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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Heorhij

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This thread was split from the following discussion:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24121.0.html

-YtterbiumAnalyst



HandmaidenofGod said:
You either accept the Church as a whole or you don't.
Are you sure, Maureen?

HandmaidenofGod said:
Christ established ONE Church body; either Orthodoxy is the true Church or it is not. There is no maybe.
Of course. But the views of the Church on matters of ethics and morals DO change. Again, just a couple of centuries ago it was UNTHINKABLE for a person who committed suicide to get an Orthodox burial. And it was a common understanding of everyone in the Church that fathers give their daughters in marriage. And a lot of Fathers wrote and preached that if you are having sex with your spouse without aiming at producing a baby, you are perverted and do abomination. (I can find you quotes.)

And there is nothing in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed about gay marriage. Nor there is much about gay marriage in the Bible.
 

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Heorhij said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
You either accept the Church as a whole or you don't.
Are you sure, Maureen?

HandmaidenofGod said:
Christ established ONE Church body; either Orthodoxy is the true Church or it is not. There is no maybe.
Of course. But the views of the Church on matters of ethics and morals DO change. Again, just a couple of centuries ago it was UNTHINKABLE for a person who committed suicide to get an Orthodox burial. And it was a common understanding of everyone in the Church that fathers give their daughters in marriage. And a lot of Fathers wrote and preached that if you are having sex with your spouse without aiming at producing a baby, you are perverted and do abomination. (I can find you quotes.)

And there is nothing in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed about gay marriage. Nor there is much about gay marriage in the Bible.
You are confusing economia with belief.
 

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Douglas said:
In my opinion (and that is all it is... my opinion since I'm not a clergy person nor have authority outside of what an Orthodox lay person may possess), it seems to me that you have established with your statement above, a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory. You say that you believe the Orthodox Church to be the... Church. But then you turn around and declare what you happen to believe. The issue is this: the Church and the Church alone has the authority to determine right belief, not the individual. When individuals find themselves at odds with Church teaching, then it is vital that they realign their thinking with what the Church teaches and not expect the Church to accommodate them. St Paul tells us that the Church (not the individual) is the pillar and foundation of truth. Thus, if the Church teaches that homosexual union is wrong (and it does), then it is a given that the individual must recognize that his belief, no matter how cherished and heartfelt it might be, is in error.

In short, you cannot come into the Church on your terms. You do not presume to sit in judgment upon the Church. In fact, the Church judges us and not the other way around. I know it's not a particularly popular or politically correct position to voice in this day and age, but the Church is the Truth and has not deviated from that position over two millennium.
I appreciated this post.  It made me think of a question I asked our priest during the inquirer's class this past week.  I asked how a former Protestant with no previous interest in (and in fact probably a negative reaction toward) the Theotokos gets over this resistance.  I was probably looking for something to think about, some Scriptures to look at (again), something that would change the way I thought.

His simple answer was, "Repent." There's nothing to figure out, and nothing to reconcile.  Just repent of an incorrect belief and submit to what the church teaches.  So to me that means just start honoring her, start bowing and crossing at the appropriate time in prayers, start including "Most holy Theotokos save us" in my prayers, etc.  

So in relation to the original question (about homosexuality) and this reply, perhaps it's the same thing?  If the church teaches homosexuality is wrong, perhaps we just need to get in line with that instead of trying to reason out why the church might be wrong.  This is just my thought, and forgive me if I'm speaking where I ought not.  
 

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pensateomnia said:
I can only think of maybe five non-Athonite monasteries that encourage non-Orthodox to leave at the dismissal of the catechumen. Even many Athonite monasteries in the US, Canada, Greece and Western Europe don't encourage it. Can't think of one monastery out of the dozens that I went to in Romania where it is practiced. Point being, it's rare, even at monasteries.
I am very new to Orthodoxy and have been a catechumen since August.  I've been to two monasteries in my life, both in my home state within the last few months, and at both of these catechumens were expected to either leave the church (at one), or step to the back part of the church (at the other), once the portion of the service leading to the Eucharist began. 
 

