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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: 27% - the Virgin Birth
Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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I hope everything is okay with Eb'lis, but I notice he hasn't been able to return to his thread for nearly four and a half pages. I've found the Orthodox contribution to this thread instructive and fascinating, and I know a number of Anglicans of different stripe have contributed here; but I'm still rather hoping to find out

a) why Eb'lis, as an RC is concerned specifically for the CofE clergy mentioned in the OP's survey -the ecumenical interest of a fellow Christian is a good enough reason, so it would be good to know that and

b) if any useful comparisons or contrasts can be drawn with RC clergy, in much the same way as we've had useful contributions from the Orthodox folk.

Mind you, if it clashes with the OP, perhaps it wouldn't be that useful - maybe I'm just being nosey! [Smile]

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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Anselmina,

I think Eb'lis is horrified at what a monster he started, and can't bear to look!

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
"that was a "divine" chocolate pudding!"

I'm all in favour of divine chocolate pudding... [Big Grin]

quote:
The divine nature and human natures form a hypostatic union in the one Person of Christ.
The divine nature cannot be seen by anyone.

I have a problem with the term "nature" as used by some people educated in the classical tradition. The nature of a thing (a chocolate pudding or anything else) is not some separate attribute which can be “known only by faith” and is unrelated to any of its observable characteristics. It's just a way of saying what the thing really is, where “real” is used in the conventional this-worldly sense. You can suggest that a chocolate pudding has a fruity nature (because that fits your theology better), but if there isn’t any fruit in it and it doesn’t taste in the slightest bit fruity then you’re just playing a theological game of pretending.

Whether you call it "divine essence" or "special stuff" I strongly suspect that it doesn't exist. What properties is this stuff supposed to have ? Sonship is about quality of relationship, not meta-biology.

Divinity as an attribute means "relating to God" which is something to do with being worthy of worship. It’s not some label on the soul which God can read and theologians deduce.

If I've understood you right you're saying that the reason for insisting on a non-adoptionist model is that without it there's no clear line to draw between what Christ was and what ordinary Christians are in their most Spirit-filled moments. But why does there have to be a clear line ? What’s wrong with a mental picture of Christ being “like the saints, but more so” ? Maybe God didn’t come down to earth from heaven, but then we now know that heaven isn’t in the literal sense “up” in the first place.

quote:
any toying with meta-genetics is pure speculation.
At last! I agree with Father Gregory about something! [Big Grin]

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Russ

quote:
What’s wrong with a mental picture of Christ being “like the saints, but more so” ? Maybe God didn’t come down to earth from heaven, but then we now know that heaven isn’t in the literal sense “up” in the first place.

(You are of course correct on the classical take on adoptionism).

If Jesus is just like us only a better human (by any definition) then God has not done anything more than [1] use more promising material [2] through [1] work more in Christ than us. In other words the Incarnation is not necessary at all because GOD himself, directly, through and in the humanity of His Son has not done anything to save us ... he has merely provided us with an inspiring example. Harnack rules OK? I think not. I don't see how that can be squared with the New Testament at all. Whatever Christ as done as a human it is God-made-flesh who has done it as SUBJECT.

Nature? It has become difficult to talk about "nature" in our culture (which is why Buddhism is making headway of course). The difficulty about nature resides in its fluid and indeterminate expression. The ontology, therefore, is sacrificed to the phenomena. I suppose the only way of resolving this is to ask a negative question.

What would it be about an android that would not make it share in human nature?
What is it about a dolphin (or an alien) with similar capabilities to that of a human that would make neither capable of sharing in human nature, (whatever that was).

Notice that human nature is singular. It is one thing we all share, not some stuff each individual possesses in the pineal gland or anyone else, (Descartes - soul - [Projectile] )

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Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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Fr. G said this on RooK's Satan thread:

quote:
The fall of Lucifer is theological reflection dressed up in mythic concepts, language and narrative, (just as much as Adam and Eve is theological reflection dressed up in mythic concepts, language and narrative).
I put the virgin birth in the same category.
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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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I know you do Ruth ... but where do you draw the line? Another thread perhaps on myth, facticity and truth? However, that would go I suppose in:- "Why do we believe anything at all?"

