A debate on the divinity of Christ...is it obvious I'm not Christian?
"If we are indeed looking for the truth, one would I think be inclined to look at the entire truth."
Heheh let's be careful with that T-word ;) Truth is always going to be partly subjective and will depend upon the mental and spiritual development of the observer. For example, just because science says that certain things are possible doesn't make them possible for the average person to observe - most of us simply accept the reports as 'truth' without actually experiencing any of it for ourselves. For all we know, the scientists could be lying in an attempt to glorify their egos. As far as historical truth is concerned, we're stuck with the often biased and inaccurate reports of individuals, rather than actual experience with those historical figures we read about. What we're accepting as fact or truth is only hearsay most of the time.
"The truth is, that the entry levels of the practice of magic today, are built as reconstructions, with elements situated and arranged to suit the modern mind and temperament, along the lines that humanism and Freemasonry/Rosicrucianism has developed."
I won't argue with that. Most every system is created from the borrowed elements of those that came before it.
"There are indeed small pockets of family practices that come down from pre-Christian times."
Actually, quite a few of the family practices that emerge today are leftover from borrowed elements of the 19th c. spiritualist movement and their methods, since family members back then combined elements of spiritualist's methods that they'd studied with their own family 'traditions'. After a while, the original family practices would become indistinguishable from the grafted on elements.
"As to the nature of the Being of Christ, that is a matter of belief, as is the existence of magick."
Here's where I start to disagree (as usual heheh)
"It makes me wonder how a practioner of magick can in one breath say that magick and gods DO exist, and yet it is impossible that Christ was the Son of God."
That's easy - the answer is simply because the Jewish sources (of which ethnic and spiritual group Jesus himself was an active part) state that the Messiah, when/if one comes, will be a Son of Man - not a son of G-d. The thing I find most interesting is that in the writings/sayings of Jesus, it is obvious to anyone who has studied a smattering of ancient Jewish mystical practices that he was a person who was well versed in the mystical/occult practices of his day. And apparently, according to scholars, he never once stated that he was the 'Son of God' (that appears to be either a mistranslation or a deliberate alteration of the text during translation). I remember a section from a certain Book of Thomas (which I found again echoed in one of the texts of the New Testament - no I don't recall which one offhand but if you search you'll definitely find it) where Jesus says "when you see one who does not come from a woman, then bow down for he is your father," or in other words, "I'm a human just like you who came from a woman."
"To my mind, and yes I have been materialist and scientific as well, if there is such a thing as ANY magick/godhood, than ANY of it may be true."
Then again, why not all of it? Logic is fun to play with :) (especially when it causes the breakdown of the intellect and results in radical perceptual shifts)
"Either you limit your worldview to materialism or you go beyond that. To deny the -possibility- of Christ as God is the same thing as denying the existence of magick."
I disagree here. My own magickal practice is not based on belief but experience. If I can't or haven't experienced it, then it isn't real for me. Of course I try hard not to deny the possibility that things beyond my range of experience could be potentially 'real', but primarily I rely on my own personal experience. Belief for me is a tool to be used as a catalyst for experience, never as a crutch or the cornerstone of my practices.
"If one acknowledges that there is a realm, a plane, beyond the material, then that lays the playing field wide open. Whether it be a belief in nature spirits, gods and goddesses, magical rays and demons and angels.. or in Christ as Son of God. Once you get beyond the tangible, anything is possible. At that point it becomes belief."
Disagree here again, but only because, as previously mentioned, I view belief only as a tool. If an object moves in front of me for no logical reason and without magnets, then I might (and have) come to the conclusion that telekinesis exists. If I and several other people see forms moving in the dark without any possibility of holograms, then I might come to the conclusion that paranormal events may exist. If someone successfully communicates with me mentally (which has happened) then I might come to the conclusion that forms of telepathy are possible. If I get pulled out of body by a friend and then told in great detail the next day everything that I saw while out (with no possibilities for suggestion), then I might (and have, in that manner) come to the conclusion that astral projection exists. Again, only through personal experience, not simply belief. Just because I believe in something doesn't make it true. I have to experience it personally before I accept it as a legitimate 'truth'.
