WAS HE CHRISTIAN?


Steiner’s Gnostic Heresies






I.



When, on rare occasions, supporters of Waldorf education openly acknowledge the schools’ religious nature, they attempt to portray Rudolf Steiner’s belief system as essentially Christian. But the "Christian" impulse underlying Waldorf schools is deeply unorthodox. Consider the following statement by Steiner: 


“Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay.” [1] 


Steiner affirms the great significance of Christ, yet he depicts Christ as a pagan god, the god of the Sun. [See "Sun God".] Steiner's gnostic vision, incorporating such doctrines as reincarnation and karma, strays far from the Bible and mainstream Christian teachings. The creed promulgated by Steiner incorporates large swaths of pagan belief as well as teachings adapted from Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and other religions. As a result, Steiner's message is incompatible with the doctrines of all large, established Christian denominations. [2]


Let’s consider how closely Steiner’s teachings conform to those of Jesus Christ. Here is a passage from the New Testament: 


"And behold, a man came up to him, saying, 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?' And he said to him, 'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.' He said to him, 'Which ones?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” [3]


Compare that with Steiner’s “Christian” attitude: 


“Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties [i.e., the 1890s] without an I [i.e., spiritual selfhood], that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... They are human beings only in regard to their form ... Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts ... [They] are demons in human form.” [4] 


Imagine, indeed. Steiner's statement is virtually the antithesis of Jesus's directive to love your neighbor as yourself. This difference is even more marked when we infer that Jesus essentially meant we should love all humans — everyone is our "neighbor," we should love everyone as we love ourselves. While Steiner professed Christian virtues, he was also prepared to brand large numbers of people as subhuman — a proposition standing in utter opposition to the call for universal equality, acceptance, and love. Subumans, Steiner said, are supernumerary — they form an unneeded, excess population.


“[I]n our time certain supernumerary people are appearing who have no 'I' [i.e., no true human spirituality] and are therefore not human beings in the full sense of the word." [5] 


We may charitably seek to redeem subhumans, Steiner said; we may show them mercy. But we cannot love them as ourselves — they are fundamentally different from ourselves.


A useful guide in considering the true import of Christ’s ministry is BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: CHRIST’S TEACHINGS ABOUT LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS, gathered and introduced by Wendell Berry. [6] In his introduction, Berry writes: 


“Christ told us how to survive when He answered the question, Who is my neighbor? In the tenth chapter of Luke He tells the story of a Samaritan who cared for a Jew who had been badly wounded by thieves. As we know from the preceding chapter, in which the Disciples suggest in effect the firebombing of a Samaritan village, the Samaritans and the Jews were enemies. To modernize the story, then, and so to understand Christ’s answer, we may substitute any other pair of enemies: fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli, captor and prisoner. The answer: Your neighbor is any sufferer who needs your help.” [7]


Christ’s message was one of radical love: love extended to everyone. He saw the humanity in everyone. He never conceived of “people who are not human beings,” people who stand outside the circle of humanity. Steiner often asserted the importance of love, yet his preachments take us away from, not toward, the core of Christ’s message. [8]


Steiner sometimes differentiated his body of teachings, Anthroposophy, from Christianity. On other occasions, he suggested that his teachings represent "true" Christianity. Thus, for instance, he produced a new, "corrected" holy text, a series of lectures published by his followers as the FIFTH GOSPEL. In these lectures, Steiner gave a revised account of Jesus's life and teachings; in essence, he claimed to correct the four gospels of the New Testament. [9] He learned the hidden truths about Christ, he claimed, through the use of clairvoyance: He consulted the Akashic Record, a celestial storehouse of knowledge written on ether or starlight. [See "Akasha".] 


Steiner's claims and the resulting tenets of Anthroposophy are largely irreconcilable with Christian religious doctrine and practice. We have already spoken of the Anthroposophical belief in subhumans. Consider a related belief: the existence of inferior races. Steiner taught that the peoples of the Earth span a spectrum of evolutionary levels. The most highly evolved are white Europeans; the least evolved are the subhumans. Between these extremes are races of varying levels. [See "Steiner's Racism".] Fortunately, he said, the lower races tend to die out — as humanity evolves, more and more souls become qualified for incarnation in higher racial forms, while fewer and fewer souls populate the inferior races. 


“[T]he lower races had fewer and fewer descendants, while the higher races had more and more.” [10]


"Lower races," "higher races." This is not the language of Christian love.






II.


Many of Steiner's teachings must repel people of good will, whatever their religious views. But for Christians in particular, these teachings should be especially problematic. Indeed, from an orthodox Christian perspective, much of what Steiner taught must be deemed heretical. In discussing mankind's ultimate evolution, for instance, Steiner asserted 

“[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” [11] 

The notion that we might, in any sense, become God the Father must strike most Christians as sacrilege. But Steiner was quite prepared to go his own way, insisting on the primacy of his personal revelation. Note how, in this instance, he implicitly differentiated his teachings from those of Christianity as it is usually comprehended (“what is called in Christianity...”). Only his own teachings, Steiner claimed, represent the truth about Christ.


Perhaps the most extraordinary of Steiner's heresies concerns the identities of Christ and the other members of the triune God worshipped in Christianity. As we have already seen, Steiner said that Christ is the Sun God. Anthroposophy is a polytheistic faith; the universe, as described by Steiner, is vibrant with a multitude of gods. [See "Polytheism".] In a somewhat nebulous sense, Steiner taught, the Godhead presides above the universe. But the Godhead is not the monotheistic God worshipped by Christians. [See "God".] According to Steiner, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may be understood to be three aspects of a single divine essence; but they are also three separate gods presiding over three separate celestial spheres or periods. 


“The highest Ruler of Saturn...appears to us as the Father God, and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth [i.e., Old Moon: a previous stage of evolution] appears to us as the Holy Spirit....” [12]


Thus, Steiner rejects Christian monotheism (he tells us that the cosmos is populated by many gods) and he specifically rejects the Christian conception of God (he tells us that the triune God is actually a council of three separate gods). Such heretical concepts are woven throughout Steiner's teachings and practices. Thus, for instance, Steiner used various alternative versions of the Lord's Prayer, the model prayer Jesus taught to his followers. Matthew 6:9-13 gives the version usually recited in churches; Luke 11:2-4 gives the same prayer in somewhat shorter form. The versions Steiner used have little or no basis in Biblical texts. The most extreme version used by Steiner is this:


"Amen.

