Author Topic: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?  (Read 762 times)

Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2020, 07:09:27 PM »
When you realize that so much of Church Theology has been decided by politics alone, you start to question "What if x y z heresy might have actually been right?"

I do not question a Church teaching when it appears there was some political influence in it being adopted.  I see it as Divine Providence.  Why wouldn't God use politics to guide His Church to the truth?

Sure, that's the entire premise of the Catholic Church receiving and guarding the Deposit of Faith. However, if one rejects that premise, one has to get their hands dirty and dig through the past to see if the Catholic Church's claims can be verified. And it gets incredibly murky unless one believes that God would not permit the Faith to have been corrupted at all, and even then, that's a really bold claim in of itself.

Maybe the Anglicans were right in that God would not let the important parts become corrupted.
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2020, 07:28:14 PM »
When you realize that so much of Church Theology has been decided by politics alone, you start to question "What if x y z heresy might have actually been right?"

I do not question a Church teaching when it appears there was some political influence in it being adopted.  I see it as Divine Providence.  Why wouldn't God use politics to guide His Church to the truth?

Sure, that's the entire premise of the Catholic Church receiving and guarding the Deposit of Faith. However, if one rejects that premise, one has to get their hands dirty and dig through the past to see if the Catholic Church's claims can be verified. And it gets incredibly murky unless one believes that God would not permit the Faith to have been corrupted at all, and even then, that's a really bold claim in of itself.

Maybe the Anglicans were right in that God would not let the important parts become corrupted.

Obviously if you are rejecting the claims of the Catholic Church you are not going to be able to verify them.  You have already decided they are not true as part of your epistemological assumptions.
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2020, 07:39:47 PM »
This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against Sola Scriptura and for the necessity of God's continual leading of the Church through authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.

Who interprets the authoritative interpretation of the magisterium? And who interprets that interpretation? It may as well be taken as one of the strongest pieces of evidence against possibility of and need for dogmatic theology.
There has to be a final infallible authority on Earth to tell us what is God's revelation and what is contrary to this. Like it or not, an oral or written revelation without an authoritative interpreter, is not sufficient.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2020, 08:06:03 PM »
This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against Sola Scriptura and for the necessity of God's continual leading of the Church through authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.

Who interprets the authoritative interpretation of the magisterium? And who interprets that interpretation? It may as well be taken as one of the strongest pieces of evidence against possibility of and need for dogmatic theology.
There has to be a final infallible authority on Earth to tell us what is God's revelation and what is contrary to this. Like it or not, an oral or written revelation without an authoritative interpreter, is not sufficient.

I think his point (which sounds a lot like one of Jay Dyer's objections) was that if the pope is the infallible interpreter of revelation, then that won't suffice. Because you then need an infallible interpreter of the pope, and you need an infallible interpreter of the interpreter, and so on, resulting in an infinite regress.

However, God promised to lead us into truth, right? I'd think that if we ask God, He probably gives us some means to unmistakably recognize that the dogmas are true and/or that the pope is infallible.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 08:14:50 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Prayerful

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2020, 09:27:16 PM »
I take Gnosticism as many a special personal or group knowledge of the Divine not otherwise shared. This secret wisdom could mean a rejection of the material world, or dualism, but I mainly take it as this belief that someone or his groups possesses a special knowledge not available to others. It's the basic raison d'etre of any cult, the official one, obviously enriching the Leader, and getting him girls, being the crucial reason. If Gnosticism is taking as cultism, then yes, for the past few decades. Catholicism was deliberately stripped bare of any mystery, and many quite reasonably failed to see the point, avoid from a Sunday social routine. People wanting more can drift into small groups, some very weird indeed.
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Offline The Theosist

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2020, 03:29:22 AM »
This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against Sola Scriptura and for the necessity of God's continual leading of the Church through authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.

Who interprets the authoritative interpretation of the magisterium? And who interprets that interpretation? It may as well be taken as one of the strongest pieces of evidence against possibility of and need for dogmatic theology.
There has to be a final infallible authority on Earth to tell us what is God's revelation and what is contrary to this. Like it or not, an oral or written revelation without an authoritative interpreter, is not sufficient.

A) There doesn’t have to be.
B) The words of a “final authority” suffer from the same problem of interpretation.
C) All words are ultimately interpreted and understood by the subject himself. There is no way around that reality, no matter how many definitive interpretations are given by final authorities; the subject will still impose his own meaning on them which may or may not agree with the intention of the authority.
 

Offline The Theosist

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2020, 03:57:04 AM »
This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against Sola Scriptura and for the necessity of God's continual leading of the Church through authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.

