WAS HE CHRISTIAN?
Steiner’s Gnostic Heresies
When, on rare occasions, supporters of Waldorf education openly admit to the schools’ spiritualistic purposes, they attempt to portray Rudolf Steiner’s belief system as essentially Christian. But the "Christian" impulse underlying Waldorf schools is deeply unorthodox. Consider the following statement by Steiner: “Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay.”  Steiner affirms the great significance of Christ, yet he depicts Christ as a pagan god, the god of the Sun. [See "Sun God".] Steiner's gnostic vision strays far from the Bible and mainstream Christian teachings, incorporating such doctrines as reincarnation and karma. The creed promulgated by Steiner incorporates large swaths of pagan belief as well as teachings adapted from Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and other religions. As a result, Steiner's message is incompatible with the doctrines of all large, established Christian denominations. 
Let’s consider how closely Steiner’s teachings conform to those of Jesus Christ. Here is a passage from the New Testament: "And behold, a man came up to him, saying, 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?' And he said to him, 'Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.' He said to him, 'Which ones?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” 
Compare that with Steiner’s “Christian” attitude: “Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties [i.e., the 1890s] without an I [i.e., spiritual selfhood], that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... They are human beings only in regard to their form ... Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts ... [They] are demons in human form.” 
Imagine, indeed. Steiner's statement is virtually the antithesis of Jesus's directive to love your neighbor as yourself. While Steiner professed Christian virtues, he was also prepared to brand large numbers of people as subhuman. Such individuals, he said, are supernumerary — they form an unneeded, excess population. “[I]n our time certain supernumerary people are appearing who have no 'I' [i.e., no true human spirituality] and are therefore not human beings in the full sense of the word."  We may charitably seek to redeem subhumans, but we cannot love them as ourselves — they are fundamentally different from ourselves, Steiner taught.
A useful guide in considering the true import of Christ’s ministry is BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: CHRIST’S TEACHINGS ABOUT LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS, gathered and introduced by Wendell Berry.  In his introduction, Berry writes: “Christ told us how to survive when He answered the question, Who is my neighbor? In the tenth chapter of Luke He tells the story of a Samaritan who cared for a Jew who had been badly wounded by thieves. As we know from the preceding chapter, in which the Disciples suggest in effect the firebombing of a Samaritan village, the Samaritans and the Jews were enemies. To modernize the story, then, and so to understand Christ’s answer, we may substitute any other pair of enemies: fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli, captor and prisoner. The answer: Your neighbor is any sufferer who needs your help.” 
Christ’s message was one of radical love: love extended to everyone. He saw the humanity in everyone. He never conceived of “people who are not human beings,” people who stand outside the circle of humanity. Steiner often asserted the importance of love, yet his preachments take us away from, not toward, the core of Christ’s message. 
Steiner sometimes differentiated his body of teachings, Anthroposophy, from Christianity. On other occasions, he suggested that his teachings represent "true" Christianity. Thus, for instance, he produced a new, "corrected" holy text, a series of lectures published by his followers as the FIFTH GOSPEL. In these lectures, Steiner gave a revised account of Jesus's life and spiritual guidance; in essence, he claimed to correct the four gospels of the New Testaments.  He learned the hidden truths about Christ, he claimed, through the use of clairvoyance: He consulted the Akashic Record, a celestial storehouse of knowledge written on ether or starlight. [See "Akasha".] Steiner's claims and the resulting tenets of Anthroposophy are largely irreconcilable with Christian religious doctrine and practice. We have already spoken of the Anthroposophical belief in subhumans. Consider a related belief: the existence of inferior races. Steiner taught that the peoples of the Earth span a spectrum of evolutionary levels. The most highly evolved are white Europeans; the least evolved are the subhumans. Between these extremes are races of varying levels. [See "Steiner's Racism".] Fortunately, he said, the lower races tend to die out — as humanity evolves, more and more souls become qualified for incarnation in higher racial forms, while fewer and fewer souls populate the inferior races. “[T]he lower races had fewer and fewer descendants, while the higher races had more and more.” 
Many of Steiner's teachings must repel people of good will, whatever their religious views. But for Christians in particular, these teachings should be especially problematic. Indeed, from an orthodox perspective, much of what Steiner taught must be deemed heretical. In discussing mankind's ultimate evolution, for instance, Steiner asserts “[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’”  The notion that we might, in any sense, become God the Father must strike most Christians as sacrilege. But Steiner was quite prepared to go his own way, insisting on the primacy of his personal revelation. Note how, in this instance, he explicitly differentiated his teachings from those of Christianity (“what is called in Christianity...”). Only his own teachings, Steiner claimed, represent the truth about Christ.
Perhaps the most extraordinary of Steiner's heresies concerns the identity of Christ. As we have already seen, Steiner said that Christ is the Sun God. Anthroposophy is a polytheistic faith; the universe, as described by Steiner, is vibrant with a multitude of gods. [See "Polytheism".] In a somewhat nebulous sense, Steiner taught, the Godhead presides above the universe. But the Godhead is not, in any clear manner, the monotheistic God worshipped by Christians. According to Steiner, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost may be understood to be three aspects of a single divine essence; but they are also three separate gods presiding over three separate celestial spheres or periods. “The highest Ruler of Saturn...appears to us as the Father God, and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth [i.e., Old Moon: a previous stage of evolution] appears to us as the Holy Spirit....” 
Narrowing our focus for a moment, let's consider a more particular heresy. Steiner recited the Lord’s Prayer each day. However, the versions of the prayer he used are not those found in the Bible. (Matthew 6:9-13 gives the version usually recited in churches; Luke 11:2-4 is essentially the same, but shorter, omitting the final line “For Thine is...”.) Steiner did not hesitate to rewrite Scripture. Instead of beginning with the words, “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” Steiner often recited, “Father, you who were, are, and will be in our innermost being! May your being be glorified and praised in us in all things.” And instead of ending with the words recorded in Matthew, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever”, Steiner recited “May your power and glory work with us in all the cycles of time.” 
Later in his life, Steiner shifted to a slightly different revision of the Lord's Prayer, which he reportedly recited so loudly that "people passing by outside his studio heard him."  Both versions of the prayer used by Steiner locate God the Father at least partially within ourselves, and both focus on the "cycles of time." The latter is a reference to evolution — a concept that may not be absolutely incompatible with Biblical teachings, but that is difficult to square with the Bible. For fundamentalist Christians, evolution is an abhorrent concept. They believe that God created each species precisely as He meant it to be, and no subsequent development — changing one species into another — has occurred. In Anthroposophy, however, evolution is a central tenet. Steiner taught that multitudinous gods have concerned themselves with the process of evolution, guiding humans, animals, stars, and planets from one stage to another. Indeed, he taught, the gods themselves have evolved. [See "Evolution, Anyone?"]
Steiner's polytheism is evident in yet a third alternate version of the Lord's Prayer, the version that he said underlies the others. Steiner taught that the Lord's Prayer (or the "Our Father") is based on a "cosmic Our Father" that Jesus learned from pagans to whom he turned for spiritual instruction. "What he heard was a kind of cosmic Our Father which says what the inner destiny [i.e., karma] of man must be ... It was later reversed to become the earthly Our Father."  Steiner gives the cosmic prayer thus:
The evils hold sway.
Witness of egoity freeing itself.
Selfhood guilt through others incurred,
experienced in the daily bread,
wherein the will of the heavens does not rule,
because man separated himself from your realm,
and forgot your names,
you Fathers in the heavens. 
The "cosmic Our Father" is, as Steiner indicated, a reverse image of the "earthly Our Father"; it runs backward (beginning with "Amen") and it addresses multiple gods ("you Fathers in the heavens"), not the One God of Christianity ("Our Father, which art in Heaven"). Steiner gave this account of the cosmic prayer: "Those were approximately the words Jesus of Nazareth heard in pagan lands — the secret of the earthly human being as it was presented in ancient sacred teachings. They hold deep secrets of human evolution." 
Steiner’s cosmology is extraordinary. The universe Steiner described bears little relationship to either the universe of science or the universe of the Bible. The consequences for our understanding of Christ are profound.
Steiner taught that the Sun is (or was) the physical representation of Christ’s physical presence: “It is...important that the deeds of Christ Jesus are always seen in relation to the physical sun, which is the external expression of the spiritual world that is received at the point where Christ’s physical body is walking around. When Christ Jesus heals, for instance, it is the sun force that heals. However, the sun must be in the right place in the heavens: ‘That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.’ It is important to indicate that this healing power can flow down only when the external sun has set but still works spiritually.” 
The Moon, according to Steiner, is the residence of Jehovah (otherwise known as Jahveh or Yahweh): “You know that the Old Testament peoples honored Yahweh. This devotion was aimed at a real being. And this being has a connection with what reveals itself in the physical world as the Moon. Of course it is only an imagistic way of talking, but it does have a reality too, if we say that Yahweh resides on the Moon. Everything connected with Yahweh is connected to the Moon.” 
To make sense of this, you need to understand that Steiner taught that Jehovah is the god of the Jews but not the one true God of all creation. According to Steiner, the monotheism exemplified by Judaism is false. “Monotheism...can only represent an ultimate ideal; it could never lead to a real understanding of the world. ”  Thus, the god of the Jews is just one of many gods; in particular, he is a rather lowly god who reigned over his people from the Moon: “From the Moon, Jahveh reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people ... [O]nly when man views the universe in this way can he have any true conception of the function of the Moon.” 
Another significant fact about the solar system, in Steiner's account, is that humans moved to various planets long ago: “[D]uring the Lemurian epoch of earth-evolution [i.e., long ago] only very few human beings had outlasted, on the earth itself, the happenings of this evolution [i.e., only a minority survived on the Earth itself] ... [T]he majority of souls withdrew from the earth to other planets, continuing their life on Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and so forth.” 
“Human” is a tricky term, as used by Steiner. As we have seen, Steiner taught that some people are not really human; some beings who seem to be human are actually demons in disguise. “[A] number of people are going around who...have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.”  On the other hand, some beings who were once human have moved on: “[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon ... This is only one of the 'cities' in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many....”  To be "human," in Steiner's teachings, means standing at a certain evolutionary level. Anyone below this level is subhuman; anyone above it is superhuman. [See "Supermen".]
One highly advanced individual who moved from the Earth to another planet is Buddha: “But where is the actual Buddha, the one who lived as Gautama [Buddha's given name]? He became for Mars what Christ has become for the earth.”  “The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars. Until then Mars had been the chosen center of forces designated by the Greeks as fearfully warlike ... The Buddha Mystery [i.e., the hidden meaning of Buddha's ministry] on Mars did not take the same course as the Christ Mystery on earth, but Buddha, the Prince of Peace, who, during his last earthly life had spread peace and love wherever he went, was transferred to the belligerent realm of Mars. The fact that a being who is fully permeated by forces of peace and love was transferred to a realm of strife and disharmony may in a sense be regarded as a crucifixion.” 
This passage leads us to the core of Steiner’s heresies. He considered the “Christ-event” — that is, Christ's incarnation — a hugely important occurrence in universal history.  Steiner taught that the Christ-event introduced the “Christ impulse” into human affairs. Through this impulse, we can emulate Christ and evolve toward spiritual perfection. Christ was preceded by other spiritual mentors, such as Buddha, and their work can be compared to His. But they represented prior evolutionary stages — He represents the ultimate stage, a stage that is still very far from completion. We will fulfill the Christ impulse only in the extremely distant future, when we ourselves become gods. 
Note how little of this resembles orthodox Christianity, which is based on belief in Christ as one of three Persons of God.  Steiner rejected Christian belief — he sought hidden knowledge of the spiritual realm, secret knowledge, “mystery” knowledge. It is in precisely this way that his religious teachings are gnostic: They aim at the acquisition of occult spiritual knowledge.  According to Steiner, acquiring such knowledge enables us to achieve salvation through our own efforts — a basic misconception according to orthodox Christianity, which teaches that salvation is provided by the Savior, who did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. 
A set of doctrines that entails people who are not human, spiritual evolution, planetary migrations, reincarnation, a Buddha crucifixion on Mars, people becoming God the Father, and salvation through the acquisition of secret knowledge — this is not Christianity as most Christians, and most Christian churches, understand the term. It is a set of gnostic heresies.
