Musings on a Gnostic Theme

Dream

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I agree with Tao that sonoman is acting too offended, but I think it should be pointed out that this is really an offense against me. I will explain to those who aren't in on it: This is a forum not a blog, even though some of you think it is. You think I don't want people to read my posts, so you make up this sonoman character. I'm sick of this. I'm going to get an apartment with Celeste and live on vegetables without condiments. Every time I post I either get ignored and my rep is miserably low, but I'm always thankful for everyone's posts and try my best to help everyone get along. People get over yourselves and try to understand what I've been trying to say all this time. Geeze. You're all a bunch of narcissists. Watch me get censored over this post.
 

Thomas

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Hi Sonoman —

The conversation going on here that I see attempting to confine gnosis to classical gnostic theology is very wrong...
And if you read my post you will have seen that I think the term itself is ill-used and misunderstood, so I would have thought it useful to clear the ground first? 'Gnostic' is one of those terms that these days, like 'Christianity', can mean anything and nothing.

So if one wants to discuss gnosticism, one really ought to set out a working definition beforehand. Are we talking 2nd century gnosticism generally? Or Valentinian gnosticism particularly, or Basilidean? Or the gnosis of the Fathers? Or of the Platonists?

Are we ignoring Irenaeus' Adversus Haeres, are we basing our definition of gnosticism on his work? if not, on what?

as it does not address what was going on in the early Christian communities, a conflict between bodily resurrection and resurrection of the soul only.
OK. Well then, if you can present your thesis, with references?

John is on the side of the body resurrectionists but schizophrenically so, e.g. telling us only the soul reaches heaven at one point but having Thomas touch the resurrected Jesus to prove his body at another.
Personally I see no schizophrenia in John — Heaven and the Resurrection are not the same thing. You'll have to make a case for that, as it seems just your opinion?

I would love to be able to tell you why John and the Gospels stick to the bodily resurrection theme ...
Er, because that's what Christ taught? Because that's what Jewish speculation was heading towards ... ?

Is this site a place where freedom of intellectual discussion is allowed? For me, that answer is no, it is not, and that's a shame because why can't I post my honest Christian beliefs here? Can any of you answer me this?
Yes, I can, you've got it completely wrong. I can cite dozens of cases where Christian beliefs, non-Christian beliefs, and all manner of other beliefs have been posted ... believe me, as a Catholic, I'm somewhat attuned to this sort of thing ... all manner of offensive stuff's been posted here ... that the Church Fathers were all a bunch of shysters, that Christianity taught reincarnation, but it's been excised from the record ... in terms of censorship ... it's not what is said, it's how it is said, and it would seem that's the reason why you ran into trouble here.

But let's put that aside. On to gnosticism ... and over to you.

Thomas
 

Thomas

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Hi Earl —

To me ... my point was actually that it was his mere "presence" not specifically his words about anything particularly that induced those close to him to more elevated views and/or altered states.
Agreed. In fact, that's what the Parables of the Kingdom are all about ...

... but then I would argue that one has to be open to His "presence" — it's apparent that one could just as easily pass Him on the street without noticing.

... and the same thing applies to the Church, which is the continuation of His "presence" in the world.

Many might experience the Divine, but only in the Church can one know Him.

+++

The only thing that really elevates consciousness is the experiential as opposed to teachings about the same, though I think a number of things Jesus shared over the course of his ministry reflected an elevated understanding of realities beyond the conventional...
Yes, but the aim of Christianity is not elevated consciousness or altered states — like the man said "before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, ditto."

Christianity is about accepting another ... giving a hungry man a crust, a thirsty man a drink, a kind word to the lonely, comfort to the lost ... not for a return, but just because ...

Really, if one experiences some kind of altered state or indeed anything one might consider 'out of the ordinary' then that's something wholly unexpected ... but it should not be one's aim or purpose ... too many people walk away from Christianity because they tried it, and nothing happened ...

But then that's my criticism of the whole self-defining and self-serving aspect of the modern 'spiritual quest' so called — its the pseudo-spirituality of consumerism. Christianity is not the only tradition to suffer that ...

Now as to whether what I posted had "anything to do with Christianity?" Well, certainly not in the conventional sense.:D That's why I posted it to this forum for folks to discuss or cuss or whatever.:)
Actually, I think it might have more to do with it than you realise! No, that sounds pompous ... I think it indeed has more to do with it than many might suppose I'd think!

In that sense authentic 'unconventional Christianity' is not a 'new truth', it's the same truth, but expressed in a new way ...