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Fr. Gregory
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Paul Careau
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# 2904

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The concept of the "virgin birth" may simply reflect the culture of the 1st & 2nd century AD which was placing increased emphasis of the value of an ascetic, celibate life. (Not just the orthodox Christians but the neo-platonists, the Epicureans, the gnostics - everyone).

One Gnostic text (written around 150AD) does claim/admit that the virgin birth is basically a myth - something that mainstream orthodox opinion obviously rejected (as did much other Gnostic writing). However, one cannot help but wonder if (on this issue at any rate) the author of the gospel of Philip was a lone honest voice.

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Fr. Gregory:
The ontology, therefore, is sacrificed to the phenomena. I suppose the only way of resolving this is to ask a negative question.

What would it be about an android that would not make it share in human nature?

Fr Gregory,

If an android behaves as human, why would one not treat it as human ?

And if in the course of getting to know it better, one found that although some of its habits and speech patterns strongly suggested its human-ness, other thought patterns and behaviours were more reminiscent of dealing with computer software, could one not say that it shared some but not all of human nature ?

Or that, as the android industry developed, that its products were becoming more human over time ?

I guess I'm querying why one should start with some sort of definition of human (or divine or android or chocolate) nature and then try to build on that. Rather than starting from the observed phenomena and responding appropriately to them.

What's wrong with a philosophy that treats the "nature" of something as the sum total of phenomena (not all of which will have been observed) ?

I'm not sure where this fits into anything else, and I'm out of my philosophical depth. But it strikes me that you took my tentative suggestion
(that, not knowing or understanding exactly what Jesus was/is, a good mental model might be "like the saints but more so", indicating a direction or bearing into mystery from a point within our experience) and turned it into a flat definition "just like us only a better human" which you then proceeded (quite understandably) to be dissatisfied with.

Russ

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ChristinaMarie
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# 1013

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Fr. G said this on RooK's Satan thread:

quote:
The fall of Lucifer is theological reflection dressed up in mythic concepts, language and narrative, (just as much as Adam and Eve is theological reflection dressed up in mythic concepts, language and narrative).
I put the virgin birth in the same category.
I see Genesis 1-11 as being a polemical myth written to oppose the myths of the time, probably Babylonian.

'Too many cooks spoil the broth' says one.
'Many hands make light work' retorts the other.

'There's lots of gods and goddesses and the sun and moon and stars are among them.' says Babylon.
'There's only one God who made everything, the sun and moon are mere light sources' says Genesis.

What's different about the NT? Well, I think this is relevant:

2 Peter 1:16 (NRSV)
'For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of His majesty.'

Now, when you couple this verse, which is about the Transfiguration, with the Pastoral Epistles, where myths are written against, it seems to me, that it would be quite hypocritical, for these writers to be deploring myths, yet accepting a mythological Virgin Birth.

So, it seems reasonable to me, to accept the Virgin Birth as true.

What I do have a problem with, is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, based on the Scripture which states she had no relations with Joseph while she was pregnant. I know there's an OT Scripture for it, but I find it hard to accept that 'the gate' is Mary's reproductive organs.

Christina

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Russ

I don't think that anything we make from anything other than our own DNA will ever be human = share human nature. So, yes, I do appear to suggest that human nature is coded into the DNA ... how else would it get there? The best an android could be is a good behaviour mimic.

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Fr. Gregory
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Chesterbelloc

Tremendous trifler
# 3128

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The following is a reproachably overdue reply to Glenn's last post on my arguments for the necessity of the VB. Many apologies, Glenn - I've been on shore-leave since my last post and this is my first chance to respond decently to your commendably analytical post. It seems as if the the thread has died in the interim - I do hope that wasn't anything to do with my recent silence (fat chance!). Thank you for the compliment of a careful and extended response to my opinions.

