Archive for religion

One Faith To Rule Them All

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, Pagan, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2020 by Drogo

Pagan & Christian Empire History

An essay on the radical problems of ‘one faith’ conservatism from Pagan Roman Empire to Christian Roman Catholic legacy which forms modern Capitalist Empire. 

 

When the world was mostly Pagan, conservative (fundamentalist) radicals persecuted minor cults like Christians; then when Christianity became dominant they treated all other religions the way that Romans treated rebel cults (Barbarian mercenaries had become Christianized, but still sacked Rome and killed in the name of the Roman Catholic Church), due to force dominance ‘might is right’ theory so prevalent in Patriarchy. Oligarchical conservatives in any culture feed hatred of ‘the other’ with ‘we are the best’ nationalism or dogma. It is therefore up to the main-stream led by radical liberals to deconstruct the ‘change is bad’ narrative perpetually as progress is made between cultures due to marriages, migration, trade, and tourism. The most popular changes tend to become the new cultural norms, social conventions, and eventually laws (this is why liberals tend to like democracy, and conservatives prefer oligarchy).

Little is known historically for sure about Jesus and Peter. Saint Peter is said to have helped to found the early basilica congregations in Rome, but fires destroyed most evidence and records. Unlike most religions in the Roman Empire, Christianity required its adherents to renounce all other gods, a practice adopted from Judaism. This radical ‘my god is the only one for everyone’ syndrome that unifies for hierarchical monopoly is baked into Judaism and Christianity doctrine, and is dominant rather than more peaceful Pagan unity which would be ‘some of our gods are so similar, we might share the same universe with different names for different aspects’. Christian refusal to join pagan celebrations meant they were unable to participate in much of public life, which caused non-Christians–including government authorities–to fear that the Christians were angering the gods and thereby threatening the peace and prosperity of the Empire. In addition, the peculiar intimacy of Christian society and its secrecy about its religious practices spawned rumors that Christians were guilty of incest and cannibalism; the resulting persecutions, although usually local and sporadic, were a defining feature of Christian self-understanding. Most of the fanatical dogmatic oligarchy of formal Christianity did not come from Jesus or Peter, but Saint Paul who was not even an original disciple apostle, but a Roman Jewish ‘ICE Agent’ who arrested and persecuted Jewish-Christians, who ‘saw the light’ and now wanted to tell everyone how to be a Christian, and for his radical sedition became a state criminal and spent years under arrest for civil disobedience, mainly trying to Romanize Christians to increase conversions by minimizing Jewish rituals like circumcision. Later Roman Christianity became more based on Paul than on the more communal aspects of Jesus and his original disciples, which were lost in translation to the main-stream audience who conformed to the conventions of empire more than helping the poor.

A series of more centrally organized persecutions of Christians emerged after the ‘Great Fire’ of 64 which Nero blamed on Christians, and continued into the late 3rd century, when emperors decreed that the Empire’s military, political, and economic crises were caused by gods angry at the evil Christians who denied the official state religious power (they chose to ‘take a knee’). All residents were ordered to give sacrifices or be punished. Jews were exempted as long as they paid the Jewish Tax. Estimates of the number of Christians who were executed ranges from a few hundred to 50,000. Many fled or renounced their beliefs. Disagreements over what role, if any, these apostates should have in the Church led to the Donatist and Novatianist schisms.

Christianity spread throughout the early Roman Empire, despite persecutions due to conflicts with the pagan state religion. Emperor Constantine legalized the practice of Christianity in 313 (Edict of Milan), and it became the state religion in 380. Many Germanic barbarians (400-500 AD) had previously adopted Arian Christianity as Roman Mercenaries, eventually adopted Catholicism to ally themselves with the papacy and monasteries. By the time of Constantine, the state of apocalyptic expectation must have worn rather thin (every year after Christ was to be Armageddon). The imminent coming of Christ, expectation of the Last Day on this mortal sinful earth constituted radical social danger. The spirit schism of the old Jewish law being so widely separated from new Christian mysticism (including all the gnostic cults), “was not so very different from the Roman spirit itself” (Weil), with all the Roman sects and cults within the Pagan pantheon and the Republic vs Empire schism. Rome could come to terms with the Jewish-Christian God, perhaps because it fit with the uncompromising empire model which was needed to maintain taxation obedience, if not martial law.

