THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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4. SOCRATES AND PLATO, THE FORERUNNERS OF THE CHRISTIAN IDEA AND SPIRITISM.


From the mere fact that Jesus knew the Essenes, it is erroneous to conclude that His doctrine was derived from this sect, and that if He had lived in another environment He would have professed other principles. Great ideas have never appeared suddenly. Those founded an truth have always bad their predecessors, who partially prepared the path. Later, at the appointed time, God sends a man who has the mission of resuming, ordinating, and completing those scattered elements and uniting them into a doctrine. In this way, when the idea arrives it finds Spirits disposed to accept it. This also happened to the Christian idea, which prognosticated many centuries previously, before either Christ or the Essenes, having had Socrates and Plato as us principle predecessors.

Socrates, like Christ, wrote nothing himself, or at least left nothing written. Like Christ, he also suffered the death of a criminal, victim of fanaticism, because he had dared to attack existing beliefs and for having put virtue above hypocrisy and the image of form, in other words, for having combatted religious prejudice. In the same manner as Jesus, Whom the Pharisees accused of corrupting the people by His teaching, Socrates was also accused by the Pharisees of his time, seeing that they have always existed in all epochs, for proclaiming the dogma of the unity of God, the immortality of the soul and the future life. Just as the doctrine of Jesus became known only through the writings of His disciples, so the doctrine of Socrates became known through his disciple Plato.

For these reasons we judge it appropriate to offer a brief summary of the most prominent points of Socrates' teachings in order to show the concordance with the Christian principles. To those who consider this parallel a profanity, claiming there can be no similarity between pagan doctrine and that of Christ, we would say that the teachings of Socrates were not pagan, because he objectively combatted paganism. As to the teachings of Jesus, which are more complete and pure, they have nothing to lose by this comparison as it is impossible to diminish the greatness of Christ's Divine mission, and that for the rest, we are dealing with historical fact which no one can obliterate. Man has now reached a point when the light emerges from beneath the bushel of its own accord, because he has reached sufficient maturity to be able to meet truth face to face, and it will be the worse for those who do not wish to see this. The time has arrived to consider matters in a more ample and evolved manner, not from the point of view of narrow and diffident interests of sects and castes. Moreover, these citations will prove that if Socrates and Plato presented Christian ideas, they also gave us the fundamental principles of Spiritism in their writings.

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