“Enq: How do you Theosophists regard the Christian duty of charity?
Theo: What charity do you mean? Charity of mind, or practical charity in the physical plane?
Enq: I mean practical charity, as your idea of Universal brotherhood would include, of course, charity of mind.
Theo: Then you have in your mind the practical carrying out of the commandments given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount?
Enq: Precisely so.
Theo: Then why call them “Christian”? Because, although your Saviour preached and practiced them, the last thing the Christians of today think of is to carry them out in their lives.
Enq: And yet many are those who pass their lives in dispensing charity?
Theo: Yes, out of the surplus of their great fortunes. But point out to me that Christian, among the most philanthropic, who would give to the shivering and starving thief, who would steal his coat, his cloak also; or offer his right cheek to him who smote him on the left, and never think of resenting it?
Enq: Ah, but you must remember that these precepts have not to be taken literally. Times and circumstances have changed since Christ’s day. Moreover, He spoke in Parables.
Theo: Then why don’t your Churches teach the doctrine of damnation and hell-fire is to be understood as a parable too?
Why do some of your most popular preachers, while virtually allowing these “parables” to be understood as you take them, insist on the literal meaning of the fires of Hell and the physical tortures of an “Abestos-like” soul?
If one is a “parable”, then the other is. If Hell-fire is literal truth, then Christ’s commandments in the Sermon on the Mount have to be obeyed to the very letter.
And I tell you that many who do not believe in the Divinity of Christ – like Count Leo Tolstoi and more than one Theosophist – do carry out these noble, because universal, precepts literally; and many more good men and women would do so, were they not more than certain that such a walk in life would very probably land them in a lunatic asylum – so Christian are your laws!”
H. P. Blavatsky