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Catholic Church and Birth Control - Page 11

post #201 of 220
I always find these conversations fascinating...the vast majority of Catholics I know and grew up with use birth control. They fully consider themselves Catholic and many are very active in the church etc...however, they feel the can only handle and provide for a certain number of children and have no problems using modern methods to achieve this.
post #202 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
OK, so... where is the logical argument I'm looking for? Catholic doctrines are meant (in some cases, this being one of them - no?) to be infallible, which means they must be true, which means they must be logical. So why have all the arguments presented in this thread either proven illogical (in the formal sense) or simply reverted back to "This is what we believe"? Surely there are Catholics who like to follow the formal logic of an argument - where do they go to get answers, if even Humanae Vitae is a "how-to" rather than a defense of the position? Surely the Catholic theology of the body is unpopular enough, and has been attacked enough, to make a logical layout of its position worthwhile - one that doesn't rest on contentious assumptions that beg the question (ie. natural is better) or irrelevancies (ie. marriage is about holiness and humility). Isn't it one of the great points of CC pride that the Magesterium can infallibly teach the truth, thus arming the lay Catholic with a greater degree of epistemic certainty than the lay Protestant? I don't buy this:
I don't know if the argument you're looking for exists. I assume, since you're a Calvinist, you also accept a lot of the Age of Reason stuff- that logic is universal and can be taught to anyone. It has been such a long time since I've studied philosophy. When someone is not going to accept your foundational position, whether honestly or dishonestly, it is not always possible to get to the same place. The big issues can usually be reasoned out in multiple ways, but the finer the point the harder it is. At some point you have to say "Unless you find a way to accept X premise, it is what it is"

Catholics do believe that our beliefs are at least present as a "seed' in scripture, as you say, but we don't take passages and try and twist, turn, or divine answers to modern situations out of them. The direct answer to stem cell research, life support, or ABC will never be found in full form in the bible. So what we do, is take our fully and biblically informed conscience - which we believe are a gift from God for this very purpose - and make the best decisions we can with the best education we have.

Is it right to contracept? Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, we don't believe the sex ACT should be altered. We do believe it 'can' be right to alter the pattern of sex - fully abstaining for various reasons has generally been accepted, and having sex more than normal to TTC is accepted too. Then the Catholic Church says - "Well in a situation that would otherwise call for abstinence, since we now understand the body's naturally infertile periods, can periodic abstinence be used in place of total abstinence?" And the Church sees benefits to allowing married couples to continue to have relations in serious situations.. and since it has been deemed acceptable for couples to have relations during naturally infertile times (like pregnancy) the Church permitted periodic abstinence or NFP.

If you don't accept our view of Natural Law & that the individual sex act is sacred enough that it shouldn't be altered, I don't know what else to say. The CC is pretty consistent on this though - I know you mentioned lube a few pages ago, which is permitted on the grounds of correcting a deficiency so to speak, but toys or role playing are generally not (although I can't say the Holy Father has ever spoken directly about sex toys :-p) on the grounds of interfering as well as the risk of concupiscence.

So I DO think the Catholic position is rationally based doctrine, but if you don't accept the un-alter-able-nes? (sorry lol) of the individual act as an extension of Natural Law then I can't personally make an argument to take you any closer. You probably believed that murder was wrong before you ever read a logical proof of it, and I'm sure you've seen a lot of the "novelty proofs" that prove murder is wrong without calling Natural Law. Perhaps some great apologist will come along who can make the argument against ABC without calling on our view of Natural Law, that person won't be me.


ETA: And afaik, (I could be wrong), the permissibility of periodic abstinence is not infallible doctrine.
post #203 of 220
I don't know I'd say logic can be taught to anyone - I think it's an extension of God's character, and that humans naturally have a sense of it to varying degrees: but that doesn't mean everyone is necessarily capable of understanding formal logic. It'd help if it were taught in schools more, though... Anyway.

I realise that any argument between Catholics and Protestants (or Catholics and anyone else, really) will ultimately come down to a presuppositional argument based on the authority of the Magesterium, the legitimacy of the CC and so on. In that sense, if the Catholic position of NFP were a first principle of sorts, it could validly be accepted without argumentation. However, if argumentation were used to officially support or explain it, then the theology - and by extension the entire CC - would stand or fall by those arguments.

