THEOSOPHY, Vol. 46, No. 7, May, 1958
(Pages 307-314; Size: 23K)
CHRISTIANITY VS. THE CHURCH(1)
CREATION is an incorrect word to use. No religion, not even the sect of the Visishta Adwaitees in India -- one which anthropomorphizes even Parabrahm -- believes in creation out of nihil as Christians and Jews do, but in evolution out of pre-existing materials. Creation or origin in the Christian sense of the term is absolutely unthinkable. The Buddhists maintain that there is no Creator, but an infinitude of creative powers, which collectively form the one eternal SUBSTANCE, the essence of which is inscrutable -- hence not a subject for speculation for any true philosopher. But Christian theologians will allow of no other God than the personified secondary powers which have worked out the visible universe, and which became with them the anthropomorphic God of the Christians -- the male Jehovah, roaring amid thunder and lightning. The personal God of orthodox Theism perceives, thinks, and is affected by emotion; he repents and feels "fierce anger." It is only daring Theology, never Science or philosophy, which seeks to gauge the Infinite and unveil the Fathomless and Unknowable.
"The Deity," say the Kabalists, "is one, because it is infinite. It is triple, because it is ever manifesting." The union of the three principles depends upon a fourth -- the LIFE which radiates from the summits of the Unreachable, to become a universally diffused essence on the manifested planes of existence. Thus speak those who understand the keys to the scriptures. This Quaternary -- Father, Mother, Son as a UNITY; a quaternary as a living manifestation -- has been the means of leading to the very archaic Idea of Immaculate Conception, now finally crystallized into a dogma of the Christian Church, which carnalized this metaphysical idea beyond any common sense. One has but to read the Kabala and study its numerical methods of interpretation to find the origin of that dogma. It is purely astronomical, mathematical, and preeminently metaphysical.
The universal language of old, used by the Initiates, had its seven keys. The many-sided facets of this mystery language have led to the adoption of widely varied dogmas and rites in the exotericism of the Church rituals. It is they, again, which are at the origin of most of the dogmas of the Christian Church, e.g., the seven Sacraments, the Trinity, the Resurrection; the seven capital Sins and the seven Virtues. The seven keys to the mystery tongue, however, having always been in the keeping of the highest among the initiated Hierophants of antiquity, it is only a partial use of a few out of the seven which passed, through the reason of some early Church Fathers -- ex-initiates of the Temples -- into the hands of the new sect of Nazarenes. Some of the early popes were initiates, but the last fragments of their knowledge have now fallen into the power of the Jesuits, who have turned them into a system of sorcery.
Who were the first Christians? History finds the first Christian sects to have been either Nazarenes like John the Baptist; or Ebionites, among whom were many of the relatives of Jesus; or Essenes, the Therapeutae, healers, of which the Nazaria were a branch. All these sects, which only in the days of Irenaeus began to be considered heretical, were more or less kabalistic. They believed in the expulsion of demons by magical incantations, and practiced this method. All the Gnostic sects equally believed in magic. Irenaeus in describing the followers of the Gnostic Basilides, says, "They use images, invocations, incantations, and all other things pertaining to magic." The real meaning of the word nazar signifies to vow or consecrate one's self to the service of God. Dunlop shows that Jesus was called Nazaraios. The initiated nazars had ever held to the rule of monastic communities, which had to be followed before them by the adepts of every age. The Nazireate sect existed long before the law of Moses, and originated among ... the people of Galilee, where was built Nazara, the present Nazareth. It is in Nazara that the ancient Nazoria or Nazireates held their "Mysteries of Life" or "assemblies," which were but the secret mysteries of initiation.
The Nazarene reformer had undoubtedly belonged to one of these sects; though perhaps it would be next to impossible to decide absolutely which. But what is self-evident is that he preached the philosophy of Buddha-Sakyamuni. The motive of Jesus was evidently that of Gautama-Buddha, to benefit humanity at large by producing a religious reform which should give it a religion of pure ethics; the true knowledge of God and nature having remained until then solely in the hands of the esoteric sects, and their adepts. The disciples who wrote the Codex Nazaræus were right. Only it is not Jesus himself, but those who came after him and who concocted the Bible to suit themselves, that "perverted John's doctrine, changed the baptism of the Jordan, and perverted the sayings of justice." If baptism is the sign of regeneration, and an ordinance instituted by Jesus, why do not Christians now baptize as Jesus is represented as doing, "with the Holy Ghost and with fire," instead of following the custom of the Nazarenes?
