Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions

People have a profound need to believe that the truth they
perceive is rooted in the unchanging depths of the universe; for
were it not, could the truth be really important? Yet how can we
so believe when others see truth differently? Archaic peoples,
wrapped like cocoons in their tribal beliefs, did not face this
dilemma. Even civilizations on the whole have been spared
it, for until recently they were largely self-contained. It is we —
we moderns, we worldly wise — who experience the problem

This book addresses that problem. Twenty years before it was
published in 1976, 1 wrote The World’s Religions (originally titled
The Religions of Man), which presented the major traditions in
their individuality and variety. It took me two decades to see
how they converge. The outlooks of individual men and women
(the militant atheist, the pious believer, the cagey skeptic J are
too varied to classify, but when they gather in collectivities — the
outlooks of tribes, societies, civilizations, and at deepest level
the world’s enduring religions — a pattern emerges. One finds a
remarkable unity underlying the surface differences. When we
look at human bodies we normally notice their external fea-
tures, which differ markedly. Meanwhile the spines that support
this variety are structurally much alike. It is the same with col-
lective outlooks. Outwardly they too differ, but inwardly it is as
if an “invisible geometry” has everywhere been working to
shape them to a single truth.

Smith, H. Forgotten Truth