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GNOSTICISM (continuation)

I-4. Honey and beads

 

I-4.1 Gnosticism, abducted and defiled

 

In the time of troubles, at the cusp of the 19th-20th centuries, interest to Gnosticism suddenly reappears in the form of occult-mystic practices and acquires an extraordinary popularity in the circles of decadent and exalted intellectuals. However, this interest bears no relation to the true Gnosticism. This is the mixture of mind games, fascination with mysticism and gravitation towards thrills which are passed off as pursuance of knowledge. 

All kinds of hypotheses arise and multiply. About the secret succession between the Cathars and Masons via the Templars. About the secret connection between the Cathars and the mysterious “Holy Grail”. About the Cathars as bearers of “sacral knowledge” of the ancient Celts. There appear new societies like “spiritual initiations”, “Universal White Brotherhood” (1), Peter Deunov with his meditations, yoga and dedication to the Himalayan “babaji” (“sādhu” in Hinduism).  

 

              

Helena Blavatsky (wiki)                                 Peter Deunov (Качено от Hristo,wiki)

There appear mystics and pseudo-mystics professing succession to Gnostics, the lovers of esoteric and the supernatural, magicians and mystificators who used Gnostic symbols and names with extraordinary ease but in reality they emasculated the idea itself and never even took interest in it. Some of them obviously knew nothing about Gnosticism or were indifferent to it. This did not stop their followers from seeking and finding in their theories the “Gnostic hermeticism”, of which there were no traces. Helena Blavatsky (2) with her Theosophical Society, “Ancient Wisdom”, “The Secret Doctrine” and “Isis Unveiled”; “black magician” and “Satanist” Aleister Crowley (3), the author of “The Book of the Law” and “The Thoth Tarot”, the creator of the sect “Ordo Templi Orientis” who called himself “the Beast 666” and his daughter – “Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith”; Rene Guenon (4), who consequently converted to Islam, with his “Primordial Tradition”, the crazy and fancy eclectic mix of Daoism, Kabbalah, Hinduism, Buddhism, symbolism and Sufism – all these people, who remarkably were accredited with Gnosticism, bear the same relation to Gnostics as the Earl Cagliostro or Prince Borneo.

Jules Doinel (wiki) 

However, using Gnostic terms and symbols to create the veil of mystery, they at any rate did not declare themselves the followers of this teaching. The same cannot be said about the spiritualist Jules Doinel – “the Bishop of Montsegur and Primate of the Albigeois “, “Ennoia’s spiritual fiancé”, “Valentine’s incarnation”, “Tau Valentin II”, “the Bishop Ales and Mirepoix” (5). Or about Jean Bricaud – “Tau Jean II” and “Patriarch of the l'Église Gnostique Universelle” (6). 

It’s hard to say what prevailed here: spiritual quest, pretense, affectation, narcissism, a fashionable awe of miracles and occult, self-deceit or simply copying. Possibly, a bit of everything. But not all of these séances with visions, incarnations, Sophia’s revelations, engagements to Ennoia are a scanty and ridiculous parody of Gnosticism as a well-constructed and deep philosophical-religious system.

Carl Jung (wiki)

Carl Jung, without doubt, took a keen interest in Gnosticism and his treatise under a grandiloquent and pretentious name “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos” described by him as “Seven Sermons to the Dead, written by Basilides of Alexandria, the city where East and West meet” is the proof of this.  

However, he was wrapped up in the world of “secret knowledge”, alchemy, myths, occult symbols of the Antiquity and the Middle Ages just in the same way. All this intricately co-existed in his brain, as well as the brains of many of his famous contemporaries, including Martin Heidegger, with abominable quasi-scientific ideologies, such as the race theory. In his journal he printed the extracts from “Mein Kampf” and supported Nazis. This was a strange and garish mixture of occultism, rationalism inherent in absolute irrationalism, and intellectualism with a mystical underpinning has nothing in common with Gnosticism as a religious philosophy with its own interpretation of divine world, nature of Evil and Man as a hostage of a ruthless game of Cosmic forces. Gnostic symbolism is no more than a shiny spangle on his intricate psychological constructions meant to give appeal and extend a thread from own explorations to the “secrets of the ancient”.

