Faith and Gnosis, Toe to Toe

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by taijasi, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Earlier this morning I was reading some notes regarding Priscillianism in Gerald Massey's Hymn of Jesus. Because this Gnostic text so intimately treats a Teaching and an Invocation given by Jesus in secret to the Apostles, I found myself pondering the very subject of Gnosis ... as contrasted with what most Christians call Faith. The latter is readily acknowledged, often boldly proclaimed as the very cornerstone of many a Christian's religious life, consisting as it does in certain affirmations as well as a core body of tenets regarding the life, mission and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    So too do those who proclaim a Gnosis insist that Jesus of Nazareth taught certain Truths and that his incarnation holds a special and significant place in human history. The crux of the Gnostic revelation, however, is not so much centered upon Jesus the man, as within the Teachings themselves which He provided, both exoteric and esoteric. While the former are well known, or believed to be available in the form of the Holy Bible, the latter are not yet popularly accepted, understood, or uniformly agreed upon, even by those who make some claim to gnosis.

    The question naturally arises as to which of Christ's secret teachings we might have access to (either today, since the time of Christ, during the time of Christ, or before) ... as well as what is their content. The great irony I find, and hence part of the motivation for starting this thread, is with regard to the way in which this very topic is treated. Thus also my choice of introducing the subject on as level a playing field as the Spirit of Inclusiveness will allow, when balanced by practicality, honesty and the rigorous defense of what I shall call the other half of the Equation.

    What is this `equation," and how is it that we can be sure there are such secret (or gnostic) Teachings to begin with?

    For the latter, I will use the Christian Scripture itself - New Testament - to help elucidate:
    "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
    He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,
    but to them it is not given
    ." (Matthew 13:10-11) {see also Mark 4:11-12}
    We can be clear about, and certain of, several things if we examine this passage (or its parallel in Mark). These points are as follows:

    1. Christ was addressing the Apostles when He spoke these words, not the masses or a larger assemblage of students. At best His audience may have exceeded the `chosen Twelve,' as they are called, but He was NOT speaking to the multitude.
    2. Specific reference is made here (and especially in Mark) to the parables which Christ was using. This fact in & of itself, that Jesus used PARABLES, is obviously a conundrum to the Apostles. They do not understand why He speaks PLAINLY to them - yet couches His Teachings in this flowery or poetic language when He speaks to the masses.
    3. Christ answers them telling them several things. First off, he confirms that there is indeed a distinction in the way He is presenting His Teaching. Again, this should be apparent, but His response makes the point UNEQUIVOCAL.
    4. Further, as I have indicated in bold (unto you), a specific Revelation is being provided TO THE APOSTLES, and NOT to the "them" (the masses or multitudes) of the original question. The underlined section that ends the passage (but to them it is not given) makes this point apparent.
    5. And finally, the very CRUX of this matter, the entire purpose of my taking the time to analyze the translated text, is to show that indeed, the Apostles were taught SOMETHING which THEY - and presumably ONLY THEY (during Christ's Ministry) - were privy to. It was indeed a SPECIAL REVELATION, and this I have emphasized with the italicized section: the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
    What all this amounts to, is solid PROOF, inasmuch as the Holy Bible constitutes ANY degree of legitimate, worthwhile, viable or merit-holding `proof' or evidence, that a Secret Doctrine (or set of esoteric Teachings, in short, a gnosis) does exist within Christianity, since Christ Himself not only made it a RULE to instruct His Apostles in the Mysteries ... but also because a written RECORD was made of this fact, as preserved in the Tradition of the Church's own, carefully selected and most definitely STRAINED & sifted Gospels. ;)

    Alas, as has been said before, we do not have an exact, verbatim account of the Teachings themselves which constituted these Mysteries (of the Kingdom of Heaven), taught to the disciples in secret. Rather, we have a long and trustworthy Tradition, which can be demonstrated as being far more ancient either than that of the Church itself (with her many sects, denominations and divisions), or even her Hebrew and Greek parent Traditions.

    The Gnosis, in such forms of the Wisdom and Ways of Righteousness as was demonstrated in Christ's time by groups like the Essenes, predates Jesus' own Teachings and even the Revelation via Moses by thousands, perhaps even millions of years. Such a statement is clearly impossible for most of us to verify by any available empirical means, although I think we will find, one day, that such concrete, physical evidence is readily available and will be brought forth at the proper time in the sequence of future Revelation. For the meantime, we must either accept - tentatively - that God's Divine Guidance predates the Mosaic period and even the entire Hebrew tradition ... or reject the hypothesis out of hand, and be on about our business.

    If Divine Relevation does precede Christ's own Teaching, as in fact most Christians as well as all Jews already implicitly accept, then a moment's pondering should show us that in fact, gnosis has existed well before the advent of Christianity - and that therefore, there is something worth examining here, IF we wish to say that our exploration of our own Christian beliefs and FAITH has been earnest and thorough.

    Again, I began by saying that I wanted to be as Inclusive as possible in approaching this subject, and so I have tried to remain so in this acknowledgement. It is only the closed-minded, who already believe themselves to have received the fulness of God's possible Revelation to Humanity, who will have objection to the idea of a gnosis in the first place - let alone one that precedes Christianity or even Judiasm, even by so many as tens of thousands of years. After all, what do you suppose those crafty, clever Egyptians were thinking of as they planned and designed, constructed and dedicated, their magnificent Sphinx and Pyramids? And for that matter, the Mayans with their Pyramids and elaborate Temple layouts, or the Druids at Solsbury Hill!

    To cut to the chase, since my posts tend to grow too lengthy too quickly, let me summarize and invite discussion on this topic. In short, there are more than one type of Christianity which accept the figure of Christ, as well as His Teachings and example, as central - if not also essential - to living a purposeful and spiritual life. These other Christianities were once grouped together under the Church's own, obviously biased, pejorative and quite ill-founded label of hereticism.