Just to clarify my views, then ...

Firstly, with reference to what you label stage (c) in my argument: "a cell which has all the necessary components to become a human being [and is in the womb] is a person". This is actually more than I want or need to say here (as you yourself alluded to, the issues in the personhood debate are rather complex - I don't wat to get caught up in that any more than I can avoid). All I want to say is that if a full complement of genetic "stuff" is already in place in the form of an entirely humanly-fertilised cell (let's say Mary and Joseph's), then, barring obstacles, you've got all you need for a person right there. There is no need for any other "stuff" to happen for this cell to become a person.

I think this brings us on to the next point. You say "The ... problem we face is that [you] simply assume that a non-virginal conception avoids adoptionism. [You] do not say why." Well, I do want to say that it is both the origin and the composition of the cell that counts here (even if it seemed to you that I based my argument only on composition), because if the origin of the cell is M and J's gametes meeting, then whatever follows to "make the cell God" too, either is an add-on to what is already there (the person that would have resulted plus the "God" bit), or the replacement of some stuff that's already there with the stuff that makes the resulting person God, which we both agree would be the obliteration of the person-that-would-otherwise-have-been, and therefore a non-starter.

Now I'm just not going to pretend that I know how what happened happened biologically (that's part of the mystery), or even make a half-arsed attempt to speculate - that would be nuts, yes? But surely if Christ is really God as well as really human He must have a full complement of genes and retain full Divinity but still be just one person, not the man + God, or not really both only really one and apparently the other (name your favourite Christological heresy to fill in this gap). The state of affairs in which God adds divinity to the M-&-? cell is one which would give you more than one whole person (we don't want that, I take it); the state of affairs in which God just "chooses" the M-&-? cell to be His son is just adoptionism (how is the cell really going to be a person who is actually God unless the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the cell? [OK, maybe that's begging the question a bit ...]); and the state of affairs in which God "overwhelms" the entity is the obliteration of its nature, not its transformation (if this needs to happen, why have the cell as it was with a full complement of genes in the first place?).

How does a virginal conception avoid adoptionism in my view? Well, not all virginal conceptions necessarily would. But one in which God provides the necessary complement to Mary's genetic contribution at the conception without any extra human agent at least gives us a resultant person which is God's and Mary's uniquely. It is the person that results from this union that seems to be the only unqulifiedly plausible candidate for being God, just as the only plausible candidate for being my son would be someone with both his mother's and my genes. How is the resulting person divine as well as human? Well, that is precisely another part of the Mystery of the incarnation (God not having genes, and divinity presumably not being genetic, and all). It's really a process of eliminating the alternatives - any non-virginal account we have seen so far either makes the (human) father's role superfluous, or seems to involve adding to or adopting an already existing (potential, if you like) person.

Now I'm sure that this is going to be a far from adequate response to your carefully considered breakdown of what you understandably took for my argument, but I feel I should get this off straight away before

(a) one of us dies

(b) everyone loses any interest they ever had ("Too late" was the cry ... )

(c) I waste away for lack of gin/food/shore-life!

Thanks again, Glenn - this is what purgatory if really for!

CB

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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
I feel I should get this off straight away before
...
(c) I waste away for lack of gin/food/shore-life!

In the "Land o' Cakes" (and "pehs")! That seems unlikely CB (Omit 'pehs' if that is not pies).

Many thanks for the reply. I will print it off and read mark and inwardly digest it and attempt a response.

Glenn

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Glenn Oldham
Shipmate
# 47

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Chesterbelloc,
Thanks again for your reply, and apologies for this response being delayed.

Since this thread has gone off the boil it may help if I remind any others reading it that the strand of this thread that we have been discussing is something like this:

If the orthodox view of the incarnation is true, is there anything about the incarnation that requires Jesus not to have had a human father’s sperm involved in his conception.

My contention is that we cannot demonstrate this to be the case. You have bravely been trying to see how far one can get with trying to show that is an implied reqirement of the incarnation.

