Exoteric and Esoteric Religion, Part 1

I’m currently traveling in Australia have spent a lot of time with Brian McLaren’s newest book, A New Kind of Christianity. I’m really enjoying the book and I think many will look back on it as an important read for those interesting in the landscape of Christianity in the West. Whether or not you agree with McLaren’s direction, it is a very well written and accurate decleration of where many are headed and that might be useful information for anyone concerned with fading vital signs of Christianity in Europe and North America.

I’ll most likely blog more about the book but before I do, I’ve been interested in the response this book has received so far. After some online browsing, what I’ve found isn’t all that surprising. Obviously, those who are more devoted to the more conventional Christian perspective are not enthused by the book. This was not a surprise at all but it reminded me of a few religious distinctions that Ken Wilber makes in his book Grace and Grit. An interviewer asks Wilber about the different ways the world “religion” is used. Wilber responds that before a conversation about religion begins, we must identify what is meant by the word “religion.” He basically puts the various definitions of religion into two separate categories–exoteric and esoteric:

Ken Wilber: “We really can’t talk about science and religion or psychotherapy and religion or philosophy and religion until we decide just what it is we mean by the word religion. And for our purposes right now I think we must at least distinguish between what is known as exoteric religion and exoteric religion. Exoteric or “outer” religion is mythic religion, religion that is terribly concrete and literal, that really believes, for example, that Moses parted the Red Sea, that Christ was born from a virgin, that the world was created in six days, that manna once literally rained down from heaven, and so on. Exoteric religions the world over consist of those types of beliefs. The Hindus believe that the earth, since it needs to be supported, is sitting on an elephant which, since it needs to be supported, is sitting on a tortoise which in turn is sitting on a serpent. Lao Tzu was nine hundred years old when he was born, Krishna made love to four thousand cow maidens, Brahma was born from a crack in a cosmic egg, and so on. That’s exoteric religion, a series of belief structures that attempt to explain the mysteries of the world in mythic terms rather than direct experiential or evidential terms.

Interviewer: So exoteric or outer religion is basically a matter of belief, not evidence.

KW: Yes. If you believe all the myths, you are saved; if not, you go to Hell–no discussion. Now you find that type of religion the world over–fundamentalism. I have no quarrel with that; it’s just that that type of religion , exoteric religion, has little to do with mystical religion or spirituality that I’m most interested in.

Interviewer: Esoteric means what?

KW: Inner or hidden. The reason that exoteric or mystical relgion is hidden is not that is is secret or anything, but that it is a matter of direct experience and personal awareness. Esoteric religion asks you to believe nothing on faith or obediently swallow any dogma. Rather, esoteric religion is a set of personal experiments that you conduct scientifically in the laboratory of your own awareness. Like all good science, it is based on direct experience, no mere belief or wish, and it is publicly checked or validated by a peer group of those who have also performed the experiment. The experiment is meditation.”

I’ll be blogging more about this distinction between exoteric and esoteric religion as I believe it accurately depicts the main rift between traditional and emerging Christianity and sheds light on the tensions this book will bring to the surface between the two perspectives. These are two totally different modes of operating religiously and it’s important to recognize this if we are to build any understanding between the two perspectives.

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22 thoughts on “Exoteric and Esoteric Religion, Part 1

  1. Zach,
    I write to you as a big Jimmy fan, as a regular reader, and as a Christian. By Christian, though, I mean someone who believes there is one God. I believe sin is far more than some existential category or vague feeling. Sin is a real thing with real consequences, namely separation from God. I believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and atoned for my sins so that by faith in him and his atonement, I might be set free to have right relationship with the living God. I believe he “literally/actually/physically/you-know-what-I’m-talking-about” rose from the dead.

    This is Christianity. I have absolutely no beef with you or Brian McLaren believing whatever you want- you’re free to. But as you file all Christian beliefs in same category as all other religions and bring the cross down to mean nothing more than some metaphorical, emotional event, I would simply ask that you don’t use the word “Christian” to describe yourself. When you’ve divorced your belief from miracles, sin, the holiness of God, Jesus’ atoning work, and most importantly the bible, you have left far behind what the word “Christian” has meant for the last two thousand years.

