| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Christos From the Greek verb khriein, "to anoint." Literally, "the anointed." Direct equivalent to the Hebrew messiah, a title used for the anointed kings in ancient Jewish religion, and retained in specific reference to the Messiah, the awaited savior, the spiritual hero and judge.When shortened to Christ, this is certainly the most problematic and misleading term in world religion. Discerning the Gnostic Christos from the Christian Christ is one of the essential tasks we face in recovering the true message of Pagan Mysteries.
The identification of Jesus (human) as "the Christ" (superhuman, divine, "Only-Begotten Son of God) was made by Saint Paul around 75 CE, but the divinity of Jesus Christ was not established as a doctrinal matter until the Nicean Council of 325 CE. At that event, the Emperor Constantine forced the vote so that he could meld his political power with the mystique of a fast-growing new religion, later to be known Christianity. Belief in the divinity of Jesus may be an inspiring and comforting thing to many people, but to the faux-convert Constantine it was savvy political move, a way to underwrite Roman law by divine authority. The Roman Catholic alliance of fascism with salvationist in the Divine Redeemer was to exercise a death-grip on the world for many centuries, and still does, although that grip is failing.Before Constantine, certain Emperoros had declared themselves divine. They were viewed as arrogant fools by the general public, and rejected as charlatans by Gnostics and others among the Pagan intelligentsia. The claim to divinity of the emperors (the assumption of "divine afflatus," as it was called) was an attempt by the decadent tryants of the failing empire to steal the prestige associated with the telestai, the initiates in the Mysteries; and, to a certain extent, to imitate Alexander the Great, who was the first to attempt this ploy. Constantine was extremely clever in seeing that he could not declare himself divine, but then he didn't have to, because there was a better option: instead of declaring himself a god, he aligned himself with the Christos, the god-man.
The decline of the Mystery Schools after the Augustan Era [29 BCE - 14 CE] was in part due to a massive popular demand for a kind of personal salvation that the Mysteries (being a transpersonal path) did not offer. This demand, in turn, was part of a general movement that arose at the turn of the Age, from Aries to Pisces, around 150 BCE. The Greek astronomer is credited with discovering precession around that time, but in fact, he only disclosed publicly what had been known to initiates for centuries. This disclosure had catastrophic results, because it produced in the masses a false sense of empowerment. The conviction that everyone had a personal fate that could be changed at will was a popular assumption of the time, due to a widespread misunderstanding of the meaning of precession (change in the stars: change of fate). The massive demand for a change of personal fate led to a "New Age" movement, baptism cults, a rage for conversion. The Mysteries were unable to respond to the rampant narcissism of the moment...
One huge factor in this upsurge of narcissism (self-concern) was the emergence in the collective unconscious of a numinous figure or role model for humanity. Eventually, the image of the god-man Jesus Christ was formulated to meet this need, but it did not really satisfy it. It is an inauthentic solution to the human need for a generic sense of humanity, a species identity. Nevertheless, the solution persisted, and, having become ingrown to human dignity, now presents an enormous obstacle to defining and realizing our generic sense of humanity.
In strict usage, the Gnostic Christos ought not to be equated with the Pauline Christ, the Incarnation, or the Joannine Christ, the Word Made Flesh.
The Aeon Christos who figures in the Gaia Mythos is not the same as Christ in Pauline-Joannine theology. It is completely wrong to attribute the qualities and powers of "Jesus the Christ" to that Aeon, that Pleromic entity. It is also incorrect to suppose that the true and original teachings of Christianity were Gnostic, and were transmitted by initiates who knew the true identity of the Aeon Christos, but then these teachings came to be twisted and muddled by lesser minds who siezed upon the illuminist message for personal and political gain. The doctrines concerning Christ, as constrasted to the illuminist message about Christos, were perverse from the outset. Christian doctrines of salvation and divine intervention cannot be salvaged by the argument that they contain the germ of true illuminist teachings. Not should they be, in my opinion.Throughout this site Christos will be used in rigorous and deliberate distinction from Christ. Radical Gnostic teaching denies that Christ is a superhuman agent, a redeemer sent by the Father God, once and once only. It denies the Incarnation, and challenges the claim that any human or superhuman being can represent humanity. No entity has that privilege. Gnostics taught the recognition of the Anthropos, primal precreated humanity, not Christ in the conventional sense. And Christ does not represent the Anthropos. Humanity as a species represents the Anthropos, but no single entity represents humanity.
