11 May 1904, Berlin
Note: The transcript of the four “faculty” lectures are deficient. It shows not only noticeable gaps; the author of the transcript is also not familiar with the topic of the lectures. He often made summaries in haste as far as he understood the lecturer. That is why some connections shifted. Although notices of other participants were used, the deficiencies of the text could not be essentially corrected except for some big misunderstandings.
If the theosophical movement has to really intervene in the whole modern culture, it cannot limit itself unilaterally to spread any doctrine, to communicate knowledge concerning this or that, but it has to deal with the most different cultural factors and elements in the present. Theosophy should be no mere doctrine, it should live. It should flow into our acting, feeling and thinking. Now it is in the nature of things that such a movement addressing the heart of the modern culture immediately intervenes where we deal with the leadership in the spiritual life, if it should be capable of surviving. Where else should we look for the leadership of the spiritual life today than in our universities? There really all those should co-operate who work at least if you look at the matter idealistically as bearers of our culture, of our whole spiritual life, who work in the service of truth and progress and in the service of the spiritual movement generally. They should collaborate with young people who prepare for the highest tasks of life.
This would be the big and significant influence that the universities must have on the whole cultural life, the significant influence which comes from them as something authoritative because one cannot deny it, although one may also struggle against any authority in our time: our universities work authoritatively. And it is right in certain respect, because those who have to teach our young people about the highest cultural problems have to be determinative of all questions of the human existence. Thus it is really logical if the whole nation looks at that which the members of the faculties say in any question. That's how it is. Nevertheless, in all our faculties one regards what the university lecturer says about a matter as authoritative.
Thus it seems to me natural that we as theosophists ask ourselves once: how must we position ourselves to the different branches of our university life? No criticism should be offered to our university institutions; this should not be an object of this talk. What will be discussed in this and the following talks should simply give a perspective how the theosophical movement if it is really capable of surviving, if it can really intervene in the impulses of the spiritual movement , can possibly have a fruitful effect on our university life.
A university has four faculties: the divinity (in Germany theological) faculty, the faculty of law, the medical faculty and the arts (in Germany: philosophical) faculty. Indeed, as well as the high educational system is today, we have to include still other colleges in the sense of our present way of thinking and approach to life as a continuation of the university, as it were, namely the colleges of technology, the art colleges etcetera. That will be discussed later in the talk about philosophy. We have to deal with that faculty which in the first times, in the midst of the Middle Ages acquired a leading position in the modern education. In this time, theology at the universities was the “queen of sciences.” Everything that was otherwise done formed a group round the theological scholarship.
The university had arisen from that which the Church had developed in the Middle Ages: from the monastic schools. The old schools had a kind of supplement for that which one needed as worldly knowledge; however, the central issue was theology. These teachers, priests and monks who had experienced the clerical education were active until the end of the Middle Ages. Theology was called the “queen of sciences.” Is it now not quite natural, if you consider the matter in the abstract, ideally to call theology the queen of sciences, and had it not to be this queen if it fulfilled its task in the widest sense of the word? In the centre of the world that stands certainly which we call the primal ground of the world, the divine, in so far as the human being can grasp it. Theology is nothing else than the teachings of this divine. All other must trace back to divine primal forces of existence. If theology wants really to be the teachings of the divine, you cannot imagine it as that it is the central sun of any wisdom and knowledge, and that from it the strength and the energy is emitted to all remaining sciences. In the Middle Ages, it still was in such a way. What the great medieval theologians had to say about the world basically got its light, its most significant strength from the so-called holy science, from theology.
If we want to get an idea of this thinking and of this philosophy of life in the Middle Ages, we can do it with a few words. Any medieval theologian considered the world as a big unity. The divine creativity was on top, at the summit. Below, the single forces and realms of nature existed, dispersed in the manifoldness of the world. What one knew about the forces and realms of nature was the object of the single sciences. What led the human spirit to the clarification of the loftiest questions, what should lighten what the single sciences could not recognise came from theology. Hence, one studied philosophy first. It encompassed all worldly sciences. Then one advanced to the science of theology. The medical faculty and that of law stood somewhat differently in the university life. We can easily conceive an idea how these faculties interrelate if we look at the matter in such a way: philosophy encompassed all sciences, and the divinity faculty considered and dealt with the big question: what is the primal ground, and which are the single phenomena of existence?
