Humanism vs. Christianity
The Polarization of America
by Patrick Vosse
Chapter 12 - The Gnostic Connection
One would be justified in asking why I
would include a chapter on Gnosticism in a book about Humanism
and Christianity. There is a connection between Humanism and
Gnosticism that is not obvious at first but nevertheless exists. The
connection is particularly surprising when one considers that Gnosticism
is focused on the supernatural and Humanism is
vehemently opposed to the supernatural. Humanist and Gnostics have a
common foe, Christianity, and a common philosophical
principle, Man can achieve "divinity" through knowledge.
If you want to get someoneís attention,
tell him or her you know a secret. We all love knowledge, particularly
forbidden knowledge. Satan knew that in the Garden of Eden. Forbidden
knowledge is the most tempting fruit. He did not tempt Eve with the
fruit of any other tree because he knew the temptation of secret and
forbidden knowledge would do the job. As we have seen, Satan has built
into his religious system a large body of secret knowledge only
available to those initiated into the "deep secrets of Satan" (Rev
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a
great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to
hear. -2 Tim 4:3
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Such a man is the antichrist. -1 Jn 3:22
We are told in Genesis that Satan temped
Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil. What is knowledge of good and evil? We see in the Bible
numerous instances of poetic phrasing to state a truth. The use of the
phrase, "good and evil" is a mirism;
a literary tool by which totality is express by the first and last in a
series or opposites. Jesus is the "Alpha and Omega," the
beginning and the end (the first and last letters of the Greek
alphabet), Rev 21:6, implying that he is everything in between. In Ps
139:2 we read: "You know when I sit and when I rise," implying that God
knows everything he does. In the Bible, stating opposites
often means inclusion of everything encompassed by those opposites. If
we apply this interpretation to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,
the implication is that this is a comprehensive knowledge of everything:
a more complete knowledge than Adam and Eve had.
It was not just knowledge that enticed
Eve to sin, it was the implication that the knowledge was secret, i.e.
occult (hidden). Satan told Eve that God wanted
to keep the knowledge a secret because if Man knew the complete
knowledge, Man would become a god. The word used in Gen 3:5, for God is
elohim and can refer to any divine entity such as
the demons worshiped by the pagans.
Adam and Eve already
had knowledge of God, as mentioned above. They communed with
God daily. They knew "Good": a personal relationship with God, the
presence of God, the love of God. Why would they want to throw all that
away for the secret knowledge that would make them "like God"? Probably,
they wanted independence from God. If they were to become "like God,"
they would not need God: And that was the real sin. By living without
God, they frustrate the reason for their existence: to have
a complete knowledge of God and fellowship with him and share a mutual
love. Adam and Eve did not just walk away from God; they CHOSE to walk
away from God. In one sense, Adam and Eve were the first Humanists.
The Roots of Gnosticism: Superstition, Animism, and Shamanism
Superstition is an
incorrect belief about the relation between certain actions and other
actions. The practitioner of superstition believes that the future, or
the outcome of certain events, can be influenced by certain specified
behaviors. "Good luck" and "bad luck," in fact the concept of "luck" in
any form, are superstition. Superstition is not based on reason
and is often an incorrect application of cause and effect or
statistics. Many superstitions arise from fears, particularly of demons,
spirits, or gods. Underlying superstitious behavior is a belief that
there is a supernatural force or entity that can
influence the outcome of our actions. Typically there is no logical
evidence to support this belief but erroneous conclusions are made from
observations. Superstition is ubiquitous; found in every culture and
every educational and social status. Superstition is the basis for
Satanís World Religion.
