Myth Truer Than History

Chapter II

It would seem to remove the discussion from the province of rational dialectic and throw it into the field of abnormal and precarious psychic phenomenalism to introduce an argument that has been frequently advanced by a number of people that is by no means inconsiderable. It must, however, be given a place in the debate if only for the reason that it arises from a special type of experience that appears to be actual among a surprising number of people who are at any rate sincere in their report and interpretation of it. It falls in a domain of psychology that has for the most part been shunned by academic investigation, its phenomena being commonly rated as abnormal, eccentric and unauthentic, categorized in fact as mostly self-delusion or hallucination. It has lately received some open countenance from scholastic authority and has been admitted to the field of legitimate study under the name of parapsychology. It may be better recognized under the designation of psychic phenomena. At any rate the phenomenon in question has been presented by many persons in modern religious groups of spiritistic character as a real experience of themselves or others testifying to them, and such is the veridical and empirical nature of the occurrence that for them it settles the entire debate categorically and summarily. The arguments based on it sway the attitude of thousands on the theme of this work and it therefore merits presentation and critique.

The point is advanced by mediums, psychics, clairvoyants and sensitives, to the effect that they can testify directly to the fact of Jesus’ historical existence because, forsooth, they have seen him and talked with him, in inner vision! His personality is not a matter of doubt or speculation, because he has appeared to them in his shining form! They have seen him as St. Paul saw him on the road to Damascus. Their need of faith is lost in the certitude of sight. To these persons the debate is closed with their declaration that others may argue--they have seen.

This phenomenal experience, commoner than is generally supposed, must, however, be subjected to a critical scrutiny that it apparently has not hitherto received. This is the more desirable because these reports of the appearance of a radiant personage to the inner sight of many people are both too voluminous and seem too sincerely founded to be thrust aside with the cry of hallucination. As evidently veridical psychic phenomena they prove an interesting theme in themselves. It seems to be necessary to concede that visions of the sort are actually seen. The shining apparition seems to these seers to be present in reality. Whatever it may truly be and however to be explained, it is evidently actually seen. The point at issue for our discussion is not the veritude of the experience or the veracity of the psychics; but what the thing proves. The critique is not directed at the fact, but at its interpretation. The position taken is that such apparitions present no necessary or valid evidence for the existence of the Gospel Jesus in Judea nineteen hundred years ago.

The identity of the personage of light in the radiant vision can not be other than a matter of presumption. Upon asking any of those who have "seen Jesus" in their subjective world how they have identified their spiritual visitant with the man of Galilee long dead, the answer is invariably: "Why, of course it was Jesus; I know it was he." On top of this one will be informed that he looked just like the pictures of him, or that the visionary recognized him by his whole appearance, as being just what he or she expected. Or the startling assertion will be made that he talked and declared his identity as Jesus, or even displayed to view the nail marks in his hands and feet. These rejoinders may seem at first glance to be pretty formidable testimony, but they are evidence not so much for the existence of the Galilean long ago as they are of the total failure of the clairvoyants to think out the implications of their assumption. They offer glaring evidence also as to the extraordinary capacity of persons endowed with these unusual gifts for psychic impressionability and intellectual credulity, if not gullibility.

Looking first at the latter, the "varieties of religious experience" include a wide range of phenomenalistic susceptibility. Old men have dreamed dreams and young men have seen visions. Saints have had rapturous exaltations, seers have beheld apocalypses and mystics have been wafted aloft in ecstasies. These experiences have abounded in great multiplicity, variety and profusion--unless the record is one long train of fiction and falsity, delirium and delusion. There is Joan d’Arc, there is Swedenborg, there is Madame Guyon and a legion of others. Modern students of this side of psychology assert that a thought is in reality a shaped figure in the mental ether; and assert that if thousands of people hold the same picture of such a person as the Christ in mind with great intensity and devotion for a continued period, the thought-form will become reified, hypostatized or substantialized to the extent that it will drift into the mental purview of psychic sensitives and be seen and mistaken for a veridical appearance. Modern psychology might catalogue it as an entification of the unconscious or subconscious object of much devotion. There are strange and uncanny possibilities in nature’s bag of tricks. There are denizens in more worlds than the solid physical. It seems evident that many people have seen a personage of luminous tenuousness in their subjective world. But all proof is wanting that their testimony as to the identity of the apparition has any validity.

There is no field in which people generally are more gullible than in that of religion. Nowhere else are the bars of the critical judgment so quickly and completely let down for the entry of superstition, the supernatural, miracle, magic and marvel. Indeed no Christly claimant would be accredited unless he could do "mighty works" to awe the multitudes. If he can not heal the sick and raise the dead he is no Christ. But the impotence to which these tendencies reduce the reasoning faculty in devotees is perhaps nowhere better seen than in the situation here portrayed. These psychics testify unhesitatingly and with total conviction that the figure of light they have seen is the still-living Jesus of Nazareth, without a moment’s pause to reflect that no one can identify a figure seen now with another person never seen at all! Identification can function only on the basis of previous knowledge or acquaintance. No one can identify the figure seen in a vision with the historical Jesus. The assumption that they can do so is ridiculous. Logic rules it out. Their claim that the figure is that of Jesus is based on pious assumption and can be nothing but sheer guess. The eyes can not identify the appearance of a person unless the eyes have seen him before, or his photograph or likeness. The figure seen matches the popularly conceived appearance of Jesus, and Jesus is the only historical person they can think to call it.

The claim that the apparition resembles the pictures of Jesus in books and prints is the weakest item in the "identification." In fact it reduces the entire claim to blank folly. In spite of gratuitous assertions of the existence of portraits of the Galilean, assuredly there has never been an authentic picture of the man, even if he lived. How can the apparitional Jesus look like his portraits when there were no portraits? If even in hallucination the visionary Jesus does resemble the conventional portrayals, we may have before us here an interesting psychological phenomenon. For the fact would seem to lend some support to the "occult" theory that the general communal thought-picture of Jesus, based on the customary portraits seen for centuries, has actually entified a spiritual thought-formation of the man in the image of his published likenesses. The allegation of pictorial resemblance is final proof of the purely subjective character of the visions and their inadmissibility as testimony in the case. What they give evidence of is some extraordinary capacities of the human psyche, not remote past history. The proof of connection between present subjective event in these cases and past objective event is totally wanting. The phenomena manifest in this realm are far too uncertain, undependable, even dangerous, for the practical uses of life. As a final observation on the point, one is permitted to express a robust doubt whether, if the living spiritual counterpart of some other ancient personage, unknown and unpictured through the centuries, should present itself before the inner gaze of these psychics, they would have any ability or means of identifying the specter. Could they identify, say, Apollonius of Tyana?

There is, however, another consideration that falls within the realm of psychology which has far more direct pertinence to the great question. The inquiry faces the task of evaluating the psychological influence and spiritual or cultural serviceableness of the idea of the personal Jesus as against the conception that makes "him" to be a high type of universal consciousness or principle. The defense of the historical point of view invariably lays vast store upon the claim that any vital religion, at any rate Christianity, could never have generated effective psychological dynamism among millions of followers if based only upon the characterization of the Christos as sheer principle. It required the living Jesus to generate in the Christian movement the driving power that it has become. Jesus must have lived, is the argument, if only because such a life in actuality was necessary to give the religion based on it just that vital psychological reinforcement that it has manifested. He must have lived because it can be shown that it was most eminently desirable, from a psychological point of view, that he should have lived. The conception of Christ as principle could never have developed enough dynamic force or fervor to have enabled Christianity, so to say, to effectuate itself.

