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91
Oriental Orthodox Discussion / Re: Rakovskyana: A Journal
« Last post by rakovsky on Yesterday at 07:04:15 PM »
I've studied a bit about the Alawites and I'm of the opinion that they are descendants of Gnostics who were heavily Islamised and driven underground, but managed to keep a separate identity, even though they eventually forgot they were "Christian" Gnostics, while Ibn Nusayr would have been a late organiser of the sect.
Interesting!
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Faith Issues / Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Last post by rakovsky on Yesterday at 06:55:33 PM »
Thanks for trying to answer it.

"What is above" would be the "heavenly" because it's above, ie. spiritual, holy, divine.
What is "below would mean either what's on earth below heaven or else whats in hell, below.

When it says "everything is above" it sounds like it means everything that exists is in the heavenly sphere.

"The imagination of those that are without knowledge" would be the imagining or illusion of those who lack the Christian "gnosis".

It reminds me of the idea in Advaita Hinduism that the "absolute reality" is Brahman, the creative "Nature", whereas the world is Maya, illusion. In Hinduism, a key goal is to escape the material "illusory" world.

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Advaita:
Reality - Any entity which is finite, temporal or can be defined using attributes is treated as unreal and the spirit (aatman) is supposed to be the only real entity. The spirit is attribute-less and infinite by definition. Any entity outside the realm of the spirit is Maya (unreal, finite, temporal and illusory).
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In Adwaita, emphasis is laid on transcendental God as pure consciousness. It has more to do with the subjective nature of God. All that is objective i.e the creation is discarded as Maya or as an illusion, in spite of the fact that Maya also owes its existence to brahman.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-Dvaita-Advaita-and-Visishtadvaita

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God is,…..we must remember…. the creator and is’ the TOTAL universe i.e. all the good and even the bad have to depend on him for its existence.. Only he can let bad be created and only he can dissolve it. …….So, Bad and Sin, is just an illusion in our minds and god is beyond it (nirgun)…….. He perhaps lets bad exist in the gross world of maya (Hindu\Buddhist word for illusion that this entire universe is), for us to be punished by the bad, we create by our own wrong choices and actions
http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Reinterpreting-Dwaita-versus-Adwaita-1.aspx

Advaita Hinduism can be either pantheistic or AFAIK atheistic. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand is definitely not pantheistic - God and His Creation are both real and separate.

The opposite of Advaita philosophy is Dvaita philosophy in Hinduism, which is non-pantheistic theism.

According to the ESamskriti page, the famous Dvaita Hindu teacher, Madhva, rejected Advaitism and its theory of Maya, and instead proposed that God and the Creation were two separate real entities:
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The scheme of five-fold difference spelled out by Madhva implies that this diversity of the world, perceived by our senses, is not an illusion or magic or Maya. Madhva is never tired of quoting numerous statements from scriptures, confirming the creation, preservation, regulation and control of the world of matter and souls by a Supreme Divinity. 
http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Reinterpreting-Dwaita-versus-Adwaita-1.aspx

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The theory of māyā was developed by the ninth-century Advaita Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara. However, competing theistic Dvaita scholars contested Shankara's theory,[73] and stated that Shankara did not offer a theory of the relationship between Brahman and Māyā.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(illusion)

Another writer says:
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According to Dvaita philosophy souls are eternal and are not created by God, yet, like maya or other fundamental realities they are not independent but are dependent on the Supreme God for their existence. Souls are many and uncountable. How come the individual souls which are mingled with Maya (māyān + veshtita = mayanveshtita, meaning, enveloped or completely covered with maya) can be of the same level of the Supreme God which is ever transcendental to maya and also to whom maya even cannot touch. Maya, though revocably but strongly, binds the souls but cannot bind God, it cannot even touch God.
http://www.justforkidsonly.com/truth/?cat=813

See also the relationship between avidya (ignorance) and maya (illusion) in Hinduism:
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In Hinduism, Avidya includes confusing the mundane reality to be the only reality, and it as a permanent though it is ever changing.[3] Its doctrines assert that there is a spiritual reality consisting of Atman-Brahman, one that is the true, eternal, imperishable reality beyond time.
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The effect of avidya is to suppress the real nature of things and present something else in its place. In effect it is not different from Maya (pronounced Māyā) or illusion. Avidya relates to the individual Self (Ātman), while Maya is an adjunct of the cosmic Self (Brahman).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avidya_(Hinduism)
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Oriental Orthodox Discussion / Re: Rakovskyana: A Journal
« Last post by RaphaCam on Yesterday at 06:54:34 PM »
A bit off-topic, but food for thought for rakovsky: I've studied a bit about the Alawites and I'm of the opinion that they are descendants of Gnostics who were heavily Islamised and driven underground, but managed to keep a separate identity, even though they eventually forgot they were "Christian" Gnostics, while Ibn Nusayr would have been a late organiser of the sect. Roughly like Iberian and Latin American modern crypto-Jews. For that matter, I recommend The Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs: An Introduction to the Religion, History and Identity of the Leading Minority in Syria, which drove my interest for both Islam and Gnosticism when I was younger.
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Faith Issues / Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Last post by RaphaCam on Yesterday at 06:28:12 PM »
Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
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5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.