 One faith or state monopoly is too powerful for one entity to wield over all humanity, no matter how benevolent or wise they are. The artificial ‘ring’ of central authority must be broken, to allow for more democracy and at least better representation. The rebel fellowship that fights the power will be flawed, and when they take power in the vacuum of revolution, they must admit responsibility for the flaws and put themselves on trial by seeking council from those who want peace, love, and sharing the most.

Cultural Middle-Ground

Posted in Atheist/Agnostic, Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Languages, Pagan, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2020 by Drogo

Most of us can be called poly-cultural in some major aspects in our lives. It is common to be part of a culture to some degree, while being part of other cultures or sub-cultures (religions, sects, social movements, political parties, ethnicities, etc). Like in Middle-Earth, there are many cultures that merge and create new cultures; talking about middle ground or coming to terms with other cultures, religions, ethnicities, or sub-cultures.

What religions, nations, or ethnicities am i 100% a part of? American? Depends on the definition and what the percentage means. I could say i am 100% American in that i am a natural born citizen of the USA and it includes so many other cultures; but North American USA DC christian style to be specific. Yet when i break that down it is not well defined beyond geography. Although part christian, i would be called a heretic by other christians to question dogmas like “jesus was perfect” (which is a classical question within christianity). American english with major influences and deviations into other languages and idiosyncrasies which are “wrong” by any institutional standard (besides SCOD).

Methodist – florida, iowa, harpers ferry

Catholic – st johns, franciscan, student

Agnostic – means i ask questions and hold positions which are heresy

Atheist – i think it is possible and probably to some degree there are no gods

Pagan – i worship Nature, FLW, organic, trees, death, neo-pagan

I like to find common points of agreement with Christians and people from other cultures. I talk on the phone or in person with as many religious people as i can, to work on moral theology. Brother Father Jay Hess was right in that mystery is ok in belief, we do not always need to have strict definitions for everything. In fact it may be impossible to agree on not only all religious concepts; but even linguistic semantics, as languages evolve and living languages flow organically and never totally conform to rules during the period. What is popular in speech or writing may deviate from grammatical dogma and the lectures of scholars. There will even be those who like to argue more than get along, rather to resolve any problems.

“There has been constant debate over the classification of ethnic groups. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared ancestry, history, homeland, language or dialect and cultural heritage; where the term “culture” specifically includes aspects such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing (clothing) style, and other factors. By the nature of the concept, ethnic groups tend to be divided into subgroups, which may themselves be or not be identified as independent ethnic groups depending on the source consulted.”

Middle ground or meeting someone part-ways (half-ways is ideal), negotiating for cooperation in community vs exiling and isolating by exclusion and neglect. This is how to avoid holy wars, and strive for peace. We can make peace with our enemies, assuming we are capable of it with our friends and families to some extent. Peace, love, and sharing are 3 great ways to practice faith in humanity, no matter our religion; and this is another ethical concept I am happy to say many people I talk to can agree on no matter their belief system. The most basic moral code being the ‘Golden Rule’, which is preferred over ‘An Eye For An Eye’; although treating others well being dependent on self-esteem and attitude (how we want to be treated) is another debate for an essay on ‘the limits of love’ probably.   [Audio Draft]

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The Problem with Taking Religion Seriously

Posted in Ethics & Morals, Religions, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2019 by Drogo

Christianity forced itself on me when i was a boy, and it constantly tries to get me to submit and sacrifice to the authority of its Churches, so I feel that I always have a right to speak out about it. 

Christianity cannot help itself, it is designed to convert others. When I am critical of Christianity I do it not as a native repelling an alien invader, but as a Christian who wants to try to be something more than what tradition and convention dictated. I am constantly reminded of inescapable antiquated social limits that I will always be contained inside by living in current US culture. We can all agree on some basic ethics and habits (like washing and sleeping and cleaning), but needing one book or a god to tell us is a bit juvenile.

