Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gospel of Philip- The Lord's Father

The most profound concept differentiating literal Christianity and Gnosticism can be summed up perfectly in the Gospel of Philip's three line scripture concerning the lord's father. It states:

The lord would never say, "My father who is in heaven"
unless he had another father elsewhere.
He would simply say, "My father."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Gnostic Universe At A Glance

This article is an addition to the Gnostic Definitions segment on the side column. I've put together a few diagrams to assist in this. Please forgive the small format of these pictures as they were created using Microsoft Paint. Simply double click on the images to bring up the details closer to you. You can even right click and select "Open in new window(or tab)" so you can flip back here to the definitions as you examine the diagram.

This first diagram depicts the more common "onion" gnostic universe scheme. Humans(and other sentient creatures in the universe) being the center focus and moving outward we have the Archons, the Demiurge, Sophia, the Aeons, and finally the All which is everywhere and in everything, including humans. In depth definitions of these personalities are further down.

Next, we have a depiction of the Gnostic Universe but with a variation commonly seen in the Cathar sect. In it, the All is on equal footing with the Demiurge and equal space is occupied by them. Humans, Archons, Sophia, and the Aeons are all found within the center overlapping design.

There is a slightly more rare design of the Cathars which depicts a triune of the All, the Demiurge, and Sophia in three large interconnected and overlapping circles. The Aeons, Archons, and Humans would be in the very center.

Moving from the outer to the inner circles, here are definitions:

The All/Pleroma:
Greek, meaning "the fullness." The totality of divine powers. The Divine Principal. The good god. The one who is incomparable and incomprehensible. The All. The one who made the elements that the universe is made from but not the one who made the universe itself. He did not give it form. He simply exists as The All.

Aeons: emanations of The All. In the various systems these emanations are differently named, classified, and described, but the emanation theory itself is common to all forms of Gnosticism. They are described as existing in layers(like an onion) between human beings and The All. Complex hierarchies of Aeons are thus produced, sometimes to the number of thirty. These Aeons belong to the purely ideal, noumenal, intelligible, or supersensible world; they are immaterial, they are hypostatic ideas. Together with the source from which they emanate they form the Pleroma ("region of light"). The lowest regions of the Pleroma are closest to the darkness—that is, the physical world.

Sophia: Greek for "wisdom." This female personality is a bit tricky to pin down. In some Eastern Orthodox Christian sects she is seen as the Virgin Mary. In some gnostic texts she is also known as Eve, in that she was duped or made a mistake which lead to the flaws and separation of man from God. In others she is described as the female child of the Divine Principal. There are correlations between these variations but some are subtle while others are more blatant. The cross over from the Christian tradition into the Gnostic tradition is that "Eve" was the first female child of a god and so was Sophia. Both gave birth. Sophia's childbirth was virginal whereas Eve's was not. So this calling Sophia "Eve" is more of a half-truth based descriptive, merely letting readers know that Sophia was The First of her kind.

The gnostic Sophia was formed out of the mind of The All. Sophia then makes a decision to do some action(text explanations vary widely) and in the process of attempting this, she creates the demiurge(God/Yahweh). Embarrassed, and fearing reprisals from The All, she hides Him away in a void all by himself. God, thinking he's all alone and the only god in existence creates the earth and heavens as well as human beings to worship Him. That's the extremely short and sweet version.

Yahweh/God/Jehovah/demiurge/the arrogant one: the Judeo-Christian God described in the New Testament who said in Exodus, "for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God." The child of Sophia. The one who formed the universe from the elements pleroma made. Also known as the "half-maker" because he had taken the divine substance and fashioned out of it a world. He is the spiritual being who had become forgetful of his origins, even of the ultimate God. He thinks that he is the totality and there is no other God before him.

servants of the demiurge. False rulers. The angels and demons of the Old Testament. The lures and distractions of this material world.

Book Review

The Laughing Jesus (Religious Lies & Gnostic Wisdom)
By: Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

These two authors are at the top of my Favorites list. I seriously doubt if any other other authors have ever offered such a conversational and practical piece of literature on ancient gnostic wisdom as this book.

If you're looking for a way to dive right in and have someone point out the differences between literalist religious dogma and ancient gnostic wisdom- this is your book. I highly recommend you run out and find it. If you like 'lighter' reading it will end up being the bread and butter of the religious section on your bookshelf. The authors have created a book which is a frank discussion on the butchery of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the first half. The second half speaks conversationally about exactly why Gnostics were(and are) persecuted so heavily. The answer is simple: Gnostics didn't see a need for clergy. Gnosis is found through
experience with the divine through direction conversations, not by developing a level of blind faith or performing good deeds. Learning how to live lucidly is the key.

I hope the authors would forgive this little blogster for quoting a few of my favorite passages from their book. Hopefully they will whet your appetite for more.

Excerpt from Chapter 9

"If you can stand back far enough from your cultural conditioning, the Literalist Christian message looks absurd and grotesque. You were born in sin and deserve to be punished. So God sent his own son, Jesus, to planet Earth to suffer horribly on the cross to pay for your sins. Jesus died for you and then resurrected and went to Heaven. And, if you believe that this really happened, you will also go to Heaven when you die, where you will have a very nice time forever. But if you don't believe that the resurrection really happened, when you die you will go to Hell and be subjected to really horrible tortures for all eternity. By a God of love!

It's a gruesome doctrine and inherently flawed. Surely, for any compassionate person, the existence of Hell must make the enjoyment of Heaven impossible. How could anyone with an ounce of kindness enjoy Heaven knowing that others languished in Hell, simply for not believing in an historical event for which there is no evidence anyway! It seems somewhat harsh. If there really is a God running this post-mortem apartheid, then he's a monster and we need to indict him for crimes against humanity.

We are extremely glad to tell you, however, that this grim Literalist version of the Christian message has nothing to do with the teachings of the original Gnostic Christians. They did not teach that believing in the historical death and resurrection of Jesus would save us from Hell when we die. That would be impossible because, according to the Gnostics, we are already dead and living in Hell right now!"

Excerpt from Chapter 7

"Gnostic philosophy is extreme sports for the mind. It is for those who relish the rush of exhilaration as they free-fall into uncertainty. The buzz of alert concentration as they scale the mountain of imagination, seeking out a higher view. The thrill of anticipation as they wait to ride a swell of insight as it surges up from the depths. Always hoping for the big one. Gnostic philosophy isn't safely theoretical. It is live and dangerous. It is a profound exploration of the great mysteries of life and death. An heroic adventure to excite the soul. Some people dismiss all philosophy as abstract and irrelevant. But Gnostic philosophy can utterly transform our understanding of who we are and what it is to be alive. What could be more concrete and relevant than that?