    Again, your choices are yours, but I wonder if there’s some term you could come up with so that outsiders and less discerned people might be able to tell the difference easier? As I write I wonder if you wouldn’t welcome the distinction (from the Christianity that believes all those things) just as much as I would…

    PS I write realizing that tone in blog posts rarely comes through, but I really mean no disrespect or condescension. I must emphasize that I love your music and often provocative thoughts!

    • Brett,

      I don’t really know how to respond. You don’t really know me or much about me, based on what you presume in your comment. I’m a Christian. I can’t not be a Christian. Sorry if me calling myself that makes you feel concerned or uneasy but it’s not something I can shed–believe me, I’ve tried.

      The fact that you seek a kind of purity in your Christian clan reinforces that toxicity of the exoteric religious perspective. What are you afraid of? What damage could I possibly inflict on the word “Christianity” that your almighty god can’t repair? In a way, I’m really glad for your comment because it’s a stunning reminder that a new imagining of what it means to be a Christian is all the more necessary.

  2. Zach,
    I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I assumed that you basically agreed with Wilber. If that is incorrect, I apologize. If not…

    “Esoteric religion asks you to believe nothing on faith or obediently swallow any dogma.” Zach, I completely agree that the people who just “prayed a prayer” or got baptized or who merely buy into a certain creed simply do not fit in with followers of Christ in the New Testament. However, though the Christian faith is always more than a set of beliefs, it is never less than these beliefs.

    All I’m saying is that when you do away with the tenets of the faith, you have something, but what you do not have is Christianity. You can call this new religion Christianity, but I think this is applying a traditional word to a completely new term… and that’s confusing.

    Strangely enough, I think Chris Hitchens puts it best:
    http://www.boundlessline.org/2010/02/this-atheist-knows-his-christianity.html

    The real question that has come up as I read your blog is this: how much of historic Christianity do you believe and how much is just “exoteric/mythic” (from your view)? Literal Virgin birth? Literal resurrection? Sin? Atonement? What of the bible?

    Zach, I really just want to discuss where you and I might agree and disagree and where guys like McLaren might differ from the more orthodox standpoint. I am hoping that you wouldn’t take this as a “shot” at you but as an opportunity to converse with someone who is perhaps “outside your clan…”

    Again, I really appreciate your writing because, thought I often disagree, it makes me think.

  3. Brett,

    I’ll take your invitation to create an “opportunity for conversation” at your word but it’s seems rather odd that in doing so you’ve essentially asked me to leave the room. How would it be anything other than offensive for you to suggest that I’m not Christian enough to be a Christian? Did it not ever cross your mind that that may be off-putting? And can you blame me for not being all that interested in continuing whatever conversation you seek?

  4. Zach,
    Thanks for your response. First off, I certainly don’t want you to leave the room. And about “being Christian enough”, I certainly wasn’t trying to impinge on your character- you’re probably a better guy than I am. Finally, it’s America and it’s your blog- at the end of the day, you can use whatever words you want and mean them however you want them to mean.

    My simple point is that Wilber’s religion is antithetical to Christian faith. This religion that doesn’t “ask you to believe anything on faith”, religion that “is a set of personal experiments that you conduct scientifically in the laboratory of your own awareness” has certainly been done before in history, but I would never call them “Christian”.

    Zach, would you argue the fact that Wilber’s “esoteric religion” bears almost no resemblance to the repentance and yes, faith, that has for the last two-thousand years been “Christianity”? What Wilber is suggesting is a completely different concept and is worthy of a completely different word.

    Again, thanks for the responses and dialogue. Zach, if this isn’t a place for different views, I totally understand. It’s your blog and I’ll withhold comments if you’d like.

  5. “My simple point is that Wilber’s religion is antithetical to Christian faith. This religion that doesn’t “ask you to believe anything on faith”, religion that “is a set of personal experiments that you conduct scientifically in the laboratory of your own awareness” has certainly been done before in history, but I would never call them “Christian”.”

