Archive for Jehovah

Gnostic Wisdom in New Testament

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, ecology, faith, freethought, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Over two thousand years ago the symbolism and mythology of several Pagan mystery sects were beginning to fragment while a multifaceted group was developing diverse interpretations which became lumped under the identity as “Gnostic”—from Greek gnostikos, “man of knowledge.”  The movement spread largely through men of culture who sought the secret of higher life.  Unfortunately, lofty thought became entangled with crude mythology and then floundered in mysticism.

Gnosticism was, for the most part, centered on the highest ethics.  To understand Gnostic thought, their concept of ethics was perceived from an amoral perspective.  Remember, amoral does not mean immoral: it is non-judgmental acceptance.  This is difficult for modern religionists to comprehend since standard religious instruction is to uncompromisingly classify things as good/sinful and black/white—with no shades of gray being allowed for consideration.  Unlike rigid religionism, Gnostics recognized that diverse energies found throughout the universe serve as the generative action responsible for all things in Creation.  For this reason the Gnostics regarded what we know as the Old Testament to be the shameful account of Jehovah’s crimes against humanity.  Yahweh/Jehovah was not accepted by them as the true God or the active Source, but as the identity of a demiurge—an energy involvement that fashioned the material world.  Such Pentateuch/Old Testament characters as Abraham, Moses and the like were consequently regarded as the henchmen of Jehovah who had been dedicated to misdirecting the souls of humans into matter and ignorance.

Since the original purpose of the early Christian literature was composed in Rome in the attempt to soften Jewish spiritual arrogance, the new cultists played down the Gnostic attitude to prevent a too strong direct offence to Jews.  Nonetheless, Gnostic influence was cautiously scattered throughout the New Testament.  Although Christianity owes  many planks of its formation and doctrines to Gnosticism, pure Gnosticism itself also represented one of the most challenging threats to the new Christian movement.  Specifically, it denied the keystone upon which the aspiring priestly hierarchy sought to establish itself.  If, as the Gnostics claimed, evil had existed in Creation from the beginning then Adam, meaning mankind, could not possibly have fallen and neither he nor Eve had chosen to disobey God in Eden.  It then followed that Jesus could not possibly be presented by the priesthood as God’s token of forgiveness for humankind’s entanglement with that inescapable condition.

There is a remarkable verse in the New Testament (Matthew 16:23, revised c. 75 CE) that pretty much states what is wrong with all hard-line and fundamentalist organized religions.  Jesus is portrayed as speaking to Simon Peter, saying, “…thou art an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of  God, but those that be  of men.”  The real kicker in this scene is that this reproach of Peter comes after verse 19, or immediately after Peter had been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!  The implication is that the church that he is to establish is intended to be the challenger of the infinite creative powers that are personified as “God.”  There is profound Gnostic wisdom hidden here.

The reason for this rebuke of Peter by Jesus is that Peter stands as the representative of the continuity in matter-existence that resists the necessity of its own transformation.  Thus Jesus utters the accusation that Peter savours those thing that be of men.  What is illustrated with this peculiar scene is that the confinement of consciousness in our physical-matter forms is what traumatizes the human ego, for it is ego that is obsessed with material identity and wishes to dam the natural flow that we interpret as life/death.

Mankind has lost sight of the soul-saving truth that religion is made for man: man is not made for any particular religion.

Knowing this, we are justified in saying to hard-line and hierarchical style religions, just as Jesus is alleged to have said to Peter, “Get the behind me Satan: you are an offence to me.”

Gnostic vs. Judaic/Christian

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, culture, history, naturalism, nontheism, religion with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by chouck017894

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.