By Monique Farha and Jessica Tiber
Manichaeism was founded by a Persian man, named Mani. It is a religion that combines multiple other religions, such as Babylonian folklore, some Christian elements, parts of Buddhism, and mainly Dualism. Dualism is the theory of two eternal principles, good and evil, existing in one being. The belief is that the body is bad and the soul is good.
Manichees believe in Mani’s cosmogony. Mani’s cosmogony is the idea that before the existence of Heaven and Earth and everything else, there were two principles, one being good, and the other bad. The good principle is in the realm of light and called the Father of Majesty. The light world has one limit, the realm of Darkness, bordering the realm of light. The ruler of dark is parallel to the ruler of light and is called the King of Darkness. Out of these two realms came life, heaven, earth, and all other things.
Manichaeism believes that Naimrael, a female, and Ashaklun, a male devil had Adam and Eve. In Adam’s body there was a vast number of germs of light. The Powers of Light sent a savior, Jesus. Jesus made Adam stand up and taste the tree of life. Adam then got angered, tore his hair and pounded his chest and said “cursed be the creator of body and he who bound soul and they who have made me their slave.” Therefore man’s duty is to keep his body pure from all stain by practicing self-denial and to help in the purification throughout the universe. This theory is in keeping with cosmogony and dualism.
Manichaeism’s beliefs are very different from Christianity. Christianity believes that God is omnipotent, but Manichaeism believes that God is not omnipotent. Manichaeism believes in dualism.
While Manichaeism believes that the world is radically evil and that life is painful, Theology of the Body discusses the inherent goodness of life and the human body. Manichaeism believes that babies are bad, and Theology of the Body argues that babies are good.