>Literalist friends getting you down? Here's an eye-opener:
>Looks to me like ex-xians getting revenge on the whole idea, but the site has some interesting points to make. Check it out if you like.
The root problem causing such trouble in religion is Literalism. I'm evaluating the books of Michael A. Hoffman II. He is a Christian Literalist, a right-wing (Literalist) critic of right-wing (Literalist) Jewish religion. He complains because some Jews are racists (actually these are *Literalist* racists, if anything) who adhere to the idea (taken literally) of the Jews as the chosen people of God, the superior race.
Book: Judaism's Strange Gods
Michael A. Hoffman II
Actually, the predetermined enlightened people metaphorically described as a race is a coherent, valuable, interesting mythic/mystic idea, but when taken literally by religionists of whatever religion, it becomes mere vulgar racism.
I am a mystically experienced determinist, and therefore consider myself part of the gnostic elect, which are like a race, which are a race in a certain metaphorical clever sense, but this is certainly *not* a matter of literal genetic or cultural race, but specifically, *mystic* "race" or gnostic race: those who are predestined to experience and believe in determinism.
Hoffman's book against Jewish mysticism -- _Judaism's Strange Gods_ -- looks like an interesting case study in literalism run amok. He condemns modern Jews with an emphasis on those awful evil Jewish mystics who (gasp) hold the Tanakh and Kabbalah as even higher than our dear holy Bible -- conceived by Hoffman in a literalist way, taking Jesus' historicity for granted, for example.
>Michael A Hoffman II's book was also giving Ebay migranes about 7 or 8 months ago when the "nationalist-anarchist" Bill White of Overthrow.com was listing it as a bidding item. I understand that many protests were lodged but Ebay evidently allowed the auction of "Judaism's Strange Gods" to go through. Unfortunately for Mr. White Paypal was less forgiving and White's account was frozen, or perhaps that's another tall tale out there in neonazi land, who knows?
>However, I DO recall the oddness of seeing that particular book being bid on along with Elvis records and antique dolls...
If some literalist Christians fear Jewish mysticism, it should be for the same reason as fearing all mysticism. Mysticism threatens to reveal that religion is really and has really been all about *metaphorical* description, of the mystic altered state, thus revealing all literalist religion to be deeply in error and lacking authority and legitimacy. Jewish mystics, with all mystics, are the main threat, the most direct and right way in which all legitimacy and authority is removed from literalist religion.
>He is a shrieking anti-Khazar. I've read most of his site http://www.hoffman-info.com .I love his passion and well written style. That makes at least two beloved Hoffmans in my book.
One must study the writings of mixed-up authors, to discover interesting insights and truths. All authors are deeply mixed-up; they are all a very mixed bag, which is why Acharya S seems less than scholarly in using simplistic high-school black & white thinking to say "I thought you were my ally, then I thought you were attacking me." Heck yes I'm attacking her views, and everyone else's, and affirming the good aspects -- what the heck do you think scholarship *is*?
Is Hoffman II worth reading? Does he contribute? How so? How not? It is clear that for one reason or another, Hoffman II should be read, like chronology revisionist books. By *only* describing him as an "anti-semite", that carries too many implied assertions that I do not, at least not at the moment, mean to assert. Is he worth reading? I don't know. What of the accusation of antisemitism? I don't know.
I'm only at this point saying that I am not Hoffman II, and that his accusation of the Jews being racists is founded on a literalist mode of reading the metaphorical idea of determinist mystics as a "race". The elect of God are actually a *metaphysical* "race" or category or relationship, rather than a cultural or genetic race. I'm accused of being a metaphysical racist: enlightened people are superior to unenlightened people. What do people think of such metaphysical racism? Are enlightened people *not* better than unenlightened people, as though enlightenment is worthless?
Literalist Christians rail against "Gnostics' elitism", which is a distorted, partial view, while failing to point out that Literalist Christians themselves are certainly elitists in some ways: "Only we Literalist Christians will go to Heaven. The rest are condemned to be apart from God forever."
