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  1. #101
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I would never say they were hindrances either.

    I am merely approaching this from a minimalist POV, as someone who lived for so long in a culture where people tacitly (or even openly) insisted that certain things had to be done and believed for someone to "really be saved."

    What is the basic foundation of salvation?
    Not higher level discourse, even if it is useful to some.

    That's all.
    Ahhh I guess this is a reflection of the different traditions we've come from. Since in Catholicism minimalism is usually frowned upon: one should try to understand the faith as much as they can, and do as much for Christ as one's able to do.

    This attitude is also found within the Orthodox. Here's a good introductionary commentary on that if you're interested:
    the Orthodox Mind: Maximalism / Full Worldview.

    As the author begins: "Rather than the minimalism of Protestantism, which asks questions like "What are the essentials? What is the minimum requirements to be a Christian?" The Orthodox ask what is the most I can do as a Christian?"

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Ahhh I guess this is a reflection of the different traditions we've come from. Since in Catholicism minimalism is usually frowned upon: one should try to understand the faith as much as they can, and do as much for Christ as one's able to do.
    This sounds very interesting to me, since honestly I have little experience with Catholicism or the Orthodox traditions overseas.

    Usually knowledge in the evangelical circles is a form of control in the sense it can be used to justify your position or cement your faith or control behavior. I usually did not feel like people searched as individuals to understand more just for their own spiritual faith, it very easily gets abused as part of groupthink.

    I remember church hopping ten years ago. I went to one evangelical church and immediately knew I would not go there. I sat through a Sunday School circle for adults. Everyone dressed the same, and all the answers to all the questions raised by the teacher were predictable and fit right into the standard lines and I knew that if I answered the questions honestly or with imagination or allowed ambiguity in my answers, I would not be accepted there.
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  3. #103
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    Peguy, I'd never say intellectual discussion was a hinderance to anything, hell no. It can be, but then just about anything can be destructive when abused or over-emphasized.

    I was just trying to say that intellectual discussion isn't necessary for faith. Certainly not at the kinds of levels you'd need to fully read, digest and understand most of the content of the average theological discussion.

    But within Catholicism there is a very strong history and precedent of people preferring to leave out the intellectual stuff. St Francis of Assis for example...
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  4. #104
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    ooops, I meant 'Assisi', obviously. Thinking in French. At least I remembered to say 'Francis' instead of 'Francois'
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  5. #105
    Sniffles
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    Well Catholicism is different in the manner in which we try to understand the faith. There isn't one perfect Catholic way. GK Chesterton once compared Catholic Dogma to a wall around a playground: you can play numerous games, just stay within the wall.

    Numerous figures have represented style styles and mindsets within the faith.

    We see this with the classic dispute between St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas intellectually. Also on a more simple spiritual manner with St. Francis vs. St. Dominic. Of course they're not mutually exclusive, just representing different styles. And of course Blaise Pascal.

    One commentator even remarked that with such variety, how the hell is it even possible to claim anybody as a Catholic thinker.

    But it's not just intellectually. Even the various different orders(lay, monastic, etc.) reflect the different spiritual teachings of its founders. And even outside of that.

    I find that Church dogma and doctrine acts like a guide to thought; and as long as you don't contradict it - you're free to put your own spin to it. Believe it or not, we even have self-professed "Evangelical Catholics".

    Anyways, not trying to boast of the superiority of my tradition - just sharing it.

    Well if you're still into church hopping, I would recommend trying to find a decent Catholic or Orthodox church and attend one of their services at least. It'll be an enriching experience I assure you.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I was just trying to say that intellectual discussion isn't necessary for faith. Certainly not at the kinds of levels you'd need to fully read, digest and understand most of the content of the average theological discussion.
    I don't mind the intellectual abstractions or even the higher concepts that might help expand one's mind in understand who God could be and why.

    I hate the Te-style control freakishness that pervades some parts of the church, where they scour the scriptures and try to build an air-tight case for why someone's stance on something is wrong and theirs is not and why you need to believe the way they do, and if you don't, you're not really as spiritual as them or perhaps not really even saved and not worthy of being listened to or emulated.

    And really, that's often how it plays out when people disagree on points. One's intellectual stance should be insignificant compared to how one actually lives his or her life, in terms of being a reflection of Christ and a model for other people... but I often just felt that it was not that way.

    Even one's stance on the Iraq war could cause a horrible rift if you dared to bring it up or pray a certain way -- "A real Christian wouldn't hold <that stance>". UGGH. I can see devout believers being on EITHER side of that debate and neither is less a Christian than the other.

    So it leads me focus on the "bottom line."

    I just did not realize there were other ways to approach the whole topic, so i appreciate you peguy for your comments here.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #107
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    Yeah I know about the huge variety, I'm a Catholic, remember? Though you probably wouldn't acknowledge me as such, maybe the word has different meanings, slightly, to us... anyway I do question dogma and i think it's important to do so on a regular basis because the way i see it, it only becomes dogma because humans decide it is, and humans, being fallible, can be wrong. EVERYTHING should be regularly questioned and accountable. If it's Truth, then it'll hold its own under any amount of questioning, so there's nothing to lose but an awful lot standing to be gained.

    And if I catch the person who tagged this thread 'sub is a cutie pie' I shall tan their behind!!
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  8. #108
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Peguy, I'd never say intellectual discussion was a hinderance to anything, hell no. It can be, but then just about anything can be destructive when abused or over-emphasized.
    I agree, I was just adding my own two cents to the discussion.

    But within Catholicism there is a very strong history and precedent of people preferring to leave out the intellectual stuff. St Francis of Assis for example...
    Catholicism is universal, so it has holy people of all types. That's one of the great things about it.

  9. #109
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Yeah I know about the huge variety, I'm a Catholic, remember?
    I was addressing Jennifer, who admitted to having little experience of Catholicism or Orthodoxy for that matter.

    EVERYTHING should be regularly questioned and accountable. If it's Truth, then it'll hold its own under any amount of questioning, so there's nothing to lose but an awful lot standing to be gained.
    That's a very Catholic position you presented. Even my namesakes Charles Peguy even noted that everybody should question their beliefs at least once in life. But that shouldn't lead one to endless skepticism, which gets you nowhere.

    However, one also should be aware of what they're actually able to question. Otherwise one should place trust in authority to judge on those matters. I find this especially true with myself in regards to issues like angels, miracles, the eucharist, etc. for example.

  10. #110
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    Jennifer, what you say calls to mind something a certain Te-primary friend of mine said a while ago: "sometimes I can get so absorbed into reading theological literature and spend days and days thinking I'm so holy and spiritual because I devote all this time to understanding an obscure Hebrew passage... and then I realize that I've done all this at the expense of living the life, of walking the walk, and have missed the point entirely."

    Gotta give him credit for admitting it.

    But that's the other problem I have with it - not just what you describe as the control freakery, but that it's an easy thing for some people to hide behind rather than face actually changing their lives and the way they interact with other people... often the best theologians I've known in the past have been the most stubborn, belligerent, insensitive and arrogant people, sadly. It doesn't have to be the case and isn't always, but it's sad that it sometimes is...
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