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A perspective on Christianity and Gnosticism
Herein are some observations and thoughts on Christianity and Gnosticism, the other branch of religion that developed from the Jesus incident.
In general, Christianity over-materializes its understanding of theology. For instance, in terms of translating the references to the "kingship of the heavens", instead of understanding this as a term for kingly empowerment and privilege, it winds up making it a physical location in the material universe by translating it "heaven" or "kingdom of heaven". It is thus usually conceived as the material dwelling place of god, the central physical headquarters of the universe's power hierarchy. Christianity has generally removed this Kingdom of heaven from us by placing it as being physically remote and placing our involvement with it in the remote future or at least after we die.
Early on, Christianity also developed an institutional structure around certain disciples. Over the centuries the proclivity for institutional formation ramified into various and sundry structures with very extensive growth for Christendom. It allied itself with the political and military power of the state. Ultimately, these organizations and structures, both political and symbolic, became more important than the individuals they ostensibly were designed to serve and thus they became evil and oppressive.
In contrast, Gnosticism spiritualizes away important literal or material realities, making them subjective and mystical. Gnosticism, with its focus on individual "knowing", seems much less suited for institutionalization. Rather than seeing that it is the total package of both spiritual and tangible conditions being offered, Gnosticism generally takes the Kingdom of Heaven and makes it into just a spiritual or mystical state of mind.
In and around 1400 CE. The Christian alliance of religion and state, became incensed at the unacceptable doctrinal and behavioral extremes of the Waldensees, Cathari, Albigenses, etc., and pretty much wiped identified Gnosticism out with the sword.
For the most part, neither Christianity nor Gnosticism lets itself be informed enough by the valid part of the sciences, by the various ancient mythologies, by the ancient planetary catastrophes, by cosmology, by reason, or the concrete claims and promises of Jesus. However, the ultimate issue here is the nature of the Kingship of the Heavens. It is not a place in the universe as Christianity visualizes, nor is it a state of mind as Gnosticism visualizes. It is the state symbolized by the acronym for this site.