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Chapter 3 - The religious ideas of the Pharisees.
3,1. After these words of Raphael the Pharisees did not know so well what they had to do now.
3,2. But one of them said after awhile: “You know what we will do? The boy must have spoken correctly and truly, and therefore I am of the opinion that we must stay here until midnight when Lazarus can show us a room in which we can be alone without being disturbed so that we can discuss the matter about the Messiah accurately and well, and also still a few other things with our friend Lazarus.”
3,3. All of them agreed on that, and Lazarus guided them by way of another door into the house. There he showed them a large room and instructed immediately to set a table and serve bread, wine and other food in great quantity and also good lamps. All this was so pleasing to the Pharisees that one of them made the remark: ‘Yes, if this is the case, then we also can bear it until tomorrow and will leave our colleagues in the temple as they are. They nicely will have to wait until the morning to receive notice from us.”
3,4. All of them agreed on that, and an elder who was as highly ranked as a chief and who had a lot of experience in all kind of worldly wisdom said, when his tongue had been made loose by the wine: “Wherever a man is feeling good, he also must stay, and so we will stay here until the morning, and I gladly would like to speak with you, my dear colleagues, a few openhearted words.
3,5. It surely is funny what man is. What actually is man, the mortal god of this Earth who tills the ground with his intellect and with the might of his hands and who brings about great works to an harmonious existence? I tell you: man is nothing else than a very pitiful animal because he knows that he must and will die, while no animal seems to have any notion of it. That is why it can live with a very quiet mind until the moment of its death without ever having one thought that one day it has to die. Therefore, it would be better for man to cheer up a little his pitiful life now and then and to chase away for a few moments the dark thoughts about death.
3,6. The power, which man has called into existence, can according to my opinion never be wise and good, just like a man who creates the most ingenious works can never be called wise and good, for he destroys them afterwards when they have reached their highest completion and takes away entirely their existence, and immediately after that he makes the same piece of work again for the same purpose.
3,7. After all, concerning God as the all-creating power, one cannot imagine anything wise and good. Because if that power would be good and wise, then He also would have taken care of the survival of His most ingenious works, like we human beings are. But there is no question of it. When man at high age has reached a greater perfection in knowledge, thinking and acting, then he already starts to die. He becomes weaker and weaker, his vital strength is weakening every day, and this continues until he has blown out his last breath. What will happen with us after that, you all know, and it is not necessary to describe this further.
3,8. Although in our teaching about God we have the assurance that in material man there still lives a spiritual man who continues to exist after the falling away of the body. But what can man do with a teaching and the consequent faith if no irrefutable proof has been given to anybody about this?
3,9. How many exalted fathers, wise men and prophets did not exist before us and have lived according to the wisest laws. Undoubtedly they believed in a God, prayed to Him and loved and honored Him exceedingly and believed also firmly in an eternal life after the death of the body. But finally these great and wise heroes of faith still had to die, and nothing was left except their name and their deeds and teachings that are written in the Scripture. But where did their souls go?
3,10. In fact, which one of us has really ever seen or spoken to a soul who continued to exist somewhere? At most, in a dream or in a malicious fever heat. It is true that there are people who claim that they have spoken with souls of people who died, but these are people who are totally lacking the knowledge and a sense of judgment, and they often take pleasure in telling other people out of their living fantasy and imagination about supernatural things in order to give themselves by that a certain mystical appearance at which they are more attached than a magician to his pure profit.
3,11. One must also admit that from time to time there are people whom, in order to emphasize their statements and teachings are performing wonderful deeds, and by that they want to put their stamp of truth upon it, just like we are experiencing now with the truly remarkable prophet of Nazareth. Besides, He teaches the people very well and promises to everyone who believes in Him the eternal life of the soul.
3,12. Yes, all this is very nice and even good, because this is giving many people a certain reassurance and takes away from them the fright of death. But this was also done by the old prophets, and thousands of men have believed firmly and have even sealed their faith with martyrdom. However, time has snatched away those great prophets, together with their believers, and nothing else is left of them except their names and deeds that are written in the Scriptures and which we also have to believe without any further proof.
3,13. Why then is it that no soul who continues to live somewhere in the beyond comes to us, who would say to us for instance: ‘I am Elijah, Daniel or Isaiah who continues to live very happily in the beyond’? I say to you: just like the old prophets and also Moses have perished, so we also will perish, together with the so famous prophet who even seems to awaken the dead, and the future descendants will inherit from us and from Him precisely that which we have inherited from the old prophets. Even if faith will continue to exist perhaps for many centuries with many additions and falsifications, then the living true conviction will still be exactly the same as the one which we have now about the survival of the soul after the death of the body.
3,14. Although such a continuance of the soul after the bodily death would be something invaluably exalted, and a man would certainly do everything to assure himself completely of such a life if somehow he would have solid proofs of it. But this was always lacking, and therefore it is not surprising that the once so firm faith of the elders has been cooled off with us.
3,15. Who of the more civilized and experienced part of the people are actually still visiting the temple in full faith nowadays? The highly ranked people and wise men are only entering the temple because of the common people, and they pretend that their faith is firm like a rock, so that the people would think by themselves and say: ‘There must be some truth in it, for the highly ranked people, scientists and wise men who can know everything, are attaching much importance to it.’
3,16. Therefore, I truly am not an enemy of this famous Galilean because He makes the poor people again enthusiastic for a life of the soul after the death of the body and gives them good comfort. But I do not think it is right that at each opportunity He is indicating that we are the greatest imposters of the people. And as someone who is passing Himself off for a wise Man, He is not considering that basically He is doing the same as that of which He is accusing us of. If only He would tell the people the truth, just like I am doing now, namely as the old experience teaches us, then He probably would not have as many followers as He is having now.
3,17. This is my true belief and my honest confession before you my colleagues which however I only have spoken out between us, because I really know that you all are thinking exactly the same as I do. In the temple, in presence of the people and our many and very blind colleagues it is however necessary to speak differently. What do you think about this opinion?”
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