Anyone who feels drawn to the spirituality so evident in Waldorf schools should clearly understand the focus of that spirituality. Christians in particular should realize what Rudolf Steiner's followers believe. They revere Christ, yes. But they think Christ’s real identity is something you won’t hear mentioned in many churches. Christ was the highest of the gods who live on the Sun. “[A]t a certain point in the earth’s evolution, a sublime Sun being, the Christ, did not remain on the Sun but came down from the Sun to the Earth....”  There are many, many gods in the Steiner religion. The Sun God is one; he is very important; but other gods (Zeus, Thor, Mars) also exist; they are real. According to Steiner, the difference between Christ and such gods as Zeus is that Christ, the Sun being, came down to the physical Earth, whereas they did not. “Now what is the most essential characteristic quality of the Christ so far as our cycle of evolution is concerned? To consider all those divine spiritual beings to which men of ancient times looked up to as the upper gods behind the tapestry of the sense world, as the rulers and lords of the spheres and functions of the universe, is to realise that their characteristic quality is that they do not descend so far as the physical plane; they only become visible to the consciousness of the seer [i.e., the clairvoyant], which transcends the physical plane and is able to see on the etheric [i.e., spiritual] plane. There Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor, who are all real beings, became visible. It was characteristic of those beings not to descend so far as the physical plane ... In the divine spiritual worlds this ability was possessed by the Christ alone.”  Christ is no more real than Zeus or Thor, but he left the Sun to come to Earth.  This is the key "fact" around which the Steiner religion revolves.
According to Steiner, Christ will not save humanity in the way that Christians usually understand the concept of salvation. Christ is not the Redeemer, except in a special sense.
Although Steiner was inconsistent on the point, he sometimes indicated that a god — in Gnosticism, the "Demiurgos" — created the physical universe. [See "Gnosis"; cf. "Origins".] But Steiner taught that the Creator is not the God found in the Hebrew Bible, Jehovah. Below the creative force responsible for the universe stand the many, many gods of Steiner's polytheism. These gods are arranged in a hierarchy, and Jehovah came from one of the lower ranks. Jehovah's task was to help us develop the lowest of our members, our physical body. [See "Polytheism" and "Genesis".]
In describing Gnostic teachings, and bending them to be consistent with his own, Steiner said, "The Demiurgos was a Being dwelling in spheres of lofty spirituality, in a world devoid of every element of that material existence with which in the Bible story the humanity created by Jehovah is naturally associated. We must therefore think of the Demiurgos as a sublime Being, as the Creator of the world who sends forth other Beings from Himself. The Beings sent forth by the Demiurgos were ranked in successive stages, each stage being lower than the last ... In Greece they were known as Aeons — of the first rank, the second rank and so on. The Aeons were Beings who had issued from the Demiurgos. Among these Aeons, Jahve or Jehovah was a Being of a relatively subordinate rank ... [In] the teachings of the Gnostics...it was said that Jehovah united with matter and that from this union man came into existence ... According to this Gnostic conception, therefore, Jehovah was a somewhat lower descendant of the more lofty Aeons who had proceeded from the Demiurgos, and as the outcome of Jehovah's union with matter, man was created ... The Gnostic teaching was that in the man Jesus there had dwelt a Being belonging to the ranks of the Aeons, a Being of a far more highly spiritual order than Jahve or Jehovah.” 
According to Steiner, the "Aeon" who manifested in Jesus was the Sun God. He came to Earth not to offer salvation, as Christians normally think of it, but to point out a new direction for our evolution. He gave us the "Christ impulse" which we can follow to evolve higher and higher, becoming like Christ. The "redemption" Christ gave us entailed offsetting the inferior impulses created by the inferior Aeon, Jehovah. But Christ's main role was to offer us an example of how we should live. He was not so much our Savior, according to Steiner, but an extremely good role model: "Christ shows himself...as the great human Prototype and Example, united with the Earth's true evolution."  [See "Prototype".]
Perhaps even more shocking to most Christians is this: Steiner said that by following our Prototype, we humans will eventually become gods of the highest order. We will rise higher than any gods is existence now; we will form the "tenth hierarchy," higher than the nine ranks of gods that loom above us today. As one of Steiner's more prolific followers has explained, "It is part of the divine plan that [man] shall work out his salvation, that he shall evolve through his own efforts. In the course of aeons man will become the Tenth Hierarchy in his own right, because he will have earned it.”  Christ did not save us; we will save ourselves. We will earn our ascension to the highest rank of godhood.
So, I’ll end by repeating my question. Was Steiner Christian?
You now have the answer.
According to Steiner, this is the occult symbol for Christ. “Christ was always the representative of the sun, namely, the intelligence of the Sun ... The sign of the intelligence of the Sun is the following ... This is, at the same time, the occult sign of the lamb. The lamb receives the book with the seven seals ... The seven corners of the sign are called 'horns.' But what do the 'eyes' mean?
“In occult schools the signs of the seven planets are written next to the seven eyes. The seven eyes signify nothing other than the seven planets, while the names of the planets designate the spirits incarnated in them as their intelligence. 'Saturn' is the name of the soul of Saturn. The names of the planets come from the spirits of the seven planets found around the earth. These have an influence on human life. The lamb, Christ, contains all seven. Christ is the alpha and the omega; the seven planets are related to him like members to an entire body. The entwining of the lines of the sign portray in a wonderful way the interaction between the seven planets. From Saturn one rises to the Sun, from there down to the Moon, then on to Mars, Mercury, and so forth. The same thing is expressed in the names of the seven days of the week: Saturday, Saturn; Sunday, the Sun; Monday, the Moon; Tuesday, Mardi, Mars; Wednesday, Mercredi, Mercury; Thursday, Jeudi, Jupiter; Friday, Vendredi, Venus. Christ is the regent of all these world spheres; their actions constitute only part of his being; he unites them all. In Rosicrucian schools a lamb is often drawn as a sign for the intelligence of the Sun.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE (SteinerBooks, 1993), pp. 19-21. [R.R. sketch, 2010, based on the one in the book.]
Although he often said that Christ was unique among the gods in coming to Earth and incarnating here, Steiner sometimes said something rather different:
“[T]here are also other individualities — other beings — who have not gone through various incarnations as have the other human beings in the course of human evolution ... [I]t can happen that such a being appears; if we test it clairvoyantly in regard to the soul, we cannot say, as we can of other human beings, that we trace it back in time and discover it in a previously fleshly incarnation, then trace it farther back and find it again in another incarnation, and so on ... Such a spiritual being who descends in this way into a human body in order to intervene in evolution as a human being is called an ‘avatar’ in the East ... To repeat — an avatar being can enter a human body just once or several times in succession; but when it does, it is then something different from any other human individuality.
“The greatest avatar being who has lived on earth, as you can gather from the spirit of our lectures here, is the Christ — the Being whom we designated as the Christ, and who took possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth when he was thirty years of age.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986) lecture 2, GA 109.
For more on Christ the Sun God,
see "Sun God".
To glimpse the Waldorf version of Christmas,
please see "Christmas".
For Steiner's depiction of Christ as our "Prototype,"
supplying the "Christ Impulse," see "Prototype".
For Steiner's surprising revision of the Sermon on the Mount,
Steiner taught tat there have been several
"Christ Events". To investigate, see "Events".
Links to other pertinent pages
appear further down on this page.
The doctrine of karma is really quite horrid, when taken literally. It tells us that the low, the afflicted, the ill, the impoverished — all these souls chose their fate, it is their karma, we really should not interfere. They have gotten what they deserve or asked for.
"[W]e see...groups of human souls in their descent from pre-earthly into earthly existence wander to regions situated, for example, in the vicinity of volcanoes, or to districts where earthquakes are liable to occur ... [S]uch places are deliberately chosen by the souls thus karmically connected, in order that they may experience this very destiny ... [They think] 'I choose a great disaster on earth in order to become more perfect....'" — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 226-227.
So the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for instance, chose to be victims; it is good for them. We should certainly not interfere in their karma.
This, of course, is utter, horrid, inhuman nonsense. And it is wholly incompatible with Christian charity.
Even Steiner, when he stopped to think things through, realized that his teachings about karma must not be taken to such extremes.
“[I]n educating handicapped children we are intervening in a process which in the normal course of development — were there no intervention, or were there misguided intervention — would find its fulfillment only when the child had passed through the gate of death and come to birth again in the next life. We are making, that is to say, a deep intervention in karma. Whenever we give treatment to a handicapped child, we are intervening in karma [sic]. And it goes without saying, we must intervene in karma this way.” — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 47.
Yes, we must help those who need our help. Kudos to Steiner for grasping this.
What he also should have grasped — or what we must grasp, anyway — is that the imperative to be humane, to help those who need our help, highlights the depravity of the doctrine of karma. Steiner should have renounced the doctrine. He didn't. But we must.
What is Christ's central message to us? According to many theologians, it is this: We should love God above all else, and we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Most Christians, when considering their faith, will think of this injunction. For Rudolf Steiner’s followers, however, the central Christian teaching is quite different. For them, all the statements made by Christ have passed through the mind of Rudolf Steiner and emerged as something not found in the Bible. Here is the Anthroposophical version of Christ's injunction:
“The Gospel says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself, and God above all.’ Another way of putting it is, ‘If one looks upon the divine in the light of the present day aspect of the three ideals,* as a modern human being must, one learns to love the divine.’ For one feels that one's humanness depends on devoting oneself with all the love at one's command to the three ideals. But then one feels oneself united with every other individual who is able to do likewise and offer up the same love. One learns to love the divine above all else, and, in loving God, to love one's neighbor as oneself. That keeps any hard feelings from developing.” — Rudolf Steiner, AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1974), p. 83.
Actually, no. Steiner has not paraphrased Christ's words; he has said something very different ("one's humanness depends on devoting oneself...to the three ideals"). And this, gentle reader, is the point. If you are a spiritual person and you want to embrace the spirituality of Waldorf education, fine, do so. Enroll yourself and your children — enter the Waldorf universe. But, please, do so with your eyes open. Know what sort of universe you are entering. It is not the universe of Christianity. Nor that of Judaism. Nor Islam. Nor Buddhism, nor Hinduism, nor even Theosophy. It is the universe of Anthroposophy, which Rudolf Steiner invented. Steiner’s new religion incorporates bits and pieces of many other religions (which is why Waldorf students are required to study so many world religions), but it is identical to none of them. It is something different, something very strange. It is the gnostic, esoteric, occult concoction called Anthroposophy. If you want it, it is available to you. But walk through that door with your eyes open — and send your children through that door only if you are completely sure that you are making the right decision for them.
* Here is Steiner’s explanation of the three ideals. Note that it is polytheistic and thus incompatible with monotheistic Christianity. “[M]en's beholding of the gods became the inner life of the religious ideal. Their symbolical-allegorical expression of divine forms through the various media was the life underlying the ideal of art. In their re-telling of what the gods had told them lived the ideal of science. These three ideals merged into one in ancient Oriental times, for they were at bottom one and the same.” — AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY, p. 74.
The Sun, of course, is supremely important for life on Earth.
Nothing could live here but for the Sun.
Waldorf students are often led to create paintings of the Sun.
Whether they are also led to associate the Sun with Christ
— Steiner said Christ is the Sun God —
probably varies from school to school.
Waldorf artwork courtesy of PLANS
“Men spoke in those times of [the Sun God] Ra, whose representative on Earth was Osiris; Ra signified for them the Sun that moved round the Earth, giving light ... My dear friends, when the pupils of the old initiates looked out into the wide universe and spoke of what they saw living out there beyond the Earth in the workings of the Sun, yes, in the Sun itself, — when they spoke of the sublime Spirit-Being of the Sun as proclaimed by Zarathustra, they were speaking of the very same Being Whom, in these later times, we designate as Christ ... What took place at the Mystery of Golgotha was really nothing less than that the Being Who, previously, was not to be found on Earth, Whom one could find only outside the Earth when one had been initiated into the Mysteries of the heavens, — this Being incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, lived on Earth in Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified and laid in the Earth, and appeared to his initiated pupils as Resurrected — as One who has risen in the spiritual body. The great and sublime Sun Being descended from cosmic heights, descended to Earth — that is the event that came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha. And when He had descended from spiritual worlds and passed through death, and His body had been laid in the Earth, then this same Christ — after His death, after His resurrection — had initiate pupils. And it is important that many should know today what Christ taught at that time to His initiate pupils; it is important that many should know of this teaching of the risen Christ, in order that they may be able to participate in the forces that are now at work for the further evolution of mankind."
— Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research, 1960), Lecture 1, GA 211.
“It does not take much research to discover that Rudolf Steiner, speaking at the assemblies of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany, repeatedly invoked the name of Christ as the guiding spirit of the school and the 'teachers’ greatest Teacher.' How could a Waldorf school deny its Christian character when its founder explicitly invoked the Christ as its guardian?
“And yet the matter is not quite so simple or so stark. One needs, first, to inquire what Rudolf Steiner meant by 'the Christ' [i.e., the Sun God]. He spoke of 'the Christ Impulse' [I.e., the evolutionary impetus provided by Christ] or 'the Christ Event' [the incarnation of the Sun God on Earth] or 'the Christ-principle' [the essence of the Sun God’s mission]; these are not the terms of orthodox Christianity, nor were they intended to be. It should be noted, further, that Steiner insisted on unqualified freedom in matters of religious practice and felt 'that the only true Christianity is the Christianity which makes possible absolute freedom in the religious life.' In fact, he spoke of the mission of the Christ as concerning human development quite independent of any religious practice. Christ’s mission 'consisted in bringing to all mankind the full force of the ego, an inner independence in the soul.' Indeed, Steiner predicted there would come a time when Christianity as it is commonly practiced today would pass away....”