The evils hold sway.

Witness of egoity freeing itself.

Selfhood guilt through others incurred,

experienced in the daily bread,

wherein the will of the heavens does not rule,

because man separated himself from your realm,

and forgot your names,

you Fathers in the heavens." [13]


This, Steiner said, is the prayer that underlies the Lord's Prayer (or the "Our Father") as found in the Bible; this is the "cosmic Our Father" that Jesus learned from pagans to whom he turned for spiritual instruction. 


"What he heard was a kind of cosmic Our Father which says what the inner destiny [i.e., karma] of man must be ... It was later reversed to become the earthly Our Father." [14]


Actually, of course, the reversal runs in the other direction: This "cosmic Our Father" is a reverse image of the prayer quoted in the Bible. The cosmic Our Father runs backward (beginning with "Amen") and it addresses multiple gods ("you Fathers in the heavens"), not the One God of Christianity ("Our Father, which art in Heaven"). Steiner gave this account of the cosmic prayer: 


"Those were approximately the words Jesus of Nazareth heard in pagan lands — the secret of the earthly human being as it was presented in ancient sacred teachings. They hold deep secrets of human evolution." [15]


Multiple deviations from the Bible are folded into Steiner's account. Not only does his account alter the text of the Lord's Prayer as quoted in the Bible, but Steiner offers a tale of Jesus's travels having no basis in the Bible (Jesus traveled into pagan lands in search of "ancient sacred teachings," Steiner says [16]), and Steiner introduces concepts alien to the Bible (including destiny or karma, and evolution). [17] Most crucially, the cosmic prayer is polytheistic. The "Fathers in the heavens" can be conceived either as the entire company of gods postulated in Steiner's Anthroposophy, or they may be seen as the three gods Steiner identified as the "highest Ruler of Saturn," "the Sun-God", and "the Ruler of the Moon stage." In either case, the cosmic prayer is not addressed to the monotheistic God of Christian belief.





III.



Steiner's cosmology is, from a mainstream Western perspective, startling. [18] The universe Steiner described bears little relationship to either the universe of science or the universe of the Bible. The consequences for the Anthroposophical conception of Christ are profound.


Steiner taught that the Sun is (or was) the physical representation of Christ’s physical presence: 


“It is...important that the deeds of Christ Jesus are always seen in relation to the physical sun, which is the external expression of the spiritual world that is received at the point where Christ’s physical body is walking around. When Christ Jesus heals, for instance, it is the sun force that heals. However, the sun must be in the right place in the heavens: ‘That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.’ It is important to indicate that this healing power can flow down only when the external sun has set but still works spiritually.” [19]


The Moon, according to Steiner, is the residence of Jehovah (otherwise known as Jahveh or Yahweh): 


“You know that the Old Testament peoples honored Yahweh. This devotion was aimed at a real being. And this being has a connection with what reveals itself in the physical world as the Moon. Of course it is only an imagistic way of talking, but it does have a reality too, if we say that Yahweh resides on the Moon. Everything connected with Yahweh is connected to the Moon.” [20]


To make sense of this, you need to understand that Steiner taught that Jehovah is the god of the Jews but not the one true God of all creation. According to Steiner, the monotheism exemplified by Judaism is false. 


“Monotheism...can only represent an ultimate ideal; it could never lead to a real understanding of the world.” [21] 


Thus, the god of the Jews is just one of many gods; in particular, he is a rather lowly god who reigned over his people from the Moon:

“From the Moon, Jahveh reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people ... [O]nly when man views the universe in this way can he have any true conception of the function of the Moon.” [22]

Another significant fact about the solar system, in Steiner's account, is that humans moved to various planets long ago: 


“[D]uring the Lemurian epoch of earth-evolution [i.e., long ago] only very few human beings [remained] on the earth itself ... [T]he majority of souls withdrew from the earth to other planets, continuing their life on Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and so forth.” [23]


“Human” is a tricky term, as used by Steiner. As we have seen, Steiner taught that some people are not really human; some beings who seem to be human are actually demons in disguise. 


“[A] number of people are going around who...have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.” [24] 


On the other hand, some beings who were once human have moved on: 

“[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon ... This is only one of the 'cities' in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many....” [25] 

To be "human," in Steiner's teachings, means standing at a certain evolutionary level. Anyone below this level is subhuman; anyone above it is superhuman. [See "Supermen".]


One highly advanced individual who moved from the Earth to another planet is Buddha: 


“Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha by the Bearer of the Essence of Divine Love. To dwell on Mars as Buddha was a deed of sacrifice offered to the Cosmos. He was as it were the lamb offered up in sacrifice on Mars and to accept this environment of strife was for him a kind of crucifixion.” [26] 


“The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars. Until then Mars had been the chosen center of forces designated by the Greeks as fearfully warlike ... The Buddha Mystery [i.e., the hidden meaning of Buddha's ministry] on Mars did not take the same course as the Christ Mystery on earth, but Buddha, the Prince of Peace, who, during his last earthly life had spread peace and love wherever he went, was transferred to the belligerent realm of Mars. The fact that a being who is fully permeated by forces of peace and love was transferred to a realm of strife and disharmony may in a sense be regarded as a crucifixion.” [27]


This passage leads us to the core of Steiner’s heresies. He considered the “Christ-event” — that is, Christ's incarnation in the body of Jesus — a hugely important occurrence in universal history. [28] Steiner taught that the Christ-event introduced the “Christ impulse” into human affairs. Through this impulse, we can emulate Christ and evolve toward spiritual perfection. Christ was preceded by other spiritual mentors, such as Buddha, and their work can be compared to His. But they represented prior evolutionary stages — He represents the ultimate stage, a stage that is still very far from completion. We will fulfill the Christ impulse only in the extremely distant future, when we ourselves become gods. [29] 


Note how little of this resembles orthodox Christianity, which is based on belief in Christ as one of three Persons of God. [30] Implicitly, in the teachings we are considering here, Steiner rejected mainstream Christian belief — he sought hidden knowledge of the spiritual realm, secret knowledge, “mystery” knowledge. It is in precisely this way that his religious teachings are gnostic: They aim at the acquisition of occult spiritual knowledge. [31] According to Steiner, acquiring such knowledge enables us to achieve salvation through our own efforts — a basic misconception according to orthodox Christianity, which teaches that salvation is provided by the Savior, who did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. [32]


A set of doctrines that entails people who are not human, spiritual evolution, planetary migrations, reincarnation, a Buddha crucifixion on Mars, people becoming God the Father, and salvation through the acquisition of secret knowledge — this is not Christianity as most Christians, and most Christian churches, understand the term. It is a set of gnostic heresies. 