After half a dozen pages of back-and-forth, it seems the Catholics have changed position from "NFP is OK and ABC wrong because X, Y, Z" to, as X, Y and Z were refuted, "NFP is OK and ABC wrong because the Church says so" - an authority-based, not reason-based, belief. Would you say this is an accurate representation of the teaching? (I haven't finished Humane Vitae yet - got distracted cooking. So far it's been mostly general preamble.)

If the latter, it raises an interesting question as to how the Magesterium developed the teachings, if not by reason. Special revelation?

I assumed the teachings about ABC and NFP were infallible because they have implications of mortal sin. Seems like something with such serious implications ought to be backed up by infallibility; but I'm not quite sure what the criteria for infallibility are, so. This clearly isn't deemed a matter of conscience, take-it-or-leave-it doctrine, though... Anyone know? (ETA: I found one source online that said "some Catholics consider" the teachings about contraception - not necessarily NFP - meet all the criteria required for infallibility. It didn't say what those criteria were, though.)
post #204 of 220
Bluegoat: I found the bit about unity and procreation in Humanae Vitae:

Quote:
The reason is that the fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman. And if each of these essential qualities, the unitive and the procreative, is preserved, the use of marriage fully retains its sense of true mutual love and its ordination to the supreme responsibility of parenthood to which man is called. We believe that our contemporaries are particularly capable of seeing that this teaching is in harmony with human reason.
It's pretty much what I was led to expect by this thread, down to the implication that in sex involving ABC the "sense of true mutual love" is somehow broken - which is not defended, just handwaved to "human reason". It also seems strangely to imply that "natural" sex always renders a couple capable of "generating new life", even when it made the point several chapters previously that this was not the case.
post #205 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
If the latter, it raises an interesting question as to how the Magesterium developed the teachings, if not by reason. Special revelation?
I am not certain, but I think the teachings partly derive from doctrines which are being left unspoken here (maybe not quite doctrines, in every case, as much as attitudes or perspectives) about sex, marriage, and childbearing.
post #206 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Bluegoat: I found the bit about unity and procreation in Humanae Vitae:


It's pretty much what I was led to expect by this thread, down to the implication that in sex involving ABC the "sense of true mutual love" is somehow broken - which is not defended, just handwaved to "human reason". It also seems strangely to imply that "natural" sex always renders a couple capable of "generating new life", even when it made the point several chapters previously that this was not the case.
You probably need to look at "Theology of the Body" I would say.

To sum it up in one sentence, I would say - "All natural truths are also theological truths." I'll also say that it is not a work that will be easily understood from a position which says every philosophical argument can be reduced to a syllogism. It has I think a more Augustinian or PLatonic character.

The trouble with formal logic is that it is very limited in how it can be used in discussions of any real import. Not because reason is limited (although there is a kind of truth to that) but because we are, and human reason is. Which is why Plato and even Aristotle use not formal logic, but dialectic as the highest form or argumentation in philosophy, and I think why 20th century philosophy has been so limited in scope - it admits only syllogisms which soon become nothing more than word-play.

God, we know is perfect unity. Many things are true according to God's reason which are beyond the reach of human logic - the Trinity is a good example. You cannot show mathematically how three can be one, and it seems to contradict the law of non-contradiction, even if you delve into what substance is, or persons, and other obscure theological issues.

That doesn't mean that we must abandon reason, or that the Church simply makes things up by some inspired guess. Philosophy and theology have other methods, and in theology Tradition and Scripture provide a guide. And these methods are not just available to those who make the decisions in the Magestirium, but to all Christians. They do, however, take more time and work than simple use of reason.

I mentioned dialectic, which is one very worthwhile tool. As well, the Augustinian method, which involves the exploration of the inner world, the microcosm, as well as the outer world. As he points out, we see the macrocosm externally, and we must "figure out" what natural laws are moving it. In the case of our own bodies and souls, we have extra insight.

THe pagan neoplatonic philosophers developed these things into a real method, and Christians refined it to fit Christian understanding. In order to attain the highest knowledge of God, we must first train our bodies and minds through habit. Good living, and even fasting, and prayer. Then there is reason - we are required to study. But to attain a real first-hand knowledge, we go beyond that even to a mystic unity, and this is accomplished through unceasing prayer, and then God brings us to that experience of unity. Some Christian saints became talented at this, but many people never achieve it. Among the pagans, even Plotinus only experienced it a few times.

