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Lewis's later view on Christianity

The man. The myth.

Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby Tumnus's Books » 06 Jan 2009, 21:44

rusmeister wrote:
The great wisdom that everyone has a good grip on today is that people are not to be trusted - that they are by nature corrupt, and so we reject the error of blind faith in any authority that happens to come along; and so in our age we commit an opposite error- to reject all authority whatsoever except ourselves.


A very Chestertonian insight. GKC is smiling somewhere :smile:
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby Zattara08 » 08 Jan 2009, 16:07

Tumnus's Books wrote:
rusmeister wrote:
The great wisdom that everyone has a good grip on today is that people are not to be trusted - that they are by nature corrupt, and so we reject the error of blind faith in any authority that happens to come along; and so in our age we commit an opposite error- to reject all authority whatsoever except ourselves.


A very Chestertonian insight. GKC is smiling somewhere :smile:


Truly a Chestertonian insight. Nice!
"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby Sokol_iz_Narnii » 26 Mar 2009, 01:09

I recently watched a film about the C.S. Lewis.
This film is called "C.S. Lewis Beyond Narnia" (2005).
This film is very interesting to show his life and how C.S. Lewis became a Christian.
It is recommend for all to see this movie!
"... noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy".
C.S. Lewis, :The Last Battle".
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby The Exodus » 07 Apr 2009, 14:09

rusmeister wrote:I think so, yes.

For me, life experience (joining the Navy, seeing the world, learning different languages and cultures) taught me the unreasonableness of concepts like "the King James Bible is the only Bible" and eventually Sola Scriptura. I saw the impossibility of one man's being able to know and interpret anything on his own, even if he committed all of his life to it. It's not nearly enough to know ancient Greek, Latin and Aramaic (although how many of you know even one of those languages, let alone all?). You need to know and understand the culture as well - how were marriage and divorce understood; what is the concept of family and household, what was the normal average wage of a workman, and every other question of life. It is true that one man could eventually answer many of these questions correctly. But 1) doesn't that make him a (n imperfect) authority figure and 2) where does that leave the average Joe who doesn't know all of that stuff? It turns into a kind of gnosticism, where the person who knows the most is most correct, has the best chance to really "be saved", etc... (I speak in terms of understanding Scripture - I know that Protestants believe that simple people can be saved)

But again, I learned by living in foreign places that the very bases of reality are different, and assumptions that we make in our culture and take for granted simply are not true elsewhere. Thus we blithely depict nativity scenes taking place in a western stable, little realizing that what passes for stables in those Middle Eastern parts are actually caves in the hills. Or again, we depict a young Joseph (about the same age as Mary) because we assume that if a couple gets married, they are probably both young, the same age, and plan to have children together. And that's very true - in OUR culture. Anyway, the examples are legion - I'm just pointing out what has been pointed out many times before - to tell a person to read it for himself, and interpret for himself what ancient texts from faraway lands mean, and perhaps refer to some clarifications from a wise and learned man, and then make all-important theological decisions based on those interpretations, is insane and a sure path to disagreement over interpretations, and ultimately, schism. Hardly a unified body of Christ. It results in, well, what we have today. A complete mess.

The great wisdom that everyone has a good grip on today is that people are not to be trusted - that they are by nature corrupt, and so we reject the error of blind faith in any authority that happens to come along; and so in our age we commit an opposite error- to reject all authority whatsoever except ourselves.


Rusmeister - what an excellent post. I agree with many of the points you are making here - specifically that it is silly to suppose any average person can fully grasp the meaning of ancient texts. In fact, scholars even disagree with one another - men who have spent their entire lives studying the subjects can have grave misunderstandings. That doesn't mean no one is right, but it does mean the average guy is in no place to judge between scholarship when all he has is a basic education. I'm reminded of the eunuch reading Isaiah. Philip approaches him and asks him if he understands what he has read. "How can I," he says, "unless someone teach me?"

However, I don't see how the problem of submitting to a moral authority can solve this problem. A historical authority, perhaps, but certainly not a moral authority. For example, what are those of us who are Protestant (even if we don't hold to Sola Scriptura) supposed to do when considering the Catholic Church we see mandates passed which contradict our moral conscience? I studied Catholicism quite a bit, and considered becoming Catholic, but there are mandates which command me to do things I don't feel I ought to be morally obliged to do. You can call it my Protestant upbringing, but the fascination with Mary seems completely displaced. Why would we pray to to anyone besides God? Does he not hear us? And also, the mess and "organic growth" of Church dogma is unsettling - i.e. the removal of limbo, the once-held belief that unbaptized children could not "see God", a priest "absolving" someone of their sin.

