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Thread: Gnostic Christianity

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    Gnostic Christianity

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism

    Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, romanized: gnōstikós, Koine Greek: [ɣnostiˈkos], 'having knowledge') is a collection of religious ideas and systems which originated in the late 1st century CE among Jewish and early Christian sects.[1] These various groups emphasised personal spiritual knowledge (gnosis) over the orthodox teachings, traditions, and authority of the church. Viewing material existence as flawed or evil, Gnostic cosmogony generally presents a distinction between a supreme, hidden God and a malevolent lesser divinity (sometimes associated with the Yahweh of the Old Testament)[2] who is responsible for creating the material universe.[3] Gnostics considered the principal element of salvation to be direct knowledge of the supreme divinity in the form of mystical or esoteric insight. Many Gnostic texts deal not in concepts of sin and repentance, but with illusion and enlightenment.[3]

    Gnostic writings flourished among certain Christian groups in the Mediterranean world until about the second century, when the Fathers of the early Church denounced them as heresy.[4] Efforts to destroy these texts proved largely successful, resulting in the survival of very little writing by Gnostic theologians.[3] Nonetheless, early Gnostic teachers such as Valentinus saw their beliefs as aligned with Christianity. In the Gnostic Christian tradition, Christ is seen as a divine being which has taken human form in order to lead humanity back to the Light.[5] However, Gnosticism is not a single standardized system, and the emphasis on direct experience allows for a wide variety of teachings, including distinct currents such as Valentianism and Sethianism. In the Persian Empire, Gnostic ideas spread as far as China via the related movement Manichaeism, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq.

    For centuries, most scholarly knowledge of Gnosticism was limited to the anti-heretical writings of orthodox Christian figures such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome. There was a renewed interest in Gnosticism after the 1945 discovery of Egypt's Nag Hammadi library, a collection of rare early Christian and Gnostic texts, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Apocryphon of John. A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion. Scholars have acknowledged the influence of sources such as Hellenistic Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Platonism, and some have noted possible links to Buddhism and Hinduism, though the evidence of direct influence from the latter sources is inconclusive.[3]

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    Gnosticism sound like another loose collection of general ideas, another religious kludge. Believe what you want in a loose framework. Like Evangelicals. Freely interpret.

    Apparently they know the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' but the truth. Just ask them, they will tell you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Gnosticism sound like another loose collection of general ideas, another religious kludge. Believe what you want in a loose framework. Like Evangelicals. Freely interpret.

    Apparently they know the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' but the truth. Just ask them, they will tell you.
    People tend to dislike Gnostic Christians when they first meet us.

    We, like the Gnostic Jesus, think morals should guide religions and not dogma.

    Only a few of us can be honest enough to be moralists.

    Jesus said many things that had both sides against him, to the point where he had to run away a number of times so as to not be stoned. Not the good stoned BTW.

    He/the scribe says things like, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.

    I see him saying the same for religions and gods.

    This suits Gnostic Christians because we put man above god, given that we know that they are all man made.

    Given that some say that the only good Christian is a Gnostic Christian, because of our superior moral sense, Christians tend to hate us more than atheists do.

    Given atheists churches preach our basic lines, I find the atheist attitude quite misguided.

    In the better days, atheists and the intelligentsia of religions were forming Mystery Schools.

    It took modern days for atheists to get with it, for the protection of their children.

    Your post on Gnostic Christianity misses highlighting that we are naturalists and hold no supernatural beliefs.

    To do so opens the door to gods over gods to infinity. Too stupid for words that.

    Remember when chatting with a Gnostic Christian, that you are dealing with those who think they are in or want to be seen as a part of the intelligentsia. We are careful to only speak of what can be know, with or without Gnosis.

    I hope you can see how intelligent the ancients were as compared to the mental efforts that modern preachers and theists are using with the literal reading of myths.

    https://bigthink.com/videos/what-is-god-2-2

    Further.
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03132009/watch.html

    Rabbi Hillel, the older contemporary of Jesus, said that when asked to sum up the whole of Jewish teaching, while he stood on one leg, said, "The Golden Rule. That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. And everything else is only commentary. Now, go and study it."

    Please listen as to what is said about the literal reading of myths.

    "Origen, the great second or third century Greek commentator on the Bible said that it is absolutely impossible to take these texts literally. You simply cannot do so. And he said, "God has put these sort of conundrums and paradoxes in so that we are forced to seek a deeper meaning."

    Matt 7;12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    This is how early Gnostic Christians view the transition from reading myths properly to destructive literal reading and idol worship.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR02...list=PLCBF574D

    Regards
    DL

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    [

    Viewing material existence as flawed or evil,
    Care has to be taken to separate our myths and our beliefs and ideology.

