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Chapter 6
Judaism and Christianity
AT a very early date the Hebrew religion was developing in the northwest corner of
Arabia. As told in the Bible, the founders of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, lived the typical life of patriarchal Bedouin chiefs. They were nomadic
shepherds in the country between Babylon and Egypt. Canaan, later called Palestine,
was at that time inhabited by another Semitic people, called the Canaanites. The
country is about one-fourth the size of Pennsylvania.
Before the Hebrews contacted the higher culture of Babylon to the north or Egypt to
the west, they were no doubt at the stage of heliolithic religion. Gen. 28 :18--"And
Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows,
and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it." Gen. 28 :22--"And this
stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give
me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."
Before the Hebrews finally attempted to conquer Canaan, it had been invaded by the
dark-white Ibereans from Italy and Greece, who brought with them the old Aegean
culture. Such were the Philistines, with whom the Hebrews waged long warfare.
Pressing Palestine from the far north were extensions of the Aryan-speaking Hittite
Empire. Closer, to the
north along the seaboard, were the sea-faring commercial
Phoenecians, another Semitic people.
Through Palestine was the natural trade route, and also the war route, between the
Hittites, Syrians, Assyrians, and Babylonians to the north and east, and the Egyptians
to the south. And in the time of Solomon, Hiram, a Phoenecian trader-king, opened a
trade route across Palestine linking the Mediterranean and the Orient by way of the
Red Sea. All of these nations had some influence upon the religious views of the
Hebrews.
If we are to credit the Bible narrative--there is no Egyptian record of the career of
Moses, of the plagues of Egypt, or any Pharaoh drowned in the Red Sea--the
Hebrews were slaves in Egypt for some time. The Bible gives an account of their
forty years of wandering in the desert country after leaving Egypt before they
successfully invaded Canaan. Later, Israel was overcome and at least ten of its tribes
were lost to history and one was absorbed by its conquerors. The remaining tribe of
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Judah, in 578 BC, except for a few common people, was taken captive into Babylon
and held there until Cyrus of Persia overthrew the last Chaldean ruler in 539 BC.
During this captivity their hitherto divergent and bickering groups became welded
by national consciousness into a common aim and toward a common destiny. They
went to Babylon a barbaric people, as the Bible plainly shows, probably at the
heliolithic level. But they came out of captivity a nation. This, perhaps, was not
entirely due to what they had appropriated from the Babylonians, for they held
stubbornly to certain ideas of their own. But they had both time and energy that need
not be consumed in politics and warfare; and residing, as they did, in the seat of the
world's highest culture at that period, they had opportunity to adopt ideas from
others, to develop ideas of their own, and to climb well above the level of heliolithic
religion.
There may have been secret records in their possession before the captivity, but they
certainly had no commonly recognized literature. Yet at the end of the Babylonian
captivity the Pentateuch was in existence as a sacred book, and other books of the
Bible were extant as separate histories. From the Babylonians they had appropriated
the two interlaced trines--which with the name of Deity in the center and
astrological symbols around the outside was the emblem of The Religion of the
Stars--and later called it Solomon's Seal, or the Star of David. And the square
formed letters of the alphabet which they use, along with this symbol, also were
appropriated from the Babylonians.
The two interlaced trines were used by the initiates of the older centers of civilization
to signify, among other things, the involution and evolution of the soul through the
Cycle of Necessity. The down-pointing trine, which often was dark in color,
indicated the descent of the soul into material conditions for the purpose of gaining
necessary experience. The up-pointing trine, which often was light in color,
indicated the ascent, or evolution of the soul, back to the realm of spirit after gaining
experience in matter.
The descendants of the tribe of Judah had, and still have, a perfect right to use this
symbol which had been handed down from times far more ancient than that of their
Babylonian captivity. But they have no exclusive claim on it merely because they
appropriated it; no more than they have an exclusive claim on the money of the world
because they have succeeded in various areas in appropriating it.