If I had to guess... they might be talking about the concept that evil has no substance in itself, and is merely the absence or distortion of good, and so for those with "a simple heart," whose "thoughts are upright," and who is "surrounded on every singe by beauty," the good things they experience on earth are through grace, and thus the good below is the same as the the good above, and evil things are just the "imagination of those without knowledge." The word "imagination" seems to not quite fit right, but that's my best guess anyway.
Yes, this is what it seems on context. Harris translates it as "below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by the ignorant" (Lit. "those in whom there is no knowledge"). He doesn't give the original wording, and I can't find the original Syriac anywhere. He interprets the Ode's message as being "that it is possible to rise out of the apparent world into the real world, and that all hard things become easy when the soul itself is right".
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Faith Issues / Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Last post by Asteriktos on Yesterday at 05:54:05 PM »
Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
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5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.

If I had to guess... they might be talking about the concept that evil has no substance in itself, and is merely the absence or distortion of good, and so for those with "a simple heart," whose "thoughts are upright," and who is "surrounded on every singe by beauty," the good things they experience on earth are through grace, and thus the good below is the same as the the good above, and evil things are just the "imagination of those without knowledge." The word "imagination" seems to not quite fit right, but that's my best guess anyway.
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Orthodox-Catholic Discussion / Re: Amoris Laetitia and My Crisis of Faith
« Last post by Lepanto on Yesterday at 05:35:58 PM »
Thanks!
Seems I have to do lots thinking, guess also have to do more reading.
Likely I will ask quite some questions here.
Let us see. I truly don't know right now.
I only know it cannot go on like this. It is constantly nagging at me.
AL... plain crazy that it should trigger such things.

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Other Topics / Re: Random Postings
« Last post by Asteriktos on Yesterday at 05:34:25 PM »
Pope Francis proves he's just the absolute best, once again!  :police:

What has he done this time?

The media are falling all over themselves reporting how he supposedly said it's better to be an atheist than to lead a double life and be a hypocritical Catholic. From what I can tell he didn't say that, exactly, but rather said that it's common to hear other people saying that, with the implication of the Pope being that, considering the sinful way some self-professed Catholics act, it's hard to blame people for having such a low opinion of Catholics/Catholicism.

EDIT--Here's how one paper reported it: He said some of these people should also say "'my life is not Christian, I don't pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, [I lead] a double life'." "There are many Catholics who are like this and they cause scandal," he said. "How many times have we all heard people say 'if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist'."

And CNN reported it this way: If you're a Christian who exploits people, leads a double life or manages a "dirty" business, perhaps it's better not to call yourself a believer, Pope Francis suggested in a homily on Thursday in Rome. "So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others," Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, according to Vatican Radio. "How many times have we heard -- all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere -- 'But to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that: scandal."

The paper ran with the headline: "Pope Francis: It is 'better to be an atheist than hypocritical Catholic'"   and  CNN had: "Pope suggests it's better to be an atheist than a bad Christian"
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Other Topics / Re: Random Postings
« Last post by Mor Ephrem on Yesterday at 05:27:36 PM »
Pope Francis proves he's just the absolute best, once again!  :police:

What has he done this time?
99
Convert Issues / Re: Question from my husband
« Last post by RaphaCam on Yesterday at 05:12:39 PM »
Glory to God!
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Faith Issues / Re: List of 1st century writings by or about Christians
« Last post by rakovsky on Yesterday at 05:05:32 PM »
I think Ode 31 has references to Isaiah 53, based on different keywords:
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1 The abysses were dissolved before the Lord: and darkness was destroyed by His appearance: 2 Error went astray and perished at His hand: and folly found no path to walk in, and was submerged by the truth of the Lord. 3 He opened His mouth and spake grace and joy: and He spake a new song of praise to His name: 4 And He lifted up His voice to the Most High and offered the sons that were with Him. 5 And His face was justified, for thus His holy Father had given to Him. 6 Come forth, ye that have been afflicted and receive joy, and possess your souls by His grace; and take to you immortal life. 7 And they made me a debtor when I rose up, me who had been a debtor: and they divided my spoil, though nothing was due to them. 8 But I endured and held my peace and was silent as if not moved by them. 9 But I stood unshaken like a firm rock which is beaten by the waves and endures. 10 An I bore their bitterness for humility's sake: 11 In order, that I might redeem my people, and inherit it and that I might not make void my promises to the fathers to whom I promised the salvation of their seed. Hallelujah
It suggests that in Isaiah 53-54 when it talks about dividing the plunder, "seeing seed", and in Isaiah 54:3:
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For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,

Is Ode 34 gnostic?:
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5 The likeness of what is below is that which is above; for everything is above: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge.
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