Who interprets the authoritative interpretation of the magisterium? And who interprets that interpretation? It may as well be taken as one of the strongest pieces of evidence against possibility of and need for dogmatic theology.
There has to be a final infallible authority on Earth to tell us what is God's revelation and what is contrary to this. Like it or not, an oral or written revelation without an authoritative interpreter, is not sufficient.

I think his point (which sounds a lot like one of Jay Dyer's objections) was that if the pope is the infallible interpreter of revelation, then that won't suffice. Because you then need an infallible interpreter of the pope, and you need an infallible interpreter of the interpreter, and so on, resulting in an infinite regress.

However, God promised to lead us into truth, right? I'd think that if we ask God, He probably gives us some means to unmistakably recognize that the dogmas are true and/or that the pope is infallible.

Or maybe the scriptures themselves speak to the faithful believer in the way that they ought to and that he needs for his life unto salvation. Even your last point might just as well be fulfilled by God without the need for an infallible Pope. But this still doesn’t solve the problem of interpretation; before recognising a dogma as true one has to recognise the dogma itself, that is, understand a verbal statement in the exact  sense that makes it true, presumably the same one intended by the infallible authority who made it.

This is a real problem. The Roman approach seems (maybe it doesn’t) almost to treat the words of dogma as if they had meaning apart from the subjects who intend or receive them, but they do not. Now God would presumably intend something by them, and no doubt the sense and meaning that makes them true, but do the Pope, the bishops, and the people all intend or understand them in that same sense? Hopefully at least the Pope, for if not, what is “infallibility” even? The mere ability to speak some words that in some sense express a truth of faith? Not even that if one takes the negative approach to infallibility, which yields a worse outcome: the inability to speak some words which in every sense express a falsehood (they must express falsehood in at least some sense, for even ex cathedra statements can surely be heretically misunderstood).

This is a problem for those who want, ideally, absolute uniformity of belief in certain theological propositions and who make at least formal assent to every single dogmatic statement to be necessary for salvation. For my part, I think that’s madness, motivated at its root by political intentions or a more personal will-to-power, though certainly in good will by those who truly think they are saving souls by it.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 06:41:35 AM by The Theosist »
 
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Offline The Theosist

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2020, 04:24:39 AM »
On the other hand, the chaos and relativism of a postmodern Christianity gone off the rails like in the worst parts of the Novus Ordo ... that is as horrific as the content of the anti-Catholic black
legend.
 

Offline abc123

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2020, 06:38:27 AM »
This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence against Sola Scriptura and for the necessity of God's continual leading of the Church through authoritative interpretation by the Magisterium.

Who interprets the authoritative interpretation of the magisterium? And who interprets that interpretation? It may as well be taken as one of the strongest pieces of evidence against possibility of and need for dogmatic theology.
There has to be a final infallible authority on Earth to tell us what is God's revelation and what is contrary to this. Like it or not, an oral or written revelation without an authoritative interpreter, is not sufficient.

Michael-

I've personally staked my claim on the written word of God which does not change. What John 1:1 says today is what it said yesterday and what it said when St. John first put quill to scroll and wrote it in Greek. Minor textual variants aside we have a remarkably preserved New Testament from which the necessary dogmas and doctrines of Christianity, as systematically codified in the Creed, can be discerned.

Much is made of the divisions within Protestantism. I don't want to ignore this sad reality but at the same time I think the fact is a bit overplayed to make the Catholic's point. On matters of essential and foundational doctrines of the Gospel (what must be believed to be saved) there is remarkable uniformity among Calvinists, Arminians, Dispensationalists, Amillennialists, etc.

I argue that the post-Vatican II church with its divisions among Novus Ordo, SSPX, FSSP, Sedevacantists touch on foundational aspects of Roman Catholic dogmatic theology. Can the pope err in his office as pope thus requiring resistance? Is the Mass that 99% of the Catholic world attends every Sunday actually invalid? Are most bishops actually layman because of the changed form?

The very office that was supposed to guarantee unity has become the cause of deep and irreconcilable divisions within the RCC. This is not even suppose to be possible.

So when faced with the unchanging Scriptures or the oft-changing RCC....I take the Scripture. We must all ultimately decide where our epistemological starting point is; and for me that is Scripture.
"I once laboured hard for the free will of man until the grace of God at length overcame me."- St. Augustine
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2020, 07:26:21 AM »
With regard to interpreting the pope's ex cathedra statements, I don't think there's much issue. The wording is generally pretty clear, and the surrounding context should make it even more clear on the off chance that there happens to be any question as to what the pope had in mind. I do not think that an honest person is just going to "accidentally" read into it some meaning that isn't actually there. Rather, any misinterpretation is more likely due to the reader obstinately not-wanting to believe what's right in front of him.
 