At the heart of Gnostic philosophy is the outrageous claim that if we experience the state of gnosis we will recognize that life is a dream. This idea challenges our most fundamental assumptions about who we are and what life is. At first it may seem even madder than the maddest of Literalist claptrap. The Christian Gnostic Theodosius acknowledges:

"I know that the teachings of gnosis are a laughing-stock to most people. Some are startled by them, as when a light suddenly illuminates the darkness of a drinking party. But the truly blessed are those who rouse themselves from sleep and raise their eyes to the truth."
Is gnosis just another mad ancient theory? No. Gnosis isn't a theory at all. It's an experience. The Gnostics aren't trying to persuade us to adopt their opinion that life is a dream. They want to use philosophical ideas to wake us up, so we see for ourselves the true nature of reality."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blogs of Note

Is it any wonder that with as freedom loving as gnostics are that I would find a home-away-from-home in an atheist's blog? I'm not kidding! The Atheist Camel is exactly what it claims to be: " oasis airing his perspective on theists, religion and politics, beliefs, God, gods, the supernatural; science, reality, reason, logic, ethics, morality...and the lack thereof." I find myself positively commenting on just about every updated post there. "Hump" is the most cogent and eloquent atheist I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Gnostics do have a great deal in common with atheists if you squint and tilt your head the right way... I'll speak more in depth about this in a future article. It will surprise you.

I have discovered a number of blogs which are havens of freedom and free thinking and I'd like to share them with you. On the side column you will find a list of links titled Blogging For Freedom. Naturally, it is a work in progress. If you have a blog you'd like to nominate to be added to that section simply comment or email me directly at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Can The Demiurge Offer Us?

I've had rather modest run ins with pleroma the past few days. I guess my mind has been so frenzied with the Holidays that I haven't given him nearly as much time as I should. He has still found the odd moment here and there to butt into my thoughts and inject some common sense for me to mull over. And I certainly appreciate it!!

"This world is but a minute."

Seems simple, yes? Six words strung together to convey the impression that we should make haste, seize the day, and do what we can when we can. But I don't believe that is what pleroma wishes for us.

I translate the above six words to: "The demiurge can give you a minute but look at what I can give you after that minute is over."

The demiurge rules the earth. That is His domain; His creation. He can
say whatever he wants to human beings and he can also promise whatever he wants. But that doesn't mean it will in fact occur.

He promises us Heaven if we give our lives over to His will. But this Heaven is also a place where we will look down into Hell from on high, able to watch the torture of those souls who did not accept his rule. Why would a supposedly loving deity promise such a horrific future to us? Who would want that?

I think back now to when I was a young child being indoctrinated within the Baptist church and cringe. When I was "saved" I sold my soul to a deity who cares more about himself than my welfare. He doesn't want me to learn to think for myself. He doesn't want me to ask questions. He simply wants me to sit back, shut up, and wait for the end of the world.

On the other hand, the All offers something which the demiurge never could because He doesn't have the right to offer it in the first place: sanctuary. The demiurge did not make Earth for us as a playground. He made it into a hell. Our souls don't go to the demiurge when our human body dies, it bypasses Him and is reabsorbed into pleroma. The demiurge can't control where our souls go. Only the All can. The only thing the demiurge can do is lie, lie, lie, lie, and lie some more.

I feel that pleroma's message today was meant to comfort. We only have a short while to be assaulted with the demiurge's demented message of hellfire and brimstone before we will be back in the arms of the one who loves us the best. We are brave people. We can outlast Him. And meanwhile we can spend our years in this human body exploring ideas and concepts which are intriguing to us. There is no need for us to stampede off a cliff like a horde of lemmings, tired of this life. Human death will come to us soon enough.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What are we $$paying$$ for?

Two days ago I was standing in the checkout line of Walmart and this seventy-something year old man in front of me was holding an armful of groceries. The usual. Fruit, meats, and toilet paper. He turned around to face me and said, "Honey, I'm going someplace where I won't need all this stuff. Bought and paid for."

Normally I don't engage in religious talk with people I don't know. Call me quiet, call me something of a lover of peace; I just don't think it's wise to do it very often. But I took the bait anyway. I was in a magnanimous mood and so I humored him. I replied, "Oh, you mean heaven?"

He said, "Yep! Jesus paid for it with His blood and I paid for it with accepting Jesus as my savior."

I took a deep breath and dared. Yes. I did. Maybe it was cruel of me to do so to a man who was probably on death's door anyway but I still opened my mouth. "Why would you have to pay for something that's already free?" I asked.

Naturally a quizzical look appeared on his face and after thinking a moment he said, "Because of Eve's sin. She sinned and so we've all sinned. We have to pay for that."

"Oh, I see. The sins of the parents passed down to the children and all that...." We both nodded in understanding one another. He seemed happy with that and said no more.

As I pondered this conversation further the next few days it became more and more clear to me that this was plain bullshit brainwashing of the demiurge. Come on now. Use your common sense. Why would a deity force children to pay for the sins of the parents? Isn't that cruel? It's like credit card companies calling to harass the family for payment on old debts of a deceased family member. Legally they cannot collect. But if the family wants to pay out of the generosity of their hearts it's not like the credit card companies would turn them down. Your debt is written off/washed away with your death. But not your debt to Yahweh. Eve sinned so you've got to make the sacrifice. Extract and lay down your brain at the door to dogmatic Christianity; free thinking isn't allowed.

Somatics, Psychics, & Pneumatics

There are three grades of human spirits which gnostics have categorized throughout time. If you are just beginning to read gnostic texts these terms can make you quite dizzy, as they are tossed about liberally and poetically. Here are some general definitions to make your journey easier.

  1. Somatics/Hylics: The body of the human being composed of flesh (sarx) which is a form of matter (hyle) albeit endowed temporarily with biological life. In plain English- these types of souls depend on the flesh to tell them right from wrong. The 'worldly' people. Pure emotion and living in the now for pleasure. The collectors of exotic cars, homes, and million dollar gems are just as likely to be somatic souls as is the person who obsessively and compulsively hoards food, clothes, or any other easily collectible and likely-to-be-obsessed-over items as if their life depended on it. They put their worth in the things they have collected. If their things suddenly disappeared or were taken away from them they would feel worthless as a human being.
  2. Psychics: Also called psychical(sye-kick-ul) these souls are at the in-between stage of gnosis. They can accept that there is a world beyond the flesh however they are still fighting between what their eyes see and what their heart feels. A combination of thinking and feeling.
  3. Pneumatics: From "pneuma" meaning "air." These souls retain a living connection with pleroma understanding the human spirit is a spark of God's light and in effect a part of God himself. These souls have attained gnosis through learning and experience with pleroma. Material minimalists and sometimes even ascetics.
These definitions do not have boundaries written in stone. And it can get a bit confusing when you think about all the variations of religion in the world today. The lines blur and gray areas become a bit more washed out when you also consider that there are gnostic verses hidden even in the literalist versions of the Bible. It truly depends upon the Reader to decide where they are in the grand scheme of soma, psyche, and pneuma. Gnosis can come about gradually or in a torrential rush, overwhelming the soul.