>>He complains because some Jews are racists (actually these are *Literalist* racists, if anything) who adhere to the idea (taken literally) of the Jews as the chosen people of God, the superior race.
>I remember reading a post in a jewish mail list that the hebrew "chosen ones" should be better translated as "well choosing ones" or "choosing well through sustained learning" , which is availible to all.
But don't miss the point of the mythic metaphor, whitewashing away the meaning. Beware of changing potent metaphorical mystic ideas to bland and clueles (and unreligious) Liberal religion. Beware of explaining away myth rather than understanding mythic meaning.
Book: Judaism's Strange Gods
Michael A. Hoffman II
>I remember reading that Kabbalah practitioners believe that the entire Torah is God's "name" and that if one can resite the entire thing they can have power over the deity (or somthing to that effect)
Beware of literalism and of missing the main points, the humor, the allusion, the mythic-mystic center and nature. These ideas have a variety of readings; be sure to pick the clever mystic-altered-state meanings. Magic, alchemy, miracles, astrology are all properly understood as clever deliberately misleading double-entendre systems designed to baffle and shock the literalists. Jewish and Christian mystics/esotericists know what it's all about, while the Literalists have wars based on and excused upon misreading.
This is why the world needs a clearer explanation of religious myth than has ever been written before. Previous Buddhist attempts are evidently inadequate. My theory is far more effective and ergonomic at putting to rest such confusions. My theory is importantly different than all previous theories, and importantly better than them: I shall maintain this assertion, the profound distinctness and superiority of my theory over previous attempted systematizations such as Ken Wilber's.
Riddle: When the apocalypse arrives, with the second coming of Jesus in power and victory, the rebellious Jews will repent and Believe in Jesus, and the kingdom of God will be theirs, demonstrating for all the world God's almighty power and plan.
Decoding/solution: during the mystic altered state, timeless block- universe determinism will be comprehended by the mind that is lifted up by the Holy Spirit of loose cognitive association -- such comprehension is the uncovering or revealing of the apo- calypse. "The rebellious Jews" means minds that believe in the delusion of free will and thus their own sovereign power to create their thoughts and shape their own future stream of thoughts.
"Jesus" means the principle of determinism, including the idea that God could whirl your mind and your will this way or that, with you a helpless puppet in his hands. Understanding this is seeing the face of God and dying.
Instead of God the puppetmaster whirling your mind about and making you sacrificially transgress your illusion of self-command, the angel- messenger of God brings the sufficient *idea* of a will-less puppetlike fully obedient spiritual or symbolic creature, the sacrificial lamb provided by God, to suffer the ego-whirling, ego- overpowering "destruction" as an example or idea of what the puppetmaster full well could do to your mind, which is helpless relative to the ground of being which creates your every thought and act of will.
The true spiritual Israel, the kingdom of God, is the land of those who know they are puppets with respect to God's power. Those who know their power to be merely puppet-power are the true sons of Abraham. Abraham is the mind that realized its puppet relationship to God's power.
That mind knew it could have been made to terminate its authorship power over its own future, its future descendents. From a meta- temporal perspective, the mind at a particular point in time is helpless and is not able to author and create its own future, controlling its future thoughtstream ("thread") or progeny.
In the end, the freewill-assuming minds are all bound and forced to conclude, when looking through the holy spirit, that freewill is an illusion -- they will thus "believe in Jesus" or timeless determinism and our puppetesque impotence with respect to time and God or ground of being that is our spiritual father, authoring our every thought not in a causal chain at year 0 but rather, from perpendicular to the entire time axis.
Whatever created the time axis created our thoughts that are frozen at all points along the time axis. The kingdom of God belongs to (is comprehended and conceptually perceived by) the minds that fully reject free will in principle. Whoever sees these principles sees the true Israel as the secret that the whole world is puppetland. The world is actually puppetland; it actually is all Israel and "belongs to" the timeless-determinists.