As mankind developed culturally, the
ability to define and explain the supernatural
developed as well. The ubiquitous but undefined supernatural force or
forces of superstition were given names: spirits. Animism
is the belief that personalized supernatural beings (souls or spirits)
inhabit all objects and govern their existence. These spirits may be
anonymous or may be given a personal name. They may be native to the
supernatural world or, in some cultures; they may also be spirits of
ancestors. In all cases they, as with basic superstition, must be
appeased and petitioned for their favor. However, Animism goes one step
further than superstition. Now that the supernatural force is known and
its location identified, some structure can be developed in the
communication process with the supernatural. The supernatural essence or
soul may be an integral part of the plant, animal or object
just as the human soul is an integral part of men. These are the
In addition to the attached souls,
unattached spirits can occupy the physical world. In many cultures,
these spirits are free-roaming and usually malevolent, but they may
attach themselves to plant, animals, or inanimate objects. The source of
these spirits varies from culture to culture. The attached souls are
usually a normal phenomenon just as our souls are a part of us. The
unattached spirits may be attached souls that have been released and
wander about. (Many animistic cultures believe the soul
survives death.) Or they may be spirits that characteristically are not
attached. In more advanced Animism, the souls of deceased humans are
part of the unattached spirit world. The spirits associated with objects
can be good or bad and simple rituals are used to appease the bad
spirits and solicit favor from the good spirits; not unlike
superstitious rituals; but with a personal touch.
Early cultures eventually developed more
sophisticated methods of survival and better language skills that
allowed for better communication. These led to less time devoted to
securing food and shelter and a greater amount of time available for
leisure. The increase in discretionary time and better communication
allowed for the development of more sophisticated animistic rituals and
more complex systems of explanations for the observed phenomena. But the
demonic influence Satan introduced with Animism is brought to a higher
level with Shamanism.
In animistic cultures, there usually
arises an individual who appears to be more attuned to the supernatural
or simply has a greater interest in it. When a
society develops some leisure, these individuals are able to devote more
time to the rites and rituals. Satan is always ready to capitalize on
such opportunities. The demons that occupy the Animistís world can
possess the Shaman and provide a direct link to the
supernatural. When this happens, Satanís religion is
raised to a new level. Modern psychology and psychiatry tend to dismiss
possession as forms of mental disorders, such as multiple personality
disorder. However, there are numerous biblical references and anecdotal
examples to support the phenomenon. Here are some scriptural references
concerning spirit (demonic) possession and associated demonic practices:
Contact with the spirit world
The Lord said: "I
will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and
spiritists to prostitute himself by following them". Lev 20:6
Dt 18:11 warns
against mediums and spiritists.
In 1 Sam 28:5-14,
Saul goes to a woman who is a medium and she brought a spirit out of
the ground for Saul to consult.
Foreseeing the future
In Dt 18:20 God warns
against any who prophesies in the name of other gods. (Also see Dt
In Gen 41:8, Pharaoh send for the
magicians and wise men to interpret his dream.
In Dan 2:1-11, Nebuchadnezzar
sent for magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers to interpret
Possession by spirits
In Gen 6:1,2, spirits beget
children with human women.
In Mk 1:23-26, Jesus
casts out an evil spirit from a man in the synagogue.
In Matt 12:22,23, Jesus
casts out a demon that possessed a deaf and blind
man. The man could see and hear after the demon was cast out.
In Matt 8:28-34, Jesus
casts out demons from two men in Gaderenes. The demons were sent into a
herd of pigs.
In Matt 15:22-28, Jesus
cast out a demon from the daughter of a Canaanite
In Matt 17:14-18, Jesus
casts out a demon from a boy who suffered from
Affect the natural world
In Ex 7:10-12; 7:20-22; and
8:6,7, the Egyptian wise men, sorcerers, and magicians, using their
secret arts, were able to duplicate Aaronís miracles of changing a staff
into a snake, turning water into blood, and summon up a plague of frogs.
In Acts 8:9-11, the apostles
confront Simon the sorcerer who was famous throughout Samaria for his
It is clear that animistic practices were
commonplace, are confirmed in the Scriptures, and that they had a
profound impact on the affairs of the Bible. There really is
supernatural power available to men outside of Godís realm.
Men have access to Satanís demonic spirits; but that
access has a high price. With the establishment of the possessed Shaman
as part of the animistic culture, it became possible for
demons to communicate with the community. The demon could
impart knowledge to the Shaman and this would give him considerable
power within the community. In typical shamanic possession, the Shaman
enters into a trance that makes him/her more susceptible to
receiving the demon. This preparatory stage can be rhythmic
dancing, chanting, hypnotic drugs, or any combination of
these that lowers resistance to the demonic influence. Once the Shaman
is possessed, the demon has control and can manipulate the Shaman and
the rituals involved. I have had the opportunity to witness this type of
Shamanism in Indonesia on several occasions, particularly in Bali where
there is a strong Hindu influence.