These hidden gnostic verses and themes can be seen(for those who have eyes to see) and heard(for those who have ears to hear) in everything from movies and children's cartoons to fiction/non-fiction books and even comic book stories. They are all around us. Gnosis is not limited to religious texts which you purposely seek out. Gnosis is available to all.

The somatic who begins to see the downplayed undercurrents around them are well on their way to becoming a psychical soul. And the psychic, (no they don't wear all turbans and use tarot cards. Well... most of them don't!) can only move on toward the final pneumatic stage when they give up their literalistic interpretation of religions teachings and instead begin to have a true relationship with pleroma. Gnosis is based in experience not empty headed faith that something miraculous is supposed to happen.

Another way to look at the division between the literalistic interpretations of the Bible(and any other religious text) and gnosis is to say that the literal interpretation is for those still not graduated from the hands-on experience. Child's play. A child grasps the concepts behind a literal interpretation far easier while the adult moves on to more complicated ideas. But this isn't about the body's age. Instead this is about what the soul needs and what the soul understands- no matter what your body's age happens to be. If you're not ready to move on then you won't.

This isn't about indoctrination or faith. Gnosis is about world experience, an adult level of rationality, and a willingness to think for YOURSELF about the grand questions concerning life and death. Ultimately what occurs is that gnostic texts and ideas become like guideposts on a road, giving you a starting point or even arrows to help you continue. In the end, though, the conversations you have in which you reach answers to all these grand questions happen between you and pleroma. These are private conversations which some gnostics choose to keep to themselves or they can write poetry and even entire books about it.
(And some blog about it. lol)

Why? Why would gnostics write about their experiences with pleroma and publish them? Plainly put- it's too much emotion. We need a release. And we want to let others know that there is a rational way to look at this madness we call life. There is no indoctrination necessary. No need to give up your free will. Think for yourself and the truth you find within yourself will truly make you a free human being.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gospel of Truth - Jesus

Jesus Is The Fruit Of Knowledge
This is the gospel of him whom they seek, which he has revealed to the perfect through the mercies of the Father as the hidden mystery, Jesus the Christ. Through him he enlightened those who were in darkness because of forgetfulness. He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. He became a fruit of the knowledge of the Father. He did not, however, destroy them because they ate of it. He rather caused those who ate of it to be joyful because of this discovery. 
And as for him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the all, in whom the All is, and whom the All lacks, since he retained in himself their perfection, which he had not given to the all. The Father was not jealous. What jealousy, indeed, is there between him and his members? For, even if the Aeon had received their perfection, they would not have been able to approach the perfection of the Father, because he retained their perfection in himself, giving it to them as a way to return to him and as a knowledge unique in perfection. He is the one who set the All in order and in whom the All existed and whom the All lacked. As one of whom some have no knowledge, he desires that they know him and that they love him. For what is it that the All lacked, if not the knowledge of the Father?

Jesus As A Quiet Guide
He became a guide, quiet and in leisure. In the middle of a school he came and spoke the Word, as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation came to put him to the test. But he discredited them as empty-headed people. They hated him because they really were not wise men. After all these came also the little children, those who possess the knowledge of the Father. When they became strong they were taught the aspects of the Father's face. They came to know and they were known. They were glorified and they gave glory.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gospel of Truth -The Living Book

The Living Book In The Heart Of The Little Children

In their heart, the living book of the Living was manifest, the book which was written in the thought and in the mind of the Father and, from before the foundation of the All, is in that incomprehensible part of him.

This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross.

Oh, such great teaching! He abases himself even unto death, though he is clothed in eternal life. Having divested himself of these perishable rags, he clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one could possibly take from him. Having entered into the empty territory of fears, he passed before those who were stripped by forgetfulness, being both knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart of the Father, so that he became the wisdom of those who have received instruction. But those who are to be taught, the living who are inscribed in the book of the living, learn for themselves, receiving instructions from the Father, turning to him again.

Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him.

Gospel of Truth - Joy.. and Ignorance..

"Written in Greek in the mid-second century, between 140-180 CE, the Gospel of Truth was found among the documents at Nag Hammadi in Egypt and exists in its totality in Coptic translation. In addition, Irenaeus refers to a Gospel of Truth read among Valentinians in his tract Against Heresies 3.11.9.

Scholars have advanced arguments for assigning the work to Valentinos himself, rather than to one of his students. The debate is ongoing."

The Gnostic Bible
, Compiled and Edited by Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer


Blog Author's Note: The Gospel of Truth is a meaty, stick-to-your-bones kind of fanfare for readers. It is not light religious cuisine. In several online sources for the text I have found a very common problem- headings. Or a lack thereof. The interpretations are all the same however they do not possess the subject headings of the printed version in the Gnostic Bible.

Because the Gospel of Truth is such heavy reading I prefer to keep the headings and separate the book out into easier-to-swallow 'chapters.' Each chapter or section is never very long but the use of sectional headings is important when searching for topic matter. Also, if one attempts to read the book as one long tract they will end up with a migraine to end all migraines. It is truly best to enjoy, instead, the book as a fine sipping wine. In very small doses.


Joy To Those Who Know The Father

The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, who has come from the Pleroma and who is in the thought and the mind of the Father; he it is who is called "the Savior," since that is the name of the work which he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the Father. For the name of the gospel is the manifestation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the All sought him from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

Ignorance Of The Father Brings Error

This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

For this reason, do not take error too seriously.

Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why you should keep a notebook by your bed

.... because otherwise you'll miss out on some great wisdom.

I've been kicking myself for not doing so lately. Some beautiful versus have come to me. Whole quatrains of them- and I can't remember them now to save my life. I felt as though I understood the emotion behind the words and what pleroma was trying to convey. Examining them closer, line by line, I could literally see them float right past me. Trying to grab onto them as I debated whether or not to run to the other side of the room for paper and pen I felt them float right out of my mind. Very frustrating. Try as I might I can't get them back.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Family Dynamics

When we talk about gnosis we're speaking of learning from sources around you and inside you. Books AND intuition meshed together with casual chats with the divine. It's impossible to consider gnosis a singular accomplishment of a single person. It takes contact with others in personal and business settings to help us shape opinions about what life is and means on this planet of ours.

We have caretakers when we are young and sometimes become caretakers of others when we are adults. We rely on and are relied upon in dozens of situations every day. We are all connected and we all communicate our desires and needs in one way or another. We are not islands unto ourselves in this vast universe.

