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12955Re: The Old & New Inquisition against the Gnostics this Sun on CCG!!!

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  • pmcvflag
    Feb 11, 2007
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      Well, I know that Miguel is aware that we try to open these topics
      up to commentary, criticism, observation, and I guess that no one
      here would be particularly shocked that this particular one would
      cause me to raise my eyebrow a bit and feel the need to comment
      *lol*.

      Unfortunately I was unable to catch the show (as I was with the
      Turner interview, though I did hear at least part of the latter). I
      did want to, but because I couldn't I am not able to comment on the
      show itself... only the subject matter. I think the subject if VERY
      important, though, because it raises the issue of a particular
      misunderstanding that many modern readers have IMO.

      To start with, I do wish to make the disclaimer that I am not very
      familiar with Dr Versluis' work. I have only thumbed through a
      couple articles that he did, and he seemed to be a sober and
      critical thinking... at least at a quick glance. I notice that his
      specialty is a bit wider than Gnosticism, and covers many forms of
      esotericism (including modern forms). My observations have nothing
      to do with him in particular (since I don't know how he presented
      the subject)... just the subject matter at hand.

      My only purpose is to offer a couple of counterpoints so that we can
      look at the subject matter here from more than one angle...
      hopefully eventually finding a critical middle. I don't particularly
      LIKE defending the church fathers *lol*, but we don't want to
      present the topic from ONLY a sensationalist perspective either. SO,
      the devil's advocate.....

      >>>--How the Heresiologist's duality of `right thinking' (Orthodoxy)
      and `wrong choice' (Heresy) were the foundation for the Inquisitional
      pathology and Totalitarian mind set for centuries to come.
      --How the crusades against the Cathars crystallized the Inquisition
      and Totalitarian mind set by creating a system of victimology against
      one's own population.
      --Clear evidence that many of Totalitarian leaders of the Twentieth
      Century were directly influenced by intellectuals who believed in the
      Inquisitional model and the dangers of any Gnostic ideology.
      --How Gnosticism, from the Classic Ages to modern times, has always
      been one of the boogie men for those seeking strict order in their
      societies.
      --Even though religion went from the hunter to the hunted in modern
      times, the Inquisitional model was still used with the Gnostics in
      mind.
      --Sifting through the terror of the `Satanic Panic' of the Eighties
      and the secret Christian organizations that to this day are
      attempting to quell Freethinkers and the Gnostic revival.
      --A look into some Gnostic secret societies that are ensconced in the
      Eastern Churches of the world that have avoided the eyes of the
      heresy hunters for centuries..<<<

      I think no one can deny that the people in power have often misused
      it. Before the Inquisition existed, Roman rulers tried to stamp out
      the Greek mysteries. At times, factions of Christianity have been
      far from blameless in this regard. Of course, on the other end there
      is a spectrum of people who love to be misunderstood martyrs for
      their cause (I will avoid speculation about the psychological
      mechanics at this point). For example, consider how some (generally
      younger) modern Wiccans seemed so keen to talk about the "Burning
      Times". The whole idea that the "Catholic Inquisition" burned
      millions of witches simply is not something that has turned out to
      be true, and even more thoughtful Wiccans realize this.

      I don't think the ancient Gnostics thought of themselves via this
      kind of victimology, but in the past we have had some others in this
      forum who have seemed to feel this is the case (though I would
      challenge it). Gnostic sources could be just as brutal in their
      attack of what they viewed as heterodoxy. I think that we must be
      careful not to make the mistake of setting up "Orthodoxy" as a
      boogieman for for a construct of Gnosticism that never existed.

      I think another misunderstanding that is common with us modern would-
      be Gnostics is the growing desire to paint the ancient Gnostics as
      some kind of mystical anarchists in line with popular postmodernist
      thinking. Just as I would debate Jonas for trying to make them the
      ancient Existentialists, I think the attempt to make the Gnostics
      into the ancient New Age movement is misguided.

      In opposition to this view, I would point out that in some ways the
      ancient Gnostics were sometimes quite a bit MORE strict and
      structured than the "Orthodox" church. At least some of them seemed
      to view themselves as a HIGHLY intellectual movement in contrast to
      the overly free UNthinking masses of pagan (and I mean "pagan" in
      the literal usage) Christianity that we now often think of as
      orthodox (or "Orthodox"). It is possible that the reason some of
      them fizzled is because they were TOO structured and TOO exclusive,
      while the "Orthodox" were frankly more open to a wider set of people.

      How many here think they would stick with a traditional Gnostic
      system if they had the chance?

      Point, counterpoint?

      PMCV
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