It is the effort which counts (2 of 2)

Even if it were to be the case that everything we have taken up was wrong and the only thing we have done is to make an effort, this means we shall have developed the eye of the soul so that we are now able to see what it there in the spiritual world.

Now the situation is that the teachings of the different religious teachers are in no way completely wrong. It is rather that the truth concerning the supersensible world has been presented from different points of view and only appears to be contradictory. The one must be taken to complement the other. What is essential is that all these religious systems have something in common, and this is that they all provide the human soul with concepts the soul uses to make itself strong to enter the spiritual world, so that the soul is raised from death in its spiritual depths. 

Individual religious teachers give to the souls what those souls are capable of receiving, depending on the conditions given in individual races — I would say depending on climatic conditions of the country and on the time when such teachers come forth. They all have in common that they give power and strength to the souls of men. We may also say they make them radiant within so that the souls may be real not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual world. Food to strengthen the soul is the universal truth that has been given to men in all religious systems, depending on the given situation.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 157 – Destinies of Individuals and Nations: Lecture 6: Spiritual Perception Essential at the Present Time – Berlin, January 26, 1915


Contradictions in the gospels

It is actually true that the advanced theology of the nineteenth century, because it desired to be scientific in the modern sense, lost the Christ; that theology was happy to have at last instead “the simple man of Nazareth”. Christ was now “the loftiest human being on earth.” Of the Christ indwelling within Jesus no conception could any longer be formed.

Thus the evolution since the fourth Post-Christian century has consisted of a gradual loss of the connection of man with the Christ in that living form as it was conceived by many persons during the first centuries of Christianity. Thus it came about, moreover, that the content of the gospels was less and less understood. You see, the human beings who lived during the first centuries of Christianity would have considered it utterly astonishing to speak of contradictions in the gospels. It is as if someone was familiar with the picture of a human being taken from the front and that a photograph was brought to him taken in profile, and if he should say: “This cannot be a picture of the same person” — thus would it have appeared to persons of the first Christian centuries if one had spoken to them of contradictions in the Gospels. They knew very well that the four Gospels simply present a picture taken from four different points of view. The human being of the present time would say that these are exceptional presentations, that they are from all different sides. In the spiritual world everything is far richer; in the spiritual world photographs would have to be taken from various sides as one has four Gospels.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 224 – The Waking of the Human Soul and the Forming of Destiny/The Need for Understanding The Christ – II – Prague, 29th April 1923

Translated by Olin D. Wannamaker

Previously posted on April 12, 2019