Chapter 1 – Making Your Self the Master – Does Mankind Need a New Religion?

DOES MANKIND NEED A NEW RELIGION?

Harvey Hardman
Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.

“Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!
Then He would guide me aright.
He leaveth countless steps behind Him
Yet passeth out of sight.”

[11] The eternal quest of man is to find God. Religions change and evolve as man’s knowledge of the universe expands. When a religion fails to meet the human need; when the human mind outgrows any system of religious thought and practice, that religion begins to decline, and ultimately dies and is forgotten. Thousands of religions, cults, and sects, have thus come and gone in the course of human history, and doubtless other thousands before the dawn of history.

Wherever this has occurred, a new religion has sprung up to take the place of the old. And yet, something of the abandoned religion has been carried on into the new faith. So that an absolutely new and original religion is as impossible as a new science.

Modern science grew out of ancient magic and alchemy.

The Hebrew religion drew upon a body of laws and teachings that were very ancient when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. [12] The very name–Israel–is a compound of the names of ancient Egyptian gods. Christianity grew out of the religion of the Jews. Protestantism sprang from Roman Catholicism. Christian Science, to give a more modern instance, was born of Christianity.

The new religion which is now coming into the world is not and cannot be an original system of knowledge of God. It has its roots in the ancient faiths. It will grow into a distinct type of religious thought and practice, but some of the old terms and ideas will follow through. For the old faiths have in them certain truths, and all truth is universal, the property of any person or organized body of people who can perceive and use it. One fact is becoming increasingly evident: mighty forces are at work today to change man’s thought about God.

Millions of men and women, in this country and throughout the world, are awake to the need of a new religion. They are thinking as never before, and the tide of emotion in these inarticulate masses is rising upon the farthest shores of human life. Everyone who is at all sensitive to mass thought and feeling is aware of the sinister swish of this emtional sea. All are touched in some degree by its power.

[13] A new kind of hunger is gnawing at the vitals of mankind–spiritual hunger. Its effect upon mankind is more impressive than marching legions. Spiritual hunger works more slowly, yet its effects are far more powerful and significant than physical hunger. This new force is shaking the foundations, not only of religions but of all the institutions of modern civilization. And the essential cause back of these fateful changes is the spiritual hunger of humanity.

If the craving for spiritual food is denied, reckless disregard of human life and human rights will increase. The old religions have failed to satisfy the spiritual needs of the modern man. The old moral and ethical ideals are toppling because of the crumbling of the foundations of the ancient religions. Those foundations were constructed out of materials incapable of withstanding the impact of modern scientific thought.

The present civilization is doomed unless a new and vital spiritual force comes to replace the weakened and discredited religions that were originally imported into the Western World from the Orient. The most superficial survey of the history of the world, at this time of and immediately preceding the advent of [14] Jesus and the birth of Christianity, discloses the fact that humanity is in greater need of a Messiah today than then.

The hope, so long cherished by Christendom, that Jesus would come again in the clouds of glory to redeem mankind from its sorrows and miseries, is dead. Not one person in ten thousand has the slightest faith that such an event will ever occur. And even if it should, Jesus would find the same warring, greedy and selfish humanity to deal with that he faced nearly two thousand years ago. And the primary reason he would find an unchanged humanity is that the religions that were organized around his name and his message left out of their creeds and doctrines the spirit of his teachings.

The old forms and rituals, dogmas and doctrines, which he denounced and renounced, were incorporated in the new religion called Christianity. There was no definite break from tradition. New traditions were added; new rituals invented; a new type of priestly authority was formed. But the old spirit of intolerance and hatred, and the insolence of intrenched power, still ruled the spiritual lives of the people. That is why the old religion must go. That is why we need a new religion.

[15] “Man cannot live by bread alone.” He must have spiritual food or die. The great question now being asked by a spiritually hungry world is, “What is the bread of life?” We ask for food and are given the stones of tradition. We cry for justice, and are referred to outgrown and discredited dogmas and creeds. Our faith in the gods of tradition is broken. War, poverty, and injustice; crime, misery and cruelty, all stalk with unabated power through the world. It is apparent that the god of the old religion was either a myth or else he has failed and deserted us.

Our hearts crave for freedom and fulfillment of the larger possibilities of life. We feel deeply that the spiritual life should thrill us with its promise of the new heaven and the new earth. But we listen in vain for some word from the leadership of the old religions, that might light up our world; some instruction to help us to master the strange new environment which science and engineering has forced upon us.

Our feet are eager to follow a true spiritual light which shall lead us into a new world of love and brotherhood and cooperation and social justice. But the old religion provides us with neither light nor leadership; neither [16] spiritual food nor hope for freedom from the stark materialism which today rules the world. Is there no help for the widow’s son? No redemption for the spiritually and physically hungry millions of the earth?