Now, I do not mean to get into a doctrinal debate (because those never go anywhere, and yes - I'm familiar that all/most of my points do have certain passages in Scripture that are presented for them as argument), but I will say that you present, what seems to me, a rather circular argument. You say that Sola Scriptura is no good, unless it is understood by the Church. Yet, when the Church goes to formulate it's doctrine, it goes to the scripture. If scripture is fallible, then certainly anyone who goes to it in order to understand it will come away with an incorrect teaching. HoweverI know the Church also relies on the writings/opinions of the Church Fathers. But again, I here see a *vast* difference in many of the ancient Father's opinions - on scripture, Hell, salvation, etc. So to remedy all this, the Church says that it is "guided by the Holy Spirit". Perhaps some individual Church Fathers were mistaken, perhaps certain dogmas have not yet been "organically formed", but the Church has faith, nevertheless, that she cannot teach error (though she can sin, which, apparently, is not the same thing. Evidentally the Church could be preaching the truth while at the same time committing grave sin). But here comes the biggest problem of all....

We are supposed to have the Spirit of God within us individually, are we not? Certainly we are fallible, but does not God give us the ability to know him? Who can we turn to to seek guidance, if not God himself? And so what are us Protestants supposed to do, when we come across mandates - or mandates which were given in the past - which teach something contradictory to our moral conscience?

Anyway, this sort of "individual Popeness" does present its problems, but I feel the alternative - namely, of submitting your conscience to something you do not think is right - is no better. For example, what are we supposed to think when we read in the Old Testament of God doing something we think terribly unjust? Well, I would say that our faith is not in "a book", neither is it in "a Church", but in the fact that we believe God to be Good. So, while we may be unsure about certain authorities, whether Biblical or Secular, we hold fast above all else to the idea that God is Good. And we can only understand Good through the moral law he has placed within us. And also, what are we to do when we may be doing something that we do not think is wrong, but an authority tells us we ought not to do? Or the opposite: suppose we are told to do something that seems wrong, are we to do it? In not submitting, we run the danger of being in error. But is there really such a thing as moral error if someone is truly ignorant? This pushes us back further still to the problem of ethics - and there we could spend a lifetime and not come up with any answers.

This is quite an involved topic, because it involves many issues, such as the Nature of God and Goodness, how we come to know God, our fallible nature, etc; a topic worthy, I think, of starting a new post to. But I'll leave that in your hands.

I know I've probably sounded combatative, because I've attacked a position which hold very dear, but I do not mean offense, and I respect your belief. I only want to point out some of my thoughts of the other side of the coin.
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby rusmeister » 08 Apr 2009, 00:30

Hi, Exodus!
I appreciate your thoughtfulness and courtesy in presentation!
If I may "go for the throat" of what I think the heart of your observations, it is in how you understand "moral conscience". I think this something very easy to potentially confuse with mere feelings, which can be indoctrinated and conditioned into us, but not really be our conscience. In other words, the thing must be sternly defined.

I should interject that I am Orthodox, not Catholic at all, so most of the things you objected to in Catholicism (above) are things that Orthodoxy does not defend either.

You bring up Mary as an example - and this is an excellent example of a thing that is an indoctrinated objection, and not "a matter of conscience" at all. You have been taught that it is wrong. Remove you as a baby from your western cradle and bring you up now in Greece or Russia and you would think it quite natural - and you would understand that prayer is not worship at all, but simply asking friends and family to pray for you. You would not blast a man of the middle ages for worshiping you if he said "Prithee, milord". You would understand that he is only addressing you and asking you for something. If all are alive in Christ, then the dead are merely passed over (Mark 12:27 and context). Prayer to Mary and the Saints is really asking them to pray for us, and the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Who told you you will stop praying when you die?

Does your conscience also object to venerating icons? Then why does it not object when you kiss your dearly departed mother's photo or salute your country's flag? It's the same thing.