It must be stated that the outcome of this phase of the argument can have no direct evidential bearing upon the question of the historicity of the Christ. To prove that his existence was highly desirable does not prove that it was a fact. But the point is given a quite extraordinary importance in the debate, and this not without reason. It strikes close to the central nerve of the whole Christian system. That system bases its unique efficacy upon the claim that it alone of religions offers to believers a living God. The only time God ever came to earth in person, he outlined for humanity its true religion, the Christian. By many people this point of the psychological power of the historical Christ is maneuvered into the place of central importance in the whole discussion. They urge the claim that the Christ was sent into personal embodiment for the express purpose of providing mankind with one historical example of divine perfection, and assert that the whole argument stands or falls with the question of the psychological value of his example. Such an example was necessary to effectuate the religious salvation of the world. Jesus must have lived because such an ensampler was a psychological necessity. God had to send his Son in answer to this inherent need. It would be unthinkable that such a need would not have been providentially met. Therefore Jesus did live. The broad prevalence and strength of this position calls for an exhaustive critique.

It can be conceded at the outset that in the effort of a divine hierarchy of overlords to humanize and eventually divinize an animal-born race, the advantage of the employment of a living example would be evident. God or his hierarchical agents, archangels, demi-gods, heroes, divine men, could not but be fully aware of the powerful force and virtue of a concrete example of perfection set before the eyes of mankind. It would both quicken and stabilize the general human inclination to strive after the ideal. It would give solid and constructive form to that aspiration by focusing its drive upon a specific set of ideal characteristics embodied and manifested in the exemplar. It would thus prevent the waste of infinite quantities of devotional force spent in direction toward ill-defined goals. The great divine man would stand before the world and lure all men unto him by the attractive power of his shining beauty. No other impartation of inspiration from God to man could make its salutary influence so effectively fruitful of constant good stimulus. A divine model of perfection would uplift the world through the magnetically moving force of his example. The gods must know that humanity is psychologically set and disposed to ape a paragon. The dynamic moral power of an embodied ideal is ever great. This psychological disposition well prepared the stage for the presentation to the world of its ideal hero, the Christos.

The gods did know that man would ape the divine paragon, and they did present the hero, the great sunlit figure of Christos, in every religion of antiquity.

With the keenest incisiveness it must be contended, as perhaps the prime spiritual motive of this study, that the argument based on the psychological beneficence of a divine ensampler for the human race falls out in favor of the non-historicity, and not, as almost unanimously believed, of the historicity. This astounding assertion must be vindicated against the general mass of contrary opinion.

If all other things were equal, naturally the impressive force of an ideal of perfection embodied in a living man would be conceded to be more effective for character in the lives of devotees than would the same paragon depicted only in the figure of a drama. A life lived on the same terms as our own would emotionally impress all mortals more powerfully than would any fictional representation. But all other things are not equal in the case of the Christ. There are elements in the theological situation environing the figure of the Gospel Jesus that make the difference between the two quite abysmal.

The first great divergence is in the fact that theology has made of the historical divine man the only possible such figure in the human record. Jesus is in the religion that exploited him the only-begotten Son of God. He is the only embodiment of the Father’s glory and cosmic presence ever manifested in human form. He is totally unique and lonely. No man can match his perfection.

This fact of his solitary uniqueness at once destroys whatever psychological value his incarnation in a man of flesh might otherwise have. It defeats the very purpose for which an ensampler is designed--the effective working of the lure of his perfection under the force of the assurance that by striving the aspirant may achieve identity or equality with the ideal one. If it is published beforehand that the worshipped Personage is the unattainable and forever unapproachable Ideal, the springs of devotion and zeal are dried up at their very source. Why strive, why aspire, why copy, if it is to be all in vain? The glistening paragon becomes only a romantic ideal, the more radiant and bright-hued because of its eternal remoteness and inaccessibility. It is placed there only for mortals to gaze and gape at in awe and marvel. But it is rendered useless for the very thing claimed as the strength of the argument from psychology, the inspirational power of the life lived to be a moving example for us. The manipulators of the psychological factors in the ecclesiastical enterprise, in straining to assure the Christly figure of perennial reverence and worship of the romantic sort by placing him on an inimitable level of perfection and uniqueness, unwittingly sacrificed the very element in the psychological situation that it was most ardently hoped to gain by the procedure. To keep him secure in his lofty place of adoration they weakened the force of his ability to stimulate emulation. He is the stainless One, incapable of sin; men are doomed sinners, who must in craven fashion plead with him for salvation from innate degeneracy. Thus the luminous picture of the mighty paragon has not worked out, and can not work out, as a triumphant force designed to elevate character by the cogency of its living reality. It has in fact operated directly to defeat that effect. It has left men facing a hopeless effort and turning from resolute zeal for attainment to sunken morbidity expressed in the conventional theological ideas of sin and its dog, remorse. Before the Ideal the eyes of sinning man have been lowered to the ground with sense of unworthiness and self-depreciation; they have not been lifted up to face the revealed divinity as the possibility of man’s own accomplishment. Before the figure of the man-Christ man has made himself abject, groveling in unmanly beggarliness before the unbearable glory of the One who stands clothed in unattainable majesty.

The psychological influence of this only-begotten manifestation is further decisively emasculated by the accompanying theological doctrine that this one epiphany of God’s nature was not a man of our own earthly evolution, but came directly from the hand of supreme Deity, a product of divine fiat from another world. Though frequently emphasis is laid upon his community of nature with us, still he is exotic, a transplantation from the empyrean. He did not need to go through the long evolutionary gateway of our humanity, but was already a citizen of the cosmos, a dweller with God before the worlds were, existent before Abraham was. Though so high, he yet condescended, abased himself, to become for a generation one among us, sharing our immature nature without yielding to its seductions. He had not come up the long road of development from unicell or moneron to man, but came down from the skies full-panoplied in cosmic resplendence, to lay for the time being his glory mildly by, as the Christmas hymn has it. His coming was not an act of common brotherhood of a creature kindred with us, but a condescension and a gratuity, arbitrary in cosmic counsels and unrelated to natural contingency. He was a pure gift from the Gods. The Father’s whim and his own munificent spirit of self-sacrifice brought him here. The merit was his; ours the unmerited benefit. So again the alleged great psychological efficacy of his exemplary life is annulled by the strangeness and vast remoteness of his nature from our own. He is no brother but a distant ambassador who deigns to visit us for a season and labor with us, but can not abide with us forever. He must in a moment return to the celestial palace, sending a substitute to remind us of his one charming sojourn with us.

But the crux of the debate on the psychological efficacy of a paragon is not reached until the matter is approached from the side of the great question of the relative potency of two forces, one operative from without the subject, the other from within. This crucial point of discussion must be given thorough treatment. Though it is not critical or decisive for the question of Christ historicity, it looms as perhaps the most portentous phase of the entire survey. It is not too sweeping an assertion to aver that the whole psychological beneficence of religion stands or falls with the outcome of the discussion of the historicity of the Messiah. It stands if the world savior be proven an element, a divine leaven, within the soul and conscience of all humanity. It falls if he be reduced to the futile stature of a man in history. For it is the contention of this study that the moral effect upon general humanity of being taught to look for salvation to a savior in the person of a historical man is inherently and inevitably degrading to the immanent divinity of man. Beyond doubt this strong asseveration will be violently disputed. It will be contended that it runs counter to every obvious envisagement in the situation. Nevertheless it is urged here that these alleged obvious implications seem obvious only in consequence of many centuries of inculcation of a false view which has overridden and subjugated open minds, and that they would lose their obviousness if they could be considered in the light of pure reason and apart from ingrained habitudes of pious assumption. Had the opposite view been sanctified by such age-long approbation it, rather than the first, would carry the weight of obvious rectitude with it. For, of the two possibilities, surely the method of human salvation that would instinctively at first sight commend itself as the obviously more natural one would be that which places the agency of universal salvation from evolutionary dereliction in a power lodged within all men, as against an extraneous and uncertain influence somehow, but in no understandable way, shed upon us under certain peculiar conditions by one person in history. Obviousness is obviously with the method of a general distribution of a divine spirit among all men to act as a leaven of righteousness and self-transformation, and it is certainly less clearly with a method that makes all men dependent upon the unaccountable self-immolation of one only-begotten Son of God. The one is in consonance with man’s every normal instinct of natural procedure; the other strains at blind faith to swallow its artificially bizarre and fantastic features. The latter view, be it averred, has only won its place in the acceptance of millions of purblind devotees through the stultification of their reason by the ceaseless exploitation of the forces of religious faith. The irrational flaunting of the Biblical text "for with God all things are possible" has further tended to keep the door open to the influx into less critical minds of every conceivable absurdity in the theological field. The introduction of boundless irrationality in doctrinism was initially made when in the third and fourth centuries the esoteric interpretation of scripture yielded to the frightful debasement of exoteric literalism. The whale’s swallowing of Jonah was no more difficult for piety than the ecclesiastical swallowing of the Jonah allegory and all its brother myths in their literal form. The tragedy of its successful accomplishment--as far as it has been successful--has lain in the necessary preliminary derationalization and paralysis of millions of simple minds before the natural gagging and choking could be overcome. Blind faith and the peculiar weakness of the human mind in face of the alleged supernatural were the instruments of the tragic intellectual dupery. The noble scriptures were intended to gain and hold the perennial reverence of all intelligent minds; they were never designed to enslave minds with the fatal fascination of a fetish.

