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"Why an Orthodox Christian cannot be an evolutionist" essay by S.V Bufeev


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#181 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:48 PM

I will continue to believe as I do because the Priests I have spoken with have all told me that I have the freedom to believe as I wish, I can form my private theological opinions on these matters because they aren't doctrine.

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This cannot go without correction since we must have regard to the fact that anyone can read these posts and we must not allow misleading information to lie here without comment.  What is said in the sentences quoted is profoundly un-Orthodox.  If any Orthodox priest has said this he is wrong and should be corrected.  We do not tailor Orthodoxy to fit our inclinations.  To believe in the truth of what the Church teaches in her hymnography and iconography is in no way radical or in any sense 'fundamentalist' or 'ultra-traditional'.  It is the Orthodox faith pure and simple.  To reduce what the Holy Church teaches in her major feasts to a mere symbolism which may be accepted or not according to an individual's fancy is completely unacceptable.  If anyone, layman or priest, wishes to go off and invent an Orthodoxy in the image of his own fallen reason and intellect, he is free to do but he is not free to say that those here or anywhere who uphold Holy Tradition and the Orthodox faith are wrong.


Edited by Andreas Moran, 02 February 2013 - 06:49 PM.


#182 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:52 PM

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This cannot go without correction since we must have regard to the fact that anyone can read these posts and we must not allow misleading information to lie here without comment.  What is said in the sentences quoted is profoundly un-Orthodox.  If any Orthodox priest has said this he is wrong and should be corrected.  We do not tailor Orthodoxy to fit our inclinations.  To believe in the truth of what the Church teaches in her hymnography and iconography is in no way radical or in any sense 'fundamentalist' or 'ultra-traditional'.  It is the Orthodox faith pure and simple.  To reduce what the Holy Church teaches in her major feasts to a mere symbolism which may be accepted or not according to an individual's fancy is completely unacceptable.  If anyone, layman or priest, wishes to go off and invent an Orthodoxy in the image of his own fallen reason and intellect, he is free to do but he is not free to say that those here or anywhere who uphold Holy Tradition and the Orthodox faith are wrong.


It isn't unorthodox, it's quite Orthodox. It's called theologoumena.

If you think it's so wrong, then tell that to the entire OCA and to the Greek Archdiocese. This is what I've been taught by Priests and authorities from both these churches.

#183 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:10 PM

Are you saying that you have been taught that the Theotokos did not enter the Holy of Holies and that our Lord did not ascend actually in the flesh?



#184 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

There is theologoumena and there is nonsense. Theologoumena within Orthodoxy is NOT "believe as you wish". It is not merely an opinion. We do try to make an honest attempt to harmonize what we believe with the teachings of the Church, not merely throw those teachings in the trash because we don't agree with them. Not every opinion is of equal value. Some are better supported than others, and those with the backing of the time-tested and respected teaching of the Church and the Fathers, who shape their theologoumena with prayer, asceticism, and, in short, a life lived in Christ and steeped in the Tradition of the Church have, in my opinion, a higher value than my opinion. Where the Fathers do not agree we teach is "theologoumena" and not doctrine, but there is much that they agree on that certain contemporary writers seem to disregard to their own detriment. And hate does not lead to sound theologoumena, but that might just be my opinion.



#185 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:20 PM

Are you saying that you have been taught that the Theotokos did not enter the Holy of Holies and that our Lord did not ascend actually in the flesh?


I've been taught that I can believe as I like on those things because they aren't absolute doctrine.

Of course Christ ascended in the flesh, but we shouldn't think he literally floated up into the sky and dissapeared in the clouds. For one, heaven/paradise isn't in the sky like that, in fact, heaven isn't even a "place" as Western Christians think of it. But that's getting way off topic.

With evolution, I've been taught that I can believe as I want as long as I recognize God as the creator of all things and hold to the Creed. I don't personal believe Genesis is a literal and scientific record of creation, and every Priest I've spoken to or Orthodox scholar I've read/heard says there isn't a problem. The only exceptions would be some of the radical articles like on Orthodox Information Center.

#186 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:23 PM

Herman is entirely correct, and to re-inforce his post, it is a trite observation that theologoumena are sayings of the Fathers that are not placed on the same level as doctrinal statements but may be useful (rather like the obiter dicta of judges).  They are emphatically not the opinions of any Tom, Dick or Harry who opens his mouth.



