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Resulting Religion Is Shaped by both Literalist & Metaphorical Thinking

Contents

Continuous grappling between true & false religion. 1

Genuine and co-opted Christianity. 2

Sudden marginalization of Christianity. 4

False story of Christianity as monolithic. 4

Christianity always had esoteric & exoteric approaches. 5

Religion formed by mystic/literalist conjunction. 6

Filtering effect: mystics reject non-allusive, & officials reject explicit writings. 9

 

Continuous grappling between true & false religion

>The diversity and exchange has always been present, both before and after the official "establishment" of Christianity. In the West it was driven deep underground and suppressed, appearing from time to time in various reform and renewal movements which were either exterminated (the Albigensians) or canonized (the Franciscans). In the East it remained safely hidden beneath a thin verbal veil of creedal formularies, finding a haven in the deserts and monasteries, flourishing in the hesychast tradition, and bursting out into the streets in the teachings and antics of various Holy Fools, Crazy Women and Divine Madmen.

>Now, with the advent of the Internet, it's clear out of the closet.

A good model is that Christianity is the product of two ever-existing, ever-battling camps: the esoteric ("Gnostic") and exoteric ("Literalist") camps. Each camp puts forth its own worldview. According to the history told by exoteric/Literalist thinking, there are many isolated groups distinguished from the true, Literalist Church:

o The Gnostics

o The mystics

o The heretics another

o The radical reformation

o The Anabaptists

o The witches

o The Pentacostals

But according to the history told by esoteric/Gnostic thinking, it's always been the esoterics, rather than the exoterics, who have defined Christianity -- esoterics have been vastly more influential than exoterics officially admit.

So in practice, Christianity is the product of an ever-ongoing battle, a constant and continuous tug-of-war between the esoteric and exoteric parties. You can always see esotericism woven into exoteric Christianity. There are esoteric interpretations of every official Literalist dogma and doctrine. There are really only two paths: the path of light and the path of darkness -- esoteric and exoteric conceptions of religion, respectively.

There are really only two denominations of Christianity: esoteric Christianity and exoteric Christianity. This is the only division that matters. Both of the two significant denominations have always existed, vigorously and influentially. We should not say that the esoterics were suppressed and forced underground -- that's history according to exoterics. We *can* say that the *writings* of esoterics were destroyed and suppressed. Don't believe any history that's a product of exoteric Christian thinking.

In Western Europe, there was a wide alienation between the esoterics and the institutional official exoteric Roman/Protestant church. But in Eastern Europe, there was much less alienation between the esoteric "denomination" and the exoteric "denomination".

Dualism takes this idea of "there are really only two significant denominations", and takes it all the way to logical completion: there are two ways of thinking about everything, and thus two of everything. There are two kinds of salvation: the lower and higher kind. There are two kinds of moral systems, two kinds of Jesus, and two kinds of god -- the lower conception of God and the higher conception of God. Reject the lower, seek the higher.

A firm commitment to playing with complete polarities this way quickly reveals the solution to many puzzles about Gnostic thinking. I've even come to realize that in practice there is higher esotericism and lower (false) esotericism: Gnosticism which isn't actually Gnosticism. True Christianity and false Christianity. Exoterics don't understand how I can know all about Christianity without being a believer. I have to explain to these children that I am a believer in the true Jesus and the true Gospel and the true God, not the false Jesus and the false Gospel and the false God.

Genuine and co-opted Christianity

>That which is original in Christianity is not good - and that which is good in Christianity is not original.

>Acharya S shows when and how Christianity was crafted, and why it was designed to incorporate within itself all the myths and godman traditions of the ancient world. She documents the process whereby the original mysticism in Christianity's precursor religions was eliminated from the new system. Acharya S shows state Christianity to be engineered in such a way as to be functionally exoteric only, the outer mysteries without the inner.

The later, official, State Christianity (313 CE) was exoteric-only. Christianity after it was taken over by the ruling class or System of Caesar, a domination hierarchy, was bad. Christianity was originally good, and in its popular suppressed, resistance form remained good. True, original Christianity was an innovative and effective popular resistance movement that integrated mystic-state allegory with political allegory.

