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Anthroposophy is a philosophy that subverts Christianity with occult beliefs and is a contributive factor to the rise of New Age heresies.
When he was in his late thirties, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), the founder of Anthroposophy (anthropos = man; sophy = wisdom), received a revelation of the incarnation of the divine being known as the Christ. Steiner said that sometime in the twentieth century humankind would begin to enter the “fullness of time” in which the Christ principle, cosmic consciousness, might once again become manifest.
Steiner defined “Christ consciousness” as a transformative energy that greatly transcends orthodox Christianity. In Steiner’s view, the master Jesus became “christed” and thereby was able to present humankind with a dramatic example of what it means to achieve a complete activation of the spiritual seed within all human souls. The human intellect, Steiner insisted, can be trained to rise above material concerns and to perceive a greater spiritual reality. Human consciousness has the ability to activate the seed that the great Spirit Beings have implanted within their human offspring. When human consciousness rises to the spiritual level where it can experience the eternal element that is limited by neither birth nor death, then it can comprehend its own eternality and its ability to be born again in subsequent existences.
Steiner was born at Krajevic, Austria-Hungary (now Yugoslavia), on February 27, 1861. Although he experienced encounters with the mystical and the unknown as a young child and was introduced to the occult by an adept he would refer to only as the “Master,” Steiner’s early academic accomplishments were in the scientific fields. His father wanted him to become a railway engineer, a goal that led Rudolf into a study of mathematics, which seemed only to whet his appetite for the material sciences. He went on to medicine, chemistry, and physics—as well as agriculture, architecture, art, drama, literature, and philosophy. Fascinated by the works of the famed German writer, philosopher, and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Steiner began the extensive task of editing Goethe’s scientific papers, and from 1889 to 1896 he worked on this project. It was also during this period that Steiner wrote his own highly acclaimed Philosophy of Freedom.
Steiner claimed to be endowed with the ability to read the “Akashic Records” and, from them, envision the true history of human evolution. He set forth the hypothesis that the people of our prehistory, the Atlanteans, were largely guided and directed by a higher order of beings who interacted and communicated with certain humans—the smartest, the strongest, the most intellectually flexible. Eventually these select humans produced what might be called demigods, semidivine human beings who, in turn, could relay instructions from higher intelligences. In effect, Steiner may have presented another version of the children of human mothers and the “sons of God” referred to in the book of Genesis, the hybrids that the ancient Hebrews named Nephilim, which does, in fact, mean demigods, men of “great renown.”
Steiner went on to speculate that within the larger evolving human race were the descendants of those divine-human hybrid beings, men and women who are animated by higher ideals, who regard themselves as children of a divine, universal power. He believed that what he termed the emerging “Sixth Post-Atlantean Race” would include children of the divine universal power who, having the “seed” within them, would be able to initiate those members of humankind who have sufficiently developed their faculty of thought to allow them to unite with the divine. People so initiated will be able to receive revelations and perform what others will consider miracles, and will go on to become the mediators between humankind and the higher intelligences.
At the turn of the century Steiner found his lectures well received by those in the audience who were members of the Theosophical Society, so he began to study their philosophy. In 1902 he became the general secretary of the German Section of the society, but he eventually grew uncomfortable with what he perceived as a lack of enthusiasm about the place of Jesus and “Christ consciousness” in the society’s overall scheme of spiritual evolution. Although he accepted many of their teachings, he came to believe that Helena P. Blavatsky and other high-ranking Theosophists were distorting many of the Eastern doctrines that they claimed to espouse.
In 1913 Steiner made a formal break with the Theosophical Society and set about forming his own group, Anthroposophy. In 1914 he married Marie von Sievers, an actress who had been secretary of the German Section of the Theosophical Society. Together they established a school for esoteric research near Basel, Switzerland, and developed new approaches to the teaching of speech and drama, which led to “eurythmy,” an art of movement. Later Steiner originated the Waldorf School Movement, an innovative educational system that still maintains eighty schools in Europe and the United States. Rudolf Steiner died on March 30, 1925, at Dornach, Switzerland.
a mystical doctrine about man that includes a method for self-improvement and development of man’s assumed occult faculties for spiritual dominion over nature—a system of psychosomatic exercises, a special pedagogical method, and so forth.
Anthroposophy sprang from theosophy. Its founder was the German mystic R. Steiner (1861–1925), who in 1913 established the Anthroposophical Society in Dornach, Switzerland. He expounded the fundamentals of anthroposophy in Occult Science (1910) and Anthroposophy (1924). In the spirit of pantheism, anthroposophy holds that God is dispersed throughout nature and that on the earth he is, so to speak, reborn in man. From such a point of view, anthroposophy interprets the myths and beliefs of all periods and peoples (R. Steiner’s Ancient Mysteries and Christianity, 1910). Sociopolitical contents of anthroposophy boil down to a utopia based upon the isolation of three spheres of social life: the state, whose only function is to protect groups of citizens from mutual enslavement (the sphere of freedom); an independent judicial system (the sphere of equality); and the economy, based upon the principle of free cooperation (the sphere of brotherhood).
Anthroposophy influenced certain representatives of art—the Russian poet Andrei Belyi, the German poet C. Morgenstern, the artist V. V. Kandinskii, and the German conductor B. Walter. Anthroposophy has spread to certain countries of Western Europe and to the USA, sometimes as a practical pedagogical method (in institutes, schools, and even kindergartens). Anthroposophy marks the crisis of traditional religions, which it is trying to replace, in its eclectic combination of modernized ideas of Christian mysticism with the accent on man’s natural potential.