Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 01:53
    Luke 12:48

    "But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."


    What do you believe are the implications of this Bible verse for the world's 1,800,000,000 Muslims, 1,100,000,000 Hindus, 520,000,000 Buddhists and 500,000,000 or so atheists?
  2. Seongnam, S. Korea
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    04 Mar '19 02:31
    @fmf said
    Luke 12:48

    "But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."


    What do you believe are the implications of this Bible verse for the world's 1,800,000,000 Muslims, 1,100,000,000 Hindus, 520,000,000 Buddhists and 500,000,000 or so atheists?
    It does deserve its own thread. Good call.

    The problem is that we cannot really know. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa used to say... this is a management decision.

    Because what constitutes ignorance? Obviously, a 13th century Korean Buddhist monk would be ignorant of Christ. But what about a 21st century Korean Buddhist monk who has heard of Christ in passing and has even studied portions of the Gospels..?

    And what of a Hindu who knows Christianity well enough, due to their marriage to a Christian, and even conflates their religions significantly, yet does not explicitly worship the triune God?

    And what of an atheist who rejects Christianity after a very rough life that didn't have many opportunities -- and they were bitter, and generally uncritical and shallow in their rejection, and they died young..? And what of a very measured, intelligent atheist who lives their whole life pretty good and thinks of Christ as a good teacher but actively rejects the claims that He was God and does so from an informed and scientific perspective...?

    I don't really know.

    There's the conservative position which would simply state anyone who has had the opportunity to know Christ and has rejected Christ goes to hell, and would very broadly condemn people to hell, but I do not fully subscribe to it because I believe that many people have extenuating circumstances.

    St. Justin Martyr even believed that hell was only something that would be an option for people who were baptized into the church and very familiar with the teachings, while others would go to limbo where they would cease to exist. This makes some sense, IMO, because there are both references to an eternal hell and to the destruction of souls.

    I think that just as how Christ tells us to not worry about the end times, we are not to worry about who ends up in heaven/hell in these terms, but to have faith in God, and to just take what we have and come to rational conclusions from it.

    I can say that many people do not know and they are not at risk of hell for their lack of Christianity.

    But I know. And there's a whole lot of metanoia that has to be done.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 02:45
    @philokalia said
    It does deserve its own thread. Good call.

    The problem is that we cannot really know. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa used to say... this is a management decision.

    Because what constitutes ignorance? Obviously, a 13th century Korean Buddhist monk would be ignorant of Christ. But what about a 21st century Korean Buddhist monk who has heard of Christ in passing and has even ...[text shortened]... Christianity.

    But I know. And there's a whole lot of metanoia that has to be done.
    Can you just state concisely and categorically what you personally believe will be the posthumous fate of some/all/any of the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists mentioned in the OP in light of Luke 12:48, a disembodied and unexplained Bible citation you made in order to bat away the question on another thread?
  4. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 02:47
    @philokalia said
    I can say that many people do not know and they are not at risk of hell for their lack of Christianity.
    What's morally wrong with a "lack of Christianity" and - morally speaking - why does it warrant punishment if the lack of belief is sincere and honest?
  5. Seongnam, S. Korea
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    04 Mar '19 05:11
    Sure, I can say that, but let me preface this by saying this isn't my position to pass any judgment. I am just trying to explain this Bible verse, which I believe explains a lot about the concept of heaven...

