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  #1  
Old May 1, '12, 6:57 pm
Bartolome Casas Bartolome Casas is offline
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Default Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Some Catholics today seem to be saying that a person is saved by being free from all heresies.

But the New Testament, while it does show some concern for orthodoxy (especially in the letters of Paul), seems to show much greater concern for "love thy neighbor."

Apologists today focus on hunting down and stamping out heresies. They seem to hold a "saved by orthodoxy" point of view.

This is not new. The Church Fathers seemed to hold the "salvation by orthodoxy" view in their war against Arianism. Some of the Church Fathers even directly advocated that the Roman government use armed force to suppress the Arian heretics, and such armed force was used against the Arian heretics.

Then the was the case of the Church supporting the crushing by brutal state violence the heretical group known as the Albigensians.

But, with the Vatican II Council, all this use of state violence or force against heretics has, in general, been forbidden by the Catholic Church. The exception is that Catholics can still call for the state to suppress blatantly immoral things like polygamy, incest or child sacrifice, even if a group claims a "religious freedom" right to do such things.

Today, many apologists seem to want a pre-Vatican II idea that suppressing and extinguishing heresy everywhere on the planet earth is the main goal of the Catholic Church.

By contrast, consider this line from the New Testament: 1 John 4:20:
"If anyone says, I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
Just think about what that says! If you don't love strangers and enemies, then you don't love God. And if you do love strangers and enemies, they you do love God.

Based on reading the New Testament, I conclude that Jesus came to the earth to start a "Love Thy Neighbor" Movement.

It seems that salvation is, in the ultimate sense, not "salvation by faith," not "salvation by orthodoxy," but is rather "salvation by love of neighbors, strangers and enemies."

Based on the New Testament, it does not seem that Jesus came to the earth to start an Anti-Heresy Movement.

It seems that the commandment "Love Thy Neighbor" is the major theme of the New Testament.

When Jesus was asked to state the Greatest Commandment, he said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Paul gives a mini-treatise on love, faith and hope in his first letter to the Corinthians, and in that letter he says:
1 Corinthians 13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing....

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In the above, Paul clearly says that love is more important than either faith or hope.

Jesus, in his description of the Last Judgment, he shows people being judged NOT on the basis of their orthodoxy or freedom from heresies, but on to what extent they loved neighbors, strangers and enemies. He even says that loving a neighbor, stranger and enemy is the SAME as loving Himself (Jesus).

Here is the passage:
Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes....he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats....

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”
The New Testament is full of such statements about the commandment "love thy neighbor."

Paul says "love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10. Think about that!

John writes "God is love." 1 John 4:16.

If you sit down and read the New Testament straight through, I think you will see that the major theme is the commandment to "Love thy neighbor".

Why then do today's radio and Internet apologists talk and write as if one is "saved by orthodoxy," by being free from heresy?

Why don't apologists instead teach people how to better love neighbors, strangers, and enemies? Wouldn't such an education do more to actually help people get to Heaven?
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  #2  
Old May 1, '12, 8:26 pm
hannajomar hannajomar is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

We need both orthodoxy and love. Practicing one without the other appears to me to be pride.
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  #3  
Old May 1, '12, 8:38 pm
Lancer Lancer is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Its always...a "both-and"... not ..."either-or" dynamic.

Your premise is based on supposition...you need specific examples of apologist teaching fidelity versus charity...personally, I don't see your premise in any apologist...that I hear or read.
Pax Christi
Quote:
Catechism of The Catholic Church

The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom

2104 "All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it."26 This duty derives from "the very dignity of the human person."27 It does not contradict a "sincere respect" for different religions which frequently "reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men,"28 nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians "to treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the faith."29

2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ."30 By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them "to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live."31 The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church.32 Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.33
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  #4  
Old May 1, '12, 8:39 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

In all fairness to the Church, some of the heresies mentioned caused much civil unrest and human suffering.

