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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    If I don't hail from some or other school that you are familiar with, I hope that is not a reason to engage less authentically with my beliefs.
    Of course not, but it is easier to assess if a systematic exposition already exists. So is there one?

    In any case, I am glad that you acknowledge that knowledge is in minds, not 'out there'.


    Before I answer the rest of this, I want to point out again that you are moving too fast for me. And you were moving too fast for me before. And so I asked you a very large number of clarifying questions. And you answered almost none of them. If you adhere to no established system and are also unwilling to clarify your thoughts, my interest will wane quickly.

    Organisation is a matter of preference but preferences need to be communicated. That is why I am generally talking about cultural preferences, not individual preferences. Individual preferences do play a part in the formation of cultural preferences and this is the nature of creativity. An individual creates a new preference that is readily communicable and hence useful and that preference spreads into the culture and becomes part of the language. Preferences that aren't useful or communicable remain esoteric.
    If your culture developed an appreciation of shades of colour such that it came to radically distinguish between 15 different shades of what we now call blue, then the statement 'this ball is blue' would be meaningless in that culture. And what people generally now think of as an 'objective fact' turns out to be meanigless generality. The ball is what it is but what it is is a function of its relationship to the rest of the world.
    First, why call it a "preference"? Language does not stem from preferences so much as common experiences. Every culture has a word for "water." This has nothing to do with human preferences, it has to do with basic needs and human biology. The organization we apply to our environment does not stem solely--or even largely--from active preference projection. It is fundamentally formed out of necessity and we are passive receivers of "organizational schemes" that we have no control over.

    Organisation is a matter of preference but preferences need to be communicated.
    Why do they need to be communicated?

    An individual creates a new preference that is readily communicable...
    How do we "create" preferences? Is that even possible? And why think that a new preference is readily communicable? There are too many holes in your theory and not enough argument and data.

    If your culture developed an appreciation of shades of colour such that it came to radically distinguish between 15 different shades of what we now call blue, then the statement 'this ball is blue' would be meaningless in that culture.
    On what grounds!? Supposing they understand what we mean by "blue," as you seem to suppose, it would not be meaningless at all. Heck, artists and web designers do distinguish between 15 different shades of blue, and when a layman comes up to them and uses the word "blue" it is not at all meaningless. They know exactly what they mean. It is less specific than a particular shade, but that doesn't mean it is meaningless.

    And what people generally now think of as an 'objective fact' turns out to be meanigless generality. The ball is what it is but what it is is a function of its relationship to the rest of the world.
    This seems patently false to me. Are you going to explain or not?

    The definition of a ball has nothing to do with its relationship to the rest of the world (apart from the fact that it is not fixed to other substances, and even then it is arguable).

    The most useful preferences are the ones that are the most communicable in the culture.
    Presumably this is just a tautology and by "useful" you mean "most communicable in the culture."

    That is why there is a false perception that knowledge consists of objective facts.
    I don't follow.

    The things that people think of as objective facts are precisely to do with those preferences that are in the middle of the bell curve: not so general as to say something indistinguishable from anything else ("this ball is coloured") or so specific as to be incapable of comparison with other things ("this ball is coloured 486.377 nm").
    Here are three objective facts:

    1. This ball is colored
    2. This ball is red
    3. This ball is colored 486.377 nm


    According to you, only (2) is in the "middle of the bell curve." Yet the others are just as objective. The language-participant simply needs to know what "ball" means and what the predication means (i.e. "colored," "red," or "colored 486.377 nm"). Once they understand the terms, they can judge whether the predication is true or false. The terms here are all objective, so the truth or falsity results in an objective fact.


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  3. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Of course not, but it is easier to assess if a systematic exposition already exists. So is there one?
    Please forgive me for jumping into the middle of this conversation, but the issue is one of facts, and whether they are objective or subjective, eg separate from us or relational to us... Your understanding stands in the tradition of objective facts, and your friend's understanding is rooted in the ever-changing [and equally objectively changing, I might add] relationships we have with experiential objective facts, which constitutes our knowledge of them as referents to concepts derived from experience...

    So his understanding is going to be in the flow of experiences, and yours is going to be in the nailing down of existents as they themselves exist... He will move too fast, and you will be object bound - And this because an objective focus fails when turned towards one's self, because the very mental processes that examine objects are not themselves objects, but are the subject apprehending the object...

    It is a big deal - You will find yourself dealing with objective reality, and your friend will find himself dealing with subjective reality... And the two of you will talk past each other on a disturbingly regular basis...

    Here are three objective facts:

    1. This ball is colored
    2. This ball is red
    3. This ball is colored 486.377 nm


    According to you, only (2) is in the "middle of the bell curve." Yet the others are just as objective. The language-participant simply needs to know what "ball" means and what the predication means (i.e. "colored," "red," or "colored 486.377 nm"). Once they understand the terms, they can judge whether the predication is true or false. The terms here are all objective, so the truth or falsity results in an objective fact.

    Your friend will simply point out that the three facts about a particular ball are all products of experiences which entail relationships of varying degrees of color and one's preferences based on one's values arising from one's experiences...

    Ad nauseum...

    So the question I have for you both is this: God is the uncreated Creator of all creation, and he created objects and subjects, and is the Author of all our experiences... So what does any of this discussion of subjective and objective facts about creation have to do with the uncreated Creator of creation? Because will this Creator not be at least as fundamentally different from his creation as was Henry Ford from the Model T's that he created? Can we reverse engineer a Model T Ford Car to discover the human nature of Henry Ford who created it?

