Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
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09-10-2015, 08:20 PM (This post was last modified: 09-10-2015 08:30 PM by Mark Fulton.)
Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
Ok, Q, time for you to stand up and be counted. I want you to defend your main man.

I'll get the ball rolling, if you like ... soon as you confirm you're playing ball.
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13-10-2015, 08:33 AM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
I see. You want me to debate you after first saying "Q, YOU pick ANY resolution you want, and I'll debate you in the ring," and then turned down a half-dozen of my suggested resolutions?

I MIGHT debate you re: your resolution once you define the word "charlatan". It has a dictionary definition, you know.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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16-10-2015, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2015 06:18 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(13-10-2015 08:33 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I see. You want me to debate you after first saying "Q, YOU pick ANY resolution you want, and I'll debate you in the ring," and then turned down a half-dozen of my suggested resolutions?

I MIGHT debate you re: your resolution once you define the word "charlatan". It has a dictionary definition, you know.

Q, you have already provided your own definition of the word "charlatan"...you wrote...

"You don't understand the definition of the word charlatan:

"A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud." "


I accept this definition. You (erroneously) claim I don't understand the definition only because you claim it is impossible to consider Paul a charlatan.

Here is another dictionary definition (from the generic apple dictionary)...

"charlatan |ˈʃɑːlət(ə)n|
noun
a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill. a self-confessed con artist....
DERIVATIVES
charlatanism noun,
charlatanry noun
ORIGIN early 17th cent. (denoting an itinerant seller of supposed remedies): from French, from Italian ciarlatano, from ciarlare ‘to babble’."

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.
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16-10-2015, 05:52 PM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2015 06:20 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
Firstly though, by way of introduction, let's establish just who this Paul character probably was.

Who was Paul?

“The real architect of the Christian church was...the mercilessly fanatical and self-righteous Paul”
(James Baldwin)

Paul (aka Saul) of Tarsus was probably the founding figure of what became Christianity. He was an enthusiastic evangelist and, by the standards of the time, a prolific author. His theology is, arguably, more important than that taught by Jesus. Without Paul’s influence it is probable that Christianity, as we know it, would not exist today.

Copies of many of Paul’s letters have survived and now form nearly one third of the New Testament (but not all the letters attributed to him are genuinely his.)

Today’s reader can open any one of thousands of books in a Christian bookstore coaching people how to live happy, meaningful, or successful Christian lives. These books are loaded with quotes from Paul used to back up a multitude of agendas and opinions. The authors of these books, and people like Q, assume Paul had an unquestionable authority, yet nearly none of them objectively assess who Paul was, his relationship with Yeshua’s followers, what Paul was trying to achieve, or the evidence for the truth of Paul’s teachings. This debate will. I will examine the basis of Paul’s authority.

Paul promoted ethics that he claimed were derived from God, and those ethics have strongly influenced people’s principles in the western world.

Paul’s Early Life

Not a lot is known about Paul’s early life. According to the author of Acts, Paul was a Jew from Tarsus, a city in modern-day Turkey:

“But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people” (Acts 21:39, KJV.)

Tarsus was a large cosmopolitan city on the shore of the Mediterranean, and a thriving commercial center. In Paul’s day it was already ancient; a two-thousand-year-old seaport. A pagan religious cult, Mithraism, which originated in Persia, was very popular there, and many other faith based groups flourished there as well.

Jews living in Tarsus were a minority, yet, as was usual throughout the Diaspora, (the places where Jews lived outside of Israel) Jews living there in Paul’s time were tolerated and respected.

The book of Acts has Paul claiming his education was at Gamaliel’s school in Jerusalem. (Gamaliel was a well-known Jewish rabbi.)

“...brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, [and] taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day” (Acts 22:3, KJV.)

Yet Paul writes nothing in his own letters about being Gamaliel’s student, or growing up in Jerusalem. It is only the author of Acts, who never claimed he knew Paul, who makes these claims.

Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment.

Paul had only a moderate understanding of, and no real respect for Pharisaic Judaism. He was not as endeared towards Judaism as a typical Pharisee should be. The account in Acts makes it clear that Paul was less than successful in preaching to Jews who were zealous in their beliefs. In fact Paul preferred to preach to “Hellenized” Jews, or to Gentiles attracted to Judaism, because he thought he understood them, particularly the social problems “the Law” created for them.

(http://www.christianity-revealed.com/cr/...eligionofm ,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...-of-tarsus , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Ap...nd_Judaism )

Tarsus was not a center of Pharisaic teaching, and evidence for the existence of Pharisees living outside Palestine in Paul’s time is weak. It is possible that the author of Acts invented Paul’s Pharisaic past to augment a tenuous Judaic link between Yeshua’s Judaism and Paul’s Christianity.

Paul was reputedly a tent maker by trade, but this was hardly his calling in life. Paul was a passionate philosopher and theologian, and it is obvious from his letters that what inspired him most was evangelizing others to convince them of his beliefs.