Being able to resist and deconstruct Christian authority is important because it is insipid. Christianity by design gets into all aspects of culture, from churches to schools and governments. Based on the rebel family unit, the slave religion was devastating to the Roman Empire because people were peacefully protesting authority by resisting as sacrifices unwilling to function for the Empire. Rome of course solved this by adopting the slave religion as the state religion, and therefore to resist authority became Christian heresy. The Bible has several passages not only of arrogant egocentric God-level pride, but also dictates about spreading the word to the heathens, so it is constantly on a mission of conversion. If one chooses not to be a Christian in society for the past several hundred years, they must constantly be on guard and resist by every means possible, which means not only ignoring conventions, but also at times mocking the insanity of dogma. Although the Bible says that God is too jealous to be denied his power, joking about religion is certainly a good test of its power. 

This same problem of aggressive religious authority also applies to any fundamentalist religion. The problems of power are not confined to religion, but also apply to government in the form of conservative Nationalism. The Nazis did not need Jesus to act like the Popes of the Crusades.

Kresge Chapel at M.I.T. by Eero Saarinen

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sculpture, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2019 by Drogo

The Kresge Chapel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by Architect Eero Saarinen in Cambridge, Massachusetts [report written by Walton Stowell II for Modern History of Architecture II in 4/22/96]

 

“No less than religion at its best, architecture is best as a witness and custodian to the spirit of modern man.” – Pietro Belluschi, B’rith Kodesh Synagogue

 

“A brick wall didnt realize how beautiful it was until it was touched by sunlight.” – Louis Kahn

 

Eero Saarinen’s Inter-Denominational Kresge Chapel at M.I.T.

 

While  taking a leisurely stroll through the seemingly haphazard campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), I came upon a sweet and blissfully rotund form that was clearly composed of masonry brick set in a common Bond. It’s cylindrical form appeared pure and abstractly severe from afar. Closer inspection revealed a more intricate reality.  The surface was roughly textured by randomly protruded bricks, and a series of low arches of random size. The arches formed the base of the cylinder, backed by a smooth light-colored secondary interior wall. The base was set into a shallow pit, filled with water and ring with a rim of concrete. the Chapels massing was as conservative as your basic cylinder,  but the sharp alien Bell Tower steeple was an elegant antenna, A giant holy lance piercing the sky as though ready to shoot a beacon.

 

(sketch of perspective looking at Chapel from the front court-yard)

 

In relation to the other neighboring structures on campus, the brick construct was petite. The Kresge Chapel marked itself as part of the MIT campus, distinguished by having a remote location many yards from its neighbors; thus respectfully differentiating its functionality while remaining part of the whole, despite its blatant differences denoted by its particular scale and multi-dimensional form expression. The chapel makes its own transcendental statement  without being an eyesore. It does not fight the more conventional styles of buildings that surround it; in fact the traditional brick that was used matches the surrounding dorms.

 

Across the lawn from the Kresge Chapel, was another of Eero Saarinen buildings, the Kresge Auditorium. Both buildings were designed and built from 1950 to 1955, and dedicated to donor Sebastian Kresge, founder of Kresge (Kmart) Stores. The auditorium was much larger than the chapel, and completely different in style and materials.

 

(sketch of 2 buildings showing distance adjacency)

 

The narthex was a rectangular hallway encased in black glass, attached to the chapel from behind; like an extended arm connecting auxiliary rooms to the primary cylinder. I say that the hall was located in the back of the cylinder, because of my site orientation. My interpretation  being the front of the chapel was the side facing the auditorium, and their shared lawn space; where as the back was directed towards the alley. The structure of the black back hall was comprised of dark thin Gray repetitive vertical steel members. Each section of black glass was then further subdivided by smaller horizontal muntins spaced unevenly, from inches apart to feet apart. On either side of the black rectangle on the farthest end from the main cylinder, there were doors of Entry. They were double doors on each side of the hall, opposite each other and made of solid Pine with metal knockers as handles that open outward together. It made for a fine contrast between the bright Pine doors, and the sleek black enigma of the hallway repetition.  Above the doors were four conic lights with their tops cut off.

 

I reached for the door handles with no sense of what to expect within. I entered. The interior of the hallway was transparent to the outside, with only a faintly darkened tint. My natural, but false assumption that a dark structure with no direct openings for light makes for an even darker interior, was shattered. The narthex was very generously lighted on the inside, and I felt very safe. Flower baskets were placed on either side along the hall, for lovely interior decor. I turned to look down the glass hallway of adequate human proportions, and saw a beautiful white marble altar, with shimmering gold strands behind it. The richly tiled floor led me to the double height space. All in one breath I was taken into the space, and in one breath I took it all in.

