The virgin birth – Theosophy’s view

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Nick the Pilot, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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    mula, means "root", prakriti means "essense, or nature"... usually, according to sanskrit... so, mulaprakriti would be... base essence, root nature...

    In my opinion, Kwan Yin isn't a buddhist deity. Quan Yin is supposedly... Avalokitesvara, or, translated, "the one who was Lord before the world was made", or rather... the personification of Brahma via the trimurti...

    If you read the Upanisads, you will see how the world was born from Brahma's self, from his thought, and breath...

    but...

    the hindu trimurti, I believe, should be, historically, Surya (sun-god), Indra (Thunder) and Vayu (wind), and if you read the Vedas you will see these Gods occur more than others. Later, via later Vedas and the Upanisads, the trimurti became Brahma (intelligence), Visnu (familial loyalty, empathy, understanding), and Siva (the warrior, the warlord, the fighter)... Correspondingly, if you look, to the "trimurti" of the kabbalah; the Keter, Binah, and Chokmah.... the same "trinity" occurs. I feel this trinity is artifical, personally, but... if it helps people learn comparative philosophies, great!

    A feminine form of Kwan Yin is actually the result of buddhism taking on a goddess who already existed for the Chinese, and who ended up in Japan.
    Avalokitesvara is male, and has absolutely nothing to do with compassion, or mothers, or any of that stuff. Avaolkitesvara is Brahma, belittled by buddhist doctrine until he becomes a bodhisattva... (small joke there)...

    but don't take my word for it_ look to wikipediA:

    "It is generally accepted (in the Chinese community) that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर), which is her male form. Commonly known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy[3], Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara..."

    And why are these stories not directly related to Avalokitesvara? Because Guanyin was the original deity of the Chinese...

    This happens in Christianity, too. Mary, as the theotokos, was an Eastern Orthodox thing-- Mary didn't get "taken into heaven" until 1956 by the Catholic Church, ie, even recognised as a saint... Marian Christianity has its roots in pagan religious doctrines, where mother goddesses are venerated as compassionate, healing, purifying, generative beings... you go to Ireland, and you see Marian shrines near water courses... there is the goddess of the life-giving waters, the holy spirit, almost, yet... It's Mary! This idea of the sacred feminine was virtually extinguished by the Roman Catholic religion, and women and goddesses recast as mere male consorts; mothers, wives, not... special in their own right.

    In more "pagan" religions, religions where Holy Mothers and duality concepts abide, the feminine is seen as the compliment, the natural partner, on an equal footing, as the masculine god. They ... unite, they mate, they become one, in their way. But they exist, these sacred women, recognised as important in their own right...

    As for Krsna being celibate... hahaha! Maybe when he was a small boy, perhaps... but after? Rasa-lila with the gopi's, anyone? And let's not forget about the puranas where Radha and Krsna make hot, sweaty love... hahaha... a celibate Krshna! Not as far as I'm concerned... he wasn't just a butter thief who lifted Govadhara Hill, you know... he grew up, became a man... a rather... fit man, too, by all accounts! That I should be able to be one of Krsna's gopis!

    The idea that the mind is seperate from the body is not soley a theosophical belief- gnosticism, anyone? The body becomes... a dirty, cruel thing, the spirit a trapped entity, desperate for union with the divine... aw... poor bodies... Many religions do this -- dirty, wicked flesh routine... it's rubbish... It's a divine-and-rule strategy, those with the power become more holy and pure than those without...

    Seattlegal has it "spot on", re: mulaprakriti equalling space... like... mulaprakriti is the potentiality of space, the void, almost... the black bit, the celestal womb... waiting for it's seed...

    I find lots of virgin births in religion. Perhaps for the same reason: how could a God come from "the dance of the beast with two backs", sweaty, wholesome shagging doesn't really spawn Gods... or does it? Maybe there's a lesson there, for us, on the fallibility of the Gods, how, fundamentally, theres no big difference, except in the number of followers... Gods drink, and get angry, and shag, just like mortals... Gods have mothers and fathers, and sisters, and brothers... or at least, they did, once...

    Radharani bit Krsna, drew blood, her long, damp hair trailled upon Krsna's chest...

    I do not believe in virgin births.

    People are frightened to approach God as a human, as a man, or a woman. We have become seperated from God, by priests, by doctrines. Better for a man if God is his beer swilling brother then God becomes a distant, incomprehensible nothingness...
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Sam Albion —

    One needs to qualify a couple of the ideas put forward here —

    Mary as Theotokos was a Christian thing, the Eastern Orthodox Church did not exist as a distinct entity separate from the Western Latin Church at the time that the Theotokos doctrine was promulgated, so that's something of an erroneous anachronism.

