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BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?

GUEST 26 Mar 05 - 11:34 AM
GUEST 26 Mar 05 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Joe Offer 26 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 26 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM
Joe Offer 26 Mar 05 - 05:40 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 06:00 PM
Joe Offer 26 Mar 05 - 06:36 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 07:00 PM
Rapparee 26 Mar 05 - 07:14 PM
paddymac 26 Mar 05 - 08:12 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 08:16 PM
GUEST 26 Mar 05 - 08:17 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 08:28 PM
catspaw49 26 Mar 05 - 08:45 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 09:14 PM
catspaw49 26 Mar 05 - 09:29 PM
Little Hawk 26 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM
Joe Offer 27 Mar 05 - 02:58 AM
Jeanie 27 Mar 05 - 04:44 AM
John Hardly 27 Mar 05 - 06:48 AM
GUEST 27 Mar 05 - 09:25 AM
Little Hawk 27 Mar 05 - 11:13 AM
dianavan 27 Mar 05 - 02:45 PM
GUEST 27 Mar 05 - 02:59 PM
GUEST 27 Mar 05 - 03:03 PM
open mike 27 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM
frogprince 27 Mar 05 - 05:36 PM
Frankham 27 Mar 05 - 06:02 PM
open mike 28 Mar 05 - 12:03 AM
katlaughing 28 Mar 05 - 12:15 AM
Rapparee 28 Mar 05 - 08:34 AM
John O'L 28 Mar 05 - 09:09 AM
GUEST 28 Mar 05 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,katlaughing coming through the backdoor 28 Mar 05 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 29 Mar 05 - 08:52 AM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 05 - 01:13 PM
frogprince 29 Mar 05 - 01:35 PM
PoppaGator 29 Mar 05 - 02:15 PM
mandoleer 29 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM
Peace 29 Mar 05 - 03:29 PM
dianavan 29 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 05 - 05:30 PM
John O'L 29 Mar 05 - 06:41 PM
Little Hawk 29 Mar 05 - 06:48 PM
frogprince 29 Mar 05 - 08:48 PM
Little Hawk 30 Mar 05 - 01:26 AM

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Subject: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 11:34 AM

Last night I was watching one of those entertainment news shows on cable, and they were talking about the making of the book "Da Vinci Code" into a movie.

Knowing that believers in the Gnostic gospels don't share mainstream Christianity's view that Jesus was the messiah, and therefore don't celebrate Easter, I was wondering how many (or if any) people who post here would describe themselves as believers in Gnostic gospels?

Just curious, though discussing them in addition to polling about them is fine too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 12:02 PM

I think the Gnostic gospels raise enough questions that one can safely question the validity of Christianity in its entirety....


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM

I can't quite see how the Gnostic gospels bring a question of the "validity of Christianity." The Gnostic gospels are certainly interesting reading, and there is much about them that is inspiring and thought-provoking; but they do not fit into the belief system that came to be called Christianity. Certain writings were accepted by Christians as sacred to them and as basic statements of their beliefs, and the Gnostic gospels were not given that status.

Gnosticism is a different system of belief, a different way of understanding that which is not understandable. It was not accepted as mainstream Christianity. The two systems of belief are different - that's all. Christianity prevailed, and Gnosticism didn't. Much of what is known about Gnosticism comes from Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who lived from about 130-200 AD. He wrote a five-volume work titled Against Heresies, and the chief heresy he opposed was Gnosticism. Gnostic writings were suppressed by the Christian Church, and many Gnostic groups were persecuted by the Christians. The fact that Christians persecuted Gnostics is also not proof that Christianity is wrong or invalid - but persecution of another's beliefs is certainly wrong. A number of Gnostic writings were found in Egypt in 1945, so we now know much more about Gnostic thinking that we once did.

Gnosticism is not a unified system of belief, and there has never been a unified Gnostic church. A variety of belief systems have been given the name "Gnostic" over the ages. All seem to had a "dualist" philosophy in common, looking at parallel spiritual/physical universes. As I understand it, most Gnostics did believe in Jesus as savior. Another concept common to most Gnostics is the idea of individual revelation or enlightment ("gnosis") that is received by each person who is saved from the evil side of existence.

