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Everything posted by Spammer

  1. This. You've succinctly communicated what I was trying to say in lots of posts in and did it in just a couple of sentences. The claim that orthodox Catholic teaching is based on Greek philosophy is false and is a conclusion that can only be reached by someone who hasn't bothered to read the church fathers whose writings have been affirmed by the church to be orthodox. Greek philosophical cosmology (and LDS cosmology) posits eternal matter and eternal spirits/souls; orthodox Catholic philosophical cosmology, including that of Aquinas, posits ex nihilo creation of matter and souls. That's really all there is to it. Understanding what Catholics mean by such terms as ousia, hypostasis, physis and the the English translation of ousia - 'substance' - isn't difficult. When Aquinas and other Catholic church fathers use 'substance' they mean it in the ex nihilo sense, not the Greek/LDS philosophical sense. Saying Catholic teaching is based on Greek philosophy because the word 'substance' is used to talk about God only shows that the person making the claim has forgotten, doesn’t know, or doesn’t care to acknowledge that Catholics and pagan Greeks are talking about totally different things when they use the same word to talk about the divine. This will be my final post on this topic. I apologize in advance if someone wants to respond to what I just wrote. I have to stop, for reasons I’m about to explain. I think this conversation has gone about as far as it can go. To all that have contributed, I really enjoyed it. Mark, Pogi, 3DOP, Miserere, Vance, Calm, have I missed anyone?, thank you. I need to take a break. I get sucked into these conversations so easily and I end up spending lots of time better spent elsewhere sitting in front of the computer or texting away on my iphone. That's why I disappear from time to time. There's another, more important, reason I have to stop spending so much time posting here. My wife has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and this following some awful menopausal stuff that's kept her out of work for a month. She's devastated. There have been a few times when she's asked for help with something and here I was, typing away, rapidly trying to finish the thought, when I should have just closed the browser instantly and gotten up to help her. I ask God's forgiveness for this selfishness. It's time to break away - replacing time spent here with time spent with my wife and in prayer. I ask for the intercession and prayers of our Lord's Blessed Mother on behalf of my wife and ask our Lord to heal her and that he send his Holy Spirit to comfort her at this difficult time. She has also received a blessing by two local LDS priesthood holders. The prognosis is good, but we can use all the help we can get. Please pray for her my LDS and Catholic brothers and sisters. Thank you.
  2. Whether it’s self-evident that only material ‘things’ exist depends on prior philosophical commitments.
  3. It seems you’re suggesting that: 1) science has demonstrated that only the material exists. 2) the spirit as breath and wind in scripture is to be taken literally, not figuratively. If so, then regarding the above claims: 1) when and how did science accomplish this? and 2) says who?
  4. Has science demonstrated that nothing immaterial exists?
  5. Ok. It’s been fun. Have a great day! (sent to you from the DC Temple visitors center. )
  6. My point is that Greek philosophy is closer to the teachings of Joseph Smith than to Catholicism. You don't think it's a big deal that Joseph might agree with Aristotle or the neoplatonist Gnostics, while you think Catholicism's agreement with Aristotle is a sign of apostasy. Seems like a big double standard to me.
  7. Aristotle was ex nihilo? No. He was ex materia, as in Greek philosophy generally, including Neoplatonists. Matter is preexistent and eternal for Aristotle, the same as in LDS teaching. Greek philosophers, Gnostics and Joseph Smith would get along swimmingly. Nothing can come from nothing. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/form-matter/
  8. Alright, so keeping the focus on how introducing substance theology changed church doctrine, which doctrine(s) do you think were changed? Do you mean Transubstantiation? If so, there was no change in doctrine. All that changed with Aquinas was a change in terminology used in the Latin Church’s descriptions of how the bread and wine are also the Body and Blood of Christ. The underlying doctrine (Eucharist=Jesus) was the same before and after Aquinas introduced ‘substance’ and ‘accidents’ into church discourse, the exact same doctrine accepted by the Eastern churches that rejected Aquinas’s terminology.