The lower corrupted interpretation of this is Literalist, thinking that Israel will win in a mundane military sense. The higher, inspired interpretation is that Israel is victorious timelessly; every time a mind realizes its helpless puppethood with respect to the frozen timeless predetermined block universe, Israel is again victorious.
The discovery that the world is Puppetland is destined to win out, due to the relation between time and personal control. It is only by childish or animalesque ignorance that we assume this is not Puppetland.
The true sons of Abraham are those who know that they are puppets with respect to time, ground, or God. A mind includes choice, command, and control, but these are frozen and woven into the time axis such that with respect to time, from a metaphysics perspective, the mind has no control. Being in the kingdom of God includes choice but a certain frozen kind of mental-model of, persepective on, or picture of choice.
>Thread about entheogens in buddhism:
Rialcnis has been busy spreading the teaching of the traditional entheogenic lightning path among the Buddhists.
The Literalists of all the world's religions constitute the World Council of Religions of Peter. Against them, the entheogenic pure allegorists who have come up through all the various religions constitute the World Council of Religions of Mary Magdalene, which is to say, the True Spiritual Church, and the True Jerusalem: we are the true Jewish race.
The Entheogenic pure allegorists are the true Jewish people, chosen by God. And they are the True Church of Christ. And they are the true worshippers of Allah in the black cube.
Blessed alone be the Jews, who alone are the chosen of God; Blessed alone be the saved in Jesus Christ, who alone are the chosen of God; Blessed alone be those chosen of Allah, who alone are the chosen of God; Blessed be these three groups which are, as Isis Queen of Heaven knows, are one and the same group of people.
The literalists of all religions have always maintained that their religions are essentially different; the entheogenic allegorists of all religions have always maintained that their religions are essentially the same, functionally equivalent.
Race in mystic thought is nothing but a metaphor for a certain implication of timeless block-universe determinism. All events are timelessly frozen in spacetime. Therefore a person forever belongs to the set of those who are destined for enlightenment or to the set of those who are destined to remain in unenlightenment, experiencing and believing in the illusion of metaphysically free will all during their life. The mystic allegorization of the Race idea might debatably be called poor taste by some people, but humor saves.
The "two races" concept is isomorphic with deterministic membership or not in the set of those destined for full experiential conversion to no-free-will. Race as a metaphor for membership in those destined for enlightenment is logically consistent and coherent, on the condition that it is understood as entirely and purely allegorical, *not* about literal genetic race; the false Jews of the world are to blame for racism; racism against Jews is the fault of literalist thinking on the part of the various religions and cultures.
The idea of the Jewish race is a valid and coherent mystic-mythic allegorical idea that becomes harmful when distorted and degenerated into a mere literal idea. People who are not destined for a deep experience of no-free-will during their lifetime are the race hated by God, devil worshippers and the accursed of God: this metaphysical situation and fact is mystically harmless and true, on the condition that it is interpreted in an entirely allegorical sense.
To destroy racism, which is evil because it prevents enlightenment, our highest goal and achievement, promote the profound and opposite version of racism: Gnostic racism, mis-described as literal elitism. Gnosticism is elitist in a particular sense: a person eternally belongs to one group or the other: the superior, elite people are those who eternally belong to the set of those who are destined and fated for redemption, regeneration into full consciousness of no-free-will; enlightenment.
People who are logical and highly mystically experienced conditionally have the privilege of counting themselves as members of the elite chosen race, beloved of God, rather than the evil, hated, devil-worshipping race condemned in everlasting enmity and separation from God, on the condition that they understand this "elite" and "chosen race" status to be entirely allegorical regarding one's fatedness to mystically experience timeless frozen block-universe determinism -- ego death, no-free-will/no-separate-self.
Whether this mystic experience resulting in full comprehension of no-free-will is induced via willed meditation, via visionary plants, or via brain chemicals triggered for no discernable reason, the essential important ideas here remain the same.
