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2.0 Philosophy

2.1 Xeper

  1. Perhaps the best discussion of Xeper available online is Magus Don Webb's, found at: http://www.xeper.org/pub/tos/articles/xeper2.html. [March 30, 1998: This essay is now also available at http://www.balanone.info/xeper2.html.]

  2. Balanone: Setian Philosophy centers around the Egyptian concept of Xeper (often spelled Khepher), personified by the Egyptian Neter (god?) Xepera (Khephra), a concept that can be translated to "self improvement," or perhaps "Be all you can be."

    Though that statement above seems simple enough, the study and pursuit of Xeper has proven complex and long, intriguing and challenging enough to keep Setians occupied for a life time.

  3. Apr 28, 1996, Priest Roger Whitaker, Xepera-l:

    Xeper describes a methodology for manifestation. You cannot separate yourself from the force which motivates one to Xeper. It is ingrained within the many and varied paths which lead to it. Xeper such as it is results in a deeper recognition of Self consciousness, i.e., the uniquely human ability to sense its separateness within the body even while it resides within it. This heightened sense of Self Being, itself the result of polaric constituents - its me, in this other thing called a body - becomes a building block of a personal methodology based upon knowledge, intuition, learning and change as a result of the preceding.

    The results of Xeper are manifestations into the world of ideas, art, science and culture. For the individual the results of Xeper become a metaphysical departure point for developing a bond with the Prince of Darkness by creating a matrix of linked ideas whose path leads towards the Genesis of Self Being.

  4. Doesn't everyone seek to grow, improve, or Xeper?

    alt.pagan, Wed Feb 28, '96, 06:37, From : Balanone, Subj : Definition: Satanist

    >>"Those who call themselves Setians strive to grow from within as
    >> individuals

    >Silly me, but I thought that it was everyone's goal to grow--or it is it
    >wrong to grow as an individual and dare to question dogma?

    I wish everyone had the goal to grow. It seems the majority of people today do not. Fortunately there are many within the Pagan culture that do.

    Question though: What is your primary, all-important, number one goal? Is it to grow? be a good person? honor the gods? improve the world? Various Pagans will choose various primary goals. The goal of growth happens to be the one chosen as primary by Setians.

  5. From: Dr. Michael Aquino, To: jfitzsi421@aol.com, Date: Oct 03, 1997, on the Xepera-l mailing list, Subject: Re: Satanic Bible/"Xeper" Question

    jm> Why have you chosen to translate the Egyptian word symbolized by the
    jm> scarab beetle as "Xeper?" This is a question that has been naging me
    jm> a while, since I have yet to come across any linguistic reason for the
    jm> the change of spelling. Was it simply because it looks "cooler" that
    jm> way (which, granted, it does)? Some unspeakable revelation from the
    jm> "Dark Lord?" A gemetraic change I have not identified, or even some
    jm> piece of Egyptology I simply have not found?

    That is the spelling of the term from the record of the North Solstice X/1975 working - the _Book of Coming Forth by Night_ that brought the Temple of Set into being. Previous to that it appeared in _Xeper_... variations in the Egyptian language works of Budge. Note that the "X" is actually the Greek letter, yielding a "kh" pronunciation.

    Since Egyptian had no vowels, you could write the term "Xpr"/"khpr" and take it from there, I suppose. So some have written it as "Khep-Ra", "Khafre", etc. Similarly Set's name has been written "St", "Set", "Seth", "Sut", and may well be the origin for our present-day term "south"! [The modern word for "beetle" in German is _Kafir_, which shows you how these things get around through the mists of history ...]

  6. From: "Balanone", to Viktor Lansky, Date: Wed Jul 7, 1999 8:27 pm, on the Xepera-l mailing list, Subject: Re: Magic and Becoming
    The introductory letter states: "Recognition as an Adept II* constitutes certification by the Temple that one has in fact mastered and successfully applied the essential principles of Black Magic."

