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Understanding Gnosticism; or, a quest for accurate knowledge

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posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 03:45 PM
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Hello ladies and gentlemen!

I am beginning to look more into modern and historical Gnosticism and, as with exploring any religion or form of spirituality, it's going to be a long trip.

I decided to post a thread to see if anyone else wants to discuss, inform, review literature and have a look with me.

I have stated in this forum that Jesus Christ's original followers were Gnostics. I still believe this is true, and the Nag Hammadi texts found about 60 years ago have lent more insight into the "Bible's" real meanings.

It concerns me that so many on this forum are dismissive and argumentative when it comes to the various flavors of "faith". In my opinion, we need to go back to the very basics, as far as we can, and to come to some sort of consensus, rather than bickering and belittling others for their beliefs.

Most importantly, I see a lot of misinformed comments from people who say things like:
"Catholics aren't Christans"
"If you don't proclaim Jesus is your savior, you are doomed to hell"
"Gnostics don't pray"
"Baptism on an infant doesn't work"
"The Bible contains all the answers"
"You are cherry-picking verses to uphold your dogma"

These discussions can be stimulating, and they can also be disappointing and contentious.

I have been looking into these themes:

*Jesus was in India and studied with the Eastern masters during his teens and 20s.

*John the Baptist was also trained by them, and recognized Jesus as his superior.

*The Three Wise men were from the East and had received a mystical sign that the new Child -- the chosen one -- was born. They still have this tradition when a Dalai Lama passes they go to find the child born as the reincarnation.

*The Bible has been translated into something it was not intended to be, and corrupted along the way with insertions, omissions, and deliberately misleading rhetoric.

*The Nag Hammadi is a crucial key to finding out more

*The earliest Christians were Gnostics.

*Jesus taught Reincarnation.

*We are all connected via a Divine Spark.

So, I'll wait to see if anyone wants to play, but I just wanted to give a heads up in case anyone else is interested in exploring this way of thinking. Some links to get you started...

An excellent source for intro to the concepts and history
Gnostics, Gnostic Gospels, and Gnosticism: this link includes books, websites, and the Gnostic Gospels themselves. I'll be going there often.
wiki entry on Gnosticism says:

Gnosticism was primarily defined in Christian context, or as "the acute Hellenization of Christianity" per Adolf von Harnack (1885), until Moritz Friedländer (1898) advocated Hellenistic Jewish origins, and Wilhelm Bousset (1907) advocated Persian origins.[1] Consequent discussions of Gnostic Christianity included pre-Christian religious beliefs and spiritual practices argued to be common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism), and Neoplatonism. The base of discussion of gnosticism changed radically with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, and led to revision of older assumptions, and a reorientation of modern scholarship following the 1966 conference on gnosticism in Messina.


The really enticing thing so far is the idea that the Bible, like many other publicly-available volumes for the faithful, does NOT contain the ENTIRE message. This was the practice in Eastern religions as well (not to mention the Freemasons, and all of the "secretive" societies). A person must first be welcomed as an initiate, then go through steps of learning until they are ready --- deemed to be prepared and trustworthy --- to be given the most profound secrets.

I think this is true for the Bible also; there are things that the upper echelons keep hush-hush about until the pupil is well vetted. So, I'm goin' in to find out more...anyone want to join me?




posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 03:57 PM
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THE GNOSIS ARCHIVE
The Gnostic World View:
A Brief Summary of Gnosticism


Here's a trifle from the first page at gnosis.org. The site is really big, and it looks like this will be as challenging as when I first studied Zen and Taoist Buddhism some twenty years ago. It requires a willingness to really step "out of the box", put on our grown-up pants, and be open-minded and humble as new learners.


Many religions advocate that humans are to be blamed for the imperfections of the world. Supporting this view, they interpret the Genesis myth as declaring that transgressions committed by the first human pair brought about a “fall” of creation resulting in the present corrupt state of the world. Gnostics respond that this interpretation of the myth is false. The blame for the world’s failings lies not with humans, but with the creator. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions -- the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.

Ways of evading the recognition of the flawed creation and its flawed creator have been devised over and over, but none of these arguments have impressed Gnostics. The ancient Greeks, especially the Platonists, advised people to look to the harmony of the universe, so that by venerating its grandeur they might forget their immediate afflictions. But since this harmony still contains the cruel flaws, forlornness and alienation of existence, this advice is considered of little value by Gnostics. Nor is the Eastern idea of Karma regarded by Gnostics as an adequate explanation of creation’s imperfection and suffering. Karma at best can only explain how the chain of suffering and imperfection works. It does not inform us in the first place why such a sorrowful and malign system should exist.

