I've lived in the U.S. South my whole life and, while I can definitely say that it's in no danger of dying out anytime soon, there's definitely signs that things are not looking good for the old guard. Church membership is WAY down from when I was a youngster in High Point, NC. To combat this, it seems that once-moderate churches are having to either get a lot more liberal or a lot more conservative in order to keep interest up. Has anyone else noticed this trend? I'm curious about others' thoughts on it. I know it's a popular "New Age" conception that the "Age of Pisces" is passing and "The Age of Aquarius" is upon us--I think that there's probably something to it.

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A lot of the political conservatives seem to have a hard time deciding if they want to be Ayn Rand-style Objectivists or if they want to play the "family values" card--the danger being that by embracing one, they'll offend the other, so I see a lot of back-sliding going on in that scene. The fundamentalists, I think, are lining up to do battle for the "endtimes." I think they see the more liberal churches as a vehicle of Satan and they see themselves as on a mission to uphold the divinity of Christ and the importance of the Resurrection from the heathens. Thus, we have the Unitarians, Quakers, etc. on one side, the Southern Baptists, Southern Methodists, etc. on the other, and the Catholics and Episcopalians split into two factions.
Probably Christianity has to change and to start to satisfy the needs of humanity. The church is a place where people look not only for inspiration and to express devotional feelings but also to look for answers on the purpose of life. Since humanity has started to become more questioning, it is not enough to ask people to give unquestioning belief. If the church doesn't become more creative and satisfying the curiosity of humanity it will remain redundant and a place for the very few.

To my mind the World Goodwill publication "The New World Religion" gives the best reasoning of the topic.

The most promising quote from it in my opinion is "Christianity cannot rightly be attacked; it is an expression - in essence, if not yet entirely factual - of the love of God, immanent in His created universe."
In my humble opinion, it is already outdated, confused, and holding onto dogmas that no longer satisfy the people's basic needs; (hence our economy, ethics, morals, the devastating current situation of our government [based on Christianity]--hows that working out for everyone!

Christianity has been in quick sand from the very first formation (taking ideals and theories from more correct theories--then condemning the sources); changing them to suit themselves for control over the people--teaching one thing on Sunday, then teaching another opinion Monday through Saturday. The more they are proved oudated and misinformed, the more they fight for dogmatic schemes. Who likes to be proved wrong?

Membership might be holding on for fear of change, and losing the one thing that was always bonding a group together (masses equal strength--not necessarily correct theory [the earth is thought to be no longer flat]. Science, psychology, and new theories and scientific thought in general have time and facts on it it's side.

Karma deems some groups will develop slow and learn truth much later than those that seek the truth. There will always be those who are slow to ask for the uncomfortable truth, rather insisting on a comfortable lie.

Set in the mud, how can one seek the "truth" when they already (think) they know it?

The ignorant masses generally outnumber the informed few. Those who know keep silent.
Yeah, I think that's basically true, but I do think in some areas of the world, at least, as I said--Christianity is becoming more liberal and adapting more to a worldlier view (The Unitarians, the Science of Mind people, Quakers, even some Catholics, etc.) I guess to some degree, Christianity has always consisted of these two factions, but whereas--at least where I'm from, it wasn't talked about so much a few years ago. I mean, there were some nutjobs on TV, but most middle class people didn't take them seriously. Now, it seems like it's either the "Jesus Camp" folks, talking about the end-times or people sitting in a circle, with anyone allowed to speak and noone in ties or nice dresses. When I was growing up, a minister said a few words about a particular Bible verse, some hymns were sung, yada, yada, and everybody went home, loosened the tie and turned on the football game. I don't get the sense that people just go to church because "that's what people do" anymore. Which, overall, is probably a good thing.
I do agree with you the in some areas in the world Christianity is becoming more liberal… However, what difference does this make when Christianity is built upon untruths—garbage in-garbage out. Their basic theories (which they proclaim are the dead letter law) are at best, a twisting and molding of “man’s” perceived truth, and not in any close to divine law. Perhaps if they would keep their harmful dogmas to themselves would be more prudent than to force their opinions on those who don’t know any better, and then judge these same people for their inadequacies—how rude. This behavior envelopes man’s lower nature to dominate and concur those who are weaker, or more as we see today, those who are "lost".

