Subject: Churchianity vs. The True Religion of Christ The following is from a small public

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From: c60b-de@buddy.Berkeley.EDU (MV) Subject: Churchianity vs. The True Religion of Christ The following is from a small publication entitled _Why_A_ Hindu_Accepts_Christ_And_Rejects_Christianity_, by Swami Abhedananda, a great soul who lived in the early half of this century and who was largely responsible for the spread of classical Hindu thought in this country. I feel that it makes many good points. The pamphlet is too long to be put all at one time on the net, so I'll split it up into 3rds. Here is the 1st third. Many thoughts are not complete, unfortunately, because of this. ======================================================================= WHY A HINDU ACCEPTS CHRIST AND REJECTS CHRISTIANITY by Swami Abhedananda 12th ed., 1976 Replicated without permission A Hindu distinguishes the religion of the Churches from the religion of Jesus the Christ. Speaking from the Hindu standpoint, the religion which the Churches uphold and preach today, which has been built around the personality of Jesus the Christ and which is popularly known as Christianity, should be called 'Churchianity,' in contradiction to the pure religion of the heart which was taught by Jesus the Christ and practiced by his disciples. The religion of Christ, or true Christianity, had no dogma, no creed, no system, no theology. It was a religion of the heart, a religion of the heart, a religion without any ceremonial, without ritual, without priestcraft; it was not based upon any book, but upon the feelings of the heart, upon direct communion of the individual soul with the Heavenly Father. On the contrary, the religion of the church is based upon a book, believes in dogmas, professes a creed, has an organize system for preaching it, is backed up by theologies, performs rituals, practices ceremonials, and obeys the commands of a host of priests. The popular history of Churchianity began from 325 after Christ, the 20th year of the reign of Constantine the Great, when the famous Council was convened at the City of Nicea. Those who have read the life of this august Roman Emperor will remember how remarkable was the character of this, socalled, pious supporter of the Church dogmas. He put to death his own son and his wife Fausta on groundless suspicion, cut off his brother-in-law Licinius and the unoffending son of Licinius and massacred every one of his rivals. Nevertheless, the Greek Church has canonized him, and adores the memory of St. Constantine. It was Constantine the Great, who issued a decree in 321 A.D., for the general observance of Sunday, instead of the Jewish Sabbath. He hated the Jews and everything connected with the Jews, and said, "This day shall be regarded as a special occasion for prayer, because it is the Sun's day, the day of our Lord." Since that time, the Church has accepted that decree, ignoring the fact that this was the day for the worship of the sun among the pagans. It was Constantine the Great, who decided what should be the creed of the Church, and commanded the assembled bishops to receive the decrees of the Council of Nicea as the dictates of the Holy Spirit. Since that time the church has given authenticity to that creed, which is repeated almost every Sunday in all the orthodox Churches in Christendom. The horrifying accounts of fraud, political wirepulling, theological jugglery, ecclesiastical scandal mongery, passions breaking forth into curses and anathemas, bloody massacres and inhuman assassinations in the ecumenical councils, show that these were the principal instruments in the building up of the creed of Churchianity. Readers of ecclesiastical history will remember that in one of the following the great council of Nicea, maidens were insulted and scourged, the holy temple was profaned, books were thrown into flames, and the church and baptistry were burned and monks were trodden underfoot. Such were the deeds of the pious bishops and founders of Churchianity. In the Council of Ephesus, which was held in 431 A.D., monks and bishops screamed, "Whoso speaks of two natures is a Nestorius, and let him be cut asunder." A bishop was kicked to death by another bishop in the course of their arguments and 137 corpses were left in a church to attest the convincing reasons by which the most ruffianly side proved in orthodoxy. Such were the assemblies of saints who formed the pillars of the structure of Churchianity. We can easily imagine the nature of the guiding spirit of those councils which established the creed of the church. From the beginning of the history of the Churches, down to the present day, freedom of thought and freedom and speech, which are the most essential characteristics of true religion, have been suppressed; and fanaticism, bigotry, curses, anathema, religious persecution, tortures of inquisition and diabolical crimes have been committed in the name of religion. Hatred, cruelty and fighting have reigned in the place of love, mercy, kindness, peace, and good-will. The creed of the church would have vanished away from the world if swords were not drawn and innocent blood were not shed in the name of religion. The deeds of Churchianity are written indelibly upon the pages of the religious history of the world. Shall we wonder, then if the humane, kind, gently, peace-loving hearts of the Hindus, that are ver ready to send forth blessings, good-will, benediction, and a current of love toward humanity, nay, toward all living creatures, reject Churchianity? Shall we wonder that the Hindus, who recognize Divinity in the souls of all, should refuse to accept a system which was founded upon the barren soil of dogmas, fertilized with the vital forces squeezed out of the hearts of innocent humanity, and nourished by the blood of martyrs? We do not hear about the four canonical Gospels until the time of Irenius, Bishop of Lyons in Gaul, who lived 178-200 A.D. He was the real founder of the Church Canon. It was Irenius who first mentioned four gospels. His arguments for accepting four Gospels were very remarkable. By a strange irony of fate, the Hindu sees today that the followers of Churchianity, ignoring its past history, have come over to India to tell the socalled "heathen" how Churchianity has civilized the world, how it has brought peace on earth, and how it has saved the souls of sinners. But a Hindu is a lover of Truth and Freedom. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech are his guiding stars. From ancient times, search after Truth and unswerving love for Truth have forced the minds of the Hindus to make rational investigation into matters that have been presented to them. It is very difficult to persuade a Hindu to blindly believe in anything. Before he accepts a dogma as truth he must trace its source and with all the arguments, pros and cons, and then compare it with the highest ideals that are known to his country. Stimulated by this natural tendency and by his love of truth, when a Hindu studies the facts upon which Churchianity is founded, he first reads the Bible as critically as possible, applies logic and reason at every step; and then he looks into all the available writings of those western scholars and critics who have made an impartial examination of the Christian Scriptures from the standpoint of historical researches. I know many Hindus who read Thomas Paine's _Age_of_Reason_ before they opened a page of the Bible. A Hindu knows that there has been a great dispute in the present century among Western scholars regarding the historical personality of Jesus the Nazareth, as it is described in the synoptic gospels. Therefore he doubts the historical side of the personality of Jesus of the gospels. He also knows that he researches of the higher critics of the Bible have shown that the descriptions of the canonical Gospels, regarding the events connected with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, do not harmonize with the facts of history which can be gathered form other sources. A missionary preaches in India that the New Testament is the revealed scripture, or word of God. The educated Hindus, however, know that Jesus did not leave any writings of his own, nor did any of his direct disciples write any of the gospels which were accepted by the church as the infallible and revealed word of God. They are also familiar with the fact that there are absolutely no contemporary records or accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus, either in the Bible itself or outside of it; and that the earliest of the writings, in the order of their composition, were the genuine epistles of Paul.

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