Author: Arne Duve, Norway.
My own translation, but an official version
is available at Amazon.
C O N T E N T S
Religion and Psychology . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Symbol Animal . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Need for Redemption and Symbols . 51
The Historical Roots of Christendom . 85
The Inner Aspect of Christendom . . .127
Religion and Psychology
The purpose of this book is at first to try and show why religion is a universal human phenomenon, and to attempt to clarify its nature and function within a framework of biology, psychology and intellectual history.
In order to accomplish this, one needs to enlist the aid of research results from many fields of science: religions, religions psychology, religions philosophy, psychology, history, sociology, idea-history, intellectual history, linguistics, biology, physiology, adult psychiatry, archaeology, child psychiatry, and last but not least, depth-psychology.
No single individual can master all these disciplines. One therefore needs to have as solid and far reaching framework that one may hope to include the most important facets and perspectives with the required cross bearings in which life and existence needs to be seen – enabling us to capture the essential elements. *)
The task facing the author then is to attempt to convey some of this collected knowledge related to religion and the nature of religion in a manner making it accessible – that it may engage the reader, in order that the message of the book may have practical consequences, both individually and for the collective as well as it’s institutions engaged in propagation of religion and it’s purpose.
*) See «Mephistopheles and Androgyne: Studies in Religious Myth and Symbol» (1965) by professor Mircea Eliade, dean of the religions-historical faculty at Chicago University.
The purpose of the book will also to a large extent to attempt to demonstrate our erroneous conceptions with respect to misunderstanding of the nature of religion and it’s function – and what consequences this have had throughout history, not least in the confused situation of the world today, and the threat to mankind’s continued existence that constitute a permanent nightmare.
The discipline in closest proximity to these problems – because it is engaged right in the middle of all the levels of human life, is depth psychology. It is a given that psychology, being engaged in the subjects of developmental dynamics, behaviour, patterns of action, experiences, psychic symptoms and psychic mechanisms, understanding of symbols, man’s need for contact et cetera – all that may be termed ‘man’s inner world’ – of necessity will have to be a key discipline.
This is a fact, and has nothing with a ‘professional hubris’ to do. It simply is so that some fields of study are more important than others in some contexts.
All pieces of the mosaic of man and life are of course equally important in order to put it all together in a functional and real totality. But when it comes to interpretation of the totality of the image of man and man’s life in all it’s facets that are beginning to emerge with increasing clarity – depth psychology will of necessity be in a central position.
The modern depth psychology had it’s beginning around the beginning of the 20th century. It was the Vienna-doctor Sigmund Freud who, based on observations made when working with patients with nervous problems, introduced this new discipline that was to overturn so many of our ingrown concepts about an individual’s reaction patterns, social context, arts and religion.
Freud soon realized the importance of dreams. He termed dreams ‘the royal road’ to understanding of the subconscious. He was the first to pull back the curtain to the secret kingdom of the subconscious – he unravelled the suppression mechanisms, showed the fundamental impact of the early years in an individual’s life on his adult life.
He brought the question of sexual taboos to the fore, interpreted the functions of the symbols, and gave his view of what their hidden meaning was.
This enormous effort by a single individual quite naturally had the effect that some of the problems did not find their ultimate solution, and that aberrations and erroneous interpretations – partially as a consequence of his personal unresolved conflicts – found their way into the framework of depth psychology.
The field of depth psychology eventually spread into a number of directions and schools that each by their own had their modifications, their objections and their own building blocks to the temple to which we all must bring materials.
Of greatest importance was the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung that for a while was Freud’s closest co-worker, and was intended to be the crown prince of the movement.
Freud saw religion as something like a collective compulsive neurosis, probably because as a Jew, saw only the rigid enforcement of the law and the strict moral codex.
Jung, as the son of a protestant minister, had a different view also on this issue, interpreting religions as systematic, psychotherapeutic symbol systems – where, among other things, man’s collective subconscious is active.
Jung’s importance for a new and wider view of religion ant the nature of religion has made a deep impact – so that new and fruitful perspectives are beginning to penetrate areas of society that traditionally has been rather remote with respect to religion and psychology.
Large secularised groups are beginning to take an interest in this field in a manner that inspire hope for a fundamental religious renewal. The theologians are favourably inclined towards many of depth psychology’s viewpoints with respect to some aspects of man. But the religion itself and its element’s must still be screened against all psychological interpretation. This, they are of course entitled to think. It may even have been prudent to adopt a waiting and sceptical attitude towards such a newcomer on the scientific and philosophical arena. But the time now ought to be ripe for a serious and meaningful investigation of the main problems that psychological research has erected vis-à-vis the church. The church will never be able to get around that obstacle.
And time is at a premium! We do not know what respite we have from the atomic bomb, to solve our problems.
The church has another fundamental question to consider, namely the Dead Sea Scrolls, which like depth psychology throws a new light on the field – this time regarding the origins of Christendom and it’s relatedness to other religions.
Each new discovery like this can be greeted with delight and expectation under one condition only, namely that the religion itself will be being rooted so deep into the soil that it encompasses all the fundamental layers of existence.
If that is done, all that is new will only be enrichening and fruitful. If however the fundaments are shaky, a new and expanded realization may be beyond realization. For that reason also, the church should begin loosening up on it’s literal-dominant position – that actually reveals an inner insecurity and doubt of it’s own truths – and instead build upon the rock that encompasses all of man and his existence in all its known and unknown aspects.
A religion that has come to grips with its own nature and the inner core of life and its functions, will be in harmony with the forces of being and has nothing to fear or to hide – and no reason to keep facts at a distance.
Man as a biological entity is the same all over the world. Climate, geographical conditions, economic structure, moral codex, religion, lifestyle, some individuals causing paradigm shifts, are all together responsible for mankind still being split into groups with in some cases strong animosity – that makes people alienated and in part enemies – and hides the fact that mankind is one and the same in all it’s manifestations.
The language of symbols common to all of mankind that it’s inner self impose and uses everywhere – because man is the same biological being all over the globe – also makes religion to an entity that, however, can be realized when this language is translated to reveal its meaning, the inner constellations and impact.
It therefore is not surprising – but obvious – that man has the same religious experiences – regardless of which religion they subscribe to, like Christopher Mayhew among other things have described in his book: Men Seeking God.
When it comes to the phenomenon of life itself, something one needs to get as clear an understanding as possible of if one wishes to come to grips with the fundamental principles of life – the biologist, physiologist and the biochemist enters the picture – and may offer valuable materials to understanding of how and by which principles life is built and functions.
Mankind belongs to the mammals that have developed a very special function with respect to the newborn’s existence and early development. The infants of the mammals are intimately and fate-determining bound to their mother and her milk producing apparatus
The offspring may in the early stages be seen as a kind of advanced foetus that still are living off their mother and can hardly be separated from her without incurring disturbances and erroneous development.
Man, as a mammal is biologically bound to this primary function as the very fundament of his further development. Anyone who works with animals knows this – but not all who deal with children and people do.
The function of sucking, body contact and mother contact are cornerstones of the future development. A failure here may create considerable disturbances that may perhaps only at a much later stage become evident, so the connection often has been very difficult to discover.
Child psychiatry is however faced with this causality every day and in almost every case. This is not idle talk, but fatality-laden realities. By experimenting with the mother-child relation of apes - by for example early separation, - one may create many of the symptoms we know from child psychiatry – and many of the adult ones too.
Apes with such early damage to their mother-contact usually do not become able to reproduce. And if one should succeed in making a female ape thus damaged to become pregnant, she will display an absolute lack of interest in her child, rejecting it. Thus, the damage may easily be transmitted in generations. No wonder that whole civilisations may perish in a relatively short time – if nature’s order is too grossly neglected.
With the breast and the mother-child contact as primary and central factors in the development, it is no wonder that the maternal society is the oldest we know. And it is also understandable why the earliest cult-figures we know – are women with grossly exaggerated feminine forms - especially breasts. For the suckling they had about that order of size – all is relative – and this stage of development is of such paramount importance – that it is no wonder that the maternal society and the breast became the first social order and the first cultic object.
In the great mother-goddesses we know from so many religions and sometimes are depicted with breasts all over the body, this cult still is alive. It is known from the Egyptian Isis-Horus worship, and the Christian Mary-with-child cult that is thriving in the catholic Mediterranean countries.
But male society began to conquer the world scene. The mammal male no longer will recognize the mother-child contact as the primary in development and being, something that also partially has influenced women too. The technical, tool-oriented and aggressive approach increasingly began to assert itself. All has now been taken over by men, who are erecting institutions and systems of all kinds – manned by men raised by denigrated and compensated women – which in turn impacts on the offspring, and not least on the male. From USA I have seen the number of homosexual men estimated at 17 million – a figure that also tells us something about the magnitude of the failure rate of the mother-child relationship.
Man’s weapon in this struggle between the sexes became intellect and power structure. The world today is ridden by intellectualised and compensated men in all executive positions,
governments, parliament’s and ruling bodies, committees, departments, the UN, all of the theological and military apparatus, in science, politics and so on.
If we find a woman in any of these areas – it mostly is women who have accepted and adopted man’s rules of the game and his role.
The genuinely feminine, motherly and life-giving element is seldom seen within any field of government in our kind of culture.
Mankind, as a product of biology is founded on the mammal and all the species that from there create the complete series of organisms back to the primal life.
The further formatting as a family member and social individual is being accomplished by fear, guilt and acceptance if one is obedient and do as parents and other figures of authority expect. Gradually one is thus adopted into the family structure and in the cultural pattern with behaviour, action, sexual identity, ideals, prejudices, forming of skills, manners, rules of conduct et cetera.
In this process, many impulses will be suppressed. And the ‘lust-principle’ (sorry, don’t know the English term) will often be violated – which wears down on joy of life and vitality.
All that is being suppressed, because it is unwanted and not permissible according to the moral codex one is being subjected as well as adapted to, is being stowed away in muscle tensions and neurotic mechanisms.
This anxiety that all humans carry with them due to the forming process, is the result of an inner situation of conflict, i.e. Impulses being torn in to or more directions. This is what is called neurotic anxiety – and which is the burden of all people – whether we acknowledge it or not.
This anxiety that no longer is connected to an outer, actual object – but to a permanent, fixed situation of conflict, is so painful to bear that the child has to do something to somehow dampen it. Here we have a rich and varied system of deflection at our disposal – w all have it on one form or other.
Since this is no psychology or child psychiatry textbook, some of the more common deflection tactics will briefly be mentioned, because they
are part of all that binds people to anxiety and guilt and because they are part of the inner burden that religion were meant to ease for us.
Most people are familiar with the concept of denial. Aggression, passivisation, clinging, symbolizing, idyllizing, denial and compensation are some other forms that people also are not quite unfamiliar with.
Not uncommonly, inner conflicts appear as illness of various kinds- the so-called somatisation or psycho-somatics that by the way also may be a more or less pronounced adjunct to almost any kind of disease.
Not uncommonly, the conflicts precipitate and develop into character traits of various kinds.
The psychic conflict matters of children get their main outlet in their behaviour, while adults develop various psychic symptoms of various kinds and intensity.
Projection – the grafting of one’s own unwanted, suppressed impulses onto other people – also is a very common mechanism.
Rationalization means mistaking imagined causes for the real ones – a deflection tactic that causes widespread and easy reasoning that therefore becomes false. Intellectualisation is a consequence of the cause of conflict becoming hung up on and to over-emphasize the intellect that thereby appears as a rigid deflection – because it shall serve to cover, hide the deeply rooted conflict-anxiety. This of course has a strong influence of the quality of the thinking and forces the intellectual functions into certain activities and paths that not uncommonly become of a destructive and restrictive nature that we all know so well in this our un-biological custodian-society that has become the result of this. We find these over-intellectualised individuals everywhere – as a rule in important key positions that the intellectualisation has provided them – and are jealously making sure that no new and liberating thoughts; thoughts that they perceive as a threat to themselves and their style are given breathing space. Through these persons, the prevailing social order has safeguarded itself against anything new being brought forward.
All these ingrown and early conflict-constructs are the cause why people cannot feel free – which they of course neither are with this entire tangled framework within themselves. Instead, we are being tempted with various liberties that the commercial society all the time is providing and offering. But an inner liberation cannot ensue from these surrogates that all the time is being peddled as freedom.
A longing for the real, inner freedom therefore runs like a permanent current through most of us. Anything that may seem to threaten our outer freedom often grows to desperation and blind rage. If one has an external enemy and an external force towards which to channel fear and aggression the outcome is obvious. The pressure form the inner sense of being un-free and one’s fears then will be projected in full. This engagement and this discharge are being felt as a temporary release. This probably is why the thirties for the labour movement and the later occupation is viewed by many as a golden age. *)
Since the situation of having an inner conflict is characterized by having two opposite poles – one who desires freedom and another that is covered in fear of the same freedom – one will regularly see that when an outer enemy or power has been conquered, people soon will create a situation where the inner and outer lack of liberty once again covers each other.
People therefore are not seeking freedom to its fullest extent – they soon will cover it with restrictions. But this they preferably must do by themselves – since the inner lack of freedom is rooted in themselves and demands also its outer manifestation.
Therefore, we also burden ourselves all the time with ever new restrictions and ordinances.
What we find with respect to freedom itself, we also find with respect to the truth about man’s inner world of conflict. Man carries his inner dichotomy with him also here. He seeks freedom – while at the same time wanting to avoid it, because it may tear him apart through all the fears and guilt that must be discharged in order to reach the deeper and central layer of the personality.
Recognition of the truth about oneself and the life of man therefore is not something that can be enforced, prescribed, or acquired by reading. It has to grow gradually,
*) The author is referring to the nineteen-thirties in this country, the heyday of the labour movement and the labour party, as well as the occupation of the country by Nazi-Germany between 1940 and 1945. Then, we had a real enemy towards which to direct our distress and un-comfort. (Tn)
often by means of much inner distressing re-structuring – until by and by it grows into an inner conviction and clarity.
Therefore, truth in this context is a relative term consisting of many layers – while at the same time being in scarcity.
The truth about life and the truth about oneself isn’t something one gets for free. It comes with a cost so high that most people resign at an early stage.
The holy ghost of spirit as a presumably equal and equal part of the triune god of Christianity therefore seldom is being heard or seen.
Man’s conscious world is like an iceberg. Only a small part extends above the surface as consciousness. The larger part – the subconscious, extends down to the deep.
All these conflicts that holds a large part of humanity’s physical and psychic energies captive must – in order that they shall not harden, solidify, needs to find temporary relief. And that happens at night – in our dreams.
The function of the dream is to keep the conflict matters and thereby the person, alive. Each night we dream, even if we on waking up cannot remember anything of what happened during the nights show.
And if we remember the dream, we always knows that it was a dream and not reality – even if we may dream both of the neighbour’s cat or the child sleeping nearby.
The inner imaging activity thus is a necessary element of life, a necessity. But of even greater importance will the dream be if the language of the dream is being translated and interpreted into one’s life’s situation.
All are familiar with the concept of one and the same realty being expressed in different languages, tongues. But the meaning emerges only when it is being translated for those who do not understand it. Otherwise, it will appear as simply incomprehensible sounds without any meaning.
Dreams are such a foreign language – using images instead of words. Similar to foreign tongues, an interpretation is needed to access the meaning.
The function of dreaming is itself a necessity of life. If dreaming is being prevented by artificial means, an inner breakdown soon usually will take place.
But of even greater importance the dream will be if it being remembered – and interpreted – but it is of paramount importance that the right interpretation is given. Then, the interpretation will make room for new conflict matters that in turn may find an outlet. Thereby, the dream and its interpretation may become a step in an inner process of development and growth – a process also being used in psychotherapy.
Religion, which also is a symbolic language, is an extension and further development of the principle of dreams. Since the central, systematic language of images always is available, a religions rigidly structured world of pictures becomes a very suitable means of heightening of consciousness that we all need, and which will ensue if the language is being properly translated.
But this is just where it fails. And therefore religion, and perhaps particularly Christendom has become static and historic – lacking the sparkling and heightening element of life it could and should be.
The Church sits with the entire picture-book of life in its lap – but don’t seem able to properly interpret the main elements, because it doesn’t know the language of symbols that is mankind’s collective heritage. We will endeavour to support this claim as far as possible throughout this book.
Theologians, and maybe particularly the Christian ones – paradoxically are the group of professionals that least of all are competent to voice an opinion about the truth, nature and function of the religion – because they are bound to their particular religion, thus having difficulty in achieving a comprehensive overview of the multitude of religious and personal symbols in ever changing constellations that abound.
Christendom became literalistic and rigid almost from the beginning. It petrified in a dogmatic form that forced life into a spiritual herbarium – in spite of the word that says that the letter kills – while spirit, i.e. understanding, gives life.
A religion thus solidified such as the present state of Christianity automatically will attract a certain type of individual that feel comfortable with it. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that any radical and profound renewal may come forth from the men of the Church – even if some adjustment may be brought forth – so that they at least to some degree may remain in contact with life and the people they are meant to provide with spiritual nourishment and building vitamins for inner release and development.
Sports-chaplains, industry-priests, public relations activities and sports-chapels seem rather feeble activities – knowing what really is needed in the way of inner renewal and recognition by the church. One always knows that a dream is a dream. Most religions are shape in a way that also here, we know that there are aspects that do not belong to the realm of history and everyday life – but that the subject is man’s inner and spiritual world and powers – often appearing as a quite literal belief in spirits and powers, if the level of awareness is so low that the symbols only exist on their own, without any kind of translation, interpretation.
The debate within the church for a long time has been about whether Jesus was simply a human being, or if he was both God and human the way that the church has made him.
Many non-believers hold him to be a human – a prophet – and spiritual guide of even great dimensions.
But for certain reasons, Jesus had to be made a God. Because with the Jews, the situation was quite different from for instance in India, where Buddha came as a counterweight against the multitude of gods that ruled the Hindu religion.
It is remarkable that Buddhism never really caught on in India itself, but in the surrounding countries – just as Christendom only to a small extent got a foothold in Palestine, while it grew with explosive speed in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
Jesus was made God maybe particularly because the Jews suffered a thousand years old unsatisfied need for religious symbolic image elements.
As man, Jesus could net serve as an inner religious redeemer. He had to be made a divine being. He had to have a symbolic function, because the function of the symbol is to serve in transforming barred and subconscious energies from the conflicts bound alternating current to the direct current principle of life’s own freedom.
A symbol is, in other words, a necessary liberating rectifier of psychic, subconscious conflict energies. And for this to be effected, a normal human being will not do, even if a dictator, the Roman emperors, not to mention the Egyptian Pharaohs might get some kind of divine role, among other things because they live a secluded and elevated life, and are equipped with
all the power this world may provide. Thereby they become symbols for man’s own unrealised, alienated inner strength.
Christendom and its main elements have its root in Jewish society and the late Jewish sect-societies just before the beginning of the Common Era, and therefore is branded by this form of religion.
The Jewish religion has Moses as its great founder. It is a monotheistic law-religion that in spite of all suffering and all the trials this little nation was subjected to, have managed to keep its citizens together as a recognizable nation for almost 4000 years – by means of its particular religion, that therefore is being guarded jealously as the nations dearest property, and cohesive power.
The Jews were forbidden to make images of their God, and to speak his name.
God had chosen his people for history. Their God therefore became master of history. All the suffering bestowed upon the nation by the conquering peoples washing across this strategically important Lilliputian state connecting Asia and Africa was always seen b the great prophets as punishment for lack of obedience to the law and the God of the historical pact.
Suffering was used as a beacon, in order that the group might be able to survive and continue as a nation.
It could hardly be avoided that Christendom, which looks upon itself as the continuation of the Mosaic faith, and the Christians as the true Israel –also adopted the historic aspect as a heritage into itself.
Jesus as a historical figure with a historic function and mission therefore has become the Alpha and Omega of Christianity.
Marxism, which is a secular religion with roots in both the Jewish religion and Christendom, got a double dose of both the historical, earthly and universal elements, together with the claim of being the one and only true lore – while the divine aspect disappeared completely – became the object of witch-hunt and a talent-less disrespect.
The Jewish, thousand years old suppression of the urge to depict the Deity – a tendency that is flowering so freely in other religions -
broke forth with explosive force in the figure of Christ and with all the legends and myths that soon were attached to his life and history.
Jesus became both history and God – man and symbol – being and redemption.
He developed the strict Law of Moses, also in his Sermon on the Mount, as a clear parallel to the giving of the Law on mount Sinai. Like Moses, he was I direct contact with God, and like Moses, he was master of the element of water. Moses separated it, Jesus walked on it. They both had connections with Egypt. Unmistakable parallels also are Jesus’ miracle of feeding the people, and Moses with manna in the desert. Moses would not live to enter the coveted land. It fell upon his successor Joshua to complete the salvation of the people. But Joshua is the same name as Jesus – also by the chosen name Jesus is named as the successor to Moses and the master of his people’s salvation. Christianity has not been able to separate itself from Jesus as history and unique historical event. It therefore can be likened with a dream that is being conceived as a literal and worldly reality – and is therefore barred from placing the phenomena where they rightly belong – namely in man’s inner world – from where they sprout forth, and are rooted. Like the Jewish religion as a law-religion and bound to history – Christendom became a literal religion, tied to dogma and the same world history as the Jewish religion.
But religions first and foremost belong to man’s inner world. In it’s literal embodiment, it definitely has made a clear impact on history, but there are many and ugly scars like religious wars, witch hunting where more than 10. million innocent women were burned at the stake, wars of conquest and national wars in the name of Christianity – blessed by the clergy on both sides and with “Gott Mit Uns” and similar blasphemies as war cries
The Christian nations have made inroads into history costing hundreds of millions of peoples lives. And they are prominent leaders in the construction and production of weapons of mass destruction.
This is of course not resulting from or caused by Jesus and his teaching, but it has something to do with the blocking of emotions and constructive
thought processes because Jesus was understood only literally – instead of being used as an inner transformer of energy bound in conflicts and deflected life. Theology, with its literalism locked us up in the dark attic – while Christianity in general got hung up on history with it’s symbols and faith.
This history therefore now is about to go under.
But the church has a way out also here. The great end of time – the world catastrophe is part of the lore and preaching. The prevailing paralysis on action and consciousness growing in wider circles appears almost like a divine predestination. The theological exegesis in this domain belongs more in psychopathology than in the religion of love.
The purpose of religion is to release, liberate, not to destruct. If the latter is the outcome one may without hesitation determine that the religion and it’s preaching has been fundamentally misunderstood and should be thrown in the melting pot. People will, however, with by all means resist this painful process of inner restructuring.
The congregations therefore must be held unaware of the struggle about interpretation, about all the doubt prevailing in theological circles, and about alternative interpretations of the religious symbols. Instead, unconsciously, the groundwork is laid for the grand and ultimate catastrophe in the outer world.
What ridicule, against the divine and cosmological principle of which we all are piece, and that each of us are supposed to realize!
What mockery against the thinking and realization that is the sovereign mark of man, his god-given gift, and his only hope!
Within may churches there luckily enough are a quite lively and hopeful activity aimed at clarification of the nature of religion, that the religious society finally may begin to think globally and responsibly, perceiving themselves as carriers and purveyors of an universal symbolic language.
Even if this current at present is somewhat shallow, it unmistakably is there.
Recently, the index, the ban on books by the Catholic Church has been lifted.
God has become the great problem that in all the centres of our civilisation is being discussed like never before in the history of man.
This takes place above all in the protestant churches, because there, there is no teaching authority like in the Catholic Church.
When differences of opinion and diverging teachings clashes within the protestant church, and consensus cannot be obtained, spin-off of new sects and movements take place. There hardly is any of Christianity’s main postulates that has not been subjected to doubt, debate and special interpretation. It is enough to mention names like Rudolf Bultman, Karl Barth, Brunner, Martin Dibelius, Paul Tillich and the British bishop John Robinson, with his two books “Honest for God” and “The New Reformation?”
In USA, a group of theologians recently launched the slogan “God is Dead!” – namely in the old and outdated sense of the term.
Our entire conception of the divinity and thereby also of our culture is in the melting pot – and nobody knows what will come out of the melting process.
The late Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, pinpointed the problem thus for an American Unitarian priest: “The old fences between religion and not-religion are gone. Religion has nothing with church-going and doctrinal faith to do. These old divisions between religion and not-religion are quite meaningless in the present situation. Thos who call themselves religious and those who call themselves non-religious must shake hands to take the first step out of the human condition. In his willingness to do this may the agnostic or even the atheist be more religious that his believing neighbour.”
Within the Christian Church a lot of things are going on both on and off the stage – even if few or no words at all are coming from the pulpits about this. – There is a lot of communication
going on between protestant churches and partly also with the Roman Church. Gromyko recently was received by the Pope – this may be a sign of a radically changed attitude within the communist world.
The second Vatican-council has at last finished its discussion after having been convened for years. A number of quite important declarations that will have widely ranging consequences been issued.
Some of these declarations are available in Norwegian, among others, “The church’s relation to non-Christian religions” and “About religious freedom” (Oslo 1966).
Both the new pope as well as his predecessor John XXIII are undoubtedly very gifted and courageous personalities which by farsightedness and courage are in the process of modelling the catholic church in a way that forces it to face issues like truth, tolerance and a global responsible perspective.
This changed perspective by the Catholic Church is nothing less than a sensation that as yet – as far as can be understood – has not been properly understood here.
The first declaration means that Christianity in its phenomenology is being placed alongside non-Christian religions, by recognizing that these also are concerned with “the ultimate and unspeakable mystery that encompasses our existence, our source and our goal.”
“The Catholic church rejects nothing of what is true and sacred in these religions.”
The church urges its children, with wisdom and compassion to engage in discourse and cooperation with adherents of other religions, both as witnesses of the Christian faith and perspective on life, and to recognize, serve and further the spiritual, moral, social and cultural values that exist with the others.”
The declaration about religious freedom was approved with a vote of 2308 yes, and 70 no’s – showing that a solid majority stands behind these declarations.
The declaration begins with – in the 2nd paragraph, after the introduction:
“This Vatican council declare that man has a right to religions freedom. This freedom entails that all shall be free from persuasion both from single persons, social groups, and as well as from any kind of human power, such that nobody shall, in the realm of religion be forced to act against his conscience – or be prevented from performing any act dictated by his conscience, privately or in public, alone or in company, but within given limits. The council further declare that the right to religious freedom is based on the value of humanity itself such as it has been made known by God’s revealed word and by common sense. This human right of religions freedom should be recognized in society’s statutes, to make it legally defined. Any person, with the personality and the human value he possess, have common sense and free will, and thereby also personal responsibility, with an obligation by morals to seek the truth – above all in the realm of religion. Further, he is obliged to hold fast to this truth and to subordinate his entire life under the demands thus set. In order to fulfil this obligation as a human being, ha shall be fully aware of his own responsibility, and not be subject to external forces. Therefore, the right to religious freedom is rooted not in the subjective needs of individuals, but in human nature itself. Consequently, the right to freedom also will be for those who do not fulfil the obligation to seek the truth and to hold fast to it; the exercise of this right can not be prevented as long as public order based on righteousness is being observed.”
All these quotes express a new direction in the realm of religion and the development of global coexistence. The main reason for the human conflicts – also on the international level – is intolerance and fear caused by a lack of awareness about mankind, religion, religion surrogates, group morals, prejudices and so on.
Here, the Catholic Church presents a limited answer. Even if it comes late, it comes well and lifts the development of awareness on to a higher level.
But there still is a long way to go!
For religion, as a phenomenon – and its relationship with human psyche and subconscious life – has just begun to be observed. Not until that has been resolved – can religion become an universal language that can bind peoples of different creed, race, ideology, and personalities together – in such a way that they may communicate on a foundation of reciprocity and understanding of central values of life. The declaration also takes stand with respect to the Church’s guilt for the anti-Semitism that to a large extent is founded on the New Testament’s narrative of the Jews as responsible for the death of Jesus.
Also within the Jewish faith the discussion has started about the relationship with other religions and about the nature of religion. The Jewish faith is, like the Christian, divided into various directions and beliefs – orthodox, conservative and reformists.
In 1965 in USA, a meeting was held with 26 catholic and Jewish theologians for discussing central theological issues.
The Catholics have already held two meetings and are planning a third common meeting at Harvard University’s 150 years celebration in October 1966.
Christian and Jewish theologians also met in April 1966 to discuss “The Question of God”.
This shows that much ecumenical religious debate is being conducted on many levels. Except the most important one – the psychological! Which tells us that not much of value will come out of these meetings. For religion is, in common with everything born in and of the human mind at the bottom a question of insight about what the elements of religion and the totality represents in the way of psychic dynamics. Before the solution to this problem is being found – it will all hang in the air until the universal formula can structuralize existence and co-existence in a global perspective – and bring all of mankind on speaking terms when they know what the issue is – on the various religious ‘tongues’.
Until now, we have only scratched at the surface of symbols
that hide the riddle of man and God in various words, dogma, rituals, constructs and behaviour patterns.
Because religion expresses man’s inner riddles, longings and needs in a symbolic language – it cannot be eradicated. It can only be understood and used – or be transformed and misused for secular goals – which therefore becomes enemies of life and carries man from bad - to worse and worst.
The problem and function of evil is to force man to awareness of his false problem definitions and behaviour patterns that led to “the evil”, and to attempt revision. But in this tough school of life, man has difficulty of learning. Nobody wants to be a pupil. All would rather try to convince oneself as well as others about his own excellence – and that all the wrongs that he does actually is as right as right can be. But then, “the evil” appears again and again, until we take issue with ourselves and without illusions look at the phenomena the way that they really are in all their manifold expressions – in all the various circumstances – and all the inner corruptions that we call sin and deflected life, that the whole world is so richly endowed with, because the inner authority and recognition of the mistakes has been gagged.
Then, people will neither recognize any external authority and obligation.
But life has its own relentless laws. If we do not observe them or pretend that they do not exist – we have to suffer the consequences. That is §1 I the Law of Life.
Even if secularisation seems to have bulldozed most of the religious life, it still continues under other outward forms and its own, quiet, frozen life inside man.
