Yet Another Gay Marriage Thread

Homosexuality comes up frequenbtly on Orthodox forums because..

  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Since drunkeness, adultery, theft and dishonesty have been eradicated it's the only sin left to figh

    Votes: 10 13.9%
  • Apparently most Orthodox Christians have lots of gay family, friends and associates

    Votes: 7 9.7%
  • Orthodox forums attract a lot of self torturing closet cases and men with doubts about thier own mas

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 15 20.8%

  • Total voters
    72
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Thomas

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Feanor

Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum.  Our object is to give simple responses to your questions with resources that you may read to gain further insight into your questions. In the case of the issue that you have mentioned, several people on the forum have given the best response, i.e. contact your local Orthodox Priest to discuss this matter.

Again welcome to the Convert Issue Forum.

Thomas
 

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Thanks for the responses :)



Can anyone tell me about specific traditions of the Antiochian branch of Orthodoxy which differ from other branches of the EOC? Obviously the Antiochian Church uses Arabic in its DL. Anything else that sets it apart from other forms of Orthodoxy, or the EOC as a whole?
 

ialmisry

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Feanor said:
Thanks for the responses :)



Can anyone tell me about specific traditions of the Antiochian branch of Orthodoxy which differ from other branches of the EOC? Obviously the Antiochian Church uses Arabic in its DL. Anything else that sets it apart from other forms of Orthodoxy, or the EOC as a whole?
Actually, a lot don't use Arabic.  Our parish is all English.

Antioch is more inclined to treat OO as fully Orthodox, not having an issue with intercommunion with them, not requiring chrismation for their communion etc.  Certain practices are also more in tune with OO, i.e. other Middle Eastern, practice, like no fasting on Wednesday and Friday during Pascahl tide.  Otherwise, it is more or less like the Greek usage, but Antioch is on the side of the Russians in Greek/Russian rivalry.
 

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I believe Feanor is in Australia, where, as far I have been told, the Antiochian churches are much more ethnic than in the U.S. and prone to use plenty of Arabic.
 

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Asteriktos said:
If the Church was what she claimed to be, then I had no choice but to follow her, even if I didn't understand her reasoning on certain issues.
And this was the conclusion that I came to also. There are, it seems to me, only these two choices.
If the Church is who she claims to be, then I have to be obedient to her teachings.
If the Church is not, then the point is moot, and I can return to happily making up my own theology to suit myself, and remaking God and the Church in my own image.

 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Liz said:
And I accept that submission is possible when it applies to negative aspects (don't get into a homosexual relationship, for example), but how is it possible to force yourself into believing something you don't hold true?
I do it.  I find the ever-virginity of the Theotokos difficult to swallow on historical and scriptural grounds, but I force myself to believe it because it is dogma.
I don't think you should try to "Force Yourself"..You simply say, This is something I must not fully understand. But I trust the Church, which knows far more than I ever will and accept their authority.

For example, I was never particularly Pro-Life before I was Christian. Had I been elected to office, I am sure I would not ever vote to restrict access to Abortion.. It wasn't my issue in any sort of emotional way. It was just another in a long list of issues. But now that I am Christian i accede to the Wisdom of the Church and accept that My Church is Pro-Life. Therefore, were I ever to be elected to office and had to act on this belief I would never vote in any way to support Abortion.. I would say" I am an Orthodox Christian and my Church teaches that Abortion is a great sin"....Case closed.
 

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Feanor said:
How can I explain my decision to become Orthodox to my friends?
My advice would honestly be just to keep quiet unless it comes up.  You need to spend a good while getting acclimated to the real Christian faith.  Many converts in their zeal start thrusting their newfound ideas on everyone around them, only later to decide not to become Orthodox at all.  It is a hard life to live, and the day after baptism is the day the real work begins.  So for now embrace the holy silence and be quiet long enough for God to speak to your heart. 

