I am a gnostic Christian

I AM A GNOSTIC CHRISTIAN

Ozodi Osuji

Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός, romanizedgnōstikósKoine Greek[ɣnostiˈkos], ‘having knowledge’) is a collection of religious ideas and systems which originated in the late 1st century AD among Jewish and early Christian sects.[1] These various groups emphasized personal spiritual knowledge (gnosis) above the orthodox teachings, traditions, and authority of traditional religious institutions. Viewing material existence as flawed or evil, Gnostic cosmogony generally presents a distinction between a supreme, hidden God and a malevolent lesser divinity (sometimes associated with the Yahweh of the Old Testament)[2] who is responsible for creating the material universe.[3] Gnostics considered the principal element of salvation to be direct knowledge of the supreme divinity in the form of mystical or esoteric insight. Many Gnostic texts deal not in concepts of sin and repentance, but with illusion and enlightenment.[3]

Gnostic writings flourished among certain Christian groups in the Mediterranean world until about the second century, when the Fathers of the early Church denounced them as heresy.[4] Efforts to destroy these texts proved largely successful, resulting in the survival of very little writing by Gnostic theologians.[3] Nonetheless, early Gnostic teachers such as Valentinus saw their beliefs as aligned with Christianity. In the Gnostic Christian tradition, Christ is seen as a divine being which has taken human form in order to lead humanity back to the Light.[5] However, Gnosticism is not a single standardized system, and the emphasis on direct experience allows for a wide variety of teachings, including distinct currents such as Valentinianism and Sethianism. In the Persian Empire, Gnostic ideas spread as far as China via the related movement Manichaeism, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq.

For centuries, most scholarly knowledge of Gnosticism was limited to the anti-heretical writings of orthodox Christian figures such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome. There was a renewed interest in Gnosticism after the 1945 discovery of Egypt’s Nag Hammadi library, a collection of rare early Christian and Gnostic texts, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Apocryphon of John. A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion. Scholars have acknowledged the influence of sources such as Hellenistic JudaismZoroastrianism, and Platonism, and some have noted possible links to Buddhism and Hinduism, though the evidence of direct influence from the latter sources is inconclusive.[3]” Wikipedia

INTRODUCTION

     Nobody really has a definitive understanding of the origin of Gnosticism. Some speculate that when Alexander the Great went to India, around 300 BC, that some Greeks who accompanied him studied Hinduism and Buddhism and upon coming back to Greece reframed basic Hinduism and Buddhism in Greek rational terms. This is a conjecture. What is salient is that Gnosticism is close to Hinduism and Buddhism.

     When Jesus preached his understanding of God, especially as represented in the Gospel of John, chapter 14, some of his followers translated his teaching to the framework of Gnosticism. Thus, there were many Christian Gnostics during the first century of our common era. Indeed, many of the church fathers were Gnostics. Saint Augustine, for example, before writing the City of God and Confessions was a Gnostic Christian.

     The Catholic Church, after the 325 Emperor Constantine induced unification of the teaching of the faith under one system, tried to stamp out what it called Gnostic heresy. Gnostics were persecuted and many of them went underground.

      The discovery of the Dag Hammadi papers in 1945 gave us a wealth of literature on what early Christian Gnostics believed in.

      Since 1945 there has been a resurgence of Gnosticism. However, it is not a unified belief system. Each Gnostic tends to give to the world his own understanding of what Gnosticism means to him or her and folks adhere to that as if it is the only Gnostic Christianity there is.

    Helen Schucman, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Columbia University, New York authored a book called A course in miracles. She swore that she had not heard about Gnosticism before authoring her book, but her book is in alignment with what Gnostic Christians believe. Is this an interesting coincidence or sign that there is a core to Gnosticism that she rearticulated?

     Since I consider myself a Gnostic Christian, what I will do here is state my understanding of Gnosticism and why it is the true interpretation of the Gospel of love and forgiveness taught by Joshua Ben Joseph, who Greeks called Jesus Christ. Make my interpretation what you like, it is what makes sense to me.

       The term Gnosticism is derived from Greek. Gnosis is Greek to know for sure that there is God. Agnosticism is to not know for certain if there is God but to not cavalierly dismiss the idea of God as atheists do.

      Atheists claim that there is no God; theists claim that there is God. Both atheists and theists predicate their positions on faith, not facts.

     Atheists do not have evidence beyond spurious ones (what is dark energy and dark matter, those are 96% of the universe and we know nothing about them so how can you claim to know what the universe is for sure?) that there is no God.