A recent Gallup here showed that 85% of the adults believe in God. But only a couple of percent identified themselves as church-goers – something that probably is the result of the official preaching has little to offer most people.
Which probably is the solution to the riddle of the empty churches.
Even in the Soviet Union where religious persecution and a concentrated atheistic propaganda has lasted nearly two generations, religion still has to a great extent survived.
In the political thaw that so dramatically was begun with Khrushchev and that has continued since then, a sociological survey has been made amongst young scientists, students, office workers and industrial workers. Their average age was 27. It turned out that 47% had their children baptized, (18% refused to answer – a significant fact), in spite of the fact that almost all of the participants in the survey were communist party members.
Almost 100% of students in Moscow baptized their children, among industrial workers 65%.
Which shows that religion is not easily eradicated. And, if it should succeed for a time, the inner psychic structure of man will force it to surface again in one form or another – after all surrogates in turn have shown that they do not work, they do not satisfy mans inner needs and only leads to corruption of man – a process that we can see is in progress right now, if we only dare look.
It is no longer possible to feed man pictures, dogma and letters. That is just what so often have led mankind into the world of power struggle, materialism and the easy, and at first so wide, but blind alley of literalism.
Man and culture can only live by truth, as child and soul needs contact and belonging.
Man is on a senseless and desperate search for truth, but are kept in the dark with respect to the theologians exchange of opinions and the proceedings going on in the ivory tower of religion research. Therefore, life proceeds with surrogate satisfaction void of life-vitamins.
Pornography, money worship, absurdities of every conceivable nature, status symbols, group interests, entertainment industry, power struggle, systems and custodianship, self righteousness and cries for freedoms of all kinds, as well as a boundless standard of living is overwhelming us and leave us both lame and blind.
All this, to keep anxiety, man’s frightening predicament, and truth at arms length.
The time has come when we must have the courage to admit
our anxiety – our helplessness – and the waywardness in which we live.
It won’t do nay longer to be cocky, self assured, bureaucratic, well adapted and armed to the teeth and then some – in the asocial world that is our own creation.
We must have the bold courage to seek, to hold fast to and to transform truth to living reality.
But then, what is truth?
And the problems show up right away. All and everyone do of course already possess the truth – it has already been found. Even if the tree has not yet produced any fruit, it sure will.
It seems however that there are as many truths as there are people. And that is to a certain extent true. For we are all of us an individual special issue of the common basic truth and reality – which is the wonder of life itself.
But even how different man is with his individual, his family’s, his cultural, ideological, sociologic and religious differences – mankind anyway is but one and can be brought in on a universal formula of law, analogous with gravity and the principle of relativity that structuralize the multitude of phenomena in the physical world.
With regard to the psychic law formula, it cannot be expressed with numbers and arithmetic symbols. It must be expressed by other systems of symbols and values by means of our intellectual power, and be verified by thought, logos, research, experiment and the collected experiences.
This process now has reached a stage where it ought to be of importance also for man’s religious life and the relationship with vital basic needs and psychic mechanisms.
Religion has been with man since the Stone Age. The technical progress has been accelerating because it relies upon numeric symbols without affective conflict energies, until we now are in the space age.
Religion, tradition and cultural habitual patterns are doomed to be left behind in this race, and therefore the disparity grows ever greater and more dangerous.
Life is like teams competing in orientation. Unless all members of the team pass the finishing line, no one will find his name on the scoreboard.
It is of no use if one has run pat important control posts.
It is the compound number – culture and society in all its aspects and facet’s – that as a troupe shall break the finishing line. If scientists, military and politicians have chased each other almost to death before reaching the goal, it is at best only a big misunderstanding of what it is all about.
The only result produced by the effort of a misunderstanding like this is weapons of mass destruction – but they are not very desirable for the rest of us who have to search for, and visit the posts of the run that the others have been running past without thinking.
A misunderstood, political, military and scientific effort without regard for mans inner terrain and mapping, and without regard for the proper order of the posts won’t take us to the victory ceremony now or ever.
The weapons of mass destruction have been introduced into the world by man’s stupidity and not by any divine foresight. And with the help of man they can be brought out of the world again – if amounts of ingenuity and money equal to what it once cost to make them are being invested. Many will no doubt calculate that we cannot afford this. We have to take care of public welfare instead.
But in this matter, we ourselves will have to be providence and the driving forces of history. We must finally begin to understand our common responsibility and a little of what we actually are doing, and much of man’s inner world and the psychic laws ruling there.
Mans greatest enemy today is the darkened consciousness, ignorance and resignation together with a lack of respect for the laws of life and the powers of existence.
In addition we find a rapidly diminishing sense of quality and central values.
Much of what in this chapter has been touched upon, will in part be more comprehensively handled later in the book.
Some repetition of themes therefore unfortunately is unavoidable. We hope they will not be too tiring. Because now is the time to keep awake and alive, and to do one’s duty in its’ fullest. The anxiety that ensue when one’s approach to life shall be remade we will have to suffer as best we can.
“Whatever you might pray for, pray never for a heart that no longer may shiver of fear. For from the heart where fear has disappeared, longing will soon be gone. And where the longing of the heart no longer exist, thoughts grow empty and the world haggard. Pray rather that tour heart with sensitivity may shiver for all that could make time shiver – if it was alive like you. Pray that the unrest of youth must be a beacon – not for protection of yourself – but for protection of the world. And pray that the fear in the heart will be a lighthouse where the ocean is at it’s most dangerous.
Poul Bjerre in “Death and Renewal”.
The Christian churches are gradually beginning to understand it’s own responsibility in the macabre situation of the world today. They are opening up towards each other – and in their relations with other religions – and towards the world.
The intolerant attitude, the clammy closed-ness are beginning to feel the impact of the balance of terror and the cross-draught from modern science about man with the insight that provide about important aspects of life.
The Catholic Church with its well educated priesthood and its religious unity have for centuries been an important power structure also within the political life due to its grip on its adherents, and because of its leadership resting in one hand.
The protestant churches have on the contrary gone each their separate ways and split in factions – each with a divergent view with respect to more ore less fundamental matters of faith. Within Protestantism there therefore has been quite rich
possibilities to penetrate fundamental Christian problems – without in the same degree having been bonded by an authority of teaching such as in the Catholic Church.
Modern theologians like Bultmann, Barth, Tillich, Robinson and others are unthinkable within Catholicism. But since the protestant churches has no unified leadership and similarly no common platform with respect to important questions of faith – the protestant world seems rather chaotic and isolated from the fate of the world that they to a large degree leave to God and the prophets – without taking the full consequences of the fact that it is we ourselves that bear the full responsibility for how we rule this world and organize the inter-human relations. All this protestant disagreement and intolerance have in no small degree contributed to the process of secularisation and the political power struggle The catholic church therefore is increasingly taking over the leadership on the international level and in today’s complex situation. Under the two latest popes the second Vatican council has a last concluded the discussions lasting many years. The results have surfaced in a number of declarations. The last one has been published as “The Church in the World Today”, dated Dec. 7th 1965 – a quite hefty publication of 144 pages. It has also been published in Norwegian. We cannot expect the church here or elsewhere at the present time and voluntarily to engage in discussing its own foundation of faith and its own matters of belief. On the other hand, this publication contains so much new thought and reorientation as can reasonably be expected – even if one might wish it had gone much, much farther in a time when mankind is fighting for its life with its back towards the wall.
For these thousand years old concepts and dogmatic superstructures will require time to be resolved. And nobody can expect that for instance communists, nazis, capitalists, democrats, socialists, atheists as well as life-views of whichever category they may be – suddenly should begin do discuss the very foundation of their faith and their views – and eventually be convinced that they are wrong in important ways.
All people want to be right – and they will also believe that they are right.
Ones own errors can only be uncovered through a cumbersome process of evolution and by new realizations that are of no consequence before the individual have matured to a lever where they may be accepted.
“The Church Today” hastens this process of development and maturing by being open against exchanges of opinion and readiness in accepting technical progress and research results from all fields of science – and not the least from sociology, historical research and psychology.
All the knowledge being brought to the fore by science and which in no small degree has widened our realization about life and the human mind – must have consequences also for our understanding of the nature of religion.
The Catholic Church does not adopt a distant and halfway insulted stance, but the Vatican council writes: “and the Church admits even that it may have had and may continue to have important benefits by the very opposition it meets from its opponents and persecutors.” Further “New scientific, philosophical and historic research and discoveries raise new questions of consequence for human life and that also require theologians to make new studies. - - - Counsellors shall not only be familiar with and use the theological principles, but also learn from the profane sciences, in order to be able to lead the believers towards a more mature faith. - - Theologians at priest-seminars and universities shall pursue cooperation with specialists from other fields of science; they shall unite their forces and exchange experiences with them.
The Catholic Church recognise the overwhelming dangers present in the world of present and that humanity is engaged in a monumental process of metamorphosis. “The historical process is being hastened to such a degree that an individual hardly may cope with it. The human community no longer is divided into different segments, each with their own particular history, now we all share a common fate. Thus, mankind is moving away from a static concept of the order of things towards a view of a more dynamic development. The result being that the problems appears with a new
and overwhelming complexity, that require new analyses and syntheses.”
These analyses and syntheses consist in bringing together all the material that experience and knowledge about mankind has brought forth. And into this process, of necessity also the Christian church and religion will have to be incorporated.
This is where the struggle and the divergences probably will surface. For the church today builds on Christendom’s unique position as a revealed religion – without any earthly and ‘history of ideas’ relationship with the time when it was created.
The church has yet not taken stand with respect to the new perspectives and relationships that opens as a consequence of the findings at the Dead Sea. Interested parties regarding these two questions are pointed to, among others, “The Jewish Worls in the Time of Jesus” by Charles Guignebert with a foreword by the American theologian Charles Francis Potter (University Books 1965) and to “The Lsot Years of Jesus Revealed” (Crest Books, New York 1962) by the same Charles Potter. And finally, depth psychology with its pointing to the symbolic expressions of the human mind with regard to subconscious realities must be considered. And here, it just is not possible to use depth psychology as an aid to uphold the church’s message with its present form and contents – the whole of the Church’s message the way that the Vatican council apparently have in mind. Our concept of religion will of necessity have to be influenced by our new knowledge in this area – that in fundamental ways are related to all of religion’s function and nature – and not least with respect to Christendom, where the elements of its structure are extraordinarily clear and instructive.
Ion this manner Christendom may get a new dimension and become meaningful, relevant, and regardless of faith - in an individual’s world of conflict here and now.
Depth psychology is particularly applicable in interpreting the subconscious’ language of images. Theologians and psychologists – faith and knowledge ought here to find a natural and common platform to aid each other as well as all men such that there
will not be a question of: Christendom or Psychology, but about Christendom and Psychology. – Science and religion.
The way things are today, the Church cannot take stand with respect to these deep psychological matters that concerns every human being in a decisive and often fateful way – such that an individual is left more or less locked up within his inner conflicts – without getting any help via intellect and facts, but is left to concepts of faith. The latest script from the Vatican council therefore uses some veiled language about central issues of importance for man. The word ‘mystery’ is used no less than 14 times, in terms like The mystery of the Church, the mystery of man’, God’s wisdom’s mysteries, the mystery of death, the mystery of oneness, the mystery of love, the mystery of the incarnated word and the mystery of Christian faith.
When the Church is basing its teaching and faith on a revelation on the level of history and literalism – of necessity many elements will appear as mysteries.
But many of these elements will become clear when seen in other perspectives, for instance from the inside instead of from above and outside as a revelation that has been given once and forever and which therefore only can be the subject of faith and rationalization – and thereby also for doubt and superstition.
The development has now however reached a stage where man can, dare and must view himself and his being from the deepest reaches of the soul that we all share.
From this perspective we are all equal and only in this perspective can the Holy Ghost – truth – bring clarity and transform our being and restore religion from the foundation, such that it may be a living God and a living lore for mankind!
The Symbol Animal.
As far back into history as we may see, we find time and again confirmation of the fact that all peoples and cultures have some kind of religion. We also see that religion always have occupied a central position in the life of people and the unfolding history.
The history of religion therefore also is inseparable from the history of mankind itself. And one stands as a wondering witness to how religion has driven man to both the most sublime as to the most debasing. Mankind’s great seers and pilot guides have walked in the fruitful gardens of religion and found the life-giving herbs that have given wisdom and strength to life down through the ages. But one also sees how the life of millions of people through generations have been poisoned and their way of life cemented in the most rigorous way by religious pretexts and concepts of taboo. Religion has been one of the most influential and fateful powers that history may show; it has characterized the various ages and stamped them with its mark, both on the inner and outer level. Architectonic and artistic wonders created by skilful, willing hands and creative minds, cultic wisdom and the incorruptible tenets of life in immortal scriptures, love and fullness of life, interwoven kaleidoscope-like with the most bigoted and fanatic intolerance, relentless extermination of adherents to other faiths, torture and mass murdering and the most gruesome ritual acts have demanded rivers of blood and an ocean of suffering.
Religion is a bridge-head in man’s inner world, and therefore it is the mother and life giving well for all cultures. Today, religion has lost its footing within the western culture, and from here a
process of secularisation spreads like circles on water. When this communication is broken, the power dwindles and the culture begins to topple. We are living in a time of deterioration which not least encompass the religious domain – yes, even may have its centre here. Therefore, now more than ever it is necessary that we search for the life-providing well of religion-creation so we may drink from it – in our own way. Within our culture, science to a certain extent has neglected to recognize the importance of religion. The western scientists whose insight lead to a heightened insight into the outer world and to technical progress, by its effort seduced man to flee from his inner and to relegate everything to the outside – to atoms and outer space, to comfort and means of destruction. The state of mind induced by their activity, supported fatefully the tendency that mankind is all too easily subjected to – projection of inner conflicts and problems. Man will always attempt to flee his inner and real reality. Man’s soul and the powers acting there and which moves the individual as well as society, no longer is valued. Everything is being construed as external problems. Phenomena like dreams and religion – man’s inner reality with it’s own dynamics – everything characteristically human – has become homeless on earth in the “ages of enlightenment.” And therefore, our culture is in the process of dissolving. But we can also see signs of resistance to this process.
The roots of the white man’s culture has been severed. It has become a feeble mode of comfortable living that with fear refuses to address central issues and feverishly hunts around the periphery. Our culture has become a grand mockery and cultural drama – without inner meaning. Failure of the fundament and upholding columns causes the castle of our culture to sag and threatens to topple. A restless shallowness in the East as in the West, bigotry, narrow mindedness and intolerance consume the last spiritual reserves and causes life to fossilize in technicalities and shallowness.
The human institutions, social conditions and ways of life should be an extension of the inner reality in a constructive organisation in accordance with the fundamental principles for unfolding of life.
Where this connection with the inner is severed as a consequence of failure to recognize, or denial of the causes, individual as well as society dissolve. If the culture builds on an outer reality without the link with the inner, but hangs in the air like the modern scientific view of the world that science has persuaded people is the only alternative, it all dies like leaves on the trees in the fall.
Landmarks and means of orientation are lost. Peripheral issues are brought to the fore and the central issues brushed aside, with a resulting confusion.
When the gauge of values - the relationship with central matters is lost, everything is thrown helter-skelter. Platitudes are served as good food. The sense of quality is eliminated. Money, profit and materialism become the yardstick against which everything is measured. Social life becomes sterile, the thought process is stifled, and the fullness of being is lost. Symptomatism abounds. The lack of recognition of the forces at play in religion with the ensuing lack of respect for this mode of manifesting man’s inner life and reality, is such a symptomatic expression of the lack of recognition of man’s inner structure and mode of function.
The lines in the unfolding of life have to a large extent been lost. Specialists are jealously guarding their ever smaller and ever more bothersome fragments – bothersome because they cannot be fit into a whole. Signs of a liberating synthesis are seldom seen in the academic jigsaw puzzle. The spiritual life seems to a great extent to be without deeper meaning – everything is dissolved into fads and shallowness. Views and impulses containing life-giving power, have not been strong enough to grow in the barren soil. Philosophy should integrate the various sciences into a unifying view. Over time, the mass of knowledge has become overwhelming and the specialities so many that the overview seems to have been lost. Philosophy has been reduced to some kind of appendix, not least because the executors of the “craft” have failed and are lost in trifles. The ability to formulate problems that makes it possible to integrate the rapidly growing amount of knowledge seems to be lacking.
When the “mother of sciences” – philosophy – itself has become sterile,
it has a sterilizing instead of inspiring effect on the other disciplines that it should group organically around itself in a unifying power field. Fragment-intellectuals have inaugurated themselves as guardians of the spiritual life, but seem themselves to be without contact with the inner reality and the forces that from there support and move development. The realities of religion are looked down upon and are in wide circles been seen as a product of human folly and remains of past superstition – without relevance for the realities of life. One wishes to appear as so modern and progressive minded that one dare not show interest in something that seems to be in violation of invaluable scientific dogma.
Particularly the inter-related cultural chauvinistic religions – Jewish, Christian and Islam – been corrupted by propagators that poorly have understood the religious symbols and the realities hidden in them. Religions therefore to a great extent therefore have become hollow words with dead letters, without message for living and searching people. It is all being projected wrongly. The liberating power of religion is to a great extent lost for modern man. An illustrative example is the preaching of the concept of Hell as a literal reality.
The accelerating progress towards apocalypse now underway, hardly can be deflected unless religion and the creative powers that it represents are being released and utilized to serve life. But then, the message must be presented in such a way as to awaken a deep and true resonance that may provide an impulse towards realization and liberation of the slumbering potentials of human nature. The need is greater than ever in this atomic age.
To understand the religious powers is to understand man himself. We can not get around Man. Because religion is enacted in man’s soul, it is being coloured by the laws and conditions at play there. The religious symbols, myths and rituals are born of the human mind. Neither the so-called religions of revelation can claim any special position in this respect. The revelation also is conveyed by and bears the stamp of the human psyche.
It therefore is necessary to present a sketch outlining certain psychological and biological facts that are connected to the subjects that shall be discussed here, to achieve perspective and foundation.
The theory of evolution cannot be dismissed, the facts are too overwhelming. But it will of course always have to be modified when new finds and understanding makes it necessary. The main and decisive features will prevail. According to the theory, life on earth has evolved from primitive forms towards ever more complex and compound structures – until man today represents the acme. The creation story we find in the Bible displays this evolution with images.
The basic function of protoplasm – the life-bearing substance – has undergone differentiation and specialization into various organ systems. We find the form-giving structure in the skeletal system, the ability to move in the muscular system., the protoplasmic ability to conduct impulses is organized in the nervous system, and the ability to dissolve chemical compounds and thereby provide energy for the life-functions has been developed further to a digestive tract with its associated glands, and so on. An important, basic function is the ability to remember, making it possible to create patterns of behaviour based on experience. These properties are differentiated in two different organ systems, with the brain cells storing an individual’s memories, while the reproductive cells carry the collective memory of the species. The embryonic development therefore is like a compressed repetition of the evolution of the species.
The ability to remember is one of the pillars of evolution. It plays a decisive role in an individual’s development that is made possible only by this ability. This basic function must be considered one of the driving powers in the process of evolution, that cannot quite satisfactorily be explained simply as the blind forces of randomness.
The theory of evolution has been subject to fierce resistance.
Much of the resistance is caused by the claim that man is a descendant of the apes, which by the way might not be too proud of the close relationship. But a direct descent from our tree-climbing relatives probably is not the case. Rather, it seems that apes and Homo sapiens share a common ancestor. The Egyptians in antiquity solved this conflict by saying that man descended form apes and gods.
Many animal forms have ended in blind alleys, they have exhausted their resources in the way of adaptability and roads of evolution. New and rich possibilities opened when the human brain with it’s emerging consciousness evolved in our primitive, animal forbears that more than ever became the focus of evolution. Within reach was not only the possibility that this thinking animal might someday conquer and subdue the world. The new possibilities entailed the prospect of a time when mankind should live in consciousness for life and it’s laws, the prospect of a future when mankind’s many affective and irrational reactions were replaced with insight, wisdom and fullness of life.
We of course have no way of knowing if this great experiment of life – evolution of the human consciousness – will lead to useful results. This is dependent upon so many factors. Many earlier experiments in evolution have failed, species have perished.
The experiment with human consciousness may just as well end in failure. Just in our time a particularly critical stage of development is unfolding. But just under the threat from nuclear weapons mankind – if it shall survive – will have to find a road that does not end blind, but opens towards the future. If that is to happen, full light will have to be shone on the human mind with its dark and secluded depths. Since man with all his irrational, symptomatic impulses at the current stage of evolution is an extremely dangerous, destructive animal, the only rational response would seem to be – before the entire environment has been polluted with radioactivity – to declare a ban on all research as well as implementing the results. Research has progressed so
far in this field and is so far ahead of other and central disciplines that it may take centuries to catch up – at least with respect to practical implementation of the new knowledge. The madness must be stopped before it is too late. It takes no great feat of imagination to imagine what the result may be if the current trends should continue unabated.
Mankind probably will derive little benefit from the release of nuclear energy – in spite of science’s enthusiasm. Even within science, many are beginning to get second thoughts – and they are growing in numbers. It is important to release bound energies – but not inside the atoms, but inside man. This wish and imperative that is shared by all of mankind, also the physicists, have been projected outward and taken literally. One has released the energy of the atoms instead of liberating the energies lying bound and unused in the inner reservoir of human mind power.
Important steps in the evolution of man are the bipedal walk and the development of the thumb. The ape’s hand is a rather ordinary gripping tool, a special organ for climbing. The human hand, however, underwent further development, and gave Homo sapiens his definite position of leadership by means of the freely moving thumb, so that it could oppose the other fingers – a feature that finds no equal in the animal kingdom. The hand thereby was transformed into a universal gripping tool, and man could now perform as many different functions as he was able to able to make tools for. Before that, any new function had to have its basis in the physical organism itself. If we should try to imagine such a thing, it would be a strange creature indeed which had developed organs for all the functions man can perform today – cutting, sawing and so on. Armed with the universal tool of the human hand, the emphasis of evolution shifted from the organic to the technical and mental area. Man could evolve as many functions as he could invent tools! Coordination between hand and brain – between hand and spirit – became ever firmer and intimate. The new functions demanded continued development and reorganization of brain tissue.
The central nervous system of man therefore is markedly different from that of the apes and other animals by way of its volume and the new functionality. Due to the resulting direction that evolution now took, the foundation for consciousness was laid. And the evolution of man tends to ever-higher levels of consciousness. We will remain bearers of evolution only to the extent that we can remain in harmony with this principle. The goal is heightened consciousness. The human hand was an important link, and decisive for the new direction of evolution. It is not without reason that Christendom uses the hand as a symbol of the Divine.
Other factors of importance for understanding man and the function of the human mind are the eyes and the role played by images has for the psyche as a means of expression. Mans’ fate is dependent on whether he understands the images emanating from the deep layers of his mind – and that are it’s only means of communication – since the psychic dynamics mainly are based on the use of images. Man is an eye-animal that thinks and speaks by images. It creates and must continually create images in it’s inner, something which manifests itself in dreams, myths, in religion, in arts and fantasy.
The visual impressions constitute the foundation of our collected experiences, and together with the ability to remember; the foundation for thinking in images is laid. It is not without reason that another symbol for the Divine in the Christian religion is: - the eye, which also is the organ that shows the strength of ability for contact and thereby also of the I-power that has become so important in modern child psychiatry.
All impressions stored in the brain are organized according to certain principles. If that were not the case, it would all be chaos. The impressions are organized according to for laws of association or relationship, namely association by likeness (similarity) – oppositeness – temporal relatedness, and space.
If one thinks about a bird, the memory image: an aeroplane come be made conscious. If one thinks about darkness, light may be mobilized. In the same manner, ‘boat’ may be associated with water, lightning with thunder, to mention examples of the four laws of association.
It is obvious that man, because of this principle of association,
in a given situation have the ability to master this situation in the most adequate manner – since the memory of all previous, similar situations is being activated. This precipitates an awareness of the options inherent in the present situation, which constitute a basis for making decisions about how to respond.
This principle of association also is the foundation for the psyche of man to operate with symbols. This ability is another main pillar of the development of the uniquely human of the species Homo sapiens. Therefore, man is also called: The Symbol Animal. (Ernst Cassirer.)
The laws of association also may be meaningful in the negative sense, they may influence the thought processes in such a way that these do not mirror the real condition, consequently giving a distorted view of reality. Coincident with the first introduction of inoculation in the north of Norway, cod fisheries at the same time failed – occurrences that right away, by association, were thought to be related to each other. Association by opposites has a tendency to set phases belonging to the same unit up against each other as irreconcilable as long as the real relationship remains unknown. Dualism is inseparably bound to his association between opposites. It poses man against man, group against group, peoples against peoples – and splits man’s inner.
The associative mode of thinking is resorted to when knowledge and consciousness about causal relationships is lacking, as for instance in the uncontrolled magical bundle of concepts that as in the past still is playing capriciously and fatefully with man. Magic mainly builds on the principle of association by likeness, and innumerable processes have been started in order to by this principle control the surroundings. Magic may be seen as a precursor to science, the purpose of which also is to master the surroundings.
Within magic, the idea is that everything that is associatively connected within the psyche, also are causally related in the outer world. One may for instance believe that it is possible to create rain with simulating rainfall by pouring water out of a pot. Or one tries to eliminate one’s enemy by piercing
his image. The one who controls the picture, also controls the person. Cannibals eat their killed enemies in order to acquire their properties – and to ensure that they shall not come back for revenge. Magical concepts abound by the thousands, and they play an important role in all religions. They exist just under the surface – in all of us.
A particular system of symbols is language, which is a recent creation in the evolution of man. Language is a collection of sound-symbols. Utterance of the symbols b-o-o-k as a sequence means “a book”. The aural symbol is associated with the visual concept. Conversely, viewing of the written symbol activates association with the sound symbol. The languages of speech and writing are essential functions for the logical sector of the human mind.
In a different position stands the much older language, the language of pictures that in the deeper and subconscious layers have to use – such as it appears in dreams, in art, in religion, myths and fantasies. This means of expression can no longer be understood by the human conscious. But still, structures in our inner understands its meaning. It has been shown that a person under hypnosis may understand his dreams, while when awake, they dismiss them as nonsense.*)
In earlier ages, the understanding of this pictorial language was quite different form the present. Especially in the cultures of the Orient, it has always been part of a proper upbringing to be proficient in this mode of language, which in our part of the world, due to ignorance is been considered nonsense. The Talmud says: A dream not understood, is like a letter one does not open. In the book ob Job it says that dreams are the speech of God. Major figures within Christendom like Joseph and Jesus were masters of this pictorial language. And the prophets used it as their mother-tongue. Freud’s greatest and lasting achievement is maybe that he opens the door for modern man to this secret world.
*) Erich Fromm: The Forgotten Language.
This language of symbols is the only universal means of communication that man as a species is equipped with. It is based on particular conditions with respect to the way the human mind functions. A peculiarity of the psychic dynamics is that this pictorial language cannot express abstract terms. The development of such terms are quite recent, they are functions of the conscious life’s connection to the intellectual thought process, and more recent layers of the central nervous system. Abstract terms in principle signify a property, a condition or an act. A popular definition is that an abstract cannot be photographed, an explanation that hits the nail right on the head. Whenever the deeper layers of the human psyche, - “the deep” – is faced with the task of articulating its contents of abstract nature, it actually is unable to – since it has only concrete images, pictures at its disposal.
In such cases it has to use associations – symbols – which then employs the concrete picture to express the contents that is hidden within it. Symbols are the objects that the deep has to employ in order to express itself. They are the language of the deep. We say that the real content of the symbol lies hidden in the manifest image. Without knowledge of this mechanism one always are at risk of taking the symbol literally.
Examples can better than words illustrate this. Dreams are the prototype of this symbolic language, and by eh dream we may access the process of symbol creation.
A man dreamt about a fight between a dog and a silver fox – on the surface, a meaningless dream. And rightly, it is without meaning when we look at the literal contents – the symbols without translation.
A dream most often refers to the events of the day before. When we learn that the dreamer that day had been preparing his income declaration the meaning begins to transpire – namely the opposing tendencies that had made themselves manifest in the dreamer. The dog, representing faithfulness, honesty and subjugation, had been fighting the silver fox that, besides representing the economical situation, also symbolise “white” cleverness. The important difference between image and contents
-between symbol and meaning – so that the dream remains unintelligible unless one knows the “language”.
In another dream, a man had found a new and efficient way of grasping the ski sticks so that he could run faster than before. This also seems without any meaning as long as we look simply at the images. But when we learn that the dreamer’s approach to progress in his life had been the subject discussed the day before, this dream too becomes meaningful. He would have to grasp the conditions of his life in order to make progress. He would have to adopt a different “grip”.
These examples illustrate the principle of all symbolism – all images born of and carried within the human mind. Without translation, it all remains without any meaning and often simply misleading. Everybody have unresolved conflict anxiety and unconventional impulses within themselves that therefore needs to be averted in different ways – by suppression, muscular tension, pacification, intellectualism and so on. The individual thereby is being drained of much of his energies.
In the course of a day, ever more of the energies need to be employed to keep the I-forces at a level that permits the individual to function as an integrated institution. This in turn leads to tiredness and need for sleep. During sleep, a vitalisation takes place, probably caused by energy having been spent during the day in service of deflection-mechanisms, is being transformed back to the central strata of the central nervous system which is their source. The biological and psychic functions thereby are being adjusted anew in respect to each other at all levels. The function of the dream thus is to be a process of transformation so that energies that have been used in for example muscular tension, will be transformed back into energy forms that revitalize the organism and makes it “fit for fight.” In this connection, we may mention the vitalization that can be brought about by procedures aimed at effecting muscular relaxation. We may also mention that C. G. Jung considered the intra-psychic symbols as energy transformers.
The nightly dream-activity takes place in distinctly separated periods that easily can be detected by electro-encephalography
based on the principle that brain cells that are especially active release electric energy that can be amplified and recorded in a graph.
The dream periods constitute about 20& of a nights sleep, and are as a rule divided into 4 – 8 marked sequences.