    Arsenios
    Last edited by Arsenios; August 2nd, 2014 at 11:07 AM.

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    Please forgive me for jumping into the middle of this conversation...
    Thanks for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    Your friend will simply point out that the three facts about a particular ball are all products of experiences which entail relationships of varying degrees of color and one's preferences based on one's values arising from one's experiences...

    Ad nauseum...
    I disagree with very little of that. The only thing I disputed was the preferences piece (and perhaps values). So to say we're talking past each other is too fast.

    In general I think your understanding of the conversation is slightly mistaken, and that you are dealing in false dichotomies. DR isn't a Kantian subjectivist and I am not a direct realist. I don't have any problem with phenomenology, nor do I think subjects (qua subject) are objects. I don't think DR is an anti-realist. Your points about subjective and objective facts are somewhat relevant but also somewhat accidental. While our methodology may tilt one way or another, we do not discredit the opposite approach or the reality of its findings. The conversation is currently about the subjective process of coming to know and communicate, and is not stuck at some subjective/objective impasse.

    Can we reverse engineer a Model T Ford Car to discover the human nature of Henry Ford who created it?
    DR is happier with that idea than I am, but we are currently talking about humans, not God. That's because we apparently disagree about human knowledge. First things--in the order of discovery--first.


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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Thanks for the input.



    I disagree with very little of that. The only thing I disputed was the preferences piece (and perhaps values). So to say we're talking past each other is too fast.

    In general I think your understanding of the conversation is slightly mistaken, and that you are dealing in false dichotomies. DR isn't a Kantian subjectivist and I am not a direct realist. I don't have any problem with phenomenology, nor do I think subjects (qua subject) are objects. I don't think DR is an anti-realist. Your points about subjective and objective facts are somewhat relevant but also somewhat accidental. While our methodology may tilt one way or another, we do not discredit the opposite approach or the reality of its findings. The conversation is currently about the subjective process of coming to know and communicate, and is not stuck at some subjective/objective impasse.



    DR is happier with that idea than I am, but we are currently talking about humans, not God. That's because we apparently disagree about human knowledge. First things--in the order of discovery--first.



    A.

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Romans 5:12, 19 come to mind. See (2) here.
    I don't see anything here that says that man became sinful. I see that death spread to all men because all men sinned but I don't see anything about mankind being sinful. Sinfulness means sinning.
    I can't make heads or tails of this. Care to explain?
    It's about time I came back to this. Arsenios has made a thoughtful post and this has reminded me to give some proper answers, ignoring of course those who just want to fire their pea-shooters from the sidelines.
    Ah, I made a mistake. I missed two of your posts on page 2. I am accustomed to receiving one response per post, but you responded four times to a single post which threw me off.

    Two of your posts are contentful and patient, while the other two focus on semantic issues with less patience. It is a problem that I saw the latter two before I saw the former two, and this may strain the conversation. In any case, I'm sorry I missed those and I appreciate the slower pace and more explanatory nature of the two posts I missed.

    Sinfulness can be understood in two ways. (Just as any epithet describing a general state of a person.)
    1) If it turns out from experience that a person sins a lot, you describe that person as sinful. 'Sinful' is a type of comment on his behaviour. 'Loving', 'boisterous', etc. The same applies to all these types of epithet. Issues arise as to how much a person sins before you decide to call them 'sinful'. It's a subjective judgement of course but one which is communicable. The basic point is that the assignment of the epithet is a value judgement on a person's actions.
    2) If you believe that a person is described not by what he does but by what he is, then if he is 'sinful', this means that he has a tendency to sin a lot. He may not sin. He may not sin at all. But he can still be called 'sinful' if he has a tendency (or propensity) to sin. The description 'sinful' doesn't refer to the person's actions at all but to the state of his being. Obviously this term anticipates that he will make sinful actions but the sinfulness is not constituted by the actions themselves. It is possible that a person has a propensity to sin but yet doesn't actually sin. And certainly he wouldn't be sinning all the time. I want to be clear about this: this way of looking at the world (at people in particular) assigns hidden characteristics to people. Epithets are in effect unseen characteristics that define how a person acts. If a person sins a lot you say that they sin because they are a sinful person. Thus a person's unseen characteristics give rise to their overt actions.
    Okay, I read that as two definitions of "sinner":

    1. Someone who has committed a sin.
    2. Someone who has a propensity to sin (a sin nature).


    In terms of how language works on the shop floor, so to speak, I guess there is a bit of both 1 and 2. Once you see by experience that a person sins, you call them sinful; and after that you think of them as being inwardly sinful and hence you expect them to be sinful in future.
    I want to try to avoid the anthropological approach. Once we see that someone sins, we are entitled to dub them a sinner in the first sense. We may or may not consider them a sinner in the second sense. There is a relation between (1) and (2) but it isn't one of simple entailment. My anti-anthropological point is that our description of them as a sinner in the second sense, when based on empirical evidence of sins, may be either true or false.

    I think this is even clearer if you think about the relation between the number of times someone gets drunk and whether or not they are an alcoholic. I will probably come back to this analogy.