     Theists do not have empirical evidence that there is God.

      Gnosticism says that the only way to know if there is God or not is to experience him. Thus, Gnostics predicate their practice towards experiencing God. Those who claim to have experienced God and know for certain that there is God are Gnostics.

      This is like Hindus and Buddhists saying that they experienced God and from that experience know that there is God.

       Hindus say that there is one God called Brahman. They say that Brahman has parts, sons called Atman. Each of us is Atman who is an extension of Brahman and is one with Brahman. As it were, we cast maya, magical spell on us and forget that we are part of God and now seem separated from God. If we want to know that God is real, we are told to meditate; in meditation we are told to negate the empirical and phenomenal universe, for it is a dream.

      Some Hindus who meditate claim to have experienced what they call Samadhi, oneness with God and from that experience know that God, in fact, exists.

     Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism. It, too, claims that the only way to know that God exists is to go into meditation and negate the self we are aware of, the ego separated self, and that when we empty our minds of all ego separated self-concepts and self-images, give up the human personality that sees us as body, that we escape to Nirvana and in it know that there is a formless force that has no name that we are a part of.

      In Nirvana (called Satori by Zen) we experience oneness with all being and feel eternal, permanent and changeless and experience peace and joy.

     The goal of   Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zen and Taoism is to escape from the ego separated self and attain the unified spirit self, also called God and in it know that we are eternal, permanent and changeless. Those who have had this experience are said to be God realized. Since God is also called Self, they are also said to be Self realized, or illuminated and enlightened to their real self. Such persons thereafter are in peace and joy (Ananda). They know that despite appearances of physical death that their spirit lives forever and ever in unified spirit, aka God and his heaven.

GNOSTICISM DEFINED

      Gnosticism, as it was practiced in the Greek world and in the early Christian world, posits that there is God. What that God is we do not know.

      It says that a false God, often taken to be the Judaic and Christian God, Yahweh, also called Demiurge, Lucifer, or as A course in miracles calls it, the son of God, out of pride and sense of competition with God, decided to separate from God.

     God is all there is. God created all of us by extending his one formless spirit self to us. We are part of God and cannot separate from him. Still, we wished to seem separated from God.

     Since it is impossible to separate from God, as it were, we went to sleep and, in our sleep, invented a universe that is the opposite of God, a universe that gave us the opportunity to seem separated from God.

     Whereas in God we are unified as oneself, in the dream we invented space, time and matter and use those to give us a sense of separation from God and from each other. In the dream we invented matter and used matter to construct bodies for us. Each of us is now in a body and lives in space and time.

      I am over here, and you are over there, so we seem separated from each other. What harms me and gives me pain does not harm you and give you pain. So, we seem separated from each other and are no longer unified with each other and no longer unified with God.

     In God we are one shared self with one shared mind and there is no body, matter, space and time to separate us but now we live in bodies, space and time and seem separated from each other and from God.

      In the new world, a dream, we have separated self-interests; I have my self-interests and you have your self-interests; each of us pursues his self-interests. In pursuits of our perceived self-interests, we do fight each other. Thus, the earth is a place of conflicts and wars.

     We do harm and indeed destroy each other’s bodies. We separate into groups (Black people and white people, men and women etc.) and each sees itself as different and fights the other, and within each group each person sees his self as different from others and fights them. This is our world, a place of war.

     Gnosticism says that our world is the opposite of our real home in heaven, in God. God is said to be unified and love, but on earth we live as the opposite of love and union.

     Gnostics see heaven, God, as our real selves, and those are seen as light. Light is one continues wave with particles of light in it, but wave and photons are the same.

GNOSTIC STORY OF CREATION OF THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE

      When we sought separated selves, we transformed spiritual light to physical light and used physical light to construct matter.

      From basic physics you know that in the beginning, 13.8 billion years ago, during the Big Bang, light came out of nowhere and shattered into particles of light, photons; the particles formed electrons and quarks and quarks constructed protons and neutrons. Within three minutes protons and neutrons were encapsulated into nucleus of what later became atoms; 400, 000 years later nucleus captured electrons to form atoms.

      There are ninety-two types of atoms in the universe, each different from others by the number or electrons, protons and neutrons inside it.

     Atoms of hydrogen are clustered in clumps; gravity acts on each of the clumps and heat and pressure in its core fuse hydrogen to helium and that is what a star is. Old stars explode and, in the explosion, supernova, form elements beyond iron.

