Q: What makes Atenism different from other religions?
A: Atenism stays true to the original intentions of the faith given to the people of Akhetaten over 4000 years ago. Offering a pure form of monotheism devoid of misunderstanding over what is God’s Will, who is or is not allowed to seek the One God, or what constitutes the nature of the Godhead.
Where other faiths look only to the ancient writings of their traditions and to the subsequent re-tellings and re-envisioning of those faiths by those who would speak upon such subjects at a much later time than when that faith originated, Atenism does not require the capture of the words of Akhenaten and commentaries to know what He means. We have Akhenaten directing us from the Horizon of Light who speaks and clarifies His Words and is clear regarding the Will of Aten. This does not mean that we do not see value in writings concerning the history of the various religions of ancient Egypt.
Q: Is Atenism another Internet religion?
A: No. Atenism began 4000 years ago in Amarna, Heliopolis in Egypt. Atenism has existed in its pristine form in the Horizon of Light since that time and has only been returned to the world of man, by the blessing of Aten and the direction of Akhenaten. The Internet is simply of the modern-day medium, just like scrolls, papyrus, books, letters, audio or video recordings and so on. It is a tool that can be used or misused, the fact that so many people take it for granted that what they see online regarding religion is the product of fevered imaginations and are less than honest and maybe little more than bored individuals fabricating Internet religions because they simply have nothing better to do, is a sad statement about these individuals, but has no bearing on real religions that use this medium for real communication among worshippers and seekers.
Q: Is Atenism a cult?
A: No. To elaborate on this answer, we should spell out what the term “cult” actually means. The word cult has two meanings:
The word is an abbreviation of the word “culture” and means the beliefs of a community of like-minded individuals. By this standard, every religion is a community of like-minded individuals who believe the same things and would, by this definition, describe them as a “cult”.
The word is a derogatory term used to describe disreputable and dangerous religious groups that use manipulation and intimidation to trick individuals into joining them. In some instances, these groups do not allow their members to contact family and some have ended in fatal consequences.
Atenism is a world religion that only has the welfare of its fellow brothers and sisters in mind. It does not use manipulation, intimidation or trickery to reach seekers, nor does it have any intention of taking advantage of these persons by trying to acquire their money. (There are tithes but these are part of the faith and individuals who are merely researching our faith are never committed to giving anything). Our faith would encourage its members to stay in close ties with their loved ones and not to disassociate with family and friends unless one chose to do so on their own due to abuse or other legitimate reasons.
Atenism is about loving God and doing no harm to self or to others. The very definition of these destructive cults is in opposition to the principles of Atenism because all they seem to cause is harm, to the seeker or to their families and friends.
Q: I have never heard Atenism. Is it made up?
A: No. The reality of Atenism can be found in the ancient records of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. Orthodox Atenism is the same religion as it was in ancient times, but with access to modern means of communication and publishing. All its material, that is not the stuff of ancient records is either produced by and sanctioned by Akhenaten Himself. This means that Atenism is as far away from being fabricated as you can get. Simply put: No other religion in existence can claim to be governed by the exact same person who established that religion — except Orthodox Atenism.
Q: There are some other sites that describe themselves as Atenists – what differentiates you from them?
A: These fellow seekers after the One God are respected by Orthodox Atenists for having the foresight to look to Aten when many in the world had turned a blind eye to Him.
We differ on several different points:
Some Atenist groups base their faith on the Hymns and stelae of ancient Egypt exclusively. We, on the other hand, also use these ancient texts but the primary source of our authority and authenticity comes from Akhenaten himself.
Atenism is directed by a clearly defined hierarchical structure. Under Aten, we have:
- The Holy Council
- The Navigators
(elder Atenists who serve in roles such as advisers and guides for the local communities).
- The Laity
Q: If I become an Atenist, can I become a priest? I’m already a priest in a Kemetic group.
A: One needs to be appointed as a priest by the Council. A person’s appointments from other religious groups do not carry over to the Temple of Aten.
Q: Can women be priests?
A: Yes. Both adult women and men may serve as priests in the Temple of Aten. They are appointed according to their talents and other abilities by the Council. The Temple does not discriminate based on a person’s race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, ethnicity, or economic situation.
Q: Do you believe Akhenaten to be a god?
A: No. From the Orthodox Atenist perspective, while Akhenaten is an eternal being who creates all life in the universe as he faithfully serves Aten, he is not a god or part of a godhead to be worshipped in the same manner as Aten. Akhenaten is a creation like all life but Akhenaten is the king of all creation.
Q: Is Atenism sun worship?
A: No. Aten is the One God of the Universe. Transcendent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent. Aten is beyond the bounds of human conception or understanding on any level. The only way in which humanity can even come close to a basic understanding of Aten is through symbolic representation. The image of the sun above our world is not just a sun but it represents life and sustenance. All life on our planet is sustained by the life-giving rays of the sun and without the sun, life on this planet would cease to exist. But this is a symbol of the life-giving power and care in which God gives all life in this world, it does not mean that God is the sun. If this were so, we would have to ask, why only this sun, and not the countless other suns in the universe? What about the other worlds in the Omniverse (the collection of all universes and planes of reality), doesn’t Aten watch over them as well? The answer is “Of course”. Aten creates and sustains all things. Aten is with us always and sustains us in each and every moment.
Whether it be the physical sun in the sky or an artistic representation of the sun and the life-giving rays, these are gifts given to humanity so that we may try to comprehend that which is incomprehensible.
Sun worship, as in viewing the physical orb of the sun as a sentient god would be paganism just like if a person were to bestow godhood to the moon, or a planet, a cloud, a mountain, a rock, a tree or shrub.
Q: Can Atenists mix Atenism with paganism like Wicca and ancient Greek religions?
A: Atenism believes that the worship of anything that is not God Himself is considered idolatry. One can not be a Wiccan and an Atenist at the same time. Neither should Atenists incorporate imagery of paganism and foreign gods and false deities with their home altar and other external forms of worship.