Gnosticism encompasses a very wide range of beliefs and is better viewed as a collection of religions sharing some common themes rather than as one specific religion. There are two basic components to beliefs commonly labeled as Gnostic, although the importance of one over the other can vary immensely. The first is gnosis and the second is dualism. Gnosis is a Greek word for knowledge, and in Gnosticism and religion in general it refers to awareness, experience, and knowledge of the presence of God. It also frequently refers to self-awareness, as one realizes and recognizes the divine spark within their mortal shell. Dualism, roughly speaking, posits the existence of two creators.
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Gnosticism pronounced NOS tuh siz um was a second-century religious movement claiming that salvation could be gained through a special form of secret knowledge. Early Christian church fathers such as Origen , Tertullian , Justin Martyr and Eusebius of Caesarea condemned gnostic teachers and beliefs as heretical. The term Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis , meaning "to know" or "knowledge.