What does this mean concretely for those trying to understand theology? It isn't simply a matter of following some "rules" of logic. First of all, they can be warped by our tendency to concupiscence, and secondly they are not adequate to God's reason. So when we try to read something like "theology of the Body" we don't just look at its logic. We have to hold it in our minds and try to look at the world through that lens, maybe even live it (we are after all whole people, not minds stuck in foreign bodies). We need to disciple ourselves to it before we are in a position to accept or reject it. (In fact this is true of any comprehensive worldview - which is why philosophy takes imagination.)

I this case, I think "what is natural law" is the subject. What does it mean that the universe works a certain way, that each thing operates according to its logos? What does it mean to try and change the nature of that through technology, which has a logos of its own? Can our capacity for embracing untruth infect such attempts?
post #207 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
I am not certain, but I think the teachings partly derive from doctrines which are being left unspoken here (maybe not quite doctrines, in every case, as much as attitudes or perspectives) about sex, marriage, and childbearing.
?

I specifically linked to and quoted text from the CCC regarding human morality and human sexuality earlier in this thread.
post #208 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
After half a dozen pages of back-and-forth, it seems the Catholics have changed position from "NFP is OK and ABC wrong because X, Y, Z" to, as X, Y and Z were refuted, "NFP is OK and ABC wrong because the Church says so" - an authority-based, not reason-based, belief. Would you say this is an accurate representation of the teaching? (I haven't finished Humane Vitae yet - got distracted cooking. So far it's been mostly general preamble.)

If the latter, it raises an interesting question as to how the Magesterium developed the teachings, if not by reason. Special revelation?

I assumed the teachings about ABC and NFP were infallible because they have implications of mortal sin. Seems like something with such serious implications ought to be backed up by infallibility; but I'm not quite sure what the criteria for infallibility are, so. This clearly isn't deemed a matter of conscience, take-it-or-leave-it doctrine, though... Anyone know? (ETA: I found one source online that said "some Catholics consider" the teachings about contraception - not necessarily NFP - meet all the criteria required for infallibility. It didn't say what those criteria were, though.)
No.. I really don't think that is it. I don't feel like you understood what I was trying to say in my last post - not that it's your fault, but I just don't know how to say it better. When I was sharing according to the Magisterium's thinking, I wasn't saying they're the only ones who have the thinking. I agree with it. Not because I have to, but because I do. I think Catholics earlier in the thread were sharing reasons, or benefits with you, partially not understanding what you wanted, and partially because that is how many people make their decisions.

At some point, it is only fair to ask why you believe the sex act can be altered. You don't have to discuss your beliefs, but I think that is the point to which we've come. Each individual act will be unitive, not procreative, or unitive and procreative, but Catholics don't believe we have the right to tamper with the God-ordained result of any individual act. Using a condom one day out of the month is no more contraception than having a headache and not having sex one day out of the month, but using a condom may have tampered with what may have been a procreative act.

Bluegoat's post takes a good shot at where that logic comes from - I totally agree.

Then this whole discussion gets twisted around the idea of contracepting. I could never call NFP good. It is such a serious decision to stand before God with, I don't envy anyone in that position. But, a naturally infertile couple can permissibly continue having sex even in serious circumstances where they couldn't accept a new life, but also are not at 'risk' of it and thereby we see other couples in serious situations may permissibly take advantage of the natural infertile times for the unitive function.

ETA: By permissibly - I mean permissible under natural law

Acknowledging natural infertile times and "tampering" with the natural outcome via ABC are such very different things to a Catholic. I feel like I explained where the logic comes from but if not...
post #209 of 220
Quote:
At some point, it is only fair to ask why you believe the sex act can be altered.
Because I believe we have freedom in Christ, and if our behavior is to be placed under a yoke there needs to be a solid reason of Scripture or conscience for it. That means for some Christians, using condoms will be a sin - if they feel they are disobeying Christ by doing so and yet continue to do so, they are sinning regardless of the objective rightness or wrongness of using condoms. But it also means that for those whose informed consciences are free, no-one has the right to call their actions sin. There are certain principles one can derive from Scripture about fertility (and the related issues of marriage, faith in God and so on), but I do not believe it can be logically shown that altering the sex act is in and of itself sinful; nor limiting family size, nor spacing children (nor, if it comes to that, certain sex acts prohibited by the CC). And the Bible speaks rather damningly of those who would add to the law of God and place people under heavy burdens.