    Fortunately, we now live in an era when at least most of the time, people are not crucified, burned, or otherwise brutally tortured for their individual religious beliefs, or for the reasonable expression thereof. Obvious human rights violations and acts of extremism do still occur, both in persecution of and on the part of certain religious groups or individuals, yet by and large we recognize these to be unacceptable - in every instance of human society - and we do our best to insure that religious freedoms are universally established and maintained.

    What remains at issue, or question here, is just what it means to say that we KNOW certain things - about God, about spirituality, about human nature or about a Divine Nature (or, in contrast, any type or example of forces which oppose the Divine) ... as contrasted with the expression, "I have FAITH." I do not say that gnosis is superior to faith, but I do suggest that it is different. To believe that there is a God is one thing, but to KNOW that God exists - is, most would have to agree, another. But that begs obvious questions!

    Of what does such (or any) gnosis actually consist, and likewise, of what does faith consist? The question can be approached philosophically and even scientifically, which is why I intentionally have avoided any forum wherein the rules of theology (and especially a purely Christian theology) can be allowed to dictate. A fair discussion should admit of ANY type of evidence which can be reasonably put forth, explained and supported. This may indeed be largely theoretical or intellectual hypothesis, yet at least this is better than blind, archaic DOGMATISM.

    Clearly there is no dogmatism which binds the gnostic or his gnosis, for if that were the case we could simply compile a volume of accepted beliefs and of anathema. While there may be some degree of formalism of a Gnostic tradition, with a core set of tenets to which many do adhere, it should be apparent to the reader that I have used the term much more loosely in my post, sometimes with a capital `G,' other times a lowercase. This is much like the term `theosophy' or even `theology' - either of which is fairly spring-loaded and bearing certain connotations which I believe the term gnosis, or even that of faith, need not bring along.

    After all, FAITH is something which even the most dogmatic and Fundamentalist of Christians must remain OPEN to, open to discuss, and ready to deepen, and precisely the same can be said of the gnostic with relation to his GNOSIS.

    What I will close with, since it should be apparent by now, is that I do indeed have a strong opinion on the subject which goes far beyond a simple scholarly or intellectual pursuit. Do I believe there is such a thing as true Gnosis - of KNOWING what is in fact, within the heart and mind of oneself, of one another, or even - G*d?

    Yes, I do believe that varying degrees of gnosis are possible. If it were not the case, we would ever remain - blind, guessing, wondering, and quite possibly even GROWING ... yet never actually quite capable of reaching our GOAL. Even if that Goal were simply a deeper relationship with the Divine, to preclude the possibility of gnosis means that our Faith, in the last analysis, would be - a dead end. It would be like having an airplane with no wings, or a car with no gas. After all, God cannot, and will not do for us what we are not willing (and Glad!) to do for ourselves ... and for each other. :)

    Those with an abundance of Faith in the possibilities of the Kingdom of Heaven (either manifest, upon the Earth or in the hereafter), who yet lack any awareness of the workings of this Kingdom, are like the man who expects to WIN the lottery - but refuses to buy a ticket. Proclaiming the Power of God and the existence of a solution to every human problem, they will nevertheless refuse to WORK to be a part of that solution, allowing the Power of God to direct them.

    God has enough bench-warmers; nowadays, what God is seeking is ACTION. {And when I open my eye, even just a tiny bit, I see an ABUNDANCE of Servers and Service activities in response - to the Call.}

    What are my qualifications? Aha! I have a bit of Gnosis, a bit of Faith, and all of the same human foibles and follies as the next guy. You don't want what's on my plate, I assure you ... and yet, sure as shinola, it's actually already as much yours as it is mine. That's just the nature of things. And, fortunately, vice versa. As has been wisely and succinctly said, We're all in this Together! :)
     
  2. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Mark 4
    King James Bible
    *I have highlighted relevant portions and added a comment
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Taijasi —

    Normally wouldn't have anything to say, but as this focusses on Christian matters specifically, I thought I'd pop in with a coupe of comments.

    I think you may be labouring under a false assumption, or trying to set up artificial distinctions. Christianity is a 'gnostic faith' — at least, traditional, orthodox Christianity is ... modern (post-Reformation) denominations generally follow a tangent of rationalising away the gnostic, the esoteric and the mystical.

    Remember St Paul: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely (pseudo gnosis) so called." 1 Timothy 6:20. The obvious inference being there is an authentic gnosis 'committed to his trust', and a false one.

    But then consider the Creed — a series of affirmations that constitute the foundation of Christian gnosis. The absolute nature of the Deity; the Immanent Presence of the Deity in the World; the Incarnation; the Consubstantiality of the Father and the Son; the Resurrection; the Ascension; the Other Paraclete, the Trinitarian Procession; Salvation; Deification ...
    I am not the first to point out that Christian doctrine is "an esoterism in plain sight".

    If you wish to discuss the contrast between gnosis and faith within a Christian context, then I suppose a discussion of 'light' and 'darkness' would be a good basis ... then you could introduce 'cloud' as the intermediate state, such as in the cloud of witnesses, the Cloud of Unknowing, etc.

    Depends which 'gnostic teaching' you're talking about ...

    Again, depends which gnosis. Christian gnosis is entirely Biblical.

    Good question ... (with reservations).

    Good question again!

    Good answer!

    I would say further, that His innermost teachings were reserved for the three, Peter, James and John, as is evident from Scripture. And later Paul, of course.

    OK — Then consider this: what Christ reveals to the Apostles, has never been revealed before. It is not part of human (nor even angelic) consciousness, nor is it accessible via any of the multiple modes of consciousness and being.

    Exactly right ... but again, you are emphasising the point of uniqueness and originality, not only in that place and that time, but in the cosmos as such.

    No-one argues this either ... I might question 'strained and sifted' — if only because by so saying you seem to undermine the credibility of what you're presenting as proof.

    I think we have a whole lot more than you suppose, understandably, if you preclude the Person of Christ.

    I'm sorry — but now you begin to undo everything you've just done! You're contradicting the very idea you emphasise — a 'SPECIAL REVELATION' which only the Apostles were privy to — it's not special, nor are they alone privy, if it was known millennia earlier, it doesn't even count as revelation in the proper sense. It might be a 'revelation' relative to the ignorance of the person, but it's not a revelation as such.