Anyone who feels drawn to the spirituality so evident in Waldorf schools should clearly understand the focus of that spirituality. Christians in particular should realize what Rudolf Steiner's followers believe. They revere Christ, yes. But they think Christ’s real identity is something you won’t hear mentioned in many churches. Christ was the highest of the gods who live on the Sun. 


“[A]t a certain point in the earth’s evolution, a sublime Sun being, the Christ, did not remain on the Sun but came down from the Sun to the Earth....” [33] 


There are many, many gods in the Steiner religion. The Sun God is one; he is very important; but other gods (Zeus, Thor, Mars) also exist; they are real. According to Steiner, the difference between Christ and such gods as Zeus is that Christ, the Sun being, came down to the physical Earth, whereas they did not. 

“Now what is the most essential characteristic quality of the Christ so far as our cycle of evolution is concerned? To consider all those divine spiritual beings to which men of ancient times looked up to as the upper gods behind the tapestry of the sense world, as the rulers and lords of the spheres and functions of the universe, is to realise that their characteristic quality is that they do not descend so far as the physical plane; they only become visible to the consciousness of the seer [i.e., the clairvoyant], which transcends the physical plane and is able to see on the etheric [i.e., spiritual] plane. There Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor, who are all real beings, became visible. It was characteristic of those beings not to descend so far as the physical plane ... In the divine spiritual worlds this ability was possessed by the Christ alone.” [34] 

Christ is no more real than Zeus or Thor, but he left the Sun to come to Earth. [35] This is the key "fact" around which the Steiner religion revolves.






IV.



According to Steiner, Christ will not save humanity in the way that Christians usually understand the concept of salvation. Christ is not the Redeemer, except in a special sense. Rather, he is our Prototype — he is the model we should follow so that we may evolve properly: 


"Christ shows himself...as the great human Prototype and Example, united with the Earth's true evolution." [36] [See "Prototype".]


Perhaps even more shocking to most Christians is this: Steiner said that by following our Prototype, we humans will ourselves become gods. We will form the "tenth hierarchy," supplementing the nine ranks of gods that loom above us today. As one of Steiner's more prolific followers has explained, 


"It is part of the divine plan that [man] shall work out his salvation, that he shall evolve through his own efforts. In the course of aeons man will become the Tenth Hierarchy in his own right, because he will have earned it.” [37] [See "The Tenth Hierarchy".]


Christ did not save us; we will save ourselves. We will earn our ascension to apotheosis.

Such teachings fundamentally diverge from the New Testament's account of Christ, his role as Redeemer, and the very process of redemption. Such theachings are, in fact, incompatible with the most crucial, mainstream Christian doctrines.

In addition to giving us a revised portrait of Christ (the Sun God who descended to Earth, incarnating in the body of a human being, Jesus), Steiner gave us a radically revised portrait of Jesus. He taught, indeed, that there were two Jesuses who combined in order to become the vessel for the Sun God's incarnation:

“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” [38]


“[N]ot one but two Jesus-children were born ... The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation [i.e., use of clairvoyance] shows that the individuality [i.e., soul] who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra ... Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.” [39]


The accumulation of gnostic, occult, heretical teachings becomes overwhelming. In Steiner's hands, Christian theology is shattered, leaving few if any recognizable Christian teachings. Instead we have polytheism, the Sun God, karma, evolution, clairvoyance, two Jesuses, Zarathustra, Buddha, the Tenth Hierarchy, astral bodies, Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor... You will search in vain for these in the Bible.


So, I’ll repeat my question. Was Steiner Christian? 


The answer should be coming clear. 


— Roger Rawlings























According to Steiner, this is the occult symbol for Christ. 


“Christ was always the representative of the sun, namely, the intelligence of the Sun ... The sign of the intelligence of the Sun is the following ... This is, at the same time, the occult sign of the lamb. The lamb receives the book with the seven seals ... The seven corners of the sign are called 'horns.' But what do the 'eyes' mean?


“In occult schools the signs of the seven planets are written next to the seven eyes. The seven eyes signify nothing other than the seven planets, while the names of the planets designate the spirits incarnated in them as their intelligence. 'Saturn' is the name of the soul of Saturn. The names of the planets come from the spirits of the seven planets found around the earth. These have an influence on human life. The lamb, Christ, contains all seven. Christ is the alpha and the omega; the seven planets are related to him like members to an entire body. The entwining of the lines of the sign portray in a wonderful way the interaction between the seven planets. From Saturn one rises to the Sun, from there down to the Moon, then on to Mars, Mercury, and so forth. The same thing is expressed in the names of the seven days of the week: Saturday, Saturn; Sunday, the Sun; Monday, the Moon; Tuesday, Mardi, Mars; Wednesday, Mercredi, Mercury; Thursday, Jeudi, Jupiter; Friday, Vendredi, Venus. Christ is the regent of all these world spheres; their actions constitute only part of his being; he unites them all. In Rosicrucian schools a lamb is often drawn as a sign for the intelligence of the Sun.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (SteinerBooks, 1993), pp. 19-21. 



[R.R. sketch, 2010, 
based on the one in the book.]
















