Infallibility of the Faith
#41
(06-23-2014, 12:31 PM)Copeland Wrote: I would like to take a moment to thank you as well. As you can probably tell I am not the most intellectually colorful crayon in the box and I know this. But how can I advance in my intellect if I do not conversate with people that are deeper thinkers than myself? I am enjoying the conversation.

I am as well.  My weakness is that I get into my own head too easily, I am very introverted.  Having discussions like this help me to consider other possibilities I probably would not come up with on my own.
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#42
That is very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
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#43
(06-23-2014, 12:22 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(06-23-2014, 12:11 PM)J Michael Wrote: What a fascinating discussion!  I'm glad I asked, and even more so that others, especially Melkite, have responded.  Much of what you struggle with, especially papal infallibility and how God permits evil and sickness and suffering, are issues that I have struggled with for years and *still* do.  I really appreciate your candor and willingness to make this struggle of yours public (in an anonymous kind of way, that is  :)).

So, I have another question for you...If, as you say, God does not interfere because to do so would violate our free will, how do you explain those events which the Church (Catholic AND Orthodox) refer to as "miracles"?

Which miracles are you referring to?  If the ones in the bible, we have no evidence other than scriptural testimony that they ever literally occurred.  If miracles like Fatima or healings at Lourdes, I would say they are dubious.

I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I posed the question.  But, since you ask....1) any"official" "miracle" attributed to any canonized saint, 2) the Resurrection of Christ (that IS considered miraculous, isn't it???), 3) is it considered miraculous that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?  If so...there's that, too and 4) the incorruptibility of the corpses of various saints.  And, I guess, anything else that's considered to be "miraculous".  I guess I wouldn't necessarily include any of the "apparitions", although of all the ones I have any knowledge of, Fatima is the most believable.
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#44
(06-23-2014, 12:40 PM)J Michael Wrote: I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I posed the question.  But, since you ask....1) any"official" "miracle" attributed to any canonized saint, 2) the Resurrection of Christ (that IS considered miraculous, isn't it???), 3) is it considered miraculous that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?  If so...there's that, too and 4) the incorruptibility of the corpses of various saints.  And, I guess, anything else that's considered to be "miraculous".

A friend of mine from my church loaned me a book of his, Saints who Raised the Dead.  I don't remember if I was doubting at the time I read this or if I was still a firm believer, but reading through it, I thought most of it was pretty laughable.  The only proof offered for 95% of the stories was the tradition itself, and the author glossed over that in a kind of "Well, of course the tradition is sufficient proof, why would you need anything else?!?" fashion.  So that probably has a good part to do with my current demand for tangible veracity.  Without tangible veracity, there is nothing to differentiate between a true tradition and one someone concocted for his or her own purposes.

I am purposely leaving my mind open for the resurrection.  Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection.  I've read a few books from both sides arguing about the resurrection, and I think the evidence for both sides is wanting.  Neither the pro-resurrection or anti-resurrection side has proven their case to me beyond reasonable doubt.

The body and blood of Christ has never been an issue for me.  If the resurrection is true, I have no problem accepting this as well.  Obviously, if the resurrection didn't take place, then it has never been anything more than bread and wine.

Most "incorruptible" saints are just mummies.  Unless Ötzi the Iceman is also an incorrupt saint.  Many of the incorruptibles look just like him.  I was pretty convinced by Bernadette, until I found out that her face has a wax coating over it.  I don't know how much that plays into her appearance, but if her appearance is solely because of the wax covering, then we need to canonize Vladimir Lenin.

Then there are all the miraculous healings.  The point that there have never been any miraculous healing of amputations has been a sticking point for me.  Probably because of my personal issues with circumcision and how long I begged God and St. Nicholas and the Theotokos to undo mine.  God doesn't go back in time and undo history (as far as we know - theoretically he could be rewriting history every 5 minutes and we would never have a clue).  But all these supposed cures of blindness or heart murmurs or inability to walk, but he can never make a lost limb grow back?  Our bodies have the capability of healing themselves, that's the purpose of our immune system and limited regenerative abilities.  We have the same gene to grow back limbs and repair body parts that salamanders have, it's just turned off in us.  It is more plausible that the body healed a blindness than it is a god miraculously healed it.  If he does miraculously heal infirmities like that, then it tremendously begs the question why he never heals amputations.
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#45
(06-23-2014, 01:03 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(06-23-2014, 12:40 PM)J Michael Wrote: I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I posed the question.  But, since you ask....1) any"official" "miracle" attributed to any canonized saint, 2) the Resurrection of Christ (that IS considered miraculous, isn't it???), 3) is it considered miraculous that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?  If so...there's that, too and 4) the incorruptibility of the corpses of various saints.  And, I guess, anything else that's considered to be "miraculous".