We seem to both agree that Jesus would have had “a full complement of genes.” This seems a reasonable implication of the orthodox view of the incarnation, which holds that he was fully human.

I am not sure if I am just going to end up saying the same again but here goes:

It seems to me that there are two parts to your argument.

Part (1) Firstly, your argument against the incarnation involving a human sperm fertilizing a human egg.
quote:
I do want to say that it is both the origin and the composition of the cell that counts here (even if it seemed to you that I based my argument only on composition), because if the origin of the cell is M and J's gametes meeting, then whatever follows to "make the cell God" too, either is an add-on to what is already there (the person that would have resulted plus the "God" bit), or the replacement of some stuff that's already there with the stuff that makes the resulting person God, which we both agree would be the obliteration of the person-that-would-otherwise-have-been, and therefore a non-starter.
…
the state of affairs in which God just "chooses" the M-&-? cell to be His son is just adoptionism (how is the cell really going to be a person who is actually God unless the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the cell? [OK, maybe that's begging the question a bit ...]);

Part (2) Secondly, your argument that the virginal conception avoids adoptionism.
quote:
How does a virginal conception avoid adoptionism in my view? Well, not all virginal conceptions necessarily would. But one in which God provides the necessary complement to Mary's genetic contribution at the conception without any extra human agent at least gives us a resultant person which is God's and Mary's uniquely. It is the person that results from this union that seems to be the only unqualifiedly plausible candidate for being God, just as the only plausible candidate for being my son would be someone with both his mother's and my genes. How is the resulting person divine as well as human? Well, that is precisely another part of the Mystery of the incarnation (God not having genes, and divinity presumably not being genetic, and all). It's really a process of eliminating the alternatives - any non-virginal account we have seen so far either makes the (human) father's role superfluous, or seems to involve adding to or adopting an already existing (potential, if you like) person.
Problems with Part (1) your argument against the incarnation involving a human sperm fertilizing a human egg.
There are two main problems with Part (1) of your argument.

(1) (a) The first, as I pointed out in my earlier post, is that it can only carry weight if a virginal conception can be shown to avoid adoptionism as well. This depends on Part (2) of your argument and I will therefore deal with it there.

(1) (b) You say “how is the cell really going to be a person who is actually God unless the Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the cell?” and you then acknowledge that ”OK, maybe that's begging the question a bit …”. This is indeed a begged question. If Jesus’ biological existence commenced with the creation of a cell with a full complement of genetic material, then what difference does it make how the Holy Spirit brought that cell into existence? If he chose to create an entire cell from nothing, or used an egg of Mary’s and added the other half of the set of Chromosomes from nothing, or used an egg of Mary’s and a sperm from Joseph or some other method, we would still end up with a cell with a full complement of genetic material. So what difference does it make?

Your argument hinges on the view that it does make a difference, and that it makes a difference to which person it is that that cell is (or will become). Here we run right up against the problem of what is it about a cell that makes it one [potential] person and not another. Why would a cell brought into existence by the Holy Spirit from an egg of Mary’s and a sperm from Joseph not be Jesus. Because something would have to be added to make it God? But why would it have to be added? (Here, of course, we are in the realms of the philosophy of the self and of persons and I am out of my depth!)

Problems with Part (2) your argument that the virginal conception avoids adoptionism.
The bit of your argument that is problematic to me is this:

quote:
… a virginal conception … in which God provides the necessary complement to Mary's genetic contribution at the conception without any extra human agent at least gives us a resultant person which is God's and Mary's uniquely. It is the person that results from this union that seems to be the only unqualifiedly plausible candidate for being God … How is the resulting person divine as well as human? Well, that is precisely another part of the Mystery of the incarnation (God not having genes, and divinity presumably not being genetic, …
I have two problems with this argument:
(1) (a) Firstly, it is precisely the fact that, “God not having genes, and divinity presumably not being genetic,” that leaves it entirely obscure why God needs the cell that begins Jesus’s biological existence to have specially created genes rather than those a human father would provide.

