Jesus (as)

80 YEARS AGO

28 80 YEARS AGO (The following is an extract from the October issue of the Review of Religions, 1908) CHANGING GOD INTO MAN In the Contemporary Review for August a writer states the circumstances which led to a change in his belief in the Christian Catholic doctrines. A perusal ofRenan’s and Strauss’ lives of Jesus, he tells us, awakened subversive thoughts and feelings in him, and to find an antidote for these doubts he went to a learned Catholic Divine, “the only source of spiritual solace” he knew, “and a man of genuine piety and vigorous intellect.” Before him he laid open his inner thoughts in the hope of finding some spiritual illumination to dispel the darkness of doubt. And here is the gist of what the learned professor said: “Lost faith in the divinity of Christ? Him! Yes, It does make a difference to a young man; creates a void; deadens energy. But only for a time if the psychic nature is sound. Only for a time. Most of us have passed through the ordeal, and we are-what we are. You must not take it too much to heart. After all, belief is not of the essence of our religion. As there were Christians before the Gospels were written, so too there were Christians before the dogma of the divinity was defined or believed … That tenet grew like other doctrines. Even in the new Testament there are two currents: the one tending to show that Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah; the other proving that he did. Any how, the Jews did not accept him as their Messiah, because among other reasons he died an ignominous death, and no nation would let its hero be crucified like a slave. To this the Christians made the answer: Yes, it is true that he died, but he will come again in power and majesty, and all the world shall see. This announcement had been made by Jesus himself who stated that he would come before that generation should pass away. Well … ages … have passed since then and … and that hope is still cherished. “Read the Gospels carefully and you will yourself see that Jesus never claimed to be God. Indeed he would have sharply repudiated any such notion. The Lord’s prayer is itself a refutation of the idea. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 29 Analyse it and you will discover that it is the supplication of a pious man eager to draw nearer, and to draw his companions nearer to the Divine father. Jesus disciples, who were apt enough to magnify and exaggerate, never fancied that he had harboured such a thought. They remembered that he had forbidden them to call him or any man good, that being an attribute of the deity. And long after Jesus death, Paul, who set him above the angels, regarded him as lower than God. The dogmas have grown up around fact and legend, knowledge and hope ” “The miracles of the New Testament on which we unwisely base the divine origin of our religion would find no credence to-day. Instead of proving anything they themselves stand in need of demonstration. To my thinking one of the most far resonant yet unobserved of all those miracles was the apotheosis by which Jesus of Nazareth became the second person of the Most Holy Trinity, God from all Eternity.” “All this, my young friend, may be impalatable to you, but it is the best of myself, the most intimate of my thoughts that I am now giving you. You will perceive, if not to day, then in a month, a year or a decade, that for an honest seeker after religious truths in the nineteenth century, these are conclusions of which it is impossible to get rid … The deity becomes humanity, but with no such incarnations as ancient theologians dreamt of. As the earlier church transformed man into God, so we of the nineteenth century would fain change God into man. Next century will see the feat accomplished.” This unexpected homily from such a high spiritual source was a death-sentence for the old beliefs of the enquirer who, while branding him “as a sheep-thief in shepherd’s garb, as a traitor wearing the livery and enjoying the confidence of the state which he was basely betraying to the enemy,” was yet “unable to parry any of his powerful well-aimed blows.” And who knows how many there are in the )oly order~ who believe as this great Catholic divine believed, though their position does not allow them to confess this openly. To the Christians it may seem strange, but this is exactly what the Holy Quran taught regarding Jesus thirteen hundred years before this. Truth must prevail in the end, and sooner or later the Christian missionaries who are leading astray the ignorant and superstitious population of India, so far as religion is concerned, will learn that the Divinity of Christ is an error, and thus will the God of four hundred millions of people be changed into man.

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