The power of evil is manifestly stronger than the power of good….
Call me a Manichaen, after you look it up, but whatever I may think about God, my faith in the devil remains unshaken. He’s my guy. He rocks and rules.
The Manichaens thrived in all parts of the Middle East and North Africa, and as far away as China and Europe, from the third century onward. So popular were they that the church fathers tried to make people believe they were a Christian heresy. But their real roots are in the dualistic thinking of ancient Persia, stretching back to the prophet Zoroaster.
Their appeal was huge, however, and Mani’s culturally omnivorous followers availed themselves of all sorts of religious ideas (and possibly even Christian writings) in formulating their philosophy. In turn, the Christian gnostic sects used it freely and imitatively, so much so that it’s sometimes difficult to sort out Manichaen and “purer” gnostic forms of teaching.
Not to mention that even the most “orthodox” Christian…
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