Rosicrucian Writings Online
[From The Rosicrucian Digest January 1936]
CHANGES IN RELIGIOUS THOUGHTTHROUGHOUT the world today there is a very evident, pronounced tendency on the part of the mass of people to revise and modify their religious activities and particularly their forms of religious devotion. In addition to the fact that many new or religious movements are being formed, particularly in
In the Western World and particularly in the
One of the most keen analyzers of the matter has said that the deplorable absences from churches in the past ten years or the reduction in the number of those persons who regularly attend the fixed meetings of the churches should not have been taken as an indication that the public was becoming less interested in religion or less religious in its interior nature. He has said, and many of the religious congresses have agreed with him, that the absence from church in most cases has been due to two things: first, an indifferent attitude toward the old orthodox principles which they believe were too narrow, and secondly, a protest against the church's insistence upon certain principles which do not fit the consciousness of the people of today. In either case the neglect of the church on the part of a portion of the public is more of a protest against the lack of sympathetic understanding on the part of the churches than anything else.
The term "sympathetic understanding" should not be taken to mean that the churches have become less interested in the personal problems of the individual members, or less sympathetic in the sorrows and griefs that constantly come before them. The very reverse of this is probably true. Clergymen, ministers, priests, rabbis, and all persons connected officially with the churches today in the Western World are doing more in a sympathetic, kindly, constructive manner to help their parishioners to meet their daily problems and to extend sympathetic understanding to them than at any other time perhaps in the history of the church. One of the indications of this fact is that a great majority of churches, especially of the Protestant denominations, have added healing clinics to their regular activities in an attempt not only to carry out the healing work of Jesus the Christ and exemplify it, but to add some practical activities to the schedule and thus render a real personal service to many who could not afford such treatment through any other source, or principally to those who have not been healed by any other method but whose religious nature enables them to attune themselves with metaphysical and spiritual principles.
The modern church of today has become a more broadened institution than at any other time since its establishment particularly in the Western World. The farther east we go the more limited and orthodox are the preachings and activities of the various churches.
If one stops to consider the enormous change that has taken place in the consciousness of the church and the consciousness of its people in regard to an understanding of heaven and hell, one will see at once what great strides of development and unfoldment the church has passed through. It was commonly said fifty to a hundred years ago that the churches of the more orthodox nature preached more "hell fire and brimstone" sermons than any other kind. Today it is notable that very few of the orthodox churches and certainly very few of those that have broadened in their scope deal with either heaven or hell in the materialistic manner with which these places or conditions were dealt years ago. Another change has been in the nature and character ascribed to God. The frowning, scolding, wrathful, jealous God of the past century has been supplanted by a loving, forgiving, sympathetic, understanding and happy Father of all children. The idea that God may have at times tempted man to do evil to see if he would yield and then punish him for yielding, is rapidly giving way to the idea that man tempts himself or that the artificial, temporal, transitory things that he has created as pleasures for the flesh tempt him into his evil ways and that he falls into his own web or into the trap he has set for himself and others and that God extends him every opportunity to redeem himself. There was a time not many years ago and running far back into the early period of the church when the phrase in the Lord's Prayer, "Lead me not into temptation" was emphasized in every repetition of the prayer with apprehension, fear, and sincere pleading. Today the phrase is puzzling to all who use the prayer, for they feel intuitively and inwardly that the thought in that phrase is not correct and is not consistent with the nature of God. The average person religiously inclined feels that it is a reflection upon the goodness, mercy, and kindness and fatherhood of God that insinuates that He at any time deliberately leads His children into temptation. This is certainly indicative of the changing attitude in the hearts and consciousness of millions of people.
Perhaps one of the other great changes is that which is expressed in the idea that God is not only omnipotent and omnipresent and that His spirit reaches everywhere, but that He can be worshipped at any time and any place. The old idea that only beneath the towering spires of a great cathedral or within the dark and cloistered parts of a huge structure, or only on the marble steps of a glorified altar will be found the real presence of God, has given way to the idea that one can commune with God on the hillsides, or in the valley, on the open sea, or in the privacy of the home, and that where the consciousness is uplifted to God, there God can be contacted, and in this thought of the upliftment of the consciousness, there is a continually increasing comprehension of the fact that the upliftment is not a matter of ascending to heaven to contact God but to lift oneself above the commonplace things, sordid things, and particularly the material interests of life. To many thousands of persons the idea has transmuted itself into the belief that prayers offered in the center of a great and costly cathedral are more or less surrounded by materialistic influences and that the confining, oppressive effects and atmosphere of the costly material structure tend to keep the mind and consciousness from expanding into the great Cosmic space where the consciousness of God is sure to be found.
In the development of the idea that God may be reached in holy communion, in a purely mental and spiritual atmosphere devoid of materialistic inclosures and grandeur, has come the beautiful idea that one may build a stately cathedral for oneself in the spiritual world created out of the mental and religious elements of one's nature.
The Cathedral of the Soul, a sublime and transcendent holy place above the level of the material things of life, has become a real cathedral in the lives of many thousands who find it an ideal place for the concentration of their thoughts during their sacred worship.
If you as a member of the organization or a friend of the Rosicrucian ideals have not experienced the joy and happiness, the real inspiring and invigorating sense that comes to the inner self through worship in this ethereal cathedral, then you most certainly are missing some of the spiritual values of life. By sending for a copy of the free pamphlet, Liber 777, describing this non-sectarian and unlimited cathedral, you will be brought face to face with an opportunity that may quicken and awaken the search of your soul. Send for such a pamphlet today and unite in the Cathedral contact periods when thousands of devoted ones in all parts of the world are united in combining their spiritual thoughts in communion with God regardless of creed, nationality, doctrines, or other differences and limitations.
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