Once the historical status was assigned to the Christ principle the words, "look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," have exercised a damaging sway over countless minds. To those who knew that Jesus, esoterically comprehended, was the dramatic type-figure of the divinity within us, the words carried not fatality but uplift and inspiration. The difference in the two cases clearly limns the difference in the psychological character of the two influences. This work advances the proposition that it is psychologically hazardous at any time for people to place their divinity in a person or locale outside themselves. To do so involves the inevitable repercussion on average minds that their salvation is to be vicariously won. The disastrous consequence of this reaction must in the end be the enervation and atrophy of spiritual effort and initiative on the part of the individual to win his own redemption. The effect of the doctrine of salvation through the intercession of the Son of God--a salvation which the doctrine implies we had in no wise ourselves earned--could not be, as claimed, an intensification of the personal effort at righteousness. The very words of scripture were to the effect that man’s righteousness in the sight of God is as filthy rags. Every presupposition of the doctrine as presented emphasized the uselessness of effort and the casting of our burden upon Jesus’ shoulders. "What a friend we have in Jesus!" has been sung in full-throated unctuousness. His own invitation to the weary and heavy-laden to come unto him and find rest has had an all-too-ready response in the literal sense. Taken wrongly these words have gone far to impair the natural sturdiness of spiritual character in millions. By a psychology that was hardly subtle, but simple and direct, they militated to turn the conscientious resolution of the individual away from the actual cultus of his own immanent deity in thought, word and deed, while he pursued the chimera of vicarious salvation through pleading with his personal Redeemer. He was told that the more abjectly he confessed his own folly and failure, the more effective would be his plea in the ears of the compassionate Savior of men. In looking to Jesus in a man of flesh the devotee neglected the indwelling Jesus, and would inevitably do so in the exact ratio of his ignorance and his gullibility.

This is a simple proposition and is quite self-evident. It is the law of nature that an organism or a function not used atrophies. Man has in a lifetime only a given quantity of psychic energy. If he expends it in one direction, the possibility of expending it in another is diminished by so much. The only Christos that is available for him is that hidden divine love within him. If he wastes his soul-force in straining to induce an exterior personage to intervene in his evolutionary effort on his behalf, he loses by so much the fleeting opportunity to cultivate his indwelling guest. It is necessary to put this with categorical cogency, because it will be brushed aside as inconsequential. It is close to being the crux of the entire problem under discussion. A man can not at one and the same time serve two masters, the one within and the other without. Neither can he reap the fruit of an ardent cultivation of his potential divinity while pouring out all his psychic ardor upon the person of a Galilean peasant.

Not only will it be said that this can be done, but it will be claimed in addition that the adoration of the Judaean carpenter is itself the prime stimulus and incentive to the end of one’s inner spiritual culture. This brings us back to the question of the relative psychological power of a living or of a mythical and dramatic Christ. The great cry of the proponents of the historicity is that the psychological power of a living historical example must surely be greater and more beneficent than that of a purely dramatic figure. History, it is urged, is real, whereas a myth is fictional. This debate is of critical importance, because if the Christos of the Bible was not a person of flesh, he becomes, as would be said, nothing but a character of pure fiction. He is a myth. And many books have been written to prove that he is only a myth. How, it will be asked in vigorous spirit, can a mythical figure be presumed to exert as strong a psychological force upon the world as a Jesus in real life? As hinted briefly before, the unique strength of the position of Christianity is claimed to lie in this one item of the reality of Jesus’ living demonstration or epiphany of God in humanity. It holds up to its following the assurance of ultimate victory based on the one divine fait accompli in history. Jesus was a living example, and not a mere theological promise unaccompanied by accomplishment. Jesus’ life is the one solid rock of veritude upon which mortal man can build his hopes. What is a myth compared with this?

This is the argumentative situation as viewed from the point of naïve exoteric simplicity. It is not, however, the view revealed to deeper esoteric reflection. Esotericism understands something about the myth that is quite unknown to the uninitiated general mind. The ancient sages knew something concerning the myth that the modern mind has never grasped. It can now be said with certitude that the whole genius of religious and philosophical culture escaped the grasp of Occidental civilization as a result of the third-century loss of this certain understanding of the nature and utility of the myth. It is time, after centuries of stupid nescience, that modern ignorance of a vital matter be enlightened. Enlightenment on this detail may yet save religion and humanitarian culture, menaced dangerously by our blind failure to concentrate upon the one cultus of a higher selfhood in man that alone can redeem the world from immersion in the lower levels of consciousness and motivation.

What was known of old, and must now be proclaimed anew with clarion blast, is that the myth, as employed by ancient illuminati in Biblical scripture, is not fiction, but the truest of all history! So far from being fiction in the sense of a story that never happened and is therefore false to fact, it is the only story that is completely and wholly true! The myth is the only true narrative of the reality of human experience. It is the only ultimately true history ever written. It is a picture and portrayal of the only veridical history ever lived. All other so-called history, the record of people’s acts and movements, buildings and destructions, marchings and settlings, is less truly history than the myth! The latter is the realest of history, as it is the account of the actual experience of life in evolution. Real as history is, it is finally less true than the myth. The myth is always and forever true; actual history is never more than an imperfect approximation to the truth of life. Even as a perfectly faithful record of what actually happened, book history is far from being true. This is an admission so commonplace that every courtroom is on guard against the testimony of witnesses because of the incapacity of the human senses in making an impeccable record of event. No history book ever contained a precisely true account of occurrence. No two historians ever wrote identical narratives of a war or a nation’s life. The writing of actual history has never been other than the more or less careful exercise of the chronicler’s constructive imagination.

On the other hand the myth is, as nearly as the highest human-divine genius can construct it, a clear picture of the more real import of life itself. It is possible for conscious beings such as men to live through actual events of history and yet largely, at times completely, miss the reality, in a profounder philosophical sense, of the very experience they undergo. What history thus misses the myth expresses. History is never more than a partial slap-stick comic or heavy tragic flirtation with the deep realities; the myth is a clear delineation of them. The myth is no more a fiction than a good photograph is a fiction. It is a true picture. In the hands of semi-divine mythicists of old it was a splendid photograph of something that is of far greater utility to men whose divine destiny entails a struggle for spiritual culture than any uncertain chronicle of man’s tawdry fights and scrambles could ever be. It was made to be a glowing pictograph of those basic archai, those eternal principles of truth, those immutable laws of growth and structure which are the everlasting essence of all being. So the myth is ever truer than history. It is a portrayal of the meaning and structure of all history. It pictures and preserves forever for the grasp of unfolding divine consciousness in man that golden light of true realization which alone elevates his historical experience above animal sensuousness and vegetative existence.