Although he often said that Christ was unique 
among the gods in coming to Earth and incarnating here, 
Steiner sometimes said something rather different:

“[T]here are also other individualities — other beings — who have not gone through various incarnations as have the other human beings in the course of human evolution ... [I]t can happen that such a being appears; if we test it clairvoyantly in regard to the soul, we cannot say, as we can of other human beings, that we trace it back in time and discover it in a previously fleshly incarnation, then trace it farther back and find it again in another incarnation, and so on ... Such a spiritual being who descends in this way into a human body in order to intervene in evolution as a human being is called an ‘avatar’ in the East ... To repeat — an avatar being can enter a human body just once or several times in succession; but when it does, it is then something different from any other human individuality.


“The greatest avatar being who has lived on earth, as you can gather from the spirit of our lectures here, is the Christ — the Being whom we designated as the Christ, and who took possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth when he was thirty years of age.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986) lecture 2, GA 109.


See "Avatars".













"It should...be understood that anthroposophy is not a 'Christian' teaching in the sense that it favors Christianity above other competing religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, or Shintoism." — Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 175-176. 










For more on Christ the Sun God,

see "Sun God".


To glimpse the Waldorf version of Christmas,

please see "Christmas".


For the Waldorf version of Easter,

see "Easter".


For Steiner's depiction of Christ as our "Prototype,"

supplying the "Christ Impulse," see "Prototype".


For Steiner's surprising revision 

of the Sermon on the Mount,

see "Sermon".


Steiner taught tat there have been several

"Christ Events". To investigate, see "Events".


Links to other pertinent pages

appear further down on this page.













The doctrine of karma is really quite horrid, when taken literally. It tells us that the low, the afflicted, the ill, the impoverished — all these souls chose their fate, it is their karma, we really should not interfere. They have gotten what they deserve or asked for.


"[W]e see...groups of human souls in their descent from pre-earthly into earthly existence wander to regions situated, for example, in the vicinity of volcanoes, or to districts where earthquakes are liable to occur ... [S]uch places are deliberately chosen by the souls thus karmically connected, in order that they may experience this very destiny ... [They think] 'I choose a great disaster on earth in order to become more perfect....'" — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 226-227.


So the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for instance, chose to be victims; it is good for them. We should certainly not interfere in their karma.


This, of course, is utter, horrid, inhuman nonsense. And it is wholly incompatible with Christian charity.


Even Steiner, when he stopped to think things through, realized that his teachings about karma must not be taken to such extremes.


“[I]n educating handicapped children we are intervening in a process which in the normal course of development — were there no intervention, or were there misguided intervention — would find its fulfillment only when the child had passed through the gate of death and come to birth again in the next life. We are making, that is to say, a deep intervention in karma. Whenever we give treatment to a handicapped child, we are intervening in karma  [sic]. And it goes without saying, we must intervene in karma this way.” — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 47.


Yes, we must help those who need our help. Kudos to Steiner for grasping this.


What he also should have grasped — or what we must grasp, anyway — is that the imperative to be humane, to help those who need our help, highlights the depravity of the doctrine of karma. Steiner should have renounced the doctrine. He didn't. But we must.



"At the end of his life, Rudolf Steiner took up the task that was his special destiny: to bring to the West a knowledge of reincarnation and karma. To do this, he gave over eighty lectures in 1924 in which he explicitly and concretely revealed the destinies of various individuals from one life to the next in order to show how the general laws of karma operate in individual cases. He also revealed many details of the karmic streams of the members of the Anthroposophical Society. These volumes constitute an immeasurable contribution to the understanding of reincarnation and karma, and the tasks of the Anthroposophical Society in connection with the Archangel Michael." — Publisher's description, the multi-volume series KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS (Rudolf Steiner Press).

According to Steiner, the Archangel Michael is the warrior god who fights on behalf of Christ. Steiner strove mightily to make belief in karma seem consistent with Christian beliefs. In the process, he offered his own reinterpretations of both karma and Christianity. But his attempted reconciliation of disparate teachings never became convincing.












What is Christ's central message to us? According to many theologians, it is this: We should love God above all else, and we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Most Christians, when considering their faith, will think of this injunction. For Rudolf Steiner’s followers, however, the central Christian teaching is quite different. For them, all the statements made by Christ have passed through the mind of Rudolf Steiner and emerged as something not found in the Bible. Here is the Anthroposophical version of Christ's injunction:

“The Gospel says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself, and God above all.’ Another way of putting it is, ‘If one looks upon the divine in the light of the present day aspect of the three ideals,* as a modern human being must, one learns to love the divine.’ For one feels that one's humanness depends on devoting oneself with all the love at one's command to the three ideals. But then one feels oneself united with every other individual who is able to do likewise and offer up the same love. One learns to love the divine above all else, and, in loving God, to love one's neighbor as oneself. That keeps any hard feelings from developing.” — Rudolf Steiner, AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1974), p. 83.

Actually, no. Steiner has not paraphrased Christ's words; he has said something very different ("one's humanness depends on devoting oneself...to the three ideals"). And this, gentle reader, is the point. If you are a spiritual person and you want to embrace the spirituality of Waldorf education, fine, do so. Enroll yourself and your children — enter the Waldorf universe. But, please, do so with your eyes open. Know what sort of universe you are entering. It is not the universe of Christianity. Nor that of Judaism. Nor Islam. Nor Buddhism, nor Hinduism, nor even Theosophy. It is the universe of Anthroposophy, which Rudolf Steiner invented. Steiner’s new religion incorporates bits and pieces of many other religions (which is why Waldorf students are required to study so many world religions), but it is identical to none of them. It is something different, something very strange. It is the gnostic, esoteric, occult concoction called Anthroposophy. If you want it, it is available to you. But walk through that door with your eyes open — and send your children through that door only if you are completely sure that you are making the right decision for them. 




* Here is Steiner’s explanation of the three ideals. Note that it is polytheistic and thus incompatible with monotheistic Christianity. 

“[M]en's beholding of the gods became the inner life of the religious ideal. Their symbolical-allegorical expression of divine forms through the various media was the life underlying the ideal of art. In their re-telling of what the gods had told them lived the ideal of science. These three ideals merged into one in ancient Oriental times, for they were at bottom one and the same.” — AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY, p. 74.












The Sun, of course, is supremely important for life on Earth.