Bluegoat: I'm interested in learning more about dialectic logic, but what you wrote sounds like a very scary and dangerous viewpoint - the kind that allows cults to be born. I agree that formal logic is limited, in that while it can prove the validity or invalidity of an argument it cannot in and of itself prove whether the argument's premises are true or false. Logic itself, however, cannot be warped by human sin. You can't "warp" the law of non-contradiction: you can use it correctly or fail to use it, in which case the argument will be objectively illogical, which sooner or later someone is likely to point out.

I have no objections to the idea that God can reward people who live holy lives by giving them - through natural or even supernatural means - knowledge and wisdom. But I also believe Satan can put ideas in people's minds, and a heck of a lot of cults have resulted in a heck of a lot of deaths by people telling others to take their truth on faith because they're such good men and God told them to kill themselves before the aliens arrived (or whatever). Which is why God gave us the test of formal logic to apply to someone's arguments. The truth need not fear it, as it would be contrary to the character of God to give someone an illogical truth (there's no such thing - and incidentally, I have seen logical formulations of the Trinity doctrine. Complex, but not impossible). And if it fails the test of logic, no matter how right it feels, it is not true (at least, not for the reasons by which it was argued).

I can see that if an argument is proven valid, it can be helpful to do what you suggested and try to see how it works as or within a larger worldview, and so on. But it's putting to cart before the horse to do that before finding out whether it is possibly true - ie, whether it is logical. "God loves man, I love man, therefore I am God" might feel pretty good to some people - it might make them make better sense of the world, and even become better people. But I doubt you'll waste much energy viewing the world through that lens, because you can see at a glance it is illogical.

I'll add that Jesus knew certain things through special revelation, by experiences other men could not replicate - but he happily provided logical proof that He was the Messiah and Son of God by scriptural arguments. He didn't say "Just mull the idea over and live a holy life and see if it all starts to make sense". Similarly, Paul in the book of Romans used logical proofs to discuss the mechanics of salvation. Whether he figured those out on his own time or whether God imparted it to him in a supernatural, experiential way, he described it to others using formal logic so that its truth could be proven.
post #210 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Because I believe we have freedom in Christ, and if our behavior is to be placed under a yoke there needs to be a solid reason of Scripture or conscience for it. That means for some Christians, using condoms will be a sin - if they feel they are disobeying Christ by doing so and yet continue to do so, they are sinning regardless of the objective rightness or wrongness of using condoms. But it also means that for those whose informed consciences are free, no-one has the right to call their actions sin. There are certain principles one can derive from Scripture about fertility (and the related issues of marriage, faith in God and so on), but I do not believe it can be logically shown that altering the sex act is in and of itself sinful; nor limiting family size, nor spacing children (nor, if it comes to that, certain sex acts prohibited by the CC). And the Bible speaks rather damningly of those who would add to the law of God and place people under heavy burdens.

Bluegoat: I'm interested in learning more about dialectic logic, but what you wrote sounds like a very scary and dangerous viewpoint - the kind that allows cults to be born. I agree that formal logic is limited, in that while it can prove the validity or invalidity of an argument it cannot in and of itself prove whether the argument's premises are true or false. Logic itself, however, cannot be warped by human sin. You can't "warp" the law of non-contradiction: you can use it correctly or fail to use it, in which case the argument will be objectively illogical, which sooner or later someone is likely to point out.

I have no objections to the idea that God can reward people who live holy lives by giving them - through natural or even supernatural means - knowledge and wisdom. But I also believe Satan can put ideas in people's minds, and a heck of a lot of cults have resulted in a heck of a lot of deaths by people telling others to take their truth on faith because they're such good men and God told them to kill themselves before the aliens arrived (or whatever). Which is why God gave us the test of formal logic to apply to someone's arguments. The truth need not fear it, as it would be contrary to the character of God to give someone an illogical truth (there's no such thing - and incidentally, I have seen logical formulations of the Trinity doctrine. Complex, but not impossible). And if it fails the test of logic, no matter how right it feels, it is not true (at least, not for the reasons by which it was argued).

