Keep the mind alive

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and prolific writer Thich Nhat Hanh listed 14 practices that would promote humility and keep the mind alive to present experience and reality.

DO not be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, he said. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not the absolute truth.

Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless. Truth is found in life and not in concepts.

Do not force others, including children, to adopt your views by authority, threat, money, or propaganda.

Do not avoid contact with suffering. Awaken yourself and others to the suffering in the world.

Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Live simply and share resources with those in need.

Do not use the religious community for personal gain, or transform your community into a political party.

Do not live with a job that is harmful to humans or nature.

Do not kill. There is no excuse or reason for killing.

Possess nothing that should belong to others. But prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering.

Do not mistreat your body. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world.

Do not maintain anger or hatred. Transform them while still seeds in the consciousness.

Do not lose yourself in your surroundings. Be aware of what is happening in the present.

Do not utter words that can create discord. Reconcile all conflicts.

Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress. Have the courage to speak the truth.

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97 thoughts on “Keep the mind alive

  1. I love the list from the second one down.
    But the, “DO not be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, he said. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not the absolute truth.”, basically means the rest is contradictory to the rest that follows. If its not absolute then it is relative and can change within the next second.

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      • So, if our Christianity is purely based on relationship, without having Christian foundational beliefs (doctrinal statements) and the Word of God to define our Christianity, what’s to keep us from deception?

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      • As Ps Frangipane says, doctrinally we know that Christ is Lord, but to walk with God is to walk a path of increasing surrender and trust (relationship) so that we come to the place where we will also serve Him as Lord.

        “Even now, abiding within our spirits, deeper and more profound than our church doctrines, is the actual Spirit of Christ. We are new creatures in a new creation (Gal. 6:15).

        Crucial to the success of His mission is our receiving these truths with faith, determining that they shall be our reality, not just our theology.”

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      • HI MOn

        No one has said its “purely” relationship.
        But without relationship the doctrine, the theology becomes but clanging symbols and no different to any other theology, religion or philosophy. Without the relationship it is just a religion.

        The essence is the relationship with Christ, who reveals the Word and makes it come alive.

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      • I have to say Bryan, that the list you give there, actually describes (and from number one down, Alexie), a most respectable Gnostic philosophy altogether Glad you guys approve of the greater part of it. I love it. Amen amen.

        By the way, speaking of Gnosticism, to address Alexie again here, and then Monica in the latter part. –

        Alexie, Yes, I stick by the statement that especially in the 2nd century, some of the most brilliant minds were possessed by Gnostics. I have never been led to believe that Ignatius or Justin or even Irenaeus was exceptionally bright, however devout or courageous their Christianity might have been.

        On the other hand, look at the brilliant creative work of Marcion, Valentinus and Basilides. These guys really terrified the orthodox because of the inroads they were making into the ranks of the faithful.

        by the time of the 3rd century, you have the Roman Catholic Church taking over and eclipsing the others in power and prestige, and making a big big effort to call all dissent as heresy. You guys of the Evangelical persuasion surely dont really like what the Church was becoming during the later 2nd 2nd and then the 3rd centuries, as Catholic doctrines simply took over. This got solidified and fulfilled in the 4th century with the Constantinian take-over that occurred with the Council of Nicaea in 325.

        Interesting to notice that many of these early Gnostics were upsetting the orthodox faithful, by allowing women (just imagine!) to preach, to prophesy and to administer the Eucharist. (shudder!) Very democratic!

        Now, to Monica, – You naturally raised an objection to the Gnostic motto I quoted. ‘Certainty divides us; Doubt unites us’. Note please that this is not written in the form of an instruction or law. It is not something that people MUST follow.

        It is more in the way of a statement of fact. As soon as you have people holding on to absolute and certain teachings and beliefs, you are of necessity going to separate them from those who hold opposite and equally absolute and certain teachings. Look at the necessary separation of them and us that shows up on this blog. The certainty of the Christians. The certainty of the atheists. The certainty of Dom. The certainty of Davinci (about Sabbath observance). Recall the certainty of dear old Prophet HUP and D.S May. For me? Well, I remain a doubter on most things spiritual as you know. So I look on at the divisions and separations among you with sadness and reluctance.

        This was actually of course, the purpose of the creation in the early centuries, of the Creeds of the Church. They were designed to specify the ways in which the faithful could be distinguished from the rest of the world, and from unbelievers. Those others could thereby be distinguished readily and debarred from participation in the private and sometimes secret practices of the true church.

        Now, the Gnostics among the early Christians were simply not worried about this. They were quite happy to associate freely with with the orthodox folk, and indeed to join in with them in reciting any of the creeds in the process. This upset and confused the mainstream clergy since they were simply not able to immediately detect the improper persons among the congregation.

        In the Gnostic Church to which I belonged and officiated for several years, absolutely no-one was ever excluded. Nor was anyone debarred from partaking of the Eucharistic Sacrament. All without exception were invited to participate freely. Not a single individual was ever quizzed on his beliefs or creeds, and actually no sermons were ever preached that claimed the superiority of any creed.

        Anyone who doubted in any way was allowed in full communion with the church. Even the Clergy was permitted full freedom in their participation, with the barest provision that they find themselves in general agreement with the ideals of the Church. The Bishops had a bit more of a demand put on them, but you would certainly have found all sorts of doubts held among them round the world, without any sense of them being wrong.

        Let’s understand that Doubt doesnt necessarily mean or imply Skepticism or disbelief or rejection. For Gnostics of today, just like Pagans, doubt is encouraged, and consequently all their variations tend to be accepted joyously among their groups. Of course there are exceptions, but that is only to be expected, since they are all human.

        So the statement remains… Certainty divides us; Doubt unites us.
        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Thanks Rian,

        for expanding and teaching on the Gnosticism you are familiar with, as I really have no experiential knowledge of Gnosticism. But I must say that it seems very wishy-washy to me, no offence intended, mind. With so much doubt in question, why bother to play ‘religion’? I don’t get it. I mean….I seriously thought about going to a Catholic Mass today, just to be ecumenical, and to partake of holy communion (sacramental bread/Host) without telling anyone that I no longer consider myself to be a Catholic, just so I wouldn’t feel as though I was missing out when just about everyone there goes forward to receive communion. But I can’t do it, because aside from the fact that it would be dishonest, I do not believe that it is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ! So what’s the point of playing Church then with so many doubts? That’s why I find nothing attractive about Gnosticism.

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      • ‘Certainty divides us; Doubt unites us’

        Rian, are you certain about this quote or do you doubt it is true? A most serious question.

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      • Cheers Alexie,

        Thanks for the clarification. I needed it! I must say though that surely I’m not the only one confused when Christians claim that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion? I actually think it is disingenuous to say that without clarifying what is meant by this statement. You did that very well for me, thanks so much!

        “So what meaning of religion do we have to have in order for “Christianity is a relationship not a religion” to make sense? The definition being used by the “relationship not religion” people looks something like this:

        religion. A set of rules that a person has to follow in order to obtain God’s love; a set of rules that a person can use to obtain God’s blessing. This usage of the word “religion” is typically used by some Christians in the Christianese expressions “Christianity is a relationship not a religion” and “Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship.”

        The problem is that you won’t find that definition in any standard dictionary of English for the word religion. What’s the point of talking to non-Christians about Jesus if we utilize custom definitions for our words? The answer: very little point indeed.

        Ultimately, the Christianese expression “relationship not religion” gives us a good example of how people can misunderstand each other because they have different definitions for the same word. If you’re butting heads with someone over an issue that seems simple to you, then perhaps the two of you are assigning different definitions to the same word. Take the time to check in periodically with the people you’re talking or arguing with so that you can make sure you’re at least using the same definitions for common words.

        You won’t agree with everyone on every topic, but at least we can try to be speaking the same language!”

        http://www.dictionaryofchristianese.com/christianity-is-a-relationship-not-a-religion/

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      • “a most respectable Gnostic philosophy altogether Glad you guys approve of the greater part of it. I love it. Amen amen.”

        Once again you are wrong. You can tell by reading the intro it is a way to get into humility. By a Buddhist monk too.
        It is not gnostic as this can change from where and who you are.
        Being gnostic,, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive which is expressed through, the medium of myth. Most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myth. Although some would say it is not myth that may not be true but an expression of some other philosophy.
        The above quotes are far more than gnostic. They are not myth and are actually quite practical.

        “interesting to notice that many of these early Gnostics were upsetting the orthodox faithful, by allowing women (just imagine!) to preach, to prophesy and to administer the Eucharist. (shudder!) Very democratic!”

        Wrong again. You have been wrong a lot lately.

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      • Spot on Monica. If one stops at religion then one will miss the relationship with Jesus. And yes, having a common language, but an understanding of the words used, is a great help indeed.

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      • While the New Testament began within ten to fifteen years of the death of Jesus (A.D. 33) and we have a fragment of Mark which can be dated AD 50 and Luke AD 57, the vast majority of the Gnostic gospels were not written until late into the third and fourth centuries.

