Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Questions: Gnostic Theodicy - Last Response

[Somewhat redacted for language]
Reverend, I don't see how saying that Gnosticism is mythical rather than theological answers my question. I already knew what the problem of evil is, and I have no interest in reading a scholarly discourse or in reading a bunch of mystical mumbo-jumbo, so why can't you just answer my [emphasis] question? If you don't know the answer to the question (as I don't), then just say so and I would respect that. I know what you're thinking, [personal abuse]. You're thinking that you have attained gnosis and I haven't and therefore I am not capable of understanding your incoherent [dismissive descriptor].
While I can understand frustration with a question that is itself a problem and that has vexed many theologians for many centuries, I cannot understand your personal attacks.

The "question" itself is incoherent and self-contradictory. You are demanding a simple answer when to my knowledge none has ever been given to the problem of evil in the centuries since it has been formulated within the theological system in which it arose. You expect me to force the Gnostic mythos into some theological system it won't fit, then crank out a satisfactory answer.

I have tried in good faith to show you that it is the question that is incoherent. When you complained of my first attempt, I started again. This takes time and patience, with which I have been generous. The problem is philosophical and I used some basic tools of philosophy: analogy, logic, and epistemology; to try to explain the problems with the question. Jesus could use simple and direct symbols that worked on many levels, the Buddha could hold up a flower to preach a sermon, but I have only what small skill in trying to explain these things that I have. My failure to communicate is nothing that I find pride in.

If we look at it as a story, such a story is a way of explaining and understanding the general situation that we find ourselves in that we cannot otherwise articulate. It is a mirror in which we see ourselves, our situation, and the solution to it. If it did not unfold as it did, we would not see these things within it, we could not find ourselves and our way back.

Blessings on your journey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your colorful writer here seems to have mistaken the ultimate transcendent unity posited by Gnosticism for a more familiar Judeo-Christian entity. The Gnostic image of the absolute is the unification of all dualities (of which 'light' and 'darkness' is one example) as referred to by Jung in the Seven Sermons:

"That god may be distinguished from it, we name god Helios or Sun. Abraxas is effect. Nothing standeth opposed to it but the ineffective; hence its effective nature freely unfoldeth itself. The ineffective is not, therefore resisteth not. Abraxas standeth above the sun and above the devil."

The Gnostic quality of evil is not one of character, but instead is a symptom of systemic imbalance. In other words, evil is not the presence of "darkness", which most certainly exists within the ultimate godhead and is emanated forth, but the over-emphasis of this value without its polar opposite "light". You are absolutely right in saying that you are being forced to shoehorn Gnostic values into Orthodox Christian cosmology.