I can see that if an argument is proven valid, it can be helpful to do what you suggested and try to see how it works as or within a larger worldview, and so on. But it's putting to cart before the horse to do that before finding out whether it is possibly true - ie, whether it is logical. "God loves man, I love man, therefore I am God" might feel pretty good to some people - it might make them make better sense of the world, and even become better people. But I doubt you'll waste much energy viewing the world through that lens, because you can see at a glance it is illogical.

I'll add that Jesus knew certain things through special revelation, by experiences other men could not replicate - but he happily provided logical proof that He was the Messiah and Son of God by scriptural arguments. He didn't say "Just mull the idea over and live a holy life and see if it all starts to make sense". Similarly, Paul in the book of Romans used logical proofs to discuss the mechanics of salvation. Whether he figured those out on his own time or whether God imparted it to him in a supernatural, experiential way, he described it to others using formal logic so that its truth could be proven.
What I am talking about is not special revelation. Rather, it is an approach which recognises that discursive reason, the kind available to humans, is lnot enough. It is encompassed in God's reason or nature, not the other way around. Philosophy and reason are not identical to logic.

Some things will clearly show themselves to be so far from reason and logic that they are not really tenable, but that is not the case for all statements, questions, or arguments. Most are much more unclear, and trying to reduce them to syllogisms is not useful - it will simply result in missing the real meaning of what is being said.

A good example might be to ask someone to produce a formal logical argument for the existence of love. A convincing one. I would be surprised to ever see such a thing, and yet I have no doubt that love exists, and I even know something about it. I can even have some kind of understanding, through reason, of the difference between discursive reason and that which is above it - discursive reason is the result of being in time and space, and a logic that uses premises and conclusions is part and parcel of that. God, and the angels, do not exist in time and space. To some extent I can imagine what that means for reason. All is one, with no before or after.

Dialectic is indeed a better tool for this than formal logic, which is binary in nature. In dialectic, we find truths that are mutually contradictory, and allow them to lead us to a new unity of understanding. Logic is encompassed in this and to do it well a grasp of logic is absolutely required. (Which is why Aristotle starts with it, but he doesn't stay there. The arguments in his other works could not really be reduced to formal logic.)

As for discipaling oneself to a world view. It is not necessary always to actually live according to it, and in many cases that would be impracticable. But if you really want to understand what Plato, or Hegel, or St Paul really means, you have to at least do so in your imagination. THere really is no other way, and I think this is why modern students, who think their job is simply to criticize every idea they are presented, have such trouble. They can never get far enough along to really begin to understand where the system is coming from and how it works, and they never realize that they too are working from a system with assumptions and programed patterns of thought. As Anslem says, without belief, or faith, there is no understanding possible.

I'd also add, if you want people to dismiss illogical world views without trying them on, you will not get many Christian converts, since Christianity hinges on logical absurdities.
post #211 of 220
Which logical absurdities does Christianity hinge on? What mutually contradictory truths lead us into new unity?

A logical argument for the existence of love isn't hard. "God states that love exists; whatever God says is true; therefore, love exists". If you mean that love can't be described syllogistically, that's true, because love is not an argument: formal logic is a tool for determining the validity of arguments. It's hardly a weakness of formal logic that it can't be used to do what it wasn't meant for. Given a definition of love (and the Bible gives us one - God gave us not only logic but Scripture) formal logic can certainly be applied to arguments such as "It is not truly loving for a man to have sex with his wife while wearing a condom". And that's the situation we have in this thread.
post #212 of 220
Thread Starter 
Wow! This discussion has really grown. I've checked on it a few times but the last couple of times it was removed so I thought it was gone.

I talked to my priest about my situation a couple weeks ago. I told him that I have decided to use NFP but dh is still refusing. He said that my husband is free to contracept as he chooses and that I should bring up the issue of NFP as I see fit now and then but to not make it an issue that will drive a wedge between us. He wants us to try and keep things harmonious for the good of the whole family. He has urged me to keep praying.

I'm ok with this. I know that we may never use NFP and if I get pg dh may get a V but I have to accept that. I'm ok with whatever happens because I feel that God is leading me where he wants me to be He understands my martial situation and that I am doing the best I can to balance my faith and my marriage. All in all I accept the Church's teaching on this issue. For the most part I totally agree but at the same time I am still working on fully understanding and accepting it hands down it in it's entirety. I'm learning that the journey is long and I don't have to be completely 100% decided on exactly how I feel about everything right now as long as I have a general understanding and acceptance to obey the teachings and learn more about them.

