Alice A. Bailey

Contrasting Views on Christianity, Racism,

Antisemitism, and Nationalism

by James Davis

12/17/2007

Note: see also the biography of Alice Bailey at: Citizendium

Contents

1. 1.0 Conflicting Views, Representations and Misrepresentations

2. 1.2 Contrasts with orthodox Christianity

3. 1.3 "Races"

4. 1.4 On the Jewish people

5. 1.5 Unity and divinity of nations and groups

6. 1.6 Human equality and religion

7. 1.7 References

 

Conflicting Views, Representations and Misrepresentations

Alice Bailey's spoke against orthodox Christianity, American isolationism, nationalism, Soviet totalitarianism, fascism, and Nazism. She also criticized Zionism and the Jewish religion and history.[Lucis] Her criticisms resulted in attacks by those who see passages in her writings as racist and anti-Semitic.

Internet searches shown extensive criticism of Bailey, particularly from those identified with Judiasm and various Christian churches. Numerous sources assert that her views as racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian. Many Christian sites claim she is the devil's disciple or even Satan incarnate himself. Most of this material has the character of emotionally charged attacks, and there is little that approaches the subject from a scholarly standpoint. It is common for critics to take passages out of context or even attribute to her the exact opposites of what she wrote. A dissertation by Isobel Wightman [Wightman, Isobel , The texts of Alice A. Bailey: an inquiry into the role of esotericism in transforming consciousness, University of Western Sydney, 2006] is one exception to this. While highly critical of Bailey, Wightman does attempt a scholarly assessment of her writings in a broader sense.

If reasoned and scholarly critiques of her writings are uncommon, scholarly defense of her statements on these issues are also scarce. The debate is more apt to center around partisan identifications by those with conflicting philosophies and religious persuasions. For example:

Monica Sjoo, an artist, psychic sensitive, radical feminist, and advocate of the Goddess movement, wrote in her book, New Age Channelings - Who or What is being Channeled?, of Bailey's "reactionary and racist influence on the whole New Age movement." [1]

In contrast, Trobe writes of:

"The importance of the goodwill and right human relations. Though Alice Bailey has been vilified by some Jews as anti-Semetic, such an attitude would clash completely with her belief that humanity is One, that we are all striving towards the Light, and that every soul on earth is free to ascend by its chosen means. All religious paths and impulses are respected within her cosmology." [2]

In a typical straw man argument approach, Dr. Victor Shnirelman, a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer, wrote about groups that "...take an extremely negative view of multi-culturalism, object to the mixture of kinds, [and] support isolationism and the prohibition of immigration." He attempted to associate Bailey with these positions as well as with the fascist writings of Julius Evola. He states that, "Racist and antisemitic trends are explicit, for example, in the occult teachings of Alice Bailey (founder of the New Age movement) and her followers, who wish to cleanse Christianity of its 'Jewish inheritance' and reject the 'Jewish Bible' as a prerequisite for entering the Age of Aquarius." [3]

In contrast to Shnirelman's assertions above, passages in Alice Bailey explicitly support internationalism, multi-culturalism and the mixing of cultures and races. [4] [5]Bailey's books do not contain the phrases, "Jewish inheritance," and "Jewish Bible," or use the word "cleanse" in relation to the Jews or Christianity. [2] Bailey did write of the out-of-date theologies of the world's religions and criticized the Jewish religion as a key part of that[6]She also spoke against fascism saying it must be "swept away." [7][8][9]

In another example, Rabbi Yonassan Gershom wrote that "her goal is nothing less than the destruction of Judaism itself." [10]But this misrepresents Bailey, for she wrote that there would be and should be a gradual dissolution of orthodox religions including Christianity and Judaism. [11]

Attacks by orthodox religious group are understandable, since Bailey wrote much that directly opposes and directly contradicts orthodox religious teachings, and people commonly "defend their own turf" from perceived threats. An examination of what Bailey wrote about Christianity and Judaism clearly shows the basis for this perception as well as a host of things that critics ignore when trying to make a case against her.