Christos in the Pauline cult was derived from the Messiah of Zaddikim ideology: it is a superhuman standard, associated with a deviant and inauthentic model of human potential. The sectarian ideal of Tzaddik implies a formula of absolute righteousness that cannot be judged by human standards. The particular spin of Tzaddik is the demand that humans be held to a superhuman criterion, a model of perfection that originates beyond life on Earth. Since it is impossible to meet this standard, the destruction of humankind is required, yet those who have been faithful to Tzaddik, although falling short of it, will be supernaturally restored to life in an afterworld provided by the Father God.
The diabolical logic of the Qumranic sectarians was carried over intact into Christianity, and the model of supernatural perfection transferred to the figure of Jesus Christ. Today devout Christians believe that JC presents an unattainable ideal — he was, after all, divine before he was human — but in the very act of striving for the impossible we better ourselves as human beings. The imitatio Christi is considered to be a perfectly logical ideal, and, because the operative belief here involves a superhuman being, the ideal has a potent preclusive effect: considering how we might live up to an impossible model, we tend to ignore and discount models that show us what is really possible for our species. In other words the superhuman ideal, although it seems to elevate our sense of human potential, actualy impedes our ability to self-actualize (in Maslovian terms). It cripples our evolutionary development, even as if seems to inspire us to the highest levels of moral and spiritual attainment.
Gnostics recognized that the superhuman ideal of Tzaddik, transferred into the figure of the Divine Redeemer, actually works against humanity's efforts at self-actualization. This erroneous spiritual ideal defeats our true spiritual potential, our capacity to develop the wisdom endowment of nous, divine intelligence. Gnostics attributed this thwarting affect to the scheming of the Archons who insinuate a false ideal in our minds, thus obscuring our innate sense of the true potential of our species.
In the Sophia Mythos, Christos is the Aeon of the Pleroma often coupled with Sophia. In one version of the myth, Christos and Sophia are paired in the Pleroma, making a syzygy, a divine dyad. They are said to emanate the Anthropos, the template for humanity. Hence they are a version of the divine parents (twinned). My retelling of Gnostic cosmology in the Gaia Mythos uses this motif.
In a further development of the Mythos, Sophia is said to have been unable to manage the rampant life-forms that emerged and swarmed over her body once she metamorphosed into the living planet, Earth. Looking on from the galactic rore, the Pleromic gods responded by sending the Aeon Christos into the chaotic matrix of the biosphere. The paraphrase of this episode found in Irenaeus says that Christos "imparted a figure" to Sophia, thus allowing her to bring the rampant species into order. Today we would say that Christos "configured" for Sophia the instinctive intelligence of the myriad species, so that they could become self-sufficient, each type of animal life following its own innate biological program.
2, Concern for the relation of God to Nature.
3, Concern for the relation of Humanity to God.
4, Concern for the relation of Humanity to itself.
