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Re: the value of prayer and fasting

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  • Gerry
    Reply to post #7260 by Incognito Lightbringer: Okay . . . No, I didn t have a BIG breakfast . . . I just got sidetracked! J ...
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 8, 2003
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      Reply to post #7260 by Incognito Lightbringer:

       

      Okay . . . No, I didn’t have a BIG breakfast . . . I just got sidetracked!  J

       

      >>Gerry, I was wondering, how do you interpret the following?:
      <<Again he said (cf. Lk 14:26), "If one does not hate his soul he
      cannot follow me." >>
      Exegesis on the Soul<<

      I’m not trying to get purposely tangential here, but you’ve reminded me of a question that I raised here last April (post # 5788—which never got a response, BTW!), so I’ll back up just a bit and try to cover them both.  Let’s start with a larger view of that cross reference from Luke 14:

       

      26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and also his own soul, too, he cannot be My disciple.

      27 And whoever does not bear his cross and does not come after Me, he is not able to be My disciple.

       

      You can find a similar passage in Luke 9:23, and corresponding ones in and around Matthew 10:37 and 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Thomas #55.  What’s interesting about those cross references [no pun intended], besides the speculation I mentioned in that other post as to the dating of GTh, is that even in the canonical gospels, Jesus is cited as encouraging his followers to “carry their own crosses” several chapters before the narratives come to His own crucifixion.  As to my original musing, I have since that time seen it suggested elsewhere that the expression does indeed appear to be a vernacular idiom long in use even before Jesus might have walked to Golgotha.  IOW, because the Roman sentence of crucifixion had already been so widespread, there may be no need to infer from the use of that expression that a particular writer was necessarily familiar with the death of Jesus.  So much for my question—now, back to yours.

       

      I think we can safely rule out that Jesus is either counseling us to get ourselves crucified or to treat our parents as if we were Menéndez brothers.  To me, it would seem that both the notion of suffering (conveyed in “picking up our crosses”) and the apparent “hating” of our worldly loved ones is meant to emphasize our release from attachments—a necessary thing (even without becoming ascetic) in order to pursue a more spiritual path.  Even more specifically to the point of your question, I see that “hating” of our own psyche as a furthering of the same concept—that we need to let go of our self-perceived identities before we’ll know who WE truly are.  It’s sort of the reverse of the same device employed in teaching people how to love one another—since the point isn’t that we should love them just a little, or even a lot, we’re told to love them “as we love ourselves,” and it really seems to drive the point home.


      >>Also,
      how do you define sin, faith, and repentance? I'm asking
      because I've found that many times disagreements hinge on semantics
      rather than on actual differences in philosophy. These things become over-intellectualized to the point where the simple common sense meanings become obscured.<<

      Being in agreement with your observation about not needing to dissect our subject to the point that it is no longer recognizable, I don’t really think I need to “define” those words.  I’m confident that our “definitions” of the words themselves are quite nearly identical.  What I should point out, however, is the difference in the application of those definitions, which is exactly what I was trying to do in my reply to James.

       

      IOW, if we agreed that sin was “error,” there could still be a vast discrepancy between its use at a Gnostic site and in Orthodox circles.  Here, I should think that we view “sin” as being ignorant of our divine origin.  A more mainstream interpretation might be that since Adam & Eve’s transgression, all of us are automatically born despicably wretched (making Jesus want to puke, as Sister Mary would say!), and while virtually undeserving of love, God nevertheless finds a way to prove his love for us by killing his son.   [Well, you didn’t want to over-intellectualize . . . so I hope I didn’t oversimplify that, instead!]  ;-)

       

      Similarly, I wasn’t suggesting that we having nothing from which to be redeemed.  In fact, “gnosis” is all about redemption from our errant state of ignorance.  In a Gnostic context, it might be debated just how much of a role an individual is responsible for his own redemption versus being somewhat dependent on a Redeemer, but either way, it’s not the same as the situation involving the traditional Christian scapegoat.  A Gnostic approach requires a personal accountability which the other avenue tends to circumvent.  This incumbent responsibility is very much related to the point you make below:


      >>I
      think there may be another meaning to <<14. Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits. >>

      The problem is one of intent when doing the above. For example, if
      fasting was supposed to somehow provide a means whereby the
      individual could shift his focus from the material to the spiritual, from body to spirit, that's one thing. But when fasting itself becomes dogmatic, then the very action which you would use to free yourself becomes mired in the very thing you attempt to free yourself from. Obviously, there are written accounts where Jesus *did* fast. I'm not sure if I'm coming across clearly with this but if not, I'll try to state it differently (I hope).<<

       

      No need to restate it, m’dear, I couldn’t agree with you more strenuously.  “Intent”. . . “motive”. . . whatever we call it, I think that a person’s underlying reason for doing most anything is of great importance.  As I stated at the end of that reply, “I don’t mean to suggest that such tools [as prayer and fasting] have no purpose at all….”  My point was merely that the focus of James’s post, as I perceived from its wording, was highly indicative of an Orthodox outlook, not a Gnostic one.

       

      Admittedly, I’m not exactly the type who responds well to things of a church-setting in the first place, but for a nice comparison (really a contrast), see how the EG deals with the same Lenten Service by speaking of overcoming “darkness and ignorance.”  In fact, the language is of a far more charismatic nature than I’m accustomed to, but it speaks to me in terms that don’t cause me to put my guard up for fear of being indoctrinated with mainstream hogwash.  That, in fact, has been my point all along when speaking of my own hesitation to engage in such a ritualized community.  It has nothing to do with not believing that others (even Gnostics) may find it helpful, but for me, when I’m encountering an abundance of vocabulary that is laden with mainstream baggage, it often distracts the higher focus I’m trying to maintain—my “intent” is sabotaged, IOW, which is not at all helpful.

