Originally posted by abovereproach
Zaimless, I'm wondering, have you read any of the Gnostic writings? Some Gnostic groups had views very similar to your own--i.e. that this world,
being material and corrupt (actually evil, in their view) was created by an "evil" Creator--whereas the version of religion they espoused was put in
place by a "good" Creator--Gnostics are noted for their philosophical dualism! I know I haven't explained this very well, hopefully someone with a
better knowledge of Gnostic beliefs can explain it much better. And Amethyst--"Jesuit influence"??!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
Gnosticism is a fascinating and interesting fiction. I find it significant that Dan Brown embraces this 'secret church within the church' as
something that is contemporary to Christ's life, teachings, and the history of the early church.
Biblical scholars are pretty much in agreement that the Gnostic 'gospels' were written at least 200 years after Christ. They are also in agreement
that all 27 books of the Bible have been considered to be endorsed by Church Fathers well before the 1st century AD.
The essence of gnosticism is the belief in gnosis - the achievement of a transcendant, divine state through intuition and mystic symbolism. The
'gospels' are presented as myths in the sense that they are designed to be representational and instructional on multiple levels.
According to gnostics, all life is a self-perpetuating chain of pain, death, and suffering. All living things as a neccesary part of their existence
inflict pain on something. Cheery, wot?
The creation of the traditional book of Genesis is not acceptable to gnostics. God did not actively create anything. As the supremely transcendant
entity, He sort of 'shed' all of creation as some sort of emanations. As some process of diffusion, this 'god-stuff' became dilute, corrupted, and
twisted. This is anathema to a number of religious people. There are a bunch of semi-gods called 'aeons' who kind of sculpted or influenced things
according to their particular bent. One of these aeons create a demi-urge, a deluded godling who thinks that he is the creator...dualism again.
Human beings are composed of the physical body (corruptible, flawed, and impure) and a spark of the divine - a spark of God ... the remote,
transcendant one, not the wannabe. Dualism again. According to Gnosticism, mankind - or at least most of mankind - is unaware of this spark, unwilling
to accept his own piece of God makes him godlike as well. This is according to the master plan of the false god - why? no clue.
Those lucky mortals who have divined the gnosis free themselves from the wheel of time. Those who don't die and - though their spark is liberated
from the imperfect vessal - are either going to wander mindlessly or - more likely - get sucked back into another flawed human form for another shot.
Those who have been illuminated by the transcendant gnosis are - of course - freed of the torturous nightmarish world of the flawed creation.
Gnosticism itself almost certainly has pre-Christian antecedents. As a historian, I can easily imagine the rennaisance of these ancient doctrines
being touted as an alternative to Christianity. By the second century, early Christian missionaries were having rousing success in spreading the faith
throughout the empire. Christianity may not be the 'Anti-Christ' religion (an oxymoron of epic proportions), but it certainly threatened the
lucrative and prestigious network of established pagan religions of the Roman Empire. Gnosticism fit much more conveniently with the multitude of
acceptable religions. Unlike Christianity, the belief in the demi-urge, aeons, and other demi-godlings like archons allowed for pantheistic
interpetations. The idea of a transcendant, essentially ignorant God is much more comforting than the idea of a God who is watching His children, who
will sit in judgement, who embraced the notion that 'as you treat the least of My children, so you do unto me." - What slave-owning Roman would be
comfortable with THAT concept? Kind of takes the fun out of those gladitorial games, no?
This is my - regrettably brief and very sketchy treatment of the pertainent aspects of gnosticism as I know it.
Christianity has been besieged by the ignorant, by the jealous, by evil-doers seeking to twist and warp the Faith. I have said in other posts here and
elsewhere, that I do indeed believe that evil men have influenced the Church and likely are still there trying to continue to destroy the Holy See. I
see gnosticism as yet another competitor - or more maliciously - as an attempt to derail the sacrifice of the Lamb.
As always- thank you for your kind attention and God Bless you each and every one....