Esoteric Christianity so called

Discussion in 'Theology' started by Thomas, Feb 5, 2009.

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  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Jamarz —
    No problems —

    Do not be put off the search by me, as you are probably aware, I distinguish between 'Christian esoterism' and 'esoteric Christianity' which is elitist and self-serving.

    I would say however, it's better to go straight to the source. It depends what 'turns you on' — the mystics, the philosophers, the saints, the sages ... but in any pursuit of authentic Christian esoterism, any doctrine which seeks to separate into 'them' and 'us', any doctrine that engenders an air of conspiracy, and any doctrine that promotes an 'elite' (intellectual, spiritual, or otherwise) — can be reckoned to be fraudulent.

    Keep Christ as your model and your marker, and keep love (agape) as the lamp that lights your way. No one said it better than that ill-tempered old battler, the 'hard man' of Christianity, and one of the founding fathers of the way of Christian esoterism:

    "... And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries (mysterion), and all knowledge (gnosis), and if I should have all faith (pistis), so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (agape), I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

    Christian esoterism starts, proceeds, and is fulfilled in agape.

    Colossians 1:12-20 (among others) is a fair and accurate summation of Christian esoterism. The text is in Paul, but it is generally accepted that Paul did not compose the verses, but incorporated a Christian liturgical hymn into his text.

    Thomas
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not though, is it?

    It's grounded in, I assume, errors of which you are not aware, and which you avoid addressing, because you might be required to fundamentally change your opinions.

    No, it's simpler than that. Escapism into self-determined pseudo-esoterica allows one to operate according to one's ego. A little 'Merlin's Cave' (or perhaps Plato's?) of one's own imagination.

    Thomas
     
  3. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas

    You don't understand esoteric Christianity because you don't seem to accept that when Jesus said that the world must hate the message, he is speaking the truth.

    John 15

    Esoteric Christianity must be seen as elitist by the World
    The real value isn't debating theology with old eyes and ears but coming to experience their limitations and developing new eyes and ears which allows Christianity to live within oneself. The mistake normally made is that we believe we already have these new eyes and ears. It is this mistake that so easily invites the devolution into Christendom.

    I know this seems elitist in the secular world and naturally asserts an essential separation. Who am I to assert such a thing? But I didn't say it, Jesus did. I happen to have experienced that he is right.

    The only way you can truly speak of errors if your premises are correct. But when they reflect the secularized Roman Church, they cannot be. To get back to the truth of it means experiencing the teaching pre-secularization. You don't realize that you really haven't said anything I can reply to.

    Yes this is escapism. However, esoteric Christianity is the opposite of escapism which is why it is so little known. Part of what it means to consciously carry ones cross is to consciously experience the techniques of ones own corrupt egotism that struggle against doing it.

    Where Christendom seeks slaves by requiring people to have faith IN it, esoteric Christianity seeks to create free men partially through acquiring the faith OF Christ. In this way we can choose our slavery. We can either be slave to the world or slave to higher purpose which links heaven and earth.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sophistry.

    Only because that's how 'esoteric Christians' see themselves and present themselves to other.

    Believe me, St Francis of Assisi had more esoterica in his little finger than you have in your whole body — and no-one thought him elitist. I could list a thousand saints of whom the same rule applies. In fact, I'll say all of 'em.

    Nonsense. This is what political pundits call 'spin' — You do not seek to acquire anything without first having faith in the value of its acquisition, if you didn't have faith first, there would be no point in its seeking.

    You're still engaging in philosophical debate to avoid the issue: Answer the questions, defend the errors.

    Thomas
     
  5. Janz

    Janz What's Amatta U

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    Thanks for these nuggets of wisdom Thomas. I must say that I am not here to debate either side because I don't think with an either/or assumption but with both/and. I also recognize that you are an apologist for the Roman Catholic Church and I respect you devotion to your faith. I don't share your point of view but I am not here to prove you wrong. I just know from my experience that being a follower of the Way is much deeper than being a follower of correct dogma or doctrine.

    I also admit that scholars (who are much more qualified than moi) debate these questions and I think each of us is responsible for our own conclusions..whose scholarship do I consider trustworthy? That being said, I recognize the Gospel of Thomas is one of those controversial topics so all I can do is find those assumptions that I think support my beliefs.

    All that to say, I really like what Helmet Koester, John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History of Harvard Divinity School said[SIZE=-1]:

    [/SIZE]
    FRONTLINE: from jesus to christ: the story of the storytellers: the gospel of thomas | PBS

    Here is another link to another interesting essay/debate called Johannine Sayings in the Gospel of Thomas..

    1. INTRODUCTION

    I find comfort that we all can follow the path that sets us free to worship our God in a manner that promotes unity, peace, tolerance and hope.
     
