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MKampe: Religion -- validity/viability of religions

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage
From: dt king 
Subject: Re: MKampe: Religion -- validity/viability of religions
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 23:12:46 -0500

I could use a 15 minute break and this note looks like a good

nagasiva wrote:
> [from alt.magick: markk@West.Sun.COM (Mark Kampe)]
> I assert that a fundamental article of one's personal belief
> system is how one regards "revelation", and "revealed truth".
>         Is it "absolute" or "relative"?
>         Is it "global" or "personal"?
>         Is it "eternal" or "transitory"?

I grew up in Utah and converted to Mormonism for a few years.
I think they're the only major Christian religion, except
for maybe Catholics, that believe in modern, ongoing prophecy.

My Christian background has an undeniable influence on my
perception of tarot, so I'd of course be likely to adopt
the Mormon structure of revelation.

As I understand the rules, they are:

1. Revelation is relative.  Because you are responsible for
   revelation you have been given, you aren't given more than
   than you are capable of living up to.  When Moses came down
   from the mountain the first time, and found folks worshiping
   that cow, he realized he had to discard the greater portion
   of the law and get the lite version of the ten commandments.

2. Revelation is not global or personal.  You are given revelation
   according to the scope of your authority.  You might receive
   personal revelation, but the head of a family may receive
   instruction for his family, or a bishop might receive revelation
   for his ward.  Ultimately the highest revelation is reserved for
   the president of the church, often called the Prophet.  Of
   course higher revelation supercedes all lower revelation.

3. Revelation is eternal.  What is considered wrong today will
   always be considered wrong.  What is just today will always
   be just.

Now, I'm not entirely sure how rules 1 and 3 are always reconciled.
I remember when blacks were allowed the priesthood.  One week it
was forbidden, the next it was ok -- just some revelation inbetween.

I figure its a case of conditions -- it's bad to eat green potatoes,
ok to eat ripe ones.  You can't determine if eating potatoes is
good or bad without considering the condition of the potatoes.

Mormons believe that only one church, holding the authority
for the highest prophecy can claim to be The True Church.
The only rival for this claim is the Pope, who is said to 
have received authority through a direct line since the
founding of the original Christian church.  

The only justification, then, for Mormonism is the notion
that the Papal chain of authority was broken in the early
days of the church.  It was restored by extraordinary
means to their founder, Joseph Smith, who passed it down
to the heirarchy of the church.


> If one believes that revelations are absolute, global,
> and eternal, then one is left with the problem of how to
> reconcile the conflicting revelations that underly the
> world's many religions and sects.  Many people blindly
> accept that their's is "right".  Many people come to the
> conclusion that "this one will do".  Some people are
> driven to apostacy.
> If one believes that revelations are relative and/or
> transitory, then one is left with the problem of how
> to establish the scope of any particular revelation.
> This is probably time well spent, but it seems unlikely
> that it would lead to any particular religion.
> If one believes that revelations are personal, then
> (s)he recognizes that no revelation is binding on any
> other person (or necessarily at any other time) save
> by concensus.  The danger here is that they will be
> left in an abyss of "anything goes".
> From such a relativist place, it is difficult to see
> why a personally discovered (or rediscovered) religion
> should be intrinsically better than "the religion of
> your fathers".  All other things being equal (and of
> course they never are) a better established religion
> will probably be much better adapted to our daily needs,
> and will be supported by much stronger infrastructure
> than a nouvelle religion.  Why would anyone abandon a
> well established arbitrary religion for a poorly established
> arbitrary religion?
> The primary motivation I can see for this is the power
> relationship.  In most cases, a well established religion
> is accompanied by an orthodox hierarchy, which is granted
> (or at least assumes) some authority over the lives of the
> faithful.  In a religion that I just made up, there is no
> one to whom I am subordinate.
> This is a strange bind ... for if one is to derive perspective,
> wisdom and guidance from someone, that advisor must be in
> some position of authority (to give legitimacy to their words).
> Moreover, we are more apt to harken to teachings and advice if
> we believe they come from "on high".  Thus, to some extent, some
> power relationship must exist if a religion is to be of value
> to its congregation.
> The potential for evil arrises when the dogma from the orthodoxy
> is at odds with our internal senses.  If an orthodox dictum
> does not resonnate with us, there are a few possible reasons:
>         the dictum is inappropriate, inadequate, or flawed
>         we have not yet developed the sense to which the
>         dictum speaks
> We may not always be in a position to distinguish which of these
> is the case ... but I think a policy of "when in doubt, obey
> that man over there rather than your own conscience" is a dangerous
> one ... and one that has probably played a significant role in many
> of the saddest chapters in human history.
> Thus, it seems to me that the "assumption of undue authority" by
> orthodox religions may be, for many people, an obstacle to the
> acceptance of that religion.  Moreover, the "granting of undue
> authority" to a heirophant (or any other small group) is an extremely
> dangerous practice.
> How then, are we to gain the benefits of "true faith" while avoiding
> the pitfalls?  How can a religion provide guidance to those who lack
> it, while abjuring to assert supremacy in matters of conscience?
> --
> Ensure my response - CC public replies to email
> (emailed replies may be posted)  check:

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