Two other religions also use it, and with equal right. These interlaced trines were
used in ancient India; and today the Theosophical Society, with headquarters at
Adyar, Madras, India, uses it as their symbol. As they use it, in the center is the
phallic symbol--the symbol of life--around the outside is the serpent of wisdom,
and at the top is a swastika in a small circle. Above this circle are some Sanskrit
characters. Because the Theosophists use this so-called Star of David as part of the
symbol indicating their philosophy and aspirations does not mean they took it from
the Jews. India had it long before the Jews used it.
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The Religion of the Stars also uses this so-called Solomon's Seal as part of the
symbolism expressing its philosophy and the aspirations of Stellarians. Inside the
interlaced trines, however, is the word of Deity, Jod-He-Vau-He, written in the
square formed Chaldean letters, letters which were in use before the Jews started
using them. Thus written, it not only signifies the belief that there is a
Super-Intelligence Who interpenetrates and exercises a guiding power over, the
whole universe, but sets forth the four universal principles through which this
Super-Intelligence, instead of being moved by whim or prejudice, always operates.
The joined sun and moon at the top of the symbol indicate that spirituality may best
be reached, and still further evolution in spiritual realms accomplished, through the
marriage of a male and a female soul. The seven stars and the astrological symbols
around the outside of the interlaced trines indicate the belief that astrological
energies powerfully influence all life, and that a knowledge of them will enable the
aspirant to avoid many misfortunes he otherwise would encounter, and permit him to
best advantage to develop his talents and so conduct his life that he can most
successfully advance his own spirituality and at the same time contribute his utmost
to universal welfare.
After the Babylonian captivity other works, such as the Songs of Solomon, the
Psalms, Proverbs, etc., came into existence from time to time, and at last it became
necessary to decide how much of this literature should be considered sacred. Not all
that made claim to sacredness was retained. The Old Testament, venerated by both
Christian and Jew, is a group of such books as most strongly impressed the
priesthood as being of value and less self-contradictory in character than other
similar books which they discarded.
One unique feature of the Hebrew religion is the stubbornness with which its
devotees cling to the worship of Jehovah. Another unique feature is the exceedingly
personal relation between Jehovah and his worshipers. He walks in the garden and
converses with Adam, speaks directly with some of the prophets, who even see his
face, and intervenes frequently in the affairs of his chosen people.
He is at first represented as a tribal god, early considered the most powerful god, next
considered as a god above all other gods, then as the only true god, and finally with
his evolution completed, as the god of the whole world. The Jews considered that
Jehovah had promised to make the Jewish race the dominant people on earth, that
they were the chosen people of the one God, and that to accomplish this a Messiah
would arise.
Familiar as the Bible is to nearly everyone, I shall not detail its teachings. In it, as in
other sacred books, may be found many astrological references and in its symbolism
a complete exposition of the Ancient Secret Doctrine. But here we are concerned
with its prevalent interpretation. To be sure, instances of divination are mentioned,
and instances in which lying spirits deceive, and mediumship between the living and
the dead, such as that of the so-called witch of Endor, to be mentioned later.
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But as the story of the Bible develops we are struck by the influence of certain men
who possessed extrasensory perception in considerable degree, and some of whom
were able also to employ psychokinesis to perform greater feats of magic than the
magicians pitted against them. These prophets, rather than being scientists, such as
were some of the Babylonian priests, depended upon extrasensory perception
implicitly. They thus became the avenues through whom Jehovah spoke to his
chosen people, even as later Zoroaster became the avenue through whom Mazdah
spoke to the Persians.
These prophets demanded that the people should accept without question that which
they claimed Jehovah said to them. Jehovah laid down laws for the guidance of
human conduct, and the Hebrew religion is based on implicit obedience to such laws
instituted by Jehovah in personal interviews with the prophets, and on unwavering
devoted worship of him.