Regarding the Jesus-son-of-god thing, I have to admit I'm extremely biased against it due to recent (and past) scholarly evidence (check your local Discovery Channel listings folks - it was on there in a nicely formatted documentary) suggesting that what actually happened back then wasn't even remotely similar to the modern church's vision of Jesus. He appears to have been a religious/political rebel (one of many) who was well versed in the Hebrew mysticism of his day and who wouldn't have been known at all if certain proselytisers hadn't fanatically promoted their vision of a Christian religion (which, by the way, was originally only a sect of Judaism probably created by Paul and made open to non-Jews - which was why the early Jews were against it because it was considered to be watering down their serious religious practices). All the evidence I've found in my own research just sours my taste for anything Christian due to serious distortions in translations and misuse/misunderstanding of borrowed Jewish material taken literally as well as the church's history of crimes against humanity etc. I'll continue to be my own saviour, thanks ;)
If someone finds that a 'belief' in a saviour figure brightens their day and allows them the freedom not to think for themselves, far be it from me to pop their balloon. But I'll still prefer my own personal experience to another person's 'beliefs', and unless Jesus himself tells me personally that he is the son of a god, then I'll have to assume he was a son of man whose spirit was brought to this plane to serve as an example of human potential, and who was unfortunately stuck in the position of casting pearls before uneducated and superstitious swine who would inevitably misinterpret everything he said in a dogmatic fashion.
Sorry if my views on Christianity have been harsh or offensive to anyone here. It's not my intention to attack or alienate anyone, but it is my intention to be honest for sake of debate and comparison of views. If I didn't speak my mind, then all sides of the issue wouldn't have been represented now would they?
Response regarding my preference of historically accurate texts and accounts, and their possibility of future disproval:
Hengruh - "So Amoris is letting his belief that the belief in Christ is misled, mislead him in turn."
Heheh now I wouldn't say that I'm being 'misled' in my beliefs, exactly ;)
I'm consciously choosing to believe in a certain way for logical reasons so as to better fit whatever I find/explore within my personal agenda and worldview (just like everyone else must do). With that in mind, I must continue in the direction of my choosing since to deviate from that direction and personal agenda would be to be 'misled' from my personal path. To adopt the view that Jesus was 'God' would mislead me from my agenda/path of seeking the universal 'truths' and/or overlapping connections between all paths and understanding them for their essence and in an objective (almost spiritually scientific) manner (if that's even possible).
Emergo - "Amoris can say that Jesus doesn't exist, and Hengruh can say that he does, and the two aren't even talking about the same thing, because they each have a different perception of who Jesus is."
I agree that it sounds like our connotations of terms such as 'Jesus' and 'eternal' are causing some problems with interpretation and debate, so I'll just throw a few more of my views out here in a sec for perusal and further clarification.
Drax - "I do now believe iot to be greatly improbable, but not impossible as that does rather damage the general magickal world view. What, if anything, is impossible?"
True - Reality is Infinite. I won't deny that part. I am realizing however, that to move forward in any direction requires at least some conscious limitation of worldview or imposed set of temporary 'rules' of practice. To simply sit back and adopt a completely open viewpoint and say that anything is possible and all things are infinite so there's no point in debating or even trying to explore anything since everywhere you look there you are, would probably only result in sitting around on your butt and giving up. That'd be like sitting in a boat in the middle of a lake that stretches to infinity all around you and deciding not to journey because it's infinite in every direction. However, the other more preferable reaction to the recognition of infinity all around (and the one that most of us seem to have had) is to narrow your focus slightly and choose a direction in which to start rowing and see where it takes you.
