Gnosticism

Cliffy

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AnnaEmber

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Well, it really doesn't matter what "it" is called because so far what really matters to life is living, right now and right here on Earth. And there is no evidence that "it" is sapient or sentient or even conscious.
According to the sciences, so far "God", the religious concept, isn't necessary to the universe.
 

Cliffy

Standing Member
Nov 19, 2008
44,847
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Nakusp, BC
Well, it really doesn't matter what "it" is called because so far what really matters to life is living, right now and right here on Earth. And there is no evidence that "it" is sapient or sentient or even conscious.
According to the sciences, so far "God", the religious concept, isn't necessary to the universe.
But the Universe is.
 

Danbones

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Listen here you guys...collection plates have a right to exist too you know.
;)
No matter what color or sex they are.
 

French Patriot

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Well, it really doesn't matter what "it" is called because so far what really matters to life is living, right now and right here on Earth. And there is no evidence that "it" is sapient or sentient or even conscious.
According to the sciences, so far "God", the religious concept, isn't necessary to the universe.



His G D misogynous religions have not been G D helpful, sweetheart.


They are a cure on humankind and not a blessing, even given their few good traits.


Regards
DL
 

ShintoMale

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https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/gnostics.html



THE GNOSTICS AND JESUS

BY TIM KELLER, Redeemer Report, March 2004

Gospel of Thomas sounds far more misogynist than anything found in the Bible.

For some months I have been getting questions about the "Gnostic gospels" and The Da Vinci Code, so it seems right to give readers of this newsletter a bit of guidance. This is by no means a definitive response or analysis—it is more like pastoral counsel— but I hope it will clear up a few things.

The Gnostics’ Jesus

In 1945 a red earthenware jar was found buried near Nag Hammadi, a town in upper Egypt. Within thirteen papyrus books dating from A.D.350 were discovered. The writings were those of believers in the philosophy/religion of gnosticism. Gnosticism is heavily influenced by the Hellenistic understanding that the material world is evil and the spirit is good. Gnostics believed that the ultimate supreme God did not create the world, but rather a lesser god, a ‘demiurge,’ created the world poorly and imperfectly. The result was a material world filled with decay, weakness, and death. But Gnostics believed that human beings, though locked in this material body, have a spark of the higher spiritual reality within. This spark, if fanned into a flame, can liberate us and help us evolve back into spiritual perfection. This happens through a process of self-discovery, in which you discover your divine identity, you separate from the world by ‘stripping off ’ the consciousness of the physical body, and you finally experience the kingdom of light, peace, and life.

The writings of Gnosticism were much wider than the Nag Hammadi texts, but what makes the NH texts different is that, as Craig Blomberg writes, they use the purported conversations of Jesus with his disciples as "little more than an artificial framework for imparting Gnostic doctrine." (The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, p.208) The most well known of these Gnostic-Jesus texts include "The Gospel of Thomas," the "Apocryphon of James," The Gospel of Phillip" and "The Gospel of Truth."

The teachings of the gnostics’ Jesus flatly contradicts the Jesus of the Bible. The Gnostic-Jesus says, "When you come to know yourselves... you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty." (Thomas-3) This reflects the Gnostic concept that self-consciousness of one’s own divinity (rather than a new awareness of sinfulness and need) is the first step to salvation. The Gnostic- Jesus also says, "When you disrobe yourselves and are not ashamed, and take your garments and lay them beneath your feet like little children, and tread upon them, then [shall ye see] the Son of the living One, and ye shall not fear." (Thomas-37) This and the other ‘undressing’ saying (Thomas-21) urges us to ‘disrobe,’ to trample underfoot and despise the physical nature.

The most interesting statement of all is Thomas-71 where the Gnostic-Jesus says: "I will destroy this house and no one will be able to rebuild it." This is a clear contradiction of Jesus’ saying in John 2 that though others would destroy his body, he would be resurrected. This reflects the gnostic disdain for the very idea of the resurrection. Since, in their view, the material world is an evil thing we must be freed from, the bodily resurrection is completely rejected. According to the gnostics, Jesus was not raised bodily, and neither will we be.

Lost Gospels?

Helmut Koester of Harvard has argued that the Nag Hammadi Gnostic-Jesus texts were written very early, almost as early as the Biblical gospels themselves. And Elaine Pagels, who did a doctorate under Koester at Harvard, has popularized this view in The Gnostic Gospels and the more recent Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas.

But this is very much a minority view across the field of scholarship. N.T.Wright says, "It has long been the received wisdom among students of early Christianity that the Gospel of Thomas...found at Nag Hammadi...is a comparatively late stage in the development of Christianity." (New Testament and the People of God, p.436) The great majority of scholars believe the Gnostic-Jesus texts to have been written 100-200 years after the Biblical gospels, which all were written within the first 30-60 years after Jesus’ death. Why this consensus?

