Re: God: what's in a name?
- Crispin, you raise a number of interesting points, but I am not sure
that my points were meant to say what it seems you think they were.
Perhaps I need to try to put it another way.
>>>"what you say may be true from a strict literalist Gnosticp.o.v. if some other group claims all creator gods are really Sally
the Silly Universal Weaver, who is a spiritual emanation from Allan
the All, then so be it, but that's not going to invalidate anyone's
conception of God that, for instance, believes or imagines that one
god is responsible for everything, including the idea of a
There is no "strict literalist Gnostic p.o.v."... as you put it. If
you are reading these texts this way then you are not reading them
the way they are meant to be understood. If we take the reasoning
you just presented at face value then we can't even use the
word "Divine" because the word divine would be foisteng your
conception off on somebody else.... see what I mean? Any word you
use that is not the word of the other religion, by your reasoning,
is a word that is false. If you call Buddha "divine", then you are
doing what you say Gnostics did by using the term "Demiurge".
you then say....
>>>"in other words, for the literalist Gnostic, there really is aDemiurge, and they'll view the world through those glasses; the
Allan the All literalists will view the world through another
reality tunnel, and so on."<<<
The problem here though is that it is you who are still looking at
this in a very literal way, not the gnostic sources. I understand
you are not "Gnostic", but technically speaking no one else here is
either... and no one alive today is. I am not trying to convert you
to the Gnostic belief system, I am trying to be sure that you
understand it.... and after all.... why else would anyone join
a "Gnosticism" group if not to try and understand it, right? This
means you need to understand the philosophical point behind the
Demiurge, and stop seeing it in the literal since you are reading it
You then continue....
>>>"the point being that when you wrote "What mostpeople the world over call 'God' IS, IN FACT, the Demiurge,"
(emphasis mine) you appear to be in possession of a certainty and
conviction that i'm not in possession of."<<<
The term "in fact" that I use there does not have to mean "in
LITERAL fact". An allegorical truth can also be termed a "fact" of
sorts. Look at this a bit more simply... the word "Demiurge" can
simply be translated as "Creator". What is the problem in using that
term "Demiurge" to refer to any "Creator" just as you use the
word "Divine" to refer to any deity? Do you then deny the "Divinity"
of what you called "simplistic" Christian thought? It seems to me
that perhaps you are applying a double standard here and throwing
all the negative onto the Gnostic word usage. That hardly seems to
be a critical and objective view of the subject.
>>>"i have no problem discussing Gnostic conceptions,philosophies, applications and practices, history, etc., and
employing Gnostic nomenclature where appropriate -- and i agree with
you that we can do a better job of it -- but i'm not about to adopt
a literalist p.o.v. nor abandon my personal conceptions and
understandings while i'm here: where's the virtue in that?"<<<<
To be honest, I think it may be a bit defensive on your part to
think that anyone suggested such a thing. If we are talking about
the ancient Sumarians would you feel that we were trying to tell you
to give up your own view and take theirs? Granted, there are people
here who very personally feel a connection to these ancient views,
but this is not a church and there are also atheists and Christians
and Moslems, and New Agers, and Thelemites, and many agnostics here.
>>>"so when i'm speaking from my own spiritual p.o.v. i'll mostlikely be using the term "the divine," which is my own personal
choice and reflects my own conceptions about God, the infinite, the
ineffable, the One or the monad, which is decidedly NOT influenced
by Christian or Gnostic mythology and cosmogony, and i ask you to
accept that, and in the future i'll try to do a better job of making
the distinctions clearer."<<<
I certainly do accept that you have your own terms, as to all of us
here. A Moslem here would... on thier own time.... talk about Allah.
A Jewish person would think of Ha Shema. However, remember, this is
a club dealing with Gnosticism, and Gnosticism is a VERY complex and
deep system of ideas. There is already enough confusion so we should
try, as much as possible, to separate our own terms and concepts
within our posts. That is to say, not only be clear, but tbe VERY
clear when we are talking about our own ideas vs how we wish to
compare them with Gnosticism.
I thought I would point out to you also, just so you know, that many
western religions fully admit that their primary "God" is the
Demiurge, at least in their eXoteric masses. In Kabbalah you will
see the same clear destinction made as in Gnosticism. In Sufism you
will also see the destinction made. It is important here to
understand the difference between "eSoteric" and "eXoteric". We are
talking about a philosophical system that rides WITHIN other
religions to some extent.
