Here is an in-depth look at the deeper, symbolic meanings behind the central concepts and practices of the Christian tradition including prayer, love, evil, forgiveness, and salvation. This is also the first introduction to mystical and esoteric Christianity for the general reader. Inner Christianity speaks from a nonsectarian point of view, unearthing insights from the whole of the Christian tradition, orthodox and heretical, well-known and obscure. The esoteric tradition has always refused to take the texts, rites, and tenets of the Christian faith at face value, searching for meanings that would yield a deeper inner knowledge of the divine. While traditional Christianity draws a timeline from Adam's Fall to the Day of Judgment, esotericists often see time as folding in on itself, bringing every point to the here and now. While the Church fought bitterly over dogma, esotericists borrowed freely from other traditions (including Kabbalah, astrology, and alchemy) in their search for models of truth.
Rather than basing his book around exponents of esoteric doctrine, scholar Richard Smoley concentrates on the questions that are of interest to every searching Christian.
-- How can one attain direct spiritual experience?
-- What is the inner meaning of the Gospel?
-- What does the doctrine of "the Fall" tell us about coming to terms with the world we live in?
-- Can we find salvation in everyday life?
-- How can we discover the feminine face of the Divine?
From the Gospel of Thomas to A Course in Miracles, from the Jesus Prayer to alchemy and Tarot, from Origen to Dante to Jung, Richard Smoley sheds the light of an alternative Christianity on these issues and more.