Thomas
 

wil

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I agree with Tao that sonoman is acting too offended, but I think it should be pointed out that this is really an offense against me. I will explain to those who aren't in on it: This is a forum not a blog, even though some of you think it is. You think I don't want people to read my posts, so you make up this sonoman character. I'm sick of this. I'm going to get an apartment with Celeste and live on vegetables without condiments. Every time I post I either get ignored and my rep is miserably low, but I'm always thankful for everyone's posts and try my best to help everyone get along. People get over yourselves and try to understand what I've been trying to say all this time. Geeze. You're all a bunch of narcissists. Watch me get censored over this post.
We invented Sonoman?? We ignore you?

Me personally, I respond to posts that a. interest me, b. I have a response to, c. infuriate me, d. cause my mind to create some sarcastic or off the wall remark.

I don't know how much I've ignored you in the past. If you perceive it to be that way it would only mean you didn't excite my neurons on levels a-d above.

by the way this remark is a b.

back to your regular programming...

celeste? our celeste?? Is she part of this conspiracy?
 

Dream

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Wil said:
back to your regular programming...

celeste? our celeste?? Is she part of this conspiracy?
Typical Wil. Please stop with the personal attacks. Thanks.
 

Dream

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Come to think of it I'm not making any more posts in this thread. I've had enough!
 

sonoman

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Real cute, dream. Only thing is, you're only diverting attention away from the censorship of a Christian member on this forum.

I am a Christian believer who's theology is very close to that of the Gospel of John. John is known to bible scholars as being included within the "gnostic" camp as is Thomas even though the texts of both of these early Christian writers show little if anything in common with later 2nd and 3rd century Gnostic gospels.

"Gnosis" means "knowledge of God" and one arrives at it through both mystical communion with God and existential meditation on the movement of the Spirit of God through time and space as seen in the ancient religious texts. I arrived at my belief in God through experiences of Gnosis which is why I can claim to be Gnostic yet still be a Christian solidly in the tradition of John of the Gospels. When I post on this forum about my beliefs I do not want non-Christians to tell me I am not a Christian and remove my posts to the esoteric folders where I never visit and I notice few others do either. I'm a Christian and want to post on the Christian boards or where Christianity is being discussed. Why were my posts moved? How can I answer requests for information when my posts are removed that carry the answers? When I get feedback that either gives a rational reason why a Christian cannot post Christian views on a Christian thread or apologizes for gross manipulation of a member's posting rights then I will stop criticizing. Well, stop criticizing that problem at least..
 

earl

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Actually, Steve, it seems you, me, Thomas, and others are sort of pecking away at that very dialogue you want right here. Plenty of interest right here. So why not go for it right here. Now, I think that respectful takes on Christianity of all sorts should be allowed in those premises but either way just carrying on here seems to be working Ok.:) earl
 

earl

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Thomas, what you had said about Christianity not primarily being about an experiential realization which transports us outside of our conventional views of things is certainly true to the same extent it could be said to be true about any other religion in that the "this worldly" nature of any good spiritual path is whether it enables us to be better people, better citizens fo the "whole." Of course, I'd add that contemplative methods contribute to just that very thing. But, as you know, no denomination has shown a greater interest in adding a contemplative aspect to their Christian practice than Catholics-or more precisely a large numer of Catholic clergy.:) So that hunger to know both ourselves and perhaps to an extent an aspect of the Divine beyond the conventional self is pretty natural and not "self"-indulgent. earl
 

iBrian

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I guess none of you paid attention to the fact my posts about gnosticism were removed from these threads while you regulars do not get yours removed and placed in the esoteric section. You are blind to the censorship that I am experiencing here and that is the source of my complaint.

As mentioned, all that happened is that one thread was moved from one board to another.

Oh - and your self-promotion thread trying to get people to your website. I believe this was a key reason for your original banning a few years ago.

Anyway, if all you can do here is whine about not being allowed to self-promote, you'll simply be encouraged to move on. That's not censorship - this is community - and I have no time for salespeople joining the forums to sell, and then complaining about it being against the rules.
 

Thomas

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Thomas, what you had said about Christianity not primarily being about an experiential realization which transports us outside of our conventional views of things is certainly true to the same extent it could be said to be true about any other religion in that the "this worldly" nature of any good spiritual path is whether it enables us to be better people, better citizens fo the "whole."
Yes ... but no other religion marries the two worlds quite so dynamically. Buddhism, for example, whilst it shares many similarities with Christianity, has a radically different view of the world, and the person ... so much so that on these two issues they are incompatible.

That was our dispute with gnosticism, and dualist systems generally. Christianity is not a dualist religion in that sense.

