Wow, that was fast. But… what about the topic here?
Jonathan as a Catholic who almost became a Gnostic, I can tell you that the two faiths are irreconcilable. I don’t consider Gnostics to be Christians. Why? Because they completely change the reason Christ comes to earth! In Gnosticism the cross is useless Jesus escapes his death by switiching his soul with Symon of Cyrene and Jesus runs off laughing while Symon gets crucified! Secondly why would you ever want to be a Gnostic? Its more depressing than a fundamentalist literalist interpretation of the Bible or the OT.
A) The Worst Thing that ever happened was that you were born and that humanity was created. So right off the bat, humanity is worthless and evil B) The World is a Prison C) The God of the Bible is not God but a Tyrant who created humanity in order to rule over them and when you die his servants the Archons take your soul and chuck it back into another body soure forever trapped in a cycle of Reincarnation D) The Real God is no better than the Demiurge. The Demiurge wants you to serve it so it can hurt you some more and be a douche. The Alien God wants you to serve it so it can the spark back that it lost when you got born (yeah the Alien God loses a piece of itself everytime someones born. so being born is a bad thing and procreative sex is bad) so it can be complete. So both Gods are equally evil in that they dont really love you (and the Alien God is also unknowable) and want you to serve them for completely selfish purposes!
Thank God I didn’t go Gnostic! God brought me to the Truth: the Catholic Church! You want to know the Truth? Here it is: A) God created humanity as a GOOD THING. Right from the start humanity was GOOD not evil B) The World is Good C) Yes Humanity messes it up and unlike some Protestants, Catholics believe that God sent his Son to Earth because God LOVES US and wants to see us reconciled to Him through a necessary death on the Cross in order to show how much He loves us and he wants us to be reconciled to him! He wants whats best for us! God doesn’t want us to suffer or be in pain, he wants us to be truly happy with him! D) If you’re worried about God’s portrayal in the OT (and I had this exact same problem) you can interpret it two ways (and I’ve had these interpretations as being in line with the Church confirmed by several Priests): A) God did not physically smite or send down plagues but rather God would allow such things to happen because people rejected His grace and protection (if God respects our free will, how can he protect us if we reject his protection) B) When God smites or sends a plague down the people understood this at the time as God doing this because their worldview was incomplete (they didn’t have Jesus or modern science) but God would not physically do this (I cannot see God actually advocating Genocide (see Genesis, Joshua, Judges), Infanticide (Psalms) or Abortion (Isaiah), but nonetheless the people understood God as advocating these things due to an INCOMPLTE INTERPRETATION AT THE TIME THE SCRIPTURES WERE WRITTEN). Rather he would allow this interpetation of Himself in the Scriptures in order to show the consequences and severity of Sin and the Need for His Son (God would not smite but the effect of Sin and Hell is like being smote or afflicted with a severe plague and much worse). You have to understand that the people in the OT lived in a hard world, they had a hard world view, its a no brainer that this gets applied to their view of God: you lived you, you worked all day long and it was terrible and then you went down to the Pit (Sheol) when you died and got lumped in with everyone else. They didn’t know about the complete, loving nature of God as revealed through Jesus!
But Praise God that God sent Jesus down not because were terrible and we all deserve to die and were all piles of poo and that God’s a complete egoist, but because GOD IS LOVE and he is HUMBLE and he LOVES YOU! GOD IS LOVE! Think of how awesome and freeing that is! If you want to talk further just PM me, but I hope you come to the complete truth found in the Catholic Church like I did. God loves YOU Jonathan and he’ll be so patient. He’s just waiting for you to run to His Arms. Believe me if he was a Tyrant, if he was evil, if he was anything like the Demiurge, I wouldn’t serve him! But Thank God He isn’t! You want to know what God is like? Jesus says it! I and the Father are one! If you want to know the Father, look to me and you’ll see Him in me! Look to to the loving example of Jesus Jonathan! God is waiting for you! God Bless!
I think the key here is saying that “they [people] would feel” that the Church sympathized more with them.