(1) (a) The creation by the Holy Spirit of a cell with a full complement of genetic material without the use of a human sperm is still the creation of a human cell and the question of why this cell should be a divine person rather than a merely human person still remains unanswered and so still potentially a case of adoptionism.

Conclusion
Your argument has initial plausibility but fails to demonstrate that, if the orthodox view of the incarnation is true, there is something about the incarnation that requires Jesus not to have had a human father’s sperm involved in his conception.

This is not surprising given the mystery involved in the incarnation, and the difficulties involved in the concept of what constitutes a person, let alone what is involved in the idea of a human person and the second person of the trinity being one and the same.

More on the implications of this shortly. (I hope).

Glenn

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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J. J. Ramsey
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# 1174

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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Careau:
The concept of the "virgin birth" may simply reflect the culture of the 1st & 2nd century AD which was placing increased emphasis of the value of an ascetic, celibate life.

Not likely. In Matthew 1:25, it says that Joseph didn't sleep with his wife until she had borne Jesus. The implication is that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary slept together like any ordinary married couple of the time. Considering that the Gospels report that Jesus had brothers (or half-brothers, if you want to be precise), a straightforward reading of the Gospels would indicate that Mary did not remain a virgin. That hardly would constitute emphasis on "an ascetic, celibate life."

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I am a rationalist. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually make me rational.

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Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
divinity presumably not being genetic

Chesterbelloc,
Are you sure you don't believe that ? You seem to be arguing that:
- divinity was part of Jesus' identity from the beginning
- identity is determined by DNA at the moment of conception
and being reluctantly forced by the logic of these premises into the conclusion that Jesus must have had "godly" genetic material that came from some source other than a human father. Without ever wishing to take such a materialistic view of what divinity is.

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
In Matthew 1:25, it says that Joseph didn't sleep with his wife until she had borne Jesus. The implication is that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary slept together like any ordinary married couple of the time.

So when Jesus says "Lo I am with you always, until the end of the age" the implication is that after the current age ends, he'll leave us on our own?

Reader Alexis

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Black Dog
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# 2344

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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
I hope everything is okay with Eb'lis, but I notice he hasn't been able to return to his thread for nearly four and a half pages. I've found the Orthodox contribution to this thread instructive and fascinating, and I know a number of Anglicans of different stripe have contributed here; but I'm still rather hoping to find out

a) why Eb'lis, as an RC is concerned specifically for the CofE clergy mentioned in the OP's survey -the ecumenical interest of a fellow Christian is a good enough reason, so it would be good to know that and

b) if any useful comparisons or contrasts can be drawn with RC clergy, in much the same way as we've had useful contributions from the Orthodox folk.

Mind you, if it clashes with the OP, perhaps it wouldn't be that useful - maybe I'm just being nosey! [Smile]

Sorry i've been away and i didn't plan to be so its taken some time for me to catch up on whats been said etc.

However I was interested because in answering a) The church of England seems to be losing the plot somewhat, to me there is a stark difference between modernisation (which the R.C Church certainly requires) and forgetting what your faith was built upon in the first place.

In regards to B) I have no idea what the R.C clergy feel re this issue though i would guess it may be a v. similar stance to the Orthodox view? The rekationship between Orthodoxy and R.C is certainly there, as I was once told that if as a R.C you can't get to church for some reason but you can get to an Orthodox Church that will do under the circumstances. Over To Fr Greg....

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The difference between love and comfort is that comfort is more reliable and true. Brutal and mocking but always there it is a crutch for enmity's saddest glare.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Eb'lis

The Roman Catholic, Orthodox and conservative Protestant positions on the virgin birth are, as far as I can see, identical. The wider issues concerning original sin, the perpetual virginiy of the Mother of God etc. are more divergent. The only difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism would be in the implications of original sin for the Immaculate Conception, (which we don't believe in). However, we have moved away from the Virgin Birth by a long way when we come to that aspect.