This existence proceeds in time. There is a development to perfection, and as human beings we are not only put into the world order, but we ourselves co-operate in the world order. On the one side, the philosophical and the theological faculties consider that which is, which was, and which will be, on the other side, the medical faculty and that of law consider the world in its emergence, the world how it has to be led from the imperfect to the perfect. The medical faculty addresses more the natural life in its imperfection and asks how it should be made better. The law school turns to the moral world and asks how it must be made better. The whole life of the Middle Ages was one single body, and something similar must certainly come again. Again the whole unity, the universitas has to become a living body that has the single faculties as the members of the common life. The modern university is more an aggregate, and the single faculties do not deal a lot with each other. In the Middle Ages, everybody who studied at the university had to acquire a philosophical basic education, that which one calls a general education today, although one has to admit that just those who leave the university today are characterised by the absence of general education.
This was the basis of everything. Also in Goethe's Faust one finds said: the collegium logicum first, then metaphysics. Nevertheless, it is also correct that somebody who generally wants to be introduced into the secrets of the world existence, into the big questions of culture, must have a thorough education in the different branches of knowledge at first. It is no progress that this studium fundamentale has completely disappeared from our university education. In a large part is that which one can know lifeless nature: physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, mathematics etcetera. Not before the student had been introduced into the teachings of thinking, into the laws of logic, into the basic principles of the world or into metaphysics, he could ascend to the other, higher faculties. For the other faculties were called the higher ones with some right. Then he could advance to theology.
Someone who should be taught about the deepest questions of existence had to have learnt something about the simple questions of existence. But also the other faculties presuppose such an educational background. The situation of law and medicine would be much better if such a general previous training were maintained thoroughly, because someone who wants to intervene in the jurisprudence must know how the laws of the human life are generally. It must be understood lively what can lead a human being to the good or to the bad. You must be grasped not only in such a way as you are grasped from the dead letter of law, but you must be grasped like from life, like from something with which you are intimately related. These human beings must have the circumference first because the human being is really a microcosm in which all laws are living. Hence, one has to know the physical laws above all. Thus the university would have to be, correctly thought, an organism of the whole human knowledge. However, the divinity faculty would have to stimulate any other knowledge. Theology, the teachings of the divine world order, cannot exist at all unless it is inserted to the smallest and biggest of our existence, unless one deepens everything into the divine world order.
But, how should anybody be able to say anything about the divine world order who knows nothing about the minerals, nothing about the plants, animals and human beings, about the origin of the earth, about the nature of our planetary system? God's revelation is everywhere, and there is nothing that does not express the voice of the divinity. The human being has to link everything that the human being has and is and acts to these loftiest questions which the theological science should treat.
Now we must ask ourselves: does the divinity faculty position itself in this way in life today? Does it work in such a way that its strength and energy can flow from it to all remaining life? I would like to give no criticism, but an objective portrayal of the relations if possible. In the last time, even theology is brought somewhat into discredit, even within the religious movement. You have maybe heard something of the name Kalthoff (Albert K., 1850–1906, Protestant theologian) who has written Zarathustra sermons. He says that the religion must not suffer from the letters of theology; we do not want theology, but religion. These are people who are able to find the world of religious world view from their immediate conviction.
Now we ask ourselves whether this view can persist whether it can be true that religion without theology, sermon without theology is possible. In the first times of Christianity and also in the Middle Ages, this was not the case. Also in the first centuries of modern times, it was not in such a way. Only today, a kind of conflict has happened between the immediate religious effectiveness and theology, which has apparently turned away somewhat from life. In the first times of the Christianity, somebody was basically a theologian who could see up to the highest summits of existence because of his wisdom and science. Theology was something living, was something that lived in the first Church Fathers, that animated such spirits like Clement of Alexandria, like Origenes, like Scotus Erigena and St. Augustine; it was theology that animated them. It was that which lived like lifeblood in them. If the words came on their lips, they did not need to confide any dogma, then they knew how to speak intensively to the hearts. They found the words which were got out of any heart. The sermon was permeated with soul and religious currents. But it would not have been in such a way unless inside of these personalities the view of the loftiest beings in the highest form had lived in which the human being can attain this.
