Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity

A long thread combatting the theological arsenal of John Morehead, an evangelical expert on the New Age cult of Anthroposophy.

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Fri, 09 Apr 1999 19:56:33

I don't know if we're getting anywhere, Tarjei, but I'll try my best to respond.

I had said that we need to have a rational foundation for truth claims, including religious truth claims, especially when they move from subjective beliefs to publicly proclaimed truth claims. You responded:

In that case you are going beyond the realm of religion based on faith and entering the approach taken by spiritual science, anthroposophy. If you are not doing this, you are within the limits of faith-religion, where any talk of objective proof is inapplicable.

This is a common misunderstanding of the New Testament's teaching on faith. Faith in a biblical sense is not an irrational belief in something in spite of contradiction, or a lack of reasons to believe. Rather, faith is a trust in the Personal God of the Old and New Testaments, especially as revealed through Jesus Christ. Orthodox Christianity holds that one gains a right relationship with God by God's grace through faith which is provided by God. This is *not* what is going on in anthroposophy, where the emphasis is on psychic or supersensible knowledge of occultic "higher worlds" of knowledge. Although the term "spiritual science" is used, this is certainly not scientific in the accepted uses of the term. Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, should be open to the testing of its truth claims, when and where possible, by applying tests of history, science, philosophy and the like. How is this possible with anthroposophical spiritual science? I claim that the marshalling of evidence is possible with orthodox Christianity, but not so with anthroposophy.

By the same token, nobody can set up a boundary between subjective belief and "objective public realm" unless they they are taking the step from faith to knowledge, from religion to science.

Is faith in your understanding contradictory to knowledge? I would hold that they are compatible, and that religion and true science must be reconcilable as well.

Analysis is a part of the scientific method and should be distinguished from traditional faith-religion.

Only if you put a wedge between reason and religious truth claims. If you do this, why take the leap of faith in the direction of anthroposophy, or orthodox Christianity, and not Hitler's national socialism for example? There must be some objective grounds for holding religious truth claims.

These contradictions, lack of substantiation, and falseness is all in your subjective lack of understanding, or of misunderstanding, which you may share with your peers.

I know this is your understanding, and your affirmation, but with no examples, it is just a mere affirmation and nothing more. Can you demonstrate how I, and my "peers", whoever that may be, do have this misunderstanding?

The lady in question had integrated Catholicism with anthroposophy. I saw the harmony in it, which made it valid.

So if you subjectively believe something, that makes it valid? What about the racist who says he believes in racial purity, but that he is not a racist. Since he sees the harmony in that is it valid? Or perhaps he has an internal contradiction which he hasn't noticed, thereby making his conclusions invalid, despite his sincerity in holding his views. Roman Catholicism and anthroposophy are not teaching the same thing. They are contradictory. This can be easily demonstrated.

You dont see this harmony, but you cannot borrow criteria from the rules of intellectual proof as used in the laboratory and apply these to the religious philosophy of a senior citizen. That is an arrogant lack of respect and a total misunderstanding of the spiritual nature of religious concepts, which are ultra-rational by their very nature.

You're losing me here. I'm simply trying to apply the rules of rational thought that we all use each day, often without realizing it. How is that an arrogant lack of respect or a misunderstanding. I've tried very hard to understand Steiner, anthroposopy and anthroposophists. That doesn't mean I have to agree with them, or that anthroposophy is true, or that it should be in public schools via Waldorf education. I realize that to critique another's spiritual views, and to consider claims of truth and falsity with regards to religion is not politically correct, but it simply must be done. All roads to not lead to God. Consider the following short poem by a colleage, Christian philosopher Frank Beckwith:

"All roads lead to God,
So many people say,
But when the get to Jonestown,
They beg to look away."

Evidence or intellectual proof has nothing to do with subjective religious beliefs.

If this is your view then you are left with a radical subjectivism in religious belief, with no way to share with another the reasons why they should share in your religious worldview. By contrast, the early Christians were encouraged to "be ready always to give an answer for the reason for the hope within you, but do this with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15). The word translated "reason" is "apologia" in the Greek. It means a vigorous, rational defense of the faith. Again, New Testament Christianity is at variance with Anthroposophy and the a-rational, eastern-oriented spirituality of much of the West.

Your evidence probably convinces yourself and your peers, but the hyper-intellectuality you thus apply to religion is actually killing the religion in the process.

Again, if you denigrate reason as applied to religion, you are stuck in a swamp of subjectivism. A true, biblical form of Christianity incorporates an emphasis upon the development of the intellectual life as a vital part of the spiritual life.

It surprises me that you call yourself an evangelist, or an evangelical, when your line of reasoning is actually virulently anti-religious.

It appears you are not familiar with evangelical Christianity. Evangelicalism, and orthodox Christianity are historically quite at home with intellectual endeavors. Case in point: the brilliant Christian philosophical minds of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine.

Orthodox Christianity runs into a very big problem here in regard to two Gospel events. One is the Immaculate Conception of Mary (fertilization without a male physical sperm);

I think you're referring her to the Virgin Birth or Virgin Conception. The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic doctrine which holds that if Jesus was conceived without original sin, then Mary must have been as well. The Virgin Birth is the Lukan and Matthian Gospel accounts referring to the supernatural conception of the child Jesus within the womb of Mary without the usual sexual reproductive processes. For a defense of the historicity of these narratives, see J.G. Machen, _The Virgin Birth_, in a cogent and scholarly work written in the 1930s, if memory serves me correctly. This treatise has never been adequately addressed by Christian liberalism.

the other is the flesh-physical Resurrestion and Ascension of christ. You may play around with as many intellectual proofs as you want, but your creed is in blatant contradiction with natural science; it is a scientific impossibility.

Contradiction with natural science? If the God of Christian theism exists, then by definition He is omnipotent, the Creator of the cosmos, and the Author of natural law. Thus, as the Author, He can temporarily interrupt His creation to bring about His sovereign purposes. These are called miracles. Only if we assume that naturalism is true, and no supernatural exists, are miracles false and at variance with natural science. There have been some good expositions of the evidence for the existence of God, and for the possibility of miracles, by Christian philosophers, such as William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler and J.P. Moreland. This is not problem for orthodox Christianity. Perhaps for anthroposophy...

I am not mentioning this to suggest that your creed is wrong, but to illustrate that you cannot apply scientific concepts to it, like "providing evidence."

Evidence is not limited to natural science. One can also provide philosophical, legal, historical evidences and the like. You seem to think that Steiner's esoteric Christianity is compatible with orthodox Christianity. I'm asking you to provide evidence, of whatever kind, for your assertions. Your assertions by themselves tell us what you believe, but not why you believe it, or why anyone else should believe it.

Your description of Steiner's Christology is foggy and wishy-washy. He used the Bible to substantiate his claims to a much greater extent than Gnosticism or hermiticism.

Yes. The Bible, read esoterically, in violation of hermeneutical, historical or grammatical considerations. Further, his interpretation of the Bible was influenced by Gnosticism, hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Spinoza's pantheism, Goethe, etc. This esoteric grid was used to filter the New Testament texts resulting in an esoteric Christianity contrary to the New Testament author's world view and intended textual meanings. You've provided not evidence to the contrary to counter my claims here.

Having read the entire Bible myself, and having studied Christianity, church history, and anthroposophy for more than thirty years, I may say with authority and conviction

Glad to see that you've studied these things for a while, but as I tried to state earlier, this doesn't guarantee accurate research or valid conclusions.

Steiner's esoteric Christianity have many traits in common indeed, and that any individual may mold his own cosmology and Christology from any combination of sources of his choosing. And people are doing this all over Europe. And it is extremely arrogant to say that you cannot do so, because when you say that, you refuse to accept any line of reasoning

The differences outweigh any similiarity, making them contradictory. It is not arrogant to point out contradiction. It is closed mindedness not to recognize, or to consider, such a possibility.

You are either ignorant of, or deliberately overlooking, the fact that anthroposophical Christology also affirms the unique nature of Christ, that He was the unique incarnation of God in human flesh, who died a substitionary death for human sin. This is one of the key concepts that anthroposophy holds in common with traditional Christianity.

As Dan Dugan's post made clear, Steiner's redefintion of the atonement is not the orthodox New Testament understanding of a once-for-all sacrifice for human sin in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and sacrificial types. Again, Steiner opts for Christ as "unique" among other religious leaders, marking his differences with theosophy, but still classifying it as esoteric rather than orthodox.

You are also obviously unaware that there are Buddhist monks who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. The blending of Christianity and Buddhism is happening all over the world along with the increase of believers in reincarnation, also among traditional Christians.

The fact that it is done does not mean it is not contradictory. You see such a synthesis more among naive Westerners rather than Eastern Buddhist adherents. Even the Dalai Lama, in his recent book of reflections on Christ's teachings, acknowleges that Buddhism and Christianity are not compatible and are separate religions. If the leader of a major sect of Buddhism acknowledges this, it should give reason for pause by errant Western "Christian-Buddhist" synretists.

Your main objection to the harmony of christianity and Buddhism, which you base upon "the law of non-contradiction" is an incomprehensible abstraction which is conveniently ignored by the rising mumber of Buddhist Christians like myself.

You are self-refuting here. You must use the law of non-contradiction to deny it. It is not an abstraction but a basic rule of thought which you use every day. You must use it to deny the assertions I've made in previous posts!

Your description of how Steiner developed anthroposophy is false, but I'll skip my comments and corrections for now.

See the scholarly reference works which mention anthroposophy, such as the Encyclopedia of American Religions. My understanding the influences on anthroposophy are accurate and references can be provided.

What author? Moses? Luke? John? Since Steiner obviously knew and understood those seers of old a lot better than you or any spiritually blind grammarians and book-worms, the "interpretation" was at variance not with the author, but with the orthodox scribes and pharisees of modern times - those who are blind to the living spirit and are choking in the dust of libraries and headspins.

How do you know Steiner understood them when he used a purely subjective, mystical method of interpretation? When he quotes a biblical author, any of them, and arrives at an esoteric understanding, he is scripture twisting and arriving at a meaning contrary to the author. If you used an esoteric interpretation of the Reader's Digest, TV Guide, TIME, or your tax forms, you'd be in trouble quickly. Why do it with the biblical texts?

In case of old documents, that cannot be done without spiritual research independent of external documents. After the spiritual investigation has been done, comparisons can be made with the original documents to see if they are accurate.

So you have to access alleged occultic worlds to ascertain the meaning of a New Testament text? Nonsense. One can look at the original languages, the history, culture, grammar, syntax, context of the text. This is responsible hermeneutics.

And who says that Judeo-Christian theism is superior to Western esotericism if they are indeed in conflict? And what about the Quabalah?

I maintain that Western esotericism, properly classified within the New Age movement, is philosophically inferior to Christian theism. In fact, I believe it cannot be demonstrated philosophically that it is not true.

This may be the contemporary postmodern understanding of history, but it can be demonstrated that the process of defining the creeds arose in church history as a result of a concern for theologically revealed truth in response to heretical error, not as a power play of oppression.

[small snip] And from the perspective of today, we can easily find that many insights proposed by the Gnostics and other heretics are more compatible with the understanding of our scientific age than are the orthodox dogma.

How is modern gnosticism more in touch with modern science? Again, nice assertion, no evidence. Let me provide a counter-example. Gnostic influence in alternative medicine. Prime example: Deepak Chopra. The cure for aging, disease and death? Simply change your consciousness, thereby bringing yourself into harmony with the infinite Creative Intelligence, and viola. No more sickness, because it was an illusion created by thinking. I submit that Dr. Chopra will still age, and die, regardless of his meditation, because reality is not as he perceives it. He has a false worldview and ideas have consequences. Those who follow Gnostic/New Age influences in alternative medicine are taking their very lives into their hands. Why not apply reason to this area? Why deny the advances of modern medicine in favor of a superstitious and magical worldview? If you do your homework, you'll see that historically, Christianity as life and world-affirming helped provide the philosophical soil for the advent of the modern scientific method, not gnosticism.

There is nothing wrong with defending truth against error, but the church has been most busy doing the exact opposite: Defending error against truth.

Nice assertion. Care to provide some examples and evidence for that assertion?

I think you would agree with me since you are defending your view of truth against my own. And I assure you, even though we disagree, I won't burn you at the stake, and neither will the rest of orthodox Christendom. :)

That's because they no longer have that legal option.

I'll have to ask you to try to leave the chip on your shoulder on the side when we chat. You insinuate that I'd burn you at the stake if it wasn't for the legal prohibitions. I wouldn't because that isn't sound Christian ethical teaching. It is immoral. To question my moral integrity is not the best way to build bridges of communication and understanding.

...and belief is subjective - *merely* subjective.

Not veridical? With corresponding objective object of that faith? Then how does this differ from self-deception, illusion or wish fulfillment? Why be an anthroposophist and not create a subjective religion of one's one design?

You're referring to the faith-religion that the evangelists, and the apostle Paul, taught the uneducated masses. But if this should have remained the essence of Christianity forever, there would have been no critical, self-dependent thinking, and subsequently no human freedom. There would only be blind obedience to the decrees from a metaphysical dictator.

Huh? I was describing the essence of historic orthodoxy. You have reinterpreted it according to postmodern sensibilities with notions of an oppressive orthodoxy. And how can you have a "critical, self-dependent thinking" within esoteric Christianity since you deny the law of non-contradiction and rational thought as applied to religious truth claims?

The latter is a totally superficial and uneducated rendition of the anthroposophical approach to the Mystery of Golgotha. There is talk of a physical body (resurrection body) that should not be confused with the flesh and blood, the shell around the physical "phantom." this is an extremely difficult thing to understand, requiring a lot of study and deep meditation. And it cannot be brushed aside and dismissed as a wishy-washy, metaphysical etheric, "subjective" nonsense kind of thing.

Where in historic Christian anthropology do the biblical texts refer to a "phantom" let alone an etheric or astral body? Biblical anthropology teaches that human nature is comprised of a physical and immaterial nature, but this is not anthroposophical. The physical body is essential to Judeo-Christian anthropology.

Rudolf Steiner says precisely the same thing. Did you know that?

Could you provide the references? I'd like to see them. It would be nice if he interpreted one major Christian doctrine correctly.

You obviously have no knowledge or understanding of anthroposophical Christology. You don't know what it has in common with other varieties of the Christ-idea.

This is your assumption, with no evidence. It would be nice if you could throw in a few reasons for your assertions, Tarjei. Christ is not a "Christ-idea," but the Greek term from the Hebrew Messiah, referring to a prophesied historical individual realized in Jesus of Nazareth. Your very assertion above demonsrates your acceptance of an esoteric worldview imposed upon Judeo-Christian theism.

You know that Christ said, "Let the little chiuldren come to me, and don't hinder them, for theirs is the Kingdom of God" (my paraphraze). But isn't that what you're doing, chasing Christ out of the schools and away from the children?

I support private Christian education, and the legal discussion of religion in public schools. I do not support the furtherance of a religious group at the expense of another or of no religion in violation of the Constitution.

John
=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 07:34:20 -0400

Tarjei and John are having a discussion:

It surprises me that you call yourself an evangelist, or an evangelical, when your line of reasoning is actually virulently anti-religious.

It appears you are not familiar with evangelical Christianity. Evangelicalism, and orthodox Christianity are historically quite at home with intellectual endeavors. Case in point: the brilliant Christian philosophical minds of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine.

A title of interest which goes right to the heart of this matter: "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind", by Mark A. Noll, William Erdmans Publishing Company, 1994.

Noll is a self-described evangelist, a professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

From his preface: "This book is an epistle from a wounded lover. As one who is in love with the life of the mind but who has also been drawn to faith in Christ through the love of evangelical Protestants, I find myself in a situation where wounding is commonplace. Although the thought has occurred to me regularly over the past two decades that, at least in the United States, it is simply impossible to be, with integrity, both evangelical and intellectual, this epistle is not a letter of resignation from the evangelical movement. It intends rather to be a cri du coeur on behalf of the intellectual life by one who, for very personal reasons, still embraces the Christian faith in an evangelical form."

Here's what Noll has to say about Thomas Aquinas (page 45):

"The work of Aquinas and like-minded friars left an extremely important legacy. He provided a model for reconciling the knowledge we gain through the senses with the truths we discover in Scripture. He proposed a theoretical explanation for some of the mysteries of the faith like the Lord's Supper. And he offered a model for apologetics that respected both the intellect of non-Christians and the missionary mandate for believers. In an age where the thought forms of Aristotle had come to dominate learned discourse, Aquinas taught Aristotle to 'speak like a Christian' and so preserved the conceptual power of Christian faith.

Thomas Aquinas did not provide the last word on any of these matters. Luther and Calvin, for example, felt that he had overemphasized what we learn about God from nature at the expense of what we learn from Scripture. Yet what Thomas did provide was a formulation of the faith that has encouraged generations of believers to labor with their minds for the glory of God. In so doing, he left an intellectual perspective that has helped sustain the wider Christian church to this very day."

Here are some of Noll's thoughts on Augustine (pages 202-203):

"One of the earliest full statements of the problem involved in carrying self-evident, literal, normal, simple or common-sensical interpretations of the Bible into the arena of science is also one of the earliest. It was written by Augustine in the fifth century toward the end of his life, and after several decades of nearly constant toil at interpreting the Scripture. When Augustine wrote the work entitled "The Literal Meaning of Genesis", it represented a substantial revision of his earlier attempts to understand the first book of the Bible. Now, sobered by his own earlier speculations and by repeated contact with learned individuals of his own age, Augustine, while defending the need to interpret Genesis 'literally' (as he defined the term), nonetheless had no patience with those who used the early chapters of Genesis to promote views about the natural world that contradicted the best science of his day:

'Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and the moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a dangerous and disgraceful thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischevious false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although *they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion* [quoting 1 Tim. 1:7].'

Augustine's claim is nothing less than that a Christian who attempts to interpret passages of the Bible with cosmological implications will *misinterpret* the Bible if that believer does not take account of what can be learned 'from reason and experience'. To limit oneself only to the Scriptures in such instances, says Augustine, is to misread the Bible."

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:04:56 +0200

John W. Morehead wrote:

Faith in a biblical sense is not an irrational belief in something in spite of contradiction, or a lack of reasons to believe. Rather, faith is a trust in the Personal God of the Old and New Testaments, especially as revealed through Jesus Christ.

If one tries to adopt the concept of faith in the Biblical sense and then sets it up as a standard to be emulated today, it is easy to fall victim to a common misconception arising from ignorance of evolution. What has to be kept in mind is that the epistemological foundation of anthroppsophy, as spelled out in "A Theory of Knowledge Impicit in Goethe's World Conception" (1886), "Truth and Knowledge (1892), and "Philosophy of Freedom" (1994), uses Darwinism, not theology, as a major point of departure. (Hence the title of Chapeter 12 in POF, "Moral Imagination - Darwinism and Morality.") All subsequent dissemination of anthroposophy must be seen in this light.

Because evolution involves not only the metamorphoses of plants, animals, and humans biologically, but also psychically and spiritually, there is a vital difference between how "faith" was understood in Biblical times and how it is understood today. The same applies to the relation between faith and knowledge, and between physics and metaphysics. On the one hand, the apostle Paul wrote that "Faith is evidence of things not yet seen...", and on the other hand, the Indian proverb says that "Faith in knowledge from within," the modern understadning of faith has become something like "Faith is trust in something that cannot be proven or demonstrated, and that may even contradict scientific evidence and common sense." And this is why dogmatically correct traditional religion (orthodox theology adhering to the law of non-contradiction if you like) is rapidly losing support these days.

Orthodox Christianity holds that one gains a right relationship with God by God's grace through faith which is provided by God. This is *not* what is going on in anthroposophy, where the emphasis is on psychic or supersensible knowledge of occultic "higher worlds" of knowledge.

The reason for this is very simple: Anthroposophy was developed for those who cannot accept orthodox Christianity as a foundation for religious truth because it is irrational, illogical, and at odds with Darwinism and other branches of natural science.

Although the term "spiritual science" is used, this is certainly not scientific in the accepted uses of the term.

That is well-known, and it has been discussed quite extensively on this list, on the Anthropos-Science list and elsewhere. The reason for this is that the epistemology laid out in the books mentioned above provide for a redemption of science, broadening its definition. The "accepted use" you refer to is identical with the restrictions imposed by the Scientific Community, which never has been, and never will be, an authority for the culturally heretical anthroposophical community.

Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, should be open to the testing of its truth claims, when and where possible, by applying tests of history, science, philosophy and the like.

If orthodox Christianity were a scientific theory, you would have a point. It isn't.

How is this possible with anthroposophical spiritual science? I claim that the marshalling of evidence is possible with orthodox Christianity, but not so with anthroposophy.

Anthroposophy is an integration, or rather a re-integration, of science, religion, art, and philosophy. The tests you mention may be applicable to the natural-scientific branch of Anthroposophy. Orthodox Christianity has no such branch. All it has is theology, old faith, and old books.

By the same token, nobody can set up a boundary between subjective belief and "objective public realm" unless they they are taking the step from faith to knowledge, from religion to science.

Is faith in your understanding contradictory to knowledge?

As a personal question: No. As a general question: Not ipso facto.

I would hold that they are compatible, and that religion and true science must be reconcilable as well.

That is also the premise for most anthroposophists. But the attempt made by orthodox Christians to go scientific has resulted in absurdities like "creation science." Again, ignorance of Darwinism and evolution is a key issue here.

Analysis is a part of the scientific method and should be distinguished from traditional faith-religion.

Only if you put a wedge between reason and religious truth claims.

That wedge was put by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. His argument was that the objects of religious faith belonged to a category that would remain forever hidden to cognition based upon knowledge. Rudolf Steiner disagreed and argued that the dualism of Kant should be replaced by a monism based upon empirical experience.

