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Mystic Christians & Reincarnation

 
 
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 12:27 am
The Gnostic Gospels state that Jesus taught of reincarnation and a higher "Body of Light" that exists in all of us (among other things).

Gnostics and Mystic Christian groups were virtually exterminated by Orthodox Christians and the Gnostic Gospels were kept out of the Bible, even though some scholars believe some of the authors (such as Thomas) may have as much or more authority to write on these matters.

Other interesting aspects of the Gnostics is that many sects promoted vegetarianism, and it was rumored that many of their followers made it to India and back to influence Mystic Christianity with eastern knowledge.

Do you think Jesus taught of Reincarnation?

Gnosticsim almost seems to be a blend of Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism...

Note the similarities between the summary below of Gnostic beliefs and Buddhist / Hindu doctrines of reincarnation, karma, and spiritual knowledge:

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen06.html

"The following quote from Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas affirms Jesus teaching reincarnation to his disciples:

"When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will bear!" (Gospel of Thomas, saying 84)

In the Secret Book of John, written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. The following is a summary of the Secret Book of John's perspective on reincarnation.

Everyone has drunk from the water of forgetfulness and lives in a state of ignorance. Some people are able to overcome ignorance by having the life-giving Spirit descend upon them. These souls "will be saved and will become perfect," that is, escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. John asks Jesus what will happen to those who do not attain salvation. They are hurled down "into forgetfulness" and thrown into "prison," the Christian Gnostic symbol for a new body.

Jesus says the only way for these souls to escape is to acquire knowledge after coming from forgetfulness. A soul can accomplish this by finding a teacher who can lead the soul in the right direction:

"This soul needs to follow another soul in whom the Spirit of life dwells, because she is saved through the Spirit. Then she will never be thrust into flesh again." (Secret Book of John 14:20)

Another Christian Gnostic book, the Pistis Sophia (Greek for "Faith Wisdom"), outlines a system of punishment and rewards that includes reincarnation. The book explains the differences in one's fate as a result of past-life actions. A "man who curses" will be given a body that is continually "troubled in heart." A "man who slanders" will be given an "oppressed" body. A thief will be given a "lame, crooked and blind body." A "proud" and "scornful" man will be given "a lame and ugly body" that "everyone continually despises." From this, we can see how this earth, as well as hell, is a place of education through suffering."
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SN95
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 May, 2005 09:49 pm
Re: Mystic Christians & Reincarnation
extra medium wrote:
The Gnostic Gospels state that Jesus taught of reincarnation and a higher "Body of Light" that exists in all of us (among other things).

Gnostics and Mystic Christian groups were virtually exterminated by Orthodox Christians and the Gnostic Gospels were kept out of the Bible, even though some scholars believe some of the authors (such as Thomas) may have as much or more authority to write on these matters.

Other interesting aspects of the Gnostics is that many sects promoted vegetarianism, and it was rumored that many of their followers made it to India and back to influence Mystic Christianity with eastern knowledge.

Do you think Jesus taught of Reincarnation?

Gnosticsim almost seems to be a blend of Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism...

Note the similarities between the summary below of Gnostic beliefs and Buddhist / Hindu doctrines of reincarnation, karma, and spiritual knowledge:

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen06.html

"The following quote from Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas affirms Jesus teaching reincarnation to his disciples:

"When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will bear!" (Gospel of Thomas, saying 84)

In the Secret Book of John, written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. The following is a summary of the Secret Book of John's perspective on reincarnation.

Everyone has drunk from the water of forgetfulness and lives in a state of ignorance. Some people are able to overcome ignorance by having the life-giving Spirit descend upon them. These souls "will be saved and will become perfect," that is, escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. John asks Jesus what will happen to those who do not attain salvation. They are hurled down "into forgetfulness" and thrown into "prison," the Christian Gnostic symbol for a new body.

Jesus says the only way for these souls to escape is to acquire knowledge after coming from forgetfulness. A soul can accomplish this by finding a teacher who can lead the soul in the right direction:

"This soul needs to follow another soul in whom the Spirit of life dwells, because she is saved through the Spirit. Then she will never be thrust into flesh again." (Secret Book of John 14:20)

Another Christian Gnostic book, the Pistis Sophia (Greek for "Faith Wisdom"), outlines a system of punishment and rewards that includes reincarnation. The book explains the differences in one's fate as a result of past-life actions. A "man who curses" will be given a body that is continually "troubled in heart." A "man who slanders" will be given an "oppressed" body. A thief will be given a "lame, crooked and blind body." A "proud" and "scornful" man will be given "a lame and ugly body" that "everyone continually despises." From this, we can see how this earth, as well as hell, is a place of education through suffering."


Some excellent points. History has always been written by the winners and unfortunately the winners of Christianity were the literalist Christians. The literalists who pushed institutionalization and absolute control without question on their subjects. Gnosticism taught we could all become a Christ and gave inner (esoteric) meaning to their stories much of which is lost to us today. The church was not necessary for salvation, it was something that could be found within. Of course, those in power did not like this idea as it gave up their authority and control over the masses. So the gnostic books were burned and their people murdered, stigmatized as heretics. This is a part of Christianity that we have lost and had it not been for the findings at Nag Hammadi, we may have never known about them at all. We can now begin to understand a completly different offshoot of Christianity. Unfortunately 2,000 years of institution and indoctrination has left most people closed minded to the idea of receiving spiritual guidance from anything but the bible.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 May, 2005 10:37 am
So many words! And my brain so small! Can I just make one tiny observation about reincarnation?

The Jews did not believe the soul survived death. Therefore the idea of reincarnation is in opposition to what had long been held as a basic truth. That nominal christianity hijacked a few (many) pagan beliefs does not give them authenticity.
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gospelmancan2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2005 12:12 am
neologist wrote:
So many words! And my brain so small! Can I just make one tiny observation about reincarnation?

The Jews did not believe the soul survived death. Therefore the idea of reincarnation is in opposition to what had long been held as a basic truth. That nominal christianity hijacked a few (many) pagan beliefs does not give them authenticity.

Not all the Jews believed this. While there was a sect who that there was nothing past death, others believed in an afterlife.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2005 09:04 am
Gos, I can't find anything in the Hebrew scriptures supporting the idea of an immortal soul. Could you provide a reference?
0 Replies
 
Terry
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 05:41 pm
Re: Mystic Christians & Reincarnation
extra medium wrote:
Another Christian Gnostic book, the Pistis Sophia (Greek for "Faith Wisdom"), outlines a system of punishment and rewards that includes reincarnation. The book explains the differences in one's fate as a result of past-life actions. A "man who curses" will be given a body that is continually "troubled in heart." A "man who slanders" will be given an "oppressed" body. A thief will be given a "lame, crooked and blind body." A "proud" and "scornful" man will be given "a lame and ugly body" that "everyone continually despises." From this, we can see how this earth, as well as hell, is a place of education through suffering."


How disgusting, to despise people for physical handicaps and to suggest that they deserve it for wrong-doing in a previous life!

There is no known mechanism for the soul or spirit to survive the death of the physical brain that generates it (unless you believe in magic). Where is the knowledge of previous lives stored, how are these memories accessed, and who set up the system? If it happens to all of us, why do so few believe in it? Why does anyone?
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extra medium
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 06:09 pm
Good questions.

My point, more, is:

Why does anyone believe in anything?

Are any of the things in the Gnostic Books more unbelievable than the King James version, the Quran, or Vedic texts, for example?

Do you only believe in things you can see or measure scientifically?
If thats the case, it appears all religions must simply be fantasy?
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