Ross Douthat, do not despair. A few intellectuals have “scanned the heavens and found the star” (“Ideas From a Manger: Differing Visions Seek to Interpret the Creche’s Meaning,” Dec. 25) leading to the answers to the questions threatening Christianity with a flood of scientific disbelief. They have found it in the rational truth shining in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.
As an example, take Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish Nobel Prize laureate, who wrote: “Let me explain why Swedenborg merits scrutiny. It is a fact that the greatest poets and prose writers have borrowed liberally from him. The list is long: first Blake, as his direct spiritual descendant; then Goethe, a fervent reader of Swedenborg (as was Kant! followed by Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire, Balzac, Mickiewicz, Slowacki, Emerson, Dostoevsky...)”
Thomas Carlyle said, “More truths are confessed in Swedenborg’s writings than in that of any other man.” The beauty of the truths in Swedenborg’s theology is that they enable us to understand how the spiritual and natural aspects of the Lord’s creation harmonize, yea, correspond and interact.
And Elizabeth Barrett Browning observed: “To my mind, the only light that has been cast on the other life is found in Swedenborg’s philosophy. It explains much that was incomprehensible.”
Swedenborg says in his famous “Heaven and Hell” (which I have helped translate from the Latin) that he saw that after death life in a real world as a complete man or woman awaits us, and that our judgment will consist in being free to live among the kind of people we chose to be during our life here — so there is a heaven awaiting all the sincerely neighborly and God-fearing, and a hell for the utterly selfish and worldly.
REV. KURT P. NEMITZ
Church of the New Jerusalem