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BD 3159a 15.06.1944
Assessing religious dogma ....
Few people understand the value of divine revelations and thus rarely accept the messages unconditionally .... Consequently, numerous opportunities are not utilised which results in limited knowledge and often deadlock where progress could have been made. People's spiritual ignorance could be resolved, their state of darkness could be turned into enlightenment, and yet they prefer the night and shun the light, they are still in opposition to the world of light which caringly gives to everyone who places their trust in it. This is due to a lack of faith in God's mercy and His willingness to help people when they are in need. Nevertheless it is a proven need and consists of the fact that countless misconceptions prevent people from understanding God correctly, from loving Him and from revealing this love by gladly helping other people. This need consists of a dead faith which will fail when it is tested, because when the human being has to make a serious decision he can only stay committed if he is firmly convinced that his knowledge and faith are more valuable than what opposes him. For this reason faith and knowledge have to concur, i.e. whatever a person should believe has to be credible and reveal wisdom when he seriously reflects on it. God does not demand to believe something that he could not accept after serious consideration. Whatever appears to be unacceptable, whatever - after serious examination - lacks wisdom, has to be a human addition to what God has demanded to believe.
However, the credibility of dogma is apparent by the love it emanates, by God's love for everything He has created; consequently, love and wisdom indicate a divine being which cares for His living creations. And thus every religious doctrine can initially be assessed from this perspective. It has to be said that anyone willing to teach is first of all duty bound to make such an assessment, since he should only teach what he himself has identified as truth. This prerequisite is usually disregarded and for that reason alone significantly supports the spread of errors. Every teacher has to be fully convinced of what he teaches. And conviction can only be gained after serious assessment. Then the teacher can safely pass on what he has recognised as true to people who are less able to make such an assessment but who, if taught correctly, nevertheless can know that the teaching is credible because it confirms God's love and wisdom to them. Those who genuinely want to evaluate dogma will not lack the ability to think if they want to know the truth, on condition that the examiner also lives within love, otherwise he cannot represent the truth but has to represent errors and lies since, due to his unkindness, he has given himself to the one who fights against God.
In view of this it is understandable that and why an initially pure and unadulterated teaching given to people has been considerably changed, why it was not possible for written records to remain authentic, because serious assessment of their credibility and truth was evaded by the demand to categorically believe everything that was being taught. Pure truth will stand up to any kind of investigation and thus remain unchanged. But divisions occurred in due course, different schools of thought and their individual doctrines constantly offered the opportunity of comparison, and had they been compared with divine wisdom and love, every serious examiner could have known which doctrines were human work and should have been denounced as misguided beliefs. Consequently, the people who were capable of verifying the truth but failed to do so and unscrupulously passed on doctrines which on closer examination they should have rejected, are mostly to blame and will also be held accountable. As a result they had spread errors and lies.
However, there have always been people who, of their own accord, had undertaken such assessments and as reformers tried to change the old doctrines. And again, it depended on their degree of maturity how much they were living in truth and could convey it as such .... Hence, time and again human beings had been given the opportunity to form an opinion about religious doctrines, since due to the disputes between different schools of thought, due to the divisions within the church, they were made aware of the different teachings but nevertheless it was demanded that they had to be believed. Now the intellect and the heart had to become active if an evaluation were to be carried out, and that required the person's will and his desire to know the truth. Every follower of a doctrine supports his doctrine and yet different doctrines cannot claim to be the truth as there is only one truth. And every human being should endeavour to acquire this truth .... Thus it is indeed absolutely essential for a human being to form a personal opinion about every religious instruction otherwise it cannot ever become his spiritual possession even if he supports it with words. But then such words are not an innermost conviction, since conviction absolutely necessitates mental deliberation and this thought process can only be correctly guided by appealing to the divine spirit.
However, if teachers offer the pure truth a person will find it much easier to gain inner conviction if he reflects on it himself, while it takes a stronger will and desire for truth to identify misguided teachings as wrong. And this is why the teacher is wholly responsible if he, due to his own indifference or negligence, fails to carry out an assessment and spreads spiritual information of which he is not completely convinced himself. For if he has offered himself for teaching work he may only teach what he himself - after serious assessment - considers to be acceptable, otherwise he sins against those who believe to receive wisdom from him and whom he urges into wrong thinking with misguided teachings. Furthermore, it is his duty to encourage people to evaluate the teachings too so that they, in turn, may gain conviction, or a living faith, and become able to differentiate between error and truth ....
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