Tag: christianity

The Great Shift, edited by Martine Vallée

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The Great Shift: Co-Creating a New World for 2012 and Beyond, edited by Martine Vallée
Weiser Books, 9781578634576, 255 pp., 2009

“No doubt, there is a shift going on, not only in ourselves but in every country and in every culture. It’s huge and it is everywhere.”

With this shift occurring Vallée collected the works in this book “To help you better understand and face these changes that every human being is feeling.”

Collected in this work are several well known channels in the New Age community, and some well known entities as well. The book features Lee Carroll channelling Kryon, Tom Kenyon channelling Mary Magdalen and The Hathors (13 members of the species known as Hathors whom were invited into our universe ten and a half million years ago in order to help keep balance, and whom the Egyptian Goddess is based upon) and lastly Patricia Cori channelling The High Council of Sirius. A veritable collection of the who’s who in the New Age community and those entities that are influencing humanity’s development, but only for the better, as they work against Continue reading

Jesus the Wicked Priest, by Marvin Vining

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Jesus the Wicked Priest, by Marvin Vining Jesus the Wicked Priest: How Christianity Was Born of an Essene Schism, by Marvin Vining
Bear & Company, 9781591430810, 243 pp (with indexes), 2008

The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of writings from the Jewish scribal sect known as the Essenes, are often dated by experts as being produced between 350 BCE and 70 CE, and are generally read as having no connection to or mention of Jesus or early Christianity. Continue reading

Review: Beyond the Burning Times, by Gus diZerega and Philip Johnson

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Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue, by Gus diZerega and Philip Johnson
Lion Hudson, 0745952720, 208 pp., 2008

This book is going to make everyone uncomfortable, and that is a good thing. It will force both Pagans and Christians to confront what they think they “know” about the other side of the debate. Neither side is composed entirely of “virtuous” or “nasty” individuals.

Gus diZerega (a Third Degree Gardnerian, with a Ph.D. in Political Theory) and Philip Johnson (a liberal Christian) engage in a give-and-take dialogue on topics ranging from the nature of spirituality to nature, and on to Paganism, Christianity and the Culture Wars. There is an abundance of courtesy evident throughout this book. The dialogue shows that it is possible to be on opposite sides of this divide and still remain civil while considering the other side’s position. Continue reading

Review: Lost Scriptures, by Bart D Erhman

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Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, by Bart D Erhman
Oxford University Press, 0-19-514182-2, 342 pp., 2003

In my opinion, it is beneficial for those of us who are not Christian to read writings related to the early days of Christianity. Many of these writings are considered “Gnostic,” some are merely “heretical,” and some have simply fallen out of favor with the orthodox authorities. The stories told in many of these writings reveal how Christianity responded to their pagan neighbours during the days of the early development of the religion. In some cases, they show how many of their beliefs were influenced by pagan thought.

If you think that pagans have no need to know about these writings, I feel you are mistaken. Many non-Biblical stories have found their way in “common knowledge” about Jesus and his family and followers, and have their origins within these works. They have inspired medieval artworks, commentaries of accepted stories from the Bible, and other beliefs. When speaking with Christians, it may be beneficial to be able to point out the source of some of their beliefs

This book is aimed at the non-scholar, unlike many of the collections of such writings which have been published in the past 150 years. The author has also taken great pains to make the translations easy to read and understand. Many of the earlier translations were incomplete, or couched in language which appears, at the least, stilted. This publication offers a very readable translation, and has the benefit of the continuing investigations into the history of Christianity and the ancient world in general.

I remember seeing mention of many of these works in an older book in my library (Lost Books of the Bible and The Forgotten Books of Eden), which was published prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts. They were still among the “missing” at that time and there really wasn’t much hope of finding them.

Although these “books” are not an acknowledged part of the modern Christian Bible, they are part and parcel of the early period of growth of the Christian religion. They were, in many cases, accepted by vast numbers of Christians; in many instances for hundreds of years, before they were put aside in favor of the currently accepted composition of the bible.

Professor Ehrman provides general backgrounds on the various “classes” of the books contained within this volume (Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles, and Apocalypses) as well as the canonical lists which are included at the end of the book. Each individual “book” is also put into historical perspective (where possible), and the reader is given a sense of its major differences from the accepted texts. Some of the works are not citied in their entirety due to their length, but significant excerpts are given, and some of them have not been found in their entirety. Where differences of opinion exist regarding the translation of a particular word or phrase, it is noted.

Some of the images which these works convey may seem unfamiliar (or even downright frightening) to the average non-scholar. On the other hand, many of the stories will remind the reader of stories which have often been the subject of medieval artists and which have, therefore become part of the “accepted facts,” even if they are unofficial, of Christian beliefs.

