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Re: Story of Deconversion: Confession from the Snake Pit

Sep 01, 1995 09:34 PM
by Arthur Paul Patterson

At 10:11 AM 9/2/95, K. Paul Johnson wrote:
>Dear Art,
>This is one of the best posts I have ever read on any list or
>newsgroups. Although I know you find many of the unpleasant
>features of fundamentalism in the behavior of Theosophists, it
>may not be obvious without being pointed out.

I don't think that fundamentalism is so much a doctrine as it is a mental
attitude at best, and a pathology, at worst. Given what I have read of
Theosophy, I wouldn't expect the movement to be jam packed with
Theosophical fundamentalists but I am not surprised that there are some.
The best root is not to be defensive or to get into argumentation but to
try to figure out what guides people, what drives them to cling onto
orthodoxies. When you dig deep enough you will find that there is a reason
for compassion underneath. In my case it was the lack of family
hospitality, the despair and disillusionment with society, and a deep
inferiority that kept me rooted to the externalized power of the Revealed

There is a tradition within Theosophy that speaks against basing faith on
an external. When I joined the group, I ordered a few books form Jerry
Hejka-Ekin, as well as an excellent intro to Theosophy on Video. Among the
literature he sent was an out of print book called Revelation or
Realization by J.J. Van Der Leeuw. It is one of the best critiques of
externalized faith (Second Hand Revelatory faith) I havc ever read, one
quote on the last page strikes me as central to the whole fundamentalist
mood. "Theosophy as the reallization of life by each man (person) in his
(her) own consciousness, is incompatible with a hierarchic system of
revelation where truth and enlightenment come to us through others and
where the guidance of our life rests on orders from superiors." Earlier in
the book he argues against being so individual that you can not learn from
others, so, it is not merely an immature reaction.

Thanks for your connections Paul I will ponder them was I do my reading.

Arthur Paul Patterson

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