We are not in a position to know as to how many different religions and or spiritual philosophies and belief systems have ever existed on earth. I would imagine that most of them were never even documented for posterity and the record. The interaction of human societies however, and the globalisation of ideas therefrom, would inevitably bring forth a mixing bowl of conceptualisations appertaining to metaphysical ideas, stories and myths. Consequently the world (or any evolving world) would seem to inevitably synthesise such stories into a mere handful of large scale systems of thought—in much the same way that the commercial businesses buy each other out in the rat race to become the big and dominant one; if not the only one (a problem with men not the nature of reality itself).
Millions of people worldwide claim to adhere to one of the large existing ‘isms’ or doctrines, and for whatever reasons they do so. There is also the psychological (or maybe pathological) question of—’Oh how lovely the world would be if everybody thought the same as I did, and acted as I would like them to act’. Likewise many millions of people worldwide refrain from aligning themselves with any doctrine or belief system, and simply live life by their own inner moral views and simply take what comes in life: and which seems to be becoming more common over the years.
However, most of the existing world religions and spiritual philosophies are accredited to one individual, and each in their own case. Likewise is a dead social activist/initiator very useful; for they cannot argue back if and when their own original statements (and or beliefs) become distorted for reasons of commercial shelf life and saleability. Nothing quite like a dead hero for inspiration and icon status.
A rare exception to this social phenomenon is that of Gnosticism. Gnosticism (the religion), like any other ism is a belief system adhered to by those believing in the phenomena of gnosis (not a particular persons assertions), an event of cognitive spiritual (metaphysical) personal encounter—just as is Mysticism. The point being that neither gnosis or mystical experiences are religions, but rather phenomena which people encounter direct and first hand—and invariably spontaneous events (unsolicited or self-invoked) such as are all genuine shifts of conscious experience. A typical modern day example is that of the phenomena of Near Death Experiences. The term was only coined during the middle to late sixties or thereabout (if I remember rightly) but the conscious event has presumably been encountered ever since humanity existed on earth, and just as even deeper and more revealing metaphysical experiences have done. The point being that pretty well everybody on earth has now heard of NDE’s, but only a small percentage of people have the experience of one. Thus, the event thereof and the social ‘ism’ thereof are not the same thing obviously; and many academics and scribes have written about the phenomena whilst without knowing it directly.
The first thing that springs to mind in most people when they hear the word ‘Gnosticism’ is that of two conflicting entities—a good creator and a not so good amateur and possibly evil creator (the Demiurge) playing some kind of metaphysical chess game in which human beings are the mere pawns in the game. Much like Christianity really. The great problem with humanity is that they love to fill gaps in knowledge and understanding with their own self-imagined answers. And many folk love to jump on somebody else’s pre-constructed band wagon, for it saves them working things out for themselves.
Human beings encounter absolutely incredible and way out transcendent conscious events and which are superb beyond words. When ‘normal’ daily consciousness is restored there comes the self-evident dichotomy and question of—‘How come daily conscious experience on earth ain’t as good as that other mode of being!!!?’ And in order to dig out an answer even some of them (the direct experiencers) concoct what they consider to be an answer to that dichotomy—‘some rotten devil is getting in the way and messing it all up here on earth’, kind of thing! If this was not so true and destructive it would be funny, damned hilarious in fact. Have you ever had a good dream and then woke up to find that you have so many bills to pay and that all ain’t milk and honey? Well, imagine that scenario taken to the power of infinity. How come a good creation contains a rotten world? Well, it is human beings that make it a rotten world, not creation itself; and they are acts of freedom of choice and intent.
Thus it becomes that people hearing about this event of gnosis also come to hear the invented ‘answers’ of gap fillers, even some from the original source maybe, but predominately from later scribes and the meddling bandwagon adherents and cling-ons. Millions of people claim to believe, for example, that when they die their earthly sins will be forgiven and they will go to a paradise beyond the sky and dally with their god happily forever after. But why, for they have never encountered this event? Why do people need a crutch and need to believe things which they hear or read yet have no personal experiential justification for the assumption? Why not simply trust (if they need to trust anything) life itself.
Just like any other religion, the structured religion itself is a rape of experiential facts of the observer. All religions, including gnosticism, contain the seeds of their own destruction within them—lies and distortions. When these lies and distortions are seen to be too ludicrous for dalliance with within a more educated and aware society, then, conversely, any original truth therein goes down the plughole with the dirty bath water of corruption’s and distortions. The humorous and yet interesting irony in both Gnosis and mystical encounters (NOT Gnosticism and Mysticism) however, is that human beings keep coming to have them, generation after generation, and the same ideas keep popping up throughout all human existence—but gradually without the distortions which were enshrined therein by centuries (and millennia) of socio/political corruption and myth making—the pure event itself. Plop!
The forerunner of Christianity did not need Christianity no more so than the precursor to Buddhism needed to read Buddhism. And likewise somebody with the mystical gnosis does not need either gnosis or Gnosticism (the information and data thereof). It is also within this context and reality that I have previously mentioned the changing paradigm of that from doctrinal beliefs to that of personal experiences, the evolving social acceptance of an ‘Experiential Paradigm’, and which is now slowly becoming manifest worldwide, much to the annoyance of establishment churches of priestcraft.
Thus it is that one also hopes that in due course folk with an interest in the mystical gnosis will give more thought to that than to the ancient religion of Gnosticism, and in which the dichotomy exists of a divine and transcendent cognitive event and that of an evil and corrupt world (which is not so). For the true gnosis (the event not the belief system) also reveals further down the line of experience that the same spiritual reality exists not only in objectivity but also within every manifest thing of objectivity and the physical world around us. The real teaching (in experience) of Gnosis is that there is nothing other than spiritual reality, and manifest in many ways and forms; and in the outer and the inner (within self) from that of the cognitive mind to a blade of grass and the manifestation of a physical universe itself. One creation, one root, one ground of being, one transcendent project; and with many dimensions and levels contained therein.
Analysis of objectivity, when taken far enough, eventually dictates that the observer should analyse themselves. Inner analysis of the self eventually dictates that we analyse objectivity. This is more than a mere coincidence—and very humorous in cosmic terms; and it vindicates the oneness and wholeness of creation; the wonder and mystery of the observer and the observed in unison. And just as the deepest adventures into the mystical gnosis have always maintained from the very beginning; and unto this very day. Religions come and religions go, but mystical experiences which people encounter, and which all religions were originally founded upon, are here to stay, and they have great effect for change upon all those who encounter them. One should of course also add that the effect of direct personal experience actually works, and always for the good and the better; whereas the effect of merely believing something—well, we all witness that effect every day on earth. In order to grow we have to eat, both of physical food and experience; but believing one has eaten a meal does not work. And that which there is to be found and eaten is there for everybody who is willing to eat and digest of their own meal, as opposed to trying to digest somebody else’s meal, and which cannot be done. Life does not play silly games, let alone metaphysical battles either in or beyond temporality. Human beings invent religions and gods in their likeness. Thank the power that be that the nature of reality itself does not create that reality in human imaginative likeness; or existence would indeed be a game played by fools.Source:http://members.tripod.com/~pc93
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