    I suppose that’s up for debate. While it may not have been the predominant view over the last 500 years, Christian mysticism has a long history and place within the Christian tradition. Julian of Norwich, St. John of the Cross just to name a few who’ve had a significant impact on the development of the kind of esoteric religion Wilber cites. It may not square with your view or the view of the reformers but it’s certainly there. It seems to me that you’re taking the predominant view of the reformers and projecting it as the fundamental, orthodox Christian faith over the last 2000 years. Would you embrace pre-reformation Roman Catholicism as a sufficiently “Christian” perspective? Does it have a place for you, on it’s own merit, as a valid from of Christianity?

  6. Zach,
    That’s a good point with the Christian mystics- I think we through some of the baby out with the bathwater during the reformation; There’s something to the inner life that I think these guys had. But, to answer your question on what views are “Christian” or not… My response is simply this (and I realize I’m beating a dead horse): Christianity is more than faith in Christ and his atoning work- but never less.

    Now, for many of the Christian mystics, this “more” was the contemplative life and meditation to achieve communion with God. For many this is helpful, but if it is divorced from a fundamental belief in Christ, you have abandoned the teaching of the New Testament (not just the reformation).

    Now Ken Wilber or Buddhist monks or whoever else can try new forms of meditation or the contemplative life. However, if these philosophies/practices do not have any beliefs about God, Christ, atonement, etc. they are not in any meaningful way, “Christian”. If a philosophy doesn’t even allow for beliefs, it is antithetical to the Christian faith.

    At the risk of getting way off course, I would say that this is largely my critique of the extremes of the emergent movement. Now, if there is a movement in which the aim is to live out biblical truths rather than just profess them, I’m in! I see the hypocrisy in my own life and in the life of the American church, and I desperately want to be more authentic.

    BUT, when a movement or lifestyle starts doing even great things like feeding the poor, loving people, and living like Christ, without any beliefs about sin, grace, and the gospel, they are missing out on heart of what Christ came to do- die for our sins, so that if we believe in him, we could have eternal life.

    Again, there’s so much good to be gleaned from the emergent movement, but individuals who have abandoned things like beliefs or doctrines have abandoned Christ and “Christianity”.

    Ok, this got really long, but here’s a critique of Wilber that a philosopher that I follow posted yesterday. It’s long, but maybe worth skimming.
    http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/03/critique-of-ken-wilber.html

    Again, thanks for the response!

  7. Brett,

    I think you misunderstand Wilber. He’s not saying belief should be avoided. After all, that would be a belief in and of itself. Besides, what Wilber is staking out here is, in fact, a belief system. The distinction he makes between exoteric and esoteric is that, when boiled down to it’s essence, exoteric religion relies exclusively on mythic belief. Yeah, there can be other aspects, as you’ve pointed out, but those are non-essential to “salvation.” For instance, many folks exhibit traits that are found beyond the belief system of Christianity but because they don’t rely on the beliefs themselves, they are not considered “Christian” or candidates for eternal life. The agnostic orphanage worker is not as eternally fortunate as the Baptist wall street hedge fund manager.

    Esoteric religion or the mystic relies on experience which can certainly be bolstered by belief but, for them, mere belief is not the point. I’m not advocating the dismissal of belief but the recognition that belief is only useful in so far as it guides our experience and fosters our transformation as human beings.

  8. The problem isn’t the exoteric (it may be extraordinarily rich and soul-affirming). The problem is the absence of that esoteric lunge into the grandeur of it all, to own it, to love it, to die for it. Without the former we lack pictures of God, but without the later we lack God himself.

    The idea that belief is only valuable as a means to some bigger end is worthy of more exploraton, for it may well be the central commitment of a postmodern Chistianity as it moves away from modernity.

    Regarding: “Sorry if me calling myself [a Christian] makes you feel concerned or uneasy but it’s not something I can shed–believe me, I’ve tried.”

    Brilliant. And it may prove your point.

    Be well – Jeff

  9. Or how about this- that someone’s real beliefs are betrayed by their actions… What do you think? (I’m thinking James 2:18)

    I think the biblical teaching is clear that there’s a few different kinds of people:
    1. People who have no faith in Christ.
    2. People who have a “faith” in Christ (but everything in their life would say differently)
    3. People who have faith in Christ manifesting in a new, regenerated heart with new affections, fruit, and yep-works!

