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On the idea of self-ownership


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#1 Nicholas F.

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:11 AM

So the second topic I would like to bring up here is the idea of self-ownership. Are there any opinions here about the idea of self-ownership? I can sort of see two or three different ideas right now in approaching it. One is that human beings are seen as agents of free will in Orthodox Christianity, so if they are free to act the way the want then they would have self-ownership. The other two ideas I've thought of may be objections to this. With Orthodoxy having a very communal focus, would we say that one shares himself with others and doesn't have self-ownership. The other idea is because our existence comes from God, would we thus be owned by God and either not by ourselves or God and the person own hold ownership over the person? Let me know what you think or if the Fathers have mentioned anything on a similar topic. In Christ, Nicholas

#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

There passages seem relevant:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one John 17:20-21


For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 2 Cor. 6:20


we are members one of another. Eph 4:25



#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:14 PM

St. Nilus of Sora was against the idea of monasteries owning land. St. Joseph, Abbot of Volokolamsk defended the idea. Both are saints of the Orthodox Church. Try a Google search on "possessors and non-possessors"

#4 Owen Jones

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:22 PM

It sounds like we have a libertarian here, struggling with some potential conflict with the faith. In any case, I can also think of St. Paul: I am no longer a slave to sin and am now a slave to Christ. In my case, it is not so black and white, more like, I am a slave to Christ, but Satan is a frequent squatter on the property, and it's very expensive and time consuming to get the cops over to expel the squatter, and it's never permanent, he keeps showing back up.

#5 Nicholas F.

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:39 PM

You hit it right on the head Owen, about a libertarian struggling with whether or not there is conflict. I was actually a traditionalist social conservative in regards to politics until I read Saint John Chrysostom's On the Priesthood where he talks about the Christian's role in the correction of the sinner and not doing it against their will and such, which has lead to me having a libertarian understanding of how to approach things. Thanks for all the replies so far. I can definitely see how this could be an issue where there is even division among the Saints. In Christ, Nicholas

#6 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:40 PM

Dear Nicholas,

Mayhap it is better two thing of us as stewards of the things we have, we eat and drink, we own houses, cars, stuff, but at anytime He who gives unto us may in His love take the same things from us that we might learn to depend upon Him or He may increase what we have that we might help those with less than us, but either way it is God who gives and God who takes away and all thing belong to Him as it is written "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof".

Us in the world share with our family and friends and own things ourselves, those in the monasteries share in common both paths may lead to salvation if done in humility and remember the words of the Lord to give to those who ask us.

I would just like to suggest don't get too much into categorizing yourself politically there is much in libertarianism that is good others stuff that is not so good but when we start to categorise ourselves as one thing or the other we then think we have to agree with all that goes with it and start to us it as a prism. Trying to find our way in life we try to categorize ourselves in to groups especially when we are young but what we really are is in Christ, not in different groups and labels. Let Saint John's words speak to you to your heart but don't think you have to set your mind in agreement to libertarianism.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#7 Nicholas F.

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:05 AM

Dear Nicholas, Mayhap it is better two thing of us as stewards of the things we have, we eat and drink, we own houses, cars, stuff, but at anytime He who gives unto us may in His love take the same things from us that we might learn to depend upon Him or He may increase what we have that we might help those with less than us, but either way it is God who gives and God who takes away and all thing belong to Him as it is written "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof". Us in the world share with our family and friends and own things ourselves, those in the monasteries share in common both paths may lead to salvation if done in humility and remember the words of the Lord to give to those who ask us. I would just like to suggest don't get too much into categorizing yourself politically there is much in libertarianism that is good others stuff that is not so good but when we start to categorise ourselves as one thing or the other we then think we have to agree with all that goes with it and start to us it as a prism. Trying to find our way in life we try to categorize ourselves in to groups especially when we are young but what we really are is in Christ, not in different groups and labels. Let Saint John's words speak to you to your heart but don't think you have to set your mind in agreement to libertarianism. In Christ. Daniel,

Thank you for your wonderful insight and suggestion. :) In Christ, Nicholas

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:00 AM

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[c] and in your spirit, which are God’s.

#9 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

I do not believe the Fathers would speak of man 'owning' himself, nor of God 'owning' man. 'I have not called you servants, but friends', was the word of Christ. Yet the fundamental fact is that the Christian 'lives not for himself', and if one is truly a Christian 'it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.'

We do not speak of ownership, but of will -- and self-will is the root of all sin.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#10 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:44 PM

I deny "self ownership". I simultaneously prefer a libertarian approach to life in this world. This is because I know human history. The moment any ecclesastic entity gains political power, it ceases being a Church and becomes jealously concerned with worldly power and worldly glory. I do not believe that we need to keep the state free from meddling by the Church. I believe that we need to keep the Church free from pollution by the state. The use of theocratic impulses (social conservativism) to govern a polity is an excellent way for Satan to corrupt the well-meaning and pious.

#11 Owen Jones

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 01:34 PM

The history of Christian monarchy is complex, and a mixed bag, so to speak. It has been a force for good and, well, not so good. The problem is that all politics is theology by other means. One never has a political doctrine that is not theologically based. Typically it's bad theology. But it's always theologically based.

Of course, the OT ideal is to not have any ruler as a mediator between God and His people -- that the people should live directly under God's rule. Then the people begged for a King to rule over them and God, recognizing their sinfulness, instituted Kingship. But let's not romanticize the past either way. Pre-Constantinian Christianity was not pure in the sense that a "libertarian" Christian might want it to be. First, there was much brutal persecution. Second, heretical movements dominated, especially in the East. Having a Christian monarchy made all of the Church Councils possible.