If you do this, why take the leap of faith in the direction of anthroposophy, or orthodox Christianity, and not Hitler's national socialism for example?

Dietrich Eckart did the latter. He is also the father of WE criticism and the primeval enemy of anthroposophy.

There must be some objective grounds for holding religious truth claims.

They are offered by anthroposophy.

These contradictions, lack of substantiation, and falseness is all in your subjective lack of understanding, or of misunderstanding, which you may share with your peers.

I know this is your understanding, and your affirmation, but with no examples, it is just a mere affirmation and nothing more. Can you demonstrate how I, and my "peers", whoever that may be, do have this misunderstanding?

I was referring to the marked tendency in all literature that I have seen from the camp of Protestant Christian theology when they attack New Age, heresies, etc. When it comes to Rudolf Steiner, they frequently manage to de-Christianize Anthroposophy through distortions. If I had kept those books and carried them across the Atlantic, I should have given you quotes. But my father was dying when I jumped on the plane from Houston to Oslo, leaving behind my old car, my kitchen utensils, some anthroposophical books, and *all* my fiction and orthodox Christian books, including the Concordance. What I did not leave behind was the books and lectures by Steiner.

The lady in question had integrated Catholicism with anthroposophy. I saw the harmony in it, which made it valid.

So if you subjectively believe something, that makes it valid?

It was valid for her, and I could see how. I am not a Catholic, so I cannot judge this any further than that.

What about the racist who says he believes in racial purity, but that he is not a racist.

He reminds me of the orthodox Christian who says he believes in religious tolerance while at the same time attacking other religions and philosophies.

Since he sees the harmony in that is it valid?

You are attempting to compare the old lady in Houston who was a Catholic and an Anthroposophist with a racist who believes in racial purity? Naughty. (She was a Republican and a political conservative, and I didn't get to know her well enough to find out exactly how she stood on racial questions, but she was a dear friend. She was the last friend I went to see in America before I left.)

Your insinuation deserves no further comment except another note about Dietrich Eckart. What initiated his attacks against Steiner and anthroposophy was a certain blunder made by some anthroposophists, who approached him about the Threefold Social Order. Eckart was a man with political clout with an active interest in esoteric Christianity and mysticism. He used all this knowledge in his attempt to discredit and destroy anthroposophy. And Adolf Hitler was one of his friends.

Or perhaps he has an internal contradiction which he hasn't noticed, thereby making his conclusions invalid, despite his sincerity in holding his views. Roman Catholicism and anthroposophy are not teaching the same thing. They are contradictory. This can be easily demonstrated.

I suggest that you demonstrate this to anthroposophists who are also Catholics. If no such person belongs to this list of subscribers, I believe it would be off-topic. But there were Catholic priests who approached Steiner after listening to his lectures and asked him why he didn't join the church and spoke on its behalf. And the theosophists accused him of being a Catholic agent and a Jersuit. And there is Valentine Tomberg, who joined the Catholic chirch with Steiner's books under his arm, writing his "Catholic Anthroposophy." And in the Vatican library, the works of Steiner are available to the Cardinals. The current pope discovered Steiner's Mystery dramas when working with theater in Poland.

You're losing me here. I'm simply trying to apply the rules of rational thought that we all use each day, often without realizing it.

This is precisely what anthroposophy is doing.

How is that an arrogant lack of respect or a misunderstanding.

The Houston-lady explained to me that she had to hide her Steiner-books even from her own daughter, who treatened with the index and excommunication and the like. When she saw my reaction to this, she asked me if I disagreed with the way she was handling it. If I had been her, I would have left the church. But I recognized that this lady had a life-long attachment to the Catholic rituals, and that she had discovered anthroposophy in her later years. So I told her that I could not advise her what to do, and that I respected the way she chose to handle it. You, on the other hand, are saying that she has no right to such a spiritual life (Catholic-Anthroposophy) because it contradicts *your* logic. That is arrogant lack of respect in my book.

<Poem about Jonestown snipped>

Evidence or intellectual proof has nothing to do with subjective religious beliefs.

If this is your view then you are left with a radical subjectivism in religious belief, with no way to share with another the reasons why they should share in your religious worldview.

Every individual must seek out his or her own reasons for adopting any religious world view of his or her own choosing. When it comes to spiritual matters and religion, absolute freedom must reign. Any attempt on my behalf to persuade another person to share my convictions in this area would be a violation of personal freedom. This dialogue is no such attempt; it is merely a defense against attacks - attacks where misrepresentations are involved.

By contrast, the early Christians were encouraged to "be ready always to give an answer for the reason for the hope within you, but do this with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15). The word translated "reason" is "apologia" in the Greek. It means a vigorous, rational defense of the faith. Again, New Testament Christianity is at variance with Anthroposophy and the a-rational, eastern-oriented spirituality of much of the West.

On the contrary: In the intellectual realm, anthroposophy is closer to New Testament Christianity than any other variety of Christianity. A point in question is that Protestant orthodox Christianity in America is bogged down in Old Testament ethics that are in the sharpest variance with the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. What I'm getting at is the cult of the Religious Right, where every expression of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, etc. is scorned as "bleeding heart liberalism." In addition to this, the Christian bookstore chains in America are packed with arguments for competitive capitalism as being the best vehicle for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A sharp contrast indeed to the communism practiced by the early church.

Your evidence probably convinces yourself and your peers, but the hyper-intellectuality you thus apply to religion is actually killing the religion in the process.

Again, if you denigrate reason as applied to religion, you are stuck in a swamp of subjectivism. A true, biblical form of Christianity incorporates an emphasis upon the development of the intellectual life as a vital part of the spiritual life.

And that is where it falls flat on its face - like in "creation science."

It appears you are not familiar with evangelical Christianity. Evangelicalism, and orthodox Christianity are historically quite at home with intellectual endeavors. Case in point: the brilliant Christian philosophical minds of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine.

Which reminds me of the fact that Rudolf Steiner hailed "Thomism" as he called it, and incorporated it in Anthroposophy.

The Virgin Birth is the Lukan and Matthian Gospel accounts referring to the supernatural conception of the child Jesus within the womb of Mary without the usual sexual reproductive processes. For a defense of the historicity of these narratives, see J.G. Machen, _The Virgin Birth_, in a cogent and scholarly work written in the 1930s, if memory serves me correctly. This treatise has never been adequately addressed by Christian liberalism.

The fact remains that the conception of Jesus Christ as explained by orthodox Christianity contradicts biological and medical science.

Contradiction with natural science? If the God of Christian theism exists, then by definition He is omnipotent, the Creator of the cosmos, and the Author of natural law. Thus, as the Author, He can temporarily interrupt His creation to bring about His sovereign purposes.

The idea of a lonely, "omnipotent" super-dictator who contradicts the natural laws of his own making falls as flat on its face as "creation science" does. I rest my case.

These are called miracles. Only if we assume that naturalism is true, and no supernatural exists, are miracles false and at variance with natural science.

When the explanations of "miracles" defy natural scientific laws, they are false.

There have been some good expositions of the evidence for the existence of God, and for the possibility of miracles, by Christian philosophers, such as William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler and J.P. Moreland. This is not problem for orthodox Christianity. Perhaps for anthroposophy...

It sounds more like a suitable topic for yourself and the hardcore skeptics on this list. You would have a ball with it.

Evidence is not limited to natural science. One can also provide philosophical, legal, historical evidences and the like.

Even within philosophy, all talk of evidence must at least include some science and mathematics. Still, philosophy always includes personal conclusions where equally erudite thinkers may be at variance.

You seem to think that Steiner's esoteric Christianity is compatible with orthodox Christianity.

I have not said that. I have said that Steiner's esoteric Christianity has many traits in common with orthodox Christianity. To the extent that any individual combines and incorporates these elements, it may be more or less compatible to that individual. The Houston-lady is a perfect example.

I'm asking you to provide evidence, of whatever kind, for your assertions. Your assertions by themselves tell us what you believe, but not why you believe it, or why anyone else should believe it.

The request for evidence would be valid only if I made specific *scientific* claims or assertions. Besides, I have no reason to suggest that anyone else should believe anything whatsoever. I have never been a proselytizer.

Your description of Steiner's Christology is foggy and wishy-washy. He used the Bible to substantiate his claims to a much greater extent than Gnosticism or hermiticism.

Yes. The Bible, read esoterically, in violation of hermeneutical, historical or grammatical considerations. Further, his interpretation of the Bible was influenced by Gnosticism, hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Spinoza's pantheism, Goethe, etc. This esoteric grid was used to filter the New Testament texts resulting in an esoteric Christianity contrary to the New Testament author's world view and intended textual meanings. You've provided not evidence to the contrary to counter my claims here.

The Bible consists of 66 books or so, and almost as many authors. In the New Testament, we have Mark, Matthews, Luke, John, Paul, and some more. But you seem to suggest that the New Testament was written by *one* author. Who? Some lonely omnipotent dictator using the miracle of automatic writing? Or some editor-in-chief in the Roman Church?

You suggest that you know the "world view" of this mysterious author. How? This absurdity again falls flat on its face and needs no evidence to push it.

The differences outweigh any similiarity, making them contradictory. It is not arrogant to point out contradiction. It is closed mindedness not to recognize, or to consider, such a possibility.

The arrogance is that because the contradictions that represent themselves to you exclude your understanding of those who integrate them harmoniously, you are actually saying that they have no right to call themselves Christians

As Dan Dugan's post made clear, Steiner's redefintion of the atonement is not the orthodox New Testament understanding of a once-for-all sacrifice for human sin in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and sacrificial types.

Dan's post did not make this clear. It was a request for clarification, which was in part provided by my answer.

Again, Steiner opts for Christ as "unique" among other religious leaders, marking his differences with theosophy, but still classifying it as esoteric rather than orthodox.

So? Perhaps you need your orthodoxy. I don't.

You are also obviously unaware that there are Buddhist monks who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. The blending of Christianity and Buddhism is happening all over the world along with the increase of believers in reincarnation, also among traditional Christians.

The fact that it is done does not mean it is not contradictory. You see such a synthesis more among naive Westerners rather than Eastern Buddhist adherents. Even the Dalai Lama, in his recent book of reflections on Christ's teachings, acknowleges that Buddhism and Christianity are not compatible and are separate religions. If the leader of a major sect of Buddhism acknowledges this, it should give reason for pause by errant Western "Christian-Buddhist" synretists.

The Dalain Lama has no more authority over an anthroposophist than does the Pope in Rome or some Jerry Falwell in America.

Your main objection to the harmony of christianity and Buddhism, which you base upon "the law of non-contradiction" is an incomprehensible abstraction which is conveniently ignored by the rising mumber of Buddhist Christians like myself.

You are self-refuting here. You must use the law of non-contradiction to deny it. It is not an abstraction but a basic rule of thought which you use every day. You must use it to deny the assertions I've made in previous posts!

The problem is that when it comes to spiritual matters, there are many paradoxes. In the Bible, these paradoxes are also known as contradictions. For this reason, the Bible may easily be torn to shreds by "the law of non-contradiction". The ability to see through a paradox and discern the truth within it prevents you from falling into the trap of dismissing it because of its apparent contradiction.

Your description of how Steiner developed anthroposophy is false, but I'll skip my comments and corrections for now.

See the scholarly reference works which mention anthroposophy, such as the Encyclopedia of American Religions. My understanding the influences on anthroposophy are accurate and references can be provided.

The falsehoods are based upon misuderstanding. This is why in Norwegian encyclopaedia and reference works, anthroposophy and related terms have always been defined by anthroposophists.

How do you know Steiner understood them when he used a purely subjective, mystical method of interpretation?

On the contrary, he used objective spiritual-scientific research.

When he quotes a biblical author, any of them, and arrives at an esoteric understanding, he is scripture twisting and arriving at a meaning contrary to the author.

Your identification of the author is diffuse enough as it is, because you are obviously not referring to the writer of the Biblical book in question, but to some nebulous omnipotent dictator or some equally obscure editor-in-chief.

If you used an esoteric interpretation of the Reader's Digest, TV Guide, TIME, or your tax forms, you'd be in trouble quickly. Why do it with the biblical texts?

Because the Biblical texts are antique, occult documents. The TV guide isn't.

So you have to access alleged occultic worlds to ascertain the meaning of a New Testament text? Nonsense. One can look at the original languages, the history, culture, grammar, syntax, context of the text. This is responsible hermeneutics.

Still, ignoring evolution, which has affected our comprehension of language considerably, especially during the last centuries.

And who says that Judeo-Christian theism is superior to Western esotericism if they are indeed in conflict? And what about the Quabalah?

I maintain that Western esotericism, properly classified within the New Age movement, is philosophically inferior to Christian theism.

I call that religious-philosophical fascism.

In fact, I believe it cannot be demonstrated philosophically that it is not true.

And you are perfectly entitled to believe what you want.

How is modern gnosticism more in touch with modern science?

I did not write that. I wrote: "And from the perspective of today, we can easily find that many insights proposed by the Gnostics and other heretics are more compatible with the understanding of our scientific age than are the orthodox dogma." What is meant by "the understanding of our scientific age" is the kind of reaoning and cognition that has evolved since the dawn of modern science in the 15th century, and as a result of it since the Enlightenment of the 19th century, not modern science per se.

Again, nice assertion, no evidence.

Ditto.

Let me provide a counter-example. Gnostic influence in alternative medicine. Prime example: Deepak Chopra. The cure for aging, disease and death? Simply change your consciousness, thereby bringing yourself into harmony with the infinite Creative Intelligence, and viola. No more sickness, because it was an illusion created by thinking. I submit that Dr. Chopra will still age, and die, regardless of his meditation, because reality is not as he perceives it.

The most deluded quackery of this kind comes from evangelical circles and their faith healing. this is based upn the simple command given by Christ to a sick person, "Take your bed and walk." The way this is being practiced today, with magical circus trickery, mass-suggestion and the like, is a prime gift for the Skeptics Society. Anthroposophical doctors have never engaged in this kind of nonsense, but orthodox Christians are notorious for it.

He has a false worldview and ideas have consequences.

A false world view he obviously shares with evangelical Christians.

Those who follow Gnostic/New Age influences in alternative medicine are taking their very lives into their hands.

I was referring to religious cosmology, not medicical practice, when I said that Gnostic thought was understood in our scientific age.. Because evangelical Christian movements best fit the bill of the trap you describe, you are shooting at your own cause.

Why not apply reason to this area? Why deny the advances of modern medicine in favor of a superstitious and magical worldview?

Anthroposohical doctors are educated in regular medicine just like any other doctors. They don't practice Gnosticism. This is outside my scope of expretise, but you seem to be completely off target here.

If you do your homework, you'll see that historically, Christianity as life and world-affirming helped provide the philosophical soil for the advent of the modern scientific method, not gnosticism.

The orthodox church has done everything to prevent the advance of modern science. Gnosticism is not useful for science, and I have never claimed that it is. Religion and cosmology is a different matterr.

Nice assertion. Care to provide some examples and evidence for that assertion?

Suppression of modern science, like heliocentric astronomy.

I'll have to ask you to try to leave the chip on your shoulder on the side when we chat. You insinuate that I'd burn you at the stake if it wasn't for the legal prohibitions. I wouldn't because that isn't sound Christian ethical teaching. It is immoral. To question my moral integrity is not the best way to build bridges of communication and understanding.

I wasn't questioning *your* moral integrity. Anyway, i's nice to know that you wouldn't put me to death for my heresy.

...and belief is subjective - *merely* subjective.

Not veridical? With corresponding objective object of that faith? Then how does this differ from self-deception, illusion or wish fulfillment? Why be an anthroposophist and not create a subjective religion of one's one design?

My point is that the subjective inherent in religious beliefs, which is present everywhere what religion is concerned, also in anthroposophy, excludes the applicability of intellectual proof. What anthroposophy is concerned, I am venturing my own conclusions and insights here, which may be disputable, but I think a line can be drawn between objective spiritual-scientific facts on the one hand (that may still be identified by outsiders as objects of subjective faith), and personal conclusions and beliefs on the other.

You're referring to the faith-religion that the evangelists, and the apostle Paul, taught the uneducated masses. But if this should have remained the essence of Christianity forever, there would have been no critical, self-dependent thinking, and subsequently no human freedom. There would only be blind obedience to the decrees from a metaphysical dictator.

Huh? I was describing the essence of historic orthodoxy. You have reinterpreted it according to postmodern sensibilities with notions of an oppressive orthodoxy.

Are you suggesting that the oppressive element in the orthodox church is a postmodern invention, a re-writing of history? Come on.

And how can you have a "critical, self-dependent thinking" within esoteric Christianity since you deny the law of non-contradiction and rational thought as applied to religious truth claims?

As I have already pointed out, the appreciation and understanding of paradoxes is not tantamount to turning a blind eye to apparent contradictions.

Where in historic Christian anthropology do the biblical texts refer to a "phantom" let alone an etheric or astral body?

I have never stated that Biblical texts refer to these things. Neither does the Bible teach reincarnation. Nor does the Bible contain the whole truth about existence, but only a part of it.

Biblical anthropology teaches that human nature is comprised of a physical and immaterial nature, but this is not anthroposophical. The physical body is essential to Judeo-Christian anthropology.

Body, soul, and spirit.

Could you provide the references? I'd like to see them. It would be nice if he interpreted one major Christian doctrine correctly.

Off the top of my head (there are plenty more): "The Fifth Gospel"'lectures held in Oslo, later in Cologne, in October and December, 1913 (GA 148) The first of these lectures (Oslo, 1st October, 1913) answers your question (that Steiner also said that belief in a literal, physical resurrection was responsible for the origin of the Christian faith).

This is your assumption, with no evidence. It would be nice if you could throw in a few reasons for your assertions, Tarjei. Christ is not a "Christ-idea," but the Greek term from the Hebrew Messiah, referring to a prophesied historical individual realized in Jesus of Nazareth. Your very assertion above demonsrates your acceptance of an esoteric worldview imposed upon Judeo-Christian theism.

There is no natural-scientific or historical conclusive evidence that Jesus Christ ever lived, or that the events recorded in the Gospels ever took place. That is why "the Christ-idea" is an accurate term.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 12:17:35

At 06:04 PM 4/10/99 +0200, you wrote:

If one tries to adopt the concept of faith in the Biblical sense and then sets it up as a standard to be emulated today, it is easy to fall victim to a common misconception arising from ignorance of evolution. What has to be kept in mind is that the epistemological foundation of anthroppsophy

So once again, we commit the fallacy of worldview confusion. We impose an esoteric, pantheistic grid upon a series of documents (biblical) which came from a Judeo-Christian monotheistic worldview. It is the syncretist and the esotericism which arrives at the misconception through this worldview confusion.

The reason for this is very simple: Anthroposophy was developed for those who cannot accept orthodox Christianity as a foundation for religious truth because it is irrational, illogical, and at odds with Darwinism and other branches of natural science.

How can orthodox Christianity be irrational, and illogical if the laws of logic, such as non-contradiction, are invalid? You're speaking out of both sides of your mouth. Eschewing logic when it suits anthroposophy, using logic when you want to denigrate Christian orthodoxy. You can't have your logical cake and eat it too.

If orthodox Christianity were a scientific theory, you would have a point. It isn't.

I never claimed it was a scientific theory. It obviously isn't, anymore than anthroposophy is. However, both worldviews make claims which can be judged with reference to various disciplines and evidences. Thus, their truth claims should be test for truth or falsity.

Anthroposophy is an integration, or rather a re-integration, of science, religion, art, and philosophy. The tests you mention may be applicable to the natural-scientific branch of Anthroposophy. Orthodox Christianity has no such branch. All it has is theology, old faith, and old books.

See my point above. Many of the truth claims of orthodox Christianity can be tested (e.g., the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, claims of an empty tomb, a finite universe, etc.). The same is true of anthroposophy when it makes truth claims. Anthroposophy may claim to be a reintegration of science, religion, art and philosophy, but it surely isn't testable in terms of empirical scientific methods. Is this what you are claiming? I think you may be equivocating in your definition of science.

That is also the premise for most anthroposophists. But the attempt made by orthodox Christians to go scientific has resulted in absurdities like "creation science." Again, ignorance of Darwinism and evolution is a key issue here.

Well please don't assume that all orthodox Christians hold to young-earth creation science. I don't. But my personal views are irrelevant here. Orthodox Christians are free to evaluate the various theories of origins and choose the one which best meets the evidence in natural revelation (nature) and special revelation (the biblical texts). This means orthodox Christians run the gamut from theistic evolutionists to young-earth creationists. The mantra of evolution cited as a proof of the falsity of orthodox Christianity is a red herring. And it does nothing to substantiate the cosmology of Steiner and anthroposophy.

That wedge was put by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. His argument was that the objects of religious faith belonged to a category that would remain forever hidden to cognition based upon knowledge. Rudolf Steiner disagreed and argued that the dualism of Kant should be replaced by a monism based upon empirical experience.

If monism is the worldivew undergirding anthroposophy, and I believe Steiner taught so, then how can you disagree with me? To disagree with me means there must be duality, otherwise, if all is one then orthodox and esoteric Christianity, despite any perceived differences, really dissolve under closer analysis since all is ultimately one.

I believe it can be demonstrated that monism is philosophically untenable. Even monists live as dualists, often without recognizing this is so.

Dietrich Eckart did the latter. He is also the father of WE criticism and the primeval enemy of anthroposophy.

But you didn't answer my question. Why *not* move in the subjective direction of national socialism vs. esoteric Christianity? If you cut yourself off from all testability of truth claims, and the applicability of logic to the same, you have not means of knowing whether your beliefs are objectively true or self-deception.

There must be some objective grounds for holding religious truth claims.

They are offered by anthroposophy.

And those are objectively what?