Of course, I'd add that contemplative methods contribute to just that very thing. But, as you know, no denomination has shown a greater interest in adding a contemplative aspect to their Christian practice than Catholics - or more precisely a large numer of Catholic clergy.:)
Christianity is first and foremost a contemplative religion, once one realises that the Christian contemplation 'method' par excellence is prayer.

I would argue, for example, that whilst we can learn a lot about technique from the Eastern contemplative systems ... the Metta Bhavana is a brilliant practice, in my book ... the object of the practice, for the Christian, is again radically different, and so lectio divina is a technique that surpasses the East. Then again, we have infused prayer and so forth, which just goes on and on from there ...

... once again, classical gnosticism rules this out.

So that hunger to know both ourselves and perhaps to an extent an aspect of the Divine beyond the conventional self is pretty natural and not "self"-indulgent. earl
It is natural, and when done properly is not self-indulgent ... but the point I was making is that common Western utilisation of anything is towards self-indulgence — that's what our technologies are all about — Eastern meditative techniques, for example, are often utterly self-indulgent, in the sense that they are done to achieve a material benefit.

I remember when Buddhist chanting was all the rage, as a celebrity was extolling the practice on tv with "I chanted for a new Porsche, and I got one!"

My good friend the Daoist laments too ften the fact that her Buddhist pals seem to belong to the 'I'm alright, Jack' brigade of looking after No1.

Not saying everyone does it that way, but the Western ethos is materialist and consumerist ... it's up to the individual to strip that aspect away to find the reality behind and beyond ... but then the same rule applies to Christianity ...

Thomas
 

Francis king

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Frans' musing on a gnostic theme....

gnostic with a large G or a small g?

You may think you're a gnostic, but until you really know, you are but a pretender, a child dressed up in momma's clothes...

knowledge, real knowledge, is always experiential... there is a difference between intellectually knowing God, and scriptures, and actually knowing God, in a biblical sense...

to meet with God... to unite or become one with God is the quest for most religious types, in truth... knowledge of God is what you want, so you gather knowledge of books and thoughts of men, and think you know everything, but until you make that union, a real connection, with divinity, in its many forms, you know nothing...

I have a book here, a collection of vancanas, or "free verse lyrics", poems kind of like bhajans, or devotional songs, to Siva, and my favourite are by Basavanna...

"Look, the world, a swell
of waves, is beating upon my face.
Why should it rise to my heart,
tell me.
O tell me, why is it
rising now to my throat?
Lord,
how can I tell you anything
when it is risen high
over my head
lord lord
listen to my cries
O Lord of the Meeting Rivers
listen.

.....

to my way of looking at things, a lot of ppl feel just like Basavanna. They too are yearning for that "personal" connection with their Lord.

The Catholic Enclyclopedia defines gnosticism as...

" a collective name for a large number of greatly varying and pantheistic-idealistic sects which flourished from some time before the christian era down to the fifth century and which, while borrowing from the phraseology and and some of the tenets of the chief religions of the day, and especially of christianity, held matter to be a deterioration of spirit, and the whole universe a depravation of the deity, and taught the ultimate end of all beings to be the overcoming of the grossness of matter and the return to the parent-spirit, which return they held to be inaugurated and facilitated by the appearance of some god-sent saviour"...

elements of gnosticism, by stuart holroyd, states;

in the beginning there existened only the transcendent god, a male principle that existed for eternities in repose with a female principle, the Ennoia (thought), until there emanated or was brought forth from their union the two archetypes of mind (male) and truth (female). in turn these principles emanated others, in male-female pairs to the total of thirty, called, aeons, who collectively collectively constituted the devine realm, known as the pleroma or "fullness". Of all the aeons, only the first, Mind, knew and comprehended the greatness of the Father, and could behold him, but the last and youngest, Sophia, (wisdom) became possessed of a passion to do so, and out of the agony of this passion and without the knowledge of her male counterpart she projected from her own being a flawed emanation.
This abortion, the "Demi-urge", was the creatioor of the material cosmos and imagined himself to be the absolute God.
The cosmos he created consisted of a number of spheres, each of which is ruled over by one of the lower powers, archons, who collectively govern man's world, the earth, which is the lowest of the spheres of the degenerate creation".

Jehovah is usually considered to be this demi-urge, the abortion of Sophia...

Not the "father" at all... he just thinks he is, and wants you to think that too...

now, perhaps Jesus is considered a "new" version of the old messiah, the saviour, for gnostics now, and why should this be wrong?

after all, catholicism itself is rife with it's "perfections of spirit" themes. Man, and matter, and Mammon, are flawed, corrupt, whereas the spirit, the soul, is eternal, indestructable, and from God...