We also observe the attempt to manipulate Gnostic teachings – absurd, contrived and at times even disgusting. The example is the “investigation” of Nazi archaeologist Otto Rahn employed by Himmler (7) who maintained that the Cathars were the bearers of the “sacral knowledge” of ancient Celts squashed by the Judaism-Christianity. Or linking Gnosticism with modern ideologies – communism and fascism – by the American philosopher of Austrian origin Eric Voegelin (8). There is no doubt that when intricate intellect and an artificial hoard are at work, anything can be linked to anything. One can maintain that communism rests upon the ancient Egyptian cults, and as an example bring the embalmed Lenin in the Mausoleum. One can attempt to prove that the Northern Europe is the ancestral homeland of “Aryans”; that the primitive tribes of Africa and Australia believed in one God and the ancient Maya civilization is the part of Atlantis which is connected to the Middle East. But this bears no relation to either religion or history.

It is obvious that Gnosticism in either of its versions never aspired to establish “heaven on earth” as the authors of modern collective ideologies tried to do. On the contrary, peace and harmony were acquired by a Gnostic through an internal escape from the palaver of material existence to an extreme individualization. Knowledge of a true, unltramundane deity and search for “Pneuma” in the soul. The purpose of a Gnostic is not in changing this world, and least of all at the expense of mass destruction and humiliation of his own kind, but in breaking through the boundaries of despicable flesh and finding the salvation in Pleuroma. Communism, Nazism and a present day Postmodernism are all ugly and reduced to absurdity derivatives of the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment about the liberation of Man via relieving him of social manacles and endowing him with material goods, on the one hand, and the cult of national state, on the other. Gnostic ideal raising Man over the “hitches” of material world, mercantilism, race or socium, does not have anything in common with these primitive theories.

These manipulations impel us to settle upon another principal moment before looking at the philosophy of Gnosticism from the heights of new time: humanism and rationalism laid down in the dualistic movements from Mani’s followers to the Cathars. 

 

1- “Universal White Brotherhood” - religious movement founded in Bulgaria in the early 20th century by Peter Deunov. Included oriental practices, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga;

2- Helena Blavatsky (1831 –1891) - an occultist, spirit medium, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875;

3- Aleister Crowley (1875 –1947) - an English occultist, ceremonial magician and poet, founded the religion and philosophy of Thelema, which main law was "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.";

4- Rene Guenon (1886 –1951), also known as Shaykh 'Abd al-Wahid Yahya, - a French author and metaphysic, wrote on metaphysics, "sacred science", symbolism and initiation;

5- Jules-Benoît Stanislas Doinel du Val-Michel (1842 - 1903), or Jules Doinel - an archivist and the founder of the first Gnostic church in modern times;

6- Jean Bricaud (1881 –1934), also known as Tau Jean II, - a French student of the occult and esoteric matters. Bricaud was heavily involved in the French neo-Gnostic movement;

7- Otto Rahn (1904 – 1939) - a German writer, medievalist and an Obersturmführer SS;

8- Eric Voegelin (1901 – 1985) - a German-born American political philosopher.

 

I-4.2 Equal in the face of Evil

 

Those Gnostic systems which existed throughout the centuries primarily differed in their extraordinarily careful, even touching compassion for living life. Not to kill a living being, not to cause pain to animals, and all the more not to torture or hurt one’s nearest and dearest – all this is characteristic of the Manicheans and the Paulicians, the Bogomils and the Albigensians. The killing of animals and birds was the gravest sin for the Albigensians, as before them the squashing of bugs was for the Manicheans, and, knowing this, to recognize “the heretic”, the Inquisition would demand of him to wring the neck of a chicken. The Cathars had no leniency for the crimes or payoffs like the indulgence – the consequence of murder, mutilation and insult was the banishment from community.

Second factor is a unique tolerance, so unusual not only for the Middle Ages but for human history in general. In these movements we almost never encounter male chauvinism, so typical of the monotheistic religions: let’s remember Marcion who allowed women to perform a christening rite on an equal basis with men, and the Bogomils’ women-preachers. The Cathars actually endowed women with full equality, allowing them to occupy the highest positions in the hierarchy of the Albigensians – “the perfect” (Perfects).  