I was referring to the marked tendency in all literature that I have seen from the camp of Protestant Christian theology when they attack New Age, heresies, etc.

If you'd be so kind as to point out how these criticisims, philosophically and theologically, are in error, that would be appreciated so we could make sure the critics are accurate. No one wants to misrepresent. For example, my colleage, philosophy professor Francis Beckwith, co-wrote a book with Stephen Parrish, called _See the Gods Fall_, where they philosophically critique various worldviews, including the New Age. If you could point out how their critique fails philosophically, I'd be happy to pass along your corrections for the next edition of the book. Otherwise, it sounds like sour grapes in that you mischaracterize a sound critique as an "attack."

When it comes to Rudolf Steiner, they frequently manage to de-Christianize Anthroposophy through distortions.

Steiner "de-Christianized" himself through the adoption of a monistic, pantheistic, esoteric worldview which put him at variance with the orthodox monotheistic worldview of the biblical writers. You can hardly blame orthodox Christian critics of Steiner for that.

So if you subjectively believe something, that makes it valid?

It was valid for her, and I could see how. I am not a Catholic, so I cannot judge this any further than that.

But you missed the point of my question. Does merely believing something subjectively make it true, regardless of contradiction or incomprehensibility?

What about the racist who says he believes in racial purity, but that he is not a racist.

He reminds me of the orthodox Christian who says he believes in religious tolerance while at the same time attacking other religions and philosophies.

An ad hominem attack, Tarjei. Please answer my question and don't engage in personal attacks. If you don't want to respond, fine. We'll cease the exchange. But please don't question my motives. I have said in previous posts that I support the freedom of religion. That is not incompatible with pointing out errors in your posts when you claim harmony between orthodox and esoteric Christianity. You can believe whatever you want but that doesn't make it true, and it does not immunize your claims for analysis. I don't attack other religions and philosophies. I try to understand them, enter into dialogue with their adherents, and then analyze them as well. If criticism is attack then you ar intolerant because you take issue with my orthodox Christianity. It cuts both ways.

You are attempting to compare the old lady in Houston who was a Catholic and an Anthroposophist with a racist who believes in racial purity? Naughty. (She was a Republican and a political conservative, and I didn't get to know her well enough to find out exactly how she stood on racial questions, but she was a dear friend. She was the last friend I went to see in America before I left.)

Naughty? Come on, Tarjei. I was making no comparison. I was using an example of another situation using your logic to demonstrate that it doesn't hold water. If, as you said, believing Catholicism was compatible with anthroposophy was true for that woman, then does a racist who believes in racial equality mean that it is true for him/her. Or is this a contradiction, which would mean that logical thinking is valid, and that one shouldn't hold contradictory views?

Your insinuation deserves no further comment except another note about Dietrich Eckart

It wasn't an insinuation, it was a question based upon your method of thinking. If you don't think such questions deserve a response, perhaps this means you are more interested in anthroposophical evangelism and intolerance against skepticism and orthodox Christianity, than about honest dialogue over truth and falsehoood as it relates to Waldorf in public education.

I suggest that you demonstrate this to anthroposophists who are also Catholics.

I'd be happy to talk to them. One example should suffice: It is impossible to be a Roman Catholic and believe in a Personal Transcendent God, while at the same time believing in monism and a form of modern Gnosticism. They are contradictory and both cannot be true at the same time.

You're losing me here. I'm simply trying to apply the rules of rational thought that we all use each day, often without realizing it.

This is precisely what anthroposophy is doing.

What? Using the rules of rational thought (I thought they were invalid)?

You, on the other hand, are saying that she has no right to such a spiritual life (Catholic-Anthroposophy) because it contradicts *your* logic. That is arrogant lack of respect in my book.

Logic is no more *my* logic that it was Aristotle's when he discovered the laws of logic. We all use the same logic. Some of us are more willing to apply it to our worldviews and spirituality than others I guess. This does not boil down to arrogance or lack of respect.

Every individual must seek out his or her own reasons for adopting any religious world view of his or her own choosing. When it comes to spiritual matters and religion, absolute freedom must reign. Any attempt on my behalf to persuade another person to share my convictions in this area would be a violation of personal freedom. This dialogue is no such attempt; it is merely a defense against attacks - attacks where misrepresentations are involved.

I would argue that we use a variety of means to influence others to accept things we believe in (food products, restaurants, politics, etc.) and we still recognize and support personal freedom. It is just as true for spiritual questions. They are not immune from rational thought and should not be left to the whims of subjectivism.

On the contrary: In the intellectual realm, anthroposophy is closer to New Testament Christianity than any other variety of Christianity.

You keep making this claim, but you have not demonstrated this. I've asked about monism and the Gnostic reinterpretation of Christ by Steiner and you haven't responded as to how these things are the original Christian teaching.

A point in question is that Protestant orthodox Christianity in America is bogged down in Old Testament ethics that are in the sharpest variance with the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. What I'm getting at is the cult of the Religious Right, where every expression of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, etc. is scorned as "bleeding heart liberalism." In addition to this, the Christian bookstore chains in America are packed with arguments for competitive capitalism as being the best vehicle for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A sharp contrast indeed to the communism practiced by the early church.

I'm afraid you can't validly raise the specter of the evil "Religious Right" as a characterization of the original New Testament teaching. They are a modern expression of Christian thought in the area of politics and cultural influence. I submit that the doctrinal teachings and worldview of the original, historic Christian church are at variance with Steiner's esoteric reinterpretation, and you have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise. You are free to hold your views and deny you want anything to do with Christian orthodoxy, but you aren't free to misrepresent it at will contrary to all historical and theological evidences.

Which reminds me of the fact that Rudolf Steiner hailed "Thomism" as he called it, and incorporated it in Anthroposophy.

Really? He incorporated Thomistic logical, and perhaps philosophical reasoning in his books? If so, he imposed the foreign grid of monism upon Thomas Aquinas. And why emulate Aquinas' logical reasoning as applied to theology? I thought we had to transcend rational thought in favor of a subjective experience?

The fact remains that the conception of Jesus Christ as explained by orthodox Christianity contradicts biological and medical science.

*If* the God of Christian theism does not exist, yes. If He does, there is no problem whatsoever.

The idea of a lonely, "omnipotent" super-dictator who contradicts the natural laws of his own making falls as flat on its face as "creation science" does. I rest my case.

One can't rest a case, when one hasn't presented a sound one to begin with. Why is an omnipotent Supreme Being a "lonely...super-dictator"? This is a subjective mischaracterization put forward without *any* philosophical or theological reasons to sustain it. And you have demonstrated no parallel with creation science. If your case is closed then the God of Christian orthodoxy is acquitted.

When the explanation of "miracles" defy natural scientific laws, they are false.

Natural scientific laws are only immutable if the God of Christian theism does not exist. You assume this to be the case, but it is possible to provide sound reasons to the contrary, thus providing a satisfactory worldview background making miracles possible. And if you want to push natural law, I would submit that it is hostile to the "scientific" "supersensible" worlds of anthroposophy as well, and I have seen no argumentation to substantiate that to the satisfaction of naturalism.

There have been some good expositions of the evidence for the existence of God, and for the possibility of miracles, by Christian philosophers, such as William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler and J.P. Moreland. This is not problem for orthodox Christianity. Perhaps for anthroposophy...

It sounds more like a suitable topic for yourself and the hardcore skeptics on this list. You would have a ball with it.

Sorry you are not interested in exploring new ideas which may strenghten your current worldview, or challenge it to the contrary.

I have not said that. I have said that Steiner's esoteric Christianity has many traits in common with orthodox Christianity. To the extent that any individual combines and incorporates these elements, it may be more or less compatible to that individual. The Houston-lady is a perfect example.

So we are back to mere subjectivism and experience without reference to tests for veridicality? Is that it?

The Bible consists of 66 books or so, and almost as many authors. In the New Testament, we have Mark, Matthews, Luke, John, Paul, and some more. But you seem to suggest that the New Testament was written by *one* author. Who? Some lonely omnipotent dictator using the miracle of automatic writing? Or some editor-in-chief in the Roman Church?

Where did I say there was only one human author? Nowhere. And then we go back to your charicature of the God of Christian theism.

The Dalain Lama has no more authority over an anthroposophist than does the Pope in Rome or some Jerry Falwell in America.

You completely missed my point. Ignorant American Buddhists try to synthesize Buddhism with Christianity. But knowledgeable Buddhists, such as the Dalai Lama, while acknowledging similar ethical codes and that each tradition can learn much from the other, at least the Dalai Lama stops short of trying to combine the two because he recognizes their incompatibility on foundational matters.

The problem is that when it comes to spiritual matters, there are many paradoxes. In the Bible, these paradoxes are also known as contradictions.

A paradox or a mystery is something which goes beyond the limits of human reason, but not contrary to it. I submit there are no genuine violations of the law of noncontradiction in orthodox Christianity. But you merely skirt criticism here. Are the laws of logic applicable to spiritual truth claims or not? If so, they must be applied to orthodox and esoteric Christianity. If not, then you can't criticize orthodox Christianity for alleged contradictions. The sword of logic is two edged, Tarjei.

For this reason, the Bible may easily be torn to shreds by "the law of non-contradiction". The ability to see through a paradox and discern the truth within it prevents you from falling into the trap of dismissing it because of its apparent contradiction.

If there is a genuine contradiction, then it is falsified. Why look for alleged "deeper or hidden truth" when you find contradiction. Nonsense.

The falsehoods are based upon misuderstanding. This is why in Norwegian encyclopaedia and reference works, anthroposophy and related terms have always been defined by anthroposophists.

So Western scholars of religion cannot adequately understand or classify anthroposophy? Is that it? Hmmm. Then I guess only an orthodox Christian can truly understand orthodox Christianity and these believers alone must define it. Cool. Your criticisms are all invalidated by your misunderstanding? Do you accept this line of reasoning?

On the contrary, he used objective spiritual-scientific research.

How is a subjective investigation of supersensible higher worlds "scientific" in the accepted meaning of the term?

Your identification of the author is diffuse enough as it is, because you are obviously not referring to the writer of the Biblical book in question, but to some nebulous omnipotent dictator or some equally obscure editor-in-chief.

Please don't dodge the question. How can Steiner arrive at a proper interpretation of any biblical writer by denying scholarly methods of literary interpretation in favor of subjective esotericism?

If you used an esoteric interpretation of the Reader's Digest, TV Guide, TIME, or your tax forms, you'd be in trouble quickly. Why do it with the biblical texts?

Because the Biblical texts are antique, occult documents. The TV guide isn't.

So the literary interpretive techqnique one uses is determined by the age of the documents in question, at least in part? How old do they have to be before one uses an esoteric technique, and how do you know the biblical texts are occult documents, whose true meaning is hidden beneath the surface of the actual words unless one assumes this to be the case? Sounds like circular reasoning.

I maintain that Western esotericism, properly classified within the New Age movement, is philosophically inferior to Christian theism.

I call that religious-philosophical fascism.

I call this philosophical analysis, and the willingness to submit the Christian theistic worldview to the tests of philosophical reasoning in contrast with a Western esoteric worldview. Tests for truth and falsehood with regards to worldviews is not fascism.

Let me provide a counter-example. Gnostic influence in alternative medicine. Prime example: Deepak Chopra. The cure for aging, disease and death? Simply change your consciousness, thereby bringing yourself into harmony with the infinite Creative Intelligence, and viola. No more sickness, because it was an illusion created by thinking. I submit that Dr. Chopra will still age, and die, regardless of his meditation, because reality is not as he perceives it.

The most deluded quackery of this kind comes from evangelical circles and their faith healing. this is based upn the simple command given by Christ to a sick person, "Take your bed and walk." The way this is being practiced today, with magical circus trickery, mass-suggestion and the like, is a prime gift for the Skeptics Society. Anthroposophical doctors have never engaged in this kind of nonsense, but orthodox Christians are notorious for it.

Another ad hominem against Christianity, which provides no evidence for the alleged scientific status of anthroposophy. I don't agree with the abuses of alleged evangelical faith healers either, but that doesn't mean the whole world view is false. And regardless of Christian faith healing, it does not establish the alleged scientific status of anthroposophical medicine, or New Age alternative medicine either. You will find out very quickly that New Age monism is deadly to the Western dualistic worldview that modern medicine is based upon.

[large snip]

There is no natural-scientific or historical conclusive evidence that Jesus Christ ever lived, or that the events recorded in the Gospels ever took place. That is why "the Christ-idea" is an accurate term.

How about some historic evidence, from non-Christian sources, for the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth? Josephus, a Jewish historian, has at least one reference to him that is undisiputed, and possibly another that may have experienced, Christian interpolation. Additionally, he is mentioned in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus, and the Jewish Talmud. And one cannot discount the testimony of the early Pauline epistles, nor the Gospels, written, quite likely according to the latest scholarly concensus, prior to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, within a generation of the events they described. That's good historical evidence. The earliest critics did not deny his historical existence, they denied the identity with which the early Christians associated him, as Messiah. The "Christ-idea" concept ignores the historical evidence and the Judeo-Christian framework that it originated from, in favor of a monistic and esoteric framework. You can create a fictionalized Christ-idea if you want, but please don't claim that is the historical concept.

I don't know that we're getting anywere, Tarjei, and we're probably boring this list to death.

John Morehead
=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 22:51:53 +0100

John & Wendy Morehead wrote:

Tarjei:

I suggest that you demonstrate this to anthroposophists who are also Catholics.

I'd be happy to talk to them. One example should suffice: It is impossible to be a Roman Catholic and believe in a Personal Transcendent God, while at the same time believing in monism and a form of modern Gnosticism. They are contradictory and both cannot be true at the same time.

A former colleague is a devout Roman Catholic and a member of the Anthroposophical Society. I very much doubt that she is the only person who is comfortable in this position. Perhaps those who believe that such a situation is impossible misunderstand Roman Catholicism, anthroposophy (most likely), or both. Perhaps the solution to this conundrum lies in the fact that being an anthroposophist does not require a belief in anything (although I grant that I cannot imagine an anthropop who does not believe in the existence of a spiritual reality -- but it is not *required* -- this, IMHO, is one of the distinctions between anthroposophy and religion).

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 03:15:51 +0200

I wrote:

If one tries to adopt the concept of faith in the Biblical sense and then sets it up as a standard to be emulated today, it is easy to fall victim to a common misconception arising from ignorance of evolution. What has to be kept in mind is that the epistemological foundation of anthroppsophy

John Morehead wrote:

So once again, we commit the fallacy of worldview confusion. We impose an esoteric, pantheistic grid upon a series of documents (biblical) which came from a Judeo-Christian monotheistic worldview. It is the syncretist and the esotericism which arrives at the misconception through this worldview confusion.

The imposition of an abstract monotheistic theology upon barely understood ancient scriptures by scholars who get lost in word-definitions because they cannot evoke a living relationship to them, results in a fallacy where such self-appointed authorities are blind to their own confusion, which they suppress in order to project the illusion of insight.

When the evolution of conceptualizing arising from language is conveniently ignored and ancient languages are approached with the consciousness of today in the belief that the texts were written by and for individuals with the same consciousness, the result is self-delusion due to soul-spiritual anachronisms.

How can orthodox Christianity be irrational, and illogical if the laws of logic, such as non-contradiction, are invalid? You're speaking out of both sides of your mouth. Eschewing logic when it suits anthroposophy, using logic when you want to denigrate Christian orthodoxy. You can't have your logical cake and eat it too.

In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic. Secondly, orthodox Christianity claims that their lonesome, monotheistic dictator intervenes in history with miracles that contradict the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. It is required that one makes a leap of faith to accept such things and ignores intellectual honesty. For someone whose acceptance of reality is dependent upon the scientific intellect, this is irrational and illogical. This irrationality and illogic is not identical with what you call a violation of non-contradiction because it is not a paradox. Or if it is a paradox to you, which makes it possible for you to hold the contradictory views of natural laws on the one hand, and the unheard-of violations of such laws on the other, it is not acceptable to the more science oriented thinker, for whom Anthroposophy was developed.

<snip>

Many of the truth claims of orthodox Christianity can be tested (e.g., the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth,

Nope. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that he ever lived.

claims of an empty tomb,

No scientific evidence of any resurrection either. You're referring to the accounts by the evangelists, who were "eyewitnesses," seers, who perceived these events clairvoyantly. (Luke, for example, was never physically present.)

Natural science does not support Christianity in any form.

a finite universe, etc.).

Oh, try that one on talk.origins.

The same is true of anthroposophy when it makes truth claims. Anthroposophy may claim to be a reintegration of science, religion, art and philosophy,

Correction: Anthroposophy does NOT CLAIM to be THE reintegration of science, religion, art and philosophy, as if it had a monopoly on such integration. I merely stated that Anthroposophy does integrate these fields.

but it surely isn't testable in terms of empirical scientific methods.

You don't test the composition of a culture by scientific methods any more than you test a song, a non-scientific thought experiment, a poem, or a religious feeling. The testing of the scientific aspect of anthroposophy, i.e. goethean science, bidynamic agriculture etc. is a different matter, and that is one of the key topics being discussed on this and other lists.

Again, it suprises me that you are a religionist, because your reasoning process resembles more that of a materialistic science freak who wants to make even the validity of a work of art subject to scientific testing.

<snip>

Well please don't assume that all orthodox Christians hold to young-earth creation science. I don't. But my personal views are irrelevant here. Orthodox Christians are fee to evaluate the various theories of origins and choose the one which best meets the evidence in natural revelation (nature) and special revelation (the biblical texts). This means orthodox Christians run the gamut from theistic evolutionists to young-earth creationists. The mantra of evolution cited as a proof of the falsity of orthodox Christianity is a red herring. And it does nothing to substantiate the cosmology of Steiner and anthroposophy.

The criticism of anthroposophical Christology as erroneous and false falls flat on its face when confronted with the consideration of psychic-spiritual evolution and its effect upon present-day orthodox interpretation of old literature. Beyond this, the consideration in question is not intended to substantiate anything, but to encourage more comprehensive research and less condescending arrogance.

If monism is the worldivew undergirding anthroposophy, and I believe Steiner taught so, then how can you disagree with me? To disagree with me means there must be duality, otherwise, if all is one then orthodox and esoteric Christianity, despite any perceived differences, really dissolve under closer analysis since all is ultimately one.

It's no miracle that you can believe in miracles that go contrary to physical causality.

I believe it can be demonstrated that monism is philosophically untenable. Even monists live as dualists, often without recognizing this is so.

Granted. Dualism is very pervasive in our culture, and hardly anyone is unaffected by it. But monism makes perfect sense, and it is worth striving for.

If you do this, why take the leap of faith in the direction of anthroposophy, or orthodox Christianity, and not Hitler's national socialism for example?

Dietrich Eckart did the latter. He is also the father of WE criticism and the primeval enemy of anthroposophy.

But you didn't answer my question.

Yes I did - in the affirmative with Dietrich Eckart as an example.

Why *not* move in the subjective direction of national socialism vs. esoteric Christianity? If you cut yourself off from all testability of truth claims, and the applicability of logic to the same, you have not means of knowing whether your beliefs are objectively true or self-deception.

This discrimination is a continuous process. It is of crucial importance to recognize how much of our perceive reality is in fact illusion, self-deception. This is a struggle that drives every true artist - to get deeper and deeper in touch with reality, with one's real self.

There must be some objective grounds for holding religious truth claims.

They are offered by anthroposophy.

And those are objectively what?

It's all in the basic books, from scratch. Start with "Truth and Science" (or "Truth and Knowledge"). As a specialist in new religions and an expert on anthroposophy from an evangelical perspective, you ought to read them.

If you'd be so kind as to point out how these criticisims, philosophically and theologically, are in error, that would be appreciated so we could make sure the critics are accurate. No one wants to misrepresent. For example, my colleage, philosophy professor Francis Beckwith, co-wrote a book with Stephen Parrish, called _See the Gods Fall_, where they philosophically critique various worldviews, including the New Age. If you could point out how their critique fails philosophically, I'd be happy to pass along your corrections for the next edition of the book. Otherwise, it sounds like sour grapes in that you mischaracterize a sound critique as an "attack."

First, I have not read the book you mention, so I cannot comment on it. Secondly, the very title of the book makes it clear that my corrections would not be included in the next edition. Anyway, an error I have already mentioned from another book was that Buddhism was supposed to be the invention of Satan to confuse the Christians - that because Satan knew Christ was coming, he came up with Buddha as his own disciple. That's just one example.

When it comes to Rudolf Steiner, they frequently manage to de-Christianize Anthroposophy through distortions.

Steiner "de-Christianized" himself through the adoption of a monistic, pantheistic, esoteric worldview which put him at variance with the orthodox monotheistic worldview of the biblical writers.

What you mean is that because esotericism is unpalatable to you, and because Steiner's view collides with your Bible-interpretation and your Christianity, you have the right to judge Rudolf Steiner's personal relation to Christ, and mine. You have no such right by no authority whatsoever. The "authority" you represent is a paper tiger of no consequence whatsoever.

But you missed the point of my question. Does merely believing something subjectively make it true, regardless of contradiction or incomprehensibility?

I have not declared, suggested, nor implied anything of the kind.

What about the racist who says he believes in racial purity, but that he is not a racist.

He reminds me of the orthodox Christian who says he believes in religious tolerance while at the same time attacking other religions and philosophies.

An ad hominem attack, Tarjei. Please answer my question and don't engage in personal attacks.

I wasn't attacking you at all; I was comparing your hypocritical racist with a hypocritical Christian. If you are not a hypocritical Christian, it was not a personal attack. If you are, I apologize.

If you don't want to respond, fine. We'll cease the exchange. But please don't question my motives. I have said in previous posts that I support the freedom of religion. That is not incompatible with pointing out errors in your posts when you claim harmony between orthodox and esoteric Christianity.