Such dogmatism is impossible which discusses every word in the abstract that is spoken in the everyday life. But somebody who wants to be a teacher of the people has to have experienced the highest form of knowledge with wisdom. He must have the resignation, the renunciation of that which is immediate to him; he must strive and experience what introduces him into the highest form of knowledge in loneliness, in the cell, far from the hustle and bustle of the world where he can be alone with his God, with his thinking and his heart. He must have the possibility to look up at the spiritual heights of existence. Without any fanaticism, without any desire, even without any religious desire, but in purely spiritual devotion that is free of everything that also appears, otherwise, in the longing of the religions. The conversation with God and the divine world order takes place in this lonesome height, at the summit of the human thinking.
One has to develop, one has to have attained resignation, renunciation to lead this lofty soliloquy and to have it living in oneself and to let work it as lifeblood in the words which are the contents of the popular doctrines. Then we have found the right stage of theology and sermon, of science and life.
Someone who sits below feels that this flows out of depths that it is got down from high scientific heights of wisdom. Then it needs no external authority, then the word itself is authority by the strength which lives in the soul of the teacher, because it settles in the heart by this strength to work with the echo of the heart. One achieved the harmony between religion and theology, and at the same time one tactfully distinguished theology and religious instruction. But anybody who has not climbed up to the theological heights who is not informed about the deepest questions of the spiritual existence will not slip that in his words which should live in the words of the preacher as a result of the dialogue with the divine world order itself.
This was really the opinion that one had in the Christian world view about the relation between theology and sermon for centuries. A good sermon would be that if a preacher steps only then in front of the people, after he has occupied himself with the high teachings of the Trinity of God, of the divinity and of the announcement of the Logos in the world, of the high metaphysical significance of Christ's personality. One must have accepted all these teachings that are understandable only for someone who has dealt with them for many, many years. These teachings may establish the contents of philosophy and other sciences at first; one has to make his thinking ripe for this truth. Only then one can penetrate these heights of truth. To someone who has achieved this, who knows something about the high ideas of the Trinity, of the Logos the Bible verses become something in his mouth that wins another liveliness than it has at first without this preceding theological schooling. Then he freely uses the Bible verses, then he creates that current from him to the community within the Bible verses which causes an influence of the divine creativity in the hearts of the crowd. Then he not only interprets the Bible but he handles it. Then he speaks in such a way, as if he himself had participated in the writing of the great truths which are written in this ancient religious book. He looked into the bases from which the great truths of the Bible originated. He knows what those have felt who were once much more influenced by the spiritual world than he is, and what is expressed in the Bible verses as the divine world government and human order of salvation. He has not only the word that he has to comment and to interpret, but behind him the great powerful writers stand whose pupil, disciple and successor he is. He speaks out of their spirit and he himself puts their spirit, which they have put into it, into the writing now.
This was the basis of developing authority in this or that epoch. As an ideal the human being had it in mind, it was often carried out. However, our time has also brought about a big reversal here. Let us consider the big reversal once again, which took place from the Middle Ages to the modern times. What happened at that time? What made it possible that Copernicus, Galilei, Giordano Bruno could announce a new world view? This new movement became possible because the human being approached nature immediately that he himself wanted to see that he did not rest on old documents as in the Middle Ages, but went straight to the natural existence. It was different in the medieval science. There the basic sciences were not derived from an unbiased consideration of nature, but from that which the Greek philosopher Aristoteles had schemed. Aristoteles was the authority during the whole Middle Ages.
One taught referring to him. The lecturer of metaphysics and logic had his books. He interpreted them. Aristoteles was an authority.
This changed with the reversal from the Middle Ages to the modern times. Copernicus himself wanted to scheme what is given by the immediate view. Galilei shone on the world of the immediate existence. Kepler found the big world law according to which the planets orbit the sun.
That's how it was in the past centuries. One wanted to see independently. One also told in anecdotes what occurred to Galilei: there was a scholar who knew his Aristoteles. One said something to him that Galilei had said. He answered that this must be different: I must have a look at Aristoteles, because he said it differently, and, nevertheless, Aristoteles is right. The authority was more important to him than the immediate view. But the time was ripe, one wanted now to know something independently. This does not require that everybody is immediately able to acquire this view fairly quickly, but it only requires that people are there who are able to approach nature that they are equipped with the instruments and tools and with the methods, which are necessary to observe nature. Progress thereby became possible. One can interpret what Aristoteles wrote; but one cannot progress thereby. Somebody can progress only if he himself progresses if he himself sees the things.