Satan is clever and patient. It is his
strategy to win over the community. He wants the community to rely on
the Shaman for good things or to prevent bad things. This
is just an intermediate step in the development of religion.
So, through the Shaman, the demon communicates
the secret supernatural knowledge Ė and power.
Typically the Shaman is the
tribal "witch doctor" who, through various rituals, chanting objects and
herbs, affects healing of the sick and injured. The Shaman also is the
expert on the demons themselves; knowing how to appease them and how to
ask for favors. Through the demons he/she has special knowledge that
other do not have. And, typically, the Shaman can interpret omens and
foretell events. As a result, the Shaman holds a special place in
society; doctor, priest and, often tribal leader.
But there is a dark side to Shamanism
that exposes the demonsí true nature. In
many cultures, Shamans can cause spells, curses and generally bring evil
to those in the tribe that bring the wrath of the Shaman
upon them. Thus, while the Shaman is an object of respect and awe,
he/she is also to be feared. A modern day example of Shamanism is
Voodoo. The actual term for Voodoo is Vodun, an African
word for "spirit." The practice of Voodoo in Africa goes back to at
least 6,000 years and continues today in several non-African countries.
The spread of Voodoo to other parts of the world was due to African
slaves who brought their religion with them. The actual
religion, Vodun, is practiced in Benin, Dominican Republic, Ghana,
Haiti, Togo and various centers in the US - largely where Haitian
refuges have settled. By some estimates, there are 60 million who
practice Voodoo. As Shamanism developed and civilization advanced, Satan
as prepared to bring his religion to more advanced stage: Paganism.
The Second Stage in the Development of Gnosticism: Paganism
Most have heard the term "Pagan" or
"Paganism", but few know much about it. Paganism is as
old as mankind and as new as laptop computers and cell phones. Paganism
is a religion of nature. Pagans see the
divine as immanent in the whole of life and the
universe; in every tree, plant, animal and object, man and woman and in
the dark side of life as much as in the light. Pagans live their lives
attuned to the cycles of Nature, the seasons, life and death. If you
think that pagan idolatry is just superstitious, rote
observance of sophisticated Animism and Shamanism, think again. True it
is all that Ė at one level. But it is much more. Letís go back to the
Shaman in the primitive village. Recall that his practice
included trances and demon possession and that through this
communication with the satanic influences, he was given knowledge and
powers that the rest of the community did not have. As the cultures
developed the Shaman class developed into the priest class of paganism.
The priest class developed more elaborate rituals and concepts of the
supernatural world, a primitive theology. Their
communication with the demon was also raised to a higher level as Satan
responded to the opportunities of advanced civilization. So the gap
between priest and commoner increased. The communityís knowledge of the
supernatural came only from what the priests told them and their
traditions handed down from their Animistic past. This was the visible,
public paganism. But there is another aspect to paganism that is hidden,
powerful and, evil: the occult, the hidden knowledge Satan promised Eve.
Roots of the occult are
found in Neolithic Shamanism but the full development is
first observed in Egyptian idolatry. We are interested in
the occult development mostly as it has affected Israel, Christianity,
and modern society. In this sense, we will trace occult idolatry,
beginning with Egypt, then Babylon, Persia,
and finally Greco-Roman. First, let us define occult
idolatry. In each of the idolatry systems we will discuss in this
chapter, there is a secret, hidden (occult) knowledge available only to
the priest class. In all cases, the priests acquire access to this
knowledge in steps; advancing from a novice to a master. At each step
the priest is given more knowledge and the means to exercise greater
Unlike Christianity, Islam,
and Judaism, the divine is female as well
as male and, therefore, there are goddess as well as gods. These deities
are within us as well as without (immanent); they are us. They
are not simply substitutes for the Muslim or Judeo-Christian God
because the gods of the major religions tend to be super-natural
i.e. above nature whereas Pagan deities are also natural.
The goddess represents all that is female and the god represents all
that is male. But because nature is seen as female the goddess has a
wider meaning. Often called Mother Earth or Gaia she is seen as the
creatrix and sustainer of life, the mother of all which makes
all the creatures on the planet our siblings. The philosophy of many
environmental activist is closely related to this aspect of Paganism.