Nothing could live here but for the Sun.

Waldorf students are often led to create paintings of the Sun.

Whether they are also led to associate the Sun with Christ,

the Sun God, probably varies from school to school.



















Waldorf artwork courtesy of PLANS

[http://waldorfcritics.org/]
















“Men spoke in those times of [the Sun God] Ra, whose representative on Earth was Osiris; Ra signified for them the Sun that moved round the Earth, giving light ... My dear friends, when the pupils of the old initiates looked out into the wide universe and spoke of what they saw living out there beyond the Earth in the workings of the Sun, yes, in the Sun itself, — when they spoke of the sublime Spirit-Being of the Sun as proclaimed by Zarathustra, they were speaking of the very same Being Whom, in these later times, we designate as Christ ... What took place at the Mystery of Golgotha was really nothing less than that the Being Who, previously, was not to be found on Earth, Whom one could find only outside the Earth when one had been initiated into the Mysteries of the heavens, — this Being incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, lived on Earth in Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified and laid in the Earth, and appeared to his initiated pupils as Resurrected — as One who has risen in the spiritual body. The great and sublime Sun Being descended from cosmic heights, descended to Earth — that is the event that came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha. And when He had descended from spiritual worlds and passed through death, and His body had been laid in the Earth, then this same Christ — after His death, after His resurrection — had initiate pupils. And it is important that many should know today what Christ taught at that time to His initiate pupils; it is important that many should know of this teaching of the risen Christ, in order that they may be able to participate in the forces that are now at work for the further evolution of mankind." 


— Rudolf Steiner, 

MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND 

IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS 

(Health Research, 1960), 

Lecture 1, GA 211.
















“It does not take much research to discover that Rudolf Steiner, speaking at the assemblies of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany, repeatedly invoked the name of Christ as the guiding spirit of the school and the 'teachers’ greatest Teacher.' How could a Waldorf school deny its Christian character when its founder explicitly invoked the Christ as its guardian?

“And yet the matter is not quite so simple or so stark. One needs, first, to inquire what Rudolf Steiner meant by 'the Christ' [i.e., the Sun God]. He spoke of 'the Christ Impulse' [I.e., the evolutionary impetus provided by Christ] or 'the Christ Event' [the incarnation of the Sun God on Earth] or 'the Christ-principle' [the essence of the Sun God’s mission]; these are not the terms of orthodox Christianity, nor were they intended to be. It should be noted, further, that Steiner insisted on unqualified freedom in matters of religious practice and felt 'that the only true Christianity is the Christianity which makes possible absolute freedom in the religious life.' In fact, he spoke of the mission of the Christ as concerning human development quite independent of any religious practice. Christ’s mission 'consisted in bringing to all mankind the full force of the ego, an inner independence in the soul.' Indeed, Steiner predicted there would come a time when Christianity as it is commonly practiced today would pass away....”


— Douglas Gerwin, Introduction, 
AND WHO SHALL TEACH THE TEACHERS?
(Association of Waldorf Schools of North America), 
report on a conference held in 2005.
















Some of Steiner's rival leaders 

in the Theosophical movement

proclaimed that an Indian child, 

Jiddu Krishnamurti,

was the "World Teacher" and/or 

the reincarnated Christ.

Steiner rejected this, and partly as a result 

(other factors were also involved)

broke from Theosophy to establish 

Anthroposophy as an alternative 

spiritual movement.


See "Krishnamurti".
















"Rudolf Steiner concluded the Christmas Conference [laying the foundation for the General Anthroposophical Society] on the evening of 1 January 1924 ... [A]s reported by eyewitnesses, he drew the sign below into the air [a cross within a circle]. This is none other than a symbolic depiction of the cosmic cross with the Spirit Sun of the cosmos in the middle."
— Sergei O. Prokofieff, 
THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION 
(Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006), 
p. 54.









The Cross with the Sun at its middle.
[R.R. sketch, 2010, based on the one on p. 54 of
THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION.]
This image seeks to meld pagan and Christian belief —
Christ, on his cross, is seen as the Sun God.
















“Christ, the Genius of the Sun, has since His descent to earth made His throne [here] as Regent of the earth.”  — Foreword to Rudolf Steiner’s THE BIRTH OF A NEW AGRICULTURE (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1999), p. 17.



“From what the ancient Mystery wisdom saw, and through the prophetic sight of future Mystery wisdom, we gather that the human beings who take in what we shall call the inner Christianity, the spiritualized Christianity, those who look to the Genius of the Sun with regard to Christ: these individuals [i.e.,true  Anthroposophists] will experience an acceleration of their evolution and reappear on the earth again at the end of twentieth century.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 116.



“[T]he Apocalypse rightly designated the power, the Being, who leads men so to spiritualize themselves that they can united with the sun as the Christ, and — as we shall hear — as the Lamb. One describes the Christ-Being as the genius of the sun who unites himself with the earth and becomes also the genius of the earth. He has already begun to be this since the event of Golgotha [i.e., the Crucifixion]. But there is also an opposing principle to the Lamb, there is also a Sun-Demon, the so-called Demon of the Sun, that works with the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is trust out of the evolution that leads to the sun ... [They will] be thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198.
















“Human beings who perceived the presence of the exalted Sun-being in their life bodies can be called ‘Sun humans.’ The being who lived in them as their higher I — only in the generations, of course, not in individuals — is one who was later given various names as human beings acquired conscious knowledge of him. To present-day human beings, the Christ’s relationship to the cosmos is revealed in this being." — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 238-239.
















In a sense, the Sun — or, specifically, the Sun God — created the Earth. “[I]t is not as the people of old believed; the earth was not created by the Father God. The Father God made the Son come forth from Him; and the Son is the creator of the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 16, GA 204.















“Although Christ appeared only later, He was always present in the spiritual sphere of the earth. Already in the ancient Oracles of Atlantis, the priests of those Oracles spoke of the ‘Spirit of the Sun’, of Christ. In the old Indian epoch of civilization the Holy Rishis spoke of ‘Vishva Karman’; Zarathustra in ancient Persia spoke of ‘Ahura Mazdao’, Hermes of ‘Osiris’; and Moses spoke of the Power which, being eternal, brings about the harmonization of the temporal and natural, the Power living in the ‘Ehjeh asher Ehjeh’ (I am the I AM) as the harbinger of Christ. All spoke of the Christ.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE DEED OF CHRIST AND THE OPPOSING SPIRITUAL POWERS (Steiner Book Centre, 1954), lecture 1, GA 107. 



