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Edward Heneage Dering’s “Esoteric Buddhism: The New Gospel of Atheism”

Edward Heneage Dering’s 29 page critique of theosophist A.P. Sinnett’s Esoteric Buddhism, The Occult World, and the Letters in The New Gospel of Atheism” (1887).

This work can be compared to Per Faxneld’s Blavatsky the Satanist: Luciferianism in Theosophy and its Implications in its method of quoting, but still manages to misrepresent his opponent. However, what does someone like Edward Heneage Dering think of Theosophy? He deduces, that Esoteric Buddhism, spiritism and sorcery are essentially one and inseparable, i.e., a diabolical “anti-Christian conspiracy,” and that any Christian reader would conclude so. Edward H. Dering begins by trying to make sense of the position of Theosophy on God, and argues, the concept of eternal substance (or svabhava) is a “substitution” for God.

Dering reveals jealousy and emotional investment into this small endeavor he tries to make seem simple and a waste of time for him. This jealousy regards the ability of the T.S. then to have representatives from various countries and religions, which is inherent to it, and its cause. Some people who do not know the words they use incorrectly equate this with ecumenicism.

There are a couple of good skeptical points made by Edward H. Dering, and one is regarding “wonder-working,” when he questions what K.H. states in a letter about the London newspaper; that producing phenomena would be disastrous. He implores, that such times would have been the best opportune moments for Theosophists to have made their impression, despite any probability of consequence, ignoring the fact the brotherhood has rules, and simply found it inadvisable.

The Letters demonstrate their displeasure toward demonstrating phenomena by even Blavatsky. Edward H. Dering basically suspects, that the men are bluffing, and are either demoniacal, or the mediums — despite the fact they teach against the practice of mediumship — of the “planetary spirits” they are supposed to know of and commune with, he identifies with the Biblical “fallen angels” and the Principalities of the Air, in a winking fashion to his Christian readers. Edward Heneage Dering concludes very assuredly to himself in the end, that he shed light on who this Brotherhood in Tibet really is secretly — you’ve guessed it — demons communing with demons. Edward H. Dering wanted to critique Sinnett’s work and the letters put out on the philosophy, because he said, very few at the time endeavored to do it. He accuses Theosophists of being all the things they have repeatedly warned against. Much of the critique was addressed two years later in The Key to Theosophy (1889), but Edward H. Dering shows us, that our ideas will never be enough to vindicate our side of things. We need to again be more offensive and polemical. You can read it on Google Books “Esoteric Buddhism: The New Gospel of Atheism,” 1887.

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