Attain the Spirit of Peace, and thousands around you will be saved.  ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov
 

ozgeorge

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pensateomnia said:
I believe Feanor is in Australia, where, as far I have been told, the Antiochian churches are much more ethnic than in the U.S. and prone to use plenty of Arabic.
Don't believe all you hear: http://www.smg.org.au/
 

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I really have trouble with the idea of joining a Church whose beliefs I don't entirely agree with, or more importantly, whose beliefs I am not willing to be shaped by in the future. Here I find Sinner Servant's reply to Liz's beautiful question appropriate:

It's all very well to say that a person must submit to the Church's teaching. And I accept that submission is possible when it applies to negative aspects (don't get into a homosexual relationship, for example), but how is it possible to force yourself into believing something you don't hold true?

Pray... "with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
Joining the Orthodox Church without being willing to submit to the entirety of its beliefs seems to me oxymoronic.

On the topic of homosexuality, or sexuality in general... I think it is actually good that the discussion lingers on these topics because the fact is that these topics trouble a lot of people. They are a source of a lot of doubt evolving into unbelief, and it is for good reason that it has been the cause of schisms in many churches. It is not a peripheral issue, in my opinion, not because of its very nature, but because it causes us to face important questions that we otherwise avoid. What I'm trying to say is that though it is not a fundamental issue in and of itself, it causes us to face the fundamental questions that we avoid.

I have a theory on this, if I may indulge. A close friend of mine, a (faithful to Church teaching) homosexual (or bisexual), explains his struggles to me as follows: Imagine an engaged heterosexual couple engaging in sexual activity and conflicted about it. We love each other, but then our religious beliefs tell us we're wrong. What to do? In a few months, the couple are married, and the spiritual conflict tends to become moot. Whatever doubts they have about the doctrine are laid aside. The question may linger, but only in the abstract. The couple don't think about it much. It is not a source of spiritual struggle. But for the homosexual Christian, his belief is tested by his doubts throughout his lifetime, and he cannot turn away and avoid the resulting spiritual struggle. That is the constant struggle.

Or another more classic example... The dark night of the soul. For Mother Teresa, her perceived absence of God troubled her very deeply. It was a source of intense anguish. Whereas for others of us spiritual novices, with other things in our lives to occupy us, etc., it would not be so troubling. We wouldn't even notice it much, and if we did, we'd manage a way of not thinking about it too much. As the fathers say, the closer you get to God, the harder the Devil fights you.

Over the centuries, and certainly over the past few decades, many people who were Christians have come to reject Christianity. Their disbelief started out in various ways. The problem of pain, perhaps, or the evidence of science, or a variety of factors, all causing their experience and knowledge to clash with Christian doctrine. In the end, they decided that they simply could not believe the very idea of Jesus' divinity, reincarnation, etc. Like Bishop John Spong, they became some type of agnostic.

Interestingly, many of these folks tried to hang on to remnants of belief, while letting go of the doctrines they disagreed with. But slowly, yearning for philosophical consistency, they end up becoming non-Christian.

This is why I think that a 'cafeteria Orthodox', one that accepts some doctrine but rejects others, is simply in a transitional period towards complete unbelief. If one cannot, for example, believe scripture and the fathers on their teachings of sexuality, how can one believe their teachings on Christ's divinity, a matter far more fantastic and unbelievable than the teachings on sexuality?! Perhaps its because many of us think that we can safely and reject the teachings on sexuality, while maintaining our belief in Christ, because our doubts about Christ do not affect us personally. We are not like Mother Teresa - we can live with these doubts, avoiding them, not thinking about the too much. We are not like Spong, yearning for consistency.

I think the evidence over the last few decades supports the theory that 'cafeteria' or 'liberal' Christianity turns out to be a rest area on the road to agnosticism. The experience of the mainline Protestants shows that. Are liberal Christians frauds? Certainly not. They are sincere, but I would venture that they hang on for the sake of sentimentality. Beliefs don't change overnight. People and community are involved. One misses the friendship and the ceremony. One resists change. But in the end, the path they're on is the path they're on. And individual may persist in this limbo until he passes away, but over generations, a Church cannot. The Church slowly begins to disappear, and we're seeing this now.