So hopelessly entangled seems Irenaeus in his fruitless endeavors to describe, to all outward appearances at least, the true doctrine of the many Gnostic sects of which he treats and to present them at the same time as abominable "heresies," that he either deliberately, or through ignorance, confounds all of them in such a way that few metaphysicians would be able to disentangle them, with the Kabala and the Codex Nazaraeus as the true keys. How daring and desperate were many deliberate falsifications, was shown in the first attempts to compare the original manuscripts with the later ones. The article known as "Christ's Descent into Hell," which is found in the later Apostles' Creed, is not to be found in the manuscripts of either the fourth or sixth centuries. It was an evident interpolation copied from the fables of Bacchus and Hercules and enforced upon Christendom as an article of faith. A verse in the First Epistle of John reads: "For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." This verse, which has been "appointed to be read in the churches" is now known to be spurious; the text is not contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the fifteenth century. Edward Gibbon was early in pointing out its spurious character. There are twenty-eight Greek authors -- Irenaeus, Clemens and Athanasius included, who neither quote nor mention it; and seventeen Latin writers, numbering among them Augustine, Jerome, Ambrosius, Cyprian, and Pope Eusebius, who appear utterly ignorant of it. Thus falls to the ground the strongest trinitarian pillar.
That the apostles had received a "secret doctrine" from Jesus, and that he himself taught one, is evident from the following words of Jerome who confessed it in an unguarded moment. Writing to the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, he complains that "a difficult work is enjoined, since this translation has been commanded me by your Felicities, which St. Matthew himself, the Apostle and Evangelist, did not wish to be openly written. For if it had not been secret he (Matthew) would have added to the evangel that which he gave forth as his; but he made up this book sealed up in the Hebrew characters, which he put forth even in such a way that the book, written in Hebrew letters and by the hand of himself, might be possessed by the men most religious, who also, in the course of time, received it from those who preceded him. But this very book they never gave to anyone to be transcribed, and its text they related some one way and some another." He admits himself that the book which he authenticates as being written "by the hand of Matthew," a book which, not withstanding that he translated it twice -- was nearly unintelligible to him, for it was arcane or a secret. Nevertheless, Jerome coolly sets down every commentary upon it, except his own, as heretical. Of the two Gospels of Matthew, the Hebrew and the Greek, the former was but too well known to have been the only one accepted for our centuries by the Jewish Christians, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. For the Church to have accepted it would have been equivalent to reading its own death sentence. Why wonder at the unfathomable mysteries of the Christian religion, since it is perfectly human?
The Church Fathers have forced on the believers in Christ a Bible, the laws prescribed in which he was the first to break; the teachings of which he utterly rejected; and for which crimes he was finally crucified. Of whatever else the Christian world can boast, it can hardly claim logic and consistency as its chief virtues. The Christian clergy are attired in the cast-off garb of the heathen priesthood; acting diametrically in opposition to their God's moral precepts, but nevertheless, sitting in judgment over the whole world. We find it rather unwise on the part of Catholic writers to pour out their vials of wrath in such sentences as these: "In a multitude of pagodas, the phallic stone, ever and always assuming, like the Grecian batylos, the brutally indecent form of the lingham. ... the Maha Deva." Before casting slurs on a symbol whose profound metaphysical meaning is too much for the modern champions of that religion of sensualism par excellence, Roman Catholicism, to grasp, they are in duty bound to destroy their oldest churches, and change the form of the cupolas of their own temples. The Mahody of Elephanta, the Round Tower of Bhangulpore, the minarets of Islam -- either rounded or pointed -- are the originals of the Campanile column of San Marco, at Venice, of the Rochester Cathedral, and of the modern Duomo of Milan. All of these steeples, turrets, domes, and Christian temples are the reproductions of the primitive idea of the lithos, the upright phallus. ... Neither Catholics nor Protestants have a right to talk of the "indecent forms" of heathen monuments so long as they ornament their own churches with the symbols of the Lingham and Yoni, and even write the laws of their God upon the "double lithoi placed always in front of every temple, Christian as well as heathen."