— Douglas Gerwin, Introduction, AND WHO SHALL TEACH THE TEACHERS?
(Association of Waldorf Schools of North America), report on a conference held in 2005.
Some of Steiner's rival leaders in the Theosophical movement
proclaimed an Indian child, Jiddu Krishnamurti,
the "World Teacher" and/or the reincarnated Christ.
Steiner rejected this, and partly as a result (other factors were also involved)
broke from Theosophy to establish Anthroposophy as an alternative spiritual movement.
"Rudolf Steiner concluded the Christmas Conference [laying the foundation for the General Anthroposophical Society] on the evening of 1 January 1924 ...
[A]s reported by eyewitnesses, he drew the sign below into the air [a cross within a circle].
This is none other than a symbolic depiction of the cosmic cross with the Spirit Sun of the cosmos in the middle."
— Sergei O. Prokofieff, THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006), p. 54.
The Cross with the Sun at its middle.
[R.R. sketch, 2010, based on the one on p. 54 of
THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDITATION.]
“Christ, the Genius of the Sun, has since His descent to earth made His throne [here] as Regent of the earth.” — Foreword to Rudolf Steiner’s THE BIRTH OF A NEW AGRICULTURE (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1999), p. 17.
“From what the ancient Mystery wisdom saw, and through the prophetic sight of future Mystery wisdom, we gather that the human beings who take in what we shall call the inner Christianity, the spiritualized Christianity, those who look to the Genius of the Sun with regard to Christ: these individuals [i.e.,true Anthroposophists] will experience an acceleration of their evolution and reappear on the earth again at the end of twentieth century.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 116.
“[T]he Apocalypse rightly designated the power, the Being, who leads men so to spiritualize themselves that they can united with the sun as the Christ, and — as we shall hear — as the Lamb. One describes the Christ-Being as the genius of the sun who unites himself with the earth and becomes also the genius of the earth. He has already begun to be this since the event of Golgotha [i.e., the Crucifixion]. But there is also an opposing principle to the Lamb, there is also a Sun-Demon, the so-called Demon of the Sun, that works with the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is trust out of the evolution that leads to the sun ... [They will] be thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198.
“Human beings who perceived the presence of the exalted Sun-being in their life bodies can be called ‘Sun humans.’
The being who lived in them as their higher I — only in the generations, of course, not in individuals — is one who was later given
various names as human beings acquired conscious knowledge of him.
To present-day human beings, the Christ’s relationship to the cosmos is revealed in this being."
— Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 238-239.
In a sense, the Sun created the Earth. This is fitting since
“it is not as the people of old believed; the earth was not created by the Father God.
The Father God made the Son come forth from Him; and the Son is the creator of the earth.”
— Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 16, GA 204.
“Although Christ appeared only later, He was always present in the spiritual sphere of the earth. Already in the ancient Oracles of Atlantis, the priests of those Oracles spoke of the ‘Spirit of the Sun’, of Christ. In the old Indian epoch of civilization the Holy Rishis spoke of ‘Vishva Karman’; Zarathustra in ancient Persia spoke of ‘Ahura Mazdao’, Hermes of ‘Osiris’; and Moses spoke of the Power which, being eternal, brings about the harmonization of the temporal and natural, the Power living in the ‘Ehjeh asher Ehjeh’ (I am the I AM) as the harbinger of Christ. All spoke of the Christ.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE DEED OF CHRIST AND THE OPPOSING SPIRITUAL POWERS (Steiner Book Centre, 1954), lecture 1, GA 107.
“Christ has not only come once, but only once in personal form; His last coming was in Jesus Christ." — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (H. Collison, 1931), chapter 9, GA 105.
“[T]owards the end of the twentieth century, a significant event will again take place ... What is this event? It consists in the fact that a certain office in the Cosmos, connected with the evolution of humanity in the twentieth century, passes over in a heightened form to the Christ. Occult clairvoyant research tells us that in our epoch Christ becomes the Lord of Karma for human evolution.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 46-47.
Consider what it means for Christ to take up an office previously held by other gods.
Steiner's Christ is not the being worshipped by Christians,
the unique and incomparable Son of God.
Steiner's Christ is very important, he is high, but fundamentally he is one of a vast panoply of gods.
“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.
“[N]ot one but two Jesus-children were born ... The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation shows that the individuality [i.e., soul] who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra ... [Buddha] worked from the spiritual world upon all those who devoted themselves to his teachings ... [T]he Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 133-136.
The relationship between Steiner's new religion and established Christianity has not been happy. Christian clergy and theologians understand how severely Steiner diverges from Christian doctrines. The following odd excerpt from one of Steiner's lectures helps illustrate the tensions. Steiner presents his own, defensive response to criticisms leveled at him and at Anthroposophy:
“More than once, I have pointed out how Catholic clerical factions, especially here in Switzerland, are now resorting to a web of lies in order to destroy spiritual science. Those of you who have been here have witnessed a number of examples of what the Catholic Jesuits come up with in the attempt to destroy anthroposophy. Consider the attacks made by Jesuit seminarists with weapons that are certainly not nice. I need not characterize this; those who have not informed themselves can easily do so.
“For Switzerland and Central Europe, where these things happen, are all part of the world. So, too, is America. I recently received a magazine published in America in which anthroposophically oriented spiritual science is characterized, while, at the same time, the Jesuits in Europe denounced spiritual science as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Christianity. You know by now that Reverend Kully1 stated that there are three evils in the world. One is Judaism, the other Freemasonry, but the third — worse than all of them, even worse than Bolshevism — is what is taught here in Dornach2. This originates from the Catholic side, and is how anthroposophy is characterized.
“What about America? I want to read you a small paragraph from an American publication written at the same time Catholic journals over here printed their view of anthroposophy:
“’Just as the Catholic hierarchy has always insisted that the Roman church is the only one with any authority,’ [at this point Steiner interrupts to make a comment]
“— Protestant sects do not come into consideration; according to the Roman church, these sects stand outside the gates; they are viewed merely as a great number of heretics —3
“’so it is self-evident that the church which Steiner's glib tongue alludes to can be none other than the Roman Catholic church. This assumption is reinforced and indeed any doubt about the matter ceases, when one reads Steiner's other occult books. They all point to the same thing, namely, his writings are purely misleading; the sheepskin of a superficial occultism covering the wolf of Jesuitism.’
“So you see that in America anthroposophy is taken for Jesuitism, while in Europe the Jesuits strongly oppose anthroposophy as the biggest enemy of the Catholic church.4 That is how the world thinks today! That, however, is also how people think in Europe where they are living side by side; they are just not aware of it.
“The American article concludes with several more nice sentences:
“’Steiner claims to be an initiate. That may be; but whether he is of the White Lodge or belongs to the Brothers of Shadow is something one can only decide when it is realized that he stood on the side of men of 'blood and iron'...and that a number of his students here (in America) were interned as German spies.’5
“So you see, sometimes the wind blows from the Roman Catholic corner, sometimes from the American side! It just shows you how things are inside the heads of our contemporaries. Yet, from the thoughts hatched inside human heads, there developed what has led into the decline of the present, and the ascent must truly be sought in a different direction from the one where many seek it today.” 
Fr. Kully was a problematic figure. His church was located near Steiner's headquarters, so he may have known Anthroposophy firsthand. However, he was reputedly a conspiracy theorist and an anti-Semite.  We don't need to place much importance on him individually, however, in order to see that the differences between Anthroposophy and Christianity run deep.
Here is a translation of relevant passages from a German-language biography of Steiner:
“These defamations reached a certain peak in the statements of the Arlesheim priest, Max Kully, who apparently was excellently informed of the Dornach gossip and retold it exhaustively, especially in the second part of the brochure "Die Geheimnisse des Tempels von Dornach" [The secrets of the Temple in Dornach].”
A later passage:
“The familiar anthroposophy-enemy and priest from Arlesheim, Max Kully, had accused both Albert Steffen and Dr Grosheintz of defamation, and this over a passage in the work of Louis Werbeck, DIE CHRISTLICHE GEGNER RUDOLF STEINERS [Rudolf Steiner's Christian Enemies], which had been announced in the weekly magazine Das Goetheanum and was sold at the Goetheanum.” 
The book, RUDOLF STEINER'S CHRISTIAN ENEMIES, defends Steiner. But the title may tell us all we really need to know.
My copy of CHRISTIAN ENEMIES.
The full title is
THE CHRISTIAN ENEMIES OF RUDOLF STEINER
AND THE ANTHROPOSOPHY THAT REFUTES THEM
1 Max Kully, a German Catholic minister whose article appeared on July 6, 1920.
2Anthroposophy. The international Anthroposophical headquarters, called the Goetheanum, is in Dornach, Switzerland.
3 Steiner's point is that the Catholic Church repudiates not just Anthroposophy but Protestant Christianity. However, Protestants find Steiner's doctrines fully as heretical as Catholics do.
4 The American magazine article seems to confuse Anthroposophy with Jesuit Catholicism.
5 Steiner was indeed associated with the German war effort in World War I. [See "Steiner and the Warlord".]
Christians believe that Christ will return. We shouldn't end our examination of Steiner's "Christian" teachings without considering what Steiner said about the Second Coming.
To do the topic justice, we need to briefly review some of what we have already seen. “True” Christianity, according to Steiner, is his own teachings. The Bible and the churches are wrong, but Steiner can set us all straight. “True” Christianity is Anthroposophy, which Steiner claimed is a science, not a religion. By using what he called “exact” clairvoyance, Steiner could (or so he said) gather objective factual information about the spirit realm; thus he could know what Christ was and what Christ meant, in a way no one else can without using the same high form of clairvoyance. Thus, Steiner meant to “go beyond historical Christianity and its limitations.” 
Steiner offered his new, improved Christianity in lectures such as the ones contained in THE FIFTH GOSPEL, his proposed addition to the Bible. “From his clairvoyant reading of the spiritual Akashic Record — the cosmic memory of all events, actions and thoughts — Rudolf Steiner was able to speak of aspects of the life of Jesus Christ which are not contained in the four biblical Gospels.” 
The “second coming” of Christ, according to Steiner, is the renewed, revived knowledge of Christ that Steiner himself provided. It is not the physical return of Christ to the Earth, but the emergence in the spiritual realm (“the etheric”) of the new Christ impulse that Steiner's doctrines enable. When we “see” Christ in the right way (i.e., Steiner’s way) we will experience Christ’s return: “The will of man must be fired by divine wisdom, and the most powerful impulse for this will be if the sublime ether-form of Christ Jesus becomes perceptible to those who have truly prepared themselves. To a person in whom natural clairvoyance has developed this will be like a Second Coming of Christ Jesus.”  Note the emphasis on knowledge. Steiner taught that we are not “saved” by faith or good works, but by knowledge. This is his gnosticism.
The Second Coming, as redefined by Steiner, has already happened. “In the lectures of 1910 ... [Steiner] spoke to small groups of prepared listeners concerning the advent of the appearance of the Christ in the etheric life-element of the earth. To begin with, He would only be seen by a few, but as the century progressed He would be perceived by an ever greater number of human beings on earth, bestowing comfort and strength to people. Steiner pointed quite specifically to the period between 1930 and 1940 (he also mentioned 1950) in this respect. The years 1933 and 1935 are singled out in some lectures ... Steiner had warned, however, that opposing powers would conspire to darken the consciousness of humanity so that the second coming of the Christ, His appearance in the etheric, might go unnoticed. He further foretold that powerful attempts would be made on the part of certain groups to proclaim false messiahs to whom people would flock, convinced that the Christ could reappear in physical form in our time.” 
Speaking before the years he specified, Steiner gave the following preview. By developing our "soul faculties" (clairvoyance) in the way he specified, we will "see" Christ, and this will be the Second Coming, as it were:
“[T]ransformations will come about in human soul faculties, resulting in what may be described as etheric vision. And Who is bound up with this fact? That being Whom we call the Christ, Who appeared on earth in the flesh at the beginning of our era. He will never come again in a physical body; that event was unique. The Christ will return, however, in an etheric form ... We thus comprehend spiritual science in a completely different sense. We learn that it imposes a tremendous responsibility upon us, since it is a preparation for the concrete occurrence of the reappearance of Christ. Christ will reappear because human beings will be raising themselves toward Him in etheric vision. When we grasp this, spiritual science appears to us as the preparation of human beings for the return of Christ, so that they will not have the misfortune to overlook this great event but will be ripe to seize the great moment that we may describe as the second coming of Christ. Man will be capable of seeing etheric bodies, and among these etheric bodies he will also be able to see the etheric body of Christ” 
Whether Christ will return in physical form is a topic of debate among Christians, but most fundamentalist Christians say that he will.  Steiner was no fundamentalist Christian.