With this revised comprehension of the myth it is now possible to approach with better qualification for a successful resolution of difficulties the matter of the historicity and the psychological potency of the central figure in the early Christian and all antecedent systems. That central figure was in the myths and in the religious dramas of most ancient nations for thousands of years B.C. It stood there drawn and limned by the astutest dramatic genius the race has ever produced, to be the perennial reminder to all men of all religions of their own divine endowment, and to serve as dynamic instruction in the methods of attaining its progressive evolution in and through history.

In the counsels of the Sages, who were men of our own humanity graduated in earlier cycles to the place of mastership and perfected knowledge of the whole earthly evolution--St. Paul’s "just men made perfect"--the problem facing them in their task of giving to early humanity compendia of truth and wisdom that should guide the race through the course of self-controlled unfoldment was one that called for a determination of the best practical method of both holding before man the ideal of all his striving and stimulating his steady zeal to pursue it. It is not known now as it was in ancient days that a grade and council of perfected men, risen through humanity to divinity, stood in the relation of tutors and teachers to infant humanity, and prescribed codes of morals, religion, philosophy, law, mythology, literature and art, as well as mathematics, science and physics, not to forget agriculture, for the beginnings in civilization and culture. These are the authors of the great sacred books of antiquity, the instructors in pyramid building, the founders of human progress. Their graduate status at once explains the otherwise inexplicable phenomenon that has bewildered and confounded the savants of modern knowledge,--how it was that races that were still in the semi-barbaric stage already held in their possession tomes of the most exalted wisdom and philosophical insight, as well as moral purity, which their own undeveloped mentality could not have produced.

These men, both by evolutionary selection and by humanitarian choice on their own part, performed the function of formulating the cultural heritage of the human race, particularly in the domain of religion and philosophy. One of the greatest of the problems confronting them in their sublime work was the choice of method by which mankind could be most deeply impressed with the sublimity of the divine goal toward which the race was struggling and most intelligently spurred on to attain it. The plan adopted by the counsels of the most august wisdom was based on the decision to place before the world systems of religion, in which the outline of the drama of life, the place of the world in the cosmos, the place of man in the hierarchy of being, the moral conflict leading to evolution, and the eventual deification of humanity at the "end of the age" or cycle, should be clearly set forth for the behoof of all generations. In order that there should be no possibility of man’s missing the mark, or failing to understand exactly the goal of perfection to which his whole incarnational series was destined to lift him, the Sages resorted to the measure of placing at the very heart of every religious system an ideal personage who should typify and personify man himself, in his dual nature as human and divine, struggling forward to the consummation of his high glory. This central character embodied the divine element that was to deify mankind, and the drama depicted the final victory of the god within over the lower forces in the human compound. The figure was of course that of the Christos, who in his last triumph is clothed in robes of solar light, to indicate that the deity within man is of kindred essence with the sun and that as man progresses toward his final exaltation in glory his garments shall be white as the light and his righteousness shall cause him to shine like the sun in the kingdom of his Father. In this glorious character men could see pictured their history, their destiny and their eventual conversion into angels of light. This was the model, the archetype, the paragon of excellence decided upon by the council of perfected men to be made central in every religion given to the early nations, as their chosen means of most cogently impressing humanity’s millions through the ages to strive after the shining ideal of divinity. In order that historical man could never forget that ideal or drift away from it, the Sages incorporated in every religion this very copy and replica of the man become God, so that it needed only for men to look at the model to see the image of their own life and their apotheosization. If mankind needed to be stimulated to the good life by the force of a divine ensampler, the Sages saw to it that the great spiritual allurement was provided. The radiant figure of the Sun-God, man himself divinized, stood at the heart of every old religion. High wisdom comprehended that mortal men needed to have a picture of their own glorious goal set before their eyes. The picture was given. The psychological power of a paragon to lure impressionable mankind was recognized and the paragon supplied. The whole history of man was diagrammed and with consummate genius depicted in a great drama, with the Sun-God always the central and significant character. It is known that the features and play of the drama were of such impressiveness and moving power that no device of human conception could have transcended the purificatory, or as the Greeks called it, the cathartic moral efficacy of this representation. It was a veritable baptism of the spectator and candidate in transfiguring elevation of consciousness.

It will presumably still be urged that if these exalted personages possessed the wisdom attributed to them they must have known that the example of one living Christ on earth would be more effective for salutary influence than any number of dramatic figures. At least two considerations weighed against their holding any such opinion or acting upon it. They realized for one thing that merely to present to the world one living example of perfect humanity would defeat the very psychology they aimed at. It would have been pointless and superfluous in a world that was to be taught that the rough road of evolution would bring every man to Christhood. Again they knew that it would be both confusing and disconcerting to intelligent people everywhere to proclaim the advent of one perfected soul in unique isolation, when it was already the general knowledge of instructed men in early days that more than one of humanity’s chain had reached the mark of the high calling of God in the Christos, that a number would attain it in every age, and that all men would eventually do so. The proclamation and the production of one only example of accomplished divinization would have been meaningless and lacking in significant virtue in a world that was intended to be rightly instructed on fundamental verities. If there were but one living paragon, only one generation would see him, and if he was an obscure person like the Galilean, only a few hundred persons would know of him through personal contact. The sheer difficulty of having his name, fame and life and teaching advertised to the rest of humanity would have to be managed against real obstacles. If he himself proclaimed his unique divinity, how could he make ignorant, blind humanity accept him? His heralding by angels and portents might readily fall afoul of the general ancient vogue of such things, and pass unheeded.

It was not perhaps even considered for a moment that a purely typical ideal figure would serve to inspire men less than a living example, because every man, it was known, became a living example in the proportion in which he embodied the ideal in his life and person. Nothing was thus to be gained by a historical example that could not be better won by the ideal type impersonation. There was no point in producing one living paragon to prove to the world that man could become divine, when it was already known that all men would in due time become divine. All mortals, as they became intelligent, knew that they had the struggle of evolution before them and that perseverance would land them at the gates of godlikeness. What they needed was the vivid dramatization of the quality and character of that perfection toward which they were to aspire. These were clearly and impressively outlined in the dramatic type figure. The essential ingredients for compounding the most efficacious virtue in an ensampler were all present in this situation. Nothing was lacking that a living man-Christ could have supplied. The prime element was the knowledge that every man must be his own savior. This item of philosophical truth being known, the dramatic model possessed more sanely compelling force than a living personation. The knowledge of universal salvation robbed the latter of any advantage over the other. An embodied Christ would have been an impressive spectacle, but not overwhelmingly or inordinately so, for the knowledge that men were advancing into the highest stages of purity and illumination everywhere at all times deprived the fact of its uniqueness. One perfected man would not have been one alone, but one among many.

It is sharply to be recognized that the mere presumption of superior psychological advantage in a living type figure became possible only with the decay of knowledge that man’s upward progress is the work of the individual himself in conjunction with nature, and the consequent entry of the vicarious concept through the corruption of ancient divine philosophy. In the end the orthodox presupposition that human salvation demanded the driving force of a personal God in the flesh, so far from proving its natural correctness, demonstrates only that the world’s keenness of philosophical insight had been blunted to the degree that a totally insupportable thesis could be imposed upon the millions without a chance for successful repudiation.

