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To: AP Patterson, Re: This Theosophy stuff

Oct 30, 1994 06:32 PM
by Liesel F. Deutsch

The Reverend Arthur wrote "...Look out, my new friend toleration
is not plentiful in the Evangelical world.......  If you are a
minister and therefore in a position where you must uphold the
tradition you are more accountable than most to be orthodox, look
out it might box you in." First off, I think this is a problem in
other religions as well.  People get used to doing things one way
over the years & centuries, resist change, & get "boxed in." The
Buddhists say that change is the one thing in life that one can
count on, and theosophists believe this as well.  I think that if
one can't at least try to live with this idea in mind, one tends
to stagnate, be "boxed in" again, I guess.  I try to associate
myself with people & organizations which are dynamic, instead of
stagnant.  I'm looking to grow, & to evolve, & that to me is much
more interesting & fulfilling than standing still.  I try to live
"in the Now", using yesterday only for the lesson it contains for
use today, or for trying to create a better tomorrow.  That's the
theosophical way.  Don't cling.  I'm especially aware of this
mode of thinking, because I'm a senior citizen, & most of my age
group gets wrapped up reminiscing about "the good old days".
They also try to keep on doing things the way they've always been
used to doing them, whether they've been improved upon in the
last 20 years or not.  Here I am, bragging, but I also notice
that it's become more difficult with age to change my ways, &
some of them I can't change anymore at all.  That's what you've
run into with your church, I think.  You're younger & more
plyable, & looking for new & better ways, & they want to stick to
the "old tried & true" & worn out.  It's an old battle you're
caught in, and you're fighting it with much courage.  Just keep
on going.  You'll make it.

I started out life being Jewish.  Jews have the same quarrels
between the traditional Orthodox and the Reformed, who also try
to preserve tradition, but modify it to fit in with the times.
I've known several Moslems, & the same dichotomy exists among
them.  There are people with immoveable minds all over.  My
yardstick in trying to find a compatible church or denomination
has, for a long time, been an article called "Doctrine & Dogma",
which Shirley Nicholson wrote for the October '83 "American
Theosophist." I've quoted it often.  I'm going to copy part of it
here for you, in the hope that it will be of some help.  The
first paragraph is an introduction to theosophy.  The rest
contains the crux of the matter.

"....volumes have been written to explicate the doctrines of
theosophy.  Though they are very broad, they are still definite
and specific.  The fact that they have been expressed in various
ways throughout history does not make them any less explicit.
The oneness of all life, the law of cycles, the unity of the
individual soul with the Oversoul, man's pilgrimage through many
lifetimes - these are among the universal principles stressed by
HPB.  They are understood in various degrees of depth by
different members.

"In addition to required belief, dogma has connotations which
relate to how a doctrine is understood.  Fritjof Schuon,
reknowned authority in the study of religions, equates dogmatism
with the purely theoretical understanding of an idea.  If a
spiritual idea is stated in a particular way, given a certain
form, and this is repeated without a deep understanding of its
inner significance, this he would say is dogma.  There results a
'sort of confusion of the idea with the form in which it is
clothed,' and then 'paralysis of this form [comes about] by
attributing to it an absoluteness.  ' Giving form to a genuine
intuition does not constitute dogmatism for Schuon, but after the
form is given, the idea should then 'rejoin the formless and
total truth' from which it sprang.  Symbols which express
religious truth have deep inner meaning, but dogmatism misses
'the inward or implicit illimitabilty of the symbol.' Nor can a
dogmatic view recognize the 'inward connection' between two
apparently contradictory truths, though true insight 'can make of
them complementary aspects of one & the same truth'.

"According to Schuon, in true esotericism a dogma is no longer
limited and dogmatic, 'once it is understood in the light of its
inherent truth, which is of a universal order.' But he claims
that even metaphysical truth can be turned into dogma when not
properly understood.  In other words, we can make truth into
dogma by repeating it verbally without true understanding.  "...
to come to understand [theosophy's] principles for ourselves &
begin to bring them into our experience, not merely to rely on
the authority of others....  we can touch the reality behind
theosophical teaching & keep alive 'the vitality which living
truth alone can bring' This will lead to varied & creative
expressions of the ancient truths...." I think what Shirley wrote
in this last paragraph concerning theosophy applies to any
religious principles.

Hope this is able to help you clarify where you want to go.

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