One of the heresies taught that all matter was evil and all spirit was good and as a result, people started comitting suicide.

There was another which caused people in one area to renounce loyalty to their feudal landlords and to stop working. It got so bad that riots broke out, food distribution was interrupted and people began experinecing famine. The Church was right to request that the civil authorities remove the heretics, because what they were teaching was causing people much suffeiring. Asking the civil authorities to step in was a request for mercy.

Its not always about the doctrine itself, but what the doctrine causes people to do.

I do agree with the premise of the OP however - that correct belief is often seen as all that is needed for salvation, or correct use of the sacraments. Jesus clearly taught that if you see your brother without food or clothing and don't do something about it you have no hope of getting into heaven. The sermon on the mount redefined holiness from how you worship to how you treat each other.


-Tim-
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  #5  
Old May 1, '12, 8:39 pm
meltzerboy meltzerboy is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
Some Catholics today seem to be saying that a person is saved by being free from all heresies.

But the New Testament, while it does show some concern for orthodoxy (especially in the letters of Paul), seems to show much greater concern for "love thy neighbor."

Apologists today focus on hunting down and stamping out heresies. They seem to hold a "saved by orthodoxy" point of view.



But, with the Vatican II Council, all this use of state violence or force against heretics has, in general, been forbidden by the Catholic Church. The exception is that Catholics can still call for the state to suppress blatantly immoral things like polygamy, incest or child sacrifice, even if a group claims a "religious freedom" right to do such things.

Today, many apologists seem to want a pre-Vatican II idea that suppressing and extinguishing heresy everywhere on the planet earth is the main goal of the Catholic Church.

By contrast, consider this line from the New Testament: 1 John 4:20:
"If anyone says, I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
Just think about what that says! If you don't love strangers and enemies, then you don't love God. And if you do love strangers and enemies, they you do love God.

Based on reading the New Testament, I conclude that Jesus came to the earth to start a "Love Thy Neighbor" Movement.

It seems that salvation is, in the ultimate sense, not "salvation by faith," not "salvation by orthodoxy," but is rather "salvation by love of neighbors, strangers and enemies."

Based on the New Testament, it does not seem that Jesus came to the earth to start an Anti-Heresy Movement.

It seems that the commandment "Love Thy Neighbor" is the major theme of the New Testament.

When Jesus was asked to state the Greatest Commandment, he said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Paul gives a mini-treatise on love, faith and hope in his first letter to the Corinthians, and in that letter he says:
1 Corinthians 13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing....

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

In the above, Paul clearly says that love is more important than either faith or hope.

Jesus, in his description of the Last Judgment, he shows people being judged NOT on the basis of their orthodoxy or freedom from heresies, but on to what extent they loved neighbors, strangers and enemies. He even says that loving a neighbor, stranger and enemy is the SAME as loving Himself (Jesus).

Here is the passage:
Matthew 25:31-46



41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ” [/i]
The New Testament is full of such statements about the commandment "love thy neighbor."

Paul says "love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10. Think about that!

John writes "God is love." 1 John 4:16.

If you sit down and read the New Testament straight through, I think you will see that the major theme is the commandment to "Love thy neighbor".

Why then do today's radio and Internet apologists talk and write as if one is "saved by orthodoxy," by being free from heresy?

Why don't apologists instead teach people how to better love neighbors, strangers, and enemies? Wouldn't such an education do more to actually help people get to Heaven?
I agree and would add that Jesus' commandment of love is totally aligned with Judaism. Note also that the love of neighbor, stranger, and enemy that Jesus espouses is based on our behavior toward them: feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, comforting the aggrieved, rather than on some abstract and detached notion of love. Even before Jesus, Hillel the Elder suggested something similar in saying that the whole basis of the Law is not doing hateful things toward others that we would not wish for ourselves. Hillel says that all the rest of the Law is commentary on that central commandment.
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  #6  
Old May 2, '12, 5:43 pm
Bartolome Casas Bartolome Casas is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meltzerboy View Post
I agree and would add that Jesus' commandment of love is totally aligned with Judaism. Note also that the love of neighbor, stranger, and enemy that Jesus espouses is based on our behavior toward them: feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, comforting the aggrieved, rather than on some abstract and detached notion of love. Even before Jesus, Hillel the Elder suggested something similar in saying that the whole basis of the Law is not doing hateful things toward others that we would not wish for ourselves. Hillel says that all the rest of the Law is commentary on that central commandment.
Meltzerboy, how providential that you should make that comment!

