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Re: Limited reading, have questions

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  • flowjack11
    Hello, again, I still find these ideas fascinating, if somehow paradoxical, and am not arguing just to be contentious. I am trying to sort out my own beliefs
    Message 1 of 82 , Oct 8, 2005
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      Hello, again,

      I still find these ideas fascinating, if somehow paradoxical, and am
      not arguing just to be contentious. I am trying to sort out my own
      beliefs with regard to Gnosticism, and I thank you for your
      patience. With that:

      I do not understand how the "Father's" substance should become
      corrupt once separated from the original source or the "Pleroma", et
      cetera. Surely, such is the mark of a being which does not
      transcend, as you say, all qualities, but rather one who is subject
      to change. The Gnostic's unknown "Father" seems to me to be just as
      mutable as anything.

      This all seems to me like violence against life, bad conscience
      against the Earth, and hatred of the body. All decadent virtues.

      Here are a few additional questions.

      1) Let us use the metaphor of a "spider" to represent all pain,
      agony, and suffering on the Earth. Why, then, should a spider's
      bite be considered evil; why should it be said to represent
      imperfection in the design of the Earth and the Universe, simply
      because it causes us to feel pain? What is the relation between
      pain, suffering, and imperfection? What, for that matter, is evil?

      2) This one is less a question than a comment intended to stimulate
      discussion and clarification of the Gnostic ideaology. I have
      noticed that a lot of those who call themselves Gnostics discuss
      Sartre and Camus as, somehow, quasi-Gnostic. But don't each of
      these existentialists make a distinction that Gnosticism seems to
      ignore? Both idealogoies agree, to be sure, that life is absurd,
      but the Gnostics seem to believe that the Universe or those behind
      it is/are actively cruel or imcompetent with regard to humanity,
      while the existentialists seem to think the Universe, as Camus has
      put it, has a "gentle indifference" towards humanity and "defies
      explanation" -- an explanation which the Gnostics believe is not
      denied us. There seem to be, then, two different definitions of
      the "absurd" working here, the one belonging to the existentialists
      and the other to the Gnostics.

      Here is a link to a site which reproduces a section of
      Nietzche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." While it does not directly
      refer to Gnoticism, it clearly shows that, at one point, Zarathustra
      almost became a Gnostic, of sorts, but considered otherwise. Do
      know that I am not trying to convert any of you. Rather, I simply
      believe that such arguments must be dealt with before a mature
      conversion to Gnosticism, such as the one I am toying with. How
      would a Gnostic, typically, refute them? I ask because I cannot
      think of any valid arguments against them, though it would be nice
      to do so. The translation on this site is not the best (Kaufmann's
      translation is much better), but it will do:

      http://www.kahlil.org/zarathusra-3.html

      Thanks,

      Chuck

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello flowjack11
      >
      > On 10/08/05, you wrote:
      >
      > > Hello, all,
      > >
      > > I have been reading the online recources lately that define and
      > > discuss religious Gnosticism. Namely, I have read through much
      > > of "Gnosis.org" and a few other sites. As such, I wouldn't call
      > > myself a particularly well-read persron with regards to Gnostic
      Lit.
      > >
      > > Still, I think that I have a fairly decent idea of what
      Gnosticism
      > > means today. As such, there are a few questions I would like to
      ask.
      > >
      > > Before asking them, however, I would like to clarify a few things
      > > that define the nature and purpose of my inquiry: a) I am not a
      > > Christian seeking to declaim against Gnosticism, call it heresy
      or
      > > any suchlike; b) I am not particularly religous at this moment,
      nor
      > > am I, as the saying is, "spiritual"; I believe in God but do not
      > > claim to have any knowledge about him/her/it. For all I know, God
      > > either hates us, loves us, a combination of the two, or else he
      is
      > > completely indifferent to us; c) I am basically a fascinated
      > > observer, intrigued by Gnosticism, perhaps considering a
      conversion,
      > > yet remaining skeptical, as I am with religions of any kind.
      > >
      > > 1) Is the "Unknown Father God" considered to be Absolutely
      Perfect?
      > > If so, what is the standard definition of "perfection" for
      > > Gnosticism? Is the "Unknown Father God" at all like Descartes
      idea
      > > of God as an "Ontological God", meaning the most perfect being
      > > possible?
      >
      > God the Unknown Father is not perfect nor is he imperfect because
      he
      > transcends all qualities, indeed he transcends existance itself.
      >
      > > 2) Which is more perfect: A) A fruit seed which never whithers,
      > > decays, or becomes unwholesome in any way, regardless of age, or
      B)
      > > a fruit seed which decays after a few months and becomes
      infertile?
      >
      > From a Gnostic viewpoint neither, they are both part of the
      imperfect
      > physical rhealm, in other words as a gnostic the question is
      > irrelevant. From a physical perspective, the first would be more
      > desirable, of course.
      >
      > > Those two questions will do for now. I'll wait and see what
      happens
      > > with them, if anything, and then consider asking other questions.
      > >
      > > Thanks,
      > >
      > > Chuck
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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      > -------------------------------------------------------------------
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      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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      > >
      >
      >
      > Regards
      > --
      > Mike Leavitt ac998_@_lafn._org remove -'s
      >
    • pmcvflag
      Hey David ... need to ask ya first. Did Early Gnostics really think and speak in allegorical terms? Cause if so that may answer a lot but only open more
      Message 82 of 82 , Oct 27, 2005
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        Hey David

        >>>wow, your questions really sparked some thought in my head, I
        need to ask ya first. Did Early "Gnostics" really think and speak in
        allegorical terms? Cause if so that may answer a lot but only open
        more questions to debate. very good questions at that.<<<

        Thanks, glad you liked the questions :) As Lady Cari states, there
        is evidence in the original Gnostic writings for allegorical
        hermeneutic. Part of the point I was trying to bring up was exactly
        where this should be applied. In other words... Philip, the
        Tripartite Tractate, and other texts state directly that there is
        allegory (so there is no question on that front), but exactly where
        and how it is applied is very open to discussion.

        In this particular case, I was asking if you think that that
        allegory extends to the notion of the Demiurge or not. Let me also
        point out that the idea that something may literally be true does
        not exclude the notion that it may have also been allegorical in
        meaning. So.... where do you think this all fit in the original
        intent of the Gnostic texts?

        PMCV
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