Some religious traditions (most notably monotheistic ones) insist on their exclusive path to “Truth”, and create categories for the opposite, the “other”, such as “unbeliever”, “heathen”, “gentile” and “kafir”. They also create sophisticated theologies explaining why some are “in” and others “out”.

Other traditions accept those not of their kind, and are more generous and less damning towards outsiders.

However, the inner truths of all traditions stress a path to Oneness, variously described by terms like salvation, tawhid, enlightenment, moksha, individuation, or sagehood. No matter how divisive a religion is towards the whole, it is attempting to find oneness inside of itself.

The real meaning of “idolatry” is allowing the part to be taken as the whole. It therefore denies a larger reality outside of its self-imposed system. Every religions tradition aspires towards oneness of some sort, but many get arrested in their development in smaller idolatrous versions of the whole. Much of the fundamentalism of this age can be well understood this way.

We must therefore assert that all religions seek oneness and integration, and at some point if they can transcend the insularity of their partial view, all religions in their best expressions, seek integration. This includes every type of integration, that of the individual, the body corporate, and therefore, by the logic of this same truth, interfaith dialog, shared practice with other faiths and what we are coming to call “Interspirituality”.

Part of a blog series “Why Interspirituality is the future” leading up to The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture “BELONGING TO GOD: Spirituality, Science & a Universal Path of Divine Love” by Will Keepin , PhD , co-founder of the Satyana Institute and a leader in the “interspiritual” movement.

The Father John Oliver Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 21st February 2017 at Erin Hall Rondebosch, Cape Town, 19h00 for 19h30 (7.30 pm), hosted by the CTII (Cape Town Interfaith Initiative). See our Facebook event.