Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
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20-05-2014, 01:49 PM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 01:22 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 12:22 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Suck it up big boy and apologize.

I haven't read a single post from your which is more than a line long and doesn't contain some sort of insult.

A bunch of flags and what you think is some sort of pithy tag are no substitute for 1) manners, 2) the ability to think rather than just spout and 3) the ability to type with more than two fingers.

Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, Ralph Ellis, GaspGaspGaspGasp
Drinking Beverage
Laugh out load

I rate DB is Ralphie Drinking Beverage

I think the FT ought to check that out. Thumbsup

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-05-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 01:22 PM)morondog Wrote:  I rate DB is Ralphie Drinking Beverage

I think the FT ought to check that out. Thumbsup

Chas, you know full well that I don't have any checking power.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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20-05-2014, 06:18 PM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 04:55 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 01:49 PM)Chas Wrote:  I think the FT ought to check that out. Thumbsup

Chas, you know full well that I don't have any checking power.

Sorry, you are no longer the FT - not since Freethought signed up. Also Freethinker, Freethinker2, ...

You're just another FT.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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20-05-2014, 06:40 PM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 06:18 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 04:55 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  Chas, you know full well that I don't have any checking power.

Sorry, you are no longer the FT - not since Freethought signed up. Also Freethinker, Freethinker2, ...

You're just another FT.

You raise an excellent point, however, fuck you; I am the Alpha.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
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20-05-2014, 07:06 PM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 06:40 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 06:18 PM)Chas Wrote:  Sorry, you are no longer the FT - not since Freethought signed up. Also Freethinker, Freethinker2, ...

You're just another FT.

You raise an excellent point, however, fuck you; I am the Alpha.

But I am P/F there for unique, and there for above Alpha.Big Grin

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21-05-2014, 12:41 AM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 07:06 PM)ThePaleolithicFreethinker Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 06:40 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  You raise an excellent point, however, fuck you; I am the Alpha.

But I am P/F there for unique, and there for above Alpha.Big Grin

therefore*

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21-05-2014, 03:35 AM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 07:54 AM)John Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 04:35 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "My actual view is that Christianity is a product of Jewish sectarian thinking"

Ah....no. Most definitely no. Go back and do some reading about Jewish beliefs. Digest the following...

Here’s the historical reality. Devout Jews (such as the Nazarenes) despised Paul (the true founder of Christianity) and rejected his ramblings. The idea that their mysterious, perfect, one and only God could be incarnated in a Christ was unthinkable to them. They couldn’t imagine that their God could die, or that a Christ’s death somehow addressed man’s sins. For them the kingdom of God promised in scripture never was in a hypothetical heaven, but was to be on earth in the here and now. Their messiah wasn’t some savior of souls, but a leader of the Jews who heralded in a glorious age in which Israel triumphed and pagans recognized the glory of their god, Yahweh. He was to build the temple, (Ezek. 37:26–28) gather all Jews back to Israel, (Isa. 43:5–6) and, importantly, bring an end to Roman rule. He was supposed to end all exploitation, corruption, famine, disease, and war. Paul’s fictional Christ had done none of this!

Paul claimed:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2;16, KJV) and “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13, KJV) and “Before faith came, we were allowed no free- dom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourself in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23–28, NJB.)

Jews didn’t buy this. They wouldn’t be Jewish if they did. They believed - and still do - that the way to find favor with God was to obey “the Law” - that is, the Torah, as allegedly taught by Moses. There’s no mention in their scriptures about an end to the covenant God made with their ancestors on Mount Sinai. Jews regarded the Law almost like a gift from their God, not a curse, or an imposition on freedom. They knew there was no such thing as a “new covenant.” Why would they give up centuries of tradition to believe a renegade like Paul?

Imagine a hypothetical modern analogy; a fanatic from a small cult, such as the “branch davidians,” grabbing a microphone during a Catholic mass at the Vatican, and proclaiming that David Koresh was Jesus’ son, and Koresh’s teachings replaced the sermon on the mount. Paul was behaving like a deluded fanatic.