My point is is that those things are matters of education and learning, not conscience. Personally, I will agree with you on other things you objected to - because the Orthodox Church does see things differently from Catholics - if we baptize babies we also Commune them as soon as we do. Orthodox see neither baptism as something that depends exclusively on the faith of the baptized as many protestants do nor the Eucharist as dependent on personal faith and knowledge as Catholics do. But my point is that you may object to some things based on reason (which may be faulty) rather than your conscience - and the best test is when your reason tells you it is OK, but something else tells you unambiguously it's really not.

On your thoughts on the Church "teaching error" (again, one must define what "the Church" is!):
I think your comments are mostly true regarding human institutions. There is one exception - and that is if a given Church really IS THE Church of Christ. If we accept that, then there is no error. If there really is error (how do you know that?) then it is not the Church. The question becomes, "Where is the Real Thing? The actual original Church, that must exist and has never died or gone anywhere? That formulated the Bible and the Nicene Creed that we depend on so much, that produced the saints and martyrs, that must have existed equally in the 4th, 7th, 11th, 15th and 20th centuries?"

And on the need for external authority:
See Philip and the eunuch:
"How can I," he says, "unless someone teach me?"
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby The Exodus » 08 Apr 2009, 04:32

rusmeister wrote:Hi, Exodus!


Greetings! Happy to be here amongst Lewis/Tolkien/fantasy fans.

rus wrote:I should interject that I am Orthodox, not Catholic at all, so most of the things you objected to in Catholicism (above) are things that Orthodoxy does not defend either.


Lol, I apologize. Seeing you quote Chesterton must have made me jump to conclusions. Such being the case, I really have no place to say anything about Orthodoxy. I don't know much about it, but find it extremely appealing, considering many of the problems I found with the Catholic Church - I am told - are not found in Orthodox teaching.

rus wrote:You bring up Mary as an example - and this is an excellent example of a thing that is an indoctrinated objection, and not "a matter of conscience" at all. You have been taught that it is wrong. Remove you as a baby from your western cradle and bring you up now in Greece or Russia and you would think it quite natural


I very much agree, but your point also goes the other way. Remove you as a baby and bring you up in a Protestant (or even non-Protestant) environment and you would think deifying a human being is wrong (not claiming the Orthodox do this). The problem is, our raising is largely responsible for what he think is right or wrong. That goes for you *and* me. I believe we are, more or less, the same at the core though, and that if we both saw where the other person stood, we'd be very inclined to agree with one another. For example, if you do not think you are deifying Mary, but only praying to her, I would see nothing wrong with that. I no doubt think that you do not venerate Mary above God or Christ, so I'm going to assume we both agree on this point. (Again, this objection was mainly raised in regards to my understanding of the Catholic notion of Mary).

rus wrote: Prayer to Mary and the Saints is really asking them to pray for us, and the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Who told you you will stop praying when you die?


I see we are in agreement. However, most Catholics do not have such an "un-idolatrous" view, if I may use the word. I think most of the time their obsession with Mary detracts from the glory of God and Christ.

rus wrote:Does your conscience also object to venerating icons? Then why does it not object when you kiss your dearly departed mother's photo or salute your country's flag? It's the same thing.


Again, this is not a matter of difference of moral *fact*, but one of interpretation. We both consider idolatry wrong, but what you do not consider idolatry - veneration of icons - rests on the assumption that you are not worshipping the icons *as icons*, but worshipping/venerating God *through* icons. I have no objection to this, if this is the way you do, in fact, venerate icons.

rus wrote:Orthodox see neither baptism as something that depends exclusively on the faith of the baptized as many protestants do nor the Eucharist as dependent on personal faith and knowledge as Catholics do.


This is extremely encouraging to me, because, my main struggle with Catholicism is not that there is a disagreement about *interpretation* of moral facts, but that there is a disagreement about *moral facts* in general. For example, I do not see anything wrong with viewing Mary as "Full of Grace", neither do I see anything wrong in believing certain objects ought to be venerated. The main rub I have is their position concerning original sin and sanctifying grace. Catholic teaching is that every person that is born, due to the sin of Adam, therefore *deserves* Hell. He is born without sanctifying grace - which is what saves. Now, I'm not saying man is not born without this grace - perhaps he is - but I am saying I don't think man is born *deserving* Hell. These two things are very different. "Deserving Hell" implies something completely foreign to my mind of justice, and results in about a billion tons of ink spilt by Catholic Theologians trying to make this "seem" just, when it is really nothing quite like "justice" or "goodness" or "love". For example, baptism "completely removes" original sin, according to Catholicism. I could pull out old and new Catechisms at this point to show the difference in Church attitude about this point: many Church fathers (Augustine, e.g.) believed that every born human was doomed to everlasting eternal Hell-fire unless they underwent water baptism. Later on, the Church tried to make this seem less unfair and they added Limbo, where, although unbaptized infants and/or "moral" pagans (such as Socrates, Virgil, etc) weren't able to "see God", they weren't eternally tortured. Later on still, the Church came up with "baptism by blood" and "baptism by desire", saying that if someone dies who wanted to be baptised, they will be saved, and that, should parents *desire* for their infants to be baptised, even if they aren't able to be, they will be saved... and the Church continues to make "organic advances" concerning its dogma (some Catholics are even Universalist).