I can't remember where I saw it, but my understanding that Irenaeus redefined Gnosticism into something that was absurd, and then proceeded to refute the ideas that he had redefined. So, I guess Irenaeus can be condemned for lack of intellectual honesty.

But that doesn't mean that Christianity is invalid - it just means that it is different from Gnosticism.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 05:06 PM

Here's a summary of the basic tenets of Gnosticism...

Gnosticism

I'd say that it presents a number of quite worthwhile spiritual concepts, but it's way too subtle to stand up to a blunt instrument like mainstream Christianity was in the Middle Ages.

Gnosticism would probably have fared better in Asia, where people are more inclined toward subtlety when dealing with spiritual subjects.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM

For discussion sake, how about this From the About.com Alternative Religion page:

History/Origin: Gnosis, or knowlege, is defined as the intuitive comprehension of higher spiritual truth. Gnosticism is believed to have developed in pre-Christian times, a syncretic blend of Platonic philosophy and Pagan mystery religion. Some Gnostic groups claimed to have been the original Christians, a position hotly disputed by church 'fathers.' (Ironically, Tertullian, one of Gnosticism's chief opponents, later became a Gnostic himself.) Modern scholarship lends credibility to the claim, as recent discoveries show that fragments of Gnostic texts may be the oldest existing Christian Gospels.

Current leader/governing body: None. There are some highly organized Gnostic congregations, but many self-labeled Gnostics practice privately. Exceptions include the Mandeans in Iraq, who are the only continuous Gnostic sect, with a practice that dates back to the first century.

Scripture: Much of Gnostic scripture has been lost or destroyed; however, in the twentieth century, dozens of Gnostic scriptures were discovered buried in a jar in the desert at Nag Hammadi. These included the shocking Gospel of Thomas, and The Thunder, perfect mind. You can read more here: Gnostic scriptures

Required observances, dietary restrictions: Early Gnostics practiced vegetarianism; some sects avoided sex and reproduction. Mady modern Gnostics avoid meat eating.

Basic teachings and Beliefs: The Gnostic concept of salvation is entirely at odds with the accepted Christian doctrine. In Gnostic belief, one must seek reuinion with God, dissolution of the body, and a return to the state prior to the Fall- the first cause. This contradicts the common Christian doctrine that the death of Christ was a sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind, and that man achieves salvation simply be believing in this sacrifice. Gnostics, in their turn, believe that Christ was not truly human, but an Avatar or messenger who only had the appearance of humanity. (This doctrine is known as Docetism) Among these 'Avatars' is counted the serpent in the garden, a radical and dangerous (in the eyes of the Church) departure from accepted doctrine.
In Gnostic cosmology, Sophia (the Holy spirit), a divine emanation, seeks to know God, and in doing, falls outside the "Pleroma," or divine light. As She falls, she gives birth to Yaldaboth, who is also Satan/Yahweh, who believes himself to be God, and creates the material world and mankind, trapping Sophia within. The serpent in the Garden, and later, Jesus himself, are manifestations of the Holy spirit attempting to free mankind from slavery. Gnostics taught that because of this, the material world is abhorrent.

Holidays: Holidays are generally unimportant, however, some modern Gnostic Churches follow a liturgical calendar similar to that of the Catholoic Church.

Symbols: Gnostic symbols include the ouroboros, a tail swallowing snake, as a symbol of earthly ensnarement, gems depicting the God forms of Abraxas and Mithras, as well as other amulets, which were common in the first century.

About.com lists this link as their "Best of the Net" on the subject.

And here is the Wikipedia Gnosis page, which I prefer to the About.com link, but both are good choices to learn more, I think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 05:40 PM

It's a nice piece of writing, Little Hawk, and it makes a lot of sense. It's certainly a school of thought that would be appealing to me in many ways.

