There is no Natural Religion. . . . As all men are alike (though infinitely various),
so all Religions, as all similars, have one source.
Tolerance, then, is a merely negative virtue, demanding no sacrifice of spiritual pride and involving no abrogation of our sense of superiority; it can be commended only in so far as it means that we shall refrain from hating or persecuting others who differ or seem to differ from ourselves in habit or belief. Tolerance still allows us to pity those who differ from ourselves, and are consequently to be pitied!
. Tolerance, carried further, implies indifference, and becomes intolerable. Our proposal is not that we should tolerate heresies, but rather come to some agreement about the truth. Our proposition is that the proper objective of an education in comparative religion should be to enable the pupil to discuss with other believers the validity of particular doctrines, leaving the problem of the truth or falsity, superiority or inferiority, of whole bodies of doctrine in abeyance until we have had at least an opportunity to know in what respects they really differ from one another, and whether in essentials or in accidentals.
We take it for granted, of course, that they will inevitably differ accidentally, since “nothing can be known except in the mode of the knower.”One must at least have been taught to recognize equivalent symbols, e.g., rose and lotus (Rosa Mundi and Padmāvatī); that Soma is the “bread and water of life”; or that the Maker of all things is by no means accidentally, but necessarily a “carpenter”wherever the material of which the world is made is hylic. The proposed objective has this further and immediate advantage, that it is not in conflict with even the most rigid Christian orthodoxy; it has never been denied that some truths are embodied in the pagan beliefs, and even St. Thomas Aquinas was ready and willing to find in the works of the pagan philosophers “extrinsic and probable proofs”of the truths of Christianity.
He was, indeed, acquainted only with the ancients and with the Jews and some Arabians; but there is no reason why the modern Christian, if his mental equipment is adequate, should not learn to recognize or be delighted to find in, let us say, Vedantic, Sufi, Taoist, or American Indian formulations extrinsic and probable proofs of the truth as he knows it. It is more than probable, indeed, that his contacts with other believers will be of very great advantage to the Christian student in his exegesis and understanding of Christian doctrine; for though himself a believer, this is in spite of the nominalist intellectual environment in which he was born and bred, and by which he cannot but be to some degree affected;
while the Oriental (to whom the miracles attributed to Christ present no problem) is still a realist, born and bred in a realistic environment, and is therefore in a position to approach Plato or St. John, Dante or Meister Eckhart more simply and directly than the Western scholar who cannot but have been affected to some extent by the doubts and difficulties that force themselves upon those whose education and environment have been for the greater part profane.
Martin Lings (the spirit of the times)
Hylic: “Of matter.” Can be thought of as a level of thinking, dealing with the lowest portion of human nature. It is considered living by instinctual drives with no sublimation. Hylics, choikus, sarkics, etc. are said to be below ‘Psychics’ which are below ‘Gnostokoi,’ the highest order of transcendence according to Valentinian and other Gnostic teaching. The world of the psychic, is still in the realm of the hylics in most Gnostic scenarios because existence in the earthly state separates one from the pleroma. (See; Psychic, Kenoma. Pleroma.)
The “Hylic”, corresponds to “Hyle” or gross manifestation, and is
represented by individuals who see nothing beyond “form”, or material