A friend of mine from my church loaned me a book of his, Saints who Raised the Dead.  I don't remember if I was doubting at the time I read this or if I was still a firm believer, but reading through it, I thought most of it was pretty laughable.  The only proof offered for 95% of the stories was the tradition itself, and the author glossed over that in a kind of "Well, of course the tradition is sufficient proof, why would you need anything else?!?" fashion.  So that probably has a good part to do with my current demand for tangible veracity.  Without tangible veracity, there is nothing to differentiate between a true tradition and one someone concocted for his or her own purposes.

I am purposely leaving my mind open for the resurrection.  Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection.  I've read a few books from both sides arguing about the resurrection, and I think the evidence for both sides is wanting.  Neither the pro-resurrection or anti-resurrection side has proven their case to me beyond reasonable doubt.

The body and blood of Christ has never been an issue for me.  If the resurrection is true, I have no problem accepting this as well.  Obviously, if the resurrection didn't take place, then it has never been anything more than bread and wine.

Most "incorruptible" saints are just mummies.  Unless Ötzi the Iceman is also an incorrupt saint.  Many of the incorruptibles look just like him.  I was pretty convinced by Bernadette, until I found out that her face has a wax coating over it.  I don't know how much that plays into her appearance, but if her appearance is solely because of the wax covering, then we need to canonize Vladimir Lenin.

Then there are all the miraculous healings.  The point that there have never been any miraculous healing of amputations has been a sticking point for me.  Probably because of my personal issues with circumcision and how long I begged God and St. Nicholas and the Theotokos to undo mine.  God doesn't go back in time and undo history (as far as we know - theoretically he could be rewriting history every 5 minutes and we would never have a clue).  But all these supposed cures of blindness or heart murmurs or inability to walk, but he can never make a lost limb grow back?  Our bodies have the capability of healing themselves, that's the purpose of our immune system and limited regenerative abilities.  We have the same gene to grow back limbs and repair body parts that salamanders have, it's just turned off in us.  It is more plausible that the body healed a blindness than it is a god miraculously healed it.  If he does miraculously heal infirmities like that, then it tremendously begs the question why he never heals amputations.

Okay, I tend to agree with you, as far as it goes.  In the end, really, it all boils down to.................................faith.  My own tends to waver a lot, and I know it's nowhere as deep as I'd like it to be.
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#46
Understanding that for people of higher intellects faith is normally a stumbling block I have always held firm to the fact that real people sacrificed their lives for the Resurrection. Many of them were tortured in an attempt to get them to recant, but they persevered. Why would someone do that for a lie? And what made this phenomenon so believable yet without proof for many that DEVOUT Jews were willing to throw thousands of years of religious tradition that was vital to their eternal soul in the garbage for it?
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#47
(06-23-2014, 01:50 PM)Copeland Wrote: Understanding that for people of higher intellects faith is normally a stumbling block I have always held firm to the fact that real people sacrificed their lives for the Resurrection. Many of them were tortured in an attempt to get them to recant, but they persevered. Why would someone do that for a lie? And what made this phenomenon so believable yet without proof for many that DEVOUT Jews were willing to throw thousands of years of religious tradition that was vital to their eternal soul in the garbage for it?

Because they believed it wasn't a lie.  Most of the people who died for the resurrection never claimed to be witness to it.
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#48
So Peter, James, and the rest of the apostles didn't die for the resurrection?
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#49
(06-23-2014, 01:57 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(06-23-2014, 01:50 PM)Copeland Wrote: Understanding that for people of higher intellects faith is normally a stumbling block I have always held firm to the fact that real people sacrificed their lives for the Resurrection. Many of them were tortured in an attempt to get them to recant, but they persevered. Why would someone do that for a lie? And what made this phenomenon so believable yet without proof for many that DEVOUT Jews were willing to throw thousands of years of religious tradition that was vital to their eternal soul in the garbage for it?

Because they believed it wasn't a lie.  Most of the people who died for the resurrection never claimed to be witness to it.

There seems to me to be an implication in that statement that unless one witnesses something one cannot, at the very best, know that it is true.  Have I misunderstood you, perhaps?
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#50
(06-23-2014, 02:07 PM)Copeland Wrote: So Peter, James, and the rest of the apostles didn't die for the resurrection?

This one is hard for me.  They were witnesses, we presume.  Why would they die for it if they knew it was a lie?  The anti-resurrectionists made a case that they were living with guilt over getting Jesus killed, so they were having remorse hallucinations.  I find that to be a weak argument.  But I don't know.  If Christ really died and rose again, then it means God is the monster of the OT.  I don't know how to love a God like that.  I think for a few years I doubted but held out hope that there was some way to reconcile the OT with Christ.  I think that was wishful thinking.  Part of me hopes the resurrection didn't take place and that Christianity is one big lie.  I don't think I can be very hopeful about eternity if it is true.
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