To open the topic up for some brutal honesty I'm going to give you a very simple list of scenarios and ask your opinion concerning them.

Let's talk about family dynamics in religious thought. What do you think the chance of success would be for each of these couples?

An atheist and an evangelical?
A pagan and a Quaker?
A Baptist and a Mormon?
A growing gnostic and a non-denominational (but literalist) Christian?

Now add children to the equation.
  1. Who will teach those children about religion?
  2. How do you explain the intricacies in the differences of your and your spouses religious choices?
  3. Do you explain both religious beliefs and leave it up to your children to decide for themselves?
  4. Do you force the children to attend church functions?
  5. How do you choose which church of faith they will attend and how do you rationalize this choice?

The sets of couples I listed above would be classified as "blended families." Do you really think it's possible to raise children together in these scenarios let alone co-habitate as a happy couple? Any advice for those of us who are going through something similar?

Use the comments section to speak your mind.

Finding Peace- Solo

The chronic pain illness I suffer from has been whipping my butt lately. You wouldn't know it with as many posts as I put up but it takes me ten times longer to write them than it has in the past month or so. It makes thinking in a linear process like wading through pea soup. So I write, rewrite, scrap it, and then write some more. All in the hopes that my thoughts are cogent and readable to those who stumble across this blog. I hate being indecisive. But when my thoughts are so scattered it makes it difficult to come to a definitive conclusion at times.

So I ramble.
I'm not going to ramble here. But I would like to make a round-about point concerning the state of BEING scatterbrained and how it relates to gnosis. Try this: sit quietly for ten minutes with your eyes closed. No touching, speaking, tuning into outside sounds, and more importantly- falling asleep! You'll discover just how much your body and brain crave external stimulation.

Gospel of Thomas 28
Yeshua said,
I took my stand in the midst of the world,
and I appeared to them in flesh.
I found them all drunk
yet none of them thirsty.
My soul ached for the human children
because they are blind in their hearts
and do not see.
They came into the world empty.
But now they are drunk.
When they shake off their wine, they will repent.
We're like raccoons who are enamored with shiny objects. When we don't have any playthings we look around for something new to distract us and entertain us. But distract us from what? From ourselves. And our own minds.

I read a story once, really can't remember where, which told of a monk who really frustrated his family and friends. They believed he had lost his mind because one day he simply stopped moving. He stopped eating. He stopped talking. He would go long stretches of these 'fasts from the world' and when he returned he was quite disturbed by everyone around him. Unhappy. He would feed his body and then after a few days would return to another 'fast.'

I can relate to this. Since my initial education began with lay gnosis I have had more than a dozen days/instances where I have become lost inside my own mind. Fasting accompanies it for at least twelve hours. I simply lose the urge to eat or engage people in conversation. I feel like I need space to be. And by lost in my own mind I don't mean crazy 'lost'. Just immensely entertained. Coming out of the state the first time I found that I was deeply disappointed with my life. Namely, the many
things which I had collected. Physical objects which I discovered really held no meaning for me any longer. No purpose. Just clutter. Not even useful things. Many trips to the dump later I was happier than I'd been in years. Just by throwing away my belongings. Is this crazy? It doesn't feel like it. I am happier for it.

By entertained, I mean that I saw and felt a new dimension of reality. Think of playing in a sandbox with your best friend. Having the best conversation EVER with that friend! Talking about the meaning of life, why our sun is yellow, and any other mundane topic off the top of your head. And then add layers of understanding to those answers. Reasons. The very purpose and emotions of the being behind it all.
There is no ego in that entity's answers. No selfish pride or demands for This or That. Not even a single admonition about how long I've been away. The All doesn't have an ego. But it does possess a type of clarity which is nearly alien to our own understanding of existence. And so this makes it difficult to describe. We're so accustomed to human egos and motivations that it taints our understanding of concepts like creation, destruction, evolution of emotion, free will, and the like.

Sometimes he'll give you small snippets of verses to consider. New ones written just for you. Old ones you've read and forgotten about. It's random. And sometimes it's purely For Your Eyes Only.

Ya know, I said I wouldn't do it but I did. I rambled. I'm sorry.

Getting back to my point, to be human is to be scatterbrained. It's hardwired in us. And if you're ill then you're more scatterbrained than a normal human tends to be. I fight for clarity because to not have it as easily as I used to frustrates me and makes me so angry I can hardly fight tears some days. But when it comes to pleroma I've discovered that it is not through a forceful sort of aim for clarity which dispels this human condition(even when you have a medical condition). It is a release of restraint. An exhale. It takes practice and it doesn't always happen. But when it does it is beyond the greatest feeling you have ever known. Peace. Pure peace. You want to wallow in it. Play in it. Roll around in it. And more importantly- learn more about it because you want to return there again when you feel the need. The demands of everyday life take such a toll on us we need a vacation spot that we can run away to from time to time. And interestingly enough it's right inside our own souls.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Book Review

Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus
By: Michael Wilkins & JP Moreland

This book left a lot to be desired by way of real scholarship.

I checked out Amazon's feedback on this book left by customers/readers and not surprisingly there was a lot of "This is the best book ever written on the topic!!!" type comments left by literalists and "ye gods, people- wake up!!" comments from the apologist haters. (I'd leave a review along that last line myself but I'm too damn lazy to do so. I'd actually have to remember my Amazon log in information.)

This customer said essentially what I was thinking:

1.0 out of 5 stars Circular Reasoning, September 5, 2000
By A Customer
I have to admit up front that I stopped reading this book after the first 100 pages or so (the first three essays). Despite the claims of this book that the Jesus Seminar's research starts with the assumption that the Jesus in the Gospels could not be the true Jesus, this book starts with the equally arguable assumption that everything in the New Testament is true (despite serious inconsistencies between the four Gospels) unless proven otherwise.


Along the same lines as the "circular thinking" motif, I wonder if the authors realized just how asinine it is to call a 2,000(supposedly) year old collection of writings as accurate when they're using THE WRITINGS THEMSELVES to authenticate it.

*blog author slams head into keyboard*

Repeating a verse so many times doesn't make it true. Classifying and color coding verses into ratings of what the Jesus-they've-visualized would have said into nice, neat little piles doesn't make their fact finding mission true. Not when you've got asshats like Irenaeus at the helm of Christian orthodoxy so many centuries ago.

I know that sometimes I sound almost like an atheist in my arguments. But I'm not. I'm simply fed up with the pathetic cookie-cutter circular reasoning happening in the minds of worldly Christians. It's self defeating.

Gnosis is about using your BRAIN to come to a conclusion about a question. Not circular reasoning. Not by using the the subject matter itself to prove it's dogmatic worth when we really know crap about what happened 2,000 years ago. Anything of real worth that once existed to compare it to in order to find the truth- simply does not exist anymore. There were too many library burnings taking place. Once you get through the first few chapters of fluff where the authors spout off at how they're going to "prove the Jesus Seminar wrong" the book takes a decidedly apologetic turn- straight downhill.