This is the SECOND time you distort my point here. I said that orthodox and esoteric Christianity have many traits in common. I said nothing about them being in harmony, and I certainly didn't CLAIM their harmony. I said that any individual is free to harmonize any religious streams of his or her choosing.

You can believe whatever you want but that doesn't make it true,

Ditto.

and it does not immunize your claims for analysis.

People may analyze everything I write to this list until their faces turn blue for all I care. And they may call every word from my keyboard a "claim" for that matter.

I don't attack other religions and philosophies.

You call them falsehoods and errors.

I try to understand them, enter into dialogue with their adherents, and then analyze them as well. If criticism is attack then you ar intolerant because you take issue with my orthodox Christianity. It cuts both ways.

That is only a partial truth. I am not taking issue with orthodox Christianity, because it has too much in common with Anthroposophy for that - obviously a lot more than you are aware of. What I am taking issue with is the arrogant labelling of Anthroposophy as a false and erroneaous Christianity - even a de-Christianized Christianity. When I point to flaws in orthodox logic, it is to demonstrate that attacks against Anthroposophy from an orthodox chair is tantamount to hurling bricks from a glass-house.

You are attempting to compare the old lady in Houston who was a Catholic and an Anthroposophist with a racist who believes in racial purity? Naughty. (She was a Republican and a political conservative, and I didn't get to know her well enough to find out exactly how she stood on racial questions, but she was a dear friend. She was the last friend I went to see in America before I left.)

Naughty? Come on, Tarjei. I was making no comparison. I was using an example of another situation using your logic to demonstrate that it doesn't hold water. If, as you said, believing Catholicism was compatible with anthroposophy was true for that woman, then does a racist who believes in racial equality mean that it is true for him/her. Or is this a contradiction, which would mean that logical thinking is valid, and that one shouldn't hold contradictory views?

When you conclude from the philosophy of the Houston-lady that a racist can believe in racial equality, your logic is, in my opinion, seriously flawed at this point.

Your insinuation deserves no further comment except another note about Dietrich Eckart

It wasn't an insinuation, it was a question based upon your method of thinking. If you don't think such questions deserve a response, perhaps this means you are more interested in anthroposophical evangelism and intolerance against skepticism and orthodox Christianity, than about honest dialogue over truth and falsehoood as it relates to Waldorf in public education.

I suggest that you demonstrate this to anthroposophists who are also Catholics.

I'd be happy to talk to them. One example should suffice: It is impossible to be a Roman Catholic and believe in a Personal Transcendent God, while at the same time believing in monism and a form of modern Gnosticism. They are contradictory and both cannot be true at the same time.

It's because you're getting lost in an intellectual labyrinth with no exit. Anthro-Catholics don't. If Christ is real, and if He meets those who seek Him, He doesn't care about such nonsense. If the Catholic church and Anthroposophy are both paths to Christ, only the Devil would pose an intellectual objection of this kind.

You're losing me here. I'm simply trying to apply the rules of rational thought that we all use each day, often without realizing it.

This is precisely what anthroposophy is doing.

What? Using the rules of rational thought (I thought they were invalid)?

I have made no such statement. I said that intellectual proof and scientific evidence has no validity outside natural science and mathematics.

Logic is no more *my* logic that it was Aristotle's when he discovered the laws of logic. We all use the same logic.

This very exchange testifies to the opposite.

I would argue that we use a variety of means to influence others to accept things we believe in (food products, restaurants, politics, etc.) and we still recognize and support personal freedom. It is just as true for spiritual questions. They are not immune from rational thought and should not be left to the whims of subjectivism.

I am still left with the distinct impression that spiritual views that do not conform with your own rational understanding are dismissed as "whims of subjectivism." And when you now say that spiritual questions should not be left to such whims, you are in a sense setting yourself up as an authority over other people what such questions are concerned.

You keep making this claim, but you have not demonstrated this. I've asked about monism and the Gnostic reinterpretation of Christ by Steiner and you haven't responded as to how these things are the original Christian teaching.

There isn't enough room in these posts for me to quote entire lecture-cycles by Steiner on the four Gospels. Monism is dealt with in POF, Gnosticism in "Christ and the Spiritual World and the Search for the Holy Grail" (GA 149). As an inquisitive bookworm, you shouldn't ask me to spell it all out for you under the guise of "demonstrating claims." Save that for talk.origins or another ng that is strictly limited to science.

I'm afraid you can't validly raise the specter of the evil "Religious Right" as a characterization of the original New Testament teaching. They are a modern expression of Christian thought in the area of politics and cultural influence. I submit that the doctrinal teachings and worldview of the original, historic Christian church are at variance with Steiner's esoteric reinterpretation, and you have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise.

I have made myself perfectly clear all the way, and your repeated demands for demonstrations appear to be expressive of your needing a hand to pull you out of those intellectual labyrinths of your own making - your own cerebral spider-webs.

You are free to hold your views and deny you want anything to do with Christian orthodoxy, but you aren't free to misrepresent it at will contrary to all historical and theological evidences.

I have not misrepresented Christian orthodoxy, because I haven't even presented it. What I have done is to poke holes in your misrepresentation of Anthroposophy at the expense of your version of orthodoxy.

Which reminds me of the fact that Rudolf Steiner hailed "Thomism" as he called it, and incorporated it in Anthroposophy.

Really? He incorporated Thomistic logical, and perhaps philosophical reasoning in his books? If so, he imposed the foreign grid of monism upon Thomas Aquinas. And why emulate Aquinas' logical reasoning as applied to theology? I thought we had to transcend rational thought in favor of a subjective experience?

You have misunderstood my point altogether. What I have tried to explain is that a higher level of reasoning, which Steiner called "sense-free thinking," should be supplemented to the logical intellectualizing that is fettered to the physical brain cells. I did not say that the former should replace the latter.

As for Thomism, read the three RS lectures "The Redemption of Thinking, a Study in the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas" (GA 605). Again, don't ask me to spell everything out for you.

One can't rest a case, when one hasn't presented a sound one to begin with. Why is an omnipotent Supreme Being a "lonely...super-dictator"? This is a subjective mischaracterization put forward without *any* philosophical or theological reasons to sustain it. And you have demonstrated no parallel with creation science. If your case is closed then the God of Christian orthodoxy is acquitted.

No god is on trial here. Only theologians. The "lonely super-dictator" is my expression to illustrate that I find the concept absurd and untenable. I am not interested in demonstrating, and I have no ambition to persuade you or anybody else to share my insight.

When the explanation of "miracles" defy natural scientific laws, they are false.

Natural scientific laws are only immutable if the God of Christian theism does not exist. You assume this to be the case, but it is possible to provide sound reasons to the contrary, thus providing a satisfactory worldview background making miracles possible. And if you want to push natural law, I would submit that it is hostile to the "scientific" "supersensible" worlds of anthroposophy as well, and I have seen no argumentation to substantiate that to the satisfaction of naturalism.

Natural law is not hostile to anthroposophically oriented spiritual science, but it IS hostile to the idea of a deity breaking this law like some circus magician, which is found in Christian fundamentalist orthodoxy.

<snip>

I have not said that. I have said that Steiner's esoteric Christianity has many traits in common with orthodox Christianity. To the extent that any individual combines and incorporates these elements, it may be more or less compatible to that individual. the Houston-lady is a perfect example.

So we are back to mere subjectivism and experience without reference to tests for veridicality? Is that it?

You're incredible. First you distort my statement, and then when I correct your distortion, you start chanting your totally irrelevant science-test-song.

The Bible consists of 66 books or so, and almost as many authors. In the New Testament, we have Mark, Matthews, Luke, John, Paul, and some more. But you seem to suggest that the New Testament was written by *one* author. Who? Some lonely omnipotent dictator using the miracle of automatic writing? Or some editor-in-chief in the Roman Church?

Where did I say there was only one human author? Nowhere.

Your memory fails. You wrote: "This esoteric grid was used to filter the New Testament texts resulting in an esoteric Christianity contrary to the New Testament author's world view and intended textual meanings."

<snip>

Ignorant American Buddhists try to synthesize Buddhism with Christianity.

There may be ignorant Buddhists all over the world. But if harmonizing Buddhism with Christianity is evidence of ignorance in your view, you are calling all Anthroposophists, including Yours Truly, ignorant. Anthropopsophy is Christian Buddhism, or Buddhist Christianity. So much for your religious tolerance and your respect for other philosophies.

But knowledgeable Buddhists, such as the Dalai Lama, while acknowledging similar ethical codes and that each tradition can learn much from the other, at least the Dalai Lama stops short of trying to combine the two because he recognizes their incompatibility on foundational matters.

Now you are implying quite clearly that anthroposophists are not knowledgeable because they do not share YOUR view that Buddhism and Christianity are compatible. Your prejudice and bigotry is exposed.

The problem is that when it comes to spiritual matters, there are many paradoxes. In the Bible, these paradoxes are also known as contradictions.

A paradox or a mystery is something which goes beyond the limits of human reason, but not contrary to it. I submit there are no genuine violations of the law of noncontradiction in orthodox Christianity. But you merely skirt criticism here. Are the laws of logic applicable to spiritual truth claims or not? If so, they must be applied to orthodox and esoteric Christianity. If not, then you can't criticize orthodox Christianity for alleged contradictions. The sword of logic is two edged, Tarjei.

The contradictions in orthodox Christianity are clear what natural laws versus the metaphysical circus magician is concerned. In esoteric Christianity there are no logical contradictions, except those of your own making.

For this reason, the Bible may easily be torn to shreds by "the law of non-contradiction". The ability to see through a paradox and discern the truth within it prevents you from falling into the trap of dismissing it because of its apparent contradiction.

If there is a genuine contradiction, then it is falsified. Why look for alleged "deeper or hidden truth" when you find contradiction. Nonsense.

If you don't look for "the deeper hidden truth," you are stuck with two choices: You either reject the Bible altogether as imaginative fiction, or you take it at surface face-value, as inerrant and literally true in the simpleton-sense. Pick your own nonsense.

The falsehoods are based upon misuderstanding. This is why in Norwegian encyclopaedia and reference works, anthroposophy and related terms have always been defined by anthroposophists.

So Western scholars of religion cannot adequately understand or classify anthroposophy? Is that it? Hmmm. Then I guess only an orthodox Christian can truly understand orthodox Christianity and these believers alone must define it. Cool. Your criticisms are all invalidated by your misunderstanding? Do you accept this line of reasoning?

You're missing one crucial point here: I have been an orthodox Christian of the Protestant variety. I even taught Bible classes according to orthodox theology. If you had been an ex-anthroposophist and lectured about the spiritual evolution of humanity from a spiritual-scientific viewpoint before you became an orthodox Christian, you might have a point.

On the contrary, he used objective spiritual-scientific research.

How is a subjective investigation of supersensible higher worlds "scientific" in the accepted meaning of the term?

The investigation is objective, not subjective. Read "Outline of Occult Science." Don't ask me to spoon any of it out to you, because I've already done that for Dan Dugan.

Please don't dodge the question. How can Steiner arrive at a proper interpretation of any biblical writer by denying scholarly methods of literary interpretation in favor of subjective esotericism?

He checks out the author's sources before examining the text to see if it matches his own independent findings. You can't beat that.

If you used an esoteric interpretation of the Reader's Digest, TV Guide, TIME, or your tax forms, you'd be in trouble quickly. Why do it with the biblical texts?

Because the Biblical texts are antique, occult documents. The TV guide isn't.

So the literary interpretive techqnique one uses is determined by the age of the documents in question, at least in part? How old do they have to be before one uses an esoteric technique, and how do you know the biblical texts are occult documents, whose true meaning is hidden beneath the surface of the actual words unless one assumes this to be the case? Sounds like circular reasoning.

If you don't know how to classify literature, if you don't know the difference between the TV guide and the Bible, I'm afraid I can't help you. If my reasoning sounds circular to you, it's because you're stuck in that labyrinth of yours.

I maintain that Western esotericism, properly classified within the New Age movement, is philosophically inferior to Christian theism.

I call that religious-philosophical fascism.

I call this philosophical analysis, and the willingness to submit the Christian theistic worldview to the tests of philosophical reasoning in contrast with a Western esoteric worldview. Tests for truth and falsehood with regards to worldviews is not fascism.

When you call your own subjective judgement objective tests in the capricious name of philosophy and use it as a platform to throw dirt on esoteric Christianity, it's arrogant religious fascism.

Let me provide a counter-example. Gnostic influence in alternative medicine. Prime example: Deepak Chopra. The cure for aging, disease and death? Simply change your consciousness, thereby bringing yourself into harmony with the infinite Creative Intelligence, and viola. No more sickness, because it was an illusion created by thinking. I submit that Dr. Chopra will still age, and die, regardless of his meditation, because reality is not as he perceives it.

The most deluded quackery of this kind comes from evangelical circles and their faith healing. this is based upn the simple command given by Christ to a sick person, "Take your bed and walk." The way this is being practiced today, with magical circus trickery, mass-suggestion and the like, is a prime gift for the Skeptics Society. Anthroposophical doctors have never engaged in this kind of nonsense, but orthodox Christians are notorious for it.

Another ad hominem against Christianity, which provides no evidence for the alleged scientific status of anthroposophy.

Every single time I catch you red-handed in throwing bricks from your glass-house, you cry "ad hominem." And this time you say I'm doing an ad hominem against Christianity - against Christ? Come on.

On top of this, you add something about lack of evidence for anthroposophical science, which has nothing whatsoever to do with modern evangelical healing-circuses.

I don't agree with the abuses of alleged evangelical faith healers either, but that doesn't mean the whole world view is false. And regardless of Christian faith healing, it does not establish the alleged scientific status of anthroposophical medicine, or New Age alternative medicine either.

Your sentence lacks clarity of reference. EXACTLY WHAT does not establish the alleged scientific status of anthroposophical medicine, or New Age alternative medicine?

You will find out very quickly that New Age monism is deadly to the Western dualistic worldview that modern medicine is based upon.

You are making a scientific claim here, namely that philosophical monism will undermine medical practice, medical research, and the art of healing. This is indeed a claim that you are required to test, to demonstrate, and to prove if it is to be taken seriously.

How about some historic evidence, from non-Christian sources, for the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth? Josephus, a Jewish historian, has at least one reference to him that is undisiputed, and possibly another that may have experienced, Christian interpolation. Additionally, he is mentioned in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus, and the Jewish Talmud. And one cannot discount the testimony of the early Pauline epistles, nor the Gospels, written, quite likely according to the latest scholarly concensus, prior to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, within a generation of the events they described. That's good historical evidence.

To you perhaps. But there are many atheists who with good reason claim that this evidence is elusive and inconclusive, and that the entire story may be a fable, a myth, a legend.

The earliest critics did not deny his historical existence, they denied the identity with which the early Christians associated him, as Messiah. The "Christ-idea" concept ignores the historical evidence and the Judeo-Christian framework that it originated from, in favor of a monistic and esoteric framework. You can create a fictionalized Christ-idea if you want, but please don't claim that is the historical concept.

You have totally misunderstood and misconstrued what I meant by the Christ-Idea. I did not call it the Christ-Idea *because* the Mystery of Golgotha eludes physical evidence, but because the history of Christianity is the history of an Idea arising from the event in question.

I don't know that we're getting anywere, Tarjei, and we're probably boring this list to death.

Right. Anyway, I'm bored with it. On the other hand, so far, at least since I've joined the list, all the critics have been more or less secular humanists, and there haven't been any fundies to play with.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 13:45:29 +1200

John Morehead has been having a long ... conversation ... with Tarjei Straume about the differences (if I understand the arguments, which is debatable, given my lack of theological education) between two world-views, Christianity and Anthroposophy.

I don't need to quote any of the discussion ... let's cut to the chase:

I don't know that we're getting anywere, Tarjei, and we're probably boring this list to death.

John Morehead

Michael KOPP says:

On the contrary, I find the discussion extremely illuminating of two things: the facts of the matter as seen by the two sides; and a confirmation of something I (along with most other Steiner/ Waldforf/ Anthroposophical (SWA) critics) have been saying for three-and-one-half years.

And that is the impossibility of holding a rational discussion between an adherent of SWA and a critic of SWA.

For the Anthroposophist, it is impossible that one who disagrees with any of Steiner's teachings can have enough understanding of Anthroposophy to hold such a discussion. This is contrary to all scholarship principles of which I have been aware throughout my life.

Critics (even mild questioners, like parents of children in an SWA school who find something their children are being taught to be strange, incomprehensible, or at variance with their own understanding of the world) are told that the issues are quite complicated and that only by long study would one understand them.

They are further told that if they study Anthroposphy according to Steiner's prescriptions, they will come to understand. Invariably, people who do this become as convinced of Anthroposophy's tenets as those who have told them the path to understanding. In other words, to study according to the master's teachings is to become what the master had in mind in the first place, despite his guru-trick pronouncement that each should come to his or her own conclusions.

As I understand SWA, there has not been one critic from within who has published any kind of major difference of opinion with Steiner. (We have seen some people on this list who call themselves apostates of some sort, but they mostly say it is the _practice_ of SWA today which bothers them, not Steiner's original world view and cosmology.) Anthroposophy has not progressed, despite the myriad books purporting to explain it or build on it or employ it.

This seems to me to be at variance with Mr Morehead's and other Protestant Christian religions, at least, and with most others, like Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, which have extremely lively intellectual arguments and schisms. (Some too lively, at the moment, leading to authoritarian, patriarchal fascism.)

To my knowledge -- despite the claim of the SWA apologists on this list -- there is no such process, no such schisming, in SWA.

Now isn't this curious?

And isn't it fun to see the emperor's new clothes paraded so elegantly in the eloquent and erudite chatting of two such obvious authorities as Mr Morehead and Mr Straume?

Please don't get me wrong: I am not religious, and I see no more "proof" of the existence of a "God" in Mr Morehead's arguments and history and documents, (or those of any other religion) than I do for the existence of a spiritual higher plane as proposed by Mr Straume's. And I think religion -- an invention of humans for their own comfort and politics in the early days of sentience in the face of great unknowns -- has much to answer for in the history of human conflict. Disagreements of theology have not always been polite parlour talk or disembodied, physically remote, cybernetic gabble.

But I think I Mr Morehead's discussions with Mr Straume make it transparently obvious that for the purposes of the those who are challenging SWA in public education SWA is, in fact, a religion under the definitions of the U.S. Constitution and its legal interpretation for 250 years.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 22:32:57 -0400

Michael Kopp says:

But I think I Mr Morehead's discussions with Mr Straume make it transparently obvious that for the purposes of the those who are challenging SWA in public education SWA is, in fact, a religion under the definitions of the U.S. Constitution and its legal interpretation for 250 years.

Now why is it so obvious? I don't believe they've touched on the practice of waldorf education once in the course of their discussion.

Also, your use of the SWA acronym is really unwieldy here: are you claiming their dialogue proves Steiner a religion, or Waldorf, or Anthroposophy, or all three?

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 15:09:58 +1200

Robert Flannery says:

Michael Kopp says:

But I think I Mr Morehead's discussions with Mr Straume make it transparently obvious that for the purposes of the those who are challenging SWA in public education SWA is, in fact, a religion under the definitions of the U.S. Constitution and its legal interpretation for 250 years.

Now why is it so obvious? I don't believe they've touched on the practice of waldorf education once in the course of their discussion.

KOPP:

Which are you challenging: that their discussions make it obvious SWA is a religion; or their discussions make it obvious SWA is practiced in "Waldorf education"?

The former is obvious on its own. The latter doesn't have to be discussed by them; it's already been thoroughly thrashed out on this list.

It's obvious because copious evidence on this list, and statements by "SWA" adherents, have already established that Steiner's pedagogical religiosity, and Anthroposophy holus-bolus, are practiced by SWA teachers and school upon their students. I will no longer be drawn into debate on this issue.

Also, your use of the SWA acronym is really unwieldy here: are you claiming their dialogue proves Steiner a religion, or Waldorf, or Anthroposophy, or all three?

KOPP:

It is impossible to separate the three, and any attempt to artificially do so by defenders of one or the other of them are doomed. They are all three integral to the educational enterprises under discussion here and under litigation elsewhere.

Some Anthroposophists -- and some Anthroposophical apostates, like Tarjei the "anarchosophist" -- may claim that Anthroposophy can be divorced from SWA educational practice in their own lives. That is, that they have nothing to do with the schools, and simply use (or whatever word you or they choose to employ to describe their relationship with it) Anthroposophy.

But Steiner made no such distinction, and in fact said that they were inseperable.

I'm sorry you have difficulty understanding my meaning just because of the employment of the abbreviation for the triumverate subjects of this list. But I think it's been in use here long enough for most people to know what I mean.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 06:11:12 -0400

Michael Kopp promises:

It's obvious because copious evidence on this list, and statements by "SWA" adherents, have already established that Steiner's pedagogical religiosity, and Anthroposophy holus-bolus, are practiced by SWA teachers and school upon their students. I will no longer be drawn into debate on this issue.

*You haven't been willing to debate it yet*.

Michael, you have always been willing to talk about anthroposophy and new-age pap being taught in the classroom, since that was your experience in Wellington. You have never been willing to acknowledge or even recognize the possibility that this is the exception to the rule.

"Debate" for you has consisted of a nearly continuous stream of claim that "Steiner's pedagogical religiosity and Anthroposophical holus-bolus are practiced by SWA teachers and school upon their students". Every time I've asked you to back this type of comment up, you either start talking about pyramids and sound power or dactylic hexameter. When I remind you that the instances of miseducation are not what's at issue, you claim I'm trying to divert you and refer me to the archives.

There's nothing there on the broader issue, there's been no debate, and it continues to be a hollow claim. Whether you're willing to talk about it or not, I'll call you on it every time I see it, so long as I have the energy and time.

