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Author Topic: Chaos Magic and Christianity  (Read 23552 times)
EverFool
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« Reply #15: April 10, 2007, 04:17:33 am »

As far as I can tell from what you just wrote, the key factor to chaote belief is that beliefs themselves are the key to changing the universe.

I'm not sure that's quite it.  Chaos magic is still pretty much part of the western magic tradition, so Will is the key thing.  However, belief can interfere with Will (even if its just 'I cant do this'), so the best results are achieved by adopting a belief that best favours your Will.  Plus because everything is so subjective, and you can't know the truth, switching paradigms can also be a great experimental endeavour,as it can bring up ideas you wouldnt have had normally, etc etc.

It's also an excuse to pinch any ritual that isnt nailed down. Cheesy
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« Reply #16: April 10, 2007, 09:28:35 am »

If one really wants to go down to the local Christian church and have communion, go someplace that has open communion.  FOr example the United Methodists celebrate open communion once a month at the church I left,  THis means, if you feel the call (or just walk up to the minister at the right time of the service) he/she will give you a bit of the bread and grape juice (wine, seriously, these are methodists, methodists don't do wine).  It doesn't matter if you've never been to the church before, just don't admit if someone asks, that you are a pagan here for some sort of experimentation that doesn't include proffessing a belief that christ is your savior and the nicene creed.

Now, I don't think the situation is ethical, but open communion takes all comers, no questions asked.  So if you are going to do it somplace, that is the place to go.

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« Reply #17: April 10, 2007, 11:15:00 am »

Another thought occurs, although it isn't related to the ethics question.  Do you have a plan in particular for what you plan to do with the paradigm shift to Christianity?  (for example, is there an operation you want to perform that is situated within a vaguely Christian worldview?)

Magically this has my twisted little mind spinning as well.

What kind of things could I come up with that would still be magically sound and involved communion.

Hmmm.

It would depend on whether the communion was being seen as empowered by it's nature, empowered by blessing, or empowered by the collective belief of those consuming it.

If it is empowered by it's nature, then I would see purchasing unblessed communion wafers and consecrating them to deity of choice, and could think of a million fun ways to make use of the analogy of consuming deity.

If it's empowered by the blessing of a Christian priest/ deity, then I'm stymied.

If it's empowered by the belief of those consuming it, and one were to think along the lines of sympathetic magic, then there's lots of things that could be done, although they aren't particularly ethical ones.

If all present believe that every communion wafer is representative of the same thing, the same person and all consume the wafer believing that they are putting a representative of deity into their bodies, then would not the 'body of the wafers' be affected by the belief of the individual consuming them in turn?  The street could work both ways. 

So if one person believes that the represented deity is all knowing for example, then others are also consuming a portion of an 'all knowing' deity.  The belief of the group could be regulated through consuming something charged with the beliefs of the individuals making up the group.

By making yourself one of those individuals, albeit temporarily then you would also be charging the wafers blessed for the purpose with your perception of what the represented deity is.  Which is open to all sorts of interesting tweaking.

I'm thinking the church ceremony beforehand would be the time that affected the charge of the wafers.  Each person making their particular petitions to god, and when consuming the wafer, passing on their intent to the group.

Through contagious magic, if one kept the wafer rather than consuming it, another set of equally not so ethical purposes come to mind.  Blessing an altar with the crumbs?  I dunno.  Brain stalled out.
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« Reply #18: April 10, 2007, 05:37:09 pm »

It's also an excuse to pinch any ritual that isnt nailed down.
If a Chaote can pry it loose, it's not nailed down.

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« Reply #19: April 10, 2007, 05:54:57 pm »

Hello, I was wondering what people think about the possibility of going to and Christian church and taking communion as part of a paradigm shift well being a chaote.  Would it be totally unethical?
Having let this (and some of the responses) simmer in the back of my brain for a few days, I have this to say to the original question:

1.  If the paradigm shift desired can be achieved through other means, that'd be preferable.  I'd apply this to any case in which the active practice of a system by its followers was directly involved.

2.  Acts of this kind will not (IMO) in and of themselves induce a paradigm shift.  If a would-be Chaote can't make the paradigm shift through hir own mastery of hir mind and Will, this won't do the job for hir.

3.  Practical, as any good Chaote should be:  what will this praxis accomplish that cannot be accomplished by the paradigm shift itself?  If it doesn't have anything significant to add, s/he will have been cavalier with others' cherished paradigms to no purpose.  I wouldn't expect a Chaote to never be cavalier about such things, but I most certainly would expect hir to have a purpose for doing so - that's how to tell the difference between a Chaote and a self-indulgent brat.