Pure fluff for the brain-dead masses.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

C.S. Lewis

"Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God."
C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

And you thought the guy who wrote the Narnia books was just a nice little fiction writer! Turns out he's quite the philosopher on states of matter and God.

Mr. Lewis, shall we say, 'evolved' in his theism and published a book called Mere Christianity in which he states,

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." (Lewis 1952, p. 43)

My own concern is, of course, just how much faith he had in the authenticity of the biblical texts he reached his conclusions from. I think that anyone who begins to doubt the literal interpretations formulated by the Vatican latches onto this non-ideal state of faith(in this context-ignorance) with a heaping dose of contempt. Either God or a Demon? Only an apologetic would not be able to open their mind to other possibilities.

The Nicene Creed was put forth as a unifier within the Church and while this is not a bad thing in the grand scheme of stopping the madness of fracturing countries and families- it didn't work. Why? Because human beings are meant to be free thinkers. We can't all fit into the cross shaped Jello mold the Vatican wishes we could. Those of us with brains will break free and when we do we will begin by questioning the authenticity of the very texts, catechism, and hymns shoved down our throat from cradle to grave. A wee bit of research will show just how corrupt the Council of Nicaea was. From its purpose to it's execution and enforcement. Pure sacrilege against the divinity which resides in us all.

"He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." He, as in Jesus Christ? Or He as in Irenaeus? Or how 'bout He as in whoever originally(if that) wrote the texts before Irenaeus got his devilish fingers on them?

The conclusion I've reached through gnosis thus far is the only thing we can trust is our own experiences with the divine. No melodious lines inked on papyrus from antiquity will sway me unless I have a genuine experience concerning them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Science vs. Faith

An excerpt from Mark Noll's book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,
"Attempts to think-both profoundly and as Christians- about history, nature, the arts, and society have been frustrated by the very success of an institutional arrangement that maintains several mutually distinct forms of academic endeavor."
Unless the soul can be quantified in a scientific way, the great divide between evangelism and modern academia seems an uncrossable chasm. I don't think it's about proving God's existence or us being good enough for Him to show us proof of himself out of pure generosity. I think it's about slowing down as a society; about not getting so caught up in all the shiny marvels we discover daily under a microscope. Life is about the delicate balancing act between the two disciplines. If we grow so enamored with the past(keeping to the Old Testament ways) as the evangelical faith has, we will never be able to grow into a new future. Look to the future too closely and passionately and we'll overlook the serendipitous lessons from our forefathers.

A delicate dance indeed.

I believe that while our theology differs from evangelists' we can also learn a great deal from one another. There are few writing and teaching gnostic scholars just as there are few evangelical writing and teaching scholars. The money just isn't there. And unless that scholar feels particularly moved to 'evangelize' cheaply, they just wont do it. Everyone has bills to pay. Why not keep your theology to yourself instead?

If this chasm could be bridged between the secular and the spiritual, imagine how learning could progress! Imagine how society could be changed for the better.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review

The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
By: Mark A. Noll

Through several chapters I found myself cheering the author along as I read. He's taken on a monumental task- ferreting out the how's, when's, and why's of the decline in intellectualism within the evangelical protestant faith.

Starting with modern evangelical education settings and traveling backwards and forwards again in time, Mr. Noll accomplishes what I believe to be a remarkable endeavor: looking at the same texts which the majority of sects of Christianity reads every day and deciding that it is not the texts themselves which are the 'problem' with the evangelical sect, it's the overall attitude which is bred within families, congregations, and the church itself. Doomed from the start.

I believe this research of the author's is pertinent in how we view gnosticism today and the state of our education system overall. We have a great deal to be thankful for and to be wary of.

Chapter one of
Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, the author quotes Richard Hofstadter's Pulitzer-prize-winning book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, who said, "the evangelical spirit is one of the prime sources of American anti-intellectualism." For Hofstadter, there was a common reasoning process by which evangelicals had chosen to evacuate the mind. (EVACUATE the mind?!!)
"One begins with the hardly contestable proposition that religious faith is not, in the main, propagated by logic or learning. One moves on from this to the idea that it is best propagated (in the judgment of Christ and on historical evidence) by men who have been unlearned and ignorant. It seems to follow from this that the kind of wisdom and truth possessed by such men is superior to what learned and cultivated minds have. In fact, learning and cultivation appear to be handicaps in the propagation of faith. And since the propagation of faith is the most important task before man, those who are as "ignorant as babes" have, in the most fundamental virtue, greater strength than men who have addicted themselves to logic and learning. Accordingly, though one shrinks from a bald statement of the conclusion, humble ignorance is far better as a human quality than a cultivated mind. At bottom, this proposition, despite all the difficulties that attend it, has been eminently congenial both to American evangelism and to American democracy."
If that doesn't make you think twice about the pregnant chad fiasco of the presidential election a few years back then I can't imagine what will. Why our gubernatorial choices get so worked up wooing certain religious groups is just pathetic. It appears as though Martin Luther's diatribe against reason is bearing fruit now in this age of pseudo-democracy combined with a love affair of binary numbered technology.

In Ronald Knox's essay on "enthusiasm" he says about most evangelicals,
"That God speaks to us through the intellect is a notion which he may accept on paper, but fears, in practice, to apply."
I am wholeheartedly confounded by this philosophy of 'not thinking.' It leaves me asking a pretty harsh question: why is it fashionable to be ignorant? Somehow I think that being ignorant was not the will of the most holy when He/he said, "be like innocent babes." Then again, it depends on which "subject pronoun" you're talking about as to how you can interpret the phrase declaring we must be innocent.

Overall, I'd have to give this book eight stars. The author, a self-professed evangelical, makes no secret of his religious leanings and is instead relaying his disappointment in his research findings as well as stating that he still believes in evangelism but not how it has taken shape the past hundred years. He isn't giving up on it. The book is thorough and holds no punches. I did learn about a few positive angles of the evangelical mind, too. I was surprised at this.

When you read about the proto-gnostic teachers being exiled, tortured, killed, or simply written about by Irenaeus as blaspheming heretics, choose your words very carefully when you say that gnostics have nothing in common with evangelicals. Gnostics were just as ... verbose... back then as evangelicals are now. We may be a pacifistic and peace loving group who don't really have a political agenda(as a rule we hate getting involved in politics. Period), but we're just as capable of getting the word out to the masses about Love, Peace, and Understanding. The difference is that while we tend to be looked upon as anarchists by comparison because of our freedom loving nature, we have a very different interpretation of Genesis and view of the type of education we should devote ourselves to. But we do have something in common with them. We all believe in Christ's mandate of compassion.