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Fr. Gregory
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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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Hello, Eb'lis.
Thank you for you response. So, no surveys taken of RC clergy beliefs then? And based on the assumption that all RC clergy belief reflects whatever the Church dogmatic tradition and teaching is? That's fair enough.

As I suggested in an earlier post, this doesn't reflect my many conversations with many RC ordinands and clergy friends; but from what I understand they are rarely subject to the same force of scrutiny for what they personally believe, as opposed to what the Church publicly affirms, that CofE clergy regularly fall under.

The lack of survey material based on RC clergy, similar to the one in your OP would seem to back that up. That's really all I wanted to know.

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Anselmina

Why is a conclusion made that Catholic clergy opinions as a whole must be at variance with formal Church teaching based on a statistically non-significant collection of anecdotal accounts AND that their personal beliefs are a matter of indifference provided that they "get on with the job." That seems rather cynical to me.

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Black Dog
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# 2344

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Sadly my whole basis for the question is based on a survey within the church of england and reported on bbc teletext!

I doubt that the catholic church woud even entertain such a survey...

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Anselmina
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# 3032

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Fr. Gregory
I am rather cynical! [Big Grin] But my cynicism has nothing to do with my qestion.

My question was to find out if it was possible to compare like with like as in: a survey of CofE clergy belief states that 'da-de-da'; a similar survey of RC clergy belief states that 'da-de-da'. Simple as that.

In the context of Eb'lis's comments about Catholic clergy's attitudes being the same as that of Orthodox clergy's to Church teaching, in terms presumably of acceptance and obedience, I stated that this didn't mainly reflect my own experience of RC ordinands and clergy. I made no statement concluding that Catholic clergy opinion as a whole must be at variance with Church teaching.

This is another reason why it would have been interesting just to know how another church's clergy view the dogmatic teaching and authority of their Church, compared to the CofE folk. I'm the first to say that just because I have personal anecodtal experience of RC clergy who do not personally agree with certain tenets of their church teaching, doesn't mean that they are typical. My clumsy question was: is there any information which helps us to understand what the typical RC cleric's view is, bearing in mind the apparent contradictory evidence I personally have to date? That's all.

I'll admit it could have read ambiguously. I guess the lack of such information means that strictly speaking I can't make either assumption about my anecdotal experience; that it is or isn't typical.

I'd also like to come to the conclusion that, well, we're all rather cynical about such surveys and gathered information anyway, and tend to take these things with a large dose of salt. So it wouldn't matter that we didn't have statistics on clerical belief. But then, if that were so, this thread wouldn't exist. [Paranoid]

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Anselmina

I take your point. I have been known to use anecdotal evidence as well and then be challenged to present survey material. [Big Grin] On the other hand we are dealing with matters that can't easily be assessed and personal impressions and accounts ARE important. I SUSPECT that there will always be clergy who are in significant variance with their church's teaching and practice. I think that the more significant difference between churches lies in the self understanding and doctrinal standards expected between the churches. On that there does seem to be "clear blue water" between the Catholic / Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Church. I am not saying that "anything goes" in Anglicanism but it is much looser. Even Richard Dawkins says so, (with approval of course), so it must be so! [Wink]

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J. J. Ramsey
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# 1174

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
In Matthew 1:25, it says that Joseph didn't sleep with his wife until she had borne Jesus. The implication is that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary slept together like any ordinary married couple of the time.

So when Jesus says "Lo I am with you always, until the end of the age" the implication is that after the current age ends, he'll leave us on our own?

Um, no. There's a difference between saying "X didn't happen until Y" and "X will happen until Y." The implication of the former is that X does happen, but only after Y, while with the latter, X may or may not continue after Y.

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PaulTH*
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# 320

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Anselmina and Fr. Gregory
Do you consider that the fidelity to the required doctrinal standards might mean that even if a Catholic or Orthodox priest had private doubts about an important aspect of Christian doctrine, he'd be less likely to say so. Fr. Grgory, while I don't for an instant doubt your total commitment to your doctrine, you have told us in the past that an Orthodox priest isn't permitted to say anything against church doctrine.

