Sola Scriptura and the Curse of Dogma


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Terra Firma
In light of a discussion on the Christian Forums, I would offer a short excerpt from Vision of the Nazarene, by Cyril Scott (available through, in which the Master Jesus is referred to as `The Shining One' by his disciple:
Then the Shining One led me into a church, in which an aged man with great vehemence was exhorting his listeners to believe in the Immaculate Conception and other dogmas.
And the Master smiled with a touch of amusement as He said:
Verily a strange opinion hath that agèd man of me, and much oratory and force doth he expend upon his listeners, charging them to believe what is of no importance at all.
For wrongly doth he think that wrathful would I become did my followers deem me to have been conceived like all other men born of woman.
O my son, strangely inconsistent are men, for they have identified me with the God of Love, and worship me thus with their lips, yet think that Love can care one whit how they imagine I was conceived.
Yet, alas, if I look into their hearts, I see that they are secretly glad of a pretext for wrangling among themselves, and are glad to find, as they think, an easy way to salvation.
For truly it is easier to profess belief in the difficult of imagination than to love their enemies and do good to those who bear them a grudge. Verily did I declare that there was only one prerequisite to salvation, and that was to "love God and they neighbor as thyself."
An offence to the intelligence of Man are dogmas, and never were they of my own creating, for truly do they cramp the heart and the mind and engender a plea for separateness instead of unity.
But, alas that my ministers should have lost the key to my allegories, and so should preach folly, distorting my teachings, and filling the minds of my devotees with unessentials and superstitions, thus bringing my philosophy into disrepute.
For know that much that I said of myself did I mean to apply to all, and not to me alone. Nevertheleess, through failure to understand the mystic significance of many of my utterances, was the dogma created that I was "the only begotten Son of God," whereas mystically understood, ye are all sons of God - ay, of the Great White Spirit, the Light of the world, in Whom we live and move and have our being.
Moreover, this would I say unto all those who love me yet are perplexed because of my teachings: From more than one angle was I wont to speak, that each man should receive those truths best adapted to his mental or emotional needs and the path most suited for him to tread.
Thus, at times did I speak from the angle of dualism and at times from the angle of monism; the one not basically conflicting with the other when finally understood.
Yet, lacking in that understanding, did theologians and text-twisters and power-loving men interpret my scriptures according to the letter instead of to the spirit, and literalize did they the language of poetry and metaphor, so that discrepancies and absurdities and dogmas were the result.

Here, Jesus decries superstition, and the wrong interpretation given to the most basic of his teachings - and thereby also the tradition which has formed and preserved this wrong emphasis. No, tradition is not always a good thing, sometimes it is the very cup that holds the fetid, murky water - water that needs purifying before it can ever be quaffed and convey to us its healing properties.

Not Master Jesus, but Christ Himself tells us this in a dialogue with a member of the Sanhedrin, in On Eastern Crossroads (by Helena Roerich) ...
MEMBER of Cinedrion asked Christ:
“Would you come to us if we should ask you?”
Christ answered:
“Better would I go to the cemetery for there is no lie.”
A member of Cinedrion asked Christ, “Why dost thou not acknowledge us if even Thy father was married by one of our members?”
“Wait until your house crumbles; then shall We come.”
“Wherefore shalt thou come—to destroy or to erect?”
“Neither for destruction nor erection but for purification. Because I shall not return to the old hearth.”
“How then, not to respect your forefathers!”
“New cups are given for the feast. Respecting a grandfather, one need not drink out of his cup.”
Alas, I fear that many know not where to turn for the new cup ... or is it simply pride which prevents them from setting down the ornamental goblet?

I'm currently reading Who Wrote The New Testament, The Making of the Christian Myth, by Burton L. Mack. He's a prof. of early Christianity at the School of Theology at Claremont and author of The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins. This book explodes the New Testament writings and exposes the layers of compostion to show the evolution of the various Jesus movements, Christ cults, and eventually the "Church". I highly recommend it.