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




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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]




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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.



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"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.



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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 that there have been several

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


Links to other pertinent pages

appear further down on this page.



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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.



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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/]




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“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.



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“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.




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Use this link to go to the second half of

"Was He Christian?"






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ENDNOTES




[1] Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 3 (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), lecture 3, GA 226.


Anthroposophy assigns great significance to Christ, but this does not necessarily make Anthroposophy Christian. Muslims also consider Christ very important, but clearly they are not Christians.


"In Islam Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others), and his message simultaneously consummates and completes the 'revelations' attributed to earlier prophets ... [According to Islam] Not only was Jesus born from the Virgin Mary, but God also saved him from crucifixion at the hands of the Jews. The conviction that God’s messengers are ultimately vindicated and saved is an integral part of the Quranic doctrine." "Islam." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 07 Oct. 2009.


Also:


"We Muslims believe, that Jesus was one of the mightiest messengers of God that he was the Christ, that he was born miraculously without any male intervention (which many modern-day Christians do not believe today), that he gave life to the dead by God's permission and that he healed those born blind and the lepers by god's permission. In fact, no Muslim is a Muslim if he or she does not believe in Jesus!" [http://www.jamaat.net/cis/ChristInIslam.html]


This second quote may not be authoritative, but it does seem to reflect Islamic teachings. The point is that one can believe in Jesus and yet not be a Christian.


Anthroposophy is a religion, despite the denials usually made by Anthroposophists. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]


[2] Gnosticism, generally, is the belief that salvation depends on the acquisition of secret spiritual knowledge. Steiner claimed that the gnosticism of the past led to truth whereas orthodoxy led to the spiritual blindness:


“These two things, you see, were engaged in a struggle: the gnostic teaching, wishing to comprehend the Mystery of Golgotha through powerful spiritual thinking; and the other teaching, that reckoned with [i.e., used or accommodated] what was to come, when thought would no longer have power, when it would lack the penetration needed to understand the Mystery of Golgotha....” — Rudolf Steiner, HOW CAN MANKIND FIND THE CHRIST AGAIN? (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), p. 49.


Golgotha is Calvary. The Mystery of Golgotha is the esoteric significance of the Crucifixion.


“[A] God descended in order to enter a human body and in this body suffer death and then unite with the forces of the earth ... Since the Mystery of Golgotha forces have been united with the earth and especially with human evolution on earth, Christ-forces which were not there prior to that event ... In the Resurrection he [Christ] emerged victorious as a living spirit being, and since then he has continued to live with and for humanity, who would have possessed only dead [materialistic, brain-centered] thinking if Christ had not done these things ... The death and resurrection of Christ has so enlivened the thinking of which these souls [real humans] are capable that human beings no longer have to die along with their bodies....” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 38-39.


According to Steiner, Christ-forces are now available inwardly to each real human being. The situation is different, of course, for subhumans.


Steiner claimed that the forms of thinking he advocated make the New Testament unnecessary, since the initiated spiritualist could reconstruct the Gospels and fill in their errors and gaps, if need be:


“[T]he initiate is no longer dependent on the Gospels ... [H]e would be capable of writing the Gospels himself if they had not already been written.” — Ibid., p. 38.


Steiner wanted his followers to go well beyond the Gospels, observing such clairvoyant/Anthroposophic “truths” as reincarnation and polytheism. He taught that the Gospels are flawed:


"The Gospels cannot lead to the real Christ unless they are illumined by spiritual science [i.e., Steiner's own teachings]. Failing this illumination, the Gospels as they stand give rise to what is no more than hallucination of Christ's appearance in world history." — Rudolf Steiner, THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006), p. 42.


For connections and distinctions Steiner drew between Anthroposophy and gnosticism, see ANTHROPOSOPHICAL LEADING THOUGHTS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), pp. 175-180. For more on initiation, see "Inside Scoop".


Steiner went further than simply saying that the New Testament will become unnecessary. Steiner taught that religion, as such, will become unnecessary. It will be replaced by his own teachings, which he (drawing on Theosophy) dubbed spiritual science: Men will have esoteric knowledge and will no longer need faith.


"Religion is the re-binding of the sensible with the supersensible. In an age of approaching materialism human beings needed religion. But the time will come when they will again be able to experience the supersensible world; then they will no longer need religion. The necessary antecedent of the new vision is that human beings shall be bearers of spiritual Christianity. This is the basis of the sentence of which I would ask you to realize the profound significance: Christianity began as a religion but is greater than all religions.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 283.


