Discussion:
Pauline Christians
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Cloud Hobbit
2017-10-10 04:44:03 UTC
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Pauline Christians

Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie?
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason , Part I

Paul's inspiration was to bring Christianity to the gentiles. This inspiration seems to have come only after the Jews had rejected him. Nevertheless, it has won him a key place in the history of Christianity.

Paul was clearly an unusual and controversial personality. An Hellenic Jew, he seems to have been keen to establish himself amongst Jesus" followers. His writings in the New Testament reveal in him a number of less than admirable qualities: he generally comes over as a trouble-making, complaining, self-seeking misogynist who was clearly out of step with the 12 apostles. Of the many Christians regarded as trouble-makers, the one who caused most trouble was undoubtedly Paul. After his conversion he seems to have developed the knack of creating vast amounts of bad feeling. His visits to towns generally ended up in riots or plots to murder him. The usual picture was that he was at first welcomed into the community and invited to speak in the local synagogues. Sooner or later he stirred up hatred and dissent to such an extent that he was subsequently obliged to flee in order to save his life.

In Damascus he preached in a number of synagogues, and it was some time before anyone set about trying to kill him (Acts 9:20-24). When they did try, he escaped to Jerusalem, where Grecian Jews made another attempt on his life, so he was sent to Tarsus. Later, with Barnabas, he was welcomed into a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. Before long there was bad blood, and the two of them were expelled from the region (Acts 13:13-52). Off they went to Iconium, where they narrowly escaped death by stoning (Acts 14:1-7). They then fled to Lystra, where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:8-20). Later, in Philippi, Paul and Silas were charged with causing an uproar. They escaped a rampaging mob only for magistrates to have them flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24). Some time after their escape following an earthquake, they went to Thessalonica. Paul spoke in the synagogue there on three Sabbath days before the riots started, and the two of them had to escape to Berea (Acts 17:1-10). Off they went to a local synagogue and before long there was more trouble. Silas stayed behind, but Paul was escorted to distant Athens (Acts 17:10-15). Here the sophisticated citizens seem to have regarded him with bemused contempt, so he was soon on his way again (Acts 17:16-34). When he arrived in Corinth, he spent every Sabbath speaking, and was soon being abused and attacked once again. In Ephesus he spent three months speaking in the synagogue before the derision of the inhabitants defeated him (Acts 19:1-9). He stayed in the area and appears to have provoked a riot (Acts 19:23-41) before deciding to leave (Acts 20:1). He went on to Macedonia and then Greece where there was another Jewish plot against him (Acts 20:3). Later he again narrowly escaped death when the people of Jerusalem tried to kill him (Acts 21:27-36). He owed his salvation to his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:22-30). Next he was transferred to Caesarea in order to avoid an assassination attempt by forty men who, for some unstated reason, had taken a solemn oath to kill him (Acts 23:12-23). He ended up in Rome, where his citizenship failed to save him and he met the death that so many had desired for him.

Why Paul had such an effect on people is not easy to tell. What he said to cause such hatred, we can only guess. To a disinterested reader, however, Paul's personality would seem decidedly odd. He has visions that are suspect in the extreme. He gives three contradictory accounts of his conversion and claims divine intelligence that was denied to the apostles. He likens himself to an angel of God and even to Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:14). He believes, or at least claims, that he is being crucified along with Jesus (Galatians 2:20), and that he bears the marks to prove it (Galatians 6:17). He refers to an otherwise unknown gospel, which he refers to as "my gospel" and says will be used by God to judge mankind*. He hints, rather heavily, that he has visited Heaven (the third heaven to be precise — 2 Corinthians 12:2-6), and refers repeatedly to his visionary contact with the divine (e.g. Ephesians 3:3 and Colossians 1:25-26). He believes himself able to judge others at a distance, being present in spirit to try them. He can then pass sentence by means of a letter, condemning people to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh — presumably some form of unlawful killing (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). When Paul is jealous, it is not with normal human jealousy but with "godly jealousy" (2 Corinthians 11:2).

He seems to know nothing of the gospels, just as they seem to know nothing of him. Paul threatens, abuses and blusters, appointing himself as an additional apostle. He has no qualms about lying if he thinks that he is doing so for the greater glory of God: "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged a sinner?" (Romans 3:7). He also freely admits that he is prepared to become all things to all men in order to achieve his aims (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). His writings are threaded through with repeated assurances that he is telling the truth and attempts to deny implied accusations that he is not. He is known to have been ridiculed by other Christian groups. Some theologians have speculated that Paul was insane. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) described him as a morbid crank. Whether or not he was, he is by his own admission totally unreliable as a witness.

Paul seems to have known relatively little about the historical Jesus. He does not mention Jesus" place of birth, his parentage, or even when and where he lived. He does not refer to any of Jesus" miracles; neither does he mention any of his parables. There is no mention of Jesus" trial, nor even of the place of the crucifixion. This is probably not too surprising as Paul was writing before the gospels had been set down. He was operating in a vacuum, creating a new religion as his inspiration led him. He was a self-appointed apostle and spent considerable time and effort generating support for his interpretation of Jesus" message. It was Paul who first preached that Jesus was the son of God (Acts 9:20), a claim that in the gospels Jesus had never made for himself. Paul had not met Jesus during his lifetime but claimed to have seen him after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Such claims were met with scepticism: when Paul came to Jerusalem the disciples did not believe that he was one of their number (Acts 9:26). Educated people have continued to distrust him down the centuries. Thomas Jefferson called him the "first corrupter of the doctines of Jesus"*.