 

Beautiful organ music began playing. It was coming from within that sacred vault, and yet I could see no one, nor even an organ. The tones undeniably complemented the space, and light poured in from an Oculus directly above the altar, which was refracted by a suspended Golden sculptural Screen. It was as if I were in a subterranean Realm, with no direct view to the outside world; but only washes of light on heavy Earthen walls. It was small for most churches and intimate, but I was not scared of being trapped in the confined space. I felt safe. It was as though I had been worming my way through the claustrophobic Labyrinth of Moria, and at last come to the inner Sanctum. I had risen from the catacombs, and been rewarded with the gift of space;  generous and conducive for personal prayer.

 

(sketch of altar with oculus)

 

I felt like an archaeologist after breaking the seals on a tomb, rolling away the barrier stone, and breathing in air undisturbed for eons. Spiritual fervor of ancient mysterious gods for every individual were welcome there. I had made the journey to the dreamy meditational sanctuary,  and now felt cleansed and purified; looking at the vulnerable and innocent white altar. The secret stairs behind the altar made me swoon like a willing sacrifice.

 

There were three walls of the Kresge Chapel itself. The outer wall had low arches which allowed light to reflect off the water in the moat, and up into the inner chamber. The inner wall undulated like a frozen wave, and the lower wall followed its example. In the daylight the textured brick work was highlighted by the exterior light Wells. The floor could fit a Congregation of 130 people,  and as I turned in circles to experience the space, I saw the pipe organ located above the entry-way. A student head their back to me, intent on playing the instrument with its elaborate pipes on display. Mass was about to begin.

 

(sketch of oculus)

 

Criticism of Eero Saarinen was common place because consistency of style was expected,  and his level of architectural innovation was way ahead of his time. Saarinen’s unpredictability and bold diversity irritated and even enraged his critics. Each new project was so vastly different, how could they judge his progress? As Philip Johnson put it “Eero  was all together unpredictable. Had he lived longer, he would have influenced everybody, and all of us.” Saarinen developed his own architectural style which was always a unique combination of Art and engineering. I chose Saarinen’s chapel because i knew about him from when i was a child. When Dad took me to Dulles and JFK (TWA Terminal) Airports, it was clear how special the buildings were, and told me who the architect was. Every building that Saarinen designed has blown my mind with its expressiveness and unearthly beauty. During my first year of architecture studio at RWU, professor Rico introduced me to this chapel based on my sketches of circles for a temple to the elements, and so i was inspired to have light filter in around the edges of the temple floor from water and air outside, on all levels.

 

Eero Saarinen once said that he began his projects with basic considerations of the particular job. Eero also respected the spirit, the client, the expression of the program, and site surroundings. To him the site area should include nature and technology; and a good balance should reduce egotism. He felt that MIT landscape should be more unified with the auditorium and chapel for integral flow. However I enjoyed the seclusion of the chapel, like a humble grove of trees for peaceful worship. Saarinen also felt his connection of the narthex and chapel was clumsily executed, but I feel it was perfectly successful for a small structure. Saarinen’s Chapel has axial intersection with its dominant cylindrical container of spiritual light.

 

By abstracting the Chapel’s form, Saarinen also simplified specific needs for spiritual practice. The shape and form of the chapel was derived from basic instincts like our desire to feel loved, protected, and respected. A circle symbolizes oneness like the power of the earth, the sun, the moon, and even a mother’s womb. Saarinen was deeply inspired by one of his travels as a student to the mountain village of Sparta, Greece. Eero recalled sitting with bright moon-light over-head, and a secondary light band around the horizon, soft and hushed.

 

“Kresge Chapel is all about light, drama, and interior serenity.” – Architectural Record Lighting (Nov. 1994)

 

End Report.