It is, however, quite different from what is expressed in the Gnostic gospels I have read. It's also important to realize that modern "Gnosticism" is a modern creation. It may be based on recently-discovered ancient writings, but it is not something that has evolved through the ages. It hasn't had time to develop shortcomings.

I think I'll stick with Christianity, warts and all.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 06:00 PM

Okay, Joe, but why do one's spiritual beliefs have to be defined under any label? That's what I'd like to know.

I consider myself to be a believer in everything Jesus taught, but I don't call myself a Christian. Jesus wasn't a Christian either, as far as I can see. He was beyond any such labels.

I tend to agree with the Gnostic's veiw that Jesus was not a sacrifice on behalf of the sins of humanity. That idea of him being a blood sacrifice has never made much sense to me at all.

I don't think the physical World is abhorrent, but I do think it's somewhat illusory. It's temporary. Spirit is eternal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 06:36 PM

Yeah, I'm not big on bloody sacrifices, either. I never did believe that Jesus died to repay our guilt, or something like that - and I never did believe in an angry God who demands such repayment.

Labels can be misused - but they are very helpful tools for gaining an understanding of something. Gnosticism is a coherent body of thought that has made sense to various groups of people over the ages. It's worthwhile to study it as a coherent body of thought, rather than picking and choosing from a collection of unconnected aphorisms. Thoughts are better studied in context.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 07:00 PM

Agreed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Rapparee
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 07:14 PM

I have a problem with any religion in which a higher salvation is reserved to those who have "higher knowledge."

As I understand it, Gnosticsm was the base of the Albegensian movement of Provence. In that, a "Perfect" rejected self, sex, most foods, and went about instructing others. While I admit that there have always been those more spiritually "advanced" than most, I have a hard time with the concept of "secret" religious teachings available only to those "advanced" enough for them.

In short, from what I know of the teaching of Yeshua of Nazareth, he made his teachings available to those who would tale the trouble to think about them, not to a select few who had a "secret and higher knowledge."

Gnosticism, from what I've learned of it, smacks of elitism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: paddymac
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 08:12 PM

I read a metaphorical description of gnosticism in which it was analogized to a "blanket of christianity thrown over the world of believers, in which there were two kinds of people under the blanket: those who needed 'The Church'to find god, and those who could rise through/above the blanket and find/know god on their own."

That view goes a long way toward explaining the 'Roman' supression (can't stand anybody who says the church heirarchy is unnecessary to 'salvation') and the 'evangelical' interpretation (the idea of a 'personal relationship' with the divine).

It is a modern retrospective view, to be sure, but not without merit.

Joe, thanks for your sentient comments. Methinks the "angry god" idea has helped many people over time to see the futility of many brands of religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 08:16 PM

Well, if you are looking at it from only the standpoint of one physical lifetime, I can see why you have a problem with it. My feeling is that everyone is destined for "salvation" eventually, but it takes most people a whole lot of lifetimes getting there. Enlightenment is only a likely achievement for a few people at any given time, because most people frankly don't give it much thought. They've got their minds on more worldly matters. I think that higher consciousness is required in order to move into higher spiritual levels, so to speak...so it isn't that it's "reserved" (by some authority), it's just that you don't make the transition until you really HAVE made the transition in actual consciousness. That's not elitism, it's just the natural result of the accomplishment.

I think everyone gets there...in their own good time. That might take 1,000 lifetimes or it might not. That's up to the person themselves.

I don't know what the Gnostics would have thought about that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 08:17 PM

It's not what religion you believe in, it's what you do with it that matters.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 08:28 PM

Yeah. :-) Good point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 08:45 PM

I don't believe in Gnostic......I believe in Gnocchi!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 09:14 PM

Gnocchi


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 09:29 PM

You can see how much more substantial it is, can't you? A far superior belief system as well as infinitely tastier!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM

Yes, it IS pretty compelling all right. Yum!


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 02:58 AM

....with basil and a little olive oil, of course - with a good dose of Parmesan.

Not bad with tomato sauce, either.

