You Mean That's in the Bible?
"You Mean That's in the Bible?" the 1984 pamphlet by Satyaraja dasa
(Steven Rosen) begins by saying: "Everyone has some conception of
Christianity, whether one is a believer or not. The Christian doctrine is
amenable to many different interpretations and, indeed, many have taken
advantage of this amenability...And countless forms of 'Christianity' have
emerged as variations on this theme...
"The Popes of the Renaissance epitomized this confusion. The deMedici Popes are considered the most debauched men in the history of religion. The original Pope John XXIII was deposed for 'notorious incest, adultery, defilement, and homicide.' In 1415, while still a chamberlain, he openly kept his brother's wife as a mistress. In an effort to squash the scandal, his superiors promoted him to cardinal and sent him to Bologna, where 'two hundred maids, matrons and widows, including a few nuns, fell victim to his brutal lust.'
"In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII was elected. He was nicknamed 'the Honest' because he was the first Pope to acknowledge his illegitimate children publicly. This whole farce reached an unquestionable peak when, in 1724, the Roman Catholic Church banned the confessional requirement that men name their partners in fornication when it was discovered the priests were actually making carnal use of the information...
"Many would interpret the Scriptures with some ulterior motive (both consciously and unconsciously). And this is the problem that exists today. Many are using the Scriptures to rationalize baser habits, activities that God would never ordain...
"The ultimate purpose of this work, however, is to show the harmony that exists between the Bible and the more-ancient Vedic texts of India...And the ultimate revelation is that religion is one -- for God is one. If this short pamphlet can induce even one person to reach this conclusion, the author will have considered this work worthwhile."
Topics discussed include the separation of the soul from the body; the immorality of meat-eating (killing animals for food); reincarnation; celibacy or sexual restraint; verses from the New Testament indicating the Bible is not the only or final word of God; and verses from the New Testament indicating although Jesus and God might be "one," they are also different -- i.e., separate and distinct individuals.
In the Afterword, Satyaraja dasa (Steven Rosen), clearly a theological conservative, concludes:
"The Codex Sinaiticus, our earliest existing Greek manuscript of the New Testament, can presently be found in the British Museum. Interestingly, this manuscript was written in the year 331 AD -- just six years after the Council of Nicaea. We have no New Testament manuscripts from before this council.
"Why is this interesting? Because history reveals that everything was rearranged at that council -- and at the many councils that followed. No one knows what Christianity may have been like before this first ecumenical synod. And no one is ever likely to find out -- for the Christian tradition has not been preserved. Rather, it has been subject to change and decay.
"However one interprets the mass of data presented in this pamphlet, one must admit that the fortress of the Occidental faiths are experiencing the most profound alterations in the history of religion. Church authority, for instance, is being challenged on a hundred fronts. Traditional creeds are being drastically revised. Hallowed canons are being shelved in the name of 'progress.' Religious practices are daily changed. Church leaders are beleaguered by new, bold, and persistent demands -- from their clergy no less from their congregations.
"There is a remarkable erosion of consensus within the citadels of the Western religious traditions. Which of the original followers of Jesus, or the prophets, would have guessed that the path of true religion would eventually become diluted by emotional caterwaulers and fanatics? Or the militant participation of clergymen in civil rights marches; the reverberations of Vatican II; the presence at Catholic altars of Protestant and Jewish clergymen during marriage ceremonies; the 'God is dead' existential debate; the rise of desegregated congregations, the opposition of Catholics to the doctrine of Papal infallibility; the open campaign of homosexuals against anathematization; the taking of all references to God as 'Him' out of the Bible by overly enthusiastic proponents of women's rights. The list goes on and on.
"And it all only goes to prove one thing: that as long as spirituality remains dependent on speculation, man-made innovations, and unwarranted liberalism, the real essence will remain a million kilometers away, inaccessible to one and all.
"And so we are in the eye of a storm, as it were. The velocity and power of that storm has surprised the most erudite scholar and the most sincere of Western religionists. But, again, there should be no surprise. A tradition of speculation must be a tradition lost.
"We must break through this storm. We must find a source of primeval spiritual truth--unchanged. We must, if we are to receive the truth in its pure state, somehow receive it as it was, as it was always meant to be...as it is. Clearly the Judaeo-Christian tradition, as we have it today, does not give us a clear picture of the Absolute Truth. However, it does give us an inkling. For sincere seekers, the Vedic literatures as translated and commented upon by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is herein recommended. These books will not only clear up any storm created by Biblical word jugglery, but they will take you out of the storm and situate you in the shining light of a new day."
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