Once the initial shock of the “unusual” or “blasphemous” nature of the Gnostic explanation for suffering and imperfection of the world wears off, one may begin to recognize that it is in fact the most sensible of all explanations. To appreciate it fully, however, a familiarity with the Gnostic conception of the Godhead is required, both in its original essence as the True God and in its debased manifestation as the false or creator God.



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


I believe you will get a lot of slack in this thread from Christians because of the dating of the gnostic scriptures and the fact that many of them oppose much of what is taught in the bible...

On the plus side Gnostic texts can be very enlightening for those that are willing to look beyond the bible...

I've been reading gnostic scripture for over 7 years now... Believe when i tell you, there is MUCH wisdom within their scripture... but that must also come with a warning as well...

Like the bible one must be critical on what you read and believe within their texts...

Many bible believers will tell you the bible is "infallible" or the entire text is "the word of God" this is simply not true... So like the bible you must find the truth within the texts... and there is much to be found.

I'll be with you in this thread, and help you along your journey... but i highly doubt it will last long... Gnostic threads usually fall off the charts quite fast...




posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:00 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 



I'll be with you in this thread, and help you along your journey... but i highly doubt it will last long... Gnostic threads usually fall off the charts quite fast...

Yeah, I figured. I didn't even bother doing a search for it, as I expect what I find will be long-since abandoned. But I was sure hoping you'd chime in, my friend!

What is your best reference for online looking? Can you critique the links I provided?



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:12 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Akragon
 



I'll be with you in this thread, and help you along your journey... but i highly doubt it will last long... Gnostic threads usually fall off the charts quite fast...

Yeah, I figured. I didn't even bother doing a search for it, as I expect what I find will be long-since abandoned. But I was sure hoping you'd chime in, my friend!

What is your best reference for online looking? Can you critique the links I provided?


Well as i've previously stated... i don't rely on others comentaries on any scripture be it gnostic or otherwise... i need to go to the source... Gnosis.org is a good site... Though my personal favorite is "the reluctant messenger" site... it covers the gnostics as well as many other religions as well...

reluctant-messenger.com...

www.earlychristianwritings.com...




posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:16 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 


Yep, one of the links is the earlychristianwritings
I don't think I've seen the reluctant messenger, but so far it looks good....

What would you suggest for first in-depth read? Oh..you don't read those kinds of books.....



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:23 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by Akragon
 


Yep, one of the links is the earlychristianwritings
I don't think I've seen the reluctant messenger, but so far it looks good....

What would you suggest for first in-depth read? Oh..you don't read those kinds of books.....


Thomas of course is a great place to start... You will definately want to read about Issa... but its very long...

The gospel of Mary, philip, Barnabus... theres so many, it will take a long time to cover everything available.

Justs book mark the reluctant messenger site... and cruise through it at your leasure.




posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 



Thomas of course is a great place to start... You will definately want to read about Issa... but its very long...

Have you read the Notovitch ms about St Issa, i.e. Jesus in India? I definitely do know he was St Issa....

This is (not directed to you, as you already know this, but for others):
Here are some of the basic tenets.....from www.gnosis.org... regarding Ecclesia Gnostica

*From the earliest times of history, messengers of light have been sent forth from the ultimate unity. The task of these messengers has ever been the advancement of Gnosis in the souls of humans.

*The greatest of these messengers in our historical and geographical matrix was the descended Logos of God, manifesting in Jesus Christ.

*Jesus exercised a twofold ministry: He was a teacher, imparting instruction concerning the way of Gnosis, and he was a hierophant, imparting mysteries.

*The mysteries imparted y Jesus (which are also known as sacraments) are mighty aids toward Gnosis and have been entrusted by him to his apostles and to their successors.

*By way of the spiritual practice of the mysteries (sacraments) and by a relentless and uncompromising striving for Gnosis, humans can steadily advance toward liberation from all confinement, material and otherwise. The ultimate objective of this process of liberation is the achievement of salvific knowledge and with it freedom from embodied existence and return to the ultimate unity.

The interpretation of teachings such as are contained in the above fourteen points appertains to the individual. Some of these teachings may lend themselves to a primarily metaphorical and mythic understanding, while others may be understood metaphysically. The Ecclesia Gnostica does not require its communicants to accept these teachings as a matter of belief. At the same time, it is obvious that these teachings represent the distinctive contribution of the Gnostic tradition to religious thought and persons functioning within the tradition would find themselves in general agreement with them.


Sounds good, and in line with my 'suspicions' about the concepts of God and Jesus, etc. which have developed over, um....5 decades *cough*....now.


edit on 23-2-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:32 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 

I believe you will get a lot of slack in this thread from Christians because of the dating of the gnostic scriptures and the fact that many of them oppose much of what is taught in the bible...