I knocked two stars off for my personal rating of the book because of the downright ass backwards view of the author's concerning Martin Luther. This is a man who championed murdering Jews in Germany and killing off Muslims when he couldn't convert them. And Luther chastised parents who didn't properly educate their children. (say what?!!) I have never found Luther to be spoken of as very big on educating the masses. Quite the opposite. According to the author, Luther was "horrified" to find that his name was now synonymous with a new branch of Christianity. Couldn't have been too horrified since he wrote all the new catechisms himself and even quite a number of hymns!

We'll have to agree to disagree about Luther. The rest of the book was enlightening.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blasphemy Contest Winner!

In response to the Center For Inquiry's "Blasphemy Contest" held November 16th of this year, an article was written by the Politics Daily site and the readers were positively hateful.

The winning phrase for the contest was, "Faith is no reason."

I like it.

Anyway, a logged-in fan for Politics Daily called "Pernin" wrote, "If your God had not created this universe,and humanity,there would be no one to commit transgression against His moral law,no one to commit evil deeds,no one to be saved,and his "SON" would not have to die for no body.If you love your God,ask hime to accept the responsibility for the bloody mess He had created.If the machine breaks down,don't blame the machine,blame the engineer."

Well, damn. If that doesn't just whack that nail right on the head. I'd laugh if I wasn't so busy shaking my head in awe.

Kudos to Pernin.

And lovely Maggie puts her two cents in after a particularly wordy entry by a creationist. "I believe in THE one and only eternal GOD. .....Somehow I missed your point in your comment. However, I will vote you down."


Maggie, Maggie, Maggie.....reading is so hard. And stabbing another Christian in the back so easy.

And she continues! "As for me and my household, we shall serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15. ...We will all be judged. Be ready fellow human. God loves you whether you like it or not!"

Well hell's bells, woman. I don't want to be loved by a hungry, narcissistic boa constrictor. Thanky kindly, though.

PS. I've read through the Center For Inquiry's site and while they are very... open minded... they're a tad too irreligious for my taste. The anarchistic gnostic in me enjoys a few of their article concerning freedoms being fought for/lost/etc but the overall theme is atheist. Which I am not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rose Colored Glasses

There are a few people I've been talking to who swear that gnostics should just off themselves and quit bitching. I'm serious! "Make room for those of us who want to enjoy life." I have a rebuttal to that. And the definition of one single word is going to be my defense.

I accused them of seeing life through rose colored glasses; that is to see it in a sugar coated sweetness that simply doesn't even exist. They said, "But life is a gift. How can you not appreciate it?" I replied, "Because life isn't a gift. It's a prison sentence that we didn't do anything to deserve. The trick is searching out those things which make it bearable but aren't addictive or change your perception of reality."

After much gnashing of teeth and arguing back and forth, it is plain to me now that gnostics are destroyers of the sugar factory. We pour bleach in it. And we really can't help it. Once the glasses come off the stark reality is deep and lonely in a multitude of ways. But not when it comes to our immortality. That is where the line is drawn. Regarding our immortality we are unshakable.

Some of us are nicer than others about it. But it all boils down to the same thing. Life isn't fair.
It's not that we're trying to be downers. It's that when literal religious people try to convince themselves that all bad things are "Satan's fault" and all the good stuff is what God should get credit for- it's absolutely rubbish. Wiki's search results for "rose colored glasses" redirects to the page enlightening us on what "optimism" is. I found it quite humorous.
"Optimism is "an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome".[1] It is the philosophical opposite of pessimism. Optimists generally believe that people and events are inherently good, so that most situations work out in the end for the best.

Alternatively, some optimists believe that regardless of the external world or situation, one should choose to feel good about it and make the most of it. This kind of optimism doesn't say anything about the quality of the external world; it's an internal optimism about one's own feelings.[citation needed]

A common conundrum illustrates optimism-versus-pessimism with the question, does one regard a given glass of water, filled to half its capacity, as half full or as half empty? Conventional wisdom expects optimists to reply, "Half full," and pessimists to respond, "Half empty" (assuming that "full" is considered good, and "empty", bad).

Another paradox sometimes associated with optimism is that the only thing an optimist cannot view as positive is a pessimist. Pessimism, however, as it acts as a check to recklessness, may even then be viewed in a positive light.


Taking another peek at a particular line from above:

"This kind of optimism doesn't say anything about the quality of the external world, it's an internal optimism about one's own feelings."
Hmm... Interesting, yes?
The world is so fluffy and sweet because... I think that it is. There are the rose colored glasses I'm speaking of and originally searched for. Wanting something and actually getting it are two completely different things.

Drive sober. Take the glasses off.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Catholics Can't Say Yahweh Anymore?

On one hand I can understand the need to be a bit cautious about uttering the name of God-- if you believe that by uttering His name creation will be reversed, hellfire on earth, etc... etc... etc.... A name has power when you give it power, even if you're using a synonym. But this 2008 ruling of the Vatican also leaves me with an uneasy feeling of "just how PC can an organization become before slapping a "We Are PC" subtitle on their official logo?" (Besides, isn't that subtitle already taken by a certain software company?)

If the Pope did this to appease those who were appalled at uttering the name Yahweh, then shame on him. Now the freedom to say a deity's name doesn't exist any longer if you're Catholic. Congratulations, Catholics!

I'm expecting a 'leaked' report of the Vatican sending out a congratulatory letter to the Chinese any day now, for killing so many Falun Gong gnostics.

HYMNS-YAHWEH Aug-12-2008 (840 words) xxxn

No 'Yahweh' in songs, prayers at Catholic Masses, Vatican rules

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the not-too-distant future, songs such as "You Are Near," "I Will Bless Yahweh" and "Rise, O Yahweh" will no longer be part of the Catholic worship experience in the United States.

At the very least, the songs will be edited to remove the word "Yahweh" -- a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not "be used or pronounced" in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses.

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, announced the new Vatican "directives on the use of 'the name of God' in the sacred liturgy" in an Aug. 8 letter to his fellow bishops.

He said the directives would not "force any changes to official liturgical texts" or to the bishops' current missal translation project but would likely have "some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the general intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments."

John Limb, publisher of OCP in Portland, Ore., said the most popular hymn in the OCP repertoire that would be affected was Dan Schutte's "You Are Near," which begins, "Yahweh, I know you are near."

He estimated that only "a handful" of other OCP hymns use the word "Yahweh," although a search of the OCP Web site turned up about a dozen examples of songs that included the word.

OCP is a nonprofit publisher of liturgical music and worship resources.

Limb said the company would be contacting composers to "ask them to try to come up with alternate language" for their hymns. But he said hymnals for 2009 had already been printed, so the affected hymns would not include the new wording for at least another year.