These prophets undoubtedly did contact, on the level of their intelligence and
vibratory rate, through extrasensory perception, the all-pervading
Super-Intelligence of the universe. But the scope of their contact was limited by their
own mental conceptions, and what they did contact, of necessity, when it reached
objective consciousness was limited and slanted by their intelligence and
preconceptions. But the most significant thing about the Hebrew religion --now the
Jewish religion--is not that it convinced the Jewish people that they would in
Jehovah's appointed time rule the earth; but that it brought into such prominence the
institution of prophecy. It thus paved the way for Jesus, for Mohammed, and for
numerous lesser prophets, who from time to time, similar to Joseph Smith, the
founder of the Church
of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, became leaders of
religious movements.
Early Christianity
--We will by-pass scholastic criticism which, having made historical research,
claims there is no authentic record that such a person as Jesus ever lived. Instead of
entering this controversy we will consider the Bible account as the valid basis on
which early Christianity rests, and consider Jesus as one of the great religious
teachers of the world.
He lived at a time when it was common to follow the Hero Cult practice of making a
god of any highly endowed individual. Some of the pharaohs of Egypt were
considered divine beings, some of the emperors of Rome were by their subjects
considered gods. Up to the end of World War II the emperor of Japan was considered
a god. And even today the Roman Catholic Pope is considered to be Gods'
representative on earth, whose pronouncements must be obeyed as orders given from
a divine source, and certain men and women after their death are made saints and
prayed to in the effort to get them to intercede with God to bring the asked for boon.
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When Jesus said that my father and I are one, he indicated that he had attained divine
consciousness; had entered into rapport with the Super-Intelligence which guides the
destiny of the universe. When any person attains this consciousness, quoting from
Course III, Chapter05, "He becomes conscious of Divine Intention. and clearly perceives his
own function in the Divine Plan, and just what he can do at any time to further cosmic
construction."
This is a very different thing than being the boss of the millions of galaxies, of which
our earth is but a speck revolving about one of the hundreds of millions of stars
embraced in each galaxy. Yet when Jesus is referred to as the Son of God that is quite
correct; for the potential spark, or ego, which actuates and gives each soul its drive
for significance is an emanation, or child, of Deity.
At the time Christianity began, God in various regions was worshiped as a Holy
Trinity. In India, for instance, there was Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. In Egypt, Osiris
the Father, Isis the Mother, and Horus the Issue, were popularly worshiped; and in
addition there was a fourth deity which included the three others, and overshadowed
them, as do the thoughts of a family, called the Holy Ghost.
Just what were, and just what were not, Christian doctrines was a matter of violent
controversy during the first three hundred years of Christianity's existence.
Furthermore, the Christians were hated and persecuted. Diocletian in the latter part
of his reign was induced by his colleague, Galerius, to sanction a particularly
determined and sanguinary persecution of them.
Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor of Rome by the army in 284 AD, but because of
the dangers threatening Rome was compelled to share the government with M.
Aurelius Valerius Maximian. In 292 AD, Gaius Galerius and Constantinus Chlorus
were also raised to share the empire, which thus became divided into four parts. As a
result of the reconstruction they accomplished the barbarians were driven back on all
frontiers and once again Roman power extended from Britain to Egypt.
The one later to be called Constantine the Great was the son of Emperor Constantinus
Chlorus and his wife Helena. While Constantine's father was associated in the
government with Diocletian, the son was held at the court as a hostage. But after
Diocletian and Maximian resigned, to escape the machinations of Galerius,
Constantine escaped and went to his father who was in Britain. After his father died
the soldiers chose him emperor in 306, and he took possession of the countries ruled
by his father.
After defeating the Franks he directed his armies against Maxentius, who had joined
Maximian against him. This required a campaign in Italy. During this campaign it is
reported that he saw a flaming cross in heaven, beneath the sun, bearing the
inscription, "In hoc signo vinces." (By this sign thou shalt conquer). And that the
following night Christ appeared to him and commanded him to take for his standard
an imitation of the fiery cross he had seen. Therefore, he had a standard made in this
shape, which was called labarium. Not many days after this, on Oct. 27, 312, he
defeated the army of Maxentius under the walls of Rome, drove it into the Tiber,
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entered the city in triumph, and liberated the political prisoners. He was proclaimed
by the senate, chief, Augustus, and pontifex maximus.