This is why I think that it is important to understand that one has to submit entirely. One has to know what one is getting into. It is not just a community or buildings or people, but a well-formed set of beliefs that tinkering with simply does not make sense.
 

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yitbsal said:
This is why I think that a 'cafeteria Orthodox', one that accepts some doctrine but rejects others, is simply in a transitional period towards complete unbelief. If one cannot, for example, believe scripture and the fathers on their teachings of sexuality, how can one believe their teachings on Christ's divinity, a matter far more fantastic and unbelievable than the teachings on sexuality?!
Well, as one of these people who are, according to your judgment, on their way towards complete unbelief, I might try to answer this. I don't know how, but I just believe their teachings on Christ's divinity (and humanity as well). I think these teachings principally cannot be verified by science. They are outside of the scope of science, like, for example, poetry.

On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual. Similarly, they most certainly thought that once you have physical appearance of a man or a woman, you ARE a man or a woman. Knowing what we now know about transsexuals, we no longer believe that this matter is so simple.

BTW, in patristic sources that I have studied, depression is called a sinful passion, and we are called to fight it in ourselves with the help of prayer and fasting. While prayer and fasting are certainly great, a person with a serotonin imbalance in the brain simply CANNOT be cured of depression unless he or she takes a special medication that inhibits serotonin reuptake. Yet another subject that our dear Fathers could never have predicted...
 

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This is why I think that a 'cafeteria Orthodox', one that accepts some doctrine but rejects others, is simply in a transitional period towards complete unbelief. If one cannot, for example, believe scripture and the fathers on their teachings of sexuality, how can one believe their teachings on Christ's divinity, a matter far more fantastic and unbelievable than the teachings on sexuality

Because if you don't believe in the Church's idea's about  Divinity you don't concurrently become isolated, horny and lonely..............  Just saying  :)
 

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Heorhij said:
On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?

BTW, in patristic sources that I have studied, depression is called a sinful passion, and we are called to fight it in ourselves with the help of prayer and fasting. While prayer and fasting are certainly great, a person with a serotonin imbalance in the brain simply CANNOT be cured of depression unless he or she takes a special medication that inhibits serotonin reuptake. Yet another subject that our dear Fathers could never have predicted...
But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?
 

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But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?
My depression may be caused partially by a serotonin imbalance, but that would be only one factor among many that are probably having an impact. Regardless, medications were needed to make me (more or less) stable.
 

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Jetavan said:
Heorhij said:
On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?
Isn't the point of Orthodox praxis to alter our behavior? Isn't that the point of fasting and confession and all the rest? Isn't our goal to alter our behavior to become more like Christ? Isn't that theosis?
 

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Asteriktos said:
But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?
My depression may be caused partially by a serotonin imbalance, but that would be only one factor among many that are probably having an impact. Regardless, medications were needed to make me (more or less) stable.
But the Fathers never said 'don't take medicine for your depression'. What they said--that depression is a bad thing and that the individual should struggle against it with the tools available--is fully compatible with the modern realization that for many people there is a biological component which can and should be addressed with medicine. There is no conflict between the use of anti-depressants and standard Orthodox practices like prayer and fasting in the pursuit of mental health.

Heorhij appears to be trying to creat some equivalency between pre-modern and modern understandings of depression and homosexuality. But in fact he's arguing opposites--the position that modern understanding of the biological/genetic aspects of homosexuality should transform our view of the morality of homosexual behavior is as if one were to argue that since we now realize that there is a biological/genetic component to depression, we should not treat it as a mental problem but rather declare depressive mental states to be just as good and worthy as 'normal' mental states and indulge them rather than using those insights to attempt to treat/suppress/control them.