-Giuseppe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Jeanie
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 04:44 AM

To anyone interested in gnosticsm, I thoroughly recommend the book: "Jesus and the Goddess" by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy (publ. Thorsons ISBN 0-00-714545-4). There are lots of very interesting links to articles on the subject and to original source material, on their website

In the introduction to the book, they write:
"Fundamentally, all we are suggesting is that we listen to the losers in the civil war that bedevilled Christianity in the third and fourth centuries between the Roman Church and those it branded heretics and did everything in its power to silence. The traditional history was written by the winners, but we have come to believe that the account of the origins and meaning of Christianity given by those dissident Christians is far closer to the truth."

It makes fascinating reading.

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: John Hardly
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 06:48 AM

Gnosticism recognizes a strong drive in man to believe that there is something "other".

On the other hand, gnosticism strikes me as much like that black-robed, sword-yielding assassin in Raiders of the Lost Ark -- the one who goes through the terrifying display of swordsmanship (designed to strike terror in a would-be victim), only to have Indiana Jones pull a pistol and quite unceremoniously blow him away. Lots of machination intended to make a belief system seem real, but blown away in the light of either impericism or revelation.

Gnosticism strikes me as much like the priests of Baal who took on Elijah in the contest of the altars on Mt Carmel. They begged & pleaded, cut themselves, wept & gnashed their teeth, all to no avail -- their altar remained unburning.

Seems we're never satisfied with the simplicity of the Gospel -- we always think there should be more -- more from us and more for us. We like magic.

I'm reminded of a story in one of the Herriot books. James Herriot tells of a "medication" that he uses on a horse. The medication, as he tell it, puts on a great show -- it fizzes and turns color. But here's the thing -- it has no medicinal effect. It is used to make the horse's owner feel as though the veteranarian is doing something because the actual medication, a mere injection, yields little visual assurance that it is working.

That is, to me, gnosticism (and religion, for that matter). All fizz, little effect.

Man will do anything to give himself a sense of God being there. Anything but the one thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 09:25 AM

You sound pretty superstitious to me, John Hardly. You do know that the world's religious scholars who have been blown away by the lost gospels found at Nag Hammadi, don't really qualify as believers in magic? That there was a concerted effort on the part of both hierarchical Judaism and hierarchical Christianity, to block the release of the lost gospels and other papyrus texts, because of the content--especially of the gospels of Sophia, Mary of Magdalene, and Thomas?

What the gnostics believed back in the day (ie when these texts are believed to have been written) was in an enlightened tradition of individual seeking of the divine (without religious intermediaries!) through self knowledge and awareness, not dogma and plutocracy. They also believed that the divine was both female and male. So you can imagine how much the church fathers of today are opposed to people taking up from where the gnostics left off.

I doubt the Judeo-Christian hierarchies will ever accept these gospels as part of their theology, despite all the evidence that suggests they be incorporated into the sacred texts (ie the Bible and the Torah) of the Judeo-Christian religious traditions.

Which, ironically, proves the point of the gnostics about ignorance being the only "sin".

So eventually, the people will begin to teach these gospels outside the church and temple, and people will be drawn to them instead of the conventional religions. I believe this knowledge, which was revealed to the world at the end of WWII, will eventually liberate us from the world's most dominant and most corrupt influences--the Judeo-Christian elite.

It's time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 11:13 AM

The only way to find out if "magic" is not "magic", but something real...is to try it yourself until you either master it or prove its falsity. Many have achieved enlightenment either within or totally outside of the Christian faith. Therefore, I frankly doubt that there is only "one thing" that has to be done to achieve salvation...unless that one thing is to surrender the separately-minded ego that says to itself, "I am separate from God and separate from everyone else too". As long as you believe you are separate, then that is exactly what you experience, and you experience fear. You do not love without conditions, you make negotiated emotional deals that you consider advantageous. And that's the norm around here.

