The Gnostics comes from the Greek work Gnosis, or Knowledge. And for many century, being the great caretakers of the Library of Alexandria, they had access to all available knowledge.
The Gnostics than took this a step further in their religious lives by taking only the highest wisdom and only the best information available as the bases of their religious experimentation.
What achieved the best desired results based on their spiritual quest for knowledge from within was kept; and the rest put on the shelf for later investigation and rediscovery.
When other institutions began achieving better results, than the Gnostics would take that application and apply it; even going as far as replacing an older model with the up to date one.
The Gnostics strive for higher levels of Knowledge by fusing Scientific Method to occult knowledge combined with their innovative spirit made them one of the best Religions of all time.
This is not to be confused with Agnostics; who aren’t sure if a God exists or doesn’t exist. A true Gnostic would not agree or disagree with that notion; and would probably point out the pros and cons of each system. And find ways to not only improve upon them but also how to navigate each state into reaching even higher states of Consciousness.
The Gnostics today are the reborn reflection of the Earlier Gnostics whose Persian origins would have been influenced by Indian Occultism, Zoroastrianism; and other religions such as Christian Mysticism, Platonism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Today, the Gnostics stand firmly as a Early Christian/ Semi Pagan alternative to mainstream Christianity. And quite possibly, the best.