The momentous task of providing nations and peoples with a divine model and exemplar was accomplished by the sagacious tutors of the race through the institution of a ritual drama designed and formulated to produce the most beneficent effect. It was adopted as the method that most readily met the terms of natural expediency and practicability. It would minister in full to the psychological needs of a race endowed and constituted as mankind was. With transcendent genius the Sages formulated the systems of myths, allegories, fables, parables, numerological structures and astrological pictographs such as the zodiac and the planispheres or uranographs to supplement the central ceremonial drama. The whole structure was, however, fabricated with such esoteric subtlety that, the keys once lost, the system has defied the best of medieval and modern acumen to recapture its cryptic import. The divinity in man being a portion of the ineffable glory of the sun, and necessarily therefore typified by it, the great scenic portrayal was built upon the solar allegory, and the successive phases of man’s divinization were enacted around the solar year in accordance with the significance of the orb’s monthly and seasonal positions. Ancient religion was for this reason called solar religion or "sun-worship." Temples were built to the sun and hymns to the sun written to extol its splendor as typical of man’s inner splendor. The meaning of the drama thus interwoven at every turn with the movements of the great natural analogue and type of our divinity, every detail of the ritual would receive an enormous enhancement of impressiveness and meaning for celebrants, who would be subjected in this way to the greatly magnified psychic power that was generated by the co-ordination of their highest spiritual conceptions with the redoubtable truth of nature. Ancient sapiency linked spiritual law and natural law together in a kinship and correspondence that endowed the former with all the impregnable certitude of the latter. This link between the two aspects of truth was broken about the third century, and religion has ever since been crippled by want of a reinforcement so naturally strong. The modern religious consciousness has to make shift as best it can in almost total privation of the vital sources of assurance and stability which flowed into the mind from the correlation of its spiritual tenets with natural truth. Every theological presentment must necessarily fall upon mental comprehension with a manifold strength if it is immediately seen to be corroborated by the open facts of nature. Mystical experience will be vastly certified to intelligence if it can be illuminated by the glow of meaning emanating from natural symbols. A graphic representation of hidden meaning is always far more effective to stamp the mind with living images than language of itself can accomplish. Hence the resort to drama in the first place, and next to a drama that was based on and interwoven with the most obvious of all natural phenomena--the rise and setting of the sun in the daily round and the larger counterpart of the same routine in the seasonal cycle. These two daily and annual operations, the alternate victory and defeat of the sun, typify of course the very gist of the whole human drama, the soul’s descent into its "death" in mortal body and its recurrent resurrection therefrom. This is the core of the central theme in all religious scripture. The daily sinking of the sun at eve in earth or ocean, and its rising again in the east at dawn, or its yearly descent to the south in the autumn and its succeeding return northward in the spring, all prefigure the descent of the soul, a unit of God’s own conscious mind, into incarnation in its "night" or "winter" of "death" and its subsequent resurrection from the tomb of the body. The fact that ancient insight allied tomb and body in one meaning is astonishingly indicated by the identity of the Greek words, soma, body and sema, tomb.

In this ceremonial drama the central figure was the sun-god, or Son of God, the Christos, Messiah. He was likewise the Avatar, the Bodhisattva, the World-Savior. A generic term for him was The Coming One, or "The Comer" in Egypt. And never until the decadent epoch that fell like a pall upon early Christianity in the third century was the Messianic Messenger ever thought of as "coming" in the sense of being born as a person in the world. This is a fact of momentous significance. The many world saviors antecedent to Jesus were types and not persons born in history. They were typical characters portraying that spirit of divine charity which should transform and transfigure human life from the rapacity of the beast to the graciousness of unselfish love. Its "coming" would be its gradual growth and its mounting sweep in the hearts and minds of humanity as a whole. It would not be "born" until it came to overt expression in the active lives of mortals. Its taking root and gradually expanding in world consciousness was likened unto the planting and flourishing of the tiny mustard seed in the Gospel parable. No Christos can possibly "come" into the world except it arrive on the waves of charitable impulse that well up in individual and mass motivation. No Christ can bring godliness in his single person. No Messiah can impart it to men in the mass by any other method than the transforming of all hearts through the throb of Christly compassion and the exaltation of all minds into the likeness of the Christly intelligence.

Treated cursorily already, the argument that for full inspirational suggestiveness humans must have their faith fortified by the assurance that one man at least actually did attain to Christhood and manifest the ideal of perfection, must receive somewhat fuller scrutiny. Its force was already weakened by the consideration that the one character in history alleged to have furnished mortals this assurance was not a man of our own evolution, and had not attained his divinity over the same pathway that we must tread, but was an immaculate emissary from inaccessible heavens, a guest from remote empyreans. It must be accentuated that this situation introduces into the picture the negative depressing influence of man’s realization of his own hopeless inferiority, the impossibility of his stepping up beside the Christ. In striking contrast to this the method adopted by the Sages obviated any such disastrous negativism. It carried with it the invincible certainty of attainment for every man. There was never a question of achievement, but only of effort, method and perseverance. The very manner of the presentation of the ideal figure carried the presupposition of final victory to the aspirant. The type was exhibited on no other grounds than that it was the picture of what could be achieved by all. Obviously there could be no sense or reason in holding before all men in all religions the type of what they could not attain. Attainment was an inevitable implication of the representation from the outset. One man’s superb attainment could only add evidence to what was already known. But the proclamation that only one man had ever reached the goal would have thrown dismay into minds long assured of the high destiny of all. Heraclitus’ discerning observation that "man’s genius is a deity" had placed a god in potentiality deep within the heart of every life, and the envisaged prospect of divinization was simply a long growth of latent into active powers and faculties, a process that could be in no wise affected by the birth of any exceptional personage. That the eventual deification of all humanity should be considered to depend upon such a birth would have been received in ancient times with bewilderment and total incomprehension. When the true nature and terms of the problem of human spiritual advancement were succinctly understood, there was no way in which the Bethlehem event on the historical plane could be given a place of crucial importance in the universal task.

It will be seen that the entire argument for the historicity on the grounds of its superior psychological influence collapses finally under the force of the admission, which must be made by all parties, that even if Jesus of Nazareth lived and is the Vicar of God on earth, every man must work out his own salvation on exactly the same terms as though he had not existed! Since Jesus can not come to any man and take his evolutionary problem off his shoulders and effect his salvation for him, the only psychological value left to the fact of the historicity is reduced to the mere force of a sort of hero-worship. The Jesus life and character, his sufferings and virtues, can stimulate devotion and desire to emulate. His lofty moral preachment sets a norm for ideal human attainment. The very contemplation of his pure life and radiant divinity inspires an answering nobility in millions of lives.

The power of a noble example, the more especially one enhanced in beauty by centuries of pious glorification, is not questioned. But the same beauty and indeed the same lofty spiritual preachment was afforded imitative devotion in the case of the sun-god figure. In the end the sublime figure of the type character was there purely for inspirational incentive, standing free from any suggestion of vicarious salvation for the adorer. It moved to noble effort, but in not the least hint did it delude the worshipper with the fatuous notion that any power save his own consecrated struggle could win his salvation for him. The greater the claimed psychological power of the historical Jesus over the devotee, the greater the tragedy of delusion thus wrought upon millions, since this stimulating influence has never been detached from the concomitant imputations of vicariousness inseparably linked with it in Christian theology. Thus the greater part of the alleged beneficent force of the living example in the end evaporates into pure delusion not unattended with disastrous consequences.