Only after his rejection by his Jewish brethren did Paul offer his version of Jesus" teachings to non-Jews. His first missionary journey introduced a version of Christianity to the gentiles for the first time. This was unpopular among the apostles, not least because Paul appeared to have no qualms about amending teachings in order to make them acceptable to non-Jews. His approach to the Jewish laws provides a prime example of how his teachings differed from those of the living Jesus and of the apostles. Although Paul was a Jew he was an Hellenic Jew. He knew that few gentiles would be willing to accept the Jewish laws, so his solution was simply to drop them. Not being able to claim that Jesus, or any of his disciples, had sanctioned this he was fortunate in being able to state that the gospel he preached had been given to him by divine revelation*. God had suddenly decided to change his mind about the ancient laws. Why he should have revealed these changes to Paul but neglected to inform either Jesus or Jesus" disciples is a mystery to which no satisfactory answer has been provided. The disciples were left with an unfortunate burden of cynicism about Paul and his claims. Gibbon sums up the matter. Speaking of the Jewish followers of Jesus he says:

They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of those frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary scheme intended to last only till the coming of the Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship; that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth, instead of authorising by their example the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies without suffering Christianity to remain during so many years obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church*

Following his visions St Paul gave assurances that gentile converts did not need to undergo circumcision as prescribed in the Old Testament. Not all Churches accepted this, but the ones that did found it easier to attract converts and in time came to dominate Christianity. Now only the Coptic Church still retains the ancient practice of circumcision (though it also became popular among Victorian Anglicans). Again, it was Paul who advocated dropping Jewish dietary restrictions, and again only the Coptic Church still retains them. Gentiles were prepared to accept Paul's new form of Christianity, and did so. Other Churches that tried to retain the traditional practices have since died out,: a confirmation perhaps of Paul's inspiration.

Paul continued to proselytize and spread his version of Jesus" teachings, despite continuing opposition. He had trouble not only with the Jews, but also with rival Christian groups. It is clear from his letter to the Galatians that he was in dispute with those who insist on circumcision (though he himself had had Timothy circumcised — Acts 16:3). His enmity causes him to become offensive. He goes so far as to claim that Christ will be of no value at all to those who do allow themselves to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2), and expresses the wish that those who favour circumcision should go the whole way and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12). In the space of a few verses of another letter he characterises them as unruly, vain talkers, deceivers, liars, evil beasts, slow bellies [lazy gluttons], defiled, abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (Titus 1:10-16). The rift seems to have grown wider and wider. He says quite plainly that he does not follow the Twelve in Jerusalem: "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"8. These, the original apostles, apparently preach "another Jesus". If we phrase this a little more neutrally we see that on the one hand Paul and on the other hand the 12 apostles were preaching different Jesuses. Later, Paul (or someone writing in his name) refers more dismissively to "false apostles" (2 Corinthians 11:13), whose Jewishness is specifically mentioned (2 Corinthians 11:22). In short he had fallen out with those who held what was then the orthodox line. Peter, it seems, had difficulties in reconciling the Jewish and Pauline factions. In the New Testament he is represented as being initially sympathetic to Paul's views, but then changing his mind after emissaries of James have had a discreet word with him (Galatians 2:12).

To the Jewish Christians the Pauline faction was a group of fickle marketeers, changing the unchangeable Mosaic religion to suit gentile preferences. For their part the Pauline Christians keenly felt the need to justify themselves as being the true inheritors of the ancient Jewish faith. This need to justify themselves continued for as long as the Jewish Christians were around and able to demonstrate that they were the orthodox believers. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew written around AD 160, Justin Martyr was still preoccupied by the need to establish the legitimacy of the Pauline line.