    The elements spilled into space by exploded stars later agglomerate into new stars, planets, asteroids and comets.

     Our star, Sun and its nine planets came into being 4.5 billion years ago from a shattered massive star. Our star has enough hydrogen to keep fusing hydrogen to helium for five billion years; after which it will swell up, become extremely hot and shatter to smatterers. This way, stars are formed and die.

ALL ELEMENTS AND MATTER WERE FORMED FROM LIGHT

    The salient point is that all elements, all matter are made from light energy. Our bodies, animals’ bodies, plants, planets, asteroids, comets, stars, and everything in the universe is made of light but is now in the form of matter.

     Matter is disguised light but disguised or not is still light. Your body is disguised light but is still light.

      All the sixty-four elements in your body (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphor, zinc, sodium, iron, copper, sink etc.) are made from light.

     When your body dies the elements in it decay and return to their kind in nature. Those elements may take billions of years to finally decay but in time will decay and return to light. Planets, stars, everything will die and decay back to light.

      The entire universe is expanding; in trillions of years all the matter in the universe will die and decay back to light. Thus, a universe that began in hot light will end in cold light (Big Chill).

      For our present purposes, everything is light. We are light dancing in matter forms. Where we see matter is light.

      Look at your body, your house, the walls in your house, the table you are typing on, the computer that you are typing into, they are all made of light. Everything is made of light, albeit disguised.

      Gnosticism teaches that everything is made of light and is light. Now, given the verdict of physics and chemistry, is Gnosticism not correct? Gnosticism, over 2300 years ago, said that everything is light, and it turns out to be so! Twentieth century physics proved Gnosticism to be true!

     Gnosticism is correct in saying that everything is light but not in our present awareness. Gnosticism says that in our present awareness is the apparent understanding that we are matter, hence the philosophy of materialism.

     The philosophy of materialism is a very infantile philosophy for we are light, a right philosophy is “lightism.”

      Gnosticism says that matter, our body is our shadow self and that our real self is light. God is seen as light and we are seen as light but in as much as we now see ourselves as body, matter we are misguided.

     Gnosticism wants to help us to recover the correct awareness of who we are, light. First, is awareness that our body is physical light and, finally, is awareness that physical light was projected out by spiritual light; the sons of God in their sleep-dream projected out physical light and used physical light to formulate our physical universe.

    What was done in dreams have not been done in awake state, in heaven; the world we see with our separated physical eyes, the physical universe does not exist except as in a dream state; our physical universe is not real; it needs to be transcended and we return to the awareness of our true state, spiritual light.

      Helen Schucman in her A course in miracles, at several places, says, “I am light, I am not body, I am the light of the world, I am spirit, God is light, we are the sons of God, we are light.”

     God is spirit and as his sons we are spirit, meaning not body, not matter. The purpose of Dr. Schucman’s book, a spiritual poem, is to enable us to understand that our true self is made of light and that God is light and we are all parts of the eternal light that is called God.

     I totally agree with Dr. Schucman; she wrote in poetic form, verse; what I have been doing is translating her divine poem to human prose and explaining it from the categories of physics.

THE WORLD OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE WORLD OF LIGHT FORMS, THE WORLD PURIFIED BY LOVE AND FORGIVENESS

     Dr. Schucman   said that the universe that we see in matter form has already been remade for us in light form. Our world was made without love, was made in opposition to love, God. The Holy Spirit, the immanent God in the temporal universe, has remade our world, purified it with love and forgiveness, into a world of light forms.

      The world of light forms looks like our extant world, with people, animals, trees, planets, stars except that all those things are now in light forms.

     God does not destroy what his son made in opposition to him but remakes them to look beautiful; they are still nothing but now they look beautiful nothing.

     Our separated egos in bodies, nothing, are transformed to Christ selves, still separated but in light forms, and are now beautiful nothing.

     Our world of matter is insane, and the world of light forms is a mildly insane world for in it we still see separated things, albeit in light forms.

     If we see separated things at all we are insane; in truth all things are unified and since only the formless can unify, in God all things are in formless, unified spirit state.

     She said that if we go into meditation and tune out our world of separation, overlook our world, forgive it and see it as a dream and not take what is done in it seriously but dismiss it as valueless dream things that we would see this world in a light form.

     She talked about the light world as the world remade by the Holy Spirit from our world of matter.

