Ok, this one got me scratching my head, so i’m coming to you folks for a reply.
I was inquiring about the whole “Gnostic Christianity” thing with some Orthodox acquaintances and it opened a boatload of arguments regarding the origin of Christianity in general. They also made some assertions regarding you folks.
The most striking one was your relationship with Faith and Reason.
I was given the old “cut/paste” routine by my correspondents, so i’ll do just the same here.
Following the Holy Fathers, Orthodoxy uses science and philosophy to defend and explain her Faith. Unlike Roman Catholicism, she does not build on the results of philosophy and science. The Church does not seek to reconcile faith and reason. She makes no effort to prove by logic or science what Christ gave His followers to believe. If physics or biology or chemistry or philosophy lends support to the teachings of the Church, she does not refuse them. However, Orthodoxy is not intimidated by man’s intellectual accomplishments. She does not bow to them and change the Christian Faith to make it consistent with the results of human thought and science.
Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, places a high value on human reason. Its history shows the consequence of that trust. For example, in the Latin Middle Ages, the 13th century, the theologian-philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, joined “Christianity” with the philosophy of Aristotle. From that period til now, **the Latins have never wavered in their respect for human wisdom; and it has radically altered the theology, mysteries and institutions of the Christian religion. **
On the other hand, Roman Catholicism,** unable to show a continuity of faith** and in order to justify new doctrine, erected in the last century, a theory of “doctrinal development.”
Following the philosophical spirit of the time (and the lead of Cardinal Henry Newman), Roman Catholic theologians began to define and teach the idea that Christ only gave us an “original deposit” of faith, a “seed,” which grew and matured through the centuries. The Holy Spirit, they said, amplified the Christian Faith as the Church moved into new circumstances and acquired other needs.
Consequently, Roman Catholicism, pictures its theology as growing in stages, to higher and more clearly defined levels of knowledge. The teachings of the Fathers, as important as they are, belong to a stage or level below the theology of the Latin Middle Ages (Scholasticism), and that theology lower than the new ideas which have come after it, such as Vatican II.
The letter is kind of huge, and it reads like essentially the “Orthodox Grievance list toward Catholics.” Geez, i thought you folks were simply divided over the matter of the Pope and the Filioque (did i even spell that correctly?)
But two underlying objections keep popping up.
1.) It seems, in their eyes, you’ve sold out Faith to Reason.
2.) The element of a mystical experience with God is traded in favor of “mere philosophizing.”
Erm, someone care to give me the Catholic perspective?