Also, your use of the SWA acronym is really unwieldy here: are you claiming their dialogue proves Steiner a religion, or Waldorf, or Anthroposophy, or all three?

KOPP:

It is impossible to separate the three, and any attempt to artificially do so by defenders of one or the other of them are doomed.

I agree that the three are intertwined in an understanding of waldorf pedagogy and the inner work of a waldorf teacher. But we are not always talking about waldorf on this list when we discuss Steiner or anthroposophy.

They are all three integral to the educational enterprises under discussion here and under litigation elsewhere.

Yes.

Some Anthroposophists -- and some Anthroposophical apostates, like Tarjei the "anarchosophist" -- may claim that Anthroposophy can be divorced from SWA educational practice in their own lives. That is, that they have nothing to do with the schools, and simply use (or whatever word you or they choose to employ to describe their relationship with it) Anthroposophy.

But Steiner made no such distinction, and in fact said that they were inseperable.

When a waldorf teacher practices the art of education, her knowledge of anthroposophy and reading of Steiner is often inseparable from her understanding of the child and her interpretation of the classroom situation.

That's the major reason that I disagree with Dr. Mollett when he claims that anthroposophy can be removed from the practice of waldorf in public education -- and I too would like a look at his precis on this question.

But treating the three monolithically does nothing for analysis. For instance, John and Tarjei are discussing anthroposophy, Christianity, and comparative religion. Tarjei, by his own admission, knows little about waldorf education. He's discussing Steiner and anthroposophy. How can you characterize the tenets of his discussion as "SWA"?

Just because the study of anthroposophy is central to being a waldorf teacher, you cannot assume that whenever someone speaks about Steiner or anthroposophy that waldorf is included.

I'm sorry you have difficulty understanding my meaning just because of the employment of the abbreviation for the triumverate subjects of this list. But I think it's been in use here long enough for most people to know what I mean.

I don't misunderstand you -- the meaning of "SWA" has always been clear.

The reduction of anthroposophy and waldorf education and the study of Steiner's work to a unity simplifies the problem of defining boundaries, but doesn't do anything to help clarify a discussion. Similarly, oversimplifying to hang a label or an argument on something isn't always as clear as you would like it to be.

Robert Flannery
New York

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 14:30:25

At 10:51 PM 4/11/99 +0100, you wrote:

A former colleague is a devout Roman Catholic and a member of the Anthroposophical Society. I very much doubt that she is the only person who is comfortable in this position.

Comfort within a contradictory position does not constitute rational consistency.

Perhaps those who believe that such a situation is impossible misunderstand Roman Catholicism, anthroposophy (most likely), or both.

Or, those who believe it is contradictory understand the views quite nicely, and it is in fact contradictory. Let's not leave out all the logical possibilities for consideration.

Perhaps the solution to this conundrum lies in the fact that being an anthroposophist does not require a belief in anything (although I grant that I cannot imagine an anthropop who does not believe in the existence of a spiritual reality -- but it is not *required* -- this, IMHO, is one of the distinctions between anthroposophy and religion).

Just how can you be an anthroposophist, or adhere to any worldview or belief system, without holding at least some beliefs which define it? Sounds like anthroposophists want to have such a vague and undefined position as to avoid any criticism, including religious education in a public educational setting.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthropo
sophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 09:37:00 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

They are further told that if they study Anthroposphy according to Steiner's prescriptions, they will come to understand. Invariably, people who do this become as convinced of Anthroposophy's tenets as those who have told them the path to understanding. In other words, to study according to the master's teachings is to become what the master had in mind in the first place, despite his guru-trick pronouncement that each should come to his or her own conclusions.

This is not a criticism of your criticism, Michael. I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying here.

Is it you or the anthroposophists who are making the conclusion that "invariably" those who study it become convinced?

In the third sentence, which is obviously your own conclusion, you state (I think) that because those who study anthroposophy invariably become entranced by it, they have not come to their own conclusions. I'm not sure that the conclusion follows the premise.

Help me out here.

Bob Tolz

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 17:13:42 +0200

John Morehead wrote:

New Testament scholars generally concede that this belief in a literal, physical resurrection was responsible for the origin of the Christian faith.

I wrote:

Rudolf Steiner says precisely the same thing. Did you know that?

John Morehead wrote:

Could you provide the references? I'd like to see them. It would be nice if he interpreted one major Christian doctrine correctly.

I wrote:

Off the top of my head (there are plenty more): "The Fifth Gospel"-lectures held in Oslo, later in Cologne, in October and December, 1913 (GA 148) The first of these lectures (Oslo, 1st October, 1913) answers your question (that Steiner also said that belief in a literal, physical resurrection was responsible for the origin of the Christian faith).

I think it is appropriate to fortify this reference with a quote from the first lecture of "The Fifth Gospel". When the RS quotes I give are longer than those provided by the critics, it is partly because of the misconceptions that can so easily ensue when a short excerpt is taken out of context - a fact clearly demonstrated by the PLANS website. Besides, this entire quote touches most profoundly the exchange between John Morehead and myself, hopefully clearing up some misconceptions about Steiner's view about Christianity in history - at least for some of the lurkers. It also highlights the relationship between Christianity and natural science from an anthroposophical perspective, which may have relevancy to the American public school controversy, and to the natural link between Darwinism and the reincarnation-idea (which makes the latter very Western indeed).

I am including Saint Rudy's initial remarks about elementary education in the future (and I am deeply grateful to the WE critics for canonizing my hero), because if our beloved guru was right about the future on this point, your current problems with WE in American public schools with regard to the Constitution is only the tip of the iceberg. Saint Rudy is here threatening the teaching of history in American public schools with much worse things to come:

"Let me say, to begin with, that the time is certainly not very far distant when even in the lowest grade schools and in the most elementary education, the branch of knowledge commonly called history will be presented quite differently. It is certain - and these lectures should be a kind of confirmation of it - that in times to come the concept or idea of Christ will play a quite other and much more important part in the study of history, even the most elementary, than it has done hitherto. I know that such a statement seems highly paradoxical, but let us remember that there were times by no means very far distant, when countless human hearts turned to Christ with feelings of immeasurably greater fervour than is to be found to-day, even among the most learned Christians in the West. In earlier times these feelings of devotion were incomparably more intense. Anyone who studies modern writings and reflects on the main interests of people to-day will have the impression that enthusiasm and warmth of feeling for the Christ Idea are on the wane, especially in those who claim an up-to-date education. In spite of this, I have just said that as this age of ours advances, the Christ Idea will play a much more important part than hitherto in the study of human history. Does this not seem to be a complete contradiction?

"And now we will approach the subject from another side. I have already been able to speak on several occasions in this very town [Oslo] about the significance and the content of the Christ Idea; and in books and lecture-courses which are available here, many deep teachings of Spiritual Science concerning the secrets of the Christ Being and the Christ Idea are to be found. Anyone who assimilates what has been said in lectures, lecture-courses, and indeed in all our literature, will realise that any real understanding of the Christ Being needs extensive preparation, that the very deepest concepts and thoughts must be summoned to his aid if he desires to reach some comprehension of Christ and of the Christ Impulse working through the centuries. If nothing else indicated the contrary, it might even perhaps be thought that a knowledge of the whole of Spiritual Science or Anthroposophy is necessary before there can be any true conception of Christ. But if we turn aside from this and look at the development of the spiritual life of the last centuries, we are met from century to century by the existence of much profound and detailed knowledge aimed at a comprehension of Christ and His revelation. For centuries and centuries men have applied their noblest, most profound thoughts in endeavors to reach an understanding of Christ. Here too, it might seem as if only the most highly intellectual achievements of men would suffice for such understanding. But is this, in fact, so? Quite simple reflection will show that it is not.

"Let us, as it were, lay on one scale of a spiritual balance everything contributed hitherto by erudition, science and even by anthroposophical conceptions towards an understanding of Christ. On the other scale let us lay all the deep feelings, all the impulses within men which through the centuries have caused their souls to turn to the Being called Christ. It will be found that the scale on which we have laid all the science, all the learning, even all the Anthroposophy that can be applied to explain the figure of Christ, will rapidly rise, and the scale on which we have laid all the deep feelings and impulses which have turned men towards the Christ will sink. It is no exaggeration to say that a force of untold strength and greatness has gone forth from Christ and that learned scholarship concerning Him has contributed least of all to this impulse. Truly it would have boded ill for Christianity if, in order to cleave to Christ, men had had to resort to all the learned dissertations of the Middle Ages, of the Schoolmen, of the Church Fathers, or even to what Anthroposophy contributes to-day towards an understanding of Christ. This whole body of knowledge would be of very little help. I hardly think that anyone who studies the march of Christianity through the centuries with an unprejudiced mind can raise any serious argument against this line of thought; but the subject can be approached from still another side.

"Let us turn our thought to the times before Christianity had come into existence. I need only mention something of which those sitting here are certainly aware. I need only remind you of the ancient Greek dramas, especially in their earlier forms. When portraying a god in combat or a human being in whose soul a god was working, these dramas make the sovereignty and activity of the gods concretely and perceptibly real. Think of Homer and how his great Epic is all inwoven with the workings of the Spiritual; think of the great figures of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. These names bring before our mind's eye a spiritual life that in a certain domain is supreme. If we leave all else aside and look only at the single figure of Aristotle, who lived centuries before the founding of Christianity, we find there an achievement which, in a certain respect, has remained unexcelled to this very day. The scientific precision of Aristotle's thinking is something so phenomenal, even by present-day standards, that he can be said to have raised human thinking to a height never yet surpassed.

"And now for a moment we will take a strange hypothesis, but one that will help us to understand these lectures. We will imagine that there were no Gospels to tell us anything about the figure of Christ, that the earliest records which have come to us in the form of the New Testament were simply not in existence. Leaving on one side all that has been said about the foundation of Christianity, let us study its progress as historical fact, observing what has happened among men through the centuries of the Christian era. In other words, without the Gospels, without the Acts of the Apostles, without the Epistles of St. Paul, we will consider what has actually come to pass. This, of course, is pure hypothesis, but what is it that has really happened?

"Turning our attention first of all to the South of Europe in a certain period of history, we find a very highly developed spiritual life and culture - represented, as we have seen, in Aristotle - which developed along particular channels through the subsequent centuries. At the time when Christianity began to make its way through the world, large numbers of men who had assimilated the spiritual culture of Greece were living in the South of Europe. If we follow the evolution of Christianity to the time of Celsus - that strange individual who was such a violent opponent of Christianity - and even on into the second and third centuries after Christ, we find in Greece and Italy numbers of highly cultured men who had absorbed the lofty Ideas of Plato, men whose subltelty of thought seems like a continuation of Aristotle's. Here were minds of refinement and power, versed in Greek learning; here were Romans who added to the delicate spirituality of Greek thought the element of aggressive personality characteristic of Roman civilisation. Such was the world into which the Christian impulse made its way. Truly, in respect of intellectuality and knowledge of the world, the representatives of this Christian impulse seem to be uncivilised and uneducated in comparison with all the learned Romans and Greeks. Men lacking in culture make their way into a world of mature intellectuality. And now we witness a remarkable spectacle. through these simple, primitive people who were its first bearers, Christianity spreads comparatively quickly through the South of Europe. And if with an understanding of the nature of Christianity acquired, let us say, from Anthroposophy, we think of these simple, primitive natures who spread Christianity abroad in those times, we shall realise that they knew nothing of these things. We need not think here of any conception of Christ in His great cosmic setting, but of much simpler conceptions of Christ. Those first bearers of the Christian impulse who found their way into the world of highly developed Greek learning had nothing to bring into this arena of Greco-Roman life save their own inwardness, their personal connection with the Christ whom they so deeply loved; for this connection was as dear to them as that with their own kit and kin. Those who brought into the Greco-Roman world in those days the Christianity that has continued to our own time were not well-informed theosophists, were by no means highly educated people. The Gnostics who were the learned theosophists of those times had, it is true, risen to sublime ideas concerning Christ, but even they contributed only what must be placed in the rising scale of the balance. If everything had depended upon the Gnostics, Christianity would certainly not have made its victorious headway through the world. It was no highly developed intellectuality that came over from the East, causing the comparatively rapid decline of the old Hellenic and Roman culture. There we have one side of the picture.

"We see the other side when we consider men of intellectual distinction, beginning with Celsus - the opponent of Christianity who even then brought forward all the arguments that are still valid to-day - down to Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher of the throne. We think of the Neo-Platonists with their subtle scholarship, whose ideas make those of philosophy today seem mere child's play, so gently do they surpass them in loftiness and breadth of wision. If we think of all the arguments against Christianity brought from the standpoint of Greek philosophy by these men of high intellectual eminence in the world of Greek-Roman culture, we get the impression that they all failed to understand the Christ Impulse. Christianity was spread by men who understood nothing of its real nature; it was opposed by a highly developed culture incapable of grasping its significance. Truly, Christianity makes a strange entry into the world - with adherents and opponents alike understanding nothing of its real nature. And yet men bore within their souls the power to secure for the Christ Impulse its victorious march through the world.

"And now let us think of men such as Tertullian who with a certain greatness and power entered the lists on behalf of Christianity. Tertullian was a Roman who, so far as his language is concerned, may almost be said to have re-created the Latin tongue; the very certainty of aim with which he restored to words a living meaning constrains us to recognize him as a personality of real significance. But if we ask about his *ideas*, there is a very different story to tell. In his ideas and thoughts he gives very little evidence of intellectual or spiritual eminence. Supporters of Christianity even of the calibre of Tertullian do not accomplish anything very considerable. And yet as personalities they are potent - these men like Tertullian, to whose arguments no highly educated Greek could attach much weight. There is something about Tertullian that attracts one's attention - but what exactly is it? That is the important point.

"Let us realise that a real problem lies here. What power is responsible for the achievements of these bearers of the Christ Impulse who themselves do not really understand it? What power is responsible for the influence exercised by the Church Fathers, including even Origen, in spite of all their manifest ineptitude? Why is Greco-Roman scholarship itself unable to comprehend the essential nature of the Christ Impulse? What does all this signify?

"But let us go further. The same spectacle stands out in still stronger relief when we study the course of history. As the centuries go by, Christianity spread over Europe, among peoples such as the Germanic, with quite different ideas of religion and worship, who are, or at least appear to be, inseparable from these ideas and who nevertheless accepted the Christ Impulse with open hearts, as if it were part and parcel of their own life. And when we think of those who were the most influential missionaries among the Germanic peoples, were these men highly educated theologians? No indeed! Comparatively speaking, they were simple, primitive souls who went out among the people, talking to them in the most homely, everyday language, but moving their very hearts. They knew how to frame their words in such a way as to touch the deepest heartstrings of those to whom they spoke. Simple men went out into regions far and wide, and it was their work that produced the most significant results. So we see Christianity spreading through the centuries. But then we are astonished to find this same Christianity becoming the motive force of profound scholarship, science and philosophy. We do not undervalue this philosophy, but to-day we will focus our attention on the remarkable fact that up to the Middle Ages the peoples among whom Christianity spread in such a way that it soon became part of their very souls, had lived until then with different forms of thought and belief. And in no very distant future many other features in connection with the spread of Christianity will be stressed. So far as the effect produced by this spread of Christianity is concerned, it will not be difficult to agree with the statement that there was a period when these Christian teachings were the source of fervent enthusiasm. But in modern times the fervor which in the Middle Ages accompanied the spread of Christianity seems to have died away.

"And now think of Copernicus, of the whole development of natural science on into the nineteenth century. This natural science, which since the time of Copernicus has become an integral part of Western culture, might appear to run counter to Christianity. The facts of history may seem, outwardly, to substantiate this. For example, until the 'twenties of the nineteenth century the writings of Copernicus were on the so-called Index of the Roman Catholic Church. But that is an external detail and the fact remains that Copernicus was a dignitary of the Church. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake by the Roman Church, but he was, for all that, a member of the Dominican Order. The ideas of both these thinkers sprang from the soil of Christianity and their work was an outcome of the Christian impulse. To maintain that these teachings were not the fruits of Christianity would denote very poor understanding on the part of those who claim to hold fast by the church. These facts only go to prove that the Church did not understand the fruits of Christianity. Those who see more deeply into the roots of these things will recognize that what the peoples have achieved, even in the more recent centuries, is a result of Christianity; that through Christianity, as also through the findings of Copernicus, the gaze of the human mind was turned from the Earth towards the wide spaces of the Heavens. Such a change was possible only within christian culture and through the Christian impulse. Those who observe the depths and not merely the surface of spiritual life will understand something which, although it will seem highly paradoxical when I say it now, is nevertheless correct. For this deeper observation, a Haeckel, for all his opposition to Christianity, could have sprung only from the soil of this same Christianity. Ernst Haeckel is inconceivable without the basis of Christian culture. And however hard modern natural science may try to promote opposition to Christianity, this natural science is itself an offspring of Christianity, a direct development of the Christian impulse. When modern natural science has got over the ailments of childhood, men will perceive quite clearly that if followed to its logical conclusions, it leads to Spiritual Science; that there is an entirely consistent path from Haeckel to Spiritual Science. when that is grasped, it will also be realised that Haeckel is Christian through and through, although he himself has no notion of it. The Christian impulses have given birth not only to what claims to be Christian but also to what appears on the surface to run counter to Christianity. This will soon be realised if we study the underlying reality, not merely the concepts and ideas that are put into words. As can be seen from my little essay on Reincarnation and Karma, a direct line leads from the Darwinian theory of evolution to the teaching of repeated earthly lives.

"But in order to understand these things correctly we must be able to perceive the influence of the Christian impulses with entirely unprejudiced eyes. Anyone who understands the doctrines of Darwin and Haeckel and is himself convinced that only as a Christian movement was the Darwinian movement possible (Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things) - anyone who realises this is led by an absolutely consistent path to the idea of reincarnation. And if he can call upon a certain power of clairvoyance, this same path will lead him to knowledge of the *spiritual* origin of the humkan race. True, it is a *detour*, but with the help of clairvoyance an uninterrupted path leads from Haeckel's thought to the conception of a spiritual origin of the Earth. It is conceivable, of course, that someone may accept Darwinism in the form in which it is presented to-day, without grasping the life-principles which in reality are contained in it. In other words, if Darwinian thought becomes an impulse in someone who lacks any deep understanding of Christianity - which nevertheless lies in Darwinism - he may end by understanding no more of Darwinism than he does of Christianity. The good spirit of Christianity and the good spirit of Darwinism may alike forsake him. But if he has a grasp of the good spirit of Darwinism, then - however much of a materialist he may be - his thought will carry him back over the Earth's history to the point where he recognises that man has *not* evolved from lower animal forms but must have a spiritual origin. He is led to the point where man is perceived as a spiritual being, hovering as it were over the earthly world. Darwinism, if developed to its logical conclusion, leads to this recognition. But if someone has been forsaken by the good spirit of Darwinism and happens to believe in the idea of reincarnation, he may imagine that he himself once lived as an ape in some incarnation of the planet Earth. Anyone who can believe this lacks all real understanding of Darwinism and of Christianity and must have been forsaken by the good spirits of both! For Darwinism, consistently elaborated, could lead to no such belief. In such a case the idea of reincarnation has been grafted into the soil of materialism. It is possible, of course, for modern Darwinism to be stripped of its Christian elements. If this does *not* happen, we shall find that on into our own times the impulses of Darwinism have been born out of the Christ Impulse, that the impulses of Christianity work even where they are repudiated. Thus we find that in the early centuries, Christianity spreads quite independently of scholarship or erudition in its adherents; in the Middle Ages it spreads in such a way that the Schoolmen, with all their learning, can contribute very little to it; and finally we have the paradox of Christianity appearing in Darwinism as in an inverted picture. Everything that is great in the Darwinian conception derives its motive power from the Christian impulses. The Christian impulses within it will lead this science out of and beyond materialism.

"The spread of Christian impulses has indeed been strange, owing nothing, it appears, to intellectuality, learning, erudition. Christianity has spread regardless of the views of its adherents or opponents - even appearing in an inverted form in the domain of modern materialism. But what exactly is it that spreads? It is not the ideas or the knowledge of Christianity; nor can we say that it is the morality instilled by Christianity. Think only of what morality was like in those times and we shall find much justification for the diatribes levelled by the representatives of Christianity against its real or alleged enemies. Even the moral power that might have been possessed by souls without much intellectual education will not greatly impress us. What, then, is this mysterious impulse which makes its victorious way through the world? Let us turn here to Spiritual Science, to clairvoyant consciousness. What power is at work in those unlearned men who, coming over from the East, infiltrated the world of greco-Roman culture? What power is at work in the men who bring Christianity into the foreign world of the Germanic tribes? What is really at work in the materialistic natural science of modern times - the doctrines of which disguise its real nature? What is this power? It is Christ Himself who through the centuries wends His way from soul to soul, from heart to heart, no matter whether souls understand Him or not. It behooves us to look away from our ingrained concepts and scientific ideas and point to the reality, showing how mysteriously Christ Himself is present in multitudinous impulses, taking form in the souls of thousands and tens of thousands of human beings, filling them with His power. It is Christ Himself, working in simple men, who sweeps over the world of Greco-Roman culture; it is Christ Himself who stands at the side of those who in later times bring Christianity to the Germanic peoples; it is He - Christ Himself in all His reality - who makes His way from place to place, from soul to soul, penetrating these souls regardless of the ideas they may hold concerning Him.

"Let me here make a vivid comparison. How many people are there who understand nothing about the composition of foodstuffs and are none the less well and properly nourished? It would certainly mean starvation if scientific knowledge of foodstuffs were essential to nourishment. Nourishment has nothing whatever to do with understanding the nature of foodstuffs. Similarly, the spread of Christianity over the earth had nothing to do with men's understanding of it. That is the strange fact. There is a mystery here, only to be explained when the answer can be found to the question: How does Christ Himself wield dominion in the minds and hearts of men?