Paganism has developed
alongside mankind for thousands of years; as cultures have changed so
has Paganism, yet it is grounded in deep rooted genetic memories that go
back to Neolithic times and before. Thus Paganism is a nature
religion reflecting the nature of fallen Man.
Paganism in the West incorporates many forms of Animism, including Wicca
(Witchcraft), Druidism, and Shamanism. Most Pagans believe in
reincarnation in some form. This gives Pagans a
substantially different view of life. Pagans see
reincarnation as a chance to improve or to continue unfinished work. The
concept of reincarnation developed early in mankindís history and is
rooted in Animistic beliefs that some souls of ancestors remain
"earth-bound" while they resolve whatever keeps them from entering the
spirit world. Early Man was aware of spirit possession and some of
these spirits were considered the souls of
ancestors. It is not difficult to make the progression from the basic
Animistic beliefs about ancestorís soul to the soul entering
the body of a baby to "resolve" its earth-bound condition.
The Old Testament gives numerous
accounts of the spiritual adultery committed by Israel. They worshiped
Baal, participated in rituals at the Asherah poles on high places,
Levites tended pagan shrines, the kings became followers of pagan gods.
Even the great Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab
and Molech the Ammonite god that demanded the burning of children (1 Kg
11:7). And the contamination was not just with the priests and kings.
The women wore crescent ornaments, the icon for the moon god Sin (Jdg 8:
21, 26; Is 3:18) and household gods were found everywhere.
The religions of Chaldaea,
Egypt, Babylon, Persia
all had hidden knowledge protected by the priest and given
only to the selected initiates that had proven themselves worthy. This
knowledge was power; the power to work supernaturally. The knowledge was
also a philosophy and knowledge of the supernatural
world. The Paganism practiced in these cultures had two levels. The
public level was available to all the people and consisted of rituals,
sacrifices, and worship of spirit-associated idols. The higher level was
available to only the priest class. The predecessor of the priest class
was the Shaman who had special knowledge not available to the general
population. To maintain control of the spiritual power the Shaman had,
the knowledge was kept a secret and passed down to only a person
selected for favor by the Shaman. The knowledge was secret, or occult.
The priests in the Pagan societies practiced the same
secrecy because it assured their power. Their supernatural power often
gave them more power than the king.
The first encounter Israel had with
Gnosticism was in Egypt. The Egyptian priests were competent
in a secret knowledge that was different from the Shaman. Animists and
their Shamans were concerned with appeasing the spirits and
asking favors of the spirits. The Egyptian priest were concerned with
controlling the spirits. They had acquired knowledge that allowed
the priest to use the spirits and supernatural forces
to implement his will. In Exodus, chapters 7 and 8, the Egyptian priests
perform their magical arts, matching the miracles performed by Moses.
This gnosis was for the select few. At this point, you may be
wondering what all this superstition and pagan ritualism has to dos
with Humanism. Be patient, we will get there.
This dual personality of Gnosticism
continued through the kingdoms that followed Egypt. Assyria,
Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome
all borrowed from each other and built the gnosis to a
sophisticated level. Babylon, along with Egypt are the types for the
occult gnosis. A few years ago, an ancient
pre-Islamic Arabian book of sorcery, the Necromicron,
was discovered. It summarizes the rites, rituals, and philosophy of the
Babylonian and Egyptian Gnosticism. It shows that the "deep secrets of
Satan" (Rev 2:24) were rooted in these ancient civilizations. The
Necromicron is interesting in that it sheds light on the secret aspect
of idolatry and Gnosticism in general. Genesis Chapter 11
discusses the Tower of Babel. Babel
literally means the gate to God. On the plain in Shiner, the
people built a city and set out to build a tower that "reaches to the
heavens." According to the Necromicron, the tower is a metaphor for the
secret aspect of the Gnostic religion of Babylon. Even
with modern technology, building cannot rise to the heavens so the
ancient Babylonian builders could not expect to construct a physical
tower to the heavens. According to the Necromicron, the tower represents
the levels of Gnostic knowledge that would bring humans to a god-like
state of existence.
