Christianity and Exclusivism by Charles Upton and Jennifer Doane Upton
Traditional Christianity is nothing if not exclusivist. As a new revelation that entered the decadent world of Greco-Roman Paganism and survived as an outlawed sect in the Roman Empire for its first 300 years, it has good historical reasons for its exclusivist stance. As with the Jews vis-à-vis the fertility cults of the Near East, it was surrounded by religions that had mostly lost any sense of transcendence; a mighty effort had to be made to prevent Jesus Christ from being syncretized with other Pagan deities “as just another dying are resurrected god” like Attis or Adonis.
Augustine, for one, claimed that Christianity has always existed but only came be called that after the advent of Jesus; nonetheless, even today Christianity has great difficulty in accepting the validity of other revelations, often being hard pressed to tell the difference between an ancient tradition such as Hinduism and a born-yesterday movements like Neo-Paganism or Wicca. (Islam, despite the Qur’anic doctrine that all “the Peoples of the Book” possess valid revelations, which some Muslims accept, certainly has the same problem.) And when it attempts to open to other traditions, it all too often swings to the opposite extreme, falling into a shapeless ecumenism that ends by betraying the uniqueness of the Christian revelation.
Serious seekers interested in metaphysics who enter Christianity are often unable to find others who share their understanding of the tradition, and the anti-traditional effects of the Second Vatican Council, not only on the Catholic Church but on the Christian world as a whole—even Eastern Orthodoxy—are hard to guage. The Novus Ordo Catholic Church seems more open to metaphysical speculation than the Pre-Consiliar Church was, but only at the expense of the destruction of its own tradition and the liquidation of the sacramental order. And to take refuge in Traditionalism itself as a “meta-doctrine” that relativizes the Christian way and makes good its supposed “deficiencies” is to avoid plumbing the depths of the revelation—existentially as well as intellectually—and thus to fall in with the Novus Ordo spirit. Traditional Christians are a remnant; metaphysically-minded traditional Christians must prepare themselves to be a remnant within the remnant.
[NOTE: Sophia Perennis Christian titles include The Esoterism of Dante and Insights into Christian Esoterism by René Guénon; The Way to Our Heavenly Father: A Contemplative Telling of the Lord’s Prayer by John Champoux; Adam and Eve: The Spiritual Symbolism of Genesis and Exodus by Samuel Fohr; Divine Craftsmanship: Preliminaries to a Spirituality of Work, The Black Virgin: A Marian Mystery, The Divine Liturgy: Insights into its Mystery and The Symbolism of the Christian Temple by Jean Hani; Mental Disorders and Spiritual Healing: Teachings from the Early Christian East by Jean-Claude Larchet; Christianity and the Doctrine of Non-Dualism by Elie Lemoine; Christian Gnosis: From St. Paul to Meister Eckhart by Wolfgang Smith; What Do The Religions Say About Each Other?: Christian Attitudes towards Islam; Islamic Attitudes towards Christianity by William Stoddart; and Dark Way to Paradise: Dante’s Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path by Jennifer Doane Upton.]