The same attitude applied to the representatives of religious minorities – Catholics and Jews. Long before the beginning of the era of freedom and enlightenment, in Languedoc, Lombardy and Toulouse the Cathars established peace and the atmosphere of lenient tolerance for their spiritual opponents. The Church put on the Cathars and the Jews yellow crosses and yellow stars, having anticipated the idea of selection; burned heretics in fires, tortured, banished and demonized all discordants. During their rule the Albigensians did not create anything like the Holy Inquisition or make anyone adopt their beliefs, nor did they hound and humiliate the discordants or agreed to the bashing of the dregs of society. The subconscious fear of strangers was alien to them as a stranger was no more than the bearer of divine spirit in a slightly different and maybe uncustomary shell than themselves. Attachment to life with impending doom, pointless circumambulation, cold void and worthlessness united in their eyes all people, irrespective of what they thought and believed in.

Pope Innocent III excommunicating the Albigensians (left), Massacre against the Albigensians by the crusaders (right) (Wiki)

While in all European states and dukedoms the Jews remained for centuries the people of second-rate quality, and worse yet – “the Devil’s helpers” and “the accursed nation”, in the lands of the Cathars they were equal among equals. The historian Henry Charles Lea (“A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages”) tells about the freedoms which were used by “the sons of Moses” in the South of France – unprecedented in Europe not only in the 12th century but in all the forthcoming ones, including the Enlightenment (1). The Jews were allowed to own land allotments, they were free to choose any profession, including public service, held honorary posts, and most importantly – they were not perceived as fundamentally flawed and vicious people, doomed to suffering, as the church dogma kept maintaining. “Southern France was almost the only stronghold of religious tolerance as …the very idea of religious persecutions was completely alien for the Cathars”, Lea writes. 

This is to be expected. What does it matter in which body does a soul reside if human body is “the dungeon of evil” by definition? Can there be an advantage of one torture chamber over another, one dirty vessel over another? In any case these vessels will be broken, and the origin of torment – “the Creator’s closet” - destroyed. 

What does it matter about people’s delusions if they are no more than delusions themselves? What does it matter how they believe in their God and what prayers they offer up to Him if this God is a fallen angel, the origin of chaos, temptation and suffering? Can a human being who knows the true price of this frail world blame the miserable in their suffering and limitations? 

The third and no less significant point – the dualists were a lot more rational than their enemies. They rejected miracles, omens, resurrection of the dead, prejudices, superstitious beliefs and saints. They did not believe in sacrament or worship graves and icons. For them the conversations about “the Devil’s scheming”, incubi and succubae were absurd as the world itself ultimately was the Devil’s spawn. The Cathars could not use the expression “it’s the Devil’s work” as all physical and material nature was derived from the Devil as it is – Man should have realised this bitter truth. Unlike Christians, Judaea and Muslims, they did not or could not believe that the Creator intervened into the business of his creations every minute, punishing, helping, blessing, warning, comforting, etc. The very thought that the prayer with the plea to stop a drought will touch the Almighty and impel Him to pour rain on the ground was laughable for them. The one who created Hell and gave rise to the abyss under the name of material world could not feel any compassion for his victims by definition. And his interference itself into the business of humans was devoid of any meaning – the residence of evil was created so intricately and carefully that it did not require the constant presence of the Creator.

Jean Duvernoy (2), the most influential modern researcher of the Cathars’ history, brings as an example the sermon of the Cathar Perfect Pierre Authie typical for the Albigensians, which was   mentioned in the records of the Bishop of Pamiers Jacques Fournier’s Inquisition (3). Pierre Authie speaks disingenuously of the naive concepts of Christians and “the care of Holy Father”. “It was not God who gave you a good harvest but the fertilisation and watering of the ground”, he writes. (4). “Why are you lying prostrate before this statue? Did you forget that it was Man who took a piece of wood and carved it with the help of iron tools?” he tries to bring pious Catholics to reason (5).

