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Most human cults are natural groupings of like minded religionists who share beliefs and symbols in common. Many have become larger movements and denominations and larger movements/denominations often include various and multiple cults. Most cults which become denominations tend to oppose cults, especially those which arise within the larger movement, as heretical.

Only recently have cults become tainted by the generalized disdain of modernism as being suspicious or malevolent.

7. Nature of Cultism

87:7.1 (965.5) The cult type of social organization persisted because it provided a symbolism for the preservation and stimulation of moral sentiments and religious loyalties. The cult grew out of the traditions of “old families” and was perpetuated as an established institution; all families have a cult of some sort. Every inspiring ideal grasps for some perpetuating symbolism—seeks some technique for cultural manifestation which will insure survival and augment realization—and the cult achieves this end by fostering and gratifying emotion.

87:7.2 (965.6) From the dawn of civilization every appealing movement in social culture or religious advancement has developed a ritual, a symbolic ceremonial. The more this ritual has been an unconscious growth, the stronger it has gripped its devotees. The cult preserved sentiment and satisfied emotion, but it has always been the greatest obstacle to social reconstruction and spiritual progress.

87:7.3 (965.7) Notwithstanding that the cult has always retarded social progress, it is regrettable that so many modern believers in moral standards and spiritual ideals have no adequate symbolism—no cult of mutual support—nothing to belong to. But a religious cult cannot be manufactured; it must grow. And those of no two groups will be identical unless their rituals are arbitrarily standardized by authority.

87:7.4 (965.8) The early Christian cult was the most effective, appealing, and enduring of any ritual ever conceived or devised, but much of its value has been destroyed in a scientific age by the destruction of so many of its original underlying tenets. The Christian cult has been devitalized by the loss of many fundamental ideas.

87:7.5 (965.9) In the past, truth has grown rapidly and expanded freely when the cult has been elastic, the symbolism expansile. Abundant truth and an adjustable cult have favored rapidity of social progression. A meaningless cult vitiates religion when it attempts to supplant philosophy and to enslave reason; a genuine cult grows.

87:7.6 (966.1) Regardless of the drawbacks and handicaps, every new revelation of truth has given rise to a new cult, and even the restatement of the religion of Jesus must develop a new and appropriate symbolism. Modern man must find some adequate symbolism for his new and expanding ideas, ideals, and loyalties. This enhanced symbol must arise out of religious living, spiritual experience. And this higher symbolism of a higher civilization must be predicated on the concept of the Fatherhood of God and be pregnant with the mighty ideal of the brotherhood of man.

87:7.7 (966.2) The old cults were too egocentric; the new must be the outgrowth of applied love. The new cult must, like the old, foster sentiment, satisfy emotion, and promote loyalty; but it must do more: It must facilitate spiritual progress, enhance cosmic meanings, augment moral values, encourage social development, and stimulate a high type of personal religious living. The new cult must provide supreme goals of living which are both temporal and eternal—social and spiritual.

87:7.8 (966.3) No cult can endure and contribute to the progress of social civilization and individual spiritual attainment unless it is based on the biologic, sociologic, and religious significance of the home. A surviving cult must symbolize that which is permanent in the presence of unceasing change; it must glorify that which unifies the stream of ever-changing social metamorphosis. It must recognize true meanings, exalt beautiful relations, and glorify the good values of real nobility.

87:7.9 (966.4) But the great difficulty of finding a new and satisfying symbolism is because modern men, as a group, adhere to the scientific attitude, eschew superstition, and abhor ignorance, while as individuals they all crave mystery and venerate the unknown. No cult can survive unless it embodies some masterful mystery and conceals some worthful unattainable. Again, the new symbolism must not only be significant for the group but also meaningful to the individual. The forms of any serviceable symbolism must be those which the individual can carry out on his own initiative, and which he can also enjoy with his fellows. If the new cult could only be dynamic instead of static, it might really contribute something worth while to the progress of mankind, both temporal and spiritual.