  6. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Thomas

    There is nothing elite about recognizing the human condition anymore then it is elitist for Socrates saying he knew nothing.

    You just don't want to accept "The new Saint" and what Simone called "Saintliness."

    The Mysticism of Simone Weil - Google Book Search

    We like to maintain the separation of religion and science but as I've said, I believe it is essential that the spiritual influence enters the scientific community..If you think that the new saint is an elitist concept, then I don't think you appreciate how critical this influence is in society to minimize the dangers of technology.

    Regardless if it comes from Simone Weil, Prof Needleman, or anyone else, these people understand that it isn't necessary that saintliness be separated from science. It seems elitist because esoteric Christianity asserts an awareness of what is absent in secularism. It may be insulting but if it happens to be true, we need more people capable of this new saintliness esoteric Christianity can produce. That way science can come to serve man rather than man serving science.

    This is pure egotism which seeks to justify itself through faith IN. It is not a matter of faith being first but rather the recognition of the emptiness of the secular world. It is need that can invite the experience that leads to the beginning of the Faith Of Christ.
    Simone acquired her faith not through conditioned blind obedience but as a direct result of the experience of the human condition in the World - Plato's cave. She simply had the need and the courage to have the experience of herself in the world - to "Know Thyself" which enabled her faith and her mystical experiences.
     
  7. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    I believe we are alike in that we need to experience the teaching rather then just debate it. The associative mind can just go so far and then we have to make the necessary efforts to experience it.

    If another two open to esoteric Christianity ever make themselves known, we could really have a meaningful discussion on the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas. I must admit being curious as to how some of the sayings resonate with you. For example, #13 is food for thought. I don't believe a secularist would be open to it since it really doesn't make secular sense but pondering it can be very revealing.

     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Jamarz —

    Assuming both are 'right'. As the data of the website is erroneous or misleading, there's no debate from the outset.

    Erroneous assumption. The dogma and doctrine illuminate the Way — a Way is a dogma and a doctrine or it is nothing.

    I am not trying to convince anyone, I just point out when the conclusions are founded on faulty data.

    Take the Gospel of Thomas: Hippolytus of Rome, Origen and Cyril of Alexandria treat the Gospel of Thomas as deriving from a Manichean source and not from one of the Apostles. It was not counted among even those documents that are considered Christian but not canonical — Hermas, etc., so in its own day, it was discounted.

    If you put the Gospel of Thomas to the same order of scrutiny the canonical Gospels have undergone, it is soon shown to be considerably less reliable than they. That, and Tradition, leaves it with almost no standing at all as an 'authentic' Christian commentary.

    So do I ... but when it's evident that the path is false, then I feel the least I can do is point it out, for without truth, there is none of those qualities.

    Thomas
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —

    It's pointless discussing peripheral matters when the issue is the central content of your argument has been shown to be false.

    Writings screeds to sidetrack the issue will not get us anywhere.

    Thomas
     
  10. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Your basic error is in assuming that the blind faith and dogmatic obedience required by the secularized Roman Catholic Church to support its secular power is somehow more authentic then the perennial tradition of Esoteric Christianity that serves the creation of the "New Man.

    That is the basic issue which you cannot appreciate.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ad hominem

    Thomas
     
  12. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    How come when you refer to "my error" it is theology but "your error" is some how Ad hominem?
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Because I offer the evidence to demonstrate your error, and let the evidence speak for itself. You however attack me and/or the Church on the basis of your own assumptions, which I keep demonstrating as ill-founded.

    What you think of the Church is immaterial. The evidence supporting your thesis is all that matters.

    Thomas
     
  14. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    This is meaningless since you haven't offered anything and the void for you is filled through blind belief. Esoteric Christianity is not blind belief but experiential for a seeker. I can show you cosmological theory but verification comes through practice and acquiring the ability to be vulnerable and to need what if offers.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —

    Curious ... I have referenced chapter and verse, unlike yourself.

    Does it ever occur, I wonder, that my blindness is in fact your own? That where you assume a void and darkness, I see as luminous? That my theology is in fact the higher esoteric apophatic theology, whilst yours is earthbound cosmological speculation ... relative, contingent, and riddled with error ... again as I have demonstrated more than once?

    How would you know? How could you?

    Indeed it is. I experience Christ, you experience your little psychological cave.

    I am not interested in cosmology primarily, nor is any Christian ... cosmology is worldy, we seek Him directly (Mystery), not Him-in-things (Cosmology — much as I enjoy it).

    Nonsense, God cannot be verified through empirical method, nor through sentimentalism implied by 'vulnerable' ... this is your faith, and it is truly blind.

    You really should give "Meditations on the Tarot" a try, I think it's right up your street, and you'll find more than you ever dreamed of.

