04:56:30 PM »

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued peace Papist,

I do believe that you and I are discussing two different kinds of 'know'. One could state that one 'knows' that one has a neighbor because one witnesses that the house beside one is occupied. Another could state that one 'knows' that one has a neighbor because one has a 'relationship' with him. I am speaking about the second meaning of 'know' and you are speaking about the first. Reason can determine that one has a neighbor but it cannot establish a relationship. That is the point that I and others are trying to make.

Pax
I agree there is an important difference. On the one hand, we can know that there is one, good, holy, infinite, perfect, God who is creator of all, and we can know this from reason alone. On the other hand, we cannot know that this God is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, our great God of love and Mercy, without divine revelation.
May God Bless you.
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2006, 10:33:41 PM »

Aristotilian Logic has nothing to do with empericism but rather when one discusses what most people call "Aristotilian Logic" they simply DEDUCTIVE logic and not inductive logic. This is what is employed in the Summa.

Aristotle, empiricism and inductive logic are all related.  Aquinas, who was Aristotelian to the core, tried to be innovative by introducing deductive reasoning to the formula; unfortunately, all he did was "assume the a priori existence of that he was seeking to prove existed."  In other words, he assumed the existence of God as revealed in Scripture to argue for the existence of God. 

http://www.faithnet.org.uk/Theology/aquinas.htm
Aquinas' theological method, as already mentioned, was largely Aristotelian in character. Following Aristotle (referred to by Aquinas as the philosopher) he taught that philosophy is based on data available to everyone. Theology is based on revelation (the Bible) and logical deduction (reason) from revelation. An example of his use of philosophy in theological discourse is his famous 'Five Ways' which are an attempt to prove (or justify) God's existence on the basis of what can be known from the world. His justification for his 'proofs' is that the existence of God is not evident to people but must be proved and the basis of these 'proofs' could be found in the created order - the 'fingerprints of God' (Romans 1:20). An example of one such 'proof' is The Cosmological Argument. Using Aristotle's pre-Christian notion of an unmoved mover he reasoned that one could argue back from the things we see in the world around us to a first cause or Great Designer - God (see also The Design Argument). However, his arguments (or proofs) have been criticised by many (notably Immanuel Kant) for assuming the a priori existence of that he is seeking to prove exists (in this case God - although it should be noted that Aquinas rejected Anslem's Ontological Argument). Furthermore, that it is the Christian God who is the 'first cause' (or Grand Architect of the universe) is not evident on the basis of 'natural theology' alone but requires an additional  'leap of faith' based on the revelation of the Bible. Aquinas' statements concerning 'natural theology' were condemned by the University of Paris in 1277. Scholars such as Dunns Scotus and William of Ockham also criticised him for not recognising that at times reason and revelation contradict each other.

Quote
As for scholastic theologians spending alot of time reading and not enough time praying... St. Thomas used to go into extacies when he was writting theology, St. Bernard of Clairveux did theology through the Lexio Divino (a prayer), John Paul II of blessed memory was a most learned theologian and spent hours of his day in prayer, and His Holiness Benedict the XIV functions in a similar manner.

More of an exception to the rule.
 
Quote
As for people becoming Atheists and Agnostics due to scholastocism, the same can be said for feidism because it offers no objective reason to believe in God or his Church.

Empiricism has caused more harm than good.  Try proving the dogma of the Trinity using Aristotelian concepts and see if it's even possible.  Aquinas tried a similar feat, but he was caught cheating (see above). 
 
Quote
Remember that good things can be used in a bad way.

Scholasticism is not bad per se.  I'm saying that too much of it is a bad thing.  This applies more to the clergy than to the layman.

Quote
As for me, if it was not for the philosophical proofs for the existence of God, I would not have been able to maintain my faith through the dry periods. I mean if we base our faith on some entirely subjective experience, how are we do determine if our "experience" is any more valid than the next person's. How am I to know if Christianity is true or Buddhism, if I only use "experience" as my guide? As St. Paul said, "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity, has been  clearly perceived in the things he has made." (Romans 1:20).