Doesn’t this smack of watering down or “simplifying” Christianity in order to broaden its “appeal”? Look at the quality of prime time television to see how effectively that method puts out a quality product.
Seriously, though – you said something about truth existing outside of ourselves, and that all are accountable to it. Doesn’t the concept of “breaking dogmaticism”, as you phrase it, seem in essence to be molding the truth to fit our desires, rather than the other way around?
Furthermore, one of the things that appeals to me about Catholicism is that it has more of an intellectual grounding than many other churches. There is little need to have a visceral and palpable “spiritual moment” every time one worships – which is why one doesn’t see many Catholic revival meetings. This is what leaps to mind when you talk of making the Church more “spiritual”.
I mean that in my view as a Catholic most people weren’t able to be reconciled with God and this bothered me. It seemed to me that most people had in some indirect way rejected God and therefore were condemned to an eternity of suffering.
I’ve studied Gnosticism, and was pretty impressed with it for a while, which is why I believe it’s an extremely seductive and extremely dangerous error. The teaching of salvation through secret knowledge or wisdom directly contradicts the most basic teachings of Christianity:
That God reveals to the childlike what He hides from the wise and the learned.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.
He who seeks his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will find it.
Whoever exults hiimself will be humbled, whoever humbles himself will be exulted.
Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Gnosticism is an individualistic and cerebral spirituality that undermines and distorts Christ’s teachings on simplicity, charity, humility, and love. Christ told us that unless we become like children, we will not enter the Kingdom. He did not tell us that to be saved we must have secret knowledge or achieve enlightenment. The Resurrection will be beyond anything our minds can possibly conceive. But this world is all about the Cross. There’s no getting out of it. Gnosticism denies the Cross of Christ.
Gnosticism appeals to our vanity and spiritual desires and gives us a false notion of what spirituality really is. At times I wish I had knowledge of hidden, primordial mysteries, but I assure you that if I did, my fallen nature would undoubtedly end up distorting it and corrupting it into something vain and delusional! I think as humans we have the capacity for unimaginable abilities (we only use 10% of our brains), but God, knowing far better what we need, has taught us that we should lower ourselves and become common and despised as Jesus was. He knows we can’t handle anything that glorifies us while we still have this original sin on our hands. But all our desires will be fulfilled in time - by Him.
I suggest throwing out your Gnostic material and start reading things like the Imitation of Christ to get on the right track. God be with you my friend.
The Gnostics believed that the world and man was created by Satan,not by a Creator God who is Love and who created the world and man out of creative love. The Gnostics portrayed Jesus as a kind of freethinker who taught us to think for ourselves,rather than to do the will of God,which is to love,forgive,and have mercy on others.Gnostics were hostile to Christian teachings on incarnation,resurrection,redemption,and suffering.They were loveless.They were cranky,clubbish,elitist types with a misguided intellectual pride,like the Freemasons of the Enlightenment or today’s Scientologists.They had an influence on early Christianity in that the Christian fathers had to clearly define true Christian beliefs against the confusion and heresy that the Gnostics were spreading.
That’s awfully harsh to tell someone they’re not welcome here because of their erroneous views. Isn’t that why we’re all here? To help lead them back? Shouting battle cries might cause him to abandon this discussion all together and become even more put off by Catholics.
I don’t see them as sincere, but playing.
Again, however, it seems as though you are suggesting that the answer is to make Christian truth more attractive to the average person.
If people reject God by rejecting His truth, the fault lies not with His truth.
That is a common theme these days, isn’t it? It’s much easier to be spiritually lax than it is to tow the line and follow the truth. People want to make God into their own image, and place themselves as the higher authority.
Sad, but true.
the Alien God wants you to serve it so it can the spark back that it lost when you got born (yeah the Alien God loses a piece of itself everytime someones born
Uggh, that reminds me of “the secret/law of attraction” that’s popular right now. God is incomplete and needs us to enlighten ourselves so he can be complete once more. And I’ve had people tell me this doesn’t contradict the Bible and it’s how Jesus wants me to live. I always thought it seemed like a really Gnostic way of thinking. :mad:
OP, I don’t see any Christianity in Gnosticism. Why do you believe in Gnosticism? What about it is attractive to you? It’s always seemed like a really depressing way to live, to me.