My main problem was that the Catholic Church relied to heavily on logical "proofs" from scripture. In doing so it distorted the general notion of what I believe to be "justice" and "goodness", and therefore there was not so much a disagreement about *interpretation of facts* as there were about *moral fact* in general.

And on top of all this, I am told that the church "cannot teach error in matters of faith or morals". Well, I have prima facie evidence on just the doctrine of Limbo to think otherwise. Plus, how can an infallible Pope be decided by a council that is not yet infallible? Many bishops disagreed and did not vote for Papal infalliblity, which was only declared *after* the council. Therefore, how can infallibility account for its own credibility?

rus wrote:On your thoughts on the Church "teaching error" (again, one must define what "the Church" is!):
I think your comments are mostly true regarding human institutions. There is one exception - and that is if a given Church really IS THE Church of Christ. If we accept that, then there is no error. If there really is error (how do you know that?) then it is not the Church. The question becomes, "Where is the Real Thing? The actual original Church, that must exist and has never died or gone anywhere? That formulated the Bible and the Nicene Creed that we depend on so much, that produced the saints and martyrs, that must have existed equally in the 4th, 7th, 11th, 15th and 20th centuries?"


This is quite a good question for me to look into, seeing as I can only answer with my own personal confidence that I believe this is *not true* regarding the Catholic church (no offense to Catholics). I would be very interested to hear the Orthodox position concerning original sin, damnation, moral authority, and the atonement (I'm quite repulsed by the idea that God's "Divine Justice" had to be appeased, therefore he took out his wrather on Christ - developed by Anselm).

rus wrote:And on the need for external authority:
See Philip and the eunuch:
"How can I," he says, "unless someone teach me?"


I fear this will only take us in circles. Indeed one can "teach us", but *we* must decide what to think of their teaching. Everything must conform, in the end, to what *we* think is right. You cannot escape the fact that you must decide. Now, we can think it right to submit to authority, but, I would claim, only on the grounds that that authority does not undermine our general sense of "justice" and "goodness".
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby Stanley Anderson » 08 Apr 2009, 15:10

The Exodus wrote:...most Catholics do not have such an "un-idolatrous" view, if I may use the word. I think most of the time their obsession with Mary detracts from the glory of God and Christ.


This impression of Catholics seems very misplaced to me. The Catholic Church I attend has nearly 8000 members and this is not my impression at all, nor from any of the multiple readings I engage in. You might want to read the entirety of my post in a thread in the Religion, Science, and Philosophy forum entitled "The Rosary", but here is an excerpt associated with your comment above (the post was in response to a query about the Rosary so my comments refer to and address that aspect in particular, but the quote below can refer to the whole of the Catholic devotion to Mary, so please read it with that understanding):

Stanley wrote:...Coupled with this reason is the curious fact I notice in readings about the vast majority of Saints throughout the Church's history. And here is another conflict with certain Protestant impressions (which I have held in the past) -- the idea that the Rosary somehow overrides or replaces or "poison's" one's "proper" worship of Christ, as though it were an example of the "two masters" that one cannot serve and must choose between. Instead, what seems to be the overwhelming and unmistakable case is that, oddly enough (when I first noticed it, not now of course) those saints that had the most intense and unending and overflowing love and devotion to Christ were, and are, the ones who also seem to have the most intense devotion to saying the Rosary. "How can this be?" says the ghostly Protestant remnants in the back of my mind. Surely one "pushes" the other out? But apparently not, as I discover more and more from readings about the saints and from my own continued devotion to saying a daily Rosary.