Alcoholism is another one that could fit into this pattern--the fact that we now realize that for some people there is a genetic component to being unable to control their drinking does not mean we should encourage alcoholics to embrace their problem and indulge at will. We should certainly recognize that the alcoholic has a 'harder row to hoe' than those of us who never feel tempted to drink excessively, and pastorally treat their failures. But we do them no favors by saying, 'oh, that's just the way you were born--drink up.'



 

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Jetavan said:
Heorhij said:
On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?
AFAIK, they could not see homosexual behavior as "normal" because in their mind it was a CHOICE of an individual. A bad, wrong choice. I don't see any reasons to view it that way now, when we know that homosexuality is not a choice, and that the ability of any person, homo- or heterosexual, to live all of his/her life in the state of celibacy is a relatively rare gift.

Jetavan said:
BTW, in patristic sources that I have studied, depression is called a sinful passion, and we are called to fight it in ourselves with the help of prayer and fasting. While prayer and fasting are certainly great, a person with a serotonin imbalance in the brain simply CANNOT be cured of depression unless he or she takes a special medication that inhibits serotonin reuptake. Yet another subject that our dear Fathers could never have predicted...
But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?
Maybe not, but serious cases of depression are always somehow linked to alterations in brain chemistry. And they usually have nothing to do with an individual's morality or faith.
 

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Asteriktos said:
But is serotonin imbalance the only cause of depression?
My depression may be caused partially by a serotonin imbalance, but that would be only one factor among many that are probably having an impact. Regardless, medications were needed to make me (more or less) stable.
Same here. I used to take antidepressants intermittently, but recently my doctor said that I should perhaps stay on them all the time, perhaps for the rest of my life, or else I might end up like my dad.:(
 

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katherineofdixie said:
Jetavan said:
Heorhij said:
On the other hand, human sexuality is most definitely addressable by science. When people had no idea about genes and genetic determination of sexuality, they could not have possibly conceive that a homosexual simply cannot stop being a homosexual.
Did the Fathers say that homosexuals should stop 'being' homosexual, or did they merely say that it is possible to alter sexual behavior?
Isn't the point of Orthodox praxis to alter our behavior? Isn't that the point of fasting and confession and all the rest? Isn't our goal to alter our behavior to become more like Christ? Isn't that theosis?
Marriage is also theosis. Some people SHOULD marry "rather than burn" (1 Cor. 7:9).
 

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I also wonder what the original words those particular Fathers used for this "sinful passion" we are calling "depression" in this thread.  Father Hopko, in one of his recent talks on AFN, made a distinction between "depression" and "despair," calling the former a medical condition while the latter is a spiritual problem.
 

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witega said:
Heorhij appears to be trying to creat some equivalency between pre-modern and modern understandings of depression and homosexuality. But in fact he's arguing opposites--the position that modern understanding of the biological/genetic aspects of homosexuality should transform our view of the morality of homosexual behavior is as if one were to argue that since we now realize that there is a biological/genetic component to depression, we should not treat it as a mental problem but rather declare depressive mental states to be just as good and worthy as 'normal' mental states and indulge them rather than using those insights to attempt to treat/suppress/control them.
Well, I guess we actually might look at some cases of chronic depression as "just as good and worthy." Like I said, people like yours truly perhaps MUST remain on antidepressants as long as they live - same thing homosexuals will be homosexuals as long as they live. Rather than judging what is "normal" or "healthy" and dreaming about "curing" me (a person with depression) or my homosexual brother or sister, maybe it is time to say that both my condition and theirs can be MANAGED in certain ways. For some of them it will be celibacy, for other - their kind of marriage, the homosexual marriage. And the latter, I am sure, CAN be as committed, as monogamous, as lifelong, and as assisting in theosis as a heterosexual marriage can be.

witega said:
Alcoholism is another one that could fit into this pattern--the fact that we now realize that for some people there is a genetic component to being unable to control their drinking does not mean we should encourage alcoholics to embrace their problem and indulge at will. We should certainly recognize that the alcoholic has a 'harder row to hoe' than those of us who never feel tempted to drink excessively, and pastorally treat their failures. But we do them no favors by saying, 'oh, that's just the way you were born--drink up.'
But alcoholism physically ruins a person rather quickly, causing liver cirrhosis and other deadly conditions. Not so homosexual unions. Gore Vidal is still alive and well, in his 80-s. Jean Marais died when he was in his 80-s or even 90-s.
 