        The Early Christian Church rejected various fake gospels produced by a Greek mystery religion called Gnosticism which attempted to absorb Christianity. The Apostle Paul attacked Gnosticism directly in Colossians while John attacked it in I and II John and Revelation. Every subsequent Church Father and council attacked the Gnostics. At no point did the Christian Church accept Gnosticism.

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      • No Biblical scholar today feels that there is any significance to the Gnostic works beyond that of historical curiosity as to what this mystery religion believed. Since none of them were written in the first century and they did not appear until several hundred years after Christ, they are worthless as a guide to Jesus’ life.

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      • The documents which comprise the collection of gnostic gospels were not discovered at a single time, but rather as a series of finds. The Nag Hammadi Library was discovered accidentally by two farmers in December 1945 and was named for the area in Egypt where it had been hidden for centuries.[7] Other documents included in what are now known as the gnostic gospels were found at different times and locations, such as the Gospel of Mary, which was recovered in 1896 as part of the Akhmim Codex and published in 1955. Some documents were duplicated in different finds, and others, such as with the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, only one copy is currently known to exist.

        Although the manuscripts discovered at Nag Hammadi are generally dated to the 4th century, there is some debate regarding the original composition of the texts. A wide range and the majority of scholars date authorship of the Gnostic gospel of Nag Hammadi to the 2nd and 3rd century.[8] Scholars with a focus on Christianity tend to date the gospels mentioned by Irenaeus to the 2nd century, and the gospels mentioned solely by Jerome to the 4th century[citation needed]. The traditional dating of the gospels derives primarily from this division. Other scholars with a deeper focus on pagan and Jewish literature of the period tend to date primarily based on the type of the work[citation needed]:

        The Gospel of Thomas is held by most to be the earliest of the “gnostic” gospels composed. Scholars generally date the text to the early-mid 2nd century.[9] The Gospel of Thomas, it is often claimed, has some gnostic elements but lacks the full gnostic cosmology. However, even the description of these elements as “gnostic” is based mainly upon the presupposition that the text as a whole is a “gnostic” gospel, and this idea itself is based upon little other than the fact that it was found along with gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi.[10] Some scholars including Nicholas Perrin argue that Thomas is dependent on the Diatessaron, which was composed shortly after 172 by Tatian in Syria.[11] A minority view contends for an early date of perhaps 50, citing a relationship to the hypothetical Q document among other reasons.[12]

        The Gospel of the Lord, a gnostic but otherwise non-canonical text, can be dated approximately during the time of Marcion in the early 2nd century. The traditional view holds Marcion did not compose the gospel directly but, “expunged [from the Gospel of Luke] all the things that oppose his view… but retained those things that accord with his opinion” [13] The traditional view and dating has continued to be affirmed by the mainstream of biblical scholars,[14][15] however, G. R. S. Mead His Gospel was presumably the collection of sayings in use among the Pauline churches of his day. Of course the patristic writers say that Marcion mutilated Luke’s version.[16][17] have argued that Marcion’s gospel predates the canonical Luke and was in use in Pauline churches.

        The Gospel of Truth[18] and the teachings of the Pistis Sophia can be approximately dated to the early 2nd century as they were part of the original Valentinian school, though the gospel itself is 3rd century.

        Documents with a Sethian influence (like the Gospel of Judas, or outright Sethian like Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians can be dated substantially later than 40 and substantially earlier than 250; most scholars giving them a 2nd-century date.[19] More conservative scholars using the traditional dating method would argue in these cases for the early 3rd century.[citation needed]

        Some gnostic gospels (for example Trimorphic Protennoia) make use of fully developed Neoplatonism and thus need to be dated after Plotinus in the 3rd century.[20][21]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnostic_Gospels

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      • Some Gnostic writings are included in this list of early Christian writings.

        30-60 Passion Narrative
        40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
        50-60 1 Thessalonians
        50-60 Philippians
        50-60 Galatians
        50-60 1 Corinthians
        50-60 2 Corinthians
        50-60 Romans
        50-60 Philemon
        50-80 Colossians
        50-90 Signs Gospel
        50-95 Book of Hebrews
        50-120 Didache
        50-140 Gospel of Thomas
        50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
        50-150 Apocalypse of Adam
        50-150 Eugnostos the Blessed
        50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
        65-80 Gospel of Mark
        70-100 Epistle of James
        70-120 Egerton Gospel
        70-160 Gospel of Peter
        70-160 Secret Mark
        70-200 Fayyum Fragment
        70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
        73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
        80-100 2 Thessalonians
        80-100 Ephesians
        80-100 Gospel of Matthew
        80-110 1 Peter
        80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
        80-130 Gospel of Luke
        80-130 Acts of the Apostles
        80-140 1 Clement
        80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
        80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
        80-250 Christian Sibyllines
        90-95 Revelation
        90-120 Gospel of John
        90-120 1 John
        90-120 2 John
        90-120 3 John
        90-120 Epistle of Jude
        93 Flavius Josephus
        100-150 1 Timothy
        100-150 2 Timothy
        100-150 Titus
        100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
        100-150 Secret Book of James
        100-150 Preaching of Peter
        100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
        100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
        100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
        100-160 2 Peter
        100-200 Odes of Solomon

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      • Bryan

        Religion is a relationship with a deity.

        Relationship between myself and you would not be called a religion. Relationship between myself and God would.

        Think about it.

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      • I don’t disagree.
        But the Pharisees put religion ahead of relationship and thought that they kept all God’s rules. They did not like the things that Jesus taught. They thought that they did not do any wrong things. So, they thought that they were very important and clever.

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      • Religion is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” In that respect, Christianity can be classified as a religion. However, practically speaking, Christianity has a key difference that separates it from other belief systems that are considered religions. That difference is relationship.

        Most religion, theistic or otherwise, is man-centered. Any relationship with God is based on man’s works. A theistic religion, such as Judaism or Islam, holds to the belief in a supreme God or gods; while non-theistic religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, focus on metaphysical thought patterns and spiritual “energies.” But most religions are similar in that they are built upon the concept that man can reach a higher power or state of being through his own efforts. In most religions, man is the aggressor and the deity is the beneficiary of man’s efforts, sacrifices, or good deeds. Paradise, nirvana, or some higher state of being is man’s reward for his strict adherence to whatever tenets that religion prescribes.

        In that regard, Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship that God has established with His children. In Christianity, God is the aggressor and man is the beneficiary (Romans 8:3). The Bible states clearly that there is nothing man can do to make himself right with God (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6; Romans 3:23; 6:23). According to Christianity, God did for us what we cannot do for ourselves (Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sin separates us from His presence, and sin must be punished (Romans 6:23; Matthew 10:28; 23:33). But, because God loves us, He took our punishment upon Himself. All we must do is accept God’s gift of salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Grace is God’s blessing on the undeserving.

        The grace-based relationship between God and man is the foundation of Christianity and the antithesis of religion. Established religion was one of the staunchest opponents of Jesus during His earthly ministry. When God gave His Law to the Israelites, His desire was that they “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). “Love” speaks of relationship. Obedience to all the other commands had to stem from a love for God. We are able to love Him “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). However, by Jesus’ time, the Jewish leaders had made a religion out of God’s desire to live in a love relationship with them (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 7:12). Over the years, they had perverted God’s Law into a works-based religion that alienated people from Him (Matthew 23:13–15; Luke 11:42). Then they added many of their own rules to make it even more cumbersome (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:9). They prided themselves on their ability to keep the Law—at least outwardly—and lorded their authority over the common people who could never keep such strenuous rules. The Pharisees, as adept as they were at rule-keeping, failed to recognize God Himself when He was standing right in front of them (John 8:19). They had chosen religion over relationship.

        Just as the Jewish leaders made a religion out of a relationship with God, many people do the same with Christianity. Entire denominations have followed the way of the Pharisees in creating rules not found in Scripture. Some who profess to follow Christ are actually following man-made religion in the name of Jesus. While claiming to believe Scripture, they are often plagued with fear and doubt that they may not be good enough to earn salvation or that God will not accept them if they don’t perform to a certain standard. This is religion masquerading as Christianity, and it is one of Satan’s favorite tricks. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 23:1–7 when He rebuked the Pharisees. Instead of pointing people to heaven, these religious leaders were keeping people out of the kingdom of God.

        Holiness and obedience to Scripture are important, but they are evidences of a transformed heart, not a means to attain it. God desires that we be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He wants us to grow in grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). But we do these things because we are His children and want to be like Him, not in order to earn His love.

