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Moral obligation to a relationship with others?

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  • Moral obligation to a relationship with others?

    I was thinking about why we have relationships and about scripture. God made Eve after saying it is not good for man to be alone. We have stories of David and Jonathan as friends. In the NT, commandments are summarized as love God and love neighbor. Although things like marriage are not obligatory (as Paul affirmed in his epistles), but perhaps friendships or at least some sort of relationships are not merely a mental health and emotional thing, but also a moral obligation?
    I am become death...

  • #2
    Heb. 10:24-25
    24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
    sigpic
    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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    • #3
      Good verse to quote for Anastasia's question OBP.
      3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures --1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (borrowed with gratitude from 37818's sig)

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      • #4
        Can we say it is permissible to do this for a time? What then can we make of the desert fathers? Did they not isolate themselves?
        I am become death...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Anastasia Dragule View Post
          Can we say it is permissible to do this for a time? What then can we make of the desert fathers? Did they not isolate themselves?
          For a time, yes. Many of the desert fathers lived apart, but they tended to pay each other visits. Also, many of them died, attempting more than that of which they were capable.
          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
          sigpic
          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

          Comment


          • #6
            Jesus said:
            Source: John 13:35

            By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

            © Copyright Original Source



            It was so important that it was to be what differentiates us from the world.
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Anastasia Dragule View Post
              Can we say it is permissible to do this for a time? What then can we make of the desert fathers? Did they not isolate themselves?
              I haven't read Anthony's rule in ages, but if memory serves me correctly (and often it does not) he very much frowned upon too much isolation. Certainly, the experience and wisdom of the church at large developed the view that celibacy should only be lived in community.
              βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
              ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

              אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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              • #8
                As anthropologists have concluded, in the world of the Bible and in most cultures throughout history, the vast majority of people lived in community. They literally did not know what to think of themselves without people telling them (consider Jesus' question, "Who do men say that I am?"). The Bible is permeated with the idea (both implicitly and explicitly) of living for others and putting yourself at their disposal.

                Also, friendships and more casual relationships do more than just benefit society. In a normally functioning human, you must have them (some more than others) for proper emotional health. Even as an introvert who's fine and dandy being by myself, I couldn't be a hermit.

                Basically what I'm saying is that God has hard-coded in the fabric of reality the objective need for community. Even within the Godhead, there has always been the give and take of love between each member of the Trinity.

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                • #9
                  "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). If you do not love your neighbor, you do not love God; therefore we cannot fulfill even the smallest iota of what God requires of us without loving our neighbors. This idea is woven throughout John's epistles, but in particular see 1 John 1:9-1; 3:11, 14, 17, 23; 4:7-8, 11-12.

                  I don't know that "obligation" would be my first choice in describing it, though. Rather, it's an intrinsic part of what we were meant to be as human beings. Humans were made to live in community, and being in community with others and loving one another is what fulfills us and makes us fully human.

                  Anastasia, you're Oriental Orthodox, right? So you are probably familiar (probably more than I am) with the Eastern concept of deification, that the goal of the Christian life is to become like God. Piggybacking off of Manwë Súlimo said, that also includes becoming like the Trinity in its perfect and eternal communion. My (EO) pastor once mentioned a term used for the Trinity, or someone's description of the Trinity, which referred to it as a "circle dance": an eternal, perpetual movement of love among the three persons of the Trinity. I wish I could recall what he said more specifically, but it was a charming concept. We as human beings are called to become like that.

                  TL;DR Loving one another and being in community fulfills us as human beings and is life-giving. Also, it's impossible to love God without loving others.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
                    My (EO) pastor once mentioned a term used for the Trinity, or someone's description of the Trinity, which referred to it as a "circle dance": an eternal, perpetual movement of love among the three persons of the Trinity. I wish I could recall what he said more specifically, but it was a charming concept. We as human beings are called to become like that.
                    "Some would have it appear that there is one for bestowing a benefit, one for receiving it, and a third for returning it; others hold that there are three classes of benefactors - those who receive benefits, those who return them, and those who receive and return them at the same time...Why do the sisters hand in hand dance in a ring which returns upon itself? For the reason that a benefit passing in its course from hand to hand returns nevertheless to the giver; the beauty of the whole is destroyed if the course is anywhere broken, and it has most beauty if it is continuous and maintains an uninterrupted succession...Their faces are cheerful, as are ordinarily the faces of those who bestow or receive benefits. They are young because the memory of benefits ought not to grow old. They are maidens because benefits are pure and holy and undefiled in the eyes of all; their robes are transparent because benefits desire to be seen."


                    ---Seneca, about why the image of the Three Graces (divine maidens in Greco-Roman thought) are always seen dancing in a ring
                    Last edited by Manwë Súlimo; 05-31-2014, 11:32 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks!

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                      • #12
                        Well, it's kinda funny you brought that up because it's related to the sociology angle my original post was about. I found that quote from David DeSilva's "Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Purity" who talks about this kind of thing - how the Biblical world was all about living in community and exuding grace, etc.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
                          "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20). If you do not love your neighbor, you do not love God; therefore we cannot fulfill even the smallest iota of what God requires of us without loving our neighbors. This idea is woven throughout John's epistles, but in particular see 1 John 1:9-1; 3:11, 14, 17, 23; 4:7-8, 11-12.

                          I don't know that "obligation" would be my first choice in describing it, though. Rather, it's an intrinsic part of what we were meant to be as human beings. Humans were made to live in community, and being in community with others and loving one another is what fulfills us and makes us fully human.

                          Anastasia, you're Oriental Orthodox, right? So you are probably familiar (probably more than I am) with the Eastern concept of deification, that the goal of the Christian life is to become like God. Piggybacking off of Manwë Súlimo said, that also includes becoming like the Trinity in its perfect and eternal communion. My (EO) pastor once mentioned a term used for the Trinity, or someone's description of the Trinity, which referred to it as a "circle dance": an eternal, perpetual movement of love among the three persons of the Trinity. I wish I could recall what he said more specifically, but it was a charming concept. We as human beings are called to become like that.

                          TL;DR Loving one another and being in community fulfills us as human beings and is life-giving. Also, it's impossible to love God without loving others.


                          Perichoresis?
                          Last edited by footwasher; 06-01-2014, 01:38 PM.

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                          • #14
                            That's the term. Thank you!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think friendship is one of God's many gifts to us. While there are risks; the rewards are great. And I am in no way downplaying the risks--betrayal, rejection, disappointment, death, etc. The dark side of friendship and all relationships is that often those who can hurt us the most are those closest to us. And this applies not only to being hurt by them, but also to feeling pain because they are being hurt.

                              And yet--life is just so much more with friends to share it with than alone.

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