The divide between Steiner and Christianity was wide. If Steiner sometimes found himself quarreling with Catholics, he was at least equally at odds with Protestants.
Protestants, Steiner claimed, misidentify God. The “God” they worship is actually just an angel, a god one level above humans. In Anthroposophic belief, there are nine ranks of gods above us. Angels are the lowest, archangels are a step higher than angels, and other gods occupy still more elevated ranks. According to Steiner, angels guide individual humans; archangels guides peoples, nations, and races. Here is Steiner telling Waldorf teachers how to explain some of this to their students:
“[E]xplain that there are higher gods, the archangels ... These archangels exist to guide whole groups of human beings, that is, the various peoples and such. You must teach this clearly so that the children can learn to differentiate between the god spoken of by Protestantism, for instance, who is actually only an angel, and an archangel, who is higher than anything that ever arises in the Protestant religious teachings. “ — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 46.
Another great problem with Protestantism, Steiner taught, is that the true meaning of ritual has been lost in Protestant churches. Responding to a Waldorf teacher who said the students resisted attending religious services, Steiner said this:
“They completely misunderstand the service. They have a Protestant understanding of ritual, which means a rejection of it. It is possible to attend the service throughout your entire life. Their understanding is based upon the perspective that these teachings are preparations, not a ritual. We need to overcome that Protestant understanding.” — Rudolf Steiner, ibid., p. 773.
Steiner stressed the importance of ritual. Thus, for instance, he described a supernatural ritual enacted at the beginning of the 19th century. (Somewhat confusingly, he used the present tense to describe this past event.) In this description, we find the fundamental cause of Steiner's dispute with Christianity. Christians believes in a single God, whereas Steiner taught that the universe teems with many gods. “[T]here hovers in the immediate neighbourhood of the physical world of sense [i.e., the world available to our senses] a great supersensible event, consisting in supersensible acts of ritual, an unfolding of mighty pictures of the spiritual life of beings of the universe, the Beings of the Hierarchies [i.e., gods] in connection with the great ether-workings of the universe and the human workings upon earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 4 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), p. 89.
Anthroposophy is certainly a religion,
but — despite superficial appearances — it is not a form of Christianity.
The influences of Eastern religions are strong,
as are those of paganism and occultism.
Above we see an angel;
below is the Hindu symbol for the
mantra "Om" or "Aum."
Drawing and painting by Waldorf students
[courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools].
To follow Steiner's teachings, we need to distinguish between Jesus, the man, and Christ, the god who manifested in the man.
Actually, Steiner taught there there were two Jesuses. The Biblical accounts of Jesus’s youth, given in different books of the Bible, do not mesh. One solution — adopted by Steiner and some others — is to claim that there were two separate Jesus children, two separate human beings who both contributed to the miracle of Christ's incarnation on the Earth.
"We know that in Palestine, at the time which concerns us, not one but two Jesus-children were born, one of them from the Solomon line of the House of David. This is the Jesus child of whom the Matthew Gospel speaks. The peculiar contradiction between the beginnings of the Matthew and the Luke Gospels derives from the fact that the writer of the Matthew Gospel was concerned with one of the Jesus-children, the one born from the Solomon line. Then, at almost but not quite the same time, another Jesus-child was born, from the Nathan line of the House of David." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), lecture 12, GA 131.
Steiner taught that the two Jesus children — the Solomon Jesus child and the Nathan Jesus child — eventually combined, in the sense that the second (Nathan) Jesus received the spiritual essence or Ego of the first (Solomon) Jesus. The second Jesus child went on to host the Sun God, Christ. The first Jesus child was the reincarnated being who had once been Zarathustra. The second Jesus child was the being described in the Koran. The combined Jesus was "the Solomonic Nathanic" Christ Jesus. You can decide whether this “explanation” improves upon the Biblical accounts.
“[T]he science of the spirit [i.e., Anthroposophy] brings together three things in order to understand the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., the Crucifixion]. First Jesus as He is incarnated as Zarathustra in the Solomon Jesus Child and how he brings through this Solomon Jesus Child that which mankind has experienced through its historical development since he himself has passed from incarnation to incarnation. I have told you about the Nathan Jesus Child who has within him that which was actually predestined for the earth but never went through this earth evolution; it was held back. I have showed you how the Nathan Jesus Child was completely described in the Koran to the point where it says that the Nathan Jesus Child actually spoke when he was born. The Christ Being incarnates in the Nathan Jesus Child with the Solomon Jesus Child, the Christ Being Who comes from beyond the super-earthly, Who draws into the personality of this Solomonic Nathanic Jesus in the 30th year so that we can recognize in Christ a union of the spiritual worlds external to the earth with that which has occurred upon the earth. And I have brought to your attention the fact that it is necessary in our time to become able to understand the concept of the immensity of the greatness of the Jesus figure, and with that the greatness of the Mystery of Golgotha, since our time has certainly developed the intellect, the intellectual thinking in its 5th post-Atlantean period. However, the spiritual comprehension of the would has to be added to this intellectual thinking. Then it will be possible to understand the Mystery of Golgotha again as it was understood many, many years ago but understood now in a very advanced way.” — Rudolf Steiner, THINGS OF THE PAST AND PRESENT IN THE SPIRIT OF MAN (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 167.
Steiner's views were complex and, at least potentially, confusing. Here is brief summary of Steiner's teachings on Christianity. I will not clutter it up with quotations and endnotes; you will find lost of documentation elsewhere in "Was He Christian?" and in other essays on this Web site.
Steiner claimed that he had found the true meaning of Christianity. This meaning is revealed in his worldview, Anthroposophy. Christianity is a religion, but Steiner said that Anthroposophy is a science, not a religion. By claiming that his “science” reveals the deeper truths of “Christianity,” Steiner appropriated the term “Christianity,” applying it in a novel way. Does this make him a Christian? Does calling yourself a Christian make you one? What if I truly think I am a Christian but my beliefs are actually incompatible with the tenets of Christianity as found in the Bible and all major Christian denominations? What, for instance, if my “Christianity” involves belief in many different gods, and reincarnation, and karma, and astrology, and Atlantis, and Zarathustra, and Buddha? This is exactly the case for Anthroposophists; the beliefs I have listed are all part of “Christian” Anthroposophy. Steiner’s followers may think their beliefs qualify as “Christian,” but they do not.
Claiming to be a Christian is very different from actually being one. Likewise, placing emphasis on Christ does not necessarily make you a Christian. Muslims, for instance, believe in Christ. They assign great importance to Christ. But they are not Christians, obviously — their religion is Islam, not Christianity. The same holds for Anthroposophists. They consider Christ extremely important, but they are not really Christians.
Like most words, “Christian” may mean many things. The normal definition contains these elements: Christianity is the religion centered on the divinity of Christ; a Christian accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior; a Christian worships Christ as God (or a Member of the Triune God); a Christian accepts the teachings of Christ as found in the Bible; a Christian is a member of a Christian church.
There can be variations and disputes over all elements of this definition. But, by virtually all of the standards of the above definition, Anthroposophy is not Christian. It is (theoretically) a “science,” not a religion; it speaks of evolution, not salvation per se; by their own account, Anthroposophists do not worship Christ, since Anthroposophy is not a religion; Anthroposophy rejects the literal meaning of much if not all of the Bible (Steiner revealed the hidden “Mystery” meaning of Bible passages); Anthroposophy has no churches, per se (unless we count the Goetheanum, but Anthroposophists deny that it is a church or cathedral).
Nutshell: Anthroposophists claim a) Anthroposophy is a science, not a religion, and b) it is a science in which Christ looms large. The truth is that a) Anthroposophy is a religion, but b) it is not Christian. 
Here are central Anthroposophical concepts. Note that each one of them violates orthodox Christian faith.
There are many, many gods
After death, we do not go to our eternal judgment, but we reincarnate
Our earthly lives are largely controlled by karma, which we create for ourselves
We are evolving — specifically, we are evolving toward becoming the highest gods
The stars have powerful effects on us (astrology and horoscopes)
There are two devils (who aren’t all bad): Lucifer and Ahriman
Christ is the Sun God
Buddha performed as the Christ of Mars
There were two Jesuses, one of whom was Zarathustra in a previous life
We recently lived on Atlantis and soon we will proceed to Vulcan
Ultimately we will become God the Father
Calling these tenets “Christian” does not make them so. Virtually no Christian theologian or clergyman would accept them as Christian (except self-proclaimed Anthroposophical “Christians”). The Bible offers little or no evidence that Christ himself would have accepted them.
So Anthroposophy is not Christian. But it is a religion, not a science. Here are some central reasons for calling Anthroposophy a religion rather than a science:
It involves prayers, meditations, and observances
It "explains" spiritual matters
It describes the will and purpose of the gods
It tells us how to live in accordance with the gods' divine plan
It depends on clairvoyance (which does not exist);
hence, there is no “scientific” basis for any of its tenets;
hence, it can be accepted only by an act of faith, belief
Steiner stressed the need for belief
He stressed the need for gurus
People who do not live properly, according to the tenets of
Anthroposophy, will be consigned to a form of perdition
People who do live properly, according to the tenets of
Anthroposophy, will be saved
(i.e., they will evolve toward apotheosis)
None of this is characteristic of a science; but all of it is characteristic or indicative of religion. In sum, Anthroposophy is a religion, but it is not part of the Christian religion. The religion followed by Anthroposophists is Anthroposophy.
— Roger Rawlings
Christ, drawn from Steiner's sculpture,
The Representative of Humanity,
which is located in the Goetheanum.
Steiner depicted Christ standing between Ahriman and Lucifer.
[Both sketches R.R., 2009.]
According to Steiner, Christ is our representative, our prototype:
Anthroposophy teaches that, if we follow Anthroposophy's lead,
we will evolve to become
the same sort of perfected human Christ Jesus was.
So Steiner said.
Christ, the Sun God, dominates the statue in the Goetheanum.
However, Ahriman, Lucifer, and a "rock being" are also depicted.
Hence, the statue is sometimes called The Group.
There are two images of Ahriman, one of them below Christ's feet.
There are also two images of Lucifer, one of them around the corner,
showing Lucifer plunging out of heaven.
A mysterious rock being — a nature spirit dwelling in mineral substance —
gazes down on all.
[R. R., 2009.]
Anthroposophists, including Waldorf teachers, are sometimes surprisingly ill-informed about the doctrines of the faith they embrace. Many say, for instance, that Ahriman is an evil being but Lucifer is a good being. This flatly contradicts Steiner, something Anthroposophists almost never do intentionally. "The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ETHERISATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), G130. Steiner taught that both Ahriman and Lucifer offer us potential gifts, but both may also lure us to our doom. Ahriman tempts us toward excessive materialism; Lucifer tempts us toward false spirituality. Wholly following either Ahriman or Lucifer would be a cataclysmic mistake. Christ must mediate between Ahriman and Lucifer precisely because he wants to secure for us the gifts each demon offers while protecting us from the harm they would do us. According to Steiner, Christ — the Sun God — strikes precisely the right balance between the material and the spiritual, and thus we must follow him, using him as our spiritual prototype.
Two gods whom Anthroposophists take
as other forms of Christ:
The Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda.
The Norse god Baldur.
[Image by Elmer Boyd Smith.]
Zeus — who, according to Steiner, is real.
[Ernst Lehner, SYMBOLS, SIGNS & SIGNETS (Dover Publishing, 1950), p. 22.]
A monstrance, the vessel holding the consecrated Host
on a Christian altar — as described by Steiner.
Anthroposophists — including many Waldorf teachers — think that only they possess up-to-date, spiritual-scientific Truth. Other creeds may have partial bits of truth, but overall they pale when compared to Anthroposophy: When those religions are practiced without the "light" provided by Anthroposophy, they are wrong. Judaism is wrong, for instance, and so is mainstream Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant. A few indicators:
"As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [i.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah] ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59.
"If Jesus of Nazareth had continued in the Jewish way, he could not have taught anything but the moon religion." — Ibid., p. 60.
"The Roman Catholic religion has completely forgotten these things [i.e., the true meaning of its rituals and holy objects]." — Ibid., p. 60.
"By the sixth century all understanding of the spirit had really been lost." — Ibid., pp. 102-103.
"[T]he knowledge that the Christ is a spirit coming from the sun, a spirit who lived in Jesus, the human being, is reflected in a symbols we can see on every altar today during high mass: the monstrance — the sun is at the center and the moon supporting it. This made good sense when people still knew that the Christ was a spirit from the sun ... Christendom ought to know that their symbol is the one where the sun gains victory over the moon." — Ibid., pp. 103-104.