Paul had an ambivalent attitude to Jewish scripture, which varied with the audience he was writing to. At times he used it to justify his own ideas, such as when writing to “Hellenized” Jews in the diaspora. Yet when writing to Gentiles he claimed large parts of it were redundant.

Yeshua had died over a decade before Paul appeared on the scene, and I think would have been perplexed and offended by the idea that his death could somehow give Gentiles a ticket to heaven. He hated the Romans, (they did nail him to a cross!) and never imagined that Yahweh, whom he never regarded as his temporal sire, would grant them a place in heaven!

Jesus said,
“Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them but complete them. I tell you sol- emnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved” (Matt. 5:17–18 JB.) Paul and Jesus contradicted each other! So much for biblical infallibility! (http://www.essene.org/Yahowshua_ or_Paul.htm).

Many people today insist that Jesus came to do away with the Jewish Law. They’re not considering Jesus’ words, but Paul’s (or Paul’s proponents like Luther or Calvin.)
Most Jews believed God dwelt in the temple, in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Paul made a cavalier dismissal of the importance of Israel by suggesting that all believers become a temple for God:
“And that is what we are—the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:15, NJB) and “Didn’t you realize that you were God’s Temple” (1 Cor. 3:16 JB.) He was trying to expand God’s seat of power out of Jerusalem and into the whole known world. Yet for most first cen- tury Jews this downplayed the importance of the temple, the geographical pivot of Judaism.

Jews thought they were Abraham’s descendants and God’s special people. Yet Paul claimed:
“Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:9, NJB,) and “Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised” (Gal. 3:29, NJB.) He wanted believing Gentiles to consider themselves God’s chosen, so that they too were special, and weaken the patriotic fervor of Jews by downplaying their exclusivity.

Throughout Paul’s travels, he was initially welcome in synagogues because he masqueraded as a traditional Jew, but after Jews heard what he had to say, he was rejected, sometimes even beaten and pelted with rocks; a repetitive pattern portrayed in Acts. They liked to think they were a chosen race, superior in all ways, and in God’s eyes, to the pagan hordes. These Jews must have imagined Paul was upsetting their God, and the whole Jewish community would suffer as a consequence. Is it any wonder they physically attacked him? Jesus’ own people were attacking Paul because he was promoting Christian ideas, a fact that should raise eyebrows in today’s churches.

In the decades Paul was preaching, the Nazarenes were expand- ing into a significant force under James’ leadership in Jerusalem. They also enjoyed a strong membership among Jews throughout the empire. They definitely didn’t preach the divinity of Christ, nor intend to start a new religion. Paul, when he wasn’t pretending to be one of them, considered them competitors. He got very upset when he encountered rival missionaries, who were probably Nazarene, and complained bitterly about them hijacking “his” converts. He cursed them, using the undeniable truth of his own gospel as justification:
“I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some trouble makers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one that we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is condemned” (Gal. 1:6–9, NJB.) He sounds like an upset child whose best friend has gone off to play with someone else. It’s ironic that he was accusing his adversaries of the very thing he was guilty of - preaching a fabrication! He clearly undermined Yeshua’s family and disciples behind their backs. He was surprised and angry to find himself competing with them for people’s allegiance. They were treading on what he considered his turf. How dare they preach old-fashioned Jewish theology and dis- rupt his mission to set up communities of believers! Those annoying war-mongering Jews promoted subversive fantasies about a messiah, but today’s God had revealed to him the real Christ, the up-to- date modern Christ! He, not them, was plugging the “good news.” He claimed he knew what the flexible, expansionist, less violent, less Judaic God expected in these modern, pro-Roman times. He thought of himself as an educated, savvy sophisticate who knew a stack more about selling religion than the old fashioned anti-Roman bumpkins from Jerusalem!