Rational explanation of the substitute sacrificial Son of Man and the 2 races of the sons of darkness and the sons of light
Son of Man, a title for Jesus, is the God-provided or the saving angel-provided symbolic-only substitute for our own deliberate self- destruction of self-control.
The Son of Man, the model of self that is based on the animalistic/childish freewill assumption, has "nowhere to lay his head" because he exists only as a virtual agent, a delusion which eventually becomes an illusion understood as such.
It's an interesting coincidence that the "son" as our own ego is only a virtual agent, and that likewise the "son" we thought we knew in the supposed Historical Jesus also turns out to be a culturally reified mass delusion.
Doctrine may have long insisted that the mystery-religion of Jesus was unique because Jesus, unlike Dionysus, existed as a real human at a point in time. That is a profound distinction, but ultimately we need to see the Jesus event as being *virtually* historical, in addition to being *mystically* incarnate in our own minds during initiation experience.
And of course the Jesus idea has concretely affected really-real history. The entheogenic molecule provides another essential way in which the divine humbled himself and took on flesh.
During mystery-initiation experiencing, this self-destruction, to disprove to ourselves that we are in control, is the esoteric meaning of "The Law" and "what the Law commands". The Law is The Law of Necessity, and What Necessity Commands. Proof of conscious allegiance to Divine Necessity is theoretically done through the sacrifice of oneself as sovereign, self-controlling king.
The king must *voluntarily*, *willingly*, methodically, and devotionally self-sacrifice his controllership, to prove he is purified of the delusion of self-command. (Similarly the sacrificial goat or other domestic animal must "willingly" be led to its sacrifice.) However, in the "religion of Abraham", the angel-thought of compassion intervenes against an extremist or physicalist interpretation of such proof.
The mystery child, son, or daughter that is mystically sacrificed is one's lower self. Everyone knows that much -- but what is this lower self? It is the prideful but deluded assumption of freewillist self- command, and the worldview the mind constructs around that assumption.
The Law commands that self-control kills itself to acknowledge Necessity or Ground of Being or God as the true controller of my thoughts; compassion accepts a substitute or accepts just the *idea* of such self-transgressing control-sacrifice as being "perfectly sufficient and complete" so that by merely understanding and conceding the idea of radical control-sacrifice, rather than by acting out that idea, we can attain to perfection in our transcendent understanding of self-control cybernetics.
The Hellenistic world (Philo) read the books "of Moses", including the story of Abraham's sacrifice of his "child" through lamb substitution, as a mystery religion allegory for the mystic altered- state discovery of Fatedness, a discovery that "demands" the self- sacrifice of self-control if one wants to attain and "prove" perfect understanding of the falsity of egoic, freewillist control agency.
This is the testimony of things shown by the Holy Spirit.
God or Ground could perfectly well make me self-destruct, and I am tempted or drawn to this completion, perfection, and proof. As one drawn to express truth about the power relation of ego and Ground, I need and want a way to demonstrate my full comprehension of my metaphysical powerlessness and nullity of freewillist moral power.
In the Kingdom of God, which is the full consciousness of timeless or frozen-time Necessity, we all live in the protective shadow of the lamb, the sufficient symbolic sacrifice. In terms of universally valid cybernetic self-control principles, we must find a way to be fully conscious of our noncontrol with respect to frozen time, a way to prove that we respect and fully acknowledge absolute timeless Necessity, without harmful self-destruction.
The warrior-savior volunteers his life in battle, giving up his life to release his fellow citizens. The term "savior" was applied to military heroes who gave their life to purchase freedom and victory for their fellow citizens; these heroes were believed to ascend to their reward in heaven.
There is a sophisticated conceptual pun, that is, a clever meaning- shifting, between heaven as conceived as moral reward for an ego- driven creature, and heaven as being a full awareness of cosmic determinism. The meaning of "good" shifts from "conventional egoic moralistic good actions", to "knowledge of the truth about moral agency, which is that it is a delusion fit for animals and children".