Note that "Christianity" is not greater than all other religions; it is greater than any and all religions. This strange remark reflects Steiner's claim that his teachings are not a religion. "True" Christianity, he taught, is gnostic, it consists of secret knowledge. His teachings (Anthropo-sophy: human knowledge) embody the secrets. That is, he possessed true Christianity; churches do not possess it.


"I also want you to understand what is really religious in the anthroposophical sense ... [R]eligion connected with a specific church is not actually religious.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 44-46.


In this sense, Anthroposophy is the one true religion, according to Steiner.


[3] Matthew 19: See, e.g., http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Matthew+19



Steiner claimed that all religious traditions essentially say the same things, although earlier versions were less precise than later versions. [See "Altogether".] His own version is the most precise yet, he taught. To make other religions and traditions more or less consist with his teachings, Steiner had to twist them and redefine them. Noticing the liberties he took and the violence entailed can reduce our admiration for his accomplishment. In any event, here is how he said Zarathustra foresaw the coming of Christ:


"This was the proclamation of the sublime Sun or Light Spirit — the Sun Aura, Ahura Mazda, Ormuzd. This Spirit of Light reveals Himself to Zarathustra and his followers as the Spirit who turns His countenance from the spiritual world toward mankind and who prepares the future within mankind. It is the Spirit who points to the Christ before His advent on earth, whom Zarathustra proclaims as the Spirit of Light. On the other hand, Zarathustra represents in Ahriman — Angra Mainju — a power whose influence upon the life of the human soul causes the latter's deterioration when it surrenders itself one-sidedly to it. This power is none other than the one previously characterized who, since the betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries, had gained especial domination over the earth. Besides the evangel concerning the Spirit of Light, Zarathustra also proclaimed the doctrine of the spiritual beings who become manifest to the purified sense of the seer as the companions of the Spirit of Light and to whom a contrast was formed by the tempters who appeared to the unpurified remnants of clairvoyance that was retained from the Atlantean period. Zarathustra strove to make clear to the prehistoric Persian how the human soul, as far as it was engaged in the activities and strivings of the physical-sensory world, was the field of battle between the power of the Light God and His adversary and how the human being must conduct himself so as not to be led into the abyss by this adversary but whose influence might be turned to good by the power of the Light God." — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 4, GA 13.


[4] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650.


Belief in demonic possession is found in many religions, including at least some forms of Christianity. Some passages in the New Testament indicate that Jesus had the power to cast out demons. [See, e.g., Matthew 9:32-33.] But in Christian belief, the humans involved are deemed victims of the demons; they are not said to be, themselves, demons. They are human beings, not subhumans. We find something quite different in Steiner's assertion that "there are people who are not human beings ... [They] are demons in human form.”


[5] Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 180.


[6] Wendell Berry, BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: CHRIST’S TEACHINGS ABOUT LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005).


[7] Ibid., p. 7.


Steiner advocated love and other virtues, in his fashion. And he offered Anthroposophy as a cure for humanity's suffering. He offered hope. But a fundamental precept in his teachings is that in order for good, upward-evolving humanity to advance, there must be a separation from the evil, downward-degenerating populace. According to this precept, one's neighbors may often be abjured, not embraced. The good portion of humanity is a small, embattled group, he said, who must be prepared for the coming worldwide apocalypse. Such beliefs are not unknown in the Christian community, of course, and they may be deemed consistent with mysterious passages in the Book of Revelation. Whether these beliefs are consistent with Christ's ministry and teachings is, however, a matter of controversy, and usually they are considered marginal to the central impetus of Christianity. In Anthroposophy, by contrast, they are central.


“Consider that through evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened ... The best of humanity must be chosen and prepare for survival beyond the time of the great War of All Against All, when people will oppose them who bear in their countenances the sign of evil.” — Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 194. [See, e.g., "White Guys" and "All vs. All".]


Much of the anticipation of warfare, in Anthroposophical teachings, can be traced back to Norse mythology — pagan and warlike — which is celebrated in Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. [See, e.g., "The Gods".]


