I'm a 26 year-old genderqueer boycreature from Vermont. This Tumblr is devoted to connecting with my trans peers worldwide and also sharing my experience from beyond/between the gender binary. This is an ode to embodiments of intentional androgyny, permanent liminality, genderf*ck, chaos magic, and the subversion of oft-uncontested heteronormativity. Stay tuned and watch me sing myself into being... :) In addition to gender-related stuff, there may occasionally be content relating to spirituality/the occult, gaming, ecology, sci-fi, psytrance and other magickal things.
Posts tagged religion
Reading “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer
For one of my classes at CGU, co-taught by Dr. Paul Zak and Michael Shermer. Two badass dudes—Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and is one of the scholarly authorities on the science and psychology of belief, and Dr. Zak is the founder of one of the first departments of Neuroeconomics in the country, and studies the effects of oxytocin on trust and morality. (link to his TED talk) Psyched. Blending transdisciplinary science with the secular study of Christianity is pretty much one of my cups of tea.
One of the best quotes so far:
fittedhash-deactivated20121121 asked: What religion are you?
Good question! But I might ramble because I also study religion so I think about it a lot. :P
I like to say I’m “Christianoid”, because in terms of my acculturation I’m Protestant Christian, like most other Americans whether they like it or not, even if they are atheist. :P
I was raised going to an Unitarian church in central Vermont, which is a very liberal protestant sect that has lots of transcendentalist influence and is very interfaith and pluralistic. The grandson of Ralph Waldo Emerson actually was a lifetime member of my home church, so we really were Unitarians to the core!
When it comes to theology, especially monotheism, I consider myself agnostic (which I suspect many Unitarians are), but I also strongly identify with all forms of mystical spirituality - at least all that I have encountered, even ones that come from a monotheistic tradition. I guess I would be comfortable being called a mystical Christian, especially because I’ve found a lot of affinity in orthodox Christian spirituality (my mother is Greek and one half of my family is Greek Orthodox). Many people don’t associate the term “orthodox” with mystical, but in fact Eastern orthodox christianity can be very mystical and has a lot of similarities with the Buddhist tradition.
I appreciate all religions and strongly believe that belief itself is a powerful tool, thus I have great respect for it even though it is often wielded in what I think is an unenlightened way. I also don’t identify with or really understand the position of atheism because atheism is actually a form of postmodern theology and I think a lot of people who are atheist are actually post-theist or have some other kind of spirituality that for some reason is getting confused with atheism.
To call myself an atheist would be to participate in a useless debate, and also would locate me squarely within the mainstream protestant christian theological discourse (no thank you). It is interesting to consider, that Christians were once vitriolically called atheists, when the Jesus movement was new. Atheism just means reaction against the status quo or the predominant world view, and it is in my opinion a symptom of revolution in the Kuhnian sense (not a bad thing at all… I love me some paradigm shifts!) Maybe some people can appropriate it as a meaningful term to somehow describe the complexity of their intellects, but for me it feels like a term that hides more than it reveals.
If I could choose, I’d choose probably not a religion of the book, but rather a philosophy-religion, like Hermeticism. The three M’s, Myth, mystery and magick, are all I need to worship/follow/dance around. :)
Anonymous asked: Hey, where does the spelling for "magick" come from?
Hi, thanks for the message. It’s a good (and interesting) question!
It’s is a variant spelling of “magic” from early modern English (technically spoken from the mid 15th-mid 17th centuries) in England. To my knowledge this spelling was revived/popularized by Aleister Crowley (late 19th century), a famous and controversial English occultist. The spelling is usually used nowadays (and by Crowley) to distinguish it from sleight-of-hand magic/stage magic. “Magick” is instead essentially a set of techniques and methods to attain a form of spiritual self-actualization or gnosis, which in many occult traditions is seen as equivalent to a holistic understanding of the self and the self’s relatedness to the natural world/environment. Crowley describes it as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”. The goal is essentially the “Great Work” or magnum opus, which is again a sort of secular equivalent of enlightenment, which moreover is not necessarily teleological (it doesn’t or might not have an end). Often people take it a little too literally (as testified to by the popular phrase “magical thinking”) and think that occult practitioners actually believe they have or can attain fantastical powers like levitation, telekinesis or the like. However, this is not exactly right. It’s similar to the parable in the book of Matthew, when Jesus talks about how if one has enough faith, one could move mountains. The trick or paradox is that if you actually DID have faith that could “move mountains”, you wouldn’t have to. Another way of putting this is, to paraphrase Peter J. Carroll, that the smallest ability to change oneself is more powerful than any ability to change the outside world.
Many misunderstand or mislabel the magick practice as satanic, selfish, or hedonistic. This is mostly because there doesn’t seem to be a particular ethical/moral framework that is universally tied to this sort of practice, so therefore it is easy to appropriate it for harmful ends, and also easy to ‘demonize’ it from any sort of position of religious orthodoxy.
Essentially magick can be understood as a form of postmodern religion, because it draws upon all the benefits and effectiveness of ritual but does not invest it with any theological meaning, or at least not in the traditional sense. The most concise example of this philosophy is in the modern occult tradition of chaos magick, for which the core tenet is simply that belief itself is a tool. All of one’s personal practice ideally derives from this central supposition and awareness about belief and how it functions, in the self and in others. Personally I am very much in solidarity with the philosophy of chaos magick, and I would also caution anyone in comparing it with pop New Age philosophies like the law of attraction from The Secret. The “truth” of magick is more subtle than that. As I once read on a magic hat bottle cap, “Truth is slippery, like eels.”
I highly recommend anything by Peter J Carroll and Robert Anton Wilson if one is interested in further pursuing the subject.