Secular gnostics: invincibly (and wonderfully) ignorant


Are there still gnostics today?  Do gnostics still speak today?  Do gnostics get any attention?  Any press?  Do you know, my servants, even what a gnostic is? 

No, no.  You are thinking of an agnostic, which is a person who dwells in the realm of cowards, religiously speaking.

No, a gnostic is one who claims to have personal knowledge of otherwise unverifiable truth.  As one privileged to have such self-knowledge, gnostics generally hold their personal “knowledge of the heart” over those less enlightened. 

And the beauty of a gnostic?  No one can challenge the gnosis because it is personal, and not subject to objective evidence.

Of course, an agnostic person believes that truth is not only unknown, it is unknowable.  And a true agnostic, like a true atheist (both words are merely the negation of their positive sense), is a mythical being; agnosticism (or atheism) being merely a label claimed by intellectual cowards.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  After all, I make both agnostics and atheists, and, I might add, even a few gnostics.

Are you still with me? 

I hope so, because I want to bring your attention to a most interesting article that appeared this weekend in The Catholic Thing.  The article, written by Francis J. Beckwith, is entitled “Secular Gnositicism and The New York Times.”

Secular gnosticism?

Don’t you just love that term?  I do.  I wish I had thought of it!

And although I find Mr. Beckwith’s insight dangerous to my kingdom, I must say I’m flattered by his recognition of my complete religiousification of what remains of the world’s “secular” institutions.


Yes, religiousification: the increasingly religious nature and tenor of atheistic, aka secular, arguments in the world today.

Mr. Beckwith recognizes my handiwork, most recently in the past week, where “Bill Keller of the New York Times opined about the religious beliefs of several Republican presidential candidates, suggesting clusters of questions that he would like to ask each of them.”

Remember? I answered Mr. Keller’s “crude and uncharitable” questions in this post.

Mr. Beckwith takes issue with Mr. Keller’s sloppy work, including his lack of “serious preparation or journalistic curiosity.”

But what Mr. Beckwith notes in his piece is something I actually hoped no one would catch onto:

Lurking behind [Keller’s] clumsy queries is an intellectual posture I call “secular gnosticism.” It assumes a position of cultural privilege on what counts as knowledge and justified belief, though it is rarely doubted and thus rarely defended.

Secular gnosticism.  Rarely doubted and rarely defended.  Yes, that is the beauty of my religiousification on earth!  While theism is the default setting on the human soul, atheism is the default desire of the human heart. 

Everyone knows in his or her soul that God exists, but everyone wishes to live as if he doesn’t.

It’s the human condition.

And it’s because of me.

Thus theistic religious leanings have become the subject of suspicious scrutiny in the modern secular society, while atheistic religious leanings are given a pass.

As Mr. Beckwith puts it, with respect to the secular gnostics:

For that reason, its believers do not subject their position, its presuppositions, and its sources of authority to the sort of rigorous interrogation they suggest the beliefs, presuppositions, and sources of authority of religious believers should undergo.

Get it?  The modern secular gnostic “assumes a position of cultural privilege” on what counts as “justified belief” which is “rarely doubted.”

And what is the end result of this, my will on earth as it is in heaven?

I could not say it better than Mr. Beckwith:

For this reason, the Gnostics were, in a sense and ironically, invincibly ignorant. No amount of contrary evidence, philosophical argument, or Biblical exegesis can convince someone who has private, direct, incorrigible, and impenetrable acquaintance with The Truth.

Invincibly ignorant. 

I love it. 

And yes, my servants, you can congratulate me on this one.  Mr. Beckwith is right.  I’ve raised up a generation of secular religionists, whether they go by the name of atheist, agnostic, free-thinker or skeptic. 

But every one of them is nevertheless a religious person in the secular gnostic faith, a faith built upon each of their “special knowledge” of truth.

And I’ve made every one of them invincibly ignorant.

Don’t believe me?  Just try to convince one of them that God exists.  Use the clear evidence of creation.  Use the Bible.  Use whatever authority you have at hand, including the undeniable moral law written on their darkened hearts.

Wait.  What am I saying?

On second thought, don’t try to convince them.  Do not challenge them to think broadly and freely.

Because every once in a while, one actually escapes my clutches.

Because some are merely ignorant.


5 Responses to “Secular gnostics: invincibly (and wonderfully) ignorant”

  1. Secular gnostics are everywhere. You’ll find them in the darndest places too! Pulpits are full of them. Seminaries are full of them. Churches are full of them (don’t scratch too deeply in the pews…you may get an unpleasant surprise!).
    The administration and faculty at my oldest son’s “Lutheran” university are all about secular gnosticism, and are themselves as invincibly ignorant as they are teaching their students to be.
    The prayer at the school’s opening convocation was led by an unsmiling woman in appropriate clerical garb, who claimed to be a Lutheran minister and academic at this school’s seminary. Not once in her “prayer” at this “Christian” university did she invoke the name of “Father”, “Son”, or “Holy Ghost”. She called only upon some generic, nameless “God”. And she didn’t even ask Him for anything! Why? Because this cleric obviously did not believe in any God, let alone the trinitarian God of Christianity. She is a “secular gnostic”, who is almost certainly “invincibly ignorant”, and her job is to make disciples of the same.

    • Universities, even the parochial ones, have forgone the true God and have turned to a false one. Is it any wonder most college grads are pretty ignorant?

  2. […] Secular gnostics: invincibly (and wonderfully) ignorant « Satan's Blog […]

  3. “While theism is the default setting on the human soul, atheism is the default desire of the human heart. ”

    Which is why prayer is the only way you get can get over that desire in the heart.

  4. Jeff Chandler Says:

    The words atheism and atheist have the words theism and theist in it. Its too bad that in the bible they separate diseases and illnesses from devils. That is always being secularized. They always make the mistake of separating suffering from the devils who cause that and the sins of the people that they could never commit unless God wanted the devils in them.

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