A few sentences in the preceding chapter alluded to a situation brought to light by the study of Comparative Religion and Mythology which adds further vast weight to the probability that the whole enormous body of psychological prestige exerted by the belief in the historical Jesus is grounded on a chimera and not on a fact. The events in the alleged life of Jesus are pushed closer and closer to the point of myth by the astounding fact that, as the ever-clearer implications of these studies show, they are seen to match with nearly perfect fidelity the similar cycles of purely allegorical "events" in the dramatic and mythic representations of some sixteen or more--indeed probably fifty or more--earlier type figures recorded in ancient sacred Bibles of the nations. It is certainly to be regarded as more than passing strange that when the only-begotten Son of God did descend to earth to implant the genius of the one true religion to save mankind, his life only copied or matched in great detail the dramatized typal characters or sun-gods of antecedent religions. And the earlier figures whose careers he repeated were definitely non-historical or at best legendarily semi-historical, such as Zoroaster, Orpheus and Hermes. The Christians of the third and fourth centuries were plagued to distraction by the recurrent appearance of evidence that revealed the disconcerting identity of the Gospel narrative in many places with incidents in the "lives" of Horus, Izdubar, Mithra, Sabazius, Adonis, Witoba, Hercules, Marduk, Krishna, Buddha and other divine messengers to early nations. They answered the challenge of this situation with the desperate allegation that the similarity was the work of the devil! The findings of comparative religion and mythology constitute at this epoch a far more deadly challenge than they did in the third century, for there is the massive body of the Egyptian religious literature to increase the mountain of identities between Christian and antecedent pagan gospels and there is less of Christian hypnotism to overcome now than at the earlier date. In more formidable form than ever before the Christian proponents must face the open implications of the query that springs to mind out of these comparative religion discoveries, why, if the model life had already been proclaimed by numerous Avatars before Jesus and he therefore had nothing new to add, the need or occasion for his passionate sacrifice at all? The model he displayed had already been on view in nearly every ancient nation for centuries! So far from being the climax and grand consummation of a series of ever fuller revelations, his advent was rather an anti-climax. The enlightened and emancipated study of comparative religion, vitally reinforced by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, bids fair to become a veritable Nemesis to the exorbitant claims of Christianity. It was these momentous disclosures of identity in the material of Christian and pagan literature that gave impetus to the present undertaking, provided the data for proof and lent overwhelming warrant to all the major conclusions to be reached. And it is this body of evidence that sweeps in with crushing force to devastate every one of the arguments from psychology that have been considered. In its totality it constitutes a bulwark of strength on the side of the non-historicity that must be rated virtually inexpugnable.

It can now be stated with little chance of refutation that the Gospel "life" of Jesus had been written, in substance, for five thousand years before he came. The record is in Egypt. An Egyptian Jesus--Horus--had raised an Egyptian Lazarus from the dead at an Egyptian Bethany, with an Egyptian Mary and Martha present, in the scripts of that ancient land that were extant at least five thousand years B.C. And a carving in relief, depicting scenes of angels announcing from the skies to shepherds in the fields a deific advent, of an angel, Gabriel, foretelling to a virgin that she should be the mother of the Christos, of the nativity in the cave, and of three sages kneeling in adoration before the infant deity, had been on the walls of the temple of Luxor at least seventeen hundred years B.C. The Virgin Mother had held the divine child in her arms in zodiacs on temple ceilings for millennia before the Galilean babe saw the light. What indeed becomes of the grandiose message he brought and the shining light of deific perfection that he flashed on the world, if both were already here long before he came?

There remains another spectacular aspect of the psychological problem to be dealt with, not now of the influence of the divine personal advent, but this time having to do with the psychological phases connected with the sheer fact of how the world could recognize the Christ in Jesus or any other embodiment. How could he be known and identified on the historical arena? The amount of mental ineptitude displayed by votaries with minds drugged into doltishness by the overweening power of "faith" and literalism is everywhere great in religion. But hardly everywhere does it show itself in such glaring inanity as in this item. In the process of converting myth over into "history" the transformers swallowed many a camel of factual ridiculousness or impossibility without choking. But surely it must occur to even palsied minds that the matter of knowing or recognizing as the one divine Avatar in all history a man who is declared to have been in all respects like other men save without sin, is a thing that lies beyond the realm of all human practicability. The whole matter of his recognition and identification as uniquely divine has been so aureoled with romantic suggestiveness, so exotically perfumed with semi-celestial fragrance, that it is quite impossible for votaries to bring their minds to take a realistic view of the practical possibilities in the case. It seems impossible to bring them out of the shimmering roseate light of adoration and mental sycophancy and have them face the blunt realities of such a situation. Not a man or women of them but would say that if Jesus appeared to them tomorrow as he appeared in his daily mien in Judea, they would immediately recognize him and be so overwhelmed that they would instantly prostrate themselves in adoration at his feet. This is questionable; but what is not questionable is that if another cosmic figure equally divine appeared tomorrow in the guise of ordinary humanity these folks would not recognize him. By what credentials would any man of "regular" human appearance, even with the saintliest of faces, enable us to distinguish him from the commonalty of the race and accept him as the one cosmic divine being, God’s only Son, come to earth? How could any spectator determine from looking at him that he was the one person in all ages set apart from the generality of mankind and really a god from the skies? Such a rating and such a distinctive uniqueness could not be determined from looking at any man in mortal flesh. Every age, indeed every community, has seen men of not only saintly appearance and bearing and wisdom, but of saintly life. Thousands of such people have lived lives essentially as blameless, innocent and charitable as his. How could any man in person exhibit unmistakably the marks of the supra-human distinctions claimed for Jesus in his life by Christian ecclesiasticism? These claims included first his uniqueness in all history as the only-begotten Son of God; then the totally novel and only single instance of a life utterly sinless and pure; then his cosmic election as the Logos of God, according to John’s first chapter description; then his role as the second person of the cosmic Trinity; then his commission as the agent of man’s evolutionary salvation; and finally as the embodied fulfillment of all ancient Messianic hope and realization. How could such qualities and functions be seen by merely looking at a man of ordinary human constitution? What stupefaction of mind is necessary to nurse the belief that the people of his day could identity him as the impersonation of all the exceptional and wholly unnatural characterization ascribed by religious fetishism to him must be left to the students of abnormal psychology to determine. It will be howled at this analysis that it is an attempt to treat a sacred thing in ribald fashion. On the contrary it is an attempt to take the situation exactly as Christian apologists represent it. If caricature is introduced it emanates from the side of ebullient faith and not from honest realism. The travesty of all natural possibility in the case is created by that naïveté of mind which even the learned theologians of every age down to the present have displayed in this matter. They have based many an argument or exegesis on the bald assumption that any person coming in sight of the man Jesus would have been at once overpowered with awe and would have known that he was looking at the only cosmic deity ever seen on earth. The sheer sight of his person would elucidate at once all the theological implications of his celestial errand. Forsooth he carried unmistakable credentials of his cosmic character with him in look, speech, majesty. Cosmic character shone all about him, glowed in his face, bearing, speech. The universal ascription to him of such egregious persuasion raises the next question as to how, if these were so, the humble people he was alleged to have contacted came to be instructed in the difficult art of recognizing cosmic characteristics. There is no evidence that the public of today has knowledge of any way to identify cosmic character.