The past four centuries applied this principle of self-knowledge to all external knowledge, to everything that spreads out before our senses. First in physics, then in chemistry, then in the science of life, then in the historical sciences.
Everything was included in this self-observation, in the external looking of the sensory world. One withdrew from the principle of authority. What has not been included in this principle of own knowledge was the view of the spiritually effective in the world, the immediate knowledge of that which is there not for the senses, but only for the mind. Hence, something appears during the last centuries, concerning this science and wisdom of the mind that one could once not speak of. Now we could go back to the oldest times. We want to do it, however, only to the first times of Christianity. There we have a science of the divine, then a great doctrine of the world origin which reaches down to our immediate sensuous surroundings. If you look at the great sages of former centuries, you can see everywhere how this way is taken from the highest point down to the lowest existence, so that no gap is between that which is said by the divine world order in theology and what we say about the sensory world. One had a comprehensive view of the origin of the planets and our earth. But one does no longer need to inform this today. However, someone who observes the development in the course of time can also accept that one goes beyond our wisdom. Time goes beyond the form of our science as we have gone beyond the former forms.
What existed at that time was a uniform world edifice that stood before the soul, and the basis of the soul was the spirit. One saw the primal ground of existence in the spirit. That comes from the spirit which is not spirit. The world is the reflection of the infinite spirit of God. And then that comes from the spirit of God which we find as higher spiritual beings in the different religious systems and also that which is the most powerful on this world: the human being, then the animals, the plants and the minerals. One had a uniform world view of the origin of a solar system up to the formation of the mineral. The atom was chained together with God himself although one never dared to recognise God himself. One sought the divine in the world. The spiritual was its expression. Those who wanted to know something about the highest heights of existence strove for educating themselves in such a way that they could recognise the sensory world. They wanted to conceive ideas of that which is above the sensory world, of the spiritual world order. They could ascend from the simple sensory knowledge to the comprehensive knowledge of the spiritual that way. If we look at the ancient cosmologies, we find no interruption between the teachings of theology and what the single worldly sciences say about the things of our existence. Link is attached to link continuously. One had started from the core of spirit up to the circumference of our earthly existence.
One took another path in modern times. One simply directed the senses and what is regarded to be arms of the senses, as strengthening instruments of sense-perception, to the world. In brilliant, tremendous way one developed the world view that teaches us something about the external sensory world. Everything is not yet explained, but one can get an idea already today how this science of the sensuous things advances. However, something was thereby interrupted, namely the immediate connection between the world science and the divine science.
The picture of the world origin, of cosmology which is the most usual even today even if it is disputed, is found in the so-called Kant-Laplace world view. In order to orient ourselves, we want to say a few words about it to see then what signifies such a Kant-Laplace world view to us. It says: once there was a big world nebula, rather thin. If we could sit on chairs in space and watch, and if it were somewhat visible for finer eyes, this world nebula is organised perhaps because it cooled down. It establishes a centre in itself, rotates, pushes off rings which form to planets, and in this way you know this hypothesis such a solar system forms, which has the sun as a spring of life and heat. However, what is developed that way must find an end in such a way, as it develops. Kant and others admit that again new worlds form et etcetera.
What is now such a world view that the modern researcher tries to compose from the scientific experiences of physics, chemistry etcetera? This is something that would have to be sense-perceptible in all stages. Now try once to really imagine this world view. What is absent in it? The spirit is absent. It is a material process, a process which can happen in microcosm with an oil drop in water at which you can look with your eyes. The process of world origin is made sense-perceptible. The spirit was not involved in the origin of such a solar system. Hence, it is not surprising that the question is raised: how does life originate, and how does the spirit originate? Because one originally imagined the lifeless matter only which moves according to its own principles.
What one has not experienced one can get out impossibly of the concepts. One can only get out what has been put in. If one imagines a world system which is empty which is devoid of spirit, then it must remain inconceivable how spirit and life can exist in this world. The question can never be answered out of the Kant-Laplace theory how life and spirit can originate. The science of modern times is just a sensuous science. Hence, it has taken up that part of the world in its theory of world origin which is a section of the whole world. Your body represents you in your entirety as little as matter is the whole world.