87:7.10 (966.5) But a cult—a symbolism of rituals, slogans, or goals—will not function if it is too complex. And there must be the demand for devotion, the response of loyalty. Every effective religion unerringly develops a worthy symbolism, and its devotees would do well to prevent the crystallization of such a ritual into cramping, deforming, and stifling stereotyped ceremonials which can only handicap and retard all social, moral, and spiritual progress. No cult can survive if it retards moral growth and fails to foster spiritual progress. The cult is the skeletal structure around which grows the living and dynamic body of personal spiritual experience—true religion.


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From wiki:

In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal. This sense of the term is controversial, having divergent definitions both in popular culture and academia, and has also been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study.[1][2]:348–56 It is usually considered pejorative.

An older description of the word cult is a set of religious devotional practices that are conventional within their culture, are related to a particular figure, and are often associated with a particular place. References to the "cult" of a particular Catholic saint, or the imperial cult of ancient Rome, for example, use this sense of the word.

While the literal and original sense of the word remains in use in the English language, a derived sense of "excessive devotion" arose in the 19th century.[i] Beginning in the 1930s, cults became the object of sociological study in the context of the study of religious behaviour.[3] From the 1940s the Christian countercult movement has opposed some sects and new religious movements, and it labelled them as cults for their "un-Christian" unorthodox beliefs. The secular anti-cult movement began in the 1970s and it opposed certain groups, often charging them with mind control and partly motivated in reaction to acts of violence committed by some of their members. Some of the claims and actions of the anti-cult movement have been disputed by scholars and by the news media, leading to further public controversy.

In the sociological classifications of religious movements, a cult is a social group with socially deviant or novel beliefs and practices,[4] although this is often unclear.[5][6][7] Other researchers present a less-organized picture of cults, saying that they arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices.[8] Groups which are said to be cults range in size from local groups with a few members to international organizations with millions of members.[9]

In the English-speaking world, the term cult often carries derogatory connotations.[10] In this sense, it has been considered a subjective term, used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices.[6][11] As such, religion scholar Megan Goodwin defined the term cult, when used by the layperson, as often being a shorthand for a "religion I don't like."[12]

In the 1970s, with the rise of secular anti-cult movements, scholars (though not the general public) began abandoning the term cult. According to The Oxford Handbook of Religious Movements, "by the end of the decade, the term 'new religions' would virtually replace 'cult' to describe all of those leftover groups that did not fit easily under the label of church or sect."[13]

Sociologist Amy Ryan (2000) has argued for the need to differentiate those groups that may be dangerous from groups that are more benign.[14] Ryan notes the sharp differences between definitions offered by cult opponents, who tend to focus on negative characteristics, and those offered by sociologists, who aim to create definitions that are value-free. The movements themselves may have different definitions of religion as well.[15] George Chryssides also cites a need to develop better definitions to allow for common ground in the debate. Casino (1999) presents the issue as crucial to international human rights laws. Limiting the definition of religion may interfere with freedom of religion, while too broad a definition may give some dangerous or abusive groups "a limitless excuse for avoiding all unwanted legal obligations."[16]


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From wiki:

Culture (/ˈkʌltʃər/) is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.[1]

Humans acquire culture through the learning processes of enculturation and socialization, which is shown by the diversity of cultures across societies.

A cultural norm codifies acceptable conduct in society; it serves as a guideline for behavior, dress, language, and demeanor in a situation, which serves as a template for expectations in a social group. Accepting only a monoculture in a social group can bear risks, just as a single species can wither in the face of environmental change, for lack of functional responses to the change.[2] Thus in military culture, valor is counted a typical behavior for an individual, as are duty, honor, and loyalty to the social group are counted as virtues or functional responses in the continuum of conflict. In the practice of religion, analogous attributes can be identified in a social group.

