Re: Tangential musing
- This is the way I look at it:
One of the major differences in Gnosticism and Orthodox
Christianity, is the concept of continued revelation. To me,
continued revelation simply means thinking for yourself.
Gnostic scriptures teach us that this world is flawed, and basically
one big screw up, that is being corrected. There isnt much we can do
about that part. But eventually we will return to the pleroma.
Nihilists( in general) believe that nothing matters, because no
matter what the means, the end is the same. No matter what we die.
Some believe that there is no afterlife and that we cease to exist.
There is room for hope there at all. Some believe that there is an
afterlife, and believe we end up in "heaven" no matter what since
all sins are forgiven. in this view there is no point in hope. No
reason to make this world a better place for everyone. Live life for
No matter what happens after we die, we are here now. We are still
souls. We still have that divine spark, wether you choose to accept
it or not. In this world, our souls still develop here, and who we
are here plays a major role in who we are after we pass on. The bad
( corruptibility) will be cleansed, and the good parts continue on.
If you see the world as all bad, there wont be many good parts.
Im sure we have all met many people that get very cranky when it
rains, or something silly doesnt go thier way. If you dont mind
getting a little wet ( its just water) and see the good in rain (
life giving, cooling, soothing sounds), rain can be pleasurable.
Even if you are caught in it. Its all dependant on your attitude.
Because this world is destined to end ( and was a mistake to begin
with) nothing material here matters. What matters here, in the
hylic, is Happiness and Unhappiness. I have found that happiness is
TOTALLY dependant on your outlook. Here is where I consider myself
an optimist. I enjoy almost every minute of my life very much, even
though I dont have much money. I dont always expect the best to
happen. I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Makes
everyone happier in the end. If something bad happens I dont take it
to heart. Nothing in this world is worth getting down in the dumps
If something is wrong, and is making people unhappy, either:
a) It can be fixed. Get off your rear and fix it ( i.e. you dont
have a job).
b) It cant be fixed. There is nothing you can do about it, except be
strong and allow yourself to be happy anyway. ( i.e. death, natural
disaters, sickness, pain).
I define an optimist as someone who can see happiness through the
fog, not someone who believes the fog wont be there.
I define a pessimist as someone who cant see anything through the
fog and only believe it will get thinker.
I hope that made sense ^.^ Im not very good at explaining myself.
- Jana, Mike is in fact clergy in the EG, and we value his presence. As
Cari states, the EG is a bit of a modern reworking of the
Valentinians... with a slight Jungian slant. So maybe I could make
something a bit more clear about the historic Valentinians (and this
is outside Mike's answers concerning his own church).
The Valentinians were part of early Catholic/Orthodox church (before
the schism between the two). Valentinians existed within that
Catholic church but offered a continued "initiation" beyond
that "orthodox" teaching. In other words, there were a
true "esoteric" order that existed within an exoteric foundation.
This should answer the question you had concerning bishops and
You have to understand, even though it has been popular for modern
sensationalist authors to build some kind of a fight between
Gnosticism and religious orders, the fact is historically this is not
something that happened until later.
There were also other Gnostic groups that were NOT part of the
Catholic (or even "Christian") outlines. For instance, Sethians were
probably not originally Christian. Some scholors believe that John
the Baptist was actually Sethian, but we can't know for sure
(however, this could imply something about the teachings of Jesus if
it is true... and if Jesus even ever historically existed. Gnosticism
is not dependant on an actual historical Jesus though).
However, let me point out to you that Gnostics were historically
quite structured. In spite of the need by some New Age authors to
make Gnostics some kind of spiritual anarchists, in fact these orders
were initatory, and that means there was also a destinction made
between levels of initation. One of the attacks that we see in the
anti-Gnostic authors of the time was that Gnostics are a bit too
elitist. I don't think that is completely true either, but that is
not to say it is completely false.
As we read historical Gnostic texts, such as those found in the Nag
Hammadi library, we will see mention of those levels of initiation.
If there are levels, there is structure... they simply go hand in
Ok, finally, your question in this last post... do Gnostics pray for
This is an arguement that I don't think can be completely resolved.
Part of that may be in that it depends on the sect. Truth is, if you
really look through the Gnostic texts, you would be hard pressed to
find an example. On the other hand, the people who wrote against
Gnostics accuse them of making love potions, stomach ointments, and
spells (spells are simply prayers) etc.. If you think about it, it
does not seem logical that a Gnostic would do such things, since some
of the things mentioned would really be against Gnostic beliefs.
So, you already conceded that Gnostics probably would not pray to the
first father (since it does not think or hear or consider anything
from the field of time... including prayers), so then who would a
Gnostic pray too? The Second father? The Sophia? The Logos? It
depends on whether you take these to be literal beings... otherwise
you are praying to aspects of yourself that connect you to the second
father. I am trying to pooint out that the question you ask is not
cut and dry, balck vs white, but that it also may entirely depend on
the practice of the sect invloved. Many Gnostics probably don't
believe in prayer, but some may.
--- In email@example.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
> > > I guess you could call us neo-Valenitnians. I am the senior
> > of
> > > the Ecclesia Gnostica, which along with the Gnostic Society, is
> > > parent body of http://www.gnosis.org/. My Bishop is Stephan
> > Höeller,
> > > who has written a number of books on Gnosticism.
> Mike, I had even told my husband that I thought you were a priest.
> You have that patient air about you! I read about the sacraments
> the site, but I need to look at them again. Are they necessary to
> achieve gnosis or salvation?
> Cari, Mike, pmcv, anyone,
> Do gnostics believe that any being (I understand the First Father
> does not) intervenes on our behalf? For instance, if one wanted to
> pray for another's protection or health?