    Balanone's REF explains regarding being recognized as Adept: "More, through hard work the individual has opened him- or herself to the forces of Becoming within the body-soul complex." and also "The Second Degree is a Recognition that the Initiate involved has learned the solid basics of what we mean by the term "Setian," and has adopted this mode of life (ie: Xeper). That person has become Adept at magic (can do some, and has shown himself able to learn anything he doesn't yet know)."

    These are probably various aspects of the same thing. Can someone clarify how Xeper and black magic are connected? Is black magic just a tool to achieve tangible goals (like the thread of cause and effect suggested), or is it a primary tool of becoming? Also, can I open myself to the forces of Becoming without doing any magic at all?

    Magic is a tool used to achieve a whole variety of goals, of which Xeper can be one (or several).

    Xeper is a process and goal.

    Many people do achieve self-improvement, self-advancement, self-growth, and/or other similar achievements without resorting to magic. Those who are dedicated to such growth and do not bother with the occult or magic are just as respected and appreciated as those who do explore the occult and use magic.

    The former can't be Setians, because by definition our path is one that includes the use of magic as one of the many tools of Xeper and Initiation. They can still be highly regarded and respected people and friends.

    I'd much rather be surrounded by people dedicated to their own self improvement who can't understand and have no use for magic, than by people who explore and use magic but have no interest in self improvement.

 

2.2  Initiation

  • What do those necklaces and medallions mean?

    The Temple of Set is an initiatory organization, dedicated to the initiation and growth of its members. Pentagram of Set

    That dedication to initiation, to the philosophy of Xeper, and to Set, is represented by our primary symbol, the Pentagram of Set (a point-down pentagram within a circle). To help our members identify each other so we can work together, and to help them identify which level of initiation has been achieved by each other, we wear this symbol on different colored medallions, normally worn on necklaces of some kind, at formal gatherings.

    There are six levels of initiation recognized within the Temple of Set, each with its specific color medallion.

    • The first degree member wears a white medallion. This is a period of trial membership, in which the member begins to explore our philosophies, our practices, and our society. The member can decide whether our organization is one which will help the member's personal growth, and if not he is welcome to leave at any time, with our good wishes. Likewise, during this period we determine whether the member will function well within our society, will benefit from our activity, and will eventually be able to help others in the organization with their personal growth. If not, then their membership is terminated, hopefully with no hard feelings. We title this degree "Setian," which is also the generic name for all of our members. The term stands for all who pursue their self deification while in contact with the philosophical and magical stream of the Temple.

    • The second degree wears a red medallion. This is a member who has completed the trial membership and has been found to be compatible with and a valued contributor to the Temple of Set, just as we have been found to be useful to the member's own growth. More, through hard work the individual has opened him- or herself to the forces of Becoming within the body-soul complex. This is a place of great excitement and achievement. We Recognize our Adepts by the quality of their adventures and projects. This is where we differ form most occult schools that would award degrees based on knowledge and memory feats. These members are free to work with our philosophies and to participate in our activities to the fullest. More members are in the second degree than any other level of initiation. We title this degree "Adept," declaring them able to pursue any and all goals applicable to their personal growth.

    • The third degree wears a black medallion. This is a member who not only has shown all of the qualities of an advanced second degree member, but who has also been chosen by Set to serve in his priesthood. This member has demonstrated abilities in working with and representing Set and the Temple of Set. We title this degree "Priest." Another way of putting this: the Third Degree Setian has become Resonate with the Work of Set. He or she is directly empowered by Set and charged him to expand the Setian experience -- this includes everything form running the Temple, which belongs to its Priesthood, to a variety of scholarly, artistic, or (obviously) magical endeavors to increase the Setian mindscape. Third Degrees can represent the Temple in most matters. If you have any questions concerning the Temple of Set (the organization, our activities, beliefs, or members), these members are the best qualified to answer your questions.