As for Islam, Steiner said “Mohammedism is the first manifestation of [Satan, aka] Ahriman ... Mohammed's god, Allah, Eloha, is an Ahrimanic imitation or pale reflection of the Elohim [the gods of Steiner's polytheistic teachings] ... The Mohammedan culture is Ahrimanic, but the Islamic attitude is Luciferic.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 75-76.
[My sketch of a monstrance, 2009, is based on image on p. 103 of FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM.]
Steiner's cosmology is at least a Hindu as Christian.
Following the lead of the Theosophists, Steiner drew heavily
from Eastern religions in general,
and he taught that many of the gods and demons
of such religions are real beings, although we may
perceive them differently today, and indeed
they may have evolved to new stages.
Partial truth may be found in ancient faiths, Steiner taught,
but such truths were preliminary and today they have been
outstripped by Anthroposophy, the truest creed now.
"In the spiritual realm behind the element of air, for instance, a host of spiritual beings appear, beings which do not descend so far as the physical world, but express themselves therein through the air. In the soul-world we meet them as entities, as individualities, and the mightiest of them is still to be found today in him who in ancient India was named ‘Indra.’ Indra is associated with the whole regulation of man's breathing process, and to his activity we owe the fact that we breathe as we do today ... Indra exists for us today as he existed in ancient Vedic times, but we must now pass on to another consideration ... A man who is able to perceive Indra may well say that this Being now reveals something different from his earliest revelations ... Indra himself passed to a higher stage of evolution through this contact with the Christ light." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1922), pp. 75-76. [Image of Indra from Ernst Lehner, SYMBOLS, SIGNS & SIGNETS (Dover Publishing, 1950), p. 34.]
Christ, the Sun God, is the most important of all gods for us here on Earth. But the other gods are also important and, importantly, they really exist.
Steiner usually taught that only Christ came down to Earth to help us — except sometimes he said something else:
"As long as the ‘I’ of man, with its physical expression in the blood, was not seized by an impulse to be found on the earth, the religions could not teach of the force of self-redemption in the human ‘I’. So they describe how the great spiritual Beings, the Avatars, descend and incarnate in human bodies from time to time when men are in need of help. They are Beings who for the purpose of their own development need not come down into a human body, for their own human stage of evolution had been completed in an earlier world-cycle. They descend in order to help mankind. Thus when help was needed, the great God Vishnu descended into earthly existence. One of the embodiments of Vishnu — namely, Krishna — speaks of Himself, saying unambiguously what the nature of an Avatar is." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 219. [Image of Vishnu from Ernst Lehner, SYMBOLS, SIGNS & SIGNETS (Dover Publishing, 1950), p. 35.]
Sometimes Steiner indicated his teachings are more or less Christian, but at other times he drew sharp distinctions. Anthroposophy stands apart from Christianity and also from modern science. "The soul will continue to speak as our conscience after death ... it will have a will and need to make amends, to continue doing things ... [T]hat is the difference between anthroposophy and all the things that have become Christian dogma ... There [i.e., in Christian dogma] nothing is known about the power possessed by the human soul to be active. There the human being dies and can then only look forever on the things he has done in one life on earth ... [I]n anthroposophy we find that there is not just one life on earth but that there are the lives that went before and those that follow ... Modern science here still takes its views from the Church [i.e., agreeing that we have only one earthly life]." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM MAMMOTHS TO MEDIUMS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 238-239. [R.R. sketch, 2009, based on Steiner's on p. 238. The spheres represent earthly lives, from birth (yellow) to death (dark blue). The red lines indicate lives in the spirit realm.]
"The third post-Atlantean epoch [i.e., the third age since the sinking of Atlantis], which we call the Egyptian-Chaldean epoch, came about partly through the reflection in human souls, as a continuing human experience, of the activities that had originated from the permeation by the Sun-Spirit of the Nathan Jesus-Being while that Being was journeying round the planets ... Later still, in the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, we can see in Hellenism a reflection of planetary spirits who had as it were come into existence because the [Nathan Jesus-Being] journeyed from planet to planet and on each planet became one or other of these spirits. On Jupiter he became the one whom the Greeks later called Zeus; on Mars, the one later called Ares; on Mercury, the one later called Hermes. In the Greek planetary gods there was this later reflection of what Christ Jesus in the supersensible worlds had made of the planetary beings who were imbued with the Luciferic and Ahrimanic principles. When a Greek looked up to his heaven of the gods, he came into touch with the adumbrations, the reflections, of the activity of Christ Jesus on the individual planets." — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD: The Search for the Holy Grail (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), lecture 3, GA 149.
If you are still unsure whether Anthroposophy is Christian, you might consider the following quotation, which most Christians would consider blasphemous on several counts:
"People on earth have all kinds of religions, but all these religions have one thing in common: that man looks up to higher beings, the gods, and worships them. But these higher beings, the gods, also have a religion: they too look up to something in awe and reverence. What is this religion of the gods? What is it that the gods revere? It is man. Man is the religion of the gods." — Rudolf Steiner, quoted by Charles Kovacs, THE SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND TO CHRISTIAN FESTIVALS (Floris Books, 2007), pp. 72-73.
Revealingly, this quotation appears in a chapter about Christmas, which argues that the true meaning of Christmas can be found in the evolution of humanity toward a future state of perfection. In support of this notion, Anthroposophist Charles Kovacs directs us to the BHAGAVAD GITA: "It is for the the sake of this ultimate end, for the sake of this perfect man, that the whole universe and all there is in it has come into existence, it so for the sake of that perfect man at the end of time that the whole world has been created. In the BHAGAVAD GITA, the holy book of the Hindus, the hero Arjuna is given a vision of this ideal and is overwhelmed by it." — Ibid., p. 73. Kovacs also turns to observances such as the festival of Horus: "The holy child of Bethelehem calls upon the child in us. That is what...the priests of Egypt celebrated on the festival of Horus." — Ibid., p. 77. Horus was a god of ancient Egypt. None of the gods of ancient Egypt or of the Hindu faith are recognized in the Bible. None of them are recognized by any Christian sect — unless you count Anthroposophy, that is. But clearly, Anthroposophy is not Christian. Check any Christian catechism for such doctrines as "Man is the religion of the gods." You will not find them there, of course.
The importance of Christ, Christ's relationship to the Sun, Christ's relationship to Lucifer, the importance of Lucifer... These are all complex matters in Steiner's teachings (which were not always entirely consistent). Here's a passage of interest:
“Occultism shows that Christ is a Sun Being who can lead us back to the Sun. Now comes what may cause a shock. It is imperative not only to understand our relationship to the Christ. We must grasp something further. The time now comes that we confront, and need to understand, the being known as Lucifer. The sensation in the Sun is not one of being surrounded by streaming physical light, but of dwelling in the pure light of the spirit. From this moment onward, one experiences Lucifer no longer as an antagonistic being. On the contrary, he appears more and more to be fully justified in the world. One now senses the urge, in the further course of the life after death, to recognize Christ and Lucifer side by side as equally justifiable powers. However strange the equal importance of Christ and Lucifer may appear, this insight is reached from this stage onward and one comes to see these two powers more or less as brothers.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), lecture 2, GA 140.
More generally, Steiner described Christ as standing as the necessary intermediary between Lucifer and Ahriman. [See "Lucifer" and "Ahriman".] The most important point to note about any of this, for our present discussion, is how far it strays from mainstream or orthodox Christian teachings — that is, how far it strays from Christianity itself. As Steiner himself said, his teachings exemplify occultism. [See "Occultism".]
For information about pagans, pagan Christianity,
King Arthur, the Grail, and Druids,
please see "Pagan"
For Steiner's teachings about the Holy Grail
and Lucifer, please see "Grail"
For information about the overtly religious
offshoot of Anthroposophy, the so-called Christian Community,
For information on good, moral, loving behavior
— as prescribed by Steiner —
For information about the Antichrist
and demonic Asuras, see "Evil Ones"
To learn about damnation, Steiner-style,
To hear Steiner out on the ties between
Osiris, Buddha, and Christ,
Steiner aimed at an affirmative symbiosis of religious traditions,
balancing East and West, high and low, esoteric and exoteric.
He claimed to report objective, exact clairvoyant findings,
showing the underlying truths of all human experience and thought.
While some people are attracted to the result,
others are repelled by what they deem a hodgepodge of fantasy and/or heresy.
[R.R. sketch ~ 1975.]
“For the Greeks, Apollo, the Sun Spirit, represented the Christ ... Theologians of today no longer realize it but in the first centuries of Christianity the Christian martyrs still knew that the old Greek sages, although they did not use the name of Christ, if asked about Apollo, would have answered out of their Mystery wisdom, ‘The great Sun Spirit, Who in the future will live as a man on earth, appears to us in Apollo as though ensouled in him in the form of an archangel.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUR SACRIFICES OF CHRIST (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), GA 152.
Lest there be any confusion:
“Christ stands before us, the Spirit Being who, through the Mystery of Golgotha, united Himself with the Earth. And He says to us: Be not dismayed that the Sun has become black ; it is black because I, the God of the Sun, am no longer in it; for I have come down and united myself with the Earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research Books, 1960), p. 95.
“At the baptism in Jordan, when the significant symbol of the dove appeared above the head of Jesus, he was not merely inspired but directly intuited by the Christ. On that occasion something shot through the entire body of Jesus of Nazareth, even into those parts which, at the present stage of human development, are most withdrawn from the influence of man — the very bones. I am now about to say something which to the materialistic consciousness of the present day seems nonsense; but that is of no matter. At the moment when the body of Jesus of Nazareth was permeated and fired by the Individuality of Christ — the great Sun-Spirit — the effect reached even into the bones.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (H. Collison, 1932), chapter 10, GA 105.
“The Sun was itself a kind of being of air, surrounded by that substance which had previously formed Saturn-fire, warmth. The part that had densified had formed the gaseous Sun, and what had not densified was a surging sea of fire. These beings could live on the Sun and inhale and exhale warmth, fire; they were therefore called the Spirits of Fire. They stood at the human level on the Sun and they worked in the service of humanity. One calls them Sun Spirits or Fire Spirits. Man at that time was at the stage of sleep-consciousness, the Sun-Fire Spirits had already the ego consciousness. Since then they too have developed further and ascended to higher degrees of consciousness. One calls them in Christian Esotericism Archangels. And the highest evolved Spirit Who was on the Sun as Fire Spirit, Who today is still active upon the Earth, with very highly evolved consciousness, this Sun or Fire Spirit is the Christ. In the same way the most evolved Saturn Spirit is the Father God.
“Christian Esotericism knows that there was incarnated in the body of flesh and blood of Christ-Jesus precisely such a Sun-Fire Spirit, and indeed the highest, the Regent of the Sun Spirits. That He might come on to the Earth He had to make use of a physical body, He had to live under the same earthly conditions as man, in order to be able to manifest here.” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), chapter 9, GA 99.
“It was known to the initiated priests of these Mysteries that the sublime Sun-Spirit of whom they spoke to the worshippers is the same Being as He who would later be called the Christ. But before the Mystery of Golgotha the priests could speak to this effect only: “If you desire to know something of the Christ, you will seek in vain on the earth; you must be lifted to the secrets of the sun. For only outside and beyond the earth will you find the mysteries pertaining to the Christ.”
“...Until the fourth century after the Mystery of Golgotha there were always some who knew that Christ, the Sun-Being, and the Christ who had lived in Jesus of Nazareth were one and the same. It is deeply moving to learn from Spiritual Science of the fervent prayers of men in the early Christian centuries: “Thanks be to the Christ-Being from whom we should perforce have been separated, had He not come down from spiritual worlds to us here on earth!”
“After the fourth century A.D. the human mind could no longer comprehend that the Christ, who ensures immortality for men, was the sublime, divine Sun-Being. From that time until our own day there have been only the external words of the Gospels, telling of the Mystery of Golgotha. Nevertheless, these words of the Gospels worked throughout the centuries with such power that they turned men's hearts to the Mystery of Golgotha.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, III (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), chapter 3, GA 226.
“[O]ne can also call the Sun Oracle the Christ Oracle. The unification of the Christ-Being with the earth took place when the blood flowed from the wounds of Jesus Christ at Golgotha. That is when His essence united with the atmosphere of the earth, as can be perceived even today in clairvoyant retrospection. That is how the Christ-Being came down from the Sun to earth. When the light of spiritual illumination fell on Saul-Paul near Damascus, Paul beheld the Christ that was united with the earth and knew immediately that it was He who had shed His blood at Golgotha.
“The sun oracle of ancient Atlantis had already prophesied the coming of Christ, of the Sun-God. To be sure, he was named the Christ only much later, but we can still say that the Sun Oracle is the Christ Oracle.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY IN CONNECTION WITH QUESTIONS OF REINCARNATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), lecture 1, GA 109.
