Talk:Occult

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I just thought I'd say that this is a page about the Occult which includes a set of religions in their own right, and thus I wonder if half of the article should really be taken up by the Christian viewpoint. I mean, it's great to discuss all points of view - there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but we ought to do some research and expand this article a bit. It is a stub.


We need to answer liberals (or at least materialists) who regard all supernatural concepts and practices as silly and ineffective. For one thing, if (as we Christians believe), the sort of demons cast out by Jesus are real, then attempts to contact them would be "bad" precisely because such attempts might be effective! You would be liable to form a relationship with a demon, who would then most likely tempt you to do (or feel or think) things that pulled you away from God. --Ed Poor Talk 09:42, 20 January 2010 (EST)

Occult (moved from Talk:Mulan)

While most of WilsonB's edits have been reverted, I have taken a look at the article based on one of his criticisms and he seems to have been warranted in his objection to this (though not his rudeness). This is a Disney film about ancient China - it makes no more sense to call this "occultic" than it does to decry The Beauty and the Beast for having a talking clock or candelabra. JacobB 23:50, 31 December 2009 (EST)

Wilson was bad-tempered, and I don't believe for a minute that he was ever a conservative, but his point is well-taken.
  • The Ancestors are deceased members of the Fu family that, in a ghost like form, still have very real connections with the living world. In fact, Mulan's father prays to them. Christian Spotlight on the Movies
It may be a bit heavy-handed to associate ancestor worship with the occult, but a bigger question is whether the Chinese "veneration" of ancestors goes this far. --Ed Poor Talk 09:34, 20 January 2010 (EST)
At the risk of sounding postmodernist (God forbid), it would be a mistake to talk about the occult, which is a Western concept, with an unrelated Eastern culture. The occult's entire history, indeed its very definition, involves a westerner operating outside of western religious practice. Even when borrowing from eastern religions which occultists freely mix with other pre-Christian European practices, it's always westerners we're talking about. Perhaps one might say that a self-professed Wiccan worshipping his ancestors would be occult, but a Japanese buddhist doing the same would not. JDWpianist 09:47, 20 January 2010 (EST)
You don't sound as much postmodernist as Orientalist, in the sense that you seem to be saying that we outsiders cannot understand (or comment on) anything about non-Western cultures. For us conservatives who are Christians, the whole thing about the occult is whether any given supernatural or "spiritual practice" is good, indifferent, or bad.
Materialists, who comprise a significant fraction of Western liberals, categorize everything supernatural as nonsense. For them, the only question is whether such superstitions can have good or bad psychological or social effects. For the rest of us - i.e., religious believers - the supernatural is crucially important. We are concerned with questions such as as the existence and nature of God, what His will is for us, the effectiveness of prayer, issues of faith and works, etc.
For those who believe that moral absolutes exist, all people everywhere are bound by one universal standard. If you don't know it's wrong to do something, and you do it anyway, does this make it less harmful to do the thing? --Ed Poor Talk 10:21, 20 January 2010 (EST)
Nahh, count me out of the Orientalist crowd as well. I'm saying that there's an essential difference in motivation between someone who grows up in a Christian culture and ends up worshipping spirits, and one who grows up in a non-Christian culture and does the same. One is indulging in something "secret" or "clandestine" (don't forget the etymology of the word "occult"), and the other is following a tradition.
From a Christian perspective (and trust me, east Asian Christians are as adamant about this as anyone else), they're both sinful, but the means of proselytizing to them would obviously be very different. JDWpianist 10:38, 20 January 2010 (EST)
We need to distinguish between those elements of Christian culture which regard all contact with the dead as "occult" (i.e., forbidden because it's dangerous to your soul) and those which tolerate or encourage some contact, such as veneration of saints. Some Roman Catholics even pray to patron saints. For example, here is a prayer to St. Anthony. --Ed Poor Talk 09:59, 4 February 2010 (EST)
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