Any religion has in itself 2 opposite vectors.
One of these vectors is to unite people, e.g. ‘we are all Muslims’, ‘we are all Orthodox Christians’, etc.
The other is to disunite people, e.g. ‘we are Muslims, but they are Christians’, ‘we are Orthodox, but they are Catholics’, etc.
Both of these vectors are present in any religion. But the proportion between them can be different. By seeing what vector prevails, one can recognize how advanced a particular religion is on the whole. The greater the vector of disunion, enmity, opposition – the lower the energy level of that religion.
The situation is similar for the people within each religion. Each has their own level, and it can be distinguished by the intensity of the vector of disunion.
In Saints (who have always existed and are present within the framework of any world religion) the disunion vector is practically absent. In other words, they understand perfectly that any religion is just one of the possible paths to be taken.
This brings to mind an interesting story told by John Bennett in his memoirs (titled “Witness: The Autobiography of John Bennett”). Incidentally, his book has significantly changed my attitude toward Islam in general, and I highly recommend it for reading.
Bennett was a British resident in Turkey during the First World War and mixed with the highest circles of the Turkish nobility and government. He became interested in Sufi orders, was allowed to attend Sufi rituals and even participated in them – a rare occasion for a European Christian.
During a later stage in his life, Bennett became seriously interested in Islam (he had many such different stages, for example, at one point he had tried following a completely different path – he was a disciple of Gurdjieff). To be precise, his interest lay in the Sufi direction in Islam; he became a dervish, and, as he himself writes,
“had decided that I would partake in their (the dervishes) life as much as possible.”
Bennett met with many wonderful Sufis. One of them, Emin Bey, told him
about a Christian priest converted to Islam. The priest offered to publicly announce his conversion to another faith. “That would be stupid,” Emin told him. “Islam has degraded no less than Christianity has… Live the teachings of the Koran, which correspond to the evangelical commandments. Pray in secret, but do good to people openly. Those who learn about your good deeds will, perhaps, come to you for advice – and then you can show them the right path. By doing so you will achieve more than you would with any public announcement.”
And further instructed him to
“Never forget that the summit of all religions is contained within one word – HUMAN… Becoming human is the only thing that matters, and the external appearance does not mean anything.”