Long story short, I am trying to have a discussion of my occult beliefs and practices with my Christian father. He is deeply concerned about my interest in occultism, and wants to have a dialogue about these issues. I recently mentioned in an email to him (he currently lives overseas) that I am working through the exercises in Franz Bardon's "Initiation into Hermetics". I even sent him a pdf of the book (I told him I didn't expect him to read it, but I sent it to him anyway in case he was curious). I am personally not a Christian. I was raised in a very Christian household, but I now identify as pagan. My dad basically had two seemingly contradictory perspectives to Bardon's work. He sees it as both dangerous and as pseudoscience (he took issue with Bardon describing magick and mysticism as a science). He does, however, want to have a dialog. Among other things, he wants to know why I am drawn to the occult and magic rather than Christianity. I have tried to explain this to him multiple times. I am trying to figure out a way to discuss these issues with him in an email reply. Very broadly speaking, I plan to explain again that when I was trying to follow Christianity when I was growing up, I had a constant nagging feeling that I was deceiving myself, and it caused me significant distress. I find that through study of occult philosophy and the practice of magick, I am able to probe the spiritual aspects of reality directly rather than depending on a book that is full of dogma.
One specific issue that led my dad to see Bardon's work as "pseudoscience" is the classical elements. My personal understanding of the elements in the Western esoteric tradition is that they are simply categories. I see them as a way to separate out different qualities or components that make up both the physical world and ourselves. I see them as archetypes which can be mapped to, for example, different personality traits. Can anyone give me some advice on how to articulate the classical elements in a way to demonstrate that it is not "pseudoscience"? Another issue I wish to discuss with my father is that magick and esoteric philosophy can indeed be seen as a science, but since the purpose is to better understand consciousness and to connect with reality on a spiritual level, the methodologies are of course going to be different than those used in what are now referred to as "natural sciences". In other words, modern science can study the mind through the lens of neuroscience, but I believe due to its very nature, consciousness is something that should be studied from the inside. Meditation techniques and ritual work offer a valid way of studying consciousness and connecting with reality on a spiritual level.
Does anyone have any ideas how I can better articulate these ideas or have a different perspective that they would like to share? Thanks.