#187 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:31 PM

Owen, in my opinion, has brought up some excellent points that have not been engaged with to any degree. These points look at evolution from a perspective that is not even rooted in "fundamentalism" or "Orthodoxy" but merely in the fundamentals of clear,"orthodox" rational thought. Would anyone like to counter Owen's points on the discontinuities of social darwinism and such or will we simply continue to ignore that particular elephant in the middle of the chatroom?



#188 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:31 PM


 

I've been taught that I can believe as I like on those things because they aren't absolute doctrine.
 


You have been wrongly taught.

 

Of course Christ ascended in the flesh, but we shouldn't think he literally floated up into thesky and dissapeared [sic] in the clouds.


Why not? Have you read the hymns for Ascension in the Pentecostarion?  Do they not mean what they say?  Angels were amazed: why not you?
 

every Priest I've spoken to or Orthodox scholar I've read/heard
 

 

Tried reading the Fathers and the texts of the services and looking at the holy icons?


Edited by Olga, 02 February 2013 - 10:06 PM.
removed excessive spacing


#189 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:51 PM


You have been wrongly taught.

Why not? Have you read the hymns for Ascension in the Pentecostarion?  Do they not mean what they say?  Angels were amazed: why not you

Tried reading the Fathers and the texts of the services and looking at the holy icons?
 


You DO realize that icons don't show physical reality, but rather spiritual reality right? Do you honestly believe the Theotokos and Christ looked like they do in Byzantine icons?

Many of our hymns are the same as icons, they show forth the spiritual reality, not the physical, factual/scientific reality.

Some of your ideas seem to come more from medieval superstition and simplicity rather than reality.

I strongly suggest you listen to Fr Thomas Hopko and Dr Jeannie Constantinou (and read the OCA and GOA articles) about creationism, evolution and taking parts of scripture, icons and hymns absolutely literally.

#190 Anna Stickles

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:04 PM

I've been taught that I can believe as I like on those things because they aren't absolute doctrine.

 

It is doctrine though, and one that is absolute, that man was created in the image of God, as a rational creature, not as an irrational animal who then over time turned into a rational creature.  An ape is not in the image of God, certainly neither is whatever protorganism evolutionary scientists say was the beginning of the evolutionary chain.  To believe in the evolution of man, is to deny that man was created in the image of God. 

 

By rational here we don't mean that man can reason (even animals have some ability to predict and reason) but in Orthodox theology, when we talk about man being a rational creature we are talking about how he has a spiritual aspect to his being that the animals don't have. It is an aspect that is intrinsic to his nature, not something that was added later. It is that aspect (often referred to as the noetic part of man) that was damaged most heavily in the fall, and which is what is connected with him being made in the image of God in the way that animals aren't.



#191 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:05 PM

It is doctrine though, and one that is absolute, that man was created in the image of God, as a rational creature, not as an irrational animal who then over time turned into a rational creature.  An ape is not in the image of God, certainly neither is whatever protorganism evolutionary scientists say was the beginning of the evolutionary chain.  To believe in the evolution of man, is to deny that man was created in the image of God. 
 
By rational here we don't mean that man can reason (even animals have some ability to predict and reason) but in Orthodox theology, when we talk about man being a rational creature we are talking about how he has a spiritual aspect to his being that the animals don't have. It is an aspect that is intrinsic to his nature, not something that was added later. It is that aspect (often referred to as the noetic part of man) that was damaged most heavily in the fall, and which is what is connected with him being made in the image of God in the way that animals aren't.


I think you misunderstand theistic evolution and the doctrine that man is made in the image and likeness of God.

#192 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:07 PM

How do you know that icons do not represent those they depict as they appeared?  The iconographic tradition is consistent in terms of what, for example, St Peter looked like.  A modern elder has said that certain icons of the Mother of God (particularly the Jerusalem icon) show her as she really is.  Newly revealed saints such as Raphael, Nikolaos and Irene, Ephraim of Nea Makri, and Hilarion of Taxiarchis have been depicted in icons as they appeared in life because they appeared to people (such as Photios Kontoglou) who then knew their appearance.  What patristic and liturgical authority can you cite for your views?  Have you read St Gregory Palamas and St John Maximovich on the Mother of God?  Fr Thomas and Jeannie Constantinou (whoever she is) hardly count as authority. 