There are stages in knowing God in Orthodoxy.  Knowing God through his handiwork is just the beginning of the experience.  There is so much more to that.

http://www.alepporthodox.org/02-en/02-metropolitan/writings/sep04-minster_uk.htm

The ascetic Orthodox spiritual tradition has always used apophatic theology to speak about approaching God. It is a method that repels the influence of philosophy and Scholasticism. For God’s vision does not occur through rational comprehension and Gnostic ways, but empirically, through the experience that stems out from abiding in keeping the commandments and the exercise of virtues. Only then is the heart purified.

It is remarkable that the writings of the fourteenth century fathers, like St Gregory Palamas and many others, form the quarter volume of the Philocalia. These fathers have underlined, because of the controversy between Orthodoxy and Scholasticism and Rationalism in the west, that the method and the tool of approaching God is not the mind and philosophy but purification of the heart and ascetic life. St Nicodimos the Aghiorite, the compiler of the Philocalia, included in his collection a portion of related writings of St Gregory Palamas. In the introduction to the French translation of the Philocalia, Oliver Clément defines Praxis and Theoria as follows: Praxis = exercise = the work of the monk on himself = life’s purification = perfection. That is why, for St Gregory Palamas, the way to the vision of God consists in the works of repentance. These works reflect our absolute love to God. Such a love can be reached by purification from passions through the keeping of all the commandments and succeeding in exercising the virtues.


Quote
It looks like St. Paul is arguing that we can reason from the creature to the creator. Perhpas he was one of those dangerous scholastic theologians.

St. Paul was not converted through reason, but through revelation; it was only after receiving the Holy Spirit that St. Paul became a true theologian... and he didn't need Aristotle for that.

http://www.vic.com/~tscon/pelagia/htm/b02.en.orthodox_psychotherapy.01.htm

The saints received "divine things without thought", and according to the Fathers, they theologised not in an Aristotelian way through thinking, but "in the manner of the Apostles", that is to say through the operation of the Holy Spirit. If a person has not been cleansed of passions, especially fantasy, beforehand, he is unable to converse with God or to speak about God, since a nous "forming notions is incapable of theology". The saints lived a theology "written by the Spirit".

We find the same teaching in the works of St. Maximus the Confessor. When a person lives by practical philosophy, which is repentance and cleansing from passions, "he advances in moral understanding". When he experiences theoria, "he advances in spiritual knowledge". In the first case he can discriminate between virtues and vices; the second case, theoria, "leads the participant to the inner qualities of incorporeal and corporeal things". St. Maximus goes on to say that man is "granted the grace of theology when, carried on wings of love" in theoria and "with the help of the Holy Spirit, he discerns - as far as this is possible for the human nous - the qualities of God" (12). Theology, the knowledge of God, is unfolded to the person who has attained theoria. Indeed in another place the same Father says that a person who always "concentrates on the inner life" not only becomes restrained, long-suffering, kind and humble, but "he will also be able to contemplate, theologise and pray" (13). Here too theology is closely connected with theoria and prayer.


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« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2006, 05:39:32 PM »


Aristotle, empiricism and inductive logic are all related.  Aquinas, who was Aristotelian to the core, tried to be innovative by introducing deductive reasoning to the formula; unfortunately, all he did was "assume the a priori existence of that he was seeking to prove existed."  In other words, he assumed the existence of God as revealed in Scripture to argue for the existence of God. 
Yes, Aquinas did assume that God exists, as a good theologian should. However, his proofs for the existence of God do not necessitate the assumption that God exists, in order for the proofs to be valid. In fact, more modern proofs for the existence of God that are based on Thomistic methodology do not require such an assumption in any way. Those who deny this simply wish her to be atheists no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, or wish to be feidists, no matter how silly feidism is.
 

Empiricism has caused more harm than good.  Try proving the dogma of the Trinity using Aristotelian concepts and see if it's even possible.  Aquinas tried a similar feat, but he was caught cheating (see above). 
Have you actually read the Summa? Read the portion on the Trinity. Aquinas NEVER tries to prove the Trinity from reason alone. Why? Because he recognized that some things come to us only through revelation, and others can be decuded through reason.
 