And yet- to unite with God, the father, is not really a theme for most christians...

the demi-urge does not want you to merge with him, for if you do you will glimpse the other, the perfect one, the real father, and cast him aside as the corrupt and imperfect deity he is... and then we'd have to stop publishing old testaments...

The Nag Hammadi texts should perhaps be included in the new testament, yet...

how can we change a book written in stone years past?

the gospel of truth, the gospel of thomas, the treatise on the ressurection, gospel of phillip, gospel of mary, wisdom of jesus christ, revelation of james, letter of peter to phillip, on the origin of the world... 41 new texts they found in nag hammadi... many of them seemingly gnostic, and some bearing passages in their texts which are almost exactly the same as in the "modern " bible...

before that... other texts were found, pre-dating nag hammadi, such as... the "pistis sophia", or the "piste sophiae cotice" which refers to the mother of jesus, the virgin, being "the pleroma of pleromas", the apocryphon of john, and the gospel of mary, and the sophia of jesus christ, all discovered in 1896.

Now... lol... there was a priest in rennes-le-chateaux, and it is my belief this priest found these documents, pre-nag hammadi... I believe he sold them to a collector in Cairo and used the money to build his church...

"this is a terrible place"...

indeed it is, Sauniere... I agree...

rumour has it... at this time in history, and a few miles from where Sauniere was based a priest of the same age and physical characteristics was murdered... nobody was ever caught...

rumour has it... Sauniere "saw his ass", and moved the rest to Egypt, and et voila! the Nag Hammadi library was discovered, in a cave, by a small Bedoin boy...

All because the Chruch did not want to admit to the peasants they had spent many years deciding what God and theology and the cosmos was, and woe betide anyone who contradicts us, even if the words come from the mouth of Jesus himself, they would rather burn their Master's words than allow themselves to be exposed as the whore of Babylon, fornicating with a corrupt demi-urge to deny you union with God...

for, if the peasants can unite direct, what use are priests?

If matter is corrupt, we cannot make money from the sale of relics...
 

earl

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Yes ... but no other religion marries the two worlds quite so dynamically. Buddhism, for example, whilst it shares many similarities with Christianity, has a radically different view of the world, and the person ... so much so that on these two issues they are incompatible.

That was our dispute with gnosticism, and dualist systems generally. Christianity is not a dualist religion in that sense.


Christianity is first and foremost a contemplative religion, once one realises that the Christian contemplation 'method' par excellence is prayer.

I would argue, for example, that whilst we can learn a lot about technique from the Eastern contemplative systems ... the Metta Bhavana is a brilliant practice, in my book ... the object of the practice, for the Christian, is again radically different, and so lectio divina is a technique that surpasses the East. Then again, we have infused prayer and so forth, which just goes on and on from there ...

... once again, classical gnosticism rules this out.


It is natural, and when done properly is not self-indulgent ... but the point I was making is that common Western utilisation of anything is towards self-indulgence — that's what our technologies are all about — Eastern meditative techniques, for example, are often utterly self-indulgent, in the sense that they are done to achieve a material benefit.

I remember when Buddhist chanting was all the rage, as a celebrity was extolling the practice on tv with "I chanted for a new Porsche, and I got one!"

My good friend the Daoist laments too ften the fact that her Buddhist pals seem to belong to the 'I'm alright, Jack' brigade of looking after No1.

Not saying everyone does it that way, but the Western ethos is materialist and consumerist ... it's up to the individual to strip that aspect away to find the reality behind and beyond ... but then the same rule applies to Christianity ...

Thomas
As to Eastern meditations being innately oriented to selfish ends, Thomas, I'd have to disagree that that is their actual intent. But the human mind can turn anything, including prayer, into a "selfish" event. Must admit my own spiritual practive tends to lean more to the apophatic as described in this piece by Father Thomas Keating. :) earl

Christian Contemplative Tradition
 

sonoman

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Actually, Steve, it seems you, me, Thomas, and others are sort of pecking away at that very dialogue you want right here. Plenty of interest right here. So why not go for it right here. Now, I think that respectful takes on Christianity of all sorts should be allowed in those premises but either way just carrying on here seems to be working Ok.:) earl

Actually, earl, you need to look at the owner's response to see why I cannot post my Christian beliefs here. You've got an A-No. I anti-Christian censor at large here censoring a gnostic Christians beliefs. See the internet linkage icons in the posting dialogue box? They don't work when I try to link to my website because I'm "self-promoting" if I dare to have gnostic visions. Oh no! Not allowed on an interfaith forum for a Christian to mention his Christian visions. What total intellectual bs! And you all go for this blatant attack on freedom of religious belief.