"When Spiritual Science, clairvoyant investigation, puts this question to itself, it is led, first of all, to an event from which the veils can really be lifted only by clairvoyant vision - an event that is entirely consistent with what I have been saying to-day. We shall see one thing clearly: the time when Christ worked in the way I have described is past and gone, and the time has come when men must *understand* Christ, must have real knowledge of Christ.

Hence we must also answer the question why our age was preceded by that other age when it was possible for the Christ Impulse to spread independently of men's understanding.

"The event to which clairvoyant consciousness points is that of Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit. Clairvoyant vision, quickened by the power of the Christ Impulse, was therefore directed, in the first place, to this event of Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit. It is this event that presents itself first and foremost to clairvoyant investigation carried out from a certain standpoint."

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 10:16:37 -0700

Tarjei Straume, you wrote,

The reason for this is very simple: Anthroposophy was developed for those who cannot accept orthodox Christianity as a foundation for religious truth because it is irrational, illogical, and at odds with Darwinism and other branches of natural science.

Knocking people for being "at odds with Darwinism"? How about Steiner?

"So with regard to the animal the child comes to feel that all animals are related to man, but that man has something that reaches out beyond them all, for he unites all the animals in himself. And all this idle talk of the scientists about man descending from an animal will be laughed at by people who have been educated in this way. For they will know that man unites within himself the whole animal kingdom, he is a synthesis of all the single members of it."

[Steiner, Kingdom of Childhood, p. 64]

He was a prophet! "will be laughed at by people who have been educated in this way" We hear them on this list.

And if anyone doubts that Steiner's ideas on evolution come into Waldorf, see the popular teaching handbooks:

"The man and Animal period in the Rudolf Steiner school, which is given at about the age of ten, is one of the most difficult from the teacher's point of view. In the first place, the teacher must subscribe to, or be in sympathy with, the ideas on evolution propounded by Dr. Steiner. (Otherwise, of course, he should not be in the school). More than that, he must also understand them and this understanding is not something that can be acquired the night before the lessons are given, nor is it something that can be superficially communicated. ... Contrary to the Darwinistic ideas of man being the final product of animal evolution, Dr. Steiner considers animals to be the by-products of human development. Man has been involved from the beginning but not in a physical form. Man existed spiritually and the animal forms represent physically incarnated soul forces which the human being had to dispense with in order to mature sufficiently to receive the ego."

[Wilkinson, Man and Animal, p. 2]

-Dan Dugan

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From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 11:26:46 -0700

Tarjei Straume, you wrote,

In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic.

That one line says more than all the rest of your voluminous writing.

-Dan

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From: Bob Jones
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 16:04:25 -0700 (PDT)

--- Dan Dugan wrote:

Tarjei Straume, you wrote,

In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic.

That one line says more than all the rest of your voluminous writing.

-Dan

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less".

Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll;Chapter 6.

BJ

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 11:13:03 +1200

Robert Tolz says:

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

They are further told that if they study Anthroposphy according to Steiner's prescriptions, they will come to understand. Invariably, people who do this become as convinced of Anthroposophy's tenets as those who have told them the path to understanding. In other words, to study according to the master's teachings is to become what the master had in mind in the first place, despite his guru-trick pronouncement that each should come to his or her own conclusions.

This is not a criticism of your criticism, Michael. I just want to make sure I understand what you're saying here.

Is it you or the anthroposophists who are making the conclusion that "invariably" those who study it become convinced?

Me.

In the third sentence, which is obviously your own conclusion, you state (I think) that because those who study anthroposophy invariably become entranced by it, they have not come to their own conclusions. I'm not sure that the conclusion follows the premise.

Come on, Robert, we've been over this ground before. Critics think Anthroposophy is full of clever cult-like tricks to make people believe what Steiner wants them to believe while making them think they have arrived at the beliefs through their own insight.

Help me out here.

Maybe you should stop studying so much Anthroposopy?

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 23:09:23 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

In the third sentence, which is obviously your own conclusion, you state (I think) that because those who study anthroposophy invariably become entranced by it, they have not come to their own conclusions. I'm not sure that the conclusion follows the premise.

Come on, Robert, we've been over this ground before. Critics think Anthroposophy is full of clever cult-like tricks to make people believe what Steiner wants them to believe while making them think they have arrived at the beliefs through their own insight.

You give more credit to the "tricks" in anthroposophy than I would think you would. You say that the tricks "invariably" make people believe they are arriving at their own insight. Hogwash. You can't (invariably) fool all of the people all of the time. If you believe that the vast majority of people who study anthroposophy are entranced by it, then unless the written word of Mr. Steiner is capable of some sort of mass hypnosis, which I doubt, then there have to be at least one or two people (probably more) who do use some form of critical thinking in the process.

Help me out here.

Maybe you should stop studying so much Anthroposopy?

That's a bit like "maybe you should stop beating your wife?" I've never studied any Anthroposophy in my life. Are you confusing me with Robert Flannery for the fourth time?

Bob Tolz

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 05:29:30 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

Knocking people for being "at odds with Darwinism"? How about Steiner?

My post with the excerpt from "The Fifth Gospel" should provide a glimpse of Steiner's view on Darwinism.

There is an interesting remark about Darwin in this lecture. He says:

"Anyone who understands the doctrines of Darwin and Haeckel and is himself convinced that only as a Christian movement was the Darwinian movement possible (Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things)..."

This reminds me of a story I heard from an entirely different quarter: Charles Darwin kept working on his theory of evolution throughout his long life, and when he died, there were stacks of unpublished manuscripts at his residence. These manuscripts involved reincarnation and spiritual evolution very similar to theosophy and anthroposophy. But when the arrangements were being made for Darwin's funeral, the clergy from the Church of England, who had been informed about what kind of ideas the old man might publish some day, conveniently stole the unpublished manuscripts from the estate and destroyed them. If Darwinism had been given a spiritual direction by Darwin himself, it would have been too much of a threat to the church, which still excercised considerable influence over the spiritual life of the population.

I haven't found a confirmation of this story, but whether it is true or not, it illustrates the course of Darwin's thoughts and the attitude of the church.

Ernst Haeckel was a personal friend of Rudolf Steiner. They discussed biological evolution, but Haeckel was not capable of grasping the idea of the spirit behind this evolution. Still, Steiner and Haeckel were always the best of friends with mutual respect and admiration. But precisely because Haeckel could grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense, Steiner says about the Christ Impulse in Darwinism: "Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things..."

Darwinism has in many ways stagnated in the hands of his followers, waiting to be awakened like a sleeping wolf. But if Steiner was right about spiritual evolution, about the Christ Idea in the course of history, and the true nature of Darwinism, the students in American public schools may begin to ask some embarrassing New Age questions - even with no help from Waldorf, anthroposophy, or New Age religion. They may start asking about reincarnation in biology class, perhaps also about Christ. And the public schools will have to start disciplining and dismissing students for inappropriate behavior, for violating the constitutional amendment for the separation of church and state.

Like I've mentioned before, I don't envy you this problem.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 08:46:34 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

As I understand SWA, there has not been one critic from within who has published any kind of major difference of opinion with Steiner. (We have seen some people on this list who call themselves apostates of some sort, but they mostly say it is the _practice_ of SWA today which bothers them, not Steiner's original world view and cosmology.) Anthroposophy has not progressed, despite the myriad books purporting to explain it or build on it or employ it.

This seems to me to be at variance with Mr Morehead's and other Protestant Christian religions, at least, and with most others, like Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, which have extremely lively intellectual arguments and schisms. (Some too lively, at the moment, leading to authoritarian, patriarchal fascism.)

To my knowledge -- despite the claim of the SWA apologists on this list -- there is no such process, no such schisming, in SWA.

Now isn't this curious?

You wouldn't bother to find out, Michael. On the Anthropos-Views list, for example, I have recently witnessed and participated in quite serious schisms of all sorts - strong disagreements among anthropops. And one of the major problems with the history of the Anthroposophical Society has been too many schisms and disagreements through the years.

It's interesting how you shoot off your judgements and conclusions about subjects that you do not wish to investigate sufficiently to be able to make pronouncements about them. In plain English: When it comes to anthroposophy, you don't know what you're talking about.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:04:48 +1200

Tarjei Straume wrote:

Michael Kopp wrote:

To my knowledge -- despite the claim of the SWA apologists on this list -- there is no such process, no such schisming, in SWA.

Now isn't this curious?

And TARJEI replied:

You wouldn't bother to find out, Michael. On the Anthropos-Views list, for example, I have recently witnessed and participated in quite serious schisms of all sorts - strong disagreements among anthropops. And one of the major problems with the history of the Anthroposophical Society has been too many schisms and disagreements through the years.

KOPP:

But I've spent about eight years of my life working on it, Tarjei, which is how long ago I started to look at enrolling my kids in an alternative to the public school system they were then in.

But, please, can you tell me where the alternative sects of the Anthroposphical Society are located? What are there names? Who are their leaders?

Or is there another offshoot of Anthroposophy that has formed a new society by another name, because it has rejected Steiner's teaching?

Can you tell me, please, where is the discussion list on the internet for "Anthroposophical Science" which rejects Goethean Science as its basis, and instead chooses "materialistic science" to the exclusion of all other spiritual mumbo jumbo?

Can you tell me where there is a Waldorf school that has, for instance, eschewed -- nay, banned -- Goethean phenomenology and the "four elements" in the teaching of science? That might have been a school to which I could have sent my children, because it would have indicated a certain rationality which is missing in every other

From the look of the availble evidence on the Internet and in my neck of the woods (which has a national Anthroposophical Society which is associated with the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools in New Zealand, which is the body which runs the Steiner/Waldorf/Anthroposophical teachers' training seminary, and is involved in the financing of SWA school in this country, and their pedagogy) there is no such schism anywhere in the world that meets the definition of the word.

Sure, you Anthropops _love_ internecine warfare among yourselves, and some even become apostates. But none of the apostates has formed an alternative sect, that I'm aware of. You'd think that such an event would be big enough news to be made known on a discussion list like this one, in the 3-1/2 years I've been here. Can you point me at one, please, Tarjei?

STRAUME:

It's interesting how you shoot off your judgements and conclusions about subjects that you do not wish to investigate sufficiently to be able to make pronouncements about them. In plain English: When it comes to anthroposophy, you don't know what you're talking about.

KOPP:

Well, from the impenetrability of your discourse, and that of Tom Mellet, and Joel Wendt, and several others of your ilk on this list in the past, I guess that's understandable. I don't have the education of John Morehead, for instance, that would enable me to deconstruct Steiner's creation.

It's certainly the case that studying _Anthroposophy_ as a subject is very difficult for a person who is a lifetime skeptic, and who has no desire to give up that trait just to understand, from the point of view of an apprentice or whatever, which is the only way Anthroposophists believe it can be studied, what looks from the outside like mumbo jumbo. I was not popular at the few study group meetings I attended at our former Steiner school (but then, I'm not popular with a lot of people of whom I ask blunt questions, such as the Anthroposophists and their apologists on this list).

However, as a journalist and observer of human affairs, I think it is possible to get some idea of the nature of Anthroposophy as a practice of people who run schools and try to inject their philosophy into existing public schools.

As a parent who spent five years getting children into and out of a Steiner school -- a difficult process as I have described here previously -- and a fairly intelligent person who has tried to follow the discourse between better critics than myself and a variety of Anthropops and apologists here, and reading the quotes from Steiner and his followers _from both sides_, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I was duped by and then shunned when I learnt its weirdness.

If I have not investigatated Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy to a degree which you find acceptable, Tarjei, then I apologise for wasting your time all these months of trying to get you to speak plainly.

However, I don't think I will let an Anthroposophy apologist (or an "anarchosophist", for that matter) determine for me or others whether I have experienced enough, or learned enough, to make judgements about SWA.

I may not know what I'm talking about, from your point of view. From my point of view, if you DO know what you're talking about, you don't make it very comprehensible in the language I grew up with.

Perhaps you want me to learn another, special, Anthroposophical language, like you seem to believe exists in terms of Anthroposophical logic, as you posted recently: "In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic".

Every other religion, every other subject I have ever studied, has been comprehensible in terms of the language (and that means the thought processes, because the two are inseparable) I was taught.

Maybe that's why I took my kids out of our former Steiner school: its teaching, even of ordinary, everyday subjects, was incomprehensible to me, much less to my kids.

I believe -- no matter how much you deny it -- that Anthroposophical dogma and beliefs are at the heart of all SWA teaching, and cannot help but be present in everything a child learns, thus inculcating SWA thought processes, if not Anthroposophical inclinations, in them.

Your statements make a powerful argument for keeping Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical education separated completely from secular, state, or state-funded schools.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 14:53:11 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

But I've spent about eight years of my life working on it, Tarjei, which is how long ago I started to look at enrolling my kids in an alternative to the public school system they were then in.

If your nonsense about uniform anthroposophical conformity is the result of eight years of research, your lack of objectivity must have interfered with your work.

But, please, can you tell me where the alternative sects of the Anthroposphical Society are located? What are there names? Who are their leaders?

This would be better commented by someone on the list who is a current member of the Anthroposophical Society, but to the best of my knowledge, the organization in question does not have any sects. It has administrative branches, because all it does is distribute newsletters, coordinate contacts, and arrange theater events and things like that.

Or is there another offshoot of Anthroposophy that has formed a new society by another name, because it has rejected Steiner's teaching?

If a group or an organization rejects Steiner's teachings, it has no interest in anthroposophy.

Can you tell me, please, where is the discussion list on the internet for "Anthroposophical Science" which rejects Goethean Science as its basis, and instead chooses "materialistic science" to the exclusion of all other spiritual mumbo jumbo?

What do you need that kind of nonsense for?

Can you tell me where there is a Waldorf school that has, for instance, eschewed -- nay, banned -- Goethean phenomenology and the "four elements" in the teaching of science? That might have been a school to which I could have sent my children, because it would have indicated a certain rationality which is missing in every other

Ask the teachers. I know very little about schools.

From the look of the availble evidence on the Internet and in my neck of the woods (which has a national Anthroposophical Society which is associated with the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools in New Zealand, which is the body which runs the Steiner/Waldorf/Anthroposophical teachers' training seminary, and is involved in the financing of SWA school in this country, and their pedagogy) there is no such schism anywhere in the world that meets the definition of the word.

The schism you are looking for would involve a party very hostile to anthroposophy itself. You are looking for a branch of anthroposophy that harmonizes with your anti-spiritual views. Good luck with your search.

Sure, you Anthropops _love_ internecine warfare among yourselves, and some even become apostates. But none of the apostates has formed an alternative sect, that I'm aware of. You'd think that such an event would be big enough news to be made known on a discussion list like this one, in the 3-1/2 years I've been here. Can you point me at one, please, Tarjei?

Schisms can exist within a movement or an organization without forming all kinds of separate sects. But all the internal disputes would be mumbo jumbo to you anyway, so there is no wonder that your conclusions were so uninformed.

It's certainly the case that studying _Anthroposophy_ as a subject is very difficult for a person who is a lifetime skeptic, and who has no desire to give up that trait just to understand, from the point of view of an apprentice or whatever, which is the only way Anthroposophists believe it can be studied, what looks from the outside like mumbo jumbo.

And that is what it will always look like to you - mumbo jumbo and nothing else.

I was not popular at the few study group meetings I attended at our former Steiner school (but then, I'm not popular with a lot of people of whom I ask blunt questions, such as the Anthroposophists and their apologists on this list).

An anthroposophical study group consists of people who are genuinely drawn to anthroposophy and who wish to learn from it. If someone in such a group keeps attacking and scorning it, he or she is slowing down those who desire to learn and grow.

However, as a journalist and observer of human affairs, I think it is possible to get some idea of the nature of Anthroposophy as a practice of people who run schools and try to inject their philosophy into existing public schools.

I agree in theory, but the bitter venom that taints every word you write about Anthroposophy makes it very difficult for the objective reader to discern that idea.

As a parent who spent five years getting children into and out of a Steiner school -- a difficult process as I have described here previously -- and a fairly intelligent person who has tried to follow the discourse between better critics than myself and a variety of Anthropops and apologists here, and reading the quotes from Steiner and his followers _from both sides_, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I was duped by and then shunned when I learnt its weirdness.

I would say that anyone who swallows all your posts to this list without question, would be as least as duped by you as you were by the Waldorf school.

If I have not investigated Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy to a degree which you find acceptable, Tarjei, then I apologise for wasting your time all these months of trying to get you to speak plainly.

Haven't I been plain and straight forward? Haven't I answered all questions asked me as best I could?

However, I don't think I will let an Anthroposophy apologist (or an "anarchosophist", for that matter) determine for me or others whether I have experienced enough, or learned enough, to make judgements about SWA.

Fine, but that entails that your judgements will be regarded as spurious.

I may not know what I'm talking about, from your point of view. From my point of view, if you DO know what you're talking about, you don't make it very comprehensible in the language I grew up with.

Perhaps you want me to learn another, special, Anthroposophical language, like you seem to believe exists in terms of Anthroposophical logic, as you posted recently: "In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic".

Every other religion, every other subject I have ever studied, has been comprehensible in terms of the language (and that means the thought processes, because the two are inseparable) I was taught.

If anthroposophy is mumbo jumbo to you because you find the language hard to comprehend, that's fine. It's your hostility I'm getting at, and how this hostility appears to affect your judgements. Almost everything you write about anthroposophy is spiced with polemics.

<snip>

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 09:51:52 -0400 (EDT)

Tarjei Straume writes:

Dan Dugan wrote:

Knocking people for being "at odds with Darwinism"? How about Steiner?

My post with the excerpt from "The Fifth Gospel" should provide a glimpse of Steiner's view on Darwinism.

There is an interesting remark about Darwin in this lecture. He says:

"Anyone who understands the doctrines of Darwin and Haeckel and is himself convinced that only as a Christian movement was the Darwinian movement possible (Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things)..."

I'd like to hear the end of this sentence. It is all hypothesis without conclusion. I would have finished the sentence with "...is badly mistaken." How did Steiner finish it?

This reminds me of a story I heard from an entirely different quarter: Charles Darwin kept working on his theory of evolution throughout his long life, and when he died, there were stacks of unpublished manuscripts at his residence. These manuscripts involved reincarnation and spiritual evolution very similar to theosophy and anthroposophy. But when the arrangements were being made for Darwin's funeral, the clergy from the Church of England, who had been informed about what kind of ideas the old man might publish some day, conveniently stole the unpublished manuscripts from the estate and destroyed them. If Darwinism had been given a spiritual direction by Darwin himself, it would have been too much of a threat to the church, which still excercised considerable influence over the spiritual life of the population.

This sounds very unlikely to me.

I haven't found a confirmation of this story, but whether it is true or not, it illustrates the course of Darwin's thoughts and the attitude of the church.

Or it illustrates the mindset of anti-Darwinists. It only illustrates Darwin's thoughts if it is a true story, and I doubt it is.

Ernst Haeckel was a personal friend of Rudolf Steiner. They discussed biological evolution, but Haeckel was not capable of grasping the idea of the spirit behind this evolution. Still, Steiner and Haeckel were always the best of friends with mutual respect and admiration. But precisely because Haeckel could grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense, Steiner says about the Christ Impulse in Darwinism: "Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things..."

To say "Haeckel could only grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense" is to say Haeckel could grasp Evolution. If Steiner finds spirituality in evolution it is because he doesn't grasp it.

Darwinism has in many ways stagnated in the hands of his followers, waiting to be awakened like a sleeping wolf.

Examples, please? The last couple decades have seen great growth and changes in our understanding of evolution.

But if Steiner was right about spiritual evolution, about the Christ Idea in the course of history, and the true nature of Darwinism, the students in American public schools may begin to ask some embarrassing New Age questions - even with no help from Waldorf, anthroposophy, or New Age religion. They may start asking about reincarnation in biology class, perhaps also about Christ. And the public schools will have to start disciplining and dismissing students for inappropriate behavior, for violating the constitutional amendment for the separation of church and state.

But then if he was wrong we won't. What exactly is your point?

--Michael

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 19:37:32 +0200

Michael Hirsch wrote:

I'd like to hear the end of this sentence. It is all hypothesis without conclusion. I would have finished the sentence with "...is badly mistaken." How did Steiner finish it?

It was a teaser from the excerpt in the other post, where you find: "Anyone who understands the doctrines of Darwin and Haeckel and is himself convinced that only as a Christian movement was the Darwinian movement possible (Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things) - anyone who realises this is led by an absolutely consistent path to the idea of reincarnation."

<snip>

To say "Haeckel could only grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense" is to say Haeckel could grasp Evolution. If Steiner finds spirituality in evolution it is because he doesn't grasp it.

So only materialists understand evolution, and atheists have a monolopy on the science of cosmogenesis.

Darwinism has in many ways stagnated in the hands of his followers, waiting to be awakened like a sleeping wolf.

Examples, please?

Your inability to appreciate that because man is body soul, and spirit, the latter permeates all of nature and is the active force behind its coming into existence, - is a classic example of what I was getting at.

The last couple decades have seen great growth and changes in our understanding of evolution.

Evolutionary theory is still very much confined by the chains of materialism.

But if Steiner was right about spiritual evolution, about the Christ Idea in the course of history, and the true nature of Darwinism, the students in American public schools may begin to ask some embarrassing New Age questions - even with no help from Waldorf, anthroposophy, or New Age religion. They may start asking about reincarnation in biology class, perhaps also about Christ. And the public schools will have to start disciplining and dismissing students for inappropriate behavior, for violating the constitutional amendment for the separation of church and state.

But then if he was wrong we won't. What exactly is your point?