Also, Monarchy is the best political system because it's simple and everyone understands it. In the U.S. today, almost nobody understands how the system works, which allows a few "experts" to game the system to their advantage. Kind of like a computer hacker. Christian monarchy specifically acknowledges that the monarch, as well as the people, is subservient to God and Church. It is also based on loyalty and obligation, which are sadly lost virtues in our own day. I would rather be a subject of the Crown and pledge my loyalty to such, rather than be an amorphous citizen with loyalty to an abstraction.

#12 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:46 AM

Owen, atheist totalitarian dictatorship would be the "best" political system by your criterion, because it is the simplest. If one banishes all faith and requires worship of the state, that is even SIMPLER than a theocratic dictatorship, which has to answer questions about bad rulers instituted by a good God. Just eliminate the possibility of questions.

#13 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:33 PM

There is no comparison between Christian monarchy and atheist totalitarianism. From a libertarian perspective, if one cannot make the profound distinction between the two, then I think that reflects a certain superficiality within the libertarian creed.

There are always bad rulers, just as there are always bad people. This does not eliminate the possibility of questions about God's role in man's affairs, and the Church has always confronted these questions very honestly and forthrightly -- has never shied away from them.

#14 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

It was explicitly stated "Also, Monarchy is the best political system because it's simple and everyone understands it." Nothing at all was said about that monarchy having to be "Christian". Simple "monarchy", of all possible kinds, was stated as "the best political system", and why? Merely because "everyone understands it. Yes, everyone does understand strongman government. The Absolute Monarch/Duce/Fuehrer gives commands, and they are obeyed on pain of torture or death. There is no appeal from the mortal leader.

Please quote, specifically, wherein I stated that there is no difference between "Christian monarchy" and "atheist totalitarianism". I would like to see that specific quote.

That being said, name a single Christian monarchy in history that has been worthy of the title. I can think of none. Many monarchies cloaked themselves in a veneer of Christianity, but none of them really were Christian in their governance. All were really just petty tyrannies that used and abused the Church in order to perpetuate further oppression. I have read the rubbish written by absolute monarchists about why God "sends" tyrannical monarchs. It's still rubbish. God can just as easily send a tyrannical president or prime minister, although those offices are supposedly Constitutionally limited in their various countries, so the damage done by them is, in theory, limited. Why would the Holy Spirit have the wisdom and power to ensure a good king but be so weak and foolish as to be utterly unable to ensure a good parliament or good congress?

#15 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:36 PM

The Absolute Monarch/Duce/Fuehrer gives commands, and they are obeyed on pain of torture or death. There is no appeal from the mortal leader.

Dear Bryan J. Maloney,

But Owen did not say an Absolute Monarchy, a strong king is still to rule with the wisdom of the Church under the guidance of his bishops, and with the advice and support of the Witan.

He is not above the law but there to uphold the law he can not go round killing people for no reason.

That being said, name a single Christian monarchy in history that has been worthy of the title. I can think of none.

The just King Alfred the Great, Saint Edmund the King and Martyr , Saint Ethelbert the King Equal to the Apostles e.c.t...

In regard to your last point a king is king beacuse he is the son of the king approved by the Witan and anointed by the Church. The Parliament/President is elected to fullfill the will of the people, it is a rejection of the established government and focused on the will of the people which is quite often nowadays opposed to the will of God. Not to forget that people now trust not in God but in there favourite candidate to be there saviour to rescue them economically, socially ect...

In Christ.
Daniel,

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:58 PM

I can think of many emperors, empresses, kings, and queens who are saints of the Orthodox Church.

#17 Owen Jones

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:59 PM

Of course, there is Davidic Kingship, there is Christian monarchy which developed the theory, cynically if you will, that it is grounded in Davidic Kingship -- which we are told specifically is not God's preference, his preference is that we live directly under his rule and that it is only out of deference to our sinfulness that He instituted kingship. Then there are non-Christian monarchies as well. Royal Dynasties that are Confucion or Islamic for example. If the libertarian argument was actually rooted in the OT, then I would be a bit more respectful, but instead it often comes across as a kind of fundamentalism and a kind of absolutism. It seems to me that Christian monarchy takes into account our sinfulness and need to be ruled and governed, even though the ideal is self-governance, so that faith and reason rule over our passions. Yes, there are all kinds of self-serving arguments in favor of Christian monarchy. It's not like you are the first person to notice this, Bryan. But the same thing can be said about Bishops. It's exactly the same thing, one serving the secular realm, the other the sacred, but each having authority that is granted by God. That they both should use that authority wisely and virtuously is the theory. In practice, many do not. What is so surprising about that?

#18 Nicholas F.

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:17 AM

I think it is pretty clear that this extreme individualism is not compatible with Orthodoxy, which focuses on communion. So I'll be done with this thread, but Owen brought up a good point about he would be a bit more respectful if a libertarian argument came from an understanding of the establishment of the kingship from the Old Testament, which has always been my personal arguments for it. I think I'll probably start a thread on that all together when I get the chance if there isn't one already.

#19 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

Please prove that presidents do not have authority granted by God. Show the evidence.

#20 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:16 PM

I can think of many emperors, empresses, kings, and queens who are saints of the Orthodox Church.


And all their predecessors and heirs, too? Could you show me where it states in Scripture or patristic writing that elected officials are disqualified from being saints?




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