Just as it is true that life, feelings, thoughts, impulses are in your body which one cannot see if one looks at your body with sensuous eyes, it is true that the spirit is also in the world. However, it is also true that the Kant-Laplace theory shows the body only. As little as the anatomist who shows the structure of the human body is able to say how a thought can arise from the blood and the nerves if he thinks only materially, just as little anybody who thinks the world system according to Kant-Laplace can get to the spirit one day. As little as somebody who is blind and cannot see the light can say anything about our sensory world, as little as anybody who does not have the immediate view of the spirit can explain that something spiritual exists besides the physical body. The modern science lacks in the view of the spiritual. The progress is based on its one-sidedness, just in this way the human being can reach the unilaterally highest height. Because science confines itself to the sensuous, it reaches its high development. However, it becomes an oppressive authority, because this science has founded ways of thinking. These are stronger than all theories, stronger than even all dogmas.
One gets used to searching science in the sensuous, and thereby the fact creeps into the ways of thinking of the modern human being since four centuries that the sensuous became the only real to him. Hence, one generally believes that the sensory world is the only real one. Something that is justified as a theory became way of thinking, and someone who looks deeper into this thinking knows which infinitely suggestive strength such an active way of thinking has on the human beings for centuries. It worked on all circles. Like a human being who is exposed to suggestion, the whole modern educated humanity is exposed to the suggestion that only that which one perceives with the senses, can grasp with the hands is the only real. Humanity has given up from regarding the spirit as something real. But this has nothing to do with a theory, but only with the accustomed forms of thinking. These sit much, much deeper than any understanding. One can prove this by epistemology and philosophy which are not sufficiently developed in us, unfortunately. The whole modern science is influenced by these modern ways of thinking. With somebody who speaks today about the origin of the animals and about the origin of the world this way of thinking sits in the background, and he can't help giving such a colouring to his words and concepts that they make the powerful impression by themselves that it is real.
It is different with that which one merely thinks. One has to advance so far today to recognise the deeper reality in that which one only thinks. One has to become capable to behold the spirit. This is not to be attained with books and talks, not with theories and new dogmas, but with intimate self-education, which intervenes in the customs of the soul of the modern human being. The human being has to recognise first that it is not absolutely necessary to regard the sensuous-real as the only real, but he has to realise that he exercises something that was stimulated for centuries. One thinks this way. It flows into the original feeling of the human beings. These are not aware that they have illusions because they got them from the beginning. This impression works too strong, even on an idealist, so that he emphasises and lets flow the things into the souls of his fellow men that only the sensuous-real is the real.
With this transformation of the ways of thinking the development of theology took place. What is theology? It is the science of the divine as it is handed down since millenniums. It scoops from the Bible as the science of the Middle Ages scooped from Aristoteles. But it is just the teaching of theology that no revelation continues forever, but that the world and the words of the old revelations change. In the doctrine of the Catholic Church, the immediate spiritual life does no longer flow; it depends there on whether there are persons from who the spiritual life can still flow. If we grasp it this way, we have to say that also theology is subject to the materialistic thinking.
Once one did not understand the Six-day Work in such a way, as if it had happened purely materially in six days. One did not have the odd idea that one has not to study Christ to understand Him, but one has only pointed to the fact that the Logos was incarnated once in the human being Jesus. Unless one advanced so far, one did not arrogate a judgement to recognise what lived there from 1 to 33 A.D. Today one sees in Jesus – he is also called the “simple man from Nazareth” only a man like anyone, only nobler and more idealised. Theology has also become materialistic. These are the essentials that the theological world view does no longer look up to the summits of spirit, but wants to understand purely rationally, materialistically what happened historically. Nobody can understand the life work of Christ who looks at it only as history who only wants to know how that looked and spoke who strolled in Palestine from 1 up to 33 A.D. And nobody can make a claim to say that in him anything else did not live than in other human beings. Or is anybody able to argue away what he says: to me all power is given in heaven and on earth? But one wants to understand the matters historically today.