Please don't tell anyone, but that original post of mine was largely inspired by some recent reading I have been doing in the writings of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (born 1884 in Poland, died 1954 in State of Israel). Rabbi Ashlag's wrote to show that the entire Torah boils down to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18) as the sole or main means of personal "Correction" (Tikkun) and thus to to "cleaving to the Creator" (which says is the "Purpose of Creation"). He also quotes Rabbi Hillel the Elder, whom you mentioned, and also Rabbi Akiva.

I have also been reading a book by Rabbi Joseph Teluskin (1948 to present) titled A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. I was shocked when I saw that book in a Borders bookstore. I thought: Huh. so Judaism stresses "love thy neighbor as thyself" too?

Reading these Torah scholars has really helped me understand the New Testament so much better. Verses I hardly noticed before are not glowing with meaning and richness for me.

Yes, it seems odd that believers in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and who do not accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, should nevertheless be so helpful to me in understanding, loving, treasuring and applying in my life the New Testament Scriptures. Yet, that has happened.

Not that these rabbis really say anything truly new, anything that Christian writers lack. Yet, they say things in a way that fresh and new to me, and so, perhaps for that reason, they get my attention, and lift me up.

I get some comfort and assurance from the fact that Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has also make an indepth study of Judaism in his life, and has general endorse and praised the faith of the Jews. He has also visited and prayer in synagogues.

Then there was also Blessed Pope John Paul II who explicitly called the Jewish people our "elder brothers in the faith in the Abraham."

So, I really am not ashamed to be studying Torah scholars and finding great value in them. I have zero thoughts of converting to Judaism. Yet, I cannot deny that these Torah scholars have opened my eyes and heart more to what Jesus and his Father want for me and my fellow human beings, and the means they have supplied for our "correction" up the path of greater holiness and "cleaving to the Creator."

To me, it is such a shame that Christians ended up becoming such terrible persecutors of Jewish people for almost 2,000 years. That alone makes it virtually impossible for Jewish people to feel anything but horror at the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But, why dwell on the past, I guess. No wonder some Torah scholars over the ages in the Christian era have written that they don't think non-Jewish lack fully human souls.

Anyway, I am grateful for the robust tradition in rabbinical Judaism of reflection on and intense and devoted practice of the precept "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

And, as is well known, there is no strong/major tradition of persecution heretics in the Jewish tradition, as compared to the Catholic/Protestant tradition. In Judaism, what DO and fail to do in dealings with neighbors, strangers and enemies is what determines who you are and how you progress in holiness and righteous.

I know you know all of this Meltzerboy. I just wrote it, in case others might find it useful.

I perceive that today's revived Crusade against Heresy in religion is paired up with the Crusade in the political realm against ideological opponents (principally the Conservative crusade to extinguish Liberalism off the face of the earth). The idea is that we can get correct believe or ideology in everyone's head, then Utopia will break out.

That, I think, the Bible does not support. The Bible says a better Life for all happens when people repent in their hearts, work on reducing pride, egoism, envy, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, wrath, and so on, and come to more and more true love for neighbor, stranger and enemies, loving them as God love them, loving them as our true equals, loving them as if these others are in fact Jesus Christ in disguise. This is why I think the recently revived war to extinguish off the face of the earth is so misguided, unproductive, and hurtful.