http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
Bob
2017-10-10 04:51:31 UTC
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Post by Cloud Hobbit
Pauline Christians
Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that
a man should tell a lie? Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason , Part I
Paul's inspiration was to bring Christianity to the gentiles. This
inspiration seems to have come only after the Jews had rejected him.
Nevertheless, it has won him a key place in the history of
Christianity.
Paul was clearly an unusual and controversial personality. An
Hellenic Jew, he seems to have been keen to establish himself amongst
Jesus" followers. His writings in the New Testament reveal in him a
number of less than admirable qualities: he generally comes over as a
trouble-making, complaining, self-seeking misogynist who was clearly
out of step with the 12 apostles. Of the many Christians regarded as
trouble-makers, the one who caused most trouble was undoubtedly Paul.
After his conversion he seems to have developed the knack of creating
vast amounts of bad feeling. His visits to towns generally ended up
in riots or plots to murder him. The usual picture was that he was at
first welcomed into the community and invited to speak in the local
synagogues. Sooner or later he stirred up hatred and dissent to such
an extent that he was subsequently obliged to flee in order to save
his life.
In Damascus he preached in a number of synagogues, and it was some
time before anyone set about trying to kill him (Acts 9:20-24). When
they did try, he escaped to Jerusalem, where Grecian Jews made
another attempt on his life, so he was sent to Tarsus. Later, with
Barnabas, he was welcomed into a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch.
Before long there was bad blood, and the two of them were expelled
from the region (Acts 13:13-52). Off they went to Iconium, where they
narrowly escaped death by stoning (Acts 14:1-7). They then fled to
Lystra, where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:8-20).
Later, in Philippi, Paul and Silas were charged with causing an
uproar. They escaped a rampaging mob only for magistrates to have
them flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24). Some time after their
escape following an earthquake, they went to Thessalonica. Paul spoke
in the synagogue there on three Sabbath days before the riots
started, and the two of them had to escape to Berea (Acts 17:1-10).
Off they went to a local synagogue and before long there was more
trouble. Silas stayed behind, but Paul was escorted to distant Athens
(Acts 17:10-15). Here the sophisticated citizens seem to have
regarded him with bemused contempt, so he was soon on his way again
(Acts 17:16-34). When he arrived in Corinth, he spent every Sabbath
speaking, and was soon being abused and attacked once again. In
Ephesus he spent three months speaking in the synagogue before the
derision of the inhabitants defeated him (Acts 19:1-9). He stayed in
the area and appears to have provoked a riot (Acts 19:23-41) before
deciding to leave (Acts 20:1). He went on to Macedonia and then
Greece where there was another Jewish plot against him (Acts 20:3).
Later he again narrowly escaped death when the people of Jerusalem
tried to kill him (Acts 21:27-36). He owed his salvation to his Roman
citizenship (Acts 22:22-30). Next he was transferred to Caesarea in
order to avoid an assassination attempt by forty men who, for some
unstated reason, had taken a solemn oath to kill him (Acts 23:12-23).
He ended up in Rome, where his citizenship failed to save him and he
met the death that so many had desired for him.
Why Paul had such an effect on people is not easy to tell. What he
said to cause such hatred, we can only guess. To a disinterested
reader, however, Paul's personality would seem decidedly odd. He has
visions that are suspect in the extreme. He gives three contradictory
accounts of his conversion and claims divine intelligence that was
denied to the apostles. He likens himself to an angel of God and even
to Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:14). He believes, or at least claims,
that he is being crucified along with Jesus (Galatians 2:20), and
that he bears the marks to prove it (Galatians 6:17). He refers to an
otherwise unknown gospel, which he refers to as "my gospel" and says
will be used by God to judge mankind*. He hints, rather heavily, that
he has visited Heaven (the third heaven to be precise — 2 Corinthians
12:2-6), and refers repeatedly to his visionary contact with the
divine (e.g. Ephesians 3:3 and Colossians 1:25-26). He believes
himself able to judge others at a distance, being present in spirit
to try them. He can then pass sentence by means of a letter,
condemning people to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of
the flesh — presumably some form of unlawful killing (1 Corinthians
5:1-5). When Paul is jealous, it is not with normal human jealousy
but with "godly jealousy" (2 Corinthians 11:2).
He seems to know nothing of the gospels, just as they seem to know
nothing of him. Paul threatens, abuses and blusters, appointing
himself as an additional apostle. He has no qualms about lying if he
thinks that he is doing so for the greater glory of God: "For if the
truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why
yet am I also judged a sinner?" (Romans 3:7). He also freely admits
that he is prepared to become all things to all men in order to
achieve his aims (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). His writings are threaded
through with repeated assurances that he is telling the truth and
attempts to deny implied accusations that he is not. He is known to
have been ridiculed by other Christian groups. Some theologians have
speculated that Paul was insane. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
described him as a morbid crank. Whether or not he was, he is by his
own admission totally unreliable as a witness.
Paul seems to have known relatively little about the historical
Jesus. He does not mention Jesus" place of birth, his parentage, or
even when and where he lived. He does not refer to any of Jesus"
miracles; neither does he mention any of his parables. There is no
mention of Jesus" trial, nor even of the place of the crucifixion.
This is probably not too surprising as Paul was writing before the
gospels had been set down. He was operating in a vacuum, creating a
new religion as his inspiration led him. He was a self-appointed
apostle and spent considerable time and effort generating support for
his interpretation of Jesus" message. It was Paul who first preached
that Jesus was the son of God (Acts 9:20), a claim that in the
gospels Jesus had never made for himself. Paul had not met Jesus
during his lifetime but claimed to have seen him after the
Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Such claims were met with
scepticism: when Paul came to Jerusalem the disciples did not believe
that he was one of their number (Acts 9:26). Educated people have
continued to distrust him down the centuries. Thomas Jefferson called
him the "first corrupter of the doctines of Jesus"*.
Only after his rejection by his Jewish brethren did Paul offer his
version of Jesus" teachings to non-Jews. His first missionary journey
introduced a version of Christianity to the gentiles for the first
time. This was unpopular among the apostles, not least because Paul
appeared to have no qualms about amending teachings in order to make
them acceptable to non-Jews. His approach to the Jewish laws provides
a prime example of how his teachings differed from those of the
living Jesus and of the apostles. Although Paul was a Jew he was an
Hellenic Jew. He knew that few gentiles would be willing to accept
the Jewish laws, so his solution was simply to drop them. Not being
able to claim that Jesus, or any of his disciples, had sanctioned
this he was fortunate in being able to state that the gospel he
preached had been given to him by divine revelation*. God had
suddenly decided to change his mind about the ancient laws. Why he
should have revealed these changes to Paul but neglected to inform
either Jesus or Jesus" disciples is a mystery to which no
satisfactory answer has been provided. The disciples were left with
an unfortunate burden of cynicism about Paul and his claims. Gibbon
sums up the matter. Speaking of the Jewish followers of Jesus he
They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity
had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to
distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no
less clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of
those frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the
perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as
a provisionary scheme intended to last only till the coming of the
Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith
and of worship; that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who
conversed with him on earth, instead of authorising by their example
the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published
to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies
without suffering Christianity to remain during so many years
obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church*
Following his visions St Paul gave assurances that gentile converts
did not need to undergo circumcision as prescribed in the Old
Testament. Not all Churches accepted this, but the ones that did
found it easier to attract converts and in time came to dominate
Christianity. Now only the Coptic Church still retains the ancient
practice of circumcision (though it also became popular among
Victorian Anglicans). Again, it was Paul who advocated dropping
Jewish dietary restrictions, and again only the Coptic Church still
retains them. Gentiles were prepared to accept Paul's new form of
Christianity, and did so. Other Churches that tried to retain the
traditional practices have since died out,: a confirmation perhaps of
Paul's inspiration.
Paul continued to proselytize and spread his version of Jesus"
teachings, despite continuing opposition. He had trouble not only
with the Jews, but also with rival Christian groups. It is clear from
his letter to the Galatians that he was in dispute with those who
insist on circumcision (though he himself had had Timothy circumcised
— Acts 16:3). His enmity causes him to become offensive. He goes so
far as to claim that Christ will be of no value at all to those who
do allow themselves to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2), and expresses
the wish that those who favour circumcision should go the whole way
and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12). In the space of a few
verses of another letter he characterises them as unruly, vain
talkers, deceivers, liars, evil beasts, slow bellies [lazy gluttons],
defiled, abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (Titus 1:10-16). The
rift seems to have grown wider and wider. He says quite plainly that
he does not follow the Twelve in Jerusalem: "For I suppose I was not
a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"8. These, the original
apostles, apparently preach "another Jesus". If we phrase this a
little more neutrally we see that on the one hand Paul and on the
other hand the 12 apostles were preaching different Jesuses. Later,
Paul (or someone writing in his name) refers more dismissively to
"false apostles" (2 Corinthians 11:13), whose Jewishness is
specifically mentioned (2 Corinthians 11:22). In short he had fallen
out with those who held what was then the orthodox line. Peter, it
seems, had difficulties in reconciling the Jewish and Pauline
factions. In the New Testament he is represented as being initially
sympathetic to Paul's views, but then changing his mind after
emissaries of James have had a discreet word with him (Galatians
2:12).
To the Jewish Christians the Pauline faction was a group of fickle
marketeers, changing the unchangeable Mosaic religion to suit gentile
preferences. For their part the Pauline Christians keenly felt the
need to justify themselves as being the true inheritors of the
ancient Jewish faith. This need to justify themselves continued for
as long as the Jewish Christians were around and able to demonstrate
that they were the orthodox believers. In his Dialogue with Trypho
the Jew written around AD 160, Justin Martyr was still preoccupied by
the need to establish the legitimacy of the Pauline line.
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
The non-elect are more likely to believe that story.