       

      As for accounts where Jesus supposedly did fast, you’ll note that I didn’t state that those Thomasine passages proscribed such practices altogether.  I even quoted Logion 104, in which He mentions an instance where it would be appropriate to fast and pray, and that is where one has turned away from a pneumatic path—fallen short of the mark, as it were.  In such a case, it appears to me that the practice is still not meant to become dogmatic or habitual, but as a step designed to help a person regain that proper intent and focus.

       

      Gerry

       

       

    • incognito_lightbringer
      It s hate his own soul in Exegesis, and hate his own life in Luke. Both a rejection of the material physical life in favor of the spiritual life of the
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 21, 2003
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        It's "hate his own soul" in Exegesis, and "hate his own life" in Luke.
        Both a rejection of the material physical life in favor of the
        spiritual life of the Father. The body and the soul are still
        material products, versus the spirit which is from the Father. I
        suspect is that sometimes soul and spirit are used interchangeably in
        some gnostic texts as the same thing, whereas others state they're
        not, so you have to read carefully.

        The Gospel of Thomas expands on the hating of one's mother and
        father. His true mother and father give him life.

        Carrying one's cross is bearing up with ones suffering. Because if
        you recognize the world for what it is, that's certainly what's going
        to happen to you. Gnosticism is not a happy religion; it's not a
        celebration of this world. On that note, I'm very interested why
        Klaus bothers so many people here. Brusqueness and lack of
        explanation and insensitivity aside (and there are other posters who
        do the same), he's taking the philosophy to its logical conclusion
        and it terrifies most people. Because he states it so plainly?

        I have no idea what the author of GoT may have known but isn't it a
        safe bet to say he knew the entire myth, idioms or not?

        <<IOW, if we agreed that sin was "error," there could still
        be a vast
        discrepancy between its use at a Gnostic site and in Orthodox
        circles. Here, I should think that we view "sin" as being
        ignorant
        of our divine origin. >>

        Is it? I'm not so certain anymore. What if you know, but choose to do
        otherwise? Not merely error but choice. The easy way out, from
        laziness or fear or greed or because you don't care. Wherever that
        knowledge comes from, not from organized religious doctrines but from
        your inner self. Not bearing your cross?

        I find that the discrepancy is more in the motives of those who use
        the terms. Those who abuse it seek power and control in diametrical
        intent to the philosophy they claim to embrace. The hypocrites,
        lawyers, Pharisees that Jesus rants about.
        In any case, the words sin and repentance no longer bother me.
        What is "the traditional Christian scapegoat"?

