Allan Kardec

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Hate the parents. - Abandon father, mother and children. - Leave to the dead the care of burying their dead. - I have not come to bring peace, but dissension.


1. And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, you cannot be my disciple (Luke, 14: 25-27 & 33).

2. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son and daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew, 10: 37).

3. Very occasionally certain words attributed to Christ make singular contrast to His habitual manner of speaking, so much so that we instinctively repel their literal sense without causing the sublimity of His doctrine to suffer damage. Written after His death, since none of the Evangelists wrote while He was alive, it is licit to believe that in cases like these the depth of His thoughts were not expressed or, which is no less possible, the original sense while having been passed from one language to another has consequently suffered some alteration. It is sufficient that a small error be committed but once, for those who copy to continue to repeat it, as frequently happens in the relating of historical facts.

The term hate in the phrase from Luke: if any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children - should be understood by the light of this hypothesis. It would not occur to anyone to attribute these words to Jesus. So then, it would be superfluous to discuss it or even less to try to justify it. For this it would be necessary first to know if He pronounced them, and if He had, whether in the idiom in which they were expressed the word in question had the same meaning as it does in our language. In this passage from John: "He who hates his life in this world will conserve himself for the eternal life," there is no doubt that Jesus did not attach the same meaning as we do to these words.
The Hebraic language was not rich in expressions and contained many words which had varied meanings. Such a one, for example, is that in Genesis used to describe the phases of creation. It also served simultaneously to express a given period of time and the period of a day. Later on, from this situation came the translation into the term a day, and the belief that the world was created in a period that lasted six times twenty-four hours. Another was the word used to designate both camel and a rope, since the ropes were made of camel hair. This is why they translated the word into the term 'camel' in the allegory of the eye of the needle (Chapter 16, item 2). *

Furthermore, it behoves us to pay attention to the customs and character of the various peoples, which have a very great influence over the particular nature of their language. Without this knowledge, the true meanings of certain words frequently escape us. The same term when passed from one language to another may gain either more or less strength. In one it may involve insult and blasphemy, while in another it may totally lack importance, according to the idea it provokes. Even in the same language some words lose their value with time. For this reason a rigorously literal translation does not always express the thought exactly, and so in order to maintain this exactitude it is sometimes necessary to use other equivalents rather than corresponding terms, or even paraphrases.

These comments will be found especially applicable in the interpretation of the blessed Scriptures, and in particular those of the Gospels. If the nature of the environment in which Jesus lived is not taken into account we shall be exposed to misunderstandings as to the meaning of certain expressions and certain facts, as a consequence of the habit we have of likening others to ourselves. In any case, it behoves us to divest the term HATE of its modern meaning, as this is contrary to the true message of the teachings of Jesus. (See also chapter 14, item 5 and subsequent items.)

* NON ODIT in Latin: KAÏ or MISEÏ in Greek, do not mean hate, but rather TO LOVE LESS. What the Greek verb MISEÏ indicates is expressed even better by the Hebrew verb, which would have been used by Jesus. This verb does not only signify HATE, but also TO LOVE LESS, TO NOT LOVE AS MUCH AS, OR TO NOT LOVE THE SAME AS SOMEONE ELSE. In the Syrian dialect, which is said was used more frequently by Jesus, this meaning is even better accentuated. It is in this sense that GENESIS (Chapter 29: 30 & 31) says: "And Jacob loved Raquel more than Lia, and Jehova seeing that Lia was hated It is evident that the true meaning here is: was loved less. This is how it should be translated. In many other passages in Hebrew and, above all in Syrian, the same verb is used in the sense of TO NOT LOVE AS MUCH AS ANOTHER, which makes it contradictory to translate it into HATE, this having another clearly defined meaning. The text of Matthew, however, puts the matter quite clearly. (Note by M. Pezzani, in the 3rd edition of the original French.)


4. And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my Name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matthew, 19: 29).

5. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all; and followed Thee. And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the Kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting (Luke, 18: 28-30).

6. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke, 9: 61 & 62).

Here, without arguing about words, we should look for the thought behind them which quite evidently was: The interests of the future life should take precedence over all other interests and human considerations. This thought is in accordance with the substance of the doctrine as taught by Jesus, whereas the idea of renouncing one's family would be a frank denial of this teaching.

Moreover, do we not have these maxims in mind when we consider the sacrifice of our interests and family affections for those of our homeland? Do we, by chance, censure those who leave their parents, brothers and sisters, wives and children in order to fight for their country? On the contrary, do they not gain in merit for having given up their homes and families in order to fulfill their duty? This then is because there are some duties which are greater than others. Does not the law impose that the daughter leave her parents in order to follow her husband? The world is full of thousands of cases in which painful separation is necessary. Nevertheless, affections are not broken because of this. These temporary separations do not diminish either the respect or the solicitude that children owe to their parents, nor the affection of these parents for their children. Therefore we see that even if we take these words literally, with the exception of the word hate, they would not be a contradiction of the commandment which prescribes that Man honours his father and mother, nor that of parental affections; and would certainly not be if they were understood in their spiritual meaning. These words had the finality then of showing through overstatement, how imperious is the duty of occupying oneself with the future life. Besides, they would have been less shocking for a people in an epoch in which, as a consequence of their customs, family ties were not so strong as they are within a society which is morally more advanced. These ties, always weak in primitive peoples, fortify themselves with the development of sensitivity and a sense of morality. Nevertheless, separation is necessary for progress. Without it families and races would become degenerate if there were no intermingling of different strains. This is a law of nature, and is as much in the interests of moral progress as it is for physical progress.