        Christianity is not about signing up for a religion. Christianity is about being born into the family of God (John 3:3). It is a relationship. Just as an adopted child has no power to create an adoption, we have no power to join the family of God by our own efforts. We can only accept His invitation to know Him as Father through adoption (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15). When we join His family through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside our hearts (1 Corinthians 6:19; Luke 11:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21–22). He then empowers us to live like children of the King. He does not ask us to try to attain holiness by our own strength, as religion does. He asks that our old self be crucified with Him so that His power can live through us (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:6). God wants us to know Him, to draw near to Him, to pray to Him, and love Him above everything. That is not religion; that is a relationship.

        http://www.gotquestions.org/Christianity-religion-relationship.html

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      • Bryan

        I think somewhere along the line you (and others like you) have confused your terminology.

        You are now equating religion with rituals. They are not the same term. One can be religious without observing rituals of religion (such as circumcision for example).

        One can have a relationship (though not with Jesus) without being religious.

        One cannot have a relationship with Jesus without religion as you cannot separate religion from Jesus. Not unless you twist the dictionary meaning into something that perverts the dictionary meaning of the word.

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      • Davinci, Perhaps it is all in the meaning of the terms. you said Religion is a relationship with a deity. But would you say that applies in Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism? Probably not. So your definition is wrong.

        Religions are man made. That’s the dictionary definition.

        I disagree that you can’t have a relationship with Jesus without religion. Jesus was pretty scathing about the religion of the Jewish sects that didn’t acknowledge Him.

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      • “Some Gnostic writings are included in this list of early Christian writings.”

        The list provided and the dates of gnostic writings would mean that the gnostic writings have Christian influences in them.

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      • Bryan,
        In response to the following statement:

        “Davinci, Perhaps it is all in the meaning of the terms. you said Religion is a relationship with a deity. But would you say that applies in Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism? Probably not. So your definition is wrong.”

        My definition stands regardless of whether we are discussion Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Hinduism.

        Judaism is based on a covenant between God and His people. Judaism is based on a relationship (marriage) between God and His people (see Isa. 54:5;Jer. 3:14). So the idea of relationship with deity is not something unique to Christianity.

        Islam means submission. Submission to whom? God. In fact Islam literature is filled with description of Allah as Creator, Master (with Moslems as servants), etc. Once again a relationship is meant. One does not refer to a rock as a Master, or Creator unless that rock stands as a symbol for a deity.

        Prayer is common to Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism alike. Yet prayer has always been regarded as a form of communication between the supplicant and whatever that supplicant regards as a deity.

        No matter how much one wishes to whitewash the situation and claim that only Christianity is based on a relationship with deity, this is simply not true.

        The Canaanites, Moabites, Aztecs and other religions who engaged in human sacrifice, did so on the basis of their relationship with their deities.

        Thus you cannot separate relationships from religion.

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      • Let me get this right. You believe that Muslims have a relationship with God. Is that what you are saying?
        If so, fair enough.
        You can have religion without relationship. And you can have relationship without religion. I guess that’s where we differ.

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      • Hi Mon,
        Yep I understand where you are coming from, and it’s not the first time I’ve had the comment of ‘that sounds wishy washy’ tossed at some of the ideas I offered. Quite frankly you know, I cant really see that if a thing is spiritually true, that any appearance of being wishy washy is significant.

        To me and perhaps to a lot of non-Christians, the Christian concept of Heaven tends to be very wishy washy. The idea of Grace sounds very wishy washy. As I’ve stated just recently, despite being attracted to it, I’m not finally committed to the ‘doctrine’ of Reincarnation, but heck, Wishy Washy it certainly isn’t. It is hard yakka. I seem to recall Bryan describing it as doctrine of despair.

        Now, I am not a fully fledged and trained Gnostic, let’s face it. I am a follower of Gnostic ideas and principles. But real Gnostics are very highly disciplined people, who usually have undergone very demanding processes of Initiation, learning and training. Just about any Gnostic would approve of the set of ethical and mental principles listed in Bryan’s blog there. And to set out to live by and with them, would as I think you would have to agree, be a demanding task, – not wishy washy.

        It is very easy to misunderstand Gnosticism. Christians usually get their understanding of the subject from glib apologetics writings. Not really adequate. As I’ve stated before, the popular common and easy path of it for many (as you would well appreciate) is the imitation of it known as New Age. And New Age is like the poor man’s version of it – just barely going through the motions as it were.

        Well, I’m sure the Christians on this blog would acknowledge that while there is a real and in-depth Christianity one can follow; and on the other hand, there are weak and wishy washy versions such as the atrocious ‘Prosperity Gospel’ which surely should hardly be described as genuinely Christian in any real or traditional terms.
        Cheers and love, Rian..

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      • Alexie,(answer to 25th at 18.50)

        Oh Alexie, on Certainty and Doubt?… a really good one, as far as it goes. Your wording is a little ambiguous. So, yes, I am absolutely certain that the quote can be found in Gnostic writings. But to take on board what I think you are seriously asking – ….. As I explained in previous postings, the text is not a law. It is not a command. It is a motto. It is a thoroughly pragmatic and practical point, and not in any way a spiritual or philosophical principle. I think it can stand up until someone turns up a better quote or motto.

        As far as you are concerned, do you believe it to be valid? Note it is not saying that there are no certainties. It is merely saying that in among people, when certainties are held as absolute that divisions just have to occur. As I pointed out, no real agreements happen on many crucial things between you and Dom, or with the atheists, with DS May, and a number of others, including myself. Personally I’m automatically excluded from agreements with you guys, because you deliberately exclude me. It is not my doing. This is one good reason why I have to side with the doubters.

        Just one other thing on that motto. In the Gnostic writings that it comes from, the authors advise the reader that he should not even take the material they have produced as being absolute and final. (that just has to include the motto itself!) Any and all of it may have to be revised and rethought some time. I’m open to it all

        Cheers Rian

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      • Alexie, (to follow 18.56 on 25th Oct.)

        Goodness me, Alexie, Just where have you learnt your history from? Let me just enlighten you with details from early Christians.

        Tertullian objected to the participation of ‘those women among the heretics who shared with men positions of authority. They teach, they engage in discussion, they exorcise; they cure.’ Tertullian even suspect that they might even baptise, which suggested that some of these women act as Bishops as well. All initiates men and women equally participated in the drawing of lots to determine just who would act in the various offices of the church for that occasion. This riled the orthodox, who insisted that only a church with Bishops, Priests and Deacons could be authentic and godly.

        Then Tertullian stated about the acts of Gnostic women… ‘These heretical women – how audacious they are! They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to engage in argument.’

        You just have not studied the early history of the Church very effectively, old mate. Nor do you know much about the early Gnostics. Why don’t you read the book “When Women were Priests” by Torjesen.

        Get back to me when you have educated yourself a bit more.
        As far as the Buddhist list in the Blog is concerned, well, Buddhism is very very much like Gnosticism, and that approach for humility as you rightly mention bears great resemblance to all I’ve been taught in Gnosticism, with its dropping of reliance on literal fact. Of course, the contents there are ‘not myth’. Cant see why they should have to be. Ethics, equality, harmlessness… all thoroughly good Gnostic qualities. But what would you know about it? You’ve only read what the Church wants you to believe about it.

        Tertullian. ‘How frivolous, how worldly, how merely human it is, without seriousness, without authority, without discipline, as fits their faith! To begin with, it is uncertain who is a catechumen, and who a believer, they all have access equally, they listen equally, they pray equally – even Pagans, if any happen to come… They also share the kiss of peace with all who come, for they do not care how differently they treat topics, of they meet together to storm the citadel of the one only truth .. All of them are arrogant… all offer you gnosis!’

        So I wasn’t wrong at all, was I Alexie? Neither was I wrong the other day about brilliant minds in the Gnostic camp. It was in Tertullian’s ‘Adversus Valentinianus’ that he makes the point that even his enemies admitted that Valentinus was a brilliant and fluent man.. So is it too much to expect or ask for some sort of apology from you about claiming I’m just so wrong all the time?? Hm?

        No, I guess not. I have learnt on this blog that whenever you Evangelicals go to Apologetics school, you are taught that you must never ever allow that your non-believing opponent has made a good point, or that you have made a mistake.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Hi Yale,
        Just like good old Alexie, you are showing a typical ignorance of just where the Gnostics were coming from. You are absolutely correct in saying that the Gnostic writings are ‘worthless as a guide to Jesus’ life’. They were not written as documents claiming historicity in the way that Christians read the Canonical Gospels.

        Some were written purely to modify the influence of the orthodox writings or even to offer an alternative approach, which the Gnostics didnt actually take as being literally true or historical. Some were written to stimulate the readers’ imaginations and inspiration. Some were of course nonsensical, but there again so were some of the apocryphal gospels and other writings which while unaccepted by the Church as authentic, were not declared to be necessarily heretical.

        I’m glad you are acknowledging that Paul and the writers of John I and II were attacking Gnosticism; as it is frequently stated wrongly that Gnostic influences did not arise until the 2nd century. It is true that the accepted and orthodox Church fathers along with the councils rejected the Gnostics. They had made sure at every turn that all teachers of Gnosticism were rejected from the orthodox fold. But in the meantime, Gnostic teachers and believers, as Tertullian and Ignatius complained, were frequently members of the Church until they got chucked out.