Finally, the last point. The adherents of Gnostic movements understood human nature a lot better than Christians. Unlike Catholics, the Bogomils and the Cathars did not take the monastic vows in their youth, nor did they give the children away to monasteries because they realised that sexual desire in the young years is so powerful that it suppresses all spiritual aspirations and, if not realised, can morph into the most despicable perversions. They would practice abstinence in a mature age, after experiencing the joy of making love, creating families and having children. 

But the main factor differentiating the world of Gnostics from that of their neighbours is that the dualism in the perception of the world lead not to the spiritual dissention but to harmony – individual and, subsequently, social. Man felt a part of the brotherhood of the chosen – without the division into religion, appearance, sex, race and origin. Man was a hostage among other hostages of the triumphant Evil – neither worse nor better than the rest. This combination – aversion to the world and concurrent quiet, unrevealed delight coming from belonging to the higher Pure Origin – gave rise to intense joy, sombre composure, contempt for life and anticipation of speedy parting with “the worn shell” of a body.

The Cathars, like Gnostics before them, did not leave the world as monks. They remained “secular” – but not to improve the world, like Francis of Assisi, but to evoke it from their hearts. Like the bee – their symbol – they gathered bitter honey of knowledge from the inflorescences of the Spirit, growing from the depths of rotting Matter. 

The dust of history covered Gnosticism and the sparkles of pseudo-mysticism gave it a grotesque and false taint. However, Gnosticism forever remained the religious philosophy which dared to explain God and the world – however pessimistic and even ominous the explanation.

 

***

 

In the 20th century there were attempts to resurrect Gnosticism. Gnostic schools exist in Los-Angeles – headed by the philosopher and Jung’s follower Stephan Hoeller (6), and in other places. These are the faint and weak shoots of once powerful and influential teachings. But how possible and real is the resurrection of Gnosticism in the intellectual might, completeness and colourful diversity it had two thousand years ago? 

To have this happen, Gnosticism has to be reinvented. Reinvented and rethought in terms of not myth and esotery, but reason, rationality and logic. We matured enough for doing it from the point of view of existing experience and the perception of the world – the world that changed so much in the past millennia and at the same time essentially remained unchanged. We can be sure: Gnosticism not only did not lose its meaning but is extremely relevant, natural, intellectual and at the same time available for the perception without the veil of contrived and false mysteriousness – for anyone endowed with faith and sense of pain for the tragedy of Man and the world. 

We can and must try to evaluate Gnosticism, its meaning and idea from the height of the third millennium, in the light of the experience, knowledge and concepts which we have at our disposal. At current times, which are so similar to the Late Antiquity, when the humankind is wedged between the grindstones of irrepressible and unbridled hedonism and fanatical religious fundamentalism intolerant of live thought, Gnostic dualism reminds us about the other possibilities of spiritual choice and other dimensions beyond the existing ones.

 

 

1 - Henry Charles Lea (1825 –1909) was an American historian, focused on church history in the later Middle Ages and on the Spanish Inquisition;

2- Jean Duvernoy (1917–2010) was a French medievalist and translator who studied the Waldensians, and then, the Catharism;

3 - Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers (1280 - 1342). Famous for his Inquisition records which survived in the Vatican Archives after he was elected Pope as Benedict XII. He was the third Avignon Pope.

4 - Sermon of Cathar Perfect Pierre Authie (Inquisition records of Jacques Fournier);

5- Sermon of Cathar Perfect Guillaume Belibaste (Inquisition records of Jacques Fournier);

6- Stephan A. Hoeller is an American author and scholar.

 

 

THE CREATOR

 

 

CHAPTER II. The Creator in the light of reason

 

II-1.Lost in Darkness: from closet to hypogeum

 

Our epoch is the age of aggressive atheism - snobby and arrogant one under the guise of Reason and Science. It is known as “New Atheism” but in reality it is a continuation of famous Marxist “Scientific Atheism” asserting that there is no credible scientific or factually reliable evidence of the existence of God. 
The absurdity of the assertion lies in the fact that science has never denied the existence of the Supreme Substance and today gets increasingly more evidence in favour of God’s existence.