You're trying to compare apples to oranges, and that never works. These straw men arguments are getting tiring! When will atheist mockers learn that the Bible is accurate, innerant, infallible, and inspired by God, and that nothing you say, no argument you can throw out, and no straw man you tear down, can destroy God's Word? Jesus said "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my Word shall NEVER fail!" So how about putting it to rest already? You're fighting a losing battle, and when you stand before God, none of the silly arguments you used against God will avail you!
(I actually got that from a page where this was an answer given to a very simple question. I was about floored that some people think this is an appropriated response to just a question: Christians, why does Paul contradict himself? ) to be fair, the format of the web site I found this on makes it difficult to be sure of the context. I just thought it was interesting because it is a perfect example of a canned response where you can imagine people taking classes in damnation rhetoric.
edit on 23-2-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 



When will atheist mockers learn that the Bible is accurate, innerant, infallible, and inspired by God, and that nothing you say, no argument you can throw out, and no straw man you tear down, can destroy God's Word?

Hi, dewey.
Dude, I'm very glad you've joined in.

I'm not an atheist mocker, and I think you know that.
I do not, however, blindly accept that the Bible is accurate, inerrant, infallible....
As I stated in the OP. It has been changed, doctored, cooked, and manipulated .... there really is no question about that. So I guess we who know that will never "unlearn" it.
The Gnostic Gospels were discovered only a few decades ago.

EDIT TO EDIT: Why do PEOPLE dispute they are just as valuable (if not more so, having been hidden during the persecution of the earliest Christians)? Why can PEOPLE not accept their existence and adjust THEIR beliefs accordingly?

edit on 23-2-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
reply to post by Akragon
 

I believe you will get a lot of slack in this thread from Christians because of the dating of the gnostic scriptures and the fact that many of them oppose much of what is taught in the bible...


You're trying to compare apples to oranges, and that never works. These straw men arguments are getting tiring! When will atheist mockers learn that the Bible is accurate, innerant, infallible, and inspired by God, and that nothing you say, no argument you can throw out, and no straw man you tear down, can destroy God's Word? Jesus said "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my Word shall NEVER fail!" So how about putting it to rest already? You're fighting a losing battle, and when you stand before God, none of the silly arguments you used against God will avail you!
(I actually got that from a page where this was an answer given to a very simple question. I was about floored that some people think this is an appropriated response to just a question: Christians, why does Paul contradict himself? )
edit on 23-2-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)


As we both know there is a thread on this forum about the "infallibility" of the bible... that thread was torn to pieces by people that dared to "stray" from the bible...

Im just asking people to open their eyes... theres no need to assume any scripture from any religion is entirely accurate... but i believe if you search all scripture from all religions, you can get a idea of a "bigger picture"

BTW my friend, you should space your sentences... originally i thought that was YOUR arguement... and i wasn't expecting that kind of rhetoric from you


edit on 23-2-2012 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:44 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

I'm not an atheist mocker, and I think you know that.

I was just goofing.
I thought I might anticipate any criticism and ridicule it ahead of time so we don't have people saying exactly what is in that post.

The Gnostic Gospels were discovered only a few decades ago.
I know all about that because I was one of the guys going to the book store to grab all the Gnostic books as they came on the shelves. I used to have to special order any books on Gnosticism and Elaine Pagels sort of blew it wide open and I was mailing off copies of her book, The Gnostic Gospels, to people I knew, when it came out.
edit on 23-2-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by Akragon
 



Im just asking people to open their eyes... theres no need to assume any scripture from any religion is entirely accurate... but i believe if you search all scripture from all religions, you can get a idea of a "bigger picture"

I agree with this entirely. It is the only sensible thing to do.
Study ALL of them, and you do get a more well-rounded view.

dewey, I would like you to stay on board, [snipped]

EDIT because I took dewey's very weird bait...I should have known better!


edit on 23-2-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
reply to post by wildtimes
 

I'm not an atheist mocker, and I think you know that.

I was just goofing.
I thought I might anticipate any criticism and ridicule it ahead of time so we don't have people saying exactly what is in that post.

Whoa, you totally got me.!!
LOL
I was hoping you were just... in a mood or something....
It did seem very out of character for you!



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

... in a mood or something...

I was because when I saw your thread, I had this bad feeling because of what has happened in the past to threads that want to discuss this. I think people who oppose this sort of study need to back off since no one on this thread is going to show up at your church door to subvert your members.
edit on 23-2-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


One thing I can relate to this, from my own search, is a critical realization that could save you some time here. I have read most of the Dead Sea Scrolls (700 pages). I have read most of the Nag Hammadi Library, as well as extensive study in the Hermetic sources. After many years of study, the focus comes right back to the Bible. The other texts do not agree with the Bible or with each other. You can find parts and some books that are very related by context, but the overall scope of the Gnostic texts represent false leads toward answers that are already provided in the Bible. There is great value in knowing these perspectives, but nothing about the Gospel changes. Jesus is still the center of salvation and the way to life beyond this realm of existence.



"Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." (Luke 11:52)

The mysticism and mystery of the Bible are two sides of the same coin. For many Christians, the flip side of this Denarius goes unnoticed and misunderstood. The mystery of the coin is partly seen and unseen, while the flipside of this coin lays veiled in the symbols of the same mystery unseen. Realizing the value of the coin, a holy grail of intrigue, requires ONE direction for true reward.

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4)

The grail in question is a vessel of sorts. The cup I speak of is the burden we bear. The soul willingly carries this cup for the love of the one who owns it by right. The journey is the “Excelsior” cry of the ever-upward work to lead the world toward truth. While the inside of this cup is kept prayerfully reverent and humble, the outside of the cup exemplifies the likeness of God, a picture of resolute character and purpose. The battle cry is not one of might or power, but of strength of spirit rooted in truth.
First Article in this link.

The secret of Gnosticism is found in this link above. With God, it's always about our hearts. Jesus knows all men already. Christ points the way to fulfill the law. The entire point of salvation is that Christ accomplished what no person has yet done on their own. Through Christ, we can all inherit this salvation. Love is the key to the lost truth above. It's been suppressed by the "experts" in the law. The experts are the ones who manipulate the law by magic and ritual. Gnosticism moves toward this side of manipulation (esoteric), while church dogma moves to the other extreme of exoteric practice. Jesus said the path is narrow and between.

Exoteric ritual takes for self and is represented in materialism and excess. Esoteric seeks the same through spirituality. With Christian faith, the focus is not on us, but on Christ. His work on the cross represents the only way to salvation. Love is the key. Love can only give. All other religious and spiritual pursuits take, but lead to the same conclusions when examined. Love is the key to the first verse above.




edit on 23-2-2012 by EnochWasRight because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 06:33 PM
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Great topic! i just started really thinking about all of this recently and was planning to start researching soon. Thank you for the links and I look forward to the information that others will bring to this thread.



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 06:48 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 

Star and Flag, V, anxious to see where this thread goes. I myself have not read into the Gnostic Texts, only a smatter of them ever came to my attention. By the time I got to them, I had discovered the "Old Time Religion," Wicca.



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 09:57 PM
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Not my cup of tea is all i'm going to say. Whatever floats your boat. Got tired of circular arguments so i'm sticking to 1 liners from now on.



posted on Feb, 23 2012 @ 10:12 PM
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See... its only a matter of time before some christian barges in and starts cutting down the thread...

People... IF you don't have anything to add to the productivity of the thread, please don't post in it!

This thread is not about the bible!

Most people know much of the Gnostic scripture does not agree with the bible especially those that would be interested in this thread.

IF you want to preach about the bible GTFO... find a thread about the bible and do it there!



Ahem.... pardon my rant.


Anyways... I wanted to show a piece of scripture from The Apocalypse of Paul... The bible says very little about the afterlife other then a few references to Gehenna, Sheol, and Tartarus... Now i have no belief in hell... but i do believe in judgement after death..

Theres very little in this particular piece but what was recovered speaks about pauls decent into the afterlife and passing through several "heavens"... One partcular spirit he saw was being whipped for murder...

This is a very interesting document...


Then the Holy Spirit who was speaking with him caught him up on high to the third heaven, and he passed beyond to the fourth heaven. The Holy Spirit spoke to him, saying, "Look and see your likeness upon the earth." And he looked down and saw those who were upon the earth. He stared and saw those who were upon the [...]. Then he gazed down and saw the twelve apostles at his right and at his left in the creation; and the Spirit was going before them.

But I saw in the fourth heaven according to class - I saw the angels resembling gods, the angels bringing a soul out of the land of the dead. They placed it at the gate of the fourth heaven. And the angels were whipping it. The soul spoke, saying, "What sin was it that I committed in the world?" The toll-collector who dwells in the fourth heaven replied, saying, "It was not right to commit all those lawless deeds that are in the world of the dead". The soul replied, saying, "Bring witnesses! Let them show you in what body I committed lawless deeds. Do you wish to bring a book to read from?"

And the three witnesses came. The first spoke, saying, "Was I not in the body the second hour [...]? I rose up against you until you fell into anger and rage and envy." And the second spoke, saying, "Was I not in the world? And I entered at the fifth hour, and I saw you and desired you. And behold, then, now I charge you with the murders you committed." The third spoke, saying, "Did I not come to you at the twelfth hour of the day when the sun was about to set? I gave you darkness until you should accomplish your sins." When the soul heard these things, it gazed downward in sorrow. And then it gazed upward. It was cast down. The soul that had been cast down went to a body which had been prepared for it. And behold, its witnesses were finished


reluctant-messenger.com...





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