Part I: The Search

The Bible tells us that curiosity has been given to man as a scourge, but I have no intention to comment here on the implications of such a statement. I believe, however, that curiosity – the urge to know, explore and discover, to reach out into the realms of the unknown, to dare and delve – is essential to the progress of mankind, spiritual as well as material.

This restless urge to know, discover and understand; the desire for enlightenment and the eternal quest for Truth are essentials for the proper development of man. Without them he would still be less than a primitive savage.

The most important questions in life must be, “Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? Has life any particular meaning for me?” Such thoughts, such queries well up in the human mind not only through the prompting of intellect, but from another source lying even deeper within. They are engendered by some faculty peculiar to human beings; lesser creatures are not disturbed by such matters.

It should be made clear that the mystery is not as deep as is generally thought. What many people believe to be an impenetrable veil is, in fact, only a dense fog of ignorance and misconception. The Tree of Truth bearing the fruit of enlightenment may grow at the top of a high and steep mountain, but it is not inaccessible. This higher knowledge is within the reach of every individual, but the blindfold must be removed. It is fitting and proper that ingrained doctrines hitherto accepted blindly and apathetically, should be intelligently challenged.

For long agonizing months I struggled with my conscience, torn between old loyalties and the realization that Truth lay in another direction. That the old familiar themes and teachings were part of a fragile structure propped up by ignorance and blind belief.

At this point I could have turned away from religion in dismay and disillusionment, but because one house of religion had been found warm-eaten and unsound, unsuited for the tenancy of Truth it did not necessarily mean that Truth was homeless; there were other dwellings. I could have compromised as most Christians do, between what Christ taught and what Christians practice, stifling the protests of conscience and accepting a Christianity of convenience. This is the easy way, but it is the way of surrender, of betrayal. It is not the true way. Let no Christian deceive himself of that point.

A true religion is based on a revelation of higher knowledge and Truth, while science is the search for these. Therefore, if Christianity were wholly true it would be converging towards science, yet this is not the case. The fault lies in the overlay of church dogma. If we could differentiate between doctrine and dogma we might see some light.

Nowadays, many thinking men tend to ignore Christianity. Though it is still outwardly the religion of the Western world, they seek no closer association with it. Consider, for a moment, the God of the Christians: a God who created man with a heritage of sin, a being prone to evil. This God condemns man to everlasting fiery torment because of his birthright. If this Christian teaching were true then such a God would be nothing more than a callous monster. To say that the cruelty is mitigated by the fact that this God accepted the blood of His only Son as a worthy ransom or sacrifice in atonement for the sins of men does little to alter the picture.

One of the condemnations of Christianity is that it fosters ignorance. It may not now actively propagate it as it did in the past, but neither does it attack it. One aspect of this ignorance relates to the true nature of man. The Christians hold to the dogma that man is primarily a body with a soul hidden away in some recess. The nature of this soul is some- what doubtful, it is not something they are encouraged to think too much about and it plays absolutely no part in their daily life, being thought of as quite unknowable and undemonstratable, which it is not. There are mentions of trumpets, judgment days, the resurrection of the dead and souls rising to glory. I contend that man is a soul expressing itself on Earth in a physical body. Present day ignorance of the true nature of man is rooted in the past when it was diligently fostered by the church. Anything tending to glorify man or make him proud of his status was decried – meekness, servility and blind unquestioning belief being the maxims to live by.

Once the tree of Christianity grew sturdily, full of promise, but it soon displayed its lack of inner resilience, its inability to resist attacking rot. What is the heritage Christianity has bequeathed to man? Look at our degenerate society. Must it plead impotence against overwhelming materialism?

As I see it, one great deception practiced by Christianity is its doctrine of forgiveness. This declares that though a man be wicked all his life, if he repents on his deathbed all will be forgiven. This flies in the face of the natural order of things; corn cannot be reaped where the seeds of weeds have been sown and bricks of mud cannot be exchanged for gold.

Pausing for reflection at this point, I feel that I may have been carried away by my feelings, but I find it difficult to confine my exploding sincerity and indignation within my human heart.

In the past Christianity held so much power that could have been utilized for good. Today the ship of civilization rides on the ebb tide of Christianity. I opened The Book of Gwineva hoping to still my restlessness and turned automatically to the section dealing with the Christian dogma of eternal damnation and I quote:

“A child is born innocent and remains so until it sins. To proclaim that blameless people must suffer eternally for the wrongdoing of others, for things that occurred when they were non-entities, is monstrous. It is blasphemy against the justice and love of The Supreme Spirit. To assert that a few mumbled words and a sprinkling of water converts its future prospects from eternal fiery torment to heavenly peace and bliss is something only defective or distorted brains could conceive and only infantile or unthinking minds could possibly accept. How terrible to contemplate from the higher spheres that mankind, capable as it is of so much nobility and goodness, should be shackled to such a fearsome horror.

It is equally wicked and wrong to assert that the sins of the forebears shall fall upon the children, for each individual is responsible only for their own wrongdoings, their own commissions and omissions. No one ever pays spiritually for the wickedness of others.”

Which brings us to the soothing story of salvation, the delusive sop to complacency and apathy. Again I quote from The Book of Gwineva:

“Atonement by Christ for the sins of men is not meant in any literal sense. God, being all- powerful, could not possibly require the sacrifice of a son; in no circumstances can it be conceived of even an earthly father making such a request and God is assuredly greater than any of these. This belief in ritual sacrifice as atonement for the sins of others is a carry-over from primitive forms of religion. To declare that Christ died simply as a sacrificial offering detracts from His greatness.

Any person who is fundamentally good, who honestly endeavors to live a just life and sincerely tries to do what is right; who leads a useful and worthy existence, subordinating his way of living to the highest ideals will, surely, be acceptable to God on his or her merits.

No religion can be true which associates the nature of God with the earthly weaknesses of anger, vengeance, hatred, cruelty, bigotry, in- justices, individual preferences and petty- mindedness, together with assertions that the majority of mankind is doomed to suffer un-nameable torments with His concurrence and approval.”

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