    Zach, if this is what you’re saying, I totally agree and would say that it’s a truth American Christianity has to wake up to. Your last sentence was great and is a sort of modern day James 2:18 (though maybe broader in that you mean more than works but a new way of looking at things which I think is right in line with what Jesus and Paul taught on the new birth and bearing fruit). I actually wrote my most ambitious (7-part) series of blog posts on a topic along these lines…

    My two cents would be that all the behavior/good works/other external things mean nothing apart from faith in Christ. They’re filthy rags. In other words, the agnostic orphanage worker is still a sinner in need of a Savior.

  10. I guess that’s where we disagree. A religion where the agnostic orphanage worker is in more need of a savior than a baptist hedge fund manager is a religion that inherently makes little sense and I think this kind of thinking is what has Christianity on the decline in the developed, Western world. I think you and I would both agree that we all need a savior but for me, actions speak more to one’s transformation than words or ideas could ever do. Beliefs can certainly be helpful, but I’d hazard a guess that God doesn’t need us to be right about him more than he desires for us to join him, knowingly or unknowingly, participating in his vision for the world we live in. This might bring to mind his own disciples, who often misunderstood Jesus’ mission, but followed him regardless.

    Again what I get from you is that all that God really requires from us is a cognitive exercise, a capitulation of the mind. Anyone can have good works, but what one really needs for a relationship with God is the correct mental assent. In the world I live in, there are many folks who’ve, for various reasons, found that gospel to be severely lacking and I don’t blame them. It simply doesn’t make sense to us. Does this mean that your more conventional perspective is inherently wrong? In my view, no. It just isn’t a religious formation myself and many others are unable to participate in.

  11. Hey, thanks for the quick response! This is something I’m really passionate about so I couldn’t help but write back immediately.

    1. On faith as “mental assent”: This mistaken teaching is in my opinion one of the great farces of 20th-century American Christianity and I don’t blame you for thinking that this is the “orthodox” biblical view. It is not.

    The gospel calls for repentance- a reordering of my life around God with him at the driver’s seat. It’s complete surrender- as you posted awhile ago- dying to yourself and earnestly desiring God to change who you are because you could never change yourself. If this is real and you ask, God gives you a new heart with new desires and passions- and you start bearing fruit and living a new life! What people don’t need is mere mental assent; what people need is the new birth (which some American churchgoers have actually had, while some have not).

    When the mental-assent gospel is preached (as it often has been in the last century) the horrible effect is a sort of “christian”- someone who’s believed an easy watered-down version of the gospel which, unfortunately, is not the gospel. These guys go to church, have the right statement of faith, etc. without any intention of surrendering their life to the Lord. I think you know this people group just as well as me. I was one for 19 years.

    I think it’s this false gospel that breeds false Christians that has caused the decline in Western Christianity. When people see “christians” who have assented to a truth without any difference in how they live, can they help but be disillusioned and skeptical?

    In short, I would question whether the hedge fund manager (who, let’s assume is selfish w/ his money, etc.) has believed the true gospel and been born again. Saving faith bears fruit and heart change.

    2. What I think you’re advocating as an alternative, though, Zach, is a turn to a works-based religion in which the agnostic can actually work his/her way out of sin. It’s one in which he really can be better than a hedge-fund manager. This (obviously) is quite a ways from being saved by God’s grace through faith- where all humanity is on level ground at the cross. Do you think your alternative squares with the New Testament?

    *PS
    1. My b on the length.
    2. Man, I’m starting my job soon so I won’t always be able to spend time in dialogue, but this has really been an enlightening experience for me.

  12. Brett, imagine there is a man who gives everything he has–wealth, health, time–so that an orphanage that houses 20 severely autistic kids in a desperately poor country doesn’t fold. His self-sacrifice keeps those kids feed, cared for, healthy and he keeps them from being kicked back to the street to starve to death.

    Question: are this man’s actions “filty rags” if he is a hindu?

    Be well – Jeff

  13. Brett,

    I wonder what a “a reordering of my life around God” entails apart from what I say and do? How does one reorder their life while refraining from performing an action? If actions alone are “filthy rags” then all you have left is mental assent. But where I believe your logic breaks down is that for you to develop in your mind the correct belief, you are earning your salvation through your cognitive awareness.