Here things are considered purely from the earthly point of view. Spiritism makes us look higher by showing us that the real ties of affection are not of the flesh but of the Spirit, and that these ties do not break with separation, nor even through the death of the physical body. In fact they become more robust in the spiritual life by means of the cleansing of the Spirit. This knowledge is a consoling truth from which great strength can be gained by all beings to help them support the vicissitudes of life (See chapter 4, item 18 and chapter 14, item 8).


7. And He said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God (Luke, 9: 59 & 60).

8. What can the words "leave to the dead the care of burying their dead" mean? The previous considerations show primarily that in the circumstances in which they were proffered, they could not have contained a censure for the one who considered it to be a devotional duty of children to bury their father. Therefore we have a more profound meaning here, which can only be perceived with a more complete knowledge of spiritual life.

Life in the spiritual world is in effect the real life, the normal life of a Spirit. Terrestrial existence, being transitory and passing, is a kind of death when compared to the splendours and activity of the spiritual life. The body is nothing more than a gross covering which temporarily clothes the Spirit. It is a true fetter which secures it to the soil and from which the Spirit feels happy to be liberated. The respect given to the dead is not inspired by matter, but is due to the remembrance that the absent Spirit imbues. It is similar to someone who bestows an object which belonged to them and which they handled, that is kept by those who had affection for the person as a remembrance. This is what the man could not understand for himself. Jesus taught him by saying: Do not worry about the body, but think first of the Spirit; go and teach about God's Kingdom; go and tell men that their homeland is not to be found upon the Earth but in Heaven, because the true life exists only there.


9. Think not that l am come to send peace on Earth: lam come not to send peace, but a sword. For lam come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household (Matthew, 10: 34-36).

10. I am come to send fire on the Earth; and what will I if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that lam come to give peace on Earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother-in-law against her daughter- in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (Luke, 12: 49-53).

11. Could it really be that Jesus, the personification of gentleness and goodness, Who never ceases to preach the need to love our neighbours, could have said: "I come not to bring peace, but the sword; to separate the son from the father, the husband from his wife; I am come to set fire to the Earth and am in a hurry for this to happen"? Are not these words in flagrant contradiction to His teaching? Is it not blasphemy to attribute to Him the language of a bloody and devastating conqueror? No, there is no blasphemy nor contradiction in these words, because it was He Who pronounced them and they are testimony to His great wisdom. It is only that they are a little ambiguous and the form does not express the thought with exactitude, thus giving rise to misunder- standing as to their true meaning. Taken literally, they have a tendency to transform His mission, which was all peaceful, into one of perturbation and discord, which is absurd, and good sense repels this, seeing that Jesus could not contradict Himself (See chapter 19, item 6).

12. Every new idea inevitably encounters opposition and there is not one which is implanted without a fight. Well, in these cases the resistance is always in proportion to the importance of the foreseen results, because the greater these are the more numerous are the interests which are affected. If it is notoriously false, if it is taken as inconsequential, then no one becomes alarmed; everyone lets it go, being certain that it lacks vitality. If, however, it is true, if it is placed on a solid base, if it appears to have a future, then a secret presentiment alerts its antagonists to the fact that it constitutes a danger for them and to the order of things to whose maintenance they are pledged. Then they throw themselves against it and its adepts.

So we can measure the importance and the results of a new idea by the amount of emotion its appearance causes, by the violence of the opposition it provokes, as well as by the degree and persistence of the anger of its adversaries.

13. Jesus came to proclaim a doctrine which would undermine the very base of the abuses upon which the Pharisees, the Scribes and the Priests all lived. Accordingly they sacrificed Him, believing that by killing the Man they would kill the idea. Nevertheless this idea survived because it was the truth. It has augmented itself because it corresponds to God's design, and although born in a small and obscure hamlet in Judaea, it went and planted its standard in the very capital of the pagan world, right in the face of its fiercest enemies, those who had the greatest interest in combating it because it was subverting centuries old beliefs to which they were attached, much more for personal interest than from conviction. Terrible battles awaited there for the Apostles; the victims were innumerable. However, the idea always grew and triumphed because, being the truth, it rose above those which had preceded.

14. It is worth noting that Christianity sprang up when Paganism had already entered into a decline and was struggling against the light of reason. It was practised only as a matter of form as faith had disappeared; only personal interest sustained it. Now those who are moved by interest are persistent and never give way to evidence. They become more and more irritated as the counter arguments become more decisive and demonstrate more clearly their beliefs. These people know very well they are wrong, but this does not deter them, as true faith is not yet a part of their soul. What they most fear is the light which will give sight to those who are blind. The errors are to their advantage, so they hold on to them and give battle.

