I’m reading the Complete Idiots Guide to The Gnostic Gospels, by J. Michael Matkin. It’s exciting stuff — kinda like from Indiana Jones. The book reveals how contingent orthodox Christianity is. The early Catholic Church relentlessly suppressed alternative sects, some of which were close to winning out. For example, the second century gnostic Valentius came within a few votes of becoming bishop of Rome. After he lost, he started his own movement, which was later suppressed by the Catholic Church. When Christianity became the official religion of Rome, competing sects were violently put down and many of their writings were destroyed. In the early 13th century, the Catholic Church launched a twenty year crusade to crush Cartharism, a gnostic-inspired movement in Southern France. In short, the teachings that came to win out represent a narrow view of what was then available. The Jesus of the Gnostic Bible is more similar to a New Age teacher, with less emphasis on sin and more emphasis on inner spiritual growth. The gnostic Gospel of Mary has Jesus teaching that he will not return and that salvation is available right here now if we but wake up. Admittedly, gnosticism still contains lots of superstitious theology, and The DaVinci Code is a crude popularization. These revisionist ideas about early Christianity represent a threat to right wing Christianity. So, it’s a good thing.
Jeff Sharlet’s C Street is an exposé of the radical fundamentalism of C Street and its network of D.C. lawmakers, lobbyists and foreign leaders. The book tells how fundamentalist Christians in the government and the military have promoted intolerance, revisionist American history, free market fundamentalism, and war against Islam. Early chapters focus on a semi-secretive […]
I detect an anti-Christian bias on Alternet. I think they enjoy publishing articles critical of Christianity. (BTW, I am an atheist.) For example, the following article has a deceptive title. The title suggests that Christians have higher rates of porn addiction than non-Christians. But the body of the article says otherwise. Porn Addiction in the […]
It’s common and normal to want all sorts of things, even if we know we probably or definitely won’t get them. Wouldn’t you love to be smarter, more disciplined, more forgiving, and more serene? Wouldn’t it be great to have millions of dollars in the bank? Wouldn’t you like to be more physically attractive? Wouldn’t […]