        The winners write the history as we know; so if the Gnostics had survived alone, then their accounts would be showing how they were the original true church. The reason why the Gnostics didnt survive like that is because first they were not militant like the orthodox church and second because they didnt pressure their followers to believe unthinkingly or to proselytise the unbelievers. They largely got wiped out via the Edicts of friend Emperor Theodosius as is well known. Sadly pacifists (like the infamous Cathars) do get eliminated by the opposition.

        The other point I would make here is that the Gnostics were not averse to utilizing the Canonical texts, you know. This was one of the many difficulties that Ignatius and others of the Fathers had with the Gnostics. They were quite happy to join in all Church services with the orthodox, recite the creeds with them, and to read or preach from the Gospels. And from their point of view, the Gospels, whenever it was that they were written, still were capable of being interpreted from the Gnostic point of view.

        Anyway, such early dating you quote of the fragments of Luke and Mark are still disputed at this point, so we cant be too sure about that. Obviously, Evangelical Christians are very eager to claim those early origins.

        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

      • davinci (after Oct 26 at 11.18)

        Hm davinci, really your last line there should surely be reading ‘That is if one is a genuine sincere Christian of the Biblical literalist persuasion.’ Others may doubt perhaps about the absoluteness of it.

        cheers Rian.

        Like

      • Modern gnostics believe “human beings can be fully understood in terms of scientific materialism” and so must deny that they have free will.

        Like

      • Not really good enough, Bryan,
        You are taking a narrow and developed Christian view on the words reported between the ‘good thief’ and Jesus on their respective crosses.

        The thief as described there did not in any way express a hope or expectation of Jesus as a Saviour for himself. He did not ask for forgiveness. He did not invite Jesus to ‘come into his heart’. He did not even take it for granted that Jesus had any special authority either on earth or in ‘heaven’. The only thing he did was to acknowledge that Jesus appeared to be not guilty of anything deserving execution.

        He merely asked that Jesus remember him when he entered his kingdom. I recall that in her great series of Radio plays called The Man Born to be King, Dorothy Sayers rather logically suggested that since this man was a brigand, he probably had little idea of theology or of spiritual things. What he did in her eyes, was to take pity on a fellow sufferer, who appeared to be innocent, and managed to stammer out some words of compassion and sympathy. In her account, he got a shock when he saw and heard the reply Jesus gave. But that is of course, not in the Biblical text.

        Bryan DONT go just reminding me in such disputes as this about the specific words in the text. I know them well. I’ve known them since childhood. Stop playing games of one-upmanship with me.

        Just tell me (or anyone else here perhaps, since you wont debate with me) just how you get ‘accepting Jesus as his Saviour’ out of the precise words quoted in the text.

        The moral of what you say there, appears to be that anyone who simply acknowledges that Jesus was innocent of any crime leading to execution, and who appeared to be anticipating some sort of entry into heaven, must be a saviour? Addressing Jesus as Lord proves nothing like what you are suggesting.

        Cheers Rian.

        Like

      • Rubbish Rian. You really are blinkered. If you understood the Biblical text you would realise you are wrong.

        Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied to him, “Amen I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise

        The thief acknowledged that Jesus had a kingdom not of this earth. He asked to be with Jesus in that kingdom. He clearly accepted Jesus as The Christ.

        I say to you, this very day you shall be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23, 43).

        With these words Jesus gives to this thief before his death the assurance of his eternal salvation

        Like

      • Bryan,
        What on earth are you on about?

        I dont need to ask you just what translation of the Gospel you are reading there. Because you quote it okay the same as in all my copies and translations. The thief did NOT ask to BE WITH Jesus at all. He asked that he would REMEMBER HIM.
        You deliberately misquoted it.

        Actually there is no evidence that the thief was implying that Jesus was necessarily the head of that Kingdom.

        You are really reading the text with distorted and preconceived notions in mind.

        Please explain how you are managing to twist ‘remember me’ into ‘being with’ out of the text. Totally different meanings.

        Rian.

        Like

      • I’m reading with preconceived notions? Are you looking in the mirror old mate? Or perhaps it’s just part of your strange disconnect.

        Ok Rian. You’re a brick wall with blinkers on (to mix a metaphor) so there’s no point in arguing. You will never admit when you’re wrong anyway. That’s why some people don’t bother to debate with you. So be it.

        Like

  2. And this:

    Christianity: More than a Relationship

    One of the most influential teachings of the late 1960’s and the 1970’s was the emphasis upon people having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t over emphasize how much good this unique emphasis provided to turn millions of people toward Jesus.

    About 50 years later we see that the predominant world-view is significantly different than it was then, which requires us to formulate our presentation of Christianity with a different emphasis.

    “Not religion, but relationship” was the hot phrase. We now know that religion without relationship is lifeless and destructive and that relationship without religion leads to absurdity.

    Religion is defined as “a personal or institutional set of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion

    We see all three components of religion’s definition in the life of Jesus.

    Attitudes Matthew 5:3-12
    Beliefs John 6:51, John 8:23, 12,
    Practices Luke 4:16

    Jesus, by this definition, was a religious Man.

    The best I can tell, Jesus never summed up his life and teaching with, “Start a relationship with me.”

    He did say, “If you love me, (then) keep my commandments.” John 14;12-17

    Maybe we can say it this way: My Attitudes are in my heart and soul. My Beliefs are in my mind. My Practices are in my life.

    Interestingly, the first known use of the word “religion,” is the 13th Century and the first use of the word “relationship” is 1741.

    From my perspective, prior to the historically new use of the term “relationship” Christianity was understood to be an interrelated system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices.

    mca church blog

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “DO not be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, he said. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not the absolute truth.”

    Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12.

    Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Eph. 2:19, 20

    Clearly this monk is wrong. That is if one is a genuine, sincere Christian.

    Like

  4. “Do not utter words that can create discord. Reconcile all conflicts.”

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

    Some conflicts and discord cannot be reconciled because it arises from diametrically opposite world views. Such as the worldview of the kingdom of God versus the worldview of the kingdom of Satan.

    After uttering the above statement, Jesus describes discord between parents and children as a result of the “sword” He brings. So much so that one ends up persecuting the other. Some of these issues and conflicts cannot be reconciled.

    To take the logic of this monk to its logical end, words against child abuse should be covered up, words against stealing as well as words against environmental damage should also be left unspoken because they cause discord.

    Thus he contradicts every one of his other statements involving interaction between people.

    Like

    • No one—not even our own children—will ever be forced to think like we do because that will lead to suffering,. Create your own world; choose for yourself what to revere and what to incinerate. The only thing we’ll ever do is help an extremist brother, with kind discussion, to calm down a little bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • steve,
        This monk said:

        Do not live with a job that is harmful to humans or nature.

        How does this mesh with the local butcher and the community it serves who are outraged at being told to give up meat eating and meat processing because it harms nature? How do you resolve this conflict without eventually harming the butcher and meat eaters?

        This monk said:

        “Possess nothing that should belong to others. But prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering.”

        This statement alone is a word of discord to those whose aim in life is the pursuit of power at the expense of others. How do you resolve this conflict without eventually resorting to violence and murder?

        This monk said:

        Do not lose yourself in your surroundings. Be aware of what is happening in the present.

        How is it that in present, people hold views that are not only diametrically opposite to what this monk says but any attempts at dialogue will lead to words of discord and conflicts that cannot be resolved.

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  5. Hello davinci,

    “Do not live with a job that is harmful to humans or nature”

    I don’t think the intent was aimed at butchers. He said he was saying we should do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of global economic, political, and social realities, we should behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not investing in companies that deprive others of their chance to live.

    In other words, we will refuse to work for or indirectly support anything which harms our planet or our fellow people. We aim to find a livelihood that allows us to practice our ideals. Through mindful consumption, we will cast our vote against companies with inhumane or unethical practices.

    “Possess nothing that should belong to others. But prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering.”

    I do not see how that leads to conflict. The opposite I would think.

    “Do not lose yourself in your surroundings. Be aware of what is happening in the present.”

    Life is available only in the present moment and it is possible to live deeply each moment of daily life. We should not lose ourselves in worries, craving, anger, or jealously in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Steve,
    The problem remains. How do you convince someone who feels offended at what you advocate?
    The butcher illustration was a case in point. How would this monk sell vegetarianism to butchers and those who love eating meat, when these find the concepts of vegetarianism offensive?

    “Possess nothing that should belong to others. But prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering.

    I do not see how that leads to conflict. The opposite I would think”

    Except that this is an outright fantasy. Because whether you like it or not, many people have no compunction at enriching themselves at the expense of others. In fact many people would be offended if they ability to enrich themselves was curtailed because of human suffering.