    • The fourth degree wears a blue medallion. The Fourth Degree Setian is the founder of a school of thought in the Temple, which may effect the general philosophical and magical actions of mankind as well. These schools of thought are called Orders. Some such as the Order of the Vampyre or the Order of the Trapezoid are well known beyond the boundaries of the Temple walls, while others have lower profiles. The job of the Fourth Degree is the discovery and articulation of communicable methods of Initiation. The Orders bear the same relationship to the Temple as departments do to a University. They are places for the Adept to specialize in pursuit of the specialized tools for their personal achievement.

    • The fifth wears a purple medallion. The sixth wears a gold medallion. The distinctions between these grades of initiation are very meaningful within the Temple of Set, but for most purposes you can consider them as variations upon the fourth degree.

  • Base of Set echo, 23 Feb 94 21:31:18, From: Lady Byron, To: Thomas Palmer, Subj: Initiation

    TP> 1) Is the temple based on a hiearchical structure with the leadership
    TP> dictating study content and judging progess and granting "degrees"?

    TP> appearance later in the
    TP> document of criteria for advancement suggested that
    TP> the leadership considered
    TP> themselves to be exclusively able to interpret the "will of Set."

    TP> I find this to be contrary to a "doctrine" of personal revelation.

    Though I speak not for the Temple of Set, I shall speak for my own opinions along these lines.

    Initiation, to me, implies personal growth, or evolution to a new state of Being. This is regardless of what level others "recognize" you to be.

    The problem with "LHP initiatory organizations" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) is that the members are still setting themselves up for acceptance from other members. Even when cloaked in the term "Recognition," the initiate does not get the honors of the next degree until the peer group decides that it's acceptable.

    While we can learn a great deal from one another as fellow magicians, we need not depend upon one another (and should not, IMO) for recognitions and/or degrees. I have come to feel that the heirarchy of the organizations is a waste of my time, and doesn't add to my learning of the materials in the least. In other words, Initiation is not dependent upon any organization's bestowed title. A pat on the back by a senior (or, simply, "more experienced") so you know you're on track should be quite enough.

  • Base of Set echo, 24 Feb 94 18:37:13, From: Balanone, To: Thomas Palmer, Subj: Re: Temple of Set

    TP> 1) Is the temple based on a hiearchical structure with the leadership
    TP> dictating study content and judging progess and granting "degrees"?

    TP> Some of the introductory material (as posted to wierdbase in 1986 and
    TP> picked up by my home board) was a little confusing on this point. The
    TP> self-realization, self-manifestation of the divine principles as
    TP> described is well in tune with my current philosophical position, but
    TP> the appearance later in the document of criteria for advancement
    TP> suggested that the leadership considered themselves to be exclusively
    TP> able to interpret the "will of Set."

    TP> I find this to be contrary to a "doctrine" of personal revelation.

    Unlike organizations with nine, eleven, or even dozens of degree grade, there are only six Grades within the Temple of Set, and so the "granting" of degrees really doesn't happen much. The Second Degree is a Recognition that the Initiate involved has learned the solid basics of what we mean by the term "Setian," and has adopted this mode of life (ie: Xeper). That person has become Adept at magic (can do some, and has shown himself able to learn anything he doesn't yet know).

    This is properly an objective measure of Xeper, and must therefore necessarily be Recognized by someone capable of making that determination. That is the responsibility of the Third Degree, and the ability to Recognize II* Adepts is one of the criteria of the III* Recognition.

    Any single III* Priest may Recognize a I* Initiate to the II* whenever appropriate.

    The III* is largely a Recognition of a special relationship between the Initiate and Set, one in which Set has chosen the Initiate to act as his Priest. It bears religious, administrative, and legal responsibilities. This Grade therefore also demands objective evaluation and determination by those qualified to do so.

    From your reading of the introductory information, you should have gathered that just about all important Xeper can and usually does happen within the II*. The skilled and experienced II* Adept can do *anything* that any higher Grade Initiate can do, excepting those specific tasks and powers specifically associated with the "higher" Grade (which are very few indeed).