There are in fact two Christianities. The first Christianity was a popular effective legitimate resistance movement that took the common and unremarkable intense mystic state that was present in all the religions of the day, and expressed it in a resistance-politics version of mythic allegory.

>Christianity's forged scriptures and false credentials. ... Christianity was conspiratorially created in the first centuries of the Common Era,

Radical critic Edwin Johnson claims that the complex scriptures and Church Father writings we have were largely written in the 1500s -- the age of the printing press and Reformation wars.

>Christianity was purposely designed to enforce ideological conformity, political control, and economic exploitation of the masses.

That's half correct. Christianity was also designed to be a resistance movement against the domination hierarchy of the system of Caesar, a counter and challenge to Imperial Theology of "divine" Caesar. And Christianity continued to be largely shaped by the popular underclass, who continued to use true sacraments.

The development of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Mother of God appears to have been a resistance movement within Christianity that began after the ruling class had co-opted the Jesus figure who was central to the popular resistance movement that was original Christianity. But Mary in turn, at least the higher, Virgin Mary, has eventually been co-opted to some extent by Caesar's continuing Roman Empire.

The problem can't be called simply "Christianity". It is meaningless and nonsensical to simply characterize "Christianity" without qualifying which Christianity you have in mind: the Christianity of the popular underclass, or the Christianity of the ruling class and domination hierarchy.

Christianity is a tool. Some use it correctly for enlightenment and political resistance to oppression, as it was originally designed. Others try to co-opt that popular religion and use it against enlightenment, as a tool of oppression. It's inarticulate and meaningless to simply blame "Christianity", when the problem is instead, the ruling class' domination hierarchy. It is misguided to blame Christianity for the abuse of Christianity by the ruling class.

>After debunking the hagiographical legends of the martyrs, the author spares neither the Church Fathers (some of the most intolerant people in history) nor the post-Constantinian church

Note the all-important qualifier again, "post-Constantine".

We need a better understanding of original Christianity *not* just as an enlightenment-oriented mystery religion, but rather, as a mystery religion that was expressed using the mythic and realistic form of a socio-political resistance movement.

Original Christianity was much more than just another mystery religion -- it was also a deservedly popular system of socio-political resistance to oppression -- so popular, it was natural for the ruling class to try their best to co-opt it and change it from something mystical and socio-political into something merely supernatural, in an attempt to coerce the popular underclass back into supporting the domination hierarchy.

Original Christianity was about resisting early empire and revealing, esoterically and socio-politically, God's empire instead, with anti-oppresive morality such as is attributed to the Jesus figure, who was originally designed to counter the "divine" Caesar and his system of "honor" and "peace" which amounted to perpetual violent oppression for the benefit of the ruling 2% on top of the heap.

People who hate Christianity because it was used against people by the rulers don't have the first understanding of why Christianity was popular in the first place; they don't realize that they are praising the main idea behind original Christianity, which was a socio-political resistance movement against oppression, and not merely ethical or supernatural... or mystical, for that matter.

The more I understand the mystical dimension of Christianity, the more I understand the importance and distinctive force, within the context of the Roman Empire, of the socio-political dimension of Christianity.

In the end, we discard the supernatural, Literalist conception of Christianity, which is the version the ruling class tries to shackle the populace with, and re-conceive Christianity as a pair of pillars: mystical experiencing and socio-political resistance to empire, each expressing itself through the language of the other.

It's a deep mistake to conceive of Christianity as primarily mystical-esoteric, and a deep mistake to conceive of it as primarily socio-political resistance. (And it's a gross misconception to think of it as mundane ethics or supernaturalist Literalism.) Christianity is essentially, above all, a dyad: an integrated pair, of esoteric intense mystic experiencing, and socio-political resistance against domination hierarchy, boths domains expressed through each other.

>which, in tandem with the throne, tortured and oppressed the entire populace of the known world into conformity. Ancient religions

Not only esoteric Hellenistic religions, but original esoteric Christianity as well.

>and native cultures everywhere were obliterated under Christianity's missionary impulse, their books burned, the treasures of their learning and experience obliterated in the face of the imposition of monotheism by threat of present force and eternal punishment.