But I admit that the New Testament does put much emphasis on right belief (orthodoxy) too.

In seems undeniable that the Vatican II Council's teaching on Ecumenism means that heresy is not as serious a matter was formerly thought.

Blessed John Paul II constantly preached that regarding belief and doctrine, in the post-Vatican II era, the Catholic church "proposes but never imposes."

Bye the way, Melzerboy, I find your writings on this Forum to be among the most encouraging, insightful, and helpful.

Last edited by Bartolome Casas; May 2, '12 at 5:58 pm.
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  #7  
Old May 2, '12, 7:06 pm
sw85 sw85 is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
Some Catholics today seem to be saying that a person is saved by being free from all heresies.
Who thinks this? Freedom from heresy seems to be a minimum for salvation under ordinary conditions (the fuller requirements being (a) freedom from mortal sin [knowing and consensual subscription to heresy being a mortal sin] and (b) baptism). It is necessary. But no one, to my knowledge, thinks it is sufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
But the New Testament, while it does show some concern for orthodoxy (especially in the letters of Paul), seems to show much greater concern for "love thy neighbor."
I hear this a lot. Frankly, it's quite tired. The implication is that "doctrine is divisive" as certain radical Protestants are wont to say, and if only we just stopped talking about what constitutes worthy objects of belief then we could get down to the serious business of loving our neighbor. Usually these radical Protestants are the ones you see hugging half-naked homosexuals at gay pride parades on the grounds that "this is what love is." No, it isn't. That's what scandal is. It's the opposite of love. It destroys love.

So it misses the point. "Love" is an act of the will, ordered toward the good of another. It therefore requires a full and coherent understanding of what "good" is. Stuff like not killing them and helping them to make ends meet when they're having a hard time is easy to apprehend. But life is not reducible to such considerations. What happens when I'm safe and well-fed? Clearly my life is not complete at that moment; there are higher goods than those. We need a clearer vision of what man is. Doctrine gives us that vision. When doctrine accords with reason, it commands obedience. And when doctrine accords with reason, disobedience is, by definition, irrational. And unreason is, by definition, disordered. And disorder, by definition, is harmful. And tolerating others' suffering harm needlessly is, by definition, inconsistent with the Biblical commandment to love them, i.e., to will what is best for them. What is best for them is God, and by extension obedience to the truths which He has made known to us, either directly through revelation or indirectly through the magisterium of the Church.
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  #8  
Old May 2, '12, 7:56 pm
Bartolome Casas Bartolome Casas is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sw85 View Post
"Love" is an act of the will, ordered toward the good of another. It therefore requires a full and coherent understanding of what "good" is....Doctrine gives us that vision. When doctrine accords with reason, it commands obedience. And when doctrine accords with reason, disobedience is, by definition, irrational.
Computer are extremely good at being logical and rational. In the future, they will be even more so, at advanced levels that will more and more approach the "intelligence" that humans have. Therefore, under this view, machines would exhibit the epitome of Christian love. Yet, machines don't love at all. They simply follow their programming. They are soul-less, heartless.

When I read the New Testament, I don't see Jesus Our Lord promoting rationality, reason, logic and this body of thought called "Natural Law."

To me, the emphasis in the Catholic Church whole tradition of Aquinas and is sort was a big mistake. Even Thomas Aquinas rejected it at the end of his life, when he directly said that he came to see all this writings as being as worthless as straw.

On 6 December 1273 Thomas was celebrating the Mass of St. Nicholas when, according to some, he heard Christ speak to him. Christ asked him what he desired, being pleased with his meritorious life. Thomas replied "Only you Lord. Only you."[35] After this exchange something happened, but Thomas never spoke of it or wrote it down. Because of what he saw, he abandoned his routine and refused to dictate to his socius Reginald of Piperno. When Reginald begged him to get back to work, Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me."[36] (mihi videtur ut palea).[37] What exactly triggered Thomas's change in behavior is believed...to have been some kind of supernatural experience of God.[38]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

If reason, logic, rationality, Natural Law, philosophic essays and lectures led people to better love their neighbors, strangers and enemies, then I'd be all for it. But I don't see it.