    Therefore, an Initiate can indeed spend an entire lifetime within the II*, learning magic, exercising knowledge and power, and become everything that Initiate wants to become, without ever bothering with the III*. To do such would be to lead an honorable and satisfying life. Such an Initiate would be highly respected within the Temple of Set by all members of all degrees -- an Adept is a magician worthy of praise.

    So how does a I* become Recognized to the II*? 1) Xeper. Read, study, learn, practice, do. 2) Communicate with *several* Priests (III*). Being people, our Priests have the individual ways of looking at things and people, and you're bound to be understood better by some than by others. Having an active communication with several Priests gives you that much more opportunity to be Recognized to the II* than if you limit your exposure to just one Priest.

    And if, after some years as II*, you should find yourself becoming Priest yourself? How do you become Recognized? Again, communicate with several IV*, and demonstrate your Xeper.

    Do you then have to wait for this "leadership" to "grant" your Recognition to whatever degree you think you've earned? I've seen Initiates who are Recognized by perceptive higher Initiates who see the growth before the Initiate himself does (sometimes we're too closely involved with ourselves to see the changes taking place). I've also seen Initiates speculate about their changes bring this to the attention of higher Initiates, and have these perceptions validated through the process of Recognition. It works both ways.

    I've also seen Initiates propose that they've "earned" or "deserve" a higher Grade, and be refused that higher Grade simply because they haven't become that being which is Recognized by the higher Grade. Some are most definitely disappointed, and they sometimes leave, claiming something to the effect that
    TP> I find this to be contrary to a "doctrine" of personal revelation.
    Most cases have, in my opinion, been cases of "greedy" initiates who wanted a Grade higher than they had become, or Initiates who were mistaken in their self-perception (wearing rose-colored glasses inside-out?), or initiates who did not really understand what that next Grade was about.

  • Why do you turn the pentagram upside down?

    or as flagg@tiac.net stated on alt.pagan on Jan 10, 1996, and I responded:

    ft> I know some satanists would like to THINK they are pagan, but if this is the case, why the need to desacrate the Pentagram as they did the Cross? I know the pentagram is not central to all pagan beliefs, but there is still no need for this. All pagan faiths that I know of respect the symbols of other religions.

    Agreed. So why do you turn the holy and glorious Pentagram wrong side up? It's a symbol of dynamic balance, resting actively on one point. Why do you have to turn it over with its all-important balance point pointing meaninglessly up into the air?

2.3  Satanism

  • Is the Temple of Set a Satanic organization?

    The Temple of Set as an organization was founded in 1975 by Dr. Michael Aquino, in San Francisco. Its initial membership came from the Church of Satan (that infamous "Satanic" organization of the carny Anton LaVey), composed of CoS members who felt there was something real and important about the magic they were exploring, and felt that Anton LaVey's antics of that year were in contradiction to their own experiences. The Temple of Set has grown a lot in scope and maturity in those twenty years.

    Because of this history, and because of the many antinomian pursuits followed by Setians, many people will call the Temple of Set "Satanic." Many Setians do, too, but not all.

    "Satan" is a name given to the Prince of Darkness, just like "Set" is a name given to the Prince of Darkness. However, "Set" is a name given by a religion which found Setian principles attractive and noble, and which honored the Prince of Darkness. "Satan" is a name given to the Prince of Darkness by Christianity out of fear and revulsion. The Christian Satan is a twisted bastardization of the true Prince of Darkness.

    "Satanism" is a term used by many to describe the Left Hand Path in the West. We are a proud part of the tradition of spiritual dissent, differing philosophically from the Church of Satan. Their take on the Left Hand Path is the Immanent Path wherein godhood is achieved by the worship of the carnal ego with no possibility of personal immortality save in some vague connection to the organic stream. We are followers of the Transcendental path, wherein person immortality is achievable by a strengthening of the idealized Self. In an increasingly post-Christian world, the term "Satanism" will become irrelevant.