  9. I thought we were discussing the more general issue of whether/ how Greek philosophy influenced church doctrine?
  10. Yes, I know all that. The problem is that transubstantiation - Aquinas’s attempt to use Greek philosophy to account for how the bread and wine become Jesus - is a Latin thing exclusively. If that’s evidence of Greek philosophy introducing doctrinal corruption, that only applies to the Latin Church. Yet, the non-Latin Catholic churches also believe that the bread and wine are changed into Jesus and have from the early days of church. They didn’t get it from Aristotle, who they reject, along with Aquinas. So which Greek philosopher did they get the idea from? Also, St Justin Martyr called the change ‘transmutation’ in 165 ad. It’s the same idea Aquinas tried to account for 1100 years later using Aristotle’s substance terminology. Ignatius of Antioch defended the same idea 55 years before Justin. Where did they get the idea, if not from the apostles, which Irenaeus stated was the case in 180 ad? Btw Irenaeus said he got it from Polycarp (Ignatius’s pal), who got it from the Apostle John - who recorded Jesus’s Eucharistic discourse in John 6. Interesting stuff, don’t you think? Can you document a different provenance, linking the doctrine to a pagan Greek other than Aristotle?
  11. I just remembered that we’ve been here before. I dug up our old conversation on this very same topic back in 2015. Has it been that long!? I’ll paste what I said then below. If you recall, you did some digging and said the Timaeus is open to interpretation. I agree, though I haven’t changed my mind since then. I still don’t see ex nihilo in Plato. My old post follows. You asked for something from the Timaeus and this is what I posted: Creation in the Timaeus is the work of the demiurge (section 28), who brings order and harmony out of disorder (30a, 53,a-b, 69b-c), or who organizes or imposes a structure on preexistent chaos ('matter' unorganized). Sections 30, 48-53, and 69 contain the exposition on the process. For example, from section 53, which describes the process whereby the first step in organizing primordial chaos (matter unorganized) is marking out and imposing the four kinds of geometrical forms (Plato's 'atoms') on it: "So it was also with the Four Kinds when shaken by the Recipient: her motion, like an instrument which causes shaking, was separating farthest from one another the dissimilar, and pushing most closely together the similar; wherefore also these Kinds occupied different places even before that the Universe was organized and generated out of them. Before that time, in truth, all these things were in a state devoid of reason or measure, but when the work of setting in order this Universe was being undertaken, [53b] fire and water and earth and air, although possessing some traces of their own nature, were yet so disposed as everything is likely to be in the absence of God; and inasmuch as this was then their natural condition, God began by first marking them out into shapes by means of forms and numbers. And that God constructed them, so far as He could, to be as fair and good as possible, whereas they had been otherwise..." The disordered state of the universe, the state before time when "all these things were in a state devoid of reason or measure", is the preexistent chaos upon which the Demiurge imposes the mathematical forms to initiate the organization. From the Stanford piece below, "The argument from 47e3 to 52d4 gives Timaeus both the spatial matrix in which to situate, and the material substratum from which to constitute, the universe that he will fashion after its eternal model.The fashioning, however, is the process of bringing order to what was, prior to and apart from the Craftsman's intervention, a thoroughly disorderly state of affairs, and so the physical account begins with a description of that disorderly, “god-forsaken” (53b3–4) initial state." I see no ex nihilo in the Timaeus. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Plat.+Tim.+53&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0180 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/ Edited October 17, 2015 by Spammer
  12. I think what you say summarizes the crux of the matter for me. A mountain is made out of a terminological molehill - the appropriation and use of the Greek ousia is interpreted to mean that Catholic theology is founded on Greek philosophy. That’s a ridiculous assertion. All there is is the shared use of similar terminology in reference to the divine but what pagan Greeks and Catholics mean by the same terms is radically different! It’s the same thing with John’s use of logos in his gospel. Logos in John does not mean what logos means in Plato and Aristotle. But wait! John uses logos. He must have based his teaching on the philosophy of pagan Greeks. Guess what? Ousia is also found in the New Testament Greek. But it doesn’t mean there what the philosophers meant. Obviously. Same with John’s use of logos. Context is key. Sure, Catholics use the Greek philosophical term translated as substance but no Greek philosopher meant what Aquinas meant when he used substance in an attempt to use language to represent the immaterial, divine spirit who made everything out of nothing who is really present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Concluding that the use of similar terminology is evidence that Catholic theology rests on Greek philosophy only works if you remove the Creed from its Catholic context, which is centuries older than the Creed.
