Gnostic vs. Judaic/Christian

The writings we refer to today as the Old Testament were regarded by Gnostics as the accounts of Jehovah’s crimes against humanity. Jehovah (Yahweh) was not accepted by them as the true god but was assessed as the identity of a Demiurge (creator of the material world).  Such OT characters as Abraham, Moses and the like were regarded as the henchmen of Jehovah who were dedicated to misdirecting the souls of humans into matter and ignorance. This, of course, was considered heretical by the Jewish priests and Christian fathers. But the Gnostics believed that inquiry into spiritual truth was of  more spiritual value than brainless adherence to priest-concocted rituals and ceremonies.

Of the Gnostics themselves very little is known of their true doctrines, with most of the accounts of them provided by opponents and detractors, thus those accounts are probably not too reliable. Because the Gnostics did not regard matter-life to be the true residence of the human spirit they tried to avoid creating material evidence of their entrapment in this material plane. Any writing or illustrative work on Gnostic belief was regarded with contempt, for it was judged by them to provide the means of engendering new errors. As a result there is very little true Gnostic literature or artifacts available for study.

Despite the accounts by opponents and detractors whose interest was promotion of their own belief systems, Gnosticism was, for the most part, centered on the highest ethic. That their concept of ethics was held to be judged from an amoral perspective is difficult to comprehend by modern western religions that insist that everything is to be classified as either good or evil, black or white, or positive or negative. Sex, for example, was not deemed a horrendous wrongdoing by them as western religions chose to pretend and have used to chain people to dogmas through a sense of guilt. Sex was held by the Gnostics to be strictly the business of consenting partners or participants. As Basilides, and Alexandrian Gnostic master of the early first century CE said, “The perpetration of any voluptuous act whatever is a matter of indifference”–to the highest powers.

Indeed, consensual sexual activity was held with positive regard in the little that is known of Gnostic theology, for it was recognized as the means of experiencing the indiscriminate Life Force. The sexual impulse was understood by them to be the highly personal energy field that can open a release from the constricting pressures of this matter world. In other words, sex was seen as a means of re-creating their identity within the universal creative powers –the primary intent of sexual activity. And since the Gnostics sought to avoid entrapping others in this material plane crafted by the Demiurge, procreation was regarded as less than of secondary importance. To the Gnostics the command to go forth and multiply was the enticement to moral and ecological disaster.

Maybe they were on to something.

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One Response to “Gnostic vs. Judaic/Christian”

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