Michael wrote:

>>People who hate Christianity because it was used against people by the rulers don't have the first understanding of why Christianity was popular in the first place; they don't realize that they are praising the main idea behind original Christianity, which was a socio-political resistance movement against oppression, and not merely ethical or supernatural... or mystical, for that matter.

>It's as if the rulers attempted to make sure that along with Christianity being used for control, they would also try to ensure that as the empire falls, along with it would fall all of Christianity -- all or nothing; a double-edged sword.

Two women claimed a baby. Wise king Solomon ordered the baby killed by being cut in half. One woman said "Go ahead." The other said "Don't!" Solomon decided that the woman who said "Don't!" was the true mother.

The baby is religion.

The false mother is the aristocrat-priests who are part of the ruling class in a political domination system. If they can't control religion and use it as a tool of oppression, then they want religion destroyed.

The true mother is the popular and esoteric underclass. Even though they can't fully control religion and use it completely for enlightenment and socio-political emancipation, they want religion preserved, for the great enlightenment and emancipation potential it does have.

Sudden marginalization of Christianity

After September 11th, suddenly Usan ("American") Christendom has belatedly realized that the predictions from a hundred years ago have practically come true: suddenly, conservative Christianity is merely a marginal cult, and the majority of self-identified "Christians" are Biblical illiterates and hop not only between denominations for their occasional Church visit, but among different religions -- it's a fluid, post-modern kind of Christianity that takes an extreme cafeteria pick-and-choose approach. My preliminary research shows that official Christianity is seriously running scared. The trends started before Sep. 11, but that event has crystallized this awareness of the trends. During the past few months, Christianity is entering its greatest time of tribulation since the Reformation. I am saving money to buy some of the next wave of books on Christian trends. It should be interesting.

And one popular, all-too-typical Christian apologetics book, The Case for Christ, is up at sales position 343 at Amazon -- there are only 342 books that sell more copies than it, and the reviews mention Earl Doherty's detailed point-for-point rebuttal frequently. Meanwhile, I am seeing Freke & Gandy's books The Jesus Mysteries, and Jesus and the Lost Goddess at every regular bookstore, even an Episcopalian bookstore. On top of that, Huston Smith's book Cleansing the Doors of Perception is spotted in most Christianity sections of regular bookstores. It should be interesting.

Back to the books. Please keep the discussion group alive. I may be able to start work on a glossary of ego death while reading the books.

False story of Christianity as monolithic

>>... the semi-monolithical body of "Christian" doctrine began to crack in the pre-renaissance with the Work of Massilio Ficino, reintroducing Plato, Plotinus and the Hermetic Corpus into the main stream of European thought.

>>He was on a parallel with Columbus, discovering worlds inside, as much as Columbus was doing outside. The Hermetic Corpus, Platonism and Neo-Platonism had a growing influence from then on; in the 19th century as NT apocrypha start to be discovered and translated, increasingly the monolythic theological front begins to crack, starting in the 19th century with F. C. Bauer (ca 1853), and R.A. Lipsius ca 1860, continuing with Adolf von Harnack ca 1885, Richard Reitzenstein in the 1920's, then Arthur Darby Nock, ca 1930, and most remarkably Kurt Rudolf's Die Gnosis, originally from ca 1934, still before the big finds of Nag Hammadi and Qumran, and then Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion.

Die Gnosis was evidently originally published in 1977. From page IV of

Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism

Kurt Rudolph

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060670185

"First published in the German Democratic Republic 1977 as Die Gnosis "

>>So more or less "solid" only between Constantin and the Greek/Roman split, then continued to suffer internal splits, but from the Ficino and the Pre-renaissance on down the cultural good that it had suppressed so actively started re-entering the main stream, and after that discovering the documents was just the icing on the cake. The finds of Qumran and Nag Hammadi then speed up the process, although it took a while for them to sink in. ...

I have discarded the official Catholic Church history as propaganda fabricated in the Reformation era. It grandiosely portrays the Catholic Church as having a firm lock on Christian metaphor systems, allowing only the official metaphor system to thrive. Instead, the evidence indicates that Medieval/Renaissance religion was about as rich, diverse, and mystic-state experiential as Hellenistic Alexandrian radical syncretism around 200 CE.