In cooperation with Licinius, in the year 313, he published an edict of toleration, not
only favoring the previously persecuted Christians, but permitting any person to
embrace the religion of his choice. Thus for a very short time was there freedom of
religion.
But Licinius, jealous of Constantine who had married his daughter, soon resumed
persecuting the Christians. Their armies met in battle in Pannonia in 314. Not only
was it a battle of armies, but a battle of psychokinetic power; for Constantine was
surrounded by bishops and priests, who prayed for his victory, while Licinius was
surrounded by soothsayers and magicians who called upon their gods to make him
victorious. Constantine was victorious, but in later years Licinius was again able to
gain enough power to renew hostilities. But in this engagement he was not only
defeated but was taken prisoner and put to death. Thus in 325 AD Constantine now
called the Great, became the sole head of boti the Eastern and the Western Roman
Empires.
He not only gave the Christians permission to erect churches, but the cost of these
churches was met by the government. As had the Greeks and Romans of previous
periods, he decided that one of the surest ways of consolidating an empire was to
have its people believe in a single religion. Thus Christianity became the state
religion of Rome But if it was to be an instrument to unite the Empire the squabbling
over its doctrines must cease. Therefore, in the year 325 AD he called what is known
as the Council of Nice. He attended it in person to see to it that there should be an end
of its schisms.
Nice, or Nicaea, as it was then called, was a city of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, on the
east shore of Lake Ascania. It had been called Ancore, also Helicore, but
Lysimachus, having conquered this part of Asia, changed its name to Nicaea, in
honor of his wife who had that name. It was here that Constantine called together
some 250 bishops, many of whom came from the East, along with numerous
presbyters, deacons and other church dignitaries from all parts of the world. While
other matters were decided, such as which books should be embraced in the Bible
and which should be discarded, the chief controversy was over the so-called Arian
heresy.
Alexandria for over six centuries had been the great seat of learning of the world. At
Alexandria resided Arius, a Christian Presbyter. Earlier, Sabellius had held that there
was only one god, as against the view that in the Godhead there are three distinct
persons. But in 317 AD Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, had publicly expressed the
view that the Son of God is not only of the same dignity as the Father, but of the same
essence. Arius did not agree either with Sabellius or Alexander, but declared that the
Son of God was only the first and noblest of created beings, and though the universe
had been brought into existence through his instrumentality by the Eternal Father, yet
the Son was inferior to that Father, not merely in dignity, but also in essence.
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Some of the Christians of that day held with Alexander and some held with Arius.
The conflict threatened to cause the whole Christian world to take sides and engage
in violent conflict. And this would bring disruption within Constantine's empire.
Having failed to bring peace by private means, Constantine called the Council of
Nice. At that council, at which all church tenets were decided, was Bishop
Athanasius who came from Alexandria, Egypt, particularly to help settle this matter
of the orthodox trinity. It was he who insisted upon the Holy Ghost. Most
contemporaneous nations, other than the Egyptians, held merely to the Trinity of
Father, Mother and Issue. But the Holy Ghost came to Christianity at an opportune
time; for due to the teachings of Paul, and the fanatic asceticism that was developing,
it was becoming quite certain that woman could have no part in anything divine. The
monks who retired to monastic life looked upon woman as an instrument of evil, a
tempting agent of the devil strictly to be avoided. They characteristically shifted the
blame for all the ills of humanity to her shoulders by teaching that the fall of Adam
was due to the guile of Eve.
At the Council of Nice Athanasius, with his doctrine of Father, Son and Holy Ghost
prevailed. The Council voted that Christ was of the same essence as the Father, and
Arius was deposed and exiled.
Jesus Had Extraordinary
Extrasensory Ability and
Psychokinetic Power
--Jesus in an amazing degree was able to use extrasensory perception. With it he
contacted the all-pervading Super-Intelligence of the universe on a high level. And
apparently he was able to get information telepathically: St. Luke 22 :47-48--"And
while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the
twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto
him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?"