A dream begins with typical movements of the eye muscles, probably because the visual symbols that constitute an important part of the transforming process have an intimate and special connection with the muscular apparatus.
While the body can display more or less motion during sleep – it remains idle while dreaming – a fact that may indicate that what is being transformed back is in particular muscular energy.
The second to the last dream sequence before awakening often relate to events from childhood, something that may be caused by so much of the deflection-energies have been brought back to their source so that the primary conflict matter can be brought to the fore.
This has an important biological function, by keeping the conflict matter and thereby the individual, alive.
If the conflict matters dies or fossilize, the individual will have to suffer the same fate – since the energies connected to the conflict matters will have to disappear and the individual thereby suffer a partial death – something that unfortunately often happens. Many are spiritually more or less half-dead even from an early age.
When a dream mobilizes childhood conflicts it also permit these to get a chance to be brought forth for processing.
The conflict matters probably are stored in the central nervous system as, and presents itself as symbols with energy attached. Because of the symbolic character we therefore always have to differentiate between the dreams manifest and latent contents if we are to get hold of the meaning.
In a psychoanalytic process using dreams as a starting point, producer of matter and direction marker, we will, with the proper interpretation of the dream matter by and by clear room for ever more of the conflict matters to reach the conscious level for processing.
This leads to a gradual expansion of the area of consciousness with a corresponding strengthening of the I-forces.
The conflict matter thereby is timed from within such that one may be assured that whatever is significant at all times will be in focus.
When using dreams in this manner, the individuals released conflict energies will be centred with respect to the dreamer and the dream – so that they only in a small degree are being transmitted to other persons. Thereby, unnecessary and difficult processes of transference may be eliminated, - because a large part of the conflict matter is being deflected in and by the dream.
When a dream has been correctly interpreted, the individual “feels” this, probably because there are inner entities that “knows” the connection, this seems to have been confirmed by experiments with hypnosis.*)
What is remembered of a night’s dreams after awakening is as a rule subject matter that have matured to a point where it may be addressed by treatment and incorporation into the personality. Or, it may be matter that an inner entity now demands be addressed for revision and treatment.
Dreams thus are a necessity of life, something that the results of modern dream research have confirmed. If the dream process is prevented by artificial means, this may relatively soon result in more or less serious psychic disorders, probably because a vitalization has not been possible – resulting in the I-force not being supplied with enough energy to uphold a required potential.
But dreams also have the important purpose of presenting the conflict matter that needs sanitization and transformation into available psychic energy and vitality.
The Bible expresses these truths in the book of Job with the dream representing God as talking to man – who must understand the language and act in accord with that. Happiness and renewal of psychic and physical life results.
The fact is unavoidable, that Christian lore to a large extent
is pictorial in nature, and it’s mode of expression is characterized by the laws reigning in the human mind. To visualize spiritual realities and to express longing, desires and hope – the deep of the soul needs here, as always to utilize concrete pictures from outer reality. No other options exist.
Since mankind by and large is similar all over the world, it follows that many symbols are universal in nature. We find realities like: life and death, birth, growth and other body functions. IT is fire and water, air and earth, animals and plants, celestial bodies and forces of nature, freedom and oppression, joy and sorrow, guilt and atonement, salvation and loss and so on. Therefore we also find these symbols used as central symbols in all religions. The elements in which the forces make themselves manifest, are symbols of inner sources of power; they are full of mana, the Melanesian word that has been adopted into international language. It can be likened with a high voltage conduit that one must handle with care and skill. Common people therefore needs to protect themselves – with prescriptions of taboo. Whether a man has mana can be seen from how he conducts his life – if he lucky in his endeavours, if he has power and authority. In particular, tribal chiefs are endowed with mana. If he looses it, something that appears as accidents or such, it means that the power must have left him, something that often had direct consequences for his social position.
Another important token of life is warmth. After death, the body quickly gets cold. The observation of this strengthened the view that the active principle of life would have to be fire. It could easily be seen that fire would flare when breathed upon; therefore, fire-stuff would have to be present in breath. This fire-stuff would have to be very light and transparent, being entirely invisible. One could also observe that flames rose upwards and disappeared in the air. When flames had performed their function, the burned matter had risen to where it belonged – in heaven – the abode of the eternal fire. The glowing fireball that appeared every morning to wander across the sky was reliable testimony for that. At death, the fire of the body would leave and rise towards heaven, to it’s proper home – the abode of gods and spirits. And what was more treasonable than to assist in this
Celestial bodies were revered and worshipped as gods – symbols of life energy, laws of life, indestructibility and fateful power. In particular the sun has been used as a symbol of God, since most cultures have been based on agriculture. The sun was master of life and death. In more arid regions, the sun was the great destroyer, not suitable as a life symbol. In such regions the moon with its mysterious light was made God-symbol. Islam, stemming from a desert region has the new moon – the life-potency – as its unifying symbol and symbol of God, in the same way as Christianity use the cross – the ancient sun symbol.
If one should venture to define what religion actually is, on might perhaps say that Religion is a systematic, and basically a system of common human symbols with the purpose of creating security, inner unity and meaning. It will liberate the personality and guide its direction in life in accordance with the laws of life. It will create continuity and meaning in being. It will do away with uncertainty and inner fragmentation. The meaning of the word religion is: reunion – from Latin re – again and ligare, which means to bind or knit. Religion has an inner and an outer aspect, and the ethics that are necessary and conducive for a social life was
integrated in the religious systems at the time when religion, conduct of life and social order still was one and the same.
Religions are symbolic language with the same contents, but its emphasis changes throughout the various ages and cultural epochs. As with a subject be expressed in a foreign language that we do not understand, so also with the symbolic language of religions.
Religion as we understand it replaced the magical concepts about how the surroundings could be mastered by means of certain ceremonies and formulas. Magical concepts still are present in many religions, even if the basic premise of this mode of consciousness by and by has to yield because of the many contrary facts and the logical thinking that address reality in a different way. The self-sufficiency of magic and its associative conceptual contents were replaced by religious systems aimed at – not mastering the surroundings or other people, but at subordinating oneself under the powers and laws of life in order to obtain reconciliation, peace of mind, expanded awareness and inner coordination.
Susanne Langer – the American professor of philosophy, writes in her book “Philosophy in a new key”, p. 163: “It is a remarkable fact that each new step of significant insight into the world of thinking, each new epochal new insight, springs forth from a new type of symbolic activity. . . The step from only using signs to the use of symbols marked the transition from animal to man. This started the development of language.”
In a similar manner the development from a literal interpretation of symbols to understanding the real contents of the symbols – provide the impetus for a new stage of consciousness.
Religion then will be transformed from a symbolic description – to a symbolic language that also consciously can express the central subject of being.
Need for redemption, and symbols
The life of man is biological under supervision by superior centres and functions in the cortex. From here, the organism is ruled by timeless and unchanging laws.
The part of the brain making up the pituary gland – hypothalamus will briefly be covered, because this area is of the greatest importance for the psychic functions – and thereby also for understanding of religion.
The pituary is a superior, hormone-producing gland – a little bigger than a pea. In this seemingly insignificant piece of tissue a number of important hormones, sexual hormones, hormones that regulate the birth-mechanism, and adrenal gland cortex stimulating hormones. The pituary is the best protected organ of all, situated in a bony cavity on the basis of the skull, a feature that may be caused by the importance of this organ. It also is located in the middle of the head – like a centre.
The pituray is attached by a small stem to another important area – hypothalamus – which determine the emotional status of the organism – in cooperation with endocrine organs, and in particular the pituary as its closest neighbour.
The emotional conditions – our emotions – are of utmost importance for cortex functions like conceptual thinking, reasoning about problems in the past, present and future.*)
Disturbances in the area of the hypothalamus can cause depressive emotions – or the opposite – because of increase or decrease
*) Alf Brodal: Neuro-anatomi. Oslo 1943. (Eng.: Neuro-anatomy)
in the psychic restraining apparatus. In a number of cases things like excessive talkativeness, flight of ideas, uncritical-ness, conditions of anxiety and agressions have appeared when under surgery pressure or pulling has been applied to the hypothalamus area.
This region also contains the superior vegetative centres that rule the body functions that are not subjugated to will, like digestive processes, respiration, blood circulation, metabolism, growth and procreative functions – to mention the most important ones. The tight relationship between centres for emotional life and body functions goes a long towards explaining the well known fact that psychic disharmony like for instance anxiety, guilt and aggressions can be at play in the body (soma) such as can be seen in many diseases – the so called psycho-somatic ailments. The psycho-somatic mechanism may also be a complexity in conjunction with other diseases.
The connection pituray-hypothalamus functions like a supervising unit and coordinator. The purely physiological side with respect to the function of this area have a psychic correlate that man perceive as an inner principle of guidance that sovereign steers everything according to its intentions. What this central life-principle actually is, nobody knows for certain. The ultimate secret of life and matter that finds it ultimate peak here, is – at least for the time being – hidden from us.
The hypothalamus area of the old brain is “omniscient and omnipotent”, functions everywhere in the organism, and has the purpose of coordinating life functions and conduct of life to a integrated whole. The intentions appear among other things as “the language of the deep” which, due to it’s symbolic mode of expression mostly is being conceived literally, is being neglected, or appears as so cross and frightening that the individual retreats with fear. But when the contents are being understood, man can use all the energy that continuously is being produced and pours forth from this hidden power station in man’s inner. When the “I” is not provided with enough energy from this source because of obstacles to unfolding of his life, the I-forces can be so small that the consciousness becomes flooded.
The “I” and consciousness are key institutions of the human psyche, that in order to function according to their purpose needs to be connected to this inner command centre. The meaningful “I am”-words in the
New Testament, then may be translated as “The I is.” For example, “The I is the way, the truth and life.” Thereby it can be seen it the proper view with respect tot the realities involved.
The symbolic language of the deep expresses itself among other things by means of man’s primal urges like aggression and sexuality. But in order to access the meaning, the language must be translated.
Let us in respect to this take a closer look at aggression, even if it also will be covered elsewhere – because this mode of manifesting is of the utmost importance for understanding man’s individual and social life.
The purpose of aggression is to prepare man for action, to make man “fit for fight” – in dangerous situations – to beat whatever is threatening his existence and conduct of life. This reaction therefore is adequate when the outer situation is dangerous, and it becomes necessary to get rid of whatever stands in his way, regardless if the threat is posed by man, institutions or faulty constructs in his inner.
What we are going to handle here is aggression as a symptom,- as an expression of inner obstacles, fences that it wishes to liquidate. This may appear in many forms. If it appears as an impulse like: Kill! one will be frightened if one fails to realize the actual meaning. The actual meaning of the impulse to kill is a wish for removal of whatever is hindering self-expression – in one’s inner! The demand is a demand for inner renewal.
Faced with a demand like this one may react in different ways. Correctly understood, one will take heed and try to find out what it is that is standing in one’s way, and try to rectify the situation.
If one does not understand the demand, one may be frightened by it and suppress it, or flee form it. It may get stuck like a phobia with fear of harming oneself or others – and with a strong fright of weapons of all kinds, or pointed and cutting tools or objects. Often, it may result in fanatical effort spent in organizations for the protection of animal’s rights or peace organizations. The aggression is directed against those who manifest the tendencies one are suppressing in oneself. The aggression also may appear as other subconscious manifestations, such as bringing sorrow and misfortune to one’s fellow men
– in particular those who have played a role in upbringing – or substitutes for them – father- or mother-images, authorities and institutions. This “game” often is enacted on the political arena.
Aggression often may be directed inward as self-destructive disease. Rather innocent is the aggression that for instance appears as ulcers. It has been found that patients with this disease often have had very dominating parents – with resulting psychic reaction patterns that may also manifest in the soma.
The inner aggressive demand may become death symbolism, such as we find in Peer Gynt – (To be oneself is oneself to kill). In the guilt-ridden moralist and idealist Henrik Ibsen with the demand for death- and renewal as an unavoidable inner companion, an Ulrik Brendel springs forth as an opposite pole against the playwright’s inner barriers. He speaks for the solution – life directed by consciousness, without ideals and their accompanying sense of guilt: “Peder Mortensgaard is the future chieftain and master. Never before have I seen one greater. Peder Mortensgaard has almightiness in him. He can do all that he wants to. Because Peder Mortensgaard never wants to do more than he can do. Peder Mortensgaard is capable of living his life without ideals. And that – you see - that is just the secret of action and victory. That is the sum total of all wisdom in the world. Amen.” In lines like this, Ibsen displays his format as artist and seer. Because he could articulate his inner reality, his dramas emerged with zombie-like certainty.
In the collective, the demand to kill may be legalized as war, or it may become an, usually subconscious, inner subversive activity against the mode of life that stands in the way of a connection with the inner life-giving sources.
In religions, this inner demand of death- and renewal has become the main theme. But since it usually is not being understood, it is being
taken more or less literally – in symbols. And then, no renewal is possible.
The principle we have described for aggression also holds true for other symbolic demands and patterns of reaction, but they lie outside the scope here and will not be covered except when dictated by the context.
The inner guiding centre in the pituary-hypothalamus area has an organic-functional as well as a psychic side that are permanently tied together. It «knows» everything about life and the individual, and rules autocratic and steadfast with experiences from the entire physical evolution behind it. This inner ruling institution – this consolidating force within man – is being experienced as the ruling centre of power that it is – and is also called God. Psychology has tried to catch this reality in terms like “das Es” (Freud), “das Selbst” (Jung) – “die Psychoide” (Bleuler) – or “the deep”, the deep of the soul.
The term “God” and the concept of God exemplifies attempts to create a concrete image of this ruling principle which b itself is unspeakable and enigmatic, a reality that we only may sense and succumb to – but not command or rule. It rules us un-relentlessly, it «knows» what is good or harmful for us. It cannot be bribed or charmed. It is «omniscient and omnipotent». It «punishes» consequently – often hard – those who do not live according to its will. It is unbending its demands, but receive willingly and lovingly each of us who admit to his failings and wants release, so that the forces may be liberated in life to its fullest. It knows not time, and receives willingly anyone who seeks the bottom. It follows its own path and craves fulfilment of its own will – often quite contrary to the individual’s own wishes and beliefs. What to ourselves seems to be right, can from its point of view be quite wrong. And vice versa!
The nature of the connection between psyche and soma, - how the «centre of life’s» energies are converted, among other things to symptoms, still remains largely unknown.
Any physiologic process probably has a psychic equivalent. These processes works both ways, so that
physiologic disturbances can appear in the psychic domain. And psychic conflict matter can have an effect upon physiological
processes – like blood circulation, activity of glands, muscular tension, resistance against disease et cetera.
It is possible that derailed conflict matters with corresponding guilt and anxiety can cause malfunction of the normal metabolism so that residual products that normally does not belong gets collected in the body, - resulting in a variety of psychic symptoms.
This may amount to some kind of poisoning o the body and many mentally ill people project this as a literal condition of poisoning, something that in a sense may be true – but not quite the way that they think.
In «normal» persons, such «poisoning» is being expressed in a different manner. They subconsciously create an outer counterpart to this inner poisoning – and therefore the whole world is a risk of being strangled by radioactive poisoning. This is a solution of the inner conflict far more dangerous than the more or less passive conceptions of the mentally ill – because it has manifested on the outer level – and in the human relations. But the real causes are just as unknown to mankind as the projected concepts of the mentally ill.
Paranoia has a somewhat similar background. In the mentally ill, the conflict matter manifest as literal pursuers.
While the «normal» create literal enemies by means of ideological systems and concepts of faith – that have become collective systems of projection for all one’s own internal suppressions and rejections, which therefore is projected onto other people – at the same time as this mechanism also serve as an outlet for aggression and other symptoms of conflict.
The world of the normal today is converted into a gigantic madhouse with the characteristics of such a place:
Nobody understands the condition – it is being ascribed to other causes – communists, capitalists, heathen and so no.
Religion – ideologies – science – and art have become gigantic projective tests-systems – instead of what they should be – namely: life and development.
For those who have their conflict matter appear as physical symptoms, it is not unreasonable to think that decoupled conflict matter may cause cancer – which is a decoupling from the unity of the body.
An unconscious world like the present cannot continue for much longer time with the present arsenal of devices of destruction that continually are growing in number and destructive capability.
Our hope is that the life-forces and will power of the individual may materialize and unite in collective endeavours that may counter the forces that now are opposing life. In order for this common will – or «higher» power – to express itself, we need a growing number of people that consequently and wholeheartedly subscribe to the principle of life.
At present, God’s vineyard is in acute lack of manpower.
It is of paramount importance for all people to come to terms with his inner ruling centre – to listen and understand its will and purpose for each of us. The longing and desire for this is inherent in all of us, waiting for release and means of unifying the divided forces. Therefore, all peoples have – throughout history – had some kind of religion – or religion substitute.
When the outer religious system deteriorates because the purpose – spirit – disappear, it withers and become lifeless. Only an outer shell is left, that hardly can provide guidance. Man turns away from what seems so meaningless that it cannot even be rationalized. But since the need for inner contact and release always is present, various outer surrogates will take over. Political systems suck up energies fro this need and subsist to a large degree on inner unused energies. A religious character thus were unmistakably
present in nazism with its leader – images – symbols and doctrines – and itself as the only true.
Some people can obtain contact with the inner ruling institution in great and life-transforming experiences. It is the so-called mystics that may possess this capability in various degrees. Only spiritually strong people can tolerate such a direct communication with the central command for all the riddles of matter and life. For most of us, this power field is much too dangerous, we must content ourselves with the awareness that it exists within us, and that we are subordinate to its laws – and that the forces live in symbolic disguise – and that they may be released. A new kind of mysticism – more intellectually experienced than in earlier times – probably will play a role in the religion of the future. In spite of everything, the conditions for increased consciousness have improved, and that will also have influence on this area.
There is good reasons to believe that the founders of the great religions have been mystics and therefore have had an experience of reforming contact with this inner ruling centre – an experience of happiness that by mystics are being described as unspeakable and only tentatively may be expressed by pale images and parables.
The Hebrew of antiquity had to have understanding of what realities were hidden in the God-symbol. In the Old Testament, two different names are used for the Divine – Elohim and Jehovah – according to which source was being used in compilation of the Holy Scriptures. Elohim means the force. It is a plural word, and therefore also means forces. But Hebrew has the linguistic peculiarity that abstracts terms are expressed by means of plural words. This basic meaning of the concept of god - the Power reveals an intuitive understanding of the actual realities. Also in the New Testament the word Force is used when the meaning is God.
The other word used in the Old Testament – Jehovah is of uncertain origins, but that does not matter much since the Bible makes the religious significance clear, by God himself translate or restate his name as I am! –
a fanfare that contains all life’s mystery I this I am! – I exist, I am alive. I am = God = man. God is the life principle – the inner ruling core – the coordinating force field, the source of the I-forces and inner origo.
The reality reflected in the God-symbol cannot be depicted or made visible. It is not without reason that some religions have forbidden making images of their God. It thereby becomes a counterweight against man’s urge to make manifest the unspeakable. Still, man has to make concrete his subconscious contents with images and analogies. The concepts of God thereby have become marked by their time and environment, and thereby also by family relationships and social structure. Children experience their parents as the uppermost and absolute authority – father or mother, according to whether matriarchal or patriarchal conditions reign in home or society. The God character therefore often is forged in the image of father or mother – the worshippers become as children in relation to the God, and like bothers and sisters between themselves. As the relations are with the parents, so will the relations with the God be. In the Bible the memory of an ancient matriarchal society can be seen, as it says that the man shall leave his father and mother and stay with his wife.
Mankind’s drive to overemphasize the differences between the sexes, be it in a matriarchal or patriarchal society, have throughout the ages caused fatal life-aberrations. In earlier times matriarchy was the dominant social order, while we live in a markedly patriarchal society with downgrading the qualities of the opposite sex. This leads to the partners often develop a condition of stagnant sexual opposition. But at the bottom of their soul they long for the expression of full humanity with the properties of both sexes fully developed – since man in the spiritual sense is equipped with both «male» as well as «female» properties.
With this in mind it is not so strange that we in many religions find the concept of a bisexual great-god. Also in the Bible we find traces of this. «And God created man in his image; he created it in his image, man and woman he created them.»
The longing for full humanism with the amalgamation of male and female properties in one and the same individual is expressed in the central symbol of The New Testament, something we will return to later in the book.
Also other social conditions then those mentioned have had an impact on the shaping of the God-concept. The social structure is like a reflection of man’s inner organization – more or less autocratic – with a ruling sovereign at the top. According to the social order, various leader-analogies have been used to describe this inner reality called God – often in doubled potency like king of kings et cetera.
The deity has as his counterpart – devil, tempter, enemy, sovereign of hell. Not only is the kingdom of God within us, also inferno must be located at the same place. It is the downside of man – a token of the condition reigning when man is at cross with himself with inner dichotomy and suffering as a consequence. If one does not live in harmony with one’s inner plan of life, one cannot avoid the results in the shape of accidents and misfortune – outwardly as well as inwardly. Life becomes an insufferable pine in the grip of affects and symptoms. The devil is the symbol of negative conduct of life. «He» causes us not to understand the language of the deep, but to conceive of the demands literally – man’s original sin. His kingdom is the darkest of regions where dangerous, volcanic forces are lurking. There, affects and inner tensions reign, and from there emanate symbolic discharges in various forms.
These symbols – devil and hell – must be understood just as all other symbols. The dogmas only represent the outer symbolic apparatus, and tell nothing about the real contents. To fight for or against individual dogma is useless. What alone counts, is to understand what realities lies hidden in the appearance of the dogma.
Hell and devil are just as important realities, and therefore just as important as heaven and God. They are force—pairs united with opposite signs – they are poles within the same unit. We cannot get around the dogma of hell as the dead serious reality it is. Millions are suffering every day.
Those who have been sidetracked on the mental level so that the structural unity has corroded with suppression of life energy and life expressions – they are living in hell. One escapes from the first when the negative actions of life are being understood and accepted. That is the prerequisite for companionship with God and life itself. Then, Lucifer – or the light-carrier, which the devil also in called – again be accepted by the Divine, and inner unity will be restored. The Demons will have been released.
What the symbol of “devil” represents, are the forces in the human mind that are not being understood and accepted. Therefore, they are considered dangerous – and are being decoupled from the I – but returns on the reverse as symptoms and sins.
It may appear as a paradox, but in reality it is of greater importance to understand the symbols devil and hell, than God and heaven. Resolving and acceptance of the first, is the absolute prerequisite in order to experience and realize the latter. Only then, the new life will arise – which also is how the Christian symbols are formed.
Similarly as for heaven and hell also is «eternal life» an expression of a particular way of being – to have a conscious steering of one’s life with full inner confidence and faith in one’s possibilities and powers. It is expressed in the Bible as: «And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.» (St. John. 17.3.) «Verily, verily I say unto you. He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.» (St. John. 6,47)
This way of life is a result of it being built on man’s biological fundament.
Man’s unfolding of life is guided by instincts that operate according to the principle of satisfaction. Seek satisfaction! Avoid dissatisfaction! are two of the commandments from the core of the soul. Man’s morals is an extension of biological instincts, they have a biological fundament with which it originally is intimately connected to. Morals are as different in contents as religions and cultures differ from each other. They represent a ranking of values that is dependent upon the cultural pattern, and has the purpose of ensuring its growth potential. What in our culture may be good morals,
may in another culture or in a different age be immorality. In Japan, the sexual morals are quite liberal according to our concepts, whereas our way of kissing is considered quite immoral. Morality thus has different expressions at different times and places. It is not only a pilot guide. But also entails great dangers, such that it may result in faulty adaptations and shipwrecking in life’s journey.
If one fails in careful observation of the guidelines imprinted on the body, it may be dangerous to attempt «improvement» and regulation of life’s processes and expressions. If the Bible is read carefully, one will find that the reason sin, sorrow and misery came into the world was that man ate from the tree of knowledge, allowing himself to discriminate between good and evil – a right belonging to God only. Thereby, self-judgement and judgement of fellow men entered the stage of life. The Law became necessary. «The Law was given for man’s hardened heart’s sake.» In other worlds, it is considerations about guilt that causes man’s suffering. It belongs only to life itself – expressed as the term God – that can have any just idea about what best serves life. When we humans take it upon ourselves to exercise the right to judge what is good and what is evil, the norms must at least be in accordance with the biological principles, unless the outcome shall be disastrous. If man is forced to live with restraints and restrictions, he will lose his life force, and society will wither. Man is not liberated by restrictions and judgement, but with love and understanding of causality. The cause of much of the deterioration that rids the world is not that the regime of morality has been to lax – rather the opposite. It is a fact that the individuals that have been subjected to the strictest regime are the ones most apt to develop aberrations. Both religion and morals shall serve life, not bind it with life restraining and meaningless commandments about what is allowed, and what is not. Lao-tse; about 600 years BCE, was aware of the harms that moral rules contrary to life itself could cause. In his work: «About the law of life and it’s fruits» - he says: «As ever more things in life are forbidden, the more man is impoverished by his vice’s. More laws and commandments means more thieves and robbers.»
Paradoxically, it might be expressed: Man needs not have a moral because he is evil – but he becomes evil because of the enforcement of moral.
The core of the problem is that the moral rule must not be drilled into man by mechanisms of guilt. Even anxiety may be preferable to that, because it does not have the paralysing effect that guilt has. The Bible clearly states that man’s sufferings are caused by morals founded on guilt. Morals must be integrated with understanding, but that is impossible when the senses of guilt have been employed at an early age and have got a grip on the individual’s mind. Because that will automatically cause a paralysis of understanding, and the conduct of life will be guided by guilt and fear – with hate and aggression as unavoidable companions, more or less openly.
Those moral commandments that have a biological foundation and are organically built-in via positive and organic conditions of contact during childhood, hardly needs literal expression.
A moral development of the life energies intact and freely at disposal, require that guilt, uncertainty and anxiety does not rule the unfolding of life. But they will, if contact and consequence has not been available in sufficient degree in the important early forming years. The contact with the outer world will be severed, the individual retreats within himself –becomes introvert. On the island of Bali, this mode of behaviour is the ideal, something that is achieved by employing certain tricks in upbringing, namely the so-called frustration that is being employed, quite consciously, by certain manipulations, to achieve the prevailing ideal with respect to personality-type. This is achieved by at an early stage to encourage children to freely give in to all their impulses. And it is richly rewarded with love and care, even if it may receive some punishment at times. During the crawling stage, the punishment is not followed by love, but with rejection. A first, the child will respond with crying and expressions of defiance, but by and by, the child learns to mimic the adult’s attitude of quiet indifference. The emotional life has been transformed down and realigned. Aggression is not being expressed openly such as in our culture, but with a more diffuse mode of speech. If one of these individuals are witness to a traffic accident,
he enters into a semi-lethargic state of mind. He does not talk; he sees very little, just nods. A criminal in court often falls asleep.
But their love, anxiety and aggression has not been lost, they appear in their religious group-ceremonies that have the struggle between the good and the evil forces. An internal division and introvert-ness has been created. The attitude of the external world during childhood has created a lasting impression on their future lifestyle.
In the same manner, early disruption of contact, guilt and fear may cause various aberrations in conduct and symptoms to cover internal uncertainty and dichotomy. This results whenever life functions that are pleasurable are held at bay through guilt and fear. A central aspect of the development of a neurosis is that conflicting impulses in a given situation assert themselves – we get a condition of ambivalence. Experimental neurosis research has demonstrated this. If dogs gets meat each time a luminous circle is displayed on a screen, while an electric shock is applied to the snout each time they see a luminous oval, then, when the patterns are modified until the circle and oval begins to look the same, a stage is reached when they no longer can determine which figure is being shown. Some of the dogs then will display neurotic reactions – they will run howling away, run wild or simply lie down.
With respect to mankind, it also is of importance that the social pattern of behaviour- morals – is assimilated not by guilt, fear, uncertainty and punishment, but by means of constructive experiences of contact and by understanding, something which the Bible clearly expresses by saying that sense of guilt – considerations of good and evil – are the cause of all human misery and the expulsion from Paradise.
Sense of guilt has maybe been more misused in imprinting the moral rules within the cultures of the Christian world, than within other cultures. And it becomes especially bad when the moral that has been instilled during childhood, does not even agree with the conditions of the adult society. The result is a powerful inner pressure when a way of life governed by guilt all the time collides with other ways of living. As children, we learn that we shall not hurt others – shall not kill. But in society,
everything is different. We may be called upon to go to war. Everything falls apart under the pressure of guilt. Life is not quite like we under covert or open threats had been taught to live. The Christian moral code has not been made for children, but for adults. The child has not experienced real examples of consequent application of the moral it has been subjected to. Instead, guilt has been misused as the moulding element.
The Persians of old were aware of the damage that coercion of moral might cause. They forbid parents to teach children about good and evil during the first four years of their life. «Responsibility for what the child does,», said the law, «does nor befall the parents who exclusively have provided for the needs of the body, and at errors of conduct only have said: «Don’t’ do this again!» Before their seventh year, Children should not be subjected to corporeal punishment. Hardly any people have ever had so firm concepts about good and evil as the Persians of old. It is no doubt that dearly obtained experiences is the cause of the mentioned directives relating to how children relate to the principle of good – and bad – or right – and wrong.
One should be careful about using guilt in the process of upbringing, the result never satisfy expectations. Man is by nature equipped with rich social drives – it is life together, feeling of community and consciousness that are the causes of human development. Man is an individual-socialist or a social-individualist, or both. Homo sapiens had the ability to specialisation and cooperation. But very often, the social drives have been suppressed and the egocentric dominate his behaviour, because they have been hindered in their growth. An egocentric attitude belongs to childhood, because children are required to have all their needs filled by the adults. Many never manage to shed this infantile attitude, because conflict matters with guilt and anxiety have stopped their mental development.
Often, a problem may be stated more clearly when we seek the original meaning of words that have been blunted by affects and habit. The root of ‘moral’ is the Latin mos; moris,
which means custom or practice. Moral actually is the scheme of conventions that generations by and by have created by experience, and it must be in a proper relationship towards biologic and conflict-creating factors.
