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


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#161 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:45 AM

I am an Orthodox Christian and I accept the factual, scientific reality of evolution as caused by God. I know many other Orthodox Christians who also accept it.

 

It really bothers me to see Orthodox Christians who may be classified as radical traditionalists or rather Orthodox fundamentalists.

 

I do understand the importance of the Saints and the Fathers, but do they really matter in terms of if Genesis absolutely has to be read literally?



#162 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:05 AM

<continued from above>

 

The kind of analogy I always have brought up in this particular discussion is about certain stories that some people misunderstand to have been actual, literal events. One of these that I usually bring up is the famous story of St. George and the dragon. This is a story that exists in our church, even within the iconography. However, factually we know that the story doesn't date prior to the 11th Century and was only added to the hagiography during or after this period. We also know that dragons don't exist, and we know especially that they didn't exist in the late 3rd and early 4th Century. So how do we interpret this story? We know that it never occurred, but rather that the story should instead be understood as an allegory about the struggle against Satan.

 

Another I usually bring up is the story of the Theotokos being brought to the Temple. We know this probably occurred, but there is a little bit of it that we know definitely did not occur, and that is a later tradition is that she was carried into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest himself. Also part of the story is that everyone believed she would give birth to the Son of God. Most of the misunderstanding here comes from misinterpretation of Orthodox hymns for the Entrance into the Temple and other feasts. We know, however, that there wasn't any way she would have been carried in there. The High Priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year and didn't just enter when he wanted. Women also could not move beyond the Court of the Women, this idea assumes she was carried from here, up through the Nicanor Gate, into the Court of the Priests, up into the Holy Place, through the veil and into the Holy of Holies. This simply would not have occurred, and the High Priest would have been stopped even if he tried. Our hymns don't always reflect what actually happened, but rather look back onto the events with the knowledge we have now, in the full revelation of Christ with a lot of added symbolism.

 

Yet another story is that St. Ignatius was one of the children held in Christ's arms in the Gospels. This also probably didn't occur, especially because St. Ignatius probably wasn't born until after Christ's ascension, but this could, I guess still be debated.

 

My whole point, is that we cannot insist that everything we read in the Bible or even our hymns or synaxarion be interpreted as factual, historical reality.



#163 Olga

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:36 AM

Devin wrote:

 

Another I usually bring up is the story of the Theotokos being brought to the Temple. We know this probably occurred, but there is a little bit of it that we know definitely did not occur, and that is a later tradition is that she was carried into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest himself. Also part of the story is that everyone believed she would give birth to the Son of God. Most of the misunderstanding here comes from misinterpretation of Orthodox hymns for the Entrance into the Temple and other feasts. We know, however, that there wasn't any way she would have been carried in there. The High Priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year and didn't just enter when he wanted. Women also could not move beyond the Court of the Women, this idea assumes she was carried from here, up through the Nicanor Gate, into the Court of the Priests, up into the Holy Place, through the veil and into the Holy of Holies. This simply would not have occurred, and the High Priest would have been stopped even if he tried. Our hymns don't always reflect what actually happened, but rather look back onto the events with the knowledge we have now, in the full revelation of Christ with a lot of added symbolism.

 

We must be very careful not to over-rationalise events in salvation history which appear to be impossible according to the laws of nature or the ways of the world. If we take the notion that "we know that such things could not possibly have happened" and apply it to other aspects of Orthodox tradition, God's will and His hand in His divine economy is diminished, if not eliminated. God is not subject to His creation.

 

The matter of the young Virgin entering the Holy of Holies has been discussed at great length in several threads on this forum. It is not my intention to do so here. ;)



#164 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:11 AM

Devin wrote:

 

 

We must be very careful not to over-rationalise events in salvation history which appear to be impossible according to the laws of nature or the ways of the world. If we take the notion that "we know that such things could not possibly have happened" and apply it to other aspects of Orthodox tradition, God's will and His hand in His divine economy is diminished, if not eliminated. God is not subject to His creation.

 

The matter of the young Virgin entering the Holy of Holies has been discussed at great length in several threads on this forum. It is not my intention to do so here. ;)

 

It isn't over-rationalizing when the stories of such events never existed until many centuries after they occurred. We have no doubt that events in the Gospels occurred, but there are other stories about those events which never existed until several hundred years after.

