A lot of Eastern Orthodox seem to be universalists.
#21
(01-11-2016, 12:31 PM)Leonhard Wrote: At least with western spirituality, I know what I'm supposed to do. I'm not sure what I'd do in the Eastern spirituality, other than despair.

What to "do" in the East is not really any different; it's just thought about in a different theological framework. The "how it works" might be explained differently, but you do the same things: Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself; do penance, pray, receive the sacraments; don't judge your brother or sister.
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#22
(01-11-2016, 10:26 AM)Melkite Wrote: Theosis is just the process of deification.  It begins in this life, and continues in the next.  Purgatory can be understood as a part of that.

I don't know if this is what the Orthodox meant, but there is a common theolegoumena in the East that everyone goes to be with God.  Not everyone goes to heaven as would be thought of in the west.  But everyone is in the presence of God.  To those who obeyed God's will and loved him, they are engulfed in the flames of God's love, and to them it is paradise.  To those who hated God, they too are engulfed in the flames of God's love, but to them it is torment.  So, in a sense, it is universalism because everyone ends up in the same place, but each person's experience of it is different.

The passage from St. Matthew's Gospel, and many other scriptural passages suggest that those who are out of God's grace will be cast away from Him.

"Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

As an aside, why does it matter what the Orthodox have to say about it?  Sure, their liturgies are still pretty, and the local Novus Ordo parish has exchanged beauty for childishness and effeminacy, but the Catholic Church is the One True Church.  Of course, it's going to look ugly from time to time if the people in the Church don't believe it is what it claims to be, especially if those faithless ones can be counted among the hierarchy.  For their sake, I hope they figure things out before it's too late and they find themselves counted among the goats.  I am a dyed-in-the-wool Roman Catholic, and no one will ever take that away from me.
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#23
(01-12-2016, 12:41 AM)Credidi Propter Wrote:
(01-11-2016, 10:26 AM)Melkite Wrote: Theosis is just the process of deification.  It begins in this life, and continues in the next.  Purgatory can be understood as a part of that.

I don't know if this is what the Orthodox meant, but there is a common theolegoumena in the East that everyone goes to be with God.  Not everyone goes to heaven as would be thought of in the west.  But everyone is in the presence of God.  To those who obeyed God's will and loved him, they are engulfed in the flames of God's love, and to them it is paradise.  To those who hated God, they too are engulfed in the flames of God's love, but to them it is torment.  So, in a sense, it is universalism because everyone ends up in the same place, but each person's experience of it is different.

The passage from St. Matthew's Gospel, and many other scriptural passages suggest that those who are out of God's grace will be cast away from Him.

"Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)

Are you sure that isn't primarily parable?  Who can go where God is not and still exist?

Quote:As an aside, why does it matter what the Orthodox have to say about it?  Sure, their liturgies are still pretty, and the local Novus Ordo parish has exchanged beauty for childishness and effeminacy, but the Catholic Church is the One True Church.  Of course, it's going to look ugly from time to time if the people in the Church don't believe it is what it claims to be, especially if those faithless ones can be counted among the hierarchy.  For their sake, I hope they figure things out before it's too late and they find themselves counted among the goats. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Roman Catholic, and no one will ever take that away from me.

Was anyone trying to?
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#24
I don't know, these days I don't worry about theological questions all that much. I pray my Old Rite Horologion, Old Orthodox Prayerbook and the Jesus Prayer and attend a liturgy on Sunday's. I think I get more from this than pondering theological questions, or trying too much to make too much of East versus West. The piety is different, but like aquinas138 said, us Easterners are at heart trying to do the same thing,albeit in a different framework.

In the end whether or not all are eventually saved is impossible to know. I don't worry about it. Pray for the living and the dead and hope in God. What more can we do?

Somehow maybe there's something to be said for letting these questions become like Zen koans--- mysteries our logical mind cannot exactly grasp. Dive into the mystery and live from it, but think too much and you're thrown back onto your own thinking where there is never a definitive satisfactory answer to destroy your doubting or questions.


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#25
(01-12-2016, 12:41 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I don't know, these days I don't worry about theological questions all that much. I pray my Old Rite Horologion, Old Orthodox Prayerbook and the Jesus Prayer and attend a liturgy on Sunday's. I think I get more from this than pondering theological questions, or trying too much to make too much of East versus West. The piety is different, but like aquinas138 said, us Easterners are at heart trying to do the same thing,albeit in a different framework.

In the end whether or not all are eventually saved is impossible to know. I don't worry about it. Pray for the living and the dead and hope in God. What more can we do?

Somehow maybe there's something to be said for letting these questions become like Zen koans--- mysteries our logical mind cannot exactly grasp. Dive into the mystery and live from it, but think too much and you're thrown back onto your own thinking where there is never a definitive satisfactory answer to destroy your doubting or questions.

