Christ is the true Light of the world, but there is another, false light which ultimately leads one only into darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world… yet the world knew him not.” (Jn 1: 5;9,10) And the reason it knew him not is because there has always been a competing, mendacious light in the world designed only to lead men astray. In the 18th century vicious pirates would sometimes light a fire at night along some rocky patch of shoreline hoping to lure unsuspecting ships to their destruction on the jagged shoals. Just so, the false light which the ancient enemy of God sets up as a guiding beacon is actually intended to lure unsuspecting souls into ruin on the spiritual shoals.
Such false beacons have taken various forms over the millennia, and one of the more dangerous of these deceptive “lights” has long been Gnosticism. Gnostic comes from a Greek word for knowledge, and Gnosticism encourages the notion that some secret learning or knowledge will somehow provide one the key to success and happiness. It treats the “light of reason” in the same way, as indeed a replacement for the Christian “light of faith.” Reason and knowledge is what will free one from this broken world of pain and evil. Sin is no longer a moral fault but merely the effect of ignorance. Spiritually this is a deadly notion because it deflects our attention away from combating sin, the real root cause of our unhappiness, and redirects the will to fighting other things like poverty and ignorance which are only the symptoms, not the real root of human problems.