I wasn’t trying to set orthodoxy and heterodoxy in conflict with each other, or to undermine, or to see which was superior.
But you did imply the mysticism of the heterodox was superior to the mysticism of the orthodox – which I think is an assumption, and an erroneous one.
I’m just interested to see how people with beliefs from differing religious backgrounds may have commonality through more personal, individual experiences rather than those experiences more mediated through the organised orthodoxy of their particular “religion”.
Part of that mediation process is affirming the veracity of the experience. I would be interested to see on what basis a person who has an experience can validate that experience as 'real' without recourse to tradition ... it is here that the self-declared heretic is on very uncertain ground ... how do you know your personal experience is not a fantasy or an illusion?
Personally, I would not call any commonalities across belief systems superficial; I would think it indicative of the profound truth in them.
That, I still believe, is the common conception of those who view the 'doctrine' of any given tradition as negotiable, or determinable according to their own opinion.
Both Christians and Buddhists practice meditation, and hold many 'rules' and 'guidances' in common, but the object of the practice is entirely different.
There is nothing more contradictory, as both Christian and Zen masters insist, than the idea of 'Zen Christianity'.
When one picks a particular commonality, it is taken out of its hermeneutic and epistemological context, it is detached from the fabric to which it belongs, and becomes a rag or shard of a great and holistic teaching, and this is what renders it superficial, even trivial – as invariably the new and syncretic interpretation to which it is attached is metaphysically wanting.
Thus, for example, a humanist, with no belief in God whatsover, can lay claim to the idea of 'love thy neighbour' as being not particular to Christianity, and at a superficial level that is true, but in the sense that a Christian should understand it, there is a world of difference...
Most often what happens is the elements of all religions are tossed into a pot, then the elements that appear common are regarded as true over and above each individual expression, and the elements that are unique – the very thing that makes that tradition singular and not a generality – are discarded as being peripheral.
Thus the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is discarded because it's not in Buddhism, or re-interpreted according to the apparent trinitarian aspects of Hindu or Egyptian polytheism.
The French metaphysician, Rene Guenon, a Sufi sheik and acknowledged by Vedic scholars as perhaps the foremost spokesman of his time on the subject of Vedic philosophy, went to great lengths to explain, philosophically, esoterically and metaphysically, that the Christian Trinity is unique and like no other, and he was critically dismissive of the lack of metaphysical insight of anyone who might suggest otherwise
Again, such determinations are often made by those who stand outside religion, those who are onlookers. No other religion, for example, has the Sacraments as a Catholic/Orthodox (and to some degree Lutheran) would understand them. So they assume that the Mithraic feast, or any meal, is the same as the Sacrament. No. It is not.
And anyone who calls him or herself a Christian mystic whilst denying the Church that Christ founded is kidding themselves – or rather, their 'mysticism' is something far different from what Orthodox Christianity understands by the term. It's a supreme example of 'I'll have the good bits, but not the burden...'
Sorry, but someone mentioned getting off the fence, so I got off...