In RCIA they are telling us that we don't have to agree with the Church about ABC and abortion and it really rubs me the wrong way because I feel that they are misinforming us about committing mortal sins. They say it is up to our conscience. At least my sponsor is orthodox about these things to help me out where RCIA is falling short. I brought up the issue of excommunication of any Catholic woman who has an abortion and they looked at me like I was crazy and that excommunication was more of a temporary thing that is easily forgiven if confessed. Maybe I am misinformed but I thought that was what I read.

Thanks for all the posts. It is an amazing journey of faith that I am on and I thank all of you for being a part of it.
post #213 of 220
On the issue of automatic excommunication for women who have an abortion...

http://www.hopeafterabortion.com/
post #214 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Which logical absurdities does Christianity hinge on? What mutually contradictory truths lead us into new unity?

A logical argument for the existence of love isn't hard. "God states that love exists; whatever God says is true; therefore, love exists". If you mean that love can't be described syllogistically, that's true, because love is not an argument: formal logic is a tool for determining the validity of arguments. It's hardly a weakness of formal logic that it can't be used to do what it wasn't meant for. Given a definition of love (and the Bible gives us one - God gave us not only logic but Scripture) formal logic can certainly be applied to arguments such as "It is not truly loving for a man to have sex with his wife while wearing a condom". And that's the situation we have in this thread.
Non-Christians don't accept the Bible as an infallible guide any more than they do the Church, so I don't think they would be convinced by any premises found within it. In fact the opposit is really the case - statements that seem illogical or premisis that seem unbelievable in the Bible are likely to make them reject Christianity.

Contradictions in Christianity are things like Christ was fully God and fully man, or God is three and one simultaneously.

I think you are glossing over the illogic of those things, probably because you were brought up as a Christian, and so they seem natural. For someone outside of Christianity, they seem obviously illogical, even blasphemous. They are not ideas that are really reducible to syllogisms. So much so that if people used lack of logical coherence to weed out impossible world-views, they would never get far enough into Christianity to understand how those seeming contradictions are finally resolved. And the TRinity and the Incarnation, and other points too, are not really simple theological ideas - it takes most people some time to get to that resolution, and many really don't.

If you are the sort of person who needs to see how those things pan out rationally, without making yourself a real pupil, you aren't likely to become a Christian, because you would reject it out of hand. And I think that to varying degrees this is also true of other comprehensive philosophical systems, whether its Buddhism, or Plato, or Hegel, or whatever. You have to grow into them to some extent.
post #215 of 220
It doesn't matter if the doctrines of the Incarnation and Trinity "seem" illogical or blasphemous; it matters if they are. IIRC, they have both been described by formal syllogism in James White's Paradoxes in Christian Belief. Which is probably where I'd direct a non-Christian who challenged their logic.
post #216 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Because I believe we have freedom in Christ, and if our behavior is to be placed under a yoke there needs to be a solid reason of Scripture or conscience for it. That means for some Christians, using condoms will be a sin - if they feel they are disobeying Christ by doing so and yet continue to do so, they are sinning regardless of the objective rightness or wrongness of using condoms. But it also means that for those whose informed consciences are free, no-one has the right to call their actions sin. There are certain principles one can derive from Scripture about fertility (and the related issues of marriage, faith in God and so on), but I do not believe it can be logically shown that altering the sex act is in and of itself sinful; nor limiting family size, nor spacing children (nor, if it comes to that, certain sex acts prohibited by the CC). And the Bible speaks rather damningly of those who would add to the law of God and place people under heavy burdens.
I've been mulling this over for several days. It's not what I expected to hear .. it sounds to me like moral relativism and is rather damning to anyone who suffers a case of scrupulosity I just think your logic isn't as much logic as you want it to be and is backed most intensely by points of faith. Which is fine - I have my points of faith as well. I just think they should be able to be called out as such without hiding them behind tricks of language. (Have I mentioned my distaste for philosophical reasoning, which can never be as graceful as mathematically reasoning).