In my opinion Christianity was made up by man for man to control man, and while there are passages of divine wisdom scattered throughout the bible, the truths are obstructed and then twisted by the very people who claim to be authorities on the subjects. How can our fellow brothers “the Christians” help with universal brotherhood and the cause to relieve human suffering, and advance humanity, while they themselves are much of the cause?

To the true devout Christian, I admire your faith and honest living: To the others--Karma. So sad; I dream of a world of love, peace and universal brotherhood. Any unpleasant Karma to one works on us all. Instead of man keeping his mind on untrue theories, wouldn’t universal brotherhood benefit from all of us keeping our minds on higher, loftier truths? Thoughts are things.

God bless every religion; every person, and I pray each person, in time, will ask to see the truth--better sooner than later for humanities sake. The White lodge will be waiting with loving open arms to show those who ask. "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear".

If my thoughts offend anyone, please let me know, for that is not my intention.
Let me say up front that I started this discussion with no ax to grind--I just find it interesting. That is, I neither advocate Christianity dying off nor do I have any problem with it dying off. What I would LIKE to see is more what the Science of Mind people do, which is to integrate the best ideas of Christianity with other religions and philosophies. I don't think, as you do, that Christianity is built on untruths....no--I take that back. Let me re-phrase. I get the strong feeling that--particularly in the book of John--that some things have been screwed with, which has only gotten worse over the course of translations. Jesus's parables and lengthier sayings don't seem to follow some of the shorter verses. That is, when he's discussing "his father" and the "Kingdom of Heaven" he seems to be pointing away from himself and describing "the Way," whereas some of the verses that the Christians cling to, concerning Jesus's overall importance in the big scheme of things, don't follow the same logic. Whereas, the books of Thomas and Mary point to a different story. I just find it sad when I meet sincere people who can't get away from this idea that "the only way to the Father is through the Son" mentality and the sort of backwards thinking about the Resurrection that HPB so deplored.
So, yes--Christianity (the religion ironed out over 1000 yrs and written in stone at the Council of Nicea) IS based on untruths, but Christianity (the true Way described by the Essene prophet and taught by the Gnostics and alchemists) is based on the same truths as Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.
Good Morning J. Spencer Rich and Everyone,

The message HPB pointed out to her students is that Christianity borrowed ALL their doctrines from other religions; passed them off as their own; then ridiculed (so as to discredit them—much like we do to legal opponents today in the court room) the very sources of those doctrines.

How can Christianity be good for humanity when it is based on distorted truths? People have a right to know (if they care to step on the path outside of their peer group and comfort zone) where the sources of Christianity came from, and how they were distorted in a horrible and blasphemous way to serve as power over the people.

A few quotes from HPB; Isis Unveiled; Volume II

Pg. 10:

The Egyptian Isis was also represented as a Virgin-Mother by her devotees, and as holding her infant son, Horus, in her arms.

It is but fair to say at once that the last of the true Christians died with the last of the direct apostles.

…we may infer that the only characteristic difference between modern Christianity and the old heathen faiths is the belief of the former in a personal devil and in hell. The Aryan nations had no devil.

Pg. 26

In their insatiable desire to extend the dominion of blind faith, the early architects of Christian theology had been forced to conceal, as much as it was possible, the true sources of the same. To this end they are said to have burned or otherwise destroyed all the original manuscripts on the Kabala magic and occult sciences upon which they could lay their hands [and every other wisdom religion document they could get their hands on through the years ‘my words’]. They ignorantly supposed that the most dangerous writings of this class had perished with the last Gnostic; but some day they may discover their mistake. Other authentic and as important documents will perhaps reappear in a “most unexpected and almost miraculous manner.”

I could literally copy Isis Unveiled Volume II to show what HPB wanted her students to know, and it is this: Christianity is but a crude distortion of the truth! Any serious student owns it to themselves to know the truth and history of religions.

I pray the serious student of Theosophy put Isis Unveiled on the top of their reading list to get a firm base to stand upon. The true wisdom religions of the world had the same meaning, ideas, stories, and inferences. Then came Christianity; a horse of a different color, that tried (and to the ignorant masses succeeded) to discredit antiquity.

Meditation:

How can all the older religions of the world mirror each other consistently throughout the ages, yet ALL be “wrong” according to the Christians?

QUESTIONS

Is it ones Karma to sincerely or otherwise believe in false ideas?

Is it the world’s Karma to permit such false ideas to take root?

As far as the White Lodge and the Dark Lodge; who is winning this battle?

