Gnosticism: I want to talk about it

So, this has been on my mind after having been in a debate with one of them on several occasions. So I did more research. I had no real clue what the hell it was. I just thought it was another fucked up version of Christianity and trust me, I was right. But evidently it’s seems darker.

It comes off like Paganism to me. If I’m wrong, oh well.

Please bare with me. My knowledge on the subject of Gnosticism is limited. In technical terms. From what I’ve read, Gnosticism isn’t considered by Christians as a religion. But heresy in their views. The Gnostics read some kind of Gnostic books or their Gospels originated from Nag Hamaddi library over in Egypt.

My findings indicated that…

  • They believe in transcendence of their spirits and believe their “physical” bodies are dirty and corrupted.

  • They believe in 2 versions of the Christian God. (Dual Theology)

-They believed the original Biblical “God” was corrupted and evil. This version of God is “The Demiurge”, a creator god who is lesser and inferior. Who likes to torture humanity and likes to censor humanity from knowledge.

  • The Gnostic god is The Monad. Who is superior and all omnipotent and is all good.
  • The Gnostics believe Jesus was sent by The Monad to save humanity from The Demiurge.

  • Judas was a demon.

But any ways. I’ve already chalked it up in my mind as “more bullshit” just like all of the other religions out there.

Sounds like more of the same bullshit.

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For one, “Gnostic” simply means “To know.” Basically, Gnosticism is just a way of saying those individuals (in their own minds) KNOW the things they believe about god(s) to be true. Whereas Agnostic is to NOT know. Most all Christians, for example, are agnostic because most will freely tell you even they are not sure if their god truly exists. That is why they have “Faith”. If they knew FOR CERTAIN their god existed (Gnostic), then that “faith” would not be necessary. See the difference?

As for Paganism, I suppose in a “technical sense” what you described could follow under that term due to the multiple gods involved. However, considering they are keeping it within the bounds of the bible and Christian gods (yes, there are multiple gods in the bible), I would just chalk up those Gnostic folks as being just another Christian fringe sect/denomination. No different than any of the other hundreds (thousands?) of Christian denominations. And remember, most every single one of them believe THEY are the ONLY true followers of Christ. “All those other heretics are WRONG!” :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Edit to add: Or just read Old Man’s reply. He is much more knowledgeable about these things.

By the way, I should mention my wife is Pagan. And with how you described the Gnostics, she wouldn’t touch that shit with a 20 foot pole.

Not quite bullshit. Gnostics refer to the “knowledge of god”. Some the “gnostic” gospels are the apocrypha ( those books at the end of some bibles)

In addition the Book of Thomas was the founding gospel of the Keralian (indian) Thomasinian church in the Second Century. It was rediscovered in the Nag Hammadi Library. Along with the Book of Mary and the Repentance of Judas and other versions of stories and texts.

The gnostics (like the freemasons) had specific rituals, not all gnostic houses believed the same. They believed that members of a congregation could receive the word of god and tell it in the form of a sacred story, which in some cases became a founding text as important (and believed) as the synoptics.

Gnosticism is a wide term employed by modern churches to a very splintered tradition. It can be argued (and is) that Paul himself was a gnostic having had the visions of a dead jesus come to him. That is the founding of the gnostic traditions.

Most of the young churches in the early years of the movement did not believe that Jesus was the actual Son of God., like the Jewish Ebionites they believed that jesus was very human and either adopted by god before his death, or spiritually revived afterwards and then claimed as his son.

The Marcionites in the 1st and Second centuries were a gnostic sect, their gospels ( later declared anathema) had differences with the Roman Curch, the largest was that their texts contained no reference to a divine birth. They used passages in Luke ( like the Ebionites) to “prove” adoption of the jesus figure. *

Study of the hundreds of gnostic texts and sects springing from them is both (as I am a history tragic) enlightening and frightening.

The Gnostic movement was eventually “wiped out” ( they thought) in the 6th century. All their books had been declared anathema and if found the adherents could be killed without penalty.

They have resurfaced several times over the centuries and been put down with a ferocity that can only be engendered by a religious fervour. Look at the Cathars for instance.

The modern day JWs are the inheritors of the Arian Heresy of the 4th century. Many of their beliefs (including the veneration of Paul) are strong echoes of a schism that ended in the followers being massacred wherever found. The Pentecostal church can be argued to be the inheritor of the “Mystic Tradition” of several of the 1st and Second century sects and cults now lumped together as Gnostics.

I can supply a list of reading and a list of the texts that were declared anathema in 492CE by the Bishop of Rome. The first instance of modern day censorship and the founding concept of the Catholic Index (that list of books and texts forbidden to Catholics)

*The offending verses were altered/removed in the 3rd century CE and only replaced in the 5th century.