Yes!!

Seems to me that unfortunately far too many people mistake the framework for what's inside of it.  Or, to put it another way, think that the framework is all--important (or at least far *more* important) that the content is an after thought.

Don't get me wrong--the content must be framed, so to speak, and therefore the framework cannot be dispensed with as it holds the content together in some kind of coherent enough fashion for us to be able to work with it.  But it ain't the be all and end all.  Just my not-so-humble opinion.
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#26
(01-12-2016, 01:20 PM)J Michael Wrote:
(01-12-2016, 12:41 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: I don't know, these days I don't worry about theological questions all that much. I pray my Old Rite Horologion, Old Orthodox Prayerbook and the Jesus Prayer and attend a liturgy on Sunday's. I think I get more from this than pondering theological questions, or trying too much to make too much of East versus West. The piety is different, but like aquinas138 said, us Easterners are at heart trying to do the same thing,albeit in a different framework.

In the end whether or not all are eventually saved is impossible to know. I don't worry about it. Pray for the living and the dead and hope in God. What more can we do?

Somehow maybe there's something to be said for letting these questions become like Zen koans--- mysteries our logical mind cannot exactly grasp. Dive into the mystery and live from it, but think too much and you're thrown back onto your own thinking where there is never a definitive satisfactory answer to destroy your doubting or questions.

Yes!!

Seems to me that unfortunately far too many people mistake the framework for what's inside of it.  Or, to put it another way, think that the framework is all--important (or at least far *more* important) that the content is an after thought.

Don't get me wrong--the content must be framed, so to speak, and therefore the framework cannot be dispensed with as it holds the content together in some kind of coherent enough fashion for us to be able to work with it.  But it ain't the be all and end all.  Just my not-so-humble opinion.

Humble or not so humble J. Michael you hit the nail on the head. Like an old zen saying, we mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon. The framework is important like you say, but it's the content that matters most. Of course we need our guideposts, our symbols--- they are like our reference points and guiding light--- but they point beyond themselves to the Christ by whom we go to the Father in the Spirit.


Thinking isn't bad or evil, but it can be a danger and a distraction; we become egghead intellectuals thinking about how to make everything fit logically together rather than letting ourselves be formed by the traditions that have been handed down. It seems to me that this obsessive desire to think, think, think all the time is peculiar to the Western European psyche.

The Roman Catholic Church embraces the Eastern or Western framework--- we choose what speaks to us and let it form us. I will never tire of saying that I'd rather teach someone Catholicism by giving them a breviary and a rosary and teaching them about the Real Presence ( for Western) or a prayerope, icons and a Jordanville or Old Orthodox Prayerbook for Eastern,than give them catechisms and theology textbooks.
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#27
I have to disagree somewhat with formerbuddhist and JMichael on a couple points here.  Or maybe I'm agreeing, who knows!

It is important for us to have some clear knowledge of the framework of salvation, including an understanding of who is saved.  First, we are not Gnostics in search of hidden knowledge.  The path to salvation established by God through the incarnation of Christ is not unknown to us.  We have the Church, with her Sacraments and her teachings to guide our way (or, more exactly, which are the way).  Second, knowledge of who is saved is important so that we may imitate the saints as we journey along the path of life.  Third, it is important to know that not all people are saved so that we do not become lackadaisical in our repentance and adherence to the Church's Sacraments and teachings. Finally, it is important to know that salvation requires effort corresponding to God's grace.

As you both know from studying and practicing the eastern Christian way, the path of repentance ultimately ends up being roughly the same in practice whether one is eastern or western Catholic -- one must partake of the Sacramental life of the Church and one engages in devotions and piety in accordance with the tradition that one has received (and we do that because that is what the saints did, and we want to imitate the lives of those who have proven the methodology works).

When I taught RCIA in the past, I would sometimes discuss the Church's teaching on merits.  I described this teaching as akin to the blueprint of salvation.  It is not necessary for someone to see the blueprint in order to appreciate beautiful architecture.  But having some knowledge of the blueprint helps one's appreciation.  And, since in our spiritual life we are not merely observers, but practitioners, we should have some knowledge in order to grow in our practice - we need to study the blueprint to some degree in order to build our spiritual lives and love of God.  Of course, the level of knowledge that one obtains will correspond to one's disposition for such things.  And in all cases, salvation should never be made to appear as a test of intellectual vigor or memorization.