    Actually, that doesn't follow from what you have said above ...

    Hang on ... why is the bias 'obvious'? Why is it 'perjorative'? why is it 'ill-founded'? Just cos you think so is neither proof nor adequate argument. It's just an opinion. If you want this to be acceptable, you have to:
    Indicate what 'other Christianities' you're referring to;
    Detail its doctrines,
    Discuss and compare those with that of the Church,
    And make a case.

    Otherwise you're asking people to accept a statement from you as 'fact' purely because you say so ...


    Sadly, although I agree with the sentiment, it's just that ... sentiment. You're using the term 'know' very loosely — you 'know' because your faith is such that it excludes any other possibility. What you know does not stand as empirical proof, not is it necessarily persuasive for anyone else, it's personal and subjective.

    Then why are you limiting your argument to a strictly Christian basis? What about Taoist gnosis? Buddhist gnosis? Vedic gnosis?

    OK. But I am suggesting you're practicing DOGMATISM in asserting just one gnosis in the face of the evidence of the world.

    Of course there is. You're doing it now ... see your last entry below ...

    Then you once again refute your original premise — there is not a formal Gnosticism which applies in every case, therefore the gnosis of Christianity is uniquely Christian.

    Sounds suspiciously like a dogma, to me ... see above ...

    Do you think there is anyone who doesn't?

    Thomas
     
  4. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Interesting. The Tibetan Master (DK) makes reference in many spots to "the Raincloud of Knowable Things," a phrase which comes from the seer Patanjali. In part X of Letters on Occult Meditation (p. 186), the Tibetan says the following:
    [The disciple] has to recognise and work with ideas himself, learn the mode of approach and the consequent use of that "raincloud of knowable things" (to which Patanjali refers) and later how to translate these contacted ideas into practical ideals. As time proceeds, this "raincloud" will become more generally recognised; scientists will begin to realise that it is the true source or fount of all ideas and of the inspiration which makes their work possible; they will develop a technique of directed concentration which will enable them to attain that source of ideas and to profit by its existence.
    A wonderful prophecy, to say the least! :)

    In the book Glamour, A World Problem, the Tibetan speaks further on this analogy (of clouds and their relation to our vision of things spiritual):
    When ideals and mental concepts and formulated thoughtforms dominate the mind of an individual, a race or humanity in general, to the exclusion of all perspective or vision and to the shutting out of the real, then they constitute an illusion for as long as they control the mind and method of life. They prevent the free play of the intuition, with its real power to reveal the immediate future; they frequently exclude in their expression the basic principle of the solar system, Love, through the imposed control of some secondary and temporary principle; they can thus constitute a "forbidding dark cloud of rain" which serves to hide from view the "raincloud of knowable things" (to which Patanjali refers in his final book)—that cloud of wisdom which hovers over the lower mental plane and which can be tapped and used by students and aspirants through the free play of the intuition.
    And on p. 440 of Esoteric Psychology II, the Tibetan gives some additional correlative information:
    These "knowable things" will eventually drop into the conscious aspect of a man's nature and become an integral part of his intellectual equipment. Finally, as evolution proceeds and the ages pass away, they will drop into the subconscious aspect of his nature, as his power to grasp the super-conscious grows in capacity.
    Many other references exist; these are just three that stood out to me. Elsewhere the Master speaks of this raincloud as "the overshadowing cloud of spiritual knowledge," and indeed, this knowledge is what is the subject of the kind of gnosis to which I am referring.

    As for specific examples of gnosis, sure, some of these most certainly concern the Master Jesus ... or this Initiate during his incarnation early into the Piscean Era. For the Christian, this may be a subject, and hence a potential gnosis, of utmost interest. For students of other traditions, or of all traditions, there will be a larger - or at least somewhat different - context.

    Yours, maybe; certainly not mine. As a Catholic, you have chosen certain texts and sources of inspiration which mean the most to you, even while you may acknowledge others as useful to people on a different path (or even yourself, to whatever extent). The same is true for a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.

    There is nothing to preclude the student of gnosis qua gnosis from seeking - and finding - illumination from other texts than the canonical Gospels, other scriptures than the ancient Hebrew, and perhaps even sources of inspiration utterly outside the usually accepted realm of religion altogether.

    A beautiful piece of artwork, the majesty of a summer's day, or the graceful manner in which someone on the bus is able to address, engage and include people of all different backgrounds in simple conversation ... all of these can be the source and subject, or catalyst, for an example of gnosis - and we do not need to be a Christian, a Buddhist, or religious at all, in order to have that gnosis. The cart comes after the horse.

    Nor do our particular religious (and other) preconceptions afford us this gnosis. While that sometimes may indeed be the case, I would suggest that far more often ... they just get in the way. :(

    We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. In the nature of progressive revelation, I refuse to believe that someone, such and such a human being (or even a Divine Messenger) is the SOLE CUSTODIAN of ANY particular spiritual Truth (or set of teachings or truths) - for all time. This not only rubs me the wrong way, it goes completely against every intuition I have ever had.

    Progressive Revelation means just that. There may, and indeed there MUST, be new, more comprehensive and more INCLUSIVE teachings given, but these do not contradict previous teachings, nor do they fully supersede them. Rather, they help to show everything in proper context, and they adapt the One Truth for the current era. At first, the pieces may not all seem to fit together. And indeed, certain `vessels' may be specifically prepared to receive various `pieces' of what is actually one, synthetic whole (Teaching).

    Thus, the Apostles (and followers of other teachers, e.g., the Buddha's bhikkus) may well have received instruction which was meant for one individual here, another individual there. These, however, both at that time and most certainly afterwords, must have an intersection, a place where they come to fit together, forming what eventually comes to be understood as ONE, SACRED, UNFRAGMENTED Whole.

