The Western Decline of Christianity and a New Propaganda of Buddhism

Safe to say, that the West has not been introduced widely to the kind of Buddhism the Theosophists are pointing to, outside of the Kalachakra Initiations and American Buddhism. The latter is criticized now by atheists as a more sophisticated form of “woo-woo.” The unsuccessful mission of Alternative Philosophies and the Theosophical Movement leaves vacuum in Western imagination in the temporary rise of the “unaffiliated,” and that of agnosticism, atheism, materialist philosophy and science.

It is safe to say, we’ve not seen this “new propaganda of Buddhism.”

We see a lot of mixing of ideas today, but not genuine approaches, that takes into account the logical and philosophical rigour of both the Asian and Western European style. Also, much untraining in the Aristotelian logic has to be achieved. The Westerner has to go back to their classical philosophical schools and reexamine them, selectively.

An article from a publication of the Theosophical Company in India explains the situation of the Christians and Theology perfectly, too often blamed on alternative spiritual movements, or the Protestants. The issue is the natural consequence of the very two orthodox, or rather established Churches (the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox):

“We must distinguish at the outset between theology and philosophy. One is sectarian, the other is universal. Theologians make poor philosophers because they are partial to their own religious creed, and instead of seeking truth, are only eager to prove a dogma already asserted. Take Christian theology, or Islamic theology, or Hindu theology, and one will not only not see daylight in the befogged atmosphere; one is also likely to become a partisan, a dogmatic asserter, and to develop into a fanatic.

So in the study of our subject we shall avoid theology and go to philosophy. The religious confusion prevalent everywhere today may be traced to the blunder of the theologian and the priest. When the priest abandoned the way of the philosopher and followed the theologian, his knowledge became belief. In the olden days, priests were philosophers; and more, occultists or yogis, who knew the truths and facts about God, Spirit, Atman. Universality was the keynote of the teachings of the ancient world. Take India, for example: philosophers studied fundamental problems from different points of view; therefore the six schools of Indian philosophy are called Darshamas. (…)

Theologians and priests of all religions confuse the mind and bring to birth sectarians. The Christian goes to church to pray, but he is rarely able to define to whom or to what he prays; let him examine the foundations of his church, the soul of his church-ceremonials, and he cannot escape belief in a personal god. The ordinary Christian does not directly believe in an old, bearded person beyond the sky, but indirectly, in a thousand ways, the influence of that nefarious idea works its evil.” (Monotheism or Polytheism“The Theosophical Movement,” September Issue 2001, Theosophy Company.)

“That the whole area of Protestantdom is now ready to embrace some new faith which seems more consoling than Protestantism and more reasonable than Romanism, is so palpable and undeniable that no well-informed, disinterested observer will gainsay the statement. This conviction induced the founders of our Society to organize for the quest after primitive truth. And it makes some of us believe that the auspicious hour has come for the Buddhists to begin preparing for a new propaganda of Buddhism.” (H.P.B.)

Theosophist, September, 1880. Portrait of a Man, Artist: Moretto da Brescia. Department: European Paintings, Working Date: ca. 1520-25.

“Doubts have been expressed by Asiatic friends as to the truth of our assertion that Protestantism was fast approaching the crisis of its fate. Yet it needs only to visit any Protestant country to satisfy oneself of this fact. We find copied with approval into one of the most rabid organs of the Roman Church—the Catholic Mirror—an editorial article from the New York Times, a leading American newspaper peculiarly devoted to the interests of an orthodox Protestant public, containing the following significant warning:

The Protestant clergy do not seem to be aware of the formidable warfare which is now waging against revealed religion. The defences. which were effective against the noisy artillery of Paine, are useless against the noiseless and ceaseless sapping and mining with which Rationalism attacks them. Orthodox Protestantism shuts its eyes to the fact that science and literature are in the hands of its enemies. It refuses to perceive that the ground on which it stands is slipping from under its feet; that Germany, which, at the call of Luther, accepted the infallible Book in place of the self-styled infallible Church, has now rejected the Book, and that the new reformation, which reforms Christianity out of existence, is spreading all over the Protestant world.

The result will, according to the Times, accrue to the profit of the Romish Church. It foresees, in fact, that the latter may become “far stronger than she has been at any time since the Reformation.” Certainly the sudden outbreak of bigoted fervour over the pretended “miracles” in France and, more recently, Ireland, and the growing perversions of Anglican priests and laity show a decided drift in the direction indicated. Men in the mass do not think but feel, are emotional rather than rational and go by flocks and swarms to that religion which most appeals to the emotions and imagination and least to the reason. That the whole area of Protestantdom is now ready to embrace some new faith which seems more consoling than Protestantism and more reasonable than Romanism, is so palpable and undeniable that no well-informed, disinterested observer will gainsay the statement. This conviction induced the founders of our Society to organize for the quest after primitive truth. And it makes some of us believe that the auspicious hour has come for the Buddhists to begin preparing for a new propaganda of Buddhism.”

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2 Comments

  1. Being a Buddhist for about 35 years now, I am afraid I do not see the buddhadharma being more impervious to secular or rational influences than Xtianity. In fact many, (maybe most) converts to Buddhism ignore or deny devas, psychic powers, even rebirth etc. They think of Buddha as a pioneer social worker who gives free rein to the individual and is anti-authoritarian. They pick what in Buddhism appeals to them and reject what does not fit modern sensibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While all this is sadly true, I do not want to say that the buddha’s path is irrelevant, but only for the ‘Few’ – as are those outlined in HPB’s Voice or the Gita. In fact, any profound, altruistic Path will not appeal to most.

      That is why HPB’s four links, so simple, were and are targeted to the majority of minds. Those four, from her Key to Theosophy will truly help and reduce sorrow if practiced and preached:

      “Universal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Re-incarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one universal Brotherhood.”

      Like

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