  13. I think I’ve confused things a bit for 3DOP. I called Plato a materialist. That was imprecise. I don’t mean philosophical materialism - only the material exists. My intent in using the word was to classify Plato with those, like the LDS church, who also believe matter is eternal. I hope I didn’t confuse things too much with my imprecision. Like I said, I’m no philosopher.
  14. I agree with this. I’m no philosopher. Don’t listen to me. Read some Plato.
  15. I think the problem lies in understanding the nature of Plato's third realm, where the universals ‘dwell.’ Does this immaterial realm of abstractions ‘exist’ for Plato like we say that immaterial spirit exists independently of the material? My understanding of Plato is that the Third Realm doesn’t really ‘exist’ but is an intellectual ‘space’ that reason perceives, like immaterial mathematical laws. I think whether Plato was actually a materialist hinges on whether he thought the realm of abstractions exists independently of human minds. Maybe he wasn’t a materialist in the philosophical sense, but he was in the sense that he was not into ex nihilo. Formless matter is prexistent for Plato, which is the materialist creation theology I’m talking about - and IMO whether ex nihilo and the idea of immaterial, personal spirits comes from Greek philosophy is the crucial issue for the conversation in this thread.
  16. The Timaeus isn't an easy read and Plato doesn't think of 'matter' like we do. For us, matter always takes a particular form and formless matter doesn't exist. For Plato, preexistent matter just is preexistent formless 'stuff' or chaos out of which he imposes the Forms and mathematical order in order to create particulars, the inherent particles of which are triangular in their most fundamental components. It's all pretty wild and weird. The point is that Plato's demiurge DID NOT create particulars like the components of matter out of nothing at all, as in Catholic teaching. They're created out of preexisting chaos, what Plato calls the 'Receptacle' in the Timaeus. The Receptacle and its 'contents' are preexistent, i.e., eternal. At least in the Timaeus, Plato could not be the origin of the Church's belief in ex nihilo creation. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/ Ex nihilo also could not have come from Neoplatonism. Plotinus posited a God who emanates matter out of himself. We thus have three models of creation: Ex materia (Plato, LDS teaching), Ex deus (Neoplatonism) and ex nihilo (Catholicism) Yes, I think sacramentum is the Latin translation for the Greek mysterion. I speak neither language, but that's what I've come to understand in my readings. Orthodox priests I've asked have affirmed this and, if memory serves, that's what I was taught in RCIA in 2008. What's crucial about this is that at the deepest level, both sacramentum and mysterion mean the same thing: something material that's a means of grace, sanctified matter that both hides and makes present the ineffable God.
  17. Yeah, I can't figure it out, either. I can understand the concern if Greek philosophy was imported wholesale into the Church, but it simply wasn't. All of the debate in this thread about a single word (ousia) translated variously as substance, essence or nature, as if the bare fact that English translations of Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas all use 'substance' proves that Greek philosophy corrupted the Church. I get that LDS church members really want for the Great Apostasy to have happened, but the fact that what Plato or Aristotle meant by substance isn't remotely what the Catholic Creeds mean by substance. The Greeks were materialists, after all! Just like LDS church members. So, where exactly is the similarity? Where is the immaterial God who created all of matter, time and space out of nothing in Greek philosophy? To date, no LDS church member has named a Greek philosopher who believed in the existence of immaterial persons and ex nihilo creation. Plato and Aristotle are name dropped but neither of them believed that! I ask for an explanation of what exactly the Church imported from Greek philosophy and all I get is 'substance.' I know the scholars say there was influence but what kind of influence is it, really, if the similarities all boil down to terminology and what Catholics and pagan Greeks mean by substance isn't the same? Ok, so the church imported some materialist terminology and used it in an attempt to describe the immaterial. Big deal. That's why I say "so what?" Church teachings regarding God's nature as an immaterial spirit who created everything ex nihilo were not changed when the Church engaged Greek philosophy. That core Catholic teaching that God is an immaterial spirit who made everything out of nothing is very old, predating the Creed by at least two centuries. Irenaeus believed and defended it and he said he got his teaching directly from Polycarp and that Polycarp got his teaching directly from the Apostle John. If what Catholicism teaches about God and creation comes from pagan Greeks, which of the these three - John, Polycarp, or Irenaeus was an apostate and which pagan Greek influenced him? It would be great to get that kind of evidence but so far all we have is an interesting conversation about 'substance.' It all seems like much ado about nothing to me.