    Having expectations of people is a vital part of how we live as rational beings. We need to make all sorts of predictions all the time in order to survive. And if it helps to think of someone as a danger to other road users and therefore give him or her a wide berth, then that is what we must do and what we naturally do.
    I want to emphasize again how wary I am of this anthropological approach. With it you are avoiding the question of truth. Avoiding mindless pragmatism is one thing; assessing whether a judgment is true or false is another.

    To use the example above, alcoholism is a disease that we know exists. It may "help us" to think of someone as an alcoholic and therefore a danger, and we may "naturally do" that, but this doesn't answer the question of whether alcoholism is an actual disease that humans deal with. Indeed that sort of talk is intrinsically loaded. It presupposes that there is no such real propensity.

    I would argue, however, that ascribing value judgements propensities is fundamentally post hoc.
    Again, I am going to ignore the term "value judgments," which is inherently loaded (and is begging the question). If you like, you can define it and explain why it's the same as what you were talking about above, but I don't consider diagnoses of propensities (like alcoholism) to be value judgments.

    It is true that propensity-beliefs formed from empirical data are inevitably post hoc.

    The fact that we naturally make predictions, doesn't mean that those predictions are based on some unseen characteristic of a person.
    What alternative thing could they be based on?

    And when we say to our neighbour 'Watch that Joe Bloggs, he's a real tell tale...' we are doing nothing other than conveying a summary of our experiences of him.
    No, we are conveying an interpretation of our experiences of him, and the interpretation could be true or false. Only careless people indiscriminately label someone a tell tale, sinner, or alcoholic. You are creating an anthropological divide between yourself and the average person by implying a carelessness on their part that does not affect you.

    But if we are the other person in that conversation, we ourselves don't have that past experience so all we have is a pure, experience-less statement. We internalise that statement as a characteristic of Joe Bloggs that somehow determines what Joe Bloggs does.
    We have the interpretation of another person who we trust or distrust to varying degrees. If we trust the person and believe categories like (2) exist, then we form a belief about Joe's tell tale propensity. If we either don't trust the person or don't believe such categories exist, then we won't.

    I'm just trying to give some theory here. It's not about sinning in particular. In my view, all language is like this. I would say that it is easy enough to understand my point and see the interplay between experience, the need to summarise our experiences for the purpose of communicating them, the particular summaries or judgements we each make and the trust we place in the summaries of others.
    Okay.

    Where it gets hard is when we get to things like 'This ball is blue.' It's a lot harder to see that we are still in fact making a value judgement. We could after all say, 'This ball is light blue' or we could say 'This ball is dark blue' or indigo or violet.
    Remember that I do not even grant that the previous statement could rightly be called a value judgment. What do you mean by "value judgment"?

    Most people think that we are describing an inherent characteristic of the ball. But it is still a value judgement the same as in the previous examples. I can't say that that person who goes around stealing and lying and bullying others all the time is a saint. In the same way I can't say that this ball is red. It's not because the ball has an inherent quality of being blue that compels me to name it as such. It's because the language we use prohibits me saying such a thing as it being red effectively. The object of the exercise is to communicate meaningfully.
    The ball is inherently blue. That does not mean that it is inherently tied to the signifier "blue," but rather that it is inherently tied to that which "blue" signifies. A blue ball has something that a red ball does not have. If I tell someone that a blue ball is red I am lying and speaking falsely. This is because I know what both blue and red signify, or what they mean, and I also know the reality of the ball before my eyes.

    I don't think you are properly distinguishing between signifier and signified and how each applies to common language. It is self-evident to anyone who has studied multiple languages that the signifier "blue" is not inherently tied to a given ball. Nevertheless we are still perfectly right to say that the ball is (inherently) blue. Blue, azure, blau, etc., all signifiy (roughly) the same thing.

    In the case of the person who is a tell-tale, most people would be open to questioning the judgement of someone else. But most people would not be open to questioning the judgement of the ball being blue. It's simply a matter of degree.
    There is a similarity, for "tell tale" signifies a propensity that may or may not exist within the person. The reason we are more open to questioning a psychological diagnosis (made by a layman) than a color-judgment is because the former is less certain and apparent and it is made by someone less qualified with respect to the subject matter.

    But because most people perceive the ball being blue as incontrovertible, they think it is because of some intrinsic characteristic (bluefulness...) of the ball. And they then get the same ideas about people. This happens because most people are unable to see themselves in the act of thinking.
    I think I've addressed this above. Suppose people conflate the certainty of things we perceive directly with the relative uncertainty of things that must be inferred. This doesn't mean that we cannot be certain of any inferential realities. Indeed, alcoholism is a great example. Why not think there is a sin nature something like alcoholism?

    I hope that now explains it. To say that man is sinful and that therefore he sins is an unnecessary prejudice in effective communication.
    This is only true if the person is equivocating between senses (1) and (2) of "sinner." It is simply not true that everyone equivocates in such a way.

    Furthermore, how does this relate to the scripture at hand? Are you claiming that propensity-language about humans is intrinsically ...impossible? Meaningless? How does this relate to the verse and to the doctrine of Original Sin?

    Again, thanks for the explanatory post.