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« Reply #20: April 11, 2007, 06:52:19 am »

Having let this (and some of the responses) simmer in the back of my brain for a few days, I have this to say to the original question:

2.  Acts of this kind will not (IMO) in and of themselves induce a paradigm shift.  If a would-be Chaote can't make the paradigm shift through hir own mastery of hir mind and Will, this won't do the job for hir.

Then again, there's nothing wrong with using an aid in getting into the paradigm shift.  Just like some Chaotes like to use lots of pomp and stage props in rituals to aid in setting the mood.
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« Reply #21: April 12, 2007, 02:22:46 am »

Then again, there's nothing wrong with using an aid in getting into the paradigm shift.  Just like some Chaotes like to use lots of pomp and stage props in rituals to aid in setting the mood.
Yup.  I personally see potential problems with using that aid unnecessarily - that, and other parallel cases, are what item #1 was about - but I don't think "wrong" is the word there; the problems I see are as much practical (the preferability of not getting other folks pissed off without good reason) as ethical.

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« Reply #22: April 12, 2007, 03:40:04 am »

Yup.  I personally see potential problems with using that aid unnecessarily - that, and other parallel cases, are what item #1 was about - but I don't think "wrong" is the word there; the problems I see are as much practical (the preferability of not getting other folks pissed off without good reason) as ethical.

Sunflower

True, it *is* worth judging the repercussions of the aid.  (Some chaos texts discuss chemi-gnosis.  Personally my experience working in mental health doesn't encourage me to think drugs are a great idea. Smiley )
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« Reply #23: April 12, 2007, 06:22:46 am »

To the OP: in my opinion, only you can answer your ethical question, as only you will know what your real motives are. Having spent a lot of time in the past with some of the founders of the Chaos movement in Leeds (UK), I must say ethics didn't generally seem to feature too highly amongst their priorities during magickal work. I don't mean that they were all unethical, just that they were quite single-minded about getting what they wanted by whatever means they found appropriate. It is certainly entirely possible to take communion without being Catholic, and I've done so many years ago for reasons of my own.

Certainly some Chaoists would regard the surreptitious trespass into the Catholic mass as a sort of liberating blasphemy, and possibly the paradigm shift that you mention. Again, it all really comes down to the intention - if the intention is serious and well-motivated, then why would it be wrong? The fact that you raise the question suggests it might be a little unclear, and that the motivation might not be totally thought-through. I'd be inclined to work out exactly what I wanted from such an operation, whether it could harm myself or others, and whether I felt genuinely comfortable and happy with carrying it out. 
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« Reply #24: April 12, 2007, 08:47:48 am »

Having let this (and some of the responses) simmer in the back of my brain for a few days, I have this to say to the original question:


3.  Practical, as any good Chaote should be:  what will this praxis accomplish that cannot be accomplished by the paradigm shift itself?  If it doesn't have anything significant to add, s/he will have been cavalier with others' cherished paradigms to no purpose.  I wouldn't expect a Chaote to never be cavalier about such things, but I most certainly would expect hir to have a purpose for doing so - that's how to tell the difference between a Chaote and a self-indulgent brat.

Sunflower

The only angle in this which technically gives pause is why you need a whole congregation of others also taking said communion.  Which would point to an intent involving others.  Otherwise a shift in your own reality would be enough. 

If you can't bring yourself to admit what it is you want, then it either means you're not sure you really want it, or you aren't sure you should have it.  Both could derail the whole deal.

Either that or they're being dragged along to a Christian wedding, and want to justify why pretending to be Christian for the sake of parents, and taking communion is okay, and might have some magical benefits from an alternate perspective?

Which actually it might.  Persuade yourself that this lovely little cracker holds the cures to the worlds ills, and be healed?  This brings to mind the other question though.  Do you want to be in public when you attain alternate reality?  Congregation = witnesses = bad for the police reports...
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« Reply #25: April 12, 2007, 09:02:34 am »

The only angle in this which technically gives pause is why you need a whole congregation of others also taking said communion. 

Well...  Communion is an action of community.  I'm not a Christian theologian, so I couldn't say whether taking it on your own without anyone else actually invalidates it or not, but it does seem rather odd.  Like playing poker with yourself, if I can use what is probably a completely inappropriate analogy for a moment.  You can do it, but why bother?  In Christian context, by taking communion, you are acting as part of a community; to isolate yourself intentionally while taking communion seems like missing the point.

