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megas_yiannakis

Australia
25 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2008 :  20:27:19  


Χαίρετε πάντες

I know this is a common question a lot of non-Christians ask Christians, but here it goes:

If someone is on a remote island and for his whole life never hears of Christ or Christianity, is he not saved?

Again this links back to a question i asked a while back, talking about how i am a christian because i was born into a Christian family, and so i am saved; but someone born into say a Muslim or Hindu family isn't. What makes me so lucky?

"Τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα"

Christ came gia tin sotiria olwn mas, for all of mankind, but not for those who have never heard of him or had no opportunity to? hmm.

John


 

George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2008 :  04:21:39  

 

Hi John,

Since you have already asked this question, your asking it again means that the previous answer did not really help you. I'll try to be as brief as possible and not confuse you.

1) Christ became a man at the time that we know, but He always existed with men and was sometimes appearing to men. Before His incarnation people seeing Him were giving Him various names according to their particular cultures. Recall what Socrates said, that we must not respect God only after we see Him, but even before, which means that His appearance was not something rare.

2) Christ exists in time, but also beyond time. If He became a man, once, that means that He has the human body even beyond time, therefore in all time too - which explains why the Fathers say that the world was created because Christ became a man. The creation of the world did not happen before the incarnation, as our calculation of time tries to persuade us. Incarnation is the first act, the first step, in the whole history of the world. We know it in the 'middle' of time, but it exists also beyond time, i.e in the entire time too.

3) The real difference between pre-Christian and Christian cultures, is not that Christ did not appear to men, but that 'before' Christ people did not know Him in His name. His revelation under His name at a particular point in time, means that people were more ready to understand Him in His name.

4) There is no 'luck' in these matters, as was said in the previous reply to your question. Everything is being done in mathematical accuracy, as St Sophrony Sakharov says. Observe the cultures of various peoples and epochs and try to find there the presence (e.g. in ancient Greece) or the absence of Christ - an absence that may happen even after His incarnation, e.g. in non-Christian peoples who have decided, explicitly or not, to deny Him.

5) God does not reveal himself to impious people, the ancient Greeks said. His revelation, whether 'before' or 'after' His incarnation, His appearance to men, is not a matter of luck, it depends to our will to see Him and become friends with Him. If you don't want to see people who don't like you, God does not will this even more - not only because friendship is something voluntary, but also because seeing God, as you can guess, is not an easy thing. No one can see God and live, the Bible says - if he can not be a friend of God, we must add. He does not appear to such people in order to protect them, not only because He doesn't want to be with people who don't want Him.

6) This has obvious consequences for the Second Coming, because, if this is true, then Christ perhaps will not appear to these people even then. St. Symeon the New Theologian says that they will not see Him, but if they do, He will seem to them like a horrible and unapproachable fire.

7) You don't need to know someone's name in order to love him. Perhaps you may want to know it afterwards, but this is not necessary, and surely it is not necessary before you love him or during the time that you feel an intense love. Think of a little baby that embraces his mother; does he know her name? The same way all people in all time who lived a life of love, knew Him to the degree of their love.

Please come back if these too are not enough.

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James

40 Posts

Posted - 04 Aug 2008 :  15:21:54  

 

Hi George

How I would like to be able to love Christ, but who is He that I would like to love? I can't, despite my best efforts, come to know Him and All I every feel when I try to experience Him is His emptiness and nothing more.

I have spoken and listened to Catholic priests talk about Christ, but often afterwards I'm left with the impression that they don't know or perhaps even don't care very deeply about the notion of Christ's sacrifice for us. Most of them seem to be quite happy with the status quo of a fallen world continuing on to infinity. Many of the priests in the western Catholic Church see themselves as "administers" or glorified "social workers", and to be a priest is now more a career choice rather then a calling for a vocation.

This Christian "tradition" I have inherited has made it almost impossible (or numb) for me to experience Christ's love or His presence in this world, because I don't think the Catholic Church ever really wanted its flock to come to know or understand Him. Its gospel is more about power rather than love, I suspect.

So all I can, as a result of this tradition is feel the presence of His supreme loneliness in this world, a loneliness that might only be ended by the vexed, all consuming, wrath of His Father. Such angry would be out of His great love for His son.

Regards

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George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2008 :  03:55:50  

 

Who is able to love Him? No one. Who is able to love not Him, but anything or anyone else? No one. We are not able to love, and our problem is not that we don't know Him. Since He created each and every man, angel or demon, since all of us have come to life from His hands, all of us have known Him and met with Him. This is why Plato speaks about knowledge as being in essence a recovery of our memory (anamnesis).

The Catholic church has contributed greatly to our current condition. What you say, that "most of them seem to be quite happy with the status quo of a fallen world continuing on to infinity" is so true! and because it is true, it is also sad. It is described in horrible details by Dostoyefsky at the dialogue between the Holy Inquisitor and Christ.

However, no Church (or anyone) can hinder us against our will. The radical problem is our self. Perhaps you will find somehow useful in our present discussion this post at the Blog, on Grief, Humility and Divine Knowledge.

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James

40 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2008 :  16:44:11  

 


Hi George

Anamnesis, if recovered in its purity and fullness, would it not render a man incapable of ever returning or being at home in this fallen world ever again? How could he see, How could he simply be again? Anamnesis is vision made true, perhaps too true and intense for this world.

The radical problem is indeed our self but it is also something much more too. It is the problem of the world too, and of what can be, of what must be and, of what shall never be again and, of what must essentially be left for ever, as it cannot nor shall never be, and this constant rendering between what's worthy to persist beyond the existence of our world is the real meaning of both anamnesis and the state of salvation for both man and each and every created thing that inheres within it.

However if things, including our values, our cultures and our unique visceral sense of what the living, but fallen world that has opened and let the human mind interact and con-verse with it, should disappear (which is a real threat in terms of both the environmental damage and the weakening of any unique cultural reference points through multiculturalism) too, then we surely will disappear as Homo Sapiens too. As our minds will devolve into a type of universal ideology, predicated by religion in one region, economics else where, and idolatry of technology at other times. All of this will kill the prospect of any true recollection, or salavtion, which is God's purpose, and without this divine purpose we are finished too.

However the question of waiting alone like Christ in the solitude before that faithful dawn is something that gnaws deeply. Is this sacrifice made for us to ever really know, love and understand until we too have reached a state of no return, a state where there’s no returning to world as it simply is?

Regards


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George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2008 :  18:08:16  

 

Things are indeed bad, and we are at the very beginning of it. Yet the speed in which it evolves is so high, that our children will be for good inside a new 'world', more or less as you describe it. This doesn't mean that each and every person will change. There will remain communities, local and virtual, but you can imagine their loneliness, as if Socrates was forced to live with Tatars, or something like that.

I don't know if you believe in prophecies, but it is said that the end of times will be 'shortened', i.e., things will not go really extreme before the Second Coming occurs, because He will have mercy for those suffering under this globalized dehumanization.

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