As made clear in the fullness of the post on the other forum, I say these things as a former Protestant (and I'm sure R will inform you of his former Protestant background in connection to your retort to him about a hypothetical Protestant environment)

The Exodus wrote:...Plus, how can an infallible Pope be...


Your various comments about Limbo and the Pope and the teaching of the Church are quite too much for me to respond to adequately here (and being a relatively new Catholic of a little over two years, perhaps it would be improper and dangerously prideful for me to take on too much of an apologist's tone), but there was a short quote for yesterday in the Magnificat (a magazine of daily Mass and morning and evening prayer readings for Catholics) that was very interesting:

Magnificat magazine quoting BXVI wrote:We have grown accustomed to make a clear distinction between Peter the rock and Peter the denier of Christ -- the denier of Christ: that is Peter as he was before Easter; the rock: that is Peter as he was after Pentecost, the Peter of whom we have constructed a singularly idealistic image. But, in reality, he was at both times both of these...has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the Pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon -- both the rock of God and a stumbling block? In fact, the faithful will always have to reckon with this paradox of the divine dispensation that shames their pride again and again.

-- Pope Benedict XVI


Now since the Pope is a strict adherent to Catholic teaching including Papal infallibility, it seems to me, in light of his comment above, that either all this "Catholic" stuff is all simply too convoluted and contradictory and foolish to even be considered and should be roundly tossed out on its ear; ...or else perhaps there is something deeper and richer than from the little that can be gleaned from a few observances and a peering-over-the-edge-of-the-windowsill-from-outside-in-the-snow* glances at the seemingly odd and fanciful goings-on inside the Church.

Take your pick,
--Stanley

*perhaps my allusion to a scene from the Wind in the Willows chapter "Dulce Domum" is clear enough? :smile:
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby Bluegoat » 08 Apr 2009, 15:40

The Exodus wrote:
I see we are in agreement. However, most Catholics do not have such an "un-idolatrous" view, if I may use the word. I think most of the time their obsession with Mary detracts from the glory of God and Christ


I'm rather afraid that your view of RC prayers to Mary and the Saints is quite mistaken. The view is precisely the same as the one Rus has described in relation to the Orthodox Church. And Catholics don't have to pray to Mary unless they find it helpful.

And on top of all this, I am told that the church "cannot teach error in matters of faith or morals". Well, I have prima facie evidence on just the doctrine of Limbo to think otherwise. Plus, how can an infallible Pope be decided by a council that is not yet infallible? Many bishops disagreed and did not vote for Papal infalliblity, which was only declared *after* the council. Therefore, how can infallibility account for its own credibility?



Similarly, the Catholic Church is aware that it has developed it's doctrine as time has passed. You might want to look into the difference between this and Faith and Morals. I won't try to defend Papal infallibility, but I do hope you realize that not all papal statements are considered infallible. If we are going to consider all church institutions to be fallible, fine. But we must realize that will cut out everything, including the scriptures themselves. The idea of The Faith and The Church would be destroyed.

This is quite a good question for me to look into, seeing as I can only answer with my own personal confidence that I believe this is *not true* regarding the Catholic church (no offense to Catholics). I would be very interested to hear the Orthodox position concerning original sin, damnation, moral authority, and the atonement (I'm quite repulsed by the idea that God's "Divine Justice" had to be appeased, therefore he took out his wrather on Christ - developed by Anselm).


Perhaps though, as Job found, our notions of justice are rather inadequate? Although I'm not an expert, I suspect you would find that the Orthodox positions are similar to the RC ones on many of these issues, and possibly more absolute in some cases.
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby The Exodus » 08 Apr 2009, 23:58

Bluegoat wrote:Similarly, the Catholic Church is aware that it has developed it's doctrine as time has passed. You might want to look into the difference between this and Faith and Morals. I won't try to defend Papal infallibility, but I do hope you realize that not all papal statements are considered infallible.


I understand the difference Catholics make in church "dogma" and "opinion". I also understand that infallibility ex cathedra has only been used twice in the history of the RCC. I don't really want to get into all this here (you can start another post if you like), but my main concerns are with the doctrines of original sin/damnation, the "ogranic" growth of what is now infallibility, and the Western-Augustinian legalistic attitude of its theology.

bluegoat wrote:Perhaps though, as Job found, our notions of justice are rather inadequate? Although I'm not an expert, I suspect you would find that the Orthodox positions are similar to the RC ones on many of these issues, and possibly more absolute in some cases.


