Do Things Really Change?


I just finished reading, for the second time, Elaine Pagels’ “The Gnostic Gospels.”  And, no, this will not be a book report.

This will be more of a comparasion of Ms. Pagels understanding of the beginnings of Christianity and the current political climate in the United States.

For those of you who are not familiar with Ms. Pagels here is her Wiki page.

In the first few hundred years after the crucifixion of Christ, there were many sects or varieties of Christianity.  The Christianity that we know today survived for several, not un-related reasons.  First and probably the most important was the insistence of the leading bishops in three things:

A hierarchy of bishop, priest and deacons,

“The Apostolic Creed”

and the New Testament canon.

This was simple in that it did not require much time or thought.  One just did what the church authorities said and went on with life.

On the other hand, those sects that did not survive, required a long-term commitment to think and work on mental-self-improvement.  These sects fall under the general heading of Gnostics but were composed of groups that had minor but significant differences.

So, on the one hand, we have ‘free thinkers’ who question the meaning of the words attributed to Christ and the disciples and on the other hand we have a group that demands blind obedience to the decisions of a small group of church leaders.

Fast forward to the present.

Today’s Republicans/Tea Partiers are very similar to the Orthodox Christians.  The demand is that everyone one must agree and walk lockstep with the talking points of the day.

Discipline and solidarity are paramount.

Democrats cannot present a united front.  They are similar to the sects of 1800 years ago, each going in a slightly different direction.

And we all see how the “battle” between the Orthodox and the Gnostic turned out.

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