Friday, April 28, 2017

Anthroposophy & Religious Feeling

At the present time, Anthroposophy does not want to reject religious feeling, religious reverence, but deepen it. This is not sectarian or the foundation of a dogmatic religion.

For example:
"Another exercise we need to do is to intensify our feeling of devotion — devotion felt in everyday life and in life's special moments as religious reverence.....

"Spiritual science does not want to usurp the place of Christianity; on the contrary it would like to be instrumental in making Christianity understood. Thus it becomes clear to us through spiritual science that the being whom we call Christ is to be recognized as the center of life on earth, that the Christian religion is the ultimate religion for the earth's whole future. Spiritual science shows us particularly that the pre-Christian religions outgrow their one-sidedness and come together in the Christian faith. It is not the desire of spiritual science to set something else in the place of Christianity; rather it wants to contribute to a deeper, more heartfelt understanding of Christianity.

"Anthroposophy is further reproached for making Christ a cosmic being; however, it only widens our earthly way of looking at things beyond merely terrestrial concerns into the far reaches of the universe. Thus our knowledge can embrace the universe spiritually, just as Copernicus, with his knowledge, embraced the external world. The need spiritual science feels to encompass what is most holy to it is simply due to a feeling that is religious and deeply scientific at the same time. Before Copernicus, people determined the movements of the stars on the basis of what they saw. Since Copernicus, they have learned to draw conclusions independent of their sensory perception. Is spiritual science to be blamed for doing the same with respect to the spiritual concerns of mankind? Up until now, people regarded Christianity and the life of Christ Jesus in the only way open to them. Spiritual science would like to widen their view to include cosmic spiritual reality as well. It adds what it has researched to what was known before about the Christ. It recognizes in Christ an eternal Being Who, unlike other human beings, entered once only into a physical body and is henceforth united with all human souls.

"May I be allowed to draw attention once again to the fact that spiritual science has no desire to found a religion of any kind; rather does it want to set a more religious mood of soul-life and to lead us to the Christ as the Being at the center of religious life. It brings about a deepened religious awareness. Anyone who fears that spiritual science could destroy his religious awareness resembles a person — if I may use this analogy — who might have approached Columbus before he set sail for America and asked, “What do you want to discover America for? The sun comes up so beautifully here in our good old Europe. How do we know if the sun also rises in America, warming people and shining on the earth?” Anyone familiar with the laws of physical reality would have known that the sun shines on all continents. But anyone fearing for Christianity is like the person described as fearing the discovery of a new continent because he thinks the sun might not shine there.

"He who truly bears the Christ-Sun in his soul knows that the Christ-Sun shines on every continent. And regardless of what may still be discovered, either in realms of nature or in realms of spirit, the “America of the spirit” will never be discovered unless truly religious life turns with a sense of belonging toward the Christ-Sun as the center of our existence on the earth, unless that Sun shines — warming, illumining, and enkindling our human souls. Only a person whose religious feeling is weak would fear that it could die or waste away because of some new discovery. But a person strong in his genuine feeling for the Christ will not be afraid that knowledge might undermine his faith.

"Spiritual science lives in this conviction. It speaks out of this conviction to contemporary culture. It knows that truly religious thinking and feeling cannot be endangered by research of any kind, but that only weak religious sentiment has anything to fear. Spiritual science knows that we can trust our sense for truth. Through the shattering events in his soul life which he has experienced objectively, the spiritual researcher knows what lives in the depths of the human soul. Through his investigations he has come to have confidence in the human soul and has seen that it is most intimately related to the truth. As a result, he believes — signs of the times to the contrary — in the ultimate victory of spiritual science. And he counts on the truth-loving and genuinely religious life of the human soul to bring about this victory."

-Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy & Christianity, Norrköping, July 13, 1914

"Anthroposophy has set itself the task of sweeping human souls clean of those strong doubts that have been placed in them by external science. In a true scientific spirit, anthroposophical science has the task of overcoming what external science has the task of overcoming what external science cannot overcome. It will be able to reintroduce genuine religious life into human souls. It will not contribute to the slaying of religious feeling but will reintroduce into human evolution a religious sense for everything. Human beings will gain a new understanding of Christianity when they turn towards the Mystery of Golgotha which anthroposophy alone can help people to understand and accept fully.

"Since anthroposophy gives human beings not only a reawakening of old religious understanding but also a new religious sense through knowledge, it can most certainly not be said to be aiming for anything sectarian. It has as little intention in this direction as any other science. Anthroposophy does not strive to form sects. It wants to serve the religions that already exist, and in this sense it wants to bring new life into Christianity. It does not want to preserve old religious feelings and help religion press forward in the old way. It wants to contribute to a resurrection of religious life, for this religious life has suffered too much at the hands of modern civilisation. Therefore anthroposophy wants to be a messenger of love. It does not want merely to bring new life to religion in the old sense; it wants to regenerate and reawaken the inner religious life of humanity."

-Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of Christ through Anthroposophy, London 15th of April, 1922

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