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    To reiterate, you offered four responded to my post here: 1, 2, 3, 4. My scattered responses are 1r, 2r, 3r, 4r. This final response is 2r.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Yes, of course you are wise to leave aside appealing to tradition... Or at least I am sure such an appeal can have benefits in certain situations. But I often feel it is good to get to know another person if traditions are left aside, it is easier to see what makes them tick. And here, I am letting people know what makes me tick. I am being honest. I am not hiding behind other people's ideas. I am not paying lip service to concepts that I don't understand myself or which are unimportant to my own life. I am thinking out loud (TOL?) Some obviously pour cold water and scorn on this (perhaps due to their personal insecurities?) but I am glad you do not and I have enjoyed many a good debate with you. Thank you.
    Same to you.

    And although I am not an expert on the traditions, I am not completely ignorant either. Nope. My view is that Genesis 3, the story of the two trees, the snake and the expulsion from Eden, is an allegory and should be interpreted as such. What it says is not about an individual man but about all mankind. The story, at the allegorical level, is about an individual couple, but the allegory points to the whole of mankind. As if the names Adam (= man) and Eve being the 'mother of all the living' weren't enough to convince sane people of this...

    But as to Paul, I am not convinced whether he took it to be an allegory in the way I have described or not.
    Yes, it seems that Paul's Christology points to a historical meaning in Genesis, particularly in the way that Christ parallels Adam.

    It's a complex issue and just a tad off topic so I'll leave it there. But what I do feel is that when Paul says that death spread to all men 'because all sinned' (not 'because all men were sinful') he had in mind the general description of sinful mankind after the expulsion from Eden all down to the flood. And he does say that this applied not only to those who sinned as Adam had sinned. So he doesn't seem to be making it a specific tit-for-tat kind of thing. The fact that men generally sinned was enough to cause death to spread generally to all.

    And I guess there is an element of collective responsibility here. I wouldn't go anywhere as near as the Catholics do or the traditional protestants in suggesting that everyone is being punished because of the sin of one man. But in terms of your family, your tribe, your nation, etc., every baby born into it is immediately responsible for its society's choices to a certain extent.

    I guess not an entirely satisfactory answer, but it's all I've got for now. I look forward to your comments.
    Okay, that makes sense. I'm not overly well-read on this particular topic, so I don't have many comments. Maybe I will go back to the scriptures and read some commentaries and opposing views in the near future if I have time. At the moment I just don't have much to offer you at this level of nuance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zippy
    Okay, I read that as two definitions of "sinner":

    Someone who has committed a sin.
    Someone who has a propensity to sin (a sin nature).

    In terms of how language works on the shop floor, so to speak, I guess there is a bit of both 1 and 2. Once you see by experience that a person sins, you call them sinful; and after that you think of them as being inwardly sinful and hence you expect them to be sinful in future.
    I want to try to avoid the anthropological approach. Once we see that someone sins, we are entitled to dub them a sinner in the first sense. We may or may not consider them a sinner in the second sense. There is a relation between (1) and (2) but it isn't one of simple entailment. My anti-anthropological point is that our description of them as a sinner in the second sense, when based on empirical evidence of sins, may be either true or false.
    I think that the above exchange is addressing the matter of the question of calling a person a sinner... eg Whether we call him a sinner because he has sinned, or whether we call him a sinner because he has a propensity to sin, which you seem to desire to equate with a "sin nature"... And forgive me, bit it seem like a rabbit trail... And especially when the Apostle was so clear in telling us it is DEATH that we have inherited from Adam, and that it is because of this inherited death that "all have sinned..."

    So here is another approach that may or may not shed light:

    Let us assume that man inherited death from Adam at conception in Adam, and that it is indeed this inherited death that is the reason all have sinned, which is what Paul wrote... This would mean that we have inherited a DEATH NATURE from Adam... And that because of this death nature, we sin...

    Now one can then argue, I suppose, that the death nature IS the sin nature, but I cannot fathom how that would be praxeologically helpful, because what we are given is built into the healing of the fallen soul in this life, and to say what we are given is a 'sin nature' means that we are committed to sin from the git-go... And this is empirically disprovable by the observable fact of the differences in sinfulness of each person from the next... In the OT readings, we find that there can be Abels, and there can be Cains... And if the sin nature were our inheritance, we would all be committed to lives of sin from conception...

    But the fact is that Adam ate of the Fruit of the Tree of KNOWLEDGE of both Good AND evil, so that THIS "BOTH" is the nature we have inherited, and in us it produces sin and death, but in Christ it produced neither, and in those in Christ, it CAN produce both or neither, making sin overcome-able in Christ...

    So that we do not HAVE a sin nature UNTIL we sin, and it is in our sinning that we ACQUIRE a sin nature, to the extent that we DO COMMIT sin... Yet it is the death into which we are born in Adam that motivates our sins, and in our weakness, we turn from God, and become sinners by default, if nothing else, and in this, we have all sinned, because we have attended to the cares of the world, the self, and the flesh instead of the cares of God, to one degree or another...

    And this 'sin nature' that we acquire can be mere occassions, or a habit of such occasions, or a compulsive habit of them in the form of addictions to behaviors of sin, or outright demonic possession... So that the matter of degrees is accounted, with respect to inherited death, without the need for impugning a "sin nature" to our souls, when both Good and evil are what we inherited, and not merely a sin nature that can only do evil... And this finds great Biblical attestation...

    It is the PERSON who determines the degrees of either Good or evil in his or her particular life... And so forgive me, but Anthropology is going to be really hard to avoid...

    So that habitual liars have a liar nature... And more so do compulsive liars... And less so those who but occasionally tell a lie... And yet there can be times when truthful people will rightfully tell a lie or even a series of them...

    So rather than say: "You are a liar because you lied..." It is better to simply say: "You lied..." of "You are lying..." And better yet, to say: "What you are saying is not true..." And perhaps best of all, is to simply say nothing, and continue praying without ceasing, as the Apostle instructs us to be doing...

    Praxeological Anthropological outworkings in the ongoing clean-out in the life given us...

    Arsenios
    Last edited by Arsenios; August 3rd, 2014 at 10:34 PM.

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    Thanks for your input. I have been reading and enjoying your exchange with AMR on this topic, which I hope will continue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    I think that the above exchange is addressing the matter of the question of calling a person a sinner...
    DR seemed to imply that she was addressing principles of language more general than the specific context of sin. That is why I tried to introduce the example of alcoholism--in order to avoid all the intricacies of your post.

    eg Whether we call him a sinner because he has sinned, or whether we call him a sinner because he has a propensity to sin, which you seem to desire to equate with a "sin nature"... And forgive me, bit it seem like a rabbit trail... And especially when the Apostle was so clear in telling us it is DEATH that we have inherited from Adam, and that it is because of this inherited death that "all have sinned..."
    This was a point of confusion when I read your exchange. Although I do not know Greek, from what I can see AMR has the upper hermaneutical hand with this verse. Every English translation I looked at drew the causality the opposite way, from sin to death.

    Now one can then argue, I suppose, that the death nature IS the sin nature, but I cannot fathom how that would be praxeologically helpful,
    Neither can I. Why should I think it is a death nature rather than a sin nature?

    And this is empirically disprovable by the observable fact of the differences in sinfulness of each person from the next... In the OT readings, we find that there can be Abels, and there can be Cains... And if the sin nature were our inheritance, we would all be committed to lives of sin from conception...
    The fact that the degree of sinfulness varies does not mean that we are not committed to lives of sin from conception. Or better put, it does not mean that we do not have a sin nature.

    Yet it is the death into which we are born in Adam that motivates our sins,
    On the Orthodox view, what kind of motivation is this? Is it essentially psychological?

    And this 'sin nature' that we acquire can be mere occassions, or a habit of such occasions, or a compulsive habit of them in the form of addictions to behaviors of sin, or outright demonic possession... So that the matter of degrees is accounted, with respect to inherited death, without the need for impugning a "sin nature" to our souls, when both Good and evil are what we inherited, and not merely a sin nature that can only do evil... And this finds great Biblical attestation...
    By saying that we also inherit Good, are you simply opposing total depravity or are you claiming that we can somehow act salvifically absent baptism?

    It is the PERSON who determines the degrees of either Good or evil in his or her particular life... And so forgive me, but Anthropology is going to be really hard to avoid...
    By "anthropology" I was--somewhat inaccurately--referring to the distancing mindset of the anthropologist. That is to say, the anthropologist studies a group from which she is excluded.

    So rather than say: "You are a liar because you lied..." It is better to simply say: "You lied..." of "You are lying..." And better yet, to say: "What you are saying is not true..."
    I agree that we need to be clearer about the precise definition we are using.

    And perhaps best of all, is to simply say nothing, and continue praying without ceasing, as the Apostle instructs us to be doing...

    Arsenios

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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    Thanks for your input. I have been reading and enjoying your exchange with AMR on this topic, which I hope will continue.
    Me too... I think he may be buried in responsibilities and has not been able to check in for a while, and beginning tomorrow, I will be buried in irresponsibilities, going on an 8 day vacation by train to Minneapolis...

    DR seemed to imply that she was addressing principles of language more general than the specific context of sin. That is why I tried to introduce the example of alcoholism--in order to avoid all the intricacies of your post.
    Aah... The vagaries of jumping in from the outside of a conversation... Not to mention that you are obviously a sly dog in your evasion of intricacies...

    This was a point of confusion when I read your exchange. Although I do not know Greek, from what I can see AMR has the upper hermaneutical hand with this verse. Every English translation I looked at drew the causality the opposite way, from sin to death.
    It is Adam's sin that led to Adam's death, and that sin CAN BE SAID to be inherited by us who are born in Adam, which is where Calvinists falter in their theory of man being born dead in his sin nature... Paul sets the sequence aright when he writes:

    Rom_5:12
    Wherefore, as by one man
    sin entered into the world,
    and death by sin;
    and so death passed upon all men,
    for that all have sinned:


    It is death that we inherit, not sin, except as a consequence of death... The Greek word "for that" is εφ ω, and it literally translates as: "upon which"... Hence literally, in an English format featuring it:

    "So that death, upon which all have sinned, passed into all men."

    The reason there was no death in Christ was because he had not sinned, even though His body, taken from the Virgin's Womb, was filled with the consequence of Adam's fall, which is infirmity... Hence the ruler of the world at His Crucifixion "...has nothing in Me..." as Christ said after Gethsemany...

    You see, had He inherited the SIN of Adam, a sin nature, then he would have been riddled with death at His Crucifixion, but instead, as john records, in order to die He had to GIVE UP His Soul, even on the Cross... The Cross did not kill Christ, you see... For there was no death in him, and Death is the Ruler of the falleness of the world, who had nothing in Christ - eg There was no sin in Him... Even in a body with all the infirmities of all mankind, not even one sin, and it was in this that He healed every infirmity known to man by overcoming every one in His Own infirm flesh which He took on from the Blessed Virgin... This is how he healed the human race, by assuming fallen infirm flesh which will sin and die, and then not sinning, and voluntarily giving up life, only to descend into Hades and destroy the power of Death in His Own Body which was not yet risen, which He told Mary Magdalene to "be not touching..."