I hope this may make it a little more clear.
- hi PMCV... let's just put this whole thing to bed. in fact, my wife insists onit and i like to let her think she's the boss. she thinks we're both ridiculousbecause neither one of understands the other's point of view, and i'mconvinced she's right: you misunderstand me and i misunderstand you.just one of things.your friend,Crispin Sainte IIIPS Hello, PMCV, I'm Crispin's wife and I AM the boss. You guys arepitiful. These exchanges would be hysterical if it wasn't for the shamefullyobvious fact that you're both too damn self-preoccupied to listen to eachother. I feel like I understand you both. Perfectly well. Why you guys don'tget it is a mystery to me, and I'm especially frustrated with Crispinbecause I know he can do much, much better.So, BOYS, the thing you're groping with in the darkness is an elephant.It's not a tree trunk, not a fan, not a snake. It's an elephant!!!Katherine Favier Sainte
- Crispin, you state....
>>>"hi PMCV... let's just put this whole thing to bed. in fact, mywife insists onit and i like to let her think she's the boss. she
thinks we're both ridiculous because neither one of understands the
other's point of view, and i'm convinced she's right: you
misunderstand me and i misunderstand you. just one of things."<<<
Hmmm, perhaps, but I am less convinced. Let me explain after the
>>>"PS Hello, PMCV, I'm Crispin's wife and I AM the boss. You guysare pitiful. These exchanges would be hysterical if it wasn't for
the shamefully obvious fact that you're both too damn self-
preoccupied to listen to each other. I feel like I understand you
both. Perfectly well. Why you guys don't get it is a mystery to me,
and I'm especially frustrated with Crispin because I know he can do
much, much better."<<<
It is not shameful to misunderstand each other. On the contrary, we
all start without understanding... it is the essence of "Gnosis" to
overcome this state. Perhaps, Ms Katherine, you do understand us
both. Perhaps Mr Crispin and I do misunderstand each other. But Mr
Crispin is hopefully not here to understand MY point of view, he is
hopefully here to better understand Gnosticism. It is a rewarding
venture to hash out misunderstandings, but I am not so sure that
there really is so much a misunderstanding.
To put that another way, let me point out that it is not
preocupation with myself that may be in the way, but preoccupation
with the subject matter to which this group is dedicated. It is,
after all, my job here as a mod. Beyond that, there simply is
nothing to "get". It is not ME that Mr Crispin (or you in this case)
need to understand, it is the subject of Philosophy to which we are
dedicated to gaining better understanding of in this group.
Likewise, I don't need to understand Mr Crispin.... only to know
that he is sincere in wanting to understand the subject in and of
itself (whether or not he empathises with or hates Gnosticism is no
concern of mine. He could be here as an evangelist trying to
understand what he is against for all I care.... as long as he
truely wants to understand it).
My understanding is that Cripin is self admitedly new to the
subject. Is it much of a leap that perhaps he has some
preconceptions of the subject that may be inaccurate? Or that
perhaps the ideas look initially differently to him than they really
>>>"So, BOYS, the thing you're groping with in the darkness is anelephant. It's not a tree trunk, not a fan, not a snake. It's an
With all due respect, Ms Katherine, this is not an elephant, it is
an historical belief system... one that I know pretty well, and from
many angles (including, but not limited to, some small level of
academic training in the subject). I don't mean that to sound puffed
up, but neither would I be honest if I pretended that I have not
dedicated some time to the subject at hand. I am not asking Crispin
to agree with the beliefs of Gnosticism, only to understand them
without assuming much right in the beginning.
There is no disagreement here, nor anything to "put to bed". Either
Crispin is sincere in his desire to understand historical Gnosticism
in it's own context (in which case he is in the right place), or he
is looking for something else (which is a different story).
I only wish to provide an accurate picture of what Gnostic beliefs
looked like..... anyone who is looking for anything other than this
may have misunderstood what this group is about.
But one can't understand this historical system if they are making
judgement calls before they get the facts.
My suggesting then, would be... instead of putting this to bed, as
it were, to step back for a moment and remove preconceptions. Then,
try to understand even if it is not what you personally believe or
ever wish to believe. Just try to understand it for what it is.