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A Treatise on White Magic - Rule Ten - The Present Age and the Future
It might be of value to touch briefly upon certain main lines of thought which are emerging at the present time and which are the outgrowth of the past and the promise of the future.

The thoughts of men have ever been religious. There has never been a time when religion or the thoughts of men about God, about the infinite, and about the Life which has brought all into being has not been present. [326] Even the most ignorant of savage races have recognized a Power and have attempted to define their relationship to that Power in terms of fear, of sacrifice or of propitiation. From the rudiments of nature worship, from the fetishism and degraded idol worship of primitive man we have built up a structure of truth which though as yet imperfect and inadequate, does verily lay the foundation of the future Temple of Truth where the light of the Lord will be seen and which will prove adequate as an expression of Reality.

Out of the darkness of time there have emerged the great religions. These religions though diverse in their theologies and forms of worship, though characterized by distinctions of organization and ceremonial, and though differing in their methods of application of truth, are united in three basic aspects:

  1. In their teaching as to the nature of God and of man.
  2. In their symbolism.
  3. In certain fundamental doctrines.

When men recognize this and succeed in isolating that inner significant structure of truth which is the same in all climes and in all races, then there will emerge the universal religion, the One Church, and that unified though not uniform approach to God, which will demonstrate the truth of St. Paul's words "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all." Theologies will disappear into the knowledge of God; doctrines and dogmas will no longer be regarded as necessary, for faith will be based on experience, and authority will give place to personal appreciation of Reality. The power of the Church over the group will be supplanted by the power of the awakened soul in men; the age of miracles and the disputations as to the why and how of those miracles [327] with the consequent skepticism or agnosticism will give way to the understanding of the laws of nature which control the superhuman realm and the supernatural stage of the evolutionary process. Man will enter into his divine heritage and know himself as the Son of the Father, with all the divine characteristics, powers and capacities which are his because of his divine endowment. But in the meantime what have we? A breaking away from old established tradition, a revolt from authority, whether of the Church, of dogma, doctrine or theology; a tendency towards self-determination and an overthrowing of the old standards, and of old barriers of thought and the divisions existing between races and faiths.

Hence we are passing through an intermediate stage of chaos and of questioning, of rebellion and consequent apparent license. The methods of science, - investigation and analysis, comparison and deduction, - are being applied to religious belief. The history of religions, the foundations of doctrine, the origin of ideas and the growth of the God idea are being subjected to research and study. This leads to much disputation; to the rejection of old established ideas as to God, the soul, man and his destiny. Schools of thought have ever existed differing in their ideas and methods and the six Schools of Indian Philosophy have embodied in themselves practically all the basic speculations of man as to the why and wherefore of manifestation. Little which is new has been added by the occident to these six speculative schools, though the western mind, with its genius for scientific technique and method, has elaborated the ideas and differentiated the six theories into a multiplicity of lesser propositions. Out of the medley of ideas, theories, speculations, religions, churches, cults, sects and organizations, two main lines of thought are emerging - one doomed eventually to die out, the other to strengthen and grow until it, in its turn, gives birth to that (for us) [328] ultimate formulation of truth which will suffice for the next age and carry man to a high pinnacle of the Temple and to the Mount of Initiation. These two lines are:

1. Those who look back to the past, who hang on to the old ways, the ancient theologies, and the reactionary rejection methods of finding truth. These are the people who recognize authority, whether that of a prophet, a bible or a theology. These are those who prefer obedience to imposed authority to the self-imposed guidance of an enlightened soul. These are the followers of a Church and a government, who are distinguished by a pure devotion and love, but refuse recognition to the divine intelligence with which they are gifted. Their devotion, their love of God, their strict but misguided conscience, their intolerance mark them out as devotees, but they are blinded by their own devotion and their growth is limited by their fanaticism. They belong mostly to the older generation and the hope for them lies in their devotion and the fact that evolution itself will carry them forward into the second group.

To this first group is committed the work of crystallization which will result in the complete destruction of the old form; to them is given the task of defining the old truths so that the mind of the race will be clarified, that non-essentials and essentials will be recognized for what they are, and fundamental ideas so contrasted with the formulation of dogmas that that which is basic will be seen and the secondary and unimportant beliefs therefore rejected, for only the basic and causative will be of value in the coming age.

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