    Again we come to the issue, how do you convince those who would not be convinced?

    Like

      • No I haven’t Bryan.

        I have merely outlined the fact that in 99% of time people’s stance on any given issue is bound to be diametrically opposite (such as the example given about meat eaters and vegetarians). Who is right and who is wrong? By what standards is one viewpoint right and the other one wrong?

        Thus everything that this monk has said is bound to be wrong, because of diametrically opposite world views that people often hold.

        And this is not something that steve or this monk actually recognises.

        Like

  7. “Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress. Have the courage to speak the truth.”

    One must know the truth to be able to speak it.

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, said Jesus.

    This is the most profound truth! And it is truth that cannot be denied. Jesus is the one and only Messiah. He is the Saviour of the Muslims, the Jews, and the Gentiles. Millions throughout the world of every nation and creed accept Him as Saviour.

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16

    (“Son of God” does not mean that God had physical relations with Mary, but rather that God willed it supernaturally that Mary would become the earthly mother of Jesus even as a virgin.)

    “(And mention) when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed God gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous.” (Quran 3:45-46)

    Naturally, for Mary, this news was both strange and seemingly impossible.

    “She said, ‘My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?’ (The angel) said, “Such is God; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.” (Quran 3:47-48)

    The very nature of Jesus is so special, that God compares the uniqueness of His creation to that of the first man and prophet, Adam.

    “Indeed, the example of Jesus to God is like that of Adam. He created him from dust; then He said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was.” (Quran 3:59)

    Like

  8. “Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless. Truth is found in life and not in concepts.”

    Jesus is the Life. Sarah 3:48 And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.

    Even Mohommod said to test the Truth through the Injil and Torah.

    Follow Jesus He is the Way. Sarah 43:61 And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.

    19:88 They say: “(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!”

    Like

  9. “Possess nothing that should belong to others. But prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering.”

    So closely related to the ten commandments and especially the last about coveting. To even think it is sin says Jesus.

    God gave Moses two stone tablets, written upon them were the Ten Commandments. These commandments form the basis of the Jewish law, the Torah, and they are standards of morality still set by the Christian churches. Ibn Kathir and the early scholars of Islam state that the Ten commandments are reiterated in two verses from the Quran.

    “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from, Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty- We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to shameful sins whether committed openly or secretly; and kill not anyone whom God has forbidden, except for a just cause. This He has commanded you that you may understand. And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he or she attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidences) say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfil the Covenant of God. This He commands you, that you may remember.” (Quran 6:151-152)

    Like

  10. “Do not maintain anger or hatred. Transform them while still seeds in the consciousness.”

    How does one do this? BY forgiveness. Transformation in the Bible is renewing of your mind.

    Jesus is our focus for this.

    Sarah 5:46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

    Muhammad believed Jesus was sent by Allah to be the Messiah, miraculously born of the Virgin Mary, who brought the Gospel, who died, was raised from the dead, then ascended into heaven to be with Allah. Jesus would become an everlasting blessing to all mankind!

    Like

  11. “Do not mistreat your body. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world.”

    Fascinating! Christianity believes our bodies, as the temple of the Holy Spirit, should be looked after. To refrain from sexual immorality and other sins.

    Then the sentence about mentions love and commitment. In Christianity we have marriage as the ultimate commitment one can make to another person.

    Then we have bringing new lives into the world. As well as being about children, as Christians we can relate this to spiritual babies. That we are here to go out into allegations to preach the Good News.

    Jesus was sent by Allah, who supported him with the Holy Spirit to tell the world Allah’s will ( surah 2: 87; 5: 110-117).

    Allah gave to the world Jesus, exalted him above all others, and supported him with the Holy Spirit as proof of his sovereignty (surah 2: 253).

    Like

  12. “Do not force others, including children, to adopt your views by authority, threat, money, or propaganda.”

    God woos us with His love. He woos us with His Son as an offering.
    Even early in Genesis God covers Adam and Eve with an animal skin. We can reach a bit and say it was likely a lamb skin. This points to the future Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

    In the story, Hazrat Ibrahim and his son are walking to the hill where the sacrifice is to take place. The boy notices that they have everything except an animal to sacrifice, and so he asks his father a question, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7)

    Hazrat Ibrahim answers, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8). Notice that both the prophet and his son thought that the appropriate animal for the sacrifice was a lamb, or baby sheep. Hazrat Ibrahim speaking as a prophet, said that God would provide the lamb for sacrifice. But what actually happened?

    “Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
    ‘Abraham! Abraham!’
    ‘Here I am,’ he replied.
    ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he [the angel] said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’
    Abraham looked up and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:10-13)

    Hazrat Ibrahim , or Abraham, said that God would provide a lamb for sacrifice. But what did God provide? God did not provide a lamb, but a ram. We know that it was a ram because it was caught in a thicket by its horns. A lamb has no horns. If this is so, then a question remains, “Was Hazrat Ibrahim mistaken when he said that God would provide a lamb?”

    No, he spoke the truth. This is where the secret meaning of the sacrifice comes in. For many centuries after Hazrat Ibrahim’s sacrifice, the full meaning of the prophet’s statement remained hidden. Then one day, a new prophet appeared to mankind– Hazrat Yahya. Listen to the account of Hazrat Yahya , or John the Baptist, found in the holy Injil,

    “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'” (Injil, John 1:29)

    Like

  13. As I have already stated above the opening sentence is nonsensical and contradictory.

    “DO not be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, he said. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not the absolute truth.”

    Many experienced archaeologist have stated that In every instance where the findings of archaeology pertain to the biblical record, the archaeological evidence confirms, sometimes in detailed fashion, the historical accuracy of Scripture.

    Thus even just with archeology we can show that absolutes can occur and are required for truth statements.

    The Koran istelf over and over points to the Bible as the truth, an absolute.

    Surah 5:113. “Then will God say, `O Jesus son of Mary! Recount my favor to you and to your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel…

    The Family of `Imran (Ali `Imran) 3:48, 2-3.

    The Angel Gabriel is speaking to Mary about Jesus before Jesus’ birth and says: “And he (God) will teach him the book and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel”

    The Forbidding (Al-Tahrim) 66:12, 7.

    “and Mary (Jesus’ mother)…believed in the words of her Lord and His Books”

    The Family of `Imran (Ali `Imran) 3:49-50, 2-3.

    Jesus says, “I have come to you…attesting to (the truth of) what is between my hands of the Torah, and to make lawful to you a part of that which is forbidden to you.”

    Jonah (Yunus) 10:37,”This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a verification of that (the Torah and Gospel) which IS between his (its) hands, and the explanation of the book, wherein there IS no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds.”

    Jonah (Yunus) 10:94. “If you (Muhammad) are in doubt regarding that which We have revealed to thee, ASK those who READ the book from before you…”

    The Bee (Al-Nahl) 16:43-44,”And We have not sent before you (Muhammad) other than men to whom we granted revelation. And (all of you) ASK the people of the (Scripture) Message if you don’t know.”

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  14. How do we keep the mind “alive”?

    The Bible states about the renewing of our mind.
    This process starts with uniting our spirits with God.
    This changes our hearts and this turns the mind to renewal.

    God is moving mightily amongst muslim nations.
    He touches the spirit, changes hearts and then they say YES JESUS.

    The islamic revolution of turning to Christ is an excellent example of people whose minds come alive in Christ.

    In his new global study, Dr. David Garrison reveals that the first Muslim movement to Christ did not occur until the 19th century, more than 1000 years after Muhammad’s message first echoed from the minarets of Medina.
    To better understand what is happening and why it is happening now, David Garrison has traveled throughout the Muslim world — from West Africa to Indonesia — collecting hundreds of interviews and personal stories of former Muslims from within these movements who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Garrison wanted to understand, “Why now?” “How is God at work in our day to see more Muslim movements to Christ than at any time in history?

    According to Al-Jazeerah’s interview with Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity.
    Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity in Africa alone so you can imagine the worldwide numbers. How many others of them convert to Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism or just plain atheism? MILLIONS.
    After reporting this Al-Jazeerah has since removed the interview and details but we got the screencap from the original story.

    More than 10,000 Muslims accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour throughout India during the last year. The Bible Society of India publishing thousands of New Testaments for the Muslims with their own terminology and vocabulary in different Indian languages and Tazi language. In Iraq, more than 5,000 Muslim converts to Christianity have been identified since the end of major combat operations, with 14 new churches opened in Baghdad, and dozens of new churches opened in Kurdistan, some of which have 500 to 800 members. Also, more than one million Bibles shipped into the country since 2003, and pastors report Iraqis are snatching them up so fast they constantly need more Bibles.Thousands of Muslims turned to Christ and worshiping Lord Jesus in Morocco, Somalia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Maldives.Around a million believed in Jesus over the past decade in Egypt.There were only 17 Christians from Islam in Afghanistan on 2001. But there are more than 10,000 believers at present. Every week dozens of baptisms being held there.

