“Much of Gnostic thought was being incorporated into New Age beliefs – partly because it was so close to the main principles of the Eastern religions and partly, if we are totally honest, because people with Christian ideals did not have to move too far away from their own base. They could explore the new ways of thinking in the name of research.
“At the same time, the new science of sociology was becoming better understood, so its methods could be applied to a culture in order to to discover how groups of people had handled new information and innovative groupings. The dynamics of a group such as the deciples and their charismatic leader – whether he was divine or otherwise – provided a model for understanding the psychology behind the way in which people might get together in order to practice new ways of being. …
“With the translation of some of the Gnostic texts into English the world had access to material that had formed the thought of the early Christian Gnostics. It offered alternatives, perhaps pure, sources that were not colored by the invective of the orthodox Christians. …
“The Gnostic Jesus, far from dying as an atonement for the sins of the world, an act that many might thing was pointless, actually descended from the spiritual realm in order to make information available that was necessary both for self-perfection and for the perfection of the whole human race.” ~Bernard Simon
Exactly what Mr. Simon means by “Gnostic thought” is not clear, but we can guess at some of it. There were many Gnostic groups in early Christianity and many more before Christianity. Just as each Christian church today teaches something slightly different, each Gnostic organization had different teachings. But we can look at just the primary teaching of the majority of those groups. They include:
- The Loving God Jesus called Father is not the same as the angry, material god of the Jews and some other pre-Christian religions.
- The world of matter is not the creation of the true God, but of a false god called the Demiurge.
- Jesus did not redeem us but taught us how we are do redeem ourselves with the help of God.
- Jesus was the Messiah, not God born as a man.
- Awakening the spirit and soul is a requirement for redemption and we must each do it ourselves.
- Only those who do go through the process of awakening the soul—sometimes called “rebirth”—can achieve immortality.
- Immortality is for the spirit and soul only, never the body.
Gnostic New Age
You can see how some of those ideas and concepts have been adopted by New Age spiritual groups. Generally, they get their teaching from India and other Eastern countries. They are often modified by their favorite writers to fit more comfortably with modern ways. But here is the main problem with that: Western minds are different from the Eastern mind and need different methods to Awaken. In any case, choosing various disciplines from different schools or religions and mixing them all together in a random manner is not likely to produce good results, yet that’s what many currently popular spiritual writers do. They make lots of money but haven’t produced a single spiritual master.
Mr. Simon doesn’t specify which gnostic texts were translated into English. We can assume they include the Nag Hamadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were translated into several modern languages, not just English. This, obviously, would awaken a new interest in the Gnostics, but that is only part of the reason. The primary reason Gnostic thought and Gnostic teachings are becoming popular again is that we are at the Dawn of a new Golden Age of Spirit. It is also called the End Times, but that has a negative connotation of destruction. It isn’t destruction, but change. The realm of matter will be transformed into spirit. In order for that to happen, a renewed interest in true spirituality as taught in the ancient Mystery Schools and in Gnostic thought had to occur. People have to awaken to the truth and start changing. The Forces of Light have been working to make that happen. That has at least as much to do with the renewed interest in Gnostic Thought as having it available in English.