  • alt.pagan, Dec 21 '95, 08:42, From : Balanone, in response to amagister@aol.com, Subj : Roles and Offices:

    "Satanism is a small part of Setianism. Setian activities also include the study and use of Egyptian religion, symbolism and philsophy, Runic studies, meso-American pursuits, shamanism, vampyrism, theatre arts as magic, etc. Setians come from all sorts of religious and social backgrounds, and many (most?) have no interest in Satanism."

  • If by "Satanic" you mean "unconscionably evil," or people who desecrate churches, or people who abuse children, or people who sacrifice people or animals, then no, we're not Satanic. If by "Satanic" you mean people who would rather follow their own conscience and ethics rather than the morals handed down by the priests of a religion as filled with contradictions as Christianity is, then yes, we're Satanic.

    Because of the difficulty of this question, because of the multiple definitions of Satanism and "Satanic," the Temple of Set itself is ambivalent about whether it should consider itself part of the modern Satanic movement. There are good reasons to consider us part of modern Satanism (the leading edge of ethical Satanism), and there are good reasons to simply leave the "Satanism" label behind.

  • If the Temple of Set does not believe in Judaeo/ Christian/ Islamic mythology, why does it call itself a "Satanic" religion?

    For the last two thousand years most of the social cultures in which the Temple currently exists have been dominated by one or more branches of Judaeo/Christianity. This influence is far more pervasive than most people consciously realize, extending into these societies' most basic assumptions about law, justice, ethics, social mores, family units, and metaphysics. It is easy to not be a member of a Christian church, or to call oneself a non-Christian; it is far more difficult to escape from J/C social conditioning.

    Within this climate many of the aspects of Set are symbolized in religious imagery by the positive attributes of the J/C Satan. While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam created their "Satan" distortion of the Set neter of ancient Egypt in order to fashion an "evil scarecrow" to intimidate and control their societies, they could not help endowing "Satan" with such Setian attributes as independence, creativity, honesty, artistry, and intellectual genius - as these same attributes, except in severely controlled and approved forms, are "sins against God" in J/C/I culture.

    Therefore many persons of Setian disposition and potential first become aware of their true nature through an unusual interest in and attraction to "Satan" and Satanic imagery. [This was the case of the Temple of Set as a whole, which from 1966 to 1975 - as the Church of Satan - was exploring the Left-Hand Path from within J/C terminology.] Hence it is sometimes necessary to use the "Satanic" metaphor to initially communicate with J/C-socialized individuals concerning Setian interests and capabilities they otherwise find difficult to express. Once such persons understand what they are actually awakening in themselves, they are more easily able to recognize and jettison the entire cage of J/C reference-points, then enter a much larger universe as Setians.

2.4  Left Hand Path

The Left Hand Path is the tradition of spiritual dissent. It is a process of using the ideas and actions of the Seeker to create or realize an immortal, individual, potent, and powerful essence that will survive death. The Left Hand Path is the quest for personal immortality, won by hard effort without grace of gods, even of our role model, Set.

2.5  Metaphysics

  • C.G. asked on Xepera-l, 3/27/96:   Is there such a thing as a Setian metaphysic? Or a Setian epistemology?

    Answered by Asmodean, 3/30/96

    While the Temple of Set has no official doctrine or studies on either Epistemology or Metaphysics it is a major point of discussion among us. Most of our philosophy is Metaphysicaly based and just defining the word "Xeper" has huge epistemological ramifications, not to mention other Setian employed terms such as "Runa" and "Remanifest". Many Setians look strongly to the works of Nietzsche and other existential philosophers because of the parallels between existentialism and our belief in Xeper, or "becoming". Also the works of Hegel, with his views on Thesis and Antithesis , among others, are viewed on strongly. But again, there is no specific guidline of study within the Temple so it can't be said that we are defined by these philosophers or their beliefs, influenced yes.

    I am hoping to do a further epistemological study within the Temple but as yet I have no finite plans, if I come up with something anytime soon I will be sure to post it. Also, if you do affiliate with the Temple there are a number of chapters in your initial text which would be more than helpful in understanding Setian philosophy. Best of luck!!

