Affirming unity of the faithful

The notion that the faithful constitute in their spiritual collectivity an integral, mystical or supernatural terrestrial or celestial body, is common to a number of the higher religions. It is explicit in Zoroastrianism and the Christianity of the New Testament, and is also found in speculative forms in ancient Egyptian religion and in Judaism. Connected with the concept of the Soul of the World it is also found in various stages in Platonism, neoplatonism and Islam. Such doctrines, intellectually elaborated in all these philosophies and theologies, are, nonetheless, closely akin to primitive animism and pantheism: the concept that man's vital spirit is but a part of the spirit of nature. The unity of the faithful is an idea that leads on the one hand to religious elitism and the 'chosen people' syndrome; on the other, it is the spiritual corollary to the humanism of the doctrine that all men are born and remain equal and regardless of nationality or race, that they should look upon themselves as brothers.
Religions are alike at heart or in essence (esoterically) while differing in form (exoterically). Metaphysically, revealed religions converge at an apex of existence and cognition in God. Anthropologically, this unity precludes final distinction between human and divine; epistemologically, between knower and known. It bespeaks a knowing that becomes its object, or rather is its object, for temporal distinctions are inapplicable at this point.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies