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Love of pets


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#1 Christina M.

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:48 PM

Is it wrong to feel in the heart love for a pet, with the same intensity that one would feel love for a child?

Between "agape" and "filos" love, which is the proper one (if either) to have for a pet?

Since a pet is part of non-human creation, should love for a pet be the exact same type and intensity as one would have for the rest of non-human creation, like the rocks and the trees?

#2 Christina M.

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 02:53 PM

Oops maybe I should've titled this "Love for pets" instead of "of pets". Let a mod decide...

#3 Theodora E.

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 03:41 PM

I've known way too many people, not necessarily Orthodox, who prefer animals to humans, and even to the point that they will support only animal charities and never ones for humans in need.

Pets are animals. They are not humans. They are not rational beings. To attribute human characteristics to animals is going too far, in my opinion.

I guess one question for you, is would you bankrupt yourself to pay for vet care for a very sick pet, or otherwise be unable to make your bills because you're spending too much money on the pet? I've known folks who are to this extent, which I do not consider to be a healthy mindset.

#4 Christina M.

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:18 PM

I guess one question for you, is would you bankrupt yourself to pay for vet care for a very sick pet, or otherwise be unable to make your bills because you're spending too much money on the pet? I've known folks who are to this extent, which I do not consider to be a healthy mindset.


Personally, I would not. I would let my pets die if their medical costs were too much. I wouldn't even have to think twice about it, because animals don't have souls.

I also have known people (and some Orthodox) who love their pets more than humans. This seems to be especially the case with dogs, from what I've seen. The thing is that many intelligent pets, namely cats and dogs since they are so common, do display human characteristics, and I think that is what makes it a little confusing. I watched a youtube video once of a capuchin monkey taking a shower. It was frightfully human-like. He even would rub the shampoo all over his head to lather it up! Ever since then I've always wanted a capuchin... it's too bad they're so expensive, and dangerous!

#5 John Konstantin

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:47 PM

Pets are a form of hostage and the ones who stay of their own volition is a learnt response to hunger. All the other daft stuff is sentimentality that humans impute upon their pets. I say this as someone who has owned dogs all his life and love them dearly :-)

#6 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:37 PM

It is a trend of our society that many people would gladly donate money to "pet"-related charities and insist that humanitarian charities are "useless" or "make things worse by coddling". Pets are "better" than children in the eyes of some people, because, unlike children, they never grow up, they never develop meaningful independence. I feel great affection for my pets, but I immediately distinguish between them and my children. Indeed, one habit down here in Texas that annoys me without end is referring to me as "Daddy" to these animals. I am not their "Daddy". I am their (co)owner, their caretaker, their companion, and a surrogate for the flock or pack alpha. But I am never their "Daddy"--that's just sick. I am "Daddy" to four boys and a girl, not a dog, a cat, and two cockatoos.

#7 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:00 PM

You have almost as many animals as I used to have, I agree with you on what you say. I love my pets and also think we should show care to them as all other animals God's creation but we must maintain that they are not humans. But saying that I can understand why people without human friends or loved one can have deep emotional feelings for an animal, it might not be healthy but I can understand why.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#8 Ryan

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 07:45 PM

I wouldn't even have to think twice about it, because animals don't have souls.


Yes they do, just not immortal ones.

#9 Paul Cowan

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:18 AM

When people ask me if I have children, I say I have 2 boys; A 7 year old Pomeranian and a 5 year old Chihuahua. We can't have children and dogs are just as rebellious and loving as children can be. Besides, you can lock them up in the bathroom for a few hours while you go to the store and no one will call CPS. I know the difference between humans and canines, but you make do with the love offered you when you can get it. I gave up on cats years ago. That's a one way arrangement and frankly, I am needy. :)

Paul

#10 Kusanagi

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:49 AM

because animals don't have souls.


St Seraphim of Sarov teaches different that animals do have soul, he mentions this in his long dialogue with Motovilov

#11 Vangelis

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:24 AM

As Christians we should love and care for all other humans, animals, plants and the earth where we live.
Since we can not do everything the same time and with the same intensity, we owe to care for other human beings first!

From the surplass of our love, we should care for pets, the nature e.t.c.

According to what I have read, (I can recall Ft.Paisios) couples that have the energy and spare money and do not have children, the best thing for them to do (of course this is just a proposal and not a rule) would be to adopt an orphant (or two!).

#12 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:33 PM

St Seraphim of Sarov teaches different that animals do have soul, he mentions this in his long dialogue with Motovilov


Terminology issue here. Before we get too "dogmatic" and jumping on each others' definitions, do be aware that different conventions are used by different writers. The "science of the soul" is anything but exact. Different patristic writers assign slightly different meanings to the word "soul". One writer uses the word "soul" where another uses "spirit". Another divides the "soul" into parts rather than differentiate between "soul" and "spirit". Because done Orthodox writer uses a slightly different convention does not make one wrong and one right. It can be a bit confusing, I must admit.

For example, Met. Hierotheos uses the convention body, soul, and spirit. He says that animals have a body and a spirit but not a soul, and angels have soul and spirit and no body, making "man" unique and trinitarian by have a body soul and spirit. But another writer uses "spirit" instead of soul. We are probably going to go around and around on this anyways but I thought it worth throwing out there before we do. There may be translation issues as well since most of these writers did not write in English to begin with and we are reading someone else's translation of their words. I hope we can avoid getting too hung up on the "technical" definitions here and simply recognize that there are, in fact, different conventions, none of which are exact, and none of which are totally right or totally wrong.

Herman the hopefully not totally wrong Pooh

#13 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 04:21 PM

As has already been mentioned, Orthodox teachers can sometimes differentiate between ""psyche", and "nous" within the soul, indicating that animals lack "nous" (St. Gregory Palamas). Metropolitan Heirotheos of Nafpaktos's Orthodox Psychotherapy (chapter 3) delves into this in some detail (also previously mentioned, just adding a link to the material.

#14 Ryan

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:17 PM

In any case, cats are not merely soft, meowing rocks.

#15 Olga

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:27 PM

In any case, cats are not merely soft, meowing rocks.


And neither are they incapable of knowing (and doing) right and wrong .... :-D

#16 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:00 PM

And neither are they incapable of knowing (and doing) right and wrong .... :-D

There is one cat by me that makes be sometimes think otherwise instead of the leave and let be that most cats do it comes to the house and I mean in tries to come in the house (which its associate did at least twice) when we it knows we don't want it to. Then it tried to get in the car to attack a poor scared of her own shadow Golden Retriever who only is brave in defending others, the once she defend a sweet cat against a bully cat. Anyway it does many other things as well like switching its tail for no reason and seems to have a vendetta against us.




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