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Still trying to define gnosticism

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  • Lynette
    since joining it has been made aware to me that gnosticism is not considered a religion. By the very definition of religion Main Entry: re·li·gion
    Message 1 of 35 , Jul 25, 2004
      since joining it has been made aware to me that gnosticism is not considered a religion. By the very definition of "religion"
      Main Entry: re·li·gion
      Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
      1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
      2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
      3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
      4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
      - re·li·gion·less adjective
      I think some would argue differently.  And with the definition of gnosticism.
      Main Entry: gnos·ti·cism
      Pronunciation: 'näs-t&-"si-z&m
      Function: noun
      Usage: often capitalized
      : the thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis
      One would argue even further, that gnosticism is a religion.
      However, gnostics insist it is not. When one only defines the word gnosis.
      Main Entry: gno·sis
      Pronunciation: 'nO-s&s
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Greek gnOsis, literally, knowledge, from gignOskein
      : esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation
      Then here we have it. NOT a religion.? or is it.
      Ok, I'm not arguing with your definition of what gnosticism is or isnt. But only attempting to clarify that there is confusion out there with the intent of gnosticism. Religion or not. It does have a "set of beliefs" that accompanies it. Perhaps there is no church that is attended, or weekly gettogether to pray or talk about teachings. Perhaps it is all on an individual basis. After reading the link that Cari provided, I can certainly see where there is some confusion. {I promised not to make off-hand comparisons, but here I will make one} In alot of religions there are just as many confusions as to what to believe. And a good many different interpretations of the same passages. Thus the conception of so many branches of the same religion.
      I'm venturing a guess that a good many that claim to being gnostic will also misinterpret the actual meanings behind the outline below of what most gnostics believe.
      Certainly then, it could be understood why it would be so difficult to see gnosticism as anything other than a religion. Especially in light of so many that have reached that ultimate truth without ever having read a gnostic text. Unless one would extend that definition to also include those individuals of other religions that have discovered the truth on their own. And in that case, I would leave off my points concerning the confusion of "religion or not" and say certainly that gnosticism is therefore not a religion.
      Does, gnosticism therefore include any person that has discovered that inner truth, or does it believe that only through the set of beliefs listed below is the only way to discovering the truth?
      Thank you for your careful thought and consideration in replying.
      The following characteristics may be considered normative for all Gnostic teachers and groups in the era of classical Gnosticism; thus one who adheres to some or all of them today might properly be called a Gnostic:
      • The Gnostics posited an original spiritual unity that came to be split into a plurality.
      • As a result of the precosmic division the universe was created. This was done by a leader possessing inferior spiritual powers and who often resembled the Old Testament Jehovah.
      • A female emanation of God was involved in the cosmic creation (albeit in a much more positive role than the leader).
      • In the cosmos, space and time have a malevolent character and may be personified as demonic beings separating man from God.
      • For man, the universe is a vast prison. He is enslaved both by the physical laws of nature and by such moral laws as the Mosaic code.
      • Mankind may be personified as Adam, who lies in the deep sleep of ignorance, his powers of spiritual self-awareness stupefied by materiality.
      • Within each natural man is an "inner man," a fallen spark of the divine substance. Since this exists in each man, we have the possibility of awakening from our stupefaction.
      • What effects the awakening is not obedience, faith, or good works, but knowledge.
      • Before the awakening, men undergo troubled dreams.
      • Man does not attain the knowledge that awakens him from these dreams by cognition but through revelatory experience, and this knowledge is not information but a modification of the sensate being.
      • The awakening (i.e., the salvation) of any individual is a cosmic event.
      • Since the effort is to restore the wholeness and unity of the Godhead, active rebellion against the moral law of the Old Testament is enjoined upon every man.6
      "To find the solution is to discover there  is no problem."
    • lilyfayre
      ... Hello Betty, How interesting! :) Please do write to me - I look forward to hearing from you. Kindest, Lily.
      Message 35 of 35 , Aug 2, 2004
        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "eyeambetty" <eyeambetty@y...> wrote:
        > I thank you, Lily. how extraordinary, this is more synchronistic
        > than you know, may i send you a personal email?
        > if i remember correctly,it was Jung who said:
        > "Only the wounded physician heals."
        > take care,
        > sincerely, betty

        Hello Betty,

        How interesting! :)
        Please do write to me - I look forward to hearing from you.

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