Because I Care ~ GNOSTICISM

"THE GNOSTIC CHRISTIAN, like the Buddhist, but unlike the Church-Council Christian, held as fundamental the doctrine of Rebirth, so that his highest ideal was to acquire some degree of positive and direct spiritual insight while on Earth as, after many pious life-times, would ultimately produce in him the Enlightenment of Christhood. The Gnostic Christian prayed that upon his enlightenment of Christhood, he might be empowered to assist all mankind to reach the same goal. On the other hand, the Church-Council Christian, being forbidden by the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553 to believe in the doctrine of Rebirth [the decree is as follows: "Whosoever shall support the mythical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, and the consequent wonder of its return, let him be anathema.’ Thus, not until AD 553 did the ‘Rebirth-doctrine’ become, to official Christianity, a ‘heresy.’ Before that date it was, presumably, tolerated among Church-Council Christians, especially among those of them who were friendly to the Gnostic form of Christianity], was unable to hold the altruistic ideal of his Gnostic brother, and so came to adopt the lesser ideal of salvation for self alone, by faith in the infallibility of the Church’s decrees and teachings. The effect on human society of the Gnostic Christian’s altruistic ideal is positive, creative and unlimited, while that of the Church-Council Christian’s is, by contrast, negative, non-creative and selfish."

(Taken from the Foreword of TIBET’S GREAT YOGI: MILAREPA,
by Dr. Evans-Wentz).

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