Origin of Christianity: the experiential discovery of fate/necessity in the Hellenistic mystery religions was combined with the Jewish insistence on separation between God's power and earthly kingship, against the claims of the emperor cult that claimed that since the emperor was proven fated to rule, divine necessity justifies his oppression of people.
Christianity was a version of the fate-revealing, experiential, entheogenic sacramental mystery religions (Hellenistic/Essene) that *also* served political rebellion against the divine claims of Caesar.
The mystical and political origins explain Christianity so well and completely, a single historical Jesus becomes a superfluous and unnecessarily complicating hypothesis. The figure of Jesus was virtually real, not literally real.
The story of betrayal, arrest, trial, scourging, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension, and co-kingship with God (that which controls destiny) describes allegorically the mystic altered state experiences resulting from considering personal sovereign agency from within the state of loose cognition.
This mystery-religion allegory, while revealing cosmic determinism as opposed to egoic power, also expresses political rebellion against the emperial claim that the oppressive status quo was fated therefore divinely approved.
All moral guilt reverts to the mythic and mystical figure of Jesus as an avataric symbol representing the only, fully responsible agent: God, the sovereign determiner or controller of destiny.
The uninitiated/initiated distinction of the Hellenistic mystery religion, which was expressed by a variety of equivalent cults, was taken to a certain extreme in Christianity, with an expressly designed intricate lower level of literalism as well as the usual higher level revelation of fatedness.
Part of the shift from this full-fledged version of the 'uninitiated' layer of this mystery cult to the higher is the clever remapping of concepts about sin/righteousness and heaven/hell.
Lower thinking assumes freewillist guilt or innocence; higher thinking sees all thoughts and acts as eternally predestined and even pre-existent, so that 'sin' is now understood not as real egoic moralistic guilt, but as the delusion that agents could be culpable as freewillist responsible agents.
The elect are those predestined to comprehend predestination and see through the delusion of lower, egoic, moralistic thinking; the damned are now understood as those who are not predestined to discover that Necessity/fate/determinism. Thus as the Essenes held, there are two races, the children of light and the children of darkness.
The son of Man, son of God, son of Abraham, daughter of Demeter, the Devil, and sacrificial animal, are all allegories for the lower, animalistic, freewillist way of thinking and the lower deluded moralistic thinking associated with it.
The Ground is the hidden originator and thus controller, father, or creator of every one of the mind's thoughts and actions. The lower way of thinking conceives of oneself as a sovereign self-controlling agent; one assumes one rules over the Ground of Being. The higher way of thinking can be a co-kingship.
The mind now becomes *conscious* of its control-impotence with respect to time and the Ground of Being; in practice, the initiate says "I control, yet the Ground controls me; effectively you could say that I am co-commander with the Ground."
Thinking from an post-initiation, post-revelation, experiential point of view, I now live as a co-commander or a fully Ground-controlled controller. Like the ancient initiate-kings, I rule but I know that God, or the Ground, rules and creates my every thought.
The king was periodically humiliated to deny that his ego is sovereign originator of his thoughts and affirm that his sovereignty is only of a secondary nature.
The ancient king (an entheogenic initiate) considered himself to be sovereign with respect to the political realm he commands, but a puppet or slave with respect to Divine Necessity or a postulated personal God who is the true determiner (controller) of Divine Necessity."
Every real bodhisattva must strive to be the best bodhisattva -- the most chosen one, as measured by extent of awakening people to the true nature of personal control agency.
According to my own value system, I strive to be made the most effective teacher and modeller of the true nature of personal moral control agency -- in this value-dependent, debatable sense, I want to be the most chosen one (where "degree of chosenness" is measured the way I advocate), more effective than Plato could be because we today are not bound by the taboo and legal restriction against "revealing and profaning the mysteries", so it's not a fair contest.
In some ways, I have not yet succeeded at being the most effective teacher of the truth about our nature -- though I have succeeded at modelling it in modern terms, but not yet at packaging that model.