II-1-a. Science in the perception of the supernatural: “The laws of nature are essentially God’s decisions ... detected by a natural light” (Spinoza)

                 

Baruch Spinoza (Wiki)               Johannes Kepler (Wiki)                  Galileo Galilei  (Wiki)

 

 

Meaningless and ludicrous culture of denial for the sake of denial which has appeared as a protest against not so much God himself but religious dogma and prejudices in the era of the Industrial Revolution and in our times - against the modern Islamic fundamentalism which shocked the world 11 September. It is psychologically explainable but has no relevance to science. The first bearers of the “light of reason” were neither nihilists nor atheists. They saw human mind as the only means to understanding the truth, but the truth was inseparable from God, or at least did not remove the divine from the Universe. Science and faith blended with each other quite harmoniously.
Thinkers and philosophers of the 17th century regarded the Thought to be of paramount importance. Descartes’ words “I think, therefore I am” were the motto of this epoch. They did not reject God at all – they rejected the anthropomorphic God of Abrahamic religions, and it had nothing common in with atheism. God with all his inevitability was present in their Universe - identified with nature (Pantheism) or as an abstract entity, creating but excluded from creation (Deists).The supreme and the supernatural were not removed from life but the world and nature were perceived with the help of mathematical models and not with the help of images and suggestions. “Things could not have been produced by God in any other way or in any other order than is the case”, - Spinoza asserted this view of the world.
Descartes maintained that the criterion of truth is “the natural light of our reason” but movement and energy are the derivatives of God’s activity. But for the “first push”, there would have never been the Universe with its harmony and balanced laws; however, “the first push” could have been delivered only from outside by a powerful and inconceivable force whose name is God.
For Johannes Kepler geometry was the same as mathematics for Descartes: a tool of perceiving God and at the same time a proof of the harmony of the divine spheres. “Geometry, coeternal with God and shining in the divine Mind, gave God the pattern... by which he laid out the world so that it might be best and most beautiful and finally most like the Creator”.
Galileo Galilei hardly shared the Catholic dogmas but admired the world as a construction whose ideal design was created by the Great Mathematician: “I suppose the parts of the universe to be in the best arrangement, so that none is out of its place, which is to say that Nature and God have perfectly arranged their structure”.
Robert Boyle vehemently defended Christianity against pagans, atheists and the adherents of other faiths.
Isaac Newton was absolutely alien to dogmatism (“the great apostasy was trinitarianism”) but at same time he was a deeply religious man and admired an ideal creation of the Universe: “Such a wonderful uniformity in the planetary system must be allowed the effect of choice”. 
“A mathematician cannot be considered to be of a sound mind if he wants to measure God’s will with a pair of compasses,” - Mikhail Lomonosov wrote. 
The leading French Enlightenment activists were deists. Voltaire’s skepticism quite harmoniously blended with faith. Critical approach was directed not against God but against the Church and dogma. This is a fundamental difference which is ignored today.
Moreover, for some scientists the idealisation of Reason seemed questionable and even absurd. Imagination, wrote the great mathematician and philosopher of the 17th century Blaise Pascal, turns mind to its obedient servant and hostage that is kept in chains ruthlessly and deviously. “How ludicrous is reason, blown with a breath in every direction!” - wrote Pascal in his “Pensees”.
Man is faced with a terrible danger: the deification of himself, warned Pascal. Confused, abandoned in this incomprehensible world, full of absurd prejudices, biases and fears, Man can yield to the temptation of throwing God off the pedestal and putting himself up in His place. But who is Man to judge and make decisions?   
“For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed” (“Pensees”).

       

Carl Friedrich Gauss (Wiki)         Thomas Edison (Wiki)         Alexander von Humboldt (Wiki)  

