There are precious few people who know what i do believe, and most people, if I attempted to explain, would get really confused because of the seeming paradoxes. Before i go into the tyrade which is building, I will say this: I do not adhere to the tenets of any organized religion, because i feel that unless one can take those tenets as a whole package and live by them and believe them, that one cannot truly be what the label ascertains. This is also the reason why i do not call myself a democrat, or a republican, or a goth or any other member of an organized group anymore. I do not believe in labels, they are confining and do not allow for the variation that humans possess, nor the growth of mind, emotion and spirit that can essentially allow one to outgrow a label. To identify oneself with a label is pigeonholing, and often leads to conforming to a stereotype that is unrealistic to live up to and unhealthy at that.
I do have tremendous respect for many religious and spiritual traditions, and tolerant of many varied practices of worship. I have found in my continued explorations of various faiths that there are universal similarities and truths that tie these different faiths together. Some people would have me burned at the stake for even suggesting this.
I believe that there are some truths, which one must discern for themselves - not merely parroting actions condoned by someone in a position of religious power or from someone who is simply the loudest voice. Truths which are inherent in all men, if they can put aside their baggage long enough to realize they have baggage, use their minds and hearts and realize that truth goes beyond simply reading something and believing it because it is printed and someone else tells you you should.
What am I getting at? What set me off?
It's set me off before, but I didn't feel like bloggin or didn't have the right words. but it is behaviour that upsets many people of every faith.
So, I've been studiying alchemy. Yes, get that stake ready. Alchemy, unlike the typical thought of greedy magicians bent on making gold out of whatever leftovers were in the fridge (though there were those who tired just that) is a spiritual practice that basically involves gaining knowledge of oneself and one's perspective of the world so that one may transmute that which is negative and unhealthy into that which is positive, and discover the divine nature within all of creation.
Alchemy has many strange symbols, and emblems which look like something out of dreams as they are so incongrous upon viewing, but every symbol stands for something. Alchemy is like a language, and the emblematic ideas originated from the ancient misinterpretation of egyptian hieroglyphics. The tradition of alchemy spans many centuries, supposedly arising from egypt, has effected islamic, christian, and chinese cultures, as well as having jewish/hermetic/kaballistic elements.
it is utterly fascinating, and very rich with symbolism that people such as Karl Jung have done indepth studies of it and made breakthroughs in discovering elements of the human psyche and personality. Alchemy, in short, is a study of the soul and its world/origins. Alchemy can also be called a study of nature. One of the main thoughts in Alchemy is that God is everywhere, in everything, that there is no separation from God. Separation is an illusion, and that illusion is what oftens leads to unhealthy problems. (ie, sin or baggage or whatever you care to call it)
Alchemy was at times scrutinized and sometimes condemned by THE CHURCH as heresy or an occult practice, depending on who was in charge or what century. Never mind that many very important figures such as St Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and other clerical notables recognized how alchemy incorporated universal philosophical ideas from aristotle, plato and socrates, and are counted among those considered alchemists because of their spiritual use of the information, even if they didn't do the actual physical experiments with nature (they served as a parallel to reinforce the spiritual side)
So...alchemy, and....Harry Potter - this is where i am going.
I know too many people who love this damn series. It's a wonderfully well written series with rich symbolism both alchemical and literary, which is still getting the persecution that stories such as Narnia or Lord of the Rings has gotten.
i was going to look up some symbolism this morning that I was curious about related to the story, when of course i stumble across the google entry about how Harry Potter is evil and alchemy is evil, evil evil evil blah blah blah. I should know better than to waste my time with this tripe, but I gotta get this off my chest, bear with me.
I have come across this site, ones affiated with it, and ones similar to it several times. You know what I'm talking about.
A site that is run by god fearing (in the extreme)fundamentalist evangelical christians who believe that if something doesn't have the obligatory and obvious neon stamp of jesus's approval, that the target is a calling card of OUR pal, satan.
They use the word occult as if they meant the word gonorhea, and overuse it without even understanding what OCCULT actually means.
So Harry Potter - really, ANY story with fantasy creatures that don't exist on our representational earth, along with martial arts, any other religious symbols, or any symbols they feel like (lump in other things like movies, music, intelligence and common sense) are doorways for demons via the occult.
harry potter is a way for your kids to get involved in dangerous magical practices that will lead them to all sorts of ungodly behaviour - like thinking for oneself.
