Quote Originally Posted by Lycaeus
They say the Gnostics were the ancient conspiracy theorists because of their unorthodox beliefs that set them apart.
Pretty much. They were fumbling around for "ultimate truth" and every gnostic sect had its own angle, just like different conspiracy camps today. The Church said, "how can they claim to know the truth, if they all contradict each other and change their position over time? The truth is immutable, the Church's canon is immutable, therefore the Church's cannon is truth and these gnostics are full of crap." Of course that's a logical fallacy and the proper reply is: "Better to keep improving your model of the truth than prostrate before a fixed lie."

They had their extremists though. I don't agree with the idea that all matter, the physical universe, space and time are fundamentally evil and solely the creations of an evil demiurge. I don't agree that the physical body is evil and full of sin. That's on the level of the 9/11 holographic plane theory. I think some gnostics lost the plot and went overboard with their interpretations. Even if they were shown things, they lacked the context to interpret it objectively. At least today we have the internet and libraries and each other to compare notes with.

As far as the view that the universe itself is evil, well it makes more sense to me that the demiurge, matter, energy, space, time, bodies are basically neutral --- but that they serve as the "rope" in a tug of war between divine and infernal forces. I'm reminded of Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

I mean just look around, everything good that is done in this world is done through the world, even if it has a divine origin. Everything evil done in this world is done through the world, even if evil in origin. The world is the chessboard. Even if you extend "world" to include the subtle energy realms, you still have demons emitting toxic subtle energy that makes us sick and weak, as well as positive beings (angels?) radiating positive subtle energy that can make us feel better. Or if you look within, you have your better side -- conscience, empathy, nobility, altruism -- and your worse side -- hateful, selfish, ignorant egotism.

So I'm in favor of the idea that the body and the world/universe can and must be conquered and transmuted by the divine impulse within and around us, rather than us trying to flee from the body and world. We can master it, or at least help it return to its rightful master. I think spitting on the body and the world and running away from it is like crawling back into the womb to hide. It's retrogressive.