1. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 16:26
    ABANDONING ONESELF TO GOD DOES NOT MEAN LOSS OF FREEDOM

    VATICAN CITY, DEC 8, 2005 (VIS) -

    ..............

    The Holy Father affirmed that Mary "not only has a special relationship with Christ, the Son of God Who, as man, chose to become her Son; but being totally united to Christ, she also belongs completely to us."

    With reference to the designation "Immaculate," Benedict XVI pointed out how "today's liturgy clarifies the meaning of this word using two great images:" the announcement to Mary of the coming of the Messiah, and the struggle between man and the serpent, in other words, "between man and the powers of evil and death. It is, however, foretold that the 'descendant' of woman will one day triumph crushing the serpent's head, underfoot."

    It emerges however that "man does not trust God," the Pope continued. "He harbors the suspicion that, in the end, God takes something from his life; that God is a competitor limiting our freedom, and that we will only be fully human when we have definitively put Him aside; that only in this way can we fully realize our freedom."

    Man, he went on, "wants to draw from the tree of knowledge the power to create the world, to make himself a god at the same level as Him, and to triumph over darkness and death. He does not want to rely on love, which he sees as undependable, and so he relies solely on his own knowledge as giving him power. Rather than on love, he counts on power with which he seeks to control his own life autonomously," but in doing so "he trusts lies more than truth."

    After highlighting the fact that love "is not dependency, but a gift that allows us to live," the Pope said: "Only if we live with one another and for one another can freedom develop. ... If we live contrary to love and contrary to truth - contrary to God - we destroy one another and we destroy the world."

    Benedict XVI pointed out that "within each of us is a drop of poison," which we call original sin. "It is precisely on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception that the suspicion arises in us that a person who does not sin at all is, in the end, a little boring, that something is lacking in his or her life: the dramatic dimension of being autonomous."

    Yet, he went on, "evil always poisons, it does not raise man but lowers and humiliates him, it does not make him greater, purer and richer, but damages him and makes him smaller. This, rather, is what we should learn on the day of the Immaculate Conception: that the man who abandons himself completely in the hands of God, does not become a puppet of God, ... he does not lose his freedom," but finds it.

    "The closer man is to God, the closer he is to rest of mankind," said the Holy Father. "We see this in Mary. The fact that she is completely with God is the reason she is also so close to human beings. It is for this reason that she is able to be the mother of all consolation and all help."

    The Virgin, he concluded, addresses us all saying "do not be afraid of Him! ... Commit yourself to God, and you will see that precisely because of this your life will become more extensive and illuminated, not boring, but full of infinite surprises, because God's infinite goodness never runs dry!"

    HML/IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:COUNCIL/... VIS 051209 (730)
  2. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    09 Dec '05 16:35
    Freedom...ah...freedom.

    I experience freedom when my mind is at rest--better still, at play...I discard the notion of sin as damaging--evil, if you like--in itself.
  3. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 17:011 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Freedom...ah...freedom.

    I experience freedom when my mind is at rest--better still, at play...I discard the notion of sin as damaging--evil, if you like--in itself.
    Don't you think sin, committing sin, turning to evil, has its consequenses ?
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Dec '05 17:25
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    ABANDONING ONESELF TO GOD DOES NOT MEAN LOSS OF FREEDOM

    VATICAN CITY, DEC 8, 2005 (VIS) -

    ..............

    The Holy Father affirmed that Mary "not only has a special relationship with Christ, the Son of God Who, as man, chose to become her Son; but being totally united to Christ, she also belongs completely to us."

    With reference to the desi ...[text shortened]... te goodness never runs dry!"

    HML/IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:COUNCIL/... VIS 051209 (730)
    I agree that the question is not “God versus freedom.” For Jews, that’s what the Exodus from mitzraim, “narrow confines” (Egypt) is about; it’s what a covenantal relationship (rather than a submissive relationship) is about. I think the classic Christian statement is from Paul, Galatians 5:1: “For freedom us Christ freed, stand firm therefore, and not again by a yoke of slavery be held.” (direct translation from the Greek)

    Lucifershammer once, very insightfully, pointed out that he and I have different visions of freedom and authority. To put it metaphorically, mine is that of a nomad wandering through the spiritual wilderness, where sometimes sticking to a well-worn path may be necessary if not welcome; his is (and this is my metaphor, not his) more like that of Trappist monks who find great spiritual freedom within the cloister, and because of the cloister (Thomas Merton is a powerful example). I think they are both valid, depending on the person.

