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Author Topic: Your religion, or your magic?  (Read 27019 times)
Koimichra
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« Reply #30: October 06, 2008, 01:24:08 pm »

I know what the dogma is alleged to say, but I think most people can recognise the taste of wine. Wink

It's all about Aristotelean/Neo-Platonic essences and accidents. The ACCIDENTS -- the matter that you can interact with -- remains bread and wine. The ESSENCE -- what the thing really is in imaginary "perfect forms" world, if you will -- becomes body and blood.

It's all very old-fashioned. Smiley
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Koimichra
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« Reply #31: October 06, 2008, 01:33:04 pm »

For instance, two disparate traditions can use incense to create sacred space.  Religion A uses it to cleanse a circle, and in that tradition it might be best termed an (admittedly minor) act of magic; Religion B uses it to bless an altar as an act of faith.  Cultural context notwithstanding, in either case the intent and the method are pretty dang close.  If Religion B wants to hold forth the opinion that 'magic' = oogie-boogie badness, and some of its practices resemble what the oogie-boogies do, then in my opinion it ought to be more honest about what it's doing and why.  If 'magic' is bad, why imitate it, even superficially?

A) I'm pretty clear that when I go to church and we burn incense, we're not "imitating" neo-Pagan magical use of incense. I'm also QUITE clear on when I am and am not practicing magic, when I am and am not worshiping saints, and when I am and am not celebrating Pagan winter or springtime fertility rituals. If you are unclear on when YOU are doing these things, that is a personal problem, and not one you should generalize to the rest of us. If you think that this is something 1.5 billion Christians are unclear on when THEY are doing these things, that is a seriously elitist accusation that will require some excellent evidence.

B) You appear confused on the "intent" of incense use in Christianity. It is typically symbolic of prayers rising to heaven; a method to further engage all senses in the act of worship; and/or representative of the gifts brought by the Magi to Christ. It serves no cleansing or truly "consecratory" functions in Christian liturgy. It is sometimes used in blessings, as part of its prayer symbolism. I believe your analogy therefore fails.
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« Reply #32: October 06, 2008, 01:44:15 pm »

A) I'm pretty clear that when I go to church and we burn incense, we're not "imitating" neo-Pagan magical use of incense.

I missed the incense thing initially.  Out of curiosity, do you know how far back the Catholic use of incense dates?  I ask because I'm betting the answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of "a whole hell of a lot longer than neo-Paganism", which makes it awfully difficult to claim that Catholicism is "imitating" neo-Paganism IMHO.  I'm not sure you (generic you here) can really imitate something that didn't come around until after your practice was already well-established.
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« Reply #33: October 06, 2008, 02:13:37 pm »

I missed the incense thing initially.  Out of curiosity, do you know how far back the Catholic use of incense dates?  I ask because I'm betting the answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of "a whole hell of a lot longer than neo-Paganism", which makes it awfully difficult to claim that Catholicism is "imitating" neo-Paganism IMHO.  I'm not sure you (generic you here) can really imitate something that didn't come around until after your practice was already well-established.

F'rever. It's mentioned repeatedly in the OT in temple rituals of various sorts. It's also well-attested in various other Ancient Near Eastern religions (Greeks, Assyrians, etc.) and well-attested to fight the stink when it was hot. It's mentioned a couple of times in the New Testament, which suggests it was in at least occasional use, doubtless borrowed from the Jewish traditions, in early Christianity. It starts appearing in official liturgies and ordos in the 400s. (Which is about as early as official liturgies and ordos start appearing.)

But incense is one of those things, like candles, live plants, circles, and colors, that are used symbolically, liturgically, or for other reasons in MOST world religions. It was also a far more common "household" item in the past than it is now; for us, its associations seem primarily religious (the way many of us think of candles as well), but for ancient near easterners, it would have been a fairly routine object to have around and to put to various uses. Not that everyone would have necessarily owned it -- could be expensive -- but everyone would have been familiar with it as a profane object as well as its sacred uses. I sort-of picture future religions arguing over who used lightbulbs first in religion, when we were all just USING THE MOST CULTURALLY COMMON FORM OF LIGHT. Tongue
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« Reply #34: October 06, 2008, 02:33:59 pm »

Also bears plenty of superficial similarities to a child's birthday party, with decorations, candles, sharing of ceremonial food in a circular formation, and offerings given to one being honored.

BIRTHDAYS ARE MAGIC!

Why, Yes they are!  Just ask my kids.
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« Reply #35: October 06, 2008, 03:20:36 pm »

It's all about Aristotelean/Neo-Platonic essences and accidents. The ACCIDENTS -- the matter that you can interact with -- remains bread and wine. The ESSENCE -- what the thing really is in imaginary "perfect forms" world, if you will -- becomes body and blood.

Well then, to EverFool's point, is that substantively different from a metaphor?
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« Reply #36: October 06, 2008, 03:41:28 pm »

those who assume their label is more correct need to take a more honest look at what they're doing.
That part I can agree with.

Can you provide supporting arguments for why your label is more accurate?

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« Reply #37: October 06, 2008, 04:48:27 pm »

Well then, to EverFool's point, is that substantively different from a metaphor?