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Liz said:
I have wondered about this before. Without wanting someone to profess false belief, or to exert some kind of mental censorship on his or her own beliefs, how is a person who believes that the Orthodox Church is Truth but does not believe in one of her doctrines meant to proceed? 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?
Sinner Servant has given the succint response. There is a significant element of will in belief. If there wasn't, St. Paul wouldn't praise Faith and Hope as two of the highest virtues. One can have default 'beliefs', where the mind falls without any exertion, generally set up by one's environment (parents, school, culture--accepting or rejecting). However, these are really closer to suppositions or simple knowledge until and unless the will is engaged to defend them--or reject them. So, if it is the decision of the will to believe *and* follow God, then as a corollary, the will must also embrace the idea that 'God knows better', and submit itself  to believe even where it doesn't understand/agree.

That said, I agree with the early respondents that the OP needs to be taking this up with a real priest in a pastoral setting. There are some items that are absolutes that one must accept to join the Church (the existence of God, the Creed, etc), but there are other things where the Church is generally content to present its position and allow the Christian to grow into an understanding and acceptance of that position. That is, in fact, one point of the catachumenate, but the process continues after baptism as well.
 

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Sinner Servant said:
Liz said:
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)
And while at that, convince others around you in YOUR belief if you really hold it true and if it does not go blatantly against the DOCTRINE of the Church as expressed in the Creed and decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
 

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Ukiemeister said:
Heorhij said:
HandmaidenofGod said:
You either accept the Church as a whole or you don't.
Are you sure, Maureen?

HandmaidenofGod said:
Christ established ONE Church body; either Orthodoxy is the true Church or it is not. There is no maybe.
Of course. But the views of the Church on matters of ethics and morals DO change. Again, just a couple of centuries ago it was UNTHINKABLE for a person who committed suicide to get an Orthodox burial. And it was a common understanding of everyone in the Church that fathers give their daughters in marriage. And a lot of Fathers wrote and preached that if you are having sex with your spouse without aiming at producing a baby, you are perverted and do abomination. (I can find you quotes.)

And there is nothing in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed about gay marriage. Nor there is much about gay marriage in the Bible.
You are confusing economia with belief.
I don't know whether I do.
 

Heorhij

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witega said:
That said, I agree with the early respondents that the OP needs to be taking this up with a real priest in a pastoral setting. There are some items that are absolutes that one must accept to join the Church (the existence of God, the Creed, etc), but there are other things where the Church is generally content to present its position and allow the Christian to grow into an understanding and acceptance of that position. That is, in fact, one point of the catachumenate, but the process continues after baptism as well.
Very well put. Thank you, Witega.
 

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Thank you all for the helpful and informative posts.

Unfortunately I don't think anything is as simple or black-and-white as 'you either believe that the Church teaches TRUTH or NOT.'
 

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witega said:
Liz said:
I have wondered about this before. Without wanting someone to profess false belief, or to exert some kind of mental censorship on his or her own beliefs, how is a person who believes that the Orthodox Church is Truth but does not believe in one of her doctrines meant to proceed? 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?
Sinner Servant has given the succint response. There is a significant element of will in belief. If there wasn't, St. Paul wouldn't praise Faith and Hope as two of the highest virtues. One can have default 'beliefs', where the mind falls without any exertion, generally set up by one's environment (parents, school, culture--accepting or rejecting). However, these are really closer to suppositions or simple knowledge until and unless the will is engaged to defend them--or reject them. So, if it is the decision of the will to believe *and* follow God, then as a corollary, the will must also embrace the idea that 'God knows better', and submit itself  to believe even where it doesn't understand/agree.

That said, I agree with the early respondents that the OP needs to be taking this up with a real priest in a pastoral setting. There are some items that are absolutes that one must accept to join the Church (the existence of God, the Creed, etc), but there are other things where the Church is generally content to present its position and allow the Christian to grow into an understanding and acceptance of that position. That is, in fact, one point of the catachumenate, but the process continues after baptism as well.
I understand that one must often say (and devoutly hope) that 'God knows better'. And you can strongly discipline yourself to try your hardest to examine your beliefs. But I do not understand how anyone can brainwash themselves into believing something they do not.