The only big break I see in Christian history is not in the Constantine era, nor at the Greek/Roman split, but at the Reformation; so like the theorists of Tradition, I analyze Christian and Western Esoteric history in terms of pre-modern versus modern, marked off by the Reformation. Premodern religion -- before the Reformation -- all has the same general character, and modern religion -- after the Reformation -- all has the same general character.

We're used to thinking of Hellenistic Alexandrian religion as endlessly rich and colorful, followed by a monolithic dark age, followed by that same sort of endlessly rich and colorful esoteric syncretism in the late medieval/Renaissance era, followed by dour monochromatic monolithic nonexperiential religion in the modern era.

The official history of the Dark Ages (476-1000) is entirely up in the air; I basically treat the year 1000 as just another label for the year 477, so that the character of antiquity can be treated in the same breath as that of the Late Medieval/Renaissance era, with the only Dark Age of concern being, as far as esoteric religio-philosophy and initiation, the Modern era starting with the Reformation.

Maybe some form of religion or syncretic religio-philosophical mystic initiation existed during 477-1000, but I don't buy the official history of the period, a historical tall-tale fabricated during the Reformation. The history of the "powerful and ancient" Catholic Church is the history of a mouse, puffed up with literary vapor to the size of a lion. I was impressed by the amount of coverage Bart Ehrman gave to forgery in the book Lost Christianities.

Lost Christianities

Bart Ehrman

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195141830

Christianity always had esoteric & exoteric approaches

Christianity always had both esoteric (read "entheogenic") and exoteric (read "Literalist") approaches. It is wrong to assume that Christianity always had an exoteric approach, while the esoteric approach only occasionally or originally popped up as an isolated exceptional development. Exoteric Christianity developed over the years, and esoteric Christianity changed and developed over the years.

The two approaches were *always in competition* against each other in public, and as competitors do, took from each other opportunistically, and sought to gain dominance of the symbolic world of Christian myth.

Interesting acid-rock group name and album title: Blind Faith. In the helpless depths of ego-death, where reason is no help but only serves to create the problem that kills personal power, some people conclude that the only way to restabilize personal controllership is some kind of classically religious "blind faith".

It is interesting how the mentions of the Jesus Freaks of the late 60s-early 70s never mention psychedelics except in the safe context of "leaving my sinful/unhealthy life of drugs" -- which despite itself, like the authoritarian Church Fathers preserving Gnostic wisdom by refuting it in detail, confirms the pattern: "People used drugs, and then became religious". The pattern was distorted by demonization and prohibitionism, but the pattern is there.

We can assume it is certain that some albums in Christian bookstores were centrally influenced by entheogens: the only question is, to what degree? is there a semi-underground subculture of entheogenic Christian musicians mixed in with the placebo-eucharist evangelical exoteric Christians? It is certainly a viable formula: use entheogens, write truly inspired Christian rock, be financially supported by those who support Christian rock.

The half-informed view talks of periodic outbreaks of mystic truth in Christian history, with periodic persecutions by various Literalist authoritarians. The reality is more interesting: Christianity has always been an ongoing tension between the esoteric entheogenic mystics against the exoteric placebo-eucharist Literalists. I would no longer say that the entheogenic mystics are "underground" -- perhaps "semi-underground".

I would no longer say that there is a "periodic resurgence" of "underground" entheogenic mystic Christianity. The first point is to simply acknowledge two timeless approaches that have always existed -- bracketing the issue of how public or apparently unbroken these traditions are. There *is*, overall, a timeless tradition of entheogenic mystic esoteric experiential Christianity.

It's missing the main point if you say that Christianity was "originally" that way, or that there was a self-existing "outbreak" of such in the Middle Ages. Esoteric Christianity has always existed, and Exoteric Christianity has always existed, and there has always been tension between them, and there has always been two-way contributions between the two approaches.