(I still have problems with the whole idea, of course; it still strikes me as incredibly disrespectful to Christianity to take communion knowing you're just going to dump the community once you've accomplished your paradigm shift.  But that aside...)
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« Reply #26: April 12, 2007, 09:25:11 am »

I would add that there are plenty of people attending Catholic mass for all kinds of reasons of their own, many of which have little to do with Catholicism. Lots of people go to Midnight Mass at Christmas, for instance, because they think it's a sort of fun thing to do after the pub, and lots of others go as a mere sop to their feelings of guilt about having affairs, or whatever it may be. I'm not saying these are good motives, I'm just pointing out that you certainly wouldn't be the only person present whose motivations were distinctly un-Christian.

Anyway, in my opinion, for it to really work as a paradigm shift, you'd have to more or less become Christian for the duration of the mass, probably more Christian than many others present. I'm not sure it's necessarily disrespectful. That's assuming I've understood you correctly.
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« Reply #27: April 12, 2007, 09:40:15 am »

I would add that there are plenty of people attending Catholic mass for all kinds of reasons of their own, many of which have little to do with Catholicism.

Just because they're going to Mass doesn't mean they're taking communion, though, and there is a difference.  (Also, just because everyone else does it doesn't make it OK.)

Quote
Anyway, in my opinion, for it to really work as a paradigm shift, you'd have to more or less become Christian for the duration of the mass, probably more Christian than many others present. I'm not sure it's necessarily disrespectful. That's assuming I've understood you correctly.

I find it inherently disrespectful to do so knowing you're just going to dump it once you've got what you want.  Even if you manage to work yourself 100% into the Christian mindset and belief system for the duration, you know you're going to leave it in pretty short order, right?

The thing is, it's one thing to do this when it's only yourself that's involved, when it's a solitary thing.  (I still have some issues with it there, but I get the sense that this may be something about the whole Chaote thing that I just cannot come to terms with personally.  It happens.)  But practicing Christianity is a group activity, and participating in communion is kind of the ultimate expression of that.  When you take communion, you're not just eating bread and drinking wine with a bunch of random people.  You're making yourself a part of the community, making a commitment to the Christian community.  To do so knowing you're just going to walk away from it when you've got what you want from it seems like taking a very serious commitment very lightly, to me.  I don't think it's a good thing to accept commitments like that knowing that you're going to break them.
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« Reply #28: April 12, 2007, 09:49:13 am »

I don't quite feel like that. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with being able to embrace all godforms, and find meaning in them. If the mass/communion was a part of that process, then I don't think you would be dumping it afterwards, as you'd be carrying a greater understanding and empathy away with you, even if you didn't find that that particular paradigm suited you as a centrality. Of course, you might even find you deeply like it, and want to become a full time Christian. Lots of pagans and occultists have later become Christians. Put it this way, would you be offended if a Christian wanted to come and take part in your thing for a day, so as to experience what it was about, even if they didn't tell anyone what they were doing? Sure wouldn't bother me; in fact, I think I'd be quite impressed with their openness.
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« Reply #29: April 12, 2007, 10:07:04 am »

I don't quite feel like that. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with being able to embrace all godforms, and find meaning in them.

Didn't say there was.

Quote
If the mass/communion was a part of that process, then I don't think you would be dumping it afterwards, as you'd be carrying a greater understanding and empathy away with you, even if you didn't find that that particular paradigm suited you as a centrality.

What about the community, the people you made a commitment to, though?  Christianity is more than just a paradigm.  It's people.  Understanding and empathy is a good thing, yes, but...  There's still that broken commitment, the people you misled and let down.  If the paradigm shift is going to involve them, then they must be considered as well.

And again, Mass and communion are not the same thing.  If we were only talking about attending Mass here, that would be an entirely different thing.

Quote
Of course, you might even find you deeply like it, and want to become a full time Christian. Lots of pagans and occultists have later become Christians.

A valid point in general, but it was my impression that the OP did not intend to remain Christian.  As such, there's no guarentee of this happening and I don't think "maybe there's a chance I will" is a factor to be given significant weight in determining whether this is a moral action or not.

Quote
Put it this way, would you be offended if a Christian wanted to come and take part in your thing for a day, so as to experience what it was about, even if they didn't tell anyone what they were doing? Sure wouldn't bother me; in fact, I think I'd be quite impressed with their openness.

My "thing" is pretty solitary at the moment; there's nothing really analagous to communion in it because there is no community.  Therefore the question is not applicable to me, personally.

In a more general sense, though:  If what they wanted to do was take part in a ritual that made them a part of my community, and then walk away after they'd seen what it was like, then yes I would be offended.  And I would offer them much the same explanation as I'm giving to you in this thread.  If they wanted to come participate in a general worship activity, that would be different.  But something that ties them so closely to the community, just so they can leave--no.  I would not be OK with that.  If someone makes a religious commitment to me or my community, I want them to follow through on it. If they're not planning on doing so, then yes, it offends me highly that they would make the commitment anyway.
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