    Many people seem to think they have to give up their freedom of inquiry to God. I think that is a mistake. Sometimes, in all the religious traditions (nontheistic and monistic, as well as theistic), there have been those willing to promote and take advantage of such an error. That does mean that it is still not a mistaken interpretation of the basic tenets of that religious tradition.
  5. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 17:422 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I agree that the question is not “God versus freedom.” For Jews, that’s what the Exodus from mitzraim, “narrow confines” (Egypt) is about; it’s what a covenantal relationship (rather than a submissive relationship) is about. I think the classic Christian statement is from Paul, Galatians 5:1: “For freedom us Christ freed, stand firm therefore, and ...[text shortened]... that it is still not a mistaken interpretation of the basic tenets of that religious tradition.
    Vistesd: I agree that the question is not “God versus freedom.”

    I'm glad you agree. There are so many misunderstandings among non-believers about this issue (and others), it sometimes becomes impossible to communicate with them in any meaningful way because of these seriously flawed implicite notions they have chosen as their fundaments of "understanding" the true Christian faith when exchanging thoughts about it.

    EDIT: I like the distinction you make when you write: "it’s what a covenantal relationship (rather than a submissive relationship) is about.
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Dec '05 18:141 edit
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    [b]Vistesd: I agree that the question is not “God versus freedom.”

    I'm glad you agree. There are so many misunderstandings among non-believers about this issue (and others), it sometimes becomes impossible to communicate with them in any meaningful way because of these seriously flawed implicite notions they have chosen as their fundaments of "under ...[text shortened]... write: "it’s what a covenantal relationship (rather than a submissive relationship) is about.[/b]
    I’ll even go further: I think we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are able to relinquish our freedom (and I’m not going for a philosophical discussion of free will versus determinism here, just our daily making of decisions) by adhering to a particular religious or philosophical doctrine. No one forced Merton to become a Trappist; there are no guardhouses or barbed-wire at Our Lady of Gethsemani (I once did a weekend retreat there); he wrote and published voluminously, and not always uncritically of Cistercian practices. He was something of a “free spirit”—and he was also a Trappist, and he found no real conflict between the two (or at least no more than all of us sometimes find in our daily lives and vocations).

    To take a more homey example: Just because I made a vow to love my wife for life means nothing if I do not freely make that decision every day. I am not absolved from that decision because of a one time declaration; I am not released from the authority and responsibility for making that decision. In fact, that one-time contractual “vow” means little to me: the daily decision means much. There are no “barbed-wire fences” around our marriage. (In my first marriage I tragically thought there were.)

    To use my metaphor of wandering in the spiritual wilderness again: there is discipline involved in that as well.

    My point being that the authority and responsibility to decide what we think and what we do still rests with us. I sometimes call it, paradoxically, the “inescapable freedom.” (Now, a determinist will disagree with my basically existentialist stance here, and we will simply be at impasse.)
  7. Joined
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    09 Dec '05 18:29
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    [b]Vistesd: I agree that the question is not “God versus freedom.”

    I'm glad you agree. There are so many misunderstandings among non-believers about this issue (and others), it sometimes becomes impossible to communicate with them in any meaningful way because of these seriously flawed implicite notions they have chosen as their fundaments of "under ...[text shortened]... write: "it’s what a covenantal relationship (rather than a submissive relationship) is about.[/b]
    What does "covenantal" mean anyway? firefox: "dict covenantal" didn't turn up anything and I don't have an english dictionary lying about.
  8. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 18:311 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I’ll even go further: I think we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are able to relinquish our freedom (and I’m not going for a philosophical discussion of free will versus determinism here, just our daily making of decisions) by adhering to a particular religious or philosophical doctrine. No one forced Merton to become a Trappist; there are no ...[text shortened]... t will disagree with my basically existentialist stance here, and we will simply be at impasse.)
    Isn't the act of deciding to serve God's adversary, and actually engaging in it, the way of loosing your freedom, God's gift to all human beings, and thus becoming a prisoner, a slave ?