The chosen elect of God will never believe that story.

That story will have no effect on history as foreordained by God.

Nothing in God's plan will change.

Those who were predestined for Hell, will still end up in Hell, and
those who
are predestined for Heaven are still going to go to Heaven.
--
The unregenerate non-elect will always believe what another unregenerate
non-elect says, whereas the regenerate chosen elect will intrinsically
recognize what the unregenerate non-elect says as a lie. Therefore those
who were predestined for Hell, will still end up in Hell, and those who
are predestined for Heaven are still going to go to Heaven. Nothing in
God's plan will change. For by convincing other unregenerate non-elects
to believe his lies, he is fulfilling that part of God's plan that God
has predestined just for him.

Or, as the Gospel of John very concisely puts it:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the
door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the
gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep
by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he
goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A
stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do
not know the voice of strangers."
[John 10:1-5]
duke
2017-10-10 20:31:40 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Bob
Post by Cloud Hobbit
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
The non-elect are more likely to believe that story.
The chosen elect of God will never believe that story.
That story will have no effect on history as foreordained by God.
Nothing in God's plan will change.
But why are you the elect that refuses to follow Jesus?


the dukester, American-American


*****
The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine
and a good cigar.

G.K. Chesterton
*****
b***@gmail.com
2017-10-10 20:36:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by duke
Post by Bob
Post by Cloud Hobbit
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
The non-elect are more likely to believe that story.
The chosen elect of God will never believe that story.
That story will have no effect on history as foreordained by God.
Nothing in God's plan will change.
But why are you the elect that refuses to follow Jesus?
Roman Catholicism is a works-based cult.

Christianity is a faith-based religion.

You are not a Christian.
--
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules."
[Matthew 15:8, 9]
duke
2017-10-11 17:43:25 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by b***@gmail.com
Post by duke
Post by Bob
Post by Cloud Hobbit
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
The non-elect are more likely to believe that story.
The chosen elect of God will never believe that story.
That story will have no effect on history as foreordained by God.
Nothing in God's plan will change.
But why are you the elect that refuses to follow Jesus?
Roman Catholicism is a works-based cult.
Christianity is a faith-based religion.
You are not a Christian.
You just as soon go back and quote doc T. You've never learned the truth.

the dukester, American-American


*****
The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine
and a good cigar.

G.K. Chesterton
*****
b***@gmail.com
2017-10-11 17:48:43 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by duke
You just as soon go back and quote doc T. You've never learned the truth.
You haven't shown any proof.

You must be lying. Again.

That's not very Christian-like.

God hates liars.

Roman Catholicism is a works-based cult.

Christianity is a faith-based religion.

You are not a Christian.
--
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules."
[Matthew 15:8, 9]
Mitchell Holman
2017-10-11 17:55:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@gmail.com
Post by duke
You just as soon go back and quote doc T. You've never learned the truth.
You haven't shown any proof.
You must be lying. Again.
That's not very Christian-like.
God hates liars.
Roman Catholicism is a works-based cult.
Christianity is a faith-based religion.
If it is based on faith then it is
not based on fact.

But then, what do facts matter to
the faithful?
duke
2017-10-12 17:11:03 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by b***@gmail.com
Post by duke
You just as soon go back and quote doc T. You've never learned the truth.
You haven't shown any proof.
It's in scripture
Post by b***@gmail.com
You must be lying. Again.
That's not very Christian-like.
God hates liars.
Then you better go to confession.

the dukester, American-American


*****
The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine
and a good cigar.

G.K. Chesterton
*****
b***@gmail.com
2017-10-12 17:22:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by duke
It's in scripture
Still no proof. I believe you're lying.

Roman Catholicism is a works-based cult.

Christianity is a faith-based religion.

You are not a Christian.
--
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules."
[Matthew 15:8, 9]
duke
2017-10-13 17:49:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by b***@gmail.com
Post by duke
It's in scripture
Still no proof. I believe you're lying.
Doc t made a fool of himself.