I will take a 3-tier approach to putting forth a theory of religions. My first focus is Christianity; my second focus is the mystery religions and Judaism, and my third focus is on all other religions -- because:

o It makes sense, given what everyone cares about in the social and political realm, to emphasize Christianity

o It makes sense, to understand Christianity in its original context

o It makes sense, to theorize about all religions.

In some ways, this 3-tier approach is too hard for me; in some ways, it's turned out to be much easier than I dared anticipate.

Religion formed by mystic/literalist conjunction

Religious doctrine is formed by an ongoing process of compromised and conjunction between mystics and literalists.

Think they can dismiss entheogens by equating them with Eastern religion or with heretical doctrines or with monism (immanent-only God) or because they are an innovation, or because they are an innovation in Christianity, or because they provide an inferior mystic experience. That's all nonsense. There is diversity within Christianity, within orthodoxy, within Christian mysticism, within world mysticism, and within entheogen mysticism, and within entheogen Christianity.

Orthodoxy depends on caricature and oversimplification: drawing simple rigid pictures of mysticism, of entheogen experience/interpretation, of Christianity, of Judaism, of Buddhism, -- everyone but the careful and balanced scholars is guilty of gross oversimplification and cartoonish caricature of all these religions.

Any would-be narrow tradition or school depends on falsely rigidly portraying the others -- to keep separate and fight off universalism. Depends on denying universalism -- but mysticism of course tends toward universalism; any mysticism that isn't universalist is just *pretending* to not be universalist. Exclusivist schools are driven not by the quest for metaphysical truth, but by power and socio-political forces.

The orthodox schools project their own exclusivism onto the mystics, criticizing the mystics for being exclusive -- but there is good and bad exclusivism. The mystics have the good and true kind of exclusivism. The orthodox have stolen the good kind of exclusivism from the mystics and turned it into the bad, low, false, superstitious or manipulative type of exclusivism.

The mystic says only by correct mystic knowledge are you saved. The orthodox says only by our exoteric religion are you saved. Both camps insist there are conditions and hierarchy, the lost and saved -- but they put forward different systems of what those conditions and key divisions are.

On the surface, the literalists and the mystics agree that those in our religion are blessed, righteous, and saved, and those in the other religions are cursed, unrighteous, and damned. The elite go to heaven and the unwashed to hell, and so on in other good/bad insider/outsider notions. However, the mystics conceive of these terms in a fundamentally different way. Mystics have a *spiritual* or mystic way of thinking about elitism and exclusivism and what it means to be above the ignorant.

Every doctrinal term has two meanings: the literalist meaning-network and the mystic meaning-network, even in the most harsh and extreme doctrines of sin, purgatory, flames, repentance, hell, salvation, demons, possession, incarnation, original sin, sacrifice of the firstborn, and so on. Isolated doctrinal words are nothing, meaning-networks are everything, and the mystics, who master and transcend conceptual languages, understand this.

Mystics successfully, systematically make sense of literalist notions, and conversely, literalists systematically distort mystic allegory elements. Who is doing the origination and who is doing the distorting or reinterpreting? There is interpretation and counter-interpretation, and practically, the innovation and transformational mapping is a circular process.

A common notion is that the mystics discover an allegorical reinterpretation of orthodox ideas. That's incorrect, or half correct at best. The orthodox ideas themselves are a transformational interpretation of the ideas the mystics came up with. Are the mystics to blame for the crimes of the literalists, because the mystics came up with allegorical ideas that could be dangerously misinterpreted and distorted into a literalist sense? No, more likely, the blame can't be nailed down so simply.

In a systems process, mystics labored under hostile literalist regimes since the beginning of history, so they can't be blamed -- the mystics who spoke truth frankly or framed allegory that couldn't be abused by the literalists were forgotten and abandoned.

The literalists only permitted to remain in open circulation those mystic allegorical ideas that were also useful to the literalist power-mongers. The mystics came up with many ideas -- the literalists are to blame for only selecting for preservation those mystic ideas which were of socio-political use.

Is mysticism orthodox? Yes and no. Mystics are very good at allegorically interpreting orthodox notions because the orthodox notions themselves were formed in compromise with mystics; it's a two-way influence. Mystics create religious/mystic/mythic notions, orthodoxy tries to co-opt and appropriate those ideas... at the same time we say that "mystics try to stay close to orthodoxy" we must especially remind ourselves that orthodoxy tries to stay close to the mystics.