Morals and ideals go together like Siamese twins. If the created ideals hide inner weak spots, it will always appear forced and labile. Ideals are often used in order to protect oneself against forces from within that are conceived as dangerous. The fanatic teetotaller runs from his desire for alcohol. The prude fanatic reveals fear of sexuality, pacifism may be an expression of suppressed aggressive impulses and so forth. Because of anxiety and guilt, one is not free to approach the problem, and one can never be freed from it so that one may be “free under the law”.
The creation of ideals always is dangerous when it will enforce a life conduct that are in opposition to the biological principles, or a particular mode of living before this has matured from within. The result then will be a lack of inner freedom and a sense of restraint. The joy of life disappears and is replaced by fanatism. As a rule, an inner condition of tension will ensue, since there will be a constant struggle between morals and the «dregs». The latter representing unused energy and therefore is of far greater importance than the ideals that are more like tombstones over the activity of the environment. A rearing based on guilt, fear and punishment is a drill of constraints that often may result in a prudent surface. But often, on the bottom will lie a dangerous, latent potential for aberrations that require fanatical character traits to be held at bay – dressed in the prettiest cloak of ideals. A construct of ideals resting on such shaky foundations, is like a whitened sepulchre full of filthiness. The idealist which have his roots in guilt and therefore with all means attempt to coerce his fellow men into the same pattern, is characterized by intolerance and hatred. When the ideals are expressions of inner forces of development without opposing conflict energies and consequently are is resting on impeccable rational assessment of the possibilities inherent in the situation the fanatic, hateful character is absent – instead a matter-of-fact approach to the problems will be employed.
The sense of guilt has been fateful for our cultural circle by having made impossible a real clearing up of unsolved and essential problems. The technical-scientific disciplines have not been restrained in their development of this intellect-eclipsing affect, causing development to be sidetracked to a wrong track. Research on man himself and clarification of his inner dynamics were put aside, because the intellect had been separated and was idling. Astronomic amounts were spent on technical progress. In Norway only, atomic scientists have spent more than 300 million kroner
All the guilt that mankind is suffering causes the creation of many forms of reaction, as for instance need for atonement and masochistic trends – the latter often combined with sadistic trends, phenomena that are far more common than people think.
Masochism, a drive towards self-torture, mainly stems from experiences made during childhood – when one had done something wrong and had been punished, the matter usually was disposed with and forgotten.Suffering became a prerequisite for restoration of harmony. This mechanism, that by and by begins to function autonomously on the subconscious level, is the cause of much bodily and mental suffering, especially in people that have been pacified by surroundings and the force of guilt.
That a sense of guilt is a very tough load on the human mind; and particularly on the minds of children shows by all the manoeuvres of deflection that are being employed to neutralize its effects. The first is a general tendency to place the guilt outside – on someone else. This projection mechanism can be seen from the earliest years. Children at a very early age try consequently to put the blame on others. And this tendency does not abate with age! On the contrary. One attempts at any given opportunity to transfer all the guilt that one is carrying within oneself, to other people – as expressed in the famous words about the beam and the splinter. We are all of us familiar with this aspect. Everywhere, we find this tendency to unload guilt onto others – to free oneself of guilt in one’s own eyes and not least in the eyes of others. Man might perhaps be a little more careful if they knew that judgement from affect is a boomerang – that always rebounds on oneself.
This projection of guilt has been utilized cultic and practically in many religions. The Israeli of old made it quite simply by for instance transferring the sins of the people onto a goat, which then was chased out into the desert to its fate – the well-known and always current scapegoat. Many peoples have employed a practice of a mock king onto whom the burden of guilt was loaded – where after he was killed.
Some places, he was taken from house to house to absorb all guilt and disharmony before his life was taken. In Babylon during the so called Sacaea festivities, the victim was dressed with the robe of the real king, was given access to his wives, but after five days of «reign» he was killed.
Circumcision also originally is an attempt at ridding the individual from guilt – a custom that from early times have been practiced all around the world. It was practiced in ancient Egypt, from where the Jews probably took it over. The custom still is very much in use, for instance among the Moslem, the Abyssinian Christians, many African peoples and the Australian aborigines. Even the Aztec’s were circumcised.
Anatomically, what happens is that the fore1ki11on the male genitals are cut off – something that some places had to be performed with a stone knife, an evidence of the ancient roots of the custom.
Much speculation has been spent on trying to understand this strange custom. Mostly, it has been seen as a purely hygienic procedure, aimed at protection against certain diseases. To this, we may remark that the deep of the soul does not reason in medical-hygienic terms, but magic-symbolically.
Circumcision has its place as one of the features among the many rites of puberty that youth have to succumb to before they can be adopted into the adult community. It is a magic-symbolic-subconscious attempt to rid oneself of guilt and other things that may stand in the way of free unfolding of life. The guilt was attached to the genital sphere – it will always be expressed here. The custom represents the wish of the deep of the soul to free itself of uncertainty and disturbances causing unrest in the mind and makes one less capable in life.
When the foreskin is removed, the head of the member is exposed – the same condition that we find when with erection. The custom therefore also represents the wish of everlasting potency, a permanent mana with eternal life force.
In the Old Testament, we find confirmation that the purpose of circumcision was liberation from guilt and anxiety. In The Old Testament, the story is told of how God at one time wanted to take Moses’ life. To prevent this. Moses’ wife use a sharp stone, circumcise her son, and throws the foreskin for God – a symbolism showing that circumcision is an expression of a desire for remission of punishment, and intensity of life.
Jesus was, according to the Bible, circumcised 8 days old, as prescribed by the Law. What such a chirurgical act may cause for the future psychic development and character we easily may see.
In Christendom, circumcision was replaced by baptism, which have the same symbolic character – with the cleansing and life-giving properties of water as determining factor.
Sense of guilt is an extension of unpleasant emotions that accompany actions that are harmful to the species. In the human psyche, a more or less autonomous special function for this principle is built-in – conscience or the superego.
Upbringing until now has consisted to a large degree of charging conscience with as much as possible and as early as possible. But thereby, an inner dichotomy arises, that may become very threatening in nature, with a detached, subconscious sense of guilt. The immediate results may seem promising, but their remote effect – the manifestation of the adult’s life – are as a rule far from encouraging. Either, it results in passive, timid, joyless and cowed individuals, or the pattern of behaviour is dominated by a compensating behaviour where sins and vice appear in all possible varieties.
Upbringing is more difficult than just relying on fear and guilt – or in frustration give up and let things ride – something that for some reason has been called free upbringing, and often found with parents that have over-read some book about child rearing.
The development and later attitude of the child is more dependent than on anything else on the power of examples to be followed and the relations between the parents and their attitude towards the child. The early experiences are fundamental in their nature, also because the intellect is poorly developed, and the amount of collected experience is small. Development depends on the emotional atmosphere in the home, that children absorb like a sponge; it depends on security and whether trustful contact with the surroundings can be established. Depending on the pattern of behaviour in the surroundings and the emotional atmosphere in which the child is growing up, various personality types develop, we may only refer to Ruth Benedict’s basic research into how the dependence of personal characteristics on various social structures with accompanying emotional qualities.
The child shall grow, in body as well as in soul and spirit. There are many contributing factors which interact, and depending on the layout of this complex game of forces, the approach towards life become like a sediment of behavioural patterns – a style of life crystallized from the individuals earlier experiences and adventures. This approach to life will consciously, and in particular subconsciously, by all means and forces try to extend itself, regardless what it might contain of erroneous constructs and fateful obliqueness. A link in this process is that everyone selects from his store of experiences whatever is suitable to the established attitude and also interpret facts to suit needs – the so called rationalization.
In order for the attitude to be modified, the conditions needs to change, from within. This always is a difficult matter, so difficult that it often seems impossible. Among the few things that can set such a process of change in motion is suffering, and here lies the positive side of suffering – its function as a changing ferment. The passion of Christ is an obvious pointer in this respect.
There are, however, many that use suffering not as a means, but as a goal. That is all those who have a subconscious need for suffering, a need that reveals a sense of guilt that never lets go and automatically creates a need for suffering – that is atonement.
the positive side of suffering is that it works as a push in the direction of a real redemption – a real clearing up and settlement of the conflict matters. It is not sufficient to confess one’s sin – of far greater importance is to acknowledge it!
Sin means to err. The Greek word for sin that is use in our Bible – hamartia – is the designation of an arrow that fails its target. Sin is mis-directed energy, inner erroneous constructs, life aberrations, projections, rationalizations and taking symbols literally – all that stands in the way of growth and prosperity. Sin is all that hinders growth and development of the personality. Sin is all that hinders growth and prosperity of our potentials. An affect-free attitude towards the problem of sin can be achieved as the sense of guilt is being replaced by inner redemption and judgment rooted in intelligent judgement. Then, morals become what it should be – an expression of the laws of life, an aid towards a social pattern of behaviour – and not a straitjacket that binds and bothers life with prohibition and commands because it has been forced into one on a byway beside the main entrance of understanding.
We have mentioned a number of conditions that stand in the way of real recognition – various forms of associative thinking that have led to magic procedures, errors of interpretation of natural phenomena, irrelevant conditions of antagonism, literal interpretation of the language of the deep of the soul, and rationalization. The latter has nothing with the usual meaning of the word – namely simplification, in particular with respect to manual labour procedures. In psychological parlance, it means finding an apparent reason for an attitude instead of the real one. It is in many ways a sly mechanism; because it often is very difficult to see through, because its purpose is to maintain the established approach to life resting on guilt and fear.
An example may explain better than a lot of words what is implicit in the term. If a person under hypnosis is given the command to go forth and open an umbrella after wakening, he will do just that. But man cannot do anything without reason being active in the act. The person in the example therefore, confronted with himself as well as possible bystanders need an explanation -
for why just this particular act was performed. Such an explanation is made on the spur without the individual being aware of the process, since behaviour cannot be in opposition to the logical apparatus. The logical explanation may perhaps be that he wanted to see if there was a hole in it and so on. The same applies to much of what we say, think or do; it is rationalizations – reasons quite different from the apparent ones.
Rationalization is the life-lie – a tempting dish – but it block realization and progress.
Rationalizations are employed in particular in respect to undesirable manifestations like for example aggression, which have, and always have played an important role in man’s life – since the individual aggressions are being collectively organized into war.
War begins in man’s mind, and only there can it be made to cease, says article 1. of UNESCO’s pact. As true as can be. It is however a sad fact that they have not had much to say about the causal mechanisms.
The needs of the atomic age for a new and more correct way of thinking and acting have remained rhetoric few seems to take seriously.
Most people carry such reactive aggressions that however are being suppressed and denied an outlet as an undesirable social utterance. But the claim remains alive under the surface and if the tendency is being legalized, as it is before, during and in part also after a war, the dykes break and the affects are let loose. At the same time, consciousness is being eclipsed; it can only function purposefully in a dispassionate atmosphere.
When aggression is legalized we will find that those that are most restrained in this and other areas – most often beneath a over-courteous and polished surface – regularly become the most prominent in expressing hatred.
Most gruesome of all wars are those that are founded on religious systems or political ideologies. The reason for this is that artificial divisions have been created between groups of people by means of fear and guilt morals with accompanying ideals that have been assimilated into the superego. The downside of this attitude is hatred towards those that have a different reaction pattern, since this is conceived as a threat against the entire foundation of being – against all that one holds to be the only true and correct. The approach to life becomes cramped and unfree with aggression and hatred as support. One that is free under the law, bear no aggressive feelings towards those that are different from himself. If the attitude towards life and towards the sources of life have become so misguided that even the sources of life threatens to dry up, a subconscious need to demolish completely the sidetracked cultural form. This is an aspect of the inner dynamics of war that should not be overlooked.
During and after the Second World War it was easily seen that the most aggression-restrained people on both sides were the most active in using the newly created channels for the rapidly legalized aggression. Remarkably many clerical, humanists and idealists of all shades were active. But on a backdrop of the projection mechanisms just explained, it could not have been different. It is just sad that the causes were so little acknowledged. The glance was not directed inwards! Rationalizations dominated manners of thought and action.
In aggression mechanics, the aforementioned projections are active, since subconscious conflict matters with accompanying amounts of emotional qualities all the time will try to place themselves in other people, institutions and social conditions. This complicates inter-human relations to a unheard degree, because recognition is being obscured by misleading affects. Therefore, man marks time, threading and threading in blood and dirt, on each other and their own possibilities. Exploration of man himself is not being put on the agenda except for peripheral problems. Man himself which shall use the «wonders» of technology for purposes of life – or death – are groping in the dark between atom bombs and even worse things, that by means of money and fragmented intellect is being made available for the symbol animal.
Only when the symbols active in the human psyche – and that is the only option available to man – are being understood, will the Age of Man arrive. Man with a capital M. Possessing deep and heartfelt contact with his inner sources of power and corresponding friendliness and humanism in his external relations. Then we will not question for Jew or Greek. Coloured or white, slave or free, but for a releasing insight, widely ranging and willing humanism, and an all-out capability for life and cohabitation.
Understanding of the religious symbol-speech should not to offer the same degree of resistance that we find in treatment of man’s affects and conflict matters, because so many people have thrown up because it is not understood, but holds it for being remnants of superstitions of old, or more or less naïve speculations, made by people who didn’t understand better. In reality, it is the other way around. It is modern man who doesn’t understand anything of the subject matter that is the most central of all – the one that decides about life and death.
Life- death – and resurrection – are the eternal and central symbols in all religions at all times for all people – regardless of whether they profess any religion or not. For this is general symbolism, common to all of mankind. It may come to play in religion, in symbolism, in dreams and arts. These symbols have been varied in innumerable ways – in the wonders of the vegetation mysteries, in the eternal and unchanging phases of the celestial bodies, in the sacrificial ceremonies with their varied and gruesome symbolism.
Death as symbol and reality must be kept apart, if one shall understand what inner realities are hidden in this image. All life is subjected to a species-specific life span. Man with his consciousness stands apart in the organic world by not only living in the present – but also in the past – and future. The latter constitutes a heavy load on the mind, - to know that one is going to die! Defence mechanisms therefore are automatically invoked to bear this fact, and the instinct of self-preservation will by itself tend to extend man into eternity. Man has a need for a belief in a life after death.
But an eternal life then should be valid for all men; it cannot be a special privilege for certain creeds, or even a particular sect within such, even if a marked tendency for certain groups to b privileged also in this area.
Death as a symbol – that is the reality we have to deal with in the world of religious systems – expresses the wish for liberation from all that stands in the way of self-expression. It is the wish for renewed life – to be born anew – a symbolism that has been with man from ancient times until this day, and will continue to be for all future – central and important that it is. In dreams and in arts – in all development – it is a recurrent theme. Death means the wish for a new, redeemed life. It has the same meaning in Christendom – the mystery of Calvary. It represents inner conditions that one wishes to terminate and replace with resurrection and renewed life. We all resist the accomplishment of this. The attitude towards life once established is sought extended b all means and with all the mechanisms at hand – rationalization, projection and literalism. One wishes to cling to the belief that the Saviour lived on this Earth a couple of thousand years ago and died for us on the cross. Therefore, we should be spared! We do not then have to wander this way of death. Someone else did it for us. By the suffering of a stand-in, we may continue being the way we are, that we do not have to change our ways – not to put away our aberrations, prejudices and all that stands in the way of our understanding.
And yet there is no other way. Each and every one has to walk it with his burden – through suffering to the darkness of death and on towards light, redemption and renewed life. That his really is the meaning can also be seen from the name Calvary – an Aramaic word, meaning skull.
The drama shall take place in our inner – in the human mind – which live under the bony cupola of the skull, which in Latin is called Calvaria. From where the English name, Mount Calvary, is derived.
The road leads to our inner – through suffering towards new acknowledgment – new life. We all must relive and suffer The Mystery of Mount Calvary, whether in a religious or personal setting, with oneself as stage, actor and audience in this eternal human game of life and death.
Most people become stagnant at an early stage. They do not pay heed to the prompter from the deep that in vain tries to deliver the redeeming cue that can get the game going again. Again and again, day by day, year by year, the same initial scenery is enacted with its outward projections, rationalizations, sense of guilt, delusion, suffering and symptoms. The voice from the deep is not heard, is being stifled. The meaning of what is going on is not grasped. The symbolic speech of the play – the language of the deep is like an incomprehensible tongue. Therefore, the play does not reach its final scene. It as a rule gets stuck in a secondary role early in the first act, which is being enacted again and again.
But the fulfilment of the drama of man lives on in dreams, in art, in religion – the tree related means of expression that reveal our inner life – our inner secret plan, if one can listen, suspect and decipher the enigmatic symbolic language of symbols in our fate-determining primal images.
Art is a means of redemption and recognition. It springs forth from an inner necessity and is an expression of the inner reality.
The great artists are mankind’s seismographs that register and articulate in its form language the nature, strength and direction of the force of the inner powers. They are the intermediaries of the deep and the pathfinders of development. Such sensitive and useful instruments they can only be when they themselves are on the right path, and struggling towards freedom and independence from all sides- and obeys the inner demands and intentions.
Ars gratia artis – art for the sake of art – was a valid expression when art was anchored in man’s inner, from where everything found its form securely and organically. Art had its own inner goal.
In our culture the centre of gravity in accordance with the dominance of the natural sciences has been displaced – into space. The inner realities and their means of expression are no longer recognized as such – instead, they are cultivated in outer symbolic forms, such as we also see in religion.
This dislocation outward necessitated a demand for a true-to-life reproduction of the outer world.
In our days the pendulum is swinging back again, but because recognition is lacking also in this area, naturalism breaks into its opposite. The motif – the meaning – no longer is of significance or function – craftsmanship and composition means everything - factors that certainly have their place in arts, but only as subordinate and obvious items.
In painting the results turn out in the form of geometric figures and coloured areas. Sculpture is dominated by deformations and abstractions, but here also the inner reality has become unrecognisable, parallel with the outer. Even in the art of words, indissoluble from logos and meaning, attempts are made at a rhythmic word-salad. The world of music is dominated by artistic subtleties as close to disharmony as possible.
L’art pour l’art has degenerated into superfluous-ness and artistry in step with similar development in other areas. This can only be changed by a different emphasis and approach to the problems than today.
The non-figurative or abstract directions that presently in a large degree dominate the visual arts, is on to something right – namely that the inner reality cannot be expressed directly by means of concrete pictorial elements. The essential- the meaning – must be dressed in symbolic attire. But then, almost the only available possibility is to use elements from the real world – but with a double bottom – as is done in religion and dreams. Only then will it be possible to identify the problems – and to solve them. The expressionistic and sur-realistic directions seem to be the most adequate means of expression, because they are closest to the mode of expression and function of dreams.
Visual arts cannot relinquish its most important element – the symbolic contents – without castrating itself. Real and great art is always born from within. It expresses itself in its language about important matters in the inner status.
Also the mythic primal images and the mythic symbolism shaped into a religious system – long to be expressed in living life. But then they must be understood! For that to happen, one needs to take a closer look at the show behind the scenes – the meaning behind the images – what the letters mean.
The religion on which the western culture builds – Christendom – could come to occupy a special place among the religions because of the simple, secure shape of the symbols and their characteristic of common human character, the deep insight of the lore, extensive wisdom and warm, ethical atmosphere – when it regains the insight that behind the symbols lie living, common human realities awaiting redemption. With the statement: The Kingdom of God is within You! Christianity parts with the other religions and definitely enters the human mind. From there it can cast of magic and literalism – and further spiritual liberation and joy of life – individually and collectively. The religious elements – child and birth – light and darkness – heaven and hell – God and Satan – angels and devils – life and death – judgement and atonement – salvation and perdition – spirit and letter – good and bad meet on the great crossroads in man’s inner, and no longer hangs in loose air. They become parts of an inner reality in a context that can be understood also by those not initiated. But understanding can only seek root in searching, maturing and readied minds! Man is a creative being which on this fundament has created a unique existence upon the biological fundament. This creative function is an extension of vitality itself and is likewise as rich, powerful and many faceted.
Man is carried along by his psychic activities, which to a great extent depend on the use of images, signs or symbols.
Our thoughts, impulses and cultural structure is working through such systems of images and signs.
This special activity is so particularly human that homo sapiens also has been called the symbol animal, which is a more fitting designation than sapiens, which stems from the word wisdom, a combination that some are beginning to see as somewhat dubious.
Dreaming is an important part of human creative activity, and each night, whether we remember it or not, in every human being an intensely dramatic pictorial representation of his life situation is created; how it presently is, and how it might be, and what it will take to get there.
In the same manner as dreaming is universal and common to all, all men are equipped with creative powers. Therefore, this is most clearly seen in children. As the forming process by and by dries us out, these powers become more or less lost from sight.
If we ask a child to draw a house, a car, a person, or whatever, the drawing will as a rule be ready in the wink of an eye.
And this drawing is very personal and at the same time gives an impression of the child’s life situation
If the same question is asked of an adult, the answer in almost every case will be: “No, I cannot draw!”
Something fundamentally wrong must have happened, since an original and particularly human ability so to speak has been lost.
Schools must take their share of responsibility for this, because this activity has been squeezed into a rigid pattern with an impersonal more or less photographic imaging as the highest ideal – and faced with this demand, only a few can deliver.
This idealistic demand that ride our entire cultural circle is a legacy from the stolid and intellectualised Greece. It is largely unknown in other cultures, where the products are formed organically and living from within in everyone.
The personal process of creativity is such a strong biological demand that the interest for the creative functions of primitive peoples and children have forced themselves forth, with a simultaneous decline in naturalism. This is most pronounced in the visual arts.
But the movement away from naturalism has not gone in the direction of the primitive, the original, and central human.
It all tends towards a cultivation of means, inflation of tensions, and use of aesthetic lawfulness, in a deforming and non-figurative direction.
Modern art therefore is about to lose the connection with the human consciousness, which ought to be central in the nature of art. It thereby also loses contact with the wider masses of people that insist that a picture must have a meaning; it must represent something, and preferably in an idyllising direction. As a reaction against the flight into idyllising and the photographic ideal, modern arts have ended in opposite extreme, namely that it does not matter at all what the picture represents. The main thing is how certain formal demands are answered, and that the arrangement is within the framework of what is considered essential properties of a work of art today.
This tendency is in full accordance with man’s present situation, where important norms of values are out of whack, so that the central important human factors are almost absent from the picture.
In the same way that cultural nihilism has spread and the norms of values to a large extent has been dissolved, so that the central human aspect of being has been relegated to a seedy and almost unnoticed existence, the pictorial value in art has become devoid of inherent value.
Art therefore has become without meaning, and as a consequence without a message, because emphasis has been displaced away from central, living realities, and onto a peripheral level of formality without conscious quality about what is going on – and shall be going on – inside man.
Modern art has placed itself in such a peripheral position because it has demolished naturalism and the photographic ideal, without following up what is essential of human conflict matters that demand their solution both in life and in arts.
But the human conflicts have a double aspect. It is just that that makes them conflicts, and so difficult to solve.
On the one hand, there is a need for clearing up and release of the life- force that are tied up in them.
On the other hand, there is a desire to retain the conflict in order to avoid the refining process that is conceived as so utterly painful and dangerous that one wants to retain status quo. But if one shall b e able to live with conflict matters within, the individual needs to do something about it. The conflict must be averted, one way or another, and therefore the individual create his systems of deflection that are as diversified as mankind itself, and as unconscious as they are.
Art therefore bears a more or less pronounced stamp of deflection, so that the conflict matters may remain undetected. Formalism, conventions, naturalism and non-figurative figurations are well suited to hiding itself as well as conflict matters.
But art has the task of uncovering the growth-forces of life and cause them to work in the individual, both in the artist or the intermediary and in the receiver. This also presupposes that a conscious process that changes darkness into light takes place.
Great art is able to convey the central un-redeemed in the human existence, often by new ways of stating the problems an by breaking new roads, by forcing the problems into the fore for debate and reappraisal.
Great art provide impetus for human liberation, and is itself a part of this.
Great art is created by and in masters who thread new paths. But the new paths in art are all too seldom followed up on the conscious level. They are instead being followed up by copycats, and thereby we get new fads, which relatively soon are being used up, until new masters come forth and shows paths that only a few or none at all can follow up with inner redemption of consciousness, but instead become new one-way alleys – or deflections in vogue.
The function of art and the mission of art therefore has become somewhat sidetracked, but it has been able to maintain its central position in cultural and social life. But even though art is taken seriously, it is not take seriously enough.
Art is an extension of dreams and is as necessary for human life as they are.
Dreams by themselves are a necessity of life, but will be of even greater importance when they are being understood, i.e. when one realize what the dream is saying in its specific language of images with its double bottom.
The same applies to art. It is by itself a necessity of life, but its real function is to make mane aware of himself and his own situation.
But the need for averting always will show up and shadow the image. Art therefore has become a gigantic deflector that keeps the prevailing confusion alive, instead of being an opening towards the fundamental forces of life and to establish a connection between them and man’s consciousness.
Art is one of the spans in the bridge between darkness and light. The others are dreams, religion, and science when it researches the right subjects and in the right state of mind. Philosophy should connect these spans together to a passable bridge and politics should regulate traffic and society on both banks. But this is, as we know, not the case.
Our society is the commercial society. What counts is what sells. And what sells are the easy and cheap deflections, entertainment, sex and crime. By the new mass media film, radio, TV, coloured and half-coloured weekly press – we are flooded by these profitable and quality debasing deflection devices that so willingly snatches whatever it finds profitable from the serious arts.
The purpose of art is to keep man mellow, living and on guard against the handy and seducing deflections that is being offered all around him. If art is to master this task, it requires each and everyone to utilize his creative activities, because we all are in possession of such, each in his own way.
The significance of this for the individual may be seen in psychotherapy, which also aims at releasing man’s creative activities, not least those related to artistic expression and productivity.
To realize a release of man’s creative potential is a kind of birth process that is familiar to all artists who have experienced and suffered through.
The process from seed to life, from darkness to light, from unconscious to conscious is accompanied by pains that most will want to shy away from. The release is not fulfilled until the conflict has been replaced with consciousness and freedom.
This requires a correct understanding of the process and of what the imaging elements represent of living forces within the individual.
The same principles also apply to the process of understanding art, as for everything that emanate from man and through man. It applies to dreams, arts, religions, as well as man’s behaviour and attitudes.
Clinical psychologicans, children’s psychologues and children’s psychiatrists are familiar with toys and playpens as a testbed for children that are unable to express their conflict matters in words.
But with respect to subconscious conflict matters, we are all in the same situation as the child. And therefore we have mad the world into a grotesque testbed-situation, where almost everyone is living out his conflict without being able to understand it.
Art has become such a means of expression in a testbed where we find –isms, modernisms, abstractions, descriptions of people’s private parts, absurd theatre, non-figurative art and atonality instead of playthings in which to express conflict matters.
But art is more that just a means of expression. It also provide an image of man’s inner reality, and it is meant to establish a connection with the fountainhead of life, where the riddle of life lies hidden at the bottom of each of us.
Art thereby reflects the central, or divine in being by means of images, words and symbols with a double bottom. Only thus it may attempt to provide an approximate expression of what at bottom is unspeakable.
The nature and function of ort is to rewrite in it’s language of form what is subconscious and fettered, thereby giving impulses for release of the human potential that lifts us out of the everyday and provide a glimpse of the great connections of life and being.
The historical roots of Christendom.
This chapter may seem unnecessarily detailed in certain parts. When it has been made so detailed, it is to provide some of the background material that otherwise is lacking in our school books. There, one may get the impression that the Bible was written by God himself – while in reality it is a most human document that has been subjected to various changes and editing. Christendom is as everything else not a delimited and separate whole, existing without relations to past and present. Here, as in all other conditions of life we find an ongoing and sometimes quite complicated interplay between factors acting in different directions. It is therefore to be expected that many of the elements of Christendom have been acquired from other religions and religious societies. The Jewish religion again has been influenced by the religious systems of neighbouring, conquered or conquering peoples. It also in addition to its other functions became the most important national landmark and cohesive force, strengthening the people in suffering and welding it together into an unbreakable unity.
Israel has always been vulnerable strategically located, this is mirrored in its history of continually being conquered, oppressed and with only temporary independence.
When the land was occupied by the Romans, they made the Edomite Herod regent of Israel. His reign falls between the years 37 to 4 b.c.e.
He was a shrewd politician and a skilled warrior.
He was ridden by a never waning ambitiousness, which made him sacrifice wives, children and friends. The people did not like the foreign Edomite on the throne. He was a useful man for the Romans and fitted well into the Roman Empire, based on Greek culture and Roman power. Herod was completely hellenized. Worship of the Emperor was institutionalised in the temple with daily offerings to the imperator. The Roman eagle was placed over the entrance to the temple. Herod ruled with ruthless despotism, without any regard for the Jewish council, the synedrin.
Herod’s latest years were characterized by fierce struggles for the throne, which regularly ended with Herod having the heirs to the throne killed. In the last year of Herod’s reign, according to the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus was born. The cruel child murders recounted in the Bible probably never took place, even if they in some way are consistent with the Herod’s psyche. But such strange happenings belong to the regular mythic frame surrounding the birth of great spirits, we may remember the child murders in connection with the birth of Moses.
The Jewish population during the Roman rule was about ½ million in Israel, and no less than 3.5 million in all of the Roman Empire, estimated to about 55 million people.
The Jews in the homeland were a bilingual people. Besides the mother-tongue of Aramaic, most people had a more or less thorough knowledge of Greek, at least within the educated layers of the population.
The Aramaic language originally was limited to the Semitic tribes living in Syria and Mesopotamia, but during the last millennium BCE, it spread to the entire Asia west of Euphrates, as an international language. Probably during the 3rd century before Christ, Hebrew was definitely conquered by Aramaic. These languages were however closely related, more like dialects of the same main language.
Jesus spoke the Aramaic language. Conditions in the part of the country where he came from, Galilee “Pagan land” – had been quite complex.
After the deportation of the population in the year 722 BC, people from foreign places were placed in the Northern Kingdom. Greek language and Greek influence later gained great power here on the outskirts of Israel, where the southern Judah with the holy temple was the clear centre.