As N.T. Wright points out in The Resurrection of the Son of God, the early Christians were all Jews. Jews had a thoroughly different world-view than that of the Greeks or the gnostics. They believed firmly that this material world was made good (see Genesis1) and that despite sin God was going to renew it and resurrect our bodies (Daniel 12:1-2.) Jews had no hope (or concept) of disembodied souls living apart from the body. What does this mean? We know from the Pauline letters, some written only 13 years after Jesus’ death, that all the early Christians claimed to have met Jesus and that he was still alive. But it would have been impossible for Jewish believers to claim "Jesus is alive" without also believing he was raised physically from the dead.

Helmut Koester and others posit that the first Christians believed, as the gnostics, that Jesus was only ‘spiritually risen’ and decades later the idea of a bodily resurrection developed. But N.T. Wright shows that Christianity could never have arisen as a movement among Jews unless the original believers knew Jesus had been raised bodily from the dead. This means in turn that the attempt to create a Gnostic-Jesus must have been much later. The writings could not have represented an early but repressed true version of Jesus-faith. Wright asks: "Which Roman emperor would persecute anyone for reading the Gospel of Thomas [since it so closely reflected Greek thinking]?....It should be clear that the talk about a spiritual ‘resurrection’ in the sense used by [the gnostic writings] could not be anything other than a late, drastic modification of Christian language." (Resurrection, p.550.) There is far, far more that could be said in criticism of the thesis that the Gnostic-Jesus is older than the Biblical Jesus. But I’ll stop here.

The Da Vinci Code and Misogyny

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has become a best seller and, though it purports to be nothing but fiction, it takes up the basic ideas of The Gnostic gospels makes them the premise of the story. The story assumes that Jesus was not resurrected and did not claim to be God, but rather married Mary Magdalene. His true, original teachings are found in the gnostic writings. The Biblical gospels were written later and the original truth of Jesus’ life and teaching was repressed by the church.

What can I say? It’s only a novel —so how can you criticize it? It tries to make the case that the Gnostic-Jesus was the one who lived, not the real Jesus. But as we showed, the scholarly world sees very little evidence that this is the case. There are plenty of other incongruities and oddities about The Da Vinci Code, but I’ll just mention one. The story lifts up the Gnostic gospels as the "truth" and depicts the church as a repressive regime that wants to hide the importance of Mary Magdalene as one of the early disciples. This gives the impression that the gnostic gospels are more pro-women than the Bible or traditional theology.

But the last saying in the Gospel of Thomas is far more misogynist than anything found in the Bible. Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Thomas-114) This saying reflects the low view of women in the Gnostic philosophy. It is ironic that the author of the Da Vinci Code thinks the Gnostic- Jesus was friendlier to women.

No changed lives

Thirty years ago when we were in seminary my wife and I (like all graduate students of Bible and theology) studied the Gnostic writings. A simple reading of the texts shows they reflect a vastly different world-view than that of the Bible. Even young seminary students could see it was an effort of a different religion to co-opt Jesus—and the effort failed miserably. That is a historical fact. Few took the Gnostic-Jesus seriously. There was no explosive movement of changed lives that resulted from these writings as like that with resulted from the proclamation of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And there won’t be any explosion of changed lives today.

In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the old proverb says. The Gnostic-Gospels fail in their fundamental definition —they are not gospels, good news. Instead of being the declaration of what God has done to accomplish salvation FOR us, they are just the same old same old—a rehash of self improvement techniques and (sometimes) good advice about ethical living. This is NOT the good news that transforms lives. It is merely, like all other religions besides the true Gospel, a do-it-yourself- salvation based on teachings which must be obeyed in order to reach enlightenment. Nothing could be farther from the true Gospel, the news that Jesus, by his life and death, has actually SAVED us and given us new life, free for the taking.
 

French Patriot

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Thanks for this, but it should be remembered that Gnostic Christians were not literalist readers of their myths and did not hold any supernatural beliefs.

We think such a belief is detrimental to clear thinking and just leads to idol worship instead of seeking god, which is something we perpetually do.

We leave idol worship for Christians and Muslims who ignore their holy books that warn against their idol worship.

We all know how idol worship has corrupted both of those religions. The results. Inquisitions and jihads.

Regards
DL
 

French Patriot

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https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/gnostics.html

In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the old proverb says. The Gnostic-Gospels fail in their fundamental definition —they are not gospels, good news. Instead of being the declaration of what God has done to accomplish salvation FOR us, they are just the same old same old—a rehash of self improvement techniques and (sometimes) good advice about ethical living. This is NOT the good news that transforms lives. It is merely, like all other religions besides the true Gospel, a do-it-yourself- salvation based on teachings which must be obeyed in order to reach enlightenment. Nothing could be farther from the true Gospel, the news that Jesus, by his life and death, has actually SAVED us and given us new life, free for the taking.

If you read and know Gnostic Christianity your way, literally, of course it fails.
It was never written to win. It was written, like the bible, for talking point sin debates and discussions.