Scholasticism is not bad per se.  I'm saying that too much of it is a bad thing.  This applies more to the clergy than to the layman.
Why, because some of the Holiest men have been scholastic theologians? St. Bernard, Blessed Scotus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope John Paul the Great, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
 

There are stages in knowing God in Orthodoxy.  Knowing God through his handiwork is just the beginning of the experience.  There is so much more to that.
I agree that knowing God through reason and natural revelation is just the begining. We need revelation and a personal experience of God to achieve holiness. However, we can only determine if we are having a valid experience that leads to truth and not one that leads to error if we have an objective way to measure our experiences.
http://www.alepporthodox.org/02-en/02-metropolitan/writings/sep04-minster_uk.htm

The ascetic Orthodox spiritual tradition has always used apophatic theology to speak about approaching God. It is a method that repels the influence of philosophy and Scholasticism. For God’s vision does not occur through rational comprehension and Gnostic ways, but empirically, through the experience that stems out from abiding in keeping the commandments and the exercise of virtues. Only then is the heart purified.

It is remarkable that the writings of the fourteenth century fathers, like St Gregory Palamas and many others, form the quarter volume of the Philocalia. These fathers have underlined, because of the controversy between Orthodoxy and Scholasticism and Rationalism in the west, that the method and the tool of approaching God is not the mind and philosophy but purification of the heart and ascetic life. St Nicodimos the Aghiorite, the compiler of the Philocalia, included in his collection a portion of related writings of St Gregory Palamas. In the introduction to the French translation of the Philocalia, Oliver Clément defines Praxis and Theoria as follows: Praxis = exercise = the work of the monk on himself = life’s purification = perfection. That is why, for St Gregory Palamas, the way to the vision of God consists in the works of repentance. These works reflect our absolute love to God. Such a love can be reached by purification from passions through the keeping of all the commandments and succeeding in exercising the virtues.


St. Paul was not converted through reason, but through revelation; it was only after receiving the Holy Spirit that St. Paul became a true theologian... and he didn't need Aristotle for that.
[/quote]
I do not claim that reason causes conversion, but it removes the intellectual stumbling blocks to becoming a believer.  How can some one believe in that which he is not even sure exits? How can I trust God, If I do not know he is there in the first place? But If I do know that God exits, then it is much easier and more reasonable to move into the realm of the existential with God. I firmly reject rationalism because it posits that reason is above faith. But we know that faith is above reason. However, I reject feidism because it makes God silly and irrational like a unicorn or the Eastern Bunny. Rather, I worship God with great respect and cry, "fides et ratio".
http://www.vic.com/~tscon/pelagia/htm/b02.en.orthodox_psychotherapy.01.htm

The saints received "divine things without thought", and according to the Fathers, they theologised not in an Aristotelian way through thinking, but "in the manner of the Apostles", that is to say through the operation of the Holy Spirit. If a person has not been cleansed of passions, especially fantasy, beforehand, he is unable to converse with God or to speak about God, since a nous "forming notions is incapable of theology". The saints lived a theology "written by the Spirit".