To be chosen by the divine is to be brought to enlightenment. Not everyone is brought to enlightenment, not everyone is chosen. Mystically, the true Israel is the set of all people who are brought to enlightenment, the set of all people who are chosen by the divine -- the chosen people. In the song "Black Sabbath", Ozzy sings "Found out I'm the chosen one, oh no," and Neo in Matrix is the chosen one, and messiah means entheogen-anointed and thereby a chosen one.
The idea of the chosen one connects with divine sacrificial victims including the sacrificial king (literally sacrificed bodily, in addition to mystically experiencing ego death). The question I'm concerned with here is the idea of the *most* chosen one, and debate about measuring degree of chosenness. If someone claims to simply be "the chosen one", that is completely ambiguous and thus meaningless -- chosen for what? If they say "I am the most chosen one", we must still shrug and ask what measure they use, and what defense they have for that way of measuring.
In the Matrix movies, Neo is the most chosen one to save the human race in their current predicament. That implies that the most chosen one is defined and assessed as the one who most rescues, preserves, and protects the greatest number of humans.
If you agree to measure degree of chosenness by extent of teaching enlightenment, degree of systematic clarity, effectiveness of method, and number of people enlightened, it is only logical for each philosopher such as myself to aim at being the most chosen one; it's the bodhisattva's moral duty to try to enlighten as many people as possible -- even more than all the other bodhisattvas, to lead more people than any other into the spiritual promised land, which means teaching enlightenment to as many minds as possible.
Does the Jesus figure effectively enlighten more people than any other person or mythic figure? The Jesus figure is most effective when explained by effective teaching and a clear, modern, systematic model, combined with effective mystic-state triggering. Is the Jesus figure the most chosen one compared to other mythic figures? How many people have become enlightened, to what extent, by thinking of various mythic figures?
That is hard to assess, and debatable. I cannot but strive to be the most chosen one (teacher and wayshower or shepherd of no-free-willists into awakening) among human teachers of enlightenment -- the most effective, bringing the most complete enlightenment, to the greatest number of people: that is nothing more than the bodhisattva's duty, to try their best to enlighten as many sentient beings as possible, even more than other bodhisattvas.
All who are enlightened are the chosen ones, in the plural. One can only be *the* chosen one with respect to a particular task; the idea of *the* chosen one is relative to a particular task. If someone is put forward as *the* chosen one, we must ask, "for what particular task?" Many are chosen, each for a unique particular task. Chosenness is cheap, widespread, an attribute of many people.
An important particular role to be chosen for is "being the chosen one to instruct other people about the truth about personal moral control agency", but again, is this a single role, or relative -- that is, which set of people is one uniquely chosen to instruct; can you simply say the whole world, or all sentient beings in the future, or all who are destined to hear the instruction in the future?
One might be a better teacher of our true nature than other previous teachers on one's planet or in one's known world, as Einstein could be considered the best teacher of Einsteinian relativity and Newton could be Earth's chosen one -- the ultimate messenger of Newtonian physics, but we would not idolize such an innovator as being completely isolated and original.
We're all chosen to play some distinctive role in the world, some contribute more in an area than others, and some contribute the most -- more than anyone else -- in a particular area. One person may be ahead of all the others in one's world for being the best teacher of a particular topic, such as the nature of personal moral control agency. For example, you could line up candidates for "world's best teacher about personal moral control agency".
Alexander the Great was the chosen one as world's winningest military leader, Einstein as the chosen one for being the world's most profound physicist, Plato as being the chosen one for being the world's most profound or innovative philosopher, Peart as the chosen one for being the world's most inspired Rock lyricist. And we could argue about which role is the grandest "chosen one" role -- is it about political power combined with philosophical teaching ability?
It's all a matter of debatable values and definitions; the notion of "the chosen one" is always relative to a background debate about the import of various particular roles or contributions.
