Rosicrucian Writings Online
[From The Rosicrucian Digest March 1935]
RELIGIOUS TOLERANCEIF ONE could separate himself from this old earth and be placed somewhere in the clouds around it and view the earth through a telescope and with a radio that would bring him the minute sounds of the babbling mass of people, the picture and the story of our present-day civilization would be a horrible commentary on our attitudes of mind.
We all like to believe that we are children of God and kin under one Father and that we are universal brothers in a divine brotherhood, but we have all learned from our earthly experiences that it is not blood or the vestiges of inherited qualities that make us kin or tie us together into family clans or cooperative bodies, but unity of thought and like-mindedness of understanding. Herein lies the answer to world problems of today. We are not sufficiently like-minded to constitute the slightest degree of a universal brotherhood in the sense that it should exist. Not only do we have those necessary and admirable differences of character and personality constituting the crucible of life out of which the new race will evolve and from the fires of which with their purging processes, purity of character and goodness of individuality will form, but we have unreasonable and unsound differences of opinion more distinctive than the differences of character and personality, more stubborn in their persistence to dominate than even the persistency of a super-mind of a tyrant in the political world.
Superstition and false beliefs constitute the fundamental basis for these diversified earthly attitudes, but the vanity of man in insisting that his viewpoint is right and that all else is wrong is alone accountable for man's wilful and deliberate defeat of his best interests through his failure to unify his thoughts.
Much is said at times in our worldly, political affairs regarding the differences of opinion on national and civic matters and very often we are inclined to believe that these differences are responsible for world wars, for strifes and contests that throw the mass of man suddenly from a fair point of advancement backward to the most primitive elements of civilization and animalistic, instinctive activities. But in the final analysis we will find that the great differences in religious thought constitute a far more serious detriment to man's spiritual and worldly progress than all of his differences of opinion in matters political and civic.
It is a sad thing to realize as we view the earth from our distant vantage point that out of the flames that rise above our cities and nations, that out of the smoke and gun fire and gas that is constantly besmirching the beautiful aspect of this earth in hundreds of places, that out of the agonizing cries of those who are dying on the battle fields and those who are suffering the pangs of personal loss in their homes, that out of the scheming and satanic inventions of groups of human minds who are seeking more destructive ways to ruin civilization and hold the world in abeyance in its onward progress, we will find religious intolerance and religious bigotry as one of the keynotes of all of the differences leading to this horrible situation.
There is but one God, no matter by what name He may be known or in what form He may be comprehended by the individual or groups of individuals. The God of each one's understanding is the God unto him and unto him as he comprehends God can he worship and find peace and salvation. To him who lifts his heart up in worship and directs his thoughts divinely and seeks to know God, the God of the universe, the true and everliving God will reach out and extend His consciousness, reveal Himself to the seeker, and in time he who has dwelt in darkness and has lost his way in the labyrinth of religious channels and doctrinal chambers will discover the true God. It does not behoove anyone, therefore, to criticize and to be intolerant toward those who are seeking or to those who believe they have found or to those who have only partly comprehended. So long as they are prayerful and mindful of the urge within them to seek God and to seek attunement, they are deserving of our respect and cooperation and our sympathy.
But in thousands of spots in this great garden or earthly kingdom from the north to the south and east to west, in the Orient and Occident, in the primitive settlement of the partially civilized communes, to the boastfully aggrandized cities of modern empires, we find this challenge in religious thought, this attempt at dictatorship, this readiness to destroy others who believe not as we believe, this mockery of the God of someone else's heart, this shedding of blood because of difference of creed. Lives are destroyed, magnificent temples, aspiring to represent the ideals of God, are razed, magnificent works of art revealing in their hidden strokes the touch of God's guiding hand, magnificent instruments of music and soul enchantment, are crushed and broken while millions are forced to be hypocritical in their worship, deceitful in their attitude, anguished in their desires for peace and happiness, and denied the free and open expression of their religious comprehension.
"My God shall be thy God!" It is the ultimatum that has been carried upon banners in greater wars of the past and present time than the world has ever understood. Of all the great things in life that are truly personal and individualistic and in which every individual should have the utmost freedom of expression and the greatest degree of privacy in experience, religion of any kind is the most sublime and the most fundamental to human happiness. For until religion or a creed of understanding can be indulged in freely, wholeheartedly, sympathetically and without the shadow of dictatorship, man will never find the true ecstatic transcendent pleasures of religious worship.
We have before us a communication from Sar Hieronymus, the Illustrious Rosicrucian Imperator of the countries of Europe, imploring the Imperator, supreme officers, and members of the Rosicrucian Order in North America to assist him and the other great Masters throughout the world in intervening with all human thoughts and attitudes in the continuance of this religious intolerance in all parts of the world. And he particularly directs the thoughts of North and South American members toward those situations closest to us in a political sense and easily within the scope of our personal influence through our united thoughts and attitude of mind. He points out that in one of our Central American countries--
In Mexico Catholic churches, temples, places of worship of all kinds have been destroyed or attacked. Several distinct forms of religious worship have been severely affected and it may seem to many that the religious warfare there is confined to an issue between two forms of ritualism. But the truth of the matter is that wherever any sincere form of worship on the part of the humble follower is rent asunder and their sacred birthrights are taken from them, all religion will suffer, for the spiritual strength of the country and the people is weakened and the possibility of any form of religious worship becoming free in expression is remote.
And so we who are privileged to lift ourselves above the limitations of man-made creeds can reach up into the Cathedral of the Soul where all divinely attuned beings may meet in peace and harmony and we who know and believe that there is but one God, the Father of all creatures regardless of race, color, religious distinctions or nationality, are asked to remember the people in our Western World and in all parts of the world who are suffering under the torture of religious criticism and persecution and to send to them our thoughts of brotherly love that we may assist in keeping alive within their hearts and minds the desire for religious worship and the determination to find God in the sanctums of their homes and in the Holy of Holies of their consciousness regardless of the closing of their cathedrals or the difficulties they meet in their attempt to worship in the cathedrals of the land. And let each one of us be sure that in our contacts with human beings everywhere we hold in abeyance every word or thought that might be a criticism of the religion of others or of the leaders of religious thought or of the creeds or dogmas which men have found helpful no matter how they may differ from our own or how we may view them from our point of view. Let us unite in keeping the flame of religious worship burning brilliantly and intensely throughout the world for in it alone lies the path to the comprehension of God and which will eventually bring all men into the greater light of truth. Let there be peace on earth in our religious attitudes if in no other form of human emotions and desires.
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