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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Jesus Says

The Gospel of Thomas is interesting indeed. I stumbled across it (again) in my travels. I have come across it before, it seems to be something I come across every so often and it is by far the most interesting and relevant aspect of Christianity to me. Although I'm not sure it IS Christianity. I don't care about details like that.

Anyway, this time The Gospel of Thomas is different (yeah I'm different). This time there are flashes in my mind as I read. And some intriguing puzzles that tease the edges of my awareness. But puzzles are good, not as good as flashes, but good nonetheless.

Here are a few that captured my attention:

"Whoever penetrates the meaning of these words will not taste death"

"Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all."
"Recognize what is before you, and what is hidden from you will be revealed to you; for there is nothing hidden that will not be made manifest."

"Do not lie. And do not do what you hate. For everything is disclosed in view of . For there is nothing hidden that will not become revealed. And there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed."

"Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. For there will be five in a house: there'll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone."

The disciples say to Jesus: "Tell us what our end will be." Jesus says: "Have you then deciphered the beginning, that you ask about the end? For where the beginning is, there shall be the end. Blessed is the man who reaches the beginning; he will know the end, and will not taste death!"

Jesus saw some little ones nursing. He said to his disciples, "These little ones who are nursing resemble is those who enter the kingdom." They said to him, "So shall we enter the kingdom by being little ones?" Jesus said to them, "When you (plur.) make the two one and make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below, and that you might make the male and the female be one and the same, so that the male might not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image - then you will enter [the kingdom]."

His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

“If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”
"He who seeks will find, and he who knocks will be let in."

"Why do you wash the outside of the cup, and do not think that he who made the inside made the outside also?"

"He who is near to me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom."

"I am the light that is above them all. I am the all; the all came forth from me, and the all attained to me. Cleave a (piece of) wood; I am there. Raise up a stone, and you will find me there."

"There are many standing at the door, but it is the solitary who will enter the bridal chamber."

"If you have gained this within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have this in [you], what you do not have in you [will] kill you."

"He who knows the all, (but) fails (to know) himself, misses everything."

"I speak my mysteries to those [who are worthy of my] mysteries. What your right hand does, let not your left hand know what it does."

"I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes."

Hi Suze,

You've come across a Gnostic Gospel. One of the concepts of Gnostism is that everything material, of the earth, even our bodies, is created by the Evil God. Everything spiritual was created by the Good God. So, the point is to be free of Evil (the physical) to be good (spritual).

Gnostism is not Christian, it's just masquerading as such. The philosophy does underpin New Agism, however. Here's an article.
And another one.
Ah...fascinating articles! Thanks :)

No wonder it appeals.
Oh no, I thought I'd be able to put you off with those!

Obviously have more work to do ... :P

What was it you were trying to put me off? Christianity or Gnosticism or the ideas represented by those "quotes" I posted?
Gnosticism. Anything that purports the physical world to be made by the evil god, ie The Devil, must be totally screwed. Probably why I hated the ending of The Matrix - it just seemed so wrong.

Ah, so that's how you spell it. Well, I presume so, because it looks right.
It's OK, don't worry. I believe in Gnossy as much as I believe in Christianity, and I don't trust anything that I read on the interweb. By "appeals" I meant I find it all fascinating, not that I necessarily believe it.

I like thinking about different world views. I tend to filter everything through several filters: "does it feel right to me?" "is it not completely idiotic" and "is it useful?" and "is it interesting?"

I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to spiritual philosophies: I never take a whole religion/philosophy at face value, I just pick out the bits I like.

I find the Gnostic ideas resonate *more* than Christianity and find it very fascinating, but I don't believe in it as a whole and I don't like the whole dualistic thing at all except when it makes for cool movies. Perhaps the reason why I like Gnosticism is that it challenges mainstream beliefs - and IMO beliefs can always do with challenging.

It is funny. I must have blinders on for certain things. I loved The Matrix - one of my all time favourite movies, but I completely missed the whole Evil God thing (I can't actually remember any evil in the movie at all).I remember red pill blue pill and the white rabbit and the cool black costumes and the whole sleep/awake thing, but evil? No.

And I read the Da Vinci Code, but completely missed the Gnostic Gospel part and don't recall any of the mystical stuff. It seems like I read a completely different book from other people. I think maybe a lot of it didn't get past my filter system, which is strange because I usually ADORE mystical stuff, especially esoteric mystical stuff.
I loved the Matrix too, and I think I must have read a different story into it than the one it was supposed to have. Probably why the ending didn't make sense and I only really like the first movie - the second two were disappointing (except for some of the action scenes). It's like if that's Gnosticism, then it starts with promise but fails to deliver.

Like you, I've also been very much a spiritual magpie. The annoying thing for me is that I'm at the stage now that I'm discarding things I would like to believe in because they, like the Matrix, are failing to deliver.

I'm going back to my roots because of the beauty of the writings coming out of the Vatican. Its like the beautiful allows truth to shine. I'm more attracted to truth now than what I want to believe.
Here's an explanation in more detail of The Matrix as a Gnostic tale.
Oh. Are you talking about the whole series of Matrix movies? I only saw the first one and about 20 minutes of the second, by which time I was so bored I turned it off...but I LOVED the first movie :)

Are you Catholic?

"Its like the beautiful allows truth to shine."

Truth is beauty is truth?

"I'm more attracted to truth now than what I want to believe."

Hmmm...so what you want to believe is not the truth? Seems to me like you are the sort of person who wants to believe the truth.
Yeah, the ending of The Matrix was how the 3rd movie ended.

Am I Catholic? Yes and no. I was brought up Catholic, rebelled in my teenage years, went all new-Agey, and am now in the process of deciding to be Catholic again. I think I'm going to have to do some real penance, though.

Here's an example of what I meant when I talked about what I'd read (link):

Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things. All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit.

Yeah, I do want to believe the truth. I have been on a quest for it for a long time. And I've come back to the begining, not realising what I'd left behind.

What can happen is that I find something that "feels" right. Fulfils a need or something and I feel better about stuff. Yet as time goes by, there are discordant notes, so to speak, where not everything makes sense. And over time those notes have built up to form an incomplete picture, that when I came back, made sense.
"now in the process of deciding to be Catholic again."

That is really cool! I can imagine you as a Catholic :)

"I think I'm going to have to do some real penance, though."

Why? (Now I am going to have to go look up "penance")

That is a beautiful quote. I like it.

"And I've come back to the begining, not realising what I'd left behind."

The thing is though, if you had never left it you may not have appreciated it as much. I guess some things do not make sense until you experience other things that contrast and/or complement and/or highlight "it." I'm guessing there is more depth and meaning and beauty to Catholicism now, after having been on your spiral journey?
Penance is where you have to do something to atone (acknowledge wrongdoing, apologise and do something to make up for it). It's a way of freeing yourself from the action, but it doesn't work unless you are truly sorry. It ties into the whole concept confession and forgiveness.

If I'd never left, you're right, I may not have appreciated it as much. :)
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