Dialogue: Relation of Mystery & Reason in Christianity – Patheos

From one of my blog comboxes: underneath my article,Dialogue w Orthodox on Why Catholics Become Orthodox.Words of Kshos23 will be in blue.


With regards to Orthodox accusing Catholicism of rationalism I suspect the main reason behind that is that Orthodox and Orthodox spirituality does want to give the faith more mystery. I remember an Eastern Orthodox monk once said that most eastern Church Fathers dont speak of the Resurrection of Christ directly and exhaustively, unlike some other things of the faith, precisely because its too great a mystery, and there are only snippets which you can gather from multiple fathers to come up with a some sort of more definite explanation. I also remember you doing a high-school Catholic apologetics interview with some students, and when you presented the Orthodox position on the Real Presence as being we dont know how it becomes the real body and blood of Christ, but it does, one of them funnily but legitimately responded with Isnt it better that way?, precisely because there is a certain beauty to mystery that was recognized.

So I think what the Orthodox are saying is that the Catholic practice of explaining the mysteries of the faith somewhat deprives it of mystery and profundity and the experiential flavor and beauty, and that this desire and sense-of-fittingness to have the things of revealed truth which are gloriously mysterious, beautifully transcendent and beyond precise human understanding is fulfilled in Christianity and should remain with regards to the deepest and most profound Christian mysteries.

We acknowledge mystery as well, but we think we can understand relatively more than the Orthodox claim we can understand. They think were over-rational; we think they are under-rational. Only Scripture and Tradition can resolve that difference.

When the Orthodox want to get very rational assuredly they do, too: for example, regarding the fine points of thefilioquecontroversy.

Well, what I was trying to get at is that the sense of mystery in the sense of the unknown as being beautiful, in contrast to explaining everything which takes away the magic. To be more specific, the sense of mystery Im talking about is the one expressed in your interview with high-school Catholics, where you explained the difference between Orthodox and Catholic views of the Eucharist, and how a Catholic girl responded to the Orthodox mystical view as Isnt it better that way?. Her response likely reflects this.

Again, we dontexplain everything. We explain as far as (we believe) the limits of human understanding of divine mysteries will allow. We just think the line is a bit further than Orthodox do. Who is to say who is right? We can only appeal to Scripture and apostolic, patristic tradition to make such a determination. I posted a chapter from my book about Orthodoxy on this issue today:Is Catholicism Unbiblically Rationalistic? (Orthodox Criticisms).

Im so much notagainst mystery and mysticism, that I edited a book of quotations of the great Catholic mystics.

The Catholic Catechismcontains the word mystery 183 times, and mysteries 33 times, andmysterious another 28 times.

Thats an awful lot of mystery for a communion that supposedly doesnt recognizeit (or to an extent less than it supposedly should).

See also, for example, #404: . . . the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. . . .


Photo credit:KELLEPICS(10-17-17) [Pixabay /Pixabay License]


The rest is here:

Dialogue: Relation of Mystery & Reason in Christianity - Patheos

Related Post

Comments are closed.