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Offline Graham

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2020, 09:00:46 AM »
This is taking us into freshman philosophy of language territory ("can anything actually be communicated?") and there's no point discussing something with anyone who believes there are insuperable difficulties here. But if you get back to the basics instead, most people would agree that a student with a textbook and a living teacher is better off than one with just a textbook, even if difficulties in communication could arise for the former as well. But then the teacher is also a priest, responsible not only for discrete sacraments and ritual but for developing an entire socio-religious ecosystem for the student to inhabit, which further underscores the relative poverty of the solitary student with just his textbook. Anyway, this thread is supposed to be about gnosticism.
 
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Offline The Theosist

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2020, 11:01:46 AM »
With regard to interpreting the pope's ex cathedra statements, I don't think there's much issue. The wording is generally pretty clear, and the surrounding context should make it even more clear on the off chance that there happens to be any question as to what the pope had in mind. I do not think that an honest person is just going to "accidentally" read into it some meaning that isn't actually there. Rather, any misinterpretation is more likely due to the reader obstinately not-wanting to believe what's right in front of him.

Really?

So does this mean all who die in non-Catholic religions go to Hell?

It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

Does this mean baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation?

By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

Does this mean popes cannot fall into heresy?

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole Church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

The existence of vigorous debates on extra ecclesiam nulla salus, baptism of desire, and Sedevacantism surrounding these very passages, and the apparent need for explication of them, is proof that your contention is generally not true. As I honestly read them, the answers to all those questions are in the affirmative. But that is not the common understanding of today.

As for clarity of wording and context supplying understanding to honest people, Protestants will claim the same of scripture on all points essential to salvation.





 

Offline The Theosist

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2020, 11:11:48 AM »
This is taking us into freshman philosophy of language territory ("can anything actually be communicated?") and there's no point discussing something with anyone who believes there are insuperable difficulties here.

You mistake my point. The insuperable difficulty is not the possibility of communication but of knowing that what was intended has in fact been communicated. That is not generally knowable, especially when it concerns more abstract and untestable theological propositions, and I will not in general possess certainty that I have myself understood some theological proposition as it was intended. Acknowledging this doesn't make engaging in discussion hypocritical, logically inconsistent or pointless.

And maybe there is a solution here, but that solution is then something beyond the infallible authority of the Pope.

Quote
But if you get back to the basics instead, most people would agree that a student with a textbook and a living teacher is better off than one with just a textbook, even if difficulties in communication could arise for the former as well. But then the teacher is also a priest, responsible not only for discrete sacraments and ritual but for developing an entire socio-religious ecosystem for the student to inhabit, which further underscores the relative poverty of the solitary student with just his textbook.

Presuming the teacher has access to true knowledge about the text that the student doesn't possess. But the Roman model isn't supposed to be a mere aid; it's supposed to be an infallible provider of certainty. Yet the teacher in our case, if its a priest teaching on scripture and dogma, is himself a fallible interpreter of an infallible authority. "We know it because it is dogma." Oh, indeed? One ousia in three hypostases, eh? What does that mean? Think most Christians have an understanding? One substance in three persons? Three persons in one God? When did hypostasis become the modern English "person"? Is your teacher a social trinitarian? Maybe a Thomist with his "relations of opposition"? What do those mean, again? Or maybe he agrees with Karl Rahner, following Barth? Isn't this question the most basic basis of dogmatic theology? Clarity my left foot.


Quote
Anyway, this thread is supposed to be about gnosticism.

Maybe it's relevant. The early "gnostic" tendency is toward knowledge of God not through theology but gnosis. Even CLement of Alexandria writes, "We define Wisdom to be certain knowledge, being a sure and irrefragable apprehension of things divine and human, comprehending the past, present and future which the LORD hath taught us, both by his advent and by the prophets’ ... ‘If then we assert that Christ himself is Wisdom, and that it was His working that showed itself in the prophets, by which the gnostic tradition may be learned, as he Himself taught the apostles during his presence; then it follows that the gnosis which the knowledge and apprehension of things present, future and past which is sure and reliable, as being imparted and revealed by the Son of God, is Wisdom."

What personal need does one who has seen these things have for the words of dogmas?



« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 11:47:19 AM by The Theosist »
 

Offline Graham

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Re: Is it just me, or is gnosticism on the rise?
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2020, 02:22:42 PM »
A man in a 'steady state' of gnosis and communication with the angels or Our Lord himself would have no need of external human guidance, that's perfectly true. (Similarly we could say, after Aristotle, that a man who is a god would have no need of human intercourse whatsoever. Which gets us closer to something I'd like to address in this thread when I find time.) You cannot get from that boundary case to the proposition that humanity has no need of the Church of Peter.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2020, 02:34:00 PM by Graham »
 
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