    Neither can I. Why should I think it is a death nature rather than a sin nature?
    I should think this has been now addressed just previously...

    The fact that the degree of sinfulness varies does not mean that we are not committed to lives of sin from conception. Or better put, it does not mean that we do not have a sin nature.
    It means that we have inherited death upon being given life, and hence we have both Good and evil, and are in the driver's seat of our own souls here on earth in a weakened and vunerable condition... We are born into a cauldron of conflict wherein we battle in the arena of good and evil for one or the other, and against the other or the one...

    On the Orthodox view, what kind of motivation is this? Is it essentially psychological?
    It is quintessentially PANDEMIC !

    And the more we sin, the worse it gets (regarding sin)... It is the infirmity of body and soul, the elevation of the intellect to primacy of survival, the darkening of the nous elevating the intellect, and the nous thereby scattered into the legional multiciplity of the concerns of the thoughts that make survival of self in the life in which we find ourselves into an idol-God... Early Christians despised death, and rejoiced in afflictions, receiving martyrdom as release from the cares of this evil generation...

    One of the consequences of this understanding is the discipleship that concentrates the nous from this scattering of it in intellectual concerns and cares in the world... And when reconsecrated its turning from the world and unto God in repentance unto purity of heart... And this latter is VERY psychological...

    By saying that we also inherit Good, are you simply opposing total depravity or are you claiming that we can somehow act salvifically absent baptism?
    The only salvific thing we can do is obey the commandment of the Gospel of Christ, which is: "Be ye repenting..." Now repentance cannot save anyone, because Salvation is union with God, and it is something that only God HAS, and therefore only God CAN give it to man... Man cannot give it to himself, as Adam so bitterly discovered when he thought that by eating of the forbidden fruit he should become "...as God, knowing Good and evil..." God is uncreated, and man is created, and Salvation is by God Who joins Himself to man in purity of heart... This is why St. John the Forerunner came before Christ came, proclaiming the Baptism of Repentance, that a straight Way be established in the fleshy hearts of his followers for Christ to enter... It is why Christ was born of the Holy Virgin, and not of that nice Mrs Brady we all know down the street with her husband and the other 12 kids...

    We repent unto purity of heart, and we attain it in the Baptismal Waters of Regeneration in which we are joined to Christ becoming a New Creature in Him, and being given the Seal of the Holy Spirit in our Anointing [Chrismation]...

    So that when we read that we are saved BY Grace, it means by the Agency of God, and when it says THROUGH (the) Faith, it means by means of repentance in the discipleship of the Body of Christ which baptizes one into Christ...

    By "anthropology" I was--somewhat inaccurately--referring to the distancing mindset of the anthropologist. That is to say, the anthropologist studies a group from which she is excluded.
    Can I quote that to my daughter? She is a Berkeley PhD in Anthropology, and might spew forth some of her green tea were she to read such a statement... It pretty much pins the butterfly to the board...

    I agree that we need to be clearer about the precise definition we are using.
    Well, at least careful... And not make the mistake of thinking the definition is the meaning of the word which it defines...

    Arsenios

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    Me too... I think he may be buried in responsibilities and has not been able to check in for a while, and beginning tomorrow, I will be buried in irresponsibilities, going on an 8 day vacation by train to Minneapolis...
    That will be nice. Will you go to the divine liturgy at St. Mary's Cathedral in Northeast? I had a tour of it a few years back. I am more familiar with the Byzantine and Maronite Catholic churches in that area, and have attended the divine liturgy at two of them.

    Aah... The vagaries of jumping in from the outside of a conversation... Not to mention that you are obviously a sly dog in your evasion of intricacies...


    I chose not to interrupt your conversation with AMR with my own questions because my knowledge of this area--especially the subtler differences between the Reformed, Orthodox, and Catholic understandings--is limited. Now that you are engaging me, I suppose you will have to forgive me if I inundate you with questions.

    A preliminary question is this: what theologians are you primarily drawing on in your understanding of this topic?

    It is Adam's sin that led to Adam's death, and that sin CAN BE SAID to be inherited by us who are born in Adam, which is where Calvinists falter in their theory of man being born dead in his sin nature...
    What does it mean to say we inherit Adam's sin? Is this distinct from the inheritance of a death nature?

    Paul sets the sequence aright when he writes:

    Rom_5:12
    Wherefore, as by one man
    sin entered into the world,
    and death by sin;
    and so death passed upon all men,
    for that all have sinned:


    It is death that we inherit, not sin, except as a consequence of death... The Greek word "for that" is εφ ω, and it literally translates as: "upon which"... Hence literally, in an English format featuring it:

    "So that death, upon which all have sinned, passed into all men."
    A number of translations give something like this:

    "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned—" (RSV)

    Am I right in saying that you see this translation as true but inaccurate insofar as it doesn't attribute the cause of sin to death?

    The reason there was no death in Christ was because he had not sinned, even though His body, taken from the Virgin's Womb, was filled with the consequence of Adam's fall, which is infirmity... Hence the ruler of the world at His Crucifixion "...has nothing in Me..." as Christ said after Gethsemany...

