*******By the way, for members of the U. S. Society, the Autumn issue of News For Members has an article by sculptor Michael Howard with the title
Nov 6, 2004
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*******By the way, for members of the U. S. Society, the Autumn issue of "News For Members" has an article by sculptor Michael Howard with the title "Boundaries of Spiritual Science" which sounds the same themes as what I wrote here. He refers to the Ahrimanic and Luciferic poles of error as those of "fundamentalism" and "relativism".
I would like to raise the topic of religion and politics, and write
a paper on it in the future. Right now I'm more interested in
gathering my thoughts on the subject and seeing if Starman or
somebody else might illuminate my mind on this topic. It touches me
My philosophy of religion teacher talks incessantly about the
dangers of mixing politics and religion, and of course I'm forced to
listen. Last month he wrote a letter to the editor of the NY Times
about some Cardinal (in Colorado?) who said anyone who votes for
Kerry could not receive the Holy Communion or some such Catholic
offering. Of course my teacher was right for condemning the
Cardinal, and the NY Times published my teacher's letter. The Holy
Communion should be open to all people. We're all brothers and
sisters. We should crave salvation for all people, but especially
However, my teacher is very selective in his memory. He's old,
fanatical and grouchy. When it comes to political issues—as is the
case with most fanatics—everything is black and white. It's only
the Religious Right that mixes politics and religion.
Of course that's rubbish. There is also a Religious Left. I
couldn't count the number of Left wing churches Kerry visited during
his 2004, presidential campaign. Finally, a minister told Kerry
campaign officers that Kerry could talk about religion and God in
his church, but if his message strayed into the political arena
don't bother coming. The next day the Kerry campaign cancelled
And what about Anthroposophy? I have links to articles where an
Anthroposophy church (in Ireland?) actually campaigned for left wing
candidates, one of whom supported the legalization of marijuana.
Anthroposophy churches in America and abroad have become a strong
left-wing political force. They've become politicized.
I've been exposed to both the religious right and the religious
left, and I can say with absolute certainty that conservative
churches are far less political than left wing churches. The church
I grew up in—Unity—is so politicized that they openly promote books
and clubs centered on left wing politics. Gays literally took over
the Unity on the Plaza in downtown Kansas City during the 1980s.
Instead of books on the Mystery of Golgotha there are books on
sexual Buddhism, foot message, crystal worship, and all sorts of new
age nonsense. In fact, Unity churches throughout Kansas City have
become members of the "vast religious left" where Clinton is God and
Bush is the devil.
But perhaps the most politicized church in Kansas City are the
Unitarian Universalist Churches. They don't even attempt to be
religious. It's ridiculous. When I was a little boy this is where
I first went to church--with red-diaper-doper-babies.
I could go on and on and provide more examples, like the Ramtha
movement and the millions of African American churches around the
nation that preach left wing politics from the pulpit, where Clinton
is God and Bush is the Devil, but I won't. It would be too easy.
I can tell you now, we're under assault big time, around the world.
I feel it everyday I go to class at school. There's a true hatred
of Christ out there, and it's growing. Maybe Christians should form
a brotherhood, and I mean ALL types of Christians, from all
denominations, even Gnostic Christians, Rosicrucians, and
Anthroposophists. We need to stick together.
Churches are our centers of power. But let's not corrupt them.
Leave politics out, God in.
*******Rather than attempting to exhaust the subject and instead exhausting my listeners, as Oscar Wilde used to say about long-winded speakers, I'll just put a few thoughts here that may stimulate some from others.
First, Dr. Steiner said that the spiritual task of each age is different, which is why religions held over from olden times work only harm (e.g. Eastern religions for modern Western people, Islam, Roman Catholicism). And specifically he said that the Mystery we were meant to wrestle with in this passing Age of Pisces was that of Death (hence the image of the dying and resurrecting God placed before us the past 2,000 years), while in the present age and into the future it's the Mystery of Evil. And he made a great contribution to the understanding of that Mystery, building upon his own foundation in a former incarnation as Aristotle. That philosopher had said that, whereas most people would think a thing is a Good and its opposite is an evil, actually it's not that way at all: most would say, for example, that courage is a good and its opposite, cowardice, is an evil. But cowardice is the deficiency of courage: there is also another evil, its excess, foolhardiness. Courage, the Good, is a balanced state between two opposite extremes of error or evil.
We anthroposophists know those 2 extremes as 2 actual beings, Lucifer and Ahriman. So there is no thing that is good and its opposite is evil: rather, any good has TWO possible poles of Evil.