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Schultz said:
I also wonder what the original words those particular Fathers used for this "sinful passion" we are calling "depression" in this thread.  Father Hopko, in one of his recent talks on AFN, made a distinction between "depression" and "despair," calling the former a medical condition while the latter is a spiritual problem.
Most of my patristic reading was in Russian translation, where the terms were пeчаль or уныниe. Both of them can be translated into English as "sadness" or "depression," and they were called sinful passions on par with gluttony, lust, love of money, envy, pride, etc.
 

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Is the term accidie translated as both depression and despair in English, or are there different terms for these concepts?
 

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Heorhij said:
AFAIK, they could not see homosexual behavior as "normal" because in their mind it was a CHOICE of an individual. A bad, wrong choice. I don't see any reasons to view it that way now, when we know that homosexuality is not a choice, and that the ability of any person, homo- or heterosexual, to live all of his/her life in the state of celibacy is a relatively rare gift.
That is a *serious* mischaracterization of the Patristic position. It might be accurate for a 19th-century Victorian alienist but has no relationship to the actual teaching of the Church.

'Desires' and 'temptations' are NOT an individual choice. The Father *always* recognized that desires arise naturally from the human soul without any action of the will. However, simply because a desire is 'natural' doesn't make it moral. In fact, to the contrary, because we are fallen beings *all* our desires are corrupted and twisted from their proper orientation to some extent. The particular corruption and its strength varies from individual to individual based on a host of things--and the fact that we can now identify that the vehicle for this particular twisted desire is primarily genetic while the vehicle for that one is primarily cultural doesn't alter the underlying Patristic understanding. One person's desire for food is out of all proportion to the needs of his body (gluttony), another person's desire to accomplish is twisted into a need to conspicuously achieve (vanity) and crush his competitors (lovelessness), and a third person's desire for love is twisted in oriention to an inappropriate target. But we are all twisted--that is in fact one major difference between this discusion in an actual Orthodox context and a repetition of the ongoing 20th century Westernized debate. The Fathers didn't prioritize or obsess about any one particular desire--we all have messed up desires and my continuous temptation to vanity or greed or gluttony or nubile virgins is not different in kind from another person's sexual desire being twisted to the same sex.

Will/choice comes in on the choice to act on one's twisted desires, or to resist them and to work to purify them.

Well, I guess we actually might look at some cases of chronic depression as "just as good and worthy." Like I said, people like yours truly perhaps MUST remain on antidepressants as long as they live
But again, you are arguing against yourself with your example of depression. You take antidepressants. You take action to *not* indulge the twisted appetite which feeds that negative emotion. That makes you the same as the homosexual who chooses not to act on his homosexual desire--or who the heterosexual who devotes himself to celibacy and the lifelong struggle to control and suppress the natural (but still twisted) desire for members of the opposite sex.

Just as you are ignoring the Father's actual teaching to attach some strawman, you are ignoring the fact that the great majority of Fathers who were making this teaching were themselves *exemplars* of the fact that the sexual urge, whatever its orientation, *can* be controlled, *can* be purified. What was St. Anthony's sexual orientation? St. Dmitri of Rostov? St. Gregory the Great? I don't know. I don't want to know. I don't need to know.

Gore Vidal is still alive and well, in his 80-s. Jean Marais died when he was in his 80-s or even 90-s.
And I can point to plenty of vain, angry, selfish people who lived 'alive and well' into their 80s. And martyrs who died in their teens. The fact that something may not kill you quickly is not a relative argument when we are talking about what is right or wrong, what produces saints and what doesn't.
 

