Universal Freedom Gnostics (UFGs)
A break away cult descended from classical Gnosticism. They believe the material universe is flawed and evil, the creation of a petty or evil god. Conscious beings are trapped souls from the spiritual realm, mired in this physical form. There is also a belief in reincarnation. These beliefs are fairly common in the myriad forms of conventional Gnosticism. However, the dramatic deviation of Universal Freedom Gnosticism is in the method of escaping from the material universe. Whereas most Gnostics believe that spiritual enlightenment can lead to freedom, the UFGs believe that as long as the material universe is capable of producing conscious entities, the cycle of rebirth cannot be broken. Therefore, they seek nothing less than the permanent eradication of all sentience from the universe for all time.
There are apparently several schools of thought within UFG as to how to accomplish this goal. Some seek the destruction of all civilizations. Others seek to maximize the entropy of the universe to usher in heat death. Some even seek the utter destruction of all mass/energy, though this last would seem to violate the physical laws of the universe as currently understood.
Some UFGs claim that their faith has been revealed before, and that some or all of the phenomena attributed to the Dawn Hunters are actually the work of ancient xenosophont practitioners of UFG.
What makes UFGs hard to spot is the simple fact that they do not appear to be monsters, but rather well intentioned sophonts whose beliefs have led to monstrous acts. In their personal lives, they appear kind and considerate, and are ideal neighbours. However, the biont members of the group eschew all sexual relations, and all members avoid any form of reproduction or creation of sentient life. They are rather blasÃ© about backups. They do not practice suicide, except to avoid interrogation, since this is no escape to them, but they often do create backups as a blind so no one will suspect them of UFG affiliation. The cult maintains itself by kidnapping new sophonts of all kinds (from bionts to vecs to AIs) and raising them as their own and indoctrinating them into the cult. The parents or equivalent progenitors of these young sophonts are sometimes "euthanized" in the process to hide the abduction. Though they are willing to kill countless sophonts in the pursuit of their objectives, UFGs are not malicious by their own standards, and they tend towards methods of destruction that minimize pain and suffering.
There have been several disasters in Terragen history that are thought by some to be the result of UFG activities, but few where actual proof exists. One currently popular conspiracy theory is that Verifex was actually UFG, and the Verifex explosion is part of the UFG master plan for the destruction of all life. Some say darkly that the appellation "Lucifer is" well deserved. Interestingly, some schools of Gnostic thought do honour Lucifer as the light-bringer, who revealed to sophonts their true nature and that the "God" of Eden had trapped them. Adding some credence to this rumour are a few failures of Emple-Dokcetic shields that have been tentatively linked by credible investigators to UFG sabotage.
This is one of the few groups outlawed by every civilization known to Terragen society. The Stellar Umma has decreed a fatwah of death for all UFGs, and the Negentropy Alliance has a standing shoot to kill order. The reception a revealed UFG can expect to receive in the other Terragen civilizations is little better. Even the Diamond Network recognizes this cult as an abomination, though it is rumoured that some elements among the "ahuman" and "antihuman" AIs have in the past have given aid to UFGs operating in civilized space.
- Cosmognosticism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Generic pantheistic or acosmist religious cosmology or philosophy popular in parts of the Sophic League which explains the universe in terms of a long series of emanations from a transcendent Godhead. Not world negating in the sense of classical gnosticism, although it shares the same baroque vision of spiritual planes of existence, gods, archetypes, and worlds beyond worlds.
- Cybergnosticism - Text by Anders Sandberg in Transhuman Terminology
The belief that the physical world is impure or inefficient, and that existence in the form of "pure information" is better and should be pursued.
- Escapist Gnosticism
- Gnosticism, Classical
Text by Glen Finney
Initially published on 31 December 2007.