Re: A Personal Statement
- Hello Chester, welcome to the forum.
>>>I think anyone who studies ancient gnosticism does so in orderto peek into the shadows.<<<
I guess that is true in the sense that it is true of anything a
person studies. If I learn to play guitar I am starting in the
shadows until I learn more about how it works. However, I think in a
more specific sense you will find that many people here are learning
about Gnosticism for a number of different reasons. Some are
interested in the history of the era, while others may be interested
in comparative religion. Some people here may find some personal
connection they feel they see with Gnostic thought, while others
here may be interested in philosophical or artistic qualities....
and some may simply be curious as to who exactly these "Gnostics"
were. There have even been a few people here who are trying to learn
about Gnostics in order to warn their churches about recent
influence of Gnostic ideas in various venues of the entertainment
>>>Even among the gnostics, themselves questions of exactly how theineffable god managed to create the world stained their writings.
Various schools of thought held that defferent archons rebelled
against their appointed nature and thereby sinned. Those sins
resulted in an aborted creation.<<<
This is closer to being true if we assume the Gnostic texts were
intended in an entirely literal way. That issue is debated. Even if
we do make that assumption, the outline you offer is not completely
an accurate outline of the general Gnostic myth. Rather the "sin" as
you put it (though the word is not generally used) does not come
through a rebellion by the Archons, but because the final Aeon is
simply too far removed from the unknowable source and thus ignorant.
>>>It seems the message is clear enough: the atoms ofthe world are made of sin.<<<
It could be questionable as to whether this is what the Gnostic
texts are actually saying.
>>>Stripped to the bare essentuals, Christianity offers anexplanation of sin which isn't so different from what the gnostics
Again, very dependant on a questionable hermeneutic.
>>The real reason everyone fought over the truth is that the snakeoil of salvation appeals to those who want comfort; they can't
handle the hardness and lonliness of the question in all it's
The term "salvation" means many different things to different
people, not simply the Christian notion of being forgiven so one can
go to heaven. Are we being saved from ignorance? Sin? A magazine
seller at the door who won't go away until phone rings (probably a
telemarketer)? I'm not as sure as you seem to be that the Gnostic
soteriology is really looking for the same thing as the modern
Christian one. Without the anthropomorphic "God" and the pearly
gates of Heaven out there in space somewhere, the notion of what is
achieved by "salvation" must be re-evaluated.
I think conversation would be better served by critical reading of
the texts so that we are sure we understand what they intend before
we quickly lump them with other belief systems that may or may not
be so similar. What I mean is, it is easy to gloss surface
similarities so that we miss possible underlying differences.
- A beautiful and excellent post, Chesterelder.
And my agreeance on all points. Except one. The concept of 'sin'.
Now that is truly an orthodox concept, and not one held by gnostics.
Either historical or 'new age' or whatever. WE didn't 'fall'. WE
are born into a world that facilitates us not remembering who we are
and where we came from. We are not into salvation, as there is
none, According to the Cathars, we 'chose' to manifest ourselves on
this plane, for some reason. But the 'fall' and 'sin' are concepts
of the orthodox.
Just my two coins! A refreshing post, thank you.
Gosh it is good to see a gnostic of your caliber here!
whirled and inner peas,
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "chesterelders"
> I think anyone who studies ancient gnosticism does so in
> to peek into the shadows. The Christian message has been refinedand
> polished by centuries of apologetics and street-level thuggery.What
> we now take to be orthodoxy is the product of the intrigues andwork.
> passions of men who often resorted to such thuggery to do God's
> The various plots and counter-plots following the great Council ofwhat
> Nicaea in 325 are an excellent example.
> I'm not claiming that religion can be reduced to politics;
> I am claiming is that the two are inextricably linked. The winnersand
> get to say what is and what isn't orthodoxy. There's this visceral
> belief in our bellies, though which just can't accept that truth
> power are the same thing. Christianity has entered a phase of it'sof
> history where hard questions can no longer be avoided. Those hard
> questions want to peek into the tenebrous heresies which the early
> church tried so hard to supress.
> It's really quite amazing how the early church fathers
> squabbled over seemingly arcane points of theology. Even among the
> gnostics, themselves questions of exactly how the ineffable god
> managed to create the world stained their writings. Various schools
> of thought held that defferent archons rebelled against their
> appointed nature and thereby sinned. Those sins resulted in an
> aborted creation. It seems the message is clear enough: the atoms
> the world are made of sin. What does it matter the exact means bythe
> which those sins occured?
> The shadows into which the gnostics were consigned are
> certainly not pristine. I doubt that we'll find truth in the gloom.
> Stripped to the bare essentuals, Christianity offers an explanation
> of sin which isn't so different from what the gnostics offered. The
> world is broken because of hubris. I think the gnostics are
> important, not because they knew a forgotten truth, but rather
> because they knew that truth is basically a drama. By that I mean
> truth can only properly be understood as it unfolds in the same way
> that a drama unfolds. The dramatis personae of the gnostic tales
> reveal the same truth which the church has proclaimed for two
> thousand years: the world is broken. The question becomes "Who has
> the remedy?". As with all great question, I believe that the asking
> is more important that the knowing. The real reason everyone fought
> over the truth is that the snake oil of salvation appeals to those
> who want comfort; they can't handle the hardness and lonliness of
> question in all it's starkness.