 

We also have to be careful not to fall into some sort of superstition, or as I mentioned above, a form of radical traditionalism or fundamentalism. We know Christ ascended, but that he probably didn't visibly and physically float up into the clouds. Or that when God spoke at the Theophany, that those surrounding didn't literally hear a voice and it may have been just a few.

 

We can't be averse to intellectual thought and reasoning just because it was abused by the Christian West. Many modern, living Orthodox scholars have illustrated the usefulness of this, such as Dr. Jeannie Constantinou, Fr. Thomas Hopko and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.



#165 Olga

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:40 AM

I reproduce part of a post from another thread, which addresses this strain of thought by certain contemporary writers and commentators, which includes the notion of "what is necessary for salvation", such as "we don't need to believe that the Mother of God actually entered the Holy of Holies". This excerpt clearly and eloquently expresses a proper Orthodox mindset far better than I could:

 


What is the meaning of necessary for salvation and who is to decide? Yes, the Councils, yes Holy Scripture -- and yes, Holy Tradition. It seems that our Lord, through His Body the Church has made and continually makes her offering to us: it is manifold and life-giving. I don't think any of us can consume all of it, because it is varied and endless in its scope. On the other hand, what part of it would I not wish to consume for my spiritual benefit? The Lord's burden is indeed light, and rejoicing in His Body the Church and all that it offers to us for the putting away of passions and the renewal of our minds seems to be worthwhile. I have never read a Saint of the Church speak otherwise.

A parishioner one time said to me, after hearing a sermon on the life of St. Mary of Egypt "Father, do you really believe that? (The miraculous story of her life) Because I don't." I responded, "Yes, I do." To which he replied, "I don't think it is necessary for my salvation to believe that story." To which I said, "Possibly not for you, but it most certainly it is for me." And I say so for many reasons, but chiefly I am overjoyed that the life of St. Mary was indeed lived and has been given to the whole Church (and thus to me), to treasure in the many ways that it is treasured.

 

I never considered it was conflated or untrue in its telling, because the Church sanctified it and gave it to us for the upbuilding of our hearts. Are the stories from the life of the Most Holy Theotokos any different? I remember the first time I saw an icon of her first seven steps in Chora and was fascinated to learn the story, a story I had never heard, but which was clearly part of the Holy Tradition of the Chruch -- there in small glass tiles on the ceiling on an ancient Temple dedicated to the Living.

[A] quote from St.John of Kronstadt -- not offered as a prooftext, but as a mere drop in the endless ocean of similar such thoughts from a deified person:

As there is not a single superfluous word in the church service, it is especially necessary at the time of the singing of the redoubled litany to pray to God most fervently, from the very depths of a most contrite heart, as we are reminded at the very beginning of the litany by the words: "Let us say with our whole souls and with our whole understanding."

 

http://www.monachos....ge-2#entry72349



#166 Owen Jones

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:01 AM

Devon,

 

I'm not sure where you are picking up a fundamentalist critique of Darwinism, but certainly not here on Monachos.  I certainly haven't see it.  What you have seen here among some very well informed people is a sensitive treatment of the Fathers and the Prophets on the nature of creation and the nature of man and the nature of the God who created man and nature and the cosmos and history, such as we are capable of saying anything about Him.  According to the Darwinist dialectic, so to speak, man is a very, very different kind of creature than the Christian vision of man.  And the Darwinist god is very very different kind of god than in the Christian vision of God.  These two visions simply cannot be reconciled.  It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Genesis is an exact factual historical account in every respect or not.  That completely misses the point.  Now, regardless of your starting point, whether you are starting from a philosophical starting point, or with a Christian one, or with a logical/scientific one, Darwinism is deeply flawed.  It becomes very tiresome when people who are told of these flaws never, ever address them, but respond with ad hominem arguments such as:  fundamentalism!  Darwinism is to biology, what Marxism is to economics.  Although Darwin's central theory depends on 19th Century British liberal economic theory.  But it's not by accident that Marx wanted to dedicate his next book to Darwin (who politely refused permission).  Because he saw in Darwin's theory Marxism justified, not just by his own theory of economic history, but by biology.  In both cases, you are not permitted to critique the theories because they are deemed to be scientific, QED, and therefore any critique is attack as ip so facto unscientific.  Even though neither of them are scientific.  Both are examples of progressivist political ideologies with inherent totalitarian tendencies.  