We find the same teaching in the works of St. Maximus the Confessor. When a person lives by practical philosophy, which is repentance and cleansing from passions, "he advances in moral understanding". When he experiences theoria, "he advances in spiritual knowledge". In the first case he can discriminate between virtues and vices; the second case, theoria, "leads the participant to the inner qualities of incorporeal and corporeal things". St. Maximus goes on to say that man is "granted the grace of theology when, carried on wings of love" in theoria and "with the help of the Holy Spirit, he discerns - as far as this is possible for the human nous - the qualities of God" (12). Theology, the knowledge of God, is unfolded to the person who has attained theoria. Indeed in another place the same Father says that a person who always "concentrates on the inner life" not only becomes restrained, long-suffering, kind and humble, but "he will also be able to contemplate, theologise and pray" (13). Here too theology is closely connected with theoria and prayer.
[/quote]
I agree that a true experience of God and living the Holy life will make God more present in our lives and save our souls. However, a true "faith seeks understanding" rather than blind faith. Eastern Fiedism creates the following conversation:
Atheist: Why should I be a Christian?
Christian: Because Christianity is the true faith.
Atheist: Why should I believe that?
Christian: Because it is true?
Atheist: Why?
Christian: Because.
Atheist: But how do you know that?
Christian: Because I have personal experience of God.
Atheist: But my Muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God.
Christian: Well, his is false.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christianity: Because Christianity is true.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christian: Because it is.
Atheist: But how do you know.
Christain: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: You already said that.
Christian: well, its just a matter of faith.
Atheist: well, how do I know that I should have faith in your God?
Christian: Because I know he is the true God.
Atheist: How do you know that.
Christian: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: But, like I said, my muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God...
ad infinitum.
You see, if we do not have an objective way to measure an experience, like reason and historical evidence, then we have no way to know that we are following the true faith.

[/quote]
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« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2006, 06:44:27 PM »

However, we can only determine if we are having a valid experience that leads to truth and not one that leads to error if we have an objective way to measure our experiences.
"Objective" in what sense? Since the only way we can know God is through His revelation to us in His Divine Energies, how can we "objectively measure"  these Divine Energies? The only way we can see if an experience is "valid" is by comparing it to previous Revelations from the Divine Energies. I'd hardly call this "objective", since they both come from the same source.
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2006, 07:23:13 PM »

"Objective" in what sense? Since the only way we can know God is through His revelation to us in His Divine Energies, how can we "objectively measure"  these Divine Energies? The only way we can see if an experience is "valid" is by comparing it to previous Revelations from the Divine Energies. I'd hardly call this "objective", since they both come from the same source.
SAINTS PRESERVE US! By reason (philosophical proofs for the existence of God, and the historical case for the ressurrection). Goodness gracious.
Many blessings in Christ.
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2006, 07:37:37 PM »

SAINTS PRESERVE US! By reason (philosophical proofs for the existence of God, and the historical case for the ressurrection). Goodness gracious.
Many blessings in Christ.
Hang on a tick.
"The historical case for the Resurrection"? If the Resurrection is an "undeniable historical fact", why isn't everyone in the world a Christian? Surely the Resurrection is an "objective fact" by your definition which can stand alone apart from the Revelation of the Divine Energies?
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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2006, 07:41:47 PM »

Hang on a tick.
"The historical case for the Resurrection"? If the Resurrection is an "undeniable historical fact", why isn't everyone in the world a Christian? Surely the Resurrection is an "objective fact" by your definition.

Because everyone in the world is stupid. LOL. Grin
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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2006, 07:43:23 PM »

Because everyone in the world is stupid. LOL. Grin
Well, good luck winning converts then. Wink
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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2006, 07:46:40 PM »

Hang on a tick.
"The historical case for the Resurrection"? If the Resurrection is an "undeniable historical fact", why isn't everyone in the world a Christian? Surely the Resurrection is an "objective fact" by your definition which can stand alone apart from the Revelation of the Divine Energies?

Look, the U.S. landed on the moon in the 1960s. This is a historical objective fact yet some still do not believe we did. They are obviously stupid. LOL
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« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2006, 07:46:59 PM »

Well, good luck winning converts then. Wink
You know I am just playing.
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« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2006, 08:04:23 PM »

You know I am just playing.
Yes, but I think there is some truth in your jest.
The Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed begins with the words "I believe....", not "I know..." nor "I can prove..."
And wha'ts more, the so-called "proofs" of the existence of God, such as Anselm's "Proof" are nothing more than a play on words attempting to conjure up God out of a mathematical equation; and intelligent people will see through them like Grandma's underwear. So, they actually do more damage than good.
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« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2006, 08:30:50 PM »