Lennon pointed out that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus", or some such. How much did the Jesus figure enlighten people, and how much did the Beatles enlighten people? To enlighten is to save into the kingdom of the chosen ones who understand the nature of controllership.
According to Christian myth-religion, Jesus is a messiah, a king chosen and anointed by the prophet chosen by God, and Jesus is *the* chosen one -- that is, the chosen one, of many, but chosen for a particular role that is a more important kingly role than any of the Jewish kings; he is the greatest chosen one of all the many chosen ones.
It's odd to consider Jesus as mythic-only, so that the most chosen one, or greatest chosen one, is entirely mythical -- but then, the other chosen kings are commonly mythical as well, and actual "divinely chosen" kings or emperors such as Caesar have a mythic quality as well.
It's much a matter of debate, "Who is the king of kings?" or "Who is the most chosen king/emperor?", or more open-endedly, "Who is the most chosen one?" To flat-out talk about someone as *the* chosen one without qualifying and specifying that chosenness, is to imply that they are the most chosen one, that the role for which they are chosen is greater than any other role.
Who, or what figure, most kills the greatest number of egos? Perhaps ask "what teacher uses what figure to most kill the greatest number of egos?" My strategy is to use the mythic-only Jesus figure to kill more egos than any other teacher using any other mythic figure -- but I use other mythic figures as well. Other Hellenistic mythic figures affixed to the physical are representative of no-free-will.
The king-on-cross figure (which Jesus explicitly is) is arguably the clearest, most explicit figure. This is why I choose to focus on the Cross when explaining the entheogenic discovery of no-free-will.
Many people have value systems that enable to think that they are the most chosen of all. But it's a matter of debate, how to measure absolute degree of chosenness. The quality of chosenness is not rare; it's all about "chosen for what?" According to Christian myth-religion, Jesus is the only chosen one for the role of "king of God's ultimately promised kingdom".
Think apocalyptic end-time kingdom -- a later, Hellenistic-era mode of Jewish thought; after the fall of the second temple, many Hellenistic Jews relinquished the hope of a material kingdom, and accepted merely a claim to the spiritual kingdom; they entirely (rather than just partially) spiritualized the concept of "the kingdom given to Israel by JHVH".
A Theology of the Holy Spirit
Bruner's book "A Theology of the Holy Spirit" discusses the problem of two Christian initiations, and rejects the existence or necessity of a higher initiation beyond baptism.
The orthodox accuse the charismatics, like the Gnostics, of being elitist. There *is* a kind of elitism in the charismatics' assertion that ordinary baptism only makes one a beginner Christian. But it's not designed to be a forcefully exclusive elitism. Whenever a religion is degraded to the exoteric motions, cargo-cult religion, naturally and necessarily a kind of elitism must be reintroduced to retain or regain the transformative aspect of religion.
This is a theme of Ken Wilber's idea of Boomeritis. Popular spirituality has formed a flattened, reduced religion of non-transformation that accuses any professed higher religion of being "hierarchical and elitist". Wilber retorts that yes, true transformation *is* inherently hierarchical and elitist in some sense. You can't have elevation or transformation without elitism in some sense, because there is a necessary division between the elevated/transformed and the non-elevated/non-transformed.
If we attach the label of "enlightenment" or "religious experiencing" to that which isn't significantly enlightening and isn't intense religious experiencing that transforms one's thinking, then it's necessary to re-introduce a higher enlightenment.
Bruner argues that there can be only a single Christian initiation. The Gnostic is then forced to respond, logically, that the official Christian baptism is no initiation at all. The Gnostic or esotericist sees that there are just two correct ways of framing conventional baptism: it's either the lower, preliminary initiation in a series of two initiations (water baptism and then fire or spirit baptism), or it's no initiation whatsoever and there is only a single actual initiation, which is the fire baptism.
Whichever portrayal you choose, conventional water baptism is not a transformational initiation, but only a ritual, exoteric, cargo-cult initiation. The New Testament describes people who were baptized but didn't receive the Holy Spirit, and dismisses that as the mere baptism of John (the Baptist), portraying "being baptized in the name of Jesus" as higher baptism which delivers the Holy Spirit.