    There'll be Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. in heaven due to the goodness of their hearts and purity of their intentions, and the inclination of their hearts towards God. I think this all depends on their own concepts of repentance as well. I think their striving to do better and wanting a way to be forgiven for their shortcomings, while simultaneously being gracious towards their own existence, will be important keys for them. Ultimately, they will be judged with a lower standard than Christians, and through that standard and the spirit of their selves, they can gain entrance into the Kingdom of God. This is an interesting excerpt:

    Does this mean that all now outside the Church will go to hell? No. Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that "While there is no division between a `visible' and an 'invisible' Church yet there may be members of the Church who are not visibly such, but whose membership is known to God alone. If anyone is saved, he must in some sense be a member of the Church; in what sense we cannot always say" (The Orthodox Church, p. 248, 1993 edition). Christ our God may be working in others in ways unknown to us and even to them, to bring them to salvation. And in due time, perhaps not till after death, they may recognize God and accept Christ and be united to His Body the Church-so that they can be saved.


    https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/orthodox/2005/03/do-all-non-orthodox-people-go-to-hell.aspx

    Here is some great analysis (by a blog commentator, lol) concerning St. Justin Martyr's view on this, which I believe is very important:

    On the one hand, they have personal sin. On the other, they can also have Baptism of desire.

    [...] St. Justin Martyr, in his First Apology, argues that Socrates was a Christian — he seems to have in mind something like a Baptism of desire. His broader argument is that what the Law was for the Jews (a preparation for Christ, and a partial revelation of God), Philosophy was for the Greeks (by introducing them to reason, and thus, the Logos, who would take on flesh as Jesus Christ). In this, Socrates is the Greek version of someone like Abraham. Justin makes this point about Socrates twice: first, in chapter 5, where he talks about how the evils of paganism were evident to those who followed Logos, like Socrates:

    “For not only among the Greeks did reason (Logos) prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason (or the Word, the Logos) Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ…”

    Then again, in chapter 46, he argues:

    “We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious.”

    Now, we haven’t exactly rushed out to canonize Socrates, so it’s important to remember that this is the opinion of a great Saint, but not necessarily the Church. Still, I find Justin’s argument fascinating food for thought (and reasonable grounds for hoping for the salvation even of those who don’t appear to be Catholic).


    (This whole website also has a great deal about the Catholic concept of Limbo which I have heard that St. Justin Martyr believed in strongly, and he is a Saint of our Church, but he does not define what we believe🙂

    http://shamelesspopery.com/where-do-unbaptized-babies-go-when-they-die/

    During my own walk with God, a nun who has blessed me with a fraction of her great wisdom, also talked about Socrates as having within him a voice of conscience that was provided by God, and because he listened to it, it is very proepr for us to hope he is in heaven. Indeed, assuming that the account found in the Apology of Socrates is correct, we have every reason to believe that he was in the good graces of God...

    It could thus be said that people who are in ignorance of Christ but use reason and exercise love in such a way as to desire Christ and Christ's message have the baptism of desire. The Baptism of Desire is not a doctrine of Orthodoxy, but it is a concept that is still valid when understanding the nature of repentance and salvation, IMO....

    People who grew up and were exposed to Christianity but reject God while knowing the message of Christianity, explicitly, have the hardest case. I think that if someone talks about how they are respectful of Christ and love Christ but are personally trying to be some kind of universalist... that is an interesting and difficult case as well.

    But the question is how much do they know (for atheists), and to what extent are they conforming themselves with the will of Christ as universalists...

    But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.


    Here is a good quotation on the topic:

    Eternal fire was prepared for him who voluntarily departed from God and for all who, without repentance, persevere in apostasy. – Fragment in St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 5:26:2 (153 A.D.).


    Any who consciously reject God and Christ are dooming themselves to hell. Those who try to equate all religions as equal and do not view Christ as the path are also in great peril, but less so. They may be forgiven on account of their generally bumbling nature. Who knows. This cannot be judged at all.

