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When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

27 May, 2013

Heresy of the Week: Manichaeism

Part two of the series on major Gnostic sects...
Manichaeism (also known as Manichaeanism) is one of the major Gnosticism sects, at its height from the 3rd-7th centuries where it thrived in the Mesopotamian area, although it survived in part until at least the 14th century in China, and even into the 18th century in small Catholic and protestant sects. The founder of Manichaeism, Mani, was originally follower of Mandaeism Gnosticism until he broke off to form his own sect. It contained elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, emphasizing a cosmic struggle between the ‘good’ spiritual world of light, and the ‘evil’ material world of darkness. Throughout human history, it teaches, light is gradually removed from the material world and restored to the world from which it came. It was considered a “soldier’s religion” and was popular among the Roman legions (which is how it made its way to China). It promoted an attitude of moral dualism, meaning a moral course of action involved a clear (often simplistic) choice between good and evil. The Albigensism, Bogomilism, Patarenism, and Paulicianism movements were accused of being Neo-Manichaean movements. Bagnolianism is considered a sub-Manichaeism sect, and Bardaisanitism is believed to have influenced Manichaeism. Their key belief is that a powerful, but not omnipotent, good entity (God) is opposed by a semi-eternal evil entity (Satan). Humanity, the world and the soul are seen as the byproducts of a battle between the Primal Man (God’s proxy) and Satan. While the soul is seen as defining a person, it is under the influence of both light and dark. Nothing is intrinsically evil, but seen as possessing both light and dark.

2 comments:

Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist said...

By the way, I love this blog. Keep up the good work.

Sarah Marie Arnold said...

Thanks! It's nice to know that it is useful and interesting to more than just me.