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The Great Awakenings
The Essence of Contemporary American Religion
By Shlomo Phillips © 1989
(most recent update March 05, 2015)
Father Coughlin, Hitler, and the Return of the Occult
During the Third Great Awakening people were witnessing the dawn of the modern Secular State. Those who warned that the Humanist dream was in reality a nightmare of epic proportions that was being unleased on the generally gullible public, were quickly dismissed as fanatics, paranoids, or lunatics. Among these "lunatics" was the ever controversial Father Coughlin (featured to the right). True religious fanatics like talk radio star Catholic Father Coughlin (October 25, 1891 - October 27, 1979) would soon be given a bully pulpit from which to nearly lead the US into embracing the diverse philosophies of Adolf Hitler! You can hear some his radio broadcasts here. One thing you quickly realize is easy a gifted speaker can make insanity sound sane.
It was now becoming clear to most thinking people that world events were being controlled by people unseen. For the Christian Fundamentalists the developing events screamed of the coming Anti-Christ. For the Jews it should have been a foreboding warning of the dark days to come. For many it was. Many Jews began heading to Israel. But far too many said "It can't happen here" and remained loyal to the "Fatherland" until it was too late. Many Jews in the Diaspora today are making the same mistake."Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people" -- Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858 - January 6, 1919 - Source.Never forget that Fundamentalism has its uses. It can both whip people into a frenzy for specific political purposes and at the same time discredit faith completely by its inevitable abuses and human failings. This growing anti-spiritual paradigm was threatening to replace all others as people came to believe that truth must be based on objective, scientifically provable facts and crowned with a Scientific stamp of approval. The human spirit was critically ill.
Das Aufklarung was back with a vengeance! The new religious expressions during this non-awakening period were in one way or another all reacting to the secularization of the nation and the growth of cold logic and reason. Each weak religious group claimed in its own way that only through its revealed doctrines could the Secular dragon be slain (obvious references to Revelation chapter 12). Traditional American religion was crumbling before the alter of Secular Humanism. It was quickly losing members to the new religious innovations and the social secularism of the day.
There has never been a time when spiritual development did not occur, however during the Three Great Awakenings (as during the Age of Enlightenment) the degree of these developments ramped up. From 1914 until the turbulent 1960's many spiritually and religiously significant events occurred of course, but most of these were within movements born during the earlier Awakenings, like the Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and so on. Many of the sects born during the Awakenings still exist today. During the years following the Third Great Awakening some sects expanded while others failed. Most lost their reform fire and became new hierarchies without much impact. Some new religious expressions also came into being during this period. As stated a few times, we are looking at general trends here and there are often overlaps.
For instance in the 1930's the I Am Movement presented a unique recasting of Madam Blavatsky's Theosophy and had profound influence. This was the original Ascended Masters sect founded by Guy and Edna Ballard (1878-1939/1886-1971) in Chicago. This sect spawned much of the current New Age Movement, including Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant. The I Am Movement launched a still developing paradigm that impacted much of what followed among the neo-Occultic and New Age sects, including the Nazis. Its impact far exceeded its membership rosters.
Mainline Protestant revivalist Billy Graham (born November 7, 1918) was all but anointed Dwight L. Moody's spiritual heir while the aging Billy Sunday (November 19, 1862 - November 6, 1935) was hailed as a virtual national prophet. Protestant Christianity continued to hold its own during this period.
Despite the revivals and new religious flavors of these post war years, there was not the massive spiritual interest and awakenings seen previously. Most people who study these things view these as independent religious developments rather than part of a renewed spiritual awakening. Indeed what took place during the years Interjacent of 1914 and the 1960's could arguably be considered a reversed Awakening (the First Great Sleeping). Billy Graham and others were admirably seeking to awaken the public to spiritual realities, but for the most part the general public remained uninterested. The numerous Billy Graham Crusades attracted millions of attendees but when they ended the audiences remained largely untouched spiritually. They gradually became more like New York stage productions than religious meetings. Dr. Graham's unfortunate foray into Republican politics later on doubtless diminished his reputation and how his impressive accomplishments will be remembered. At the time I writing this he is still alive and 96 years old.
Madame Blavatsky and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was a lapsed Roman Catholic. Like others of his generation young Adolf felt the religion of his youth was insufficient and so he searched for truth elsewhere. He was especially drawn to Germanic Paganism and Theosophy. Of Theosophy we read:"One of the most hidden secrets involves the so-called fall of Angels. Satan and his rebellious host will thus prove to have become the direct Saviours and Creators of divine man. Thus Satan, once he ceases to be viewed in the superstitious spirit of the church, grows into the grandiose image. It is Satan who is the God of our planet and the only God."Hitler's fascination, appreciation and knowledge of Aryan culture (i.e. Indo-Himalayan Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shamanism), was based largely on the published research and conclusions of Madame Helena Petrova Blavatsky (HPB) and her Aryan Theosophical Society and Press (HTR) as we discussed before. From her (and her student Dietrich Eckart), Hitler adopted the Hindu swastika and other symbols used by the Reich and engaged in diverse rituals that aimed to make him an invincible god.
- H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine See pages 215, 216, 220, 245, 255
The ancient Vedic emblem of Aryan nobility and blessing took on a very different meaning under the Occult Humanism of Hitler. He blended his Nordic Pagan views and Theosophy's Secret Doctrine with his German Christian hatred of all things Jewish. Its a generally known fact that Hitler deeply admired Martin Luther's well-known anti-Semitism and the Catholic Passion Plays that depicted the Jews as an evil to be eradicated. Hitler brought these views to their next logical step, the Shoah or Holocaust.
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (January 13, 1866 - October 29, 1949) and his fascinating views aside, stark materialism has never been sufficient to satisfy our inner needs. I submit it never will be. Despite this Western society, with few exceptions, has devoted itself to scientific theories and cut itself off from the spiritual realities. It has chosen to sneer contemptuously at belief in God despite the fact that it was these beliefs that established it. While the Occult remains more popular today that most imagine, the main religion of America is the Consumerism directed by the principles of Secular Humanism.
While many people continued in their religious beliefs and practices, during the period following the Second World War the scientific community was transformed into the nation's official priesthood by the media fed masses who consider them healers, teachers and saviors. The national religion today is clearly Secular Humanism. It tenets and beliefs guide most Americans as Christianity once did. During this period Christianity ceased to be the world's largest and most influential religion (when Catholicism and Protestantism are viewed as separate religions). It has been replaced by Islam. Traditional religious faith now appears as a beaver's dam before a billowing typhoon. We can admire its tenacity but the coming storm appears unstoppable. Christianity seems like to be going the way of Zoroastrians and other once great religions.
We will consider what some view as a Fourth Great Awakening as we continue.
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