    The illusion, within time, space and the limiting worlds of the lower self (emotions, personal mind) ... is that these pieces were ever separate to begin with. The Masters (including Jesus, and the Christ as the `Teacher Alike of Angels and of Men') work with the energy of synthesis, with Ideas, with the Whole. All division, then, exists only within the worlds of form, where glamour, illusion and maya still perpetuate ... from which we, as yet, cannot fully escape.

    What I am saying is that the Masters are operative above and beyond time and space, thus they can see the end result even before its individual beginning. This is made abundantly clear in both the Hebrew scriptures and in the New Testament, but not, of course, within these Holy writings alone.

    Nor am I suggesting that the Christ did not have individual instructions for individual disciples ... advice offered to Matthias when Matthias most needed the Master's guidance, or teachings shared with those disciples whom the Master was sending to thus and such a province, applicable more directly for the groups of people whom those disciples (alone) would be meeting. This, I hope, we should be able to work out logically and intuitively.

    But to say that some things were given only to the Apostles, never to be repeated or shared with another consciousness - human or angelic ... this, you see, I find to be untrue (and know it to be so), with the one caveat from the preceding paragraph. The only other exception I can think of would be very rare examples of specific items which simply have not yet found their proper usefulness in the collective consciousness. And these, while indeed they may as yet rest within the Raincloud of Knowable Things, are simply awaiting the right moment, from the right minds, to once again precipitate into our outer awareness. As indicated, they will one day become part of common knowledge, and eventually find their place in our unconscious.

    Else, we are forced into imagining our God as dancing around, handing people a piece of cheese here, a bit of a shiny there, and having no real concern that we are only going to bandy about our presumed (yet real, in this scenario) state of FAVOR, or privilege, or one-uppedness. Nor does it help to say, oh, but the idea is for us to USE these individual revelations for the benefit of the greater good.

    Sure it is! Yet this is why that Raincloud is always there, hovering, ready for ANY mind to penetrate and call forth God's ONE Truth into a wonderful, beautiful moment of precipitation.

    And my point was to show that Christ taught the Apostles in secret. So this esoterism in plain sight (I will not dispute this point) was - and REMAINS, I argue - just vague enough that we continue to need pointers, instructions, and, I would say, LIFETIMES in order to fully discover.

    We as yet lack all of the KEYS to decode this plain-sight esoterism, and this is what the subject of spiritual Initiation helps us to explore. The Keys share common `components' (or aspects, characteristics, attributes) ... while each successive Key has something unique about it, building upon the Revelations and Empowering factors of the previous one(s), and unlocking a more `inward door' within the Father's Kingdom.

    Only a fool would say, ah, but I have all of the Keys ... for either he does and is yet a coward for not having tried them - or else he is misguided, misinformed or - a liar! I don't think you are any of these, thus you would not be so bold and pretend to have all of these Keys, as that would clearly make you a High Initiate (in the Order of Melchizedek), a Christ, a Master! At best we are but lowly aspirants, disciples after a certain fashion, initiates of a certain degree ... :)

    {We may, indeed, have ALL of the Keys, each one of us, but the spiritual path is about learning to turn each of them in the right sequence, at the proper time. And that takes practice, faith, gnosis, hard work and what the Christian calls Grace. I would suggest that none of these can be lacking in order for us to progress to the next step.}

    We disagree somewhat upon just exactly what this phrase means. Probably we have more in common than some might imagine, perhaps even either one of us! But I wonder, do you believe it is possible for a person to come to enlightenment without ever having any familiarity with the Christian path whatsoever - say in a different age (prior to Christ), or perhaps in a part of the world where the Gospels have simply never reached?

    The person of Christ has something to do with Jesus, imho, but mostly in a purely historical sense. Because I believe in the Greek Mystery Traditions and their concept of a chrestos, only become a complete Christos at the highest of Initiations, and because I believe this to be a Universal Tradition, not one exclusive to any particular culture, or epoch of Humanity, I also find it exceeding easy to consider that the Christ has been known here & there for millions of years, by cultures and civilizations long since lost.

    I don't just mean the Atlanteans, I mean the Egyptians (far prior to last ten thousand years or so), the Chaldeans, the pre-Christian Celts, the Hindus, the Buddhist, the Hebrews (umm, Moses?) and so forth. By locking Christ (or the person of Christ) into one, specific era, one time period with one isolated set of historical events, we effectively shut out the majesty and the meaning of that episode, that drama on the world stage ... to those who were fortunate enough to have had a ticket, to have been born at that time and in that location or - as the Christian will insist - to those who choose to believe.

    It may seem a bit harsh, but this belief is - to me - just that. It is no more. I may believe I am going to find a harem of 1,000 lovely virgins when I cross over. Such a belief, at worst, may actually briefly produce this illusion, or draw certain unappealing forces to my astral self upon my transition. That would be a great misfortune, but at any rate, it cannot last. Nor will the illusions of `heaven' which the average Christian has built for himself, though they do serve their purpose if I am not mistaken (by showing him what heaven is not, and by helping him along the way to a far greater - if temporary - GLORY ... which he probably could not have imagined in his wildest dreams).

    Presumptuous? Maybe. But I must believe it, for this is what I have seen. If I cannot quite call it gnosis, I certainly cannot call it fantasy, or mere well-wishing, or purely a matter of faith. For I have plenty of evidence, from my own path, experiences and quest for meaning, to tell me that this is by far the likeliest state of things.

    But as for the matter of the person of Christ, remember, both myself (and I am not a strict Theosophist) and Nick, among others, will be the first to tell you that we DO believe in a Teacher of Pure Love, as described by certain Psalmists and in such deeply mystical, or esoteric teachings as the Book of Revelation, and the Gospel John. We believe that Christ heads a vast Hierarchy of both Angelic and of Human beings. The person of Christ, then, had better be a whole lot more than `that man Jesus, what lived all those years ago, and what said stuff like "Believe in me," yadda yadda.'