II-1-b The Death of God

Pascal’s warning was prophetic. The faith in Reason ... obscured Reason. Disappointment with God mixed with immense pride. Indeed, if God created Man so miserable and doomed him to a pitiful fate, He deserved neither respect nor reverence. Moreover, He is a great Nonsense created by weak and ignorant masses. And this is despite the fact that Man has strength and intellect to turn the world around. The Industrial Revolution was the unprecedented achievement that trampled ancient superstitions in the dirt. It was a breakthrough brought into action not by the virtuous and humble but by the strong and free. 
From now on, Man not only did not need God, he was opposed to God and sought tools to crush His pedestal. From then onward, the categorical denial of theology and all things theological becomes “the symbol of faith”. A ram is directed not only against scholasticism, rituals and mentorship of organized religions but against all which is divine. The subverters of dogmas threw the baby out with the bath water. The militant atheism, which only recently had been the militant religion, became the only choice of an “enlightened man”. God had to “die”, and he “died”. “The Church of Atheism” came into the world. 
It was not natural. On the contrary, one could assume that getting to know the laws of nature, Man would be increasingly inclined to believe in the universal character of the global law which could not have arisen from the void and chaos of the Universe. Science does not oppose religion in any way. 
Moreover, the paradox was and still remains that the leading scientists never had been the atheists in the true sense of this word.
Carl Friedrich Gauss, “the Prince of Mathematicians”, was close to Deism and believed in the eternal life of the soul. 
Alexander von Humboldt could not be called a fervent Christian but he believed in a supreme force ruling the world, life after death and the divine origin of moral standards. “God constantly appoints the course of nature and of circumstances; so that, including his existence in an eternal future, the happiness of the individual does not perish, but on the contrary grows and increases”, - he wrote.
Darwin defined himself as an agnostic, not atheist: “I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. – I think that generally ... an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind”. 
Thomas Edison could be called what one wishes - a pantheist or deist - but not an atheist. His God was Supreme intelligence. “There is no such denial (existence of God); what you call God I call Nature, the Supreme intelligence that rules matter. ...I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt”.
Faraday belonged to the sect preaching the return to the original Christianity. Andre-Marie Ampere was a devout Catholic.
“Thus it is that order is maintained in the universe—nothing is deranged, nothing ever lost, but the entire machinery, complicated as it is, works smoothly and harmoniously … the whole being governed by the sovereign will of God”, - believed James Joule. 
Sir John Ambrose Fleming upheld the idea of Creation, participated in the establishment of Evolution Protest Movement and, like Descartes and Newton, believed that Cosmos and universal laws had been created by God. 
It was not the scientists who threw God off the Olympus. It was done by people who were very far from science: philosophers, writers, public figures and bohemians. And there lies the main irony of History and the Achilles' heel of the “Church of Atheism.”

 

           

Baron d'Holbach (Wiki)             Bernard Shaw (Wiki)                  Diderot (Wiki)

II-1-c The opium of a “mature man”

