We have just read the two dreary
columns in The Pioneer of March 15th, "The Theosophists in Council,"
by Mr. T. G. Scott. The Council of the Society having nothing more to say
to the reverend polemic, who, in rejoinder to a brief card, treats the world
to two columns of what Coleridge would call "a juggle of sophistry,"
I, myself, would ask you to favour me with a brief space.
A few points of Mr. Scotts most glaring misconceptions (?) about
our Society may be noticed. We are said to have declared, at New York, that
the Theosophical Society was hostile to the "Christian Church";
while at Mayo Hall, Allahabad, our President affirmed that his Society was
not organized to fight "Christianity." This is assumed to be a
contradiction and a "change of base." Now if there were enough
"Christianity" in the "Christian Church" to be spoken
of, the gentlemans point might be deemed well taken. But, in my humble
opinion, this is not at all the case. Hence though not at all hostile
to "Christianity," i.e., the ethics alleged to have
been preached by Jesus of Nazareth I, in common with many Theosophists,
am very much so to the so-called "Church of Christ." Collectively,
this Church includes three great rival religions and some hundreds of minor
sects, for the most part bitterly recriminative and mutually far more hostile
to each other than we are to all. To accuse, therefore, the Theosophists who
may dislike the Methodist, Presbyterian, Jesuit, Baptist, or any other alleged
"Christian" sect of bitter hatred of "Christianity"
in the abstract, is like accusing one of hating light because he opposes
the use of either or all of the many new-fangled inventions of kerosene
lamps, which, under the pretext of preserving the light, injure it! The
Christianity of Jesus, dragged by its numberless sects around the arena
of our century, appears like that car in the Slavonian fable (a version
of one by Æsop) to which were harnessed all manner of creeping, swimming,
and flying things. Each of these, following its own instinct, attempted
to draw the car after its own fashion. Result: between the birds, animals,
reptiles and fishes, the unfortunate vehicle was torn into fragments.
The reverend missionaries are hard to please in this country. When left
unnoticed, they complain of the Theosophists ignoring the brave "six
hundred"; and when we do notice them which, indeed, happens only
under compulsion they begin abusing us in the most un-Christian and
often, I am sorry to say, ungentlemanly way.
Thus, for instance, we had to call the strong hand of the law to our
help in the case of The Dnyânodaya, a diminutive and sorry
but quite a fighting little missionary weekly of Bombay, which called our
Society names, and had to apologize in print for it. Now comes The Bengal
Magazine of January; its Editor by the by, a Christian reverend,
but nevertheless very rude Babu is advised to look out and consult
the law, before he charges Colonel Olcott or anyone else with "hocus-pocus
tricks" again; as the "gushing Colonel" may prove as little
gushing and as active in his case as he was in that of the abusive little
Dnyânodaya. And now Mr. T. G. Scott calls an article
on " Missions in India" (Theosophist, January) a
Bold, but exceedingly ignorant attempt at making it appear that
missions are a failure in India.
Ignorant as we newcomers may be about Indian missionary questions, I
must remind Mr. Scott that the person whom he stigmatizes with ignorance
is a lady who has passed many years in India and has had ample opportunities
for observation. Most military or civil employés of experience
in India whom I have met take the same view of the matter that she does.
I cannot imagine why Darwin and Tyndall should have been selected by Mr.
Scott, out of the thousands of scientific and educated men now pulling Christianity
to pieces, as "noisy characters"; nor why he should cite, in an
issue created by modern biblical research, Newton, Kepler, Herschell or
anyone else who lived before the recent advances of Science in this direction.
and in days when, to deny not merely Christianity, but some minor dogma
of the State religion was equivalent to self-condemnation to an auto-da-fé.
As for the Christianity of Max Müller, Dr. Carpenter (a prince
among Materialists) and the late Louis Agassiz, the less said the better.
Might not his long string of high-sounding names have been profitably enlarged
by the addition of those of the late Viscount Amberley and Lord Queensborough,
of the "Church" of Moncure Conway, in which is preached the great
Religion of Humanity from every "religion" and church?
Science is our guide,
and truth is the spirit that we worship,
says the noble Lord Queensborough in his letter recently published in
The Statesman! Mr. Scott assures his readers that:
Never since the Apostles has it [Christianity been so vigorous as now;
the tendency is anything else than to infidelity and atheism.
But Lord Queensborough, in his letter to "E. C. H." challenges
the latter, and with him the whole world of Christians in these remarkable
Call us atheists and infidels if you will; . . . and I maintain, and
will maintain, that the time has arrived for us to proclaim ourselves and
to claim to be respected, as other religious bodies are; but as we never
shall be, unless we stand forward and openly declare what our religion
is . . . I am only acting as the mouthpiece of thousands, perhaps millions,
with whom I have faith in common. . . . Churches of our religion already
exist. I will name one in London, always as full as it can hold on Sundays South
Place Chapel, Finsbury, where Mr. Moncure Conway lectures.
Moncure Conway, I will remind Mr. Scott, instead of the Bible and
Christianity preaches every Sunday from The Sacred Anthology, extracts
from the Vedas, the Buddhist Sûtras, the Koran, and so on.
Many of his parishioners are fellows of the Theosophical Society.
And now it is my turn to ask, "How does this tally with the
utterances of" Mr. Scott, the missionary? Equally ill-timed was Mr.
Scotts quotation from the New Testament of the passage:
Jesus said, Other sheep I
have, not of this fold.
For in the very mouth of Jesus are put also the words:
He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark, xvi. 16).
To this Mr. Scott may, perhaps, repeat what he says in his two-column
The whole question of the nature and extent of future punishment is
a matter of interpretation.
Exactly. So we, Theosophists and other heathen and "infidels,"
who live in a century of free thought and in a country of religious freedom,
avail ourselves of it.
And now all his points being answered, the reverend gentleman is at liberty
to ventilate his ideas and pour his wrath upon the Theosophists wherever
he likes. Yet, unless he can get his satisfaction from following the good
example of other missionaries, and indulge in monologues of abuse, he can
reckon but little upon us to answer him. It takes two for a dialogue; and
whether as a Society or as individuals, we decline any further controversy
on the subject with one who gives so few facts and so many words.
[Probably from the Allahabad Pioneer, 1880.
H. P. Blavatsky