[8] In Steiner’s work, love tends to be either an abstraction or a distant goal. As leader of his own gnostic religion, Anthroposophy, Steiner endorsed love as virtually any religious leader would need to do. But many of his specific doctrines drain love of its essence. This certainly applies to his racist teachings. [See “Steiner’s Racism”]. His solution to racism is not for us to love one another in all our varieties and individuality, but for “lower” racial strains to yield to “higher,” and for the survivors to blend into a single, universal race. [See "Love and the Universal Human".] Likewise, his vision of love entails an extremely long evolutionary process:


“[I]n the future, Love will be revealed — Love as a new force of Nature....” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 311.


Christ urges us to love one another, now, unreservedly. Steiner advocates love, but he sees its real enactment as a phenomenon of the distant future. Steiner embraces not Christ or Christ’s teachings, as such, but the “Christ-Event,” the “Mystery of Golgotha.” He means that Christ introduced a new evolutionary impulse into human life, an impulse that must evolve over the millennia so that one day it may be fulfilled:


“It is the sublime Sun Being, of whom we have had to tell when describing the evolution of the Christ-Event, who at His revelation stands forth as the all-embracing prototype of Love.” — Ibid., p. 311.


Christians are fully justified in finding such thinking alien to their faith.


[9] Rudolf Steiner, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995).


[10] Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 30.


In the past, mainstream Christian churches sometimes accommodated racist beliefs. But such beliefs are almost wholly absent from Christian teachings today, and their appearance in the past must be deemed — in the light of Christ's teachings — aberrant.


[11] Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.


[12] Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100.


[13] THE FIFTH GOSPEL, p. 120.


A more easily comprehensible translation is found in a different Anthroposophical text: Rudolf Steiner, START NOW! A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises

(SteinerBooks, 2004):


"AUM.

AMEN.


"Evils reign


"Bearing witness to I-being

Separating itself

and to selfhood's guilt —

Incurred through others,

Experienced in the daily bread

Wherein the will of heaven

Does not reign,

Because humanity

Has separated itself

From Your Kingdom

And forgot your names


"Ye Fathers in the heavens."


[START NOW!, p. 221.]



[14] THE FIFTH GOSPEL, p. 119.


[15] Ibid., p. 120.


[16] Steiner taught that the ancients had spiritual wisdom that moderns have lost. [See "The Ancients".] They particularly had secret or gnostic wisdom. [See "Gnosis".] His account of Jesus's travels indicates that, like us, Jesus needed to consult ancient teachings in order to gain true spiritual knowledge. The ancient teachings were presumably preserved, at least to a degree, in pagan lands.


Steiner often said that prayers should not be requests for personal favors; they should not be “egoistical.” A good prayer bestows strengths, powers — like an incantation. The Lord’s Prayer, he said, has special efficacy:


“As a daily prayer, the Lord’s prayer is the most suited to develop esoteric forces. It is the most effective of prayers ... Whenever one prays the Lord’s Prayer, the original primal human powers underlie the prayer — even if one knows nothing of it ... [T]hose who use this prayer can have these powers live unconsciously within them.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY, p. 202.


By praying properly, one can hook into powers that the ancients had and we have lost. Primarily, this means clairvoyance.


[17] See, e.g., "Karma", "Reincarnation", "Evolution, Anyone?"


Steiner drew from many spiritual traditions other than Christianity. His chief source was Theosophy, which itself draws on many spiritual traditions. [See "Basics".]


[18] See "The Higher Worlds" and "Knowing the Worlds".


Steiner's cosmology is in many ways more consistent with Eastern religions than Western tradition. [See, e.g., "Buddhism", "Veda", and "Zoroastrianism".]


[19] Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: The Evolution of Individuality, Lectures from 1909-1916 (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), pp. 65-66.


The passage refers to Biblical times.


[20] Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 43.


Steiner’s term “imagistic” is tangentially related to his doctrine that imagination, or pictorial thinking, yields spiritual truth.


Be cautious about Steiner's use of the present tense. Sometimes when he says that something is true now, he means that it was once true or may someday be true. In the case of Yahweh residing on the moon, it makes little difference whether Steiner meant now or formerly — the doctrine remains weird and unbiblical.


[21] Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 115.


[22] Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975), p. 203.


[23] Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), p. 36.


Lemuria was a pre-Atlantis Atlantis, a lost habitation for humans on Earth. [See "Lemuria".]


[24] FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 650.


[25] RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH, p. 93.


[26] Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 7, GA 130.


“But where is the actual Buddha, the one who lived as Gautama [Buddha's given name]? He became for Mars what Christ has become for the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 72.