Christ has not only come once, but only once in personal form; His last coming was in Jesus Christ." — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (H. Collison, 1931), chapter 9, GA 105.
















“[T]owards the end of the twentieth century, a significant event will again take place ... What is this event? It consists in the fact that a certain office in the Cosmos, connected with the evolution of humanity in the twentieth century, passes over in a heightened form to the Christ. Occult clairvoyant research tells us that in our epoch Christ becomes the Lord of Karma for human evolution.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 46-47.


Consider what it means for Christ to take up an office previously held by other gods. Steiner's Christ is not the being worshipped by Christians, the unique and incomparable Son of God. Steiner's Christ is very important, he is high, but fundamentally he is one of a vast panoply of gods. Several of those gods have, at various times, ruled or steered human destiny. At this time, Christ fills that role. In the future...



















ADDENDA



I.



The relationship between Steiner's new religion 

and established Christianity has not been happy. 

Christian clergy and theologians understand how 

severely Steiner split away from Christian doctrines. 

The following odd excerpt from one of 

Steiner's lectures helps illustrate the tensions. 

Steiner presents his own, defensive response to 

criticisms leveled at him and at Anthroposophy:



More than once, I have pointed out how Catholic clerical factions, especially here in Switzerland, are now resorting to a web of lies in order to destroy spiritual science. Those of you who have been here have witnessed a number of examples of what the Catholic Jesuits come up with in the attempt to destroy anthroposophy. Consider the attacks made by Jesuit seminarists with weapons that are certainly not nice. I need not characterize this; those who have not informed themselves can easily do so.

For Switzerland and Central Europe, where these things happen, are all part of the world. So, too, is America. I recently received a magazine published in America in which anthroposophically oriented spiritual science is characterized, while, at the same time, the Jesuits in Europe denounced spiritual science as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Christianity. You know by now that Reverend Kully [40] stated that there are three evils in the world. One is Judaism, the other Freemasonry, but the third — worse than all of them, even worse than Bolshevism — is what is taught here in Dornach. [41] This originates from the Catholic side, and is how anthroposophy is characterized.


What about America? I want to read you a small paragraph from an American publication written at the same time Catholic journals over here printed their view of anthroposophy:


Just as the Catholic hierarchy has always insisted that the Roman church is the only one with any authority," [at this point Steiner interrupts to make a comment]


Protestant sects do not come into consideration; according to the Roman church, these sects stand outside the gates; they are viewed merely as a great number of heretics — [42]


"so it is self-evident that the church which Steiner's glib tongue alludes to can be none other than the Roman Catholic church. This assumption is reinforced and indeed any doubt about the matter ceases, when one reads Steiner's other occult books. They all point to the same thing, namely, his writings are purely misleading; the sheepskin of a superficial occultism covering the wolf of Jesuitism."


So you see that in America anthroposophy is taken for Jesuitism, while in Europe the Jesuits strongly oppose anthroposophy as the biggest enemy of the Catholic church. [43] That is how the world thinks today! That, however, is also how people think in Europe where they are living side by side; they are just not aware of it.

The American article concludes with several more nice sentences:


"Steiner claims to be an initiate. That may be; but whether he is of the White Lodge or belongs to the Brothers of Shadow is something one can only decide when it is realized that he stood on the side of men of 'blood and iron'...and that a number of his students here (in America) were interned as German spies." [44] 


So you see, sometimes the wind blows from the Roman Catholic corner, sometimes from the American side! It just shows you how things are inside the heads of our contemporaries. Yet, from the thoughts hatched inside human heads, there developed what has led into the decline of the present, and the ascent must truly be sought in a different direction from the one where many seek it today.

— Rudolf Steiner, 
SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AS 
A FOUNDATION FOR 
SOCIAL FORMS 
(Anthroposophic Press, 1986), 
p. 20.



◊◊◊



Anthroposophists have sometimes referred to

Steiner's "Christian enemies,"

as in the title of this book.

(The purpose of the book, of course,

is to defend Steiner.)






Louis M. I. Werbeck,

DIE CHRISTLICHEN GEGNER RUDOLF STEINERS

UND ANTHROPOSOPHIE DURCH SIE SELBEST WIDERLEGT

(Der Kommende Tag A.G. Verlag, 1924).


{THE CHRISTIAN ENEMIES OF RUDOLF STEINER

AND THE ANTHROPOSOPHY THAT REFUTES THEM}







II.


Christians believe that Christ will return. We shouldn't end our examination of Steiner's "Christian" teachings without considering what Steiner said about the Second Coming.

To do the topic justice, we need to briefly review some of what we have already seen. “True” Christianity, according to Steiner, is his own teachings. The Bible and the churches are wrong, but Steiner can set us all straight. “True” Christianity is Anthroposophy, which Steiner claimed is a science, not a religion. By using what he called “exact” clairvoyance, Steiner could (or so he said) gather objective factual information about the spirit realm; thus he could know what Christ was and what Christ meant, in a way no one else could without using the same high form of clairvoyance. Thus, Steiner meant to “go beyond historical Christianity and its limitations.” [45] 


Steiner offered his new, improved Christianity in lectures such as the ones contained in THE FIFTH GOSPEL, his proposed addition to the Bible. 


“From his clairvoyant reading of the spiritual Akashic Record — the cosmic memory of all events, actions and thoughts — Rudolf Steiner was able to speak of aspects of the life of Jesus Christ which are not contained in the four biblical Gospels.” [46] 


The “second coming” of Christ, according to Steiner, is the renewed, revived knowledge of Christ that Steiner himself provided. It is not the physical return of Christ to the Earth, but the emergence in the spiritual realm (“the etheric”) of the new Christ impulse that Steiner's doctrines enable. When we “see” Christ in the right way (i.e., Steiner’s way), we will experience Christ’s return: 


“The will of man must be fired by divine wisdom, and the most powerful impulse for this will be if the sublime ether-form of Christ Jesus becomes perceptible to those who have truly prepared themselves. To a person in whom natural clairvoyance has developed this will be like a Second Coming of Christ Jesus.” [47] 


Note the emphasis on knowledge. Steiner taught that we are not “saved” by faith or good works, but by knowledge. This is his gnosticism.