the dukester, American-American


*****
The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine
and a good cigar.

G.K. Chesterton
*****

Africa-Has-No-Boss-But-Jesus
2017-10-10 15:42:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Cloud Hobbit
Pauline Christians
Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie?
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason , Part I
Paul's inspiration was to bring Christianity to the gentiles. This inspiration seems to have come only after the Jews had rejected him. Nevertheless, it has won him a key place in the history of Christianity.
Paul was clearly an unusual and controversial personality. An Hellenic Jew, he seems to have been keen to establish himself amongst Jesus" followers. His writings in the New Testament reveal in him a number of less than admirable qualities: he generally comes over as a trouble-making, complaining, self-seeking misogynist who was clearly out of step with the 12 apostles. Of the many Christians regarded as trouble-makers, the one who caused most trouble was undoubtedly Paul. After his conversion he seems to have developed the knack of creating vast amounts of bad feeling. His visits to towns generally ended up in riots or plots to murder him. The usual picture was that he was at first welcomed into the community and invited to speak in the local synagogues. Sooner or later he stirred up hatred and dissent to such an extent that he was subsequently obliged to flee in order to save his life.
In Damascus he preached in a number of synagogues, and it was some time before anyone set about trying to kill him (Acts 9:20-24). When they did try, he escaped to Jerusalem, where Grecian Jews made another attempt on his life, so he was sent to Tarsus. Later, with Barnabas, he was welcomed into a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. Before long there was bad blood, and the two of them were expelled from the region (Acts 13:13-52). Off they went to Iconium, where they narrowly escaped death by stoning (Acts 14:1-7). They then fled to Lystra, where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:8-20). Later, in Philippi, Paul and Silas were charged with causing an uproar. They escaped a rampaging mob only for magistrates to have them flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24). Some time after their escape following an earthquake, they went to Thessalonica. Paul spoke in the synagogue there on three Sabbath days before the riots started, and the two of them had to escape to Berea (Acts 17:1-10). Off they went to a local synagogue and before long there was more trouble. Silas stayed behind, but Paul was escorted to distant Athens (Acts 17:10-15). Here the sophisticated citizens seem to have regarded him with bemused contempt, so he was soon on his way again (Acts 17:16-34). When he arrived in Corinth, he spent every Sabbath speaking, and was soon being abused and attacked once again. In Ephesus he spent three months speaking in the synagogue before the derision of the inhabitants defeated him (Acts 19:1-9). He stayed in the area and appears to have provoked a riot (Acts 19:23-41) before deciding to leave (Acts 20:1). He went on to Macedonia and then Greece where there was another Jewish plot against him (Acts 20:3). Later he again narrowly escaped death when the people of Jerusalem tried to kill him (Acts 21:27-36). He owed his salvation to his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:22-30). Next he was transferred to Caesarea in order to avoid an assassination attempt by forty men who, for some unstated reason, had taken a solemn oath to kill him (Acts 23:12-23). He ended up in Rome, where his citizenship failed to save him and he met the death that so many had desired for him.
Why Paul had such an effect on people is not easy to tell. What he said to cause such hatred, we can only guess. To a disinterested reader, however, Paul's personality would seem decidedly odd. He has visions that are suspect in the extreme. He gives three contradictory accounts of his conversion and claims divine intelligence that was denied to the apostles. He likens himself to an angel of God and even to Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:14). He believes, or at least claims, that he is being crucified along with Jesus (Galatians 2:20), and that he bears the marks to prove it (Galatians 6:17). He refers to an otherwise unknown gospel, which he refers to as "my gospel" and says will be used by God to judge mankind*. He hints, rather heavily, that he has visited Heaven (the third heaven to be precise — 2 Corinthians 12:2-6), and refers repeatedly to his visionary contact with the divine (e.g. Ephesians 3:3 and Colossians 1:25-26). He believes himself able to judge others at a distance, being present in spirit to try them. He can then pass sentence by means of a letter, condemning people to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh — presumably some form of unlawful killing (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). When Paul is jealous, it is not with normal human jealousy but with "godly jealousy" (2 Corinthians 11:2).
He seems to know nothing of the gospels, just as they seem to know nothing of him. Paul threatens, abuses and blusters, appointing himself as an additional apostle. He has no qualms about lying if he thinks that he is doing so for the greater glory of God: "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged a sinner?" (Romans 3:7). He also freely admits that he is prepared to become all things to all men in order to achieve his aims (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). His writings are threaded through with repeated assurances that he is telling the truth and attempts to deny implied accusations that he is not. He is known to have been ridiculed by other Christian groups. Some theologians have speculated that Paul was insane. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) described him as a morbid crank. Whether or not he was, he is by his own admission totally unreliable as a witness.
Paul seems to have known relatively little about the historical Jesus. He does not mention Jesus" place of birth, his parentage, or even when and where he lived. He does not refer to any of Jesus" miracles; neither does he mention any of his parables. There is no mention of Jesus" trial, nor even of the place of the crucifixion. This is probably not too surprising as Paul was writing before the gospels had been set down. He was operating in a vacuum, creating a new religion as his inspiration led him. He was a self-appointed apostle and spent considerable time and effort generating support for his interpretation of Jesus" message. It was Paul who first preached that Jesus was the son of God (Acts 9:20), a claim that in the gospels Jesus had never made for himself. Paul had not met Jesus during his lifetime but claimed to have seen him after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Such claims were met with scepticism: when Paul came to Jerusalem the disciples did not believe that he was one of their number (Acts 9:26). Educated people have continued to distrust him down the centuries. Thomas Jefferson called him the "first corrupter of the doctines of Jesus"*.
They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of those frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary scheme intended to last only till the coming of the Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship; that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth, instead of authorising by their example the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies without suffering Christianity to remain during so many years obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church*
Following his visions St Paul gave assurances that gentile converts did not need to undergo circumcision as prescribed in the Old Testament. Not all Churches accepted this, but the ones that did found it easier to attract converts and in time came to dominate Christianity. Now only the Coptic Church still retains the ancient practice of circumcision (though it also became popular among Victorian Anglicans). Again, it was Paul who advocated dropping Jewish dietary restrictions, and again only the Coptic Church still retains them. Gentiles were prepared to accept Paul's new form of Christianity, and did so. Other Churches that tried to retain the traditional practices have since died out,: a confirmation perhaps of Paul's inspiration.