When the Jewish society was reconstructed after the homecoming from Babylon in 538, Galilee was not included in the new state. Later, during maccabean times – some Jews must have been living there. That they only mau have constituted a minority may be deduced because the maccabean’s in the beginning made no attempt to conquer these parts, instead only moving all Jewish men, women and children to Judah.
It was only later that Galilee was conquered and by and by Judah’ised, with the population circumcised and forced to adopt the Jewish law as given by Moses. Before this time, this part of the land had obviously been very much hellenized, being surrounded by Greek-speaking cities and Greek culture. Important international trade routes connecting Africa And Asia went through Galilee. Foreign influences therefore were much more apt to become rooted here in the north, which was only loosely connected with the centre in Judah.
Social conditions in Israel at the beginning of the current era were difficult for many layers of the people. The takeover of power by the Romans had ended a feudal oligarchy. The citizens of the cities got some relief. At the top of the social ladder we find a thin layer consisting of the clerical leadership and the money aristocracy. Beneath the bourgeois was a large hunger-proletariat. The rural population fared not much better; they were burdened with taxes till they sank so deep in debt that they lost their land. Many sought to the cities, others were sucked up by political insurgency movements or regular gangster bands. Corresponding with the social differentiation, there were different parties within the political and religious movements.
The lowest layers of the population consisted of the city proletariat and the impoverished rural population – am ha’arez – as they also were called. These am ha’arez had nothing to lose, but perhaps something to gain. They did not follow the Pharisees, who on their part deeply despised the am ha’arez.
“Those who study the law in the vicinity of an am ha’arez, desecrate the law!”, they taught. “On who marries his daughter to an am ha’arez is like one who throws her to a lion” was another saying. The Pharisees also taught that am ha’arez would not be resurrected from the dead, and one of the most famous knowers of scripture taught that the godlessness of the am ha’arez was the reason why the messianic age did not arrive so that Israel had to endure further sufferings.*
Am ha’arez on their part shared a deeply felt hatred of the Pharisees and the scholars. “The hatred that an am ha’arez feels for a scholar, is greater that the Pagan’s hatred of the Jews,” says another passage in the Talmudic scriptures.
This lowest layer of the population more than anyone else felt the pressure of social injustice and misery. Therefore this group also became the bearers of national, social and religious liberation movements.
The revolutionary struggle found two different but partially overlapping expressions. On the one hand in attempts at political uprising, on the other in religious, messianic movements, that sometimes gave practical results, sometimes only literary results. Thus, conditions in the occupied Israel were rather unfortunate at the beginning of the current era. The Romans did not take lightly on attempts at uprising. Shortly after the death of Herod I the year of Christ’s birth, they concluded the victory over an uprising by crucifying about 2000 of the opposition’s men.
Under continually changing events; conditions in Israel kept worsening in the year 6CE new uprisings took place. This time it was the lowest layers of the population, - am ha’arez – that took the lead in a new party – the zealot’s. The bourgeois led by the Pharisees tried to find a modus vivendi with the Romans. In the time towards the destruction of Jerusalem skirmishes between the upsurge and the Romans were frequent. The cause of the tumult often was that the Romans tried to place their state emblem in the temples, or images of the emperor in the cities.
*) Erich Fromm: The Dogma of Christ. London 1963.
In this power struggle the Jews were virtually chanceless. The Roman iron fist was too strong and brutal. The bourgeois more and more withdrew from the struggle. The revolutionary spirit among the broader masses swung from a decidedly political character over into messianic dreams. Thus Theudas – one of all those who pretended to be Messiah, promised that he would lead the people to Jordan and repeat the wonderworks of Moses. The Jews would cross the river dry shod, while the pursuing Romans would drown just as the Egyptians of old had. The Romans looked upon all such movements as dangerous revolutionary signs. They killed Theudas with his crowd without mercy. The Romans appoint a chieftain that is of knightly rank and independent in his relation with the governor in Syria. He lived in Caesarea on the coast, and only visited Jerusalem on the major important occasions. The Synedrin had governing power over the land, but death sentences could not be executed without the approval of the chieftain.
From ad26 to ad36 Pontius Pilate was the Roman chieftain. He entered Jerusalem flying caesarean standards, causing great dissatisfaction. Caligula was intent on imposing worship of the emperor also among the hitherto exempted Jews. This, among other things, led to a great persecution of Jews in Alexandria. The emperor demanded that his image should be placed in the temple in Jerusalem. Because of the strong dissent and unrest this caused, the governor from Syria was summoned with a large army to subdue the resilient Jews. Luckily emperor Caligula died in the year 41ad, before having carried through his plans.
The fourth governor, Felix, reigned during the years 52 to 60. His unjust government led to strong support for the Zealot’s. A religious spiritual uprising began to spread. The Jewish historian Josephus writes about the false prophet from Egypt. “An impostor had come to the land seeking recognition as a prophet, and with about 3000 misled people went out in the desert and up to the so-called Mount Olive, from where he tried to force his way into Jerusalem.”
The Romans usually were swift in getting rid of such religious dreamers. Most of them were killed or put in jail. “Hardly had this damage been repaired,” says Josephus. “the inflammation broke out at other places like in a diseased body, impostors and robbers banded up, leading may Jews to dissent and rising to liberation struggle. Those who recognized Roman rule were threatened with death, and they openly stated that those who volunteered for slavery, had to be led to freedom by force. They spread throughout the country in groups, plundering the estates of the rich, murdering the owners and setting fire to villages such that all of Judah suffered their misdeeds and war became fiercer day by day.” The mounting pressure on the lower layers of the population led to intensification of the conflict. The most radical in the zealot party created a secret fraction called sikaries or daggermen. These began a terrorist activity that mostly consisted of stabbing Jews friendly towards the Romans. They sometimes would attack entire villages that refused to support the movement.
The climax was reached during the chieftain Florus from 64 to 66. The Roman yoke during his time was felt heavier than ever before. *The war started with Florus robbing the temple treasury of large sum of money. Fierce struggles soon ensued, and the governor had to make a hasty retreat from the city. The daily offering to the emperor was discontinued, and then the tumults took off. The leading men sought to control the uprising, but power soon slipped out of their hands. The governor in Syria tried to quench the uprising, but his army was defeated and forced to flee.
Attempts were made to spread the uprising to all of the land. Thus, a young man of a priestly family was sent to Galilee to organize the movement there. But the attempt soon crumbled, the young envoy surrendered. That was Josephus, who later, in Rome, on a royal pension wrote down the history of the Jews.
Vespasian – an experienced Roman general – was appointed to lead the war against the Jews. He cautiously advanced from the north with an army of 50.000. The many defeats suffered by the Jews strengthened the zealot party’s suspicion of being let down by the upper class.
I the winter of 67-68, a fierce civil war broke out in Jerusalem. As the situation grew increasingly more difficult, the better-situated class of the population sought compromise with the Romans. All the while, the civil war and the fight against the outer enemy became fiercer.
A number of leading men managed to escape the city. For five months, it was heroically defended against the Roman attackers. The people had nothing to gain – but neither anything to lose. Because the uneven struggle inevitably would end in defeat.
But Vespasian was not to be the conqueror of the city. Unrest had broken loose in Rome, and Nero had committed suicide. Vespasian was elected as emperor, and the let his son Titus continue the operation against Jerusalem in the year 70.
Conditions in the city now were horrible. It was an all against all in a desperate concluding phase. The city was stormed, burned and virtually flattened. The population was either killed or sold as slaves. Thus ended the temple city’s second defeat.
The people fought, suffered and died for their country, but especially for its faith.
What was it like, this religion of the Jews that seemed to have an inexplicable ability to weld them together into an unbreakable religious, cultic and moral entity throughout suffering and persecutions? The first brittle stems of the Jewish religion grew in desert soil. The Biblical accounts of patriarch’s – about the fathers before Moses – stems from the semi-nomadic tribes living on the outskirts of Israel before the real Israeli tribes or Joseph tribes entered the land. These different fractions were however closely related both religiously and culturally and soon melted together.
The primitive life in desert regions must be conducted subject to other principles than for peoples with a permanent dwelling. The personal relations will be more closely knit; they constitute a collective unity – the tribe – as the basic unit.
Life is a community life. Individual life was mainly connected with famous forefathers, especially the founding father and honourable tribal leaders. The tribe was an organic unit of solidarity. The social order was strictly patriarchal with the chieftain as sovereign instance in all matters of conflict and questions relating to worship of god. The members of the tribe as a body constituted the tribal soul. Any harm or injury inflicted on an individual from the outside was conceived as pertaining to the tribe as a whole. Vendetta was a holy plight. Only within the group could an orderly life be carried on in a social pact with mutual rights and duties. Outside of the pact and tribal community there was no life. The outlaw had the ban and the shame permanently hanging over him.
Existence was full of friendly and helping powers which one did well in being on good terms with. But there are also dangerous and harmful powers carrying on their game, and they must be avoided or neutralized by sorcery or other means. The powers often might appear as personal beings. It is especially near concentrations of power – where life grows – that the powers are at play. There is the divine that inspire worship. This was especially the case near wells, where there was “livng” water and trees. An almost greater role than wells and meadows was played by holy rocks, thus altars were created. The sacred Kaba with the black stone in Mecca was sacred long before Muhammad. The ancient stone-altar in Jerusalem that David bought of a pagan, became the altar of fire in the temple of Solomon. Now, the mosque of Omar or the Rock-mosque stands where the temple of Solomon once stood, with the sacred rock – the old Jewish altar – as the centrepiece. Happiness and blessing needed continually to be maintained in the common cult of the tribe – the religious festivities held where the tribal god was present. The sacred rituals, meals and sacrifices were instrumental in creating happiness for the people and giving power to the gods.
A tribal life of solidarity where the individual dissolve in a collective group led according to strict patriarchal principles dispose for a monotheistic attitude that found its most pregnant and lasting expression in the Israelites worship of Jahveh.
Factors other than the collective and the patriarchal regime have also contributed to the evolution of Jewish monotheism. Before the immigration, the Israelites were not permanently dwelling farmers. They therefore did not entertain rituals of fecundity such as employed by the farming peoples, requiring both a male and a female god.
The tribe led a rather simple and non-specialized way of life with the main interest focused on the well-being of the cattle and taking care of it. The individual’s professional interests all pulled in the same direction, which also contributed to forge them together as a unit – and sharing the same god. The Jewish religion had no myths about the life of its god. The myths instead are centred on Jahveh’s relations to his chosen people. The linguistic peculiarity mentioned before, the use of plural forms to express abstract terms, have probably also contributed to development of the Jewish monotheism. Gods meant the God or divinity!
The montotheistic interlude did not last for long. Iknaton died rather early from his queen Nefertite, and the ousted Amon-priests soon retrieved power. Under the successor to Iknaton – his son-in-law Tut-Ankh-Amon – it has all been restored to the old order, something also seen by his name.
It is possible that Moses was a Jewish or Egyptian Amon-priest that had been ousted after the Amon-priests had regained power, something that surely did not pass quietly. In any case, the connection between Moses and Egypt is conspicuous; he had been trained in all of Egypt’s wisdom, which means he must have been ordained as a priest, since priesthood at that time were custodians of society’s collected science and knowledge. The enormous temples and the knowledge required to build them attest to a formidable knowledge base.
Egypt’s religion most likely was influenced by religious ideas from the east – Sumer, Babylonia and Assur – countries that most likely also influenced the religion of the Israelites more directly.
Monotheism stood a much better chance of survival in Israel than in Egypt because of the social and psychological conditions mentioned earlier. The monotheistic Yahweh-religion was consciously shielded against any tendency towards polytheism. The deity was to be worshipped at only one place, images of the deity were forbidden; something that has been an important contribution to preservation of monotheism. If images of the god are made, they necessarily will display local variations that may tend to further diversification.
Yahweh originally was a deity residing in the Kadesj-oasis on the Sinai peninsula – by the caravan road from Egypt to the eastern Jordan country. The court well was a gathering place for the tribes of Siani. Traditions connected with Moses are linked with this oasis. The priests there were called Levites, a word that also in Arabic inscriptions signify holy persons initiated in a deity. The central religious festivity in the oasis of Kadesj was paesah (easter) that was celebrated during springtime when lambs were to be sacrificed and eaten in order to maintain thrift and growth of the herds.
Many of the characteristics of Yahweh suggests that he originated as a celestial god. Many traits fit with a moon-god, as exemplified by Sin in Babylon, where he in many places was the most important of the gods. He was especially revered in Ur – the city of Abraham. It is possible that both Sin as well as mount Sinai may be connected with the ancient Sumerian moon-god Sin.
The root of the Semitic word Sabbath is the Babylonian sabbatu, meaning (a) full moon. The day became a Yahweh-consecrated day whose characteristics were gradually became attached to the three other moon-phase days; the new moon – the receding moon - and no visible moon such that the Sabbath eventually became a free seventh day independent of the moon.
Many of the Sumerian religious myths and concepts have been carried over into the Yahweh-religion and thereby also into Christendom. The account of Noah and the Great Flood is of Sumerian origin. The biblical account does not depart much from its Sumerian roots.
The Jews compiled their holy scriptures to a whole that has become our Old Testament. The compilation consisted of the five books of Moses, the Prophets – altogether eight books, as well as the Scripts, consisting of the book of Psalms, The book of Job, the high song of Solomon, Rut’s book, the Laments, the Preacher, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles. The time of writing of the different books cannot be determined with absolute certainty, but especially by text-critic methods, some important results have been obtained. The five books of Moses were not authored by Moses. They are of a much later date, after settlement in Israel. In order to give commandments and laws characteristics of holiness, they were ascribed to Moses. During the integration of the four main sources that may be detected, respect for the sources have been so profound that errors have not been corrected even when contradictory. A number of conflicting accounts therefore may be found, as for example the two creation stories of Genesis 1. We find two different names for Moses’ father-in-law – namely Jetro and Reuel, two different numbers of animals that Noah took with him in the Ark and so on.
The oldest sources are probably from around 800 BCE. Possibly, some of the details may date back to Moses’ time and the time in the desert. The so-called priest’s source is the youngest, from the time of the stay in Babylon, probably an effort at keeping the Jews separate, to prevent assimilation. This source has been
a determinant force for the collected books of Moses and disposition of the contents, as it has been set up as a framework for all the five books. Thus begins Genesis 1., and thereby the Bible with the creation story from the priest-source, which belongs to the youngest layer of the Pentateuch or the S-scroll, that the books of Moses also have been called. The Jewish religion may in some ways be seen as a typical product of blending since there hardly is any element of importance in it that does not have some parallels in a neighbouring religion. And still, the Yahweh-religion is something new. It may be likened with the aspects of a new invention. All its elements may be old and well known, but the combination is new, and therefore, something new has been made.
It became the world-historic task of the Jews, through suffering and sorrow to bring monotheism and universalism to all peoples. This they could do because they are a vital and expansive people that can stand stress and are able to compensate defeat.
The Jewish religion became the sign around which the nation collected, and the overruling idea was that Yahweh had chosen Israel, which therefore was bound with their god by an unbreakable pact. The religious coherence of the Jews have enabled them to stay together as one people throughout thousands of years in spite of often brutal and fanatical oppression. But a compensating religion will by such methods only be further strengthened.
The compensating urge for expansion that is being expressed in the Jewish religion are to some extent rooted in actual oppression. But it is also reasonable to assume that the compensation also have its roots in the admiration expressed by the inrush of desert-dwelling peoples for the indigenous Canaanites with their much higher material culture. And further along time in Israeli’s meeting with the excellence of Assur, Babylon and Egypt.
Faced with all that was impressive in the foreign cultures, the Israeli psyche responded stubbornly after its own pattern in which they trusted – that not the other peoples, but Israel were the greatest of all, and that their time would come if they only held fast with their own God and their Law without being tempted to fall away. Thereby, the entire national congregation (diocese) gets something to look forward to – a goal to strive for.
This made it easier for them to accept their fate, since all suffering was seen as punishment from Yahweh, because they had not followed the law closely enough.
Therefore, observation of the law became even stricter, and the law revered with even greater zeal than before.
Seen in the light of such a dominant religion every historical event acquire a particular significance. Likewise, it lies close at hand that more or less consciously, “construction” of past events not rooted in reality will be made, to serve the national-religious consolidation. It has for example been suggested by some that the account of Israel’s stay in Egypt is a cultic myth that to some extent is aimed at proving that the people have a historic right to lay claim on sacred places in Canaan. Abraham’s earlier visit to Egypt might be a variation on the motif of famine. The stay in Egypt provided an excellent pretext for explaining the consolidation of Israel into one people. The account of the mysterious crossing of the Red Sea has been seen as belonging to an ancient cultic drama.
Water by and large plays an important role in the symbolic language of the deep.
Water, among other things, means the subconscious – where everything happens and becomes life. Egypt as the southern country was for the Jews the nether world, equal to the subconscious. Therefore, they received the saving nourishment from there and they were liberated by means of the miraculous exodus. In this context it is worth mentioning that Jesus could walk on water – he was the Lord of the subconscious, secret depths. He showed his contemporaries a sign that they asked for – the sign of Jonah – the prophet that spent three days and nights inside a whale and was spewed onto dry land – paralleling Jesus’ descent to the dead – the nether world – for three days.
Moses, that probably was a historical person, is the creator of the religion of Israel, named after its originator as the Mosaic religion. Many of the events connected with Moses and his mission can be found in the accounts of other prominent people. Thus, we find many parallels between Moses and Sargon – the first Semitic king to conquer Babylon. Also with the Egyptian god Horus, mentioned already in the texts of oldest pyramids, we find some parallels.
Horus, as the son of Osiris and Isis, was born after his father’s death. She brought him up in the desolate mangrove stretches of the Nile delta to where she had fled to escape form the evil god Set. The image of Isis hiding among the reeds while she holds the suckling child Horus in her lap was very popular in Egyptian imagery, and from there it was transmitted to the Roman mythology where it became transformed to: Madonna with her child. The Mediterranean peoples with their spontaneous emotional life needed a female element to counter all the masculinity in Christendom. The image of Madonna became such an integrated part of their religion that the Virgin has became a major character, that now have found its own dogmatic shape – with ascent to heaven as
Regarding the analogy between Moses and the Egyptian legend of Horus, we remember from the Bible how Moses’ life was in danger, that he was hidden between the reeds, that his sister got her mother to breastfeed the child – all this also parts of the Horus-myth, - and that is closely linked with important and fundamental human conditions.
When the Israelites marched into Canaan, they were faced with the possibility of becoming assimilated into the indigenous population that had a very different religious cult. Falling away form Yahweh began to spread. This tension between the local Canaanite religion and the Yahweh traditions of the Jews created the prerequisite for the activity of the prophets. They thundered against the alien cult and everything connected with it.
The Canaanite god Baal was often worshiped in the image of an ox; and the account we find in the Pentateuch about the fall of the people and the dance around the calf of gold – an ox of gold – probably stems from a much later time than it pretends to – namely from the prophet’s response to Baal-worship. In order to attach greater weight to the prohibitions and the threats of punishment, the people’s play with the golden “calf” is condemned by Moses himself.
Baal gained highest popularity in the northern part of the land. The Israelis there lost their particular cultic identity, and when the military disaster struck the Northern country in 722BCE they dissolve completely in the foreign peoples.
That may not have happened if they had remained ardent Yahweh-worshippers
Our knowledge of the old Canaanite cult and civilisation was expanded when clay tablets with an unknown type Sumerian cuneiform script was discovered in 1929 in Ras Shamra – the ancient Syrian trading city of Ugarit. The tablets were from the 14th Century BCE, approximately the time when the Israeli influx began farther south. In pre-Israeli times, Canaan and Syria constituted a cultural entity.
Dteh Canaanite cult belongs to the large group of agricultural religions where all interest is attached to the struggle for life – and against death.
Baal was the great dead god that was mourned when plant growth dried up, and he was the resurrected god that was cheered in the spring. Tears and rites of grief were replaced by cultic sexual acts aimed at strengthening the vital forces of all life.
Baal, as found in all the western Semitic peoples, but particularly with the Canaanite and Aramaic peoples, was the god of rain, thunder and plant growth. As a god of thunder, he might share some characteristics with Yahweh.
Baal was the lord of the land and of life. Baal means Lord, he is therefore also called Adon – similar to the Hebrew Adonai – Lord. This name was later given to the Asia-minor god Adonis.
The supreme god was El – the father of the god – creator of all creation – the Lord of the world – and father of humanity. El had, in common with Baal, characteristics of a bull.
At his side, Baal hsd the virgin Anat – the heavenly queen, Baal’s sister and lover. Asjera and her 70 sons played an important role. This cult of Baal-Anat was a pronounced fertility magic with sexual rites as a prominent element- particularly at the wedding of the god-couple where the power-creating, divine act was the mating of the ox Baal with the cow Anat. The Virgin-goddess also was depicted as a big snake around her legs – the phallic symbolism being quite obvious.
With the sanctuaries went sacral prostitution – a custom taken over by the Israelites. But temple prostitution in Jerusalem did not last long.
Against this alien cult with god-images, Asjera-poles, sacral prostitution and so on, the prophets rose in all their might.
The word prophet, in Hebrew nabi, is associated with the verb naba, which means shouting or preaching. In Arabic, naba means speaking for someone else. A naba - a prophet – actually is a spokesman, somebody speaking for someone else. This meaning of the word is used in Genesis 2., about Aaron as spokesman or prophet for Moses.
From the oldest times, the people in Israel as well as in other places have desired to know the will of God in concrete matters. For this purpose the priests would employ so called oracle staffs. But as time went by this practice of using external means seems to have been abandoned. Instead so called seers, closely working with the priests, became employed.
The next step of development is prophets, often in teams, with their own houses. These nabi-teams sometimes might get a rather worldly profile; often the prophets would live only of what was given to them by people. They seem to have been particularly attired, - a robe of hairs, a leather belt, prophets staff and the sign of Yahweh on the forehead.
Such prophets, also found in other western Semitic religions, for example in the Baal cult, practised delivery of prophesies and directives under artificially induced seizures of ecstasy that might be caused by monotonous and lasting chants, loud music or vigorous dancing. Fasting, that in many other places seems to have been a popular means of obtaining similar results, seems not to have been used. Under such ecstatic conditions, often most likely accompanied by visions and hallucinations, they might roll on the floor in rage or wound themselves.
High above the professional vulgar nabism and ecstatic prophetism ranks the great judgment and reform prophets – the giants of Israel and the Bible. They were mouthpieces of God, spokesmen for the only god, Yahweh – who wanted none above, under, below or beside himself. With unfailing eagerness and faith they urge the people to hold fast to him forever. The ideals of the times in the desert are held high as great examples to be followed.
The framework around the prophecies is often political and military dangers, which continuously threatens from all around. But the prophecy becomes of secondary importance – often the claimed correct prophesies are actually later additions. Emphasis is laid on why God acts the way he does, why Israel must be chastised. The prophecy becomes a warning, a ‘lecture’ (‘formaning’, I’ll have to look it up), judgement. And the suffering to which Israel has been subjected, not least because of its strategic location, were consequently professed as caused by Israel opposing Yahweh and his will.
The great prophets of Israel were insightful and intuitive seers that reached far from the contemporary. Often, they were hated, since they never hesitated to oppose the comfort of the people and their short -sighted desires. They wanted to instil a sense of responsibility by declaring that each and everyone were of importance for the future development of the country’s fate. Likewise, they often spoke against shallowness and empty ceremonies. What counted was the mental attitude – the heart. Religion thus began to become a personal matter. And last but not least, ideas about Yahweh as being of a universal nature – that he is the God of all the world. The prophets and their scriptures thus becomes an important condition for Jesus and his preaching, which in many ways is a continuation of the work of the major prophets But it was not until Jesus that the particularistic shell was broken, expanding the kingdom of God to encompass the whole Earth.
But much would happen in the interim between the major prophet ‘s and the coming of Jesus which would be of importance for the development and shaping of the Christian teaching.
Between the scriptures of the Old and the New Testament lies a span of about 200 years. But it is not only this span of time that separates them. Also in content the span is very wide. This void in the Bible does of course not correspond with how it was in the real world. Just in this important period some profound changes in the cultural, spiritual and religious life. The times were an upheaval of enormous dimensions in Israel.
in the religious literarure we find new thoughts and a new spiritual content in the apocrypha and pseudo-epigraphies. The term apocrypha applies to scriptures that at the determination of the Biblical canon have not been included, even if they for some time has been considered holy scripture’s. With respect to the New Testament, the canon have resulted in all apocrypha from the times of the New Testament has been removed.
With respect to the Old Testament, things are a little different. Here, there were two different canons to consider.
The Jews of Israel had at the synod in Jamnia in the year 90 BCE decided on a canon corresponding with the Old Testament that we know. But the Greek-speaking Jews outside their homeland stayed with the Septuaginta, or ‘the translation by the 70’ - a translation into Greek that besides the scriptures that the Jews in the homeland considered to be canonical, also encompassed scriptures of later origin. The migrated Jews counted only the Pentateuch into the canon. The prophets and other holy scriptures were considered to be of an encouraging nature only. It therefore was not difficult to expand the scope of such scriptures.
The church adopted the Septuaginta, and with it, those parts that fell outside the Jamnia-canon, - the Apocrypha. Thes scriptures have been treated in various ways within the Christian world. The Greek church has canonized fore of the Apocrypha, namely: The Wisdom of Solomon, Jesus Sirach’s son’s wisdom, The book of Tobit and the book of Judith. The Roman church has accorded most of the Apocrypha the same value as the canonized scriptures. Luther included some of them in an addendum to his translation of the Old Testament, namely the book of Judith, The Wisdom of Solomon, The book of Sirach, the book of Baruch, The letters of Jeremy, 1. and 2. Maccabean book, and additions to the books of Esther and Daniel, and the prayer of Manasse. The Pseudepigrahia are religious scriptures within late Jewisdom that has not been included in the OT canon within the church, neither have they achieved a semi-official position like the Apocrypha. They have been regarded as holy scriptures, but were exempted form the Bible from early on. They often sport false author-names, by pretending to have been written by people of the early Israel.
We may mention 3. and 4. Maccabean book, the Psalms of Solomon, the book of Henoch, 2. and 4. book of Baruch, The testament of the twelve patriarchs, The ascent of Moses, The life of Adam and Eve, and many more.
These Apocrypha and pseudepigraphies are Jewish religious scriptures written between approx. 200 BCE and 200 CE. To some extent, they fill the void between the OT and the NT, at least with respect to understand the new ideas that around the beginning of the current era came into the Jewish world from other religions and secterian societies. Thereby they also serve to paint some of the background for Christendom and it’s spiritual contents.
There are a number of reasons why late Jewishness seems to constitute an ideational breaking away from the religious contents of the Old Testament. This is to a large extent a consequence of the source of these scriptures, originating from lay people and mystery societies. The more popular and mystery-sectary views had earlier been kept separate from the accepted religious literature. But in the turmoil of the Hellenistic and Roman period, in particular after the clergy’s Greek-friendly attitude under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the religious views of the general public surfaces and begin to colour the religious literature. The Pharisees and the scribes take the lead. The Synagogue becomes a strong competitor to the Temple. The character of the preaching changes. More primitive feelings, ecstatic phantasies about the latter days and the great doom, angels, devils and so on begin to make their mark on the religious life.
All of this new stuff is only to a little degree elements that have been resident in the people besides the official faith. Mostly, it is ideas from alien religions that begin to intrude. The Jewish religion was unable to keep entirely out of the blending of religions that became widespread during Hellenistic times, with the national borders broken and the peoples subjected to only one power.
The literature of the New Testament is profoundly related to these scriptures originating late in Jewish times. In this way the influx of alien religions is also noticeable in Christendom,
that undoubtedly also have been influenced more directly – something that will be covered later.
The neighbouring religions that may be considered as sources of materials for late Jewishdom and Christendom are mostly the Babylonian, Persian and Egyptian religions. But between these religions in their ancient form and the forms in which we meet the later, there is a gaping void. And, the matter is further being complicated since these religions during Hellenistic times began to blend into each other.
Syncretism or blending of religions may, among other things, also be seen in the advent of Gnosticism – from gnosis – the Greek world for knowledge – that attempted to unify the various religions and philosophical teachings into a comprehensive system where the religious elements was given an allegoric interpretation. The ancients had a more or less articulate understanding of consistency and unity in all the confusing multitude. Also within Christendom, Gnosticism has during certain times played a prominent role.
Dualism was one of the fundamentals of the Gnostic view of being. There existed a higher and a lower world, the region of light and the heavenly kingdom of good, and the regions of darkness and evil. The earth lies as an intermediate mixture between these extremes. The same applies to mankind. The soul originates in the world of light, the body from the lower sphere. Here, in earthly life, evil has the upper hand, but there is a road upward to the domain of light, through the many heavens until one reaches the highest God where one shall live for eternity.
Evil forces seek to lead man astray on his quest for the one, right way. The highest on his throne therefore have sent as an aide one of the highest gods to help man find the one, right way. This redeemer shall take engage the armies of evil. He even descends to the nether world in order to dispose of those other forces. The redeemer have created the holy sacraments and have given his believers the holy protective names that shall be their shield against dangers and the perils of life.
These, and similar pre-Christian concepts had their roots mainly in Babylonian and Persian religious viewpoints.
In order not to subject the teaching to profanity, the believers often created closed societies, where the concepts also had a secret meaning that only the initiated could fully understand.
This Gnosis employed a symbolic language that is not difficult to interpret. To a certain degree, it was adopted by Jew-hood, especially by those Jews that did not return from the exile. Just Babylon constituted a syncretistic cardinal point, where mainly Babylonian and Persian religious element became mixed.
The now layers of the people that under the Maccabean uprising around 160 BCE took over leadership in the religious life, also dominate the literature, full of grotesque fantasies, dream, visions and ecstatic experiences.
The scriptures tend to have an apocalyptic and eschatologic content – revealing the truth about the last days; the expectation of Messiah plays an important role. The Son of God is no longer a man of flesh and of the house of David, he is a heavenly pre-existent being that shall battle Satan and his armies of devils and demons. I 4. Ezra’s book his coming is described with him being borne by the clouds of the skies after ascending from the depths of the ocean. As soon as the peoples hear his awesome voice, they will stop fighting between themselves and will convene in an attack on him. He will be standing on the peak of Zion and when the enemies rush forward, from his mouth a flaming breath will burn the enemies of God to ashes.