The two faced Paul probably tried to ingratiate himself with the Nazarenes when in their company, but they became implacably opposed to him, as verified by the verbal confrontation described in Galatians chapter two, and the adamantly anti-Pauline assertions in James’ letter.

Paul knew he wasn’t a popular figure amongst traditional Jews. In his letter to the Romans he expressed his nervousness that the Nazarenes in Jerusalem might reject him, which, if the story in Acts is true, is precisely what happened. James summoned Paul to Jerusalem when it became apparent Paul was preaching against the Torah, and sent him to the temple to be purified and prove he was still a true Jew, (see Acts 21, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts 21&version=KJV) which led to Paul’s so called arrest and eventual transportation to Rome. James, Jesus’ brother, effectively terminated Paul’s missionary career!

When Paul was forced to admit that he was a Roman citizen, his cover was well and truly blown. Nazarenes were implacably opposed to Rome. According to Acts, Roman authorities had to dedicate considerable resources (500 soldiers) to protect him from angry Jews. They were looking after one of their own. That’s about the same number of soldiers who arrested Jesus.

Paul wasn’t deterred. He kept writing letters from Rome.

His modern-day reputation as an honest evangelist, and the implication he taught Yeshua’s message, have no foundation, yet they’ve become part of Christian tradition, largely because of Acts, written some time in the early second century. Paul’s legitimacy must have lacked credibility, so the author had Jesus’ ghost appear to Paul on the road to Damascus, which was obviously a fiction, as was the story of Paul becoming best friends with Jesus’ disciples. The author even tried to shore up Paul’s status by having him (and his handkerchief) perform a number of miracles. Yet Paul failed to mention Jesus’ ghost or his own miracles; impossible omissions if they were true. Paul revealed many personality traits in his letters, but genuine modesty definitely wasn’t one of them.

Some of your posts are pure gold, Mark. Yes

What's your take on the Jamesian view on Christ? Do you think it had any similarities with Paul's ideas? And moreover, what do you think Paul viewed Christ as? An angelic being? An incarnated divine being subordinate to the one supreme God, and who at some point briefly treaded on earth? A human being exalted to on par with the one supreme God? Something else?

My understanding of the dispute (in lack of a better word) between Jamesian and Pauline Christianity is that the most prominent issue was over keeping the Law, but I suspect that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Hey, thanks for your nice comments. As a wannabe author it's nice to get some positive feedback.

Re "What's your take on the Jamesian view on Christ? Do you think it had any similarities with Paul's ideas?"

Well, I don't think James, the brother of Jesus, recognised any such non-Jewish term as "Christ." It's possible, but by no means certain, That the author of the book of James was the brother of our Jeebus. Permit me a cut and paste from my book that discusses the gospel of James; I hope you get something from this… I suspect you will, as you seem to have a good understanding of what was going on.

Many Christians aren’t aware that Yeshua’s brother may have his very own letter in the bible. Yet it’s there, tucked inconspicuously under the thirteen letters attributed to
Paul. The Catholic Encyclopedia claims there’s no doubt who the author was:
“Internal evidence (contents of the Epistle, its style, address, date, and place of composition) points unmistakably to James, the Lord’s brother, the Bishop of Jerusalem, as the author; he exactly, and he alone, fulfils the conditions required in the writer of the Epistle.” Yet it’s surprising that the authors acknowledge James was Jesus’
brother here, when it’s denied elsewhere in the same publication by calling him Jesus’ cousin. They call James a bishop, thereby implying he was a Christian, which he most definitely wasn’t. There’s never been a Jewish bishop. Nor did Christian bishops exist any- where until (at earliest) the 90’s CE, thirty years after James died.

I don’t think we can be sure Yeshua’s brother wrote James’ letter, but even if he didn’t, it’s from an early Jewish source, so one probably close to Yeshua. Many scholars date it to about 60 CE, (http:// http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/james.html) although the Catholic Encyclopedia states “about A.D. 47.”