Paul continued to proselytize and spread his version of Jesus" teachings, despite continuing opposition. He had trouble not only with the Jews, but also with rival Christian groups. It is clear from his letter to the Galatians that he was in dispute with those who insist on circumcision (though he himself had had Timothy circumcised — Acts 16:3). His enmity causes him to become offensive. He goes so far as to claim that Christ will be of no value at all to those who do allow themselves to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2), and expresses the wish that those who favour circumcision should go the whole way and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12). In the space of a few verses of another letter he characterises them as unruly, vain talkers, deceivers, liars, evil beasts, slow bellies [lazy gluttons], defiled, abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (Titus 1:10-16). The rift seems to have grown wider and wider. He says quite plainly that he does not follow the Twelve in Jerusalem: "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"8. These, the original apostles, apparently preach "another Jesus". If we phrase this a little more neutrally we see that on the one hand Paul and on the other hand the 12 apostles were preaching different Jesuses. Later, Paul (or someone writing in his name) refers more dismissively to "false apostles" (2 Corinthians 11:13), whose Jewishness is specifically mentioned (2 Corinthians 11:22). In short he had fallen out with those who held what was then the orthodox line. Peter, it seems, had difficulties in reconciling the Jewish and Pauline factions. In the New Testament he is represented as being initially sympathetic to Paul's views, but then changing his mind after emissaries of James have had a discreet word with him (Galatians 2:12).
To the Jewish Christians the Pauline faction was a group of fickle marketeers, changing the unchangeable Mosaic religion to suit gentile preferences. For their part the Pauline Christians keenly felt the need to justify themselves as being the true inheritors of the ancient Jewish faith. This need to justify themselves continued for as long as the Jewish Christians were around and able to demonstrate that they were the orthodox believers. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew written around AD 160, Justin Martyr was still preoccupied by the need to establish the legitimacy of the Pauline line.
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
Sir, If you cannot figure out that the ONLY alternative to Paul's Christianity is Islam, you misunderstand the Scriptures, the polemics, in the Bible and the history of Christianity.............Leave the topic alone
Cloud Hobbit
2017-10-12 21:51:09 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Africa-Has-No-Boss-But-Jesus
Post by Cloud Hobbit
Pauline Christians
Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie?
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason , Part I
Paul's inspiration was to bring Christianity to the gentiles. This inspiration seems to have come only after the Jews had rejected him. Nevertheless, it has won him a key place in the history of Christianity.
Paul was clearly an unusual and controversial personality. An Hellenic Jew, he seems to have been keen to establish himself amongst Jesus" followers. His writings in the New Testament reveal in him a number of less than admirable qualities: he generally comes over as a trouble-making, complaining, self-seeking misogynist who was clearly out of step with the 12 apostles. Of the many Christians regarded as trouble-makers, the one who caused most trouble was undoubtedly Paul. After his conversion he seems to have developed the knack of creating vast amounts of bad feeling. His visits to towns generally ended up in riots or plots to murder him. The usual picture was that he was at first welcomed into the community and invited to speak in the local synagogues. Sooner or later he stirred up hatred and dissent to such an extent that he was subsequently obliged to flee in order to save his life.
In Damascus he preached in a number of synagogues, and it was some time before anyone set about trying to kill him (Acts 9:20-24). When they did try, he escaped to Jerusalem, where Grecian Jews made another attempt on his life, so he was sent to Tarsus. Later, with Barnabas, he was welcomed into a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. Before long there was bad blood, and the two of them were expelled from the region (Acts 13:13-52). Off they went to Iconium, where they narrowly escaped death by stoning (Acts 14:1-7). They then fled to Lystra, where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:8-20). Later, in Philippi, Paul and Silas were charged with causing an uproar. They escaped a rampaging mob only for magistrates to have them flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24). Some time after their escape following an earthquake, they went to Thessalonica. Paul spoke in the synagogue there on three Sabbath days before the riots started, and the two of them had to escape to Berea (Acts 17:1-10). Off they went to a local synagogue and before long there was more trouble. Silas stayed behind, but Paul was escorted to distant Athens (Acts 17:10-15). Here the sophisticated citizens seem to have regarded him with bemused contempt, so he was soon on his way again (Acts 17:16-34). When he arrived in Corinth, he spent every Sabbath speaking, and was soon being abused and attacked once again. In Ephesus he spent three months speaking in the synagogue before the derision of the inhabitants defeated him (Acts 19:1-9). He stayed in the area and appears to have provoked a riot (Acts 19:23-41) before deciding to leave (Acts 20:1). He went on to Macedonia and then Greece where there was another Jewish plot against him (Acts 20:3). Later he again narrowly escaped death when the people of Jerusalem tried to kill him (Acts 21:27-36). He owed his salvation to his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:22-30). Next he was transferred to Caesarea in order to avoid an assassination attempt by forty men who, for some unstated reason, had taken a solemn oath to kill him (Acts 23:12-23). He ended up in Rome, where his citizenship failed to save him and he met the death that so many had desired for him.
Why Paul had such an effect on people is not easy to tell. What he said to cause such hatred, we can only guess. To a disinterested reader, however, Paul's personality would seem decidedly odd. He has visions that are suspect in the extreme. He gives three contradictory accounts of his conversion and claims divine intelligence that was denied to the apostles. He likens himself to an angel of God and even to Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:14). He believes, or at least claims, that he is being crucified along with Jesus (Galatians 2:20), and that he bears the marks to prove it (Galatians 6:17). He refers to an otherwise unknown gospel, which he refers to as "my gospel" and says will be used by God to judge mankind*. He hints, rather heavily, that he has visited Heaven (the third heaven to be precise — 2 Corinthians 12:2-6), and refers repeatedly to his visionary contact with the divine (e.g. Ephesians 3:3 and Colossians 1:25-26). He believes himself able to judge others at a distance, being present in spirit to try them. He can then pass sentence by means of a letter, condemning people to be handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh — presumably some form of unlawful killing (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). When Paul is jealous, it is not with normal human jealousy but with "godly jealousy" (2 Corinthians 11:2).
He seems to know nothing of the gospels, just as they seem to know nothing of him. Paul threatens, abuses and blusters, appointing himself as an additional apostle. He has no qualms about lying if he thinks that he is doing so for the greater glory of God: "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged a sinner?" (Romans 3:7). He also freely admits that he is prepared to become all things to all men in order to achieve his aims (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). His writings are threaded through with repeated assurances that he is telling the truth and attempts to deny implied accusations that he is not. He is known to have been ridiculed by other Christian groups. Some theologians have speculated that Paul was insane. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) described him as a morbid crank. Whether or not he was, he is by his own admission totally unreliable as a witness.
