“And now, the Supreme, Unknown One, the Father of grace and mercy, and his celestial hierarchy are managed by the Church as though they were so many theatrical stars and supernumeraries under salary! Six centuries before the Christian era, Xenophanes had disposed of such anthropomorphism by an immortal satire, recorded and preserved by Clement of Alexandria.
“There is one God Supreme….Whose form is not like unto man’s, and as unlike his nature; But vain mortals imagine that gods like themselves are begotten with human sensations, and voice, and corporeal members; So if oxen or lions had hands and could work in man’s fashion, and trace out with chisel or brush their conception of Godhead, then would horses depict gods like horses, and oxen like oxen; Each kind the Divine with its own form and nature endowing.”
And hear Vyasa – the poet-pantheist of India, who, for all the scientists can prove, may have lived, as Jacolliot has it, some fifteen thousand years ago – discoursing on Maya, the illusions of the senses: “All religious dogmas only serve to obscure the intelligence of man….Worship of divinities, under the allegories of which, is hidden respect for natural laws, drives away truth to the profit of the basest superstitions”, (Vyasa Maya).
It was given to Christianity to paint us God Almighty after the model of the kabalistic abstraction of the “Ancient of Days”. From old frescos on cathedral ceilings, Catholic missals, and other icons and images, we now find him depicted by the poetic brush of Gustave Dore. The awful, unknown majesty of Him, whom no “heathen” dared to reproduce in concrete form, is figuring in our own century in Dore’s Illustrated Bible. Treading upon clouds that float in mid-air, darkness and chaos behind him and the world beneath his feet, a majestic old man stands, his left hand gathering his flowing robes about him, and his right hand raised in the gesture of command. He has spoken the Word, and from his towering person streams an effulgence of Light – the Shekinah.
As a poetic conception, the composition does honor to the artist, but does it honor God? Better, the chaos behind Him, than the figure itself; for there, at least, we have a solemn mystery. For our part, we prefer the silence of the ancient heathens. With such a gross, anthropomorphic, and, as we conceive, blasphemous representation of the First Cause, who can feel surprised at any iconographic extravagance in the representation of the Christian Christ, the apostle, and the putative Saints? With the Catholics, St. Peter becomes quite naturally the janitor of Heaven and sits at the door of the celestial kingdom – a ticket-taker to the Trinity!
In a religious disturbance which recently occurred in one of the Spanish-American provinces, there were found upon the bodies of some of the killed, passports signed by the Bishop of the Diocese and addressed to St. Peter, bidding him “admit the bearer as a true son of the Church.” It was subsequently ascertained that these unique documents were issued by the Catholic prelate just before his deluded parishioners went into the fight at the instigation of their priests.”
H. P. Blavatsky