Still, there is a reason why our predecessors in the faith were so demanding in their exactitude of the doctrines, especially those regarding salvation and the Church.  In order to know God, we must know about him.  In order to love God, we must know him and understand his love.  In order to serve God, we must know God and his love and know how he desires to be served and loved.  Doctrine matters since it will color our understanding of God, which will dictate how we love him and how we serve him.  And those are the ends of our salvation.
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#28
(01-12-2016, 01:36 PM)ermy_law Wrote: I have to disagree somewhat with formerbuddhist and JMichael on a couple points here.  Or maybe I'm agreeing, who knows!

It is important for us to have some clear knowledge of the framework of salvation, including an understanding of who is saved.  First, we are not Gnostics in search of hidden knowledge.  The path to salvation established by God through the incarnation of Christ is not unknown to us.  We have the Church, with her Sacraments and her teachings to guide our way (or, more exactly, which are the way).  Second, knowledge of who is saved is important so that we may imitate the saints as we journey along the path of life.  Third, it is important to know that not all people are saved so that we do not become lackadaisical in our repentance and adherence to the Church's Sacraments and teachings. Finally, it is important to know that salvation requires effort corresponding to God's grace.

As you both know from studying and practicing the eastern Christian way, the path of repentance ultimately ends up being roughly the same in practice whether one is eastern or western Catholic -- one must partake of the Sacramental life of the Church and one engages in devotions and piety in accordance with the tradition that one has received (and we do that because that is what the saints did, and we want to imitate the lives of those who have proven the methodology works).

When I taught RCIA in the past, I would sometimes discuss the Church's teaching on merits.  I described this teaching as akin to the blueprint of salvation.  It is not necessary for someone to see the blueprint in order to appreciate beautiful architecture.  But having some knowledge of the blueprint helps one's appreciation.  And, since in our spiritual life we are not merely observers, but practitioners, we should have some knowledge in order to grow in our practice - we need to study the blueprint to some degree in order to build our spiritual lives and love of God.  Of course, the level of knowledge that one obtains will correspond to one's disposition for such things.  And in all cases, salvation should never be made to appear as a test of intellectual vigor or memorization.

Still, there is a reason why our predecessors in the faith were so demanding in their exactitude of the doctrines, especially those regarding salvation and the Church.  In order to know God, we must know about him.  In order to love God, we must know him and understand his love.  In order to serve God, we must know God and his love and know how he desires to be served and loved.  Doctrine matters since it will color our understanding of God, which will dictate how we love him and how we serve him.  And those are the ends of our salvation.


I don't think I have any disagreement with you here ermy-law . I will say right off the bat that I do not think that either most souls are damned but I absolutely reject the idea of total universal salvation also. I believe the truth of things is somewhere between the two positions of apocatastisis and massa damnata . I just don't think its all that useful to worry too much about it.

  In the Prayerbook I use I pray daily for the dead, and even have a Canon for the Departed. The content of the traditional prayers in the Divine Services and handed down customs actually teach doctrine. Since I am more of a breviary, Horologion type of guy I find I've no need to ponder the depths of theology from an academic or catechetical standpoint. Not saying it's not important, especially for converts, to have a basic foundation of doctrine, but why not learn it from immersing oneself in the services and the prayers?

In the West there is the month of November for the Holy Souls and the Office of the Dead. The popular piety associated with November visits to cemeteries etc, and the Antiphons and Collects of the Office teach in a succinct way our Faith. Again, not saying catechisms are bad, but I'd rather teach someone to pray than anything else.

To me one knows God by praying, by having a relationship with Him. Prayer is the gateway to the love and knowledge.

I guess I'm not cut out for teaching catechism class!

The man who write over at eclectic Orthodoxy is the best example I could give for a tortured overly intellectual approach....starts Anglican...becomes Catholic...becomes Orthodox...than finds himself questioning everything and championing things like universalism but so tortured and doubtful he doesn't really think we can find any definitive answer to almost any theological question. ...

Like the late Father Hardon S.J. said once, the intellectuals and the most clever are the first to lose their faith.  I think Father Cizsek said the same about priests and seminarians that cracked under torture in the gulags. The more you think and trust your mind the more apt you'll be to lose your faith once the next best argument comes along.

I just don't like to see when people get so bogged down with trying to intellectualize everything they forget to pray.

I'm kind of a simple man I guess, not much of an intellectual.
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#29
Quote:The more you think and trust your mind the more apt you'll be to lose your faith once the next best argument comes along.

Thinking, and following 'the next best argument that comes along' was how I started the journey that made me a Catholic.

I guess I was wrong, huh?  :eyeroll:
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#30
(01-12-2016, 03:29 PM)Leonhard Wrote:
Quote:The more you think and trust your mind the more apt you'll be to lose your faith once the next best argument comes along.

Thinking, and following 'the next best argument that comes along' was how I started the journey that made me a Catholic.

I guess I was wrong, huh?  :eyeroll:


You and I just do not and will not ever see eye to eye on some things. 
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