    For, not the believe in me, but the implications of such belief, are all that really matter. Talk does not cook the rice. Action, not words, are often what is needed. Diplomacy, on the other hand, can bring about the resolution of countless UNholy wars ... where nukes - and worse - can only perpetuate man's needless suffering. But this kind of talk, carried out in the true spirit OF the Christ, is precisely a part of the ACTION, of the Good Works, which Christ sent His own disciples out into the world to perform!
     
  5. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Hmm, I speak of a Tradition of Progressive Revelation. How does this in any way contradict anything else I've said?

    You objected to this statement, so ... you mean to tell me that the Catholics believe as the Baptists believe as the Mormons believe as the Theosophists ... and etc.?

    Nope. Now you're just being pedantic and difficult, Thomas. Not gonna play that game. You know what I'm driving at, and you can't win an argument by straw manning me. You wish to pick apart the pieces, break the whole down in neatly digestible, assailable parts, and see if you can get me to believe that all I have left - once you're finished - is a collection of useless pieces scattered upon the floor. This, you will, as usual, compare to your more sound, wholesome and established tradition of Catholicism.

    Thomas, face it. The gnostics preceded you - and Christianity. The gnostics paralleled and survived everything that has occurred during the long, sordid history of the Catholic Church - and all she has done to ATTEMPT to wipe the heretics and non-believers off the face of the earth. All she managed to do, was torture, burn, kill, and partially suppress those who were bold enough to stand up to her in a less tolerant day. We did not go away, however, and we shall not. We shall, rather, outlast her, for - as has been said - The Truth shall out! ;)

    Any particular question you have - feel free to bring it up. I have taken the time to reply to some of your more grounded objections, and points of contention. That is a courtesy. You won't get your satisfaction out of me, and I think Nick has seen the end of your games as well. Either bone up and play fair, or hang your head and get outta dodge.

    Gnosis is not meant to be, or necessarily involve, empirical proof. That is not what constitutes, or determines, gnosis ... nor does it determine the Truth of a matter. One may not be able to convince others of one's revelation, but this in no way invalidates the (validity or content of the) original experience. OF COURSE our spiritual experiences are often, if not largely, personal and subjective. What good would they be if all they consisted of was logical, easily verifiable, EMPIRICAL goings-on? Who the hell would care?

    If, however, you wish to explore the value of shared religious, mystical, spiritual or psychic phenomena, try visiting the thread on Telepathy that I recently started. You'll see plenty of discussion there about how valuable it CAN BE when we experience unusual things in such a manner that we can VERIFY them for each other, and share them (again, without being so morosely reductivist about it all).

    I would welcome dicussion from Taoists, from Buddhists, from Hindus, or from anyone who has a positive contribution. Again, you're trying to put the cart before the horse here, Thomas. You've neatly pigeon-holed the entire gamut of spiritual and religious experience, and you've forgotten that man was not made for {religion} ... but vice versa. It is not because a man sets out to have a gnostic or spiritual experience that he then - lo and behold - finds an answer from his deity and ... has one! Or at least, this is not what our experience seems to indicate.

    You want to neatly classify and categorize, and again, attempt to reduce this all down ... when your very starting analogy - and the quotations which I have provided in support of the idea - show us that we should be proceeding precisely in the opposite direction. Instead of trying to simply break it down, try asking what are the common factors between those who claim a gnosis - REGARDLESS of background, tradition, prior religious experience (or none), etc. See what is common to the various experiences themselves, and keep a careful list of characteristics that stand out - as perhaps being unique to Joe Smith's description, or as being common only between this small group of Wiccans over here, while even the rest of the Pagan folks seemed to say that thus and such was a far more likely set of phenomena.

    I think what you'd find - although it's up to YOU if you wish to pursue the study - is that, first of all, the commonalities in general will far outweigh the discrepancies. This, if you at least take a look at the spiritual and religious experiences described by Baptists, and see what these have in common, then of Catholics, then of Buddhists, and so forth. Only then might you look across faiths, but keep within the People of the Book, for example, or compare Buddhists with Taoists, and so forth. Buddhists describing encounters with JESUS might pop up occasionally, but I would expect this to be far less common than the average Fundamentalist who says that Jesus came to him in such and such a dream and told him X.

    Still, if you try to approach this with an open mind and little bit of detachment, as free from bias and expectation as possible, I think you'll see that the descriptions themselves will show far more in common than things like, "I saw a bright figure and it was Jesus" vs. "The radiant Buddha Amitabha appeared to me" would appear to, at first glance. The careful explorer will ask questions like, describe the figure Jesus and describe the Buddha Amitabha ... and while not discounting the variation in these two descriptions, all details possible will be recorded, giving the greatest possible latitude for parallels.

    A very intimate and lengthy encounter, say with one's favorite aunt who has recently passed over, may prove for the experiencer beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were indeed speaking with her spirit ... yet a good researcher will know not to discount that person's experience and insist to them that it was the deity Tehuti simply preparing them for the first few steps into the Fields of Aanroo.

    You can set up straw people to kick around all day, Thomas, but you'll be out in that field all by yourself. I like to play, just not that way.

    Oh no. There are many types and degrees of gnosis. Only another individual who has similar (or the same, or best of all, superior) insight into the subject of gnosis of the first person, has any real qualification to judge - or comment upon - what that first person is experiencing. And I assure you, the Tibetan Master could do this for you just as well as the Master Jesus, just as the Master Jesus is perfectly capable of providing spiritual assistance to any - Buddhist. Try checking out a copy of David Anrias' book, The Vision of the Nazarene. I can't find it online, but you can order a copy from from Amazon.com, and I'm sure it's sold by them in the UK as well. Read it ALL, but in particular pay attention to the four pages entitled, Of Idolatry.

    That high horse of yours will continue to buck and bray till he throws you (again and again). I know, because I have the same trouble with my own. You cannot preach the superiority of your own religion, or of your own gnosis, or even of your own methodology ... until and unless you perfectly embody any one of these - without experiencing the karmic repercussions.

    This thread is not asserting that there is a perfect vehicle, or method, for attaining the Gnosis. We could explore that, if you wish (and you seem most determined), but it takes us in a different direction. What you must get beyond - and I am not the one qualified to get you there - is the assertion that there are all these different paths of gnosis floating around, without any connection between them, or commonality.