Accordingly, the enlightened are often viewed as mad or dangerous by normal society....should they decide to openly demonstrate their new awareness. That brings to mind St Francis of Assisi, who faced tremendous resistance on the part of family members and community, because he was demonstrating complete love of all beings instead of being sensible and going off to fight wars with the heathen, and make money, and gain political power, and get married, and all the usual stuff. :-) It's a wonder they didn't kill him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: dianavan
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 02:45 PM

Since the patriarchal, Judeo-Christian belief system seems to have done more harm than good in this world, I choose to explore the more ancient religions and wonder why others do not see that established religion is based on the persecution of others and the power of the written word.

I am sick and tired of priests and rabbis controlling the minds of people and witholding information.

The dying Christ is the symbol of rebirth - a symbol of re-birth that traces the seasonal changes of earth. Its a very old concept. The concept of sin is a modern method of control. Jesus did not die for our sins. We are responsible for our own sins and priests do not have to manufacture ideas to relieve us of personal responsibility.

Thats my Easter message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 02:59 PM

And fight the good fight, and prevent the Christian theocratic takeover of the US government!


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 03:03 PM

And if you want ideas on how to fight the takeover of the US government by Republican theo-cons, try the Theocracy Watch website.

That's my Easter message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: open mike
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM

some places where info can be found;
http://www.gnosis.org/
gnosis magazine: http://www.lumen.org/
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/gnosis/overview/
http://gnosistraditions.faithweb.com/


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: frogprince
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 05:36 PM

I do have at least one basic problem with gnosicism as I'm getting it from what's been on the thread, though. Basically the dualism. It's one thing to say that the physical world, and physical body, are temporary and therefore obviously secondary in importance to the spiritual. But what I'm getting from the gnostic material is that this physical stuff is at best an unfortunate mistake, if not outright evil; that seems like a helluva negative slant on what we all live with for at least a few years. Christian doctrine has kinda "flip-floped" between a fairly positive view of the physical life and some teaching that has been about as negative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Frankham
Date: 27 Mar 05 - 06:02 PM

I'm into Arius. Don't hold with "trinitarianism". Too schizoid.

The Gnostic Gospels are interesting. Nag Hamadi tablets are fun.

Like Elaine Pagels but frankly the most interesting to me of the Gnostic part is the Ag.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: open mike
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 12:03 AM

agnostic? as in : humans are not capable of understanding the
divine, or cannot fathom the great spirit? I think it is like the
blind men and the elephant...we can only experience a small portion
of the whole, and each interpretation can only be partial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 12:15 AM

Oh, I thought this was a typo and was going to be about those of us who believe in gnu!


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 08:34 AM

As in "Good Gnus For Modern Man?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: John O'L
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 09:09 AM

As I understand it, the gnostic gospels were left out of the canon because (among other things) they suggest that each person has his own individual relationship with God, and does not necesarily need the church to act as a conduit. This is the heresy for which Jesus was crucified.

(This is also pretty much what Buddha was saying five hundred-odd years earlier - around the time the Torah was being composed in Babylon and Confuscius & Lao Tzu were alive in China, but I disgress.)

The question that really needs to be answered though, is whether any of the scriptures were written under divine inspiration, and then if so, which ones?

One can say that God's plan was enacted by Athanacius when he presented the new Testament in 367(?), but then what about the discovery of the so-called gnostic gospels in 1945? Surely that must also have happened with God's knowledge and approval, surely that too must be part of his plan.

As for Gnosticism, I don't think there's any such thing. There were many writings that didn't get into the New Testament, these are simply a small collection found together.
Either you believe the Bible is as the church declares it to be, or you believe that there's more to it than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 10:02 AM

I think I need to clarify the thread title at the very least. When I ask "Any Gnostic Believers"? I am asking are there any here who view the bible as a sacred text of Christianity that is myth, ie who believe in the bible as metaphor and myth, not as historic fact.

Those who believe the bible is historic fact and The One Truth I would refer to as "biblical literalists".

I agree gnosticism is accurately described as not needing institutional intermediaries, as believing in Jesus and Sophia as mythic not historic figures, and in not buying into the theological belief in original sin.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST,katlaughing coming through the backdoor
Date: 28 Mar 05 - 10:32 AM

I am not Christian, but I DO believe the Bible was meant to be interpreted in a metaphysical sense and as such I find Charles Fillmore's Metaphysical Bible Dictionary to be of enlightening interest.

