TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Apr 26, 2008 07:26 AM
by Morten Nymann Olesen
To all readers
My views are:
It might be well to be aware of the content of the following article, which was send by the TS to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Here are a few excerpts of the article...
“Lucifer” - TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY - Greeting
(An Open Letter - The Blavatsky Pamphlets - No 1 - Reprinted from “Lucifer” Magazine 1887)
"WE make use of an open letter to your Grace as a vehicle to convey to you, and through you to the clergy, to their flocks, and to Christians generally — who regard us as the enemies of Christ — a brief statement of the position which Theosophy occupies in regard to Christianity as we believe that the time for making that statement has arrived. ”
Your Grace is no doubt aware that Theosophy is not a religion, but a philosophy at once religious and scientific; and that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached. This common ground is no other than Theosophy — the Secret Doctrine of the ages; which, diluted and disguised to suit the capacity of the multitude, and the requirements of the time, has formed the living kernel of all religion. The Theosophical Society has branches respectively composed of Buddhists. Hindoos, Mahomedans, Parsees, Christians, and Freethinkers, who work together as brethren on the common ground of Theosophy; and it is precisely because Theosophy is not a religion, nor can for the multitude supply the place of a religion, that the success of the Society has been so great, not merely as regards its growing membership and extending influence, but also in respect to the performance of the work it has undertaken — the revival of spirituality in religion, and the cultivation of the sentiment of BROTHERHOOD among men.[Page 2]
We Theosophists believe that a religion is a natural incident in the life of man in his present stage of development; and that although, in rare cases, individuals may be born without the religious sentiment, a community must have a religion, that is to say, a uniting bond — under penalty of social decay and material annihilation. We believe that no religious doctrine can be more than an attempt to picture to our present limited understandings, in the terms of our terrestrial experiences, great cosmical and spiritual truths, which in our normal state of consciousness we vaguely sense, rather than actually perceive and comprehend; and a revelation, if it is to reveal anything, must necessarily conform to the same earth-bound requirements of the human intellect. In our estimation, therefore, no religion can be absolutely true, and none can be absolutely false. A religion is true in proportion as it supplies the spiritual, moral and intellectual needs of the time, and helps the development of mankind in these respects. It is false in proportion as it hinders that development, and offends the spiritual, moral and intellectual portion of man's nature. And the transcendentally spiritual ideas of the ruling powers of the Universe entertained by an Oriental sage would be as false a religion for the African savage as the grovelling fetishism of the latter would be for the sage, although both views must necessarily be true in degree, for both represent the highest ideas attainable by the respective individuals of the same cosmico-spiritual facts, which can never be known in their reality by man while he remains but man.
Theosophists, therefore, are respectors of all the religions, and for the religious ethics of Jesus they have profound admiration. It could not be otherwise, for these teachings which have come down to us are the same as those of Theosophy. So far, therefore, as modern Christianity makes good its claim to be the practical religion taught by Jesus, Theosophists are with it heart and hand. So far as it goes contrary to those ethics, pure and simple, Theosophists are its opponents. Any Christian can, if he will, compare the Sermon on the Mount with the dogmas of his church, and the spirit that breathes in it, with the principles that animate this Christian civilization and govern his own life; and then he will be able to judge for himself how far the religion of Jesus enters into his Christianity, and how far, therefore, he and Theosophists [Page 3] are agreed. But professing Christians, especially the clergy, shrink from making this comparison. Like merchants who fear to find themselves bankrupt, they seem to dread the discovery of a discrepancy in their accounts which could not be made good by placing material assets as a set-off to spiritual liabilities. The comparison between the teachings of Jesus and the doctrines of the churches has, however, frequently been made — and often with great learning and critical acumen — both by those who would abolish Christianity and those who would reform it; and the aggregate result of these comparisons, as your Grace must be well aware, goes to prove that in almost every point the doctrines of the churches and the practices of Christians are in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus."
"We are accustomed to say to the Buddhist, the Mahomedan, the Hindoo, or the Parsee: "The road to Theosophy lies, for you, through your own religion". We say this because those creeds possess a deeply philosophical and esoteric meaning, explanatory of the allegories under which they are presented to the people; but we cannot say the same thing to Christians. The successors of the Apostles never recorded the secret doctrine of Jesus — the "mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven" — which it was given to them (his apostles) alone to know. [ S. Mark iv II; Matthew xiii; Luke viii 10 ]. These have been suppressed, made away with, destroyed. What have come down upon the stream of time are the maxims, the parables, the allegories and the fables which Jesus expressly-intended for the spiritually deaf and blind to be revealed later to the world, and which modern Christianity either takes all literally, or interprets according to the fancies of the Fathers of the secular church. In both cases they are like cut flowers: they are severed from the plant on which they grew, and from the root whence that plant drew its life. Were we, therefore, to encourage Christians, as we do the votaries of other creeds, to study their own religion for themselves, the consequence would be, not a knowledge of the meaning of its mysteries, but either the revival of mediaeval superstition and intolerance, accompanied by a formidable outbreak of mere lip-prayer and preaching — such as resulted in the formation of the 239 Protestant sects of England alone — or else a great [Page 4] increase of scepticism, for Christianity has no esoteric foundation known to those who profess it. For even you, my Lord Primate of England, must be painfully aware that you know absolutely no more of those "mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven" which Jesus taught his disciples, than does the humblest and most illiterate member of your church.
It is easily understood, therefore, that Theosophists have nothing to say against the policy of the Roman Catholic Church in forbidding or of the Protestants churches in discouraging, any such private enquiry into the meaning of the "Christian" dogmas as would correspond to the esoteric study of other religions. With their present ideas and knowledge, professing Christians are not prepared to undertake a critical examination of their faith with a promise of good results. Its inevitable effect would be to paralyze rather than stimulate their dormant religious sentiments; for biblical criticism and comparative mythology have proved conclusively — to those, at least, who have no vested interests, spiritual or temporal, in the maintenance of orthodoxy — that the Christian religion, as it now exists, is composed of the husks of Judaism, the shreds of paganism, and the ill-digested remains of gnosticism and neo-platonism. This curious conglomerate which gradually formed itself round the recorded sayings (λογια )of Jesus, has, after the lapse of ages, now begun to disintegrate, and to crumble away from the pure and precious gems of Theosophic truth which it has so long over lain and hidden, but could neither disfigure nor destroy. Theosophy not only rescues these precious gems from the fate that threatens the rubbish in which they have been so long embedded, but saves that rubbish itself from utter condemnation ; for it shows that the result of biblical criticism is far from being the ultimate analysis of Christianity, as each of the pieces which compose the curious mosaics of the Churches once belonged to a religion which had an esoteric meaning. It is only when these pieces are restored to the places they originally occupied that their hidden significance can be perceived, and the real meaning of the dogmas of Christianity understood. To do all this, however, requires a knowledge of the Secret Doctrine as it exists in the esoteric foundation of other religions; and this knowledge is not in the hands of the Clergy, for the Church has hidden, and since lost, the keys.[Page 5]"
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