Eusebius ( the grand old bigot) is a great source of information. His bilious, hate filled diatribes about differing tradition is often all that survives of them.

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Google Elaine Pagels : she wrote one of the most definitive historical books on the gnostic movement.
“The Gnostic Gospels.” also get “The Nag Hammadi Library” . Great source books.

Also a list of good reading here: Gnostics, Gnostic Gospels, & Gnosticism

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corrected should read: “The first attempt at universal censorship”

Note the previous declarations vs the “Arian Heresy” forbade the christian population from reading them. The Church had little influence at that time over the whole Empire and certainly not over the Eastern Churches.

Hmmm… Maybe I read it wrong, but I thought MrDawn said he wanted to discuss this subject.

Maybe he just wanted to share the information he had found. To be fair I did give A LOT of information there even if you only read the half of it.

It took me a couple of years to digest it all and there is more on the early forms of worship coming out of the Nag Hammadi and other sources which is fascinating to say the least.

It gets very messy indeed trying to “label” or even research gnostics. Here is a typical example: Tertullian, who most know as the author who first proposed an explanation for the Trinity. A hero of the Early Church. Tertullian loathed the Marcionites and wrote furious (and inaccurate) diatribes against them. One still survives ( a good source for researching Marcionite movement).
Tertullian was never honored or created a saint by the nascent Roman Church because he was a
Montanist, a believer in divine, received prophecy initiated by the movements founder Montanus. It became very very popular, and is held by some scholars to be the direct ancestor of the modern day Pentecostalists. Tertullian even founded his own sect (the Tertullians) quel surprise!

They were by definition Gnostics, and though railed against by the C of R were never prosecuted or declared anathema. They officially died out in the late 6th Century CE.

The range of beliefs held by, and rites practiced by the Gnostics were myriad. One cannot simply lump in a box. Each sect must be considered and its beliefs and practices examined separately.

Much like the profusion of Protestant Churches are schismed today the gnostics were the largest (but individually vulnerable) “christian” sects in the 1st to 5th centuries. Each with its own theology, rites and traditions.

For meaningful research best get accustomed to a bullshit detector ( the amount of anti gnostic writing is replete with examples from 90Ce through to the modern day) , also think like a ferret as you will be required to dive down dozens of rabbit holes before finding your prey. Fun though.


Yeah @Old_man_shouts_at_cl knows a lot on the subject matter more than I expected to get.

Yes, he IS quite the knowledgeable old fart, indeed. You get use to it, though. What impresses me most is that he can pretty much rattle this stuff out in his sleep. I only wish I had that type of memory capacity. But, hey, that’s why we keep him around and continue to tolerate that damn squeaky wheel on his trike.


Show off!.. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:… A couple of years, huh?.. Hell, you could give me TWENTY years and I doubt I could “digest” even a small portion of the research you’ve done. Ya know, I would oil that damn squeaky wheel on your trike, but it’s the only way we have of knowing you are approaching to give us time to scatter out of your way.

Aww thanks for the kind words gents but I am, In my own mind, just a tyro. The subject is huge…satisfyingly, it does annoy the snot out of the “one true churcher’s since Jesus” twatfucks to absolute foaming ,carpet-biting, fury.

It is all there (except that which was destroyed…by those self same "one true churcher’s) a matter of historical fact. Original texts, later and contemporary confirmations. Haters writing long treatises about these guys, their own heroes and Early Fathers. Who dare deny them? . Jeez it annoys them.

Oh and my darling Trike, the black electric beauty has given way to “Bluey” a bargain basement 4 wheel shoprider. My aged back would not take balancing anymore. Gutted. What really pisses me off it was bought by a freaking 93 year old! Aaaaaargh.

In honour of the transformation I have changed my avatar.

Aw, shit. Please tell me that thing has a squeaky wheel.

Dont worry Tin, I know a sure fire way to make wheels squeaky. Wheee!

Just sayin’, it was bad enough having to dodge three wheels. Now we have to dodge FOUR wheels. On the plus side, though, those carts are usually geared down to low speeds. Although, I wouldn’t put it past Old Man to tinker with it to add a turbo-boost.

You know me too well…when I bought it the previous owner had removed the regulator…but the penalties for being caught have just changed here and they are humungous.

But back to the topic…what exactly did you want to discuss?

Can you identify the cult/sect that believed that which you stated in your OP? I would like to look them up and see if they are on my list!

And she had a successful singing career. :joy:

Wasn’t she in a West End performance of Cats?

Wrong page mate. sorry

Now there is egg all over my face…sorry mate I missed the “ls” of Elaine Pagels…ok bastard, good joke…even though I doubled down its on me! wiping face