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Reply to post #7260 by Incognito Lightbringer:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Okay . . . No, I didn't have a BIG breakfast . . . I just got
        sidetracked! J
        >
        >
        >
        > >>Gerry, I was wondering, how do you interpret the following?:
        > <<Again he said (cf. Lk 14:26), "If one does not hate his soul he
        > cannot follow me." >>
        > Exegesis on the Soul<<
        >
        >
        > I'm not trying to get purposely tangential here, but you've
        reminded me of a question that I raised here last April (post # 5788-
        which never got a response, BTW!), so I'll back up just a bit and try
        to cover them both. Let's start with a larger view of that cross
        reference from Luke 14:
        >
        >
        >
        > 26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother,
        and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and also his own
        soul, too, he cannot be My disciple.
        >
        > 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and does not come after Me,
        he is not able to be My disciple.
        >
        >
        >
        > You can find a similar passage in Luke 9:23, and corresponding ones
        in and around Matthew 10:37 and 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Thomas #55.
        What's interesting about those cross references [no pun intended],
        besides the speculation I mentioned in that other post as to the
        dating of GTh, is that even in the canonical gospels, Jesus is cited
        as encouraging his followers to "carry their own crosses" several
        chapters before the narratives come to His own crucifixion. As to my
        original musing, I have since that time seen it suggested elsewhere
        that the expression does indeed appear to be a vernacular idiom long
        in use even before Jesus might have walked to Golgotha. IOW, because
        the Roman sentence of crucifixion had already been so widespread,
        there may be no need to infer from the use of that expression that a
        particular writer was necessarily familiar with the death of Jesus.
        So much for my question-now, back to yours.
        >
        >
        >
        > I think we can safely rule out that Jesus is either counseling us
        to get ourselves crucified or to treat our parents as if we were
        Menéndez brothers. To me, it would seem that both the notion of
        suffering (conveyed in "picking up our crosses") and the
        apparent "hating" of our worldly loved ones is meant to emphasize our
        release from attachments-a necessary thing (even without becoming
        ascetic) in order to pursue a more spiritual path. Even more
        specifically to the point of your question, I see that "hating" of
        our own psyche as a furthering of the same concept-that we need to
        let go of our self-perceived identities before we'll know who WE
        truly are. It's sort of the reverse of the same device employed in
        teaching people how to love one another-since the point isn't that we
        should love them just a little, or even a lot, we're told to love
        them "as we love ourselves," and it really seems to drive the point
        home.
        >
        >
        > >>Also, how do you define sin, faith, and repentance? I'm asking
        > because I've found that many times disagreements hinge on semantics
        > rather than on actual differences in philosophy. These things
        become over-intellectualized to the point where the simple common
        sense meanings become obscured.<<
        >
        >
        >
        > Being in agreement with your observation about not needing to
        dissect our subject to the point that it is no longer recognizable, I
        don't really think I need to "define" those words. I'm confident
        that our "definitions" of the words themselves are quite nearly
        identical. What I should point out, however, is the difference in
        the application of those definitions, which is exactly what I was
        trying to do in my reply to James.
        >
        >
        >
        > IOW, if we agreed that sin was "error," there could still be a vast
        discrepancy between its use at a Gnostic site and in Orthodox
        circles. Here, I should think that we view "sin" as being ignorant
        of our divine origin. A more mainstream interpretation might be that
        since Adam & Eve's transgression, all of us are automatically born
        despicably wretched (making Jesus want to puke, as Sister Mary would
        say!), and while virtually undeserving of love, God nevertheless
        finds a way to prove his love for us by killing his son. [Well, you
        didn't want to over-intellectualize . . . so I hope I didn't
        oversimplify that, instead!] ;-)
        >
        >
        >
        > Similarly, I wasn't suggesting that we having nothing from which to
        be redeemed. In fact, "gnosis" is all about redemption from our
        errant state of ignorance. In a Gnostic context, it might be debated
        just how much of a role an individual is responsible for his own
        redemption versus being somewhat dependent on a Redeemer, but either
        way, it's not the same as the situation involving the traditional
        Christian scapegoat. A Gnostic approach requires a personal
        accountability which the other avenue tends to circumvent. This
        incumbent responsibility is very much related to the point you make
        below:
        >
        >
        > >>I think there may be another meaning to <<14. Jesus said to
        them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you
        pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will
        harm your spirits. >>
        >
        > The problem is one of intent when doing the above. For example, if
        > fasting was supposed to somehow provide a means whereby the
        > individual could shift his focus from the material to the
        spiritual, from body to spirit, that's one thing. But when fasting
        itself becomes dogmatic, then the very action which you would use to
        free yourself becomes mired in the very thing you attempt to free
        yourself from. Obviously, there are written accounts where Jesus
        *did* fast. I'm not sure if I'm coming across clearly with this but
        if not, I'll try to state it differently (I hope).<<
        >
        >
        >
        > No need to restate it, m'dear, I couldn't agree with you more
        strenuously. "Intent". . . "motive". . . whatever we call it, I
        think that a person's underlying reason for doing most anything is of
        great importance. As I stated at the end of that reply, "I don't
        mean to suggest that such tools [as prayer and fasting] have no
        purpose at all.." My point was merely that the focus of James's
        post, as I perceived from its wording, was highly indicative of an
        Orthodox outlook, not a Gnostic one.
        >
        >
        >
        > Admittedly, I'm not exactly the type who responds well to things of
        a church-setting in the first place, but for a nice comparison
        (really a contrast), see how the EG deals with the same Lenten
        Service by speaking of overcoming "darkness and ignorance." In fact,
        the language is of a far more charismatic nature than I'm accustomed
        to, but it speaks to me in terms that don't cause me to put my guard
        up for fear of being indoctrinated with mainstream hogwash. That, in
        fact, has been my point all along when speaking of my own hesitation
        to engage in such a ritualized community. It has nothing to do with
        not believing that others (even Gnostics) may find it helpful, but
        for me, when I'm encountering an abundance of vocabulary that is
        laden with mainstream baggage, it often distracts the higher focus
        I'm trying to maintain-my "intent" is sabotaged, IOW, which is not at
        all helpful.
        >
        >
        >
        > As for accounts where Jesus supposedly did fast, you'll note that I
        didn't state that those Thomasine passages proscribed such practices
        altogether. I even quoted Logion 104, in which He mentions an
        instance where it would be appropriate to fast and pray, and that is
        where one has turned away from a pneumatic path-fallen short of the
        mark, as it were. In such a case, it appears to me that the practice
        is still not meant to become dogmatic or habitual, but as a step
        designed to help a person regain that proper intent and focus.
        >
        >
        >
        > Gerry
      • Gerry
        ... material products, versus the spirit which is from the Father. I suspect is that sometimes soul and spirit are used interchangeably in some gnostic texts
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 21, 2003
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          Reply to Incognito’s message #7309:

           

          >>It's "hate his own soul" in Exegesis, and "hate his own life" in Luke. Both a rejection of the material physical life in favor of the spiritual life of the Father. The body and the soul are still
          material products, versus the spirit which is from the Father. I
          suspect is that sometimes soul and spirit are used interchangeably in some gnostic texts as the same thing, whereas others state they're not, so you have to read carefully.<<

          As well as watch what you read.  When I first noticed I was focusing more on Luke than the other while writing that reply, I decided to just go with it since they were close enough.  Which Bible translation are you using?  The KJV has it as “life,” but the Greek clearly uses “soul” (psychen) in that text.

           

          >>The Gospel of Thomas expands on the hating of one's mother and
          father. His true mother and father give him life.

          Carrying one's cross is bearing up with ones suffering. Because if you recognize the world for what it is, that's certainly what's going to happen to you. Gnosticism is not a happy religion; it's not a celebration of this world. On that note, I'm very interested why Klaus bothers so many people here. Brusqueness and lack of
          explanation and insensitivity aside (and there are other posters who do the same), he's taking the philosophy to its logical conclusion and it terrifies most people. Because he states it so plainly?<<

           

          Speaking for myself, I have been quite clear that I actually empathize with his view.  What I have not cared for is the way and degree in which he has chosen to articulate that view in his replies to others.  IMO, Klaus gets as good as he gives, and in many cases, he has gotten way better than he deserved.  If, as he said in his last post, he still sees gnosis as salvation from the world itself (as opposed to our errant attachment to it), then the logical means of achieving the liberation he so strongly advocates is suicide.  I have found his rationalization against that suggestion to be in contradiction with his beliefs—as he espouses them.

