Structuralism, Cultural Relativism And Deprogramming


The term ethnocentrism was coined by William G. Sumner, upon observing the tendency for people to differentiate between the in-group and others. He defined it as “the technical name for the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.” He further characterized it as often leading to pride, vanity, beliefs of one’s own group’s superiority, and contempt of outsiders. Robert K. Merton comments that Sumner’s additional characterization robbed the concept of some analytical power because, Merton argues, centrality and superiority are often correlated, but need to be kept analytically distinct.

Just as it may take “deprogramming” to get out of a “cult” (in the modern meaning) it may take some to get into a cult (proper).

A deprogramming of the norm so to speak.

It is very easy to by way of structuralism and ethnocentrism attempt to apply a teaching or way to ones life that is really nothing more than ones original one in other trappings.

I would say that this is true regardless of weather it is a mystery school such as Thelema, Kabbalah or Raja Yoga or if it is a reconstructivist or ethnic path.

I sometimes find myself struggling with sexual ideas, ideals as to what is “sacred” and what is “profane”, the nature of morals, philosophical and cultural ideals and so on that i can clearly see are Christian (despite not having been a Christian for decades), Post-Modern or other strains of philosophy that are part of contemporary mainstream  society.

This despite a number of initiations, years of religous practice and study.

This is probably (one reason ) why banishings are so essential to the Ceremonial Magician.

Taking out the trash leaves room for any other work.

Just like when studying another contemporary or ancient culture, the glasses of ones own has to come off.

Paralells that dont exist must be exorcicised and the subject must be studied objectively and with some degree of honesty.

This however also applies to the praxis that might follow.

Just like an ethnocentric antropologist would be more or less studying his own culture, a mystic or reconstructivist stuck in the norm of today would simply be a guy changing robes.

“Religion, Gods, Faith, Culture” Ethnocentrism lives and prospers.



Religion, like a few other terms (love,tribe,ethnicity,intelligence....and oh....pagan)
 have no good defenition that everybody agrees on.


When western culture encounters a new culture they divide up what they see
 as "religion, magic,witchdoctor, Gods,spirits" despite the fact that what they see
 has developed within a culture other than their own.

 


Everything has meanings to that culture that they dont necessarily comprehend.

Catholic Priests claim to transform wine into blood but would never agree to having it called magic,
 alchemy or anything similar.


If a wiccan or ju ju man sticks a needle in a doll in order to heal who it represents,
 it is called magic, why not prayer?

Is Voudoun religion or magic. Many would say (and thats the easiest to a westerner)
 religion that incorporates magic.
The truth is that it is neither since both "magic" and "religion" are words used by another culture
Than the one meeting in the Hounfour. Voudoun is Voudoun.

 


"Prayer", yet another word without defenition.
By the most narrow enterpretations, only Protestants and a few others really pray.

By a lighter one, lithanies, sacrifices, meditations and chantings could be counted as versions of prayer.

Take it one step further, and watching the sun rise with awe would be prayer
 (perhaps the most original one).

And what is the point with "prayer"? That too would differ.

"Forn Sed" one of many names for a nameless custom, the indiginous religion of Scandinavia.


Religion in my (as in many others ) case has nothing to do with "faith",
 is totally ingrained with culture as such and the actions we take.

It is not seen a a separate "thing", and neither are the Gods we worship.
Behaving the right way and doing my job is just as much part of the cult as sacrifices and mythology.

Acts, not belief.


When i raise the cup saying "Til ars ok frithar" (roughly "To a good year and peace)
 in the presence of the mights i do so as an act of kinship.


"Frith", in modern Swedish transformed into two words, "Fred" and "Frid" 
(peace as in "not war" and peace as in "calm,balance, peace of mind)
 once incorporated both meanings and more.


In a sense "frith" could be seen as harmony with an extention.


Somebody started this place. It is his, so i must behave with a certain amount of respect towards him
 as his guest or i will breake the "frith" (create turmoil, unbalance, conflict).


Since the Gods and the Ancestors are counted as my kin (and even more so by drinking together),
 thus part of my "tribe" or society if you will, i will have to keep "frith" with existance as a whole.


A bit like the Roman "Pax Deorum" i guess.


Now.....exactly how the hell do you break that, to me simple, concept down to Christendom?
A person who predominatly eats porridge would call Sushi "a Japanese form of porridge"

God, peace,ale, society, tribe....it all means something else to them (not "worse", just "else").

Religion as a Christian concept


 Religion as a Christian concept The social constructionists In recent years, some academic writers have described religion according to the theory of social constructionism, which considers how ideas and social phenomena develop in a social context. Among the main proponents of this theory of religion are Timothy Fitzgerald, Daniel Dubuisson and Talad Assad. The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern concept that developed from Christianity and was then applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures and European pre Christian cultures.

The social constructionists

In recent years, some academic writers have described religion according to the theory of social constructionism, which considers how ideas and social phenomena develop in a social context. Among the main proponents of this theory of religion are Timothy Fitzgerald, Daniel Dubuisson and Talad Assad. The social constructionists argue that religion is a modern concept that developed from Christianity and was then applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures and European pre Christian cultures.

Similar views to social constructionism have been put forward by writers who are not social constructionists. George Lindbeck, a Lutheran and a postliberal theologian, says that religion does not refer to belief in “God” or a transcendent Absolute, but rather to “a kind of cultural and/or linguistic framework or medium that shapes the entirety of life and thought … it is similar to an idiom that makes possible the description of realities, the formulation of beliefs, and the experiencing of inner attitudes, feelings, and sentiments.” Nicholas de Lange, Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Cambridge University, says that “The comparative study of religions is an academic discipline which has been developed within Christian theology faculties, and it has a tendency to force widely differing phenomena into a kind of strait-jacket cut to a Christian pattern. The problem is not only that other ‘religions’ may have little or nothing to say about questions which are of burning importance for Christianity, but that they may not even see themselves as religions in precisely the same way in which Christianity sees itself as a religion.”

Similar views to social constructionism have been put forward by writers who are not social constructionists. George Lindbeck, a Lutheran and a postliberal theologian, says that religion does not refer to belief in “God” or a transcendent Absolute, but rather to “a kind of cultural and/or linguistic framework or medium that shapes the entirety of life and thought … it is similar to an idiom that makes possible the description of realities, the formulation of beliefs, and the experiencing of inner attitudes, feelings, and sentiments.” Nicholas de Lange, Professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Cambridge University, says that “The comparative study of religions is an academic discipline which has been developed within Christian theology faculties, and it has a tendency to force widely differing phenomena into a kind of strait-jacket cut to a Christian pattern. The problem is not only that other ‘religions’ may have little or nothing to say about questions which are of burning importance for Christianity, but that they may not even see themselves as religions in precisely the same way in which Christianity sees itself as a religion.”