“If instead of religion in general we take Christianity, then again there exists a
Christianity number one, that is to say, paganism in the guise of Christianity.
Christianity number two is an emotional religion, sometimes very pure but without
force, sometimes full of bloodshed and horror leading to the Inquisition, to religious
wars. Christianity number three, instances of which are afforded by various forms of
Protestantism, is based upon dialectic, argument, theories, and so forth. Then there is
Christianity number four, of which men number one, number two, and number three
have no conception whatever.
“In actual fact Christianity number one, number two, and number three is simply
external imitation. Only man number four strives to be a Christian and only man
number five can actually be a Christian. For to be a Christian means to have the being
of a Christian, that is, to live in accordance with Christ’s precepts.
“Man number one, number two, and number three cannot live in accordance with
Christ’s precepts because with them everything ‘happens.’ Today it is one thing and
tomorrow it is quite another thing. Today they are ready to give away their last shirt
and tomorrow to tear a man to pieces because he refuses to give up his shirt to them.
They are swayed by every chance event. They are not masters of themselves and
therefore they cannot decide to be Christians and really be Christians.
“Science, philosophy, and all manifestations of man’s life and activity can be
divided in exactly the same way into seven categories. But the ordinary language in
which people speak is very far from any such divisions, and this is why it is so
difficult for people to understand one another.” (ISOM p.81 in pdf”
The Institute (GIG for HDM) can give very little. The program of the Institute, the power of the Institute, the aim of the Institute, the possibilities of the Institute can be expressed in few words: the
Institute can help one to be able to be a Christian. Simple!
That is all! It can do so only if a man has this desire, and a
man will have this desire only if he has a place where constant
desire is present. Before being able, one must wish.
Thus there are three periods: to wish, to be able, and to be.
The Institute is the means. Outside the Institute it is possible to wish and to be; but here, to be able.
The majority of those present here call themselves Christians. Practically all are Christians in quotation marks. Let us examine this question like grown-up men.
—Dr. X., are you a Christian? What do you think, should one love one’s neighbor or hate him? Who can love like a Christian?
It follows that to be a Christian is impossible. Christianity includes many things; we have taken only one of them,
to serve as an example.
Can you love or hate someone to order?
Yet Christianity says precisely this, to love all men. But this is impossible. At the same time it is quite true that it is necessary to love.
First one must be able, only then can one love.
Unfortunately, with time, modern Christians have adopted the
second half, to love, and lost view of the first, the religion
which should have preceded it.
It would be very silly for God to demand from man what he
Half of the world is Christian, the other half has other religions. For me, a sensible man, this makes no difference; they
are the same as the Christian. Therefore it is possible to say
that the whole world is Christian, the difference is only in name. And it has been Christian not only for one year but for thousands of years. There were Christians long before the advent of Christianity. So common sense says to me:
“For so many years men have been Christians—how can they be so foolish as to demand the impossible?”
But it is not like that. Things have not always been as they
are now. Only recently have people forgotten the first half,
and because of that have lost the capacity for being able. And
so it became indeed impossible.
Let every one ask himself, simply and openly, whether he
can love all men. If he has had a cup of coffee, he loves; if not,
he does not love. How can that be called Christianity?
In the past not all men were called Christians. Some members of the same family were called Christians, others pre-Christians, still others were called non-Christians. So in one
and the same family there could be the first, the second and
the third. But now all call themselves Christians. It is naive,
dishonest, unwise and despicable to wear this name without
A Christian is a man who is able to fulfill the Commandments.
A man who is able to do all that is demanded of a Christian,
both with his mind and his essence, is called a Christian without quotation marks. A man who, in his mind, wishes to do all
that is demanded of a Christian, but can do so only with his
mind and not with his essence, is called pre-Christian. And a
man who can do nothing, even with his mind, is called a non-Christian.
Try to understand what I wish to convey by all this. Let
your understanding be deeper and broader.
(VRW page 120 pdf, 153 the book)
Question: Was Christ a teacher with a school preparation, or
was he an accidental genius?
Answer: Without knowledge he could not have been what he
was, nor could he have done what he did. It is known that
where he was there was knowledge.
Views from the Real World G.I.Gurdjieff page 72
Question: Did Christ teach dances?
Answer: I was not there to see. It is necessary to distinguish
between dances and gymnastics—they are different things. We
do not know whether his disciples danced, but we do know
that where Christ got his training they certainly taught “sacred gymnastics.”
Question: Is there any value in Catholic ceremonies and
Answer: I have not studied Catholic ritual, but I know the
rituals of the Greek Church well, and there, underlying the
form and ceremony, there is real meaning. Every ceremony, if
it continues to be practiced without change, has value. Ritual
is like ancient dances which were guidebooks where truth was
written down. But to understand one must have a key.
Old country dances also have meaning—some even contain
such things as recipes for making jam.
A ceremony is a book in which much is written. Anyone
who understands can read it. In one ceremony more is contained than in a hundred books. Usually everything changes,
but customs and ceremonies can remain unchanged.
Views from the Real World G.I.Gurdjieff page 72