I would like to begin a discussion with reference to the occult by asking a question: “Is life empty or full?”
Is Gnosticism empty or full?
I write this because (Note: “sexy” content warning) Protestant author’s Philip Lee’s Against the Protestant Gnostics says that Gnosticism defies historic analysis because it is not a historical phenomenon (I would suggest that a history of Gnosticism would be a bit like a history of the process of untreated cancer), and it equally defies philosophical analysis because it does not approach the status of a consistent philosophy. Having thus rejected the two standard academic ways of knowing, he said that Gnosticism hinges on a mood of despair.
The good news of Gnostic escape is good news only if life is empty. It holds all the appeal chewing off a limb does to an animal caught in a trap.
Its marketing proposition offers nothing to desire if life is full. To an audience who finds life to be full, the marketing proposition of Gnosticism, rightly understood, holds all the appeal of a having an amputation for no particular reason.
In between those poles, people may be significantly happy but still find Harry Potter enticing. However, let’s look at archetypal poles.
Gnosticism is like spiritual pornography or crack cocaine: it seems to sparkle with joy but gives less and less, and creates more and more misery. And it is the disenchantment of the entire universe: first it disenchants and destroys the ability to enjoy anything else, then it disenchants and destroys the ability to enjoy even itself.
Gnosticism is a recipe for unhappy people to become much more unhappy.
I have been afraid to let go in the unconditional surrender of repentance, then when I have let go, I realized, “I was holding on to a piece of Hell!” (In the Philokalia it is said that people hold on to sin because they falsely believe it adorns them.)
The cup is full
Do you believe that the world was created good, that the opening chapter of Genesis rightly says of everything before humanity, “And God looked and saw that it was good,” and of man, “And God looked and saw that it was very good?”