There are those things in faith that we accept knowing we cannot understand them, knowing that they simply cannot be completely comprehended by our reason. Then there are those things that are to do with morality, which are not inherently irrational. We are taught that it is wrong to murder; we (I hope!) accept this as something that is not only doctrine, but also something we can rationally and intuitively agree with. We are also taught, when someone we love dies or something terrible happens, that we do not and cannot let our own natural, sorrowful reactions outweigh our faith that God acts for the best.

But here, we are really being asked to accept the limitations of our own knowledge. That's easy. What I do not think is possible, is to truly eradicate a belief in one thing from your mind and replace it with the opposite. You might do it over time, by reason, but you can't just will it to happen.

Can anyone explain?
 

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Feanor said:
Thank you all for the helpful and informative posts.

Unfortunately I don't think anything is as simple or black-and-white as 'you either believe that the Church teaches TRUTH or NOT.'
Feanor,

Truth is BLACK and WHITE. There is no partial truth when it comes to Christ. The Church is Christ and and Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) The only thing gray is our morallity if it is based upon relativism and secular modernism, which is a huge issue of today and a stumbling block for many. Archbishop Hilrion discussed this several years back see: http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_1 .

With that said, I don't want to come across as though there is no room for freedom of thought within the Orthodox Church, especially in matter undefined by the Church, but our opinions should not go against Church Doctrine. Fr. Sergius Bulgakov wrote an interesting article on Freedom of Thought in the Orthodox Church: http://www.pravmir.com/article_457.html.
 

May God bless you on your journey.
 

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Sinner Servant said:
Feanor said:
Thank you all for the helpful and informative posts.

Unfortunately I don't think anything is as simple or black-and-white as 'you either believe that the Church teaches TRUTH or NOT.'
Feanor,

Truth is BLACK and WHITE. There is no partial truth when it comes to Christ. The Church is Christ and and Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) The only thing gray is our morallity if it is based upon relativism and secular modernism, which is a huge issue of today and a stumbling block for many. Archbishop Hilrion discussed this several years back see: http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/6_1 .

With that said, I don't want to come across as though there is no room for freedom of thought within the Orthodox Church, especially in matter undefined by the Church, but our opinions should not go against Church Doctrine. Fr. Sergius Bulgakov wrote an interesting article on Freedom of Thought in the Orthodox Church: http://www.pravmir.com/article_457.html.
 

May God bless you on your journey.
There is indeed no partial truth when it comes to Christ. But our perception is clouded. How are we to approach this problem in practical terms, that is the question. Are we culpable if we strive to understand, but fail? Surely not.
 

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Feanor said:
Thank you all for the helpful and informative posts.

Unfortunately I don't think anything is as simple or black-and-white as 'you either believe that the Church teaches TRUTH or NOT.'
That's what I've been trying to say. But again, Feanor, being who I am (which some people evaluate as rebellious, un-disciplined or even "weak, stumbling and confused in faith") - I know that I AM an Orthodox Christian and I will always be one. The same applies to you, or, rather, will apply to you when you are received in the Church. The Church consists of people like us; we ARE the Church. Just because you and I may have certain thoughts about homosexual love etc., cannot possibly put us outside of the Church. Other things can - for example, if we preach that there is no God, or that Christ is not God or not man, or that there is no such thing as resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting. As far as I understand, propagating views like those will automatically put us outside of the Church and in this case, our priests will not be able to give us the Eucharist. However, just thinking, and forming and even openly discussing our opinions/beliefs about various issues (which are outside of the matters explicitly evaluated by the Councils and reflected in the Creed) cannot put us outside. See Witega's very succint and thoughtful post.

Keep us posted! You are in my unworthy prayers. I do look forward for the day when you will be received into the Church.
 

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Sinner Servant said:
Truth is BLACK and WHITE.
Like the "truth" that he who takes his own life must be buried outside of the cemetary gate without any service done by the Orthodox priest? That was the "truth," which gazillions of Orthodox thought to be "black" and not "white" or "white" and not "black," for centuries.

Sinner Servant said:
our opinions should not go against Church Doctrine.
Which is.........?
 

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Sinner Servant said:
Liz said:
But our perception is clouded.
Thus, we rely on the teachings of the Church!
Oh dear, I think we're going in circles! I guess there's some good both in the kind of faith that is very comforting and has an answer for everything, and in the faith that is constantly worrying about how to get closer to God. Well ... I hope so, anyway.
 
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