"Know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
A profound record of the changes in theology over the last 2 millenia are illustrated below using the words of none other than Christian "Founding Father", the great Father Clement of Alexandria.
The "truth", according to his description of the mysteries that lay at the heart of religious thought itself , are "arrived at through the understanding of nature using reason." This stands in stark contrast to modern Christianity.
"When we have fully realized our plans with respect to these notes [i.e., the Stromateis], in which, if the spirit wills, we will attend to the pressing need—for indeed it is vital, before coming to the truth, to lay out that which must be said as preamble—we shall move on to the true gnostic science of nature [γνωστικὴ φυσιολογία],16 having been initiated into the lesser mysteries before the great [τὰ μικρὰ πρὸ τῶν μεγάλων μυηθέντες μυστηρίων], so that nothing will be in the way of the true revelation of divine mysteries [ἱεροφαντίᾳ], our having completed the preliminary purifications and explanations of the things needing to be passed on and communicated. Thus, the science of nature according to the canon of the truth of the gnostic tradition, which is to say, the epopteia, begins with cosmogony and ascends from there to the department of theology [τὸ θεολογικὸν εἶδος].
"Accordingly, we shall make the book "Genesis", written by the prophet, our starting point for this account of the tradition - exposing in due course the doctrines of the heterodox and endeavoring as much as possible to refute them. For the time being however, it is necessary to turn to the subject at hand and finish the account of ethics". (Strom.188.8.131.52–4)
This passage distinguishes the great mysteries from the preliminary matters of instruction in ethics. These are the "lesser" mysteries. The greater mysteries involve the rational study of nature "founded on cosmogony and culminating in theology". And the result of that study is epopteia, which is the name given to the highest degree of revelation experienced by initiates in the Eleusinian mysteries.
So it appears from this that modern Christians who spend their days in churches having the world divided into "good or evil" "right and wrong" for them by priests with barely more education in matters of theology than they themselves, are also spending their lives in dedication to to a lesser concept of religious inquiry or theological training and thought.
Natural historians and scientists otoh, already know in their hearts that a thorough understanding of the natural world ---- arrived at through reason (not faith!) --- is a the way to understanding not only natural truth but also the way through which one arrives at theological Truth.
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