We can say that materialist, atheist science is Ahrimanic, while religion that says it's only a matter of feelings and faith with no objective knowledge is Luciferic. When people have scientific knowledge joined with faith and feeling, that's spiritual science. Unfortunately, not many anthroposophists have that balance. They take the Christian or Buddhist stuff from Steiner and run with it in their feelings only, with no sober clear thinking as Steiner used to arrive at the truths they swear allegiance to. Anyone who approaches life with feelings only will become the prey of Lucifer, while anyone who approaches it with only the dry intellect will become the prey of Ahriman.
So are Christian religions good and Islamic ones evil? Is one political party good and the other evil? Anyone who is really a spiritual scientist could never say such a thing. Rather, the good Christian religions will be found to be those where a balance is maintained between science and feeling, and some will be found to go to the evil pole of materialism while others will be too far towards the pole of fantasy and mere feeling mysticism. The Unitarian Universalists are a good example of what Dr. Steiner meant when he said that materialism first entered and corrupted religion, and then from there spread into the rest of society. They are completely materialist with a creed worked out with nothing but the abstract intellect, spiritually dead. One mark of this deadness is the acceptance of the fact-value disjunction, the materialist idea that things including we human beings "just are" and all values are subjective, or moral relativism. This makes Man into a hunk of matter like a side of beef. Now, charismatic Christians violently oppose this, but in their extreme sects you find people letting themselves be swept up into visions and hallucinations and confusing these with anything like the real state the Prophets of old entered. Between the Ahrimanic and this Luciferic pole only will you find the Christian religion that is good.
Similarly, in the US, the Democratic Party is not Good and the Republican Party evil, or vice versa. Rather, the present Republican Party has one faction that places a great emphasis on the freedom of the market that creates economic success, and where this goes to excess, thinking only of the money side of things, it can work evil, while another faction is mainly motivated by the "social issues" (abortion, homosexual marriage etc.), and where this becomes religious people seeking to dictate their morality onto all others, that also becomes evil. The present Democratic Party has a large faction which is socialistic in ideology, wanting the government to run the economy, and when the laws of economics that frustrate all attempts at socialism are ignored too much in this striving, it will only create evil. This faction actually wants ever more government control over people (over what everyone does economically), while another faction is the exact opposite of the social conservatives in the Republican Party, wanting no restriction on people's behavior at all (abortion on demand, decriminalization of all sexual behavior, etc.). I believe the thing that has led the Democratic party to self-destruct is that often people are members of BOTH factions, and so want two things which contradict each other: complete individual freedom and also socialistic control of "the economy" by the government, as if giving the government such power would not inevitably restrict personal freedom. As another person building upon Aristotle's work, philosopher Ayn Rand (and her disciple Steve Ditko, creator of Spider-Man) observed, contradictions cannot exist in reality, and so people trying to base themselves on one must become irrational, like the recent Presidential candidiate who attempted to be both a pro-war and anti-war candidiate simultaneously.
If a rigid fundamentalist religion takes over a State, yes that would result in evil (Iran, Afghanistan): but the same if an aggressively atheist or morally relativist philosophy does so (Soviet Russia), it would just be the opposite pole of evil. So there's no way to separate religion from politics. People with an atheistic or secular humanist philosophy are just campaigning against born-again Christians influencing the government, but they don't see that they are trying to impose their own "religion" on it. In fact, as so many churches have become completely materialistic and lost all touch with the Spirit, political activism in THIS world has become their only ideology, as for instance the Rev. Jesse Jackson and all those like him who have virtually nothing to say about Christ and the spiritual world we know from spiritual science. Churches like that are not much different from atheists or secular humanists and aren't really worthy of being called religions at all. For contrast, look at Albert Schweitzer, who had full critical intellect about the traditional religion handed down to us, and yet found the way to the Spirit and the Christ, and never was devoured by the Dragon of Materialism; or Emerson, who declined becoming a preacher like his father but has "preached" far greater sermons to us all.
True anthroposohy is not a religion. It is living an artistic life, where you maintain a creative balance between the 2 opposite poles of error, neither embracing atheistic, materialist philosophy nor emotion-driven, blind-faith religion. The "Christian Community" was created as a church for those too weak to practice full spiritual science, and it's no accident it's been so successful with the retarded in the Camphill Villages who cannot do so in this incarnation. But while it's connected with Steiner, that is not anthroposophy, and the people who cannot take the "spiritual meat" of anthroposophy and instead take some of its "milk" and mix it up with materialism and moral relativism (as if it's just one item they fancy from a New Age smorgasbord), are also not practicing spiritual science. We need to test all the spirits, whether they are of God, and rightly divide the words of truth, distinguishing the spiritual influences by their fruits and classifying them into their proper types. Only such is the action of a free spirit-being.
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