[27] Ibid., p. 207.


[28] “...the Christ event [is] the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., the occult significance of Christ's Crucifixion] ... Rudolf Steiner’s entire effort can be understood within the context of that event. He sought, often in unspoken ways, always to work out of the forces that flowed into world evolution through the deeds of the Christ.” — Arthur G. Zajonc, afterword to Rudolf Steiner's HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 234.


[29] “[H]uman beings can become a god [sic] only when they are ripe for that condition.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 54.


[30] “Steiner himself had strong words about some aspects of Christianity ... [T]he aspect of Christianity that triggered his earlier remarks was its belief in a world beyond, a spiritual world unattainable through the intellect and from which were revealed the moral and ethical precepts that were to guide one’s life. Steiner rejected this view and...dedicated his life to the opposite belief, that through rigorous and active thinking we can gain access to the spirit world ourselves.” — Gary Lachman, RUDOLF STEINER (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007), pp. 128-132.


Lachman misstates Steiner's views in one particular. Steiner advocated the power of "thinking" if, by this, we mean clairvoyance and the reception of "living thoughts" from the gods. But he disparaged intellect. [See "Thinking" and "Steiner's Specific".]


[31] Steiner associated Christ with the Sun in part because “sunlight” (physical or spiritual) allows us to “see” (with our “outer eyes” or “inner eyes). Christ, thus, enables us to acquire hidden knowledge. E.g., discussing the confusion people may feel after sleep (after a period when, he taught, our souls leave our bodies and enter the spirit realm), Steiner said,


“Here Christ appears before us as a spiritual Sun and becomes our guide so that the confusion resolves into a kind of harmonious understanding.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 39.


But Steiner also had a more literal association in mind. He literally meant that Christ was a Sun being, a spirit residing on the Sun.


[32] See, e.g., the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA: “...salvation by divine aid, which has usually entailed the concept of a divine saviour who achieves what man cannot do for himself — as in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” — “salvation.” ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 26 Nov. 2008.


Steiner gave various descriptions of how humans can slip down into what we might call perdition:


◊ Individual humans may descend to lower and lower stages in successive incarnations until they fall out of evolution. "Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits." — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 70.


◊ The demon Ahriman presides over the material realm; humans who enter Ahriman's world lose their souls. "The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.


◊ Evil humans will form an "evil race" that will be consigned to a hellish fate. "The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss." — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.


◊ When good humans are preparing to move on to Vulcan, evil humans will be sent to an "irreclaimable moon": “[A]t a certain stage, a separate celestial body becomes [i.e., will become] detached. This — as it were, an ‘irreclaimable moon’ — includes all the beings who have persisted in withstanding the true course of evolution. It enters now upon a line of development such as no words can portray....” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, pp. 309-310.


These are the dooms that the religion of Anthroposophy would save us from. The salvation offered by Anthroposophy is “correct” spiritual knowledge that permits us to move upward in an evolution leading to Vulcan and beyond.


[33] KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, p. 13.


There are other “Sun beings” besides Christ, Steiner taught. All of them affect human beings, but only Christ connects with humans individually; the others affect our shared human attributes:


“The other Sun beings who remained in the Sun sphere have no access to the single human individuality but only to what is common to all mankind.” — Ibid., p. 13.


From our perspective, Christ is the most important Sun being, but, viewed from another angle, he is just one among many. He is not even distinguished from the others because he is “sublime.” Occasionally Steiner called the other Sun beings “sublime” as well (e.g., OCCULT SCIENCE, p. 181: a soul can “see the sublime Beings of the Sun” — the soul is “face to face [sic] with the sublime Sun Beings”).


Lucifer — whose name means light-bearer — is associated with the Sun. In a sense, all of Lucifer's followers may be called Sun gods:


“[T]he creation of reason is correlated with solar activity, and the dawn of intelligence in human nature is the rise of an inner sun. This is affirmed not merely figuratively, but in an absolutely real sense. The beings [i.e., Lucifer-Spirits] found thus an opportunity of resuming their activity within the human being, in conjunction with the sun ... From this it is easy to see the origin of the name 'Lucifer' — that is, 'Lightbearer' — and why these beings are characterised in Occult Science as 'sun gods.'" — Rudolf Steiner, THE SUBMERGED CONTINENTS OF ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA (Rajput Press, 1911), p. 230.


Remember to take this "in an absolutely real sense."