Part of the rejoinder to this would be that he told the multitudes that he was the Son of God, the Messiah they were eagerly waiting for, the true vine, the celestial shepherd, the door and the way. They did not have to surmise; he gave them explicit information. In answer to this argument it need only be suggested that if people and popular attitudes of that day were in any way like what they are today, there is nothing that could have advanced the evidence of his cosmic mission that would so unfailingly have discredited his professions as his own statement that he was the one and only Son of God. It is the one sure token that the present age would accept as certain evidence of his not being what he claimed. Words that could appropriately and impressively flow from the mouth of the personified solar deity in a great ritual drama would create a riot in an actual street scene. One has but to use constructive imagination realistically for a moment to be assured of the vast improbability of the personal Christ’s being recognized for what he is claimed to have been in theology. If this is not convincing enough, let some claimant to divine status try it today! Were he the man with the saintliest mien, with the spiritual mystic’s benignant physiognomy and uttering the holiest of precepts, the moment he went about proclaiming his unique cosmic status a police call would in an hour be necessary to rescue him from the clownish roughness of the crowd. And the thing that would arouse both pity and subtle resentment in the crowd would be the evidence of general witlessness and lack of good sense thus flaunted in their faces. It is of course easy to ridicule or cheapen an essentially holy thing or a sincere action. Raillery is no true answer to real sincerity. Still pious religionism has asked us to accept without smiling a host of situations in the context of theological and Biblical interpretation that are wholly outlandish or screamingly ridiculous (such as the picture of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday sitting astride the backs of two asses at once!). It is after all no service to any man so to reduce his powers of judgment under the sway of religious infatuations that he is unable any longer to apply his faculties to envisage events realistically. The many events of Gospel narrative would take on quite a different aspect in the minds of gullible believers if they could be viewed in the broad light of factual realism instead of through the glamor of uncritical acceptance. The assumption that a mob of people could "spot" an Avatar--much less the only cosmic one in world history--in any ordinary pious man of saintly appearance merely by looking at his physical person, is one of those implications of Christian doctrinism that has been painted upon the tractable imagination of millions until all power to view the circumstance through the eyes of actual occurrence has been lulled into stupor. Even in India, where holy men openly do parade their pretensions to sanctity, the self-advanced claims of one Yogi to the unique cosmic distinctions predicated of Jesus would be looked at askance. Various disquisitions on the Gospels and the life of Jesus often seriously picture the multitude as suddenly realizing in the Galilean peasant the physical fulfillment of all epic religious prophecy. And Joseph Warschauer, in his The Historical Life of Christ, dissertates on the theme of Jesus’ own awakening, at about the stage of his baptism in the Jordan, to the "humble" realization that he was to be in his single person the one living embodiment of divine messengership from God to humanity, and that through the brain, nerves and blood of his one little body were to flow the currents of a power that should redeem the human race. Even in spite of the fact that the whole ancient world looked for the coming of Messiah, and the exoterically taught masses expected it in the form of a living person, how the idea could have taken form in the mind of any intelligent man that his own body would be the vehicle or incorporation of that cosmic power is a glaring feature of the situation not explained by Warschauer or any other apologetic writer. It is left to the omnivorous camel-swallowing maw of that great monster of the genus of stupid religious gullibility, that ever-faithful animal that has carried on its back the priestcraft of the world, to ingest it without choking. The paralysis of the mass mind by the narcotic power of pious indoctrination affords one of the sorriest spectacles in all history. The cry for sanity in religion through the play of keen critical faculty will be met with violent reprobation by offended traditionalists. "There is no wild beast like an angry theologian" was the comment of the philosophic Julian, the Roman Emperor following Constantine. It has lost little of its truth in the intervening time.

This matter of the impossibility of the recognition of God’s only Son in mortal flesh has been treated with sufficient cogency, yet it is of such importance that it needs all the elaboration it can receive. It is difficult to present it with adequate impressiveness. It will be next to impossible to bring minds habituated to wholesale acceptance of the romanticism that has been built like a halo around the person of the Jesus figure to any fully detached and emotionally unprejudiced view of the matter. Psychology knows full well the hypnotizing force of religious inculcations implanted on the sensitive plate of the mind in childhood. They produce what the psychologists have called a conditioned reflex. This is hard to supplant or overcome by any merely mental presentation. It often persists even when the reason negates it. Said W. J. Bryan, "I would accept every statement in the Bible literally, no matter how it contravened my reason." This well illustrates the massive emotional predisposition that is being dealt with here. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Reason has an almost insuperable weight of psychological skullduggery to overcome and push aside before it can gain a hearing at all. In the religious domain the reign of reason has been challenged and its sovereignty abrogated by the usurpation of irrational elements that spring from mysticism, and that carry an alleged higher authority than "mere" intellectuality. The mind itself is supposed to be transcended and overridden by something called spiritual intuition or direct vision of God. The failure of the effort to harmonize the rational and irrational elements in religion has been the crux of the great debacle of human sanity in this most important area of culture. It is a question demanding a volume for adequate handling; but as touching the subject under discussion it may be summed up with the statement that even if there are aspects of cognition and realization that transcend reason, their deposit in consciousness can not be presumed to have authority or credence in flat despite of reason. Evolution developed reason as an instrument for the guidance and safe progress of the human monad in the earthly life. It would be working at odds with its own purposes if it at the same time deployed another faculty that proved reason unsafe. Anything that is salutary to the welfare of the organism must in the end prove to be in consonance with reason; otherwise there would be, so to say, a self-contradiction within the constitution of being itself.

Yet it is believed that in spite of arrant psychologization and mental obsessions of the deepest tenure a movement’s vivid imagination used in the reconstruction of the "life" of Jesus in its every-day aspects will carry home to any sane mind the full and indisputable truth of the assertion that the world could not possibly recognize a Person of the Cosmic Trinity if such a Person could be supposed to come to earth in human body. Ages do somewhat differ in set and temper, but it could hardly be contended that there ever was an age in which the appearance of a self-proclaimed cosmic Avatar would not be greeted with the utmost skepticism and derision by all classes of people. There are not rationally conceivable any credentials such a claimant could present that would allay incredulity, overcome suspicion, implant credence and carry certitude. The impregnable truth of the matter is that such a claimant could not be accepted in seriousness, could not be identified in the character and role claimed, could not be recognized and known as outside the category of a human being of ordinary stature. In Eastern lands where yoga phenomena of healing and other extraordinary occurrences were common and understood without marvel, not even his performance of miracles and the incidence of portents would prove to be cosmic credentials. The argument is long, but it can be condensed and concluded with the bald assertion, supported by every common sense consideration, that the presupposition posited by nearly all writers on "the life of Christ" as to Jesus’ being recognized by the populace or the age as the only-begotten Son of God ever to appear on the planet merely by seeing his person, is from bottom to top the most outlandish chimera of nonsense ever to creep into the deluded minds of pious people.

So drugged indeed is the traditionally indoctrinated mind of religious susceptibility that it has no intelligent comprehension whatever of the great body of peculiar doctrine that it has, like a boa-constrictor, attempted to swallow. It is in no sense realistically aware that in upholding the historical Jesus it is accepting not only the personalization of a divine principle, cosmic love, but also of the cosmic Aeon of the Gnostics, the Demiurgus or Cosmocrator of the Greeks, the Ra of Egypt and finally the Logos of John and the second person of the creative Trinity. The unthinkable crassness of this acceptance has never once occurred to people in whom "faith" operates in place of thought. When the sarcolatrae or worshipers of a Christ in the flesh, transformed the Christly principle into a mortal man, they did not know or consider what went naturally with it, what mighty powers and functions the slender body of the man Jesus would have to carry. They did not reckon with the many ancillary implications of the transfer. It did not occur to them that the character claimed for Jesus had to cover also the power and range of the Lord of the Cosmos, and that his body would then have to contain the unimaginable creative energy assigned to this person in the hierarchy. For what is the Logos? God the Father is the supreme generator, planner, designer and creator of the universe. God the Son, the Logos, is that universe in its manifested creation. The Logos is God’s boundless power and wisdom deployed in the active work of creation. The Logos is the infinite force that upholds the galaxies of countless solar systems and carries on their evolution. It needs only a moment of sober reflection to reveal the degree of stupefaction necessary to induce any mind to believe that the cosmic power great enough to create the infinite hosts of the suns and their planets could have been contained in the tiny body of a Judean peasant on one of the smallest of planets! If the tiniest billionth of such a mighty force were infused somehow into the mortal body of a man on this earth it would burn it to a crisp in a second. This idea that Jesus the man could be the second Person of the Trinity is as dire a hallucination as any that has ever been perpetrated even in the name of religion. Allegiance to a doctrine that has to be secured by an ecclesiastical system at the price of so frightful an obfuscation of the thinking genius of man is itself a tragic affliction. The whole situation which has made such an abnormality possible is an enormity of ghastly proportions and of ominous portent. The Logos, forsooth, embodied in the person of a carpenter! We hold the Greeks in derision for--as we allege--believing that Jupiter, the God of heaven, was a man who ran off with Io and other beautiful maidens and could be jealous or vindictive. It is now known that the Greeks were only toying with a marvelous imagery. But modern moronism is not saved by allegory. In sober earnest we have claimed that the unimaginable cosmic might of the Logos that swings the galaxies through their orbits came to earth and was a man of flesh! Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity! That millions have for centuries been made to "believe" such folly is a sickening realization. This was one item in the catastrophe that was precipitated on half a world for sixteen centuries as a result of turning myth and drama into alleged "history." A heavy price to pay for bad scholarship! The pious faith of the ignorant Church Fathers did not save them from precipitating the Western world into the Dark Ages, the blame for which has been laid at the door of an innocuous "paganism" of the northern lands of Europe, whose systems of a profounder esotericism were ruthlessly destroyed by advancing "Christianity" of the literalized variety.