#167 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

I agree entirely with Olga.  And I would rather follow the opinions of saints than scholars.  If we even begin to limit by reason what the Church has revealed and what she teaches through her hymnography and iconography, we are doomed to follow the western denominations into the pit.



#168 Olga

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:21 PM

I would like to further quote the author of the post I drew from in post # 165, as a counter to the notions of certain contemporary writers:

 

the feasts of the Church are not metaphors, but the commemoration of historical events -- encounters -- with the Living God. I know of no feast that is the celebration of a metaphor.


#169 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

We do need to tread carefully here, with discretion and discernment. We are not a "pick and choose" church. Orthodoxy is not a smorgasbord. That path leads to Episcopalianism; things like demythologization, "historical Jesus", and the Jesus Seminar and I, for one, am not going there.

 

We pray as we believe, and we believe as we pray. We don't stop singing at the parts we don't like. When we do that we are no longer in harmony with the symphony of Salvation and become non-participants, mere spectators. Is that what we want? Harmony, beauty, symphonia; this is what Orthodoxy gives us and through this the Holy Spirit acts to bring us to salvation. Ignore that and discard this and you miss out on the whole. It is like throwing out chapters of Dostojevski, or measures from Mozart that perhaps don't suit your taste at the moment. It destroys the continuity, it reduces everything to mere ritual. Rather than simply throw it out, we learn to grow into it, to add it as our discernment and spirituality mature. Rejecting things outright simply because we don't understand them only impedes our journey.

 

Did Christ our Lord, as a child, push a child off a roof then bring him back to life? The Church does not acknowledge this. Even though the Infancy Gospels with its fanciful stories exist, the Church, in its wisdom, has not included it in the Tradition. But we do sing/pray about the Theotokos entering the Holy of Holies. We acknowledge that the People of Israel were saved when they walked through the waters with Moses which presaged our being saved through the mystery of Holy Baptism. We draw analogies from Noah and the Flood. We explain the concept of sin through Adam and Eve. We acknowledge miracles. And we simply realize that "science" doesn't know as much as some people think it does, that there is more to Creation than equations and theories can account for. Is that so hard to understand?



#170 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

A little note on St. George and the dragon. Dragons figure prominently in the stories and mythologies of so many cultures. Why is this do you suppose? It is also worthy of note that the word interpreted as "dragon" is actually a form of the word "wurm" or worm, also often synonymous with snake or serpent. There are some rather large snakes that exist even today, just ask Floridians! Species do go extinct. Perhaps at some point there were some rather large reptilian snake-like animals no longer in existence that have "evolved" into the fanciful creatures we call "dragons" today that only faintly resemble whatever actually inspired the vision. There may well have been a large snake terrifying a village that had to be slain. Perhaps it is merely a representation of satan, the original serpent of Eden. We don't know, but we can still be edified by the story, don't you think? Unless we simply throw it out because it doesn't suit our contemporary ideas because we don't want to believe in dragons. It is a small world we live in when we discard things simply because we don't quite understand them.



#171 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

You are wrong Herman, do we believe that some angels have six wings? Or that they have many eyes? Do we believe that the Theotokos and Apostles recognized Christ and who he was before his resurrection? No, we certainly don't believe these things. Such interpretations come only from a simple mind and from a radical traditionalist or fundamentalist point of view.

You also cannot argue that we can't start down the path of intellectual thought and study because it inevitably leads to Western errors. That is the fallacy of the slippery slope and isn't a way to formulate any argument.

Darwinism, or at least absolute Darwinism doesn't leave a lot of room for the Orthodox faith, but theistic evolution certainly does leave a lot of room.

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.

The idea of the Theotokos entering the Holy of Holies is a late addition and has to be understood as symbolical. One cannot quote the Fathers to support that it is the because there are also Fathers who have said the Genesis account is literal.

I have hoped I would find a group of fellow Orthodox Christians who didn't fall into radical traditionalism, either oftheflavor popular in ROCOR/ACROD or, unfortunately onthe most radical level, the flavor found in non-Orthodox, uncanonical Greek Old Calendarists and Old Believers.