What was spoken in a speech on the 31st May, 1904 with a pastoral conference in Alsace-Lorraine is very typical. There a professor Lobstein from Strassburg held a talk Truth and Poetry in our Religion; a speech which is deeply likeable and shows how the materialistic theologian wants to find the way with the external research. Someone who approaches the Gospels with materialistic ways of thinking tries to understand first of all, when they were written. There he can rely only on the external documents, on that which the external history delivers as material. However, what was handed down comes basically from a much later time than it is normally assumed. If one takes the external word, one gets around to saying: the Gospels are inconsistent with each another. One has put together the three Synoptics who can be reconciled; one has to consider the St. John's Gospel separately. Hence, it has become for many something like a poem. One has also examined the epistles of Paul and has found that only this or that part is authentic. These facts constituted the basis of the religious research.
Hence, the religious history or dogma history became the most important science. Not the experience of the dogmatic truth is important today, but the religious history, the external representation of the events at that time. One wants to investigate this. However, it should not depend on this at all. This may be important to a materialistic history. but it is not theology. Theology does not have to investigate, when the dogma of Trinity originated, when it was pronounced first or was written down, but what it means, what it announces to us, what it may offer as living, as fertile to the inner life.
Thus it has come that one talks as a professor of theology about truth and poetry in our religion. One has found that there are contradictions in the writings. One has shown that some matters do not agree with the natural sciences; these are the miracles. One does not try to understand them, but one simply says that they are not possible. Thus one got around to introducing the concept of poetry in the Holy Scripture. One says that it does not lose any value, but that the story is a kind of myth or poetry. One must not be under the illusion that everything is fact, but one must come to recognise that our Holy Scripture is composed of poetry and truth.
This is based on a lack of knowledge about the nature of poetry. Poetry is something else than what the human beings imagine as poetry today. Poetry arose from the spirit. Poetry itself has a religious origin. Before there was poetry, there were already events like the Greek dramas to which the Greeks pilgrimaged like to the Eleusinian mysteries. This is the original drama. If it was practised, it was science for the Greeks, but also spiritual reality at the same time. It was beauty and art at the same time, however, also religious edification. Poetry was nothing else than the external form which should express truth of the higher plane, not only symbolically, but really. This forms the basis of every true poetry. Therefore, Goethe says: poetry is not art, but an interpretation of the secret physical principles that would never have become obvious without it. That is why Goethe calls only someone “poet” who is anxious to recognise truth and to express it in beauty. Truth, beauty and goodness are the forms to express the divine.
Hence, we cannot speak about poetry and truth in religion. Our time does no longer have correct concepts of poetry. It does not know how poetry streams from the spring of truth. Hence, every word wins something from it. We have to get again to the correct concept of poetry. We have to understand what poetry was originally and apply it to that which theology has to investigate. We probably say: ye shall know them by their fruits. Where to has theology got ? In a book which made a great stir in the last time, and which the people have accepted because a modern theologian has written it I mean What is Christianity? (1901) by Harnack (Adolf H.,1851–1930, Protestant theologian) there is a place, and this place reads: “the Easter message tells of the miraculous event in the garden of Joseph of Arimathea that, nevertheless, no eye has seen, of the empty grave into which some women and disciples looked, of the phenomena of the transfigured Lord glorified so much that his followers could not recognise him immediately , then also of speeches and actions of the risen Christ; the reports became more and more complete and confident. However, the faith in Easter is the conviction of the victory of the crucified over death, of God's strength and justice and of the life of that who is the first-born among many brothers. As to St. Paul, the basis of his faith in Easter was the certainty that “the second Adam” had come from heaven, and the experience that God revealed his son as a living one to him on the way to Damascus.”
The theosophical world view tries to lead the human beings upwards to understand this great mystery. The theologian says: Today we do no longer know what happened, actually, in the Garden of Gethsemane. We also do not know the quality of the messages about the events that the disciples deliver to us. We also do not know how to estimate the value of the words about the risen Christ in the epistles of Paul. We cannot cope with it. But one thing is certain: the faith in the risen Saviour started from these events, and we want to keep to the faith and do not care about its basis. You find a concept in the modern dogmatism that is strange for someone who looks for reasons of truth. One says: one cannot explain it metaphysically. No contradiction is possible, but also no explanation. There remains only the third, the religious truth.
In Trier, they once put up the Holy Robe of Jesus in the belief that the robe can work miracles. This belief has disappeared, because every belief can be held only by the fact that it is confirmed by experience. However, there remains the fact that some have experienced this; there remains the subjective religious experience.
