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Tony Grist

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Test The Spirits [Feb. 4th, 2007|11:33 am]
Tony Grist
I think we need to be clear where ideas come from. 

Especially religious ideas.

If an idea can be demonstrated in some way- by logic, weight of evidence etc- it may not matter who's voicing it.

But if it's one of those ideas that comes out of a clear blue sky accompanied by angel voices- promising fulfilment, enlightenment, God's favour or whatever- I think we need to ask, "says who?"

And the follow up question- once we've ascertained the identity of the prophet- is, "what 's in it for him?"

Because the unfortunate fact is that religious prophets- of every stripe- tend to be lying, abusive, power-hungry SOBs.

I'm not saying they all are- just most of them. 

It may be true- as michaleen argues- that Carlos Castenada's spiritual system stands apart from the man who invented it. 

After all, that was my view of  Wicca.  Gerald Gardner was a mischievous old chap with a taste for  nudism and masochism who invented a religion to service his needs- but it escaped from him and became something bigger and better and more interesting than he'd envisaged. 

Knowing the history, I could make the ideas  my own. And play with them. Just as Gardner himself did.  

So, by all means develop a spirituality based upon a reading of Castaneda- but, unless you want to be flying blind,  be aware that the man was a liar, a con-man and a total shit.

Or- to use Biblical language- "test the spirits".

And really we should be doing that with the mainstream religions as well. Muhammed was a middle-eastern warlord who massacred populations and ran a harem. Jesus was- well- Jesus doesn't actually show up in the historical record and may be a fictional construct. 

Even the best of prophets is conditioned by time and place and culture.

Accept nothing on authority. Know where the teacher is coming from. Take back the power.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: michaleen
2007-02-05 12:52 am (UTC)
I too am a congenitally nosey bastard, possessed of the most 'satiable curiosity. In the end, I suspect it's left me more than a little cynical. After a lifetime of turning over rocks, I'm not too terribly surprised when something nasty comes slithering out. What's one more creepy bastard like Castaneda? If we weigh his sins by the number of souls led astray, he's a piker compared to L Ron Hubbard.
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