I struggle with being a recovering Evangelical Christian.
After an offhand comment that I overheard (it wasn’t even directed at me) about divination and “godlessness,” I started thinking about “soothsaying” or conversations with what I remember my pastor calling “divers spirits.” I remember learning about Deuteronomy 18, which prohibited the Levites from necromancy and divination, etc.: “There shall not be found among you . . . that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”
And then I re-read the whole chapter – and when I do this, I generally find that my pastor was confused.
Moses was telling a particular tribe a way to formulate nationalism. The Israelites had no identity yet and each tribe was struggling with the big, “Who are we as a people” thing. Telling the Levites not to practice Egyptian customs is kinda like telling an SEC football fan, “Don’t wear black and red this weekend; Georgia fans wear black and red and you don’t want to be misidentified as a Bulldog.”
Anyway, Christians are taught to live by the New Covenant. Under this new law, Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd,” who has “sheep in other pens who recognize my Voice.” So – you don’t have to be a card-carrying Christian sheep for Christ and all of his mighty-good ideas to be your guide.
Keep in mind that I use God to mean That-All-Encompassing-Order-Of-The-Universe-Which-Cannot-Be-Unheaded-And-Is-Initiator-Of-All. I use Jesus to mean both the historical figure as well as the archetypical “messiah” or intercessor. I will try to be clear when I mean the dude and when I mean the idea.
Now, about the whole prayer to “other” gods thing – In John 14, Christ says, “No man comes to the Father but by me.” I thought of a little something today that blew my mind. You know how a cop wears a badge and a uniform and then he has authority – but that authority doesn’t come from him, it comes from a larger system or organization for which he is merely a representative – but before he gets his badge and uniform (and gun) he has to undergo initiation and training? Bang! It hit me. We don’t work in the physical world; we work in the spiritual world. We wear “spirit” or “astral” badges and uniforms that represent higher powers which have ultimate authority. We do not *have* authority but we certainly *represent* authority. And we are going to the Father/God/Initiator/Creator/Whatever “through” an intercessor (maybe not Christ, per se, but an intercessor like him – the idea of Jesus) – if only we could work out some kind of an initiation and system of training . . .
But then, how do we reconcile our belief in that Father God (the “no other gods before me” guy) with our reverence to Greek Gods, Egyptian Gods, and Gnosis?
Two things. First, we *don’t* have gods before the Ultimate God. It’s kinda in the definition “ultimate” god. You know – the Creator or Initiator. The one who said, “Bang,” and then there was stuff. Maybe you don’t believe in one. I do. So maybe this point isn’t exciting to you.
Second, I think that in order to understand John 14, you have to understand John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word, the Logos. The Creator and Logos/Logic/Order (and by extension: chaos; sorry, I had to say it)/Truth/The Good/Whatever-you-wanna-call-the-primal-moving-force-of-the-universe was “made flesh.” Is that flesh just Jesus (the dude), or all of us? I, too, am created in the image of the Creator – right? Do I get to be “flesh” made from “the Word”? Does that mean that in the beginning I was also with God – crap – does that mean that I too AM God (part of God)? I vote “yes.” Don’t believe me? Paul told the Corinthians, “Now [after the New Covenant] ye are the body of Christ.” (I think he meant the archetypal idea.) Are you calling Paul a liar? If so, I’m telling.
OK – I was wrong. There are three points.
Third, we cannot get to “the Father” unless we go by way of the Logos (Jesus in the idea form). Ergo, we don’t have to be a Christian, we just have to use Logos. It means God will hear you, no matter what, if you wear your “spirit-badge” (having sorority flashbacks). It means that if you’re a sheep in another pen, i.e. or a believer of another religion, then you’ll still be getting to the Father through Logos when you hear his voice and respond to it: however that manifests to you.
Then, just consider the New Covenant as defined in 1 Corinthians 12: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. . . . Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. . . . For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
So ferreal, “All the Gods are one God.” The Bible tells me so.
And now, with the New Covenant, now that nationality has been identified, now that (idea Jesus manifested by dude-form Jesus) Christ saved all humankind by showing us how to tap into the primal source, we can be spiritual beings again. We live under a new law – not the Law of Moses. 1 Corinthians 12 continues: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given . . . . the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” So, right-on Paul, as long as we do good, we are working for the One Great Spirit. So all this tells me that God – the Ultimate One – gave me the gift of prophesy and of miracles/magic, and of talking to all those other invisible things He created.
Then there’s a long bit about all the body parts; it’s a the metaphor for The Church. We are instructed, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
My translation: Be excellent to each other.
So, yea. That’s what happens to The Bad Witch after two cups of coffee and an offhand comment about godlessness.