The modern term "culture" is based on a term used by the ancient Roman orator Cicero in his Tusculanae Disputationes, where he wrote of a cultivation of the soul or "cultura animi,"[4] using an agricultural metaphor for the development of a philosophical soul, understood teleologically as the highest possible ideal for human development. Samuel Pufendorf took over this metaphor in a modern context, meaning something similar, but no longer assuming that philosophy was man's natural perfection. His use, and that of many writers after him, "refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice, become fully human."[5]

In 1986, philosopher Edward S. Casey wrote, "The very word culture meant 'place tilled' in Middle English, and the same word goes back to Latin colere, 'to inhabit, care for, till, worship' and cultus, 'A cult, especially a religious one.' To be cultural, to have a culture, is to inhabit a place sufficiently intensely to cultivate it—to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly."[6]

Culture described by Richard Velkley:[5]

... originally meant the cultivation of the soul or mind, acquires most of its later modern meaning in the writings of the 18th-century German thinkers, who were on various levels developing Rousseau's criticism of "modern liberalism and Enlightenment." Thus a contrast between "culture" and "civilization" is usually implied in these authors, even when not expressed as such.

In the words of anthropologist E.B. Tylor, it is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."[7] Alternatively, in a contemporary variant, "Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common.[8]

The Cambridge English Dictionary states that culture is "the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time."[9

The word is used in a general sense as the evolved ability to categorize and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively.


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More evidence of "modern" primitivisms!!

Paper 88

Fetishes, Charms, and Magic

88:0.1 (967.1) THE concept of a spirit’s entering into an inanimate object, an animal, or a human being, is a very ancient and honorable belief, having prevailed since the beginning of the evolution of religion. This doctrine of spirit possession is nothing more nor less than fetishism. The savage does not necessarily worship the fetish; he very logically worships and reverences the spirit resident therein.

88:0.2 (967.2) At first, the spirit of a fetish was believed to be the ghost of a dead man; later on, the higher spirits were supposed to reside in fetishes. And so the fetish cult eventually incorporated all of the primitive ideas of ghosts, souls, spirits, and demon possession.

1. Belief in Fetishes

88:1.1 (967.3) Primitive man always wanted to make anything extraordinary into a fetish; chance therefore gave origin to many. A man is sick, something happens, and he gets well. The same thing is true of the reputation of many medicines and the chance methods of treating disease. Objects connected with dreams were likely to be converted into fetishes. Volcanoes, but not mountains, became fetishes; comets, but not stars. Early man regarded shooting stars and meteors as indicating the arrival on earth of special visiting spirits.

88:1.2 (967.4) The first fetishes were peculiarly marked pebbles, and “sacred stones” have ever since been sought by man; a string of beads was once a collection of sacred stones, a battery of charms. Many tribes had fetish stones, but few have survived as have the Kaaba and the Stone of Scone. Fire and water were also among the early fetishes, and fire worship, together with belief in holy water, still survives.

88:1.3 (967.5) Tree fetishes were a later development, but among some tribes the persistence of nature worship led to belief in charms indwelt by some sort of nature spirit. When plants and fruits became fetishes, they were taboo as food. The apple was among the first to fall into this category; it was never eaten by the Levantine peoples.

88:1.4 (967.6) If an animal ate human flesh, it became a fetish. In this way the dog came to be the sacred animal of the Parsees. If the fetish is an animal and the ghost is permanently resident therein, then fetishism may impinge on reincarnation. In many ways the savages envied the animals; they did not feel superior to them and were often named after their favorite beasts.

88:1.5 (967.7) When animals became fetishes, there ensued the taboos on eating the flesh of the fetish animal. Apes and monkeys, because of resemblance to man, early became fetish animals; later, snakes, birds, and swine were also similarly regarded. At one time the cow was a fetish, the milk being taboo while the excreta were highly esteemed. The serpent was revered in Palestine, especially by the Phoenicians, who, along with the Jews, considered it to be the mouthpiece of evil spirits. Even many moderns believe in the charm powers of reptiles. From Arabia on through India to the snake dance of the Moqui tribe of red men the serpent has been revered.

88:1.6 (968.1) Certain days of the week were fetishes. For ages Friday has been regarded as an unlucky day and the number thirteen as an evil numeral. The lucky numbers three and seven came from later revelations; four was the lucky number of primitive man and was derived from the early recognition of the four points of the compass. It was held unlucky to count cattle or other possessions; the ancients always opposed the taking of a census, “numbering the people.”


