I had to reread what I posted yesterday, to see if I perhaps used the wrong word. One commenter (whom I will not publish, not because of his low opinion of me but because of his use of profanity) demanded I learn more about magic before I belittle people. I’m not certain whom I belittled, other than bigots who would denigrate Jesus. He also claims to be a priest, so Father, if you’d like to repost your comment without the profanity, I’d be happy to approve it.
Jason Miller has a much more thoughtful criticism of my post. Or rather, something my post very carefully does not say. He points out that lots of people who are not Christian and have never heard of Neoplatonism do magic just fine. Of course they do: they probably don’t denigrate Jesus or any other deity of the Logos, and probably wouldn’t if they had heard of them. Moreover, I didn’t say it made magic impossible: just doubtful. It’s doubtful that someone who has looked deeply into the nature of things will go about belittling other people’s religions, since those religions often offer very useful and valid theurgic paths to henosis. But it’s not impossible: sometimes even total jerks can see into the nature of things, and remain jerks.
His second criticism is more nuanced, and therefore deserves a more nuanced response. He writes:
The second problem is a little more nuanced. You may recognize the concept of the Logos. You may also however be adamantly opposed to the idea that the historical Jesus is in any way representing it. Take the Mandeans for instance (which we are in Iraq btw) who believe that John the Baptist is the Logos and Jesus is a corrupt Sorcerer that stole his thunder. The Logos is a cosmic title. Christ is a cosmic title. Jesus however refers to a specific person that may or may not have existed at a specific time and preached a specific thing and than did or did not do the whole rise from the dead thing. So while I think it is dumb to do so, I think it perfectly reasonable that capable magicians may not jive with saying “Jesus is Lord”.
He is, of course, entirely correct. The historical Jesus is not the same as the mythological Jesus. We unfortunately must use the same title for both, as Christ refers to a specific and different role, viz., anointed messiah. The name Jesus is, like most Hebrew names, a little sentence. It means “He is salvation,” and it was applied to a large number of people other than the historical Jesus. And I carefully wrote “insofar” in my original post, to indicate that I was not suggesting a one-for-one correspondence with the historical person of Jesus.
His final point is quite correct. A Christian probably would not view Jesus this way. I’m not a Christian, however, but a pagan, and I do. And it means I can participate in Christian worship without difficulty (although when I did so I carefully disclosed my beliefs in the minister). And it also means that bigotry toward Christianity — not valid political disagreements with specific movements within the various Christian churches, but actual bigotry — actually angers me.
As it turns out, the post I was responding to on someone else’s blog, which I didn’t link because I don’t think it was that writer’s finest moment, was a contrived attempt to get someone else’s goat. I don’t play such games, so I didn’t realize it. I assumed it was genuine bigotry. But I certainly have seen a lot of such bigotry, and even — gasp — participated in it myself at one time. That’s one reason I loathe it. I grew to recognize that it, and by extension, I and my friends, were wrong. I learned this through practice of magic.