Dallas Morning News Religion Blog quotes Rice University professor of religious studies Jeffrey Kripal:
When I look at American religious history, I see a long history of puritanism, of Christian fundamentalism. It’s been there from Day One. But I also see what some historians would call American metaphysical religion. I see people who are not religiously intolerant, people who have very open worldviews and who are very interested in metaphysical dimensions but are not literal about it. It’s the latter stream, the metaphysical stream that’s open to other cultures, and particularly those of Asia, from all the way back to Emerson and Thoreau and further back.
Kirpal, whose studies have included the history of Esalen and a controversial biography of Ramakrishna, clearly favors the latter.