Did not Socrates also teach a doctrine very similar to that of Christ? Why then did it not prevail amongst one of the most intelligent peoples upon the planet at that time? This was because the time was not yet ripe. He sowed on land that had not been ploughed. Paganism was still not worn out. Christ received His mission at the propitious moment. It is true that a great deal was still lacking for mankind of that epoch to enable them to reach the level of Christian ideas; but there was a general aptitude amongst them which permitted the assimilation of this knowledge, because of the beginning of a sense of emptiness which the common beliefs did nothing to fill. Socrates and Plato opened up the way and prepared the Spirits of the people (See the INTRODUCTION, item 4, SOCRATES & PLATO, the forerunners of Christian ideas and of Spiritism).

15. Unfortunately the adepts of the new doctrine were unable to agree as to the interpretation of the words of Jesus, Whose meaning was frequently hidden by allegory and figures of speech. Because of this, numerous sects were quick to flourish, each claiming to possess the exclusive truth, and even eighteen centuries have not been sufficient for them to come to an agreement. Forgetting the most important of the divine precepts, which Jesus placed as the corner stone of His edifice as an express condition for salvation, namely charity, fraternity and love for one's neighbour; those sects launched curses at each other and cast themselves one upon the other, the strongest crushing the weakest, drowning themselves in blood and annihilating themselves by torture and fire. After having conquered Paganism, these Christians who had been the persecuted, became the persecutors. Fire and steel were used to implant the Cross of the Shepherd, despite its being unblemished in both worlds. It is a confirmed fact that religious wars have been the most cruel and produced more victims than all the political wars put together. In no other warfare are so many acts of atrocity or barbarism practised.

Is this the fault of the Christian Doctrine? Clearly not, as this formally condemns all violence. Did Jesus ever tell His disciples to go out and kill or commit massacres or burn those who did not believe? No! On the contrary, He always said that all men are brothers, that God is supremely merciful, that we must love our neighbours and our enemies, and do good to those who persecute us. He also said that all those who kill by the sword will perish by the sword. Therefore the responsibility does not lie with the Doctrine of Jesus, but rather with those who have falsely interpreted it and turned it into an instrument for the satisfaction of their own passions. It belongs to those who have despised these words: "My Kingdom is not of this world."

In His profound wisdom Jesus had foreseen these happenings. But these things were inevitable because they are inherent in the inferior nature of Man, which cannot be transformed suddenly. It was necessary for Christianity to go through this long and cruel test during all these centuries in order to show its strength, seeing that despite all the evil committed in its name it has remained pure and uncontaminated. This has never been disputed. The blame has always fallen upon those who have abused it. At every act of intolerance it has always been said that if Christianity were better understood and more widely practised this would never have happened.

16. When Jesus declared: "Think not that I am come to bring peace on Earth, but a sword," the thought behind this statement was as follows:

«Do not believe that My Doctrine will establish itself pacifically, because it will bring bloody battles wherein My name will be used as a pretext, because mankind will not have understood Me or will not have wanted to understand. Brothers and sisters, separated by their respective beliefs, will unsheath their swords one against the other and division will reign within the breast of families whose members do not share the same beliefs. I have come to launch fire upon the Earth so as to purge it of errors and prejudices, just as you put fire to a field in order to destroy the weeds; and I am in a hurry for the fire to start so the purification may be that much quicker, seeing that truth will come forth triumphantly from this conflict. War will be succeeded by peace, hate between two parties by universal brotherhood, the darkness of fanaticism by the clarity of enlightened faith. Then when the field is prepared I will send a Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, which will re-establish all things. This is to say that by understanding the meaning of My words the more enlightened people will finally comprehend and so put an end to the killing of brother by brother, which has disunited all the children of the same Father. Finally then, being tired of combat which has brought no result, only desolation and perturbation, even into the hearts of families, Man will recognise where his true interests lie in relation to this world and the next. He will see on which side are to be found the friends or enemies of his tranquillity. Then all will put themselves under the same banner which is that of charity, and all things will re-establish themselves on Earth in accordance with truth and the principles which I have taught.»

17. Spiritism has come at the appointed time to realise the promises made by Christ. However, this cannot be done without first destroying all abuse. Just as happened with Jesus, Spiritism is faced with pride, selfishness, ambition greed and blind fanaticism, which when taken to their last defences, try to block the pathway causing hinderance and persecutions. Therefore it too has to do battle. But the time of battles and bloody outrages is passing so that those to be suffered from now on will be of a moral nature, and even these are nearing the end. The first lasted for centuries, but these will last but a few years, because instead of breaking forth in only one place at a time, the light now shines from all points of the globe and will quickly open the eyes of those who are still blind.

18. These words of Jesus should be understood as referring to the wrath which His doctrine will provoke, the momentary conflicts which it will create and to the fights it will have to endure before it is established, just as happened to the Hebrews before they entered into the Promised Land. It should not be understood as inferring a predetermined design on His part to sow disorder and conflict. Evil comes from Man, never from Jesus. He was like the doctor who comes to cure, but whose medicine provokes a beneficial crisis in those who are sick.

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