    When or if you read the Gnostic literature, you will see how we in fact venerate reality and nature. It is our creator and sustainer.

    In a sense, we are students of nature and can find no better god. God defined as the best rules and laws to live by.

    Let me speak to the lie of Gnostic Christians hating matter.

    I wrote this to refute the false notion that Gnostic Christians do not like matter and reality that the inquisitors propagated to justify their many murders of my religion’s originators. It shows that Christians should actually hate matter and not Gnostic Christians.

    The Christian reality.
    1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    Gen 3; 17 Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
    -----------

    The Gnostic Christian reality.
    Gnostic Christian Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all.
    [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

    "If those who attract you say, 'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you.

    If they say to you, 'It is under the earth,' then the fish of the sea will precede you.

    Rather, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.

    [Those who] become acquainted with [themselves] will find it; [and when you] become acquainted with yourselves, [you will understand that] it is you who are the sons of the living Father.

    But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

    As you can see from that quote, if we see God's kingdom all around us and inside of us, we cannot think that the world is anything but evolving perfection. Most just don't see it and live in poverty. Let me try to make you see the world the way I do.

    Here is a mind exercise. Tell me what you see when you look around. The best that can possibly be, given our past history, or an ugly and imperfect world?

    Candide.
    "It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”

    That means that we live in the best of all possible worlds, because it is the only possible world, given all the conditions at hand and the history that got us here. That is an irrefutable statement given entropy and the anthropic principle.

    Regards
    DL

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    My partner is a Gnostic Christian, and I attend the mass with him from time to time. It's definitely not the branch of Christianity that I feel closest to, but I do enjoy the ritual, which is very emotionally moving and usually insightful. Tau Rosamonde, our bishop, is one of the smartest individuals I've had the privilege of meeting, which she hides well behind a soft demeanor when not playing her leading role in the service itself. I deeply appreciate the relative gender parity of the Gnostic church, and the multiethnic character of both the aesthetic and conduct of our meetings.

    Another loose collection of general ideas, another religious kludge. Believe what you want in a loose framework.
    That has not been my experience, at least not of the community I am most personally familiar with. They are open-minded with respect to other traditions, and internally non-dogmatic, but have a very clear mythos/cosmology, and a pretty consistent liturgy as well. It is a mystical tradition and unashamedly so, which I can understand being confusing to people unfamiliar with mystical traditions. But feeling free to ask questions is not necessarily the same thing as having no answers. A shared experience, not a shared text, is the foundation of Gnostic community-building.

    On dialectical materialism. This is mentioned in an interview on Tau Rosamonde's website, and I find her perspective somewhat illuminating:

    One of the great challenges of being a contemporary Gnostic is that we are still pursued by the ghosts of orthodox heresiologists. Modern Christian theological students are invariably taught—incorrectly—that the hallmark of Gnostic thought and literature is Dualism (because we make a distinction between the ideal world of the Pleroma and the cosmos of the Demiurge). This binary approach permeates Christian culture: God vs. The Devil, orthodoxy vs. heresy, etc. The Gnostic view is vastly more subtle, and therefore easily misinterpreted. To use a pop-culture reference, "The Matrix cannot tell you who you are." The world is not, in and of itself, evil. Flawed, yes—red in tooth and claw and all that. Disease. Hunger. Age. Disaster. But not by its nature evil. Rather than a rejection of the Earth, Gnosticism involves a challenge to and negotiation with the System, or cosmos. A subtle yet critical distinction. Natural allegories, such as storms, the planting of crops, fish, newborn babies and flowers are recurring positive themes in Gnostic literature. Would world-haters employ such symbolism, and so lovingly?
    We were indeed taught a very jaundiced narrative concerning Gnostic cosmology, I can confirm, when I was studying at a Lutheran seminary in a past life. Not hostile, but not accurate either, and this overgeneralization concerning the role of the material was one of those things.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    My pointless endless loop detector is flashing. I have stated my position several times. If my meaning is not clear at this pont there is nothing more for me tosay.

    Continue your rationalization by all means.

    Here in the USA we have a looming water shortage which will affect the food supply. I doubt mythology is going to be of any practical value.value.

    We need pragmatic rational thought which runs counter to myth and theology based systems. I

    Secular or theist in the end it is a created in the human mind. Self delusions.

    The last word is yours.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    My pointless endless loop detector is flashing. I have stated my position several times. If my meaning is not clear at this pont there is nothing more for me tosay.

    Continue your rationalization by all means.

    Here in the USA we have a looming water shortage which will affect the food supply. I doubt mythology is going to be of any practical value.value.

    We need pragmatic rational thought which runs counter to myth and theology based systems. I

    Secular or theist in the end it is a created in the human mind. Self delusions.