           

          >>I have no idea what the author of GoT may have known but isn't it a safe bet to say he knew the entire myth, idioms or not?<<

           

          My point was not to suggest that the writer(s) of GTh had no familiarity with the entire myth, but merely that one shouldn’t view the inclusion of that expression (bearing one’s cross) as definitive proof that such awareness were the case.  There is disagreement as to the dating, and I haven’t seen any figures that indicate a redaction prior to when Jesus might have died.  Perhaps someone else has some information in that regard.  Still, is it not somewhat telling that mention in that text goes only so far as “one’s cross” and not a detailed account emphasizing the crucifixion of Jesus?

           

          >>What if you know, but choose to do otherwise? Not merely error but choice. The easy way out, from laziness or fear or greed or because you don't care. Wherever that knowledge comes from, not from organized religious doctrines but from your inner self. Not bearing your cross?<<

          You’ll probably have to clarify that for me.  Again, if you see “sin” as being the same between Gnostic and Orthodox views, which is the difference I was trying to point out, then what purpose does gnosis serve?  It looks like you’re talking about knowing better, but willfully making poor choices in spite of that knowledge, not because of Church, but because of your inner self.  In that case, I’d suggest that you’re talking about listening to that middle ground of the soul, which can aspire to pneumatic thought, or hylic.  How do you purposely pursue a hylic direction and think it’s not error?

           

          >>I find that the discrepancy is more in the motives of those who use the terms. Those who abuse it seek power and control in diametrical intent to the philosophy they claim to embrace. The hypocrites, lawyers, Pharisees that Jesus rants about.  In any case, the words sin and repentance no longer bother me.<<

           

          The words “sin” and “repentence” don’t bother me, either, but in a Gnostic context, I do see a clear distinction from their Orthodox usage and felt it important enough to mention. 

           

          >>These things become over-intellectualized to the point where the simple common sense meanings become obscured.<< (#7260)

           

          I’m curious why you have less trouble quibbling over the difference between “knowledge” and “acquaintance” within a Gnostic context, but no problem whatsoever with ignoring the differences between Gnostic and Orthodox interpretations of other terms?  For me, the former is almost too subtle to mention, while the latter is painfully obvious.

           

          >>What is "the traditional Christian scapegoat"?<<

           

          Aww, now I’m disappointed you missed some of my colorful ranting about being bathed in the blood of the savior!  LOL  If you’ll think back to Catechism, though, that “vicarious atonement” is exactly what I was talking about.  The Jews used a goat, the Christians used a Jew.  Either way, it’s easier to dismiss personal accountability when you can sit back and simply let someone else take the fall.  We had similar discussions about the crucifixion some time ago.  In its allegorical sense, I have no problem with it.  In a literal context, however, I fail to see a Gnostic relevance.  If a man’s murder was important for everyone else’s salvation, then once again, “gnosis” serves no purpose whatsoever.  It’s little more than blood-sacrifice to appease a tyrannical Demiurge.  There would be no point in looking within, since we could look up at the cross and realize that someone else was already framed for our “sin” and has already taken the heat for it.  Of course, that’s also dependent upon seeing “sin” only in its Orthodox usage, and if someone chooses to dismiss the Gnostic understanding of the term, then there’s no point in discussing the Gnostic relevance in the first place.  We’d see one another in church and discuss our faith in his dying for us—all in a non-Gnostic setting.

           

          Gerry

           

        • incognito_lightbringer
          Online searchable handy bible
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 23, 2003
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            <<Which Bible translation are you using? The KJV has it as
            "life,"
            but the Greek clearly uses "soul" (psychen) in that text.>>

            Online searchable handy bible translation. It's Luke 14:26. I went
            back to see which version and it's New American Standard (which I
            liked because it's paired with a Strongs number data base, which I
            should have used!) You're right, life is the Greek psukay, which they
            claim means either the breath of life or soul. I didn't realize that.
            Here I naively thought that life was, well, life. Even more
            interesting, no one's translating as soul. I went through a whole
            list of various Protestant translations, over a dozen, and they all
            have "life". Is soul too scary to use? So now this gets me wondering
            about "John 12:25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates
            his life in this world will keep it to life eternal" which now
            becomes "he who loves his soul loses it, and he who hates his soul in
            this world will keep it to eternal life" Life here being Zoe. Eternal
            here is Aionios. Aeons?
            Holy smokes! Time to learn Greek and Aramaic and Hebrew, Ernst may be
            right after all.

            <<If, as he said in his last post, he still sees gnosis as salvation
            from the world itself (as opposed to our errant attachment to it),
            then the logical means of achieving the liberation he so strongly
            advocates is suicide. I have found his rationalization against that
            suggestion to be in contradiction with his beliefs—as he espouses
            them.>>

            Klaus is no worse than Ernst, and writes shorter posts!

            Do historical gnostic texts see gnosis as salvation from the physical
            world versus attachment to it? Why do you interpret as only
            attachment?
            I see a great deal of both, am I misreading or are some of those
            texts then more orthodox than gnostic (as in Nag Hammadi)?
            And would the Cathar consolamentum be considered suicide?
            The problem with suicide as liberation from a gnostic view is that
            some texts tell you that you can cast back into the flesh as a means
            of entrapment. If that's the case suicide is not necessarily a way
            out, although it could be, I suppose, under certain conditions.

            This talk of suicide reminds me of a book I read by Lawrence Durrell
            title Monsieur (Monsieur is Satan himself). There's an Ophite sect
            based in the desert, who ingest hallucinogenic mixed in wine, as well
            as mummified flesh, who quote from Pistis Sophia and refer to
            themselves as gnostics, and claim that the God is dead or in exile,
            that the Prince has supplanted him, and that a demon called the Fly
            has taken over nature (waves to Klaus), and who engage in mutual
            suicide. They claim self-destruction is forbidden (but don't explain
            why) so they go around killing each other at random times drawn by
            lots. We need a bizarre gnostic fiction book list in this clubs
            files. I have more than a few strange titles.