The letter is addressed to the twelve Jewish tribes of the dispersion, so was to be distributed outside Jerusalem. It has a mildly authori- tarian tone, as one would expect from a leader. The author doesn’t mention the word “church.” The communities he wrote to (outside Jerusalem) worshipped in synagogues:
“Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue...” (James 2:2, NJB.)

James says nothing about his famous brother’s exploits. He doesn’t mention Jesus’ divinity, miracles, sacrificial death or resurrection. Let’s imagine ourselves in James’ sandals. If you thought your brother, or your close associate, was a miracle working son of God, and you knew he’d risen from the dead, there wouldn’t be much else worth talking about! All your letters would be laced with excited expletives about supernatural events. James’ letter isn’t, because he didn’t believe bullshit about Jesus.
He was a pious Jew. A central theme of the letter is that it’s impor- tant to obey “the Law.”
“You see, if a man keeps the whole of the Law, except for one small point at which he fails, he is still guilty of breaking it all” (James 2:10 JB.)
“But the man who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and makes that his habit - not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice - will be happy in all that he does” (James 1:25 JB.) He was referring to the Jewish Law, which the Jerusalem bible admits in a footnote. This is the opposite of Paul’s proposition that salvation is secured by releasing oneself from obedience to the Law, an admission also admitted in another footnote.

James wrote that faith was pointless without good works:
“Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a sin- gle good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead” (James 2:14–17, NJB.) He emphasized the importance of action:
“If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions” (James 3:13, NJB.) It’s obvious James had heard Paul’s preaching about faith, and quite rightly rebutted it as nonsense.

Consider the following:
“Remember this, my dear brothers, be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper, God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger.” (James 1:19–20, NJB.) James was cut from a different cloth to the self righteous, often angry Paul, a man who rarely listened to others.

James wrote
“Above all, my brothers, do not swear by heaven or by earth, or use any oaths at all. If you mean ‘yes,’ you must say ‘yes;’ if you mean ‘no,’ say ‘no’. Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgment” (James 5:12, NJB.) This is refreshingly real, although one might hope to hear something a little more profound from the brother of the son of God!

The author of James believed in Jewish scripture. He didn’t tolerate hypocrisy. He had some almost socialist ideals, which one would expect from a pious Essene. Yeshua may have believed something similar.

There’s nothing to suggest an anti-Roman stance, but the letter may have been edited. It’s also possible James knew that if any anti- Roman literature found its way into the government’s hands he’d suffer the same fate as John and Yeshua.

James’ letter only just made it into the canon. In the fourth cen- tury, its status was disputed. Augustine and Jerome accepted it very reluctantly, so probably others couldn’t ignore the connection with Yeshua.

Martin Luther thought the letter had little doctrinal value because it so blatantly contradicted Paul’s teachings. Paul was Luther’s hero. He called James’ letter “an Epistle of straw.” (http://tquid.sharpens. org/Luther_ canon.htm). He clearly had a very limited understanding of the real history. Modern readers have the benefit of another 500 years of scholarship.

References:
Tabor, J. 2006 “The Jesus Dynasty”. Harper Collins. London.
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
http://www.thenazareneway.com/james_the_..._jesus.htm
http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/siljampe.htm
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/james.html
http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2009/0...37–jewish- followers-of-jesus-part-1–ebionites/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_Z3sTZ6PM
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21-05-2014, 03:44 AM (This post was last modified: 21-05-2014 03:51 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
(20-05-2014 07:54 AM)John Wrote:  
(20-05-2014 04:35 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "My actual view is that Christianity is a product of Jewish sectarian thinking"

Ah....no. Most definitely no. Go back and do some reading about Jewish beliefs. Digest the following...