  18. Yes, in the current English translation of the Creed used in Novus Ordo Catholic churches. English speaking Orthodox churches use 'essence.' That's because Aquinas didn't influence the Greek, Coptic or Syrian part of church. That's a point typically forgotten or ignored in any conversation about Catholicism. As Miserere pointed out, Catholicism is a rich, diverse tradition and the philosophies and spiritualities of of Aquinas and Augustine are only a part and really only belong to the Latin wing of the church. You can be a Catholic in good standing and not ascribe to substance theology. IMO some nuance is called for when the influence of substance theology and Aristotle on the church is discussed. Ive found such nuance to be rare. [Edit: the same absence of nuance is seen in LDS and Protestant discussion of sinful popes, inquisitions and crusades, as if those have anything at all to do with the non-Latin Catholic Churches. My experience is people who focus on such things don’t really know much about Catholicism.
  19. It's not clear at all. The God of Catholicism is far removed from the god of Greek philosophy, who isn't a god in the Judeo-Christian sense, not even a 'who,' since Plato's god is not a person. I asked for a description of which Greek philosophical elements were incorporated into Creedal theology and so far all anyone has come up with is: Is there anything else, or is that it? I’ve noted the idea that God is one and transcendent is a point of similarity, though God’s transcendence is a surface similarity, as Greek philosophy is materialist, the same LDS teaching. I'm just not seeing a wholesale incorporation of Pagan Greek philosophy. Even if there is some similarity, so what? There's similarity between LDS teaching and Greek philosophy (eternal matter, eternal intelligences), but surely you'd dispute the notion that LDS teaching is flawed because of the similarity. It seems there's a double standard at play here.
  20. Another point is that the new meaning is grounded on beliefs that are older than the appropriation. Thus, the Western Church baptized pagan festivals and the whole Church baptized Greek philosophy. It did not base it's teaching on Greek philosophy, as some on this board like to say. Yes, Neoplatonism continued to be a problem, for the reasons you describe (the old never seems to go away, that's how it is with humans) but subsequent church councils were convened to keep that in check and uphold orthodoxy. There was even a Crusade called to contain Neoplatonism (the Albigensian). Easter eggs and bunnies are Western and only appeared in Easter celebrations (in Europe) after Pascha became Easter. There was no Easter nor Easter eggs/bunnies in Christianity before Pope Gregory I sent the monk Augustine and his monk friends to evangelize the Saxons in 597. The Paschal Liturgy is centuries older. Easter egg hunts are a Western, specifically English thing - and anywhere where the English church has had an influence, which is practically everywhere these days.
  21. It never really worked, but it does open a door to contemplation of the ineffable, which is the whole point the endeavor of the first place.
  22. That's right, although it's perfectly natural to want to make an attempt to understand what our Creator is. There's nothing wrong with it, so long as the limitation you've identified is kept in mind. Aquinas made the attempt and knew it in the end. I know it but enjoy reading Aquinas. Why? You said: That conclusion is valid only if you first adopt the materialist philosophy. That conclusion is nothing that can be arrived at through observation. I begin from a different starting point. Lacking any direct spiritual experiences, I came to believe in the existence of God and returned to Christ solely on the grounds laid out by guys like Aquinas and Anselm. They're my starting point. Put another way, I ONLY believe God exists because of what they wrote.
  23. It’s been said that the Catholic Church baptized Greek philosophy. That’s a good way to view it. Same words, different meanings. The Church also baptized pagan festivals, like the Saxon spring festival honoring Oestre. It became Easter. Same festival, new Christian meaning: Pascha in Saxon clothes.
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