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88:1.7 (968.2) Primitive man did not make an undue fetish out of sex; the reproductive function received only a limited amount of attention. The savage was natural minded, not obscene or prurient.

88:1.8 (968.3) Saliva was a potent fetish; devils could be driven out by spitting on a person. For an elder or superior to spit on one was the highest compliment. Parts of the human body were looked upon as potential fetishes, particularly the hair and nails. The long-growing fingernails of the chiefs were highly prized, and the trimmings thereof were a powerful fetish. Belief in skull fetishes accounts for much of later-day head-hunting. The umbilical cord was a highly prized fetish; even today it is so regarded in Africa. Mankind’s first toy was a preserved umbilical cord. Set with pearls, as was often done, it was man’s first necklace.

88:1.9 (968.4) Hunchbacked and crippled children were regarded as fetishes; lunatics were believed to be moon-struck. Primitive man could not distinguish between genius and insanity; idiots were either beaten to death or revered as fetish personalities. Hysteria increasingly confirmed the popular belief in witchcraft; epileptics often were priests and medicine men. Drunkenness was looked upon as a form of spirit possession; when a savage went on a spree, he put a leaf in his hair for the purpose of disavowing responsibility for his acts. Poisons and intoxicants became fetishes; they were deemed to be possessed.

88:1.10 (968.5) Many people looked upon geniuses as fetish personalities possessed by a wise spirit. And these talented humans soon learned to resort to fraud and trickery for the advancement of their selfish interests. A fetish man was thought to be more than human; he was divine, even infallible. Thus did chiefs, kings, priests, prophets, and church rulers eventually wield great power and exercise unbounded authority.


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The ancient origins of modern superstitions is fascinating. All such beliefs are a drag on personal and social progress and defy universe reality. Ignorance and prejudice are obstacles yo growth...fetishes are formed by ignorance and perpetuated by prejudice.

2. Evolution of the Fetish

88:2.1 (968.6) It was a supposed preference of ghosts to indwell some object which had belonged to them when alive in the flesh. This belief explains the efficacy of many modern relics. The ancients always revered the bones of their leaders, and the skeletal remains of saints and heroes are still regarded with superstitious awe by many. Even today, pilgrimages are made to the tombs of great men.

88:2.2 (968.7) Belief in relics is an outgrowth of the ancient fetish cult. The relics of modern religions represent an attempt to rationalize the fetish of the savage and thus elevate it to a place of dignity and respectability in the modern religious systems. It is heathenish to believe in fetishes and magic but supposedly all right to accept relics and miracles.

88:2.3 (969.1) The hearth—fireplace—became more or less of a fetish, a sacred spot. The shrines and temples were at first fetish places because the dead were buried there. The fetish hut of the Hebrews was elevated by Moses to that place where it harbored a superfetish, the then existent concept of the law of God. But the Israelites never gave up the peculiar Canaanite belief in the stone altar: “And this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall be God’s house.” They truly believed that the spirit of their God dwelt in such stone altars, which were in reality fetishes.

88:2.4 (969.2) The earliest images were made to preserve the appearance and memory of the illustrious dead; they were really monuments. Idols were a refinement of fetishism. The primitives believed that a ceremony of consecration caused the spirit to enter the image; likewise, when certain objects were blessed, they became charms.

88:2.5 (969.3) Moses, in the addition of the second commandment to the ancient Dalamatian moral code, made an effort to control fetish worship among the Hebrews. He carefully directed that they should make no sort of image that might become consecrated as a fetish. He made it plain, “You shall not make a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters of the earth.” While this commandment did much to retard art among the Jews, it did lessen fetish worship. But Moses was too wise to attempt suddenly to displace the olden fetishes, and he therefore consented to the putting of certain relics alongside the law in the combined war altar and religious shrine which was the ark.

8)


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This section delivers a very interesting irony to UB students. The authors of the Papers warn us about the human tendency to make sacred objects out of so many things. Anything really. Even words and books. We like to convert that which may or may not be human expressions of personal inspiration into "the word of God". Scriptures and holy books and writings of people which are given sacred status.