The tower was built in nine levels.
Each level represented a gate of hell; the Babylonians were well aware
they were dealing with demons. The concept that hell has several gates
is supported by Jesus:
And I tell you that you are Peter,
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not
overcome it. Matt 16:18
The Babylonian Gnostics "entered the
gates" as they became proficient at each level of the hidden knowledge.
Initiates had to master the knowledge of level one, then opened the gate
to the next level and entered level two, and so on. The Necromicron
claims that the most proficient Babylonian and Egyptian magicians only
achieved level four. Reaching level nine would result in the person
becoming a "god".
It is clear why God forbade the
Israelites from idolatry. Superstitious rites and rituals
of the common population, although a distraction from the worship of
God, was not a significant danger. It was the "deep secrets of Satan"
that promised the same lie Satan whispered to Eve, "Taste this secret
knowledge and you can be like God." The true objective of Gnosticism is
revealed: Man can control his world through mastering the supernatural.
However, in spite of numerous warnings, the
Israelites tasted the forbidden fruit and their pure religion
was contaminated, with disastrous results.
Through the development of Gnosticism in
all these cultures, the dual aspect of public and secret remained.
Gnosticism was the foundation of religion in all these
societies and, although there were variation in ritual details, the
fundamental philosophy was the same in each caseóa secret knowledge that
would give Man power over nature. All of the ancient
empires of the Middle East and Mediterranean had the
this dual idolatry, the public worship of material idols
and the secret societies that practiced mysteries available to a select
It is here that we see the first
connection between Gnosticism and Humanism. Both are concerned with
rising above and controlling nature. The only difference is how this is
accomplished, however, the mind-set is the same; Man ascends without
The Development of Gnosticism as a Philosophy
The Gnosticism of the Egyptians,
Babylonians, and those who followed them was experiential. Exactly how
this knowledge was gained initially is not known, however, there is
sufficient scriptural evidence to suggest a type of satanic revelation
was involved. Certainly the focus was on the supernatural
and the structure of that supernatural existence was of
interest only to the extent necessary for the priests to successfully
practice their art. That all changed with the Greek
If you ask someone to name a philosopher,
chances are they would cite Plato; perhaps the most famous
of all philosophers. While Plato has a reputation for being one of the
fathers of critical thought and logic, he was in fact, a
Gnostic. In his Republic, he set forth, for the first time, a
structured, logical explanation of the Gnostic philosophy that remains
essentially the foundation for modern Gnosticism. Plato's
existence, graphically shown in Figure 5, below, begins with perfect
abstractions such as Beauty, Light, Good, and Wisdom.
These are the highest level of existence,
the First Principles. The First Principles cannot be experienced
directly, but they can be conceived of intellectually. The First
Principles are manifested as less perfect reflection of the perfect
concepts, Derived Reflections of Form, and these, in turn are manifested
as even less perfect manifestation, Representations of Reality.
The final manifestation, the material
existence that we experience is the least perfect
because it is only a shadow of the true reality, First Principles. The
manifestations we can experience and those we cannot are divided by a
"line", an abstraction of the essential difference in these
manifestations. This model of existence is the foundation for most, if
not all, Gnostic philosophies that followed Plato. Platoís
philosophical approach to the Gnosticism added a new paradigm. The
common myths, and rituals of idolatry remained as did the
secret mystical "magic" practices. But now there was a new dimension of
understanding what it all meant. Plato opened the door to the
development of Gnostic theology.
However, Plato's student,
Aristotle, took a different approach to the nature
of existence. He did not agree with his teacher and conceived
of existence as only the physical, material world that we can directly
experience, i.e. the left side of Platoís line.
For Aristotle, abstractions were mental constructs, not discrete
entities. Aristotleís philosophy was adapted by many philosophical
movements of the first and second centuries A.D. such as the Sophists
and Epicureans who confronted Paul in Athens. The materialism
of Aristotle forms the foundation of modern Humanism.
Figure 5. Platoís concept of
existence in which pure "First Principles are manifested through
increasingly imperfect intermediary manifestations. The physical
world that we experience is the final and least perfect
manifestation of the divine.