He also used extrasensory perception in what is now called precognition, as indicated
by this incident involving Peter: St. Luke 22 :33-31-- "And he [Peter] said unto him,
Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he [Jesus] said, I
tell thee Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that
thou knowest me.
He not only had psychokinetic power in an amazing degree, using it to heal the sick,
to feed the multitude, to walk on water, and to get a coin with which to pay taxes, but
his disciples also employed psychokinesis. St. Luke 9:1-2--"Then he called his
twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to
cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."
At the time Jesus lived there was almost no scientific knowledge, little was known
about nature, and the people to whom he talked were quite illiterate. He had to speak
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to them in terms they understood, telling them stories (parables) to illustrate his
points.
He lived at a time when materialism and greed for material possessions were
dominant, and when gross brutality stalked the earth. The tooth for a tooth, eye for an
eye doctrine, and the belief in a cruel god, were orthodox tenets of his day. He was a
great world teacher not because the religion which was derived from his life and
teachings is the most powerful one on earth today, but because he brought three
messages, which are as valid now as then, with which to combat the orthodoxies of
his time. Each assists man to realize his drive for nutrition, his drive for reproduction,
and his drive for significance.
l. Instead of a god of vengeance, he gave to the world the conception that the
Heavenly Father desires the welfare of all creatures, even the sparrow.
2. Instead of the greed and ruthlessness which is still the great plague of the world, he
taught that people should do unto others as they would be done by, and that they
should treat their neighbors as themselves. And if people would thus be as helpful
and sympathetic toward others as they would like others to be toward them, the
ensuing co-operation would lead by way of specialization of parts and division of
labor to freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression and freedom
of religion.
3. He not only taught, but he demonstrated in a manner that the world has not been
able to forget, that the personality survives the tomb and lives after physical
dissolution on the inner plane. He said that in his Father's house were many
mansions, implying that there was room for all to continue their lives and progress
there.
Some of the things he taught which were sound enough in his day are not sound now;
and some of them, if they are given the literal interpretation that is common from
present-day pulpits, are decidedly erroneous. It may have been well enough in his
day to sell all one had and give to the poor and then spend the life in disseminating his
teachings, but it would not work today. To wander about the country completely
broke is not the present-day efficient way to get a religious message to the public. At
least, various ministers of The Religion of the Stars have found it more effective to
have some income, and to use that income for a living while donating their time and
energy to spreading the Stellarian religion.
It is quite proper for those where a missionary teacher or a minister of The Religion of
the Stars goes to donate sufficient for his expenses. But there are many places where
the teachings are needed that could not be induced to give sufficient donations for the
one disseminating the religion to live on. Therefore, only if the missionary or
minister has some independent income, or those in another region will foot his living
expenses while he is teaching or lecturing in such a needy place, can the teachings be
carried there.
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Jesus did not try to destroy the Jewish religion, he merely added certain teachings
that importantly, and for the better, modified it. Christianity still retains the Bible of
the Jews, but accepts also the teachings of Jesus and of Paul.
The doctrines propounded by Jesus: return good for evil, love your enemies, and do
good to those who despitefully use you, profoundly modified the older Jewish
doctrine of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But the doctrines of Jesus shortly
underwent important modifications at the hands of Paul.
Paul taught--I Corinthians, 12--that woman should look up to man even as man
should look up to Christ, that a man should pray with his head uncovered, but that it
dishonored a woman to pray with her head uncovered, and that woman was created
for man, but that man was not created for woman. He also taught, I Corinthians,
14--that woman should be obedient and should keep silent, and if she wished to
know anything she should ask her husband at home, for "it is a shame for woman to
speak in the church." And Ephesians 5:22-23-- "Wives submit yourselves unto your
own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as
Christ is head of the church; and he is the savior of the body."