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witega,

But the Fathers never said 'don't take medicine for your depression'. What they said--that depression is a bad thing and that the individual should struggle against it with the tools available--is fully compatible with the modern realization that for many people there is a biological component which can and should be addressed with medicine. There is no conflict between the use of anti-depressants and standard Orthodox practices like prayer and fasting in the pursuit of mental health.
I guess my issue is, had I lived in a previous century, and certainly had I lived in the 1st or 10th centuries, I probably would have been told that I had demons in me. The implication would have been that something was wrong with me, maybe I was wicked, or not vigilant enough, not watching the door to my heart or whatever. I would agree that Orthodoxy has nothing against using medications, but I still agree that the understanding of the ancients in such issues is nowhere near what the understanding of moderns are.
 

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Marc1152 said:
This is why I think that a 'cafeteria Orthodox', one that accepts some doctrine but rejects others, is simply in a transitional period towards complete unbelief. If one cannot, for example, believe scripture and the fathers on their teachings of sexuality, how can one believe their teachings on Christ's divinity, a matter far more fantastic and unbelievable than the teachings on sexuality

Because if you don't believe in the Church's idea's about  Divinity you don't concurrently become isolated, horny and lonely..............  Just saying  :)
Exactly, exactly! For many of us, our belief in Christ can be a soothing, comforting, costless belief with no negative consequences. For the martyrs, it was not, so I can only imagine the doubt and internal conflict they had. For someone like Bishop Spong, too, it was not soothing - it caused an intellectual conflict that he could not simply avoid. Christianity can be hard and demanding.

You were probably being ironic, but I feel I should say that I would think that our faithful non-heterosexual brothers and sisters would want you to know that they are not all 'isolated, horny, and lonely...'! Some may be, some not, and then again, we cannot possible measure the spiritual comfort they receive from God.
 

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So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?
 

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Feanor said:
So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?
The Church always gets it right, eventually.
 

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But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?
 

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So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?
I didn't consider the church infallible when I was Orthodox. I consider infallibility not only to be impossible, but also a largely meaningless concept even in theory. But then, some would say that I wasn't being orthodox in that view. ;)
 

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witega said:
'Desires' and 'temptations' are NOT an individual choice.
But the acting on them is. Granted. You are born heterosexual - act on your desire when you are married. Born homosexual - don't even think about it. And... why?

witega said:
The Father *always* recognized that desires arise naturally from the human soul without any action of the will. However, simply because a desire is 'natural' doesn't make it moral. In fact, to the contrary, because we are fallen beings *all* our desires are corrupted and twisted from their proper orientation to some extent.
So why can't the sexual desire of homosexuals be made LESS corrupted and twisted in a committed, lifelong monogamous marriage? Or do we accept that heterosexual sexual desires aren't made any less twisted and corrupted in a heterosexual committed, monogamous, lifelong marriage? What IS the difference?

witega said:
Will/choice comes in on the choice to act on one's twisted desires, or to resist them and to work to purify them.
No argument here. But why can a heterosexual "purify" his twisted desire, and a homosexual cannot?

witega said:
You take antidepressants. You take action to *not* indulge the twisted appetite which feeds that negative emotion. That makes you the same as the homosexual who chooses not to act on his homosexual desire--or who the heterosexual who devotes himself to celibacy and the lifelong struggle to control and suppress the natural (but still twisted) desire for members of the opposite sex.
Right, except not all heterosexuals can be successful in that struggle even if they want to be. I am positive that the same applies to homosexuals. So, for those heterosexuals who cannot be celibate, there is a choice between chaste, monogamous marriage and a "porneia," sexual immorality of various sorts. And for homosexuals who cannot be celibate? Only "porneia?"

witega said:
I can point to plenty of vain, angry, selfish people who lived 'alive and well' into their 80s. And martyrs who died in their teens. The fact that something may not kill you quickly is not a relative argument when we are talking about what is right or wrong, what produces saints and what doesn't.
But I was only objecting to the analogy with alcoholism.
 