    You see, had He inherited the SIN of Adam, a sin nature, then he would have been riddled with death at His Crucifixion, but instead, as john records, in order to die He had to GIVE UP His Soul, even on the Cross... The Cross did not kill Christ, you see... For there was no death in him, and Death is the Ruler of the falleness of the world, who had nothing in Christ - eg There was no sin in Him... Even in a body with all the infirmities of all mankind, not even one sin, and it was in this that He healed every infirmity known to man by overcoming every one in His Own infirm flesh which He took on from the Blessed Virgin... This is how he healed the human race, by assuming fallen infirm flesh which will sin and die, and then not sinning, and voluntarily giving up life, only to descend into Hades and destroy the power of Death in His Own Body which was not yet risen, which He told Mary Magdalene to "be not touching..."
    This is interesting. Is there a place I can read more?

    It means that we have inherited death upon being given life, and hence we have both Good and evil, and are in the driver's seat of our own souls here on earth in a weakened and vunerable condition... We are born into a cauldron of conflict wherein we battle in the arena of good and evil for one or the other, and against the other or the one...
    Okay.

    On the Orthodox view, what kind of motivation is this? Is it essentially psychological?
    It is quintessentially PANDEMIC !


    What are the similarities and differences between such a view and the Catholic view of Original Sin?

    And the more we sin, the worse it gets (regarding sin)... It is the infirmity of body and soul, the elevation of the intellect to primacy of survival, the darkening of the nous elevating the intellect, and the nous thereby scattered into the legional multiciplity of the concerns of the thoughts that make survival of self in the life in which we find ourselves into an idol-God... Early Christians despised death, and rejoiced in afflictions, receiving martyrdom as release from the cares of this evil generation...

    One of the consequences of this understanding is the discipleship that concentrates the nous from this scattering of it in intellectual concerns and cares in the world... And when reconsecrated its turning from the world and unto God in repentance unto purity of heart... And this latter is VERY psychological...



    The only salvific thing we can do is obey the commandment of the Gospel of Christ, which is: "Be ye repenting..." Now repentance cannot save anyone, because Salvation is union with God, and it is something that only God HAS, and therefore only God CAN give it to man... Man cannot give it to himself, as Adam so bitterly discovered when he thought that by eating of the forbidden fruit he should become "...as God, knowing Good and evil..." God is uncreated, and man is created, and Salvation is by God Who joins Himself to man in purity of heart... This is why St. John the Forerunner came before Christ came, proclaiming the Baptism of Repentance, that a straight Way be established in the fleshy hearts of his followers for Christ to enter... It is why Christ was born of the Holy Virgin, and not of that nice Mrs Brady we all know down the street with her husband and the other 12 kids...

    We repent unto purity of heart, and we attain it in the Baptismal Waters of Regeneration in which we are joined to Christ becoming a New Creature in Him, and being given the Seal of the Holy Spirit in our Anointing [Chrismation]...

    So that when we read that we are saved BY Grace, it means by the Agency of God, and when it says THROUGH (the) Faith, it means by means of repentance in the discipleship of the Body of Christ which baptizes one into Christ...
    Thank you, this makes sense to me.

    Can I quote that to my daughter? She is a Berkeley PhD in Anthropology, and might spew forth some of her green tea were she to read such a statement... It pretty much pins the butterfly to the board...
    Fair enough. I probably should have used "pseudo anthropology" or something of the like.

    -zip

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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    That will be nice. Will you go to the divine liturgy at St. Mary's Cathedral in Northeast?
    That's the plan - It has Russian rubrics sung in English with a convert parish of mostly US citizens, and I am told that they have a superb choir...

    I had a tour of it a few years back. I am more familiar with the Byzantine and Maronite Catholic churches in that area, and have attended the divine liturgy at two of them.
    I am a Reader [chanter] in a convert Byzantine Church wherein we sing the 8 Tones... I was not finding much Byzantine in MPLS... I want my Brother to hear the words of worship in the Divine Liturgy... So that the ethnic Churches are ruled out, but only on account of him going to his first...

    Now that you are engaging me, I suppose you will have to forgive me if I inundate you with questions.
    This faith has more answers than there are questions... Wierd that way...

    A preliminary question is this: what theologians are you primarily drawing on in your understanding of this topic?
    Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos and Father John Romanides are two of the best - The first is alive, and was a student of the second who reposed a few years ago...

    What does it mean to say we inherit Adam's sin? Is this distinct from the inheritance of a death nature?
    The fact is, we do NOT inherit Adam's sin, but we can SAY that we do, because we inherit the death he imported into creation by his sin...

    A number of translations give something like this:

    "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned—" (RSV)
    That translation is flawed... It plainly states that it is upon death that all have sinned... Because of the death we all have as a consequence of Adam's fall, all men have sinned...

    Am I right in saying that you see this translation as true but inaccurate insofar as it doesn't attribute the cause of sin to death?
    Pretty much so, yes - It is flawed...

    This is interesting. Is there a place I can read more?
    "The Ancestral Sin", which is a book by Fr. John Romanides...

    What are the similarities and differences between such a view and the Catholic view of Original Sin?
    The Latins think you are guilty of sin because Adam sinned, and man is a sinner by nature... Much like the Calvinists...

    The Orthodox think you are guilty of sin because YOU have sinned, and your "sin nature" is a function of the sins you have committed...