“External civilisation on the Earth arose through the fact that hardening on the one side and spiritualisation on the other side were prevented. Lucifer made use of what had been given by the Mars forces. The new state of the Earth was given the name of Mars. Things continued in this way until the middle of the Atlantean Race. Then a new question arose. Man had absorbed wisdom, but in the future it would not be possible for wisdom alone to manifest in a form-creating way. One would have been able to build up the mineral kingdom through Lucifer, but Lucifer could not have given it life. Man could never have imparted life under the influence of the other powers. This was why a Sun God had to come, a higher being than Lucifer. There still existed what are known as the Solar Pitris. The most exalted among these is Christ.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 26, GA 93a.
“Now there came a Sun Hero, similar to those who appeared in the Hyperborean Epoch, represented by Ezekiel as the Winged Lion. This Hero, Who gave the second impulse, is the Christ, the Lion out of the tribe of Judah. The representative of the Eagle will come only later; he represents the Father Principle. Christ is a Solar Hero, a Lion-Nature, a Sun Pitri.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM, lecture 23.
“Nor was it only in dim memory that the pupils of the initiates learned to know the Christ, with whom indeed all human beings lived before their descent to Earth. For by this time Christ was already a half-forgotten notion in the souls of men on Earth. But in the Mysteries the pupils learned to know Him once again in His full stature. Yet at the same time they knew Him as a Being who, if we may put it in these words, had lost His mission in the Worlds beyond the Earth. It was so in the Mysteries of the second and first centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha, that as they looked up to the Being in supersensible worlds who was afterwards called the Christ, they said: We still behold Him in the spiritual worlds, but His activity in those worlds grows ever less and less. For He was the Being who implanted in the souls of men what afterwards sprang forth within them as a memory of the time before their birth. The Christ-Being in the spiritual worlds had been the great Teacher of human souls, for what they would still bear in memory after their descent to Earth. Now that the souls of men on Earth were less and less able to kindle these memories to life, He who was afterwards called Christ appeared to the initiates as One who had lost His activity, His mission.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Mystery of Golgotha” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 1, 1926), GA 214.
“[T]he Apocalypse [i.e., the Book of Revelation] rightly designated the power, the Being, who leads men so to spiritualize themselves that they can unite with the sun as the Christ, and — as we shall here — as the Lamb. One describes the Christ-Being as the genius of the sun who unites himself with the earth and becomes also the genius of the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 198.
“From what the ancient Mystery wisdom saw, and through the prophetic sight of future Mystery wisdom, we gather that humans beings who take in what we call the inner Christianity, the spiritualized Christianity [i.e., Anthroposophical “Christianity”], those who look to the Genius of the Sun with regard to Christ: these individuals will experience an acceleration of their evolution and reappear on the earth again at the end of the twentieth century.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 116.
“The sun is the body of the Sun Spirit who revealed himself in the Sun Oracle of the ancient Atlantean epoch. Zarathustra beheld this spirit in clairvoyant vision. He also designated the aura of the sun as Sun Spirit, and this is the same being whom he also called Ahura Mazdao. Occultists of later ages called it Ormuzd ... Zarathustra, who had once sacrificed his etheric and astral bodies, was also able to give up his external sheath to Him whose coming he had once announced. As the Jesus of Nazareth of Western occultism, he could place his physical body at the disposal of the Sun Spirit and was then able to say, ‘I am the Light of the World!’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), lecture 11, GA 109.
“It is regarded as the worst heresy to describe Christ as the Sun-Spirit, as we have done ... [C]ertain people are perfectly well aware that the matter with which the Christ Mystery deals is also connected with the Sun Mysteries. But present-day humanity is to be hindered from receiving this knowledge — the very knowledge that it needs; for as I have already said, the materialistic view of the Universe is much preferred by that side to Spiritual Science.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN: HIEROGLYPH OF THE UNIVERSE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 13, GA 201.
“It is the sublime Sun Being, of whom we had to tell when describing the evolution of the Christ-Event, who at His revelation stands forth as the all-embracing prototype of Love.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), chapter 6, GA 13.
“The point of time when the disciples believed they had again lost the presence of Christ is commemorated in the Christian festival of the Ascension, which preserves in remembrance the disciples' conviction that the sublime Sun-Being who had walked the earth in the man Jesus of Nazareth had vanished from their sight.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 3 (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 3, GA 226.
“What took place at the Mystery of Golgotha was really nothing less than that the Being Who, previously, was not to be found on Earth, Whom one could find only outside the Earth when one had been initiated into the Mysteries of the heavens, — this Being incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth, lived on Earth in Jesus of Nazareth, was crucified and laid in the Earth, and appeared to his initiated pupils as Resurrected — as One who has risen in the spiritual body. The great and sublime Sun Being descended from cosmic heights, descended to Earth — that is the event that came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha. And when He had descended from spiritual worlds and passed through death, and His body had been laid in the Earth, then this same Christ — after His death, after His resurrection — had initiate pupils. And it is important that many should know today what Christ taught at that time to His initiate pupils; it is important that many should know of this teaching of the risen Christ, in order that they may be able to participate in the forces that are now at work for the further evolution of mankind.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research, 1960), lecture 1, GA 211.
The following is excerpted from
“Waldorf Charter School Controversy”
by John W. Morehead
THE WATCHMAN EXPOSITOR
Vol. 14, No. 5
Proponents of the Waldorf system may acknowledge that it requires teacher acceptance of certain Anthroposophical principles, but argue that does not mean the teacher will necessarily inculcate those beliefs in students any more than a Christian teacher would necessarily teach students to be Christians. This is an unfair and deceptive comparison. Considering the role of the Waldorf teacher in instructing children with the Waldorf curriculum, Anthroposophical writer Gilbert Childs notes:
"Waldorf teachers must be Anthroposophists first and teachers second. it must never be forgotten - and one must be emphatic about this - that the whole of teaching matter and method in Steiner schools is aimed at developing within each child the [occult] consciousness that spirit permeates everything in the world" (STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, 1991, p. 166).
The whole purpose of all teaching in the Steiner/Waldorf schools is thus stated to be explicitly spiritual, i.e. religious. Contrary to the claims of Waldorf supporters, the role of the Waldorf teacher does promote Anthroposophy. Even if not taught or named explicitly, Anthroposophy undergirds and shapes all other teaching, even the manner of teaching, in the Waldorf program. If it did not, it simply would not be a Waldorf school: "The aim at the Waldorf School is to teach and educate according to the findings of the science of spirit" (STEINER, EDUCATION. p. 21), i.e., Steiner's occult Anthroposophy.
No one can ignore the clear statements of the program's founder, quoted above, and claim to have made a thorough and unbiased examination of the Waldorf system, the Waldorf teachers' role in integrating Anthroposophical teaching into the life of the child through the teaching experience, or the issue of religion being taught at taxpayer expense in public schools having Waldorf curricula.
The Anthroposophical foundation and teacher orientation of the Waldorf program led former Waldorf teacher M. C. Richards to state: "One could say that Waldorf education has a hidden agenda. Its curriculum is described in terms common to public schools in general: arithmetic, writing, reading...But in Steiner schools the dimensions of these subjects are threefold: they are artistic, cognitive and religious. Religion is not an affair for Sunday alone or for theologians and priests. It is a dimension applicable to all our experience" (TOWARD WHOLENESS: RUDOLF STEINER EDUCATION IN AMERICA, 1980, p. 164).
It should cause one to wonder how many parents of children in Waldorf schools, or in schools with Waldorf curriculum, are aware of this "hidden agenda." Is it any wonder then that Dr. Geoffrey Ahern observed that "Anthroposophical 'Waldorf' education...can only really be understood if integrated with Steiner's [occult] cosmology" (SUN AT MIDNIGHT: THE RUDOLF STEINER MOVEMENT AND THE WESTERN ESOTERIC TRADITION, 1984, p. 62). Waldorf educators cannot help but promote Anthroposophy at least implicitly, since Anthroposophy is foundational to Waldorf educational method and curriculum, and thoroughly permeates both its theory and practice.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Many parents and educators recognize there are problems in public education. Waldorf educational advocates have been motivated to respond to these problems by attempting to be positive agents of change to address this situation in the promotion of Waldorf education. We must also acknowledge the many positive testimonials of parents, educators and children regarding the Waldorf education methodology. As we have seen, however, serious concerns have been identified.
If Christian prayer is excluded by the courts from the public school as an unconstitutional intrusion of religion in the public school, surely occult based curriculum such as Waldorf education should be as well. Christian parents, at times with the cooperation of their secular counterparts, are encouraged to begin with the steps below in responding to Waldorf education.
1. Recognize and assert your rights as parents over the education of your children.
2. Educate teachers, principals and school board members about this problem program in a positive manner with well-researched documentation from organizations like Watchman Fellowship, TruthQuest Institute or PLANS.
3. Document the religious nature of Waldorf education, bringing it into conflict with the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.
4. Draw attention to the lack of educational studies supporting Waldorf education. The positive testimonials of Waldorf students and parents have little merit. Ask for scientific studies supporting Waldorf theory and practice. Precious public tax dollars should not be squandered on programs with little or no scientific credibility.
5. In the face of resistance, organize and hold informational meetings among parents.
6. Consider taking your concerns to the local or state school board.
7. Consider appropriate legal action with legal counsel through organizations like The Rutherford Institute or the Christian Legal Society.
Here are excerpts from
"Understanding Christianity and the New Age Movements and Religions"
Steiner...attempted to intertwine Christian theology into his Anthroposophical religious system. It is not uncommon for Anthroposophists, Theosophists and Steiner advocates to state Steiner was a Christian, or that their beliefs incorporate Christianity, therefore aligning themselves with Christians. However, as we shall see briefly here, this is nothing more than a deception to the truth of traditional Christianity and theology. Please note the material here is by no means exhaustive.
... Anthroposophy is somewhat based on Theosophy and goes back to Gnosticism and eastern "wisdom". To further understand Steiner’s view and philosophy on life and education, it is important to examine quick facts about the Theosophical Society. As highlighted by Walter Martin (2002, p. 280) in his book KINGDOM OF THE CULTS, these facts are:
Walter Martin (2000, p. 289) signifies that from a biblical perspective, there is much evidence which separates God forever from the pantheistic God of Theosophy. This evidence includes:
When we attempt to understand and explain Anthroposophy, it is wise to acknowledge its complexity and often multiple diversities. Put simply, one can research and explore Anthroposophy for some time and still come up without a complete understanding of the Steiner movement ... Steiner believes the human being consists of three entities: The body, the soul and the spirit. If the soul is too closely bound to earthy pleasures, it will be reincarnated in a new body and will not be able to reach the higher worlds where it will eventually be aligned with the spirit. Similarly, in Ahern’s book SUN AT MIDNIGHT (1999, p. 17) he states,” through improving their karma in spiritual struggle, followers think they will be in a purer inner state, when as they suppose, they are reborn.”
Often, I hear many Anthroposophists commenting that Anthroposophy is nothing like Theosophy ... Although there are many differences, it is clear that there are also many similarities. Karma, reincarnation, soul work, astral worlds and astral traveling are only just a few ... For the Christian, reading much of the Waldorf literature available will help [evaluate Anthroposophy], as long as the reader has a firm basis and understanding in Christian theology and knowledge. According to all traditional Christians, this means acknowledging that the Bible is the only true Word of God.
...On another note, many Christians lay claim to the fact that Anthroposophy has helped them become better Christians. Again, an examination of the man Steiner was (and claimed to be) may prove useful in deciding if this is possible or acceptable from a biblical point of view. As highlighted by several leading Christian theologians, the trouble becomes clear and questions are raised when Christians don’t accept the Bible as the true and only Word of God, but look at other ways of creating spiritual experience, knowledge and understanding.
Importantly, according to Christian theology, there is one major event that should forever removed all possibilities of realising Christian fellowship with Theosophists and Anthroposophists. As detailed by Martin, (2000, p. 295) the resurrection of Christ and its subsequent effect on all mankind is proof that God exists, that Christ is his Son, and that the redemption of all believers is assured by His personal triumph over the grave (1 Corinthians 15, Acts 1:3). In essence, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ and, for that matter, the resurrection of all mankind leave no room for the Theosophical dogma of concurrent reincarnations.” Martin (2000, p. 295). There is no doubt this is also true for Anthroposophy.
...Reincarnation asserts that death is but an intermediary stage in a cycle where the eternal soul passes from one physical body to another. This cycle of death and rebirth continues until the person finally attains a state of utter perfection. For many, this includes becoming "one with the universe." Can such a view be found within the pages of the Scriptures? The answer is an emphatic NO! Reincarnation blatantly opposes the message of God's Word. It is essentially an attempt to bootstrap one's way out of this world, a system of works righteousness condemned by Scripture. "(God) saved us," Paul wrote to Titus, "not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy" (Tit. 3:5; cf. Eph. 2:8-9). Furthermore, reincarnation does away with the uniqueness and sovereignty of Christ. No longer is Jesus "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) nor the Messiah pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isa. 53; cf. John 1:41). Instead...reincarnation see[s] human beings as healers of their own wounds, arduously striving to settle a debt Christ had already paid in full.