Here’s the historical reality. Devout Jews (such as the Nazarenes) despised Paul (the true founder of Christianity) and rejected his ramblings. The idea that their mysterious, perfect, one and only God could be incarnated in a Christ was unthinkable to them. They couldn’t imagine that their God could die, or that a Christ’s death somehow addressed man’s sins. For them the kingdom of God promised in scripture never was in a hypothetical heaven, but was to be on earth in the here and now. Their messiah wasn’t some savior of souls, but a leader of the Jews who heralded in a glorious age in which Israel triumphed and pagans recognized the glory of their god, Yahweh. He was to build the temple, (Ezek. 37:26–28) gather all Jews back to Israel, (Isa. 43:5–6) and, importantly, bring an end to Roman rule. He was supposed to end all exploitation, corruption, famine, disease, and war. Paul’s fictional Christ had done none of this!

Paul claimed:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2;16, KJV) and “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13, KJV) and “Before faith came, we were allowed no free- dom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourself in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23–28, NJB.)

Jews didn’t buy this. They wouldn’t be Jewish if they did. They believed - and still do - that the way to find favor with God was to obey “the Law” - that is, the Torah, as allegedly taught by Moses. There’s no mention in their scriptures about an end to the covenant God made with their ancestors on Mount Sinai. Jews regarded the Law almost like a gift from their God, not a curse, or an imposition on freedom. They knew there was no such thing as a “new covenant.” Why would they give up centuries of tradition to believe a renegade like Paul?

Imagine a hypothetical modern analogy; a fanatic from a small cult, such as the “branch davidians,” grabbing a microphone during a Catholic mass at the Vatican, and proclaiming that David Koresh was Jesus’ son, and Koresh’s teachings replaced the sermon on the mount. Paul was behaving like a deluded fanatic.

Paul had an ambivalent attitude to Jewish scripture, which varied with the audience he was writing to. At times he used it to justify his own ideas, such as when writing to “Hellenized” Jews in the diaspora. Yet when writing to Gentiles he claimed large parts of it were redundant.

Yeshua had died over a decade before Paul appeared on the scene, and I think would have been perplexed and offended by the idea that his death could somehow give Gentiles a ticket to heaven. He hated the Romans, (they did nail him to a cross!) and never imagined that Yahweh, whom he never regarded as his temporal sire, would grant them a place in heaven!

Jesus said,
“Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them but complete them. I tell you sol- emnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved” (Matt. 5:17–18 JB.) Paul and Jesus contradicted each other! So much for biblical infallibility! (http://www.essene.org/Yahowshua_ or_Paul.htm).

Many people today insist that Jesus came to do away with the Jewish Law. They’re not considering Jesus’ words, but Paul’s (or Paul’s proponents like Luther or Calvin.)
Most Jews believed God dwelt in the temple, in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Paul made a cavalier dismissal of the importance of Israel by suggesting that all believers become a temple for God:
“And that is what we are—the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:15, NJB) and “Didn’t you realize that you were God’s Temple” (1 Cor. 3:16 JB.) He was trying to expand God’s seat of power out of Jerusalem and into the whole known world. Yet for most first cen- tury Jews this downplayed the importance of the temple, the geographical pivot of Judaism.

Jews thought they were Abraham’s descendants and God’s special people. Yet Paul claimed:
“Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:9, NJB,) and “Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised” (Gal. 3:29, NJB.) He wanted believing Gentiles to consider themselves God’s chosen, so that they too were special, and weaken the patriotic fervor of Jews by downplaying their exclusivity.

Throughout Paul’s travels, he was initially welcome in synagogues because he masqueraded as a traditional Jew, but after Jews heard what he had to say, he was rejected, sometimes even beaten and pelted with rocks; a repetitive pattern portrayed in Acts. They liked to think they were a chosen race, superior in all ways, and in God’s eyes, to the pagan hordes. These Jews must have imagined Paul was upsetting their God, and the whole Jewish community would suffer as a consequence. Is it any wonder they physically attacked him? Jesus’ own people were attacking Paul because he was promoting Christian ideas, a fact that should raise eyebrows in today’s churches.

