What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
For those of you that went to church when you were a kid, you remember going to Sunday School class, or VBS, and seeing that picture of Jesus? It looked like just a bunch of blobs on paper, and at the bottom it said something like “Can You Find Jesus?” So you stared at it, and after a while somehow your mind saw a nose, or an ear, or an eye, and then the whole image came together and you saw the face of Jesus. Most did, anyway. I remember one or two that never did see it. But if you did, you could never unsee it.
That’s pretty much how I feel about Gnosticism. Once I saw it, I now see it everywhere. I began reading about Classic Gnosticism (CG), and now I still see it everywhere, but with more clarity. It answers sooooo many questions. About why the world behaves a certain way, why we’re on our current trajectory, why our culture moves relentlessly left, why our churches are degraded and weak, why we’re obsessed with equality, why our view of life here seems so flat and dull and gray.
Moldbug once pondered how a college syllabus in the state of Washington, with it’s gender (feminist) studies, African-American courses, and all-around libtard agenda, could be virtually identical with a college in New England, without any visible guiding hand. No one forces them to offer those courses. There’s no edict from on high, but they’re all mysteriously, eerily similar. Well, I say it’s evident. Ask the same question about Christian colleges. They, by and large, don’t communicate with each other about what courses to offer, but they’re all similar even if they’re thousands of miles apart. Their faith, their cosmology, dictates what they think is worthwhile to study. It’s the same with secular colleges. Their Gnostic faith (I like that word so much better than cosmology) naturally dictates what courses are worthwhile to offer.
I’ve talked with people about this. I taught on it at my church on Wednesday nights for a few months. Christians are usually very polite people, especially in the South. No one argued, and they nodded politely, and seemed to get my point. What they didn’t seem to grasp, to my frustration, was the import. Maybe I’m not a forceful enough speaker.
You may know a bit about CG, especially if you’re a Christian. If you have a study bible, it’s probably in the notes somewhere with the epistles of Paul, and it probably seems like a bit of Church history without any significant connection to you. Most likely, you’ll remember it as an early Apostolic Church heresy with two primary characteristics: 1) an emphasis on special knowledge (Greek gnosis) , usually of the esoteric kind, that an enlightened few give to it’s followers as a secret way of salvation, and 2) a disdain or devaluing of creation, the physical world, in favor of the spiritual world.
Both of those things are true. Interesting, maybe, to a history buff. But for most, history is boring unless it connects, in some meaningful way, with the present. If we don’t sense that we’re living under it’s shadow, then we focus our energies on more urgent matters. That’s natural. So the task at hand is to demonstrate how this piece of history is connected to our present, and to point out the big, gray shadow it’s casting.
In my travels in and around this subject, I’ve come across other core Gnostic beliefs. All of the following comes from research of CG.
As I stated in an earlier post, Gnostic religions have always held that God is transcendent but not perfect, human beings are a cosmic accident, and the SYSTEM is the problem (fixing the SYSTEM is of primary importance, as opposed the Hebraic, then Christian belief that it’s mankind that needs to be fixed). This broken, flawed SYSTEM is the cause of all evil and human misery. Gnosticism contends that mankind is basically good, so therefore we have no need for atonement, and the way to salvation is through knowledge (not faith).
Shortly downstream from it’s disdain for the created order is the Gnostic compulsion for equality. In most of the Gnostic cults, equality was preached in much the same way it is today. Also downstream in CG is extremes of licentiousness or asceticism. Seems the old Gnostics were either Puritans, or they couldn’t keep it in their pants.
Of course, Gnostics were all about grand, transcendent goals. Since creation was flawed, there was in CG a tremendous drive to either restore primeval perfection or harmony, or progress to perfection. Add to this a militant disposition, since they were at war with a tireless enemy, creation. Manichaeism, interestingly, spread successfully in the Middle East from the 2nd to the 7th centuries, became widespread in the Roman Legions, and was considered a “soldier’s religion.”
Finally (at least for now), in CG there was a certain, um, moral flexibility. Since creation was, at best, irrelevant, then the natural is actually unnatural, and that means a host of “normal” assumptions (like morality, for example) can be tossed aside. In CG, the ends could certainly justify the means. Especially if it was for the good of humanity, right?
All this on top of a denial of either Jesus’ divinity or humanity, which was the touchstone for the Cold War that the Apostolic Church fought against the Gnostics. I’m convinced that this war of subversion hasn’t ended, and won’t, which makes it maddening that most of the Church, including the brightest among us, are completely clueless about the Gnostic sabotage happening in plain sight, in real time. Do we not see what they’ve done to the Episcopal church, the Anglican church, the PCUSA? All of them gutted and full of empty pews. I’m not among the brightest, and I’m no prophet, but for whatever reason I see it. And I can’t unsee it.