I also highly recommend The Mystical Life of Jesus by H. Spencer Lewis. If you scroll down there are more details about the book and author. Another interesting one by him is The Secret Doctrines of Jesus.

Rapaire...egg-zack-elly! And Good Gnus for the Mudcat, too!


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 08:52 AM

I'm a Gnomist. Does that count? The fundemental teachings of the great Lord Gnome mainly revolve around the transendental highs gained from walking round high and muddy bits of northern England.

When you gain adept status you begin to realise the many skills of the Lord Gnome, including the ability to expand and contract the universe in relation to whether you are going up or down hill. The movement of oxygen from the upward slope to the downward is also of consequence. When you are aware that the trick is to not only perform these miracles but perform them on different believers traveling in OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS you then begin to understand.

Incidentaly it is also decreed in the great book of Gnome that the sun is cold. The higher you go up a mountain the nearer you get to the sun and the colder it gets. Once you begin to approach the sevneth level of Gnomism, as I have, you become skilled in the gnomish arts. I cannot go into full details as most of you are unbelievers but if you have ever seen a small rotund figure covered in mud descending a mountain in time to get last orders at the bar you will have seen a glimpse of the much envied Gnometrot...

Hear ye and believe

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 01:13 PM

Seems to me that it would be reasonable to assume that IF there are any sections of holy books, such as the Bible, written under divine guidance in the first place....(which I think there probably are)

Then...

It would be possible to have the following occur:

1. A passage could be totally in accord with divine guidance

2. A passage could be largely in accord with divine guidance

3. A passage could be moderately in accord with divine guidance

4. A passage could be somewhat in accord with divine guidance

5. A passage could be only slightly in accord with divine guidance

6. A passage could be reflective of nothing whatsoever but the ego of the person who wrote it!

The above would all depend on to what extent the writer of the passage had surrendered to divine guidance while writing, wouldn't it?

It's facile to think that people can only be in one of 2 states:

1. Completely obedient and receptive to the Divine.

2. Completely unreceptive to the Divine.

Therefore, I suggest that it is damned foolish to blithely assume that ANY holy book is the total and literal word of God and therefore infallible...not to mention that it is damned foolish to assume that one's own interpretation of its meaning is infallible!

But that's exactly what a lot of people seem to do. :-)

There's no faith like blind faith, is there?

I take much spiritual inspiration from the Bible and other holy books, such as the Vedas or the Baghavad Gita. I do not make the mistake of relying upon them as THE total and perfect authority to the exclusion of all else. And it amazes me that anyone could do so...


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: frogprince
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 01:35 PM

L.H., I have quite a bit of background in theology, but I havent't heard anyone put the issue of "inspiration" just like that before; hate to admit it, : ) but it makes a lot of sense to me. As your scale goes, I would say "no.1" material would be the rarest of all at best. Of course the strict fundamentalist position is that the Bible (or the Book of Morman, or the Burpees seed catalog, or whatever) is "no.1" cover to cover. I don't think any human being has ever been detached enough from normal human ignorace and prejudice to write more than very limited bits at that level. I don't mean that as wildly misanthropic; I just don't expect any of the wonderful people I know to be perfect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 02:15 PM

I don't believe in "Gnosticism" as it was portrayed to me in Catholic-school church history courses, with an emphasis on dualism, hatred of the body, etc.

I do believe that the recently-discovered so-called "Gnostic" Gospels are worthy of consideration, equally as valid (if not more) as the writings approved by the early Church in its effort to establish its own authority.

I believe that Jesus Christ was a man who aspired to unity with the Divine, who succeeded in his quest, and who lived his life as an example to all of us ~ "Come, Follow Me!". The Christian churches, on the other hand, teach their members not to emulate Christ but to worship him ~ and, above all, to obey and support the church leaders.

