How religious esotericism is really just a form of lying

“Esoteric writing” can generally be defined as writing in which an author uses a word or words to mean one thing (namely, the “inner,” or “secretly intended,” or “esotericmeaning) in his own mind and perhaps also in the minds of close associates, while the general reading public, being unaware of the author’s secretly intended meaning, is left to assign a different meaning to that same word (namely, the “outer,” or “ordinary,” or “conventional,” or “surface,” or “exotericmeaning).  In other words, “esoteric communication,” or “esotericism,” is really just a fancy and euphemistic name for the practice of lying and deception.  Unfortunately, it is a practice that characterizes and provides the basis for all of the so-called “major world religions,” including Christianity.  And not only the “major” religions:  I am not aware of a single traditional religion anywhere in the world, including among all the so-called “shamanistic” or “primitive” religions, that does not or did not employ “secret languages” as a means by which to conceal knowledge from the “uninitiated” members of the religious community.

At the same time, I have also come to the conclusion that the authors of both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible were actually, at least to some extent, opposed to the practice of esotericism, and through their writings, were subtly and surreptitiously working against it.  That is to say—whether or not they were fully aware of it—they were providing later generations with means by which to help them slough off these oppressive systems of organized deception and deliberate confusion.  I think that the “subversiveness” to be found in the Bible must have been mostly the result of some sort of unconscious or non-conscious (or, if one prefers, “divinely providential”) process at work, in conjunction with a limited amount of conscious awareness by those authors of the problems associated with religious esotericism.  (Passages such as John 16:25 show that the authors of the Bible must have had at least some conscious awareness of the problematic nature of religious esotericism, and must have realized that the esotericist type of religious discourse was somehow defective and less than ideal—which would have presumably given rise to a hope that it might someday be replaced by a new type of religious discourse that would be more ideal.)

However, it is often very difficult if not impossible to determine exactly how much of the anti-esotericist “subversiveness” that one might discern in a particular passage from the Bible was consciously intended by the author, and exactly how much was unconsciously intended (and I do consider an “unconscious intention” to be a genuine kind of intention), since the two types of thinking can easily blend together.  And to make matters even more complicated, there is the additional question of whether non-human mental influences may have sometimes played a role in (quite deliberately) planting an “anti-esotericist message” in the Bible even in spite of the human authors’ complete unawareness of that message in a given instance (and this would again raise the question of possible “divine providence”); but that is a question I won’t pursue here.

Before going any further, let me give you an example of how the esotericist deception works by telling you a little story about myself:

I worked for forty years in West Virginia as a coal miner.  I now receive health benefits from the federal government because of the fact that I got black lung disease as a result of my job.

Now, by ordinary standards, what I just told you is a flat-out lie.  I have never worked as a coal miner.  I have never lived in West Virginia.  But an esotericist has a neat trick he can use to make a passage like that suddenly become “all true” in his own mind.  He simply puts invisible quotation marks around various words and then supplies each of those words or phrases with his own private, secret definitions.  Doing this serves basically the same function in his own mind as that served by a child crossing his fingers behind his back when he tells a lie.  Practitioners of this trickery will often give their secret definitions a euphemistic name, such as “the spiritual meaning.”  Now watch and begin to perceive the deep “spirituality” contained within my own little fib story:

I “worked” “for forty years” “in West Virginia” as a “coal miner.”  I now “receive health benefits” from the “federal government” because of the fact that I got “black lung disease” as a result of “my job.”

Continue reading “How religious esotericism is really just a form of lying”

“Imprisonment” or “bondage” in the Bible understood as a metaphor signifying the inability to clearly communicate one’s meaning

(The following is modified version of a section found in Chapter 4 of Part I of my “Against the Lie” essay.  In order to appreciate its full significance, I recommend that all of the material—including the notes and the Bible passages that I link to—be read carefully.)

In his epistles, the apostle Paul repeatedly makes reference to “bonds,” or “chains,” or “fetters,” or “imprisonment.”  I believe he likely intended words such as these to be understood by the reader as metaphors, used for the purpose of reminding the reader that what he was writing should not be taken completely at face value.  Furthermore, there are striking similarities between the way of thinking that I believe is being expressed by Paul through the use of these metaphors in his writings (and that I believe is also expressed by other authors of the Bible when they use these same kinds of metaphors), and certain ways of thinking that have sometimes been observed in schizophrenic persons.

Continue reading ““Imprisonment” or “bondage” in the Bible understood as a metaphor signifying the inability to clearly communicate one’s meaning”

Some tips and background information for those interested in taking up the amateur “decoding” of esoteric Biblical texts (Part 2 of 2)

There are several points I’d like to discuss with regard to the kind of comparison and analysis of Bible passages that I did in the last post, based on my own experiences with trying to get a handle on material of that sort.  Hopefully this information will be useful to those persons who would like to engage in the interpreting or “decoding” or “deciphering” of the Bible for anti-esotericist purposes, but have never yet made the attempt to do so.

The first point is that you’ll notice from the comparison that the authors of the Bible do not necessarily use their symbols in a consistent manner.  This is one of the things that I find most exasperating about the Bible, and about esoteric religion in general.  In Hebrews 4:12, the “Word of God” is described as being a “sword.”  However, in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul implies—I believe—that Jesus (i.e., the “Word of God”) would use the “sword of Spirit” to “kill” the “Lawless One.”  Similarly, in Revelation 19:11-16, the “sword” is described as coming out of the “Word of God” (i.e., Jesus).  So the metaphor has been changed somewhat.  And I get the sense that esotericists are generally pretty okay with that sort of thing.  (I, on the other hand, being a non-esotericist and indeed an anti-esotericist, am not at all okay with it, because it causes confusion, and makes it more difficult to figure out what an author’s point is.)  This fact needs to be recognized from the outset, since defenders of esoteric religion will likely criticize you for inconsistencies in and among your various theories and hypotheses, even though that very inconsistency may well be due entirely to the inconsistencies in thinking indulged in by the authors of the Bible whose meaning you’re trying to determine.  So always remember:  It’s not your fault.  As long as you make sure that you’re no more inconsistent than the authors were themselves being in their own minds, that will be sufficient.

Continue reading “Some tips and background information for those interested in taking up the amateur “decoding” of esoteric Biblical texts (Part 2 of 2)”

Writings from the “Against the Lie” essay available

I am including links to two versions of Part I of my essay Against the Lie, as well as two versions of a section taken from Part II of that same essay entitled “The Relationship Between the New Testament Figures of Mary, the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, and Mary Magdalene.”   The first version of each document has most of the footnotes removed, and the second has all of the original footnotes still in it.  I recommend starting with the first version, since the main text can be difficult to read in the version with all of the footnotes retained.  Then, if, after reading the first version, you’re still interested in reading more about my ideas on this and related subject matter, you can go on to read through all of the footnotes in the second version.

Against the Lie
(Part I)

Shortened version  (98 pages):   Word    PDF
Full version  (175 pages):   Word    PDF

Mary, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and Mary Magdalene

Shortened version  (9 pages):   Word    PDF
Full version  (20 pages):   Word    PDF

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