What I'm trying to say is, (metaphorically again) the path of magickal practice and exploration is just like a garden hose really - without any nozzle on the end of it (without some set of temp. imposed views of practice/worldview) the water just pours out all over the ground in front of you and isn't good for much of anything, but when you apply that gun nozzle thingy (e.g. focus/limitation/a personal set of beliefs/worldview) then you can shoot that water clear across the yard in the direction of your choosing :) As I mentioned previously, in order to remain 'on course' in the direction of my choosing, I've had to make a few limitations or refining/focusing of my views - one of them having to do with the Jesus-as-infinite controversy.
1. 'God' = The entire universe and all things in it, as well as the primary Creative Principle. (During the continuous act of manifestation, each human, being a portion of the whole and an aspect of 'God', allows this Creative Principle which is simultaneously All things, to perceive itself. We are "figments in the mind of God" or "God's hands and fingers," to say it metaphorically - the means by which the infinite eternal creative principle perceives itself in a manner seemingly separate from itself - but not.)
2. Jesus for me, is defined as a historical figure - more specifically, a Jewish man who lived as a traveller and teacher as well as a political and religious rebel in the Jewish community of his time and area. Because there is no record of him proclaiming himself to be 'God' (nor the son of a god - he emphatically stated he was the Son of Man in an effort to pick up on the Messiah myth/prophesy of Jews of his time), and because he was a singular human being, he cannot be 'God' for me. A human being is only an aspect of 'God' just like a single cell is an aspect of a larger organism. It would be just as silly for a cell to proclaim itself to be the entire organism as it would be for a human to state that he IS God in tota. Just like a cell, each of us contains homologous and corresponding principles within us that can be found in the Macrocosm, but I don't see each of us as the entire universe by itself since it takes ALL of us and ALL things put together to equal the universe. However, I suppose it would be possible for a human to unite his lower levels of consciousness to Allness in such a way so as to be functioning as a representative of Allness while in human manifestation - still, that human wouldn't be 'God' entirely, but an active tool of 'God'.
3. To use the modern mythological concept of 'Jesus', in my terminology and way of seeing things I'd classify that concept (the Jesus/godform that can be invoked etc.) as a type of large thought-form built up by the devotion/worship of millions of people over the centuries. It certainly exists and can be tapped into to great effect, but I still can't even call that by-now powerful force 'God' because it's only a portion of the Whole. It's neither the entire Universe nor the original Creative Principle since the beliefs and practices of human beings were the causes of its existence.
4. My definition of a God is 2-fold. I see a 'god' as simply a term indicating a more advanced entity, and 'God' (when used in a modern religious sense) as the universe and all things in it as well as the Creative Principle (unmanifest) that initiated all manifestation. Because I don't feel that such an exalted principle can be adequately personified (I tend to agree with Jewish Kabbalists here) I can't go along with an idea of a supreme creator with sandals and a beard, or even in male human form or in any 'form' whatsoever. As it has been said before by other mystics in the past, "That which can be thought is untrue." Any attempt to define exalted concepts of the creative principle/God will only fall far short of what 'it' actually is - undefinable and unmanifest. (Dude, it's like, so huge and so deep, it like, blows my MIND, man…heheheh)
My personal connotations of a few terms (rendered in limited human language as always):
Eternal = a concept virtually impossible for the human subjective mind to conceive or at least define (human consciousness exists primarily at levels below Supreme Unity and as such is subject to the 'laws' of manifestation). Any attempt at defining or limiting it within an explainable format is futile, since anything in manifestation (including language) is only temporary. In this physical realm (and all realms below the level of Supreme Unity), the only constant appears to be Change, so anything we label as Eternal will someday prove to be false.
Belief = I make a distinction between "blind faith" and "a view that I hold to be true". Most modern religious views (or at least the Catholic ones I grew up with) tend to see belief as a type of blind faith. I will agree that a belief can refer to a concept that you hold true for yourself in your worldview, but I prefer only to create personal 'beliefs' based upon actual personal experience so as to avoid any blind faith. My beliefs in that sense are in constant flux. Even though I might not initially agree with certain sudden changes to my belief systems, I have to allow the possibility of change to them or I'll limit growth.