In the decades Paul was preaching, the Nazarenes were expand- ing into a significant force under James’ leadership in Jerusalem. They also enjoyed a strong membership among Jews throughout the empire. They definitely didn’t preach the divinity of Christ, nor intend to start a new religion. Paul, when he wasn’t pretending to be one of them, considered them competitors. He got very upset when he encountered rival missionaries, who were probably Nazarene, and complained bitterly about them hijacking “his” converts. He cursed them, using the undeniable truth of his own gospel as justification:
“I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some trouble makers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one that we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is condemned” (Gal. 1:6–9, NJB.) He sounds like an upset child whose best friend has gone off to play with someone else. It’s ironic that he was accusing his adversaries of the very thing he was guilty of - preaching a fabrication! He clearly undermined Yeshua’s family and disciples behind their backs. He was surprised and angry to find himself competing with them for people’s allegiance. They were treading on what he considered his turf. How dare they preach old-fashioned Jewish theology and dis- rupt his mission to set up communities of believers! Those annoying war-mongering Jews promoted subversive fantasies about a messiah, but today’s God had revealed to him the real Christ, the up-to- date modern Christ! He, not them, was plugging the “good news.” He claimed he knew what the flexible, expansionist, less violent, less Judaic God expected in these modern, pro-Roman times. He thought of himself as an educated, savvy sophisticate who knew a stack more about selling religion than the old fashioned anti-Roman bumpkins from Jerusalem!

The two faced Paul probably tried to ingratiate himself with the Nazarenes when in their company, but they became implacably opposed to him, as verified by the verbal confrontation described in Galatians chapter two, and the adamantly anti-Pauline assertions in James’ letter.

Paul knew he wasn’t a popular figure amongst traditional Jews. In his letter to the Romans he expressed his nervousness that the Nazarenes in Jerusalem might reject him, which, if the story in Acts is true, is precisely what happened. James summoned Paul to Jerusalem when it became apparent Paul was preaching against the Torah, and sent him to the temple to be purified and prove he was still a true Jew, (see Acts 21, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts 21&version=KJV) which led to Paul’s so called arrest and eventual transportation to Rome. James, Jesus’ brother, effectively terminated Paul’s missionary career!

When Paul was forced to admit that he was a Roman citizen, his cover was well and truly blown. Nazarenes were implacably opposed to Rome. According to Acts, Roman authorities had to dedicate considerable resources (500 soldiers) to protect him from angry Jews. They were looking after one of their own. That’s about the same number of soldiers who arrested Jesus.

Paul wasn’t deterred. He kept writing letters from Rome.

His modern-day reputation as an honest evangelist, and the implication he taught Yeshua’s message, have no foundation, yet they’ve become part of Christian tradition, largely because of Acts, written some time in the early second century. Paul’s legitimacy must have lacked credibility, so the author had Jesus’ ghost appear to Paul on the road to Damascus, which was obviously a fiction, as was the story of Paul becoming best friends with Jesus’ disciples. The author even tried to shore up Paul’s status by having him (and his handkerchief) perform a number of miracles. Yet Paul failed to mention Jesus’ ghost or his own miracles; impossible omissions if they were true. Paul revealed many personality traits in his letters, but genuine modesty definitely wasn’t one of them.

Some of your posts are pure gold, Mark. Yes

What's your take on the Jamesian view on Christ? Do you think it had any similarities with Paul's ideas? And moreover, what do you think Paul viewed Christ as? An angelic being? An incarnated divine being subordinate to the one supreme God, and who at some point briefly treaded on earth? A human being exalted to on par with the one supreme God? Something else?

My understanding of the dispute (in lack of a better word) between Jamesian and Pauline Christianity is that the most prominent issue was over keeping the Law, but I suspect that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Re
"what do you think Paul viewed Christ as? An angelic being? An incarnated divine being subordinate to the one supreme God, and who at some point briefly treaded on earth? A human being exalted to on par with the one supreme God? Something else?"