Modern-day "Gnosticism" may have nothing to do with the squabbling among various dogmas and "heresies" that took place in the first few centuries of the Chirstian era. Insofar as the word now means a sophisticated, anti-authoritarian approach to individual spirituality, then yes, I suppose you can count me in as a believer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: mandoleer
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM

Personally, I would take anything taught in a religious school about another religion - especially one regarded as heretic! - with a cellar full of salt. (I don't like the idea of religions running schools apart from their own Sunday Schools or equivalent - worst are these Creationists building City Academies in the UK as some people don't realise who they are.) I also don't like the idea of the only path to the Divine being through a priesthood. Sure, have priests (or priestesses) for those who want/need them, but believe they're the only path to heaven and you might as well believe that the cheque's in the post, of course I love you, darling, and I don't fancy your sister at all...... In the area of religion where I am, we don't have heresies. It's rather more pick'n'mix.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Peace
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 03:29 PM

Scroll down the page on the link. You'll come to various Gnostic texts.

Various writings can be found here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: dianavan
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM

I don't believe in Gnosticism or Catholicism or Judaism or any other 'ism'. I do believe that neither has any special right to the truth. I tend to believe that since the Roman Catholic church had to resort to wide spread murder and torture to prove themselves right, it probably means that Gnosticism was gaining in popularity and considered a real threat to the heirarchy of the Papacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 05:30 PM

No, I don't particularly believe in any "ism" either. I find some worth in most of them, though, and some inconsistencies (or historical misapplication of doctrine) in most of them. As with anything else in life one had best approach religions and holy books with an open mind and make use of the good that they contain, while not falling to the temptation to become an absolutist.

What an absolutist wants is for someone else (the "book" or the priest or his mom and dad or his government) to decide everything FOR him. Then he no longer has to worry, because he KNOWS he has the definitive answer, and he KNOWS where to find authority for it! :-) He does not have to engage in the worrisome business of independent thinking any longer, but can just follow the rules that have been set down for him by established tradition and customary authority....

Such people can be dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: John O'L
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:41 PM

Little Hawk, I like your ideas about varying degrees of divine inspiration, but they tend to lean towards a less generally accepted definition of God.

That is, if the omnipotent omniscient being is conveying his wishes to us through the medium of prophets then one would assume He is in full control of what is being written, but if it is a kind of God who is omnipresent, rather than powerful knowledgeable and authoritarian, then there is greater scope for flexibility and cultural interpretation.

(I wrote my earlier post using the standard Christian definition of God, not wishing to take the discussion into places which have been covered extensively elsewhere at Mudcat.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 06:48 PM

If he was in total control, then we wouldn't have free will. We would not be thinking individuals at all, we'd be robots. In that case, there would be no need for us to engage in ANY inquiry or to have any beliefs. It wouldn't matter.

I do think of God as omnipresent, but I do not think of God as intervening in human affairs in a selective or prejudicial manner. It's human beings who intervene in a selective and prejudicial manner, in my opinion, because we DO have free will.

I think everyone is capable of receiving some divine inspiration. The spiritual writings that are really impressive are those which contain a great deal of it, and those which spread love, not fear. Those which unite, rather than dividing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: frogprince
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 08:48 PM

For the most part the writers of the New Testament indicated their own awareness that they were sharing their own best thoughts, not something dictated to them. Fundamentalist "proof" of Biblical infallibility from the Bible itself comes from various Old Testament
statements like "Thus saith the Lord" and "The Lord spake to ____,saying...", and from a single New Testament line attributed to Peter, "All scripture is God-breathed". It's stretching the point to say that that even proves that the author believed what fundamentalism says he believed; the writtings of "Peter" express some misgivings about the writting of Paul.


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Subject: RE: BS: Any Gnostic Believers Here?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 01:26 AM

Well, one could well say that all life is God-breathed too. That doesn't mean it doesn't get altered a bit in the activities of the human process, does it? I shouldn't wonder that Peter had some misgivings about Paul's writings, having read them myself. I have considerable misgivings about them.


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