And I do see the renewed anti-Heresy crusade in today's Catholic Church as producing or encouraging meanness, hatred, pride, and what St. Augustine called "libido dominandi" (the will to dominate other people).

Knowledge of the Kingdom of God (what some call doctrine) is of value. But is it merely a tool, a means to an end. St. Paul said all this directly in his First Letter to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing....

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Was St. Paul some hippie-dippy wanting to hug Protestants and homosexuals indiscriminately?

Jesus Our Lord was harshly criticized for associating with public sinners, and he did save the Woman Caught in Adultery from the death penalty that she DID deserve according to Jewish Law/Doctrine. Those Jewish men with the stones in their hands were very orthodox in their beliefs. But they lacked love and mercy in their hearts.

Many people cite the definition of Christian love as an "act of will." But read the New Testament, and you will see in Jesus that Christian love was also an act of the human emotions, of the heart. The New Testament clearly shows that the Christian life starts with and continues with changes of the human HEART. The very word "heart" appears all over the New Testament. Jesus CRIED in the New Testament. CRIED! Cried when Lazarus died. Cried in the Garden of Gethsemane. Cried on the Cross. Jesus was/is HUMAN and divine. He was nothing like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, nothing like a logician.

The current "New Apologetics" is big on promoting reason/logic/rationality as a kind of FORCE to which all people MUST submit--or else. This, in my view, becomes a kind of violence, a kind of force, that is a close cousin to the force and violence used in the Crusades to the Holy Land, and the Crusade Against the Albigensians. The Vatican II Council forever forbade the use of such violence and force against heretics. The Catholic Church now fights for the right of any to deny the Trinity, deny the Divinity of Christ, deny the role of the papacy in Christianity, and so, under the Vatican II Councils new doctrines on Religious Liberty.

Forgive my acerbic tone. I am passionate about this. I worry that that the mission of the Church is being thwarted by the desire to use force, even if the force of logic/reason/rationality, to beat up and clash with outsiders.

I feel like massive segments of the Catholic Church on this "force" path instead of the "love" path that really is the predominant theme of the New Testament. Mock Christian love if you want. Many do. But are you mocking the words of Jesus, St. Paul, and St. John in doing so?

If I am mistaken, then forgive me, and pity me, maybe even pray for me. I am just an average lay Catholic who goes to mass on Sundays. No one has any reasons to respect me especially.

But then, there are the first three encyclicals of Pope Benedict, which, I think, say all that I am saying, only much better.

Oh well. Forgive me. What do I know. Best wishes.
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Old May 2, '12, 8:23 pm
meltzerboy meltzerboy is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
Meltzerboy, how providential that you should make that comment!

Please don't tell anyone, but that original post of mine was largely inspired by some recent reading I have been doing in the writings of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (born 1884 in Poland, died 1954 in State of Israel). Rabbi Ashlag's wrote to show that the entire Torah boils down to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18) as the sole or main means of personal "Correction" (Tikkun) and thus to to "cleaving to the Creator" (which says is the "Purpose of Creation"). He also quotes Rabbi Hillel the Elder, whom you mentioned, and also Rabbi Akiva.

I have also been reading a book by Rabbi Joseph Teluskin (1948 to present) titled A Code of Jewish Ethics, Volume 2: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. I was shocked when I saw that book in a Borders bookstore. I thought: Huh. so Judaism stresses "love thy neighbor as thyself" too?

Reading these Torah scholars has really helped me understand the New Testament so much better. Verses I hardly noticed before are not glowing with meaning and richness for me.

Yes, it seems odd that believers in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and who do not accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, should nevertheless be so helpful to me in understanding, loving, treasuring and applying in my life the New Testament Scriptures. Yet, that has happened.



