Relative Truth and Absolute Nonsense
So there's no misunderstanding, when I say that "we are all Christians now," I'm just trying to be annoying to non-believers. I'm certainly not trying to alienate our Jewish friends.
Rather, I mean it in Augustine's venerable sense that "that which is known as the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist." It was with us "from the beginning of the human race until the time when Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christianity." I'm just drawing out the metalogical implications of Augustine's insight, and applying it to past, present and future.
You could equally just say that "all truth comes from Christ," which is what Schuon believed, despite the fact that he was a practicing Sufi. For example, Schuon writes that when we say In the beginning was the Word, "obviously what is meant is not a temporal origin, but a principial priority, that of divine Order, to which the universal Intellect -- the Word -- pertains, while nonetheless being linked to cosmic Manifestation, of which it is the center both transcendent and immanent."
In fact, one of the dangers of dogma miscoonscrewed is that it can cause the Christian message to lose its universality. And when it loses its universality, it loses its appeal to the intellect, since the intellect is what knows universals, precisely (the senses know nothing of universals).
This again touches on the issue of heresy, and of the balance that is required in order to preserve the efficacy of dogma in embodying and "delivering" Truth to man and vice versa. Dogma can never be absolute but can only point to the Absolute. And to be honest, for a variety of reasons, I don't think any purely exoteric dogma can do this, as it inevitably has certain inconsistencies that "offend" the intellect (but do not pose a problem, say, for the bhakti), and which can only be resolved on the esoteric plane.
By the way, we could equally say the same of science. I have no problem with scientific dogma, as science cannot get by without it. But when they start to reify their methodological abstractions and insist upon the literal truth of things that cannot be so, then they are every bit as opaque as the religious fundamentalist who insists that the world is 6,000 years old or that we should always "turn the other cheek" and thereby allow monsters to rule the earth.
For example, Darwinism is fine as method, but to insist that the human soul could have arisen from random material processes is just loony. Likewise, to suggest that creation "started" with the Big Bang is nonsense. The Big Bang is simply as far as the laws of physics can be applied. It hardly means that there was -- is -- nothing outside them. Indeed, if there weren't something that transcends physics, I couldn't be typing this sentence and you couldn't understand it.
One of the benefits of Christianity is that many aspects of it "make no sense" upon superficial consideration. Therefore, one is left with two choices; one, just accept the whole thing without reservation, or two, work at seeing the wholeness beneath the apparent divergences and loose ends.
The latter is what we call "verticalisthenics." It is simply what the intellect "does," whether we are talking about matter or spirit, heaven or earth, vertical or horizontal. The scientist sees an apple fall and the earth revolve around the sun, and knows that these two shockingly diverse phenomena are governed by the same underlying law.
Just so, the Christian knows that the same "law" of kenosis that "governs" God's relationship to the cosmos governs our relationship to God; just as God selflessly gives the creation to us, we must selflessly give it back.
Schuon notes that any normal human being can conceive of the Absolute, whether secular or religious. However, in both cases, the person may lack the intellectual firepower to do anything more than simply posit it, as opposed to knowing it on the interior plane.
For example, we know that the radical Darwinian is an obnoxious absolutist. And yet, there is nothing in his theory that allows a completely contingent being to know anything of the Absolute. Therefore, a middlebrow scientific dabbler such as Queeg is no different whatsoever from a kind of incoherent religious absolutist who insists that the world sits on the back of a giant tortoise, but refuses to reason beyond that. The Darwinist places an arbitrary limit on his knowledge, at the same time that he can't account for it to begin with.
As Schuon points out, "unity" is perhaps the simplest aspect of Divinity, something that humans are able to conceive and know of as part of their standard equipment, in the same way that a frog knows about flies. This is why we can say that just as the frog was made to know insects, man was made to know God.
Or, as Schuon has said, what we call instinct in animals is their intelligence, while what we call intellect in man is our instinct. Thus, we have an "instinct" for divinity -- an instinct that can take on diverse -- and perverse -- forms.
Another thing that the Darwinian fails to consider is the limits of reason. Who said that reason alone may reveal the origins of the human being, let alone the nature of the Absolute? If reason revealed it, I would like to know how, for reason can ultimately only operate on the material that has been furnished by non-logical (not necessarily illogical) sources.
Thus, as Schuon points out, "the rational point of view," "when applied to transcendent truths, cannot but reveal its own inadequacy." In short, it is not rational or reasonable to suppose that reason has no limits. Or, to put it another way, it is completely rational to to believe that our reason is in service to an absolute Truth that is anterior to it and wishes to be known.
We call this absolute truth the Word. And if you are not a dimbulb, you just know that it shines in the dark but that the darknous doesn't comprehend it wattsoever.