Bearing in mind that some of these works were once considered to be authentic, but judged unworthy of inclusion among the accepted canon of scripture, one is led into speculation about the validity of the current canon. While it is unlikely that reading these books will convert anyone (one way or the other), they may serve as a useful tool in exploring the development of Christian thought through the early centuries of its development.

Professor Ehrman provides a valuable reference tool by assembling this mass of data in an easily understood format. By keeping his comments brief and predominantly free of obscure references, he makes a welcome addition to the library of the layperson interested in religious history.

While it is not a necessity for a Pagan library, it could be a valuable resource for those wishing to learn more about early Christianity. The author has also produced Lost Christianities, if you are interested in further information on this topic.

Judeo-Christianity and chaos magick

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The chaote is free to adopt any system (s)he so pleases and deconstruct it on whim. It is generally considered taboo for any chaote to develop any sort of personal dogma. I thereby call into question the doctrine of personality and its implications. I posit that the personality is as undefined and arbitrary as “god”, “spirit” and “love”. Since these are left entirely for the individual (or not-so-individual) to interpret as they please or are told, i recommend another approach to the socio-religious status quo, and namely Judeo-Christianity. This approach is encouraged in the interest of originality and inclusion, useful qualities for any chaote.

“Self” remains as undefined as “God”, and is equally arbitrary in definition and significance. Although personality can be defined as the collective character, behavioural, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person, the bases of such – thought and emotion – remain only classifications of experience, not definitions. It is therefore belief only that defines the personality. Time and experience, the fundaments of memory, which is possibly the single most important factor in the development of personality, are not static. It is absurd, then, to assume that the product of such ever-changing conditions should be anything but impermanent and malleable. Personality is little more than a doctrine, a set of beliefs that one has adopted to differentiate their self from others. This dogma is developed around mostly inescapable experiences but is entirely open to re-interpretation as any other belief system.

It is easily argued that originality itself is an illusion. This remains undisputed here. There is nothing new under the sun. However, there is much to be said for deciding one’s own order – or disorder – of reality rather than ignorantly accepting any of the provided options. There is also much to be said for advancing one’s own likes rather than digressing on dislikes. Those who do are usually considered “original”, or at least “strange”, and thus have a particular if illusory claim to uniqueness.

Those who merely criticise and attack what they do not like are unoriginal. They have created nothing; they are merely reacting to what someone else has done. Furthermore, to utterly dismiss any paradigm on the basis of personal preferences is to assume that the personality is absolute. Thus, those who can not or will not at any time adopt any particular view on any topic presuppose two dogmatic truths: 1. Their personality is an absolute truth that cannot change. 2. The particular view in question remains absolutely irreconcilable (does not change) with their personality.

“Nothing is true; all is permitted” (Hassan I Sabbah). This paradoxical credo (that it would remain undisputed is also paradoxical) of the chaote demands that the very self be called into question. Since there is no such thing as a True Self or personality, one is free to explore all that was previously believed unacceptable for whatever reason, and is encouraged to do so. In the context of North Americn (Western) society, this typically results in exploring so-called alternative paths and the occult. However, this is a one-sided approach that excludes a wide variety of options. By ignoring or directly attacking the socio-religious status quo, and namely Judeo-Christianity, one originates nothing but merely reacts to what others have already established, and furthermore confirms unquestioned faith in the doctrine of “self”. In doing so, one remains as equally limited as if bound to meet the requirements of that status quo. This reflects poorly on the very basis of chaoism.

Christians limit themselves by considering their theology the only truth and refusing to explore other faiths and ideas, and are thus considered closed-minded. Likewise chaotes, who suppose a larger degree of freedom in the ability to choose whatever works, invariably limit themselves by refusing any serious inquiry into Christianity. To assume the meta-belief that belief itself is a tool for achieving effects but not allow oneself the option to explore all the tools available is to presuppose a truth (the personality) and incur a specialization that may ultimately hinder the effects desired. Thus inclusiveness becomes a desirable quality for anyone who wishes to maintain as much potential as possible.

Inclusion suggests, indeed, that nothing is true–not even the self. Incorporating Crowley’s Qabalah and Spare’s sigilisation into one’s personal grimoire is no measure of originality; not only is it adopting pre-set formulae with historical credibility, it is appropriating some of the most common occult alternatives to the Judeo-Christian paradigm. Taking on Emperor Haile Selassie I as one’s personal deity while adopting a Sikh mindset and using Islam’s jinns for servitors, on the other hand, could be something original and interesting. Moreover, inventing systems of philosophy and magick that are in no way related to any other system (eg, no astrology, no gematria, no sigils) would seem an ideal exercise for the aspiring chaos magickian. All in all, one should not be so constrained by their doctrine of personality as to explore only that which is obscure or unpopular.

It is therefore in the chaote’s best interest to retain Judeo-Christianity in the catalogue of possibly useful paradigms.

Copyright 2002. saintstephen. Permission to reproduce this article granted under the condition that this copyright notice is included.

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