In 2. Baruch’s book it is told how Messiah shall destroy the army of the last worldly kingdom. The last ruler will be led to Zion in chains, where Messiah will make him responsible for all his crimes and kill him. “The chieftains shall be thrown into the fire of doom and perish in wrath and the colossal, eternal judgment.,” says the book of Enoch.
This is an entirely different view than that which is found in the scriptures of the Old Testament. Not only is the character of Messiah quite different, also the teaching of resurrection now appears in late Judaism.
But it did not quite get foothold. From the New Testament it will be known that the Sadducheans did not believe in a life after death.
The world of the Prophets and the concepts of late Judaism are quite different. An element of old-oriental Gnosis with its dualism, and the wish for a new life. These moments are also found in Christendom.
Ideas about angels and devils also came to play a bog role in late Judaism and in Christendom. They stem mainly from primitive beliefs in spirits as well as polytheism, and are further characterised by an extreme dualism – light and darkness – the good and evil forces in an eternal and bitter struggle. It is the age-old drama about the inner reality and inner conflict.
Originally, the concept of angels was alien to the Yahweh-religion. Admittedly, we find in the Old Testament numerous references to Yahweh’s angel, but these are mostly later additions, since later in time could not quite conceive of Yahweh having direct contact with people. Therefore, what had originally been attributed to Yahweh, was instead attributed to his angel.
Remnants of polytheism also contributed to the forming of angel-like beings, as for example the god-sons of 1. Genesis that even engaged in relations with earthly women. They originally were gods, but the growing importance of Yahweh necessitated their relegation to the background – this being made apparent by the title son, as sons are subordinate to their father. Real sons they were not. Yahweh was the sole majesty.
Similar polytheistic characteristics are also found in the account of creation, with God saying: “Let us create man in our image.” This must mean that God is addressing other god’s, something the priest-source has taken over from Babylonian concepts about the heavenly council of god’s. These other god-beings by and by became degraded to astral-gods; that together constituted the army of Yahweh (St. John, 5-14) or the heavenly army, a concept found in ancient Babylonian religion.
These ideas among the ancient Israelites about angels are reminiscences of Babylonian and most likely also Egyptian mythology. They originally were alien concepts in Israel; therefore we do not find them mentioned by the pre-exile prophets. After the exile, angels begin to assume an ever increasing importance until the a maximum is reached in the popular, religious concepts from Maccabean times on.
Some of the angles became so much differentiated from the large army that they got their own names and their own particular regions to oversee. Mika-el thus is the Jew’s guardian angel; he shall appear at the final judgment (Dan.12-1, Henoch 20-5). Altogether there were 72; others quoted 70 such angelic lords, a figure stemming from the idea of the72 (or 7o peoples).
The angel Gabri-el who among other things declared to Mary that she was to give birth to the Saviour, also played an important role. He probably once were the most prominent of the heavenly beings, a position he still hold in the Koran. Rapha-el is overseer for diseases in humans; he had the power to heal.
Angels were grouped according to rank: Arch-angels, domains, powers, authorities, cherubs, seraphs, thrones and offanim (i.e. wheels – namely the eye-studded wheels under the heavenly throne). These different categories have from late Judaism been transmitted to Christendom where we find them again in the New Testament letters.
The seven arch-angels are described in the Apocalypse of John as the seven eyes, the seven candles, the seven torches and the seven stars. In Babylonian religion a group of gods counting seven also played an important role. They originally were identical with the seven most important celestial bodies – sun, moon, and the five planets. Also in the Persian Mazda-religion are found a similar sevenfold group.
Sometimes we hear about not seven, but about the four supreme angelic beings that also are identified with the cherubs. This idea most likely has been contributing to the account in the Revelation’s reference to the four animal-like creatures that uphold the heavenly throne. The first is likened to a lion, the second to an ox, the third had face like a human, while the fourth was likened to an eagle.
Also with Ezra similar concepts are found
These four beings that carry the heaven is a concept that is well known both from Babylon and Egypt. They most likely have their roots to the four quarters of the zodiac – Bull, Lion, SKORPION-man and Aquarius. The last of these pictures lacked a prominent star; but we find that in a neighbouring picture – namely Eagle. This symbolism is fond again in the four gospels, Matthew – man, Mark lion, Luke – ox and John – eagle, images that still can be seen in many churches.
Not only the concept of angels, but also belief in the devil became a prominent feature in late Judaism and in Christendom. Satan and his demons are the source of all human misfortune, not least diseases.
The evil demons are always attempting to sneak into people. They were resident in the desert regions. Ancient Israel originally did not know these evil demons, but only indifferent spirit beings devoid of moral quality. When Yahweh became supreme ruler, he occupied the entire being and the whole land. After the exile, Yahweh was transferred to heaven, and the demons SWARMT FREM.
The Jews thus did not return alone to their land, they had with them a veritable entourage of Persian devils under their lord Satan, who organised a kingdom of darkness and evil where employment for the indigenous demons also was found.
The belief in Satan and devils became strengthened during Israel’s suffering under the Syrians and the Romans. But a ray of hope still shone through darkness and suffering. There were to be a last struggle between light and Satan, where evil and darkness would be defeated. A new character appeared in the latter Jewish expectations of the future – Messiah – as the Son of Man. And the worse conditions got, the more ardent burned the longing.
Judaism originally had no room for a Satan besides Yahweh. All misfortune stemmed from Yahweh himself, who in this manner
chastised Israel for desertion and sin. But this explanation could not in the long run be upheld, since it often led to inconsequences. As for example, in 2. Samuel, when the wrath of Yahweh against the Israelites causes him to urge David to perform a census over Israel and Judah. Afterwards, this census that Yahweh himself had instigated was labelled as a great sin, to be punished by letting 70 000 die from pestilence.
Dualism was so to speak in the air for the Israelites. Many of the neighbouring peoples had for a long time had extreme versions of dualism, and it soon got foothold. After homecoming from the exile, the just referenced story becomes modified, depicting Satan as taking stand against Israel, causing David to carry out that fatal census.
In pre-exile times, the word Satan signified just a relatively neutral term, like opponent or tempter. IT was only after the return from Babylon that Satan begins to show the familiar characteristics so well known in later times. The devils were considered offspring of the fallen angels or god-sons (1. Gen. 6) that had been seduced by earthly female beauty. The offspring was conceived as giants 3000 yards tall. It was believed that the devils were either these children of angels or perhaps their souls, that after death had been transformed into demons and devils – seducers of man. From them stems sorcery, chants, alchemy, the art of divining, and astrology. They were that cause of all sin and evil. And the leader of these devilish hordes was Satan – the Lord of Darkness.
In the testament of the Patriarchs that probably originated late in Maccabean times, Satan appears in full light. Partly he is called Satan, partly devil or the Lord of Deception, the spirit of hate, Beliar or Belial. The battle has been declared between light and darkness, between truth and lies. Beliar is supported by the seven arch-devils, and his domain also encompass the wild animals.
This concept of Satan as the leader of an organized kingdom of darkness, has been transferred to Christendom. That Jesus had the power to expel devils, was the sign that
he was to lead the final battle about the kingdom of God on earth – as Messiah.
Dualism in late Judaism has its roots primarily in Persian concepts. In Avesta, the sacred book of the Persians, the “holy spirit” says to “the evil spirit”: What we two think or teach or realize or profess is the same; neither our words or our deeds, nor our consciences or our souls.
Also the late Jewish expectations abut the future that came to be of such importance in Christendom, has diffused from outside sources. The strict particularistic and national expectations are inherited from the pre-exile Judaism, and partially from the Major Prophets. The new thoughts that in the centuries before the current era begin to appear in Judaism are universal and transcendent. These two expectations of the future at last enter into a compromise by means of the so called Messianic intermediate kingdom – the thousand-year-kingdom – when the national expectations should be realized. Only after this, the universalistic expectations would become a reality.
In the new late-Jewish thoughts one meets the conviction that this world is spoiled – that it must be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. Likewise we find a new concept, the idea of a final judgment and the resurrection of the dead.
In the late-Jewish apocalyptic expectations are the concept of the two eons – the two ages – an important moment. The same concepts are found also with Jesus and St. Paul.
It was thought that the boundary between these two epochs could be calculated. Thus, one finds in the book of Daniel, from about 165 BCE, that the day of judgment is near. The author probably had learned from the book of Jeremiah that Israel’s troubles should last until 70 years after the exile. Since that amount of time had long since elapsed, the prophet must have meant something else than what he wrote – namely year-weeks, meaning seven- year periods. The times of peril consequently should last for 490 years, and this termin was imminent.
The concept of the last days of the world are both in Persian as well as in late-Jewish eschatology connected with the belief in the resurrection of the dead and judgement – something not known in Judaism earlier.
First, it is found in the book of Daniel, but here it still is only partial. Many of those who still sleep in the dust shall awaken, some to eternal life – other to eternal disgust – it says.
According to Josephus, the Pharisees were of the opinion that only the pious would be allowed to return to life. And in the New Testament we find, besides the belief in a general resurrection also the idea that only the just shall rise from their graves. (St. Luc. XIV-14) Both concepts can be found side by side in Revelations. Here, the just first shall be part of the thousand-year kingdom, later, the great world-judgement with a general resurrection shall take place. Also St. Paul writes about a partial return to life. Resurrection of the dead was unknown to the Jews in older times. The deceased existed as shadows in Sheol – the kingdom of the dead – the eternal abode from where no return to life was possible. And the Sadducees – the conservative high priests, categorically rejected any ideas about resurrection.
Belief in resurrection probably have come into Judaism trough Egyptian and Persian influences. The concept of Christ such as we find with St. Paul probably via late-Jewish scriptures, sects and mystery societies have been adopted from other religions. Many traits are conspicuously similar to the description of the Son of Man found in the book of Henoch, which probably was written about 60 BCE. The Son of Man in Henoch can be traced back to the Book of Daniel’s account of the Son of Man – or rather just ‘Man’. The book of Henoch, richly represented among the Dead Sea Scrolls, have had a very varying history in the Christian world. It eventually was excluded from Christendom because it was to close to it. Both the Jews as well as the Christians have systematically purged their holy scriptures from anything that might be associated with Essean scriptures. Henoch’s book played an important role for almost 500 years. The importance of this book can be seen from this quote from a book by the American theologican Ch. Francis Potter, “The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed” – “For if the Qumran society was the mother of Christendom – the book of Henoch was it’s father”. The English theologican K. H. Charles – one of the leading specialists on the Apocrypha
writes that the Book of Henoch must have been St. Paul’s Vademecum (handbook) in matters religious.
The Son of Man-concept may have its roots in the complex of ideas about original man as the original, pre-existent heavenly being – bearer of the perfect life – sent as a revelation of the highest god. Through this man (Adam) have been revealed a divine prophet that later appeared in a number of prophetic figures – Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Henoch.
To these “seven pillars”, Christ become joined. He is then identified with the first man – Adam. We see for instance how Paul calls Christ the second Adam – the first man of the new era. A parallel to such ideas are also found in Indian religion, where Krishna is the eighth Avatar – i.e. incarnation of the god Vishnu.
Also Babylonian mythology knows original man – the wise Adapa. As in Christendom Adam – God’s human son – is connected with Jesus – Adapa, the human son of the Lord of the Waters, Ea, is being connected with and probably identified with Marduk, the divine son of Ea. About Marduk, we learn that by him the world was created – heaven and the celestial bodies, earth and mankind. Ea says about Marduk: “My son! What is it that you do not know and that I yet may tell you? What I know, you know.” Marduk also was called “the merciful” – “Master of Life”, “the one who enjoy bringing the dead back to life” – “Lord of Lords and King of Kings.”
Such ideas about the perfect original man – the Son of Man – also entered into late Judaism. In Christendom he has been moved to the final times, because he should inaugurate the new eon – the Kingdom of God. The Persian religion once was very widespread and many of its elements have been adopted by Christendom. Today the rest, parisism (parsi-sim?) count only about 90.000 people in India, to where their ancestor fled from the Arabs.
Zend-Avesta or Avesta is the name given to the scriptures still left of
the ancient Persians holy books. Their size is a little less than the Old Testament. The most important part is the 17 songs or gathas – dating back to the great prophet and reformer Zarathustra or Zoroaster. Who lived between 800 and 900 BCE.
In these songs, Ahura Mazda is praised as the only true god. Zarathustra broke with the belief about multiple gods of older times. He calls himself the chosen that shall lead God’s cause to victory. He is tempted by Arihman (the one with much death) – the Lord of Darkness – who sends a death angel to kill Zarathustra. This, god’s chosen recite the declaration of faith and the holy prayer. The angel of death then is rendered powerless. He reports to Arihman that Zarathustra is too strong. The war between them is declared.
Zarathustra wants to fight the devil and all his helpers until the world’s redeemer – Saoysant – at the advent of the new age appears in the East. Arihman, seeing his kingdom threatened, beg Zarathustra to AVSVERGE his faith in the good Mazda. In return, he shall get sovereign power over all the world. Zarathustra declared that the end of the world and the ultimate battle was near, when the devil and the ungodly would be punished – misfortune and pain in hell – with the just entering the eternal life. In the struggle between good and evil man should be free to chose Therefore, morals should net be forced on one as a child. The just are fair in their customs and peaceful in their lives. They strive to till the soil and strengthen life and its forces. Thereby, Mazda achieve prosperity for his Kingdom. The great commandment was: A just life with good thoughts, words and deeds. “Mazda has promised immunity and eternal life in his Kingdom, the reward for everyone who walks the way of life.”
At the end of one of the Gathas we read: “Thus Zarathustra gives as a gift to Mazda and his angels the life of his own body. He gives them the ultimate of good thoughts and good deeds, he gives them that the good word is propagated and becomes potent.”
The thought that the spiritual way of life, that justice, reliability and kindness are just as necessary as the material, became included in all Avestan scriptures after the death of Zarathustra.
About the beginning of the end times and the birth of the new world, Avesta tells that when the new age is near, a virgin shall bathe in the lake in the East. There she will conceive and give birth to Saoysant – the Saviour. According to ancient Persian belief this is none else than Zarathustra himself returning to fulfil life’s victory over death and evil.
In this final awesome battle, Saoysant shall be victorious. Afterwards, he lets a new world come forth where there shall be no old age and death, where there shall be eternal life and eternal growth – and the ultimate freedom. The dead will rise from their graves and eternal life shall be bestowed upon all life. Between light and darkness – truth and lies – there should be an everlasting and bitter struggle until the end time. In this struggle, man should stand on the side of goodness. Fairness, kindness, faithfulness, truthfulness, trustworthiness, tilling the soil and extermination of snakes, Toads and other vermin were the weapons whereby the fight would be fought. Lies were the most base of all vice. Light, fire and the Sun were worshipped as as manifestations of Mazda – while Arihman rested in an abyss, in eternal darkness.
This is all thoughts and concepts that seem so familiar from Christendom. There is much that makes it conceivable that it came there via the Essene society, the beginning of which dates to about 150 BCE.
The Essenes were a closed mystery society in Israel and Syria. There is not much that is known about them. They certainly had a rich literature within their society. Our main source of knowledge about them is Josephus and the Jewish religion philosopher Philo in Alexandria. Phil writes in:
Quod omnis probus liber:
“Greece had its seven wise and their successors. Persia still has its researchers of nature – the contemplative magi’s – and India its moral-philosophic sophists. Nor do Syria and Israel where the numerous Jewish tribe lives, such people who have made virtue their highest goal. Among those, some are called Essean, about 4000 of number.
115They have got their name because of their holiness, since they believe that the main idea of religion is to serve God, not by slaughtering sacrificial animals, but by dedicating their hearts to God as a holy sacrifice.
They live together in villages and avoid the big cities to get away from sin and crime so prevalent there, since they know they are as much to fear as unhealthy, polluted air and all the contagious and deadly diseases that comes from this. They live partly by farming, partly by handicraft. They treat themselves as well as their neighbours with kindness without amassing money or large land estates. They seek only to provide for their daily bread. They are almost the only people who live unprotected, yeah, without money, and they are considered rich more because of their approach to life than because of any surplus of wealth, since they rightly claim – that simplicity is the greatest gain. Javelins, Arrows, swords, helmets, armour and shields they do not make, nor other weapons or tools used in war. Among them, not one shall be found who engage in such activities as may me misused by people, even if they may belong to the peaceful trades. Therefore, they never dream about becoming merchants or brokers, since they abhor everything that may tempt them into greediness. Slaves are not found among them, they are all free and serve eachother. They reject all authority, not only because it violates equality, but as it is something godless because they are against violation of nature’s law that give birth to everybody as equals and raise all as true brothers. Now, this blood-brotherhood is being broken by greed, giving rise to disagreement instead of peace, hatred instead of love.
Logic, as a part of philosophy, they leave to the sophists, since it is not required for gaining virtue. Investigation of nature are left to the high-flying sophists except for what applies to the study of the nature of God and the creation of the universe. It is only to the morals and SEDELÆRE that they apply all their power guided by the law of the forefathers, which nobody can fathom who has not been touched by the spirit of God.
They are constantly being taught these laws, but particularly on the seventh day which the hold sacred and let all work lie. They then go to their sacred places which they call Synagogues, and here they sit in a certain order according to their age and prepare to listen. One reads loudly from the holy books, after which one of the more experienced explains the unclear passages. B e c a u s e m o s t o f t h e I r s c r I p t u r e s a r e o f s y m b o l I c o r a l l e g o r I c c o n t e n t *) such as with the ancient philosophers. They are being taught piety, holiness, fairness and how to treat individual or common affairs, knowledge of the true good or evil or indifference, how to chose the good and flee from evil; all this they treat from a threefold point of view – namely love of God, virtue, and their neighbour. That they feared God is witnessed by their chastity that last all their life – their abstaining from swearing and lies – and their belief in God as the cause of all that is good, but not to anything evil. That virtue lies close to their hearts is demonstrated by how they despise money, honour and indulgence, their withdrawn and sparse life, their pronounced thriftiness, simplicity, self-control, kindness, piety, law-abiding and steadfastness. Their love of their neighbours is displayed by their good will, their unbelievably strange equality and their communal ownership that something needs to be said about.
Firstly, nobody owns a house, it belongs to all; their common dwelling places are open even to strangers that observe the same order of life. Further they share common money chests and share all expenses; they even have common clothes and share their food in communal meals. Such a communal order in matters of housing, way of life and meals are not found anywhere else. And this is easily understandable, for they leave to the community all that they earn without keeping anything for themselves. In this manner they provide for themselves and each other all that everyone needs. The sick and unable to provide for themselves are not left alone but are provided for by the community.”
*) emphazised here.
In the account by Josephus it says that the Essenes at sunrise prays ancient prayers in aid of the Sun, as it were. Their meals were holly acts initiated with various rites of cleansing. They are calm, steadfast and trustworthy. They believe that the body perish, but that the soul has eternal life.
On entering the order they are issued an axe, a white robe and a linen cloth that they use at community meals. This Essean community thus shows many traits that seem to be of Persian origins, among them the ethical attitude and the worship of the Sun. In the centuries before the common era the countries neighbouring Israel had many sects and secret societies heavily coloured by Babylonian and Persian influence. An ascetic attitude towards life was a prominent feature of these societies, and the idea that the soul is bound to matter as in a prison from where it may be liberated by rites of cleansing and a life of forsakenness, was not unknown. A so the secret Pythagorean societies in Greece shared a view similar with the Essean – probably because of the common oriental source.
Many have meant that Jesus himself either came from such an Essene society or that he had been influenced by their teachings. Certainly his teachings differ form the Essene, but that may be because he had liberated himself from their strict laws about unimportant matters, instead accentuating the essentials. The spirit that we find in the Essene order have much in common with what we find in Christendom, and undeniably, early Christendom shared many of the characteristics of a mystery society.
It is possible that there may be a connection between the Essean order-axe, and Jesus and Joseph’s capacity as woodworkers. Common woodworkers they certainly were not, - that is symbolic parlance. Jesus himself is described as a timber-man. The word used in the sources is the Greek Tekton – i.e. builder of houses. The corresponding Jewish word is banaim, builders of houses, maybe bricklayers. This word, banaim, is on some ways connected with the higher degrees in the Essean order – possibly as a collective designation for the initiates into the higher grades.
Paul also belongs to the “world builders” – he is described as a maker of tents. The word tent is being employed many places as a metaphor in the so called “Damascus manuscript”, to be covered later.
In later years many new finds have been made that seem to confirm a connection between the Essene order or a closely related society – and Christendom. The pieces of the puzzle are becoming so many that this supposition begins to assume a high degree of probability.
It lies near at hand to suppose that the Jewish scribe Saulus – the cosmopolite, born in Asia Minor of Jewish parents in a Greek environment and with status as a Roman citizen – have organized the substance of the Essean teaching into a world religion of a universal character. He was to begin with one of the most aggressive in pursuing the Christians. He was sent to Damascus in pursuit, a prominent place for the movement must have had one of its main stays – to suppress them with violence. Such an aggressive attitude always will be labile, since it covers a doubt in the justification for one’s own cause. It is possible that he got second thoughts when seeing the standfastness and enthusiasm displayed by the Christians when faced with oppression.
Near Damascus, he is overwhelmed by a vision that causes him to become converted to the new lore. The episode incidentally have two different versions in the Bible. In Acts IX-7 it says that those that were with him heard the voice, but saw nothing. In Acts XXII-9, on the contrary, it says that his companions did see the light, but they did not hear the voice.
Another peculiarity in connection with Paul’s conversion is mentioned in the letter to the Galatenans, where he underscores that he has not received the teaching from any human being, but by means of revelation, something that maybe reveals his mystic nature. In connection with this, we may also remember his experience of light. In chapter 1. verse 17. it says that after his Damascus experience did not go back to Jerusalem to the apostles there, such as described in Acts chapter 9., but that he instead first went to Arabia and from there again
back to Damascus where he stayed for three years before going down to Jerusalem, where he only saw Peter of the Apostles and stayed with him for fifteen days.
Ii it is a very strange fact that he immediately after his conversion did not go to Jerusalem – or at least that this other version is mentioned. For such strange information must be of significant importance.
It lies near at hand to think that after his conversion, Paul first needed to be initiated into the order and become educated in their teachings and interpretations – in Arabia and in Damascus.
The new finds that was mede in the summer of 1947 at the northern end of the Dead Sea, seems to confirm that Cristendom stems from the Essene order or a closely related religious society. Additionally, the new findings shos a connection to the well known Damascus script that was found in the cellar of a synagogue in Cairo in 1896*) , that previously have resisted placement in a idea-historical context; the new find strongly suggest that this Damascus script stems from the Essene order
The first finds by the Dead Sea consisted of 8 parchment scrolls written in Hebrew and Aramaic – covered with wax and asphalt for preservation. Probably, the movement to which the scrolls belonged, been threatened with oppression and eradication. The scrolls were sold to a Jewish antiquity dealer in Bethlehem. Parts found their way to the university in Jerusalem, while the rest was bought by the Syrian monastery of Mark in Jerusalem, where the Americans were given the opportunity to take photographs of them.
One of the scrolls – entitled “The New Pact” - contains an account of the closing of a pact where “the children of light” promise to stand united in the fight against “the children of darkness” and not cave in for evil rule. This promise is being acknowledged by all of “the children of light” in the presence of priests and Levites with a solemn: Amen! Amen!
*) Published by S. Schechter: Documents of Jewish Sectaries – Fragments of a Zadokite Work. Cambridge 1910.
Language and syntax is closely related to the contents of the Damascus script and The Ascent of Moses, which we already know.
The main character in the Damascus scroll is the Teacher of Righteousness or perhaps more correctly translated_ He who teaches that which is right – The only one – The oldest teacher. He is identical to the founder of the society – the giver of Law who interprets the Law – The anointed from Aaron and Israel. He revealed to the society his holy spirit. Their messiah should be descended from Aaron and Israel, not from Judea, that represented FRAFALLET and should be haunted by wrath. They could not acknowledge Messiah as the son of David, since David had broken the law of the forefathers.
The movement left Judea and according to sources settled in Damascus where the new pact was made. Their leader – The sole teacher - died, but would someday return.
This sect organized in various cities and tent-camps. A city – it is not known where – housed their sanctities. The sect built their teaching on the Old Testament – in particular the Pentateuch that was given a particular interpretation, but also on a number of the Pseudepigraphia as for instance the book of Jubilee. The sect also must have been in possession of Pseudepigraphia that since have been lost.
This sect were in opposition to the Pharisees, to polygamy – the reason for king David’s unpopularity – to remarriage after divorce as long as the former wife were still alive. Throug his Anointed, God made known his holy Spirit.
Dupont-Sommer, professor at Sorbonne, published in 1950 a book about the new find and the Damascus script, where the connection with the Essean society is given a thorough treatment. He is convinced that such a connection exist, and he makes the assumption that the scroll “The New Pact” have been the source of the New Pact – on Christian platform. He writes in his book: Les Manuscrits de la Mer Morte:
“All of The New Jewish Pact advice and prepare The New Christian Pact. The Gaelic teacher as he appears to us in The New Testament turns out as a strange reincarnation of The Teacher of Righteousness.
As him, he preaches repentance, modesty, love for one’s neighbour, purity. As him, he commanded to observe the Law of Moses,, all of the law, but the law perfected in accord with his own particular revelation. As him, he was the chosen and God’s Messiah – Messiah as the saviour of the world. As him, he was subjected to animosity from the priests in the Sadducees’ party. As him, he was convicted an executed. As him, he pronounced the verdict on Jerusalem, which, for having sentenced him to death, was seized and burned by the Romans. As him, he founded a society of believers that with burning desire await his glorious homecoming.
Just as in the Essean society, in the Christian Church the sacrament is the most important of the rituals where the priests preside. In both, there is at the head of each diocese an overseer – “bishop”. The ideal is in both churches above all unity, the coming together in charitable work.
All these similarities – I cannot here fully cover the subject – constitute an almost hallucinatory likeness. This question also raises itself: Which of the two sects – the Jewish or the Christian – are oldest? The answer leaves no doubt: The Teacher of Righteousness died about 65/63 BCE. Jesus – the Nazarean - died 30 years CE. Everywhere likeness forces or invite to presume a loan, the loan has been by Christendom. But on the other hand, the faith in Jesus, as formed by the new church, can hardly be explained without a real, historical activity by a new prophet, e new Messiah that have flared anew and become the focus of human adoration.”
Returning to Paul, the emphasis on his connection with Damascus hardly is just coincidental. Professor Frank Cross jr. at Harvard that has participated in later excavations of Dead Sea scrolls, have by and by became convinced that Damascus was a code word used by the sect for the society’s headquarters at the Dead Sea.
Then, we may understand the peculiar comment in Paul’s letter to the Galatians – that he did not immediately go to the Apostles in Jerusalem, but went to Arabia and Syria for three years. All of Paul’s written production incidentally is full of oriental Gnosis and mystery expressions, thus he often speaks of “Christ in me”.
Paul is a parallel to Aaron who was spokesman for Moses, as Paul has become with respect to Jesus and his teachings. The later excavations at the Dead Sea fully confirm the supposition that the sect was an Essean society.
The literature about these findings has become very large.
The times at the beginning of the Common Era were favourable for a new or renewed religion. And Christendom found the soil fertile as soon as it had been planted in the world. To understand one of the reasons for its rapid spreading in the first centuries after Jesus’ death, one also need to know a little about the Roman worship of the emperor that so to speak had prepared the ground for the success of the gospel.
The Roman Empire had to a large extent torn down national and cultural differences between the peoples, that had become included more or less solidly in a great common with an international language – Koine-Greek. The mercantile-political interrelationships reached levels never before attained. Greek spirit and Greek culture attempted keeping the parts together as a whole.
In these times of turmoil, when the peoples felt rootless because they had been uprooted from their former national and religious context, a deep deterioration ensued in the religious and moral life. Moral ruin and sadness spread in ever widening circles. People turned away from the gods of their forefathers. But through the din of the fall sounded the longing for the great peace, justice and agreeable living conditions.
With emperor Augustus, hope seemed to enter among all the despair. A new age announced it’s coming. The emperor was praised by the poets as a saviour sent from heaven. A national-Roman era began; reverence for the gods of old was restored. With Emperor and court in the lead, writers and artists followed in the work of restoration.
The ancient cult was started with Augustus himself as Pontifex Maximus. Temples were restored and new ones were built. But the old religious ideas were no longer alive – it all turned out as a more or less empty game or political powerplay.
Far more success befell an entirely new trait in the religious life - namely the worship of the Emperor himself as god. This worship of the emperor also had its roots in the past. It is known already from Babylon, and not least from Egypt, where the Pharaoh since about 3000 BCE had the title: The good god. Besides, he was considered as being the son of the Sun-god. Also the Persian kings were regarded as gods or half divine beings. The Greek honoured their great men and philosophers with divine adoration. Platon, for example, soon after his death began to be seen as the son of Apollo. Aristotle even had an altar built for him. Alexander the great was accorded divinity as the secont Dionysos and son of the god Amon. Seleukids as well as ptolomeians let themselves be adored as gods or saviours. Emperor Augustus’ official title was Emperor of emperors – chosen by Ptah and Nun – the son of the sun – forever living. In the year 9 BCE when the Julian calender was introduced in the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and the beginning of the year be moved to the emperors birthday, 23. September, it was written: “What could be more pleasing and useful than the most divine Emperors birthday that we rightly may consider as equivalent with the beginning of everything? He gave the whole world, that otherwise would have perished, a new look. – The day of the birth of the god was for all the world the beginning of all the good tidings that he has brought.”
Temples were built to honour him. On Alexandrian coins he was depicted as the Son of God. The emperor himself nevertheless displayed some restraint with respect to his status as god. Thus, he rejected the title of “Lord” in a religious context. Gradually it became customary for emperors to be declared gods – by the senate. No fewer that 27 emperors thus became proclaimed gods.
The title “Lord” or “God” was often used as an official title while they still were alive.