But we must beware of merely attaching the label of "the higher form" to something that's actually the lower form. Renaming an empty ritual of water baptism from "John" to "Jesus" does nothing to infuse that act with the Holy Spirit, or fire baptism -- this relabelling in the scriptures is empty sleight of hand.
In the medieval groups that evidently elevated John over Jesus, the labels were flipped around the other way, so that the lower, water baptism is called baptism in Jesus' name, while higher baptism was associated with John. 'John' here was likely an umbrella term including John the Baptist as foil against Jesus, the disciple and then apostle John, and Mary "John" Magdalene as foil against Peter, Peter representing the literalist empty orthodoxy.
What's really at issue, to be explicit and specific, is the empty baptism offered by literalist orthodoxy, versus the active, psychoactive transformative baptism provided by the Holy Spirit fire baptism: the "sacrament of apolytrosis" (higher transformation?), which was likely some mixed wine. We can affix the labels "the baptism of John" and "baptism in the name of Jesus" to one type of baptism or flip the labels the other way around.
Swapping the label attached to the lower doesn't make the lower higher; the lower baptism remains the lower baptism whether it's labelled that of 'John' or of 'Jesus'.
Similarly, we may wonder whether "Israel" is intended to mean the initiated or the uninitiated, but it can switch, depending on the context; you always have to consider the immediate context of the two items being compared. Given a pair "evil northern kingdom Israel and righteous southern kingdom Judah", clearly Israel represents the uninitiated.
Given the pair "good Israel and the evil Gentiles", Israel is the initiated. Given the later "the evil Jews versus the righteous Gentile converts", Jews is being used to represent the uninitiated. This clever and amusing trick of relabelling can be used to great harm, ending with everyone labelling their own group "angels" and the other group "devils". Mystic allegorical labelling that correctly divides those who have the higher initiation from those who don't, can be abused to persecute anyone by distorting the real and correct rejection: the higher mind's rejection and transcending of the lower mind.
The initiated mind sees the lower mind and declares it incorrect. That's the true rejection, but that act of rejection is distorted and abused, often intentionally, by the literalists. The transcendent mind says the egoic mind is allegorically the accursed devil who is cast out of heaven; the literalizers or literalists or power-mongers who simply don't care what's true take the mystic idea of "accursed devil cast out" and gleefully apply it to their socio-political opponents.
The Valentinians tried to be reasonable and compromise, declaring that there are two baptisms, lower and higher, and that the lower Christians should be accepted by the higher Christians and should not be allegorized as accursed. This caution is equivalent to Ken Wilber's avoidance of dissociation from the lower when the mind jumps to a higher level; the mind should embraced and integrate the lower, not destroy and demolish and demonize it wholly.
The only viable way to transcend egoic thinking is to partially affirm it and partially reject it. Gnostic allegory enjoyed dualistic pairs, often demonizing the lower (such as "world" or "body") too much, whereas orthodox Christianity had a more qualified rejection of the "world" or "body". Note that orthodox and Gnostic Christianity, considered as equivalent allegory systems, both have the potential to hit the target or overshoot in either direction, falling into superstition and regression rather than transcendence:
Literalist embrace of bodily resurrection via misapplied orthodox allegory
Correct orthodox allegory for transcendence
Literalist hatred of the world/body via misapplied orthodox allegory
Literalist hedonism via misapplied Gnostic allegory
Correct Gnostic allegory for transcendence
Literalist hatred of the world/body via misapplied Gnostic allegory
So sin, harmartia, missing the mark, failing to grasp the essential idea, is possible both within the Gnostic allegory system and within the orthodox allegory system. The correct esoteric meaning of world/body is ego, which is egoic thinking or the egoic worldmodel. Ascetic rejection of the world and body is a metaphor for rejecting lower thinking, which is the egoic conceptual framework.