– An Introductory Reader
Selected lectures by
Original texts compiled with an introduction, commentary and notes
by Andrew Welburn
Religion - Rudolf Steiner
selected lectures: The word ‘religion’ has few meanings
but many associations. Such associations in our time are often
negative – priesthoods, dogmas, fundamentalism, fanaticism,
inquisitions, power and control. A few, however, are still able to
experience through meditation, prayer or ritual, the essential
purpose of religion: communion with the spiritual realms that
are believed to surround and permeate all existence – while most cannot experience
more than the idea of such a possibility, or dismiss it altogether
as hallucination or self-deception.
Churches today are little able to
inspire anything that amounts to what, in earlier civilisations,
could be enthused in the human being as the religious experience –
and any such experience, past or present – is often regarded by
the wisdom of today, even within the Church, as
some kind of psychological disturbance.
Few are able to admit any possibility
of what is stated categorically by Rudolf Steiner to exist – a realm
of soul and spirit, out of which humanity and all life descended.
And it is certainly not considered that humanity, in a
pre-conceptual period of its historical development – was able through an
enlivened state of imagination and feeling – to experience this
realm as the very source of its own existence and the continuing basis for its
orientation and growth.
In the course of time, it was
humanity’s lot to lose this capacity and to orient itself instead to
the purely physical aspects of existence – not finally and forever
but for a season. Human consciousness could not achieve true
independent development otherwise, something which according to
Steiner is essential to its intended evolutionary development.
Many ancient civilisations had cultural
centres where the link with the spiritual was perpetually cultivated
through contemplation, through ritual and through the mysterious
rites of initiation. These centres directed the cultures through
royalty and initiated priesthoods so that societies maintained a
In time, tragically but inevitably,
these lost their source of inspiration and decadence and corruption
ensued. Religion in many cultures has become
at its best, a kind of insurance against one’s mortality, and its
worst, a source of control, cruelty and suffering.
In this selection of lectures, Rudolf
Steiner describes the history, importance and meaning of religion;
how it developed out of these ancient cultural Mystery centres; how the human
soul could experience the divine then and now; and how religion
itself can be resurrected in a new form, bringing the human soul
once again into communion with its spiritual source in a way that is
suited to contemporary human consciousness.
Mysticism and beyond: the importance of prayer
The Meaning of Sin and Grace
Rediscovering the Bible
What is True Communion?
Rediscovering the Festivals and the Life of the Earth
Finding one’s Destiny: Walking with Christ
The Significance of Religion in Life and Death
Christ’s Second Coming: the Truth of Our Time
Universal Religion: the Meaning of Love
ISBN: 1 85584 128 2
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