Can the brotherhood of Theosophy; by pure thoughts; right thinking; right action; meditation upon the truth and; intrinsic love for all men help humanity through this “dark” time of Kali-Yuga?

Thank you in advance for your incite and ideas.

Love to all,

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!
I think you're over-generalizing about Christians. HPB, herself, in fact, continued to attend Russian Orthodox services when in Russia. In exoteric forms, ALL religions have false doctrines shoved down the throats of the masses. Yes, early Christians slapped the virgin birth story and all other kinds of nonsense onto the original teachings; if you read the Book of Thomas or the Book of Judas, you can see that Jesus plainly foresaw how his teachings would be warped. But that doesn't change the fact that he taught some wonderful things, some of which, even in the masses hands, still resonate.
Good Morning K. Paul Johnson,

“It is the very nature of new religious movements to appropriate and recycle doctrines from previous teachings, while putting a creative new spin and then claiming exclusive ownership of the restated truth. IMO Theosophists live in a glass house when it comes to throwing stones at Christianity for unacknowledged borrowing and creative reframing.”

I think what “brings me much sadness” is that Christianity condemns their sources and teaches their followers that these older sources are “evil”. It saddens me (on a personal level and a humanitarian level) that Christians are taught to judge and hate; humanity can do without that. Theosophy does not teach judgment or hate, but rather tolerance and universal brotherhood.

‘"Distorted in a horrible and blasphemous way" is making an extreme value judgment on what seems to be to be a process discernable in the emergence of any new body of teaching. I'll repeat here what I wrote in reference to a recent controversy. As a neo-Hermeticist, I can choose to blame Christians and Muslims for the destruction of the Alexandrian Library and the extinction of the light it represented. Or I can choose to be grateful to Christians and Muslims for later rediscovering and preserving the fragments of Hermetic wisdom. In either case, the blameworthy and praiseworthy Christians and Muslims are LONG dead-- for millennia or centuries respectively. Modern Christians and Muslims might be blamed for what seems at times like willful ignorance of their own history. But so might modern Theosophists, Baha'is, Eckists, etc. ad nauseum. In all cases their ecclesiastic leaders tend to discourage historical investigations that might shake the pillars of faith.’

Again, my concern on a personal level (I was told at an early age that I was not a good person and that God did not love me because I was Catholic and I was going to hell—which impacted my thinking in a life-transforming way, for I thought “how can people not like me and even hate me because my parents brought me up Catholic, and how do they know that I am going to hell—they do not even know me; I did nothing to them to make them “hate” me) and universal humanitarian level remains clearly that judgment and hate are enemies of humanity; invoking every bad lower human emotion into the ether, where elementarys and elementals pick up on these wills and desires and feed them to the weak and vulnerable masses.

One should not teach “hate”. When a recognized authority figure and institutions that people give so much credibility to teaches the use of these lower human emotions, people tend to believe them and give credibility to them. If for any other reason than just to “fit in” with their peer group.

Thank you for your incite. I very much appreciate and respect your view and the views of others, and strive earnestly to understand them.

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!

Tilnext
me
AT various times I've read statements about overall religions.. In an early introduction to George Sale's Koran it stated that since the Ottoman Empire was crumbling Islam was on it's way out.. those were not the exact words of the text..but I read these predictions and to me they are usually not very accurate..

But fundamentalism is in my view a reaction to living in a complex changing world and so some retreat to the "fundamentals" of what they think are the roots of their religion and this can be said I think of both Christianity and Islam. and so it is an attempt to screen out what they find so unsettling about life today

You could say I think that the popularity of Yoga also is making a statement about people's spirituality.

We do live in quite a different time than our parents and grandparents and it portends..I think and I'll suggest it here... a world culture emerging that is for some frightening and for others confirming...
Dominique.. I was reading your post and came across your statement:

she does hit hard against the Christian religion in basically saying progress will not come unless this religion is torn in such-a-such-a-step. Truthfully, I don't think it can survive this millenia, neither do I want any of the other 'Abrahamic-faiths' ruling thereafter.

I was curious what you meant when you wrote:

"...unless this religion is torn in such-a-such-a-step"?
Thanks for your reply...

It seems a little complicated.. I was searching some of the sites and came across a wikipedia artcile on Alice Baily ... If you have the time I'd appreciate knowing what you think of it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Bailey

I've found many wikipedia articles helpful.. Apparently Alice Baily disapproved on inter racial marriages and had made some remarks about what she called the "Jewish problem" before WWII..

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