Yes there is help. Mankind is seeing visions and dreaming dreams of a New Age. Implicit in these aspirations and hopes is the germ of the New Religion. The conception of that new Faith is already implanted in the human soul, and it is ready to come forth and satisfy the human need and the human longing.

Modern man, released by science from his prison of fear; no longer harassed by the spectre of hell; freed from the hypnotic spell of the belief in Satan, is moved by the impulse of a searching curiosity about religions. He is examining the foundations of the ancient faiths in the light of a new conception of the universe.

The myths and dogmas of the old theology no longer stir men to heated controversy. The ideas of a personal God and a personal Devil do not now arouse passionate hatreds and bitter antagonisms. A religious war is today unthinkable. What no one can prove about ancient revelations, and other old beliefs, no longer disturbs the mental atmosphere of the common people, and such dogmas have long been rejected [17] by the thinkers and lovers of truth. The time is ripe for the birth of a New Religion that will meet the spiritual and intellectual needs of the people of the New Age.

But traditions, especially those associated with religious beliefs, die slowly. It takes more than a pat on the wrist to break up the dynasty of religious authority, even when it is based upon such flimsy foundation as supernatural revelation that is supposed to have taken place thousands of years ago.

The only way to change human institutions is to change the human mind. This is being accomplished at the present time on a scale and with a rapidity never equalled in the annals of history. And the reason is to be found in the modern press, magazines, radio, and the wonderful facilities for communication and intercommunication provided by the postal service of the world. The World Soul is mightily at work. Humanity is awake and on the march to the new world of its dreams. No force shall be able to withstand the spiritual migration of these restless and heart-hungry millions.

To meet the spiritual needs of the soul of man, a new religion is not only necessary, but it is now in process of formation and articulation. [18] The Messiah of the modern world is not a single Personality. Thousands of men and women of vision are contributing to this great enterprise, which is undoubtedly the work of the Western World. The obscure symbolism of the Orient is unsuited to the Occidental mind. The New Religion, when formulated, will be based on Principle rather than the personality of any single Teacher.

With Principle for its basis, the New Religion will be scientific. It will teach men how to create a heaven here on earth. It will be a religion without fear, either of gods or devils. It will be a religion devoted to the ideals of social and industrial justice, rather than to “saving souls.” It will consist of a body of demonstrable mental and spiritual laws, based on Principle as the one Reality and Cause of all things.

The answer to the problems of human life and human destiny are here now, in the soul of man, and for the simple reason that the Universal Mind is in man. As all the religions of the past were evolved by the mind of man, so will it be with the New Religion. It is the task of man to search out the Wisdom of the Eternal, which is incarnate within his own being, [19] and express it in terms that fit his spiritual needs and aspirations.

The intelligence of man is sufficiently evolved to enable him to work out the problems involved in creating a new religion and a new and just social order.

The two major fields of human thought and interest–religion and science–should go hand in hand, religion becoming more scientific and science increasingly religious in its attitude toward the laws and forces of nature. It is the purpose of this book to show how this may be accomplished.

Even now, the greatest scientific minds in the world are looking beyond the frontiers of matter and energy, into the region of Life and Mind. The spiritual leaders who represent the organized religions show little or no evidence that they are interested in applying the principles of science and rational thought to religion. Nevertheless, there are many laymen and scientists giving thought and time to this great problem.

The late Charles P. Steinmetz, shortly before his death a few years ago, when interviewed with regard to what he considered would be the great discovery in the field [20] of human progress and scientific development, made the following statement:

“The greatest discovery and development of the coming years will be along spiritual lines. Here is a force which history clearly teaches has been the greatest power in the development of man and history, and yet we have been merely playing with it and have never seriously studied it as we have physical forces. Some day people will learn that material things do not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories over to the study of God and the spiritual forces. When this day comes, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has in the past four.”

The ideas and the instruction contained in this book are based upon the conception that mental and spiritual forces are governed by immutable laws, just as law governs natural forces and elements. When we understand these laws of the mental universe, we shall be able to use mental power scientifically, and with [23] the same degree of certainty that a physicist has in using the forces of nature.

Each chapter is a self-contained unit dealing with a special feature of the mental Law. There is, however, a continuity of theme, which embraces the principles, laws, and practices of the Divine or Spiritual Science.

The chapter on the Law of Subconscious Mind Power gives the key to this Science and to its practical use.

The chapters on Divine Science, and Mental Law and Personal Destiny, make clear the reasons for the individual’s responsibility for the use he makes of the impersonal law.

It is the hope of the author that those who have been confused by the multiplicity of systems and metaphysical terms that have emerged during the last twenty or thirty years, in which the metaphysical movement has gained such great momentum, will find in these lessons a unifying and convincing statement of the fundamental principles of the New Religion.

Chapter 2

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Making Your Self the Master
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