The emperors were accorded miraculous powers, the sick were healed; they could provide rain in times of draught and so on. Worship of the emperor became a part of the official religion of the state aimed at uniting the various peoples of the Roman Empire into one. All citizens were obliged to participate in this worship of the emperor, even if they were allowed to indulge in private religious worship as well. This international cult of emperor worship with its terminology undoubtedly contributed to preparing the soil for the acceptance of the gospel of Christ with its universal ideas and monotheism.
Also the great mystery-religions had broken boundaries between the peoples. The widespread acceptance that the mysteries of Osiris – Isis – Attis – Adonis – and Dionysos had, witness to the needs they had to satisfy.
Christianity was however to have its most dangerous enemy in the Persian mysteries of Mithra that had spread throughout the entire Roman Empire. Incidentally, a Mithra-temple from the time the Romans occupied England has recently been excavated in London. But Christendom brought something additional that the other religions lacked.
It was not only because of favourable political constellations that the teaching of Christ won – it won by its own strength, the universal human character of the lore and the universal need present for a religion that can liberate man’s bound possibilities and provide unification of outer and inner life.
Al creation of symbols – be it dream, art or religion builds on the past and its elements. It therefore is quite in order that old building blocks are used. What is new is the way the individual elements are arranged in a way that the contents and the total picture becomes new and in accordance with the development of consciousness and man’s fundaments. Therefore, it does not diminish the quality of a religion if elements from other or earlier religions are used. The main point is a new order – new contents – a new perspective – such that the religion becomes an adequate means of expressing man’s inner life and the right direction for development.
Christendom was a reorganization, new ordering and further development of the religious language. It represents a displacement of accent from the “Law” to the spiritual-emotional area, and now in the direction of intellect and logos, such that it may represent all areas of life. Only the culture that is able to orient itself in accordance therewith, have the potential for renewal and survival.
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The inner aspect of Christendom.
Christ may a thousand times have been born in Bethlehem, but if not born in yourself,
your soul will be lost; On the cross of Calvary he will hang in vain, unless it is raised anew in yourself!
In the four gospels of the Bible we find the account of Jesus’ life and teaching. There exist no contemporary document that may confirm his existence. The first to mention him is the Roman historian Tacitus, who mentions him in a brief remark in one of his books that he wrote about 115 CE. It is possible that his knowledge stems from Christian sources. Anyway, his information is of little or no value in the way of evidence for the historical validity of the character of Jesus.
In reality, it is a quite peripheral question whether Jesus have lived or not. The character of Christ in the Christian religion is of symbolic value – and as spokesman for timeless and fate-determinant lows and truths. It may sound paradoxical, but Christendom would be clearer and idea-historically of greater importance if it could be proven that he had not lived, or at least that his life had not been exactly as described in the Bible. Each individual then would become responsible for himself, for his own liberation and development. The intentions of Christendom then with far more ease might become a reality, because then one would not have the entirely literal content to lead astray to the degree that we see now.
If Christendom should depend on an outer historical one-time event, it would for example be of equal importance to determine the historical data for the Holy Spirit, which also has been accorded a literal action in history – in the shape of tongues of fire.
When Christendom wants to depend only on a historical claim, it builds on sand. If evidence suddenly would be presented, showing that the historicity of Jesus is not true, the entire framework would collapse. And it will, given the way it is conceived and preached today.
The Essean society by the Dead Sea is such a threat, because it is the missing link with other religions.
Ten thousands of fragments from hundreds of scriptures now have been excavated and shines new light into the dark corners.
It is becoming clear that Christendom is not the original contribution to world history that has been thought.
We find with this Qumran-sect – who did not call themselves Esseans – but “The society of the new pact” – familiar ideas, doctrines, sentences and ceremonies. Even passages from the Sermon on the Mount are found in these caves – written long before the birth of Christ.
These finds undoubtedly will revolutionize our view of Christendom and its contents.
It is no longer possible to claim that it came into the world caused by supernatural action. That is no longer belief - but SUPERSTITION.
The importance of Christendom lies on quite another level. And its reality is of quite a different character than we to this day have believed end tried to live up to.
The impact of Christendom form now on lies in that it may begin to engage the inner man and thereby also be relevant for mankind’s living together in a quite different and more far reaching manner than before.
Christendom may from now on become existential and relevant for everyday life and men’s structure in constructive manner that may liberate the individuals and prepare the ground for a global living together.
The elements of Christendom and its symbols, being of common human character may take hold in each of us and give development of society a new direction
Christendom thereby would become of immensely greater importance than it is today – and it would get fundamentally new perspectives, when its idea-historical importance is being accepted and understood.
The sooner the theologians dare leave the lost bastions and assume new, safe positions that can stand attacks by materialism, power struggle and everyday baseness – the better they may serve their calling as spiritual guides and birth helpers for citizens of the world.
These are thoughts of the scope required by the atomic age - if we are to survive!
The reality of Christendom is of mental and idea-historical nature. It therefore is independent of a historical reality for its symbols. Religions are a language of symbols; as long as this is not recognized it will be conceived literally and as a historical phenomenon – with the fatal misunderstandings that follows from this.
It is clear that the gospels were not written while Jesus was alive, not even shortly after his death. None of the gospel-handwritings that we have are originals, they are all copies; the oldest – a small papyrus fragment – was written in the first part of the second century and contains only a few verses of the gospel of St. John.
With respect to chronology the commonly accepted view is that the gospel of St. Mark is the oldest, written probably between the years 70 and 80. Yjen comes the gospels of Matthew and Luke, and Acts probably written around the years 80 to 100. The apocalypse of John probably was written shortly before the centennial, with the gospel of the same name originating a little before or after the same time.
The oldest scripts in the New Testament are believed to be the letters of Paul, with the earliest maybe written about 50 CE.
The three first gospels Matthew – Mark and Luke are called the synoptic, i.e. they may be seen simultaneously.
the work of analysing the material, they were ordered in three parallel columns since their contents were rather similar; they could then be looked at simultaneously, in other words, they were syn-optic.
It is believed that after Jesus’ death, some of his words and accounts of his acts were written down. Such a collection of “sayings”; Oxyrynchus, were found in Egypt in 1897. It was a rather small papyrus fragment containing Jesus-words that are not found in the Bible. For example:
Unless you forsake the world, you will not find the kingdom of God; and if you do not observe the Sabbath, you will not see the Father.
I came forth in the world and revealed myself to the world, and I found them all drunk and no one sober among them. And my soul worries about man’s children, for they are blind in their hearts and see not themselves their poverty.
Jesus says: and so on.
In all probability, the gospels of Matthew and Luke are created from Mark and a collection of “Jesus-words.”
If all that the two gospels share with Mark is removed, what remains is mostly just such Jesus-words.
Since much of this are common to both Matthew and Luke, there is ample reason to believe that they have been created from the older gospel of Mark and a compilation of speeches, the so-called “Logia-source” as this hypothetical, but most likely collection of sayings has been called. The author of the gospel of Matthew has ordered the logia-stuff in 6 large speeches, placed where Mark provide an opening for that by first having referenced a few words by Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount is one of these logia-compilations. Smaller logia-groups have also been put at various places in the gospel bearing his name. The author of the gospel of Luke, on the contrary, has placed the major part of the logia in two inserts – “the small” and “the large”, also called the travel account, with an account of Jesus being travelling for Galilee to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter.
it is not only the ordering of the logia that is different, they also differ somewhat from each other. This may be because two closely related collections of speeches have been used. The gospel of Mark probably was written by Mark – the apostle Peter’s interpreter. His mother’s house in Jerusalem became the meeting place for the first Christian congregation. This gospel of Mark probably was written with a pagan-Christian public in mind. The last twelve verses about the resurrection of Christ, are considered as later additions.
The author of the gospel of Mathew is unknown. It must have been written for pagans or Jewish-Christians outside of Israel. It attempts to portray Jesus’ life such as it was prophesised by the prophets. Therefore, the Sermon on the Mount becomes a parallel to Moses’ lawgiving on Mt. Sinai – likewise, the 40 days fast are known traits both from Moses and Elias. The author of Matthew stresses that Jesus’ acknowledge the Law of Moses, it just needs to be interpreted correctly.
The author of the gospel of Luke, who most likely also wrote Acts, may be identical to the gentile Christian “physician” that accompanied Paul on some of his travels. It probably also is aimed at gentile Christians. Universalism is more pronounced there than with the other synoptics. Therefore, this gospel contains an account about the 70 disciples (corresponding with the concept of the 70 elders and the 70 peoples) in addition to the apostles. Another characteristic trait that may be mentioned is that this gospel more than the others emphasize the dangers of wealth and material abundance.
The gospel of John is quite different both in form and content than the three synoptics. This also applies to such things as the location for Jesus’ activities. While the three first gospels places this in Galilee and lets Jesus go to Jerusalem for the last Easter, with John, the life of Jesus is mainly placed in Judah, and the account centers on five visits to Jerusalem during Jewish celebrations. The contents are universalistic and philosophically coloured, they were probably aimed at the Greek world, which to a large extent was influenced by the
spiritual content of the mystery religions. *)
These four gospels gradually gain greater and greater authority to the detriment of the other gospels, as for instance the gospel of Peter, the Egyptian gospel and so on. About 170 CE, Tatian, a disciple of Justitianus compiled the gospels of Matt, Mark, Luke And John into a single script, the so-called Tatians gospel harmony, that became used by the Syrian church for centuries.
Quite early, the four lasting gospels must have become established practice to the detriment of the others. The church father Irenaeus tries to give an explanation for this. The number shall correspond with the four corners of the earth, the four major winds, the four faces of the Cherubs and God’s four pacts – with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Christ. But the reason it became four gospels instead of one, certainly also have causes. Among other things, one or more of these quite likely had gained popularity in certain dioceses, therefore there would be reluctance towards abandoning any of them also for this reason. Also, it is highly probable that it was considered of value to have a many-voiced apostolic witness. Both the gospels of Matt and John bore the name of an apostle, Mark was connected with the apostle Peter, as his interpreter. And Luke was a disciple of Paul.
The letters are mainly selected on grounds of the desired apostolic authorship. They were quite sceptic towards scripts that did not bear the name of an apostle. Therefore, the New Testament canon finally included scripts considered as having been written by men of apostolic times. Thus, the Hebrew-letter was included because it was thought to have been written by Paul. *)
*) For the many prophesies, parallels and discrepancies in the gospels, reference may be made to, among others, Werner Harenbergs’ articles in “Der Spiegel”, no’s. 15 and 16 – 1966.
*) Recently, new doubts have been raised about whether Paul actually have written all the letter attributed to him. His letters have been analysed by a computer loaded with statistical data. The results seems to confirm that only 4 or maybe 5 letters, namely Romans, 1. 2. Corinthians
A large number of apocryphal scripts by and by were taken out, for example The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, The herd of Hermas, the gospels Peter, Andreas, Thomas and so on. The Apocalypse of John remained controversial for a long time, at least within the Greek-Roman church.
The New Testament as we know it, is the account of the house builder from Nazareth. It is his lore and life buit into a mystical framework of essential symbols about life, death and resurrection, the ancient images of the human mind about development towards consciousness and harmonic conduct of life, individually as well as collectively. Jesus reveals the pattern of how mankind is made. We should all realize The impulse of Christ. It is alive in us; we just have to provide conditions for growth.
The Saviour revealed man’s inner pattern by his life and by his lore – he had come to the world to witness for truth. He showed mankind the sign of Jonah – the mystery of death – resurrection – and life – transported from the sea to Calvary, i.e. from subconscious to consciousness.
After the death of Jesus, myth and legends soon began to be woven. The web became more detailed and artistic as time went by; the patterns were not quite new, even if the embroidery shows many original traits. Jesus himself, his life and acts, were placed in a mythological frame that should tie him together with God and the past as a fulfilment of prophecy. While Mark and John are silent about Jesus’ family lineage, Matt and Luke present each their particular family tree, but they are quite different for each other. The purpose in both cases was to try and prove that Jesus belonged to the royal lineage of David – a requisite for the true Messiah. But Jesus was also associated with God, he was not a regular human being. Therefore he was conceived by the holy ghost - thereby Joseph, supposed to be of David’s lineage was ousted. But thereby, the connection with David’s lineage also is broken.
Galateans, and possibly also Philemon are written by one and the same person, supposed to be Paul, but of course no evidence for this exist.
By the end of the 19th century some interest was awakened when in an ancient Syrian hand-script the following text was discovered: “Jacob begat Joseph, Joseph to whom Mary, the virgin, was engaged – begat Jesus. Many wanted to see that as evidence that the virgin birth was something that had been added later in the history of Christendom. Even Paul seems not to have known about it. But the account of the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus is not affected by these words in the Syrian script, for all the rest of the chapter remains unchanged. The most likely explanation is that the copying scribe just mechanically repeated the same syntax as he already had been using 39 times before in the family tree..
The Biblical account of the wondrous virgin birth that belonged within the frame of the great divine characters, probably stems from the apocrypha of late Judaism and the sects behind them – a concept that they most likely had adopted from other religions. It is a certainty that they had the old traditions behind them in the near Orient.
If the birth of Jesus and all that is connected with it had been supernatural in nature, it seems quite impossible to understand that his mother and closest associates did not acknowledge his divine nature. On the contrary, they thought he was mad.
Christ did not correspond with the Jews’ official concept of Messiah; therefore they have never recognized him as such. The Messiah of Christendom is lord of a world of Spirit and in the Kingdom of God that is in each and everyone of us.
The shape given to the character in the New Testament probably has a number of different sources. The society behind “The New Pact” did for example not expect him as a descendant of David.
At a certain time the Jews had two different expectations of Messiah. One was the concept of Messiah as the son of David – Messiah ben David – an earthly, literal ruler. This expectation lives on in Judaism.
The other Messiah-concept in particular related to the Northern kingdom, was the expectation of the Anointed as the Son of Joseph – Messiah ben Joseph – a concept that soon disappeared from official Judaism *)
But just this version must have found its way into Christendom, possibly via some mystery sect. It is worth noting that Jesus is said to stem form the heathen Galilee – from the Northern kingdom.
Many parallels can be found between the legend of Joseph and the life of Jesus – traits that are roo numerous for them to be just a coincidence.
Jesus had 12 apostles, and later the 70 disciples were sent out – something that goes back to the cosmic heroes of the Zodiac, the tribes of Israel, the “elders” of the nation, and the number of peoples. When Judah falls away, Matthias is first chosen in his place – later, Paul arrives as the 13th. Jacob’s sons counted 12. When Jacob went to Egypt with all his house, there were 70 souls altogether. Joseph’s two sons, Manasse and Ephraim become included among the brothers. When Joseph dies, the number becomes 13. Also here, two are added to the original number – and the sum is the same, 13.
Joseph was an interpreter of dreams – of symbols – One-who-reveals—secrets as he also was called. Jesus often spoke in parables and images that he translated and interpreted. Both had insight into the world of symbols.
And they became themselves symbols.
Joseph was sold for 20 shekel of silver – as suggested by Judah. Jesus was betrayed by Judas – the Greek form of Judah – for 30 pieces of gold. The different numbers probably are significant for succeeding steps of development. Joseph and his work is in the domain of the soul and the material world – corn was his means of liberation. Jesus and his world are at the spiritual level. Thought – spirit – has become conscious road to salvation and decisive reality. This is underscored also by Jesus, according to legend, being placed in a manger. Corn – the plant – is replaced by Man.
*) See: Das alte Testament in Licht des alten Orients by Alfred Jeremias, Leipzig 1930.
Joseph was thrown in the empty well that became the entrance to glorification. Jesus was placed in an empty crypt at Calvary, the name of the roof of the skull covering the brain. Jesus and his lore therefore lies entirely on the level of spirit. Man’s consciousness and soul have become alpha and omega.
Both Jesus’ birth and death are connected with the name of Joseph, since the crypt belonged to a Joseph of Aramitea, Joseph and his father both went to Egypt – as did also Jesus and hid father. This heavy emphasis on the Nile-country expresses a unity between Judaism, Christendom, Egyptian mystery religion and the monotheism that had its origins in Egypt. We may remember that Joseph was married to the daughter of the high priest in the city of the Sun – Helioplis –On.
Joseph was preferred before his brothers by his father. Among other things, he was given a royal robe. Jesus for his part stood in a particular and loving son-relationship with his heavenly father. Also the robe of Jesus was particular. It was without seams – woven as one piece – the symbol of spiritual coherence and unity of the soul. The robe of Jesus did not look like the emperors – his kingdom was not of this world.
Joseph went obediently to his brothers in Sikem, even if he knew the dangers – a parallel to Jesus trip to Jerusalem. For both of them, blood was used as evidence for their death; Joseph’s bloody, torn robe was shown to his father. And blood and water flooded out of the wound of the Saviour.
In Reuben’s speech of defence one may recognize Pilate. Ruben, as the oldest of the brothers should have been in command in the same way as Pilate had command over Jesus – as representative of the Roman Empire.
Joseph resisted the temptations of Potifar’s wife – a theme being the main motif of a very popular and widely read Egyptian story.
Nor Jesus did not fall when tempted by the devil. Bu tit may be noted that the temptation facing Jesus was of an entirely different character – spiritual values were at stake.
Both Joseph and Jesus were imprisoned and accused of crimes of which they were innocent. The one was imprisoned for 3 years, the other spent 3 days – a number probably related to the cycles of the moon. It takes 3 days from the smallest no to the newest new. In the prison, Joseph met pharaoh’s MUNNSJENK and baker. One was released to freedom, the other killed and hung on a tree. We recognize the two bandits on the cross – one would be going to paradise. That the cupbearer was to survive must be because he represented wine – the spiritual principle. In earlier times it was thought that there was a spirit – spiritus – that cause the particular effect.
On the other hand, the baker symbolise the material – corn must perish. Further development would continue with the great successor to Joseph.
Both Joseph and Jesus begin their work at 30, probably as an expression of maturity. For both of them, debasement and suffering became the starting point and the road to glory. Joseph also was called Zofnat- Paneah, - the World’s saviour, a title also applied to Jesus. The two saviours both were thought to be dead. But death was not real – it was of a symbolic nature. “Death” was a necessary prerequisite for the ensuing glory.
Joseph was of a forgiving nature; he did not return is brothers evil. It was also the principle of Jesus to break the power of evil by meeting it with love and understanding.
Joseph’s identity was long held hidden from the brothers until he gave himself away to them. It also lasted long before Jesus revealed to them his identity – as Messiah.
There is in the legend of Joseph also an element of a consciously arranged accusation – leading to “arrest” – “trial” – and clarification with a consolidation of the house of Jacob with joy – a parallel to what took place at Jesus’ death. We refer to the account of how a silver beaker was placed in the bag of one of the brothers at his departure from Egypt.
The travelling party was apprehended – ransacked - the whole party was returned – with the ensuing result.
Dr. Hugh Schonfield – well known Jewish historian- who also have written the books “The Jew of Tarsus – a Life of Paul” – “Saints against Caesar” – “The authentic new Testament” (Schonfields own translation of the new testament) – “The Secrets of the Dead Sea Scroll” and “The Bible was right” , shortly before Christmas 1965 sent a torch into the religious debate with the book “The Passover Plot” – or “The Easter Plot”.
Schoenfeld has ever since his younger days and throughout a long career as researcher been occupied with Jesus and his relationship with the religious and social conditions in Palestine at the beginning of the current era.
Sconfield makes the supposition that Jesus, being from “heathen land” , Galilee was a person deeply and seriously worried about the salvation of his people from fall and UNDERGANG. The land was occupied by the Romans who ruled with iron, blood and crucifying.
He studied the religious scriptures very thoroughly, and by and by, he came to the conclusion that he was the Messiah intended to save his people. He knew all that had been predicted about him in the holy scriptures and therefore could proceed according to that.
Schonfield is of the opinion that Jesus – who also had learned from the Essenes and other sects, - particularly the Nasarenes, - made a carefully prepared plan for action – to culminate in death on the cross – which he intended to survive according to a carefully thought out plan – of which incidentally the apostles were not informed so that he had to rely on helpers outside of apostolic circles.
The plan was carefully made such that Jesus calculated that court proceedings and crucifying would be executed in a way that would ensure he would hang on the cross only for a few hours- because the next day would be Sabbath. The law required the bodies to be removed by then.
This mode of execution was preferred by the Romans, and it was not by itself fatal. Death came after a prolonged time because of pain, exhaustion, thirst and hunger. It all went according to plan. Schonfield assumes that Jesus by a helper was given some kind of anaesthetic from the sponge that he was given, so that it would seem like he was dead. The story tells that shortly thereafter, he gave up his spirit.
After having been taken down, he should be taken care of by his helpers - so that he might survive. In this manner Jesus thought that the prophecies would be fulfilled – they do not say that the Messiah necessarily should die – but that he should be spared death.
But the plan failed on an important and unforeseen point. A Roman soldier not being convinced that Jesus was dead, pierced his side with a lance – and his life could not be saved.
Schonfield have strangely enough not been aware of the parallel between Jesus and the Legend of Joseph, - but the moment of the fake accusation seems to support the supposition about a connection – perhaps the way Schonfield suggests.
The clear parallel between these two saviour-characters that nobody before seems to have been aware of – becomes clearer with the continued study of the Dead Sea scrolls. The British scientist John Allegro, lecturer in the Old Testament at the University of Manchester and member of the 8-man team working on the translation of the scrolls, in January 1966 made a statement that the study of the scrolls may lead to the conclusion that for instance the apostles are not historical persons – but rather mythological characters
signifying among other things positions of office in the sect of the Essenes – for instance the one entrusted with the handling of money.
Judas is in John XIII, 29 described as the one carrying “the purse”, i.e. the keeper of the money. In Aramaic, this is “ish sacariob” – the name Iskariot is easily recognizable.
There now seems to be sufficient grounds for the view that the gospels also are a framework around the central secrets of existence with the Jesus-figure and the Christ-impulse at the centre.
As a curiosum, it may be mentioned that in 1883, an exhibit of three ancient parchment scrolls found in a cave by the Dead Sea, was shown in the British Museum. The find was however considered a forgery, and nobody knows what happened to these scrolls.
All the common elements that I have mentioned show that traits from the legend of Joseph must have been used in creating the mythical framework around Jesus. They share too much in common that it may be just coincidental.
The symbols of the latter version are to some extent been applied in a new manner in another setting – another aspect. Evolution has progressed to a new level, with emphasis shifted from the body-soul sector to man as a spiritual being. Corn therefore no longer serves as the means of salvation. The mission of the character of Joseph has come to an end. The new saviour of the world should work on the level of mentality.
A discontinuity in time had arrived, when man should realize himself as a being of spirit.
The cupbearer – representative of the spirit - shall satisfy the possibilities of man – therefore he was given free. One character has retained his function quite unchanged, namely Juda – Judas, the one who sets suffering in motion – the prerequisite for realization, liberation and the new life. In this respect, man can hardly be expected to change. The greed for money – materialism – even then got suffering going.
What is the status of the project of release of man’s possibilities as a thinking being? For the time being, it looks bleak. But the situation is difficult, even impossible to judge for us who live in the final phases of a cultural cycle.
The world is in the melting pot and writhes in pain – a new way of life is in the process of being created. The reason why development have been sidetracked to where it is today, have been caused, as repeatedly mentioned before not lest the dominance from the natural sciences, causing the building of culture to skew. We all may think we understand the utility of them (the natural sciences), the practical consequences can be felt and seen. The funding authorities may get immediate and profitable results from their investments. And last, but not least: Science only to a small degree clash with morals, way of life and cultural pattern – in contrast to the laws governing mans psychic dynamics and development. Even the smallest sign of breach of conventions, accepted views and personal symptomatic is being met with fierce resistance of formidable dimensions.
The victory of the natural science was a given when the church had nothing to counter with, except for religious dogma and letters that had been made alpha and omega in the religious life. Under this banner, religion was condemned to lose. Evolution most likely would have been different if the Church had upheld the ancient’s insight into the dynamics of the soul and its connection with the inner aspect of religion. The Church instead – due to its lack of spiritual power – had to resort to fire and burning as long as that worked.
If the Church had retained the inner truths about man, it might have said: It is all to the good with science and research, in all fields. The more we can learn, the better it is. But it is the truth about man’s inner reality that alone is of importance and by which everything else needs to be judged.
But this, the Church could not do – because it had no inner coverage for it’s use of symbols and imagery-speech.
And the results were inevitable.
Neither the cupbearer nor the Holy Spirit means anything to modern man – because bridges leading from symbol to reality.
The legend of Joseph undoubtedly also is related to ancient star-mythology. The sun, moon and the 11 signs of the Zodiac bowed before him. It has even been suggested that Joseph is a symbol for the star Spica – KORNAKSET – in Virgo. Thereby he becomes connected with Jesus even by the aspect of astral concepts. Virgo is one of the 12 houses of the Zodiac, an ancient concept dating probably back to about 5000 BCE. The virgin then was the sign of summer solstice and the northernmost point of the Zodiac. According to ancient Sumerian ideas, the great heavenly mother goddess had existed even before creation of the earth. She was the first divine god, and thus must have created herself – she was a virgin – made pregnant by a dove – the symbol of spirit. As a star-sign, she was depicted as holding a spike – SPICA – in her hand. The word is Latin, and means ‘spike of corn’. It was her son – the god of corn. Later, she became depicted with the divine child on her lap.
According to the Julian calendar, the longest night of the year was the night between 24th and 25th December. Then, for example the Persian sun-god, Mithra, was born by the heavenly virgin. That night it is announced in their temples: “The virgin has given birth to a child! The light is increasing!”
The sign of the Zodiac that this night stood over the Bethlehem sky was Virgo with Spica as the brightest star. The next sign by its side was Bootes – the guardian of the bull – who should guard the divine child – the bull – which was the sign in which the sun stood about 2000 BCE before moving to VÆREN’s eller LAMMETS bilde.
The star Spica that at midnight 24th -25th December ascended over Bethlehem was the divine, newborn child – and the star of Bethlehem?*)
Jesus death on the cross is by many seen as part of a mystery drama. Others have suggested that Jesus may have been executed as a dummy king – or scapegoat.
*) From Jeremy Wasiutynski, Verden og Geniet. Oslo 1943.
The Jews had in their Purim-feast that originally coincided with Eastertime, taken over the custom of executing people – albeit only in effigy. But it cannot be ruled out that they may also have employed convicts for the same purpose. In the ancient custom of scapegoats, one was set free while the other was chased into the desert and FORTAPELSEN. It is possible that the Jews used to let one convict go free, while the other had to die – in the role of king – a fake king – a continuation of the practice of scapegoat.
In the account of Barabbas we may possibly see confirmation of this. The meaning of the symbolism is to remove all guilt. What is burdened with guilt, should get life when the burden of guilt was taken away. Barabbas – the culprit – was given life, while Jesus had to die.
That this account is of particular significance – that it not only refers to an actual event, but that it is symbolic in nature with a connected meaning, may be seen from what is written about Barabbas: “And they had a strange prisoner named Barabbas.” One of the strange things is that among other things, Barabbas means the Son of the Father. Then,maybe it is not so strange after all. The one who was burdened with guilt – the murderer, the villain, got freedom. The scapegoat – the one to carry sins – Jesus – should die. The “Son of the Father” had to die for the “Son of the Father” to gain life.
This expresses the idea that transformation should take place in each individual – in one and the same person.
In the Babylonian Zakmuk-celebrations, a forerunner of Purim, it is told about the one who had to play the tragic role: They take one condemned to death, puts him on the royal throne and give him the royal robe. They let him rule and run wild. And nobody prevents him from doing what he wants. But afterwards, they undress him, scourge and crucify him.” If such a custom has had any influence on the story about Jesus suffering and death, we don’t know. But the similarities are clear.
All the religious symbolism that has been with man since prehistoric times is not explained just by the recognition of the existence of the symbols, neither by uncovering their origins and development. What is of importance is this:
What do they mean?
For which realities of the human mind and human life are they relevant? Understanding of the nature of religion and its function depends on a real clarification of these cardinal issues.
In this age of materialism, these symbols are just considered as without significance, more like silly products of our fantasy and SUPERSTITION – without any real meaning and relevance for the real world. Nothing could be more wrong. Symbols – the realized, and maybe even more the un-realized – are on the contrary among the most important at all, since they are expressions of inner realities – all that which we cannot directly touch and feel – psychic laws, principles, functions, longings and hopes. If there is something that is important for mankind, it is to gain awareness of the spiritual realities and the functions that together constitute personality and with supremacy rule man’s inner and outer life. The key to understanding of the thread of cultural and historic evolution lies in this.
Since the deep of the soul have only one means of communication at its disposal – the language of images – it becomes of decisive importance for us to understand this language so that the real meaning of the symbols – their decoded contents – may be understood and the energies be employed in fullness.
It may be of use for those who think that existence is determined only by material conditions, to remember that the foundation for utilization of nature’s riches and the abundance in life are the insight into the laws of the material world and the acknowledgment of the principles being supreme master of man’s individual and collective life. Without a fundament of proper acknowledgment, chaos and disastrous conditions are bound to follow, such that nature ant the human brain will not be used for furtherance of life, but for destructive purposes. Even if declared in words that man’s happiness only depend on distribution of riches or poverty, everyone knows by himself that happiness and a harmonious life depend on other things: genetics, individual character, the spiritual climate of the rearing environment, bodily and spiritual health. Even for the “materialist”, ultimately it is his
goals and to reach them that is of the highest value and most important in his world – the driving force even here is spiritual in nature. Some use economic means to oppress his fellow men; others use other means of force. The point is the need for power – as compensation for inner dissonances!
If material abundance were what we need for a happy life, we would expect to find evidence for this claim. But nothing seems to indicate that rich people are happier than others. Rather the other way around. And someday, mankind will begin to show their standard by a simple way of life - such as the Bible tells man. For abundance and overindulgence lead to stagnation. This, the world increasingly will come to recognize anew.
If man gets stuck in a chain of growing material needs, he have entered a treadmill in which he is doomed to continue – further, further – always further, with no stop. As soon as one goal is reached, he is hunting for the next with insatiable hunger. Men trample each other underfoot, climb over each other in order to amass ever more of this worlds riches – causing destruction both for himself and his fellow men. The needs of ultimate materialism know no limit, and it will always lead to misery and disaster.