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    • Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence in a brutal Iranian prison for his Christian faith, came to Christ at age 20. A devout Muslim at the time, he had found a Bible and started reading it. One night, he was awakened three times by a voice that said, “Saeed, I am coming soon. Go preach My Gospel.” The third time, the voice was accompanied by a bright light shining through Saeed’s bedroom window. Trembling and sweating, Saeed said, “I will do it.” At that moment, the light moved away, and he saw what appeared to be the back of Jesus exiting through the window.
      Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, recounts her own family’s arrival in the United States when Naghmeh and her twin brother were 9. The two siblings had wondered how to find God, and one day Naghmeh’s brother came to her, shaken and moved. “I’ve found the God we’ve been looking for,” he said. He had seen a vision of Jesus.
      More and more, Christians are hearing stories of Muslims, especially in the Middle East, coming to faith in Jesus Christ partly as a result of having a vision or a dream.
      “I can’t explain it,” Franklin Graham said to a group of pastors meeting at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on March 25. “I’m not even going to attempt to explain it. I just tell you: It happens. God is at work in that part of the world in a great way.”

      Like

      • As God has exposed the reality of Islam, this in turn has led to many Muslims becoming disillusioned with Islam and being drawn to Christ. In fact the best way of exposing Islam is when the extremists take over. Even while it is true that moderate Muslims say that what is happening is not connected with Islam, many Muslims are realizing that Islam has its roots in terror. In any country where Islam develops, so also violence, terror, rape, compulsion, lies and dictatorship increases.
        In the history of Iran there has never been an “evangelist” such as Khomeini who has helped people to know what Islam is really all about and therefore has prepared the way for Christ in the same way as John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ. A new building cannot be built on an old foundation. The old has to be demolished so that a new foundation can be built. God is allowing Muslim leaders to destroy the old Islamic foundation so that a new Christian foundation can be built. The situation in Iran today is that Islam is weakening and therefore we must use every opportunity and every method to enable people to hear the Gospel.

        Like

  15. In the mind God is doing a good thing in the minds of muslims. He is bringing them to life in Christ.

    “In the last days,” says God, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
    For decades, a well-documented phenomenon has been occurring in the Muslim world—men and women who, without knowledge of the gospel, or contact among Christians in their community, have experienced dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. The reports of these supernatural occurrences often come from “closed countries” where there is no preaching of the good news and where converting to Christianity can invoke the death sentence. But these are more than just dreams. Setting them apart is the intense reality of the experience and the surrender of one’s heart and mind to Christ in the wake of the dream. A common denominator appears to be that the dreams come to those who are seeking—as best they can—to know and please God.

    Like

  16. If only this could happen across the globe within Islam

    IslamPress: Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad makes remarks during interview with Dutch newspaper De Stentor

    On 7 October 2015, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad was interviewed by the Dutch newspaper De Stentor at the Baitun Noor Mosque complex in Nunspeet, Holland.

    During the interview, His Holiness spoke of his fear that the world was moving towards another world war. He said his message to all nations was simply to

    “be sensible”
    and to seek peace.

    Upon being asked about the radicalisation of young and often well-educated Muslims living in the West, His Holiness said that many people were being

    “brainwashed through the internet”
    into believing that it was their duty to go to Syria or Iraq. His Holiness added that increased youth unemployment was also causing frustration and resentment amongst impressionable youths.

    His Holiness said that terrorist groups were conducting the most horrific brutalities and were falsely justifying their evil acts in the name of Islam. He condemned the targeting of religious minorities such as the Yazidis and the destruction of historical monuments as completely against the teachings of the Holy Quran.

    Asked if he considered himself to be a target of extremists, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “If I were to be fearful then I would not be able to fulfil my duties. Ahmadi Muslims are targeted in Pakistan, Indonesia and certain other countries but it will not stop us from fulfilling our mission, which is to spread the true teachings of Islam to every corner of the world.”
    Upon being asked if he was frustrated by the fact more media coverage was given to terrorists, as compared to the peaceful teachings of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “I am not frustrated but it does lead me to bow down ever more and submit before Allah the Almighty in prayer. Thus, rather than becoming frustrated, we are drawn ever closer to our Lord and towards serving humanity. Most surely Allah is He who loves His Creation.”
    His Holiness was asked if people were joining the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community ‘in reaction’ to terrorism and extremism.

    In response, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

    “Yes it is possible that this is one reason because when people see and contrast the peaceful behaviour of Ahmadi Muslims to the acts of violent extremists, they are attracted by our message.”

    Read more: http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2015/10/asia/our-mission-is-to-spread-the-true-and-peaceful-teachings-of-islam-head-of-ahmadiyya-muslim-community#ixzz3plExKWsC

    Like

      • Over the years I noticed he usually does a numerous amount of posts when he is a bit hot under the collar. He makes it so that it is near impossible to read through everything and reply.

        Like

  17. Well Bryan,

    In spite of what davinci thinks of Thich Nhat Hanh, I was convicted of sin when I read his list. Imagine that, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk convicting a Christian of sin (said tongue-in-cheek). So much so that I filed it away for future reference. It was ‘mental’ assent but I really didn’t pray about it. But today—oh shock of shocks—God brought it back to my remembrance by supernaturally highlighting the exact same sentence on the list. As I was googling the news, it just flashed across the screen of my iPad! Just that sentence. What a shock! Tell you what, when we Christians need humbling, God knows how to do it.

    Rian my dear man, yes, I am certain of a few things in life, such as the reality of a God who loves us like no other, who stops at nothing to call His wayward children back to Him and His standards of holiness. I hope that I will always remain humble enough to hear Him speaking to me through any vessel He so wishes to speak through, irrespective of what religion they may practice or even if they have no faith at all in a God. His dealings with me have been nothing short of miraculous at times. His grace knows no bounds. So please forgive me if I sound way too sure of my Christian faith at times Rian, because I think that’s why He has me here; why He won’t let me walk away. I guess He wants to see if I have the courage to let you know that He’s for real, and that He knows me like no other. And I guess that’s relationship, the very essence of true Christianity. Without it, religion is just plain empty.

    Like

    • Hi Mond

      I saw the list the same as you.
      Which Is why I spent some time writing about it from a Christian perspective and then how the Koran relates. Except different to some muslims I believe the Koran points to Jesus and the Bible. It certainly is a good thread.

      Like

      • I’ve only just now read what you wrote Alexie after reading what you said above. Have been ensconced, with head in bucket for the last two days—gastro.

        Good words! And isn’t it exciting about what God is doing these days with us and the Muslims. As you know, I don’t go to church, so have no idea what God is doing everywhere, but it seems to me like there’s an urgency in the Spirit and the pace has really picked up……

        Our life is a series of moments
        Let them go
        All gathering
        Towards this one

        Like

      • Hi Alexie

        I am aware of people who converted to Christianity. They find it easier to migrate to the US or Europe. Christians love to hear their conversion stories so they are doing well for themselves. Sometimes they go a bit over the top with all the attention they receive and mistakes appear in their conversion stories. Anyhow, do you have any figures to back up what you state?

        Like

      • Extraordinary stories about the massive number of Muslims converting to Christianity are appearing around the world. Recently at World Magazine, writer Warren Cole Smith interviewed 25-year missionary David Garrison who has documented his findings about the Muslim phenomenon. “There is a revival in the Muslim world,” Garrison says. He believes between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades. His book, A Wind in the House of Islam, contains impressive research to back up his claim.

        Like

      • The Rev. Esper Ajaj, the Syrian-born pastor of Washington Arabic Baptist Church at 4605 Massachusetts Ave. NW in the District, concedes that there are dangers to working with Muslims. Situated within walking distance of American University, he gets a fair amount of seekers at his door.

        “They want to ask questions,” he said. “Sometimes they come to pray here. Then they have a cup of coffee, and I talk to them. Then I discuss the greatness of Christ in the Koran.
        “We’ve seen more Muslims in [the 1990s] become Christians more than any time in history. If they are open-minded, it is easy. If they are closed-minded, it is not.”

        He is writing a book tentatively titled, “Difficult Questions a Muslim Asks” but confesses that “I don’t know if I’ll put my name on it.”

        Like

      • David Garrison
        Can you give us some specific examples of that happening? The striking thing about what we discovered was that there are movements of Muslims to Christ, and by that I mean not just individuals, but movements of at least 1,000 within a community who have been baptized or 100 churches planted over the last two decades. We’re seeing, currently, 69 of these movements that have just been formed in the last two decades that are moving … from one end of the Muslim world to the other, so from West Africa to Indonesia and everywhere in between.

        I suppose one of the most striking examples is what’s happening in Iran today. We’re seeing that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s proving to be the greatest evangelist in the history of Iran because so many people are voting with their feet and they’re turning away from Islam and they’re walking toward really, all sorts of things. It’s not exclusively to Christianity, but certainly tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the last few decades have come to faith in Jesus Christ and followed him in baptism.