Edited by Andreas Moran, 02 February 2013 - 08:15 PM.


#193 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

What diocese/jurisdiction do you belong to Andreas? Nothing you've said meshes with anything I've ever... EVER heard taught within the OCA or Greek churches. I've only heard it from people in ROCOR and the non-canonical Old Calendar groups and non-canonical Old Believer groups.

#194 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:23 PM

Since you ask, I was blessed to be received into the Church by Elder Sophrony of Essex.  I was received by the late Bishop Irenaeos of Patara, who was trained in theology at Halki in Constantinople, was a Patriarchal deacon, was hegoumen of Macheiras Monastery in Cyprus, and for 25 years was a hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne.  He was also a disciple of Elder Sophrony.  The Bishop was my spiritual father and after him Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou) of Essex.  Weak and sinful as I am, I try my best to adhere to the tradition they imparted to me.


Edited by Andreas Moran, 02 February 2013 - 08:37 PM.


#195 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

Since you ask, I was blessed to be received into the Church by Elder Sophrony of Essex.  I was received by the late Bishop Irenaeos of Patara, who was trained in theology at Halki in Constantinople, was a Patriarchal deacon, was hegoumen of Macheiras Monastery in Cyprus, and for 25 years was a hierarch of the Ecumenical Throne.  He was also a disciple of Elder Sophrony.  The Bishop was my spiritual father and after him Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou) of Essex.


You could quote me Elder Paisios, Elder Ephraim, Fr Seraphim Rose, Elder Sophrony, St. John Maximovich, St. Justin Popovich and Elder Cleopa against evolution and honestly it wouldn't matter. They are all holy men but that doesn't mean they are reliable sources for the scientific history of the universe.
Would you seek a monk or nun for marital advice? (I'd hope not) No, you'd seek out a married Priest and a marriage counselor and other married people. Same here, you want to know about the factual history of our church and what we know of scripture? Don't seek out a spiritual elder, seek someone knowledgable in the subject. If you want advice on the spiritual life and communion with God, then seek after a spiritual elder.

#196 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

The elders of Mt Athos are all holy men who are advanced in the spiritual life, but they certainly aren't knowledgable in everything, and certainly can become far too "zealous" or "radical", such as with the schismatics occupying Esphigmenou Monastery (who should all be arrested, kicked out and moved elsewhere off the holy mountain). I would love do go to the holy mountain for spiritual advice. But I would not confess there nor ask advice about marriage, love, science, intellectual study etc...

#197 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:49 PM

No, you are completely wrong.  The tradition which was handed to me I am not alone here in following: you also have the posts of Herman, Olga and others who speak from the same tradition.  Of course I sought advice from Archimandrite Zacharias as to whom to marry after my first wife died.  You have, unfortunately, some very erroneous notions of about Orthodoxy.


Edited by Andreas Moran, 02 February 2013 - 09:00 PM.


#198 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

No, you are completely wrong.  The tradition which was handed to me I am not alone here in following: you also have the posts of Herman, Olga and others who speak from the same tradition.  Of course I sought advice from Archimandrite Zacharias as to whom to marry after my first wife died.  You really have no idea what you are talking about, sorry to say.  I will not reply to any further posts of yours.


I am not completely wrong, if so then you might as well excommunicate me, Fr Hopko, Dr Constantinou, Most of the OCA priests I've spoken with and many other Orthodox Christians out there.

#199 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:15 PM

It doesn't matter how many of you are contradicting me, most of you are coming from extreme conservative jurisdictions and groups including ROCOR and ACROD. I would sooner listen to Greeks, Antiochians and OCA than listen to ultra-Orthodox from these other groups.

I was told that some would call me unorthodox if I told them my views. Yet I've also been told that I'm fine believing as I do. So you all just have to accept that my views are okay within the church. If you don't, then you may as well go join the Old Calendarist schismatics over at Euphrosynos Cafe.

If what I've been taught by my priests and Fr Hopko & Dr Constantinou is wrong, then I don't want to be right...
Thank God this church isn't a bastion full of fundies and ultra-conservatives.




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