            <<Still, is it not somewhat telling that mention in that text goes
            only so far as "one's cross" and not a detailed account
            emphasizing
            the crucifixion of Jesus?>>

            The whole work seems to be a compilation merely of sayings, rather
            than any kind of biographical data or longer parables. My impression
            was that someone created it as a list of sayings from various sources
            (like the hypothetical Q for example) for convenience because there
            doesn't seem to be a continuity between sayings.

            <<You'll probably have to clarify that for me. Again, if you
            see "sin" as being the same between Gnostic and Orthodox
            views, which
            is the difference I was trying to point out, then what purpose does
            gnosis serve? >>

            I'll ask you a question in return. Why would gnosis serve no purpose
            if free will is taken into account? And why does the definition have
            to include either or and not both, error and choice? In the NT it's
            that business about the spirit being willing but the flesh is weak.
            Simply knowing isn't enough, some kind of effort/will has to take
            place on the part of the individual to enact his own salvation, which
            you seem to agree with.

            There are gnostics who argue there is no sin at all. Not having
            created the mess we're in we shouldn't be blamed for having problems
            with it.
            Of course, you can contrast with sin as blame versus sin as
            ignorance. And blame on the initial state is placed on events in
            spiritual realms. Blame can also be placed on forces within our world
            that act against us, creating "heavy hearts" and "fog". But again, if
            there has to be an effort undertaken by the individual, then free
            will still comes into play. And if you start interpreting along
            psychological lines as those forces are within us, then you really
            confuse things.


            <<How do you purposely pursue a hylic direction and think it's
            not
            error?>>

            Because pain is difficult to bear. It's like the movie Matrix. The
            traitor knows the truth but would rather live in a comfortable lie.

            <<I'm curious why you have less trouble quibbling over the
            difference
            between "knowledge" and "acquaintance" within a
            Gnostic context, but
            no problem whatsoever with ignoring the differences between Gnostic
            and Orthodox interpretations of other terms? For me, the former is
            almost too subtle to mention, while the latter is painfully obvious>>

            You're going to have to elaborate a bit, with examples please, I'm
            not getting you.
            (If I am) the answer is simple; the Orthodox versions are more about
            historical abuse of the terms and less about philosophical
            difference. (The subtlety between knowledge and acquaintance is
            important to me that's why I quibble).
            All sin can be defined as error or as falling off a path or being
            in a seperated state from the Father. There's that question though,
            how does free will factor into the equation, how much are external
            forces not in your control responsible, and what do you do about them?

            Jesus, interestingly, has sayings such as "angels and demons are part
            of the inner man" and "you will accuse yourselves".

            <<Aww, now I'm disappointed you missed some of my colorful
            ranting
            about being bathed in the blood of the savior! >>

            I have back reading to do! (And I wish Yahoo hadn't killed most of
            the past posts on this group. Is there no way of getting them back?).

            <<In a literal context, however, I fail to see a Gnostic relevance>>

            The problem between a literal versus gnostic context is that we live
            in a literal material world and the gnostic context attempts to
            explain it. There are forces within this universe that control it.
            Literally. What some gnostic texts imply is that some kind of
            metaphysical alteration in the the universe occurred after the
            crucifixion. For example, the rulers, powers, authorities have their
            powers diminished. Or Satan is bound up. Is this merely psychological
            allegory or is it more? We're still in a world of "more than that".
            Perhaps the need to externalize a supernatural conscious force is
            some kind of childish naive romantic whimsy, like Santa Claus.
            Perhaps not. Perhaps the explanation is even more complicated, it's
            both external and internal somehow. Especially when you have the
            claims that consciousness orders and creates the physical reality
            that you're in, and that that physical reality is an illusion, albeit
            one that you're trapped in and experience as solid reality.
            I'm not saying I understand it, or know which is which, I'm just
            hesitant to completely reject any possibility. Then there's the
            concept as above so below. That this world is a counterfeit
            image of higher planes. That patterns from there repeat themselves
            here. Is that too merely psychological allegory? Isn't there upper
            and lower crucifixion in gnosticism? The upper Christ suffers by
            descending? Christ is the soteriological emanation of the Father
            specifically to find our way back. Thus, only through him can we know
            the Father from an orthodox perspective becomes equally valid from a
            Gnostic one. Christ being a door or a path, a metaphysical roadmap of
            the Godhead, a tool we use, or the part that guides us back.

            The fundamentalists have taken that and altered it. Since Jesus saves
            1) they don't have to do anything themselves and 2) anyone else not
            yelling Jesus in their specific Christian religious tradition will go
            to hell and 3) if they're naughty by their own definition of the
            word and yell Jesus they're saved, but if someone else follows all
            their own stated precepts to a T and doesn't adhere to religion then
            they're damned. The logic is twisted, I grant you.

            <<Either way, it's easier to dismiss personal accountability when
            you
            can sit back and simply let someone else take the fall. >>

            That's an interesting way of putting it. Because there's this
            conundrum I can't wrap my brain around. Many gnostic texts tell us
            that the Father is all knowing all powerful etc..(yes, in apophatic
            terms, but nonetheless that's what's implied). After the fall of
            Sophia measures are taken to stabilize the other aeons and/or to
            redeem her. Why was her initial fall allowed then? Especially since
            the Pleroma is "one" and in that sense a part of the Father has
            fallen. The blame for evil in this world is placed on this series of
            events that are/aren't unintentional mistakes, and on the
            demiurge. But the "error occurred because of him (Father) not from
            him" is still not entirely satisfying.
            In a way, this question of the existence of good and evil is very
            close to the paradox of fate and free will. I read a Sufi saying that
            this is a mystery that can't possibly be understood in dualistic
            terms, in our universe, or our minds. But that's not satisfying
            either.