    Mary was highly esteemed by the Church because her fiat 'allowed' the Incarnation, and by this she is always regarded as unique among Christians — we all incarnate Christ as spirit, but she is the only one to incarnate Christ as man.

    Although the Doctrine of the Assumption was not promulgated until 1956 by the Latin Church, it only declared what was a tradition common to the churches East and West.

    In the East the doctrine is known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of the Theotokos and is celebrated on the same calendar day as the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Assumption and Dormition are different names for the same event.

    The Orthodox Patriarchates hold that Mary, a human being (and not in any way a divinity, nor deified), died a natural death. Her soul was received by Christ and her body was resurrected on the third day of her repose, at which time she was taken up, bodily only, into heaven. Her tomb was found empty on the third day.

    All this is according to tradition, there is no Scriptural evidence to support the doctrine, rather it asserts a doctrine that is theologically rational and reasonable, and was generally believed — although the Nestorius (386-451) disputed the title Theotokos, and indeed the idea of Divine Union, and wanted her called Christotokos ... but failed and took his followers into schism.

    It's worth noting then that the idea of Theotokos was in place by the 4th century.

    Roman Catholic teaching holds that Mary was assumed into heaven in bodily form, but makes no judgement on whether this happened before or after her death, so in this sense the Roman Church doctrine is less dogmatically formulated than the Orthodox.

    In fact the Orthodox hold a Dormition Fast for 2 weeks to celebrate the event, and many of the Great (Western Lenten) Fast Liturgies are celebrated during this period.

    This is inaccurate. Marian devotion is not a devotion to a diety, and this is why the Latin Church appears to resist what in effect is idolatry, so the rest of this statement regarding the 'sacred feminine' is erroneous, indeed there is no 'sacred feminine' nor is there a 'sacred masculine', an error prevented by a proper understanding of the Incarnation and the two natures of Christ, universal doctrines that emerged around the same time.

    Whilst there is no 'sacred feminine' personified in Christianity, Marian devotion flourished in all ages, it underpins the whole notion of chivalry, for example.

    Quite so, but this points to their cosmological and agrarian origins. Christianity is metacosmic and the agrarian aspect is subsequent to that.

    Indeed, and it's way older than that. Platonism in some of its aspects is dualistic, as is Manicheanism, and later Christian heresies — Cathars for example, reverted to this non-Abrahamic notion.

    This is where Theosophy misreads and misunderstands the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, as it indeed misreads and misunderstands the Incarnation. In both cases it seeks to fit the doctrines into its own syncretic and highly-systematised schema.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  3. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Theosophy makes sense, and has the strength of REALITY on its side, because it is able to take into its scope the UNIVERSALITY of virgin birth ... and yes, also the UNIVERSALITY of the Incarnation of the Divine.

    Catholicism, on the other hand, makes a mockery of both Teachings, and falls short of grasping the real significance because it tries to bend the facts to fit its own objectives. It tries to make exceptions out of the Universal!

    What pure motives MAY have once existed [I am being generous here] were long since compromised for worldly aims, including the quest for money, power, land acquisition and ideological control.

    The strength of modern Theosophy is in bringing an explanation in modern terms to ancient doctrines ... in this case, the topic of the thread: virgin birth.

    Modern Catholicism finds its strength in the degree to which it allows oh-so-cherished doctrine to be questioned, rather than DOGMATIZED. The hardliners who clench their teeth, pound their fists and refuse to face reality except kicking and screaming only make things hard for themselves.

    It is because they also muck it up for millions of souls YEARNING to learn about the world, and to know more about our Purpose here, that the True Teachings, the WISDOM OF GOD, must be defended ... especially when openly and wantonly attacked.

    In each cosmic cycle [Mahamanvantara] there is a Virgin Birth, repeated on a lesser scale in lesser & lesser [smaller & shorter] cycles. This is the esoteric Teaching behind every outer religion. Catholicism, or Christianity, did not invent this, nor do they bring to it any final revelation.

    So, the idea that the Divine has taken direct Incarnation, even doing so through a VIRGIN BIRTH, forms the FOUNDATION of Theosophical doctrine.

    We, too, know that there is well more to religion than TRUTH. And that is why we STAND by that motto: There is no RELIGION higher than Truth. But I will not argue whatsoever that your religion is plenty full of ... ah well, something besides Truth.