Paul seems to have known relatively little about the historical Jesus. He does not mention Jesus" place of birth, his parentage, or even when and where he lived. He does not refer to any of Jesus" miracles; neither does he mention any of his parables. There is no mention of Jesus" trial, nor even of the place of the crucifixion. This is probably not too surprising as Paul was writing before the gospels had been set down. He was operating in a vacuum, creating a new religion as his inspiration led him. He was a self-appointed apostle and spent considerable time and effort generating support for his interpretation of Jesus" message. It was Paul who first preached that Jesus was the son of God (Acts 9:20), a claim that in the gospels Jesus had never made for himself. Paul had not met Jesus during his lifetime but claimed to have seen him after the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Such claims were met with scepticism: when Paul came to Jerusalem the disciples did not believe that he was one of their number (Acts 9:26). Educated people have continued to distrust him down the centuries. Thomas Jefferson called him the "first corrupter of the doctines of Jesus"*.
They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of those frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary scheme intended to last only till the coming of the Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship; that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth, instead of authorising by their example the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies without suffering Christianity to remain during so many years obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church*
Following his visions St Paul gave assurances that gentile converts did not need to undergo circumcision as prescribed in the Old Testament. Not all Churches accepted this, but the ones that did found it easier to attract converts and in time came to dominate Christianity. Now only the Coptic Church still retains the ancient practice of circumcision (though it also became popular among Victorian Anglicans). Again, it was Paul who advocated dropping Jewish dietary restrictions, and again only the Coptic Church still retains them. Gentiles were prepared to accept Paul's new form of Christianity, and did so. Other Churches that tried to retain the traditional practices have since died out,: a confirmation perhaps of Paul's inspiration.
Paul continued to proselytize and spread his version of Jesus" teachings, despite continuing opposition. He had trouble not only with the Jews, but also with rival Christian groups. It is clear from his letter to the Galatians that he was in dispute with those who insist on circumcision (though he himself had had Timothy circumcised — Acts 16:3). His enmity causes him to become offensive. He goes so far as to claim that Christ will be of no value at all to those who do allow themselves to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2), and expresses the wish that those who favour circumcision should go the whole way and castrate themselves (Galatians 5:12). In the space of a few verses of another letter he characterises them as unruly, vain talkers, deceivers, liars, evil beasts, slow bellies [lazy gluttons], defiled, abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (Titus 1:10-16). The rift seems to have grown wider and wider. He says quite plainly that he does not follow the Twelve in Jerusalem: "For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"8. These, the original apostles, apparently preach "another Jesus". If we phrase this a little more neutrally we see that on the one hand Paul and on the other hand the 12 apostles were preaching different Jesuses. Later, Paul (or someone writing in his name) refers more dismissively to "false apostles" (2 Corinthians 11:13), whose Jewishness is specifically mentioned (2 Corinthians 11:22). In short he had fallen out with those who held what was then the orthodox line. Peter, it seems, had difficulties in reconciling the Jewish and Pauline factions. In the New Testament he is represented as being initially sympathetic to Paul's views, but then changing his mind after emissaries of James have had a discreet word with him (Galatians 2:12).
To the Jewish Christians the Pauline faction was a group of fickle marketeers, changing the unchangeable Mosaic religion to suit gentile preferences. For their part the Pauline Christians keenly felt the need to justify themselves as being the true inheritors of the ancient Jewish faith. This need to justify themselves continued for as long as the Jewish Christians were around and able to demonstrate that they were the orthodox believers. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew written around AD 160, Justin Martyr was still preoccupied by the need to establish the legitimacy of the Pauline line.
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
Sir, If you cannot figure out that the ONLY alternative to Paul's Christianity is Islam, you misunderstand the Scriptures, the polemics, in the Bible and the history of Christianity.............Leave the topic alone
Amd if you cannot figure out that anybody's Christianity or islam or Hinduism or any other reelgion based on the belief in a god or gods is bullshit, then you are retarded.
b***@gmail.com
2017-10-12 23:14:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Cloud Hobbit
Amd if you cannot figure out that anybody's Christianity or islam or Hinduism or any other reelgion based on the belief in a god or gods is bullshit, then you are retarded.
Have you been drinking?
Ted
2017-10-10 21:48:29 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Cloud Hobbit
Pauline Christians
Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that
a man should tell a lie?
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason , Part I
Paul's inspiration was to bring Christianity to the gentiles. This
inspiration seems to have come only after the Jews had rejected him.
Nevertheless, it has won him a key place in the history of Christianity.
Paul was clearly an unusual and controversial personality. An Hellenic
Jew, he seems to have been keen to establish himself amongst Jesus"
followers. His writings in the New Testament reveal in him a number of
less than admirable qualities: he generally comes over as a
trouble-making, complaining, self-seeking misogynist who was clearly out
of step with the 12 apostles. Of the many Christians regarded as
trouble-makers, the one who caused most trouble was undoubtedly Paul.
After his conversion he seems to have developed the knack of creating
vast amounts of bad feeling. His visits to towns generally ended up in
riots or plots to murder him. The usual picture was that he was at first
welcomed into the community and invited to speak in the local synagogues.
Sooner or later he stirred up hatred and dissent to such an extent that
he was subsequently obliged to flee in order to save his life.
In Damascus he preached in a number of synagogues, and it was some time
before anyone set about trying to kill him (Acts 9:20-24). When they did
try, he escaped to Jerusalem, where Grecian Jews made another attempt on
his life, so he was sent to Tarsus. Later, with Barnabas, he was welcomed
into a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. Before long there was bad blood,
and the two of them were expelled from the region (Acts 13:13-52). Off
they went to Iconium, where they narrowly escaped death by stoning (Acts
14:1-7). They then fled to Lystra, where Paul was stoned and left for
dead (Acts 14:8-20). Later, in Philippi, Paul and Silas were charged with
causing an uproar. They escaped a rampaging mob only for magistrates to
have them flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:16-24). Some time after their
escape following an earthquake, they went to Thessalonica. Paul spoke in
the synagogue there on three Sabbath days before the riots started, and
the two of them had to escape to Berea (Acts 17:1-10). Off they went to a
local synagogue and before long there was more trouble. Silas stayed
behind, but Paul was escorted to distant Athens (Acts 17:10-15). Here the
sophisticated citizens seem to have regarded him with bemused contempt,
so he was soon on his way again (Acts 17:16-34). When he arrived in
Corinth, he spent every Sabbath speaking, and was soon being abused and
attacked once again. In Ephesus he spent three months speaking in the
synagogue before the derision of the inhabitants defeated him (Acts
19:1-9). He stayed in the area and appears to have provoked a riot (Acts
19:23-41) before deciding to leave (Acts 20:1). He went on to Macedonia
and then Greece where there was another Jewish plot against him (Acts
20:3). Later he again narrowly escaped death when the people of Jerusalem
tried to kill him (Acts 21:27-36). He owed his salvation to his Roman
citizenship (Acts 22:22-30). Next he was transferred to Caesarea in order
to avoid an assassination attempt by forty men who, for some unstated
reason, had taken a solemn oath to kill him (Acts 23:12-23). He ended up
in Rome, where his citizenship failed to save him and he met the death
that so many had desired for him.
Why Paul had such an effect on people is not easy to tell. What he said