    The last word is yours.
    I'm curious. Why did you start this thread?
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    My partner is a Gnostic Christian, and I attend the mass with him from time to time. It's definitely not the branch of Christianity that I feel closest to, but I do enjoy the ritual, which is very emotionally moving and usually insightful. Tau Rosamonde, our bishop, is one of the smartest individuals I've had the privilege of meeting, which she hides well behind a soft demeanor when not playing her leading role in the service itself. I deeply appreciate the relative gender parity of the Gnostic church, and the multiethnic character of both the aesthetic and conduct of our meetings.

    Another loose collection of general ideas, another religious kludge. Believe what you want in a loose framework.
    That has not been my experience, at least not of the community I am most personally familiar with. They are open-minded with respect to other traditions, and internally non-dogmatic, but have a very clear mythos/cosmology, and a pretty consistent liturgy as well. It is a mystical tradition and unashamedly so, which I can understand being confusing to people unfamiliar with mystical traditions. But feeling free to ask questions is not necessarily the same thing as having no answers. A shared experience, not a shared text, is the foundation of Gnostic community-building.

    On dialectical materialism. This is mentioned in an interview on Tau Rosamonde's website, and I find her perspective somewhat illuminating:

    One of the great challenges of being a contemporary Gnostic is that we are still pursued by the ghosts of orthodox heresiologists. Modern Christian theological students are invariably taught—incorrectly—that the hallmark of Gnostic thought and literature is Dualism (because we make a distinction between the ideal world of the Pleroma and the cosmos of the Demiurge). This binary approach permeates Christian culture: God vs. The Devil, orthodoxy vs. heresy, etc. The Gnostic view is vastly more subtle, and therefore easily misinterpreted. To use a pop-culture reference, "The Matrix cannot tell you who you are." The world is not, in and of itself, evil. Flawed, yes—red in tooth and claw and all that. Disease. Hunger. Age. Disaster. But not by its nature evil. Rather than a rejection of the Earth, Gnosticism involves a challenge to and negotiation with the System, or cosmos. A subtle yet critical distinction. Natural allegories, such as storms, the planting of crops, fish, newborn babies and flowers are recurring positive themes in Gnostic literature. Would world-haters employ such symbolism, and so lovingly?
    We were indeed taught a very jaundiced narrative concerning Gnostic cosmology, I can confirm, when I was studying at a Lutheran seminary in a past life. Not hostile, but not accurate either, and this overgeneralization concerning the role of the material was one of those things.
    Mythos says heaven and hell are out there.

    Gnostic Christians know that they are here, in our minds. Where else can such fictional places exist?

    The enlightened know that they and our gods are of our own creation. To think otherwise is foolish.

    --------------

    Let me speak to the lie of Gnostic Christians hating matter.

    I wrote this to refute the false notion that Gnostic Christians do not like matter and reality that the inquisitors propagated to justify their many murders of my religion’s originators. It shows that Christians should actually hate matter and not Gnostic Christians.

    The Christian reality.
    1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    Gen 3; 17 Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
    -----------

    The Gnostic Christian reality.
    Gnostic Christian Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all.
    [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

    "If those who attract you say, 'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you.

    If they say to you, 'It is under the earth,' then the fish of the sea will precede you.

    Rather, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.

    [Those who] become acquainted with [themselves] will find it; [and when you] become acquainted with yourselves, [you will understand that] it is you who are the sons of the living Father.

    But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."

    As you can see from that quote, if we see God's kingdom all around us and inside of us, we cannot think that the world is anything but evolving perfection. Most just don't see it and live in poverty. Let me try to make you see the world the way I do.

    Here is a mind exercise. Tell me what you see when you look around. The best that can possibly be, given our past history, or an ugly and imperfect world?

    Candide.
    "It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”

    That means that we live in the best of all possible worlds, because it is the only possible world, given all the conditions at hand and the history that got us here. That is an irrefutable statement given entropy and the anthropic principle.

    Regards
    DL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    My pointless endless loop detector is flashing. I have stated my position several times. If my meaning is not clear at this pont there is nothing more for me tosay.

    Continue your rationalization by all means.

    Here in the USA we have a looming water shortage which will affect the food supply. I doubt mythology is going to be of any practical value.value.

    We need pragmatic rational thought which runs counter to myth and theology based systems. I

    Secular or theist in the end it is a created in the human mind. Self delusions.

    The last word is yours.
    I'm curious. Why did you start this thread?
    He may have been accepting a challenge to grow his moral thinking.

    Thumbs up if so.

    Fail to date.

    Regards
    DL

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    I started this thread in the hope that Gnostic would post his rants and ramblings here instead of derailing oter threads. It didn't work.

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