    A PURPOSEFUL Universe, a Cosmos built on LOVE [God IS Love], working in Beautiful, wonderful Harmony for ALL those who dwell therein ... THIS is the Christ Child, born of the Virgin Womb.

    If you allow the Church to suck you in to the oldest lie in the book, then you have a Cosmos built on randomness and disorder. You have a half-god of caprice and whim, who makes exceptions when we wheedle and whine. And you have broken-down worlds wherein blood sacrifice isn't good enough, so Deity-Progeny must be sent down to retrieve the miscreant, wretched human scum.

    Yes Thomas. I would do my part, at whatever cost, to try and rescue the Church's victims from this tragedy of misunderstanding, this gross misrepresentation and distortion of the Savior's True Teaching ... and if they get tired of watching the glint of gold candlesticks and soaking down the miracle-bread, I think there are PLENTY of Theosophers out there to feed God's People on what it is they really need.

    You cannot torture them today, you cannot FORCE their confessions at swordpoint as in days of old, and you cannot burn them if they fail to pay you the lip service you desire.

    We are free to interpret the DOCTRINE of Virgin Birth in any way we choose, even if we wish to invoke the CFSM in so doing. At least then, there may be humor, but is no LIE. But we do not dogmatize, and that is certainly one significant difference between mainstream modern Theosophy and hardline, traditional Catholicism.

    THANK GOD for that!!!



    Of course there is a sacred feminine, and sacred masculine. This simply refers to the Soul, or the portion of the Human being which remains transcendent, even while the SAME SOUL incarnates. In the worlds of form, after all, there is the possibility for what we call sin, and due to our imperfection - and the fact that we inhabit an imperfect planet [incarnate of a non-sacred Logos] - we continue to transgress Divine Law(s) until we reach a relatively high Initiation.

    Now, another believer of a different background, or someone expressing Gnostic views along another line, may speak of Archons in masculine-feminine pairs ... or of the orders of Elohim, the Creative Hierarchies, and give masculine-feminine placements of them. This is because there is always a positive and a negative, or an active and a passive. But I would have thought you knew that.


    Cosmos Itself, the Christ Child? Gee
    Born from the Womb of MOTHER/MATER-God, root Matter, SPACE? Hmmm
    With the Parent, God-FATHER, providing the fecundating seed, while yet remaining abstracted and thus, relative to us, passive? Ahhhh

    Yes, we can be incredibly short-sighted sometimes .... even to the point of believing that God has abandoned us, or left us here with a complete Mystery on our hands. Yet every couple has sensed it, and every Mother and Father with a newborn have felt and known it. It may remain inexpressible in words for many lifetimes, and even then the greatest contribution for some of us - because of the world situation - may come in the form of a reminder regarding The Voice of the SILENCE.

    Once again, THANK GOD for that!!!
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Andrew,

    You said,

    "Theosophy ... is able to take into its scope the UNIVERSALITY of virgin birth..."

    --> According to Theosophy, Christianity took the two cosmic principles (1) 'virgin matter' and (2) multiple universes being 'born' from this virgin matter, and tried to teach these concepts to the people by symbolizing all of this as a virgin human mother giving birth to a human baby. Unfortunately (according to Theosophy) the symbol became a dogma that is now believed in a literal way by the people. Fortunately we have Theosophy, which shows us how this "supposed misunderstanding" came to be.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi SG —
    Johann Scottus Eriugena (815-877) writes about 'the knower and the known' and although regarded as the last great Neoplatonist of the West, he was ahead of the world in the field of phenomenology (by about a millenium) and the German Idealists of the last century would see someone well ahead of his time.

    Philosophical systems of all stripes have pursued the holy grail of objectivity as the ground of all knowledge, yet objectivity, by its very nature, asserts an I-Thou/subject-object dualism which it can never overcome ...

    Eriugena pursued the path of infinite and transcendent subjectivity — in which knower and the known are one — picking up the apophatic thread from St Gregory of Nyssa, St Denys (the pseudoAreopagite) and St Maximus, and providing the material that underpins the thinking of Nicholas of Cusa and Meister Eckhart.

    It is in Eckhart that the doctrine is most commonly known. The place in which all distinction dissolves, the Ground Of Being in which the knower and the known are one, and yet the knower is always greater, for the knower encompasses, not in knowledge but in essence, all that is known.

    This is the Mystery of Incarnation.