to cause such hatred, we can only guess. To a disinterested reader,
however, Paul's personality would seem decidedly odd. He has visions that
are suspect in the extreme. He gives three contradictory accounts of his
conversion and claims divine intelligence that was denied to the
apostles. He likens himself to an angel of God and even to Jesus Christ
(Galatians 4:14). He believes, or at least claims, that he is being
crucified along with Jesus (Galatians 2:20), and that he bears the marks
to prove it (Galatians 6:17). He refers to an otherwise unknown gospel,
which he refers to as "my gospel" and says will be used by God to judge
mankind*. He hints, rather heavily, that he has visited Heaven (the third
heaven to be precise — 2 Corinthians 12:2-6), and refers repeatedly to
his visionary contact with the divine (e.g. Ephesians 3:3 and Colossians
1:25-26). He believes himself able to judge others at a distance, being
present in spirit to try them. He can then pass sentence by means of a
letter, condemning people to be handed over to Satan for the destruction
of the flesh — presumably some form of unlawful killing (1 Corinthians
5:1-5). When Paul is jealous, it is not with normal human jealousy but
with "godly jealousy" (2 Corinthians 11:2).
He seems to know nothing of the gospels, just as they seem to know
nothing of him. Paul threatens, abuses and blusters, appointing himself
as an additional apostle. He has no qualms about lying if he thinks that
he is doing so for the greater glory of God: "For if the truth of God
hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also
judged a sinner?" (Romans 3:7). He also freely admits that he is prepared
to become all things to all men in order to achieve his aims (1
Corinthians 9:22-23). His writings are threaded through with repeated
assurances that he is telling the truth and attempts to deny implied
accusations that he is not. He is known to have been ridiculed by other
Christian groups. Some theologians have speculated that Paul was insane.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) described him as a morbid crank. Whether
or not he was, he is by his own admission totally unreliable as a witness.
Paul seems to have known relatively little about the historical Jesus. He
does not mention Jesus" place of birth, his parentage, or even when and
where he lived. He does not refer to any of Jesus" miracles; neither does
he mention any of his parables. There is no mention of Jesus" trial, nor
even of the place of the crucifixion. This is probably not too surprising
as Paul was writing before the gospels had been set down. He was
operating in a vacuum, creating a new religion as his inspiration led
him. He was a self-appointed apostle and spent considerable time and
effort generating support for his interpretation of Jesus" message. It
was Paul who first preached that Jesus was the son of God (Acts 9:20), a
claim that in the gospels Jesus had never made for himself. Paul had not
met Jesus during his lifetime but claimed to have seen him after the
Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Such claims were met with
scepticism: when Paul came to Jerusalem the disciples did not believe
that he was one of their number (Acts 9:26). Educated people have
continued to distrust him down the centuries. Thomas Jefferson called him
the "first corrupter of the doctines of Jesus"*.
Only after his rejection by his Jewish brethren did Paul offer his
version of Jesus" teachings to non-Jews. His first missionary journey
introduced a version of Christianity to the gentiles for the first time.
This was unpopular among the apostles, not least because Paul appeared to
have no qualms about amending teachings in order to make them acceptable
to non-Jews. His approach to the Jewish laws provides a prime example of
how his teachings differed from those of the living Jesus and of the
apostles. Although Paul was a Jew he was an Hellenic Jew. He knew that
few gentiles would be willing to accept the Jewish laws, so his solution
was simply to drop them. Not being able to claim that Jesus, or any of
his disciples, had sanctioned this he was fortunate in being able to
state that the gospel he preached had been given to him by divine
revelation*. God had suddenly decided to change his mind about the
ancient laws. Why he should have revealed these changes to Paul but
neglected to inform either Jesus or Jesus" disciples is a mystery to
which no satisfactory answer has been provided. The disciples were left
with an unfortunate burden of cynicism about Paul and his claims. Gibbon
They affirmed that if the Being who is the same through all eternity
had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to
distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less
clear and solemn than their first promulgation; that, instead of those
frequent declarations which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of
the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary
scheme intended to last only till the coming of the Messiah, who should
instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship; that the
Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth,
instead of authorising by their example the most minute observances of
the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those
useless and obsolete ceremonies without suffering Christianity to remain
during so many years obscurely confounded among the sects of the Jewish church*
Following his visions St Paul gave assurances that gentile converts did
not need to undergo circumcision as prescribed in the Old Testament. Not
all Churches accepted this, but the ones that did found it easier to
attract converts and in time came to dominate Christianity. Now only the
Coptic Church still retains the ancient practice of circumcision (though
it also became popular among Victorian Anglicans). Again, it was Paul who
advocated dropping Jewish dietary restrictions, and again only the Coptic
Church still retains them. Gentiles were prepared to accept Paul's new
form of Christianity, and did so. Other Churches that tried to retain the
traditional practices have since died out,: a confirmation perhaps of Paul's inspiration.
Paul continued to proselytize and spread his version of Jesus" teachings,
despite continuing opposition. He had trouble not only with the Jews, but
also with rival Christian groups. It is clear from his letter to the
Galatians that he was in dispute with those who insist on circumcision
(though he himself had had Timothy circumcised — Acts 16:3). His enmity
causes him to become offensive. He goes so far as to claim that Christ
will be of no value at all to those who do allow themselves to be
circumcised (Galatians 5:2), and expresses the wish that those who favour
circumcision should go the whole way and castrate themselves (Galatians
5:12). In the space of a few verses of another letter he characterises
them as unruly, vain talkers, deceivers, liars, evil beasts, slow bellies
[lazy gluttons], defiled, abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (Titus
1:10-16). The rift seems to have grown wider and wider. He says quite
plainly that he does not follow the Twelve in Jerusalem: "For I suppose I
was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles"8. These, the original
apostles, apparently preach "another Jesus". If we phrase this a little
more neutrally we see that on the one hand Paul and on the other hand the
12 apostles were preaching different Jesuses. Later, Paul (or someone
writing in his name) refers more dismissively to "false apostles" (2
Corinthians 11:13), whose Jewishness is specifically mentioned (2
Corinthians 11:22). In short he had fallen out with those who held what
was then the orthodox line. Peter, it seems, had difficulties in
reconciling the Jewish and Pauline factions. In the New Testament he is
represented as being initially sympathetic to Paul's views, but then
changing his mind after emissaries of James have had a discreet word with
him (Galatians 2:12).
To the Jewish Christians the Pauline faction was a group of fickle
marketeers, changing the unchangeable Mosaic religion to suit gentile
preferences. For their part the Pauline Christians keenly felt the need
to justify themselves as being the true inheritors of the ancient Jewish
faith. This need to justify themselves continued for as long as the
Jewish Christians were around and able to demonstrate that they were the
orthodox believers. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew written around AD
160, Justin Martyr was still preoccupied by the need to establish the
legitimacy of the Pauline line.
http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/bb0_paul.htm
Thanks for sharing that, Cloud.
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