Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reading Group, 1e

  1. Definition of the Moral Idea of the Orthodox Dogma of the Trinity
  1. The Church places the manifestation of the Trinity at the very foundation of a union of the regenerated.
  2. The dogma of the Holy Trinity assures that the very Creator of man’s nature is free from exclusiveness. Thus the divided consciousness of mankind is a falsity.
  3. The Orthodox teaching about the Trinity is an ontological basis and support of the moral imperative of love.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the Church place the manifestation of the Trinity at the foundation of a union of the regenerated?
  2. How does one overcome the distinction between “I” and “not I”, loving not simply in bursts, but as a constant disposition of heart?
  3. How is the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Trinity an ontological basis and support for the moral imperative of love?


Bosphorus said...

Here's a thought about (2): Met. Anthony, since generally he understands the main dogmas of Orthodoxy essentially to contain a moral idea, and since particularly he understands the dogma of the Trinity essentially to contain the moral idea of the imperative to love, it looks like faith in the dogma of the Trinity itself opposes "the direct voice of our nature", our "I" and "not I". Thus, for Met. Anthony, a dogma like the dogma of the Trinity informs right belief and in doing so activates to right practice (morally).

A further thought: if moral ideas are essentially contained in the main dogmas of faith, then does it follow--it looks like it does!--that a person who is, for example, still listening to the direct voice of his nature", cannot be said to have faith, or at least complete faith?, in the (dogma of the Trinity).

Also, a question: What is the pronomial antecedent of 'it' in Met. Anthony's line--"When one speaks of the moral idea of a dogma, one understands a moral truth which is contained in the very essence of one or another dogma, without which *it* would lose *its* significance." I initially read 'it' as the referring to 'dogma', but now I think it more likely it refers to 'moral truth'. The lines that follow seem to show that. Maybe no one else got caught here?

Bosphorus said...

Sorry for the sloppy typing. There should be an opening quotation mark before "to the direct voice..." in my second paragraph. And the parenthesis in it should close around 'dogma', not 'Trinity'. Apologies.

Becoming said...

In continuation of the question of direction (dogma to virtue or virtue to dogma) I would assert that Met. Anthony is aware of the many dimensions of this question. In the last paragraph [72]we see that he acknowledges that we humans have, in our nature, a “corresponding awareness” to the moral imperatives of the New Testament. He continues by saying that this awareness is not enough to overcome our vices. Instead the “voice of our nature” intrudes and impedes us from doing that which we believe is right. Hence I am only able to love my neighbor in “short bursts” because I give into the devil on my left shoulder instead of obeying the angel on my right.

This awareness does not lead to correct dogma because, as I understand him saying, it is mixed with vice and therefore the mix of vice and virtue allows no understanding of what can be truly right, or any ability to overcome the vice, because both of them are in our nature. Therefore only by the “grace-filled revelation about Christ…” (ie. the dogma, imparted to us by grace) will we know the truth and have all the wherewithal, through grace, to overcome our vices.