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The Reappearance of the Christ - Chapter VI - The New World Religion
CHAPTER SIX

The New World Religion

The world today is more spiritually inclined than ever before. This is said with a full realization of the generally accepted idea that the world of men is on the rocks spiritually, and that at no time has the spiritual life of the race been at such a low ebb. This idea is largely due to the fact that humanity is not excessively interested in the orthodox presentation of truth, and that our churches are relatively empty and are under public indictment as having failed to teach humanity to live rightly. These affirmations are distressingly true, but the fact still remains that human beings everywhere are searching for spiritual release and truth, and that the truly religious spirit is more fundamentally alive than at any previous time. This is especially true of those countries which have suffered the most in the late world war (1914-1945). Countries, such as the United States and the neutral countries show, as yet, no sign of any real spiritual revival. The other countries are spiritually alive - not along orthodox lines but in a true search and a vital demand for light.

The religious spirit of humanity is today more definitely focused upon Reality than has ever before been the case. The orthodox world religions are rapidly falling into the background of men's minds even whilst we are undoubtedly approaching nearer to the central spiritual Reality. The theologies now taught by the ecclesiastical organization (both in the East and in the West) are [138] crystallized and of relatively little use. Priests and churchmen, orthodox instructors and fundamentalists (fanatical though sincere) are seeking to perpetuate that which is old and which sufficed in the past to satisfy the enquirer, but which now fails to do so. Sincere but unenlightened religious men are deploring the revolt of youth from doctrinal attitudes. At the same time, along with all seekers, they are demanding a new revelation. They seek something new and arresting by which to attract the masses back to God; they fear that something must be relinquished, that new interpretations of old truths must be found, but fail to realize that a new outlook upon the truth (as it is in Christ) must be attained; they sense the approach of new, impending spiritual revelations but are apt to shrink back from their revolutionary effects. They ask themselves many questions and are assailed by deep and disturbing doubts. It is interesting here to note that the answers to these questions come (and will increasingly come), from two sources; the thinking masses, whose growing intellectual perception is the cause of the revolt from orthodox religion, and from that over-shadowing source of truth and light which has unfailingly brought revelation down the ages. The answers will not come, as far as one can see, from any religious organization, whether Asiatic or Western.

Some of these questions can be expressed as follows:

  • Why has the church been unable to arrest the overpowering expression of evil, as evidenced in the late world war?
  • Why has religion proved inadequate to the need of humanity?
  • Why have the so-called spiritual leaders of the religious world proved themselves incompetent to aid in the solution of the world problems? [139]
  • Why, as exponents of the God of Love, have Christian teachers been unable to arrest the unparalleled growth of hate in the world today?
  • Why are the majority of such teachers so sectarian, separate and denominational in their approaches to truth? There is, however, a spiritual, open-minded minority.
  • Why do the young people refuse to go to church and lack interest to accept the doctrines presented for their belief?
  • Why is death and not life stalking the world today?
  • Why do so many new cults arise and sidetrack the people away from orthodox organizations of a religious nature?
  • Why does Mental Science, the Unity Movement and the New Thought presentation attract people away from the better established organizations? Note the use of the word "organizations"; it holds the key to the problem.
  • Why is there a growing emphasis upon the Eastern theologies, upon the various yogas, upon Buddhistic teachings and oriental faiths?
  • Why do such teachings as astrology, numerology and various magical rituals find so many adherents whilst the churches remain empty or are only attended by old people, the conservatives and reactionaries or by those who go there by force of habit, or desperate unhappiness?
  • What is wrong, finally, with our presentation of the spiritual realities and the truths of the ages?

Many answers can be given. The most important one is that the presentation of divine truth, as given by the churches in the West and by the teachers in the East, has not kept pace with the unfolding intellect of the human spirit. The same old forms of words and of ideas are still handed out to the enquirer and they do not satisfy [140] his mind nor do they meet his practical need in a most difficult world. He is asked to give unquestioning belief but not to understand; he is told that it is not possible for him to comprehend and yet he is asked to accept the interpretations and the affirmations of other human minds who claim that they do understand and that they have the truth. He does not believe that their minds and their interpretations are any better than his. The same old formulas, the same old theologies and the same old interpretations are deemed adequate to meet man's modern needs and enquiries. They are not.

The church today is the tomb of the Christ and the stone of theology has been rolled to the door of the sepulchre.

There is, however, no point in attacking Christianity. Christianity cannot be attacked; it is an expression - in essence, if not yet entirely factual - of the love of God, immanent in His created universe. Churchianity has, however, laid itself wide open to attack, and the mass of thinking people are aware of this; unfortunately, these thinking people are still a small minority. Nevertheless, it is this thinking minority which (when it is a majority and it is today a rapidly growing one) will spell the doom of the churches and endorse the spread of the true teaching of the Christ. It is not possible that He has any pleasure in the great stone temples which churchmen have built, whilst His people are left without guidance or reasonable light upon world affairs; surely, He must feel (with an aching heart) that the simplicity which He taught and the simple way to God which He emphasized have disappeared into the fogs of theology (initiated by St. Paul) and in the discussions of churchmen throughout the centuries. Men have traveled far from the simplicity of thought and from the simple, spiritual life which the early [141] Christians lived. Is it not possible that the Christ may regard the separative life of the churches and the arrogance of the theologians as wrong and undesirable - dividing (as they have) the world into believer and unbeliever, into Christian and heathen, into the so-called enlightened and the so-called benighted - and as contrary to all that He Himself held and believed when He said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." (John X, 16.)

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