    Isn't chosing to serve God's enemy the way of squandering your freedom ?
  9. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 18:351 edit
    Originally posted by stocken
    What does "covenantal" mean anyway? firefox: "dict covenantal" didn't turn up anything and I don't have an english dictionary lying about.
    It is derived from the term "covenant"

    http://www.brainydictionary.com/words/co/covenant149055.html

    Covenant

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties, or one of the stipulations in such an agreement.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Also see:

    http://www.xenos.org/essays/covdisp.htm

    Covenantal Vs. Dispensational Theology
    Gary DeLashmutt and Dennis McCallum
  10. Joined
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    09 Dec '05 18:41
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    It is derived from the term "covenant"

    http://www.brainydictionary.com/words/co/covenant149055.html

    Covenant

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties, or one of the stipulations in such an agreement.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ...[text shortened]... ssays/covdisp.htm

    Covenantal Vs. Dispensational Theology
    Gary DeLashmutt and Dennis McCallum
    Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚
  11. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 18:54
    Originally posted by stocken
    Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚
    You're welcome ๐Ÿ™‚
  12. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Dec '05 19:062 edits
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Isn't the act of deciding to serve God's adversary, and actually engaging in it, the way of loosing your freedom, God's gift to all human beings, and thus becoming a prisoner, a slave ?

    Isn't chosing to serve God's enemy the way of squandering your freedom ?
    I don’t know. I tend not to think of it in such dualistic terms. I read somewhere that Luther once said that man is an ass that is either ridden by God or Satan. I think he must’ve said that during one of his table-talks, after too much German beer!

    In technical terms, you are a theist and I have become a monist, currently exploring that ground through the “sacred myths” (once again, to use David S. Ariel’s term) of Judaism* (which I got onto partly because of fairly recently discovering that I have some Jewish ancestry—which was kept a deep dark secret in the family for a long time!). So I probably think of “the adversary” in terms of anything that alienates me from the ineffable ground of my being, which is what I mean when I use the word God (and yes, I think that is the God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah and Rachel!), and leads me into such an alienated existence. To me, pursuing those things that bring about such an existential alienation is “squandering my freedom” (a wonderful phrase: thank you!), and is as good a definition of “sin” as any. I have done enough of that to begin to be able to recognize the trap.

    Beyond that, and given the complexity of our different theological bases, I don’t know how to answer. I am still working a lot of things out. (I put that in bold as a great qualifier on everything else I have said.) I’m not sure that we’re in disagreement, except perhaps in terms of how we articulate the same dilemma.

    * And that question that you once said I should pay attention to, and not let out of my mind: “Why is that not good enough for you?” Do you remember?
  13. Felicific Forest
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    09 Dec '05 21:11
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I don’t know. I tend not to think of it in such dualistic terms. I read somewhere that Luther once said that man is an ass that is either ridden by God or Satan. I think he must’ve said that during one of his table-talks, after too much German beer!

    In technical terms, you are a theist and I have become a monist, currently exploring that ground through ...[text shortened]... ention to, and not let out of my mind: “Why is that not good enough for you?” Do you remember?
    Yes, I remember, but at the moment the exact context escapes me. I know we were PM-ing at the time. I'm sure if I contemplate on it I'll remember the context also .... ๐Ÿ™‚
  14. Felicific Forest
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    12 Dec '05 00:57
    DoctorScibbles,

    If you read the above article in this thread's first post you will hopefully understand part of the context in which I adress the manipulative debating techniques used by some debaters.
  15. Donationkirksey957
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    12 Dec '05 01:15
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    DoctorScibbles,

    If you read the above article in this thread's first post you will hopefully understand part of the context in which I adress the manipulative debating techniques used by some debaters.
    Translation: "I haven't had my daily allowance of arguing with you."
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