            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
            > Reply to Incognito's message #7309:
            >
            >
            >
            > >>It's "hate his own soul" in Exegesis, and "hate his own life" in
            Luke. Both a rejection of the material physical life in favor of the
            spiritual life of the Father. The body and the soul are still
            > material products, versus the spirit which is from the Father. I
            > suspect is that sometimes soul and spirit are used interchangeably
            in some gnostic texts as the same thing, whereas others state they're
            not, so you have to read carefully.<<
            >
            >
            >
            > As well as watch what you read. When I first noticed I was
            focusing more on Luke than the other while writing that reply, I
            decided to just go with it since they were close enough. Which Bible
            translation are you using? The KJV has it as "life," but the Greek
            clearly uses "soul" (psychen) in that text.
            >
            >
            >
            > >>The Gospel of Thomas expands on the hating of one's mother and
            > father. His true mother and father give him life.
            >
            > Carrying one's cross is bearing up with ones suffering. Because if
            you recognize the world for what it is, that's certainly what's going
            to happen to you. Gnosticism is not a happy religion; it's not a
            celebration of this world. On that note, I'm very interested why
            Klaus bothers so many people here. Brusqueness and lack of
            > explanation and insensitivity aside (and there are other posters
            who do the same), he's taking the philosophy to its logical
            conclusion and it terrifies most people. Because he states it so
            plainly?<<
            >
            >
            >
            > Speaking for myself, I have been quite clear that I actually
            empathize with his view. What I have not cared for is the way and
            degree in which he has chosen to articulate that view in his replies
            to others. IMO, Klaus gets as good as he gives, and in many cases,
            he has gotten way better than he deserved. If, as he said in his
            last post, he still sees gnosis as salvation from the world itself
            (as opposed to our errant attachment to it), then the logical means
            of achieving the liberation he so strongly advocates is suicide. I
            have found his rationalization against that suggestion to be in
            contradiction with his beliefs-as he espouses them.
            >
            >
            >
            > >>I have no idea what the author of GoT may have known but isn't it
            a safe bet to say he knew the entire myth, idioms or not?<<
            >
            >
            >
            > My point was not to suggest that the writer(s) of GTh had no
            familiarity with the entire myth, but merely that one shouldn't view
            the inclusion of that expression (bearing one's cross) as definitive
            proof that such awareness were the case. There is disagreement as to
            the dating, and I haven't seen any figures that indicate a redaction
            prior to when Jesus might have died. Perhaps someone else has some
            information in that regard. Still, is it not somewhat telling that
            mention in that text goes only so far as "one's cross" and not a
            detailed account emphasizing the crucifixion of Jesus?
            >
            >
            >
            > >>What if you know, but choose to do otherwise? Not merely error
            but choice. The easy way out, from laziness or fear or greed or
            because you don't care. Wherever that knowledge comes from, not from
            organized religious doctrines but from your inner self. Not bearing
            your cross?<<
            >
            >
            >
            > You'll probably have to clarify that for me. Again, if you
            see "sin" as being the same between Gnostic and Orthodox views, which
            is the difference I was trying to point out, then what purpose does
            gnosis serve? It looks like you're talking about knowing better, but
            willfully making poor choices in spite of that knowledge, not because
            of Church, but because of your inner self. In that case, I'd suggest
            that you're talking about listening to that middle ground of the
            soul, which can aspire to pneumatic thought, or hylic. How do you
            purposely pursue a hylic direction and think it's not error?
            >
            >
            >
            > >>I find that the discrepancy is more in the motives of those who
            use the terms. Those who abuse it seek power and control in
            diametrical intent to the philosophy they claim to embrace. The
            hypocrites, lawyers, Pharisees that Jesus rants about. In any case,
            the words sin and repentance no longer bother me.<<
            >
            >
            >
            > The words "sin" and "repentance" don't bother me, either, but in a
            Gnostic context, I do see a clear distinction from their Orthodox
            usage and felt it important enough to mention.
            >
            >
            >
            > >>These things become over-intellectualized to the point where the
            simple common sense meanings become obscured.<< (#7260)
            >
            >
            >
            > I'm curious why you have less trouble quibbling over the difference
            between "knowledge" and "acquaintance" within a Gnostic context, but
            no problem whatsoever with ignoring the differences between Gnostic
            and Orthodox interpretations of other terms? For me, the former is
            almost too subtle to mention, while the latter is painfully obvious.
            >
            >
            >
            > >>What is "the traditional Christian scapegoat"?<<
            >
            >
            >
            > Aww, now I'm disappointed you missed some of my colorful ranting
            about being bathed in the blood of the savior! LOL If you'll think
            back to Catechism, though, that "vicarious atonement" is exactly what
            I was talking about. The Jews used a goat, the Christians used a
            Jew. Either way, it's easier to dismiss personal accountability when
            you can sit back and simply let someone else take the fall. We had
            similar discussions about the crucifixion some time ago. In its
            allegorical sense, I have no problem with it. In a literal context,
            however, I fail to see a Gnostic relevance. If a man's murder was
            important for everyone else's salvation, then once again, "gnosis"
            serves no purpose whatsoever. It's little more than blood-sacrifice
            to appease a tyrannical Demiurge. There would be no point in looking
            within, since we could look up at the cross and realize that someone
            else was already framed for our "sin" and has already taken the heat
            for it. Of course, that's also dependent upon seeing "sin" only in
            its Orthodox usage, and if someone chooses to dismiss the Gnostic
            understanding of the term, then there's no point in discussing the
            Gnostic relevance in the first place. We'd see one another in church
            and discuss our faith in his dying for us-all in a non-Gnostic
            setting.
            >
            >
            >
            > Gerry
          • Gerry
            ... back to see which version and it s New American Standard (which I liked because it s paired with a Strongs number data base, which I should have used!)
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 23, 2003
            • 0 Attachment

