This is among others a short comment on this documentary…but also a general argument for a union of gnosticism and christianity. Why each becomes dangerously one-sided without the other.
The mind relentlessly tends to take apart opposites while they need each other to be whole. It is very hard to contain for instance “don’t reject but neither entertain”. We find a classical example of this in the opposition or juxtaposition between Gnosticism and Christianity. We find that gnosticism tends to posit itself on one side as being the more esoteric and less literal…(yet too) liberal version of Christianity. And than we find Christianity as the orthodox too dogmatic historic literal version of events.
Christianity went onto litralistically/legally declaring Jesus the son of god. While in gnosticism, everyone is seen in potential as being the son and daughter of god. The gnostics end up in an individual searching for god by themselves in themselves. While in the church we get the view that we can only reach god via the official church and the bishops and the Pope etc… So the gnostics have to find the christ within versus literalism and the literal incarnation of the son of god.
The 2 end up being opposing views while I argue that they not only can survive side by side but they direly need each other to be whole.
The one doesn’t have to exclude nor antagonise the other. As a matter of fact I suggest that the one without the other becomes dangerously lopsided. Gnosticism without Christianity becomes the hopelessly too loose New Age, and christianity without gnosticism becomes a militaristic dogmatic imposition of belief in and the extreme of killing for the belief and church in that one christ at the cost of a personal redemption.
It boils down to the gnostics being legitimately afraid that they would loose their personal christhood if they believe in the literal Jesus and vice versa. But there is space for both sides which complete each other.
Statements below are the very statements Jesus made in the (gnostic) gospel of Thomas, and so they don’t contradict that Jesus was the Christ and that we all can be Christs, christ-like like and christ figures:
He who knows himself knows god.
We can find our way to god when we find our way to ourselves.
We get in touch with god by knowing ourselves;
Self knowledge is the only way to know god;
If u discover what u really are u discover god;
Christianity is a journey of self knowledge…
looking for the part of us that can’t die…
Yet I argue that either one in their separate form lacks the other. Gnosticism is indeed the esoteric deeper mystical aspect of Christianity but in the exoteric part we find in the church is also part of the whole. Both it is argued without the other has become hopelessly corrupted. A church not built up on precious stones: washed and individuated individuals who have found that divine apart within, will become hopelessly corrupt as we are almost on a daily basis witnessing. A church which excluded the shadow and the feminine. But this is also the very reason why the gnostic gospels were rejected.
When they embrace and accept each other either will become less extreme in the form they are now. So for instance one will not make it to eternal life by just believing in Jesus as saviour, yet only the other way of individual Self will eventually fall short and lack the collective framework to bring all these polished Selves together in one larger song and thus real church made up of these precious stones…
So the precious nature of the gnostic recovering of the divine spark within does not exclude the existence of a literal jesus and a (the real) church. The too liberal character of the gnostics and new age searching for an (only) individual salvation does not exclude the fact that these christs and christ figures would form eventually a collective (true) church, which is where we find the archetype of the unos mundus or unity in diversity and the New Jerusalem (Zion). On the other hand without the gnostic contribution we would find the extreme version of the Jesuit approach which is too collective, social and militaristic and lacks individuality. We obviously see the same dilemma and pattern replicated (the same politics) in terms of the liberals (too individualistic) versus the too collectivistic/socialistic.
Without this balance, Gnostics also get lost in a problematic interpretation of dark and light and shadow and bright. Mistaking the shadow at the individual level for the dark at the collective more spiritual level. This because they can get stuck somewhat at the individual level of the work or the Self and don’t understand the more collective spiritual stages which come after Self or individuation.
There can be not enough room for individuality in the church which rejects the gnostic side on the other hand. Toward too much of the extremes we get the doctrine of “do what thou wilt” versus an extremely dictatorial militaristic dogmatic church with no space for individuation. But together we get the full meaning of the teaching of the Self and the true Church which is the marriage of the Lamb or the Union of the Selves (washed stones) with jesus/the Lamb.