Contrasts with orthodox Christianity

Bailey predicted a return of "Christ" but her concept has little in common with that of the orthodox Christian churches. She saw Christ as essentially the energy of love and the "return" as the awakening of that energy in human consciousness. [12]She introduces the radical idea that the new Christ might be "no particular faith at all":

"The development of spiritual recognition is the great need today in preparation for His reappearance; no one knows in what nation He will come; He may appear as an Englishman, a Russian, a Negro, a Latin, a Turk, a Hindu, or any other nationality. Who can say which? He may be a Christian or a Hindu by faith, a Buddhist or of no particular faith at all; He will not come as the restorer of any of the ancient religions, including Christianity, but He will come to restore man's faith in the Father's love, in the fact of the livingness of the Christ and in the close, subjective and unbreakable relationship of all men everywhere." [13]

She states that no one group can claim him, and that the new age Christ belongs to whole world and not to Christians or any nation or group. She was highly critical of orthodox Christianity and stated that Church-based theology about Christ's return is false:

"He will not come to convert the 'heathen' world for, in the eyes of the Christ and of His true disciples, no such world exists and the so-called heathen have demonstrated historically less of the evil of vicious conflict than has the militant Christian world. The history of the Christian nations and of the Christian church has been one of an aggressive militancy - the last thing desired by the Christ when He sought to establish the church on earth." (Bailey, p 110)

H. P. Blavatsky, in which some of Bailey's thought has its roots, also criticized the Jews. [14] And like Bailey, she was attacked for it with the most radical churches condemning her as a satanic force. Her criticism of orthodox religion was severe:

"To make the point clear once for all: that which the clergy of every dogmatic religion -- pre-eminently the Christian -- points out as Satan, the enemy of God, is in reality, the highest divine Spirit -- (occult Wisdom on Earth) -- in its naturally antagonistic character to every worldly, evanescent illusion, dogmatic or ecclesiastical religions included. Thus, the Latin Church, intolerant, bigoted and cruel to all who do not choose to be its slaves; the Church which calls itself the bride of Christ, and the trustee at the same time of Peter, to whom the rebuke of the Master "get thee behind me Satan" was justly addressed; and again the Protestant Church which, while calling itself Christian, paradoxically replaces the New Dispensation by the old "Law of Moses" which Christ openly repudiated: both these Churches are fighting against divine Truth, when repudiating and slandering the Dragon of esoteric (because divine) Wisdom... they are moved by the same Spirit of dark fanaticism that moved the Pharisees to curse Jesus by saying to him 'Say we not well thou hast a devil?'" [15]

Like Blavatsky, Alice Bailey spoke out strongly against all forms of fanaticism and intolerance."[16] She saw this fanaticism in churches, in nationalism, and in competing esoteric schools. (Bailey pp. 15 & 453) [17] She associated this fanaticism with unintelligent devotion, with:

"Those who look back to the past, who hang on to the old ways, the ancient theologies, and the reactionary rejection methods of finding truth.. These are the followers of a Church and a government, who are distinguished by a pure devotion and love, but refuse recognition to the divine intelligence with which they are gifted. Their devotion, their love of God, their strict but misguided conscience, their intolerance mark them out as devotees, but they are blinded by their own devotion and their growth is limited by their fanaticism. They belong mostly to the older generation and the hope for them lies in their devotion and the fact that evolution itself will carry them forward." [18]

"Races"

For Bailey, the matter of prime importance was not race or religion but the evolution of consciousness that transcends these. In fact, the esoteric meaning of "race" in Bailey's writings is "consciousness:"

"There is no new race in process of appearing, from the territorial angle; there is only a general distribution of those persons who have what have been called the sixth root race characteristics. This state of consciousness will find its expression in people as far apart racially as the Japanese and the American or the Negro and the Russian." [19]

Bailey criticized many nations, groups and religions based on what she believed were violations of the spirit of unity and brotherhood. For example, while praising them in some respects, in the United States and France she saw political corruption. [20] [21]She regarded the talk about a free press as largely an illusory ideal and stated, "...particularly is it absent in the United States, where parties and publishers dictate newspaper policies." [22]] She asserted that the source of human problems is the spirit of separation that causes individuals and groups to set themselves apart from the rest of humanity:

"We could take the nations, one by one, and observe how this nationalistic, separative or isolationist spirit, emerging out of an historical past, out of racial complexes, out of territorial position, out of revolt and out of possession of material resources, has brought about the present world crisis and cleavage and this global clash of interests and ideals." (Bailey, p. 375)

On the Jewish people

Bailey criticized the Jews and spoke against Zionism, believing it to be, "contrary to the lasting good of mankind." (Bailey p. 680). At the same time she spoke out strongly against hatred of the Jews and believed in a future in which they would "fuse and blend with the rest of mankind." [23]In her autobiography Bailey stated that she was on Hitler's "blacklist," and she believed it was because of her defense of the Jews during her lectures throughout Europe.[24] Bailey also criticized the cruelty of the Gentile for his treatment of the Jews:

"God has made all men equal; the Jew is a man and a brother, and every right that the Gentile owns is his also, inalienably and intrinsically his. This the Gentile has forgotten and great is his responsibility for wrong doing and cruel action." (Bailey, p. 401)

Unity and divinity of nations and groups

Underlying Alice Bailey's writings are the central concepts of unity and divinity . [25] And with regard to races and religions she asserted that, "Every class of human beings is a group of brothers. Catholics, Jews, Gentiles, occidentals and Orientals are all the sons of God." She believed that an individual's primary allegiance is to humanity and not to any subgroup with it: "I call you to no organizational loyalties, but only to love your fellowmen, be they German, American, Jewish, British, French, Negro or Asiatic." [26]

Douglas Russell, who cites Alice Bailey, writes of the "one humanity" concept as as belonging to Psychosynthesis:

"The Universal Self is experienced as complete transcendence of separate individual or group identity. Its awareness is planetary consciousness and its will is the unfolding evolutionary pattern of humanity and all life on earth-the Universal Will. It has been described as union with cosmic forces, at-one-ment with a Divine Being, or as identification with the one Humanity as an organism within a living planetary entity." [27]

This philosophy derives from the influence of Alice Bailey as Dr. Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis, was closely associated with her:

"It should be noted that Assagioli was closely associated with Alice Bailey in the 1930s. He published early work in her magazine "The Beacon" and was for a time a trustee of the Lucis Trust, Bailey's umbrella organization after World War II." [28]

"Dr. Assagioli was as early as fifty years ago the Italian representative for the Arcane School and in the early 1930s helped Alice Bailey lead summer conferences in Ascona. More recently he was responsible for the founding of his own related organization, known in the United States as the Meditation Group for the New Age." This group has its headquarters in Ojai, California. The work it carries out is strongly rooted in one of Mrs. Bailey's books, Discipleship in the new Age. Assagioli wrote the pamphlets upon which the correspondence courses of the group--its main activity--are based." [29]

Human equality and religion

Bailey emphasized the equality of all men everywhere, and believed that national and religious affiliations are accidents of birth and they should see their group identifications as something enabling them to contribute to humanity as a whole:

"World democracy will take form when men everywhere are regarded in reality as equal; when boys and girls are taught that it does not matter whether a man is an Asiatic, an American, a European, British, a Jew or a Gentile but only that each has an historical background which enables him to contribute something to the good of the whole, that the major requirement is an attitude of goodwill and a constant effort to foster right human relations. World Unity will be a fact when the children of the world are taught that religious differences are largely a matter of birth; that if a man is born in Italy, the probability is that he will be a Roman Catholic; if he is born a Jew, he will follow the Jewish teaching; if born in Asia, he may be a Mohammedan, a Buddhist, or belong to one of the Hindu sects; if born in other countries, he may be a Protestant and so on."[30]

Ross describes her writings as emphasizing the "underlying unity of all forms of life," and the "essential oneness of all religions, of all departments of science, and of all the philosophies" [31]

She believed that all religions originate from the same spiritual source, and that humanity will eventually come to realize this. As they do so, she claimed that it will result in the emergence of a universal world religion.