    Thank you, this makes sense to me.


    Arsenios

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    I am a Reader [chanter] in a convert Byzantine Church wherein we sing the 8 Tones... I was not finding much Byzantine in MPLS... I want my Brother to hear the words of worship in the Divine Liturgy... So that the ethnic Churches are ruled out, but only on account of him going to his first...
    St. John's Byzantine Catholic Church is just a few blocks from St. Mary's. I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for, but you might give it a try. Can you attend Catholic churches?

    I will respond to the rest when I find time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy2006 View Post
    St. John's Byzantine Catholic Church is just a few blocks from St. Mary's. I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for, but you might give it a try. Can you attend Catholic churches?

    I will respond to the rest when I find time.
    Interesting history - St. Mary's WAS a Byzantine Catholic Church, complete with Byz chanting and rubrics, and was being roundly mistreated by the Latins, who wanted to take it over in the early 1900s, and the Church decided to convert to Orthodoxy. It was involved in a fire which destroyed the 1800s building, and the ex-Uniates now-Orthodox Church rebuilt the building in the Russian Orthodox style, and St. Tikhon consecrated the altar. Those who desired to remain Byz-Catholics in communion with Rome apparently built their Church nearby, St. john's, which I saw there, and which is a structure that is roughly co-equivalent in size and construction to St. Mary's, but after a much different style, not having a great dome above the Nave...

    I am not able to attend or participate in non-Orthodox Church services, but there is some ekonomia for attending funeral Masses of friends... And truth be told, I do not have much interest in them apart from friendship... And Church is not for the sake of human friendship... The reverse is more aligned with the truth...

    Because the Faith is about one's relationship with God, which expresses in one relationship with one's fellow man... And it is not about one's relationship with one's fellow man, which has a Divine component...

    The Church [St. Mary's] has been recently remodeled with new iconography which is very beautiful, and is very well attended [several hundred] even in the summer, but I was told that it was fair to empty last Sunday due to summer vacations... So it seems to pack in some 500 on a regular non-summer-holiday service, and they have an alternate Church nearby, and a basement chapel for additional congregants...

    And pews with kneelers... Definitely not Orthodox, but whatcha gonna do?

    Arsenios

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    Interesting history - St. Mary's WAS a Byzantine Catholic Church, complete with Byz chanting and rubrics, and was being roundly mistreated by the Latins, who wanted to take it over in the early 1900s, and the Church decided to convert to Orthodoxy. It was involved in a fire which destroyed the 1800s building, and the ex-Uniates now-Orthodox Church rebuilt the building in the Russian Orthodox style, and St. Tikhon consecrated the altar. Those who desired to remain Byz-Catholics in communion with Rome apparently built their Church nearby, St. john's, which I saw there, and which is a structure that is roughly co-equivalent in size and construction to St. Mary's, but after a much different style, not having a great dome above the Nave...
    I am quite familiar with the history. It is a sad story how bishop Ireland inadvertently ushered the Orthodox into the United States.

    I am not able to attend or participate in non-Orthodox Church services, but there is some ekonomia for attending funeral Masses of friends... And truth be told, I do not have much interest in them apart from friendship... And Church is not for the sake of human friendship... The reverse is more aligned with the truth...

    Because the Faith is about one's relationship with God, which expresses in one relationship with one's fellow man... And it is not about one's relationship with one's fellow man, which has a Divine component...
    Indeed.

    The Church [St. Mary's] has been recently remodeled with new iconography which is very beautiful, and is very well attended [several hundred] even in the summer, but I was told that it was fair to empty last Sunday due to summer vacations... So it seems to pack in some 500 on a regular non-summer-holiday service, and they have an alternate Church nearby, and a basement chapel for additional congregants...

    And pews with kneelers... Definitely not Orthodox, but whatcha gonna do?

    Arsenios
    Thanks for the update. I will have to stop in and see the remodeling when I'm in the area.

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    [QUOTE=zippy2006;4008580]I am quite familiar with the history. It is a sad story how bishop Ireland inadvertently ushered the Orthodox into the United States.[quote]

    I did not hear that side of it... Can you fill me in?

    Thanks for the update. I will have to stop in and see the remodeling when I'm in the area.
    I am trying to get some pics... The old iconography, I understand, was 19th century Russian, which was heavily influenced by the Latins in Russia under Peter the (not so) Great... They thereby became more naturalistic, with the Theotokos having eye shadow etc, though still strictly speaking Byzantine... I have received Communion in a Latin Church chapel in Moscow, ID, where the stations of the cross were there in Byzantine style... We do not, as Orthodox, DO the stations as a prayer rule, as do the Latins... So it struck me as a little odd... But at an rate, the more naturalistic style of sacred depictions of the Latins, which sort of culminated in the Sistine Chapel under the hand of Michangelo, and proceeded to the statuary so common now in that Church, are not all that much in evidence in Orthodox Iconography... We do some iconic carving in wood and in stone, but not normally the naturalistic way that it is done in the western Church...

    So they have returned to a more Traditional style of bright Byzantine iconography in the dome and iconostasis, keeping the structure as it was, imported from Russia as a gift from Tsar Nicholas...

    Do you know that we regard the turning over of the Russian lands to the atheists as a result of the failure of the Church in Russia to martyr herself at the hands of Peter in his insistence of embracing all things western, including the Latin Church?

    Arsenios

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