    If I had to guess, I don’t believe we have to work our way to anything to be in God’s good graces. We must simply enjoy the gift he’s already given us. I would agree with you that we can’t earn salvation but where we part may be that I believe we have all been given the gift of salvation. The question is whether or not we take it upon ourselves to enjoy the gift and share this gift with the world. I’m less interested in sharing ideas about who God is and more drawn to sharing who God is and magnifying to others God’s gift in their life. And yes, I believe this squares with the NT but then again, lots of perspectives square with the NT because the bag is pretty mixed, in my opinion.

  14. Hi, I’m a new reader to your blog (though I find the name of it familiar somehow, I might stumbled in on it some time ago and hade been forgetting it) and I have read this entry and the following discussion eyes wide open – wow, and thank you! This is a discussion regarding exactly what I have been thinking about for a long time, namely, the discussion of the esoteri/exoteric nature of Christian faith in relation to the discussion about the emergent movement. I feel amazed, actually, and I will continue reading your blog while I write an essay this spring (I’m a student at the faculty of theology at Uppsala University in Sweden).

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂
    Katarina.

  15. 1. Jeff: Yes. Isaiah 64:6.

    2. Zach: Again, in my words, “God gives you a new heart with new desires and passions- and you start bearing fruit and living a new life!” Real saving faith produces action- it’s how you tell real Christians from false ones (fruit and yep, works). However, action can also be had in a religious way as something done to try to make yourself righteous before God and others. This is detestable to God- we see it in the above passages and in Jesus’ teachings on the Pharisees.

    3. “we have all been given the gift of salvation.”

    Zach, I totally feel the temptation to universalism. I once thought of adhering to it myself. However, how do you get through the New Testament without reading anything about judgment (Matt. 10:15? Acts 17:30-31? Matt. 25:31-46? These are a few of many. Is Jesus just messin’ around here?) Or about salvation being limited to those who believe? This is more prevalent. I mean, what do basic texts like John 3:16 mean? Or Ephesians 2:8-9? Or Romans?

    I guess I think the mixed bag is smaller than you do. Maybe it just comes down to differing beliefs about the Bible.

    • But how do you get through the NT with reading stuff like this:

      For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope
      on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of
      believers. (1 Tim. 4:10)

      And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only,
      but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

      For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to
      all. (Romans 11:32)

      And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a mixed bag. Pick your poison. 😉

  16. Hey all,

    Zach, I just wanted to make a few comments regarding your last post in which you cite Scriptural references that are potentially capable of being interpreted in favor of universalism with respect to salvation. I would propose the following interpretations of these passages as a possible means by which orthodox Christianity has rejected universalism:

    1 Timothy 4:10

    The two most obvious aspects – or more precisely, words – of this verse that potentially indicate universalism are “all” and “especially.” I expect that you interpret this verse to say, in a very precise fashion, something like the following: “…we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all [human-beings without exception], [providing special recognition for those who are] believers.”

    Now, while I am not certain that the addition to, or extrapolation from, the latter word is precisely how you would expand “especially,” I am fairly certain the interpretation of the former word “all” is how you would expand it. Thus, let us focus on this word first, and then attempt to interpret the meaning of the second in light of the first.

    My proposal is fairly straight-forward and simple. Rather than interpret “all” to mean “all [without exception]” we should interpret it to mean “all [without distinction],” that is, all human-beings without prejudice or bias with respect to race, gender, personality, socio-economic status, etc. This is certainly allowed when one looks at the Greek word rendered “all.” The word rendered “all” in English is “pas” in Greek, which can literally mean “all, any, every, the whole.” This definition alone does not definitively point us towards either the former or the latter expansion offered above; perhaps if we look to other passages wherein the same word is used we can find a clearer path. I suggest 1 Corinthians 9:19-22, and Colossians 3:11. (I am now quoting from the ESV.)

    1 Corinthians 9:19-22 – “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

    Colossians 3:11 – “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.”

