Re: Who was the real Jesus?
Mar 10, 2009 12:31 PM
C.W. Leadbeater talks very high about Christianity, though his opinion was Bible was not historically correct entirely. CWL says that Jesus existed. Of course I and other sensible students of Christianity won't take everything written in Bible as literally true.
One thing I found strange. CWL says real Jesus belonged to a royal, aristocratic family. But somebody had posted here Blavatsky's writing that Jesus was poor, who had not place to lay his head and preached among the poor masses. This contradiction between CWL and Blavatsky's writing about Jesus seems to be an interesting topic.
Here is what CWL says in the same book.
262. There is nothing in the principles of Theosophy which is at all in opposition to the true primitive Christianity, though there may be statements which cannot be reconciled with some of the mistakes of modern popular theology. This modern theology attaches immense importance to texts; in fact it appears to me to be based upon one or two texts almost entirely. It takes these and gives to them a particular interpretation, often in direct opposition to the plain meaning of other texts from the same bible. Of course there are contradictions in the Christian scripture just as there must necessarily be in any book of that size, the various parts of which were written at such widely separated periods of the world' s history, and by people so unequal in knowledge and in civilization..
263. It is impossible that all the statements made in it can be literally true, but we can go back behind them all, and try to find out what the original teacher did lay before His pupils. Since there are many contradictions and many interpretations it is obviously the duty of a thinking Christian to weigh carefully the different versions of his faith which exist in the world, and decide between them according to his own reason and common-sense.
264. Every Christian does, as a matter of fact, decide for himself now; he chooses to be a Roman Catholic, or a member of the Church of England, or a Methodist, or a Salvationist, though each of these sects professes to have the only genuine brand of Christianity, and justifies its claim by the quotation of texts. How then does the ordinary layman decide between their rival claims? Either he accepts blindly the faith which his father held, and does not examine the matter at all, or else he does examine it, and then he decides by the exercise of his own judgment.
265. If he is already doing that, it would be absurd and inconsistent for him to refuse to examine all texts, instead of basing his belief only upon one or two. If he does impartially examine all texts, he will certainly find many which support Theosophical truth. He will find also that the creeds can be rationally interpreted only by Theosophy. Of course in order to make an intelligent comparison between these different systems it will be necessary for him to make some enquiries into the history of his own religion, and to see how the Christian doctrine came to be what it now is.
266. He will find that in the early Christian Church there were three principal divisions or parties. There were first of all the Gnostic Doctors or teachers, wise and cultured men who held that the Christian Church had its system of philosophy of the same nature as the great Greek and Roman systems which existed at that time. They said that this system, while thoroughly comprehensive and very beautiful, was difficult to understand, and therefore they did not recommend its study to the ignorant. They spoke of it as the Gnosis or knowledge-- the knowledge which was possessed by those who were full members of the church, but was not given out to the world at large, and not even told to the more ignorant members of the church while they were in that preliminary stage when they could not receive the sacraments.
267. Then there was the second division, a body of respectable middle-class people, who troubled themselves not at all about the philosophy, but simply were content to take the words of the Christ as their guide in life. They used as a sacred book a collection of His sayings, some leaves of which have recently been discovered by antiquarians.
268. Then there was unfortunately a great mass of ignorant and turbulent people who never had any grasp whatever of Christian doctrine, but became members of the church merely because of the prophecies, given by the Christ, of a good time to come. He was very much moved by the sufferings of the poor, and full of compassion and pity for them. He told them constantly, in His teachings, to take comfort, because the poor man who endures the struggle bravely and well will in the future have a better position and greater advancement than the rich man who misuses his opportunities. One can readily see how that doctrine preached to an exceedingly ignorant people might be taken in a one-sided manner. They would take the promises and not the conditions, and their idea of that good time might easily be that they in turn would be the oppressors and would take advantage of the rich man-- something which of course the Christ never preached. So it came to pass that He attracted to himself a great crowd of men who for various reasons were against the existing government; and when these ignorant people in turn preached what they called Christianity to others, they naturally intensified and exaggerated their own misconceptions of it. This great mass of the common people, who called themselves "the poor men," speedily became a vast majority of the infant church, and gained so much power that they were eventually able to throw out the Gnostic Doctors as heretics; for the "poor men" resented the idea that any knowledge which they did not possess could be regarded as an essential part of Christianity.
269. There is yet another point of view from which the Christian may find Theosophy of the greatest use to him. Just now the minds of many orthodox Christians are much exercised with regard to what they call the higher criticism-- that is, the attempt to apply ordinary common-sense and scientific methods to the examination of the religious teaching-- the endeavour to understand religion instead of blindly believing it. For many ages the world has been told that ecclesiastical dogmas must be swallowed like pills, and that to attempt to reason about them is impious. There are many men in the world, and they are among the most intellectual of its citizens, who simply cannot accept doctrines thus blindly and uncomprehendingly. Before they can believe they must to some extent understand, and a statement does not become a living fact to them until they can relate it rationally to other facts, and regard it as part of a more or less comprehensive scheme of things.
270. It is ridiculous to say (as some of the orthodox do) that these people are inherently wicked and that their attitude is inspired by the devil. On the contrary they are precisely the men who truly appreciate God' s great gift of reason, and are determined to employ it in the highest of all possible directions-- for the elucidation of the truth about religion. The truth is that the critics are of the greatest possible service to religion; they are clearing up points in it which heretofore have been vague; they are stating with accuracy matters in connection with it which were previously very partially understood; they are trying to make a reasonable system out of what has until now been nothing but a mass of meaningless confusion.
271. If any of our members have orthodox friends who are disturbed by these efforts, who fear lest this liberalizing and rationalizing of their faith should refine it altogether out of existence, let them recommend to them the teachings of Theosophy, for that is the very thing which they need. It will teach them to pause before throwing aside ancestral belief, and it will show them that when properly understood that belief has a real meaning and a real foundation, and that, while some of the vagaries of mediaeval ecclesiastical dogma may be incomprehensible and incredible, the original teaching of the Christ was a magnificent presentment of universal truth.
272. If they have somewhat outgrown the outer form of their religion, if they have broken through the chrysalis of blind faith, and mounted on the wings of reason and intuition to the freer, nobler mental life of more exalted levels, Theosophy will show them that in all this there has been no loss, but a great and glorious gain. For it tells them that the glow of devotion which has meant so much to them in their spiritual life is more than justified, that the splendour and beauty and poetry of religious thought exist in fuller measure than they have ever hoped before-- no longer as mere pleasant dreams from which the cold light of common-sense may at any time rudely awaken them, but as truths of nature which will bear investigation, which become only brighter and more perfect as they are more accurately understood. "
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application