With the Brahmins, who have never invested with an "original" Sin element the natural procreative function of mankind, it is a religious duty to have a son. A Brahmin, in days of old, having accomplished his mission of human creator, retired to the jungle and passed the rest of his days in religious meditation. He had accomplished his duty to nature as mortal man and its co-worker and henceforth gave all his thoughts to the spiritual immortal portion of himself, regarding the terrestrial as a mere illusion, an evanescent dream -- which it is. With the Semite, it was different. He invented a temptation of flesh in a garden of Eden; showed his God (esoterically, the Tempter and Ruler of Nature) cursing for ever an act, which was in the logical programme of that nature. All this exoterically, as in the cloak and dead letter of Genesis and the rest; and at the same time esoterically he regarded the supposed sin and fall as an act so sacred, so as to choose the organ, the perpetrator of the original sin, as the fittest and most sacred symbol to represent that God, who is shown as branding its function as disobedience and everlasting sin! This paradoxical element of the Semitic mind, minus its innermost significance, has now passed entirely into Christian theology and dogma.
Another detail not redounding very particularly to the honor of the Christian clergy might be recalled in the word Inquisition. The torrents of human blood shed by this Christian institution, and the number of its human sacrifices, are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Another still more prominent feature in which the clergy surpassed their masters, the "heathen," is sorcery. Certainly in no Pagan temple was black magic, in its real and true sense, more practiced than in the Vatican. While strongly supporting exorcism as an important source of revenue, they neglected magic as little as the ancient heathen. It is easy to prove that the sortilegium, or sorcery, was widely practiced among the clergy and monks so late as the last century, and is practiced occasionally even now.
The greatest of all the Patristic frauds, the one which has undeniably helped the Roman Catholic Church to its unmerited supremacy was the barefooted assertion, in the teeth of historical evidence, that Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome. It is but too natural that the Latin clergy should cling to it, for with the exposure of the fraudulent nature of this pretext, the dogma of apostolic succession must fall to the ground. The fact alone that Peter remained to the last an "apostle of the circumcision" speaks for itself. Whoever else might have built the Church of Rome it was not Peter. "The first fifteen Christian bishops at Jerusalem, commencing with James and including Judas, were all circumcised Jews." Perhaps, after all other of the numerous proofs adduced that there was no church established at Rome until after the time assigned to Peter, have been brought forward, the best argument is in proving that it was not in the character of the cowardly Peter to risk himself in such close neighborhood with the Emperor (Nero) who "was feeding the wild beasts of the Amphitheatre with the flesh and bones of Christians" at that time! Perhaps the Church of Rome was but consistent in choosing as her titular founder the apostle who thrice denied his master at the moment of danger; and the only one, moreover, except Judas, who provoked Christ in such a way as to be addressed as the "Enemy."
There is a tradition in the Greek Church which has never found favor at the Vatican. The Greek Church traces its origin to one of the Gnostic leaders -- Basilides, perhaps, who lived under Trajan and Adrian at the end of the first and the beginning of the second century. With regard to this particular tradition, if the Gnostic is Basilides, then he must be accepted as a sufficient authority, having claimed to have been a disciple of the Apostle Matthew, and to have had for a master Glaucias, a disciple of St. Peter himself. Were the narrative attributed to him authenticated, the London Committee for the Revision of the Bible would have to add a new verse to Matthew, Mark, and John, who tell the story of Peter's denial of Christ. This tradition, then, which affirms that when frightened at the accusation of the servant of the high priest, the apostle had thrice denied his master, and the cock had crowed, Jesus who was then passing through the hall in custody of the soldiers, turned and looking at Peter said: "Verily, I say unto thee, Peter, thou shalt deny me throughout the coming ages, and never stop until thou shalt be old, and stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldst not." The latter part of this sentence, say the Greeks, relates to the Church of Rome, and prophesies her constant apostacy from Christ, under the mask of false religion. Later, it was inserted in the twenty-first chapter of John, but the whole of this chapter had been pronounced a forgery even before it was found that this Gospel was never written by John the Apostle at all.