Yes, but I think there is some truth in your jest.
The Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed begins with the words "I believe....", not "I know..." nor "I can prove..."
And wha'ts more, the so-called "proofs" of the existence of God, such as Anselm's "Proof" are nothing more than a play on words attempting to conjure up God out of a mathematical equation; and intelligent people will see through them like Grandma's underwear. So, they actually do more damage than good.
"I believe" does not mean I am taking a guess. Religion is not a multiple choice test. As far as anslem's proof goes, I am not talking about anslem's proof. I am a Thomist.
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« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2006, 08:35:11 PM »

Yes, but I think there is some truth in your jest.
The Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed begins with the words "I believe....", not "I know..." nor "I can prove..."
And wha'ts more, the so-called "proofs" of the existence of God, such as Anselm's "Proof" are nothing more than a play on words attempting to conjure up God out of a mathematical equation; and intelligent people will see through them like Grandma's underwear. So, they actually do more damage than good.
have fun with this conversation:
Atheist: Why should I be a Christian?
Christian: Because Christianity is the true faith.
Atheist: Why should I believe that?
Christian: Because it is true?
Atheist: Why?
Christian: Because.
Atheist: But how do you know that?
Christian: Because I have personal experience of God.
Atheist: But my Muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God.
Christian: Well, his is false.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christianity: Because Christianity is true.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christian: Because it is.
Atheist: But how do you know.
Christain: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: You already said that.
Christian: well, its just a matter of faith.
Atheist: well, how do I know that I should have faith in your God?
Christian: Because I know he is the true God.
Atheist: How do you know that.
Christian: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: But, like I said, my muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God...
ad infinitum.
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« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2006, 09:09:25 PM »

"The historical case for the Resurrection"? If the Resurrection is an "undeniable historical fact", why isn't everyone in the world a Christian?

The resurrection is not an undeniable fact, but as Swinburne shows in The Resurrection of God Incarnate (Oxford University Press, 2003) it is overwhelmingly (like 98%) probable that it happened. Those who continue to disbelieve include a few people still nervous about the use of the probability calculus in philosophy, and a lot of people who just don't like Christianity for whatever personal reason.
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« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2006, 09:11:43 PM »

And wha'ts more, the so-called "proofs" of the existence of God, such as Anselm's "Proof" are nothing more than a play on words attempting to conjure up God out of a mathematical equation; and intelligent people will see through them like Grandma's underwear. So, they actually do more damage than good.

Although the traditional proofs got a knocking during the earlier half of the last century, interest in them has returned in philosophy of religion circles, with Swinburne and Platinga restoring credibility to the ontological and cosmological arguments. Anthony Flew, known for decades as the most rabidly atheist philosopher of religion, ultimately converted to theism a couple of years ago based on a new formulation of the cosmological argument.
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« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2006, 09:15:03 PM »

have fun with this conversation:
Atheist: Why should I be a Christian?
Christian: Because Christianity is the true faith.
Atheist: Why should I believe that?
Christian: Because it is true?
Atheist: Why?
Christian: Because.
Atheist: But how do you know that?
Christian: Because I have personal experience of God.
Atheist: But my Muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God.
Christian: Well, his is false.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christianity: Because Christianity is true.
Atheist: How do you know that?
Christian: Because it is.
Atheist: But how do you know.
Christain: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: You already said that.
Christian: well, its just a matter of faith.
Atheist: well, how do I know that I should have faith in your God?
Christian: Because I know he is the true God.
Atheist: How do you know that.
Christian: Because I have a personal experience of God.
Atheist: But, like I said, my muslim friend also claims to have a personal experience of God...
ad infinitum.

Sorry to disappoint you but our approach to evangelism is neither the above nor the reasoned proofs that you espouse:

Quote from Mother Gavrilia:

- Once when I was there (in India), some foreign missionary came and said to me, “You may be a good woman, but you’re not a good Christian.”
- I said, “Why?”
- “Because you have been here so long and you only go about speaking English. What local languages have you learned?”
- I said to him, “I haven’t managed to learn any of the local languages, because I travel a great deal from place to place. As soon as I learn one dialect, they start speaking another. I’ve only learned ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good evening.’ Nothing else.”
- “Bah, you’re no Christian. How can you evangelize? All the Catholics and Protestants learn all the local dialects in order to . . .”
- Then I said, “Lord, give me an answer for him.” I asked it with all my heart, and then I said, “Ah. I forgot to tell you. I know five languages.”
- “Really? What are these five?”
- “The first is the smile; the second is tears. The third is to touch. The fourth is prayer, and the fifth is love. With these five languages I go all around the world.”
- Then he stopped [astonished] and said, “Just a minute. Say that again so I can write it down.”
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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2006, 09:19:47 PM »