2.6  Dogma vs Doctrine

The Temple of Set has no dogma, but it does have teachings. We're sometimes accused of having dogma because of these teachings.

  • alt.satanism, from: Balanone, Date: Mar 05, 1994, Subj: Re: "True" Satanism

    On 28 Feb 94 02:56:37, Tyagi@cup.portal.com posted to All concerning: Re: "True" Satanism ...

    [comments not applicable to the question of dogma deleted]

    Ty> What if 'Satanism' doesn't have anything to do with a stated
    Ty> 'viewpoint'? What if, like Zen Buddhism, it is not doctrinal in scope?
    Ty> Even the Temple of Set claims not to have a dogma, though I must admit
    Ty> I notice a fairly consistent 'philosophy' presented in its
    Ty> Introductory documents.

    You seem to have confused "dogma" and "doctrine". Granted the dictionary seems to treat them as synonyms, but in most usage there is a significant difference: "Doctrine" is a body of principles, knowledge, and/or beliefs or teachings. Even Zen Buddhism has doctrine, since it has a common philosophy about reality and its relationship to the individual, and since it has teachings about how to relate to this reality. In other words, it has suggestions about how to live one's life -- that is doctrine.

    "Dogma" is the blind adherence to past teachings, without the flexibility of adapting to new discoveries or philosophies.

    Doctrine is essential to the identity of any group, philosophy, or movement -- it defines and/or identifies those who are part of the group. This applies equally well to Zen Buddhists, Satanists, and Chaoticists, as well as to more conventional groups. Dogma is almost always harmful in the long run, since it causes the group to miss out on humanity's advances.

    Ty> Then again, you seem to be supporting the 'ToS dogma position'.

    Sorry, not dogma, but doctrine or view. There is a difference.

    [more comments discussing Satanism and/or organizations deleted]

    Ba>If Neopaganism /were/ "nature worship," then Setians couldn't be
    Ba> neopagan.

    Ty> I gather that this would be false if one thought 'Set' equated to
    Ty> 'Nature'. I'm told that there is no dogma in ToS and so this would
    Ty> seem possible. Please explain to me why it would not be possible.
    Ty> That is how I'm going to interpret it as I approach the Temple. I'll
    Ty> see what happens. :>

    There is no dogma, but there is knowledge and understanding. If someone thought 'Set' equated to 'Nature,' he'd be wrong, according to our current perceptions and understandings of Set. If he were right, he could work to convince the rest of us, and if he were successful we'd change our doctrine. That's what we mean by "no dogma." But we see no reason to accept someone who states "2 + 2 = 7".

  • alt.satanism, 17 Mar 94 21:29:37, From: Balanone, Subj: Re: "True" Satanism

    Ty> "Indeed dogma - to include fixed ideology in any form - is repugnant
    Ty> to the Temple."

    Ty> Now perhaps I'm mistaken, but I'm hearing a rather one-sided story
    Ty> from Michael Aquino, Uncle Setnakt, Balanone and Dark Star, especially
    Ty> when it comes to the ideology of what makes a 'true Satanist', and that
    Ty> strikes me as a kind of dogmatism.

    Ty> ... Perhaps I simply don't understand the
    Ty> words being used or have somehow misconstrued their meanings, and I
    Ty> would be very open to hearing this addressed.

    That may be the case. From my personal experience as a maverick within the Temple of Set, there is no dogma. There are strongly held opinions by many within the Temple, and many of those opinions are shared by the great majority. If you feel that shared opinion creates "dogma," then we have a difference of opinion concerning that definition.

    FYI, to my knowledge nobody has ever been refused admission to the Temple of Set for disagreeing with any of the opinions that seem to strike you as dogma, nor has anyone been expelled from the Temple of Set for holding such differing opinions.

