Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Seek and ye shall find..."

All philosophy fascinates me. I'm currently reading Elaine Pagels "The Gnostic Gospels" in which she describes the Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammandi, early orthodox Christianity and the great divide that developed. She carefully explains those first and second century times and tries to help us understand the cultural and political climate including the horrific persecution of Christians that prevailed.
As I place this book in context with other information I've studied, the reasoning for developing THE "Bible" was quite sound - politically and culturally. If Christianity did not unite under one Orthodoxy, it would not have survived. The orthodoxy required a centralized authority - a patriarchy - in much the same way an army is formed. Gnostic teachings did not follow this way of thinking. And so, the catholic church - the one confirmed (even by Protestants) in the apostolic creed, was established and mightily fought to survive the ages. Gnostic teachings - gnostic texts - were intended to be completely destroyed. Gnosticism did not conform with Orthodoxy and was an internal threat to survival.
Two thousand years later came the discoveries of Gnostic Texts at Nag Hammandi and in other places. These texts, hoped to be destroyed by the orthodox Christians of the time, offer broadly differing perspectives on Christianity, Christ's life and how to follow.  Of course, I find most interesting the Gnostic teachings that treated women as equals and promoted a communal spiritual understanding that did not focus on hierarchy. These communities believed that connection with the spirit was universally available and should be universally valued. Not all Gnostic teachings followed this but I am most convinced that these are what Jesus taught and meant for us to understand.
Christianity has survived quite possibly due to the Orthodox approach. But it has not prevailed in the world. It has not been enough to change the world. Something has been missing. Something has not been quite right. It has not been quite right because something was missing. What was missing is now being re-discovered and confirmed in other ways. (notably Quantum Physics)
The times described in Elaine Pagels book, I believe and was stated by a great Egyptian Guru, began a time of spiritual darkness. I believe we have now entered a time of great spiritual enlightenment. Orthodox Christianity - as prescribed in the apostolic creed - is milk. It can give life and sustain. Spiritual growth is found beyond.
Do not fear. Spirit will lead you. There is more. Seek and ye shall find.

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