The gnostics (and they were many different sects of course) were basically the forerunners of today’s movement to more of a spiritual approach to life than a religious one. There isn’t an exclusivity between the two, but enough differences to have made the proto-orthodox crowd do all they could to destroy any evidence of such heretical views.
What was it that caused Constantine in 325 and Athanasius in 267 to demand that all gnostic works be burned or destroyed?
As I was pondering some of the orthodoxy of my Christian faith, this rainy Sunday, I wondered what my life would have been like had there not been such an emphasis on a patriarchial deity. Would I have been a better husband? What is gnosticism had won out the day 2,000 years ago: how would things be today? And with the discoveries at Nag Hammadi, how have the gnostic gospels changed some of our thinking, if at all? After all gnostic religion is greatly different than orthodox religion as we know it.
We know some of the answers because of recent archaeological discoveries.
>They were wary of the institutional church, especially Rome.
>They were basically free of sexism.
>They were unburdened by guilt and sin fires that the church kept burning at each service.
>They were tolerant of diverse views
Because of these and many other views, they were banned and driven out of the mainline Christian community. They had to bury and hide their works- to be discovered two thousand years later. As more and more discoveries come to light (like the Gospel of Thomas) what impact, if any, are they having on modern-day Christian thought?
I think the answer is in the process of being determined.
Gnostic religious views, spirituality is on the increase while religion is taking some serious loses