Perhaps it is now possible to round out the argument as to the comparative psychological influence of a historical Christ and a dramatized typical Christ figure. Since the indwelling activity of Christos is the basic indispensable factor in salvation, anything that weakens it must be held detrimental to critically vital values. The great struggle in the human breast between the impulses of the natural man and the implanted seed of divine growth is ever so critical, the forces of "evil" resident in the carnal man so persistently powerful, and the issue of the conflict at all stages so delicately balanced, that any influence which in the least degree lessens the developing strength of the inner god, or which detracts from the personal effort to exercise its powers, dangerously imperils the outcome and the individual’s evolutionary destiny. As the worship of the historical Jesus does, by the very measure of its sincerity, divert attention from the culture of the inner spirit, it becomes perilous to that degree. In the end there is no dodging this issue in the moral field of our life. It is incontestable that the exact amount of psychic energy that we expend in actualizing our reliance upon a historical savior is so much less available for our task of developing the inner deity. While the outer savior is receiving our devotion, the inner Christ is permitted to lie unawakened. Mankind is so constituted psychologically that by so much as it can lean upon extraneous help it will not exert itself in its own behalf. The purpose of life in the flesh is to force souls who have come here from the empyrean to exert themselves against pressure, stress and strain in order to develop their greater potential divinity. It needs to be said in clarion tones for the benefit of overweening piety and uncritical faith, that any influence which in the least degree diminishes the individual’s conviction of the necessity of reliance upon his own hidden divinity must inexorably be calamitous for his progress. The image of Jesus the man and the theological teaching of his power to save us intrude to break the force of the knowledge that our only savior is within. And never will the mortal man be able to bring the full resultant of his living experience in the world to bear upon the problem of his evolutionary growth until he divests himself of all artificial props and stands squarely on his own feet, making his fight alone. Only when he meets the exigencies of his life here by calling upon the resources of his potential savior within him will he be fulfilling the conditions requisite to cultivate that savior’s dynamic possibilities. If in the stress of experience he habitually looks to a hypothetical power outside himself, he lets the real powers of his own divinity lie fallow.

Much so-called "spiritual science" of current development has worked on the assumption that a technique adequate for attainment of consummate results in this field involves only subjective effort. In the wake of the popularization of Hindu mysticism in the West practice has taken the direction of an inward retirement. Values in consciousness are sought by way of detachment from sensual experience and contemplation of purely spiritual things. But this movement stands sorely in need of the reminder that the seed power or sheer potentiality of Godhood in man requires for its development something more than mere meditation upon divine things. The spirit might dwell eternally in the world of abstraction if it could follow its own inclination, as a man might choose to lie comfortably in bed instead of getting up and exerting himself for desirable ends. But if it did so it would never achieve its evolution. It would never grow. God could have no children if his spirit did not go forth into an intercourse with matter, the eternal Mother, and implant the seed of a new birth in her universal womb. For the birthing of his progeny, the gods, archangels, angels, heroes and men, there is needed the conjunction of spiritual potentiality with the active energies of what the Greeks called physis, or nature. Clear down the diapason from God to atom every power of mind or soul has to be linked with its sakti, or physical energy, if it is to implement its ideal structure for creative purposes. Spirit can not evolve when not in relation to matter. It lies static, inactive; it is sheer ideal abstraction. To actualize its thought structures, to bring its creative designs to pass, it must be wedded with matter. It must use the energies loaded in the atom of matter to realize its entelechy (Aristotle), or final purpose. The whole flow of evolution, therefore, depends upon the stimuli provided by the contingencies arising in and from the soul’s experiences in material body. Without matter spirit can have no experience. Not the transcendent but the immanent deity grows. Says Emerson, "The true doctrine of the Omnipresence is that God exists in all his parts in every moss and cobweb."

The conditions of experience bring latent spiritual capacity to active expression under the impact of the strong forces at play in the world of nature. Spirit awakes and exerts itself by virtue of the necessity of responding to the incidence of blows from the side of matter. Even the dangers threatening the existence or welfare of its own body, its instrument, on the good state of which its own unfoldment depends, elicits its unexercised powers.

The concept of world salvation by a personal redeemer not one’s own inner deity is thus inexpressibly wide of the mark for the basic meaning of religion. If the one and only begotten Son of God performed the racial redemption, the god within each man would be deprived of the opportunity for growth which is created only with the dawn of full consciousness of its own entire responsibility for the consequences of acts. Any influence that depletes the utter reliance of the outer personality upon the inner deity is an interference with the planned economics of moral and spiritual evolution. It should have been noted in the study of homiletics that manifestations of divine help, as if coming from an outside savior assumed to be Jesus--in olden times the tribal god--generally occur when one has exhausted all known or available helps and is forced by dire anguish to call upon some spiritual or cosmic agency in last despair. From this it might be assumed that a degree of inner agony is just the stress needed to arouse sleeping divinity to active exertion. Thus the exigencies of the outer man in mortal experience prove to be the agencies of the divinization of the inner man. And the Christ of the age-old ritual dramas was the type of the divine Self in humanity undergoing the strain, stress and strife requisite to bring to light the grand epiphany of his solar glory.

What can be said for the psychological influence of the historical Christ is that the concept has engendered in Western civilization for sixteen centuries a massive emotionalism and sentimentalism arising from thought of his personal life and sufferings, which, if it can be shown that the Gospels are not histories but spiritual dramas, that their contents were in existence thousands of years before his alleged date, must be seen at last as the most prodigious waste of psychic force, the most devastating hallucination and the most stinging humiliation of pride in human history.

It may be appropriate to close this preliminary survey of the more obvious features of the discussion with consideration of another item that is closely related to the psychological utility of the Christ conception. In fact it is the nub and core of the final judicial determination of the relative merit of the two opposing theories. If it can be determined finally that, of the two, one is entirely necessary for the beneficent working of its effects on humanity, and the other not indispensable, but only an adventitious accompaniment of the first, the verdict for superior utility must go to the necessary one. As between the Christ in the heart of all children of God and the Christ in one man, the first is the one both primarily and ultimately necessary for the redemption of the individual. It is a condition sine qua non; the other is merely superfluous and accessory at best. Had there been one personal Christ or a thousand, it is still the leaven of Christliness in the soul of a man that must save him. It is the agency that must be present and operative even if the other be extant. The other could be dispensed with and salvation still be effected. This could not be put vice versa. If the immanent Christos be not a reality in consciousness, the historic Jesus can avail nothing for the suppliant. Salvation could be won without his existence--as it must have been done before he lived! For all his life and death it could never be won without the saving grace of the impersonal Immanuel. The historical Christ is therefore only a superadded and supernumerary theological luxury. He is a negligible element in the system of redemption, in no wise indispensable. So far from being true that the scheme of human salvation rests critically and centrally upon him, the truth is that it does not even vitally need him. It could do without him. He is surely not the keystone of the arch or the cornerstone of the temple. The structure rests solidly on the presence in all men of the deific leaven, and if he enters the picture it is as mere adornment. He is not basic but extraneous and decorative.

His addition to the theological equipment makes the house of religion more attractive to people of emotional susceptibilities. His humanity, especially his infancy, babyhood, childhood and the imagined pains his frail body suffered in Passion Week, make a strong appeal to emotional sympathies and thus help perpetuate the institution of religion.

The story is a long one, but to it this work is dedicated, with the motive of restoring Christianity to its original exalted purity and of redeeming it from the degradation of having crucified anew the spiritual Christ in the heart on the cross of a material concept in human thought as "wooden" as the alleged "tree of Calvary."

The Logos was made flesh, yes, but not only one hundred and eighty pounds of it.