Because you can grasp evolution and I can't, you know there are no spiritual elements in history. I was referring to some "mumbo jumbo" that you cannot grasp. If you understood what I meant, you would not grasp evolution if your premise is correct.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
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skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 21:14:12 -0400 (EDT)

Tarjei Straume writes:

Michael Hirsch wrote:

I'd like to hear the end of this sentence. It is all hypothesis without conclusion. I would have finished the sentence with "...is badly mistaken." How did Steiner finish it?

It was a teaser from the excerpt in the other post, where you find: "Anyone who understands the doctrines of Darwin and Haeckel and is himself convinced that only as a Christian movement was the Darwinianmovement possible (Haeckel had no notion of this, but Darwin was aware of many things) - anyone who realises this is led by an absolutely consistent path to the idea of reincarnation."

I think any scientist who tries to grapple with reincarnation has to figure out where the new spirits come from. There are many more humans live in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined, I believe. Where did the new spirits come from?

To say "Haeckel could only grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense" is to say Haeckel could grasp Evolution. If Steiner finds spirituality in evolution it is because he doesn't grasp it.

So only materialists understand evolution, and atheists have a monolopy on the science of cosmogenesis.

No no. I said evolution is a material theory. I have always assumed that spiritual people could understand it, but only if they are also able to think materially. I've been assuming that you spiritualists are _more_ capable than us materialists. After all, I may deny the spiritual world for lack of evidence (or I may not--I ain't telling) but surely you don't deny the material world! Or do you (like, say, Bishop Berkeley)?

Darwinism has in many ways stagnated in the hands of his followers, waiting to be awakened like a sleeping wolf.

Examples, please?

Your inability to appreciate that because man is body soul, and spirit, the latter permeates all of nature and is the active force behind its coming into existence, - is a classic example of what I was getting at.

But what does that have to do with the theory evolution stagnating?

The last couple decades have seen great growth and changes in our understanding of evolution.

Evolutionary theory is still very much confined by the chains of materialism.

and always has been, so I don't think you can call that stagnation. To say it has stagnated implies, I think, that it once was different.

But if Steiner was right about spiritual evolution, about the Christ Idea in the course of history, and the true nature of Darwinism, the students in American public schools may begin to ask some embarrassing New Age questions - even with no help from Waldorf, anthroposophy, or New Age religion. They may start asking about reincarnation in biology class, perhaps also about Christ. And the public schools will have start disciplining and dismissing students for inappropriate behavior, for violating the constitutional amendment for the separation of church and state.

But then if he was wrong we won't. What exactly is your point?

Because you can grasp evolution and I can't, you know there are no spiritual elements in history. I was referring to some "mumbo jumbo" that you cannot grasp. If you understood what I meant, you would not grasp evolution if your premise is correct.

Good golly, I said evolution was a material science. I never said history was. And I certainly didn't say that you couldn't grasp evolution.

More confused than ever,

--Michael

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 20:47:54 -0700

The word 'evolution' implies improvement and improvement demands a criteria. The question, then, is who or what decides on the criteria.

If you are a materialist, then the criteria for improvement changes with the environment, and what is beneficial in one primordial goo is detrimental in another. You can extrapolate from this result at your own peril.

The 'evolutionary' construct is not beholden to the material world, and I do not see why the fitness of ideas would not be subject to these very same (abstracted) forces dictating biological survival. In fact, I think the psychological study of memes is a fine example of an immaterial application of evolutionary theory.

e

Michael Hirsch wrote:

No no. I said evolution is a material theory. I have always assumed that spiritual people could understand it, but only if they are also able to think materially.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Daniel Sabsay
Subject: Ezra and Evolution
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 22:52:52 -0700

Oh, please Ezra,

The word 'evolution' implies improvement and improvement demands a criteria. The question, then, is who or what decides on the criteria.

The word evolution implies change, nothing more. The rest is rant.

If you are a materialist, then the criteria for improvement changes with the environment, and what is beneficial in one primordial goo is detrimental in another. You can extrapolate from this result at your own peril.

Peril? I am not put in peril by understanding how things work.

The 'evolutionary' construct is not beholden to the material world,

Ezra, again the fuzziness of either your education, or your thinking has led you to choose the word "beholden". Nobody made this assertion. The word that fits here really is "restricted".

and I do not see why the fitness of ideas would not be subject to these very same (abstracted) forces dictating biological survival.

Nobody said they weren't. But remember that local adaptation can also become counter-productive for longterm survival. Thus, while belief in a set of warm and fuzzy, but patently false, concepts such as "the heart is not a pump" does bind believers into a mutually beneficial group, they and their children will not contribute any cardiac surgeons to the world. In the short run, this doesn't affect the world, since the rest of the us will continue to train surgeons.

In fact, I think the psychological study of memes is a fine example of an immaterial application of evolutionary theory.

So what, this does not imply that mentation is not a material process, nor does it mean that the success of St. Rudi's followers validates the accuracy of Rudi's ideas.

Michael Hirsch wrote:

No no. I said evolution is a material theory. I have always assumed that spiritual people could understand it, but only if they are also able to think materially.

-- Daniel

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daniel Sabsay, president "Ignorance is the ultimate renewable resource"
East Bay Skeptics Society http://www.eb-skeptics.org

mail@eb-skeptics.org

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Ezra Beeman
Subject: Re: Ezra (S J Gould) and Evolution
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 01:11:54 -0700

My so called rant is loosely borrowed from 'Ever Since Darwin' by S. J. Gould. I also happen to agree with him.

e

Daniel Sabsay wrote:

Oh, please Ezra,

The word 'evolution' implies improvement and improvement demands a criteria. The question, then, is who or what decides on the criteria.

The word evolution implies change, nothing more. The rest is rant.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: redon
Subject: Ezra and Evolution
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 04:51:48 -0500

From: Daniel Sabsay <danielsabsay@pacbell.net>
Subject: Ezra and Evolution

Oh, please Ezra,

The word 'evolution' implies improvement and improvement demands a criteria. The question, then, is who or what decides on the criteria.

The word evolution implies change, nothing more. The rest is rant.

Evolution \Ev`o*lu"tion\, n. [L. evolutio an unrolling: cf. F. ['e]volution evolution. See Evolve.]

1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, in the process of growth; development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.

2. A series of things unrolled or unfolded. ``The whole evolution of ages.'' --Dr. H. More.

3. (Geom.) The formation of an involute by unwrapping a thread from a curve as an evolute. --Hutton.

4. (Arith. & Alg.) The extraction of roots; -- the reverse of involution.

5. (Mil. & Naval) A prescribed movement of a body of troops, or a vessel or fleet; any movement designed to effect a new arrangement or disposition; a maneuver. Those evolutions are best which can be executed with the greatest celerity, compatible with regularity. --Campbell.

6. (Biol.) (a) A general name for the history of the steps by which any living organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of growth or development. (b) That theory of generation which supposes the germ to pre["e]xist in the parent, and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the procreative act; -- opposed to epigenesis.

7. (Metaph.) That series of changes under natural law which involves continuous progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in structure, and from the single and simple to the diverse and manifold in quality or function. The pocess is by some limited to organic beings; by others it is applied to the inorganic and the psychical. It is also applied to explain the existence and growth of institutions, manners, language, civilization, and every product of human activity. The agencies and laws of the process are variously explained by different philosophrs.

Evolution is to me series with development. --Gladstone.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 11:02:49 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

Michael Kopp wroteØ

But I've spent about eight years of my life working on it, Tarjei, which is how long ago I started to look at enrolling my kids in an alternative to the public school system they were then in.

And Tarjei Straume replied:

If your nonsense about uniform anthroposophical conformity is the result of eight years of research, your lack of objectivity must have interfered with your work.

KOPP:

This "if...then" syllogism is illogical. In the first place, you haven't provided any evidence that my conclusion is "nonsense".

MK:

But, please, can you tell me where the alternative sects of the Anthroposphical Society are located? What are there names? Who are their leaders?

TS:

This would be better commented by someone on eht list who is a current member of the Anthroposophical Society,

KOPP:

Okay, I'll readdress the question to Stephen Tonkin, who is a current member. How about it, Stephen?

TS:

but to the best of my knowledge, the organization in question does not have any sects. It has administrative branches, because all it does is distribute newsletters, coordinate contacts, and arrange theater events and things like that.

KOPP:

I think, Tarjei, that you have just proved my point. No sects, no visible, organised schisms, equals solidarity and uniformity of dogma and action, if not the "monolithic" edifice SWA apologists are always accusing critics of positing.

MK:

Or is there another offshoot of Anthroposophy that has formed a new society by another name, because it has rejected Steiner's teaching?

TS:

If a group or an organization rejects Steiner's teachings, it has no interest in anthroposophy.

KOPP:

This is like saying that reform Judaism, or evangelical Christianity, just to cite two examples, have no interest in their gods or scriptures.

And who are you to tell such rejecters (or questioners) of Steiner's teachings that they are excommunicated? When did you become "Anthro-pope"?

MK:

Can you tell me, please, where is the discussion list on the internet for "Anthroposophical Science" which rejects Goethean Science as its basis, and instead chooses "materialistic science" to the exclusion of all other spiritual mumbo jumbo?

TS:

What do you need that kind of nonsense for?

KOPP:

Because people like Stephen Tonkin, who IS a current member of the Anthroposophical Society (and a rational scientist as well -- sometimes <G>) say things like:

KOPP:

You're obviously still too much under the influence of "materialistic" science, and need to study much harder, and embrace much more determinedly, the only thing which proves Anthroposophy: "spiritual" science.

But, as you say, it's unlikely that "spiritual science" will produce a definition of Anthroposophy as clear as those that science provides for our understanding of the Universe.

TONKIN:

You misunderstand me (I think) -- what I seek is a "materialistic" science definition of religion.

KOPP:

If critics are right, and Anthroposophy is a religion (Tonkin, unlike you, seems to be willing to approach the idea a little less dogmatically and a little more ... rationally) then surely the (materialistic) scientific examination of Anthroposophy and its realm is reasonable?

(I think the [materialist] science jury is already in on this one: if it claims to be spiritual, then it's a religion, because it deals only in beliefs which are not in physical evidence.)

MK:

Can you tell me where there is a Waldorf school that has, for instance, eschewed -- nay, banned -- Goethean phenomenology and the "four elements" in the teaching of science? That might have been a school to which I could have sent my children, because it would have indicated a certain rationality which is missing in every other

Ask the teachers. I know very little about schools.

KOPP:

No, I asked you. Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical schools are a primary activity of SWA practice world-wide. As an Anthroposophical apologist, you _should_ know the answer. Your answer is typical of SWA apologists: "I dunno; go ask Joe".

All right, Robert Flannery and Stephen Tonkin are the two most visible SWA teachers here: how about it, guys? Can YOU answer my question (and enlighten Tarjei, so he'll know what he should know, and be able to answer the question next time he's asked)?

MK:

From the look of the availble evidence on the Internet and in my neck of the woods (which has a national Anthroposophical Society which is associated with the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools in New Zealand, which is the body which runs the Steiner/Waldorf/Anthroposophical teachers' training seminary, and is involved in the financing of SWA school in this country, and their pedagogy) there is no such schism anywhere in the world that meets the definition of the word.

TS:

The schism you are looking for would involve a party very hostile to anthroposophy itself. You are looking for a branch of anthroposophy that harmonizes with your anti-spiritual views. Good luck with your search.

KOPP:

No, I'm trying to get you, or any other SWA apologist, to tell me why critics shouldn't think you've all proved the critical point of view: no sects, no visible, organised schisms, equals solidarity and uniformity of dogma and action, if not the "monolithic" edifice SWA apologists are always accusing critics of positing.

MK:

Sure, you Anthropops _love_ internecine warfare among yourselves, and some even become apostates. But none of the apostates has formed an alternative sect, that I'm aware of. You'd think that such an event would be big enough news to be made known on a discussion list like this one, in the 3-1/2 years I've been here. Can you point me at one, please, Tarjei?

TS:

Schisms can exist within a movement or an organization without forming all kinds of separate sects. But all the internal disputes would be mumbo jumbo to you anyway, so there is no wonder that your conclusions were so uninformed.

KOPP:

But at least I could scientifically, rationally discuss those differrent brands of mumbo jumbo.

MK:

It's certainly the case that studying _Anthroposophy_ as a subject is very difficult for a person who is a lifetime skeptic, and who has no desire to give up that trait just to understand, from the point of view of an apprentice or whatever, which is the only way Anthroposophists believe it can be studied, what looks from the outside like mumbo jumbo.

TS:

And that is what it will always look like to you - mumbo jumbo and nothing else.

KOPP:

Well, help me out here, Tarjei. Say something about it that is comprehensible to the ordinary layman and either explains the mumbo jumbo, or translates it into ordinary experience, or is at least not paradoxical or self-contradictory, as much of your writing about it (it not the thing itself) has been.

MK:

I was not popular at the few study group meetings I attended at our former Steiner school (but then, I'm not popular with a lot of people of whom I ask blunt questions, such as the Anthroposophists and their apologists on this list).

TS:

An anthroposophical study group consists of people who are genuinely drawn to anthroposophy and who wish to learn from it. If someone in such a group keeps attacking and scorning it, he or she is slowing down those who desire to learn and grow.

MK:

No, I didn't attack or scorn anything when I was in the discussion groups. All I did was ask questions based on my previous 40 years of understanding of the Universe. But part of learning is critical, skeptical challenging of the thing one is trying to understand.

You are saying that one can only be a part of such a "circle" if one is not there to learn by challenge, but to "*desire* to learn and grow". To me that is a perfect example of what I see as cult mentality: "don't question, just accept; go out into the wilderness and examine yourself, and you will come to the answer; you will know you have arrived at the answer because you will then see the light that we have seen".

Thank you, Tarjei, for the confirmation that the critics are right about SWA's "cult-like" nature.

MK:

However, as a journalist and observer of human affairs, I think it is possible to get some idea of the nature of Anthroposophy as a practice of people who run schools and try to inject their philosophy into existing public schools.

TS:

I agree in theory, but the bitter venom that taints every word you write about Anthroposophy makes it very difficult for the objective reader to discern that idea.

KOPP:

Bitter venom? I've admitted I'm angry about my and my kids' experiences with a duplicitous, weird school.

And what has MY attitude got to do with YOUR and other apologists' ability to explain the nature of SWA? You are saying that my criticism and very pointed questioning is "bitter venom", and it interferes with the understanding you would otherwise be able to give to the rest of the readers who are more "objective" than I am, who would otherwise be able to see your points?

But you are involved in other threads of discussion with people who could not remotely be considered to have my "bitter, venomous" attitude, and you don't seem to be able to get any further with them than with me. How do I cause that? Do you really mean I upset your equanimity so much that you can't discourse with others, even though I'm not involved in those other discussions?

That sounds like what you said about Anthroposophical study groups: unless one is totally humble and self-abnegating, one cannot come to the truth. I think you expect the same thing on this list -- and when you don't get it, you can't cope.

MK:

As a parent who spent five years getting children into and out of a Steiner school -- a difficult process as I have described here previously -- and a fairly intelligent person who has tried to follow the discourse between better critics than myself and a variety of Anthropops and apologists here, and reading the quotes from Steiner and his followers _from both sides_, I think I have a pretty good idea of what I was duped by and then shunned when I learnt its weirdness.

TS:

I would say that anyone who swallows all your posts to this list without question, would be as least as duped by you as you were by the Waldorf school.

KOPP:

Ditto, in spades, for your posts. At least I write plainly and clearly.

MK:

If I have not invesgitated Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophy to a degree which you find acceptable, Tarjei, then I apologise for wasting your time all these months of trying to get you to speak plainly.

TS:

Haven't I been plain and straight forward? Haven't I answered all questions asked me as best I could?

KOPP:

Yes, I think you've acted in good faith [no pun intended, pun-cop Robert Flannery].

Yes, I think you've done your best to answer questions.

I could be churlish and make an ad hominem QED.

But I think it's likely that the problem, dear Tarjei, is not in you, but in your stars [pun intended, pun-cop Robert Flannery].

In other words, neither Steiner nor anyone else since has been able to clearly explicate his philsophy in rational terms for non-predisposed non-believers.

That certainly sounds like a cult, if not an esoteric (hidden meaning) religion.

MK:

However, I don't think I will let an Anthroposophy apologist (or an "anarchosophist", for that matter) determine for me or others whether I have experienced enough, or learned enough, to make judgements about SWA.

TS:

Fine, but that entails that your judgements will be regarded as spurious.

KOPP:

Only by "Anthro-popes" like yourself. Thank you for yet again reinforcing the apparent arrogance of the believer in Anthroposophy.

MK:

I may not know what I'm talking about, from your point of view. From my point of view, if you DO know what you're talking about, you don't make it very comprehensible in the language I grew up with.

Perhaps you want me to learn another, special, Anthroposophical language, like you seem to believe exists in terms of Anthroposophical logic, as you posted recently: "In the first place, comprehension of divine-spiritual truth requires a higher logic, an extra-rational logic".

Every other religion, every other subject I have ever studied, has been comprehensible in terms of the language (and that means the thought processes, because the two are inseparable) I was taught.

TS:

If anthroposophy is mumbo jumbo to you because you find the language hard to comprehend, that's fine. It's your hostility I'm getting at, and how this hostility appears to affect your judgements. Almost everything you write about anthroposophy is spiced with polemics.

KOPP:

Well, thanks for the qualifier. I am usually painted pure black. (You should see my kids' "black-and-white-polarity-year" drawings of me!)

And "spiced" is wonderful: I didn't know I was so tasty!

But I think that almost everything you (and the other Anthroposophical apologists, as with Robert Flannery's characterization of me as a "bully") write about critics and their criticism, is tainted (not "spiced") with polemics.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 06:20:39 +0100

Ezra Beeman wrote:

The word 'evolution' implies improvement

Why? I agree that "Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) evolution" probably implies improvement, in the sense that the evolved product is better suited to its environment, but unqualified "evolution" need not.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 06:25:13 +0100

Michael Kopp wrote:

MK:

But, please, can you tell me where the alternative sects of the Anthroposphical Society are located? What are there names? Who are their leaders?

TS:

This would be better commented by someone on eht list who is a current member of the Anthroposophical Society,

KOPP:

Okay, I'll readdress the question to Stephen Tonkin, who is a current member. How about it, Stephen?

I am unaware of any.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ Stephen Tonkin | ATM Resources; Astro-Tutorials; Astronomy Books +
+ (N50.9105 W1.829)
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Inf...
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 10:46:16 EDT

In einer eMail vom 14.04.99 03:26:11 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Michael Hirsch:

I think any scientist who tries to grapple with reincarnation has to figure out where the new spirits come from. There are many more humans live in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined, I believe. Where did the new spirits come from?

Logistically there are two possible answers.

1. The time between incarnations is much shorter now than it used to be.

2. There are souls who are only now starting to incarnate.

I believe the answer combines both these extremes

It mustn't be forgotten that the population was greater at times in prehistory, when the great civilisations were in full swing. I am unaware of any figures, even from Steiner.

Bruce

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Yael Resnick
Subject: where new souls come from
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 22:56:46 -0500

(Sorry, I don't know who had this exchange...)

I think any scientist who tries to grapple with reincarnation has to figure out where the new spirits come from. There are many more humans live in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined, I believe. Where did the new spirits come from?

Logistically there are two possible answers.

1. The time between incarnations is much shorter now than it used to be.

2. There are souls who are only now starting to incarnate.

Chassidus addresses this question, so just to add my two multicultural cents:

According to Chassidus/Kabbalah, there are a certain number of "root-souls," which can subdivide and become part of several people in later cycles. People living today share these root-souls. Also, as in #2 above, not all souls have necessarily incarnated yet. According to Jewish tradition (I don't know if this is a Midrash - legend - or Kabbalah, or what), once all souls come down into bodies, Moshiach will come.

For what it's worth.

Yael

*****

Yael Resnick, Publisher/Editor, Natural Jewish Parenting
173 Speedwell Ave., Suite 127, Morristown, NJ 07960

The only magazine dedicated to a holistic Jewish perspective on childraising and health!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Waldorf Science
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 21:07:16 -0400

MK:

Can you tell me where there is a Waldorf school that has, for instance, eschewed -- nay, banned -- Goethean phenomenology and the "four elements" in the teaching of science? That might have been a school to which I could have sent my children, because it would have indicated a certain rationality which is missing in every other

<snip>

All right, Robert Flannery and Stephen Tonkin are the two most visible SWA teachers here: how about it, guys? Can YOU answer my question (and enlighten Tarjei, so he'll know what he should know, and be able to answer the question next time he's asked)?

I don't really feel qualified to answer this question, because I don't have enough experience with a nationwide sample to write with real authority. What follows is incomplete. I hope additional responses flesh it out. If David Mitchell is still on the list, he could say a lot more about conditions in the U.S.

Most waldorf schools in this country are young (less than twenty years old). As such, they've probably been working with the upper grades of the elementary school for ten years or less, and don't even have a high school curriculum. They could be characterized as having an "immature" program in the sciences.

There is just no way that I could characterize such a situation as some kind of monolith. In some waldorf schools, the science blocks might look like a phenomenological program where observation and deduction are emphasized. Or, it might look like the public school program down the road. It might be some kind of a hybrid. It might even include the teaching of pseudoscience.

Goethean, or phenomenological, science is something most waldorf class teachers don't understand. It wasn't part of their teacher training, if they have teacher training at all. Guidelines are only just beginning to emerge for a coherent and unified program of phenomenological science.

I attended a week-long seminar last summer on the topic of teaching phenomenological science in the lower school. A manual will be published any day now which represents the syllabus of that conference. This book, or something very much like this book, will probably serve as the model for science work in the lower school for many decades to come. I'll provide details once it is actually available.

