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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Evryone loves conspirecy

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  • Gavin Riggott
    I feel that conspiracy theorists often miss the point of Gnosticism (or at least my understanding of what Gnosticism is). If the world is flawed, then it is
    Message 1 of 79 , Dec 5, 2003
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      I feel that conspiracy theorists often miss the point of Gnosticism (or at
      least my understanding of what Gnosticism is). If the world is flawed, then
      it is understandable that there will be governments or other agencies who
      ocasionally lie to us. In fact, given the size of the Earth's population,
      it would be suprising if this were not the case. But conspiracies are just
      one end of the scale of deception that is unfortunately common place --
      consumerism constantly attempts to manipulate people for profit, for
      instance. And deception is, in turn, just one of the many evils in this
      world. The ultimate solution to these problems is to transcend the world,
      not to uncover the political causes of specific conspiracies. I'm sure that
      this is hardly a revelation to people on this list, but my point is that
      conspiracy-theory-style approaches to Gnosticism that I've seen rarely go
      beyond mundane politics and deception. I was recently amazed to see six
      David Icke titles in the spirituality section of a local book shop. Icke
      wrote a book called "Children and the Matrix", where he likened humanity to
      the people of The Matrix. Only instead of recognising the Gnostic character
      of The Matrix (or in spite of it, which is probably more likely given that
      the symbolism in that movie is far from subtle and difficult to spot), he
      insisted that our prison is a mental/political one -- we are all preyed upon
      by vampiric serpents who keep society in ignorance... or some such nonsense.
      For Icke, all the various religious and spiritual ideas he uses are just
      bastardised into "proof" for his his strange world view. I find it hard to
      imagine someone reading his book, or something else like it, and becomming
      Gnostic. Maybe I'm being too cynical. I hope I am. But it seems to me
      that the similarities between Gnosticism and conspiracy theories are just

      There is that website that mixes both though... Jesus Loves Your Enemies or
      something like that. It seems to be quite popular, so maybe a lot of people
      do find they go together well.

      Gavin Riggott
    • lady_caritas
      ... Gospel of Thomas. And to be honest, I am not sure why the Church would choose to catagorize this as a heresy. ... Thomas, as Gerry pointed out, it becomes
      Message 79 of 79 , Dec 28, 2003
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Norush II <tjnii@y...>
        > Hello Cari;

        > To this point the only thing that I have read at any length is the
        Gospel of Thomas. And to be honest, I am not sure why the Church
        would choose to catagorize this as a heresy.

        Thomas, as Gerry pointed out, it becomes a matter of view, doesn't
        it? Does heresy constitute merely opinions that are different,
        freely chosen,... or are they something false, even evil?

        > Maybe as I read more of what is available I will be able to
        discover such, but to this point, the Gospel of Thomas seems pretty
        inline with Church teaching. Mind you there are some things that
        would cause quite the conversation, but on the whole nothing that
        struck me as "heresy" in the evil terms that I have heard it.

        It may appear to be "inline" in some respects. In fact, in _The
        Gnostic Scriptures_ (which I highly recommend), Bentley Layton has
        cross-references for many, but not all, sayings to similar verses in
        Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And, whether or not _The Gospel of Thomas_
        was originally "Gnostic" or proto-Gnostic has been debated.

        Nonetheless, upon further inspection there are some major differences
        when compared to orthodox doctrine. How *any* of the sayings might
        be construed could vary from an orthodox interpretation when one
        considers heterodox elements. As Bentley Layton comments in the
        introduction to GTh (page 376):

        "Historical framework is irrelevant to the message of GTh, for the
        salvation that it proclaims is not the future reign of god on earth,
        to be ushered in by a messiah, but rather the recognition of one's
        true nature and acquaintance with oneself, leading to immediate
        repose and rendering `death' (i.e. the realm of human affairs)
        trivial. `The kingdom is inside of you. . . . When you become
        acquainted with yourselves . . . you will understand that it is you
        who are children of the living father.' Jesus' suffering, death, and
        resurrection are not discussed in GTh; his role here is purely that
        of a teacher of wisdom. GTh is thus a Christian gospel in which the
        crucifixion of Jesus has no importance."

        Self-acquaintance is definitely a Gnostic theme. Consider, Thomas,
        how dangerous, how threatening that approach would be to *any*
        political mechanism. How does one maintain hierarchical control when
        people are relying on their own experience, rather than on outside,
        dogmatic intermediaries? In the past, the governmental decisions
        were inextricably entrenched with religious considerations.

        > The Council of Trent I believe put it together in its current form
        and in theory there was a great deal of work for them to choose from
        before they Canonized the current Bible. What was left out and more
        importantly Why? If Thomas was around and available at that point,
        why wasn't it included in the Bible?

        You might be interested in a recent book by Elaine Pagels, _Beyond
        Belief_, that recounts this process, bringing in her ideas about _The
        Gospel of Thomas_ specifically.

        > Gnostic texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, all offer me a chance to read
        what was available at the time. The chance to answer big questions
        for myself and maybe pass this on to others. Maybe Gnosticism is
        another step in the process for me. Not sure yet. Need to read and
        study more on the subjects.

        Thomas, I would recommend some suggestions in our "links" section:

        You might find the collection of introductory articles helpful. The
        Gnosis Archive at
        http://gnosis.org/ provides lots of information – articles, book
        suggestions, lectures, in addition to online source material, such as
        The Nag Hammadi Library. I would also recommend the book, _The Nag
        Hammadi Library_, by James M Robinson.

        > Thank you for your response. I look forward to any insight you may
        offer or conversation that it brought about.
        > Thomas

        Feel free to come back with comments and questions, Thomas, as you
        pursue your own queries.

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