    Again, I'm a maverick. Most of the topics you've challenged here are those in which I happen to share Dr. Aquino's opinion (as do others). They also happen to be among the least important "positions" that can be held by anyone. The fun really begins when we get to the more important areas of discussion, and especially those areas where we disagree -- that's where the learning gets intense.

  • Dr. Aquino responded to my comments above, in alt.satanism, 18 Mar 94 09:58:56, From: Michael Aquino, Subj: Temple of Set Qualification Criteria

    Generally a dogma is an article resting ultimately in faith which is required to be accepted. That is a rough definition, as one can get more technical with it in period analyses of Christianity, etc.

    The Temple of Set is anchored by two principles, neither of which fall into the category of dogma by any reasonable standard. The first is psychecentric consciousness, or affirmation of individual existence - a refinement of "I think, therefore I am" if you will. You can't very well dispute this, because even the act of questioning or disputing it would be a demonstration of it!

    The second principle - _Xeper_ - is that the consciousness can evolve towards a theoretical perfection through its own capacity and effort. This is, of course, a "working proposition" varying markedly between unique individual consciousnesses. Again not remotely "dogma", in that its application is *necessarily* individualistic.

    Generally people have been refused Temple of Set admission for lack of capacity or lack of sincerity. Some people are, to put it plainly, too stupid to understand concepts such as these - or have had such a poor education that they cannot order their thoughts to this degree of precision. There is little to be done about the former. The latter are usually advised to concentrate on getting a sound basic education first, then to reapproach the Temple if still interested.

  • In reviewing a draft of this document, Magus Don Webb, the High Priest, suggested I erred in my answers above (I attribute this to a difference in opinion concerning the definition of "dogma"):

    DW> Actually the Temple of Set does have dogma:
    DW> 1. Being and Becoming are Good.
    DW> 2. Being and Becoming can be enhanced by consciously chosen activities including Magic.
    DW> 3. The Temple of Set, if properly maintained and used as a tool can be used to obtain Being and Becoming.
    DW> That's about it.

  • Later I found an email exchange which seems to echo this: alt.satanism, 04 Jul 94 17:08:36, From: Balanone, Subj: Re: Dogma

    On 01 Jul 94 17:10:06, tim@toad.com posted to All concerning: Re: Dogma ...

    ti> Balanone@northern.wmeonlin.sacbbx.com (Balanone) writes:
    >"Dogma" is the blind adherence to past teachings, without the flexibility
    >of adapting to new discoveries or philosophies.

    ti> Dogma is required belief. What you are defining is not its
    ti> denotation, but a connotation which it has acquired as a result of
    ti> theological liberalization.

    ti> Any belief which is required in order to be a member of a group is
    ti> dogma, and there is no group which is without dogma, though in many
    ti> cases the dogma is unwritten and informal. Zen is dogmatic...

    Given that restricted definition (can you quote a reference for it, to counter the references seen to date), then by that restricted definition the Temple of Set does require the following dogma from its members:

    1) Each human being is an individual who is capable of taking independent action, and who is ultimately responsible for the actions taken (ie: there's no recourse to "___(fillintheblank)___ made me do it" or "it's ok, since ___(fillintheblank)___ will forgive me").

    2) One class of actions which is highly desirable to take consists of those actions which involve self improvement and the advancement of one's self (advancement in knowledge, understanding, ability, nobility, etc).

    From my experience, those are the only basic beliefs required of any I* or II* Setian.

    ti> Just as present-day racism is harder to confront than that of the
    ti> 1950's because it is tacit rather than overt, groups which claim to
    ti> have no dogma may have the hardest time facing the questions of
    ti> liberalization. They do have dogma, but they cannot see it as such,
    ti> and therefore cannot decide to reduce it. Their members would be
    ti> better served by explicit dogma which could then be the subject of
    ti> rational discussion.

    I can agree with that analysis, but based on my own experience within the Temple of Set, including those times when I have disagreed publicly with various beliefs held by leaders within the Temple, I don't think there is any other dogma to be found in the organization. I'm open to correction if anyone can suggest any other "required beliefs."

 

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