What is “True Christianity”

—A Devotee

True Christianity must not be confused with the forms that enclose it. It is neither Oriental nor Occidental, nor does it belong to Jesus alone.

Spiritual truth is one. Interpreted by Christians, it is called “Christianity,” by Hindus, “Hinduism,” and so forth. Narrow-minded Christians and Hindus think that true Christianity and true Hinduism mean church or temple worship, thus mistaking the form for the spirit. Truth has suffered both from narrow and even liberal interpretations. We must, however, choose the ever-widening interpretations until we reach the point where man-made interpretations no longer limit us.

All may be sons of God
Jesus, the son of man, lifted himself to the state of being a son of God. From human consciousness he grew into Christ Consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness. When Jesus said that all those who received Him would become the Sons of God, He meant that all those who could receive the infinite Ocean of Truth could become Sons of God. There would be no use imitating the life of Jesus if He were the only Son of God, and we could not become like Him.

Jesus came not to symbolize an unattainable goal but as a living inspiration of what we can also achieve. Since God created all men in His image, He did not make Jesus any different from the rest of us. We are all God’s children, created by the power of His being. He could not give to one more than He gives to all. He cannot show partiality and still be divine.

Jesus would not focus today on radical changes in the forms and conditions of our lives. Now, as then, he would point out that the forms of life are secondary, and that the only worthwhile change, the only permanent advance – is the inner evolution of man toward spiritual perfection. The outer conditions of life will never be perfect until the inner is perfect. The effect cannot precede the cause.

The ideal is not for all churches to unite into one church and one form, or to destroy individual expressions of religion, but to show the scientific methods by which the utility and truth of church and creed may be demonstrated and proven. The fusion of all forms into one common form would not change the underlying religious attitudes. Nothing but proven truth — truth that can be tested and experienced individually, will ever satisfy man and do away with religious bigotry and ignorance.

The essence of religion is two-fold. First and most important, are the principles which make life progressively happier and more beautiful. Secondly are the routines and disciplines that enable us to bring those inner principles into manifestation in our outward lives.

Enlarge the channels of your life
Spirit is the infinite reservoir of wisdom. Each human life is a channel through which divine wisdom flows. There are wide and narrow channels. The wider the channel, the greater the flow of God-power. There are those who keep on widening and deepening the channels of their lives by self-discipline and spiritual practices, thus inviting more and more of God-wisdom to flow through them. Jesus was one of the greatest channels through which cosmic wisdom flowed.

East and West need balance. In the West, because of the absence of scientific methods for directly perceiving Truth, there is not an overwhelming interest in spiritual matters. In the East, however, where thousands of saints and people of spiritual realization have testified that everyone can know God through methods of concentration and meditation, we find that religion plays a prominent part in daily life. East and West both suffer from over-development of one phase of life and under-development of other phases. Each needs the help of the other to achieve perfection.

The gift of reason and choice, the power to exercise free will, is unique to man and sufficient to demonstrate that he must achieve spiritual growth through individual effort. Jesus struggled, fasted, and disciplined himself in every way. We admire and love him all the more because, being human, he became divine.

From Inner Culture, June 1940.