It was in this philosophical dichotomy
that Christianity emerged. By the 1st century B.C., Gnostic
philosophers had incorporated the personalities of the pagan pantheons
into Plato's model of existence. Platoís abstraction became
gods in a hierarchy; each level of god a manifestation of the god at the
level above. This concept reached its full development with the
Neo-Platonist in the 3rd century. Their
modification of Platoís divided line of existence is show in Figure 6,
Figure 6. The Neo-Platonic version of
Platoís Divided line in which all existence emanates from the
transcendental "One" through less and less perfect manifestations to
So far, a Christian might think that this
Gnostic theology is not inconsistent with the Bible.
However, although the differences are subtle, the are also profound. The
first difference is that the Bible states that God is a
personality and that all that exists outside of God was created by God.
You and I, the angels and demons, the universe, are all separate from
God, not manifestations of God. The Gnostic theology states that all
existence is a manifestation, at different levels, of an impersonal
transcendental existence. For the Gnostic, everything that exists is a
manifestation of God, we are all literally God.
The second difference is the major
premise of Gnosticism that Man, the least perfect manifestation, can
ascend to a higher level of existence through acquiring gnosis,
the secret knowledge of the universe. This is Gnostic salvation,
Man raising himself spiritually to eventually return to
the impersonal abstraction. Notice the similarity between the
Neo-Platonic order of existence in Figure 6 and the mystical Tower of
Babel. In both cases Man begins with the profane
and ascends through acquired knowledge to a higher level until he
reaches a state of divinity. By contrast, Christianity, while agreeing
with the fact that humanity has a corrupted nature,
declares that Man cannot save himself and salvation requires divine
intervention. It is not the purpose of Christianity to make
believers into gods but to put the believer back into a right
relationship with the God who created him. Once in a right
relationship with God, the Christianís spirit is reborn, enabling him to
live a God-centered life, but Man is always subordinate to God.
Gnosticism was well established as a
philosophy prior to Christianity, but with Christianity, Gnosticism
found a new vehicle. Gnosticism had always been somewhat opportunistic,
attaching to any religion of convenience. Gnosticism, as
mentioned above, was an integral part of the idolatry in
Egypt and Babylon. But Gnosticism is
fundamental to Buddhism, and the Persian Zoroasterism as well. However,
Christianity was particularly suited to the philosophical aspect of
The Gnostics saw in Jesus the
perfect example of Man becoming God, rising above the corrupt
physical existence and, with access to the ultimate transcendental
knowledge, capable of extraordinary supernatural
feats. For the Gnostic, Jesus was just a man but the Christ spirit
merged with his being, allowing Jesus to acquired the necessary divine
knowledge. This was the ultimate expression of Gnostic
"truth". Of course, it was the complete antithesis of Christian teaching
that holds Jesus to be fully God and fully human from his conception by
the Holy Spirit. There were many Gnostic "apostles"
roaming about the Mediterranean at the time of the Early Church
and, in their epistles, the true apostles gave many
warnings about their false teaching.
Beloved, do not put faith
in every spirit, but test the spirits to discover whether
they proceed from God; far many false prophets have
gone forth into the world. By this you may know the Spirit of God: every
spirit which acknowledges and confesses the fact that Jesus
Christ has become man and has come in the flesh is of God.
And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh but would disunite him is not of God. This
is the spirit of the antichrist of which you heard that it was coming
and now is already in the world. 1 Jn 4:1-1 (Amplified Bible)
I am astonished that you are so
quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are
turning to a different gospelówhich is really no gospel at all.
Evidently some people are drowning you in confusion and are trying to
pervert the gospel of Christ. Gal 1:6, 7
Now for some time a man named Simon
had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria.
He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and
low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." They followed him
because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. Acts 8:9-11
In the first scripture cited above, John
tells the Church that there is a test to determine the true teaching of
Christianity: Christ, the Messiah, came in the flesh, Jesus,
the teaching of the antichrist claims that Jesus and the Messiah are
separate entities. The message from the spirit of the antichrist is
Gnosticism. In the second scripture cited, Paul is concerned
that the Church at Galatia has accepted a gospel other than the one Paul
taught them. This is an indication that early in the life of
the Church, the Gnostic philosophers had merged their philosophy with
the Christian Gospel. The third scripture cited describe the Gnostic
sorcerer, Simon Magnus (Simon the Great), who
apparently had master some of the occult knowledge and was
openly performing "miracles.