    It is the Mystery of Theosis.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Anything like this?
    Hsin Hsin Ming
    another translation
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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  8. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    And if you decide that it is worth transcending these dualities, and pursuing direct experience of NON-duality ... whether as Buddhist, Catholic, Theosophist or agnostic ~ WHAT THEN?
     
  9. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    "A mountain is a mountain and water is water before sunyata experience, but after it a mountain is not a mountain, and water is not water, but when the experience deepens, a mountain is a mountain and water is water."

    --and EVERYTHING is miraculous once again
     
  10. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    In Christian terms, Seattlegal [et al], I would ask, who is `running back and forth' between the Sunyata experience - God, or us?

    My perception/belief is that God isn't going anywhere; rather, it is we who approach and experience, then fall away, approach and experience, then fall away again.

    Through meditation practice, prayer (for some) and discipline, we learn to come and visit God more often ... and an Adept or a Zen Master has learned how to remain within THAT (sic) Presence ~ PERMANENTLY.

    What, you tell me there is NO permanence? Alright then; They will help the rest of us [Bodhisattva Vow] to reach that same experience ["permanently," or what in Christianity amounts to Immortality] ... then, one day:

    Who are you and who am I
    To say we know the reason why
    Some are born some men die
    Beneath one infinite sky
    There'll be war there'll be peace
    But everything one day will cease
    All the iron turn to rust
    All the proud men turn to dust
    So all things time will mend
    And so this song will end
    ~ Pink Floyd, Childhood's End​
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Who? Running? Mu!
     
  12. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Haha ... seems to be a popular topic these days: Soul, Higher Power, JivAtmaN, etc.

    Quite a perennial subject, and the common theme across several threads at IO. Maybe it's the Soul of Humanity Itself that is crying out to us.

    One thing is certain: we aren't in the womb any longer at this point!
     
  13. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Oh, I'm sure there is more than just the absolute space. Our everyday thought processes seem to be tied to the everyday relative space, where we can distinguish this from that. It can be rather mechanistic and cold. Getting out of the relative thinking allows us to see the wonderousness and miraculousness of everything, but there is much more than that, imo. :)
     
  14. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Regarding mind-body dualism, of course this is true. We cannot deny, once we have had certain types of religious or spiritual experience, that a definite duality exists. That it may be transcended, and our re-attachment to the Divine [or awareness OF such a state] achieved, seems to be the greatest object of all religions ... when it comes to progress along the individual path.

    A nobler motive still for religious and spiritual practice is to ameliorate human suffering where one rightly understands this is as unhelpful for the growth of the Soul, and this can best be effected by attaining to certain great expansions of Consciousness [Initiations] where the resulting empowerment allows far greater ability to assist one's fellow Soul(s).

    All of the great Vedantic teachers, Sankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, etc., taught very subtle differences in a system which the Buddha himself came to reform and uphold ... even if Buddha's own followers cannot all be considered Bodhisattvas in the esoteric sense. The Western parallel is Christ coming as a reformer of Jewish teaching, to fulfil the Law ... and in His future incarnation the Buddhists know him as the Buddha of 10,000 arhats [where Shakyamuni is spoken of as the Buddha of ~900].

    Many factors account for the differences in the teaching styles and the emphases placed upon various aspects of these respective philosophies - the Eastern and the Western - but it would be pretty silly to think that such great Teachers appear with truly contradictory Foundations when it comes to the divine message and divine Purpose [which each sought to reveal].

    Theosophists and followers of modern Theosophical offshoots understand this as the natural result of [these two Great Brothers issuing from] the 2nd Ray department of Earth's Hierarchy, in charge of TEACHING all of Humanity ... and more generally helping to guide our SPIRITUAL development [`Teaching' being an accurate description of how They go about this on the spiritual planes, such as during `night class'].

    Getting back to the subject of dualism as this may relate to the Virgin Birth, I find that the following summary statement of the Master DK brings the matter well into focus:
    "... the divine plan of evolution was based upon the production of this relationship between spiritually conscious man and the form aspect, and thus the great Law of Duality came into action, bringing about the "fall of the angels," as they descended from their sinless and free state of existence in order to develop full divine awareness upon earth, through the medium of material incarnation and the use of the principle of mind. This was the divine plan, emanating from the Mind of God and swept into activity and progressive unfoldment by an act of His Will. At its inception, there took place the original "war in the heavens," when the sons of God who responded to the divine urge to experience, to serve and to sacrifice, separated themselves from the sons of God who responded to no such inspiration but who chose to stay in their original and high state of being. To this truth, Christ Himself bore witness in the story of the Prodigal Son and his relationship to his elder brother, who had not left the Father's home. It is obvious, is it not, from this parable, where the approbation of the Father lay; a careful study of this story and an intuitive understanding of its implications may evoke some day a response to the "sin of experience," as it has been called, and a comprehension of the two major laws governing the process: the Law of Evolution and the Law of Rebirth." [Externalization of the Hierarchy, 118-19]
     
  15. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi everybody!
     
