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The Reappearance of the Christ - Chapter VI - The New World Religion
It is not the evil rampant in the world today which is hindering the revelation and hindering the unfoldment of the spiritual life. That evil is the result of the misapprehension and the wrong orientation of the human mind, of the emphasis upon material things which ages of competitive activity have brought about; it rests upon the failure of the religious organizations throughout the world to preserve the truth in its purity and to avoid the fanatical idea that anyone's individual interpretation of truth must necessarily be the only and correct one. Theologians have fought (and with sincerity of intention) for forms of words which they believed were the only true and correct formulation of the divine idea, but Christ was forgotten behind the words; churchmen have expended effort and executive ability in raising funds for the building of stone edifices whilst God's children everywhere went hungry and unclothed and so lost their belief in divine love.

How can the need of humanity for spiritual guidance be met when the leaders of the churches are occupied with temporal concerns, when the emphasis is laid in the Roman Catholic, the Greek Orthodox and the Protestant Churches upon pomp and ceremonies, on great churches and stone cathedrals, upon gold and silver communion sets, on scarlet birettas, on jeweled vestments, and upon all the paraphernalia so cherished by the ecclesiastically minded? How [142] can the starving children of the world - and of Europe in particular - be salvaged when pleas go out from Popes and Bishops for money to build cathedrals and erect more churches when the existent churches now stand empty? How can light shine again in the minds of men when churchmen keep the people in a state of fear unless they accept the old theological interpretations and the old ways of approaching God? How can the spiritual and intellectual needs of the people be met when the theological seminaries teach nothing new or appropriate to the day and age, but send out young men to guide humanity who are grounded only in the past interpretations. These young men enter upon their religious training and preparation for the ministry with high hopes and vision; they emerge with little hope, not much faith, but with a determination to "make good" and rise to prominence in the church.

The question arises whether Christ would be at home in the churches if He walked again among men. The rituals and the ceremonies, the pomp and the vestments, the candles and the gold and silver, the graded order of popes, cardinals, archbishops, canons and ordinary rectors, pastors and clergy would seemingly have small interest for the simple Son of God, Who - when on Earth - had not where to lay His head.

The presentation of religious truth in the past has blocked the growth of the religious spirit; theology has brought mankind to the very gates of despair; the delicate flower of the Christ life has been stunted and arrested in the dark caves of man's thinking; fanatical adherence to human interpretations has taken the place of Christian living; millions of books have obliterated the living words of Christ; the arguments and discussions of priests have put out the light which the Buddha brought, and the love of God as revealed by the life of Christ has been forgotten [143] whilst men have quarreled over meanings, over phrases and words. In the meantime, men have agonized, starved, suffered, demanded help and instruction and, unsatisfied, have lost faith.

Today everywhere people are ready for the light; they are expectant of a new revelation and of a new dispensation, and humanity has advanced so far on the way of evolution that these demands and expectations are not couched in terms of material betterment only, but in terms of a spiritual vision, true values and right human relations. They are demanding teaching and spiritual help along with the necessary requests for food, clothes and the opportunity to work and live in freedom; they face famine in large areas of the world and yet are registering (with equal dismay) the famine of the soul.

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