How odd, that people who thump the bible so much are blind to the fact that there exists a type of story called a PARABLE - essentially an allegory. These stories contain a surface story, which is representational - but also a hidden layer of deeper meaning.
Occult, as a latin word, means hidden. hidden from obvious sight. Ther person who looks only for an obvious meaning will only see the surface of the story, and miss the richer meaning contained within which can only be gleaned through the mind and also the heart. We're talking higher functions here.
The bible itself is rich with stories that are metaphorical in nature, and highly symbolic outside of the obvious actions. Ever tried understanding revelations? having trouble with Genesis? Revelations especially is thick with symbolism and was written from a VISION - visions are not always literal (note how dreams behave)
To take some of this stuff literally is to miss a whole lot of points. How do I know what to take literally? well, that's where discernment comes in. Some people have a great deal of trouble with that. bible stories in particular were written for both levels of human understanding - the esoteric and the obvious so that everyone could come away with the right message.
however, there are people who can't even seem to get the outer message right. they bend it out of shape, take it out of context, and apply biblical means to situations that don't mesh with out current times and culture.
these are the kind of people who fear the occult, who fear movies, books, pictures - and basically everything. They can't see past their own nose. They are so based in fear and concentrating on avoiding the devil that they see what they want to see in things they don't understand. Why these people always have to be the loudest will always confound me. They are so busy protecting themselves against evil that they make themselves incapable of seeing any good and letting it in. they draw the negativity to them because they give it so much focus, then they bask under the banner of self righteousness because it makes them feel better.
they wave Jesus around like a flag - he almost becomes objectified and little more than an idol or an icon, which is truly sad. they are the people that will tell you that to accept jesus as your saviour and keep him in your heart and use him as an anti devil talisman, but they never walk the walk and they don't give you any good reasoning WHY Jesus will save you and why you should follow him because they don't even know. They simply spout bible verses and expect you to follow along (or not, because if they give you a misleading or misinterpreted quote they feel even more righteous because you can't understand them)
So, harry potter leads to the occult - not that they can give you a real definition or honest examples of what the occult IS, because being good God fearing christians, they are not allowed to even do proper research. God would smite them for sure if they so much as tried. That, and they always like to be right.
I pooped around the site a bit, just to get a feeling for what they were getting at, and it only continued to frustrate me. their sheer ignorance, fear and self righteous behaviour is absolutely suffocating. there are some times when they do mix truth in - but it makes it that much worse. they love to bring up statistics to back things up - especially when things are only vaguely related.
they are under the impression also that everything is black and white, that all is absolute. They are what Mike would call tin foil haberdashers - if you look at their site, they are afraid and against EVERYTHING. Be it Bush, Muslims, the illuminati, any other religion you can think of, holidays, etc. They apparently are into government conspiracy theories as well. (I'm noting one site in general, but there are 2 that I am talking about)
this other site has a link on the previous noted one:
If you feel like making yourself pissed off, or aware of just how ignorant and unstable some people can be, go ahead, be my guest.
These people are obviously paranoid delusional among other things (the first site)
The second site sheds light on the fact that these people believe humans are so lowly as to not even deserve God's love, that existence is ro rife with sin that thinking about anything but Jesus is indicative of the hand of satan.
the thing that bugs me is they make jesus the be all end all - like accepting him is the answer and you don't question what the meaning of that acceptance is. You don't go any deeper than the surface. They act as if THEIR GOD (JESUS) is separate from all the other heathen gods of the world. They are not tolerant, they are blinded, they are fearful, they are self hating even.
This is not healthy behaviour and not an example that ANYONE of ANY religion would want to follow because it WILL mess up your views and beliefs.
I disagree with their thought that belief alone can SAVE you, especially when it's SO important that you believe the "right" thing, which is what THEY do.
Faith and knowledge go together. one should lead to the other, and if that isn't occuring, then there can be no spiritual development.
"Good" christians like this are full of too much talk and not enough action. the people that I have looked to to really inspire me to actually be good people are not the ones who are getting you to confess to their belief system, but the ones who lead by quiet example. The guy who holds the door open for you, the person who helps you pick up the groceries you dropped, the cashier who says have a nice day and means it. the people who actually care about PEOPLE and aren't out there to judge you based on a surface appearance.
perhaps it's too OCCULT to look beyond the surface of a person and see God in them.
If that's the case, light yer matches now and hang me upside down, cuz i'm guilty guilty guilty.