    Gnosis is gnosis; it's really that simple. Degrees, types, sure. But why all the harping upon Christianity? Not I, Thomas, not I. YOU. My comparison was originally between FAITH and gnosis. You have managed to all but leave the subject of faith UNTOUCHED, and have - for whatever reason - chosen to try and unwrap the very idea of gnosis itself. And because of that, I am forced to go back and remind you that GNOSIS, like Faith, is wholistic. It may be something we can describe, and talk about, but - again, like Faith - it must truly be experienced in order to be understood.

    Perhaps we can try and complement each other in an effort to better understand both Faith and Gnosis. I do not insist that these are mutually exclusive terms, or that each does not share elements of the other. If you want to seize upon something and drive at it over and over, try this point, or a similar one.

    This is not football, even if it may be enjoyable at times to try and run with the ball. I prefer the metaphor of volleyball, and - if it comes to that - tennis. A really good discussion, on the other hand, might be compared to a nature walk through the park one afternoon, observing the flowers, the trees, the different types of animals, the harmony of the ecosystem, and maybe even keeping track of what improvements we could suggest - even help implement - to the local planning board.

    I grow weary at times of being a Dharma-protector, even on my tiny scale, or in reference to my little corner of it. :eek:
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Taijasi —

    We tend to treat the cloud motif as a metaphor of the transcendent order ... as a somewhat intermediary between capaphatic (light) and apophatic (dark) way ...

    Regarding the rest ... I was saddened by the polemic of your responses, I had hoped we had both moved beyond 'my way or no way', but apparently not. Discourse, obviously, is out of the question then ... but in passing I hope to offer a few responses. I doubt you'll like them ... but there you go.

    Quite so. That's why I enjoy comparative religion. That's my point. Each tradition is entire and sufficient in itself for the seeker — amply evidenced in the saints, sages and seers and yes — even gnostics! — who abide therein. I delight in the Rumi's and the Ibn'Arabi's, in the Shankara's and in the Plato's ... I delight in all the world's traditions ... we all have wisdoms to share.

    Sadly you seem unable to acknowledge any tradition for its own sake. To us, it seems as if you sit in lofty judgement on the perceived insufficiencies of all other traditions, which are nothing but poor and inadequate reflections of your own.

    Why? Because you insist upon it? Because you have decided that God has not yet done enough? Because you've thoroughly exhausted the content of every tradition, and yet you hunger for more? The Bible is not enough? The Vedas? The Q'ran? the Pali Canon? The Upanishads?

    How many times does ET have to say "Be good' to make the point? ;)

    How many Revelations does it take, d'you wonder, to make the light come on? :D

    Is there no possibility in your heart that, from eternity, the gods have been saying the same thing, one simple, little thing ... it's just we who continually fail to live up to the message?

    That a dependency on The Masters, or the Illuminati, or The Lord of the World, or someone else who's behind the curtains, pulling the strings ... is just an excuse to explain one's sense of dissatisfaction or lack of worth :eek:

    The Hebrews believe that the first syllable of Scripture contains all there is to be known ... Christians believe The Lord spoke the Word in the Logos of His nature from whom all creation springs forth ... think of AUM ... to suggest that in the sacra doctrina the words and wisdoms have only a relative and contingent application is, I would suggest, an underestimation of the wisdom of their Source.

    Actually, no it's not ... or show me, for I have not found it ... in fact quite the reverse ...

    I do note however, by your caveat, that what you find untrue and even offensive in every other tradition, you claim as only right and proper of your own.

    Just because you don't get it, doesn't mean no-one else does.

    And I suggest only a fool keeps looking for keys once he has found one, because he doesn't appreciate what he's got.

    There's only one key, it seems to me, to open any lock ... It's the heart.

    Yes I do. Actually it's Catholic doctrine, something else you don't know, and probably would never imagine ....

    I tend to think that, in the grand scheme of things, all the gnosis in the world will not tip the scales when it comes to the weighing of the heart ... in fact all the knowledge in the world will not tip the scales against the poor man's faith, if the heart's in the right place.

    But then I'm a Catholic ... we're soppy like that.

    Thomas
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Taijasi —

    Oh, my dear friend, I would have thought, as a gnostic, you would appreciate the necessity of precision in all things? I was just calling attention to the rather wild and sweeping extravagances of your claims, I mean, all of them? Presumably you're working on the principle of, if the Church bans it, it must be true! :rolleyes:

    I think the wiser path in all this is to stay within what one knows, and not make claims one can't substantiate.

    Er ... who set the agenda?

    Funny ... my broswer says:
    The first rule of a good fibber is a good memory!

    I know ... Life is such a burden, isn't it? You really need to lighten up, old friend.

    The implication to consider is perhaps you might not be operating in quite the heroic mould you think yourself to be ... were it so, you would never weary, the Dhama would sustain you ...

    Thomas
     
  8. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Not much point in saying anything else, actually, and I see no point in reading - or responding to - what you may have to say. You've given me no reason to engage you, and I think you knew perfectly well what you were up to from the beginning.

    If not, may I politely suggest that you pick one or two points from my posts - or another's posts - on this (or any other) thread, seek to discuss them one at a time, then maybe come back to additional points IF the first few run to their natural conclusion ... or get no `bites'? I really do think that would be a friendlier approach than just lowering the blunderbuss and seeing which piece of lead happens to strike the right nerve. :(

    I will admit, I chose a poor title for this thread, and I was far too verbose in hoping to introduce a subject that might invite friendly discussion. Then again, I did have somewhat of a mixed motive. I sought to partially defuse some of the building ire that was stirring throughout the `Christianity' forum at Interfaith a week or so ago. I myself had a part in that, but alas, I cannot claim to have precipitated the whirlwind whole hog.