Heorhij

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Feanor said:
So I guess many of you believe that the church is totally infallible in its teachings, then?
I believe She is totally infallible in those things that are not addressable by science, for example in Her understanding of the Person of Christ as fully Divine and fully human, or in eschatology, etc. However, She can, IMHO, adapt in Her teachings to the new knowledge gained by us through science. And I see it happen in some areas but not in other areas.
 

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Asteriktos said:
witega,

But the Fathers never said 'don't take medicine for your depression'. What they said--that depression is a bad thing and that the individual should struggle against it with the tools available--is fully compatible with the modern realization that for many people there is a biological component which can and should be addressed with medicine. There is no conflict between the use of anti-depressants and standard Orthodox practices like prayer and fasting in the pursuit of mental health.
I guess my issue is, had I lived in a previous century, and certainly had I lived in the 1st or 10th centuries, I probably would have been told that I had demons in me. The implication would have been that something was wrong with me, maybe I was wicked, or not vigilant enough, not watching the door to my heart or whatever. I would agree that Orthodoxy has nothing against using medications, but I still agree that the understanding of the ancients in such issues is nowhere near what the understanding of moderns are.
Exactly. And I believe the same applies to the understanding of ancients of homosexual sex as necessarily deplorable and un-amenable by monogamous and chaste same-gender marriage.
 

Rastaman

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Feanor said:
But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?
Yes. During the iconoclastic years, it took a long time for Orthodoxy to be reflected in the praxis of the time. It was noted by someone that if a straw poll was taken in the run up to Nicaea, the Church would be Arian now.

What this does not mean is that the Faith evolves. The Faith does not evolve or change beliefs, there are times when the Church slips, and steps must be taken to restore the image of the Faith as reflected in Church teachings. It also does not mean that the minority is automatically correct, just because they are in the minority.
 

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heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.
 

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mountainman said:
heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.
Could it be that the standard of what is good is found in our ability to love, not simply to follow rules; love in all its forms - loving God; loving neighbour; loving enemy?
 

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Riddikulus said:
mountainman said:
heorhij seems to be defending the validity of the homosexual lifestyle because in his view it is genetic and therefore not a choice.  And yet this is greatly oversimplified.  First of all, it is in evidence that children are sometimes born with predispositions for certain types of behavior, some sinful.  We cannot depend completely on nature to provide us with our standard of what is good.  We are all perhaps born with such a "thorn in the flesh".  Does this mean we are perpetually victims with no hope for a true struggle against the passions?  Secondly, I know through personal experience that some gay men do actively choose this lifestyle at some point in their lives for purely psychological reasons, such as a need to compensate for a lack of fatherly love in adolescence.  Given, they may have a predisposition, but this is not the determining factor.  The psychology comes first and foremost, rather than an expression of love...  in fact, what we are speaking about most often when we reference homosexuality is not a particular expression of love but a confusion about the nature and role of sexuality.
Could it be that the standard of what is good is found in our ability to love, not simply to follow rules; love in all its forms - loving God; loving neighbour; loving enemy?
QFT. Thank you Riddikulus.
 

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Ukiemeister said:
Feanor said:
But 'eventually' could be a matter of many years, right?
Yes. During the iconoclastic years, it took a long time for Orthodoxy to be reflected in the praxis of the time. It was noted by someone that if a straw poll was taken in the run up to Nicaea, the Church would be Arian now.

What this does not mean is that the Faith evolves. The Faith does not evolve or change beliefs, there are times when the Church slips, and steps must be taken to restore the image of the Faith as reflected in Church teachings. It also does not mean that the minority is automatically correct, just because they are in the minority.
The Truth was true from the beginning, is true today, and will be true until the end of time. It never changes. I think we can agree on that.

Human doctrines and philosophical/religious understanding change and adapt as we slowly discover the Truth. Do you think it is possible that this process of perfecting mankind's understanding of Truth - spiritually, morally, metaphysically - is something that could take millennia?

Or was everything that there possibly is to know about everything laid out in the Bible and the teachings of the Early Fathers?
 
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