As the old Hero Cult still had such a powerful grip on the people, it was to be
expected that any extraordinary person would be considered a god. And it was the
custom to weave legends about gods and heroes that corresponded to astrological
positions Thus was there incorporated into the Christian religion a large variety of
customs that had been part of the astrological religion practiced in Chaldea and
Egypt. These had been adopted in Greece, and by Christian times in Rome. No one
made any enquiry as to the date of birth of Jesus until 580 years after the approximate
year he was born.
Mithraism had become the dominant religion in Rome about 60 BC And Mithra, god
of light, was, according to this religion, born in a cave on Christmas day. Mithraism
not only celebrated Christmas as the day on which its god was born, but just before
the Christian era haoma, the alcoholic drink of the early Aryan Persians and some of
the Aryan invaders of India, had been abandoned in favor of partaking of wine and
cakes at the ceremonies sacred to Mithra. Therefore, when Paul advised that this
ceremony should be adopted by the early Christian churches, he but appropriated a
ceremony that was already customary among the Roman people.
With the adoption of Christianity by Constantine as the state religion of Rome, a
great many other modifications were made. The pomp and show and rituals, chants,
incense, figures of saints, and other church accessories and ceremonies were, from
motives of expediency--to gain a following and secure for the priests a position of
influence and power through making the masses dependent upon them for
entertainment and for everything pertaining to religion--adopted directly from the
customs and ritualistic ceremonies as conducted by the priesthood of the Roman
Empire previous to the advent of Christianity.
The Church also set the day celebrated in honor of John the Baptist and the day
celebrated in honor of John the evangelist, according to the old
Religion of the Stars.
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And Christianity has, one after another, adopted a dozen other days and usages of the
old Religion of the Stars. These are explained in the reference book, Astrological
Lore of All Ages. No doubt if Jesus came to earth today he would marvel at church
customs.
Modern Christianity
--We should appraise any religion, including modern Christianity, as to its true
value by the extent to which its teachings increase the ability of man while on earth,
and after earthly life is done, to attain in their extended sense, satisfaction for the
drive for nutrition, the drive for reproduction, and the drive for significance.
Let us first consider the teachings of the Old Testament which largely revolve around
the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 5:
"Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
"Thou shalt not bow thyself down to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am
a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and
fourth generation of them that hate me."
Here we have the Old Testament deity injected into modern life; a deity with the
attributes of fierce jealousy, and given to revenge. Not merely given to revenge upon
those who transgress his arbitrary commandments, but extending that revenge to
innocent children, and their children. Furthermore, if we are to interpret this
commandment literally, all statues, all carvings, being graven images, are sinful. If
we interpret it more liberally to mean only such images as are bowed down before,
the cross, the Virgin Mary, and the images of the saints, before which some bow
down, are still transgressions of this commandment.
We no longer thresh grain by beating it with a flail, we no longer use a crooked stick
for a plow, we no longer use the ox or the donkey with which to plow, nor do we
commonly go to the city well with an earthen vessel to get the necessary supply of
household water. Why, then, should we permit orthodoxy to cause us to fear an
invisible and all-powerful monster which was conjured up by the imagination of
priests in the primitive days when the mentioned outmoded methods were used?
"But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any
work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant,
nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy
gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou."
Today the observance of this command would mean no electric lights on Sabbath
evening, no street cars running on the Sabbath, and a great loss to our larger
industries where fires must be kept burning that men may again work after their day
of rest, and the flooding of many mines with water which must keep their pumps
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going continuously if they are to be maintained in working condition. Happily this
command is no longer taken seriously by most people.
Even the command, "Thou shalt not kill," needs to be interpreted according to the
concept of universal welfare. Human slaughter is abhorrent. But it is less abhorrent
than permitting some brutal and ruthless totalitarian regime to conquer the world and
impose on it physical, intellectual and moral slavery.
The commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," should be broadened to include any
method of unfairly exploiting, or taking unfair advantage of, another. Legally to
acquire a monopoly on some natural resource or public commodity, and thus squeeze
the public into paying an exorbitant price for it, is merely a legally unpunishable
theft.
The commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," also
needs expansion. It should be interpreted to include such reticence and silence as
permits another to form misleading conclusions in matters where more complete
information would be advantageous.
But let us now move from the doctrines of the Old Testament which were formulated
by a people only recently evolved one step above the old heliolithic religion, to the
New Testament, the gist of whose teachings are to be found in The Sermon on the
Mount:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth."
This is a good doctrine only for tyrants who wish to keep people in subjection; for it is
certainly
destructive to human progress. Initiative and reasonable self-esteem, as
well as confidence, are necessary for success in any worthwhile undertaking. The
attitude of meekness tends to servitude, and to discourage effort. The progress of
society is built upon accomplishment, and accomplishment is thwarted by poorness
in spirit and meekness. This doctrine, if adopted, not only would hinder the progress
of the race, but it would thwart the drive for significance. It is thus an erroneous
religious tenet.
"Blessed are those that mourn; for they shall be comforted."
Sorrow, next to fear, is the most destructive human emotion. Through its effect upon
the endocrine glands, it poisons the body, inhibits effort, weakens the mind, and
confers no benefit of any nature. Mourning never helped the condition occasioning
it. It is one of the most pernicious of mental states, without a redeeming quality,
unfitting the individual for constructive work, and building discords into his
thought-cells that will cause them to use their psychokinetic power to attract
misfortune into his life. As it thus hampers the drive for nutrition and the drive for
significance, this also is an erroneous religious doctrine.
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy
right cheek, turn to him the other also."
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Such a doctrine may be practiced by one who has attained so high a spiritual state,
and developed so much psychokinetic power, that he can compel others through
inner-plane energies to respect his person and his rights. But there are few spiritually
and psychokinetically powerful enough to enforce respect for their rights by such
means. The fallacy of this doctrine was demonstrated in the persecution and
crucifixion of Jesus.
Although taught for nineteen and a half centuries, almost no Christian follows this
doctrine. It is highly impractical, and teaching it in church and Sunday school is base
hypocrisy. Those who in the past practiced this doctrine perished. Christianity did
not persist because this doctrine was practiced, but because those who taught it
carried it into various lands throughout the earth with the sword, and often violently
crammed it down the throats of those who were less powerful. Had Christian nations
practiced this basic Christian doctrine, today there would be no Christian nations, for
many centuries ago they would have been vanquished by the warlike
Mohammedans, and had they survived until recently they would have succumbed to
Hitlerism, to prevent which World War II was fought.
The drive for nutrition expands into the first law of life on the physical plane, the law
of survival, which implies resisting evil, resisting destruction. The organism, or
group, that during the 1,750 million years life has existed upon the earth, has not
protected itself from invasion--resisted evil--has invariably perished and been
supplanted by a hardier stock.
The "sucker" who permits another to take his property, even lawfully, does not need
to give away his cloak also; for other confidence men, appraising him as an easy
mark, quickly relieve him of it.
Humanity should devise means by which war and violence can be avoided; but the
history of biology and the history of mankind, show that higher forms of life can
survive only so long as they can repel the attacks of lower forms of life. A civilized
people can retain its culture, as history has repeatedly proved, only so long as it can,
and does, repel the attacks of other people less civilized. Warlike aggression on the
part of advanced people is intolerable; but if they are to remain advanced they must
possess the ability--preferably through a United Nations military force having the
duty of policing the world--to repel warlike aggression from others.
The Means Orthodoxy Has
Employed to Enslave the People of
the West
--As far back as there are records certain individuals have sought power and special
privileges through being the interpreters of the will of Deity. Before there were kings
there were priest rulers. Then there were, in Egypt and elsewhere, priest-kings. Later
priests and kings divided their power.
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To keep their people servile and obedient has been a prime objective of both kings
and priests since they came into existence. How to do this was the big problem
confronting them.