Well, there really are some things said about Gnosticism here I have to correct. Gnostics believe that the material world is inferior, yes. Evil? Not necessarily. There really is no such thing as “evil”. The Demiurge is believed to have created the world, and I usually specify further, the systems of the world, while the material is said to be created (in a number of Sophianic myths) out of the Sophia, so in that sense it’s not so much the material world that’s “evil”, but the systems of the world, which we can all agree are unjust.
It’s not at all depressing to me because it offers a way out, and it offers it right now. Christ taught us Love, Divine Love, as the means to gnosis which would overcome the Archons and Demiurge and the ways of the world. Through His example, which we are to follow, including His Crucifixion (naturally, not in a literal sense) we are led to a gnosis which overcomes the ways of the world and leads us into unity with the Father, and of course, with the aid of Our Mother the Holy Spirit.
I don’t have such a hard time viewing Jesus as a Gnostic during His time who defied the orthodox Judaic views.
Again, I don’t want anyone to be offended - but Catholicism has been mostly depressing for me. There were a few times when I was happy and the happiness was amazing, but most of the time was spent in a constant battle against sin with no relief in sight and the knowing that I would fail anyways, and was bound to sin again eventually, betraying God again and falling out of His Grace, i.e., into His Wrath. This always terrified, and many time not because I was afraid of God’s Wrath, but eventually because I simply didn’t want to offend Love and Justice itself. The guilt was unbearable, no matter what I said in the Confessional or what I tried. Even when I was in a state of Grace I was worrying about others. All this was constant, and took my attention away from school and everything else in my life. If this was so serious and so real and literal, then I felt I had no time to lose. I still feel like I wasted two or three years of my life while I was seriously practicing Catholicism.
Disclaimer: This was my personal experience and is obviously not applicable to everyone.
Yeah,… you’re a “Gnostic” like I’m a “Black-Socks-ic”.
“This doesn’t go with my brown pants! Chuck it! …till tomorrow.”
Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaika
i iaoe. Aloha nui.
I’ve reverted many times because I was frustrated as a Catholic, and explored other faiths and spiritualities, and many times went back to Catholicism only to be frustrated again. It gets to a point where you just give up and move on. Attachment like that isn’t healthy, especially spiritually.
How much reading have you dome about traditional Catholicism? Have you read books on the saints, and the writings of the early Church fathers? I’m talking about good, traditional, inspiring writings, not the writings of modern dissidents.
Well, I still go to a Traditionalist Catholic parish for the Tridentine Mass, but the scary pictures of the angry old Popes still give me the willies. I say that jokingly, but I’m somewhat serious. Alot of them, like Pius XII look rigid and cold. It’s now what I expected after having seen Pope John Paul II, and even Benedict XVI.
I loved what I read by St. Alphonsus Liguori, though, but was really shaken up by St. Theresa of Avila, for example, who was very strict and made me feel like I made an atrocious Catholic!
You want to hear some “arguments”? Just suggest this to any denomination. Then you’ll hear some arguments.
Uh, Jonathan, calling Our Lady … Sophia … is atrocious.
Please don’t do that.
The doctrine of salvation by knowledge. This definition, based on the etymology of the word (gnosis “knowledge”, gnostikos, “good at knowing”), is correct as far as it goes, but it gives only one, though perhaps the predominant, characteristic of Gnostic systems of thought. Whereas Judaism and Christianity, and almost all pagan systems, hold that the soul attains its proper end by obedience of mind and will to the Supreme Power, i.e. by faith and works, it is markedly peculiar to Gnosticism that it places the salvation of the soul merely in the possession of a quasi-intuitive knowledge of the mysteries of the universe and of magic formulae indicative of that knowledge. Gnostics were “people who knew”, and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know
A tough sell when the pagans got you beat!
Well, that’s what I believe She is. I’m sorry.