Reincarnation is especially dangerous because it denies the reality of eternal torment resulting from the rejection of God's gift of salvation. It peddles the message that there remain countless chances to try harder and do better during upcoming lifetimes. In contrast, the Bible explicitly teaches that "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27-28). There are no second chances. There is no coming back. Scripture tells us that upon death "the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecc. 12:7), that "to be away from the body" is to be "at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). Indeed, the Christian's hope rests not on the reincarnation of the soul, but in the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:42-55).”
Even in these brief examples, we can see crucial differences between the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and the impersonal God of Theosophy and, in essence, Anthroposophy. Similarly, as Martin highlights, the “…pantheistic views of the deity are drawn from the deadly trinity of Hinduism, Buddhism and Gnosticism. And one wonders why Theosophy even attempts to use Christian terms at all, except when it is realised that it is easier to reach the Western mind in terms of the Christian religion than in the language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Gnosticism.”
According to Eaton (2002, p. 69) “The goals of the New Age Movement and Christianity have a lot in common: however, they are two different ways of obtaining similar goals (e.g. a new world in which there is unity, love, peace, healing a benevolent hierarchy, etc).” Similarly, Eaton, a world-renowned cult expert (and Senior Christian Pastor) states that New Agers “… see themselves as advanced in consciousness, rejecting Judeo–Christian values and the Bible in favour of Oriental philosophies and religion.”
...Interestingly, and clearly highlighted by Eaton (2000, p. 76), one of the more common ways that the new age has penetrated Western society is through astrology. Although we are told not to place God’s creation before God, it is clear astrology is more related to idolatry and in essence demonology.
...Christians need to be very careful how New Age religions (or belief systems) such as Anthroposophy and Steiner weave their beliefs into Christianity, therefore making them believable or credible to many uninformed or lay Christians. It would also not be unfair to acknowledge that some well-respected theologians need to be far more aware and vigilant of how easy it can be for anyone (including themselves) to be seduced away from the truth of the Word of God from the Bible.
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.
◊◊◊ 9. WALDORF AND RELIGION ◊◊◊
If you'd like more information about any of the topics discussed here,
you might begin by consulting the following resources:
THE SEMI-STEINER DICTIONARY
THE BRIEF WALDORF / STEINER ENCYCLOPEDIA
WALDORF WATCH INDEX
WALDORF WATCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch
are closely connected to the essay on that page;
others are not — they provide general context.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 3 (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), lecture 3, GA 226.
Anthroposophy assigns great significance to Christ, but this does not necessarily make Anthroposophy Christian. Muslims also consider Christ very important, but clearly they are not Christians.
"In Islam Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others), and his message simultaneously consummates and completes the 'revelations' attributed to earlier prophets ... [According to Islam] Not only was Jesus born from the Virgin Mary, but God also saved him from crucifixion at the hands of the Jews. The conviction that God’s messengers are ultimately vindicated and saved is an integral part of the Quranic doctrine." — "Islam." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 07 Oct. 2009.
Also: "We Muslims believe, that Jesus was one of the mightiest messengers of God that he was the Christ, that he was born miraculously without any male intervention (which many modern-day Christians do not believe today), that he gave life to the dead by God's permission and that he healed those born blind and the lepers by god's permission. In fact, no Muslim is a Muslim if he or she does not believe in Jesus!" [http://www.jamaat.net/cis/ChristInIslam.html] This second quote may not be authoritative, but it does seem to reflect Islamic teachings. Note that one can believe in Christ and yet not be a Christian.
Anthroposophy is a religion, despite the denials made by Anthroposophists. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]
 Gnosticism is the belief that salvation depends on the acquisition of secret spiritual knowledge. Steiner claimed that the gnosticism of the past led to truth whereas orthodoxy led to the spiritual blindness: “These two things, you see, were engaged in a struggle: the gnostic teaching, wishing to comprehend the Mystery of Golgotha through powerful spiritual thinking; and the other teaching, that reckoned with [i.e., used or accommodated] what was to come, when thought would no longer have power, when it would lack the penetration needed to understand the Mystery of Golgotha....” — Rudolf Steiner, HOW CAN MANKIND FIND THE CHRIST AGAIN? (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), p. 49.
Golgotha is Calvary. The Mystery of Golgotha is the esoteric significance of the Crucifixion. “[A] God descended in order to enter a human body and in this body suffer death and then unite with the forces of the earth ... Since the Mystery of Golgotha forces have been united with the earth and especially with human evolution on earth, Christ-forces which were not there prior to that event ... In the Resurrection he [Christ] emerged victorious as a living spirit being, and since then he has continued to live with and for humanity, who would have possessed only dead [materialistic, brain-centered] thinking if Christ had not done these things ... The death and resurrection of Christ has so enlivened the thinking of which these souls [real humans] are capable that human beings no longer have to die along with their bodies....” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 38-39. According to Steiner, Christ-forces are now available inwardly to each real human being. The situation is different, of course, for subhumans.
Steiner claimed that the forms of thinking he advocated make the New Testament unnecessary, since the initiated spiritualist could reconstruct the Gospels and fill in their errors and gaps, if need be: “[T]he initiate is no longer dependent on the Gospels ... [H]e would be capable of writing the Gospels himself if they had not already been written.” — Ibid., p. 38. Steiner wanted his followers to go well beyond the Gospels, observing such clairvoyant/Anthroposophic “truths” as reincarnation and polytheism. He taught that the Gospels are flawed: "The Gospels cannot lead to the real Christ unless they are illumined by spiritual science [i.e., Steiner's own teachings]. Failing this illumination, the Gospels as they stand give rise to what is no more than hallucination of Christ's appearance in world history." — Rudolf Steiner, THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006), p. 42.
For connections and distinctions Steiner drew between Anthroposophy and gnosticism, see ANTHROPOSOPHICAL LEADING THOUGHTS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), pp. 175-180. For more on initiation, see "Inside Scoop".
Steiner went further than simply saying that the New Testament will become unnecessary. Steiner taught that religion, as such, will become unnecessary. It will be replaced by his own teachings, which he (drawing on Theosophy) dubbed spiritual science: Men will have esoteric knowledge and will no longer need faith. "Religion is the re-binding of the sensible with the supersensible. In an age of approaching materialism human beings needed religion. But the time will come when they will again be able to experience the supersensible world; then they will no longer need religion. The necessary antecedent of the new vision is that human beings shall be bearers of spiritual Christianity. This is the basis of the sentence of which I would ask you to realize the profound significance: Christianity began as a religion but is greater than all religions.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 283. Note that "Christianity" is not greater than all other religions; it is greater than any and all religions. This strange remark reflects Steiner's claim that his teachings are not a religion. "True" Christianity, he taught, is gnostic, it consists of secret knowledge. His teachings (Anthropo-sophy: human knowledge) embody the secrets. That is, he possessed true Christianity; churches do not possess it. "I also want you to understand what is really religious in the anthroposophical sense ... [R]eligion connected with a specific church is not actually religious.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 44-46. In this sense, Anthroposophy is the one true religion, according to Steiner.
 Matthew 19: See http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Matthew+19
Steiner claimed that all religious traditions essentially say the same things, although earlier versions were less precise than later versions. [See "Altogether".] His own version is the most precise yet. To make other religions and traditions more or less consist with his teachings, Steiner had to twist them and redefine them. Noticing the liberties he took and the violence entailed can reduce our admiration for his accomplishment. Anyway, here is how he said Zarathustra foresaw the coming of Christ:
"This was the proclamation of the sublime Sun or Light Spirit — the Sun Aura, Ahura Mazda, Ormuzd. This Spirit of Light reveals Himself to Zarathustra and his followers as the Spirit who turns His countenance from the spiritual world toward mankind and who prepares the future within mankind. It is the Spirit who points to the Christ before His advent on earth, whom Zarathustra proclaims as the Spirit of Light. On the other hand, Zarathustra represents in Ahriman — Angra Mainju — a power whose influence upon the life of the human soul causes the latter's deterioration when it surrenders itself one-sidedly to it. This power is none other than the one previously characterized who, since the betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries, had gained especial domination over the earth. Besides the evangel concerning the Spirit of Light, Zarathustra also proclaimed the doctrine of the spiritual beings who become manifest to the purified sense of the seer as the companions of the Spirit of Light and to whom a contrast was formed by the tempters who appeared to the unpurified remnants of clairvoyance that was retained from the Atlantean period. Zarathustra strove to make clear to the prehistoric Persian how the human soul, as far as it was engaged in the activities and strivings of the physical-sensory world, was the field of battle between the power of the Light God and His adversary and how the human being must conduct himself so as not to be led into the abyss by this adversary but whose influence might be turned to good by the power of the Light God." — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 4, GA 13.
 Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 180.
 Wendell Berry, BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: CHRIST’S TEACHINGS ABOUT LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005).
 Ibid., p. 7.
 In Steiner’s work, love tends to be either an abstraction or a distant goal. As leader of his own gnostic religion, Anthroposophy, Steiner endorsed love as virtually any religious leader would need to do. But many of his specific doctrines drain love of its essence. This certainly applies to his racist teachings. [See “Steiner’s Racism”]. His solution to racism is not for us to love one another in all our varieties and individuality, but for “lower” racial strains to yield to “higher,” and for the survivors to blend into a single, universal race. [See "Love and the Universal Human".] Likewise, his vision of love entails an extremely long evolutionary process: “[I]n the future, Love will be revealed — Love as a new force of Nature....” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 311. Christ urges us to love one another, now, unreservedly. Steiner advocates love, but he sees its real enactment as a phenomenon of the distant future. Steiner embraces not Christ or Christ’s teachings, as such, but the “Christ-Event,” the “Mystery of Golgotha.” He means that Christ introduced a new evolutionary impulse into human life, an impulse that must evolve over the millennia so that one day it may be fulfilled: “It is the sublime Sun Being, of whom we have had to tell when describing the evolution of the Christ-Event, who at His revelation stands forth as the all-embracing prototype of Love.” — Ibid., p. 311. Christians are fully justified in finding such thinking alien to their faith.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995).
 Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 30.
In the past, mainstream Christian churches sometimes accommodated racist beliefs. But such beliefs are almost wholly absent from Christian teachings today, and their appearance in the past must be deemed — in the light of Christ's teachings — aberrant.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.
 Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100.
 Rudolf Steiner, START NOW! A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises (SteinerBooks, 2004), p. 218.
Steiner often said that prayers should not be requests for personal favors; they should not be “egoistical.” A good prayer bestows strengths, powers — like an incantation. The Lord’s prayer, he said, has special efficacy: “As a daily prayer, the Lord’s prayer is the most suited to develop esoteric forces. It is the most effective of prayers ... Whenever one prays the Lord’s Prayer, the original primal human powers underlie the prayer — even if one knows nothing of it ... [T]hose who use this prayer can have these powers live unconsciously within them.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 202. By praying properly, one can hook into powers that the ancients had and we have lost. Primarily, this means clairvoyance.
 START NOW!, p. 219.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 199-200.
 THE FIFTH GOSPEL, p. 119.
 Ibid., p. 120.
 Ibid., p. 120.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: The Evolution of Individuality, Lectures from 1909-1916 (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), pp. 65-66.
The passage refers to Biblical times.
 Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 43.
Steiner’s term “imagistic” is tangentially related to his doctrine that imagination, or pictorial thinking, yields spiritual truth.
Be cautious about Steiner's use of the present tense. Sometimes when he says that something is true now, he means that it was once true or may someday be true. In the case of Yahweh residing on the moon, it makes little difference whether Steiner meant now or formerly — the doctrine remains weird and unbiblical.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 115.
 Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975), p. 203.
 Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), p. 36.
Lemuria was a pre-Atlantis Atlantis, a lost habitation for humans on Earth.
 FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 650.
 RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH, p. 93.
 Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 72.
 Ibid., p. 207.
 “...the Christ event, the Mystery of Golgotha ... Rudolf Steiner’s entire effort can be understood within the context of that event. He sought, often in unspoken wats, always to work out of the forces that flowed into world evolution through the deeds of the Christ.” — Arthur G. Zajonc, afterword to Rudolf Steiner's HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 234.
 “[H]uman beings can become a god [sic] only when they are ripe for that condition.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 54.
 “Steiner himself had strong words about some aspects of Christianity ... [T]he aspect of Christianity that triggered his earlier remarks was its belief in a world beyond, a spiritual world unattainable through the intellect and from which were revealed the moral and ethical precepts that were to guide one’s life. Steiner rejected this view and...dedicated his life to the opposite belief, that through rigorous and active thinking we can gain access to the spirit world ourselves.” — Gary Lachman, RUDOLF STEINER (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007), pp. 128-132.