    A couple points. First, I think it is obvious that, given these usages of the word “all,” we cannot directly infer that “all” means “absolutely everyone,” as you desire to do in the 1 Timothy passage. Paul certainly was not a servant to absolutely everyone. This leads us to my second point. We must include the context of the passage in question, and draw from our knowledge of truths expressed in other passages of Scripture, in order to determine the meaning of any particular passage. Thus, we can look at the passage from Colossians and see that Paul here directly links the word “all” – being the same Greek word as in 1 Timothy – to mean something more akin to “all [without distinction].” Christ is “in all,” meaning He is not biased against the Greek or the Jew, the circumcised or the uncircumcised, the barbarian or the Scythian, the slave or the free. The same can be said in the 1 Corinthians passage. Paul states that he becomes “all things to all people” directly following his explanation of becoming different distinct things to different distinct people groups; certainly not absolutely everything to absolutely every people group.

    Thus, in light of this understanding of the word rendered “all” in the 1 Timothy passage that you cite, I would suggest that we understand the word “especially” to mean something more akin to “that is to say, particularly.” In fact, the Greek word used here is “malista,” which can be rendered “particularly.”

    Thus, here is how I would read such a passage (I am now quoting from the ESV): “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people [without distinction], [with those who specifically are saved – from among the various people groups, tribes, tongues, genders, socio-economic positions, etc. etc. – in particular, are] those who believe.”

    This reading of the passage does the passage justice while also incorporating the truths from other passages of Scripture (for how would you respond to the passages Brett quotes in which it seems fairly evident that everyone without exception is not saved?).

    As I have taken more time and space than I intended to tend to the first passage, I will briefly skim the next two, but following a similar vein.

    1 John 2:2

    It is fairly accepted among theologians and biblical scholars that John’s use of the word “world” – which is the Greek word “kosmos” – both in his Gospel and in his letters refers, again, not to “the entire human population without exception,” but instead to “all aspects of the world in its entirety.”

    Romans 11:32

    As for this passage, it seems to me even more obvious than before that Paul’s use of the word “all” is again in the context of “all [without distinction],” for he had just spent the previous 3 chapters carefully and painstakingly laying out how God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is now clearly extended from the nation of Israel (as was assumed by the Jews) to the Gentiles (which was as yet not clearly known to those in Rome). Reading Romans 11:32 in light of Romans 9, 10 and 11 makes it clear how Paul is utilizing the word “all.” God has consigned all – being all nations, including Israel – to disobedience in order that He may have mercy (that is, salvation may come through grace and not through works) on all – being all nations, including the Gentile nations.

    Well, that is all for now. I hope that my attempted explanations make sense to you (that is, I hope that I have explained myself well, and not that I hope you see the necessity of accepting my explanations due to the force of my irrefutable logic 😉 If you still disagree, I would love to dialogue further.

    Best regards,
    Craig

    • That’s a pretty cool trick, how you add a bunch of your own words to the Bible to make it mean whatever you want. 😉 I kid, I kid. Thanks for the input. If I ever revert back to my conservative ways, this logic will come in handy. 😉

  17. “The” worst atrocities ever visited on Man and mankind have all been attributable to the “monothestic” religions, in particular those associated with the theory of “Christianity”, and even today you can observe the chokehold to which whole societies have to tap, or else face the wrath of GOD in the form ostracism and economic embargo.
    The state of the African-American is a (prime example) of the tangible differences between exoteric/esoteric,,,,in this demographic one can visually see the effects and dangers, to be expected and anticipated when only an exoteric comprehension of Christianity is offered as consideration, it creates a void in the development of both the individual and the community as a whole, When a person believes that by virtue of rituals, regimine, and blind belief you are doing what God wants of You,,,”that spirit which is within us all” can’t receive the neccessary light or nutrients that are paramount to the development and enrichment of the human soul, exoteric interpretations are akin to researching “Fairy Tales” as a means by which to occupy the minds of the idle and simple, by means of fear and superstition, conversley However, an esoteric “OVERSTANDING” of the scriptures nourishes the spirit of God that is within us all, and in the wake of such illumination strength and courage prevail and that individual is raised from his circumstances as was Lazarus from his grave, and if you don’t understand that it’s ok, I’ll just attribute it to your exoteric “understanding” of what I mean, haha!

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