The logic of the founding fathers of “the Church of atheism” is based on a very shaky foundation. God is associated with an ideal world order, harmony and justice but as the world is so unfair, hostile, chaotic and even insane, God is deprived of the right to exist.
“How horrified would every devout Christian be to be told that every prayer is useless! How astonished would he be to be proved that the prayers he learned as a child are not only unacceptable before God but even insulting! If he be infinitely wise, wherefore disturb ourselves with our condition? If he be omniscient, wherefore inform him of our wants, and fatigue him with our prayers? If he be omnipresent, wherefore erect temples to him? If he be Lord of all, wherefore make sacrifices and offerings to him?”  - wrote Baron d'Holbach (System of Nature, 1770).
He is right. Perhaps, God is really indifferent to human prayers and pleading, but does it mean that God does not exist? Man on his life’s journey destroys thousands of small beings around him, not even stopping to think about their existence. Does this mean Man does not exist? 
Stendhal makes an unexpected conclusion: there is so much madness in the world than “God's only excuse is that he does not exist”. 
This is hardly logical. Madness with all its monstrosity does not mean that it is just the result of chaos. The original depravity is not the proof that the world has not been designed by some supreme forces, and that the people, the Earth, the planetary system and the Galaxy are just the consequence of an absurd coincidence.
“We are told that when Jehovah created the world he saw that it was good, what would he say now”, - sarcastically asked Bernard Shaw.
But it is quite possible that Jehovah created the world in exactly the way he was going to create it, and that the human civilization with all its abominations and stupidity caused by the aims of any nature, is a carefully planned and designed product. 
The term “good” does not necessarily relate to the well-being and happiness of Man. Perhaps it relates to a different purpose, hidden from us, in which Man with his ambivalence and unhappiness is secondary or even irrelevant?
“Faith and knowledge are related as the two scales of a balance; when one goes up, the other goes down”, - Schopenhauer stated categorically.
Similarly, one could be offered to make a choice between an eye and an ear. Just like eyes and ears that have their own, special functions, faith has nothing to do with knowledge. Faith relates to a way of feeling, and Knowledge - to the intellectual activity and brain capacity. Reason itself leaves us helpless, making us to believe in the impossible. Indeed, no one could explain why a cat is able to feel an earthquake or find a way to the house hundreds of kilometers away. No one can understand from the point of view of logic how an Indian yogi can voluntarily suicide using no poison, knife or gun, or how a Siberian shaman is able to stop the bleeding by a mere hand touch. Does this mean that we should deny the obvious, namely, the existence of certain life phenomena? Our knowledge is extremely limited and the world is much more complex than what we see, hear and feel. 
Atheists like to counter intellect and spirituality with dogmatism and limitations of faith. “Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality”, - asserted Feuerbach. 
Are these unfounded generalizations possible? Were the ancient societies of Greece and Rome less spiritual than the current culture of consumerism which has neither faith nor meaning? Or does atheistic materialism exceed in its spirituality the philosophical quests of Jakob Böhme, Meister Eckhart and ibn Gabirol and the craving for knowledge, characteristic of the deeply religious people of the Victorian epoch like Humboldt and Livingston? 
We do not know even the nature of sleep. We can maintain with certainty only that the human nature is flawed and unchangeable, that it seeks to create idols and fetishes and no social experiments could change it. 
 Like Voltaire, Diderot argued that religion prevented people from seeing a real world as, due to the fear of constant punishments, it forbids them looking. If he had lived till out time, he would agree that any system “stops people from seeing” as this aspiration presents a cornerstone the whole System is based on - whether it is an authoritarian regime, liberal democracy or theocracy. 
“It is childhood education that prevents a Mohammedan from having himself baptized. It is childhood education that prevents a Christian from being circumcised. It is the reason of the mature man that holds in equal contempt both baptism and circumcision”, - wrote Diderot. 
We watched “the mature man” discard baptism and circumcision, and saw the consequences which had followed. If the great French philosopher had been destined to see the realization of his wishes in the 20th century, he, who so valued the humanistic ideal, would have got baptized and circumcised at the same time to prevent this nightmare.
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”. This is a famous aphorism of Karl Marx – a confirmed atheist and a ruthless subverter of bourgeois romanticism and superstitions whom the left intelligentsia still continues to idolize. We saw what kind of metamorphosis happen to “the oppressed creature” when it is deprived of “the opium”. If he had lived a century later, he would have got the opportunity to experience first-hand the “heartless ways” in the Solovetskie Islands, tree cutting units or uranium mines. He would have heard not invented but true “sighs” of those who had been turned into a human dust on his behalf and in the name of his utopia. 
“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one”, - wrote Bernard Shaw, and it is really so.
The problem is that the sober man is not happier that the drunken one and that an atheist is certainly not happier than a believer. In any case, judging by the extent of spread of depressions and neuroses in the modern, quite well-ordered and prosperous world, one can certainly suggest that traditional believers are more self-sufficient if not happy. The need for psychotropic drugs among the Indians, Brazilians, Moroccans or the Ethiopians is much less than among the Americans or the French, and the Scandinavian countries and Japan, which at first glance present the realization of the human paradise dream - and not Colombia, Jamaica and Angola - lead the way in the number of suicides per capita.
In their rejection of the divine essence of the world people want God to behave and judge as they do. Moreover, they reproach God for the absence of compassion and generosity, neglecting of human woes and callousness. 
If God is neither great nor good, nor generous, nor fair, it means that ... he does not exist. 
But, paradoxically, God, who has been thrown off his pedestal by philosophers and writers, is miraculously resurrected by Science, under the blows of which the Church of atheism is crumbling today in the same way as the building of religion was crumbling under the blows of the Enlightenment.