Even when the new hymnals are out, "it may take time for people to get used to singing something different," he added in an Aug. 11 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

At Chicago-based GIA Publications, another major Catholic publisher of hymnals, no major revisions will be necessary, because of the company's longtime editorial policy against use of the word "Yahweh."

Kelly Dobbs-Mickus, senior editor at GIA Publications, told CNS Aug. 11 that the policy, which dates to 1986, was based not on Vatican directives but on sensitivity to concerns among observant Jews about pronouncing the name of God. As an example, she cited Heinrich Schutz's "Thanks Be to Yahweh," which appears in a GIA hymnal under the title "Thanks Be to God."

Bishop Serratelli said the Vatican decision also would provide "an opportunity to offer catechesis for the faithful as an encouragement to show reverence for the name of God in daily life, emphasizing the power of language as an act of devotion and worship."

His letter to bishops came with a two-page letter from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, dated June 29 and addressed to episcopal conferences around the world.

"By directive of the Holy Father, in accord with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this congregation ... deems it convenient to communicate to the bishops' conferences ... as regards the translation and the pronunciation, in a liturgical setting, of the divine name signified in the sacred Tetragrammaton," said the letter signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, congregation prefect and secretary, respectively.

The Tetragrammaton is YHWH, the four consonants of the ancient Hebrew name for God.

"As an expression of the infinite greatness and majesty of God, it was held to be unpronounceable and hence was replaced during the reading of sacred Scripture by means of the use of an alternate name: 'Adonai,' which means 'Lord,'" the Vatican letter said. Similarly, Greek translations of the Bible used the word "Kyrios" and Latin scholars translated it to "Dominus"; both also mean Lord.

"Avoiding pronouncing the Tetragrammaton of the name of God on the part of the church has therefore its own grounds," the letter said. "Apart from a motive of a purely philological order, there is also that of remaining faithful to the church's tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred Tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated."

The two Vatican officials noted that "Liturgiam Authenticam," the congregation's 2001 document on liturgical translations, stated that "the name of almighty God expressed by the Hebrew Tetragrammaton and rendered in Latin by the word 'Dominus,' is to be rendered into any given vernacular by a word equivalent in meaning."

"Notwithstanding such a clear norm, in recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel's proper name," the letter said. "The practice of vocalizing it is met with both in the reading of biblical texts taken from the Lectionary as well as in prayers and hymns, and it occurs in diverse written and spoken forms," including Yahweh, Jahweh and Yehovah.



From a gnostic point of view, this little tidbit written about the hypocrisy of American politics made me cringe six different ways. I could tear that former papal aid's arguments apart but honestly, I hate American politics myself. So I'd only end up spouting a history book worth of comparative instances in which the Roman Catholic Church has been just as hypocritical. Not worth it. The 'net is full of that stuff. I'd spend days copy/pasting it and I've got more enlightening things to accomplish besides retelling two thousand years of blood-spilled treachery since the beginning of the papacy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gnostics In The World- But Not Of It

Stephen Hoeller of the Ecclesia Gnostica says it simply and best. (blog author's comments below)

1) Do Gnostics strive to improve the world?

Yes, by improving themselves through Gnosis.

2.) Why is this so?

The world is in large part the domain of the Archons. As such it is not perfectible. Still it can be somewhat improved and its inherent deficiency diminishes every time a human spirit attains to liberating Gnosis.

3.) Are Gnostics inclined to any particular system of worldly government?

Individual Gnostics may support any worldly cause or none. The Gnostic world view, however, advises caution concerning all such involvements.

4.) Does the Gnostic world view uphold or rebel against worldly "establishments"?

It does neither, for its attitude is well stated in one of its scriptures: "Do not put your trust in the potentates, rulers, and the rebels of this world, for their authority passes away and comes to an end and their works are as naught."

5.) What is the chief requirement of the Gnostic in worldly society?

The chief requirement of the Gnostic in worldly society is an optimum degree of freedom, for without freedom the pursuit of Gnosis becomes very difficult. Since the freedom of Gnostics cannot be separated from the freedoms of all others, the freer all human beings are, the better this is for Gnosis and for Gnostics.


Mr. Hoeller's response to the first question is quite intriguing to me right now because I remember telling myself that very same thing when I decided to start this blog two months ago. The rationalization was that I am in this world. I am seen and I am heard. That means that I can have an impact. Each of us can. That makes us powerful. We are not the 'masses.' We are individual. And we can reach out as individuals to better the world if we choose-- as long as we're not trampling on another person's free will.

That is easier said than done, of course, when you think about all the things we do every day trying to impose our will on others. I'm not proposing an anarchistic society. But I do think that as a sentient species we need to grow up and learn from our mistakes from the past. Teach our children about the horrors we have committed and let them take those lessons to heart. Let our children form new ideas about how to maximize human freedom while still maintaining order and safety.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Book Review

Fabricating Jesus (How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels)
By: Craig A. Evans

I couldn't get through the first six chapters without slamming the book shut in disgust. For having over twenty-five years experience in looking at and translating ancient biblical texts, Mr. Evans' logic is .... I can't find the appropriate word. Appalling. Frightening. Shortsighted. Those are the closest approximations of emotion I could find. Oh, add a thick layer of disdain to that. Yeah. That'll cover it.

The author's grand pronouncement that the scholars who have translated the Nag Hammadi scrolls are dating it incorrectly is quite frankly anti-climactic. Gnostics wax poetic and have always assigned their dialogues with Christ as visions or meetings in the mind. And even more confounding to modern dogmatic Christian scholars, gnostic writers sometimes even refer to each other as Christs. Or sparks. Or a piece of light. Or a million other symbols. If you don't understand the jargon of gnostics it all looks like a twisted mess.

Here's the main idea Mr. Evans attempts to convince his audience: the Old Testament is truly the OLD Testament. The gnostic gospels really belong in the NEW Testament because of their supposed age, if they belong there at all.

We've got a problem, though. When the powers that be in Christiandom met for the first Council of Nicaea(325AD) all the New and Old Testament books were agreed upon and even edited to everyone's satisfaction. You're talking about rewriting and re-interpreting the Word Of God(supposedly). Man rewriting God's Book. It was decided that yes, Jesus was the literal son of God and not some human prophet with a gift for words or even a human baby who came into his divinity at a certain age. The human child was never born from humanity. He was born from God. A study of Arius, one of the priests to be excommunicated during the Council of Nicaea, shows that he was a not-so-quietly-in-the-closet gnostic. The base of truth was there, right in front of Constantine's eyes and for all to see. But it was blasphemous and deemed dangerous for the souls of Christians to contemplate. So naturally Arius was excommunicated and his works were burned. And then he was murdered. Nice touch, that.

