Esoteric and Exoteric Christianity
Recently, someone asked, “Did Judas leave the Last Supper early?” She was repeating a question that she heard from people who criticize Christianity. There are two major types knowledge that is used to evaluate Christianity. She had probably heard this question from someone who depended on exoteric knowledge. To bear fruit within the church, we need to know about exoteric knowledge and esoteric knowledge. Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available. Esoteric knowledge is kept from everyone except the initiated. Among educated people, the word "esoteric" is widely known and used frequently. On the other hand, the word "exoteric" is known only to few people. Thus, the word "exoteric" is esoteric, and the word "esoteric" is exoteric. The word exoteric traces to Greek roots meaning "outer." The cross is an outer or exoteric symbol. The dove is an exoteric symbol. The inner emotional meaning of these two symbols is esoteric knowledge. Some people look at a cross and see metal and perhaps history. Those are people who depend on exoteric knowledge. Other people see a cross and feel the presence of Christ even to the extent of having an ecstatic experience. For example, there are people in this room who speak in tongues. A person in this room has seen a vision of the Virgin Mary. There are people who publicly weep when they pray. Those are people with contemplative, mystical or meditative transpersonal perspectives who have told me this and have asked that I never reveal this side of them to anyone else, because people who depend on exoteric knowledge would publicly say mean and cruel and hurtful things to their faces and behind their backs. As an example, I base part of my faith experience on esoteric Christianity found through exoteric symbols found through Freemasonry. Last week, I heard a member of our church talking to someone, saying mean spirited, hateful things about my esoteric experiences with...
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