Many persons who feel themselves attracted towards Theosophy, whose interest is aroused by its reasonableness and by the manner in which it accounts for many things which otherwise seem inexplicable, yet hesitate to take up its study more deeply, lest they should presently find it contradicting the faith in which they have been brought up – lest, as they often put it, it should take away from them their religion. How, if a religion be true, the study of another truth can take it away, is not clear; but, however illogical the fear may be, there is no doubt that it exists. It is nevertheless unwarranted, for Theosophy neither attacks nor opposes any form of religion; on the contrary, it explains and harmonizes all. It holds that all religions alike are attempts to state the same great underlying truths – differing in external form and in nomenclature, because they were delivered by different teachers, at different periods of the world’s history, and to widely different races of men; but always agreeing in fundamentals, and giving identical instruction upon every subject of real importance. We hold in Theosophy that this truth which lies at the back of all these faiths alike is itself within the reach of man, and indeed it is to that very truth that we give the name of Theosophy, or Divine Wisdom, and it is that which we are trying to study.
This, then, is the attitude of Theosophy towards all religions; it does not contradict them, but explains them. Whatever in any of them is unreasonable or obviously untrue it rejects as necessarily unworthy of the Deity and derogatory to Him; whatever is reasonable in each and all of them it takes up and emphasizes, and thus combines all into one harmonious whole. No man need fear that we shall attack his religion, but we may help him to understand it better than he did before. There is nothing in Theosophy which is in any way in opposition to true primitive Christianity, though it may not always be possible to agree with the interpretation put upon that truth by modern dogmatic theology, which is quite another matter.
Most people never apply their reason to their religious beliefs at all; they vaguely hope that it is all right somehow; indeed, many faithful souls consider it wrong to think critically upon any point of faith, for they suppose these things to be greater than human understanding. When people do begin to think, they invariably begin to doubt, because modern theology does not present its doctrines reasonably, and so they soon find that many points are irrational and incomprehensible. Too often they then feel that their whole basis of faith is undermined, and they proceed to doubt everything. To all such souls struggling for light I would recommend the study of Theosophy, for I am convinced that it will save them from the dark abysses of materialism by presenting truth to them in a new light, and giving back to them all that is most beautiful in their faith, but on a new and surer basis of reason and common-sense.
In order that it may be clear to you that there is in reality to opposition between Christianity and Theosophy, let me put before you the basic principles of the latter ; that you may not suppose that I am clothing them in an unusually Christian dress for the purposes of this lecture, I will quote them from a little book which I have recently written for beginners in this study. It is called An Outline of Theosophy, and in it I give three great basic truths, certain corollaries which follow from them, and then the results which in turn proceed from Theosophical belief.