               

              Reply to Incognito’s message #7328:

               


              >>Online
              searchable handy bible translation. It's Luke 14:26. I went
              back to see which version and it's New American Standard (which I
              liked because it's paired with a Strongs number data base, which I
              should have used!) You're right, life is the Greek psukay, which they claim means either the breath of life or soul. I didn't realize that. Here I naively thought that life was, well, life.<<

               

              Well, since you didn’t write the book, or translate it, I won’t sue you this time.  ;-)  Oddly enough, I normally jump straight to a KJV when looking up references people mention, just because it’s handy, but that particular time, I had cracked out the big Greek/Hebrew Interlinear.  While I might not have articulated it as I wished, the point I was trying to make initially was that it was far more compelling to suggest that one should hate his own psyche.  IOW, even in a mainstream context where one anticipates richer rewards in the hereafter, we all might be seen as world-haters.  In such a case, it’s almost easy to say that you hate a given life, even your own, in the same was as any other.  To speak of one’s soul, however, sort of implies a greater degree of one’s identity (at least the way I see it).  In THAT sense, it makes the case that we need to release that ego and move beyond the individuality.  That may make a person “think” about what’s at stake more so than simply talking about how things of the Spirit should come before the Flesh.

               

              >>Klaus is no worse than Ernst, and writes shorter posts!<<

              Sometimes terseness, such as when combined with unabashed and venomous directness, isn’t necessarily less insulting, but I suppose I could see the blessing in its brevity.


              >>Do historical gnostic texts see gnosis as salvation from the physical world versus attachment to it? Why do you interpret as only
              attachment?<<

               

              I’m speaking off the top of my head there, but let me see if I can clarify my thoughts for you.  Assuming that the world itself and our physical bodies are evil, then I don’t see the Gnostic experience as liberating us from that . . . after all, we’re still here.  It seems to me that the imperative goal for one who held such beliefs would be to bring about the end of the world and everyone in it, along with his own life.  When I see such a person still here, still bitching over the Internet about how rotten everything is and longing for release from it all, I have to wonder why he doesn’t simply go for it?

               

              On the other hand, if the Gnostic experience is to bring about an awakening to the true nature of the world around us and help us realize that we need to transcend our attachments to things worldly, then it’s less of a surprise that we’re still here struggling, trying to maintain and improve that perspective until such time as we should “naturally” be released from our physical bodies.


              >>(Gerry)<<How do you purposely pursue a hylic direction and think it's not error?>>

              Because pain is difficult to bear. It's like the movie Matrix. The
              traitor knows the truth but would rather live in a comfortable lie.<<

              That’s my point.  To know that it’s a “lie” is to recognize the error.  At this point, I don’t even recall the original context of that part of the discussion, but your answer here is to a “why” question about somebody’s motives, not to “how” it could be seen as something other than error.


              >>I have back reading to do! (And I wish Yahoo hadn't killed most of
              the past posts on this group. Is there no way of getting them back?).<<

              Seeing how they never gave any of us an answer, I think we can safely assume that two years worth of archived posts won’t be mysteriously showing up here one day.


              >>The problem between a literal versus gnostic context is that we live in a literal material world and the gnostic context attempts to
              explain it. There are forces within this universe that control it.
              Literally . . . . Christ is the soteriological emanation of the Father specifically to find our way back. Thus, only through him can we know the Father from an orthodox perspective becomes equally valid from a Gnostic one. Christ being a door or a path, a metaphysical roadmap of the Godhead, a tool we use, or the part that guides us back.<<

              Jesus said, “I am the door” and “I am the true vine.”

               

              Was he a door?—a vine?

               

              Sorry, but that was one of my favorite lines from Helena Bonham Carter in Lady Jane.  She was pretty spunky in that film.  Anyway, I don’t see the fact that a Gnostic outlook tries to explain the literal world as being a problem.  Where I see the problem is in looking for too much literalism within the Gnostic outlook.  Since I’m capable of following that you don’t mean to say that Christ was literally a roadmap, I’m also able to gain insight from the notion of resurrection without having to actually believe that someone was necessarily crucified for me.  There are so many interpretations of that event, among those who claimed that such an event transpired.  Being so far removed from the era when those historical events might have taken place, it really seems pointless to me to debate the nature of Jesus, or to decide on some dogmatic belief that was contingent on him being nothing but spirit, nothing but flesh, some mixture of the two, etc.  Perhaps something did happen, and perhaps it had profound ramifications at some celestial level, but guess what . . . I’m still stuck here.  With that in mind, it just seems that there must be something more I’m supposed to get out of it than just belief in the literal course of events.

               

              If he overcame something in a literal and substantial sense, then once again, why would a Gnostic, or anyone else for that matter, have to bother?

               

              Gerry

               

            • incognito_lightbringer
              Okay, you ve opened up another can of worms here. Do historical Gnostics view the world and the flesh/physical body as evil? I agree this is psychological
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 27, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                Okay, you've opened up another can of worms here.
                Do historical Gnostics view the world and the flesh/physical body as
                evil?
                I agree this is psychological allegory, but is it *only*
                psychological allegory?
                Also, if you transcend attachment, then why stick around in that
                case? What's the difference between being naturally and unaturally
                released?
                Hoeller had a flip but fascinating point, he disagrees with suicide
                because "something interesting might happen" and you'll miss it LOL!
                Who can argue?
                Buddha, upon attaining enlightenment, had to make a choice whether to
                stick around or immediately enter nirvana. He decided to stick around
                to teach others, an act of love. Mara was pissed, he was urging
                Buddha to leave immediately.