        Like

      • Alarming reports have been coming in for years: Christianity is being expelled from the Middle East. According to Walter Russell Mead , more than half of the Christians in Iraq have fled the country since 2003. Today it’s happening in Syria. Swedish journalist Nuri Kino reports on a “silent exodus of Christians from Syria” in the face of “kidnappings and rapes.”

        Peter J. Leithart It’s a regional trend. Two years ago Caroline Glick reported that “at the time of Lebanese independence from France in 1946 the majority of Lebanese were Christians. Today less than 30 percent of Lebanese are Christians. In Turkey, the Christian population has dwindled from 2 million at the end of World War I to less than 100,000 today. In Syria, at the time of independence Christians made up nearly half of the population. Today 4 percent of Syrians are Christian. In Jordan half a century ago 18 percent of the population was Christian. Today 2 percent of Jordanians are Christian.”

        That’s only half the story. At the same time that traditional Christian populations are being driven out, Muslims are converting to Christianity at what missionaries and other Church leaders describe as an unprecedented rate. Joel Rosenberg claims that “more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus Christ today than at any other time in history.”

        An Iranian dissident told Rosenberg that there may be as many as 4.5 million converts in Iran. New Testaments and other Christian literature have flooded Iran, and Iraqi pastors cannot keep up with the demand for Christian books and pamphlets. Out of the carnage of Sudan, as many as a million have become Christians since 2000. By 2005, there were reportedly 100,000 Christian converts in Saudi Arabia. Because of vicious persecution, it is impossible to tell how many Christians there are in Afghanistan, but some have estimated as many as 20-30,000, and there is a similar number in Uzbekistan, a country that twenty-five years ago had only a handful of believers. Accurate numbers are difficult to find and more difficult to confirm, but even if these are inflated, there’s little doubt that something remarkable is happening.

        The trend is alarming enough to provoke a reaction from Islamic regimes. Ahmad Al Qataani startled a journalist in a December 2001 interview by saying that “every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.” In 2004, a Shiite apologist, Hasan Mohammadi, was sent out to high school students to preserve their faith, since “on average every day, fifty Iranian girls and boys convert secretly to Christian denominations in our country.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to stop Christianity’s spread in Iran, and under his watch Christian leaders have been kidnapped and murdered.

        Like

    • Of course Monica,you dont need any forgiveness from me. and I understand your point of view perfectly well. I aint no example of perfection in any direction either, despite how my pussycats worship me. All sorts of things in my past and present I’ve had to forgive myself for. Some take a bit more than others.

      I too can feel a confidence about a supreme Deity who loves us like no other, and who is constantly calling all of us, his ‘wayward children’ back to him. I am dubious about many of these ‘standards of holiness’ however, as I hold a different set of concepts about the ‘heaven’ world etc, and our relation to it.

      I am still faced with the way that Dom is just as certain as you are in regards to faith. The Mormons and JWs and the atheists are also just so certain about their convictions. That makes me very wary about accepting convictions and certainties in spiritual things. As I’ve stated a few times, there are very very few matters about which I hold any absolute conviction, and I remain open to enlightenment.

      Your path is unique to you, and it is right for you to follow it.

      Love, Rian.

      Like

      • Why were gnostics considered so dangerous? Because, as one Church patriarch named Irenaeus wrote late in the second century, “[Their] language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different.” The Gnostics, in other words, masqueraded as Christians! Irenaeus went on: “[Their] error is craftily decked out in an attractive dress . . . to make it appear to the inexperienced . . . more true than truth itself”

        Like

      • The Internet site aljazeera.net published an interview with Ahmad Al Qataani أحمد القطعاني An important Islamic cleric who said: “In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.”

        Like

      • A major Christian syndication has provided video evidence to us from their user data around the world which proves that a massive 350 million (!) Muslims live their outward lives as Muslims, on the surface, but have secretly converted to Christianity.

        The reason for this dramatic transformation in numbers is not due to the Church proselytising Muslims or trying to convince or force conversions. According to the most common Muslim testimonial to their conversion “Jesus appeared to them in dreams or visions” spontaneously and “showed them he was the real prophet”. Others reported miracles and answers to prayers to be the reason for their conversion, by what they claim to be “Jesus” having responded to them.

        This astonishing figure took us by complete surprise but it is real and have been confirmed by Arab Christian sources and figures.

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      • Gavin M, your video “Exposed: Gnosticism”, addresses only a small portion of gnostic belief, mainly from ancient times. No doubt the worst was used to showcase this, particularly the fable used to support the belief of Jehovah being the equivalent of Satan. Is it not obviously a horrible fable?

        The video does not deal with much that is regarded as gnosticism.

        Like

    • Walden looks at a number of Muslim countries where significant conversion rates to Christianity are occurring. He also looks at Western nations where Muslims are leaving their faith: “Islam is also losing adherents in areas where Islamist harassment is heavy on the streets. The London Times estimates 15% of Muslims living in Western Europe have left Islam – 200,000 in the UK alone. Those who leave often face harassment, threats, and attack.”

      In another recent article Joel Rosenberg also picks up on this issue, with what he calls the “untold story” of Muslims leaving the faith in droves. He says, “The God of the Bible is moving powerfully in the Middle East to draw men, women and children to His heart and adopt them into His family in record numbers. More Muslims have come to faith in Jesus Christ over the last thirty years – and specifically over the last seven to ten years – than at any other time in human history. There is a revival going on among the ancient Catholic, Coptic, and Chaldean churches. Today, the Church is being truly resurrected in the lands of its birth.”

      He examines a number of Middle Eastern nations, and presents some encouraging figures. Consider some cases: “In Afghanistan, for example, there were only 17 known evangelical Christians in the country before al-Qaeda attacked the United States. Today, there are well over 10,000 Afghan followers of Christ and the number is growing steadily.”

      In Uzbekistan there were no known Muslim converts to Christ in 1990, but now there are more than 30,000. In Egypt more “than 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so, report Egyptian church leaders. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the Jesus film a year in the early 1990s. But in 2005 they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament.”

      In Sudan, despite “a ferocious civil war, genocide and widespread religious persecution, particularly in the Darfur region – or perhaps because of such tragedies – church leaders there tell me that more than 1 million Sudanese have made decisions to follow Jesus Christ just since 2001. Since the early 1990s, more than 5 million Sudanese have become followers of Jesus. Seminary classes to train desperately-needed new pastors are held in mountain caves. Hundreds of churches have been planted, and thousands of small group Bible studies are being held in secret throughout the country.”

      In Iran in “1979 when the Ayatollah Khomeini led the Islamic Revolution, there were only about 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity. Today, interviews with two dozen Iranian pastors and church leaders reveals that there are well over 1 million Shia Muslim converts to Christianity.”

      How is this all happening? “One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims throughout the Middle East and even in the United States are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus. They are coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Hebrew Prophet Joel told us that ‘in the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days….And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ (Joel 2:28-32)”

      Concludes Rosenberg, “Is life easy for these Muslim converts? By no means. They face ostracism from their families. They face persecution from their communities. They face being fired by their employers. They face imprisonment by their governments. They face torture and even death at the hands of Muslim extremists. But they are coming to Christ anyway. They are becoming convinced that Jesus is, in fact, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father in heaven except through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross and powerful resurrection from the dead.”

      Like

  18. Our Christian walk should be packed with miracles, both big and small, but all too often we can become insensitive to God at work in our lives. We might miss what He is doing and therefore think He doesn’t care. But He does, doesn’t He?

    Like

  19. But Rian,

    Reading (hearing) what you say about Gnosticism sounds to me like the description of any New Age religion, and in particular Kabbalah. All this mysticism by self-effort turns me off. It seems diametrically opposed to true Christianity where God is worshipped, not self. There’s no substance to New Age religions because God is not in them, and nothing puts me off more than the self-glorification that is these religions.

    I’m a ‘can’t do it’ sort of person. If I have talents, then they certainly are hidden, and often I shy away from opportunities because of how I see myself. But with Jesus I needn’t worry because He says,

    1 Corinthians 1:27-31The Message (MSG)

    26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

    But each to their own I guess.

    Love, Mon

    Like

    • Correct Monica.

      And as the new age they are syncretic.

      Ryan said it all:
      “You are absolutely correct in saying that the Gnostic writings are ‘worthless as a guide to Jesus’ life’. ”

      “They were not written as documents claiming historicity”

      “Some were written to stimulate the readers’ imaginations”.

      ” Some were of course nonsensical”

      Like

      • Monica, don’t believe everything that appears on the internet! They call themselves The True Gnostic Church, saying they are “Unlike the false Gnostics of ages past”, and indeed there is a wide range of beliefs in that field.

        There are many very different groups today that could be called gnostic, and some New Age teachings have indeed taken up some of the old ideas. Some of these ideas were from pre-Christian Judaism, and some were very Christan oriented, such as the Gospel of Thomas.