My point is that the Old and New Testament books all have such shady history and interpretation that exactly how can one even establish which was written first in the instance of the Old Testaments in relation to the Nag Hammadi collection? Mr. Evan's argument that many of the Nag Hammadi books were either perfect copies of or very close paraphrases of a multitude of passages of books in the Old Testament only proves one thing- there were common themes. How do we know that the Old Testament books weren't copied from the Nag Hammadi books and then filled out with more appropriate fluff to stupefy the masses? Why is it that the Old Testament is sacrosanct and yet everything we find after it simply must be either a) a forgery or b) written after the Old Testament books? Why can't they coexist in peace as a part of history?

This isn't a debate over a chicken and her laid egg. This is an argument over who has edited texts, burned them, murdered people for their "hypocrisy" and then those people who simply want to spread God's love and be left alone. There is a 350 year period when all these books were written(and edited to please the masses) and the Vatican clearly fails when it comes to proving authenticity with Irenaeus as their chief historian.

Mr. Evans placed a very touching preface in his book, detailing how his faith has been changed through his decades of hard work. While others in his field lost their faith his merely shifted in focus. After reading only six chapters of his book I can summarize the author in three words: very polite apologist. While trying to rationalize the New Testament he only succeeds in pointing out his own flaws in deduction by not saying what he should. If you're going to attack the authenticity of one document saying it's "secondary and not primary" then you better be able to coherently discuss the shenanigans which happened while "authenticating" and outright editing the primary. Not talking about it doesn't mean that it didn't exist and you can't sweep it under the rug.

Gnostics don't care if another gnostic believes Jesus was maybe a brighter spark than the rest of us. We don't care if he really walked as a human or was merely a heavenly apparition who lingered thirty-three years. We don't care because we know that it's all about the evolution of gnosis and personal experience with the All. Free thinking at its best. That's why gnostics have a multitude of sects- happily! Literal Christians, however, have big Councils to decide such things and then damn anyone who disagrees. Murder and mayhem have always been dealt out by literal religions. Isn't it funny how exclusive inclusive religions become? They always morph into a society which teaches their children to hate the 'others.'

Doesn't anyone get metaphors anymore? Irenaeus certainly didn't. I think his inner child died too early.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Idiot. Jackass. Asshat. The Show!

A man steps onto a stage in front of a microphone before hundreds of people. This man suddenly balls up his fist and punches himself in the eye. The crowd, silent before, jumps to their feet and begin to cheer wildly as the entertainer before them proceeds to literally beat himself up.

Does this sound idiotic to you?

It's a TV show. I wish I was pulling your leg. I really do. But it's real and it's called Jackass.

There is a new quaint little word popping up on the internet here and there. I believe it began with the Etsy handmade artisan community. It's "asshat." This is the phenomenon where a person acts like an ass, is proud of it, and because of this pride they wear it like a hat every single day. That is asshattery. This phrase began being to be used when referring to Etsy's negligent staff of dorks who think it's funny to crash certain key parts of their site(their shop owner's way of making their living) and then go in the forums and ask, "So what kind of improvements would you like to see? Let's make a list." This same list is added to by shop owners and customers for about 200 pages and then promptly ignored by staff. They do the same thing every single week. And nothing on that list is ever implemented. Meanwhile, the person who depends on their Etsy shop profits to pay their bills is left swinging in the wind.

I mention idiocy and asshattery today for a number of reasons. The first is because of something which happened to my eight year old son last week. The second because of a phrase which pleroma gave me to meditate on in the shower this morning. The phrase was, "You're only as ignorant as you choose to be." As I contemplated this it gradually morphed into, "You're only as big of a jackass as you choose to be." Thus, the visualization of the show Jackass planted itself firmly in my mind this morning at 7:15am Eastern.

Slapping someone on the head with a Bible and shouting at them, "You're a jackass- go redeem yourself!" only works in a handful of cases. Most of those jackasses end up in a mental coma of "redemption" and screaming to masses of innocent pedestrians about the Apocalypse and how they were saved by Jesus. (see previous blog post about Redemption. Specifically, question #10.)

So what does work? How can we stop the asshattery?

Finding truth would seem to be a good start. Gnōthi Seauton, sweetheart! Know Thyself!

So when you find yourself and look at that immortal spark which is YOU standing in front of the mirror, what happens when you really don't like what you see?

Keeping this question in mind, let me divert a small portion of your attention to the incident which happened with my eight year old last week.

Two boys in red shirts climb on my son's school bus Wednesday afternoon. They then punch my son, rip the shoe and sock off one of his friends, steal this same friend's bookbag and play keep away with it. My son's friend is a kindergarten age child who, when he got off the bus that afternoon, was in tears carrying this shoe and sock over to his mother. My son grabbed the bookbag away from the two bullies and gave it to his friend.

I mention the red shirts because this is one of the main things my son could tell me about the boys to describe them. They were obviously new in school because the school's official uniform colors are blue, green, and white. Only newbies who don't know any better wear red shirts. (We should know. We did it at the beginning of the year. lol)

When the kindergartner's mother and I got together to decide a course of action the end result was a confrontation with not only the bus driver but the principal of the school and police officers. The bus driver wouldn't let us on the bus to have our children point out the two who terrorized them. He also stated that he didn't see anything happen the previous day. What, a child is bawling crying holding his shoe as he's getting off your bus and you don't notice? That doesn't pique your attention and sympathy, let alone common decency to inquire as to what happened to upset the child?

The school was about as helpful as a school of piranhas defending one of their own. Needlessly. The principal stated there was a camera on the bus. When we try to file a police report the police tell us that there was no incident to report without ever even looking at the tape. The asshattery continues.

Come to find out, there IS NO tape in the camera on the bus. It is mysteriously vacant of tape. No tape inside.

The principal then tells us the next day that the two children are not even enrolled in their school!!! Department of Children and Families had removed the boys(who lived on the other side of town) from their home earlier the previous day and thought it would be ok to stick them on any bus which was in the region their new caretakers were, not even bothering to enroll the children legally.

The boys were removed from the school that day and have not been seen since.

You've got a kindergarten age child terrified to go to school for fear those boys will rip his clothes off, a third-grader who is mystified about exactly what happened and is scratching his head at the whole thing, and two sets of parents wanting answers when there are none that the school is offering besides "hey, there was a sister on that bus. Didn't your children see her?" when wait- how did you know there was a sister on the bus if you didn't have a tape in the camera? Both my son and his friend emphatically deny there was a girl nearby who could have been the bully's sister. So why does the school mention this "sister" when it really has nothing to do with the incident?

We're looking into virtual/online schooling at this point. This is not the first case of asshattery we've seen from this particular school. As a matter of fact, it has been ongoing from the very first day.

I think our blue and green planet of Terra needs to be renamed Jackass, The Show.