Take a listen to Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Dr Jeannie Constantinou and Fr Thomas Hopko, they express completely Orthodox viewpoints but also aren't afraid of intellectual study and thought.

As for lowly laypeople like myself, who aren't quoted as authorities but illustrate a viewpoint that's completely Orthodox and show how many of us there are, go to YouTube and check of the videos of YusefAlTahir, DavidPWithun and gambleor. They aren't authorities like Dr Constantinou and Fr Hopko, but they show the perspective that I, and many other Orthodox Christians I know hold.

#172 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

You are wrong Herman, do we believe that some angels have six wings? Or that they have many eyes? Do we believe that the Theotokos and Apostles recognized Christ and who he was before his resurrection? No, we certainly don't believe these things. Such interpretations come only from a simple mind and from a radical traditionalist or fundamentalist point of view.

You also cannot argue that we can't start down the path of intellectual thought and study because it inevitably leads to Western errors. That is the fallacy of the slippery slope and isn't a way to formulate any argument.

Darwinism, or at least absolute Darwinism doesn't leave a lot of room for the Orthodox faith, but theistic evolution certainly does leave a lot of room.

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.

The idea of the Theotokos entering the Holy of Holies is a late addition and has to be understood as symbolical. One cannot quote the Fathers to support that it is the because there are also Fathers who have said the Genesis account is literal.

I have hoped I would find a group of fellow Orthodox Christians who didn't fall into radical traditionalism, either oftheflavor popular in ROCOR/ACROD or, unfortunately onthe most radical level, the flavor found in non-Orthodox, uncanonical Greek Old Calendarists and Old Believers.

Take a listen to Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Dr Jeannie Constantinou and Fr Thomas Hopko, they express completely Orthodox viewpoints but also aren't afraid of intellectual study and thought.

As for lowly laypeople like myself, who aren't quoted as authorities but illustrate a viewpoint that's completely Orthodox and show how many of us there are, go to YouTube and check of the videos of YusefAlTahir, DavidPWithun and gambleor. They aren't authorities like Dr Constantinou and Fr Hopko, but they show the perspective that I, and many other Orthodox Christians I know hold.

Wow. Do you believe that angels DON'T have six wings and many eyes? Can you prove it? Please share. Should we believe in angels at all? What must we NOT believe? What should we reject, what should we keep and why is the Church not to be trusted? Why, pray tell, must I not believe such things? Does rejecting the teaching of the Church somehow make my Faith more "pure" or "better"?

 

I absolutely believe that the Theotokos KNEW who Christ was prior to His Resurrection. She was His mother and mothers can certainly discern such things about their children. I absolutely believe the Apostles believed there was something very different about Christ than "ordinary" people, especially after His Transfiguration on the mountain, even if later they doubted. Do you believe differently? Again, wow.

 

I AM a member of ACROD. I think you have no idea of what you are talking about in your very unfair characterization of an entire diocese. You seem very determined in your conclusions and not very open to other possible explanations. Is this not the very definition of what is often referred to as "fundamentalism"? You are aware, I assume, of the concept of irony? If not I suggest you do some research.



#173 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

Although I do enjoy many of his talks, I don't believe everything that Fr. Hopko has written has been completely thought out. I find what little I have read from this Dr. Jeannie Constantinou to be very poorly supported and differing significantly from what I have come to understand the Church teaches. Met. Kallistos and his writings helped bring me into the Church, I have a very high regard for him, but that does not mean I accept everything he has written as "gospel" and I am at least willing to acknowledge that all of these writers do have a degree of controversy associated with some of the things they have written with the Church as a whole. I am not afraid of controversy. I relish it. I certainly agree with the Holy Apostle Paul that we should be ready to give a good defense for the hope within us and I am happy to discuss why I believe what I believe. What I find disconcerting is when people make broad mischaracterizations of entire Churches and excuses for very poorly thought out theology and resort to ad-homenym charges of "fundamentalist"and "radical traditionalism" instead of actually engaging in constructive dialog.