        I know some gnostics had the belief that Jesus was God, come to displace Jehovah who they saw as a sort of Satan ruling the world. That belief was not held by all, and certainly not by today’s gnostics, I think.

        What remains the same about the totallity of gnosticism is that it implies ‘knowledge’, not of hidden teachings, but of God’s reality. The knowledge of a relationship, regardless of teachings or creed. They claim to know God by experiencing God.

        Like

      • Hi Mon,
        Thanks so much for the link to the fascinating coverage on that Gnostic Church. A certain amount of what was listed there is familiar to me, and in coincidence with my ideas. But like the vast majority of Gnostic students, I am in no way expected to believe any of it.

        But I have to say that in the two Gnostic affiliations I connected with in my earlier years, there was simply no such list with the extreme statements that were included. In fact only a very few of the principles listed were enjoined or even recommended for the membership. And in over 50 years I’ve enjoyed in one of these, having mixed with hierarchy, I never saw any of these pressed or taught to the membership. It was essentially PRACTICE of and living by the principles rather than a belief in any of them that was the recommended norm. And certainly what or Buddhist monk suggests would match the ethical recommendations of all groups that I’ve been associated with.

        We have to remember that Gnosticism was, as Strewth and others have said, a very broad ranging camp; and there were all sorts of variations practiced and taught. Back in those early Christian days, we find different teachings from Valentinians, Basilideans, Marcionites and of course those most extreme of them – the Manicheans (from which the Christian Father St Augustine originally sprang). What was listed by this Gnostic Church in the link appeared to cover just about every variation and concept that a Gnostic might possibly take on. I’ve never met anyone yet who abides by them in that form. But presumably this church does suggest it.

        Since you have already of course stressed your vehement rejection of Gnosticism (presumably in any and all forms), I am just a little bit puzzled about why you are so shocked at what you read. I might have anticipated that you would simply have indicated that it just confirmed your worst fears or expectations.

        Anyway, again, thanks for the link. I found it most interesting.

        Finally, I was most amused to witness Alexie whooping away as he quoted my comments on the Gnostic Gospels. I deliberately made the comments I did for his benefit. It is true that those Gospels they sponsored were not intended to enlarge on the life of Jesus. Some were like many early Christian writings, intended to represent a forum in which the Gnostic principles might be presented to the public. Some were created deliberately to suggest approaches designed purely to counter orthodox teachings the authors considered to be wrong or misleading. Others were certainly churned out as exercises in imagination and inspiration. The best Gnostic documents are very profound and psychologically insightful as Prof Carl Jung pointed out.
        Love Rian.

        Like

      • Since you have already of course stressed your vehement rejection of Gnosticism (presumably in any and all forms), I am just a little bit puzzled about why you are so shocked at what you read. I might have anticipated that you would simply have indicated that it just confirmed your worst fears or expectations.

        To be perfectly honest Rian, I’ve never given Gnosticism much thought. Of course I’ve read what is said about it in the Bible and what you, Strewth, a few Christian apologetics and others on the blog have described it, but that’s about all; never really given it much though. So the only conclusion I came to was that it is the same old New Age lie repackaged to look like something desirable. But when I read the link I gave above, it floored me. It’s like God “opened the eyes of my heart” instead of my head, so to speak, and made me to see the depths of deception many are under, and yes, even some who I love dearly.

        But then one could argue that I am under deception, and that my word is just as valid as a Gnostic’s. So there you have it, as the world declares, each to to their own! I just find much of the list given in the link pertaining to ‘true’ Gnosticism as they ascertain, to be an abhorrent lie.

        But thanks so much for the clarification you’ve given me re your leanings Rian; and Strewth’s explanation too. It’s given me more understanding of Gnosticism. I can only hope and pray that God will “open the eyes of your heart” too—to His truths, Rian.

        Love, Mon

        Liked by 1 person

    • Azrael Ondi-Ahman, a.k.a., Archie Dean Wood, was born on November 14, 1947 into a strict religious Southern Baptist family. From his earliest childhood, Azrael could not believe the stories and descriptions in the Bible claiming to depict the nature and disposition of God. This began a long spiritual quest filled with a great many sacrifices, hardships and heartaches.

      At the age of 31, Azrael went alone into the mountains to confront in solitude the issues of God, mankind, mortal life, and the failure of current religious thought to address – in any reasonable manner – such great issues.
      AZRAEL ONDI-AHMAN
      On June 19, 1979, deep in the Uinta Wilderness Area of Utah, Azrael witnessed the real-life, physical appearance of highly evolved, celestialized, human beings who identified themselves as God.

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      • I didn’t read that part Alexie. So what does this mean……they made a whole new religion out of this guy’s revelations? 😯

        I thank God for His Word, the Bible. He taught me the Scriptures through visions and revelation knowledge FIRST! And when I eventually learnt how to look up the scriptures for myself, there I would find the scriptures pertaining to my vision/revelation and the confirmation that what I believe God was trying to teach me was real and not contrary to His Word. So absolutely no-one could ever convince me that the God I worship is not the God of the Bible and that Jesus Christ is not who He says He is.

        Like

      • Thanks Gavin.

        What a horrible, occultic religion Gnosticsim is. God bless our early Church fathers who exposed it for what it is.

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    • The Nag Hummadi find revealed that there was a broad range of beliefs among the various independent Gnostic systems or schools. However, the following points are believed to be generally accurate throughout the movement.

      Their Role: They believed that they alone truly understood Christ’s message, and that other streams of thought within Christianity had misinterpreted Jesus’ mission and sayings.

      The Supreme Father God or Supreme God of Truth is remote from human affairs; he is unknowable and undetectable by human senses. She/he created a series of supernatural but finite beings called Aeons. One of these was Sophia, a virgin, who in turn gave birth to an defective, inferior Creator-God, also known as the Demiurge.

      Evil: They did not look upon the world as having been created perfectly and then having degenerated as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. Rather the world was seen as being evil at the time of its origin, because it had been created by an inferior God.

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/gnostic2.htm

      Like

      • An excellent link, Murphy. The valuing of the spiritual life, and devaluing of the material/physical was once quite common, in gnosticism, I understand. As you say, there was a broad range of beliefs in those early days, and seemingly in modern gnosticism too.

        Like

      • It is impossible to judge gnosticism on the strength of a limited sample, as there is so much variation, as you can see at this link

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gnostic_sects

        As for the gnostic gospels, a few quotes –
        The Gospel of Thomas, verse 77 states: “Jesus said, It is I who am the light which is above them all. From me did the all come forth. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Life up a stone, and you will find me there.”

        Verse 16 of the Gospel of Truth says, referring to Jesus, “… the one who is addressed as the Savior, that being the work he is to preform for the redemption of those who are ignorant of the Father, while in the name of the gospel is the proclamation of hope, being discovered by those who search for him.”

        The Gospel of Mary says in Verse 8: “The blessed one said, Peace be with you. Receive my peace unto yourselves. For the Son of Man is within you. Follow after him! Those who seek will find him.”

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      • No Strewth, no matter how you sugarcoat it, the gnostics, and Rian, do not believe Jesus to be The Christ.

        And as I said, the idea of gnostics holding a Eucharistic Mass and Christenings etc while not even believing in the Christ is obviously Illogical and wacky. This is not a cult for clear thinkers.

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      • I am not a Gnostic in as much as being a member of a gnostic church or group, but I may be a gnostic in having an experiential knowing, as I suppose many Christians here have.

        I think many here would claim to know the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean knowing everything about God, but the knowing in the sense of a relationship. That I would consider gnosticism, and I don’t think sugar coated.

        I am relating what I learned from a gnostic priest, and I’m not referring to Rian here. Although I know about differing beliefs, some of which are very odd, of some gnostic sects, I hope that not all gnostics are tarred with the same brush.

        As far as it not being Christian, I wonder what you would class the ones who believed that Jesus was indeed Christ and the true God, come to displace Jehovah who they deemed to wrongly rule the world. I guess that particular belief arose from 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2. and John 12:31. It is not my belief, but then perhaps you would not class me as Christian. Are they Christian?

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  20. Since Bryan’s leading post here was on Thich Nhat Hanh, I think this is relevant –

    “When we get angry, we suffer. If you really understand that, you also will be able to understand that when the other person is angry, it means that she is suffering.

    When someone insults you or behaves violently towards you, you have to be intelligent enough to see that the person suffers from his own violence and anger. But we tend to forget. We think that we are the only one that suffers, and the other person is our oppressor.

    This is enough to make anger arise, and to strengthen our desire to punish. We want to punish the other person because we suffer. Then, we have anger in us; we have violence in us, just as they do.

    When we see that our suffering and anger are no different from their suffering and anger, we will behave more compassionately. So understanding the other is understanding yourself and understanding yourself is understanding the other person. Everything must begin with you.”

    Thich Nhat Hanh,

    Like

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