Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Christian Who Gets It

I recently came across an excellent article on a Christian site comparing the modern practice of "spiritual warfare" to ritual magick and finding little difference between the two. I've been telling people the same thing for years - this sort of results-oriented prayer is magick, plain and simple. The same is true of "green gospel" prayer that aims for lots of money, a nice house, or a Mercedes. It has a lot more in common with my magical practices than it does with the teachings of any major Christian sect.

There are two forms of spiritual practice that cut across all spiritual systems and denominations, magick and mysticism. Magick is the practice of directing one's consciousness outward so as to create change in accordance with will. Mysticism is the practice of looking inward so as to transform consciousness in such a way that an expansion of awareness and fundamental change in perspective is induced, what the Gospels refer to as metanoia. I've written elsewhere on this term and how it is poorly translated into "repentence" in English, a word that carries with it all sorts of connotations that the original Greek term did not.

The spiritual system that I practice, Thelema, embraces both techniques. However, most Christian churches teach that magick is forbidden but mysticism is fine. My belief is that this is an unnecessary restriction that does not automatically contradict the teachings of Jesus, but this is not a belief shared by most Christians. In fact, many of the "spiritual warfare" and "green gospel" Christians will happily explain that what they are doing is "prayer" and what I am doing is "sorcery," which makes them good and me evil. These people need a wake-up call - they are doing magick, and if their form of spirituality forbids magical practice they can't just use a different word and expect their God to be fooled.

Most of the "spiritual warfare" folks are also Biblical literalists, and it seems obvious to me that their practices are incompatible with Matthew 7:22-23.

On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'"

I mean, who else could this passage be talking about? I don't believe the Rapture is on the way or anything like that, but if Christianity is the one true religion and the correct interpretation of the faith is that of conservative theologians I'm smart enough to realize that I'm thoroughly screwed. The statement in the passage is that of people who think themselves to be devout but are surprised to find that God doesn't share their belief. I've seen commentary from Christians online implying that the "evildoers" here are liberal Christians, but a literal reading of the text renders that implication silly at best. What liberal Christian church teaches prophecy and casting out of demons?

Unlike a lot of magical practitioners, I have no problem whatsoever with Christianity or with individuals who follow the Christian faith. I explored it many years ago and just found that it wasn't for me. On the other hand, there are a lot of Christians who will happily condemn my practices while doing the same things themselves and calling their practice "prayer." This double standard strikes me as profoundly hypocritical or at the very least ignorant.

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2 comments:

cheryl said...

Hi Scott...There are lots of Christians who get it. We may not be in the limelight, but we are here and we truly serve our Lord with our hearts.

And wow...you spoke the truth in this article.

Ananael Qaa said...

Hi Cheryl,

Hopefully the title of the article doesn't imply that most individual Christians don't "get it." In fact, I'm sure that they do. It's just that the loud and flashy members of the leadership seem to get most of the media attention, and let's face it, the Pentecostal "spiritual warrior" stuff does sound exciting.

Thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed the article.