In the East the priests solved it by the doctrine of reincarnation and karma, in the
West they solved it by the doctrine of heaven and hell. Certainly not from anything in
the Old Testament, and certainly not from anything Jesus taught, they created a
heaven and a hell, a static condition in the after-life in which those who followed the
rules the priests laid down, whatever they might be, would reside for all eternity in a
land of happiness and bliss; but those who did not live in the manner the priests
prescribed--and the priests made the rules so the priests would have both material
power and material abundance, even if it brought poverty and misery on their
followers--would live for all eternity in the torments of hell.
Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament are given accounts of those who
once lived on earth and returned to converse with those still in physical form. And in
each instance they retained their earthly personality, had no wings, and gave no
evidence they had come either from heaven or hell Such conceptions were foreign to
those who related these incidents.
Saul consulted a medium, and talked with Samuel who previously had died. I
Samuel, 28:14. "And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man
cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel,
and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself."
Jesus took with him Peter, and James, and John to a high mountain. St. Mark, 9:4.
"And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."
The orthodox heaven and hell were created by the priesthood in times long past to
make the people do just what the priests wished. The priests could lay down any rules
they chose, and make people obey them by the promise of a spurious heaven, and the
threat of a spurious hell. It was a most cunning device to keep people their slaves.
How it hampered scientific progress is set forth in Course XII-1, Chapter 01 and current Chapter 07.
Intelligence was developed by life-forms for use in adapting themselves to the
conditions with which they were faced. And man moved higher than other animals
because he developed greater intelligence and drew logical conclusions from his
observations and experiences. But as such logical conclusions about religion might
interfere with priestly authority and privilege, the priests used their cunningly
created hell to force people through fear of burning, not for a day or a year, but
forever, to relinquish intelligence and logic and rely entirely on belief; the belief
which was to save them thus from eternal suffering, of course, being belief in
whatever the priests wanted them to think.
It was intelligent and logical to think that even as man's acquisition of knowledge
and character on earth are the result of his own individual effort, and that neither
knowledge nor ability can be acquired by one person for another, that an individual's
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condition in the life to come would be determined by his own initiative and effort
while on earth and after he had crossed to the inner plane.
But any such reliance on his own powers would release the individual from
intellectual slavery to the priests. If the priests could offer an easy way, a plan of
getting something for nothing, to the devotee, it would be more easy for the priests to
retain their prestige. The doctrine of vicarious atonement thus appeals to the
get-something-for-nothing desire which most people possess. The encouragement
of this desire is highly detrimental to the individual; for the universal law of
compensation is that the reward of effort is greater ability. Thus to discourage effort,
and encourage the individual to believe someone else can atone for his sins, or
someone else can without adequate effort on his own part, procure for him in the life
to come a satisfactory environment, is highly pernicious.
The only things people can take into the next life are the knowledge they have
acquired, the thought-cell organization of their finer form, the ability they have
developed, and the dominant vibratory rate which determines their spirituality and
the level to which they are attracted, this level having a similar vibratory rate. And
none of these four things, which determine the condition of the individual on the
inner plane after life on earth has been finished, can be provided by another. The most
that anyone else can do to help the individual in this direction is to furnish guidance
through supplying him with outerplane and inner-plane facts.
Therefore, it behooves all persons who wish to assist in the progress of the race, and
enable people
more fully to find satisfaction in this life and- the next for their
expanded drive for nutrition, drive for reproduction and drive for significance, which
all life-forms endeavor to find, to do all they can toward correcting the following four
widespread erroneous orthodox beliefs:
1. The teaching that reliance should be placed upon blind belief, instead of upon
demonstrated facts.
2. The teaching of vicarious atonement, instead of teaching that the individual's
progress depends upon his own motives and efforts.
3. The teaching of a static heaven or hell, instead of the teaching that life after death is
somewhat parallel to life on earth, and that there is always opportunity for progress.
4. The teaching of a personal and patriarchal God--a glorified and supernatural
person of whim and prejudice--instead of an all-pervading intelligence Who works
toward the realization of His cosmic plan through undeviating laws.