The authors of the UB clearly do not claim the text to be the word or words of God. They also claim it is not an inspired work or book written by any human(s). But they do claim the information provided is factual and truthful and deliberate and intentional and literal and that the Papers are given to us to reduce confusion and eliminate error regarding universe realities, origins, destinies, histories, and relationships. Some of us have come, eventually, to believe these claims. Which belief is of no great advantage in the struggle to be and to become!

:wink:

88:2.6 (969.4) Words eventually became fetishes, more especially those which were regarded as God’s words; in this way the sacred books of many religions have become fetishistic prisons incarcerating the spiritual imagination of man. Moses’ very effort against fetishes became a supreme fetish; his commandment was later used to stultify art and to retard the enjoyment and adoration of the beautiful.

88:2.7 (969.5) In olden times the fetish word of authority was a fear-inspiring doctrine, the most terrible of all tyrants which enslave men. A doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties. Modern respect for wisdom and truth is but the recent escape from the fetish-making tendency up to the higher levels of thinking and reasoning. Concerning the accumulated fetish writings which various religionists hold as sacred books, it is not only believed that what is in the book is true, but also that every truth is contained in the book. If one of these sacred books happens to speak of the earth as being flat, then, for long generations, otherwise sane men and women will refuse to accept positive evidence that the planet is round.

88:2.8 (969.6) The practice of opening one of these sacred books to let the eye chance upon a passage, the following of which may determine important life decisions or projects, is nothing more nor less than arrant fetishism. To take an oath on a “holy book” or to swear by some object of supreme veneration is a form of refined fetishism.

88:2.9 (969.7) But it does represent real evolutionary progress to advance from the fetish fear of a savage chief’s fingernail trimmings to the adoration of a superb collection of letters, laws, legends, allegories, myths, poems, and chronicles which, after all, reflect the winnowed moral wisdom of many centuries, at least up to the time and event of their being assembled as a “sacred book.”

88:2.10 (970.1) To become fetishes, words had to be considered inspired, and the invocation of supposed divinely inspired writings led directly to the establishment of the authority of the church, while the evolution of civil forms led to the fruition of the authority of the state.


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The UB itself holds no powers or magic of any value to anyone, but sufficient study may help us come to understand the teachings of the Papers which should indeed change one's perspective of universe realities and our philosophy of living in profound ways which should affect our motivations, intentions, priorities, and choices....and outcomes.

But such is not due to the UB or any book or writing or any totem or fetish. All personal progress is due to experiential wisdom resulting from connection to the Spirit within and the faith and truth experience realized by insight, inspiration, revelation, prayer, worship, discernment, and the illumination of the personal religious experience.

There are no magical shortcuts to enlightenment or wisdom or spirituality. None. We must find faith and seek truth and embrace the realities of our spiritual nature and Spirit connection. Faith is only expressed and truth realized by our choosing and living according to the assurances and insights gained thereby. Faith is far more than belief. Faith in God delivers our spiritization and the eternal adventure only by our personal decisions and priorities in life.

The teachings in the UB have been a great guide to the terrain of living and a light upon the path through the terrain of living for me and for many others, but the book itself is neither the terrain or the journey through the terrain of life!! No book or words can be either of those.

Best wishes on your own journey through the terrain in the adventures of being and becoming and the ascendent experience of living.

:wink: 8) Bradly


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3. Totemism

88:3.1 (970.2) Fetishism ran through all the primitive cults from the earliest belief in sacred stones, through idolatry, cannibalism, and nature worship, to totemism.

88:3.2 (970.3) Totemism is a combination of social and religious observances. Originally it was thought that respect for the totem animal of supposed biologic origin insured the food supply. Totems were at one and the same time symbols of the group and their god. Such a god was the clan personified. Totemism was one phase of the attempted socialization of otherwise personal religion. The totem eventually evolved into the flag, or national symbol, of the various modern peoples.

88:3.3 (970.4) A fetish bag, a medicine bag, was a pouch containing a reputable assortment of ghost-impregnated articles, and the medicine man of old never allowed his bag, the symbol of his power, to touch the ground. Civilized peoples in the twentieth century see to it that their flags, emblems of national consciousness, likewise never touch the ground.