This thread has become so long that I hope I'm not referring to something which has already beeen said, but there is a huge variance among Anglicans depending which position they occupy in the church. The survey in the OP was conducted for the Church Union, an anglocatholic group and published in New Directions, the FIF journal, which I subscribe to. Obviously the compilers are against women in the priesthood, but interestingly only 33% of women clergy feel confident about the virgin birth. Evangelical groups like the Church Society and Reform, and anglocatholic groups like FIF and the Church Union had more than 90% affirmation, wheras in liberal groups like Affirming Catholicism it was much lower.

So it depends where one is in the C of E how high the standard of doctrinal purity will be.

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Paul

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Xavierite
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# 2575

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quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
Um, no. There's a difference between saying "X didn't happen until Y" and "X will happen until Y." The implication of the former is that X does happen, but only after Y, while with the latter, X may or may not continue after Y.

In 2 Samuel 6:23 we read that "Therefore Michal
the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death".

Err...

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
# 310

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Dear Paul

I can't speak for the Roman Catholic Church but if an Orthodox priest felt constrained not to believe in such a fundamental doctrine as this, as likely as not he would vote out of Orthodoxy never mind merely resign his priesthood. Our self understanding and freely assented to norms are very, very different from those that apply in the "west."

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J. J. Ramsey
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# 1174

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quote:
Originally posted by Jesuitical Lad:
quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
Um, no. There's a difference between saying "X didn't happen until Y" and "X will happen until Y." The implication of the former is that X does happen, but only after Y, while with the latter, X may or may not continue after Y.

In 2 Samuel 6:23 we read that "Therefore Michal
the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death".

Err...

Ok, let me restate. "X didn't happen until Y" usually implies that X happened after Y. It's not an absolute requirement that X ends up happening, but the usual implication is that X does.

In Samuel 6:23, X is Michal having a child and Y is when she died. In this particular case, X can't after Y, for obvious reasons, which nullifies the typical implication that X would happen after Y. Hence, for this special case, the natural reading is that X didn't happen.

Now with Matthew 1:25, X is Joseph having sex with Mary and Y is when she gave birth to Jesus. Now in this case, X most certainly can happen after Y, so the reader can infer that X probably did happen after Y. References to Jesus' brothers would probably confirm to the attentive reader that what probably happened did: Joseph knew Mary and begat quite a few sons.

The text allows for the reader to infer that Mary didn't have sex after Jesus' birth and remained a virgin, and that Jesus' brothers are really cousins, but that reading is highly counterintuitive and inconsistent with the customs of the Jews, who did not typically value celibacy.

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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by J. J. Ramsey:
In Matthew 1:25, it says that Joseph didn't sleep with his wife until she had borne Jesus. The implication is that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary slept together like any ordinary married couple of the time

This is surely right, unless there is some unusual idiom or turn of phrase involved here. If Dick said "I did not sleep with Dora until she and I got married." the implied contrast is with sleeping with her before they did. It is unlikely to mean that he never did sleep with her!

Similarly the implied contrast in Matt 1:25 is that Joseph did not sleep with Mary before she bore Jesus, but he did afterwards.
G.

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Anselmina
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# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH:
Anselmina and Fr. Gregory
Do you consider that the fidelity to the required doctrinal standards might mean that even if a Catholic or Orthodox priest had private doubts about an important aspect of Christian doctrine, he'd be less likely to say so.

Oh dear, PaulTh. I couldn't say! My anecdotal evidence - which Fr. Gregory quite rightly implies is limited in its usefulness (and in relation to this thread utterly marginal) - was that for some soon-to-be Catholic priests of my acquaintance their position on certain doctrines was, while in the lecture room, what they understood the Church wanted it to be, was, whilst in private something a little more coloured by personal interpretation.

As a lowly Anglican I have no idea how typical this is, or even how serious it is [Eek!] . Perhaps other Catholics here could speak up for how likely or unlikely it is to hear their clergy disagree with official Church positions on doctrine?

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