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Magic, Religion and Belief

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan,alt.pagan.magick
From: nocTifer 
Subject: Magic, Religion and Belief
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 02:34:05 GMT

50040727 viii om

#> What do you think these Enochian scryers are actually seeing when they say
#> they see angels?

"Gianna Stefani" :
# I cannot know that beacuse I did not see what they saw, and have no
# particular view on what it might have been, or if in fact they saw anything
# at all - perhaps they saw patterns in a crystal which they interpreted as
# being angels, or as a 'message' sent by an angel.  (I wrote that in the past
# tense because it was easier of me.)

what are you interacting with, as a pagan? how do these differ from the
religious entities others interact with?

# However, to answer indirectly is not so difficult.
# It appears that in general, people only see things in which they believe, or
# that they 'want' to see (which does not imply fabrication).  Some unrelated
# examples of what I mean here ...

does this undermine pagan religion too, to use explanations like this?

# When someone experiences a 'vision' of the virgin Mary they tend to be
# christian and almost certainly of the catholic variety.  Muslims tend not to
# see Jesus.  Persons exhibiting stigmata generally (if not always) display
# marks in the positions erroneously depicted in paintings and statues, and
# not in the correct places.

there's even still debate about 'correct places', amusingly enough.

# My point however is that having never been a christian (or jewish or muslim)
# I have never believed in the various aspects of that religious strand.

ditto from where I stand.

# Therefore I would contend that in my opinion, angels do not exist.  

the logic doesn't necessarily follow. you might think that angels are just
some misunderstood spirits willing to be stand-in authorities for those
who want a Top-Down hierarchy.

# I further think that my attempting to take up a magickal art which 'involves'
# these non-existent angels would on the one hand be slightly pointless, 

that would depend entirely on what you thought the art was for.

# and on the other hand be ineffective in any event.

why do you believe that? especially if belief is all that is determining the
results, why wouldn't you be able to believe anything and do anything and
want to attain a particular result and therefore achieve it regardless of
what you used to try it?

# I am aware that traditional christian teaching states that the deities in
# which I might believe are equally unreal and are 'false gods' so I would not
# imagine a christian wanting or being able to take part in forms of
# divination or magick which I may think are perfectly 'normal'.

Christians vary, some are not institutionally-allied.

# As I have said, I make no case for or against the practice as undertaken by
# others, nor do I claim to follow the only 'real' religion - I follow that
# which I believe to be true (as I presume does everyone else) ... I merely
# said it would not be practicable for myself, given my beliefs (or the lack
# thereof), to indulge myself therein.  It would be a bit like walking a dog
# which I did not have.

if magic is the activity of doing things with unseen agents and it doesn't
matter if the agents are real, then it might not be important whether you
believed in the reality of that with which you were interacting. this was
in part why I mentioned the value of Discordians and their fabrications of
gods out of cartoon characters, famous individuals, or their own minds.

what are the minimal requirements for engaging magical pursuits? belief is
in some way necessary? as you lay it out, this does make some sense (since
as you have it belief is what makes the results), but if the function and
form do not necessarily cohere to what is believed, then something else
may be a determining factor (such as the combination of worshipper or 
mage and the objects of worship/involved with the magic).

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