Rosicrucian Writings Online

Imperator's Monthly Message

[By H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Mystic Triangle August 1927]
MAX MULLER once wrote: "There never was a false god, nor was there ever really a false religion, unless you call a child a false man."
In this statement I have always found a good text for a sermon on tolerance. Such a sermon seems to be needed today--not so greatly by our members as by the populace in general.
We hear so much about fundamentalism and modernism. The modernist folk believe that the ideas expressed in fundamentalism are false, untrue and unworthy of the consideration given by serious minds. They overlook the fact that fundamentalism and orthodoxy were the children of religion--to use Mr. Muller's metaphore--and could not be false if the adult principles of religion today are true.
In other words, modernism in religion, like modernism in electricity, cannot be true if the childhood of their evolution was false.
Man's consciousness is evolving; it is the essential feature of all evolution. The evolutionary changes in man's physical body, whatever they may have been and however great we now note them to be, are of little importance compared with the evolution of consciousness, the soul and psychic evolution, that has taken place and will continue to take place within the body of man.
The church may argue against any doctrine that intimates that man, physically, has evolved from a lower state of expression; but it concedes, insists upon and amplifies the doctrine that man, as man, has been evolving inwardly for aeons of time and will continue to evolve inwardly. In fact, the true purpose of the church should be, as religious meditation and study really is, a furtherance of the evolution of man by his voluntary cooperation with God's true laws of evolution.
The fundamentalists are right in their contentions, but so are the modernists. That religion or religious system that serves best to bring God nearer and dearer to any being is best for that person; and to argue with such a person and point out to him grave weaknesses in his beliefs, without truly supplanting them with better convictions easily acceptable, is wrong, absolutely and eternally. To take from any being his religion, his faith, his hope, and leave him in doubt, in trembling, upon the edge of a chasm of hopelessness, is a crime against God and the universe.
Man's evolution will bring to each individual, in his time, the true understanding of God and God's laws. There is a time for each of us to have the periodic awakening to the truth as it is. Truth is unchangeable; the truth about God and His works was the same ten thousand years ago as it is today; but man was not ready for that truth in its fullness; for truth, too, grows in fullness and blossoms in its effulgence like a rose.
As evolution worked its marvelous changes in the group consciousness of mankind, certain Messengers of Light became more illuminated by the development of truth within them, and they might have been called modernists. They did not learn a new truth, but more of the great truth that was always with them.
The modernist, the progressive, the highly evolved mind of today is unmindful of his own previous state when he condemns the beliefs of others. He becomes intolerant while forgetting that tolerance on the part of many made possible his advanced state of evolution.
And is the modernist always sure that he is modern? He may be primitive, indeed, in his beliefs. He may be an infant criticising his elders. He may not be false or wrong, but he may be far behind the multitude in their knowledge. Truly he may be what Max Muller refers to as the child that will grow into manhood.

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