Rosicrucian Writings Online
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
IS PEACE HOPELESS?
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest December 1935]
ACCORDING to religion's traditions, nineteen hundred and thirty-five years ago--more or less according to various calendars--the great Peacemaker was born. The most beautiful ideal He held before the world was that of universal peace.
Just twenty years ago--on the 4th day of December--Henry Ford sailed from New York with a special chartered boat and a number of delegates and a great hope that they would be able to plead with European powers for peace. It was the world's most modern and most fanciful peace expedition, but it failed in its mission just as did Jesus the Christ in His desire to establish and maintain peace on earth.
We are prone to think that much of the cause for war, and certainly most of the horrifying and horrible possibilities of war, are a result of civilization. We often feel that with the development of nationalism, national interests, modern economic systems, the advancement of machinery and science, warfare has actually become a child of civilization and that as our modern interests, ideas, and individualistic conceptions of life evolve and become more complex, war will become more and more certain.
But the truth of the matter is that when Jesus the Christ came to this sad old world as a Saviour of men and a messenger of peace approximately nineteen hundred and thirty-five years ago, warfare was so rife and the world filled with such destruction of life that Jesus in His ministry felt it necessary to place great emphasis upon peace and upon the necessity of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we study the preachments of Jesus and analyze them, we must come to the conclusion that Jesus was saddened by the lack of brotherliness, the hatred, enmity, jealousy, and other destructive emotions expressed by man toward mankind. If we study and trace the history of the world backward from the time of His birth, we find that from the dawn of creation man has battled in ignorance not only against the elements of nature and the good impulses within his own consciousness, but he has battled against his brother, placing a low price upon life and giving little consideration to the human ties that should have bound all of mankind into one glorious nation. That Jesus failed to bring about universal peace is only a further proof that the animalistic tendencies of uncultured and cultured human nature are still inclined toward war and warfare. We should not be surprised, therefore, that Henry Ford, with all of his ideals and hopes, should have met with failure in his peace expedition which started on December 4, 1915.
This month throughout the Christian world the birth of Jesus the Christ, the great Peacemaker and Saviour of man, is celebrated on the 25th. It is a time and occasion for joyous celebration and for serious meditation and reflection as well.
What if Jesus had never been born? Shall we assume that if He had not been born and no divine messenger of so-called Christian philosophy had come to man personally to preach, the beautiful points of the Christian creed would never have been revealed to man? Shall we assume that if Jesus had not been born the world would have continued evolving in its religious, philosophical thought in lines and paths having their foundation in so-called paganism, heathenism, and the Jewish religion? Or would the decalogue or Ten Commandments which Moses gave to the world have eventually served, evolving civilization as a sufficient foundation for a proper guide in life? Is it not true--or are we sadly mistaken in believing--that just as the birth of Jesus marks a turning point, a pivot in the popular calendar, so His birth, His life, His ministry, mark a turning point in the evolution of civilization?
It may be true that man has adopted in only a limited way the ideals taught by Jesus, and it may be true that the followers of Christ and the Christian religion represent only a small portion of the population of the world; but is it not equally true that Christianity as a religious, moral, and ethical code, as a human philosophy, as a workable guide in our daily lives, is closely associated with the highest advancement of civilization in most of the progressive countries of the world? True, Christian nations, while chanting or singing the Christian songs and adoring Jesus the Christ as their Saviour and leader, still indulge in war and still violate even the fundamental principles of brotherly love. But can we successfully and logically separate the greatest advancement and achievements in civilization among the most progressive nations, from the growth and development, the understanding and acceptance of Christian philosophy?
It is true that in the Orient and elsewhere where the Christian religion has never been well-established or a dominating influence, civilization has advanced also. It is doubtful if the Christian religion and its doctrines could have become a dominating influence in those countries because of the nature and tendencies of the people. Their own religions, gradually evolving to higher and broader standards, have probably served them better. But in the Western World and among the most progressive nations, the fundamental principles of Christianity--pristine Christianism--has unquestionably proved itself to be the necessary saving and inspiring philosophy to further the individual and national evolution. On the other hand, the beautiful thoughts and noble doctrines of the Jewish faith as laid down by their patriarchs and unfolded by their learned Rabbis has aided another large portion of the world to attain great heights in culture and spirituality.
All of these things should be given thought during the Christmas and holiday season, for while we are rejoicing in the opportunity which the holidays afford for the expression of mutual good-will, we should be thankful that the Cosmic has made possible the inspiring revelations from the consciousness of God to the heart and mind of man through the messengers who have served man in the past.
As we all come to learn of our Divine heritage and come to fully understand what is meant by the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, we will come to think alike more often and to be in greater agreement and harmony in our thinking and acting and the inevitable result will be universal peace. But until we do understand alike, think alike, and act alike, until we do harmonize in understanding, all of the essential factors of human existence on earth, there is no hope for that universal peace for which we pray. The spirit of intolerance must be laid aside. The importance of national and political discussions must be brought to an end through looking upon these things as secondary to the fact that we are children of Light in the
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