 Steiner associated Christ with the Sun in part because “sunlight” (physical or spiritual) allows us to “see” (with our “outer eyes” or “inner eyes). Christ, thus, enables us to acquire hidden knowledge. E.g., discussing the confusion people may feel after sleep (after a period when, he taught, our souls leave our bodies and enter the spirit realm), Steiner said, “Here Christ appears before us as a spiritual Sun and becomes our guide so that the confusion resolves into a kind of harmonious understanding.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 39. But Steiner also had a more literal association in mind. He literally meant that Christ was a Sun being, a spirit residing on the Sun.
 See, e.g., the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA: “...salvation by divine aid, which has usually entailed the concept of a divine saviour who achieves what man cannot do for himself — as in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” — “salvation.” ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 26 Nov. 2008.
Steiner gave various descriptions of how humans can slip down into what we might call perdition:
◊ Individual humans may descend to lower and lower stages in successive incarnations until they fall out of evolution. "Beings that stay behind at such stages appear in a later epoch as subordinate nature spirits." — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 70.
◊ The demon Ahriman presides over the material realm; humans who enter Ahriman's world lose their souls. "The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 115.
◊ Evil humans will form an "evil race" that will be consigned to a hellish fate. "The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss." — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.
◊ When good humans are preparing to move on to Vulcan, evil humans will be sent to an "irreclaimable moon": “[A]t a certain stage, a separate celestial body becomes [i.e., will become] detached. This — as it were, an ‘irreclaimable moon’ — includes all the beings who have persisted in withstanding the true course of evolution. It enters now upon a line of development such as no words can portray....” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, pp. 309-310.
These are the dooms that the religion of Anthroposophy would save us from. The salvation offered by Anthroposophy is “correct” spiritual knowledge that permits us to move upward in an evolution leading to Vulcan and beyond.
 KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, p. 13.
There are other “Sun beings” besides Christ. All of them affect human beings, but only Christ connects with humans individually; the others affect our shared human attributes: “The other Sun beings who remained in the Sun sphere have no access to the single human individuality but only to what is common to all mankind.” — Ibid., p. 13 From our perspective, Christ is the most important Sun being, but viewed from another angle he is just one among many. He is not even distinguished from the others because he is “sublime.” Occasionally Steiner called the other Sun beings “sublime” as well (e.g., OCCULT SCIENCE, p. 181: a soul can “see the sublime Beings of the Sun” — the soul is “face to face [sic] with the sublime Sun Beings”).
Lucifer — whose name means light-bearer — is associated with the Sun. In a sense, all of Lucifer's followers may be called Sun gods: “[T]he creation of reason is correlated with solar activity, and the dawn of intelligence in human nature is the rise of an inner sun. This is affirmed not merely figuratively, but in an absolutely real sense. The beings [i.e., Lucifer-Spirits] found thus an opportunity of resuming their activity within the human being, in conjunction with the sun ... From this it is easy to see the origin of the name 'Lucifer' — that is, 'Lightbearer' — and why these beings are characterised in Occult Science as 'sun gods.'" — Rudolf Steiner, THE SUBMERGED CONTINENTS OF ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA (Rajput Press, 1911), p. 230. Remember to take this "in an absolutely real sense."
Christ was higher than the other Sun beings. He was the Sun God — that is, the predominant god of the Sun. • “Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth...." Margaret Jonas, introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. • "The sun oracle of ancient Atlantis had already prophesied the coming of the Christ, of the Sun God." — Rudolf Steiner, ON THE MYSTERY DRAMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), p. 93. • “Christ...the Sun God." — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY IN CONNECTION WITH QUESTIONS OF REINCARNATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), p. 5. • “It was known to the initiated priests of these Mysteries that the sublime Sun-Spirit of whom they spoke to the worshippers is the same Being as He who would later be called the Christ.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 271.
To be a bit more precise, Steiner sometimes indicated that there are several Sun gods or solar pitris, and Christ is the highest among them. "This was why a Sun God had to come, a higher being than Lucifer. There still existed what are known as the Solar Pitris ["Fathers"]. The most exalted among these is Christ." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 26, GA 93a.
Steiner’s view of the other members of the Holy Trinity is as unorthodox as his view of Christ. God the Father, he said, is the spiritual perfection that will be our own: “[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17. Note the quotation marks around the words 'the Father.' As for the Holy Spirit: “This outer world that we create is a vision of all our previous earthly incarnations spread out before us in a tableau. At the same time a glimmer, as it were, of light appears from the future, the same light that illumines our past. It is this, so to speak, beckoning [sic] light that Steiner speaks of as the Holy Spirit....” — Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 163.
Steiner locates not only Christ on the Sun, but he finds the Antichrist there, also. The Antichrist is Sorat, the Sun Demon. • “In speaking about the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation of St. John, [Steiner] refers to one of the most powerful adversary forces, the anti-Christ, Sorat, the Sun Demon....” — Margaret Jonas, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 15. • “Sorat has meant ‘Demon of the Sun’ since ancient times. Every star has its good spirit — its intelligence — and its evil spirit — its demon. The adversary of the good powers of the sun is called Sorat ... Sorat is, then, the adversary of Christ Jesus.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 19.
Sorat may be manifested through the machinations of evil humans. Black magicians “do not remain stuck in animality; they develop spiritual abilities. In full consciousness they have turned away, and provide a bodily incarnation for Sorat. That will be the incarnation in flesh of the demon of the sun.” — Ibid., p. 127.
Opposing black magicians and Sorat are the good humans, among whom Steiner certainly includes himself. “Sorat continues to work on and on against the forces coming from the Genius of the Sun that are battling for a genuine Christianity.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, p. 111. By “genuine Christianity,” Steiner means his own doctrines. But this is another of his extraordinary misrepresentations, possibly reflecting his sincere confusion. Consider the concept of Christ as a sublime Sun being, or Sun genius, or Sun god. This is a pagan, not a Christian, concept.
Coming closer to Christian orthodoxy, Steiner says that people who follow Sorat will pay a heavy price: “[T]here is also an opposing principle to the Lamb, there is also a Sun-Demon, the so-called Demon of the Sun, that which works in the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is thrust out of the evolution which leads to the sun. These are the opposing forces of the sun, they are in opposition to the sun; at the same time they are the forces which have the tendency to be entirely thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198. That the followers of the Antichrist will be severely punished is an orthodox proposition. But linking this to being “thrust out of the evolution which leads to the sun” is not. (Steiner taught that severely errant humans “fall out of evolution” and descend to the level of “subordinate nature spirits.” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 69. And, according to Steiner, the abyss is the destination not just of evil forces but of the final human evolutionary laggards, the “evil race.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 103.)
Let’s return to the “666 conditions of development.” 666 is the number of the Beast, a designation of Sorat. In Anthroposophy, 666 has several significances. It reflects the periods between Sorat’s appearances: “Sorat rises every 666 years to deceive humanity.” — René Querido, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND THE WORK OF THE PRIEST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998) p. 8. 666 also will become the indicator of successful or thwarted human evolution. “What must the number 666 actually mean if it is to express what we have explained? It must mean the principle which leads man to complete hardening in external physical life, so that he thrusts from himself just what would enable him to strip off the lower principles and rise to the higher.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, p. 199. For those who manage to keep evolving, 666 will mark their passage to that higher evolution. Note that conditions of life, races, and sub-races mark stages of evolution: “Just as we now have 344 as the number of evolution, in the future when 6 conditions of life, 6 fundamental races, and 6 sub-races have been gone through, the number 666 (six, six, six) [sic] will apply ... Thus a time will come when the number 666 is the number of evolution.” — THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN, p. 195.
Whether that last Steiner statement makes sense is debatable (the number six-hundred-and-sixty-six becomes three sixes, or eighteen), but what leaps out is the emphasis that Steiner puts on race. He did this repeatedly — racial differences are basic to his ideology. Good humans rise through the hierarchy of races, while bad humans fall — sometimes falling all the way out of evolution. As on so many other topics (e.g., Ahriman, magic, Jesus the Sun lord...), Steiner’s views on race and evolution diverge markedly from the tenets of genuine Christianity.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Kessinger, facsimile of 1942 edition), pp . 108-109. (Also published by Temple Lodge, 1993.)
Steiner taught that when Christ was crucified and his blood soaked into the earth, Christ merged with Earth and became it's spirit. Christ is not merely a "Sun being" — he is a sun god or, literally, the Sun God, indistinguishable from the divinity worshipped, under other names, in other religions, as the Sun God. Christ is of great importance to human beings on the Earth, Steiner said, because Christ chose to come to Earth to help us. But other “gods” have played a similarly important role elsewhere and would have the same importance there that Christ has here. • “Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha by the Bearer of the Essence of Divine Love. To dwell on Mars as Buddha was a deed of sacrifice offered to the Cosmos. He was as it were the lamb offered up in sacrifice on Mars and to accept this environment of strife was for him a kind of crucifixion.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 7, GA 130. • “The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars. Until then Mars had been the chosen center of forces designated by the Greeks as fearfully warlike. The mission of Mars came to an end in the seventeenth century. Another impulse became necessary and the Buddha accomplished a Buddha crucifixion there.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 207.
 Steiner’s religion, Anthroposophy, is pagan, both because it stands outside the world’s major religions, and because it contains so many elements of pagan cosmologies, as in its celebration of Norse myths. Anthroposophists sometimes refer directly to the pagan impulse in their beliefs. “Steiner was excited to discover a ‘Christianity before Christ,’ a ‘pagan Christianity’ (not for him a contradiction in terms) ... The rituals through which one can contact gods and goddesses of old offer a deep sense of satisfaction. However, times have changed, spiritual being evolve also and are known by other names. Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth....” — RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH, pp. 4-5, Introduction by Margaret Jonas. No orthodox Christian could subscribe to the idea that there are forms of Christianity centering on figures other than Jesus Christ. The Sun God appears in many religions under such names as Helios, Ra, and Sol. Ahura Mazda is the chief god of Zoroastrianism; in ancient Egypt, Hu was the personification of authoritative utterance, and he helped row the boat carrying Ra; Balder (or Baldur) is a Norse god associated with the spring and purity (but also, sometimes, with lust).
Steiner did indeed refer to pagan Christianity: “...the old, nature-inspired Christianity that had still been reflected in the teachings of Chartres where, as in Arthur’s Round Table, a pagan Christianity, a pre-Christian Christianity prevailed.” — KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, p. 42. Chartres, site of a magnificent cathedral, was a gnostic educational center in the Middle Ages. Steiner did not advocate returning to old forms of pagan worship, but — as in his reference to the Round Table — he tried to marry Christianity with myth and legend. Besides drawing on myths from other cultures, he advocated various European, “Christian” legends as a way to reconcile ancient beliefs with newer forms. So, while quoting from the Bible and offering gnostic interpretations of Biblical texts, Steiner gave great weight to such legends as the Arthurian knights and their quest for the Holy Grail. “[N]owadays we can see all too clearly that Christianity needs for its future development to rediscover the ‘sacramental’ sense of nature. Many will otherwise find that they need to turn away from it back to ‘paganism’ or nature spirituality. That is not the way of the Grail, though. The Grail is the discovery of the inner way forward....” — Rudolf Steiner, Andrew J. Wellburn, introduction to Rudolf Steiner's THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 7. But the Grail is not a Biblical concept — indeed, in all likelihood, it is itself pagan. “Grail - object of legendary quest for the knights of Arthurian romance. The term evidently denoted a wide-mouthed or shallow vessel ... The legend of the Grail possibly was inspired by classical and Celtic mythologies....” — "Grail." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 14 Feb. 2009. Steiner took legend and myth for truth, setting them alongside the Bible and often giving them preference.
 Rudolf Steiner, “Gnostic Doctrines and Supersensible Influences in Europe” (ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 6, No. 3), GA 225.
 OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, p. 272.
 Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER: An Introduction to His Spiritual World-View (Temple Lodge Publishing 2005), p. 24.
 Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AS A FOUNDATION FOR SOCIAL FORMS (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), p. 20.
 Andrew Welburn, commentary in Steiner's RELIGION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 164.
 THE FIFTH GOSPEL, publisher's description.
 RELIGION, p. 186.
 René M. Querido, introduction to Steiner's THE REAPPEARANCE OF CHRIST IN THE ETHERIC (Anthroposophic Press, 1983).
 THE REAPPEARANCE OF CHRIST IN THE ETHERIC, lecture 1.
 Here is one Christian interpretation: "When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose not as a spirit, but as a person with a physical body which could be seen ... The Bible couldn’t be clearer about this topic. Jesus’ second coming is not some mystical event that will happen in the heart of a new believer. It will be a physical, observable event. Jesus will return with a physical body." — "Jesus' Second Coming", http://biblestudies.suite101.com/article.cfm/jesus_second_coming.
 See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?" It is a religion, but that religion is not Christian; it is pagan.