Even more generally, the religion is formed by the interest that *three* parties have in staying in orbit together: the orthodox, the mystics, and the popular folk all have compelling reasons to stay close together. If the orthodox went their own way, they'd lose influence among the mystics and populace, and would be cast aside and rendered powerless, in a virtual excommunication of the official religion by the de facto mystic and popular religion.

If the mystics went their own way, they'd be excommunicated, losing influence and relevance. Mystic schools that deviate are forgotten and lose influence. If the populace went their own way, ignoring the official religion and ignoring the elite scribal mystics, they'd be left with inchoate folk superstition, not a developed religion.

It's a Darwinian selection process or a systems feedback development pattern. The tree trunk supports deviant branches that veer off, but the main trunk is whatever is formed by the *confluence* and compromised concord among the sophisticated mystics, the literalist officials who are motivated by political power, and the folk populace.

Religion, under the heel or constraint of socio-political forces, is whatever results from the creative tug-of-war and continually developing compromise between the orthodox and the mystics.

Standard fallacies that serve to suppress the threat of entheogen mysticism in favor of official religion:

All mystics are unorthodox.

All entheogen religion is Eastern.

All entheogen religion is monistic, denying a transcendent God.

All respected mystics are against entheogens.

Entheogens are an innovation. false

The respected mystics didn't use entheogens.

Entheogens are a later, degenerate stage of shamanism.

Entheogens are a later, degenerate stage of Hellenistic religion.

What demolishes these fallacies all in one blow? Finding the entheogen roots of Christianity in the "mixed wine". If the wine is entheogenic, this demolishes all the fallacies in one blow. Battle of universalist entheogen mysticism against all the exclusivist orthodoxies.

What has been the actual role and influence of entheogens in world mysticism? To the same extent as mysticism was shunned by orthodoxy ("official religion"), so was entheogen mysticism shunned and suppressed by "official mysticism". Yet entheogens are the two-degrees suppressed fountainhead of the religions. Official religion is distorted and abused mysticism, and similarly, official mysticism is distorted and abused entheogenism.

Consider the notions of purgatory or original sin. Were these created by mystics and taken over by the orthodox, being first allegorical and then literal? Or were they created by the orthodox and then taken over by the mystics, being first literal and then allegorical? Such a splitting of scenarios fails to understand systems theory.

Between the mystics and the orthodox, a great variety of ideas were considered and created and pieced together from many sources, and through a selection and grappling process, any idea that was of interest both to the mystics for its allegorical value, and to the officials for its literalist value, took hold and was accepted into the canon, which we should think of not as the "official canon" so much as the canon which is mystic as well as official.

The same canon of notions serves two separate readings, two separate parties: the mystics and the official literalists. In general, any notion in a religious canon has two meanings and is found acceptable by both parties: the mystic allegorical meaning and the official literalist meaning.

Across religions or canons, the mystics typically want to assert the equivalence between the allegorical meaning running across all the canons, while the typical officials in the religion want to assert the non-equivalence in order to keep the exoteric religions artificially separate and exclusivist. In practice, mystics sometimes claim that their religion stands alone, but they are typically coerced into endorsing this type of exclusivist view.

More characteristically, mystics assert that true exclusivism is between the literalist exoteric official version of their religious tradition, and the allegorical esoteric unofficial version. Official religion suppresses mysticism within its tradition and within other religions, and emphasizes exclusion of the other religions -- which are also framed in a literalist light.

That's the official type of exclusivism. Mystics too are exclusivists, but assert a different type of exclusivism: that between the mystics of all traditions and the literalists of all traditions.

My rewrite of something found on the Net:

>Antiquity was a world full of gods where the distinction between god and man was not as we see it. Alexander the Great was worshipped as God in his lifetime.

>There has always been a mystical center within Christianity, but the official religion has continued to deny its existence to the outer orders, at least until the Reformation when true literalists took over -- and the Catholic counter-reformation perhaps did the same to the Roman church. The Orthodoxies retain a frightening mystical nationalism. It is surprising how much pagan symbolism is on open display in the Vatican. We are used to regarding these popes as hypocrites, but perhaps they considered themselves guardians of controversial or politically dangerous knowledge.