Christ was, nonetheless, higher than the other Sun beings. He was the Sun God — that is, the predominant god of the Sun.


◊ “Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth...." Margaret Jonas, introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5.


◊ "The sun oracle of ancient Atlantis had already prophesied the coming of the Christ, of the Sun God." — Rudolf Steiner, ON THE MYSTERY DRAMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), p. 93.


◊ “Christ...the Sun God." — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY IN CONNECTION WITH QUESTIONS OF REINCARNATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), p. 5.


◊ “It was known to the initiated priests of these Mysteries that the sublime Sun-Spirit of whom they spoke to the worshippers is the same Being as He who would later be called the Christ.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 271.


To be a bit more precise, Steiner sometimes indicated that there are several Sun gods or Solar Pitris, and Christ is the highest among them.


"This was why a Sun God had to come, a higher being than Lucifer. There still existed what are known as the Solar Pitris ["Fathers"]. The most exalted among these is Christ." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 26, GA 93a.



Steiner’s view of the other members of the Holy Trinity is as unorthodox as his view of Christ. God the Father, he said, is the spiritual perfection that will be our own:


“[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17. Note the quotation marks around the words 'the Father.'


As for the Holy Spirit:


“This outer world that we create is a vision of all our previous earthly incarnations spread out before us in a tableau. At the same time a glimmer, as it were, of light appears from the future, the same light that illumines our past. It is this, so to speak, beckoning [sic] light that Steiner speaks of as the Holy Spirit....” — Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 163.



Steiner locates not only Christ on the Sun, but he finds the Antichrist there, also. The Antichrist is Sorat, the Sun Demon.


◊ “In speaking about the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John, [Steiner] refers to one of the most powerful adversary forces, the anti-Christ, Sorat, the Sun Demon....” — Margaret Jonas, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 15.


◊ “Sorat has meant ‘Demon of the Sun’ since ancient times. Every star has its good spirit — its intelligence — and its evil spirit — its demon. The adversary of the good powers of the sun is called Sorat ... Sorat is, then, the adversary of Christ Jesus.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 19.


Sorat may be manifested through the machinations of evil humans.


"[Black magicians] do not remain stuck in animality; they develop spiritual abilities. In full consciousness they have turned away, and provide a bodily incarnation for Sorat. That will be the incarnation in flesh of the demon of the sun.” — Ibid., p. 127.


Opposing black magicians and Sorat are the good humans, among whom Steiner certainly includes himself.


“Sorat continues to work on and on against the forces coming from the Genius of the Sun that are battling for a genuine Christianity.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, p. 111.


By “genuine Christianity,” Steiner means his own doctrines — Christianity as revised in the form of Anthroposophy.


Coming closer to Christian orthodoxy, Steiner says that people who follow Sorat will pay a heavy price:


“[T]here is also an opposing principle to the Lamb, there is also a Sun-Demon, the so-called Demon of the Sun, that which works in 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 thrust out of the evolution which leads to the sun. These are the opposing forces of the sun, they are in opposition to the sun; at the same time they are the forces which have the tendency to be entirely 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.


That the followers of the Antichrist will be severely punished is an orthodox proposition. But linking this to being “thrust out of the evolution which leads to the sun” is not. (Steiner taught that severely errant humans “fall out of evolution” and descend to the level of “subordinate nature spirits.” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 69. And, according to Steiner, the abyss is the destination not just of evil forces but of the final human evolutionary laggards, the “evil race.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.



666 is indicated in the Book of Revelation as the number of the Beast, i.e., the Antichrist. [See Revelations 13.] Steiner's teachings about 666 reflect the numerological strain in his thinking. [see "Magic Numbers".] In Anthroposophy, 666 has several significances. It reflects the periods between Sorat’s appearances:


“Sorat rises every 666 years to deceive humanity.” — René Querido, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998) p. 8.


666 also will become the indicator of successful or thwarted human evolution.


“What must the number 666 actually mean if it is to express what we have explained? It must mean the principle which leads man to complete hardening in external physical life, so that he thrusts from himself just what would enable him to strip off the lower principles and rise to the higher.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, p. 199.


For those who manage to keep evolving, 666 will mark their passage to that higher evolution. Note that conditions of life, races, and sub-races mark stages of evolution:


“Just as we now have 344 as the number of evolution, in the future when 6 conditions of life, 6 fundamental races, and 6 sub-races have been gone through, the number 666 (six, six, six) [sic] will apply ... Thus a time will come when the number 666 is the number of evolution.” — THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, p. 195.