But I don't quite see how this helps. If our sense of justice/goodness can't be trusted, we can't say we have any intelligible comprehension of the nature of God.

Plus, I don't find in Job (which I take to be a poem) anything supporting the notion of Anselm's theory of atonement - that is, of God killing Christ in order to satisfy his divine anger with humanity. It is too legalistic, and also it means that I must accept the notion that God is just in sending every man to Hell for all eternity merely because he is born. On top of this, I must believe that God must do all this because he has to - he is bound to punish sin. He can't "forgive and forget"; that's impossible. He *must* punish sin to satisfy the offence made against him.

Anyway, I don't mean to be offensive or technical, and no doubt there are many Catholics which would not hold to the old Catholicism of Augustine and Anselm, but the history of the Church is full of differences in thought and attitude compared what the Church teaching of today.
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby The Exodus » 09 Apr 2009, 00:11

Stanley Anderson wrote:
This impression of Catholics seems very misplaced to me. The Catholic Church I attend has nearly 8000 members and this is not my impression at all, nor from any of the multiple readings I engage in.


This may be so. I shouldn't make blanket statements. However, I don't really have a problem with praying to Mary or the Rosary. The point I was trying to make was that I am opposed to the deification/idolatry of these things.

stan wrote:
Magnificat magazine quoting BXVI wrote:We have grown accustomed to make a clear distinction between Peter the rock and Peter the denier of Christ -- the denier of Christ: that is Peter as he was before Easter; the rock: that is Peter as he was after Pentecost, the Peter of whom we have constructed a singularly idealistic image. But, in reality, he was at both times both of these...has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the Pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon -- both the rock of God and a stumbling block? In fact, the faithful will always have to reckon with this paradox of the divine dispensation that shames their pride again and again.


This makes little sense to me, especially in terms of the RCC's legalistic past. Were it Eastern/Mystic, I could understand, but to say the Pope is both the rock *and* a stumbling block undermines the unquestionable authority of the Papacy. Also, concerning infalliblity, I can only point to the question of how it was decided - it was not decided *infallibly*, seeing as the RCC did not possess that power at the time of this democratic decision. Furthermore, I know many older Catholics have many problems with the recent Pope. Personally, I see much more of a inclusivist attitude, less legalistic, and a much more humble approach to his writings (I own three of his books) than previous Popes (not including John Paul). However, I'm really in no position to judge any of these qualities of a no doubt immenent man of God. So I will say no more.

I will conclude however in saying that I'm sure all the supposed "errors" in Church teaching can be explained by Catholic scholars, so I won't press an argument I don't think I can win. However, I will say that the understanding of original sin/damnation are gravely inconsistent with what I believe is good and just.
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Re: Lewis's later view on Christianity

Postby rusmeister » 09 Apr 2009, 02:08

I agree with you, Exodus - I wouldn't dream of arguing with Catholics here - the make-up of membership of this site led me to adopt a "Mere Ortholicity (Cathlodoxy?)" policy - with an overwhelming majority of people who do not get, the way Catholics and we do, the full significance of the Eucharist and the impossibility of relying on Scripture alone (just as examples).

That said, I'll just say I also agree with your objection to the juridical attitude in the west.

I should probably have made clear that veneration involves a great level of respect - put simply, icons are windows into heaven - bowing before people who have run the course, fought a good fight and kept the faith, and in general did it far better than we do, and so, are worthy of that level of respect. And Mary did so more completely than anyone, making her the most honored human in the Church. I'm reminded of Lewis's comment in "The Weight of Glory" about our becoming creatures that one would want to fall down before (or the opposite). None of that adds up to worship or idolatry, though. We know Who God is in that sense and are not confused about it. (And while I think that Catholics do go farther, I don't think they are as idolatrous as you seem to think.)

This is a thorough and authoritative outlay (catechism, if you will), of the Orthodox faith from a canonical source:
http://www.oca.org/OCorthfaith.asp?SID=2

(Edit) Let me add a great podcast that addresses a lot of your thoughts - it's at Ancient Faith radio - absolutely the best internet radio site on the net. It's title: "Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us"
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/eastwest
here's the direct link: http://audio.ancientfaith.com/eastwest/ ... -04-04.mp3
The site:
http://ancientfaith.com/
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."
Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength
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