If you're an Aristotelean or a Neo-Platonist (or a good Catholic/Orthodox Xtn/Lutheran/Episcopalian/High Church Methodist): Yes. But the ideas aren't real current in the modern world, and I'm sure that a) many people think of it as just a metaphor and b) many other people understand it as more than a metaphor, but not in the official way.

Officially, no, it's not a metaphor. (Them's some super low-church Protestant fightin' words there!) But the official understanding is pretty foreign to most modern folks.

OTOH, it doesn't really matter that much anymore. Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and Anglicans all agree they actually mean the same thing, sometimes with different words, and Methodists agree officially with Anglicans and therefore unofficially with the rest of the lot; Reformed churches (which are non-transubstantionationalists) aren't that wound up about Eucharistic theology these days; and fundamentalist churches have many other things to bitch about that are far more comprehensible (gay marriage! liberals! chicks in pants!) to the modern mind.
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« Reply #38: October 06, 2008, 04:58:59 pm »

...Which came first?

Did you practice magic before you found/developed your religious path? Or did you already have your religious leanings before you began to delve into magic?

In your own personal view of things, is the one in direct correlation with the other? Or do you view them as completely separate things? Why?

I view both as separate and distinct and my magic came before my religion. In many ways my views and beliefs for my religion are still evolving to this day. I see magic and Witchcraft as a practice and not a religious component. At the very best, your religious beliefs can dictate the how and why of your magic but one can survive without the other.
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« Reply #39: October 06, 2008, 05:04:36 pm »

Did you practice magic before you found/developed your religious path? Or did you already have your religious leanings before you began to delve into magic?

Personally, I found the religion and the magic at roughly the same time. However, I tried to be careful and do only small magics when I started. I think that they are intertwined with each other, but not the same thing. You can practice the religion without doing the magic, do both, or practice the magic without the religion (tho I don't recommend that). I think that people shouldn't practice the magic without at least a basic understanding of the religion, because otherwise you're messing around with forces you don't comprehend. I think that's where you see spells go awry. You wouldn't have to practice the religion, but if for example you are doing a spell involving the healing energies of Sekhmet, you need to know that she's also a goddess of destruction. Working a spell without that knowledge might go very badly. That doesn't mean you need to worship the Egyptian pantheon, just be aware of what you're invoking.
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« Reply #40: October 07, 2008, 04:57:10 am »

That part I can agree with.

Can you provide supporting arguments for why your label is more accurate?
Okay, time for some serious, good ol'fashioned backpedaling. 

I admit that, in my own view, magic and religion are intertwined.  I also acknowledge that this is my view, but not everyone's. 

I never intended to imply that my labels were better than anybody else's; but, in reviewing my posts in this thread, it seems I did just that.  I was attempting to point out that commonalities do exist, even if they're just superficial-- to me, labels are just that, and to me it's amusing to suggest that one's is superior to another's.
My attempts to convey that message.... completely buggered. 

In reviewing my posts, they come across as arrogant and offensive, and though I do confess to being a bit arrogant and a bit of a smartass, I still owe everybody here an apology.  Also, as I said before, opening with a pithy comment was not the way to start.

Also, I avoided mentioning Catholicism or Christianity directly because I didn't want it to look like I was 'singling out' any one sect.  Well, completely buggered that too.  Koimichra, if I offended you in any way, please accept my apology. 

Now, if you all will pardon me, I will attempt to crawl backwards, face down, out of this thread. 







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« Reply #41: October 07, 2008, 06:33:30 am »


Also, I avoided mentioning Catholicism or Christianity directly because I didn't want it to look like I was 'singling out' any one sect.  Well, completely buggered that too.  Koimichra, if I offended you in any way, please accept my apology. 

Now, if you all will pardon me, I will attempt to crawl backwards, face down, out of this thread. 

While I think a number of people here disagree with your interpretations, I don't think anyone particularly wants you to feel humiliated or embarassed.  For my part, as I said, in my experience when someone talks about religious ceremony really being magic, they usually refer to Chistianity.  It's not so much that you dropped major hints, as that certain topics tend to be associated with certain things.
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« Reply #42: October 07, 2008, 07:12:58 am »

Now, if you all will pardon me, I will attempt to crawl backwards, face down, out of this thread. 

Eh.  It happens; I think most of us have had similar communications problems (maybe not here specifically, but somewhere) like that at one point or another.  Sometimes things just come out wrong and you (generic you, here, not you personally) don't realize it until waaaaaaay too late.  Don't stress over it too much.  Wink
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« Reply #43: October 07, 2008, 08:46:09 am »

Now, if you all will pardon me, I will attempt to crawl backwards, face down, out of this thread. 

No real need to do that. People have been disagreeing with you, not demanding your head. This is a debate and discussion message board so discussions like this are fairly common. People disagree on positions and say why they do.
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Koimichra
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« Reply #44: October 07, 2008, 01:25:46 pm »


Don't worry, I shall survive and I'm not particularly offended. Smiley (I teach world religions to 18 year olds. You'll have to work harder to offend me.)

I do just very often find people accusing entire groups of people of not knowing their own symbolism/actions/whatever. Sometimes this IS true (or at least they're unaware of the HISTORY of their symbol), but it's a VERY large accusation to make and should be made carefully. I really am clear on what magic is and why I'm not doing it. Smiley
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