These relations invoke ultimate concern because they frame and
determine all lesser issues that present deep and perennial anxiety
for human existence. Whenever we say “I am concerned,” it
generally means there is something important at stake. With the
ultimate concerns, ultimate matters are at stake. To enter deeply
into what it means to be human is to be concerned about these
four relations, as if life itself depended upon them, and in
of 1, it does. If we do not give careful attention to defining
and nurturing these concerns, human experience falls apart at
A core belief is a conviction rooted or anchored in one's deepest sense of reality, while a circumstantial belief is the application of a core belief to a particular situation. "I believe that I
Just think about it! What a tremendous prospect the Gnostics have left us. We are involved in how the intelligence of the earth is consciously integrated into the larger scheme of the galaxy. We ought not to get too inflated about this fantastic prospect, however. After many years of reflection, I am convinced that Gaia-Sophia can achieve correction even if we fail in our opportunity to participate in the process. If She cannot achieve it with and through the human species, She will find another way. This is my humble opinion, anyway. (I suspect that Gnostics ardently debated this question. Some believed that human participation was indispensible to Sophia's correction, while others believed that our involvement was only accessory, and, lacking it, Sophia could manage re-alignment to the Pleroma by other means. I leave the issue open....)
According to the Gnostic origin myth found in Trim. Prot., Sophia's opportunity to achieve Her correction with some kind of unique involvement by humanity is pre-disposed by Her descent. The most we could say, perhaps, is that our co-evolutionary role in Sophia's correction is consistent with Her story from the outset, and if we miss the chance She presents to us, the failure in our part of Her experiment will change that story.
covenant: biblical term for a belief that binds humanity or a select group to the Creator God.
Covenants are traditionally stated in terms of a promise made by God to a select group. The Old Testament records a series of covenants: Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic. The Adamic covenant gives Adam and his descendents dominion over the earth and all other species.
creationism The belief that the world and all it contains are the handiwork of a supreme being who is totally transcendent to it and who produces the world more or less instantaneously, as a manifestation of cosmic will power. This is the fundamentalist notion based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. It is often contrasted with the Darwinian scenario of evolution that represents the earth and all its creatures as evolving slowly over long epochs of time without the need for a designing hand or an extra-natural agency.
Credibility is highly problematic in metahistorical discourse, because it places the issue of authority before the question of veracity. This shift distracts from clear and direct inquiry into the nature of beliefs. Consider ths example:In the The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, there is a passage where the art historian Leigh Teabing states a known historical fact: the divinity of Jesus was decided by vote at the first Nicean Council of 325 CE. To be precise, it was decided to make the divinity of Jesus a strict doctrine, to be preached as absolute turth and, if necessary, imposed by force. Another character, the heroine Sophie Neveu, appears to be shocked that the divinity of Jesus Christ was decided by a vote. This is a novelistic way to put into question the common assumption held by Christians, that Jesus was recognized (by some people, at least) as the "Son of God" in his own time and setting.
In response to this fictional ploy (cleverly used here to present a little-known historical fact) Christianity Today published an article by Ben Withingerington III, posted 05/21/04: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/006/7.26.phpl.
In the article, one of many generated by the ongoing debate around the DVC, Witherington states flatly that : "The issue of canon - what books constitute the final authority for Christians - is no small matter." Here, right off the top, he appeals to the credibility of the source (the canon), rather than to the veracity of the beliefs to be considered. When credibility is invoked, the implication is always the same: this is worth believing because it has been deemed believable (by some "authority" or other).Witherington builds his argument by proposing that certain things were believed about Jesus well before the Nicean Council of 325. "By the time we get to the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus), there is a strong sense of what is and is not sound doctrine, particularly in terms of salvation and the person of Jesus Christ." Coming to the point, he asserts that Paul's letters, the main source of the "Son of God" ideology, were "considered authoritative" already in the end of the 1st Century CE. Thus he counters Dan's Brown tactic of creating the impression that the divinity of Jesus was a bogus attribution, merely decided by vote.
