The Greek gnosis is more than conventional wisdom. It declares something as truly understood, and to truly understand something one must directly experience it. In other words, it isn’t enough to read a book on how to meditate, one must put it to practice (experiencing the process.)
Religions may teach techniques, like prayer, meditation or other practices. These practices, may give direct experience and insight (gnosis.) But there is something else added, and what’s added is the problem. Religion adds the element of dogma.
Religions rarely allow the individual to come to their own direct perceptions of truth. Instead truth is handed down. One obeys, without question, and perhaps finds some comfort in the dogma and ritual. What is lost is gnosis. If one’s direct experience (while in prayer or meditation) produces an idea contrary to the dogma, it would be dismissed. Likewise, strict adherence to dogma insures influences the outcome of practice.
Ever notice how one’s direct experience with a near-death-experience coincidently resonates with their dogmatic faith? The protestant has one experience, the catholic another, and the muslim something else, yet each is true to their own dogma. This is the conditioning effect of dogma, that it can color and determine the outcome of the experience.
In the modern work, Liber Nigri Solis it reads, “gnosis is the death of faith and the birth of power.” These are very true words. To directly experience something (without conditioning influence) removes the need for faith. No longer does one “hope for something to be true,” but rather knows it on a very deep level. In this way gnosis is the death of faith. As for power, direct experience connects to the deepest and truest power we can ever know.
For these reasons I contend that there is no gnosis in religion. One may utilize religion for insight and experience, but it can not become the gatekeeper of your truth. The only truth is what you experience directly and all barriers to that to be noted and overcome.