88:3.4 (970.5) The insignia of priestly and kingly office were eventually regarded as fetishes, and the fetish of the state supreme has passed through many stages of development, from clans to tribes, from suzerainty to sovereignty, from totems to flags. Fetish kings have ruled by “divine right,” and many other forms of government have obtained. Men have also made a fetish of democracy, the exaltation and adoration of the common man’s ideas when collectively called “public opinion.” One man’s opinion, when taken by itself, is not regarded as worth much, but when many men are collectively functioning as a democracy, this same mediocre judgment is held to be the arbiter of justice and the standard of righteousness.


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We are taught that mind has an inherent urge to discover and understand and explain...this is a normal function of mind - curiosity. Things, causes, and effects we do not understand, we will invent explanations for those.

This is how both religion and science are initiated, perpetuated, and evolve over time, slowly gaining knowledge and experience and wisdom related to both pursuits for explaining reality...the seen and the unseen, the natural and supernatural....science and religion.

They begin as one...then diverge...slowly do they and will they remerge as valid pursuits of the same reality.

4. Magic

88:4.1 (970.6) Civilized man attacks the problems of a real environment through his science; savage man attempted to solve the real problems of an illusory ghost environment by magic. Magic was the technique of manipulating the conjectured spirit environment whose machinations endlessly explained the inexplicable; it was the art of obtaining voluntary spirit co-operation and of coercing involuntary spirit aid through the use of fetishes or other and more powerful spirits.

88:4.2 (970.7) The object of magic, sorcery, and necromancy was twofold:

88:4.3 (970.8) 1. To secure insight into the future.

88:4.4 (970.9) 2. Favorably to influence environment.

88:4.5 (970.10) The objects of science are identical with those of magic. Mankind is progressing from magic to science, not by meditation and reason, but rather through long experience, gradually and painfully. Man is gradually backing into the truth, beginning in error, progressing in error, and finally attaining the threshold of truth. Only with the arrival of the scientific method has he faced forward. But primitive man had to experiment or perish.

88:4.6 (970.11) The fascination of early superstition was the mother of the later scientific curiosity. There was progressive dynamic emotion—fear plus curiosity—in these primitive superstitions; there was progressive driving power in the olden magic. These superstitions represented the emergence of the human desire to know and to control planetary environment.

88:4.7 (971.1) Magic gained such a strong hold upon the savage because he could not grasp the concept of natural death. The later idea of original sin helped much to weaken the grip of magic on the race in that it accounted for natural death. It was at one time not at all uncommon for ten innocent persons to be put to death because of supposed responsibility for one natural death. This is one reason why ancient peoples did not increase faster, and it is still true of some African tribes. The accused individual usually confessed guilt, even when facing death.

88:4.8 (971.2) Magic is natural to a savage. He believes that an enemy can actually be killed by practicing sorcery on his shingled hair or fingernail trimmings. The fatality of snake bites was attributed to the magic of the sorcerer. The difficulty in combating magic arises from the fact that fear can kill. Primitive peoples so feared magic that it did actually kill, and such results were sufficient to substantiate this erroneous belief. In case of failure there was always some plausible explanation; the cure for defective magic was more magic.


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We can easily recognize the lingering cultural influences of these ancient superstitions which still shape our lives and thinking today in so many ways. Our infatuation with miracles, signs, and wonders and good luck and bad and fate all reveal our intellectual dependence on such primitive forms of belief and our fictional reality-constructs....or primitive metaphysics...false and invented explanations for the misunderstood.

These human inventions of reality explanation are displaced very slowly and incrementally, generation after generation. Neither science or epochal revelation can easily or quickly overcome such superstition...that takes a very long time indeed. Voodoo and magic and spells and potions and the like linger still and shape human beliefs and rituals in many cultures around the world today.