     Since matter is really light what she talked about as the world of light forms is possible. She asked us to look at ourselves and people as not bodies but light beings and that we will experience ourselves as light beings (what she called Christ vision, that is, corrected seeing, seeing with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing with love and forgiveness).

     When we have corrected our perception, gone from seeing with separated eyes to seeing with unifying eyes, we would understand ourselves at last; thereafter we shall all awaken from the dream of separation and know all of us as part of one stream of spiritual light that begins and ends nowhere, what she called heaven.

    I totally agree with her characterization of heaven hence I consider me a Gnostic, a believer in our true self as light and our current world as matter, dark and impure.

DISCUSSION

      Any objective appraisal of what the man from Nazareth taught and what is taught by the religion that purports to represent his teaching in the extant world, only Gnostic Christianity teaches what the man taught. If so, how come Gnosticism was driven out by the false Christianity called Catholicism?

     I have given this subject quite a bit of thinking. It is probably because like Hinduism and Buddhism, Gnosticism emphasized escaping and negating the ego and its world and returning to unified spirit self, returning to Christ and its world of light forms and eventually to unified spirit, heaven.

      Humankind was not yet ready for leaving this world hence it embraced the ego affirming separated world and the Catholicism and later Protestantism that validate the ego and its world.

      I agree that it is wrong to emphasize abandoning this world. Whether we like it or not, this physical universe is going to be around for several trillion more years and what we need to do is study it through science and make the most of it but not see it as vey good for it is nothing. It is just a dream and nothing important. We can make it a happy dream without the delusion that it is worthwhile endeavor.

      Nevertheless, we do not need to negate this physical universe; we need to use science to understand it, go to exoplanets in our galaxy and thereafter to other galaxies and in time tunnel our way to other universes in the infinite universes there are.

       If you are a scientist, a logical positivist, an empiricist, you would smile at this Gnosticism thing and dismiss it and move on. You live in the world of the scientific method. In your world, every claim must be observable, verifiable, and falsifiable.

     Gnosticism seem like quaint religious ideas that no one can verify. That was my altitude to Gnosticism. But then I decided to do what it asks us to do, see ourselves as light, see light as love, love all people, and forgive those who wronged us. Love all people and forgive all people.

     That was what Jesus did, love all and forgive all, including those who crucified his body for he realized that he is not his body but has a spirit that is made of light and that that light is eternal.

     They crucified his body, but he transcended his body and took on his light body and showed his light self to his apostles and thereafter disappeared to the world of light forms and occasionally disappears into the formless spiritual light world of God, rest there for a while and choose when he wants to reappear in the world of light forms or even on earth.

     Try loving and forgiving all people and you might see Jesus Christ on earth. He might appear as the next person you see in your world.

CONCLUSION

      Practice love, forgiveness and correction of our bad behaviors and see if you would not see you in a light form and eventually know yourself as formless part of formless life.

      Gnosticism asks that we verify its claims by doing certain things, love and forgive all to see ourselves as light and not matter and seek the light world of God.

      Try it and see if you could verify its claim or whether it is just mere religious mumbo jumbo. The taste of the pudding is in the tasting.

      I have tasted Gnosticism and its teachings seem correct; therefore, I call me a Gnostic Christian.

    Finally, Gnostic Christianity is the only form of Christianity that has understood the message of Jesus the Christ and spirituality in general and teach it. Most other forms of Christianity are forms of egoism; they are religions devised by our need to retain our egos and make our egos seem important by using them to serve what we call God.

     God does not ask us to serve him. We are the extensions of God. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 14, where you see the sons of God you see God for God is in his sons and is never apart from his sons.

      Gnosticism is teaching the correct path to God; if this path to God does not make sense to you, you are on the wrong path and ought to return to the correct path to find your path to your real self.

Ozodi Osuji

October 22, 2021

ozodiosuji@gmail.com

(907) 310-8176

Notes

      You might want to peruse some of the Gnostic gospels discovered in 1945, such as the Gospels of Thomas, Mary Magdalen and Judas. Also see Plotinus, Enneads; Helen Schucman, A course in miracles. They teach what I summarized in this paper.

      www.centersforspiritualscience.com is a Gnostic Christian organization.

  • Dr. Osuji has authored many books and articles on Christian Gnosticism, including Connected lives and his forthcoming Joined lives. He does workshops on the subject and on spiritual science in general. He is available to do workshops on the subjects. Please feel free to contact him to make arrangements for his presentations. He can be reached at (907) 310-8176 or ozodiosuji@gmail.com

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