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Heresy, Religion, and Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.satanism
From: (John B)
Subject: Re: Heresy, Religion, and Thelema
Date: 23 Feb 2003 06:36:08 -0800 (SOD of the CoE) wrote in message news:...
> 50030222 VII Hail Satan!
> (Paul 'My Knight of Salad Forks' Hume):

> >> Thelema however is considered heretical to the 
> >> Christian faith!
> by some it seems.
> > I disagree. Heresy is the rejection of orthodoxy within a given
> > religion. One might argue that a religion which arises from a
> > predecessor is heretical
> this seems to be what Sir IF is doing.
> > least I have seen Christianity dismissed as a Jewish heresy, 
> > and Islam dismissed as a Christian one. And of course the 
> > Catholic church viewed all the Protestant founders as 
> > heresiarchs (and/or schismatics in some cases). 
> agreed. why Islam might be considered a Jewish heresy is not
> something I yet understand.

It has to do with the earliest history of Islam, I think, which rested
heavily on Jewish orthopraxy, and identified closely with the Hebrew
revelatory tradition. Calling it a heresy is pushing the relationship
a little too far, but if you believe that there is only one true
faith, than naming something a heresy is admitting a slightly closer
relationship than simply calling it non-religion, superstition or

> > I don't offhand recall ever seeing Buddhism dismissed as a 
> > Hindu heresy, but I am sure someone has called up the 
> > argument at some point.
> the best I've seen on this one is that Buddhism is a kind of
> Vaisnavism or samana cult gone wild (compare those who say
> that Christianity is a Jewish or Gnostic cult gone wild).
> > I don't think I've ever seen these claims in a context 
> > that wasn't attempting to minimize the belief which was 
> > identified as a heresy.
> that's the point I was attempting to get to elsewhere. what
> establishes heresy? is it just a term of condemnation which
> may be used to dismiss and displace? or is there something
> of value in it that may be helpful to those looking at the
> relations amongst religious traditions?

The term is most helpful, I think, in giving some clues about the
hierarchy of truth-claims in a particular society and studying systems
of institutional authority. As a reflection of a powerful orthodoxy,
heresy can function to demonstrate the faultlines within that
institution's grasp on social power. Put in context, how the orthodox
deal with heresy, how those accused of heresy react to this status or
how it affects their lives can be an interesting study in the social
construction of certain truths.

It's difficult to say anything useful about the term outside of
specific contexts, but here's an interesting Christian definition from
Robert Grosseteste in the thirteenth century:

 "a heresy is an opinion chosen by human perception contrary to holy
Scripture, publicly avowed and obstinately defended"

'Publicly avowed' and 'obstinatedly defended' are the keys to
Grosseteste's notion of heresy as distinguished from simple error.


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