    While I may enjoy friendly debate, even a provocative jab or goading (received!) every now and then, what I do not appreciate is the usual adversarial tone which seems to develop damn near any time the two of us go toe to toe. If I did not actually intend to steer things in this precise direction, I certainly managed to predict one possible outcome. It certainly takes two to engage in this sort of unproductive dialogue, however, and (as I have done on many occasions before) I own up to every bit of my part in it. You can either own your 1%+, or you can pretend that that halo of yours is just fine the way it is, needing no - further - work.

    And what is that adversarial thing about, anyway? Since my gnosis tells me that the devil with pitchfork is a pretty horrific distortion of the truth, misrepresenting the Spirit (sic) of Neptune-Poseidon and blending this with some pretty obvious Capricornian misgivings, perhaps a line of inquiry about the intersection of theodicy and gnosis would be appropriate at this point.

    I am game, if you choose to set the ball rolling, as I would think such a discussion might get us back into the proper swing of things. Philosophical is okay, a moderate dose of theology does not frighten me off; it is simply the overwhelming with too many points to make a proper reply (or to allow for a proper debate) which I find I cannot handle. And this is certainly a poor posting practice of which I myself am guilty to a cardinal degree!

    Namaskar
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    OK. How about this:
    If the thesis of Gerald Massey, who inspired your original post, is correct, then the New Testament, upon which you base so much of your argument in favour of a secret teaching given to the apostles, and apart from which we have next to nothing about his life, work and teaching — should be regarded as a spurious piece of syncretic fiction, intent on nothing more than the self-aggrandisement of those who composed it, surely?

    It would be nothing more or less than a 'Da Vinci Code' of its day — a fiction posing as fact?

    Thomas
     
  10. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Speak for yourself.
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Namaste taijasi,

    Are you referring to some ancient text here, or some inspried more recent text? Or inspiratoin w/o text.
     
  12. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Hmm, all of the above, but in terms of texts we have revelations dating back from prior to Christ's own time, some that were composed during His time - though precious few which help us much with precise historical information (this being of 2ndary concern when related to Christ's mission, anyway) ... and plenty that was composed or compiled after Christ's appearance. Of these writings, my interest is largely in those which were inspired by gnosis, rather than on faith alone. The latter may be useful and inspiring, but for me they fit into a different category.

    How can we make the distinction?

    We can't. Certainly not always - and especially where these overlap. I mean, after all, does it really makes sense that some bloke sitting in his basement one day just happened to find the Muses encouraging him to write ... and, doing so, we end up with an entire Gospel account of the life and deeds of Christ? Not to say it couldn't happen or hasn't happened, but I take this as less likely than that Revelation would come to and through those who are seeking to help others to understand our human condition and our relationship to the Divine.

    Thus, since Christ comes within the context of a Mystery TRADITION, not the first Christ, not the last Christ, it is no surprise that we can learn much about His Purpose and Mission ... by studying not just what was prophesied about His coming within the Hebrew tradition, but also by looking at what was written within the context of the Greek Mystery Teachings (e.g. the Eleusinian). That, and also by examining the Egyptian Tradition, the ancient Chaldees, Mithraism or Zoroastrianism, etc.

    The Essenes probably could give us more insight into the person, life and certain historical details about Jesus of Nazareth the man, in addition to his role as the Christ ... if only more had survived of their community, writings and teachings. Still, it seems to me the most likely candidate for an identity for Jesus was the Teacher of Righteousness. This subject and study, if approached with an unbiased mind, just might make Christians out of many a non-believer. But this information is of no real use to someone - whose mind is already made up!

    There are also many contributions from within the past 150 years or so which show us much in the way of a gnosis regarding the true nature and Mission (or Purpose) of the Christ. The seer Geoffrey Hodson related several episodes in his occult diary ... including one in which the very writing of the synoptics was described, firsthand. Other accounts provide direct, eyewitness testimony to the procession of Jesus through the streets, on the via dolorosa, and relate an episode that occurred to him [Hodson] then, in a former incarnation, wherein his teacher sacrificed himself for his student's safety. A direct encounter then took place with the Christ ...

    And yet, this is just scratching the surface. I should think that direct Teachings of the Master Jesus ... and of the Christ Himself, would be of interest to one whose faith and interest in direct experience are without bias or pre-condition. Thus, many a person of non-Christian background, or otherwise not predisposed to shut doors merely because of who may have opened them, has been afforded a glimpse, perhaps even a direct encounter, with the Christ and Masters.

    Be wary of anyone who comes forth with his bow drawn and a hefty sling of arrows, crying heretic! and taking pock shots at everyone who dares dissent. He will be the first to cry wolf! or False Messiah! ... yet he cannot defend his accusations, and he has not the discrimination of which Christ spoke and warned us.

    If he were sincere, he would investigate for himself. Given a crumb of bread, he would see where it leads ... and if promised that these simple crumbs could lead him to a banquet before his Lord, he would hastily rush to either prove or disprove the truth of the invitation.

    Could it be that these chains which bind us, and keep us focused on the shadows of the cave wall, are too much - even for the keen of mind and astute among us? Why even struggle, when we have become so accustomed to watching their familiar dance? Why not just be content with things as they are?

    Do not go in search of other answers, other meanings. Stick with what you have. Do not ask too many questions, do not uproot yourself when your faith is already strong. Are your beliefs and practices not rooted in a long, well established tradition? Have not many millions come before you, and are you not in good company now? Why stir the pot; why make waves?

    Thus does the theologian, the cleric, the pontiff and pope, try to keep his sheep - as sheep. Not the good shepherd, but taking upon himself the role of reformer, he tells us we are in no need of reform ... and I say, if the sheep are happy, let them stick to whatever works for them, let them remain content, never questioning what it is they believe, or why, or how the current interpretations came about. Perhaps their faith is indeed all they need - at this juncture.