Witherington's case rests on the assumption that a belief considered authoritative by earliest Christians ought to be viewed as true. This shows how the issue of credibility often gets in the way of the critique of beliefs.For metahistorians, the point is not who believed that Jesus was the Son of God , or when this belief was authoritatively established, but whether or not this belief in itself is sane or insane. Of course, we look closely at the historical perspective. We consider how beliefs emerge, grow and dies over the centuries. But at the end of the day, we live in the present and we ourselves must determine the veracity of a belief, here and now, regardless of the authority or canonical weight attached to it. Jesus is often considered to have the highest credibility of anyone who ever lived, because he represents the ideal human being, believed by many to be a divine/human hybrid. On this conundrum, Alan Watts writes with typical wit:
We are spiritually paralyzed by the fetish of Jesus. Even to atheists he is the supremely good man, the exemplar and moral authority with whom no one may agree. Whatever our opinions, we must perforce wrangle the words of Jesus to agree with them. Poor Jesus! If he had known how great an authority was to be projected upon him, he would never have said a word. (Beyond Theology, p. 108)
The authority attributed to Jesus is of course a great ploy, an effective device for intimidation. To say anything against Jesus or what Jesus is believed to have said, is to risk looking very bad, indeed. For centuries those who spoke against Jesus, or even against anything that lesser authorities, those who declared themselves "protectors of the faith," said concerning Jesus and his message, were violently suppressed, tortured and killed.
The use of violence to enforce credibility is common to the conquering religions, Christianity and Islam, although it must be said that historically Islam has a better record on tolerance. The formula for the perpetration of righteous violence against those who resist religious authority was laid down in the OT narratives. Although largely fictionalized, theBiblical accounts of the ancient Hebrews committing genocide and wholesale slaughter on various peoples of the ancient Middle East provided the model for later atrocities to be committed by Christians. Although Muslims proved to be more tolerance in their campaigns of conquest, the Koran is devoted by about in page in four to threats and imprecations directed against "infidels," that is, those who doare not credible, not able or willing to believe what the sacred scriptures say.
Thanks to the Salvationist ideology driving American foreign policy since the Reagen era, and following upon the global polarization of Islam VS the West in the wake of 911, CNN and FOX now show images of crowds of Muslims brandishing Korans and pictures of clerics, mullahs and ayatollahs. The fomenting rage of these crowds does not feed on what they believe as much as on who. I the average Muslin cannot explain his own religious beliefs beyond the rote pronouncement of a few cliches - which is likely, and the same can be ssaid for the average Christian, although less so for orthodox Jews, who are fanatical about doctrine - but it hardly matters. The faces in the crown are empowerd by the face on the placard, whose credibity carries the force of divine sanction. Credibility is dangerous stuff.
culture Widely believed to be the highest human achievement, although it may prove to be a dangerous gain for the species, because cultural conditioning can alienate us from our true co-evolutionary potential.The case against culture has been eloquently made by Joseph Chilton Pearce in his masterwork, The Biology of Transcendence (see Review). Consider also the words of existential philosopher, Ortega y Gasset:
Culture, the purest product of the live and the genuine, since it comes out of the fact that man feels with an awful anguish and a burning enthusiasm the relentless needs of which his life is constructed, ends up by becoming a falsification of life. Man's genuine self is swallowed up by his cultured, conventional, social self. Every culture or every great culture ends in man's socialization, and vice versa; socialization pulls man out of his life of solitude, which is his real and authentic life.(Cited in Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology, p. 390)
Sartre famously declared that "existentialism is a humanism." In the passage cited here, Ortega y Gassett, speaking as an existentialist, displays one of the primary flaws of humanism: omission of the non-human natural setting of human existence, The setting of "real and authentic life" for the human species is not a twilight zone of personal solitude, an existential void, but the vast non-human reaches of the habitat, the wilderness, including plenty of room for moments of solitude!
Since the era of Sartre and the existentialist movement, ecopsychology has arisen in the attempt to correct the humanist deviation, but there is still a considerable way to go before even a small segment of humanity recognizes the need to transcend culture and modes of cultural identity.
The overblown pretences of cybernetics are familiar to us all, and taken with straight-faced seriousness by many people, especially those who are flogging the software. The main work of programmers at Microsoft, Apple and Oracle now consists of inventing more things for computers to do, so that the companies that employ them can sell more software for computers to use.
Meanwhile, if we accept the hype, we bury ourselves ever deeper in the illusion that life would be impossible without computers.
|A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z|