    Since the topic of mind-body distinction has come up, and since Theosophy says that humans are capable of levels of consciousness far above even the mental level of consciousness, I thought I’d share the Theosophical distinction between spirit and soul. According to Theosophy, a human being is made up of seven principles:
     
    kama — passion
    prana — the active power source within us that gives us energy
    astral body
    physical body
    manas (the mind). Manas is seen as a level of consciousness that is higher than the astral level of consciousness.
    buddhi (the next higher level of consciousness above manas)
    atma (the next higher level of consciousness above buddhi)
     
    According to Theosophy, spirit is atma-buddhi, and soul is manas-kama-prana-astral body.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely!

    I have come to the conclusion that one can't 'live in the now' or 'live in the moment' when one is seated in the mind, as one is inescapably subject to dialectic/discrimination ... only in the (em)bodied experience can one be free, and free to live in the now/moment ... mind always stands apart ...

    Like Augustine's reflection on the nature of time ... he draws a wonderful lesson from song, and we can all contemplate the ideas of the interplay of the sounds and the silences, and make profound statements (as indeed he does) ... but nothing in the mind quite matches that moment when one person is singing, and suddenly, everyone else joins in ...

    ... I can't stay in tune when I sing, but when I sing with others, and can feel their voices resonating in me, then I can ... there's something in that ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  17. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Greetings everyone, thank you Nick the Pilot for referring me to this thread.
    I am far from an expert on Theosophy though I have read my share of Blavatsky, Steiner, and Meade.

    I have one question concerning the Theosophical Virgin birth concept. Theosophy dictates that sitting atop the two divisions of the universe, that being the SPIRIT and MATTER their exists The One Being (GOD).

    My question is;
    Is the existence of this One Being based on Faith, like it is with most of the World's religions?
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etu, I am only too happy to answer your questions on Theosophy.

    The "thing" that "sits atop the universe," according to Theosophy, is something we call the Absolute. We know practically nothing about the Absolute (and in this way we agree with the Jewish kabbalah, Tibetan Buddhism, and Hinduism). But we say the Absolute is not God, that God emanates from the Absolute. God is Divine Consciousness, which is also an emanation from the Absolute.

    At the beginning of a new universe, spirit and matter emanate from the Absolute. Spirit and matter then interact to create the universe as we know it. This, then, is the trinity as it is known in Theosophy; spirit (first Logos), matter (second Logos), and the present, temporary universe (third Logos).

    Now for a definition of God according to Theosophy. The word "God" refers to both spirit (first Logos) and the sum total of all three Logos. But the third Logos, the universe, the product of the interaction of spirit and matter, the "son" of such interaction, is also called God in Theosophy (and in this way, Theosophy agrees with Christianity). Spirit and matter, therefore, are only two aspects of the one God.

    God is not the Absolute, but a divine consciousness which periodically emanates from the Absolute (which agrees with the Jewish kabbalah, Tibetan Buddhism, and Hinduism).

    Here is a graphic which relates the different terms and their equivalents in various religions.

    http://users.ez2.net/nick29/theosophy/tabulation.htm

    Now to your question. You asked,

    "Is the existence of this One Being based on Faith, like it is with most of the World's religions?"

    --> According to Theosophy, this information was passed down to us by the seven gods in Genesis 1:26 who created humanity ("Let us make man"), so it is not based on faith, it is (acccording to Theosophy) based on information provided by the very gods which created humanity.
     
  19. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Um, methinks there might be a little misunderstanding equating Sunyata with what Theosophy calls "the Absolute." Sunyata basically means interdependent co-arising, empty or void of essence of self or self-origination.
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    One more thing: Theosophy does not ask us to believe such things out of faith (the most important part of your question), it asks us to be highly critical of these and all religious ideas, and to allow such religious ideas into our own personal belief systems only after we have subjected them to our fiercest (sp?) critical and skeptical questioning.
     

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