I get some comfort and assurance from the fact that Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has also make an indepth study of Judaism in his life, and has general endorse and praised the faith of the Jews. He has also visited and prayer in synagogues.

Then there was also Blessed Pope John Paul II who explicitly called the Jewish people our "elder brothers in the faith in the Abraham."

So, I really am not ashamed to be studying Torah scholars and finding great value in them. I have zero thoughts of converting to Judaism. Yet, I cannot deny that these Torah scholars have opened my eyes and heart more to what Jesus and his Father want for me and my fellow human beings, and the means they have supplied for our "correction" up the path of greater holiness and "cleaving to the Creator."

To me, it is such a shame that Christians ended up becoming such terrible persecutors of Jewish people for almost 2,000 years. That alone makes it virtually impossible for Jewish people to feel anything but horror at the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But, why dwell on the past, I guess. No wonder some Torah scholars over the ages in the Christian era have written that they don't think non-Jewish lack fully human souls.

Anyway, I am grateful for the robust tradition in rabbinical Judaism of reflection on and intense and devoted practice of the precept "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

And, as is well known, there is no strong/major tradition of persecution heretics in the Jewish tradition, as compared to the Catholic/Protestant tradition. In Judaism, what DO and fail to do in dealings with neighbors, strangers and enemies is what determines who you are and how you progress in holiness and righteous.

I know you know all of this Meltzerboy. I just wrote it, in case others might find it useful.

I perceive that today's revived Crusade against Heresy in religion is paired up with the Crusade in the political realm against ideological opponents (principally the Conservative crusade to extinguish Liberalism off the face of the earth). The idea is that we can get correct believe or ideology in everyone's head, then Utopia will break out.

That, I think, the Bible does not support. The Bible says a better Life for all happens when people repent in their hearts, work on reducing pride, egoism, envy, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, wrath, and so on, and come to more and more true love for neighbor, stranger and enemies, loving them as God love them, loving them as our true equals, loving them as if these others are in fact Jesus Christ in disguise. This is why I think the recently revived war to extinguish off the face of the earth is so misguided, unproductive, and hurtful.

But I admit that the New Testament does put much emphasis on right belief (orthodoxy) too.

In seems undeniable that the Vatican II Council's teaching on Ecumenism means that heresy is not as serious a matter was formerly thought.

Blessed John Paul II constantly preached that regarding belief and doctrine, in the post-Vatican II era, the Catholic church "proposes but never imposes."

Bye the way, Melzerboy, I find your writings on this Forum to be among the most encouraging, insightful, and helpful.
Bartolome Casas, are you familiar with the work of Amy-Jill Levine? She is a Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt University, an Orthodox Jew and a liberal feminist (in the best sense of both words), who encourages Jews to read the New Testament, which she states contains much wisdom that can enrich one's understanding of Judaism. In fact, she has recently edited "The Jewish Annotated New Testament." I can't say whether the Orthodox Jewish community has embraced her, but my feeling is there is no harm in learning from different religions, as you have done by reading these Torah scholars. That doesn't mean we have to convert (although sometimes it does happen); the main goal, I believe, is appreciating the wisdom derived from teachings other than our own and how that wisdom may have influenced our own cultural and religious beliefs. Much thanks for the compliment.
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Old May 3, '12, 8:04 am
sw85 sw85 is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

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Computer are extremely good at being logical and rational. In the future, they will be even more so, at advanced levels that will more and more approach the "intelligence" that humans have. Therefore, under this view, machines would exhibit the epitome of Christian love. Yet, machines don't love at all. They simply follow their programming. They are soul-less, heartless.
Computers are neither logical nor rational because they have neither logic nor reason. They obey logic and reason because they were built by beings who make recourse to them.

