Is Gnosticism Dualist?
I must say that the title is loaded. It presupposes something that is patently false. Historical Gnosticism is not a monolith. Neither is contemporary Gnosticism. Dualism can be defined where there are two opposites that never meet...God vs. Satan/Demiurge or Spirit vs. Matter. Almost no Gnostics hold the Zoroastrian view of a Good power versus an equal Evil power. God is often described as the All. God emanated all that is and all things will eventually return to that source. Some Gnostics were nature negative, sadly. These particular Gnostics saw the divine spark within everything but that it was trapped there. However and thankfully that is not the only view, and many if not most Gnostics today reject that view. The other view is panentheistic, that all things exist within God. The spark of God is there...the material universe is not bad but rather impermanent. Nature has beauty, but nature can be vicious as well. Nature can inspire us in the majesty of the sky at sunset. Nature can also take away the life of someone we love through disease or disaster. The Gnostic would agree with the Buddhist that life is filled with suffering. Where Gnostics take a different stand is that they say the systems of humanity are the product of the demiurge...a false god. The systems of privledge, power, wealth, and such oppress and create a system of have and have nots. They divide rather than unite. We believe that this is the demiurge. We also see the work of the Demiurge in world religions and even Gnosticism in any way that religion supports hate, exclusivism, and lack of compassion. So is Gnosticism dualist? I would argue that modern Gnosticism is not dualist. Our view of the world would be similar to the Taoist or Buddhist.