1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

How Important is a Prophet?

By January 3, 2011

Follow me on:

ModernGnosis recently put up a blog post about prejudice within religious studies.  In concerns how all of us have certain biases, and how easily they can color our understanding of new sources, such as giving more weight to evidence that supports already accepted beliefs and less weight to contrary evidence.

But the most interesting point, IMHO, was the statement that "Aleister Crowley is no more Thelema than Moses is Judaism. The prophet is not the core of the religion. They are merely the mouthpiece for God."

Merely the mouthpieces of God?  Most people consider mouthpieces of God to be pretty important.  And this is coming from a Thelemic website, run by someone who does, in fact, accept Crowley as a prophet.  The perspective here is that while the prophet revealed large amounts of information, it is still up to each individual believer to interpret that information.  Crowley was the start, but he certainly isn't the end all and be all of Thelema.

And so it is for Moses.  Jews traditionally view the Torah as written by Moses.  The Torah is the moment important of the Hebrew scriptures, but it certainly isn't the entirety of scripture.  In addition, there are many more documents in Judaism that are held is highly important (such as the Talmud) but aren't considered scripture at all.

Religions may start with a prophet, or at least a founder, but they continue to develop long after that person is dead.  Judging a religion primarily on it's prophet or founder ignores the vast complexity of religion.

Comments
January 8, 2011 at 1:39 am
(1) Tau Sciam says:

I wanted to first thank you for mentioning my website here. You also seem to have caught my intended meaning behind that statement as well.

When people first come into contact with Thelema, they often tend to focus on Crowley. As you know, there are so many distorted perceptions, baseless rumors, etc. about Crowley that it’s really quite ridiculous. In the end, some of them think they’ve researched Thelema when, in reality, all they’ve really done is filled themselves in on all the rumors concerning Crowley. Instead of delving into the religion, they’ve researched a man.

Judaism would not be Judaism if the Torah was all about the personal life of Moses. Similarly, focusing on the purported life of Crowley does not teach you about Thelema. If you want to know about the real Crowley, pick up Perdurabo by Dr. Richard Kaczynski. But, if you want to know about Thelema, then you have authors such as Lon Milo Duquette or Crowley’s own ‘The Law is for All’.

For me, personally, Crowley’s work as a prophet was primarily penning the Book of the Law. As a man, he wrote the much needed commentary that is sold as ‘The Law is for All’. Of course, there are other Class A (Divinely inspired) documents, but the Book of the Law is the one of primary importance. There are also many, many other writings by Crowley on Thelema, but these are the work of Crowley the man.

January 8, 2011 at 1:39 am
(2) Tau Sciam says:

Most Thelemites see two different Crowleys in a way: Crowley the prophet and Crowley the man. This isn’t a prophet who was written about by others later or only whose prophetic works were handed down. We have a tremendous amount of material by Crowley. Only those works considered to be Class A and Divinely inspired are held in the utmost esteem. The rest are the writings of a man and are taken as the works of a man. We are free to disagree with and even disregard them if we so choose as we would the writings of anyone else.

This is very difficult for many to understand. They only have the prophetic works of their prophets or consider their prophets, in the case of Jesus, to be divine. But, it’s something that must be understood about Thelema for people to “get it”. Crowley wasn’t divine.

The emphasis, within Thelema, is on these Class A documents, especially the Book of the Law. It is on the philosophy presented there. We are really entering into an era where Thelemites are beginning to reject the Social Darwinism that Crowley tried tying into Thelema. You have the Order of Thelemic Knights providing support to battered women’s shelters and the needy. You have Thelemites becoming socially conscious. The Thelema of the future will not be what Crowley envisioned, in my opinion. It will be the future we envision and the Thelema we hold within our own breasts.

January 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm
(3) Blayze Kohime says:

Put simply, just because a prophet has a message doesn’t mean everything he/she says or does is part of that message. Most of the time the essence of a message is lost because people are so busy looking at the person that they forget to look at what the person is pointing at.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.