Many anthroposophists mistakenly believe spiritual science is a religion, and they don’t even realize that they hold this belief.
Anthroposophy would be a religion if everyone could create their own mystical spiritual reality out of its teachings. The Doctor, however, stated that anthroposophy was a method to discover objective spiritual realities, that it was a science in the sense that it gives the student methods to discover the truth about the already existing spiritual worlds and its factual characteristics.
Claiming anthroposophy is a religion is like saying that I have read a bunch of books about forests, and now that I am walking into a real forest, I expect this real forest to transform itself suddenly to reflect everything I have read about forests. But what if I am entering a rainforest, and my perspective is that I have only studied coniferous forests? The rainforest will not transform itself into a coniferous forest just because of my perspective.
What’s really going to happen is that I am going to enter the forest and observe the trees as they are, and try to relate what I see to the concepts I have already learned in order to get some understanding of the environment.
Why must it be so? Because the Forest is an objective physical reality, and my perception must mold itself to this reality, not reality to my perception.
It’s the same thing with the spiritual worlds.
When I read a bunch of books about spiritual science and then enter the spiritual worlds, these worlds won’t adjust themselves to what I have read. Rather, they are what they are, and I must observe the phenomena within this spiritual world and relate it to what I have studied in my books, in order to gain a healthy understanding of what I am seeing.
The spiritual worlds, however, will not mold themselves to fit my perspective of them, at least not the real ones. Rather, my perspective must mold itself in order to understand the reality of these worlds.
This is the fundamental difference between treating anthroposophy as a religion or a science.