Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Opus 2024-098: Gnosticism

I have a friend who is into calling anything he does not like in the spiritual realm “Gnosticism”.  I am not sure he knows what the word means.  Of course it could just be ignorance on my side.  When it come to something like Gnosticism I will plead guilty.  But it is not just my lack of information.  Getting a read on Gnosticism is like asking what the side effects of a new medication are.

There is no central, revealed, divine source of truth in Gnosticism.  The concepts are sometimes traced back to the philosophy of Plato but the term itself evidently started being used in the 19th century.  Because of that, each guru can create what he wants to make up, add what he wants to add, and pervert all that is left.  That may be fun for the guru but it makes it frustrating for the gurette.  Even I, who love to argue, get tired of trying to nail jello to the wall.

You cannot narrow it down to your preferred definition, and ignore everything else.  That often also involves changing your definition to fit your mood for the day.  What are the core tenants of Gnosticism?  There are a few foundational doctrines as far as I can tell.  One is the duality of nature which says that the physical world is evil and the spiritual world is good.  Another is the basis of the title because “gnosis” is the Greek word for knowledge.  Gnosticism is a mystery religion which believes that there is secret knowledge known only to the elite.  How they get that information is a bit vague but you can be assured that getting it passed on to you will be demanding.  There is also the idea of a divine spark in us that needs to be nursed to godhood.

As far as I can tell there are no gnostic beliefs that are compatible with Christianity.  I could be wrong but I could also be skinny and that ain’t gonna happen.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.