By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
The upside of all the New Agey flapdoodle is that in some cases it at least helped to highlight the potential within each individual for spiritual transcendence without being subject to the dogma of an intermediary church Ã¢ collective . . . but there are many other positive things to be excited by.Such as?
An unprecedented creativity and openness to unconventional ideas and doctrines, especially within the past 25 years, has created what some call alternative religions, a movement which has contributed to the gradual erosion of the stranglehold of mainstream religious thought.What do you think kick-started this trend?
Partly a delayed backlash, first to the discarding of the mystical core of religion by science, followed by the onset of obsessive materialism, but I’d say the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls in the ’40s is one of several major factors that helped initiate the gradual decline of mainstream religion still going on to the present day.What was so important about these discoveries?
Most of the New Age and "alternative" religious movements have roots in Gnostic ideas, whether their participants know it or not, and these discoveries were the scientific proof which showed the world how much the early Christian church really had systematically suppressed or erased free Gnostic thought and excluded female perspective.What other factors contributed to the current deterioration of mainstream religion in this country?
There’s that centuries-old theological dilemma of reconciling an all-powerful, good God with the existence of evil, which resurfaced during World War II. In the wake of the death camps, many, especially some Jews, questioned absolute faith and trust in an omnipotent, all-powerful, all-good God.It’s the old chicken-and-egg argument. If Hitler was just a man who created evil, then who created Hitler?
Something like that . . . but after two World Wars and numerous worldwide religio-blood feuds and holocausts, some of them going on as we speak, a century of unmitigated misery and darkness has passed, where we have seen probably the largest number of victims of torture and violent death in the history of the planet. It has made more people than ever face the dark side of existence. More people are ambivalent about being told by mainstream religiosity that they are being "tested" by this all-powerful God, who frequently seems unwilling or unable to take the time out to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, especially when small children are involved.You once wrote that the darkest part of the night is always just before dawn.
Since Gnosticism was always about the free availability of information for people to make up their own minds, the Internet is a very promising development. Freedom of thought and the availability of information are part of the Gnostic dream come true.For much more about Gnostic thinking, hit www.gnosis.org. Hoeller lectures Wednesdays (7:30 p.m.) at the Philosophical Research Society, 3910 Los Feliz Blvd. (323) 663-2167, and Fridays (8 p.m.) at the Ecclesia Gnostica Chapel, 4516 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 467-2685), donations only.