Christianity and the Traditionalists by Jennifer Doane Upton
There’s a real and intrinsic relationship between the Traditionalists and Christianity—but more than in the case of the other traditions there also seems to be an antagonism. Traditionalists often come to their knowledge through “pure mind”; this phrase, however, can indicate both true Intellection and mere mental acuity, and the same person can display both aspects at different times. To live completely in the world of mind, with little or no awareness of the existential import of knowledge, makes this knowledge ethereal—and at the very worst, susceptible to unreality, even though it may be knowledge of Reality as such. Christians, on the other hand, are centered in the existential, even to the point of making the healing of soul and body central to their spiritual life. If Christians really followed through on what is being shown to them on this existential plane, they would bump their noses against concrete metaphysical realities. The very healing of soul and body they seek would reveal to them what a false, demonic metaphysic is, and so teach them how to walk the path of true metaphysic. Christians often stop in the middle of this path, however, content to live within the “merely” existential, as if meaning and understanding were no longer needed in the presence of Grace. It never occurs to them that this Grace and healing are being given to them precisely so they can understand more and intuit more deeply.
Each of these types—the intellective and the existential—looks askance at the other, and almost assumes that only their own type can reach the final goal. Frithjof Schuon once wrote, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the only person God loves”. When I read this, my response was: “And don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are the only type that God loves.”
Many Christians would spiritually benefit from a more intellective or jñanic understanding—after all, Aquinas saw the Intellect as the highest of the human faculties, and as Wolfgang Smith points out in his book Christian Gnosis, the quintessential jñana of Meister Eckhart is mostly based upon an esoteric exegesis of Aquinas. The Traditionalists could certainly benefit from a more existential realization of the truths they discern intellectively.
The Traditionalists tend to look at many Christians as rather unintelligent—understandably so—but because of their fragile grasp on the existential dimension, they are often unintelligent themselves in another way. Many of today’s Traditionalists, for example, seem to have almost no understanding of the Counter-Initiation so well analyzed by René Guénon in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times and elsewhere [published by Sophia Perennis], and consequently of how they are presently being co-opted by the New World Order. They are like lambs led to the slaughter in this regard.
Due to the doctrine and reality of the Incarnation, Christianity is both centered in the existential dimension and otherworldly at the same time, without suffering the material/spiritual split introduced by Descartes. If the Traditionalists, Christian or otherwise, could understand this and also live it, they would realize the pressing need make a radical break with the world—a realization driven home by the fact of persecution at the hands of the world, or by their awakening to the fact that they have already been subject to this persecution for some time without knowing it.
[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.]