Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by LysanderShapiro, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. "What is the mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind." -Homer Simpson

    I've noticed a strange division between some Christians. Not many, but some.

    Some believe that materials, items, matter, anything that isn't spiritual, is wrong because it can lead to idolatry, materialism, etc.

    Though I think that's jumping the gun.

    Shall we discuss?
    Ghid likes this.
  2. That philosophy is Gnosticism and was partially adapted by Roman Catholicism through gnosticism spirit = good and matter = evil

    Anything "material" including the body is considered evil...but when God Formed the man and created the Universe He said it was good...

    brother Paul
    Leo_ACH and Major say Amen and like this.
  3. I was about to get into Gnosticism actually. Though I don't know what you mean when you say it was adapted by Catholicism. You mean Catholicism promoted it?
  4. To my understanding as well, this kind of philosophy is gnosticism. It was very much prevalent in early Church age.. we see Paul and others writing a lot stressing the fact that it is a wrong gospel.. They went to the extent of saying Jesus cannot be fully divine and human at the same time. Because they considered human flesh itself to be evil. Book of Hebrews addresses this to a good extent.
    Leo_ACH likes this.
  5. #5 Major, Sep 10, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
    What is the difference between adapted and promoted? Just so that we are on he same page.

    In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II writes:
    "A separate issue is the return of ancient Gnostic ideas under the guise of the so-called New Age. We cannot delude ourselves that this will lead toward a renewal of religion. It is only a new way of practicing Gnosticism — that attitude of the spirit that, in the name of a profound knowledge of God, results in distorting his word and replacing it with purely human words. Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian."

    From that same web site.........
    "With the rise of Christianity, ancient esoteric ideas developed into Gnostic syncretism. Thus, in the first centuries A.D., the Apostles and the Church Fathers had to combat several "Christian" Gnostic religious systems, such as those of Cerinthus, Manander, Saturninus, Valentinus, Basilides, Ptolemaeus and the ones contained in the apocryphal gospels: of truth and perfection, and of Judas (Iscariot), Philip and Thomas.
    The third-century dualist Manichaean church or religion spread from Persia throughout the Middle East, China, southern Europe and northern Africa, where the young Augustine temporarily became a convert."

    Personally I always was taught that Gnosticism was a man-made self-centered philosophy — a kind of "monologue" which man divinizes himself and fails in the attempt.

    The Christian revelation is a God-made gift — "dialogue" of love that God establishes with man for eternal life through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

    To discern, which is really needed today, what is Christian from what is not, we can depend on the Bible IMO.

    2 John 4:2-3................
    "By this you know the spirit of God: Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world".
  6. As far as i know, there isn't really a difference -- I asked because I wanted to be sure what he was saying.

    What you gave gives a good packdrop on the connection many Christians have with gnosticism (even the other 23 gospels were gnostic influenced--which is why they were never canonized). But I'm trying to figure out how Catholicism promoted it, especially since so many of them fought against it.

    I'm also not sure how this happened through St. Augustine when some of the earlier Church fathers spoke directly against it--namely St. Irenaeus who wrote almost entirely on it in Against Heresy in the 2nd century.
  7. Gnosticism is the notion that one can become divine through acquisition of knowledge and personal effort.
    "gnosis"= "knowledge". It has nothing to do with the notion that matter is inherently evil.
    Matter just is, and has no moral distinction of any kind. To be "good" or "evil" one must be able to act, which matter cannot do.

    The Roman Catholic Church has never accpeted or promoted gnosticism of any kind.
  8. It's funny but science has proven that we're not "matter" any more, but congealed energy. Every time they zoom in more and more it just keeps showing more and more energy until literally what's left is just "wisps of energy". The energy of another object repels our energy so we can't walk through walls, much the same way a positive and negative side of a magnet repels. The more they study us we're just transferred energy. Just what Einstein said. If "matter" moves at the speed of light, it turns to pure energy. Imagine what happens when it travels at the speed of thought!
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  9. How? Could it be that there were very few Bibles available?

    Oral tradition was the normal mode for communicating the teachings of a master in the ancient world.

    Just one example will serve to make the point and keep this discussion moving forward:
    Jesus said, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?"
    - The Gospel of Thomas, saying 11

    Is it likely that the early leaders began to hear odd sayings like this one and determined that an authoritative set of sayings needed to be recorded to combat this way of Gnostic teaching?
  10. Yes I suppose I should clarify what I said. First pff there is a huge difference for me between "partially adapted" or adapting to something and "promoting" it. No! The RCC did not "promote" gnosticism but they did eventually take on an extremely negative view of humanity in its natural state. After Augustine, in only the west until about 300 years later and even then not everywhere, a baby was the product of lust (one of the seven deadly sins) and itself was condemned (guilty of Adam's sin) at birth and unless baptized right away (to wash away original sin) if they died they went straight to hell (at least this is what they told the masses)...sexuality became viewed as dirty and sinful (yet it was the first blessing of God to man). Even now many old world Roman Catholic women view there own sexual relationship with their husbands as somewhat not right before God and often (not always) carry guilt over their private acts (although the Bible says the marriage bed remains undefiled). My wife and I just had a long conversation with a friend who suffers this falsely imposed guilt (and subtly is ashamed before her husband and requires darkness, etc., while the Bible says of unfallen man that the husband and wife were naked and not ashamed)...