According to the Talmud, the "authentic" Peter was a Nazarene. He belonged to the sect of the later Nazarenes which dissented from the followers of John the Baptist, and became a rival sect; and which -- as tradition goes -- was instituted by Jesus himself. Simon Peter, says the Sepher Toldos Jeshu, was one of the Hebrew brethren, though he had somewhat departed from their laws, and the Jewish hatred and persecution of the apostle seems to have existed but in the fecund imagination of the fathers. The author speaks of him with great respect and fairness, calling him "a faithful servant of the living God," who passed his life in austerity and meditation, "living in Babylon at the summit of a tower," composing hymns, and preaching charity. He adds that Peter always recommended to the Christians not to molest the Jews, but as soon as he was dead, behold another preacher went to Rome and pretended that Simon Peter had altered the teachings of his master. He invented a burning hell and threatened everyone with it; promised miracles, but worked none. How much there is in this of fiction and how much of truth, it is for others to decide; but it certainly bears more the evidence of sincerity and fact on its face, than the fables concocted by the fathers to answer their end.
Alas, alas! How little has the divine seed, scattered broadcast by the hand of the meek Judean philosopher, thrived and brought forth fruit. He who himself shunned hypocrisy, warned against public prayer, showing such contempt for any useless exhibition of the same, could he but cast his sorrowful glance on the earth, from the regions of eternal bliss, would see that this seed fell neither on sterile rock nor by the wayside. Nay, it took deep root in the most prolific soil; one enriched even to plethora with lies and human gore! Theophilus, "that perpetual enemy of peace and virtue," as the famous bishop was called; Cyril, Athanasius, the murderer of Arius, and a host of other canonized "Saints," were all but too worthy successors of Saint Constantine, who drowned his wife in boiling water; butchered his little nephew; murdered, with his own pious hand, two of his brothers-in-law; killed his own son Crispus, bled to death several men and women, and smothered in a well an old monk. However, we are told by Eusebius that this Christian Emperor was rewarded by a vision of Christ himself, bearing his cross, who instructed him to march to other triumphs, inasmuch as he would always protect him!
When dying on the cross, the martyred Man of Sorrows forgave his enemies. His last words were a prayer in their behalf. He taught his disciples to curse not, but to bless, even their foes. But the heirs of St. Peter, the self-constituted representatives on earth of that meek Jesus, unhesitatingly curse whoever resists their despotic will. Besides, was not the "Son" long since crowded by them into the background? They make their obeisance only to the "Mother," for -- according to their teaching -- again through "the direct Spirit of God," she alone acts as their mediatrix. The Ecumenical Council of 1870 embodied the teaching into a dogma, to disbelieve which is to be doomed forever to the "bottomless pit."
A very brief period indeed has elapsed since both Catholic and Protestant ecclesiastical corporations burned, hanged, and otherwise murdered every helpless victim through whose organism spirits -- and sometimes blind and as yet unexplained forces of nature -- manifested themselves. Foremost and pre-eminent stands the Church of Rome; her hands are scarlet with the innocent blood of countless victims shed in the name of the Moloch-like divinity at the head of her creed. She is ready and eager to begin again. But she is bound hand and foot by the nineteenth century spirit of progress and religious freedom which she reviles and blasphemes daily.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
THE LIFE OF POWER
Like some other poets I am attracted by the life of power and the life of action, but I am still more repelled by them. Power involves forcing oneself upon the attention of historians by doing things which are, in themselves, important, so that what is truly powerful is not the soul of a so-called powerful and prominent man but the position which he fills and the things which he does. Similarly, the life of "action" which seems so very positive is, in fact, a selective, even a negative kind of life. A man of action does one thing or several things because he does not do something else. Usually men who do very spectacular things fail completely to do the ordinary things which fill the lives of most normal people, and which would be far more heroic and spectacular perhaps, if they did not happen to be done by many people.
THE COMING RACE
Back to the complete list of the
GROUPING OF HUNDREDS OF "COLLATED ARTICLES"
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".
ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
(1) NOTE.--Collated from standard Theosophical sources.
Back to text.