#174 Reader Luke

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

Wow. Do you believe that angels DON'T have six wings and many eyes? Can you prove it? Please share. Should we believe in angels at all? What must we NOT believe? What should we reject, what should we keep and why is the Church not to be trusted? Why, pray tell, must I not believe such things? Does rejecting the teaching of the Church somehow make my Faith more "pure" or "better"?
 
I absolutely believe that the Theotokos KNEW who Christ was prior to His Resurrection. She was His mother and mothers can certainly discern such things about their children. I absolutely believe the Apostles believed there was something very different about Christ than "ordinary" people, especially after His Transfiguration on the mountain, even if later they doubted. Do you believe differently? Again, wow.
 
I AM a member of ACROD. I think you have no idea of what you are talking about in your very unfair characterization of an entire diocese. You seem very determined in your conclusions and not very open to other possible explanations. Is this not the very definition of what is often referred to as "fundamentalism"? You are aware, I assume, of the concept of irony? If not I suggest you do some research.


Angels are bodiless powers, immaterial, incorporeal. Therefore they don't have wings or eyes.

The Theotokos knew Christ was the Son of God but she had no clue he was going to die on the cross and be raised from the dead.
The Apostles thought Christ was the messiah and some recognized him as Son of God, but they thought he'd be a messiah that'd destroy the Roman Empire and rule Israel, not a suffering servant. They also had no clue he was God until later on after his resurrection.

I'm sorry but from interactions I've had with people from ACROD and ROCOR, they seem to both be on the extreme traditionalist side. Far moreso than the Greeks, the OCA and Antiochians. Holy men like Fr Seraphim Rose of ROCOR are holy, theres no doubt, but shouldn't be quoted or used for scholarly, intellectual study.

It's similar to why you shouldn't seek after a monk or nun for marital advice.

I guess my hatred of the schismatics like the Greek Old Calendarists runs deep and affects my attitude towards the most extreme conservatives of real Orthodox (in contrast to what I consider fake Orthodox, ie: Greek Old Calendarists) but I cannot and will not accept an extreme, conservative fundamentalist point of view. If Fr Hopko, Met Kallistos and Dr Constantinou are wrong, then I don't want to be right.

#175 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:13 PM

You speak with such certitude about things. I assume you have seen angels then and KNOW this to be true. Do you have pictures perhaps? Of course angels don't have "wings", and don't need "eyes" but there are those who HAVE seen angels and perhaps this is the best they could do to describe what they saw. But if someone wants to believe this literally, or use the terms, do we just make fun of them? Are we so much more knowledgable and closer to God than they?

 

Wasn't the Holy Theotokos told, point blank, that a sword would pierce her heart? Do you KNOW that she was not aware of what her Son was going to go through? You seem so sure. I just can't bring myself to such assurance that the Theotokos was clueless.

 

As to the Apostles, I think your characterization is in serious conflict with  Matthew 16:16-17 but perhaps we will just have to agree to disagree. I don't see a compelling reason presented yet as to why your opinion takes priority however.

 

But when all else is said and done, your last comment seems to sum up your position best. I truly believe that a hatred that runs deep is NOT a sound basis for theology and your lack of dispassion and perspective is very disconcerting, to say the least. I strongly suggest you re-examine your perspective and motivation, and pray to the Theotokos that this blinding hatred be removed from your heart, and many things now cloudy for you will become much clearer.

 

May our Lord, God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who performed miracles, who preached Moses and Elijah, who overturned nature and the wisdom of this world, grant you His Peace which surpasses our understanding, and grant you a spirit, not of fear or hatred, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.