The writings of the early church fathers
are filled with their concerns over the heretical teaching of the
Gnostics and how many Christians were deceived. Beginning in the 2nd
century, the Gnostics created a deception that is still effective today,
the Gnostic gospels. During this period of history, one did not just go
down to the nearest bookstore and buy a Bible from a large selection of
versions and bindings. There were no bookstores. There were no books, at
least in the form that we are familiar with. The Gospel was hand written
on parchment and few copies were available. The same is true of the
epistles written by the apostles. These documents were passed around
and, in the beginning, were not collected into the "Bible" as we know it
today. The Gospel of Mark was a separate document, Paul's
epistle to the Romans was separate, and so forth. In this environment,
it was relatively easy for the Gnostics to circulate documents they had
written themselves and pass them off as authentic. These Gnostic gospels
have a completely different style and "feel" from the authentic
scripture. Their message is also contrary to authentic scriptures.
We justly cherish an aversion to the
Novatian, says he, by whom the church is split asunder, and some of
the brethren have been drawn into impiety and blasphemy, and most
nefarious doctrine has been introduced respecting God, and our most
gracious Lord and Savior Christ has been calumniated as devoid of
compassion; which also, beside all this, sets aside the holy
baptism, and overturns the faith and confession that precede it, and
totally drives away the Holy spirit from themselves, should there
happen to be any hope yet, that he would remain or return to them.
Book VII, Chapter X
The Gnostic gospels portray Jesus
as a man who is neither divine nor the Son of God.
These gospels emphasize the humanity of Jesus and show him to
be wise in gnosis. There are two Gnostic messages about Jesus
that differ slightly. One is that Jesus is a prophet and Gnostic mystic
and, through his mastery of the gnosis, became divine. In this
approach, Jesus serves as a model for others to follow. The other
concept of Jesus is that he was born a man then the "Christ Spirit" came
upon him. Both of these Gnostic views of Jesus fail Johnís test for the
heresy of the antichrist by separating Jesus into two natures. Authentic
Christianity holds that Jesus is one person who is fully God and fully
man. The difficulty come when philosophers try to speculate on how this
can be when it just might be beyond the human intellect to grasp.
However, not all Gnosticism was
associated with the contamination of Christianity. During the first four
centuries A.D., the most influential Gnostic cult was Hermeticism. The
name is taken from the Egyptian god of wisdom and magic Thoth; the Greek
equivalent god is Hermes. The body of Hermetic Gnosticism is a mixture
of Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian occult. The alchemy and occult
magic practiced during the Middle Ages was based on Hermeticism. Until
the 4th century, it was practices openly, but when
Constantine made Christianity the official state religion, Hermeticism
was banned and went underground. With the liberating influence of the
Renaissance, the Hermetic texts reemerged and, by the 1700ís,
Hermeticism had become well known to much of the European population.
Today Hermeticism survives in the New Age Movement, Rosicrucians, and
By the end of the second century, The
Church was being attacked from without and within. From without,
Christians were persecuted by Pagans who saw their faith as
disrespectful to the Pagan pantheon and a danger should the "gods" be
offended. The politicians saw Christianity as a threat to their control
since they put their God before any temporal authority and did
not recognize the deity of the Emperor. The Humanist philosophers were
not active persecutors but they lent their voice to the anti-Christian
multitude because they felt Christianity was merely superstitious
nonsense; and it was politically correct to
bash Christians. They all had a common cause: eliminate the Christians.
However, the greatest attack was from
within. The pagan Gnosticism was still alive and well, but it was
gradually succumbing to the evangelizing of the Christian community. It
was the Gnostic-contaminated form of Christianity that posed the
greatest threat. When Christianity was born Satan was ready, and he
threw everything he had at the Christian community, and he is still
throwing the same Humanism and Gnosticism. In Chapter 4,
we discussed how the Gnostic influence on the Church and the Churches
reaction to Humanist philosophies resulted in the Philosophical Church.