    We just have to go back to statements like:

    The Church believes as well that salvation depends upon the actual life of the person, and God alone is capable of judging since He alone knows the secrets of each mind and heart. Only God is capable of judging how well a man lives according to the measure of grace, faith, understanding, and strength given to him.


    https://oca.org/questions/otherconfessions/what-about-other-christians

    It must be remembered that it is Jesus Christ alone that judges who is or is not saved. The Bible teaches that not all those in the Church will be saved, but some who are never visibly in the Church are nevertheless near and dear to the Lord. (How many times did Samaritan heretics exhibit saving faith in the Gospels?) Jesus is the exclusive Judge of all. On the last and great day, all human beings who have ever lived will be brought before the Lord for the final Judgment. The Creed of Nicea-Constantinople adequately summarizes the entire Tradition when it says of Jesus, He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.


    http://ww1.antiochian.org/content/what-about-non-orthodox-exclusive-claims-church

    And this is ultimately how it should wrap up.

    Our understandings of the Patristic teachings and Bible lead us to the idea that

    (1) It is possible for non-Christians to enter the Kingdom of God although they are in ignorance due to the desire of their heart to do right by God (aka 'baptism of desire'😉.

    (2) Those who consciously reject God are in jeopardy of hellfire.

    (3) God alone can judge people and it is in accordance with the measure of grace, faith, understanding, and strength that has been provided to their circumstance. So there are people who ar efighting very hard battles and who God maybe quite lenient with, as this passage implies.

    (4) Christians are called to constant repentance. We have been given a lot -- and our knowledge of a whole lot requires us to actively work to be worthy of the name.

    BONUS:

    Here is a description of heaven/hell that is very much from within the Eastern Christian concept. This does not fit quite exactly, but it is very illuminating and is tangentially related.

    "The uncreated glory, which Christ has by nature from the Father, is paradise for those who self-centered and selfish love has been cured and transformed into unselfish love. However, the same glory is uncreated eternal fire and hell for those who have chosen to remain uncured in their selfishness."


    http://saintandrewgoc.org/home/2015/4/17/paradise-and-hell-according-to-the-orthodox-church
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 05:16
    @philokalia said
    Sure, I can say that, but let me preface this by saying this isn't my position to pass any judgment. I am just trying to explain this Bible verse, which I believe explains a lot about the concept of heaven...

    There'll be Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. in heaven due to the goodness of their hearts and purity of their intentions, and the inclination of their hea ...[text shortened]... uote]

    http://saintandrewgoc.org/home/2015/4/17/paradise-and-hell-according-to-the-orthodox-church
    I am asking you just state concisely and categorically what you personally believe will be their posthumous fate. I am not asking you to "judge" them. I am asking you to imagine what fate awaits them, according to your beliefs, and tell me what it is.
  7. Seongnam, S. Korea
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    04 Mar '19 05:22
    @fmf said
    I am asking you just state concisely and categorically what you personally believe will be their posthumous fate. I am not asking you to "judge" them. I am asking you to imagine what fate awaits them, according to your beliefs, and tell me what it is.
    Those are my personal beliefs on what it is like for them.

    Could you please clarify or maybe suggest a format for me or something?
  8. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 05:27
    @philokalia said
    Those are my personal beliefs on what it is like for them.

    Could you please clarify or maybe suggest a format for me or something?
    Describe their fate in so far as you imagine it.

    And also descibe what you believe was morally wrong with the beliefs of those Muslims, Jews, Hindus etc
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 05:30
    @philokalia said
    Any who consciously reject God and Christ are dooming themselves to hell. Those who try to equate all religions as equal and do not view Christ as the path are also in great peril, but less so. They may be forgiven on account of their generally bumbling nature. Who knows. This cannot be judged at all.
    "Bumbling nature"?
  10. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 05:33
    @Philokalia
    Any who consciously reject God and Christ are dooming themselves to hell.

    But what if their lack of belief is honest and since? How is not sharing your belief "wrong"?
  11. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 05:43
    @philokalia said
    Those who consciously reject God are in jeopardy of hellfire.
    Two questions:

    [1] What about those who consciously embrace God - but not the God that you perceive?