Sorry to disappoint you but our approach to evangelism is neither the above nor the reasoned proofs that you espouse:

Quote from Mother Gavrilia:

- Once when I was there (in India), some foreign missionary came and said to me, “You may be a good woman, but you’re not a good Christian.”
- I said, “Why?”
- “Because you have been here so long and you only go about speaking English. What local languages have you learned?”
- I said to him, “I haven’t managed to learn any of the local languages, because I travel a great deal from place to place. As soon as I learn one dialect, they start speaking another. I’ve only learned ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good evening.’ Nothing else.”
- “Bah, you’re no Christian. How can you evangelize? All the Catholics and Protestants learn all the local dialects in order to . . .”
- Then I said, “Lord, give me an answer for him.” I asked it with all my heart, and then I said, “Ah. I forgot to tell you. I know five languages.”
- “Really? What are these five?”
- “The first is the smile; the second is tears. The third is to touch. The fourth is prayer, and the fifth is love. With these five languages I go all around the world.”
- Then he stopped [astonished] and said, “Just a minute. Say that again so I can write it down.”
Maybe you don't understand, but what I presented above is not evangelization but apologetics, i.e. pre-evengelization. It is what removes the intellectual stumbling blocks so that one can honestly and without reserve believe in God and thus such a person is open to being evengelized. But what you presented above is a nice warm and fuzzy conversation, but has little meaning to the person who has serious and meanigful doubts. Remember my friend, St. Paul became all things to all people in order to evangelize, and that meant becoming a philosopher when he spoke to the Greek philosphers.
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« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2006, 09:36:08 PM »

Maybe you don't understand, but what I presented above is not evangelization but apologetics, i.e. pre-evengelization. It is what removes the intellectual stumbling blocks so that one can honestly and without reserve believe in God and thus such a person is open to being evengelized. But what you presented above is a nice warm and fuzzy conversation, but has little meaning to the person who has serious and meanigful doubts. Remember my friend, St. Paul became all things to all people in order to evangelize, and that meant becoming a philosopher when he spoke to the Greek philosphers.

Go read 1 Cor. 1-2.
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« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2006, 10:15:01 PM »

Remember my friend, St. Paul became all things to all people in order to evangelize, and that meant becoming a philosopher when he spoke to the Greek philosphers.

But you have to remember also that most of the Greek philosophers at that time were Platonic, so conversion to Christianity was so much easier than it is today when most people in the West are Aristotelian.  If St. Paul lived today and employed the kind of philosophy that Aquinas developed in the middle ages, I think he would have converted far less individuals.

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« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2006, 10:36:30 PM »

But you have to remember also that most of the Greek philosophers at that time were Platonic, so conversion to Christianity was so much easier than it is today when most people in the West are Aristotelian.  If St. Paul lived today and employed the kind of philosophy that Aquinas developed in the middle ages, I think he would have converted far less individuals.

But even the Athenian Philosophers, (Platonic though they were and receptive to St. Paul's teaching on the Areopagus), hit a stumbling block when it came to the Resurrection (Acts17:32). The only way Philosophers come to the Faith is by transcending Philosophy.
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« Reply #40 on: August 28, 2006, 10:39:24 PM »

Aquinas NEVER tries to prove the Trinity from reason alone. Why? Because he recognized that some things come to us only through revelation, and others can be decuded through reason.

In other words, scholasticism is useless in proving the existence of God.  You will always end up using revelation, and that's what experiencing the Divine Energy is all about. 

