Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine

Christianity is an outlook which sees in everything a revelation of the Divine. Everything material becomes an illusion unless we look on it as an expression of the Divine. If we disown the external world, we are disowning the Divine; if we reject the material realm, in which God has revealed himself, we are rejecting the Divine. The important thing is not to gaze into ourselves, but to seek to know the Great Self which shines down into us. […]
Really to go out of yourself is to renounce yourself. […] In the early days of Theosophy the gravest mistake was made when people were told to look away from the external world and to gaze into themselves. That is a great illusion, for then we find only the lower self, which imagines itself to be divine but is not so at all. We must come out of ourselves if we are to know the Divine. “Know thyself” means also “Overcome thyself”.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 95 – At the Gates of Spiritual Science: Lecture XIV: Rosicrucian Training – The Interior of the Earth – Earthquakes and Volcanoes – Stuttgart, 4th September 1906

Translated by E.H. Goddard & Charles Davy

Previously posted on December 26, 2014

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Knowing much without, in fact, having true knowledge

What is sent out from our European and American universities as so-called human wisdom, but also as social wisdom, technical wisdom and so on, in fact, is a view of the world to the exclusion of all the factors that belong to the human being. Whosoever today is in some leading position, even if it is an insignificant leading position, has no opportunity at all to learn something or other that would enable him to acquire insight into the human being. And without human knowledge there is no social life, without human knowledge there is no renewal of Christianity.

One can nowadays become a theologian without having any idea of the mystery of Golgotha, for most theologians have no idea who Christ is. You can nowadays become a lawyer without having any idea of what the human being really is. One can become a doctor without having any idea of how the human being is built up from out of the cosmos, without having any idea of how the healthy and the diseased body relate to each other. One can be a technician today, without having any idea of how the construction of some machine will affect the entire course of earthly evolution, and one can today be a genius inventor of a telephone without having an idea of what the phone means for the whole of earthly development.

People lack a view of the course of human development. And every man has his own desire to form a small circle and to acquire a routine in this small circle, to use this routine to further his egoism, which he creates for himself without considering how, what he brings as part of the world into this world, is interwoven into the whole.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 196 – Geistige und soziale Wandlungen in der Menschheitsentwickelung – Dornach, February 6, 1920 (page 158-159)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Nationality

Slowly in the course of the nineteenth century the principle of nationality arose, this emphasizing of the nationality, this wish to live only in the nationality. This represents the antithesis of the soul-spirit nature; for this soul-spirit nature does not trouble itself with nationality. Many of the souls who today live in Europe were formerly incarnated in America. The souls who today live chiefly in Japanese bodies should not point to their ancestors, as far as their souls are concerned, but to the time of the folk migrations in Europe. Yes, indeed, the Americans should not pride themselves on their forebears, their European blood ancestry. Rather they should point to the fact that they once lived in Asia at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, and there went through a culture which was not yet permeated by Christianity; thus they are also those who accept Christianity through external tradition and external education. There is still a strong opposition from this quarter to a soul-spiritual conception of the world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 202 – The Souls Progress through Repeated Earth Lives – Bern, 14th December 1920

Previously posted on December 3, 2014

If we go back to the same thing, the same must again come out of it

How frequent the question arises which I have referred to briefly today and which I will go into further in the near future, the question: What is the position occupied by Christianity during the past centuries and thousands of years, seeing that although it has been working for hundreds of years, yet the present-day conditions (1918) are possible? This question has been touched upon at different points.

It can be seen that the materials necessary to answer it are not yet to be found among what mankind calls today the scientific or religious or any other kind of studies. Spiritual Science alone will be able to produce these materials. For it is indeed an earnest question: How is the present-day man to regard Christianity? — considering that it has indeed worked for a long time in the past and yet has allowed such conditions to come about today.

Those men are certainly peculiar who demand that Christianity should go back again to some of the forms existing before these conditions, who does have no feeling for the fact that if we go back to the same thing, the same must again come out of it. These people will certainly not very easily admit that something new of a penetrating and intense nature must strike into spiritual life.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 181 – Anthroposophical Life Gifts: Lecture V: Thoughts on Life and Death – Berlin, 16th April 1918

Two thousand years of Christianity

We have the advantage over the Asian culture in that we have the Christ-mystery. But what do the Asian people say? I will now tell you something that I did not make up myself, but something that Asians with insight say. They say: ‘wonderful, you fellows have the Christ-mystery over on us; that is something we do not have, therefore you view yourselves to be at a higher cultural level. But you say for example: “by your fruits, you will be recognized.” Your religion advocates that people must love each other, but if we look at the way you live, then we do not see that you love one another. You send missionaries to Asia, who tell us all kinds of great things; but when we come to Europe, if all this is true, we actually see people are not living in the way we were told people should be living! ‘ – That is what the Asian people say. Think about it, are they so significantly wrong? At a religious conference, where representatives of all faiths spoke, this exact topic was discussed, and what I just said is what the Asian representatives said. They said, ‘you send us missionaries, that is certainly all very beautiful. But you’ve already had Christianity for two thousand years; we cannot see that your moral development is so vastly superior to ours as you assume it to be!’

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 169 – Weltwesen und Ichheit – Berlin, July 18,  1916 (page 159)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger