SAID A UNIVERSAL RELIGION IS IMPOSSIBLE
(New Discoveries, Vol. 4, pp.64-65.)
[Boston Evening Transcript, March 27, 1896]
Swami Vivekananda told the large audience that crowded the Allen Gymnasium to hear him speak on the “Ideal of a Universal Religion,” last night, (Of which no verbatim transcript is available.) that the recent Parliament of Religions at Chicago proved, to that date, that universal religion was impossible. “Nature,” he said,
is wiser than we have thought her to be. It is competition of ideas, the clash of thought, that keeps thought alive. Sects have always been antithetical, and always will be splitting into little varieties of themselves. And the way to get out of this fight of religions is to let the sects go on subdividing.
There is no unity in the three elements of religion — philosophy [theology?], mythology and ceremony. Each theologian wants unity, but his idea of unity is the adjustment of all other creeds to his own. I agree with the old prophets as long as they agree with me. But there is an element of religion that towers above all; that is, philosophy. The philosopher seeks truth, which is one and the same always. And it is acceptable to the four sides of every religious nature — the emotional, mystical, active and philosophical. And he who dares to seek the truth for truth’s sake is greatest among men.