As evolution became widely accepted in the 1870s, caricatures of Charles Darwin with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution (Wiki)

II-2.1 Evolution…which did not happen

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II-2.1-a A mystery which continues to remain a mystery 

Darwinism became the foundation of “scientific atheism” as it strived to prove that only the laws of Nature as the development of species (genetic variation) and the “survival of the fittest” (natural selection), and not the intervention of supreme force, are the essence of this world. Darwin's theory was enthusiastically taken up by those who sought to prove that humans evolved not from angels but monkeys. However, Darwin himself would hardly be satisfied with this state of things with his own theory at the end of 20th - beginning of the 21st century. 
It turned out that his theory was no more than a hypothesis, and a very doubtful one at that. What appeared the greatest achievement of the human mind in the 19th century is seen as no more than a play of imagination from the height of the 21st century. 
Darwin used to maintain: minor changes taking place over a long time lead to evolution, i.e. the transformation of simpler species into more complex and advanced ones. This idea should have been confirmed by the detection of numerous transitional forms during paleontological digs …but they were never found. In the 10th chapter of his book Darwin acknowledged this but explained such fiasco by “the lack of our knowledge in geology.” 
Such argument may have seemed convincing in the middle of the 19th century but not in the beginning of the 21st century. Excavations proved lack of existence of transitional species in the form of fossils. 
Moreover, “the small accumulating changes” in the structure of living creatures, which Darwin hoped to discover, do not take place either. Living species do not evolve but emerge, remain unchanged and then disappear as a result of changing circumstances. 
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils ….”, - wrote prof. Stephen J. Gould from Harvard University (1). -Paleontologists have paid an enormous price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study . . . The history of most fossil species includes tow features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change usually limited and directionless. 2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’”
“The record now reveals that species typically survive for a hundred thousand generations, or even a million or more, without evolving very much, - claimed Steven M. Stanley (The Johns Hopkins University) (2). - Darwin and most subsequent authors including G. G. Simpson have held that most evolutionary transitions occur within established lineages by phyletic gradualism guided by natural selection. But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition”. ..
Noted Swedish botanist and geneticist Dr. Herbert-Nilsson from University of Lund, Sweden, wrote in 1954:
“My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed.....It is not even possible to make a caricature of an evolution out of paleobiological facts...The idea of an evolution rests on pure belief” (3).
David M. Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, agreed with him:
“The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”. 
“Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it is not always clear, in fact it’s rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find” (4).

 

Luis Walter Alvarez (Wiki)

II-2.1-b Evolution or Cosmic catastrophe?

Some scientists, “catastrophe researchers”, headed by professor of The University of California, Berkeley, experimental physicist Luis Walter Alvarez, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968, with his son Walter, believe that the reason for the disappearance of the old species and appearance of the new ones lies not in the gradual degeneration and struggle for survival, but a cosmic catastrophe: the collision of the Earth with a giant meteorite. If this is really the case (and many researches tend to agree with this version), the Darwin's theory loses its meaning.
His opinion is shared by the Swiss scientist, geologist and осеоnographer Kenneth J. Hsu, Chinese scientist, geologist, paleoclimatologist, oceanographer, former Chairman of the Experimental Geology Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich claimed that “some of the most gripping and controversial geological discoveries of our time to blast Darwin’s claim and to shake the foundations of his evolutionary theory” (5). 
According to him, a meteor collided with the Earth 66 million years ago and destroyed it with previous forms of life.
Sir Ernst Boris Chain, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work on penicillin, called evolution a “hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts. These classic evolutionary theories are a gross over-simplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest. …This mechanistic concept of the phenomena of life... is a typical product of the naive 19th century euphoric attitude to the potentialities of science which spread the belief that there were no secrets of nature which could not be solved by the scientific approach given only sufficient time. There exist people even today who hold such views, but on the whole the scientists, and in particular, the biologists of the 20th century are less optimistic than their colleagues of the 19th century” (6).
From the point of view of Niles Eldredge, Curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, American biologist and paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972, “Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record” (7).  
Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge made conclusion that “At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the “official” position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Bauplane [i.e., body plans] are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record” (8). 
British-Australian biochemist Michael John Denton stated:
“His general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe” (9).
At symposium “Mathematical Challenges to the Neo­Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution,” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on  1962 Prof. Murray Eden of Massachusetts Institute of Technology said that “….an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery & elucidation of new natural laws - physical, physico-chemical, & biological” (10).
Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, French mathematician and Doctor of Medicine from The University of Paris concluded that “We believe there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology” (11). 

 

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