Gnostic, Nag Hammadi, and Dead Sea Texts

Even as Abrahamic religions claim exclusivism, remnants of pagan cultures can be found not just in their present-day texts but more so in texts that immediately preceded them. We find masculine and feminine deities, reincarnation, and the personalization of nature in the Gnostic texts, Nag Hammadi texts, and Dead Sea Scrolls along with the teachings of new prophets such as Jesus. These were not considered mutually exclusive then. Exclusivism is a later addition to Abrahamic faiths to wash away the true antecents of Abrahamic faiths. An alternative ancestry and history was added to religion to make people forget their pagan ancestry and history and deny them the option of going back to their roots. Modern-day academics studying histories assume that exclusivism is natural for all religions when it is unique to Abrahamic religions. By normalizing the exceptional case, they do not explore how converts to Abrahamic faiths came from a different history and ancestry and had to whitewash their actual past. Without connecting Abrahamic religions back to pagans and eventually to the Vedic system that greatly influenced the pagans, the imagined originality and the supposed exclusivism of Abrahamic religions cannot be understood. Such understanding, of course, naturally falsifies the exclusivism.

We find numerous instances of Vedic cultural influence in Gnostic texts, Nag Hammadi texts, and Dead Sea Scrolls. Even if these are not identical to the Vedic system, the similarities with the Vedic system and contrasts to the other systems suggest that the Vedic system influenced them profoundly. They have thus far been considered parts of non-Vedic cultures when many of their ideas are similar to the Vedic system and dissimilar to later-day Abrahamic cultures. It is not unfair to say that the Abrahamic cultures moved away from their antedents which were actually similar to the prevailing Vedic system and therefore must be considered influenced by it.

A dialectical study treats a text as a response to something that existed previously. When dialectism is applied to Vedic texts, the historian claims that a supposedly newer text emerged from something that existed previously, as a response to the problems of the previous text(s). When a dialectical study applied to Abrahamic cultures, the historian claims that a supposedly newer philosophy, religion, or ideology emerged from something that existed previously, as a response to the problems of the previous philosophy, religion, or ideology. But this desire to find what existed previously, and produced something new, as a response to it, is not used when an Abrahamic historian considers something preceding and defining its culture. There, we see a desire to end dialectism and consider it a spontaneous beginning out of nothing and nowhere.

The fact is that pagan religions and their successors found in Gnostic texts, Nag Hammadi texts, and Dead Sea Scrolls are bridges between the Vedic system and what later came to be known as Abrahamic faiths. These texts include reincarnation, a hierarchical pantheon of demigods along with a Supreme Deity, the presence of feminine deities, and the use of mystical and rational approaches to spiritual upliftment, in contrast to the Abrahamic faiths that replaced all these religious ingredients with one prophet, one God, one book, and one path and demanded exclusive obedience to the above said prophet, God, book, and path.

Abrahamic faiths are defined by the depersonalization of nature, the removal of demigods and reincarnation, and replacement of merit-based upliftment with faith-based salvation. They replaced mysticism, philosophy, and piety by contracts with God. This did not occur in a vacuum. It rather occurred with the desire to marginalize other religions by opposing what they were teaching and practicing in order to wrest political, religious, social, and cultural power from them. The Abrahamic religions could not succeed by making minor changes to what others were saying. It succeeded by reducing what one had to give while increasing what one would get in return.

For instance, Abrahamic faiths promised to wash away sins by confession, that the faithful would rise to heaven despite their sins, and that the believers will receive material comforts and a good life by such belief. Each of these required serious change an endeavor in the preceding religions. All those endeavors were replaced by a far simplified belief in the benevolence of God without any change in demeanor.

This strategy operates by reducing what you have to give and increasing what you get in return, and can be called “buy one and get two free”. The desire to beat other religions led to the exclusivism of Abrahamic faiths, which we don’t find in preceding religions because they were not engaged in competition for followers, power, wealth, and influence but only in doing what would better their present and future lives. Abrahamic faiths promised this betterment without requisite costs and penances.

The reason that Abrahamic faiths look different from the Vedic system at present is because they were dialectially responding to other religions that were similar to the Vedic system by offering a reduction in costs along with an increase in benefits.

However, to tell this story, we have to connect Gnostic texts, Nag Hammadi texts, and Dead Sea Scrolls to the Vedic system where costs are proportional to benefits. The religion that claims to get far greater benefits for far less costs is not yet another religion. It is a system of lies and deception to cheat people away from the truth by promising to grant everything that a person wants without having to work for it.

New ideologies were born because people were greedy and lazy. Religion justified that greed and laziness by telling false stories of inherited sins and  salvation through mere conversion into a faith without any penance. They were promised luxuries gotten through theft from those who were not converted to that religion. Religion was used to justify murder and stealing. Unlike other religions rooted in the desire for salvation and truth, Abrahamic faiths were rooted in the desire for pleasure and power.

The Abrahamic academic does not tell this story because (a) it shows the Vedic system in much better light, and (b) it shows the Abrahamic faith in much poorer light. The Abrahamic academic uses dialectics within the Vedic and Western system, but never talks about how Western religions were rooted in the rejection fo all those ideologies that were either deeply influenced or lifted straight off of the Vedic system.