This is a complaint I hear a lot from the Orthodox. Incidentally, they're even more doctrine-obsessed than we Catholics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
When I read the New Testament, I don't see Jesus Our Lord promoting rationality, reason, logic and this body of thought called "Natural Law."
Really? So he never once told anyone to repent of their sins, to sin no more, that their sins are forgiven, etc. etc.? It seems to me ethics is inseparable from Christ's mission on Earth. We cannot repent until we know what we must repent of. We cannot "sin no more" until we know what it means to "sin no more."

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Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
To me, the emphasis in the Catholic Church whole tradition of Aquinas and is sort was a big mistake.
A sentiment shared by many non-Catholics.

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Originally Posted by Bartolome Casas View Post
Even Thomas Aquinas rejected it at the end of his life, when he directly said that he came to see all this writings as being as worthless as straw.

On 6 December 1273 Thomas was celebrating the Mass of St. Nicholas when, according to some, he heard Christ speak to him. Christ asked him what he desired, being pleased with his meritorious life. Thomas replied "Only you Lord. Only you."[35] After this exchange something happened, but Thomas never spoke of it or wrote it down. Because of what he saw, he abandoned his routine and refused to dictate to his socius Reginald of Piperno. When Reginald begged him to get back to work, Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me."[36] (mihi videtur ut palea).[37] What exactly triggered Thomas's change in behavior is believed...to have been some kind of supernatural experience of God.[38]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas
He didn't reject his theology. He had a mystical experience: reportedly direct apprehension of God Himself. Compared to that, his writings seemed like straw -- in the sense that they no longer mattered. What else can matter, when one stands face to face with God?

You have to ask yourself: with what in Aquinas' life was Christ pleased -- what in his life was so "meritorious" to justify a visit from God Himself -- if not the 8-10 million words of theological treatise he wrote, which successfully achieved the most remarkable philosophical synthesis ever before seen? If they were all false and worthless, then Aquinas was just another nonsense-peddler.

Yada yada. Forgive me, but I don't care to read through the rest of your thesis. I suspect it is simply a massive exercise in rationalizing your own heterodox beliefs, which you've voiced in the past. Like every other such exercise it reeks of Protestantism. If you have in fact rejected Catholicism then we have no basis to continue this discussion; ergo, there's no point in continuing this discussion.

One last thing though: I'm reminded of something I read once which was attributed (possibly apocryphally) to C. S. Lewis. In every age, the greatest effort is always devoted to attacking the least important problem. I see that here. It reminds me of that doughy Protestant fellow dressed like a retiree at Sunday morning brunch declaring that Jesus hates both sin and religion -- because, clearly, if there's a problem with modern society, it's that there's too much religion. Likewise, if there's a problem with the modern Church, it's that there's too little focus on doctrine, not too much. For Heaven's sake, if the polls in America are any indication, the upper-bound on the proportions of orthodox Catholics is probably 10-15%. And it's fed by the monstrous hubris of those who spent a weekend reading the Bible and walked away with the conclusion that they have it all figured out, and the 2 millennia of saints, martyrs, and doctors the church who came before, who dedicated their lives to contemplation and prayer, got everything wrong. It's a kind of pride you expect from a Lutheran. It's not something I'll ever get used to hearing from Catholics.
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Old May 3, '12, 8:57 am
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

We are saved by Jesus Christ
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  #12  
Old May 3, '12, 9:33 am
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Salvation by orthodoxy, or salvation by love of neighbor, stranger and enemies?

Now can we Christians enter into death ...and leave the true life we have in Christ?

Yes.

Can one enter into that state of death via such things as grave sins against love or truth (thus heresy)?

Yes.

(Can a Christian not be culpable or less culpable even in such grave matters and thus not enter into death via mortal sin? Yes.)

Can we die in that State of death and thus choose to be eternally separated from God?

Yes.

Can we be restored by Jesus Christ prior to our natural death --to that true life via the grace of repentance and the Sacrament of Penance? Yes most certainly.

Let us always remain living in the true life given us by Jesus Christ!
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