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Cult is a Four-Letter Word

From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Cult is a Four-Letter Word (was Religion-Not A Four...)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1999 13:18:40 -0800 (PST)

49991214 IVom

# Do What Thou Will Shall Be the Whole of the Law

The Word of Sin is Restriction 

# ...Thelema is a religion.  Those that view it as not being a 
# religion, your understanding or definition of religion in that 
# context to help me understand what you mean when you say that 
# Thelema is not a religion.  My first question is when you 
# define the term, or idea of religion in this context; are you 
# connotating the concept of the institutional ideas of a 
# collective group who holds similar ideas, beliefs, and methods 
# of cult?  

yes, such as the creed of the Gnostic Mass; the ideas of the
aeonic time system, reincarnation (as Crowley from Levi),
the concept of 'true will' and the trans-abysmal Adventure,
that the Evul Book is an important scripture, that Crowley
is the Prophet of the New Aeon, that organizations can be
'Thelemic' and that certain orders (note the obvious
religious reference in this last word) exemplify this; and
the methods of the Mass, the practice of the Lesser
Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, Resh, Will, the issuance
of Thelemic Greetings, the attempt to identify the true will
in the Adventure of the Knowledge and Conversation of the
Holy Guardian Angel, the attempt to manifest the Logos and
begin a novel cult of one's own, the construction of an
English "qabalah", and the attempt to 'rise in the planes' 
so as to enter the company of the Great White Brotherhood
(often post-mortem).

# Do you say no with the understanding that religion is an 
# issue of faith-something your believe not be a facet of 
# Thelema?  

I say that Thelema is not a religion because religion is
typically not about liberation (whatever it may claim) and
individualism, but about constraint and coherence, social
rite, data preservation, and the promotion of mechanisms
by which the slave gods conduct their charges.

# In the declaration, "The method of science, the aim of 
# religion," how do you interpret that in relation to the 
# summation that Thelema is not a religion?

the method of religion is contra-Thelema in that it
co-opts individualism for social integrity and values.
this is why this statement you quote above is so very
important to Thelemic standards, as are political ideas
like anarchism and the abolition ecclesiastical classes.
# As for those who apparently prefered to think of Thelema 
# as a philosophy more then a religion, I have trouble 
# seeing how it is not both.  

we can make anything we want. surely there are those who
apply the term 'Thelema' to both religion and philosophy,
but the former is only a shadow of the mystical application
of the latter.

# ...if it is more of either, that it is a somewhat 
# unbalanced understanding.  

why do you think this?

# ...the only difference between philosophy and theology is 
# that one pursues knowledge and wisdom for the purpose of 
# uniting with the source of the knowledge and wisdom, (be 
# it God, Jesus, Krishna, Dionysius, or who/whatever) while 
# the other pursues knowledge and wisdom for the sake of 
# love for knowledge and wisdom.  

theology is the study of gods. mysticism is the uniting of
the self and the divine (or the rediscovery of this unity). 
religion takes theology and turns it toward the purposes
of the Herd. mysticism takes theology and uses it to try
to explain the phenomena it makes available to the aspirant.
philosophy as you are using it here ('Thelemic philosophy')
is a body of tentative concepts which may or may not be
applied by the concerned that may or may not have anything
to do with gods. as practically applied, philosophy is the
wearing away of ignorant presumption through the active
questioning of deeply-held values, beliefs and standards
for the purpose of experiential liberation (cf. Crowley's
ideas of the +1 and -1 spiralling alchemical combination
in "The Book of Thoth" and elsewhere).
# Knowing that our understanding, or perception, of what 
# religion is may differ; it is very possible that our 
# understanding and perception of philosophy may also differ, 
# I am initiating a correspondence on this topic in the hope 
# that a groundwork of understanding might be layed. Once this 
# is accomplished, further discussion, hopefully on a socratic 
# level, might begin.

admirable, kin.

questions I have for you and those who feel as you do include:

why does the method of religion intrigue you? why do you feel
that this somehow coincides with the 'method of science, aim
of religion' motto and how does it do so? why are so many of
the 'Magi' Crowley described those who BROKE with traditional
religion in order to found a new Herd-Carrot? 

why not use the phrase 'spiritual path' to describe Thelema
rather than a staid and conventional edifice like 'religion'?
why is Thelema sometimes called a 'Law' and how does this
truly differ from a 'law'? why did Crowley say that all
interpretations of 'Do what thou wilt' are correct as long
as the reader be "illuminated"?

how does 'the word of Sin is Restriction' apply to all of this?

blessed beast!
I don't read everything here; cc me if you absolutely want a response.

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