Remember two things though: first, we can have true religious experience and faith assurance and the Divine Spirit connection and give birth to soul and become spiritized even with false beliefs and primitive superstitions. Second, all such superstitions and false beliefs and inaccurate metaphysics originate in and are perpetuated by the human experience WITH the inner realities of other-awareness and the Spirit connection and the true beliefs in the factual existence and reality of the Spirit and humanity's dual nature.

The primitive religious experience is real and valid and delivers both meaning and value to those who embrace the Spirit as tge source of all reality. Indeed, many primitives have far deeper and more transcendent religious experiences than more educated and more modern people who think science somehow proves materialism is the origin of reality.

Now who's the more primitive and uninformed? Hahaha!

:wink:

101:9.2 (1115.3) When you presume to sit in critical judgment on the primitive religion of man (or on the religion of primitive man), you should remember to judge such savages and to evaluate their religious experience in accordance with their enlightenment and status of conscience. Do not make the mistake of judging another’s religion by your own standards of knowledge and truth.

101:9.3 (1115.4) True religion is that sublime and profound conviction within the soul which compellingly admonishes man that it would be wrong for him not to believe in those morontial realities which constitute his highest ethical and moral concepts, his highest interpretation of life’s greatest values and the universe’s deepest realities. And such a religion is simply the experience of yielding intellectual loyalty to the highest dictates of spiritual consciousness.

:!: :biggrin:

5. Magical Charms

88:5.1 (971.3) Since anything connected with the body could become a fetish, the earliest magic had to do with hair and nails. Secrecy attendant upon body elimination grew up out of fear that an enemy might get possession of something derived from the body and employ it in detrimental magic; all excreta of the body were therefore carefully buried. Public spitting was refrained from because of the fear that saliva would be used in deleterious magic; spittle was always covered. Even food remnants, clothing, and ornaments could become instruments of magic. The savage never left any remnants of his meal on the table. And all this was done through fear that one’s enemies might use these things in magical rites, not from any appreciation of the hygienic value of such practices.

88:5.2 (971.4) Magical charms were concocted from a great variety of things: human flesh, tiger claws, crocodile teeth, poison plant seeds, snake venom, and human hair. The bones of the dead were very magical. Even the dust from footprints could be used in magic. The ancients were great believers in love charms. Blood and other forms of bodily secretions were able to insure the magic influence of love.

88:5.3 (971.5) Images were supposed to be effective in magic. Effigies were made, and when treated ill or well, the same effects were believed to rest upon the real person. When making purchases, superstitious persons would chew a bit of hard wood in order to soften the heart of the seller.

88:5.4 (971.6) The milk of a black cow was highly magical; so also were black cats. The staff or wand was magical, along with drums, bells, and knots. All ancient objects were magical charms. The practices of a new or higher civilization were looked upon with disfavor because of their supposedly evil magical nature. Writing, printing, and pictures were long so regarded.

88:5.5 (971.7) Primitive man believed that names must be treated with respect, especially names of the gods. The name was regarded as an entity, an influence distinct from the physical personality; it was esteemed equally with the soul and the shadow. Names were pawned for loans; a man could not use his name until it had been redeemed by payment of the loan. Nowadays one signs his name to a note. An individual’s name soon became important in magic. The savage had two names; the important one was regarded as too sacred to use on ordinary occasions, hence the second or everyday name—a nickname. He never told his real name to strangers. Any experience of an unusual nature caused him to change his name; sometimes it was in an effort to cure disease or to stop bad luck. The savage could get a new name by buying it from the tribal chief; men still invest in titles and degrees. But among the most primitive tribes, such as the African Bushmen, individual names do not exist.

6. The Practice of Magic

88:6.1 (972.1) Magic was practiced through the use of wands, “medicine” ritual, and incantations, and it was customary for the practitioner to work unclothed. Women outnumbered the men among primitive magicians. In magic, “medicine” means mystery, not treatment. The savage never doctored himself; he never used medicines except on the advice of the specialists in magic. And the voodoo doctors of the twentieth century are typical of the magicians of old.