The Second Coming, as redefined by Steiner, has already happened. 

“In the lectures of 1910...[Steiner] spoke to small groups of prepared listeners concerning the advent of the appearance of the Christ in the etheric life-element of the earth. To begin with, He would only be seen by a few, but as the century progressed He would be perceived by an ever greater number of human beings on earth [as Anthroposophy spreads], bestowing comfort and strength to people. Steiner pointed quite specifically to the period between 1930 and 1940 (he also mentioned 1950) in this respect. The years 1933 and 1935 are singled out in some lectures ... Steiner had warned, however, that opposing powers would conspire to darken the consciousness of humanity so that the second coming of the Christ, His appearance in the etheric, might go unnoticed. He further foretold that powerful attempts would be made on the part of certain groups to proclaim false messiahs to whom people would flock, convinced that the Christ could reappear in physical form in our time.” [48]

Speaking before the years he specified, Steiner gave the following preview. By developing our "soul faculties" (clairvoyance) in the way he specified, we will "see" Christ, and this will be the Second Coming, as it were:

[T]ransformations will come about in human soul faculties, resulting in what may be described as etheric vision. And Who is bound up with this fact? That being Whom we call the Christ, Who appeared on earth in the flesh at the beginning of our era. He will never come again in a physical body; that event was unique. The Christ will return, however, in an etheric form ... We thus comprehend spiritual science in a completely different sense. We learn that it imposes a tremendous responsibility upon us, since it is a preparation for the concrete occurrence of the reappearance of Christ. Christ will reappear because human beings will be raising themselves toward Him in etheric vision. When we grasp this, spiritual science appears to us as the preparation of human beings for the return of Christ, so that they will not have the misfortune to overlook this great event but will be ripe to seize the great moment that we may describe as the second coming of Christ. Man will be capable of seeing etheric bodies, and among these etheric bodies he will also be able to see the etheric body of Christ.” [49]

Whether Christ will return in physical form is a topic of debate among Christians, but most fundamentalist Christians say that he will. [50] Steiner was no fundamentalist Christian.










The divide between Steiner and Christianity was wide. If Steiner sometimes found himself quarreling with Catholics (see Addendum I, above), he was at least equally at odds with Protestants.

Protestants, Steiner claimed, misidentify God. The “God” they worship is actually just an angel, a god one level above humans. In Anthroposophic belief, there are nine ranks of gods above us. Angels are the lowest, archangels are a step higher than angels, and other gods occupy still more elevated ranks. According to Steiner, angels guide individual humans; archangels guides peoples, nations, and races. Here is Steiner telling Waldorf teachers how to explain some of this to their students:

“[E]xplain that there are higher gods, the archangels ... These archangels exist to guide whole groups of human beings, that is, the various peoples and such. You must teach this clearly so that the children can learn to differentiate between the god spoken of by Protestantism, for instance, who is actually only an angel, and an archangel, who is higher than anything that ever arises in the Protestant religious teachings." [51] 

Another great problem with Protestantism, Steiner taught, is that the true meaning of ritual has been lost in Protestant churches. Responding to a Waldorf teacher who said the students resisted attending religious services, Steiner said this:

“They completely misunderstand the service. They have a Protestant understanding of ritual, which means a rejection of it. It is possible to attend the service throughout your entire life. Their understanding is based upon the perspective that these teachings are preparations, not a ritual. We need to overcome that Protestant understanding.” [52]

Steiner stressed the importance of ritual. Thus, for instance, he described a supernatural ritual enacted at the beginning of the 19th century. (Somewhat confusingly, he used the present tense to describe this past event.) In this description, we find the 
fundamental cause of Steiner's dispute with Christianity. Christians believes in a single God, whereas Steiner taught that the universe teems with many gods. 

“[T]here hovers in the immediate neighbourhood of the physical world of sense [i.e., the world apprehended through our ordinary senses] a great supersensible event, consisting in supersensible acts of ritual, an unfolding of mighty pictures of the spiritual life of beings of the universe, the Beings of the Hierarchies [i.e., gods] in connection with the great ether-workings of the universe and the human workings upon earth.” [53]




















Anthroposophy is certainly a religion,
but — despite superficial appearances —
 it is not a form of Christianity.
The influences of Eastern religions are strong,
as are those of paganism and occultism.
Above we see an angel;
below is the Hindu symbol for the
mantra "Om" or "Aum."







Drawing and painting by Waldorf students
















To follow Steiner's teachings, we need to distinguish between Jesus, the man, and Christ, the god who manifested in the man.


Actually, as we have seen, Steiner taught there there were two Jesuses. The Biblical accounts of Jesus’s youth, given in various books of the New Testament, are inconsistent with one another. One solution — adopted by Steiner and some others — is to claim that there were two separate Jesus children, two separate human beings who both contributed to the miracle of Christ's incarnation on the Earth. 


"We know that in Palestine, at the time which concerns us, not one but two Jesus-children were born, one of them from the Solomon line of the House of David. This is the Jesus child of whom the Matthew Gospel speaks. The peculiar contradiction between the beginnings of the Matthew and the Luke Gospels derives from the fact that the writer of the Matthew Gospel was concerned with one of the Jesus-children, the one born from the Solomon line. Then, at almost but not quite the same time, another Jesus-child was born, from the Nathan line of the House of David." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), lecture 12, GA 131.


Steiner taught that the two Jesus children — the Solomon Jesus child and the Nathan Jesus child — eventually combined, in the sense that the Nathan Jesus received the spiritual essence or Ego of the Solomon Jesus. This Ego was in fact the soul of Zarathustra, since the Solomon Jesus was the reincarnated Zarathustra. The Nathan Jesus child was infused with Buddha forces; he is the Jesus described in the Koran (without reference to Buddha). Thus, after the soul of Zarathustra passed into the Nathan Jesus, this Jesus had been conditioned by both Buddha and Zarathustra, and he was thus fit to serve as host for the incarnated Sun God, Christ. You can decide whether this “explanation” improves upon the Biblical accounts.