Whether that last Steiner statement makes sense is debatable (the number six-hundred-and-sixty-six becomes three sixes — 6 + 6 + 6 — which is 18), but what leaps out is the emphasis that Steiner puts on race. He did this repeatedly — racial differences are basic to his ideology. Good humans rise through the hierarchy of races, while bad humans fall — sometimes falling all the way out of evolution. As on so many other topics (e.g., Ahriman, magic, Jesus the Sun lord...), Steiner’s views on race and evolution diverge markedly from the tenets of genuine Christianity.


[34] Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Kessinger, facsimile of 1942 edition), pp . 108-109. (Also published by Temple Lodge, 1993.)


Steiner taught that when Christ was crucified and his blood soaked into the earth, Christ merged with Earth and became it's spirit. Christ is not merely a "Sun being" — he is a sun god or, literally, the Sun God. Christ is indistinguishable from the divinity worshipped, under other names, in other religions, as the Sun God. Christ is of great importance to human beings on the Earth, Steiner said, because Christ chose to come to Earth to help us. But other “gods” have played a similarly important role elsewhere and would have the same importance there that Christ has here.


[35] Steiner’s religion, Anthroposophy, is pagan, both because it stands outside the world’s major religions, and because it contains so many elements of pagan cosmologies, as in its celebration of Norse myths. Anthroposophists sometimes refer directly to the pagan impulse in their beliefs.


“Steiner was excited to discover a ‘Christianity before Christ,’ a ‘pagan Christianity’ (not for him a contradiction in terms) ... The rituals through which one can contact gods and goddesses of old offer a deep sense of satisfaction. However, times have changed, spiritual being evolve also and are known by other names. Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth....” — RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH, pp. 4-5, Introduction by Margaret Jonas.


No orthodox Christian could subscribe to the idea that there are forms of Christianity centering on figures other than Jesus Christ. The Sun God appears in many religions under such names as Helios, Ra, and Sol. Ahura Mazda is the chief god of Zoroastrianism; in ancient Egypt, Hu was the personification of authoritative utterance, and he helped row the boat carrying Ra; Balder (or Baldur) is a Norse god associated with the spring and purity (but also, sometimes, with lust).


Steiner did indeed refer to pagan Christianity:


“...the old, nature-inspired Christianity that had still been reflected in the teachings of Chartres where, as in Arthur’s Round Table, a pagan Christianity, a pre-Christian Christianity prevailed.” — KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, p. 42.


Chartres, site of a magnificent cathedral, was a gnostic educational center in the Middle Ages. Steiner did not advocate returning to old forms of pagan worship, but — as in his reference to the Round Table — he tried to marry Christianity with myth and legend. Besides drawing on myths from other cultures, he advocated various European, “Christian” legends as a way to reconcile ancient beliefs with newer forms. So, while quoting from the Bible and offering gnostic interpretations of Biblical texts, Steiner gave great weight to such legends as the Arthurian knights and their quest for the Holy Grail.


“[N]owadays we can see all too clearly that Christianity needs for its future development to rediscover the ‘sacramental’ sense of nature. Many will otherwise find that they need to turn away from it back to ‘paganism’ or nature spirituality. That is not the way of the Grail, though. The Grail is the discovery of the inner way forward....” — Andrew J. Wellburn, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 7.


But the Grail is not a Biblical concept — indeed, in all likelihood, it is itself pagan.


“Grail — object of legendary quest for the knights of Arthurian romance. The term evidently denoted a wide-mouthed or shallow vessel ... The legend of the Grail possibly was inspired by classical and Celtic mythologies....” — "Grail." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 14 Feb. 2009.


Steiner took legend and myth for truth, setting them alongside the Bible and often giving them preference.


[36] OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, p. 272.


[37] Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER: An Introduction to His Spiritual World-View (Temple Lodge Publishing 2005), p. 24.


[38] Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.


Nathan was a Hebrew prophet. David and Solomon were kings of Israel. Zarathustra was the Persian prophet also known as Zoroaster.


[39] Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 133-136.


Buddha was Siddartha Gautama, a Nepalese prince who attained spiritual enlightenment. The astral body, according to Steiner, is the second of three invisible bodies that fully incarnated, true human beings possess. [See "Incarnation".]