Those who say this are allegedly no materialists. In their theory, they are not, but in their ways of thinking, in the way as they want to investigate the spiritual. This is the basis of the spiritual life of our idealists and spiritists. They all have accepted the materialistic ways of thinking. Also those are materialists who want to sit together in a meeting room and want to look at materialised ghosts. Spiritism has become possible because of our materialistic ways of thinking. Today, one visits the spirit materialistically. All idealistic theories are of no avail, as long as the knowledge of the spirit remains a mere theory, as long as it does not become life.
This requires a renewal, a renaissance of theology. It is necessary that not only faith exists, but that the immediate intuition flows in it with those who have to announce the word of the divine world order. The theosophical world view also wants to lead from the belief in the documents, in books and stories to an observation of the spirit by self-education. The same way which our science has taken shall be taken in the spiritual life, in the spiritual wisdom. We have to arrive at the experience of the spiritual again. Science, even wisdom, decides nothing here. Not by logic, not by contemplation you can investigate anything. The logic of your soul invents a sensuous world system. However, spiritual experience fills our understanding with real contents. It is the higher spiritual experience that has to fill our concepts with spiritual contents. That is why a renaissance of theology takes place only if one understands the word of the apostle Paul: all wisdom of the human beings is not able to understand the divine wisdom. Science itself is not able to do it. Just as little the external life can grasp this spiritual world. Any reflection cannot lead to the spirit; as little as anybody who sits on a distant island finds great physical truths without instruments and without scientific methods one day.
To the human beings something must occur that goes beyond wisdom that leads to the immediate life. As well as our eyes and ears inform us about the sensuous reality, we must experience the spiritual reality directly. Then our wisdom can reach it. Paul did never say: wisdom is the precondition to reach the divine. Not before we have found the whole world wisdom, we are able again to bring together the whole. Not before we have a spiritual system of world evolution again as we have a materialistic one on the other side we must not have the old faith, but behold, here and there , then the sensuous and the spiritual unite in a chain, and one will be able to descend again from the spirit to the teachings of the sensuous science.
The theosophical world view wants to bring that. It does not want to be theology, not a bookish knowledge and also not the interpretation of any book, but it wants experience of the spiritual life, it wants to give communications of the experiences of this spiritual life. The same spiritual strength also speaks to us today that once spoke with the announcement of the religious systems. It has to be the task of that who wants to teach something of the divine world order that he looks for the rise where he can speak again lonely in the heart with the spiritual heart of the world. Then the reversal takes place in our faculty which took place from the Middle Ages to the modern times in the fields of the external natural sciences. Then it occurs that if anybody announces anything of the spirit, and someone faces him with the words: however, one reads that differently in the scriptures, he eventually convinces him or not. Perhaps, he also says to him: however, I believe more in the scriptures than in that which quite a few people may tell about the immediate experience. But the course of the spiritual life cannot be impeded. May there be many inhibitions, may those be ever so reluctant who work for theology in the sense of the mentioned medieval follower of Aristotle today, the reversal which must take place here cannot be impeded. As knowledge has risen from faith up to watching, we also ascend from faith to the watching in the spiritual realm, and behold in theosophy. Then there is no belief in letters, no theology, then there will be lively life. The spirit of life will let those participate who can hear it. The word will forge ahead and find the popular expression. The spirit speaks of the spirit. Life will be there, and theology will be the soul of this religious life.
Theosophy has this vocation concerning the divinity faculty. If theosophy represents a movement that wants to be capable of surviving, that can make life and lifeblood flow into the letters of the scholarship, then we have a certain mission. Who understands the matter in such a way does not regard us as adversaries of those who have to announce the word. If the theologians seriously dealt with the intentions of the theosophical movement, if they got involved in our intentions, they would see something in theosophy that could inspire and animate them. Not fragmentation, but the deepest peace could be between the theologically and theosophically striving human beings. One will recognise this in the course of time. One will overcome the prejudices against the theosophical movement and understand how true it is what Goethe said:
Who has science and art,
Has religion too;
Who doesn't have both,
Shall have religion.
Theosophy does not fight against any religion in any way. Somebody is a right theosophist who wishes that wisdom may flow into those who are appointed to speak to humanity, so that it should not be necessary that there are theosophists who tell something about the immediate religious view. Theosophy can welcome the day with pleasure when one speaks of wisdom in the sites from which religion should be announced. If the theologians announce the right religion that way, one does no longer need theosophy.