    +++

    This line of argument you pursue, with myself and others, which rests on the a priori assumption that you are right, and everyone else is wrong, is pointless, and I shall pursue it no further.

    Let me be clear, as long as you assume:
    a) that you are beyond question, therefore infallible;
    b) that your ideas should be received as doctrine because they are yours;
    c) that every other idea is wrong, and a sign of ignorance;
    d) that blind allegiance to your ideas is required...

    I shall ignore you.

    Until you offer substantial evidence, that is materials other than your own opinions and interpretations, I shall regard you as an 'empty vessel'.

    Thomas
     
  16. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Stick your nose up in the air all you like but you finally hit on the essence of our differences.

    This is why you cannot understand the importance of:

    Or from the Gospel of Thomas:

    One doesn't experience Christianity by looking up in egotism but by looking down at the human condition that defines our "being." As Simone said: "Purity is the power to contemplate corruption." You prefer to justify selective corruption.

    That is why the church is a power trip for you but Christianity refers to the advantage of abandoning power for the greater good. To each his own.
     
  17. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Food for thought pertaining to esoteric Christianity:

     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The trouble is, that can be love, or infatuation, or erotic fixation ... it really depends on why serve another without his knowing it?

    Ask any woman, indeed anyone, who's ever been the object of anonymous fixation, and see what they think of your 'love' then ...

    The only valid answer is that by so doing, the other benefits more than if he had known. A perfect example is the relationship between Pip and his benefactor in Dickens' Great Expectations. He assumes it's Miss Havisham, when in fact it was the escaped criminal Abel Magwich. Magwich keeps his identity secret, because he knows Pip would never accept his money.

    So how can man benefit more from not knowing the love of God? He can't ... there is nothing that can take the place of the Beatific Vision.

    How can any good benefit man more than the Good Itself?

    And how can man benefit himself, by refusing the good?
    He can't.
    Any good he chooses will bve less than what he might have chosen, less than what God wants for him.

    Sorry ... that one falls flat. It works in a secular contxt, but not in a supernatural one.

    Now —

    No doubt you will offer me your standard blind faith/Plato's cave response, but really I'm not interested in that empty jargoning ... can you explain how any lesser good is more good than the Absolute Good ... that's all you have to do?

    Thomas
     
  19. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    The reason you cannot understand Simone is that you don't understand what Jacob Needleman refers to a "Acornology." The "good" of ones personality is not necessarily the good of ones budding soul.

    The acorn is analogous to Man in that the living kernel within is capable of re-birth, becoming an oak. The shell just protects and nourishes the kernel of life until it is ready but is strictly an artificial creation without higher life.

    The secular church that you are attached to values the shell of the acorn (appearance) and desires to improve it. What may be legitimate higher experiences become interpreted into beliefs acceptable to our personailty. Esoteric Christianity is concerned with the living kernel of life within the shell and provides the means by which it can free itself from the dominance of the shell (appearance). Christianity seeks to to crack the egg as was done during Easter so the chick, our soul, can emerge.

    What Simone is saying that even though our personality has been conditioned to secularism, it can express the need to understand but just tries to do it exclusively from worldly logic. This search for truth is pleasing to the above even though the atheist doesn't recognize it. The search for truth then is far superior then basking in self justifying imagination.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Nick —

    OK ... we all know that. This is true only on the condition that what the personality seeks as a "good" differs from the "good" of the soul.

    No, assuming there is a God, then the atheist is searching for a good that is other than the good of the soul. The atheist, by definition, does not seek The Truth beyond himself, but a truth which conforms to himself. Therefore the atheist is neither searching for the good, nor pleasing the above.

    What I can accept is some seek the good without knowledge of the terms by which it is expressed, and furthermore by knowledge of the Revelation by which the Above communicates itself to the below.

    That's why I refute 'esoteric Christianity' as it is presented, as it is evident that what the authors assume Christianity to be is born of nothing other than their own imaginations, and bears little or no resemblance to the truth or the actuality, and you have provided no evidence to the contrary — you simply quote more people who believe in what I already believe to be false.

    In short, you're missing the essence of the point under discussion.

    Let me repeat:
    How can a lesser good be better than a greater good — or put in a religious context, how can a transient and illusory good — which any philosophy will inform you is false and ephemeral, for all its glamour, be better than The Absolute Good, which is Real, True, and Beautiful?

    How can, if God exists, being wrong (an atheist) be better than being right?

    Bearing in mind that God cannot be proved — then even your philosophy rests on faith, either you believe there is a God, or you do not, but you cannot know for sure. All you have is the evidence that lights your way.

    My point is that Needleman is doing with Christianity exactly what his scientist is doing with the acorn.

    Thomas
     
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