So, there is no "establishment" science bloc within waldorf circles to rail against, as yet. Phenomenological studies are certainly ascendant, but they do not represent the majority position at this time. In other words, I don't think it's been in general use long enough to be repudiated.

As far as the "four elements" business is concerned, that's a red herring, to my view. You can call it miseducation, if you like. Introducing the concept of the four elements is not meant to supplant the periodic table. It could serve as a simplified historical introduction to classification in chemistry, and lead to more formal and "scientific" systems of organization.

Robert Flannery
New York

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: Waldorf Science
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 06:16:04 +0100

Robert Flannery wrote:

As far as the "four elements" business is concerned,

Equivalent to the four states of matter: Solid, liquid, gas, plasma. (The latter in teh physicists, not haematologists, sense.)

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,
Stephen

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Waldorf Science
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 04:58:22 EDT

In einer eMail vom 15.04.99 04:30:34 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Robert Flannery:

Robert Flannery writes:

Goethean, or phenomenological, science is something most waldorf class teachers don't understand. It wasn't part of their teacher training, if they have teacher training at all. Guidelines are only just beginning to emerge for a coherent and unified program of phenomenological science.

I beg to differ Robert, but maybe things in Germany are different. There are one or two authors besides Roy Wilkinson who describe beautifully what Waldorf Science:

M v Mackenson
G Ott
Baravalle
Julius
Thor Keller

to name but a few.

I am not saying that I agree with everything that they write, but as with Roy Wilkinson they give food for thought. BTW they are better than Roy IMHO!

There are Lehrplankommissionen (curriculum commissions?) examining the syllabus indications and providing thoughts for 1999 main-lessons. The classic is naturally the Steam-engine and Telephone in Class 9 Physics!!

Bruce

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 17:23:05 +0200

Michael Hirsch wrote:

I think any scientist who tries to grapple with reincarnation has to figure out where the new spirits come from. There are many more humans live in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined, I believe. Where did the new spirits come from?

I have been pondering that riddle for many years, and it has also been discussed and explored on several anthroposophical lists. It is a question not only for anthroposophists, but also for hindus, Buddhists, theosophists, and New Age. The number of people who are convinced of the truthfulness of reincarnation is on the increase in the West, so the question will undoubtedly be explored a lot further in the years to come.

Many anthropophists have a ready answer to your question. I don't.

To say "Haeckel could only grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense" is to say Haeckel could grasp Evolution. If Steiner finds spirituality in evolution it is because he doesn't grasp it.

So only materialists understand evolution, and atheists have a monolopy on the science of cosmogenesis.

No no. I said evolution is a material theory.

If that is your only definition of evolution, we are in disagreement just like on the definition of science. Evolution involves all of existence and all of nature. If it were confined to matter, there would be no spiritual growth or metamorphosis.

I have always assumed that spiritual people could understand it, but only if they are also able to think materially. I've been assuming that you spiritualists are _more_ capable than us materialists.

I'm sure there are spiritual people who don't understand the material aspect of existence and natural science. Spiritualists subscribe to a dualistic, not monistic, world view, and they are practitioners of mediumship and the like, Anthroposophists are not, and have never been, spiritualists, but some theosophists have incorporated elements of spiritualism, which originated in the 1840's.

After all, I may deny the spiritual world for lack of evidence (or I may not--I ain't telling) but surely you don't deny the material world! Or do you (like, say, Bishop Berkeley)?

I am not familiar with Bishop Berkely. Anthroposophists have never denied the material world. Denial of the material world can be found in traditional Hinduism, where it is maya, illusion. From an anthroposophical perspective, there is a half-truth in this. The world of the senses is illusory, but we need these illusions. We need to treat them as real in the full consciousness of their deceptive character. Hence the expression "clairvoyance," which means seeing clearly the real world behind the material.

Darwinism has in many ways stagnated in the hands of his followers, waiting to be awakened like a sleeping wolf.

Examples, please?

Your inability to appreciate that because man is body soul, and spirit, the latter permeates all of nature and is the active force behind its coming into existence, - is a classic example of what I was getting at.

But what does that have to do with the theory evolution stagnating?

I have the impression that the theory of evolution in its stagnated, materialistic form concurs with your views.

The last couple decades have seen great growth and changes in our understanding of evolution.

Evolutionary theory is still very much confined by the chains of materialism.

and always has been, so I don't think you can call that stagnation. To say it has stagnated implies, I think, that it once was different.

Semantics, semantics. When I have to check the dictionary for a word I have already used in a post, it is always due to nit-picking like this. My old 1976 Webster says:

stagnant: not flowing in a current of stream, motionless

What I mean by stagnation here is like getting stuck in a rut or a ditch with a vehicle, the wheels spinning without moving it any further. It's the ditch of materialism.

I'm checking my Collins Thesaurus for synonyms to "stagnate": decay, decline, deteriorate, fester, go to seed, idle, languish, lie fallow, rot, rust, stand still, vegetate.

The limitations imposed by materialist-fundamentalist Darwinism has also been discussed lately. The concept of natural selection and survival of the fittest, for instance, may have been inspired in part by the competitive capitalist society Darwin knew, and the ill treatment of natives on the Western hemisphere by the Europeans that he witnessed. But Charles Darwin was a genius and probably the most influential scientist of all. He was a progressive, self-critical thinker, and "Origin of the Species" is a very well written book.

Good golly,

Miss Molly

I said evolution was a material science. I never said history was.

History is the outcome of evolution and the expression of evolutionary forces. A materialistic approach to evolution entalis an equally materialistic approach to history.

And I certainly didn't say that you couldn't grasp evolution.

Michael, you wrote:

"To say "Haeckel could only grasp evolution only in the the physical-material sense" is to say Haeckel could grasp Evolution. If Steiner finds spirituality in evolution it is because he doesn't grasp it."

Because I also find spirituality in evolution, I don't grasp evolution according to you.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influen...
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 12:28:44 EDT

Michael Kopp asks (of Tarjei, then Stephen)

But, please, can you tell me where the alternative sects of the Anthroposphical Society are located? What are there names? Who are their leaders?

I have also no idea what you are referring to

Bruce

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 18:56:59 +0200

I wrote:

If your nonsense about uniform anthroposophical conformity is the result of eight years of research, your lack of objectivity must have interfered with your work.

Michael Kopp wrote:

This "if...then" syllogism is illogical. In the first place, you haven't provided any evidence that my conclusion is "nonsense".

If it was not nonsense, all anthroposophists would think alike and hold the same opinions about Steiner and and anthroposophy and WE. They dont. The only thing they have in common is the recogniton of Steiner as a bona fide clairvoyant spiritual researcher, of anthroposophically oriented spiritual science as a legitimate science.

<snip>

And who are you to tell such rejecters (or questioners) of Steiner's teachings that they are excommunicated? When did you become "Anthro-pope"?

I have not proposed "excommunication" of anyone from anything. My point was that if someone starts an organization that by definition is not anthroposophical, they would probably call it something other than anthroposophy. Again, it boils down to semantics and definitions. You have your own definitions of anthroposophy and excommunication and sects and so on. That's fine with me, but when I explain something, I use my own frames of reference.

<snip>

Can you tell me where there is a Waldorf school that has, for instance, eschewed -- nay, banned -- Goethean phenomenology and the "four elements" in the teaching of science? That might have been a school to which I could have sent my children, because it would have indicated a certain rationality which is missing in every other

Ask the teachers. I know very little about schools.

KOPP:

No, I asked you.

But I cannot tell you where there is a school that fits your above description. (That answers your question, doesn't it?)

Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical schools are a primary activity of SWA practice world-wide. As an Anthroposophical apologist, you _should_ know the answer. Your answer is typical of SWA apologists: "I dunno; go ask Joe".

If I asked you a question about a subject where your knowledge was limited, wouldn't you suggest that I asked someone more knowledgeable? Is this a "typical SWA apologist" response? Bullshit.

No, I'm trying to get you, or any other SWA apologist, to tell me why critics shouldn't think you've all proved the critical point of view: no sects, no visible, organised schisms, equals solidarity and uniformity of dogma and action, if not the "monolithic" edifice SWA apologists are always accusing critics of positing.

I have no intention of telling critics what to think, or to try to persuade them to think differently. But you have not answered another question of mine, Michael: You said I should look over my shoulder to guard myself against some threat from the Goethanum in Dornach, which is somehow more dangerous than the Penagon. I asked you how the Goethanum could be dangerous to me, and I would also like to know in what manner. You are not responding to this.

MK:

Sure, you Anthropops _love_ internecine warfare among yourselves, and some even become apostates. But none of the apostates has formed an alternative sect, that I'm aware of. You'd think that such an event would be big enough news to be made known on a discussion list like this one, in the 3-1/2 years I've been here. Can you point me at one, please, Tarjei?

TS:

Schisms can exist within a movement or an organization without forming all kinds of separate sects. But all the internal disputes would be mumbo jumbo to you anyway, so there is no wonder that your conclusions were so uninformed.

KOPP:

But at least I could scientifically, rationally discuss those differrent brands of mumbo jumbo.

What you mean by "scientific" and "rational" is tantamount to a materialistic, atheistic frame of reference. Unless you are able and/or willing to discuss spiritual-scientific issues on their own terms, your cannot contribute to a discussion of them, except among those who share your world view and your lack of comprehension.

<snip>

Well, help me out here, Tarjei. Say something about it that is comprehensible to the ordinary layman and either explains the mumbo jumbo, or translates it into ordinary experience, or is at least not paradoxical or self-contradictory, as much of your writing about it (it not the thing itself) has been.

We've been through this before, Michael. Anthroposophical literature IS comprehensible to the ordinary layman, provided that he or she is prepared to make the necessary effort in reading comprehension. But if this layman insists upon a frame of reference void of spirit and refuses to understand an approach to science that includes spirit, it will always remain incomprehensible mumbo jumbo to him or her.

MK:

I was not popular at the few study group meetings I attended at our former Steiner school (but then, I'm not popular with a lot of people of whom I ask blunt questions, such as the Anthroposophists and their apologists on this list).

TS:

An anthroposophical study group consists of people who are genuinely drawn to anthroposophy and who wish to learn from it. If someone in such a group keeps attacking and scorning it, he or she is slowing down those who desire to learn and grow.

MK:

No, I didn't attack or scorn anything when I was in the discussion groups. All I did was ask questions based on my previous 40 years of understanding of the Universe. But part of learning is critical, skeptical challenging of the thing one is trying to understand.

You are saying that one can only be a part of such a "circle" if one is not there to learn by challenge, but to "*desire* to learn and grow".

That is not what I am saying. The condition for participating in any study group is determined by the group itself. The anthropopsophical study group I once participated in consisted of anthroposophists.

To me that is a perfect example of what I see as cult mentality: "don't question, just accept;

That was not true of the group I was a part of. There was a lot of questioning going on. This does not mean that questioning must include your kind of questions to be called questioning.

go out into the wilderness and examine yourself, and you will come to the answer; you will know you have arrived at the answer because you will then see the light that we have seen".

Nonsense. You are describing something from a circle I have never met. It's New Age all right, but it's not anthroposophy.

<snip>

I agree in theory, but the bitter venom that taints every word you write about Anthroposophy makes it very difficult for the objective reader to discern that idea.

KOPP:

Bitter venom? I've admitted I'm angry about my and my kids' experiences with a duplicitous, weird school.

My point exactly. It's an anger you're taking out on all of anthroposophy world wide and on everyone associated with it. Unless you can detach yourself from such feelings, or suspend them for a while, your descriptions and your judgements are never objective.

And what has MY attitude got to do with YOUR and other apologists' ability to explain the nature of SWA? You are saying that my criticism and very pointed questioning is "bitter venom", and it interferes with the understanding you would otherwise be able to give to the rest of the readers who are more "objective" than I am, who would otherwise be able to see your points?

I did not say that your feelings interfere with the understanding I would otherwise be able to give to the rest of the readers for the simple reason that I cannot give understanding to anyone. If I could, people from all over the world would line up to see me. But I appreciate that you regard me as a guru and a saint in my own right. Come to Uncle Taz and let him grant you the gift of understanding. I kinda like that.

Those who are able to see any given point are those capable of silencing their inner selves and their critical attitudes while reading or listening. In order to exercise critical thinking, we must first be able to listen uncritically, then analyze the information received, and then exercising judgement. There is a tendency on a list like this to pre-judge posts from people we are in disagreement with, or to form our critical opinions while the content is being absorbed.

But you are involved in other threads of discussion with people who could not remotely be considered to have my "bitter, venomous" attitude, and you don't seem to be able to get any further with them than with me. How do I cause that? Do you really mean I upset your equanimity so much that you can't discourse with others, even though I'm not involved in those other discussions?

I have not said that you have caused irreconcilable differences of opinion that occur in other threads between myself and other people

That sounds like what you said about Anthroposophical study groups: unless one is totally humble and self-abnegating, one cannot come to the truth. I think you expect the same thing on this list -- and when you don't get it, you can't cope.

I have not said that one has to be totally humble and self-negating to come to the truth or to participate in anthroposophical study groups. That is Michael Kopp speaking.

<snip>

But I think that almost everything you (and the other Anthroposophical apologists, as with Robert Flannery's characterization of me as a "bully") write about critics and their criticism, is tainted (not "spiced") with polemics.

I also used the word "tainted" earlier. The spice does not necessarily penetrate the substance or change it -- it merely suppresses the original flavor, or some of it.

Which reminds me of a story about Albert Einstein. He once invited a lot of people to dinner. They were all candidates to be his co-workers and assistents in scientific research. He picked the men who tasted their food before salting it. Those who salted their food before tasting it, had pre-judged it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Yael Resnick
Subject: critical thinking
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 22:56:55 -0500

Tarjei posted:

Those who are able to see any given point are those capable of silencing their inner selves and their critical attitudes while reading or listening. In order to exercise critical thinking, we must first be able to listen uncritically, then analyze the information received, and then exercising judgement. There is a tendency on a list like this to pre-judge posts from people we are in disagreement with, or to form our critical opinions while the content is being absorbed.

Interesting, and I agree. We've all had the experience of talking to someone whose mind is entirely on formulating his responses and not on what is being said to him. It is very unsatisfying talking to such a person; there's no listening happening.

In Chassidus it is taught that in order to receive (knowledge, blessings, wisdom, etc.) one must make oneself a vessel -- that is, make oneself *into* a vessel. The analogy is made to two buckets put out in the rain, one empty and one already full. Rain is a symbol of blessings from above. The empty bucket will fill with rain; the full one may gain only a few new drops. (Being "empty" doesn't mean completely nullifying oneself, however, since one's "self" is the vessel -- the bucket, not the water. But it does mean putting oneself aside in a humble way in order to be able to receive input -- for later analysis, of course.)

This seems quite similar to what Tarjei was saying.

Yael

*****

Yael Resnick, Publisher/Editor, Natural Jewish Parenting
173 Speedwell Ave., Suite 127, Morristown, NJ 07960

The only magazine dedicated to a holistic Jewish perspective on
childraising and health!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: RE:Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: 14 Apr 1999 13:41:46 -0400

Stephen Tonkin posted

... Perhaps the solution to this conundrum lies in the fact that being an anthroposophist does not require a belief in anything (although I grant that I cannot imagine an anthropop who does not believe in the existence of a spiritual reality -- but it is not *required* -- this, IMHO, is one of the distinctions between anthroposophy and religion).

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

Stephen or anybody

It is my understanding that the only people who are "anthroposohists" are those people who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. Every one else is some version of "interested in the topic of anthroposophy" (whatever that can be). I think the only thing that a person must do to be a member of the society is accept that there is a place in Dornach, Swizterland called the Goetheanum where people are engaged in the study of spiritual science. Is this correct (or something like this)?

The reason I ask for this clarification is that I read alot of "anthroposophists this and that..." But beyond this one or few clear shared touchstones "anthroposophists" as a group are nothing else. Everything from that distinction on is a variety of individualism.

Sorry if this post shows up long after this discussion. I am trying to catch up with this wordy bunch.

Luke

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE:Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influence?)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 20:02:29 +0200

Luke wrote:

It is my understanding that the only people who are "anthroposohists" are those people who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. Every one else is some version of "interested in the topic of anthroposophy" (whatever that can be). I think the only thing that a person must do to be a member of the society is accept that there is a place in Dornach, Swizterland called the Goetheanum where people are engaged in the study of spiritual science. Is this correct (or something like this)?

An anthroposophist is any person who accepts that Rudolf Steiner was a bona fide clairvoyant researcher, and that anthroposophically oriented spiritual science is a legitimate field of research.

The reason I ask for this clarification is that I read alot of "anthroposophists this and that..." But beyond this one or few clear shared touchstones "anthroposophists" as a group are nothing else. Everything from that distinction on is a variety of individualism.

The Anthroposophical Movement, which consists of all anthroposophists and their influence on world culture, is indeed comprised of a variety of individualism.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

[This braindead discussion continues]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthropo
sophical Inf...
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 15:09:29 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce

I think any scientist who tries to grapple with reincarnation has to figure out where the new spirits come from. There are many more humans live in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined, I believe. Where did the new spirits come from?

Logistically there are two possible answers.

1. The time between incarnations is much shorter now than it used to be.

2. There are souls who are only now starting to incarnate.

Your logic is interesting.

It's sort of like a library with inventory stored in the back room. We never see the books in storage until the librarian puts them on the shelves. As a book deteriorates over time and "dies," it's sent back to the back room where it's rehabilitated before it's brought back on the shelves again.

We don't know how many books are in the back room, because we're not allowed in there to peek.

I'll give you another possibility for speculation, which I just thought of.... I tend to be on Carl Sagan's side in believing that there is a high likelihood that there is other intelligent life in the universe. There may be souls who have previously incarnated elsewhere in the universe, and for whatever reason they cannot reincarnate on their original home planet (nuclear war, environmental desolation) or perhaps they have a choice in the matter. So the number of souls who can potentially reincarnate here is in a state of flux.

So much for speculation. Though I admit the possibility of reincarnation, it's not something I believe in.

Bob

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthropo sophical Inf...
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 22:11:22 +0100

Tolz, Robert wrote:

I'll give you another possibility for speculation, which I just thought of.... I tend to be on Carl Sagan's side in believing that there is a high likelihood that there is other intelligent life in the universe.

Other? <g>

There may be souls who have previously incarnated elsewhere in the universe, and for whatever reason they cannot reincarnate on their original home planet (nuclear war, environmental desolation) or perhaps they have a choice in the matter. So the number of souls who can potentially reincarnate here is in a state of flux.

So much for speculation. Though I admit the possibility of reincarnation, it's not something I believe in.

My own opinion, FWIW, is that it is a dead-end trying to apply natural- world logic and laws to spiritual matters.

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,

Stephen

--
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Influen...
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 18:17:15 EDT

In einer eMail vom 14.04.99 19:49:31 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Luke Schelly:

It is my understanding that the only people who are "anthroposohists" are those people who are members of the Anthroposophical Society. Every one else is some version of "interested in the topic of anthroposophy" (whatever that can be). I think the only thing that a person must do to be a member of the society is accept that there is a place in Dornach, Swizterland called the Goetheanum where people are engaged in the study of spiritual science. Is this correct (or something like this)?

Something like that, yes! But I reckon there are lots of other organisations where "members" are not necessarily card-carrying. I honestly do not know whether Religions qualify, but sports certainly do: I am a tennis-player, but I do not have a card to say so. I am a scientist - maybe if all scientists had to carry a membership card then we would be able to decide whether Steiner really was a card carrying scientist or not. I am a teacher..... when I go abroad with a class I carry a card to prove it!

Bruce

[This braindead discussion continues]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthropo
sophical Inf...
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 02:34:22 -0700

"[T]he idea that the population of the earth increases is just superstition on the part of modern science, which always makes its calculations from data to suit itself."

[Steiner, Rudolf. The Evolution of the Earth and Man and the Influence of
the Stars: 14 Lectures to the Workmen. (1924) Trans. Gladys Hahn. Hudson,
NY: Anthroposophic Press, 1987. p 68]

-Dan Dugan

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Inf...
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 15:01:04 EDT

In einer eMail vom 15.04.99 19:35:33 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Dan Dugan:

"[T]he idea that the population of the earth increases is just superstition on the part of modern science, which always makes its calculations from data to suit itself."

Thanks Dan - you are a wealth of information! I had been trying to track that down for ages! Do you have an extremely good data-base?

Bruce

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Inf...
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 00:14:01 +1200

In einer eMail vom 15.04.99 19:35:33 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt Dan Dugan:

"[T]he idea that the population of the earth increases is just superstition on the part of modern science, which always makes its calculations from data to suit itself."

Thanks Dan - you are a wealth of information! I had been trying to track that down for ages! Do you have an extremely good data-base?

Bruce

He IS the data base. He's read just about every word Steiner ever wrote or spoke.

MK

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is Anthroposop
hical Inf...
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 09:42:45 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

Thanks Dan - you are a wealth of information! I had been trying to track that down for ages! Do you have an extremely good data-base?

Bruce

[KOPP]

He IS the data base. He's read just about every word Steiner ever wrote or spoke.

So I guess that either (1) your assertion is incorrect that anybody who studies Steiner invariably is drawn into anthroposophy or (2) Dan got a vaccination in advance. :-)

Bob Tolz

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From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: Esoteric vs. Orthodox Christianity (Was: What is
Anthroposophical Inf...
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 17:02:59 -0400

Thanks Dan - you are a wealth of information! I had been trying to track that down for ages! Do you have an extremely good data-base?

Bruce

He IS the data base. He's read just about every word Steiner ever wrote or spoke.

Not even close--last August, Dan showed me his shelf of Steiner that represented his coverage: he's only read about 5-10% of the available material in English (which is still more than nearly everyone else on this list, including me).

Robert Flannery
New York

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