AA Economics – SCOD Transition Systems

Posted in Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by Drogo

Religious vs. Business

Christian, AA, Buddhist vs Capitalist Business

Economics is a belief based philosophy that we can use psychology (behavioral) and accounting (math) to facilitate successful transactions of commerce. Some people want rational and peaceful economic systems in harmony with nature, and others want predatory ‘winner takes all’ systems as over-bearing master abusers. Before Marx wrote about communism and socialism, Christianity was founded on communal living and social services (similar to tribal Pagans). Christian social services are based on the concept that ‘giving is its own reward’ because God loves them, wants them to give without material or monetary benefit, and will reward them in the after-life for their sacrifice. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) uses a Christian prohibitionist type of addiction therapy, run on member based donations and volunteer work. Buddhism has a similar charity concept that encourages vows of poverty and sacrifice.

Rather than predatory State Capitalism, or dogmatic Church Monarchy, we could change towards more moral humane systems. We can reward ‘givers’ more than ‘takers’. We need to be aware of the poor who give it all away, and the rich that take more than their fair share; because the system currently works in reverse. So we can develop a middle-ground between the two extremes of Religion and Business ideology. Communism clearly has the modesty of religious morality, and Socialism has the best aspects of trade & barter ethics. Clearly the best type of Capitalism (if it is to survive) will embrace egalitarianism for the majority of the population, that makes more property public and rewards those that give to others the most.

Predatory Capitalism is like an addiction, it is very hard to break a harmful habit if we feel we cannot stop ourselves from doing, even when it hurts ourselves and others more than it benefits them. Therefore perhaps a SCOD system of economic transition can be similar to AA, where we can admit we have a problem, and that by helping others we are solving the problem. Then we can begin apologizing to all those we could have given more to, when we only practiced Capitalism.

* This essay is an addition to the book:

SCOD Economics: Alternative Economic Theories

Magic Epochs, Branches, & Types

Posted in Philosophy, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2016 by Drogo

Epochs or Historical Periods of Western Spiritual Magical Practice

1.   Pre-Historic (millions BC – 2, 500 BC):  Shamanic, Animism, Orphism, Oral, Musical

2.  Pagan (2,500 BC – 0 AD):  Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Celtic, Roman, Viking

3.  Christian (0 – 1900 AD):  Catholic, Occult, Protestant, Evangelical

4.  New-Age (1900 – 2016 AD): Occult, Wicca, Yoga, ESP, Metaphysics, Scientology, Hippy, Asian Martial Arts

*

Branches of Magical Practice

Christian Occult:  gnostic, mystery cults, satanism, theosophy, thelema, chistian science, jehovah’s witness, mormon, rosecrutians, masons, eastern star, solomonic orders, witch-craft, hermetic

New-Age Occult:  golden dawn order, eclectic, neo-pagan,

*

5 Types of Magical Practice

Aversive – hiding, transference, sacrifice,  cleansing, warding

Imitative – possession, satire, absorbing, mime, illusion, astrology

Contagious – fetish, consummation, symbiosis, dance, mental will, divining

Destructive – curses, traps, evil, poisons, wars, martial

Productive – healing, education, good, coaxing, placation, making, inspire / catalyze, transforming, alchemy

*

3 Ways of Magical Practice

Giving / Healing, Taking / Harming, Exchanging

*

magic-branches

Note: This is from a World Cultural perspective, not from individual belief perspective; as our own personal systems will have unique eclectic structures. Also ‘New-Age’ can be added to the tree on the outer-most branches.

 

 

 

 

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Friend In Need – Christian Witchcraft

Posted in Book Reports, Crafts, Religions with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by Drogo

This is a reprinting of an extremely rare (only one copy known to exist by experts) old American spell book by the Wizard Zittle. Pennsylvania-Deutsch (German immigrant) braucher pow-wow hoodoo folk-lore magick literature, spread into Boonsboro, Maryland. Inspired locals like Michael Zittle made and used original and pirated books for medicine cures and magical charms of self-help, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. While considered dark-evil ‘powwow magick’ during the 1800s, these independent publications were Christian folk-lore witch-craft; as most European immigrants were proudly Christian Protestants (Lutheran) and Catholics. This curious occult local artifact has now been revived by local occultist, and Pagan Priest Drogo Empedocles!

Order a copy of ‘FRIEND IN NEED: Sympathetic Knowledge

1st Edition Kindle Ebook

1st Edition Amazon Paperback

Friend_In_Need_Cover_for_Kindle