Several years ago, evangelical author Gerald McDermott wrote a superb book entitled, “Can Evangelicals Learn from World Religions?” The text explored the ways theologians of the likes of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin had historically engaged with Pagan philosophers of the likes of Plato and Aristotle and asked what a similar exercise might look like today. In the process McDermott explored aspects of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Islam that Christians, evangelicals included, could profit from … even if only to rediscover forgotten aspects of their own tradition.
Now, I would like to broaden question. Can evangelicals learn, not only from world religions, but from new religious movements and western esoteric traditions as well? McDermott explored aspects of eastern mysticism. I would suggest it is equally valuable to engage with western esotericism. Or to put it more bluntly, I think there are aspects of astrology, alchemy, qabalah, ceremonial magic and tarot that Christians – yes even orthodox Christians – can learn from.
Now, I know this will sound unsound to some. Given the misunderstandings towards the other on both sides of the evangelical-occult divide this is only to be expected. I only ask that you refrain from shooting first and asking questions later, and like, ask first.
3 thoughts on “Can Evangelicals Learn from Occult Traditions?”
Good question Matt, you know I am going to say yes, but of course it will require a new-found humility once again. I wonder if the source of the knowledge will be a letting go of certainty and an embracing of mysticism, very often that is where Evangelicals struggle to go!
Yes we can!
I think at times you push the envelope more than me. Great to raise the question.