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Problems of Humanity - Chapter V - The Problem of the Churches
2. The Greek Orthodox Church reached such a high stage of corruption, graft, greed and sexual evil that, temporarily and under the Russian revolution, it was abolished. This was a wise, needed and right action. The emphasis of this church was entirely material but it never wielded (nor will it wield) such power as the Roman Catholic Church did in the past. The refusal of the revolutionary party in Russia to recognize this corrupt church was wise and salutary; it did no harm, for the sense of God can never be driven from the human heart. If all church organizations disappeared from off the earth, the sense of God and the recognition and the knowledge of Christ would emerge in strength and with a fresh and new conviction. The church in Russia has again received official recognition and faces a new opportunity. It does not yet constitute a factor in world affairs but there is hope that eventually it may emerge as a regenerating and spiritual force. The challenge of its environment is great and it cannot be reactionary as can - and are - the churches in other parts of the world. [132]

3. The Protestant Churches. The church, covered by the generic name of "protestant", is distinguished by its multiplicity of divisions; it is broad, narrow, liberal, radical and ever protesting. It comprises within its borders many churches, large and small. These churches are also distinguished by material objectives. They are relatively free from any such political bias as conditions the Roman Catholic Church, but it is a quarreling, fanatical and intolerant body of believers. The spirit of differentiation is rampant; there is no unity or cohesion among them, but usually a constant spirit of rejection, a virulent partisanship and the growth of hundreds of protestant cults, a constant presentation of a narrow theology which teaches nothing new but produces fresh quarreling around some doctrines or some question of church organization or procedure. The Protestant Churches have set a precedent of acrimonious controversy from which the older churches are relatively free, owing to their hierarchical method of government and their centralized authoritarian control. Again, however, the first efforts to achieve some form of unity and cooperation have recently emerged and may continue to grow.

The question arises whether Christ would be at home in the churches if He walked again among men. The rituals and the ceremonies, the pomp and the vestments, the candles and the gold and silver, the graded order of popes, cardinals, archbishops, canons and ordinary rectors, pastors and clergy would seemingly have small interest to the simple Son of God Who - when on earth - had nowhere to lay His head.

There are deeply spiritual men whose lot is cast within the cramping walls of ecclesiasticism; they are many in the aggregate, and within all churches and faiths. Their lot is a difficult one; they are aware of conditions and they struggle and strive to present sound [133] Christian and religious ideas to a searching, suffering world. They are true sons of God; their feet are set in most unpleasant places; they are aware of the "dry rot" which has undermined the clerical structure and of the bigotry, selfishness, greed and narrow-mindedness with which they are surrounded.

They know well that no man has ever been saved by theology but only by the living Christ and through the awakened consciousness of the Christ within each human heart; they interiorly repudiate the materialism in their environment and see little hope for humanity in the churches; they know well that the spiritual realities have been forgotten in the material development of the churches; they love their fellowmen and would like to divert the money spent in the upkeep of church structures and overhead to the creation of that Temple of God "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". They serve that spiritual Hierarchy which stands - unseen and serene - behind all human affairs and feel no inner allegiance to any outer ecclesiastical hierarchy. The guidance of the human being into conscious relation to Christ and that spiritual Hierarchy is to them the factor of major importance and not the increase of church attendance and the authority of little men. They believe in the Kingdom of God of which Christ is the outstanding Executive but have no confidence in the temporal power claimed and wielded by Popes and Archbishops.

Such men are found in every great religious organization, both in the East and in the West and in all spiritual groups, dedicated ostensibly to spiritual purpose. They are simple, saintly men, asking nothing for the separated self, representing God in truth and in life, and having no real part in the church wherein they work; the church suffers sadly through the contrast which they represent and seldom permits them to rise to place [134] and power; their temporal power is nil but their spiritual example brings illumination and strength to their people. They are the hope of humanity for they are in touch with Christ and are an integral part of the Kingdom of God; they represent Deity in a manner which the great ecclesiastics and the so-called Princes of the Church seldom do.

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