88:6.2 (972.2) There was both a public and a private phase to magic. That performed by the medicine man, shaman, or priest was supposed to be for the good of the whole tribe. Witches, sorcerers, and wizards dispensed private magic, personal and selfish magic which was employed as a coercive method of bringing evil on one’s enemies. The concept of dual spiritism, good and bad spirits, gave rise to the later beliefs in white and black magic. And as religion evolved, magic was the term applied to spirit operations outside one’s own cult, and it also referred to older ghost beliefs.

88:6.3 (972.3) Word combinations, the ritual of chants and incantations, were highly magical. Some early incantations finally evolved into prayers. Presently, imitative magic was practiced; prayers were acted out; magical dances were nothing but dramatic prayers. Prayer gradually displaced magic as the associate of sacrifice.

88:6.4 (972.4) Gesture, being older than speech, was the more holy and magical, and mimicry was believed to have strong magical power. The red men often staged a buffalo dance in which one of their number would play the part of a buffalo and, in being caught, would insure the success of the impending hunt. The sex festivities of May Day were simply imitative magic, a suggestive appeal to the sex passions of the plant world. The doll was first employed as a magic talisman by the barren wife.

88:6.5 (972.5) Magic was the branch off the evolutionary religious tree which eventually bore the fruit of a scientific age. Belief in astrology led to the development of astronomy; belief in a philosopher’s stone led to the mastery of metals, while belief in magic numbers founded the science of mathematics.

88:6.6 (972.6) But a world so filled with charms did much to destroy all personal ambition and initiative. The fruits of extra labor or of diligence were looked upon as magical. If a man had more grain in his field than his neighbor, he might be haled before the chief and charged with enticing this extra grain from the indolent neighbor’s field. Indeed, in the days of barbarism it was dangerous to know very much; there was always the chance of being executed as a black artist.

8)


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The mortal epochs of time deliver evolutionary progress to the material worlds very slowly. But progress does have points of inflection where there are acceleration and even leaps forward in progressive thinking. The most enlightened people unify and harmonize the spiritual and material perspectives and come to realize that both science and religion seek understanding of the same reality. It is no more primitive to believe in ghosts than it is to believe the universe is mechanistic. It is no more enlightened to believe science explains everything than to rely upon superstition to answer all questions.

Both fail to achieve any reality perspective. Science is real and is a tool of Deity to create and operate time and space! But there is no science without Deity! But there is Deity without science...or the physics of the material universes of time and space. Deity is not a material construction of physics. Physics is a material construction of Deity...it is the relationship of matter and energy created and upheld by Deity.

Not only are science and spirit NOT oppositional, but the scientific evidence is clear and becoming clearer that without thoughtful creationism and management, the material universes of time make no sense and cannot be explained by origin or function or destiny. And neither can love or duty or experiential wisdom or math or even water or life itself be explained by science. Science is very good at the observation, measurement, and perspective-explanation of material relationships and function. But not origins or causes or responsive equilibriums and the actual management of energy and matter and its cohesive nature.

The material world and universe is not explained by science...it is merely described by science. To be explained and understood requires the fact and function of Spirit and Deity....and all the many agents and agencies of creation and control that apply great skill and wisdom and experience in the application and integration of the creative control of all levels of reality.

So....reliance on science to make religion irrelevant is simply another form of superstition!!

8)

88:6.7 (972.7) Gradually science is removing the gambling element from life. But if modern methods of education should fail, there would be an almost immediate reversion to the primitive beliefs in magic. These superstitions still linger in the minds of many so-called civilized people. Language contains many fossils which testify that the race has long been steeped in magical superstition, such words as spellbound, ill-starred, possessions, inspiration, spirit away, ingenuity, entrancing, thunderstruck, and astonished. And intelligent human beings still believe in good luck, the evil eye, and astrology.

88:6.8 (973.1) Ancient magic was the cocoon of modern science, indispensable in its time but now no longer useful. And so the phantasms of ignorant superstition agitated the primitive minds of men until the concepts of science could be born. Today, Urantia is in the twilight zone of this intellectual evolution. One half the world is grasping eagerly for the light of truth and the facts of scientific discovery, while the other half languishes in the arms of ancient superstition and but thinly disguised magic.


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