What is Gnosticism – Essay Example

The paper "What is Gnosticism?" is an exceptional example of an essay on religion and theology. There is a misconception that Gnosticism is a religious view or order that has a different belief in God than the rest of the Christian world. Actually, ”Gnosticism is a philosophical worldview that stresses special knowledge. The word comes from the Greek gnosis meaning knowledge” ( Slick, “What is Gnosticism?”). Therefore the Gnostic belief is that our world is made of matter and is therefore evil while our souls are good but trapped in a material world.  Although there are numerous Gnostic systems available, it is possible to narrow down their most common characteristics to help define the Gnostics as a whole.
These characteristics include (n.a., “Characteristics Features of Gnosticism”): 
“1. Preoccupation with the Problem of evil. 
2. Sense of alienation from the world. 
3. Desire for special and intimate knowledge of the secrets of the universe. 
4. Dualism 
5. Cosmology
6. Anthropology. 
7. Radically realized eschatology
8. Ethical implications”
The earliest evidence of Gnosticism's growing influence over Christianity can be found quite strongly in the letter of Paul in the New Testament. In his letters, it would seem that the basic ideas of Gnosticism were being laid out as part of the foundation for the church through the letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus (Flowers, “Tag Archives: Gnosticism in the New Testament”).  It is easy to understand why most modern people find Gnosticism appealing and fascinating. The reason lies behind the fact that people tend to gravitate towards what they are told is either illegal or untrue. More especially so in the case of the Gnostics wherein, the believers think themselves special because they supposedly possess a special knowledge about God that others do not understand. Another reason it is that they have their own doubts about the religious beliefs being touted by their churches that lead them to seek answers in the study of other religions and theological beliefs.