    This adaptation eventually grew into the idea of total depravity...and a sort of if man was absolutely incapable of desiring to do right (a doctrine the church fathers before this fought against vehemently)...the gnostic influence also left the Hierarchy/Leadership structure in a position over the masses of being the ultimate possessors of true knowledge of God and what God truly gain access to the Holy and the Truth, one had to partake of the fruit they alone were the keepers of (it held the masses in a sort of mystic manipulation...). The people feared a priests anathema or excommunication (though so many of them were vile and corrupt...even popes were practicing pederasty)...They were viewed as some great one whose word itself was as God....their condemnation was God's condemnation and so on...

    The idea of so denying free will that sin was a necessity was totally a Manichaean concept (one which if you actually read all of Augustine was not his point at all) but it was adapted for a time as it made control of the minds of the people and thus their behavior and actions possible...

    Now I know we could discuss this in great length and one could say this is just my opinion (which it is) but in regards to the OP the doctrinal position you were asking about IS similar...the spiritual was good (which was interpreted as obeying the church an performing the seven sacraments) and the physical was essentially evil...that is gnostic not Christian...IMO of course

    brother Paul
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  11. Well technically there were no Bibles at that point. This was around 140 AD. But Gnosticism predated the canonization of the Bible, which is why so many of the gospels were left out of the canon.

    That's actually why Thomas and all the others were not canonized. They had writings of Gnosticism, which of course means they were not truly divine.
  12. You have to distinct the difference between what the Catholic Church promoted or adapted and what Catholics promoted and adapted. And this even includes clergy as clergy often go astray and practice heresy--even fact, very often today unfortunately.
    Major likes this.
  13. True my brother, but let me say it was the Gnostics and later Mani who first promoted the idea that believes that sin is the substance of the body, which is inherited at conception, so that man is born sinful and not just with a propensity by which he will eventually sin (and that at a very young age). But man will sin because he possesses free volitional choice and insists on being his own lord (Genesis 3:5)...but he is not automatically born a "condemned" sinner (not yet having sinned)...the legalistic interpretation of the first sin (the original sin) is a Manichean/Gnostic adaptation. I call this legalistic because God's loving warning of the foreseen consequence of eating of the tree is misinterpreted as a threat of His punishment for their disobedience (which is not what the text says)...when your mom or dad said "Thou shalt not run out into the busy traffic for if you do you shall surely get hit by a car", they were warning you of the foreknown inevitable...if and when you did so they did not go and make a car hit you, they were trying to save you...God foreknowing the first couple would do this anyway had already the plan for their recovery (Genesis 3:15)....
    Major likes this.
  14. Articulated very well Paul.
  15. This thread became confusing. What are you suggesting? Are we arguing about Catholicism and Gnosticism, what Gnosticism is, or whether it is wrong or not?
  16. I was trying to clarify what I had said for your sake but I believe the thread should discuss Gnosticism (the suggestion of the OP)...I believe it is not the correct way to understand the scriptures or what the Apostles passed on to the early church...
  17. The natural state of reality and the outer universe is chaos and disorder,
    creation is order.
    God has created laws governing reality, or He has bound the subatomic natural chaos together to form structure upon structure
    leading to our reality. Order upon order creates stability as a foundation of growth.
    Sin, lawlessness, leads to corruption and chaos and the dissolving of order and stability.
    Nothing material or physical is evil, not even evil symbols or statues because they are all just objects,
    it is us who attach meaning and then use those objects to create chaos where we use them for such.
    We use objects as tools, but the objects have no moral quality.
    There is no wrong to an upside down cross, horned goat, star with candles or a statues or food offered to idols,
    it is us who give those things meaning and then we must destroy them because they become focus points of
    excuse to do the wrong thing and so create chaos.
    Actually there are two points here, objects and symbols.
    Pure objects and objects that become symbols
    Where an object has become a symbol of evil I would think it is forever attached to that symbolism,
    like a swastika, will there be swastikas in heaven, like will the new Jerusalem have swastika lattice
    work on your apartment? or devil worship cross in a circle, I think not.
    have given those symbols evil status forever, whereas previously they had no evil status, they have become evil.
    However the swastika is a symbol among the ancient Celts, Indians, and Greeks, later Buddhism Jainism Hinduism,other cultures and religions,
    so it only possesses a evil status if you lived in a time period between 1940 and 2040? outside of that its meaning is different,
    but for God who is timeless He remembers the evil and its evil intent.
    Actually you could say the CROSS is an evil symbol of crucifiction and not a lovely Christian symbol of Christ?
    To attach a symbol to Christ is I think to do the wrong thing because the symbol then becomes a focus,
    and detracts from the one who should be focussed on, not for all of course.
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  18. Are we talking about gnosticism and catholics or just gnosticism? IMO, we have slightly (understatement) deviated from OP
    Major likes this.
  19. Originally I just wanted to talk about Gnosticism and many Christians today.
  20. Maybe their influence gives rise or contributes to the idea that Christ will not physically return but only spiritually? What do you guys think? Could this have affected the end times thoughts? I know JWs and others think the "return" (second advent) has already this what you mean?

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