    But if the spirit of free inquiry is suppressed, if other interpretations of the New Testament teachings are discouraged, and if the investigation of alternate texts, additional Gospels and other forms of Divine Revelation is forbidden, then consider - does this not say a great deal more about those who are doing the squelching ... either than it does about these other forms of gnosis themselves, or about the ones who are encouraging open-minded investigation?
    Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
    Good works is a very encompassing concept, and most certainly it includes ministering to those who are sick in one form or another, or who have very little, or to whom some misfortune or calamity may have occurred. These passages are also about faith and gnosis ... and about sharing these with the community of believers and with the world at large - through various means or capacities.
    Well, you can radiate ev'rything you are,
    Yes, you can radiate ev'rything you are.
    - the Beatles, I Dig a Pony
     
  13. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    It is nice to read from someone a bit of Gnosis or gnosis. Im with you of course Jesus gave secret info, of course he was radical in many of his claims, they did not crucify him because he said "what would Jesus do". They surely did not crucify him because of how much love he gave. The people he came to probably had become more bottle necked by there beliefs than any body else. The Jews, Greeks and Romans had to have been some of the most brain washed and therefore defiled people on the planet. Jesus couldnt just all at once tell the public " hey you know that Hebrew god you all serve it aint the Father" or "hey you know that law you so strictly abase yourself over yeh it was a trick". There were only a few people who had invested enough of ther practice of intellectual elevation to comprehend. These people must of had time on there hands to ponder the wonders of the Father as did David who gave a poor show of adherance to the commands. Hey and why did Moses refuse to speek to the rock, maybe he was on to somthing. So of course there is a thing beyond faith, this is knowledge and.. well there is a thing beyond obtaining knowlege, that is, being knowledge. So now we have something to come out of, something to repay double portion. Ignorance. All of the creation from spiritual to the physical crys out to us awake, awake, awake. Shoot most quantum physic scientist grasp the existance of the heavens and its powers better than any theologians of just about any "christian denomination' which is a divisioN. Christ petitioned the Father before his ascension that we be not divided, you suppose Christ waisted his time with this prayer or did the Father forsake his request? Of course not Chists church has never been divided. But i will say it isnt the one your probably thinking of. The kingdom of heaven is like an olive tree, which strong men grasped and shook until the branches were bare. There are only a few olives left in cluster here and there. The rest of them fell and will be gathered and have the oil squashed right out of them. There are many teachings throughout scripture that make it apparent that the number of followers is and always has been few in comparison with those that have fallen.
     
  14. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    Christ followers gained faith, hope, and love, from knowledge of the Father given to them by the Son. Faith is first but we know of the three not the greatest, the greatest of these is love. Knowledge of the Father is the foundation that they are built on. If you have no knowledge what are you building on?
     
  15. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    and if you do have knowledge why not strive for the greatest of the three which is love. See the Father is love if we strive for love we come full circle in our knowledge. From love to love. Pretty scientific in regards to singularity.
     
  16. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    Look why did Christ need to redeem us? If he came from the Father in perfection and lived in perfection within the flesh, from where did we come? If our purpose in this life is to become like God through adherance. Then why do we have a less than perfect vessel. Jesus lived perfectly why dont we, if we are his creation or an emination from him? How can we learn to become like the Father if we havent seen him? and if Jesus did what we are supposed to do, why is it so hard for us? If it were possible for us to do why would we need a redeemer? Why would the Father enslave us in this creation so we can learn to be perfect, and then send perfection to redeem us? If Christ can come from the Father in perfection and return to the Father in perfection, Then why cant we without being redeemed? I say the answer is apparent this is not the Fathers creation. It did not happen absent his knowing, it occured absent his consent. So he had to go and get all the little pieces of himself, of his power that was used in its creation. This is why we need to be saved we did not lose ourselves and we can not save ourselves. Just as by one all were lost by one all will be saved. So friends attach your soul to that piece of the spirit that is in you and not to the flesh. For the flesh will go the way of all matter and error, to destruction. However the spirit will return to the father. Christ came and filled us in and then sealed it with his blood. Faith, Hope and Love are the glue, and knowledge of the father is the applicator. Forsake the flesh and be glued to the spirit, and no one or no thing can remove you from this LOVE.
     
  17. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    I tryed to read this post but it seems to much like a fight. Maybe after judgment when many are cast into outer darkness where there is gnashing of teeth. (THAT PLACE IS THIS EARTH.) Maybe there you guys can continue your fight, over and over and over and over and over and......etc. Look religion and sects and denominations are all divisions. At one time on this earth we all believed the same. We fractured from this. Now we repeat the actions responsible for division daily and say we do it to defend the truth. Is your truth so feeble that you need to defend it? All 4 major religions come from father Abraham and mother Sarah. If you dont already gnow this then i sugest you use your brain and research it. I cant convince you. Maybe any one reading this should read my other posts. I dont need to be rightnor do i need my beliefs to be right. I dont play the right and wrong game anymore. It is all so relative. Burn all the books close all the temple doors, for religion is dieing its long awaited death. Behold through trevail and pain truth is born, not unto existance, but into our hearts.
     
  18. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    I tryed to read this post but it seems to much like a fight. Maybe after judgment when many are cast into outer darkness where there is gnashing of teeth. (THAT PLACE IS THIS EARTH.) Maybe there you guys can continue your fight, over and over and over and over and over and......etc. Look religion and sects and denominations are all divisions. At one time on this earth we all believed the same. We fractured from this. Now we repeat the actions responsible for division daily and say we do it to defend the truth. Is your truth so feeble that you need to defend it? All 4 major religions come from father Abraham and mother Sarah. If you dont already gnow this then i sugest you use your brain and research it. I cant convince you. Maybe any one reading this should read my other posts. I dont need to be rightnor do i need my beliefs to be right. I dont play the right and wrong game anymore. It is all so relative. Burn all the books close all the temple doors, for religion is dieing its long awaited death. Behold through trevail and pain truth is born, not unto existance, but into our hearts.
    If there be know other name but the name of Jesus, my question is why did the angel say he would be called Emanuel. Others places he is called Joshua. If you take these three names and multiply them times the number of spoken languages, he realy would become a stumbling block for many peoples. But im not trippin.
     
  19. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    Know think do
    faith hope love
    spirit soul body
     
  20. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I think it's interesting the order you chose for the central set of three.
     

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