#176 Owen Jones

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

Regarding "theistic evolution" Devin, that's what Darwin was trying to be to be sure.  But his argument is an aesthetic one, not a scientific one.  He believed that God was not powerful enough to create nature in its present diversity.  He stated this in "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."  The problem with his belief, and it is a belief, is that it raises more questions and problems than it solves.  Why and how could a God powerful enough to create the planets and the stars and electromagnetism and gravity, and all of the elements necessary for life, all of a sudden throw up His hands and say I am powerless to do any more but I have set in motion an evolutionary process that will do the rest?  The result will be a humanity that is formed by random chance, not My hand.  That, to me, is about as irrational as it gets.  Moreover, as we can see from the title, Darwinian evolution is grounded in a liberal Victorian theory of the superiority of the Anglo Saxon "races" over other races, which is attributed to a biological evolutionary process.  He clearly derives his theory of biological natural selection from Herbert Spencer's essay on human psychology, an essay which Spencer forwarded to Darwin a couple of years prior to the publication of "On the Origin of..."  Spencer was pretty livid about Darwin not giving attribution to the theory, and after much pressure, Darwin did so in a post script to a later edition.  The commonly held myth is that Spencer developed his theory of "social Darwinism" as a result of reading Darwin, but the fact is that the influence is just the reverse.  So the foundation for Darwinism lies in modern progressivist ideology.  Of course, the idea of evolution is nothing new.  Plato presents the argument in The Symposium, along with his refutation, and in The Posterior Analytics, Aristotle deals with the irrationality of infinite regression in causality.  Darwin himself knew that the geological record of his day did not support his theory, but he argued that geology was in its infancy and would some day confirm his theory.  It has not of course, so the theory has been revised in order to compensate the fact that geology refutes gradualism.  There is much debate on how far you can go with randomness, but since some of the science in support of randomness as a valid causality has been clearly falsified (e.g. the creation of amino acids in a lab), I think one should not be attacked for being a skeptic on the subject. 

 

Progressivism is one of the tragedies of intellectual history and I think it's incumbent on Christians to address this problem clearly and help others to understand its inherent flaws.  There simply is no progress in history, whether it is social, economic, intellectual or biological.  Because history will come to an end some day and the end will be just like the beginning:  nothing.  And yet people are absolutely wedded to the notion that things get better with the passage of time.  The only way you can even begin to justify progressivism is by believing in an infinite cosmos in time and space, which is an absurdity on the face of it. 



#177 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:17 PM

Dear Devin,

 

I can see and understand your point of view, and this is put across in the first paragraph in your post [#161]. However, in your second paragraph you have attacked those who do not hold to your view as fundamentalists, which you have continued to do through many posts adding other insults and implying people are simple minded, to attack the views of many on this forum and many Orthodox Christians who are trying to hold to the Tradition handed down to them from those who came before us in the Church including our Holy Father's and to label such people as fundamentalists is not helpful to this discussion nor is it for the building up of the Church. The reasons given for peoples believe does not come down to a literal interpretation of Genesis but rather their living experience of Christ, His Church, and a understanding of the Tradition they have received, this may differ from your own experience but it does not amount to fundamentalism, to give example Owen has disputed through historical, scientific and philosophical arguments the theories of Darwin this could in no way be classed as fundamentalism. As you say you have a deep hatred for the Old-Calendarists and it appears a disdain for those you see are like them, I suggest it may not be best to post on issues that impassion you, as this is not of benefit to you or to others. 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,


Edited by Daniel R., 02 February 2013 - 06:19 PM.


#178 Owen Jones

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

The problem with the treatment of "myth" in Christianity, Devin, is that, looking at it from a critical perspective, virtually everything in Christianity can look like a myth and so when you strip all of that away you have nothing left.  Certainly nothing left worth believing in.  Jonah and the whale?  Out.  The three youths in the furnace:  Out.  etc. etc.  Perhaps you could attempt to reconsider your definition of myth, Devin, to see that it is one way that God reveals Himself to us -- like a parable -- and not the conventional sense of myth as just a made up story.  Orthodoxy is based on the claim that faith transforms what we can see, and what reality really looks like.  Everything looks radically different through the eyes of faith. 



#179 Father David Moser

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:29 PM

I'd just like to step in here and remind everyone that the topic of discussion is the relationship between the theory of evolution (which btw is a very ill defined term) and the teaching of the Orthodox Church.  The topic of discussion is not the perceptions, prejudices and (mis)conceptions of this or that particular member.  So lets try and stay away from personal comments and stick to an objective discussion of the topic at hand.

 

Fr David



#180 Bint Alshamsa

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:45 PM

Devin B., I just wanted to chime in and say that you are not the only one who holds those views. Having studied science far more than most people on the planet, it's easy to see through some of the errors that people have about what does and doesn't constitute evolution and the conflation of evolution with notions like the Big Bang theory. I've learned that it doesn't usually lead to edification when participating in conversations about this with people who have already decided what other Orthodox Christians must believe. Sometimes, you just have to let people be.






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