Great question... one that touches right on the very heart, the essence of Christianity. Once again allow me another cut and paste. Apologies to anyone who's read this before.

Paul Knew Almost Nothing of Jesus

Most Christians incorrectly assume Paul was restating Jesus’ teach- ings. Yet Paul never claimed he was inspired or influenced by Jesus or Jesus’ disciples. Paul held his messages came from God and were about his Christ. They were not from Jesus.

Paul’s Christ was clearly someone different from the wise teacher full of parables and anecdotes we think we know from the Gospels. Amazingly, in the twenty-first century, we know more about “Jesus” than Paul did!

Paul wrote,
“Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now” (2 Cor. 5:16, NJB.) What an extraordinary statement! It only begins to make sense if we realize that Paul was only interested in the idea of a resurrected spirit, his Christ figurehead. A “once human” Jesus, someone with a personality and ideas, was never a topic Paul was comfortable discussing.

Someone passing himself off as Paul wrote that “Christ” was a mys- tery, one that he had a particularly good understanding of:
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4, KJV,) and “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mys- tery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Col. 4:3, KJV.)

Paul didn’t give a fig tree about the details of Jesus’ life, family, miracles or his teachings. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/cros- sexamined/2012/12/what-did-paul-know-about-jesus-not-much/, http://www.sonofman.org/paul1.htm). The only thing that mattered to him was that a Christ was crucified and resurrected. Paul rambled on and on about the supposed significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, not about the details of Christ’s life. Consider Galatians:
“Then god who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have just written is the literal truth” (Gal. 1:15–20, NJB.) After God “called” him, he more or less snubbed Yeshua’s family and supporters by shooting off to Arabia for three years. If he’d thought Yeshua was the son of God, surely he would have jolted to Jerusalem to meet James, Jesus’ brother, and Peter and Mary, two of his close associates. He should have been anxious to meet the other Mary, Yeshua’s mum, the mother of God! Yet he very obviously wasn’t. Something more important enticed him to Arabia. In fact Paul never expressed any genuine pleasure in associating with Yeshua’s family or followers. Three years later, he visited Jerusalem again, and there is definitely something very odd about the way he casually downplays the fact he met James and Cephas, Yeshua’s brother and one of his important disciples. I think this is more strong circumstantial evidence that Yeshua never was Paul’s Christ.

The Gospel stories are sadly short of genuine historical facts about Jesus. Things could have been different. Paul, who was educated and literate, could have saved much of the painstaking guesswork of historians over the last three hundred years (Jesus’ historicity has only been seriously studied in this time) by jotting down some facts about Jesus as related by his family and disciples. Paul should have outshone the Gospels and made them redundant. He didn’t. Instead, he wrote about things he thought were important: his own Christ, and his own ethics. I suspect this wasn’t a deliberate omission on Paul’s part; he was obviously totally unaware that people in the future might care to know about Yeshua. Interestingly, the author of the epistle of James, who may have been Jesus’ brother, also neglected to document a single fact about Jesus. Neither Paul nor James knew Jesus was going to become a hero-figure - because the Gospels hadn’t been written yet, so Jesus’ status as a legendary character hadn’t been created.

Who then, was Paul’s Christ? It was someone who Paul thought had existed in heaven since the beginning of time, yet only revealed to the world via his own peculiar interpretation of Jewish scripture.

Douglas Lockhart (http://douglaslockhart.com/) and a number of other scholars (http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/BkrvEll.htm) think it could have been the “Teacher of Righteousness” written about in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are many theories as to who this character was, one of which is that he was an Essene leader, a priest, who lived perhaps a hundred years before Yeshua, who had disapproved of the Hasmonean high priest.

In the Gentile world of the time there was competition from many dying and rising gods such as Mithras. Those gods often didn’t have a mortal life that was remembered, just like Paul’s Christ. It was only the myth of them dying and rising again that gave them significance, just like his Christ. His Christ, real identity uncertain, was a Judaic myth invented to compete with these other cults. The idea that his Christ would one day be equated with Yeshua may not ever have been on Paul’s radar. (http://www. jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/parttwo.htm).