In a chain of psychic and spiritual needs, conditions are markedly different. The results are expanded insight and recognition, a harmonizing of existence, social behaviour and mastering of life’s material and spiritual opportunities. This will lead to a progression in development, so that man may become able to arrange his life in a more rational way than before. First, seek “The Kingdom of God”, and all the rest will be given.
Regrettably, today it is the technical sciences that are particularly revered. The lore about man’s inner life has been, and still is, the stepchild within the scientific disciplines. This has caused immense harm – and technology’s conquests have caused mankind great harm.
As a consequence of the symbolic language of the deep largely having been a terra incognita, the religious symbols have only to a small extent been understood as the primary images the human
soul have to employ in order to express its needs – longings – and hope.
The child as a symbol is also in a religious context the wish to live in full contact and joy of life – in complete confidence in oneself and the surrounding world. In the deepest of every human soul lives the wish to become as a child again – ever stronger with stronger blocks. The child is the wish for unfolding of life! And fullness of life!
About harmony and spontaneity! About new and right start! About happiness and joy of life! The child in the Christian religion has the same meaning. The child Jesus therefore shall be born in each one of us, that means we shall become renewed people who sees and approach life with new eyes and new strength – released from all that have been burdening and tearing one apart. Without in this sense becoming like a child again, one cannot enter the “Kingdom of God”.
For most people, life cannot be realized fully before all that ties down his forces have been cleared away. This is expressed by the deep by means of - death, that is the way this image-language is. Therefore, the symbolism of death runs like a red thread through most religions, who seems like they have become the religion of death, instead of a religion of life, of freedom of guilt, a religion of love – because the images are not being understood.
The symbolism of death mirrors the human soul’s longing for a new life. The suffering and death of Jesus is a protoype for this symbolism. By dying on the cross, he makes sins and guilt to nothing – and by this he wins the new - “eternal” - life. This talk of the symbols must be understood! – removal of guilt opens the door to life. Nut the sense of guilt can only be brought to lasting cessation by insight and understanding, with ensuing forgiveness.
If the death-symbolism becomes reduce to simply vulgar literalisms, faith needs to come to aid. Many may well feel lighter in mind by this. But there can hardly be any finite end of the personal conflict in this manner, but more like a treatment of symptoms of temporary effect only. Anxiety and sense of guilt will continue, causing constant need for “salvation”.
This becomes quite different if one may acknowledge what it is that for oneself
blocks life. This requires that the causality and the real meaning of the symbol is brought into daylight.
Only then, a lasting settlement of the conflict may ensue based on understanding of the causes. Then, faith is no longer required – i.e. faith in the correctness of the symbolism – clarification is followed by certainty and “change” – as experience and reality. A lot of people seems be able to get along with a regular literal understanding of the religious symbols. But those who need, and are equipped for it, must be allowed to learn about the real reality that lies behind the world of letters. “The Kingdom of God” which is not “of this world”. For “the ancients”, this was well known. Men like Clement of Alexandria and Origenes knew. Origenes says that the Bible has body or even meaning: soul – image-meaning and lastly spirit: A deep under-meaning. Secrets might to a large extent be hidden be hidden by numbers-mysticism. Each letter both in Hebrew and Greek corresponded to a certain number. Words of the same numerical value could were interchangeable. Thereby the meaning could be hidden for the uninitiated and unworthy who could not use, but only misuse the secrets of the kingdom of god.
That an individual sees the religious symbols more or less literally seldom leads to serious harm. But when the words and prophecies of scripture are used literally as a guide for human interrelationship it may easily lead to fatal consequences. It is by and by becoming rare to meet people who take everything in the Bible literally; it becomes more of a case of picking pieces that suits a person’s bent, and the actual situation.
A stumbling block has for many been the virgin birth. To maintain the dogma of literal parthenogenesis have offended many and caused much doubt and dispute. The dogma of virgin birth has many and deep roots down through the ages and in the human mind, something we have touched upon before. Jesus, to cleanse from sin, would himself have to be clean and unsoiled.
Additionally in virgin birth there is another symbolic section, that in most places have lead to a pronounced male hegemony, not least among the Jews, who lived in a typical patriarchate. Women, to a large extent are bound to the reproductive function and the homes, are being kept out of the social institutions. The purely physiological difference between the sexes does not apply only to the primary and secondary characteristics of gender. To a certain degree there may be differences that have an effect in other areas as well, like physical strength and distribution of spiritual functions. But these differences have been artificially enlarged and used. The process of forming required for this purpose begins at an early age. Various “male” and “female” characteristics are created in boys and girls. The former shall become active, energetic, intelligent, logical, strong and more or less callous. The “feminine” characteristics should belong to the motherly, soft, emotional, passive individuals – without intellectual pretensions. But it has not been possible to deprive woman her intuitive powers. But it must be emphasized that all these properties belong to both sexes. Suppression of the unwanted characteristics leads to disharmony and conditions of inner tension. The individuals become more or less half, twisted people. The disharmony leads to mechanisms of compensation and manoeuvres of relief. Women, as the oppressed, strive more or less consciously for power. Or, it manifests in pure literalism like mimicry of men’s clothing and manners.
Or, it leads to the two sexes becoming symbols for each other’s suppressed and crippled qualities with the ensuing sexual tensions.
The artificially enhanced and traditional difference with respect to male and female qualities leads for both sexes to inner tensions with a corresponding need for relief and restitution of the inner balance. And it leads to disharmonies right from the beginning for children born into such an environment of tensions.
On the background of these circumstances, the symbolism of virgin birth tells that harmonizing of the human mind consists of the individual’s acceptance of both his male and female qualities.
And, that the oppressive sense of guilt must go! Therefore the Saviour – Son of Man – the new, renewed man was created by amalgamating the specific male with the female principles of human nature: Virgin made pregnant by Spirit – the Holy Ghost – the Holy Ghost of Truth – ratio, consciousness. The redeemed man recognize and use – heart and brain – body and spirit – intuition and logos – in a creative cooperative, the character of Christ mirrors the mind of man in his longing for the true life – unification of the male and female qualities in a new life. Christ shall therefore be born in each seeking human in the shape of consciousness, joy of life and peace of mind. For the same reason he also shall suffer death in each one that strive for truth and redemption by means of understanding, acceptance and forgiveness. When this is experienced as a reality, the condemning temper disappears. Then - and only then – the life and lore of Christ may be become reality.
It may clearly be seen from the symbolism about virgin birth that Spirit represents the male principle in man – therefore it is the one that impregnate. Bu spirit needs to be seen also in another and wider context. It is an expression of conscious life and the realization that recognize and understand life’s secrets and connotations, connections. It is the tool that mediate between the source of life in the deep of us all – the inner guiding body, the mystery of life that we sense and call the living God – also called Spirit and Love. But the main tenet of virgin birth is the child within that we all need to return to and enliven!
The God of Christianity is a trinity, that is, it consist of three different elements – corresponding to the deity as being a projection of man’s inner organization with the three sections – will-active life – emotional life – and rational mind, woven together as one cooperating unity.
The Holy Spirit – the holy tool of truth – cannot be violated without leading to mans’ destruction. Therefore, the Bible uses the strongest language about this: “Wherefore I say unto you: All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” Matt XII – 31-32.
this heavy emphasis on the spirit probably stems from the Essenes, who were a prophetic society and as such was founded on recognition, understanding and interpretation of the scriptures. *)
They were absolutely right in their view of Spirit. It is indeed ideas, thoughts and attitudes – spiritual realities – that shapes the individual and determine history, cultural phases and directions of development. Often, just a single personality manage to make his mark on developments for millennia, as for example Confucius, Zoroaster, Moses, Christ-Paul, Muhammad, Socrates and Platon.
As mentioned, it has been very harmful that the historicity of Jesus has been made a cornerstone of Christendom. In reality, this is of quite subordinate significance, yes, it even contribute to banalization and literalism. What counts is the symbolic and spiritual reality and that thereby is the connection with the lore’s inner insights in the relationships for life, the universal validity of the symbols and the ethical quality. What is of importance is that Christ is the symbol of contact with life, freedom of guilt and the way to redemption. But then, he also becomes divine. For God is a projection and the concrete manifestation of the human follies and negative expressions of life – that again may become positive by means of insight and understanding of cause-effect relationships – when guilt and foolishness no longer enslave.
The life of Jesus itself – his birth – and death is the drama of the human soul and it’s salvation. Hardly any other religion expresses this symbolism shaped in such a simple and clear manner. Therefore, Christendom has the most favourable prerequisites for becoming an universal, common human religion – when it again becomes understood.
Not only due to its universal symbolism, but also in content and ethics, Christendom represents something epoch-making.
*) Chr. A. Bugge: Profetens folk og Christusmysteriet. Oslo 1951.
Nobody before had worreid about sinners – the misfits – the unhappy ones – except by having the excluded from “the just”. Especially Judaism with its innumerable observances – prohibitions and commandments – was very much a religion of laws. It was a religion only for the law-abiding who in most minute detail observed the requirements. Sinners were cast out and left to themselves without mercy.
Jesus broke radically with this attitude. He cared for the unfortunate. “I am not come to call the just, but sinners,” those were his words. He associated with publicans, i.e. accomplices of the occupation forces – and sinners – the most despicable of contemporary society. Jesus emphasized disposition. He came to bring unhappy, sinful people back to life – therefore, he threw no stone. He declared that the Father was the God of love and mercy who took care of the depraved and shipwrecked – those who no religion before had cared for. He brought hope into despair. But Jesus’ lore seems hard to follow. It requires understanding and forgiveness – which means that man can accept and understand also the negative expressions of life – sin – in himself, and thereby also in others. But the world today seems just as far from life and truth as in the days of Jesus.
Jesus was a revolutionary. He broke into a religion of commandments and into temple service. “And they come to Jerusalem; and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.”
Mark. 11 – 15-16
This was an unheard of provocation, because it broke into the services of the temple. We must be aware that money handling and trade with offer animals was a prerequisite for temple services such as they were practiced.
People hardly could carry animals over the distances involved here – therefore it had been arranged that they could buy animals at the temple. They also had to be faultless, and in the temple only inspected and approved were traded – so two operations had been consolidated into one.
We need to keep this in mind when attempting to judge the scope and impact of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, and why it awoke such deeply felt indignation and fear in contemporary Jews. *) Whether his behaviour in the temple was supported by the leaders of the Qumran-sect or not, they must have watched him with great interest. Because the Qumran-sect – which saw them selves as the true Israel – shared just the opinion that Jesus displayed in deed, with respect to the temple services.
Jesus’ lore is a reaction to the observance and literalism that lead to shallowness and peculiar evasions. He did not want to abolish the Law; he wanted it to have a real meaning behind its literal façade. Therefore he could say that he had come to fulfil the Law. He went beyond shallowness and letter – he continues the thread from the great prophets.
What counted was only the inside – the state of mind. That, and nothing else! And this he preached with strength and intensity, especially in his Sermon on the Mount. This sermon should not be understood literally as commandments absolutely to be observed. Doing so would be doing the same mistake that he had come to abolish. The Sermon on the Mount is an expression of the state of mind we may achieve when conditions are right.
Jesus here points out that what binds man and prevent his development is the condemning state of mind. But this stems from the guilt-morals with its accompanying ideals, projections and demand for power. Therefore, we see that in the capacity of doctor and healer, he performs by forgiving sins. And it produces results.. He was, like nobody else aware of the causal relation – one of the mainstays of his teaching.
The condemning disposition of mind, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, gets a thorough treatment and with deep insight into the causal relationship – that it results from the guilt-moral with its manoeuvres
*) See Hjamar Søderberg: “Den forvandlade Messias” and Joel Carmichael “Leben und Tad des Jesus van Nazareth.” 1966.
of loading and unloading in the form of outward projections – the replacement of one’s condemnation of oneself onto other people – to be haunted and criticized. The ordered regularity of this is clearly expressed in his great speech on the Mount. For example: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The one depends on the other. If our sins are forgiven, we may forgive our debtors. And: We may forgive our debtors when we ourselves have become without guilt. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” He presents variations on this theme numerous places in his speech. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” In other words, unless you understand and forgive yourself, you cannot forgive others. They are like Siamese twins that cannot be separated. When these inner barriers and delusion have been removed, mans capacity for love may grow and prosper. Therefore, the God revealed by Jesus very different from Yahweh of the Old Testament. He bas become the God of love and spirit!
Jesus erase all of the Law of Moses’ letters and shallowness and give mankind the spirit and life of the Law, its meaning and fulfilment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Also here, there is a condition present. When there is full love inside to the wonder of life and the “power” in our inner due to guilt, anxiety and judgment being removed, external results ensue as an extension of the inner union. One may only love one’s neighbour as one loves oneself – i.e. accepts oneself.
Jesus also knew what we all now ought to know, that symptoms, delusions, inner darkness and the problem of evil cannot be solved with violence, use of force and balance of terror.
The greatness of Jesu lore becomes apparent when seen as a counterpoise to the commands and prohibitions of Judaism: Thus shall! Thou shall not! But Christendom has to a large extent been coloured by attempting to act as a counterpoise. The old commandments were replaced with new ones, in spite of Jesus wanting to safeguard against this by extreme wording
154 – as for instance of cutting off of limbs and tearing out of eyes – that absolutely all should understand that it is the mental attitude that mattered and not the letter – and that judgment and guilt stood in the ay of one’s cohabitation with God. Jesus was fully aware of the causality with respect to capacity for love – within as without. Therefore he might also have said: You may only love your neighbour as you love yourself! It is the burden of guilt that determine ones own capacity for love.
Since as a consequence of the guilt-moral coercion and the ensuing inner judgment there are only a few who have full respect for his own inner, there are a correspondingly small number who may display living love for their neighbour. And therefore the world is what it is today. When Jesus used such strong expressions about the condemning state of mind, he was in his full right. For it is the principle of retaliation and intolerance that is the main reason to the large human disasters – war and persecution of dissenters.
The ten commandments in their time represented a great step forward in development, even if they in our view may seem to represent only a minimum requirement for an ordered society. In times primitive and war-ridden where the law of the jungle and the right of the strongest was a too decisive factor in human life, the ten commandments came as a ray of light through the darkness with ethical demands that after more than 3000 years still stand unshaken. But as time went by, decay came sneaking in. The commandments were to be bypassed. Numerous sophistic interpretations were invented to circumvent the categorical imperatives.
Then came the great Renewer as a cleansing and fresh wind into all the formalism, hypocrisy and literalism.
Jesus above all emphasized the state of mind as the only thing that counted. In his grandiose Sermon on the Mount, with a commanding and steady hand he draws attention to the importance of the right attitude, such that love and humanism may become the lodestar for man’s way of conduct.
Nearly 2000 years have passé since the great teacher and knower of life from Galilee let his authoritative voice be heard,
and now, decay has long since again laid its clammy hand also on his preaching. Soon hardly none, be it priests or laymen, that can show much else than a helpless or compassionate shrug against the spirit and contents of the Sermon on the Mount. Anyway, man shows in practice that the demands of Jesus are not being honoured. Who sells all he owns and gives to the poor? How many Christians are pacifists and refuse to kill? A pale and withered formalism is about all that is left of hiss message. The world today needs another renewal. The ever more pressing question is this: How may we achieve the state of mind that according to Jesus needs to be present if the Law is to be man’s obvious yardstick as ordering fundament for conduct of life? Many may be of the opinion that it is more than blasphemy to attempt to “improve” the Master himself. To this, it may be replied that it seems far more blasphemic to neglect the demands laid down in the Sermon on the Mount.
But from where is renewal to come forth? Helplessness and bewilderment seems to increase every day without any signs of light in all the darkness.
We must believe that in our times, the conscious knowledge about the human mind and its functions is greater than at the time of Jesus. Without hesitation we therefore need to attempt to find ways of obtaining the state of mind, the attitude that Jesus demanded, and which is of decisive importance for man’s freedom and future. Only by an adequate solution to this cardinal question, the great renewal may come – the renewal so dearly needed. No means must be left untried may it look even so heretic. We should remember that also Jesus were considered as a heretic and was treated accordingly.
How may the commandments and the Sermon on the Mount be given a content that naturally blends into modern man’s needs and way of life? How may the laws of mans psyche be presented such that they become as decisive as knowledge of the laws of nature has been for the technical evolution?
Due to their form, the commandments and sayings of the Sermon on the Mount have been conceived as categorical imperatives regardless of whether conditions have been present or not. This has led to many of the directions have been considered unreachable and to some extent incomprehensible ideals with so inhumane demands that they have become without real meaning as guidelines for life conduct.
A command or prohibition will be conceived as a restriction on freedom of action if conditions for free observance is not present. Observance on such a fundament hardly will be able to create the attitude and the spirit in conduct of life that was the purpose Jesus had in mind. If the demands do not match in a natural manner with the attitude towards life and the degree of maturity, the result may be that the sense of guilt may rise to proportions that may stand in the way for a natural development of intellect and the spiritual maturity assumed in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus sayings in the speech on the mount will receive a content that may resonate in all men, if the disposition Jesus preached is to be understood as an example of what may be obtained. The disposition Jesus preached may be found by all people – on one condition. That we assume an attitude towards expression of life – all life-expressions – aimed at understanding and not condemnation. Then, the road forward will be blocked wit bar and lock. Ikt si not without reason that Jesus in the Sermon urges: Judge not!
With this as our staring point, we will attempt to reach the spirit and meaning of the commandments.
The first commandment reads: You shall have no other gods besides Me!
The term God is a projection and concretisation of the cosmic power in life and matter. This source of life exist in all people as a unifying centre and it is only from this source that man can collect his power and his inner unifying unit to conduct of life and social life.
We therefore must not go astray and believe in manmade teachings and dogma that are without this connection and therefore is unable to release this divine creative power in each of us.
You therefore shall not worship or cling to anything but the cosmic power of life residing in your own inner!
The second commandment reads: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Instead we might say: If negative expressions of life, deflections and delusions are elevated to goals for life and norms, the wells of life dries out – with chaos and decay as an inevitable result. The negative expressions of life – “sin” – must be understood and acknowledged. Thereby, energy may be rectified and directed through the proper channels. The third commandment: Remember the Sabbatgh day, to keep it holy. When you have accomplished the duties of the week, you need to rest and tune your mind to devotion and renewal. The fourth commandment: Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. If you provide your children with a good start of life, and if you are to them a good example, they will honour you and they will fare well. The fifth commandment: Thou shalt not kill! This is the first commandment that Jesus comments further, which shows how much emphasis he attached to its proper understanding. That the command is hard to live up to can be seen by how it is being sinned against, with the blessing of all state powers. Jesus emphasized that it was not sufficient just to abstain from the act itself – one should not even hat one’s fellow men. He mentions this later in the Sermon:
But I say unto you. That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite the on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also, And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him in twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. You have heard that it hath been said: Thou shalt love thy neigbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. .. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye do not even the publicans the same?
Finally he says: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
How then to achieve this reconciling disposition? What causes the condemning censoriousness and the hard hearts? And the aggression that appears in ever more varied forms, not lest as intolerance? Aggression and the condemning censoriousness are to a large extent caused by the moral commands that are being forced into one during childhood without understanding as a necessary requisite for harmonization and coordination. The moral commandments then are conceived as restrictions, and against the barriers then arise the demands from the deep of the soul to make oneself free from the restricting ties. This may result in open or hidden hate towards those who appear as representatives of restrictiveness. Hate looks up or finds legal channels as for instance persecution of representatives of opposing ideas – or war.
With guilt and anxiety as overseer of how life is conducted, mechanisms will be activated for persecution of other people showing signs of the same guilt-laden tendencies one self struggles to keep down. One persecutes one’s own faults – in other people. It is one’s own weaknesses one attempts to circumvent in this manner. If oneself bears no guilt, one neither has any guilt to project into others. As long as people are unable to understand themselves and their own reactions, they represent a potential danger by their intolerance and condemning disposition.
Jesus therefore made so much effort in attempt to make the spirit of the fifth commandment common knowledge – without sophistic expounding by bishops, or other ways of theological fancy expounding.
The much mentioned sixth commandment reads: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Also this commandment is being given additional emphasis by Jesus, because it is important that it is understood. The symbols emplyed by the deep to make itself heard, often is expressed as sexual needs. They are symbolic demands – expressing themselves in a sexual context. Taking this symbolism literally is a symptom showing that the conduct of life is out of order and that barriers are sought overcome. But expressions of life in a literal- and symptomatic context are only a small step in the direction of inner liberation.
When conduct of life runs freely and without labour, this manifest itself as concentration, activity and joy in performing ones work. Then, interest is attached to one partner. Therefore the demands in this respect points to a situation where we shall strive to make ourselves free without barriers and compensating sexual desires. Jesus used dramatic images when talking about the sixth commandment – he was the popular speaker using metaphors that should be etched in his listeners mind. “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck It out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” This is of course not to be taken literally; it is just a way of underscoring the importance of overcoming the sixth commandment, sexual symptomatic and other contact-less infantile modes of cohabitation. The seventh commandment seems simpler: Thou shalt not steal! It might perhaps be expounded somewhat by: In the interest of stable and happy social conditions it is necessary that each one is allowed to enjoy the fruits of his own work, and that one should not enrich oneself at the cost of others.
The eighth commandment of the Decalogue reads: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!
If you are honest with yourself and make it a point to understand your own conditions, you will also be honest towards other people.
The tenth commandment reads: Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbour’s. Envy and greed are infantilisms and a halt of development cause by neglect of a child’s need for security, care and love. But compensations in a material and sexual subconscious chain of needs never bring any sense of happiness.
When morals become an outline of the main lines of the laws of life, restraint becomes unnecessary, and life’s line can be followed. Morals might simply be expressed in this one sentence: What you want others to do to you, do yourself unto them!
Realization of this moral imperative requires a maximal inner maturity. Therefore, it is seldom seen in real life, for most of us, it remains just empty rhetoric we don’t even care to reach for.
But all people, - regardless of religion – must strive to develop themselves that these words of Jesus become reality. Then the living and liberating society will ensue – that which we all long for – and we all grope after – more or less blindly. But all groups and every individual want to do it their own way – in the darkness of one’s own mind conceived as the only right way. Resulting in Intolerance, causing both the commandments and one self to fall.
Intolerance is one of the most important problems man has to cope with. The world bas become so small, shrinking day by day as a result of the development of communications and tele-media. People with different religions, culture and ways of life are brought ever closer to each other. The sparking is ominous. Judaism and the world religions built from it – Christendom and Islam – have all become impressed by the expansion and intolerance of Yahweh. He cannot stand anyone beside himself. His law is sovereign and ruling without restraint. The religious antagonism is increasing in intensity. Understanding of the nature of religion and the human mind therefore now more than ever has become an absolute necessity. Religious understanding and tolerance is an absolute requirement for development of a global community
For this development the teachings of Jesus may be of enormous importance. Christendom might be capable of solving the task. For Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God – the kingdom not of this world, but in us, i.e. he uncovered the real meaning of the symbols and the importance of disposition – love and consciousness - - as decisive factor in the life of man.
As God’s temple we have God, The impulse of Christ, and the Holy Ghost in us!
To really understand Christ and his teaching, we need to keep in mind the conditions at the beginning of the current era. The land was under roman yoke; discontent was widespread and growing. And the Jews had no chance of getting rid of the occupation by use of arms and physical strength. In the midst of this time of despair Jesus comes forth. He has a weapon that should prove far stronger that the roman sword; he wanted the liberation of man’s soul, with settlement of need for power and inner conflict matters. He wanted peace and goodwill in mind and heart, and then – but only then the outer peace will result as a necessary consequence. Jesus knew that violence breeds violence and that the results get ever worse as by and by people’s senses gets blunted. He knew that he who draws sword shall perish by sword. Jesus’ teaching and life stands up in all its might against such developments. It was not violence, but love! that would deliver the world and free it from pain and delusions- and save human values from ruin. But Jesus was a realist. He was fully aware that someone who presents the truth and wants it to love, will be opposed by his contemporaries.
People just do not like to be shaken out of their hibernating position of preconceived, traditional opinions and tenets of faith. Rebels and dissenters mus be made harmless, and neutralized.
That was as true then –as today.
He foresaw clearly that there would have to be fight, if this case should be victorious. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword” (i.e. battle). Matt 10-34.
This is a different, and in some aspects a far more correct image of the great spiritual temple-cleanser – than the traditional concept of the meek lord of peace.
For the truth about man will always be met with resistance and struggle – and he who wants to carry the case forward, must be prepared to fight -
against all those who have become well adapted with respect to the lie of life. The inner truth’s never win without battle.
Today, man needs Jesus’ lore more than ever. And just Christendom in its original, vigorous character and on a platform of understanding, have prerequisites like hardly any other religion for saving the world from chaos, war and intolerance – and the atomic bomb or even worse means of mass destruction that the human brain may design. It’s symbolism is universal, it’s ethical norms and understanding hereof stand their own against any other ethics. The world is waiting for the restoration of Christendom. It does not have to be so difficult as it may seem, for hardly a letter needs to be changed. All it takes is to understand the message the way it once was intended – and as it once were taught.
Time is maybe ripe for understanding that the symbols of Christendom are identical to those employed by the deep of the soul to express the wish for liberation of personality and spiritual growth.
These symbols are common human images that express the longing for inner peace and fullness of life. The main symbols therefore are centred on death, birth and renewed life. These primordial images have hitherto mainly been perceived literally, while in reality the are expressions of man’s individual inner needs, namely the removal of sin-guilt and anxiety – rectification of misdirected energy to positive modes of expression such that vitality may be released and provided with opportunities for growth as in the collective life.
Jesus did not unconditionally want to reveal truth – for it not to be prostituted – something that regularly happens when the unworthy grabs it – for use in service of their own deflections.
In this matter regular knowledge and position does not count – what counts are who can grasp life’s simple – but then even greater truths – with open and strong minds.
He was out to recruit adherents who could fully understand his intentions and who were willing to dedicate their lives for his cause. He selected such people by speaking to them in parables.
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables; That seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mark IV – 11-12.
He wanted people that were fully willing to go all out for the holy cause of truth.
The most central tenet of Christendom is the mechanism of atonement that shall free man from the burden of guilt. This now happens by faith in the suffering and death of Jesus by proxy. Many undoubtedly are helped by this faith since these symbols are very powerful, even without conscious recognition. But there can be no deeper understanding of the causes of disharmony with such an attitude. Neither can the problems be mastered on a safe fundament of understanding. For modern man also needs his intellect. He cannot in the long run live in conflict with it – then, rather believe in technology and natural sciences instead of symbolic language that is being conceived as balderdash – because it cannot be understood.
For many, the nimbus and aura of holiness that have surrounded the Christian symbols, in the context of interpretation that we have outlined here, will fall away, wholly or in part. But in return, they will be clearly illuminated and be seen in another perspective – they may then become of vital importance for all. Christendom will gain in sincerity; it will more than before become realized in the life conduct of the individual. Religion and life will again be one! The principle of love, insight and tolerance will be guidelines – not as a result of strict commandments, but as a matter of course. Hate, aggression and anxiety evaporate when the burden of guilt is lifted and understanding of the internal mechanisms take over. Men of different races, religions and social levels may find each other, when the human and religious common denominator is acknowledged, recognized. Then there will be no room for war, oppression and economic exploitation. It is now up to the clergy in the various denominations of faith to blow life’s renewing spirit into the holy scriptures and symbols. When priests again get a message to administer that is relevant for man’s actual and central inner and outer problems, the empty churches will be filled and bonds can be tied between the peoples of the world regardless of outer expressions of symbols.
The Christian mission cannot as until now base its work on preaching of the Bible’s letter supported by medical technology and material aid. Christendom can and shall eventually gain its position only by its own strength, its spiritual contents and not least by the example the Christians display with respect to social order and justice, inner sovereignty and peaceful cooperation between countries – so that other join freely. The examples so far displayed by so-called Christian nations have been rather disappointing. And the reason is not, as have been claimed, that the church have had too little power, - it just has not mastered the task with its literal teaching – quite reasonably.
Judaism is a pronounced religion of laws that in a particular stage of development is necessary as a guideline and for protection against chaos. Freedom then is conceived as a danger, such as people with incomplete development of consciousness still experience it.
Because of the outer pressure the Jews were continuously forced into themselves – to seek liberation there. Therefore, indeed they could find the common human pattern of redemption and personal development, such as we find in the great prophets, in Jewish mystery societies and further developed with Paul, who unconditionally broke down the national and particularistic barriers – and made the contents to a word religion of universal nature.
Development was transferred from the collective to the individual in accordance with the revolution of consciousness that has taken place – and still takes place. Freedom and social behaviour becomes a personal matter and an inner necessity. The outer apparatus of law as protective element is no longer required. Time had come to replace the symbols and letters of law with the spirit that is in accordance with principles of life, development and man’s inner reality.
The impulse of Christ was sown in arid soil. The seed has survived, and its fertility is preserved. Depth psychology has participated in preparation of the soil by rediscovering the common-symbolic mode of expression by the human mind.
The seed awaits the right spiritual climate.
Many people are worried about the process of dissolution in the world of today. But yet, this dissolving process is a prerequisite for something new and better to begin to grow. Therefore, time itself offers hope about development towards something better than what has been. It is while the world is in the melting pot, while it still is plastic, that the new may be formed. But if the coming is no better than the spent, the suffering that mankind now must endure, and will continue to endure, will be in vain.
For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while they slumber on their beds,
then he opens the ears of men, and terrifies them with warnings,
that he may turn man aside from his deed, and cut off pride from man;
he keeps back his soul from the Pit, his life from perishing by the sword.
"Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed, and with continual strife in his bones;
so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite dainty food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and his bones which were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the Pit, and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him;
and he is gracious to him, and says, `Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor'; (Italiced here.)
then man prays to God, and he accepts him, he comes into his presence with joy. He recounts to men his salvation,
and he sings before men, and says: `I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not requited to me.
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the Pit, and my life shall see the light.'
"Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man,
to bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may see the light of life.
Give heed, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you.
If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."