Re: New to group and very confused spiritually
> I have heard of those. I have a wonderful book called "the otherbible". Unfortunately, I've been very ill and haven't been able to do
Sorry to hear you are ill LIberalgnostic, I am under the impression
that the illness you mention is something more than a cold...
something difficult to deal with maybe? And you are a young person
too are you not? That makes it even worse in my view. Well, hope you
get better soon.
> My favorite is the Gospel of Thomas. I have been told thatgnosticism is the idea of searching for the ultimate truth. I believe
that I understand the ideas of traditional gnosticism through books
such as "The Jesus Mysteries" (That was the title, wasn't it?)
and "The gnostic gospels" by pagels.<
Ah, ok, well it sounds like you have at least come across bits and
pieces of traditional Gnosticism then.... that is helpful. Though the
technical accuracy of books like "The Jesus Mysteries" is
questionable, I think it kind of gets the point across anyways so
that you are aware of some of the ideas I was asking you about. SO
let me leave the history out of it then for a little while, and let's
talk about the ideas of "Gnosticism"....
>However, I would appreciate it if you could tell me whattraditional gnosticism is, in case I still don't know.<
As I'm sure you have guessed, that is a little difficult to outline
in a brief way. It will take much discussion (and most likely even
some debate by numerous members of the club since there is a certain
amount of room for disagreement on the topic) to delve into the idea,
but I can break it down a little for you I think. "Gnosticism" is a
modern word created by scholars to refer to certain ancient groups
who's writings they were studying. Scholors debated which groups
actually fit the definition based on what we understood about what
those groups believed, and as our understanding of the groups has
grown over the years (because of new discoveries) some of the groups
and writings have been redefined. For instance, there are some groups
that have the samy mythology as the "Gnostics" but they are not
considered "Gnostic" by some scholors becuase there is some part of
the definition that does not fit that group. For instance, Marcion
used to be called "Gnostic" but most scholors no longer view him as
such because he did not believe that Gnosis is how one finds
So, what DO Gnostics believe? In boiling this down I am generalizing
(just so the rest of the club knows I'm not going for complete
accuracy here lol) Here are some of the common points that are
important to the definition of "Gnostic"; Gnostics believe
that "Gnosis" is the important spiritual function that it is a
person's job to find for the sake of thier spirit. Regular Christians
generally believe that it is "pistis" that saves a person's spirit,
so they are called "pistics". Many (not all) Jews and Muslems believe
that it is praxis (or ones practice and behavior in keeping certain
rules) that is ones main spiritual obligation in the worldm so they
can be called "praxics".
Instead of these things then (or in addition to and over these
things) the Gnostic seeks "gnosis". What is Gnosis? That is
complicated also. "Gnosis" was a term that Platonic philosophers
coined to refer to a specific kind of spiritual knowledge. There is
some variation to the exact meaning of "gnosis" but in it's most
simple meaning it is a knowledge of ones self and a rememberance of
ones connection to a prime unimagineable infinite source. This
connection comes because a piece of that source is found in the human
(or attracted to the human, connected to the outside kind of, or in
some cases grown from thte human like a sort of embryo, depending on
how you see it). Gnostics have different names for that source, but
it is the most important aspect of Gnosticism.
The second important belief in Gnosticism comes from the first one.
If there is this source that is unknowable, that does not conform to
the world, and that source is the true perfection (because nothing
can surpass the source obviously), then this world is not perfect...
it is flawed in some way. Some Gnostics see the flaw as just an
imperfaction, and the world is still basically an important and good
thing that will pass away some day, while other Gnostics see this
world as evil because of it's flaw. This is really more about
psychology than the actual goodness or badness of the world though.
No true Gnostic can fall into an utterly dogmatic belief about the
world, or they are still subject to it. No matter how you see the
world, as beautiful or terrible, to the gnostic it is flawed and it
is the goal of the gnostic to pass the world for the higher spiritual
truth, and thus leave the world behind.
Technically the "Gnostics" as defined by scholars have a specific
mythology. This mythology outlines a series of emanations from an
image (or reflection) of that prime source I mentioned earlier. The
best known of these emenations are "Logos" and "Sophia", but it is
important to realize that in the end there is only one spirit, and
these "Aeons" as they are called are only ways of dealing with such
lofty principles in bite sized bits. In the end, all seperation
(including that of Logos and Sophia) melt back into the prime
infinity. So, in a way, Gnostics don't have any gods like other
> The reason that my distrust in Sylvia hinders my belief ingnosticism is that she was the one who introduced me to gnosticism.
If I can't trust her, how can I trust the beliefs that she gave me?<
Well, for one it is important to understand that she did not create
Gnosticism. I think it is good to question her, but also question
whether what she introduced you to is actually even Gnosticism, and
whether or not how you came to the belief is in any way importaant.
In the end, you should not simply believe in Gnosticism, that would
just be another faith (pistis), and would be no different from any
other form of Christianity. If Gnosticism is true, then in the end
you will not have to believe, you will know. You have a brain, use it
to test and question the things you come across in the world. Plato,
and Pythagoras, would have you apply the scientific method to your
spiritual understanding as well (I believe most of the real
historical Gnostics would have understood that as well). No other
person, not Sylvia either, can truely introduce you to Gnosis, they
can only point out things that you test to see if they are true or
not for yourself. If your view of Gnosticism is dependant on her,
then it is a cult of personality, not "Gnosticism" at all.... she is
not your savior.
I personally don't believe in Sylvia, niether does most of the club
here (though a few maybe do). What little I have read about her
doesn't look like Gnosticism to me, it looks like a hollow lopsided
copy.... but I could be wrong (I have eaten my words before lol).
Truth is though, it doesn't really matter since even if she really is
some kind of psychic (some of the real Gnostic books point out that
psychic powers are a load of rubbish, but who knows, maybe it is
possible) she cannot have any relevence to your internal struggle in
any truely deep and meaningful way.
>I'd also like to mention that I'm very anxious right now, so I haveno idea how unintelligent my messages sound.<
You are doing fine, sorry you are having such a hard time. I hope
that my concice and polemic tone does not add to your anxiousness.