I have NO, Repeat NO, religion to sell. I am a Gnostic Christian who follows the SOLITARY PATH of Gnosis of God which means I believe everyone has to form their own spiritual relationship with God. So, again, when I post my religious visions in public they are NOT selling membership in any organized religion.

Why are my gnostic Christian religious beliefs being censored on this forum? Please. I do not understand why I cannot even link to my website where my religious beliefs can be read in their complete context. I have religious visions and opinions and they are posted there. What is the problem with this? Are we not allowed to have religious visions and opinions? Is that what it really comes down to? Or maybe we can't post our religious visions and opinions in public UNLESS we are famous people with official credentials and religious organizations and university scholars approving our work as kosher for general consumption. I guess you all may have to wait until my religious work gets famous before I'm allowed to post my religious beliefs here.
 

sonoman

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It seems to me you are more interested in talking 'politics' rather than religion, sonoman, at least on this thread.

Yes, it is all my fault that I complain about my Christian beliefs being censored here by non-Christians. What was I thinking? No Christian can be allowed to actually have his own thoughts or worse yet, even a, gasp! Website of his own. Oh no. That is not allowed Christian members on this forum. Or if they have one, they must never tell anyone here about it lest the forum owner have his ego bruised. But that's my problem, right? You all are happy as clams following the rules that guarantee freedom of religious beliefs for gnostic Christians on this forum will be curtailed for uppity visionary members.
 

iBrian

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Actually, earl, you need to look at the owner's response to see why I cannot post my Christian beliefs here. You've got an A-No. I anti-Christian censor at large here censoring a gnostic Christians beliefs.

Yes, it is all my fault that I complain about my Christian beliefs being censored here by non-Christians. What was I thinking? No Christian can be allowed to actually have his own thoughts or worse yet, even a, gasp! Website of his own.

Look, I'm getting tired of this - I have been massively patient with you, but you seem absolutely incapable of using a forum without whining about not being able to spam the place with your ads.

You have repeatedly using multiple usernames tried to post multiple ads up for your website to try and convert other people to your way of thinking - and then complain of "censorship" because you are not allowed free advertising at a social community.

Frankly, it's pretty sad that someone should claim the inability to ADVERTISE at other people be claimed as censorship.

Anyway, I showed nothing but patience and tolerance with you, even though you are a known troll who has, by your own words, been kicked out of most moderated online communities.

In that regard, feel free to discuss your ideas here, but if you're incapable of that, and have to continue this prima donna charade, then obviously this place does not suit you and there's no reason for you to stay.

This isn't a discussion, I'm just telling you to decide whether you want to be a part of this place, or move on.
 

sonoman

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Look, I'm getting tired of this - I have been massively patient with you, but you seem absolutely incapable of using a forum without whining about not being able to spam the place with your ads.

You have repeatedly using multiple usernames tried to post multiple ads up for your website to try and convert other people to your way of thinking - and then complain of "censorship" because you are not allowed free advertising at a social community.

Frankly, it's pretty sad that someone should claim the inability to ADVERTISE at other people be claimed as censorship.

Anyway, I showed nothing but patience and tolerance with you, even though you are a known troll who has, by your own words, been kicked out of most moderated online communities.

In that regard, feel free to discuss your ideas here, but if you're incapable of that, and have to continue this prima donna charade, then obviously this place does not suit you and there's no reason for you to stay.

This isn't a discussion, I'm just telling you to decide whether you want to be a part of this place, or move on.

Brian, why are you afraid of a member here who has his own website? Why do you need to tell fibs about my website as if I were selling things? My website is where I share my social change activist work and religious visions. You seem to not be able to handle a member having religious visions and are trying your darnedest to claim I'm selling something on my website in order to justify your censorship of my sharing my Christian beliefs with other members.

Is being a Christian believer "selling" Christianity? If so, I stand guilty as charged but really, that kind of religious bigotry on your part should have no place here where most every member has a religion or philosophy they adhere to. You want me to chuck mine because its on a website and it contains religious visions. I think that is foul play and until you overcome your ego and cop to the fact that you are not playing fair with this member's Christian beliefs, we will go round and round and since you are the owner of the forum with the ability to circumvent intellectual honesty and remove the member who dares criticize you, I expect you'll do what you've done in the past to save face. Why don't you surprise me and stop trying to manipulate where and how I can share my Christian views here?
 
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