At baptism, after renouncing “the devil and his pomp”, initiates in modern Christianity declare their faith in response to three questions such as:
-Do you believe in God the Father almighty?
-Do you believe in Jesus Christ his Son, our Lord?
-Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, in the church, and in the Resurrection?
Each church might have its own variant form, but all have the threefold structure. The internal coherence given by creed, canon, and hierarchy is necessary, both in the defence of authentic Christianity against Gnostic theosophical speculations, and also in confronting pagan society.
New Improved Testament
The original Christians criticised the Jewish Literalists saying that Jehovah was an arrogant Demiurge. Rediscovering its Gnostic roots could be the only hope for Christianity to survive. Religions come and go, and Christianity today looks like ready to disappear. How long will it take we do not know. It is highly improvable that we will return to believe in Mystery schools with all their myths and allegories. We will not go back to the “lost ancient wisdom” of the original Christians. This is past history. But we must reinvent religions and adapt it to our time in the same way that the original Christians adapted the old concept of Gnosticism to their own time. Gnosticism must be rediscovered, reinterpreted, and popularised. Literalist religions of all kind are in decline, but its extreme right, Fundamentalism, is very active especially within Christianity and Islam. Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims are fighting each others forgetting that both the religions, at the beginning, taught the same Gnostic philosophy; in other words, they have the same roots.
The Literalist Christian Church has persecuted modern scientists. This is due to the fact that science is based on freedom to inquire in any subject while religions, especially the Literalist branches, are based on the need to believe. However, if science and religion are natural enemies, science is a natural ally of Gnostic spirituality. In fact science finds its roots in Pagan Gnosticism, as many great scientists have said (Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Wolfang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Albert Einstein, etc).
Science is seen by many as similar to materialism, perhaps the highest form of Literalism.
However true science is not Literalist as it is based on Pagan Gnosticism and refuses to accept anything on faith only. In fact “Gnostic” and “scientist” mean the same thing: knower. Science is concerned with objective knowledge of the Cosmos, with the appearances, with solving the relative mysteries of the world in becoming, science attempts to understand something so very complex that it cannot be comprehended, and science is a collective venture over time. Gnosticism is concerned with subjective self-knowledge, with the ineffable essence, Gnosticism is about dissolving into the Absolute Mystery of Being, Gnosticism is trying to understand something so simple that it cannot be comprehended, and Gnosis is immediate, and can only be attained individually.
For the future to see a return to the ancient understanding of subjective spirituality and objective science as complementary side of humanity’s exploration of existence would require the rejection of Literalism and the rebirth of Gnosticism. This seems unlikely but not impossible.
21st century Gnosticism
In order to reintroduce Gnosticism some “bad concepts” must be forgotten forever:
– Original sin: children should never be told that they are born bad, instead they are good.
– The Bible is the word of God: no, it is the work of men.
– There is only one way to God: no, there are as many as there are people.
– There will be a day of Judgement and of resurrection of the flesh: this is nonsense.
– The sinner will be condemned to eternal damnation: this is not simply true.
– God is male: this Literalists’ opinion, not the truth.
– For the Gnostics “All is One”, life is a Mystery, and life is about exploring this Mystery.
Gnosticism asks us to challenge all the beliefs that are imposed on us. They know that the Absolute truth can never be said or known, but that relative truths can be expressed in various ways.
The Literalists, on the opposite, put their own opinions in God’s mouth to give them authority and power, and then they oblige us to believe what they say.