Sunday, 10 October 2010

A Child´s Garden of Gnosticism, Part 2

Rather than give up, I began to read the bible independently. One of the first things I encountered was the bit in Genesis where Adam and Eve slink off to the Land of Nod, procreate, struggle with their unfortunate lot, and eventually watch their children find their own wives.


Where did they come from? Even a teenage brain can do process of elimination. a/ God created some more people? Doesn't say that anywhere, b/ Cain and Abel married their sisters? Ditto. Scandalous and forbidden too, c/ Cain and Abel went off somewhere and came back with their brides. Red light, red light...does not compute.

I began to read of a vengeful, vindictive and by his own admission "jealous" God (of whom?) who appeared to set up poor Adam and Eve - and especially Eve - right from the beginning just to make sure that they were stupid enough NOT to use the intellect he had somehow given them, and then had a temper tantrum when they did. I read of other gods... Wait a minute, haven't they been ramming down my throat that there is only one? Most of all I read that God was everywhere, all powerful, all knowing...all good.

Not the one I had been reading about.

I dropped God like a hot potato. And Jesus the revolutionary too.

Many, many years later, while working in a bookshop, I unpacked a box of books that had come in that morning. Out came a slim volume called The Gnostic Gospels. I sat back on the carpet and opened it up. I began to get the idea: Jesus actually said far more than what we had read in the New Testament. Many new "gospels" had been discovered years before and now they had only recently been translated into English. They included, Peter, Thomas, Mary even. I took the book home that night and read it from cover to cover.

Now I would like to say that my life changed from that moment, but it didn't. Pagel's book, however, did alert me to the fact that there was more to Christianity than I had so far been taught, that what was contained in these books helped to explain more about what I had rejected. In fact, Jesus DID seem to have a message that fitted in with my spiritual cravings. Like Mary Magdalene, I wanted to be the woman who knew the all.
This took me to philosophy where I learned to ask the right questions. But it wasn't enough.

I slipped back to my agnostic state. It would be a while before I met someone who challenged me to truly move forward on my spiritual quest.

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