I feel like this system of supposed logic mistakes the map for the territory and places far far too much weight on what you know, especially when you consider what you don't know is infinitely greater and far more significant than what you know. (modern risk theory) If I keep going I'm going to start blabbing about risk and Black Swans and I doubt anyone is really interested in that - especially how it relates to systems of logic, the Catholic Church, and birth control lol.

Thanks for the chat
post #217 of 220
Quote:
Originally Posted by xekomaya View Post
I've been mulling this over for several days. It's not what I expected to hear .. it sounds to me like moral relativism and is rather damning to anyone who suffers a case of scrupulosity ...
I can see Smokering's point and it does not sound that way to me. Adding to people's burden without a solid basis really is a problem, and the ideal level of moral scrupulousness or asceticism is not necessarily one that should be imposed on everybody.
One example might be marriage itself. St. Paul said he wished everyone could be like himself (a lifelong celibate) but that not everyone was given that gift, so some should marry. The early church - and some denominations still - feel that marriage is good, but monasticism much better. The majority would find a celibate life an undue burden, and so most Christians marry. A problem would arise if somebody in authority decided that if celibacy is the holiest calling, there is no excuse for marrying, and all Christians should be celibate.
This would not be a problem only because people would find it difficult. It would be wrong because it is adding to the burden of being Christian without sufficient basis - because marriage is not actually morally bad.
I have known one couple who actually practiced abstinence for family planning - not just NFP. They only slept together when they were deliberately trying to conceive a child - so, every three or four years. You could argue that it was a truly perfect Christian marriage in terms of sexuality; but it would also be terribly wrong to ask everyone to follow their example. Even one spouse imposing it on the other would be wrong.
I think Smokering makes a good case that this can be applied to contraception as well.
post #218 of 220
Thanks, mamabadger. Although I'm not sure I'd call an abstinent marriage a truly perfect one in the light of 1 Cor 7:5.

I don't believe the attitude that different things are sin for different people is morally relativistic - or if it is, then so is the New Testament! Look at the passages about eating meat offered to idols or celebrating festivals and Sabbaths. Clearly God is admitting that an action can be sin for one person and not for another. The NT also states that "to the pure, all things are pure" and that those who seek to impose difficult rules on people which are not commanded by God are wrong (Galatians, possibly?).

To use another example, drinking alcohol may be innocent for one person but sin for another - whether the latter is actually an alcoholic, or whether he simply believes (dye to his upbringing or personal conviction) that drinking is a sin but chooses to do it anyway out of rebellion, desire to conform or whatever. Still another person might strongly believe that abstaining from alcohol altogether is key to living a holy life - which is super, and in a sense he doesn't have to syllogise it to benefit from it - but if he starts telling others that they need to do so in order to live holy lives - worse, that if they die without having repented from drinking alcohol, they will go to hell - well, he'd better have a rock-solid argument that abstaining is what God requires.

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I just think your logic isn't as much logic as you want it to be and is backed most intensely by points of faith.
You're welcome to point out any errors of logic I have made.

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I feel like this system of supposed logic mistakes the map for the territory and places far far too much weight on what you know, especially when you consider what you don't know is infinitely greater and far more significant than what you know.
What we know is important. Extremely so. So much so that God gave us both the infallible Scriptures and an infallible system of logic. Knowledge of God is repeatedly extolled as a virtue in Scripture, and demonstrated to be inseparably linked to a knowledge of God's revelation, ie. the Scriptures. I don't think discounting this shows humility or respect for God; quite the opposite. It's certainly true that there are areas of knowledge which God has not revealed to us: but where he has revealed truth, that truth should be examined and rightly understood, not dismissed as mere human knowledge.
post #219 of 220
One can't serve 2 masters, God & science or God & logic. I've never heard or believed Logic to be infallible, and I don't accept that it would be. Since logic happens in the human brain, it seems like thinly veiled 'man worship' just as worshipping say, the scientific method'
post #220 of 220
I don't worship logic any more than I worship the Bible. I believe both to emanate from God; one as a part of His character and the other as His revealed word. As such, logic doesn't "happen in the human brain" - it existed before humans and their brains did. The fact that humans use logic doesn't make it fallible, any more than the fact that humans use mathematics doesn't make it fallible.

Nor does having a high respect for logic equate to worshipping it. Your objection is like saying "You can't serve two masters, God and Love"; or "You can't serve two masters, God and Holiness".
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