Quote
Why, because some of the Holiest men have been scholastic theologians? St. Bernard, Blessed Scotus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope John Paul the Great, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

I've seen some of those you mentioned on television a lot of times, and not once did I see their faces shine.  Wink

Quote
I agree that knowing God through reason and natural revelation is just the begining. We need revelation and a personal experience of God to achieve holiness. However, we can only determine if we are having a valid experience that leads to truth and not one that leads to error if we have an objective way to measure our experiences.

The Eastern Tradition has developed a fool-proof methodology on experiencing the Divine Light, of which there is no Western counterpart.

Quote
I do not claim that reason causes conversion, but it removes the intellectual stumbling blocks to becoming a believer.  How can some one believe in that which he is not even sure exits? How can I trust God, If I do not know he is there in the first place? But If I do know that God exits, then it is much easier and more reasonable to move into the realm of the existential with God. I firmly reject rationalism because it posits that reason is above faith. But we know that faith is above reason. However, I reject feidism because it makes God silly and irrational like a unicorn or the Eastern Bunny. Rather, I worship God with great respect and cry, "fides et ratio".

How sure are you that scholasticism actually removes the intellectual stumbling blocks to becoming a believer?  Has there been a research conducted on this?  How effective is it really?  Show me empirical evidence please.

(I'm just giving you a dose of your own medicine.) Smiley

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I agree that a true experience of God and living the Holy life will make God more present in our lives and save our souls.

Try the Jesus Prayer.

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However, a true "faith seeks understanding" rather than blind faith. Eastern Fiedism creates the following conversation:

Nonsense.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 10:50:50 PM by Theognosis » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: August 28, 2006, 10:47:35 PM »

But even the Athenian Philosophers, (Platonic though they were and receptive to St. Paul's teaching on the Areopagus), hit a stumbling block when it came to the Resurrection (Acts17:32). The only way Philosophers come to the Faith is by transcending Philosophy.

I agree.  Still, the fact that the Athenians found it easy to grasp the Christian message all the way to the resurrection shows how compatible Platonic concepts are with Christianity.  I think the opposite is the case with Aristotle, for it would have been outright rejection.
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« Reply #42 on: August 28, 2006, 10:55:13 PM »

have fun with this conversation:
How about this conversation:
Atheist: Can you prove God exists?
Papist: Yes, God is that of which no greater can be conceived, and since existence is greater than non-existence, God must exist.
Atheist: But that's just a play on words, and you are assuming that existence is "greater" than non-existence. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Now compare this to:
Atheist: Can you prove God exists?
Orthodox Monastic: Listen to the birds and the cicadas. They are singing God's praises!
Atheist: But can you prove God exists?
Orthodox Monastic: Feel this kitten's fur, even Queen Elizabeth never had a fur as soft as this!
Atheist: But can you prove God exists?
Orthodox Monastic: My child, there can be no dialogue between Orthodoxy and Atheism, because we simply do not speak the same language. If you seek "proofs", then go to those who are able to speak the same language as Atheists.
Atheist: Like who?
Orthodox Monastic:The Roman Catholics.
Atheist: Will they be able to prove to me that God exists?
Orthodox Monastic: No. You'll just be disapointed when you see through their arguments.
Aheist: So is there anyone who can prove the existence of God to me?
Orthodox Monastic: Yes, the birds and cicadas and this kitten......
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 10:56:37 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2006, 11:02:16 PM »

How about this conversation:
Atheist: Can you prove God exists?
Papist: Yes, God is that of which no greater can be conceived, and since existence is greater than non-existence, God must exist.
Atheist: But that's just a play on words, and you are assuming that existence is "greater" than non-existence. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Why don't you try buying a philosophy of religion primer written sometime in the past three decades? The atheist's argument is no longer relevant.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 11:02:28 PM by CRCulver » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2006, 11:14:31 PM »

Why don't you try buying a philosophy of religion primer written sometime in the past three decades? The atheist's argument is no longer relevant.
Perhaps you should tell that to Papist. I was actually answering his post: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=9855.msg133668#msg133668.
So if you are trying to prove your intelligence, all you've succeeded in proving is your inability to follow a thread.
Are all Fins and Romanians as tesky as you? Wink
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