Reads it in other than literal and it makes all the sense in the world.

Those who hold a firm belief in the supernatural are not the brightest.

They have in fact decided that real thinking is not as good as imaginary thinking.

Regards
DL
 

ShintoMale

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May 12, 2008
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If you read and know Gnostic Christianity your way, literally, of course it fails.
It was never written to win. It was written, like the bible, for talking point sin debates and discussions.
Reads it in other than literal and it makes all the sense in the world.
Those who hold a firm belief in the supernatural are not the brightest.
They have in fact decided that real thinking is not as good as imaginary thinking.
Regards
DL


and still ignoring the fact that gnosticism hates women saying they are not worthy of life

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas/gospelthomas114.html


Simon Peter says to them: "Let Mary go out from our midst, for women are not worthy of life!" Jesus says: "See, I will draw her so as to make her male so that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who has become male will enter the Kingdom of heaven."
 

French Patriot

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and still ignoring the fact that gnosticism hates women saying they are not worthy of life
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas/gospelthomas114.html
Simon Peter says to them: "Let Mary go out from our midst, for women are not worthy of life!" Jesus says: "See, I will draw her so as to make her male so that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who has become male will enter the Kingdom of heaven."

You show your ignorance of the Jewish god Yahweh.

He was an androgynous god and all Jesus is saying is that all who are in contact with both their male and female side are more enlightened than those in contact with only the one side.

You see the sexism of the males in this myth but ignore that Jesus tears a strip out of the males, by being on Mary's side.

Your read what you want into it, while I, knowing that Gnostic Christianity is a universalist religion, have to give full equality to women and gays.

Contrast that with your beliefs and tell us which thinking system is better.

Here is the contrast, and strange that you would look for a splinter in Gnostic Christian eyes while you flagerantly sport a log in your own.

Islam and women. Yuk

Quran (5:6) - "And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it" Men are to rub dirt on their hands, if there is no water to purify them, following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).

Quran (24:31) - Women are to lower their gaze around men, so they do not look them in the eye. (To be fair, men are told to do the same thing in the prior verse).

Quran (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will..." A man has dominion over his wives' bodies as he does his land. This verse is overtly sexual. There is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse. If this is what Muhammad meant, then it would appear to contradict what he said in Muslim (8:3365).

Quran (4:3) - (Wife-to-husband ratio) "Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four" Inequality by numbers.

Quran (53:27) - "Those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names." Angels are sublime beings, and would therefore be male.

Quran (4:24) and Quran (33:50) - A man is permitted to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage. Note that the verse distinguishes wives from captives (those whom they right hand possesses).


http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pa...orth-less.aspx

Sahih Bukhari (62:81) - "The Prophet said: "'The stipulations most entitled to be abided by are those with which you are given the right to enjoy the (women's) private parts (i.e. the stipulations of the marriage contract).'" In other words, the most important thing a woman brings to marriage is between her legs.

Sahih Muslim (4:1039) - "A'isha said [to Muhammad]: 'You have made us equal to the dogs and the asses'"These are the words of Muhammad's favorite wife, complaining of the role assigned to women under Islam.Ishaq 593 - "As for Ali, he said, 'Women are plentiful, and you can easily change one for another.'"Ali was raised as a son by Muhammad. He was also the 4th caliph. This comment was made in Muhammad's presence without a word of rebuke from him.

Ishaq 593 - "From the captives of Hunayn, Allah's Messenger gave [his son-in-law] Ali a slave girl called Baytab and he gave [future Caliph] Uthman a slave girl called Zaynab and [future Caliph] Umar another." - Even in this world, Muhammad treated women like party favors, handing out enslaved women to his cronies for sex.Tabari VIII:117 - The fate of more captured farm wives, whom the Muslims distributed amongst themselves as sex slaves: "Dihyah had asked the Messenger for Safiyah when the Prophet chose her for himself... the Apostle traded for Safiyah by giving Dihyah her two cousins. The women of Khaybar were distributed among the Muslims."

Quran (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"

Quran (4:11) - (Inheritance) "The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females" (see also verse 4:176). In Islam, sexism is mathematically established.
Quran (2:282) - (Court testimony) "And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women." Muslim apologists offer creative explanations to explain why Allah felt that a man's testimony in court should be valued twice as highly as a woman's, but studies consistently show that women are actually less likely to tell lies than men, meaning that they make more reliable witnesses.

Quran (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"

Your Allah must be one incompetent and immoral fool of a creator if he cannot make all souls of equal value.

Regards
DL
 

French Patriot

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Can't say as I ever much paid attention to which particular flavor of lunacy.
I offer my sympathies to your judgements.

Right wingers are like that.

They do not want to face reality.

Have the left leaning loonies ever used inquisitions and jihads?

Are they also homophobic and misogynous like the right wing loonies are?

Regards
DL