    [2] What do you think "hellfire" is and how long does it last?
  12. Seongnam, S. Korea
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    04 Mar '19 06:31
    The fate of what hell is like is described in the link from the St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church, more or less. God returns in judgment, and His uncreated light is like a fire, which burns away the impurities from those who are His sheep, and is the glowing warmth of his love for eternity, but to those that have juxtaposed themselves against God, it is a fire that is torturous, and then they spend an eternity away from God, "where the worm ceaseth not" (conscience) "and the fire is not quenched."

    What is morally wrong about Hinduism, etc.?

    This is the wrong question. Someone who was born into Hinduism and follows the tradition faithfully has not committed any moral transgression by accepting the beliefs of their fathers, but obviously this is not an accurate description of the Universe and its creation, and it does not contain the full breadth of principles and virtues that we are educated about through Christ and His Church.

    Any person who dwells in ignorance of Christ and His Church will be held to a different standard, as Luke 12:48 points out, and we should not think of someone who dwells in ignorance as "morally wrong."

    Bumbling nature refers to the clumsy and erroneous view that all religions can be reducible to some core set of values or any other form of universalism/perennialism. Because it fails to understand Christianity, I call it bumbling.

    Sincere & honest rejection of Christ is a sincere & honest rejection of the truth. The universe has a Creator, and the Creator has given His Laws to the people through His prophets, and the Son of God came to Earth. God still actively blesses His people, and is a light to the world. Wherever Christianity goes, it is a light to the people.

    To reject these truths is to reject the Son, and this is wrong. Obviously, wrongness of belief does not usher forth a sin to others in a perceptible way because it can merely be a conscious, internal choice, but this is a choice that takes away the light of Christ from your life, and the conscious pursuits Christians are called to undertake for repentance and for being a light to others. It becomes a grave error of omission in most every deed that one undertakes as it lacks the animating purpose and vision that Christ has for all others.

    To reject Christ is also to reject your relationship with God, and the vertical axis by which we relate ourselves back to God, and tot he cosmos as a whole.

    You know, in Christianity, every single believing Christian, including the children, functions as a sort of Priest over the land. They perform the divine liturgy together -- liturgy literallycomes from 'common working,' and it is commissioned through the prayers of the Christians, and it is through our daily life that we provide a stewardship over the things we touch as Christians...

    and so I do apologize for being rude to you before and failing in my stewardship there. I hope that it has not turned you off from God. I pray that it hasn't.
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 06:48
    @philokalia said
    God returns in judgment, and His uncreated light is like a fire, which burns away the impurities from those who are His sheep, and is the glowing warmth of his love for eternity, but to those that have juxtaposed themselves against God, it is a fire that is torturous, and then they spend an eternity away from God, "where the worm ceaseth not" (conscience) "and the fire is not quenched."
    Ah, so you are a propagator of the torturer god ideology after all.
  14. SubscriberFMF
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    04 Mar '19 06:51
    @philokalia said
    Sincere & honest rejection of Christ is a sincere & honest rejection of the truth.
    What moral or spiritual weight does this declaration on your part, and your use of the word "truth", have for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists?
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    @philokalia said
    To reject these truths is to reject the Son, and this is wrong. Obviously, wrongness of belief does not usher forth a sin to others in a perceptible way because it can merely be a conscious, internal choice, but this is a choice that takes away the light of Christ from your life, and the conscious pursuits Christians are called to undertake for repentance and for being a l ...[text shortened]... h God, and the vertical axis by which we relate ourselves back to God, and tot he cosmos as a whole.
    Well, you are entitled to buy into whatever conjecture about supernatural things that you want but I don't see how it has any traction for people who don't believe the things you do.

    You sound like you have never met or spoken to a non-Christian or talked to them about their religion; indeed, you sound like you have never spent a single moment thinking about what it is like to subscribe to a religion different than yours.

    Give it a try: if you were a Muslim, do you think you would feel guilty or mistaken because you are not a Christian? If you were a Hindu, do you think you would believe, in your heart of hearts, that the correct and morally sound thing to do would be to become a Christian?
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