|Blog Home||Cathar Beliefs|
CATHAR BELIEFS (unknown source)|
Cathar cosmology identified two twin, opposing deities. The first was a good God, portrayed in the New Testament and creator of the spirit, while the second was an evil God, depicted in the Old Testament and creator of matter and the physical world. The latter, often called Rex Mundi ("King of the World"), was identified as the God of Judaism, and was also either conflated with Satan or considered Satan's father, creator or seducer.
They solved the problem of evil by stating that the good God's power to do good was limited by the evil God's works and vice versa. All visible matter, including the human body, was created by this Rex Mundi; matter was therefore tainted with sin. Under this view, humans were actually angels seduced by Satan before a war in heaven against the army of Michael, after which they would have been forced to spend an eternity trapped in the evil God's material realm. The Cathars taught that to regain angelic status one had to renounce the material self completely. Until one was prepared to do so, they would be stuck in a cycle of reincarnation, condemned to live on the corrupt Earth. Zoé Oldenbourg compared the Cathars to "Western Buddhists" because she considered that their view of the doctrine of "resurrection" taught by Christ was similar to the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth.
Cathars venerated Jesus Christ and followed what they considered to be His true teachings, labelling themselves as "Good Christians". However, they denied His physical incarnation. Authors believe that their conception of Jesus resembled docetism, believing Him the human form of an angel, whose physical body was only an appearance. This illusory form would have possibly been given by the Virgin Mary, another angel in human form. The Cathars firmly rejected the Resurrection of Jesus, seeing it as representing reincarnation, and the Christian symbol of the cross, considering it to be not more than a material instrument of torture and evil.
Cathar beliefs ultimately derived from the Persian religion of Manichaeism but directly from another earlier religious sect from Bulgaria known as the Bogomils who blended Manichaeism with Christianity.