                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Reply to Incognito's message #7328:
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > >>Online searchable handy bible translation. It's Luke 14:26. I
                went
                > back to see which version and it's New American Standard (which I
                > liked because it's paired with a Strongs number data base, which I
                > should have used!) You're right, life is the Greek psukay, which
                they claim means either the breath of life or soul. I didn't realize
                that. Here I naively thought that life was, well, life.<<
                >
                >
                >
                > Well, since you didn't write the book, or translate it, I won't sue
                you this time. ;-) Oddly enough, I normally jump straight to a KJV
                when looking up references people mention, just because it's handy,
                but that particular time, I had cracked out the big Greek/Hebrew
                Interlinear. While I might not have articulated it as I wished, the
                point I was trying to make initially was that it was far more
                compelling to suggest that one should hate his own psyche. IOW, even
                in a mainstream context where one anticipates richer rewards in the
                hereafter, we all might be seen as world-haters. In such a case,
                it's almost easy to say that you hate a given life, even your own, in
                the same was as any other. To speak of one's soul, however, sort of
                implies a greater degree of one's identity (at least the way I see
                it). In THAT sense, it makes the case that we need to release that
                ego and move beyond the individuality. That may make a
                person "think" about what's at stake more so than simply talking
                about how things of the Spirit should come before the Flesh.
                >
                >
                >
                > >>Klaus is no worse than Ernst, and writes shorter posts!<<
                >
                >
                >
                > Sometimes terseness, such as when combined with unabashed and
                venomous directness, isn't necessarily less insulting, but I suppose
                I could see the blessing in its brevity.
                >
                >
                > >>Do historical gnostic texts see gnosis as salvation from the
                physical world versus attachment to it? Why do you interpret as only
                > attachment?<<
                >
                >
                >
                > I'm speaking off the top of my head there, but let me see if I can
                clarify my thoughts for you. Assuming that the world itself and our
                physical bodies are evil, then I don't see the Gnostic experience as
                liberating us from that . . . after all, we're still here. It seems
                to me that the imperative goal for one who held such beliefs would be
                to bring about the end of the world and everyone in it, along with
                his own life. When I see such a person still here, still bitching
                over the Internet about how rotten everything is and longing for
                release from it all, I have to wonder why he doesn't simply go for it?
                >
                >
                >
                > On the other hand, if the Gnostic experience is to bring about an
                awakening to the true nature of the world around us and help us
                realize that we need to transcend our attachments to things worldly,
                then it's less of a surprise that we're still here struggling, trying
                to maintain and improve that perspective until such time as we
                should "naturally" be released from our physical bodies.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > >>(Gerry)<<How do you purposely pursue a hylic direction and think
                it's not error?>>
                >
                > Because pain is difficult to bear. It's like the movie Matrix. The
                > traitor knows the truth but would rather live in a comfortable
                lie.<<
                >
                >
                >
                > That's my point. To know that it's a "lie" is to recognize the
                error. At this point, I don't even recall the original context of
                that part of the discussion, but your answer here is to a "why"
                question about somebody's motives, not to "how" it could be seen as
                something other than error.
                >
                >
                > >>I have back reading to do! (And I wish Yahoo hadn't killed most
                of
                > the past posts on this group. Is there no way of getting them
                back?).<<
                >
                >
                >
                > Seeing how they never gave any of us an answer, I think we can
                safely assume that two years worth of archived posts won't be
                mysteriously showing up here one day.
                >
                >
                > >>The problem between a literal versus gnostic context is that we
                live in a literal material world and the gnostic context attempts to
                > explain it. There are forces within this universe that control it.
                > Literally . . . . Christ is the soteriological emanation of the
                Father specifically to find our way back. Thus, only through him can
                we know the Father from an orthodox perspective becomes equally valid
                from a Gnostic one. Christ being a door or a path, a metaphysical
                roadmap of the Godhead, a tool we use, or the part that guides us
                back.<<
                >
                >
                >
                > Jesus said, "I am the door" and "I am the true vine."
                >
                >
                >
                > Was he a door?-a vine?
                >
                >
                >
                > Sorry, but that was one of my favorite lines from Helena Bonham
                Carter in Lady Jane. She was pretty spunky in that film. Anyway, I
                don't see the fact that a Gnostic outlook tries to explain the
                literal world as being a problem. Where I see the problem is in
                looking for too much literalism within the Gnostic outlook. Since
                I'm capable of following that you don't mean to say that Christ was
                literally a roadmap, I'm also able to gain insight from the notion of
                resurrection without having to actually believe that someone was
                necessarily crucified for me. There are so many interpretations of
                that event, among those who claimed that such an event transpired.
                Being so far removed from the era when those historical events might
                have taken place, it really seems pointless to me to debate the
                nature of Jesus, or to decide on some dogmatic belief that was
                contingent on him being nothing but spirit, nothing but flesh, some
                mixture of the two, etc. Perhaps something did happen, and perhaps
                it had profound ramifications at some celestial level, but guess
                what . . . I'm still stuck here. With that in mind, it just seems
                that there must be something more I'm supposed to get out of it than
                just belief in the literal course of events.
                >
                >
                >
                > If he overcame something in a literal and substantial sense, then
                once again, why would a Gnostic, or anyone else for that matter, have
                to bother?
                >
                >
                >
                > Gerry
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