It is true that “Paul” mentions “Jesus” many times, yet “Jesus” may have been edited into Paul’s writings, where he had written only “Christ.” I can’t prove this happened, yet it’s a distinct possibility given that there was a culture that encouraged “pious fraud” amongst Christians in the second, third and fourth centuries. Or, it could be that Paul was using the (very common) name to represent a spirit, not a person. “Paul” does say, once, in 1 Tim 6;13, that Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus, yet this wasn’t written by Paul. “Paul” does talk about what Christ allegedly said on the night he was betrayed, in the first letter to the Corinthians, but this whole passage is unique in that regard and therefore it too is suspiciously “unPauline.”

Most Christians I have talked to about this are perplexed, and with good reason, because Paul’s lack of commentary on Jesus undermines the account about him being an inspiring, miracle working individual, someone with real feelings, empathy for his fellows, and charisma, who preached wise anecdotes that had so impressed his disciples and the crowds. This is an image created by churchmen using the Gospels. Paul knew none of this. Outside of Jewish scripture he only ever acknowledged one source of wisdom—himself. An authoritative Yeshua, even one recently deceased, would have focused the limelight on someone more significant than himself, and I don’t think he would have liked that.

Just who Paul thought his Christ was is a difficult concept to grasp, and in my opinion it’s not worth spending too much time on. It helps to remember that the sources of Paul’s ideas are obscure; that his writings have been tampered with; that original meaning is often lost in translations; that the Jesus stories we know so well only finished being cobbled together in the fourth century, and Paul had never read them; that Paul had an overactive imagination, and he was a very peculiar man.
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22-05-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: Christianity was invented by the Jews to destroy the Roman empire
Mark, I read your website.

I agree that all those things you point out about Christianity are true. It is a lot of ridiculous nonsense. But where does that take you?

I know someone on another atheist website who is trying to rewrite Christianity on what seems to be his own life story but with a made up name and made up events. He knows the names and events are not real.

The fact of the matter which you can't get around is that whoever wrote the gospels either believed in all the untrue things, like miracles, or they didn't. All we can go on to decide that question, is the book itself. If you look at the book and find that it follows a pattern which ties in with Titus, for instance, then the probability is, is it not, that the writers of the New Testament did know that the book was a fictional account and did not believe it as literal. That analysis is based only on facts and obvious probabilities.

When I say, where does this lead, what I mean is that surely it is irrelevant that all these things are in the nature of a fairy tale. There is a book called "The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelhem:

"In the book, Bettelheim discusses the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children, including traditional tales at one time[clarification needed] considered too dark, such as those collected and published by the Brothers Grimm. Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms. If they could read and interpret these fairy tales in their own way, he believed, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose. Bettelheim thought that by engaging with these socially evolved stories, children would go through emotional growth that would better prepare them for their own futures"wiki

Surely the same applies to the NT. You can pull it apart and whoever wrote it, if they were writing it in the same way fairy tales were written, would just be amused that you had figured out that they weren't intending that people took it as literal.

Presumably you took it literally at some point in your life. I didn't. I found it boring when I heard about Jesus in Sunday school. When it came to the resurrection, my first reaction was that I did not believe it. I told my parents I did not want to go to church again and we all stopped going and no one ever discussed religion or Christianity in our house ever again, not that we did before that, even though my father was a church elder.

If the core of Christianity is reason based, then those who wrote it are more likely to have not been expecting anyone to take the supernatural aspects of it as anything more than illustrative tales. The important point is the moral philosophy in the NT. It is the same issue as in "Creationism". So some "being" somehow "created" the world. How does the mechanics of how life came about have anything to do with our moral dealings. If you go to court you never hear a judge decide a case on the basis of how the world was created or whether Jesus was resurrected.
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