“[T]he science of the spirit [i.e., Anthroposophy] brings together three things in order to understand the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., the Crucifixion]. First Jesus as He is incarnated as Zarathustra in the Solomon Jesus Child and how he brings through this Solomon Jesus Child that which mankind has experienced through its historical development since he himself has passed from incarnation to incarnation. I have told you about the Nathan Jesus Child who has within him that which was actually predestined for the earth but never went through this earth evolution; it was held back. I have showed you how the Nathan Jesus Child was completely described in the Koran to the point where it says that the Nathan Jesus Child actually spoke when he was born. The Christ Being incarnates in the Nathan Jesus Child with the Solomon Jesus Child, the Christ Being Who comes from beyond the super-earthly, Who draws into the personality of this Solomonic Nathanic Jesus in the 30th year so that we can recognize in Christ a union of the spiritual worlds external to the earth with that which has occurred upon the earth. And I have brought to your attention the fact that it is necessary in our time to become able to understand the concept of the immensity of the greatness of the Jesus figure, and with that the greatness of the Mystery of Golgotha, since our time has certainly developed the intellect, the intellectual thinking in its 5th post-Atlantean period. However, the spiritual comprehension of the would has to be added to this intellectual thinking. Then it will be possible to understand the Mystery of Golgotha again as it was understood many, many years ago but understood now in a very advanced way.” — Rudolf Steiner, THINGS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT IN THE SPIRIT OF MAN (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture 12, GA 167.











ONE SUMMATION




Steiner's views were complex and, at least potentially, confusing. Here is brief summary of Steiner's teachings on Christianity. I will use the plainest language I can, and I will reiterate key points. Bear with me, please. I will not clutter up the summary with quotations and endnotes; you will find lots of documentation elsewhere in "Was He Christian?" and in other essays on this website. 

Steiner claimed that he had found the true meaning of Christianity. This meaning is revealed in his worldview, Anthroposophy. Christianity is a religion, but Steiner said that Anthroposophy is a science, not a religion. By claiming that his “science” reveals the deeper truths of “Christianity,” Steiner appropriated the term “Christianity,” applying it in a novel way. Does this make him a Christian? Does calling yourself a Christian make you one? What if I truly think I am a Christian but my beliefs are actually incompatible with the tenets of Christianity as found in the Bible and all major Christian denominations? What, for instance, if my “Christianity” involves belief in many different gods, and reincarnation, and karma, and astrology, and Atlantis, and Zarathustra, and Buddha, and so forth and so on? This is exactly the case for Anthroposophists; the beliefs I have listed are all part of “Christian” Anthroposophy. Steiner’s followers may think their beliefs qualify as “Christian,” but they do not.


Claiming to be a Christian is very different from actually being one. Likewise, placing emphasis on Christ does not necessarily make you a Christian. Muslims, for instance, believe in Christ. They assign great importance to Christ. But they are not Christians, obviously — their religion is Islam, not Christianity. The same holds for Anthroposophists. They consider Christ extremely important, but they are not really Christians.


Like most words, “Christian” may mean many things. The normal definition contains these elements: Christianity is the religion centered on the divinity of Christ; a Christian accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior; a Christian worships Christ as God (or a Member of the Triune God); a Christian accepts the teachings of Christ as found in the Bible; a Christian is a member of a Christian church.


There can be variations and disputes over all elements of this definition. But, by virtually all of the standards of the above definition, Anthroposophy is not Christian. It is (theoretically) a “science,” not a religion; it speaks of evolution, not salvation per se; by their own account, Anthroposophists do not worship Christ, since Anthroposophy is not a religion; Anthroposophy rejects the literal meaning of much if not all of the Bible (Steiner revealed the hidden “Mystery” meaning of Bible passages); Anthroposophy has no churches, per se (unless we count the Goetheanum and other prayer-centered structures such as Waldorf schools).


Nutshell: Anthroposophists claim a) Anthroposophy is a science, and b) it is a science in which Christ looms large. The truth is that a) Anthroposophy is a religion, but b) it is not Christian. [54]


Here are central Anthroposophical concepts. Note that each one of them violates orthodox Christian faith.




There are many, many gods


After death, we do not go to our 

eternal judgment, but we reincarnate


Our earthly lives are largely controlled by karma, 

which we create for ourselves


We are evolving — specifically, we are evolving 

toward becoming the highest gods


The stars have powerful effects on us 

(astrology and horoscopes)


There are two devils (who aren’t all bad): 

Lucifer and Ahriman


Christ is the Sun God


Buddha performed as the Christ of Mars


There were two Jesuses, one of whom 

was Zarathustra in a previous life


The other bore the spirit of Buddha


We recently lived on Atlantis 

and someday we will proceed to Vulcan


Ultimately we will become God the Father



Calling these tenets “Christian” does not make them so. Virtually no Christian theologian or clergyman would accept them as Christian (except self-proclaimed Anthroposophical “Christians”). The Bible offers little or no evidence that Christ himself would have accepted them.


So Anthroposophy is not Christian. But it is a religion. Here are some central indicators:



It involves prayers, meditations, 

and observances


It "explains" spiritual matters


It describes the will and purpose 

of the gods


It tells us how to live in accordance 

with the gods' divine plan


It depends on clairvoyance 

(which does not exist);

hence, there is no “scientific” 

basis for any of its tenets;

hence, it can be accepted only 

by an act of faith, belief


Steiner stressed the need for belief


He stressed the need for gurus


People who do not live properly, 

according to the tenets of

Anthroposophy, will be consigned 

to a form of perdition


People who do live properly, 

according to the tenets of

Anthroposophy, will be saved

(i.e., they will evolve toward apotheosis)



None of this is characteristic of a science; but all of it is characteristic or indicative of religion. 


The religion followed by Anthroposophists is Anthroposophy.



— Roger Rawlings














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