There was a complex relation between the mystics and literalists. Many within the official Church, at all levels, were esotericists. The real battle has been between two camps or approaches, and the battle split people both within and outside of the official organized Church. Literalists within the official Church would deny that many others in the official Church are esotericists.

Complicating this, there are varieties of literalism and varieties of esotericism, even within one religion or "religious tradition". The key boundary to emphasize is that between literalists and mystics (exoteric vs. esoteric religionists). For example, there is somewhat of a dispute within the esoteric camp regarding entheogens. Just as we can study the dynamics between mystics and literalists, we can frame equivalent contrasts between entheogenic mystics and non-entheogenic mystics.

However, the main division that's most productive is grouping the elements like Pagels' book _Gnostic Paul_ on Pauline Valentinian Gnostics, with literalism and the second sacrament (sacrament of apolytrosis) placed into opposing camps. As a first-order approximation and generalization, mystics are pro-entheogen and literalists are anti-entheogen.

Mystics have a good use for entheogens, but literalists don't -- even if there are a few mystics who reject entheogens and a few literalists who accept entheogens. So on the grand scheme, entheogens are certainly associated with mysticism but not with literalism. Entheogen mysticism is the quintessential type of mysticism, even though much mysticism isn't entheogenic.

It's hard to determine just how much mysticism is actually entheogenic, for the same reasons that it's hard to know what most mystics really believed about the literalist doctrines of the official version of the religion.

Filtering effect: mystics reject non-allusive, & officials reject explicit writings

>>The entheogenic origins of religion theory holds that reading religious texts literally, denies the hidden meaning within a teaching. To find the proof of the entheogenic plant theory of the origin of religion, one must learn to read and recognize hidden meanings or allusions in the texts and in the mythology, and have the corresponding, experiential recognition of the themes and allusions from first-hand knowledge of the entheogenic nonordinary state of consciousness.

>>Secret teachings among secretive followers of entheogenic religion are due to reasons, social and otherwise, for the obscuring of widespread religious use of entheogens. Hidden and secret powers and knowledege obtained from entheogenic experience are used with secret means when communicating these things and forming religious sects.

>>In high Buddhism, there is the idea of the "Himyo-hoben," "Secret and Skillful Means of the Buddha" -- the answer to this secret exists within Entheogenic experience. One must go into another dimension of reality and retrieve a key and bring it back into the consensus reality. Buddhism explains the sequence of propagation, based on the receptivity of people in each age.

I don't know why there are seemingly few explicit writings about visionary plants in historical religious writings. This is not a problem that hinders the entheogen theory of religion, but it is odd, a puzzle -- with some plausible solutions like the filtering forces that censored explicit drug references in late 1960s Rock lyrics. Maybe much was written down -- and then destroyed by others.

Mystics leave out and thus effectively destroy texts that have no double-entendres alluding to plant mysticism; while officials leave out and thus effectively destroy texts that have explicit references to plant mysticism.

There are 3 types of writing:

Explicit references to plant mysticism. Destroyed by officials.

No references to plant mysticism. Abandoned and disparaged by mystics.

Double-entendres alluding to plant mysticism. Acceptable to, and preserved by, mystics and officials.

Thus there is a filtering effect leaving us with the type of scriptures we have: scriptures that are generally more or less dense with double-entendres and metaphors that allude to plant mysticism.

Gershom Scholem completely waffles but tends to write that the mystics take an existing text, *which does not have mystic intention of double-entendre*, and strive to artificially find and project a mystic double-entendre into it. Inconsistently, he sometimes writes that we can't know whether the texts actually contain deliberate mystic intended double-entendre.

Scholem is wrong: religious texts as a rule are characterized by a deliberate inherent high density of mystic-state double-entendres. If they didn't have much potential for such reading, mystics would shun them and kill those writings -- profane writings, by definition -- through disrespect and inattention. At least, they'd relatively ignore such mystically inert writings.

 


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