Both attacks are as strong today as they
were almost 2,000 years ago. Both Humanism and Gnosticism, although
fundamentally different, have several things in common when it comes to
Both Humanism and Gnosticism reject authentic Christianity.
Both Humanism and Gnosticism reject a personal God who will
judge each individual against absolute divine
standards. Humanist say there is no God and ethics are situational,
Gnostics say the ultimate "Ultimate One" is impersonal and salvation
is merely raising to be absorbed into the Ultimate
Both Humanism and Gnosticism define salvation as Man
evolving to a higher state. Humanists see humanity evolving
biologically and socially, Gnostics see humanity evolving
spiritually and socially. Neither perceives of salvation in the
Both Humanism and Gnosticism admit to the historical Jesus
who is just a man, but neither accept that he is the only begotten
Son of God.
Humanism and Gnosticism
are two sides of the same anti-Christian coin. One challenges from
without, the other from within, but with the same objectiveóstop
Christianity. As we will discuss in Part 3, Humanists have serious
objections to any mention of Jesus in public venues.
Consider holidays. The word holiday is derived from holy day, a special
day for celebrating an important Christian event. The two most important
holy days are Christmas,
celebrating the birth of Jesus, and Easter, celebrating the
resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Up until modern times these were
holy days of religious celebration and non-Christians typically did not
participate in them. Then, with the rise of Humanism, things changed.
Today Christmas is a secular holiday (not holy day) as well as a
Christian holy day. Christmas trees and mistletoe are symbols taken from
Celtic and Druid Paganism. Santa Clause is a character taken from a
poem. These and other non-Christian images became a part of the
Christian celebration that was originally Jesus oriented. Now, thanks to
the Humanists working through the ACLU, the Progressives are succeeding
in stripping Christ from Christmas, opposing the holy day and
celebrating the Pagan holiday.
No public manger displays are allowed,
but druid Christmas trees are fine. Public Easter egg hunts and Easter bunnies, pagan
symbols of fertility celebrated in the spring are fine, but donít
mention Jesusí resurrection from the dead. It is difficult to understand
Humanistsí tolerance for Gnosticism when the Humanist Manifesto is so
opposed to superstition, religion, and anything
spiritual; until one realizes the common cause that Humanists and
Gnosticism is as well established in
modern society as it was in Egypt, Babylon, or
Rome. It is exhibited in the daily astrology column in the
newspapers, the New Age Movement, The Da Vinci
Code, Harry Potter,
Ouija boards sold in the game section of toy stores, and the growing
interest in the Gnostic gospels. Go into any bookstore (except a
Christian bookstore), browse the Religion Section and you will find 80
to 90 percent of the books offered are about Gnosticism, the occult, and
the New Age Movement. "Factual" TV channels such as National Geographic,
Discovery, and History carry many programs about the historical Jesus,
the Gnostic gospels, Nostradamus, and the like, but nothing
that represents authentic Christianityóthat would not be politically
However, the connection between
Gnosticism and Humanism goes much deeper. Several influential Humanist
were also Freemasons. A few example are given below.
Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson.
Supreme Court Justices: William O. Douglas, Robert Jackson, Thurgood
Marshall, Earl Warren, Hugo Black, James F. Byrnes, Stanley Reed.
U.S. Senators & Other World Leaders:
Mark Hatfield, Everett Dirksen, Winston Churchill.
Progressive politicians and judicial
activists must sometimes make compromises so, while espousing the
Humanist agenda, it may be necessary to hold oneís nose and associate
with a less than ideal colleague in order to achieve a common goal. In
this case the common goal is the restriction of Christian influence in
the American society.
In the same way the Gnostics tried to
raise themselves to divinity with the metaphorical tower of Babylon, so
too the Humanist are attempting to raise humanity to a utopian social
divinity. They are attempting to build "Tower of Humanism" and
construction is well underway. The first level is Atheism, the second is
anti-Christianity, the third situational ethics to replace standards set
by God, the fourth social engineering of American culture, the fifth
take political control, the sixth establish a world government. In other
words, implement the Humanist Manifesto in every aspect of American
society. The methods used to construct this "Tower of Humanism" are
discussed in Part 3.
 An excellent discussion of "mirism" is given in the New
Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 12.
Copyright © 2011 by Patrick Vosse
All Rights Reserved