Then there will be neither Christian nor heathen, neither Jew nor Gentile, but simply one great body of believers, gathered out of all the current religions. They will accept the same truths, not as theological concepts but as essential to spiritual living; they will stand together on the same platform of brotherhood and of human relations; they will recognize divine sonship and will seek unitedly to cooperate with the divine Plan, as it is revealed to them by the spiritual leaders of the race, and as it indicates to them the next step to be taken on the Path of Approach to God. Such a world religion is no idle dream but something which is definitely forming today." (Bailey, p 140)

"World Goodwill has also promoted the idea of a 'new group of world servers': that is, a group of all races, classes and creeds who 'serve the Plan, humanity, the Hierarchy and the Christ'" [32]

Campbell notes that the New Group of World Servers, was established for "...promotion of international understanding, economic sharing, and religious unity."[33]

References

1. Monica Sjoo in From the Flames - Radical Feminism with Spirit issue 22. Winter 1998/1999. Retrieved 2007-08-22.

2 Trobe, Kala, The Witch's Guide to Life, Llewellyn, 2003, 300

3. Shnirelman, Victor A. Russian Neo-pagan Myths and Antisemitism in Acta no. 13, Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism. The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 1998

4. Bailey, Alice A., The Destiny of the Nations, Lucis Trust, 1949, p 64 & 152.

5. Bailey, Alice A., From Bethlehem to Calvary, Lucis Trust, 1937, p 253

6. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust. 1957. p 544)

7. Bailey, Alice A. Problems of Humanity, Lucis Trust. 1947. p. 42

8. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust. 1957. p 126

9. Bailey, Alice A. Esoteric Healing. Lucis Trust. 1953 p 662

10. Gershom, Yonasan, Antisemitic Stereotypes in Alice Bailey's Writings 1997, revised 2005.

11. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust. 1957. p 545)

12. Bailey, Alice A. Esoteric Astrology, Lucis Trust. 1951. p. 471)

13. Bailey, Alice A. The Reappearance of the Christ, p 190)

14. H. P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol XIV 62, 112, 174

15. Blavatsky, H. P. Theosophy, Vol. 57, No. 6, April, 1969 Pages 174-181

16. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust. 1957. pp 17, 384)

17. Bailey, Alice A. Problems of Humanity, Lucis Trust. 1947. p. 120

18. Bailey, Alice A. A Treatise on White Magic, Lucis Trust. 1934. p. 328

19. Bailey, Alice A. The Rays and the Initiations, Lucis Trust. 19607. p. 593-594)

20. Bailey, Alice A. Esoteric Astrology. Lucis Trust. 1947 p 526

21. Bailey, Alice A. Problems of Humanity. Lucis Trust. 1947 p 16

22. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy . Lucis Trust. 1947 p 452

23. Bailey, Alice A. Esoteric Psychology I . Lucis Trust. 1936 p 401

24. Bailey, Alice A. The Unfinished Autobiography. Lucis Trust. 1951. p 119)

25. Bailey, Alice A. Esoteric Astrology, Lucis Trust. 1951. p 7)

26. Bailey, Alice A. The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust. 1957. p 208)

27. Russell, Douglas , M.S.W., " Psychosynthesis Digest Vol. I, No. 1, Fall/Winter 1981 Psychosynthesis in Western Psychology"

28. Roberts, Richard H., & Joanne Pearson, Geoffrey Samuel, Nature Religion Today: paganism in the modern world, p.44

29. Campbell, Bruce, F., Ancient Wisdom Revived, a History of the Theosophical Movement, Berkely, 1980, p. 155

30. Bailey, Alice A. Problems of Humanity, Lucis Trust. 1947. p 61)

31. Ross, Joseph E., Krotona of Old Hollywood, Vol. II Joseph Ross, 2004, p. 398

32. Sutcliffe, Steven J, Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices. Routledge, 2003, p 51

32. Campbell, Bruce, F., Ancient Wisdom Revived, a History of the Theosophical Movement, Berkely, 1980, p. 153