Paul spoke and wrote in Greek, and he had a reasonable understanding of Greek culture and philosophy. He could probably speak Aramaic too, given that he argued with James, Peter and other Jews in Jerusalem.

Paul changed his original name, Saul, to Paul, in honor of a Roman governor. Some scholars have suggested that Paul may not have been a Jew, because his theology is so obviously influenced by Gentile ideas. Yet Paul was Jewish in the sense that he had been born into a Jewish family and had been raised as such. Paul certainly passed himself off as a Jew. He claimed,

“I was circumcised when I was eight days old. As for the law I was a Pharisee; as for working for religion, I was a persecutor of the Church, as far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless” (Phil. 3:5–6, NJB.)
( http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and...4/who-was- paul )

Paul declared he was educated in what he called the

“... traditions of my ancestors,” (Gal 1:14, NJB)

and he clearly had a moderate understanding of Jewish beliefs. Whether Paul had a genuine respect for those beliefs is another matter.

Paul was a Roman citizen, a status he may have inherited from his parents, (Acts 22:28) although how they came to be Roman citizens is unknown. Paul’s family would have enjoyed tax breaks because they were Roman. The prestige of having the same rights and status as a native Roman was attractive. In mercantile states and cities such as Tarsus, the fact that the government embraced the upper classes of the native population was one of the most successful weapons in the Roman arsenal, as it helped them control the common people. Paul would have been comfortable communicating with Romans, and with higher-ranking Jewish officials.

Paul’s education was obviously eclectic, as Jewish, Greek, Roman, Persian and other cultures influenced him. He was an urbane, well- travelled intellectual Jew from a well-off pro-Roman family that had successfully assimilated in a multicultural city. Paul probably spent much time in his youth discussing philosophical and theological issues with educated Greek friends. As a young man he would have enjoyed the lifestyle, freedom, and stimulation of living in a peaceful, successful part of the Roman Empire. Paul was from a very different world to Yeshua, a Jewish zealot from the backwater of Galilee, who was very likely illiterate, xenophobic and poor.

The differences between cosmopolitan, coastal, cultured Tarsus and heated, hostile Galilee would have been startling. Paul was at home with Romans and greatly admired their culture. Yeshua had grown up in a narrow-minded Jewish environment awash with deep resentment against Gentiles. Some of Yeshua’s friends and relatives had been killed under Roman rule (such as John the Baptist, and the thousands of Galileans killed by Roman soldiers in 4 BCE and 6 CE.) Paul and Yeshua were both Jews, but they could hardly have been more different.
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19-10-2015, 02:19 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGxDsaTHjrQ
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20-10-2015, 12:26 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
Mark,

Quote:Thank you for clarifying. You wrote:

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.

Let's look closer at Paul's statement, "I'm a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles."

1. This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy. Jews were ordinarily forbidden in the extreme to fraternize with Gentiles. Here Paul is saying he is what is commonly called today, "walking in another's shoes" as empathy.

2. Charlatans are working to deceive others for their own benefit. This statement of Paul's isn't found in a private correspondence to a fellow apostle or some huckster, but in an open letter to a church--he is further implying that others should follow his lead and be all things to all people! Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! Personally, when I witness to a Jewish person, if they identify as skilled in the Tanakh and wisdom literature, I will use OT exegesis to demonstrate Messiah and Jesus in their scriptures. But when speaking, say, to a visitor from India who has never read the OT, we can simply look at NT statements together. In other words, the approach toward a Jew or Gentile regarding Christianity may be modified to honor that person's to-date understanding.

3. Charlatans, again, are seeking gain, and by the definition you accepted for this debate, are pretenders, deceivers. In the statement you quoted, Paul wrote, "I am MADE all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost. You are claiming Paul put on airs for a nefarious reason, but you chose a quotation that says Paul was MADE a certain way rather than CHOSE to be a certain way.

4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." He was seeking the benefit of others to inherit eternal life, even those who persecuted him, Jew and Gentile, and those who were in the parties who crucified his master, Jesus.

Mark, elsewhere you stated, "Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment."

I should think since you are a noted author of a book who writes on all manner of Jewish and Christian practice, Mark, you would already be aware that Jewish scholars today are opposed to the New Testament, Christianity and the gospel. They seek peace with adherents of other faiths, yes, but any Jewish scholar suggesting that Paul is an authority would be escorted out of the synagogue. However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization.

PS. You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-10-2015, 02:21 PM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2015 06:03 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-10-2015 12:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Mark,

Quote:Thank you for clarifying. You wrote:

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.

Let's look closer at Paul's statement, "I'm a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles."

1. This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy. Jews were ordinarily forbidden in the extreme to fraternize with Gentiles. Here Paul is saying he is what is commonly called today, "walking in another's shoes" as empathy.

2. Charlatans are working to deceive others for their own benefit. This statement of Paul's isn't found in a private correspondence to a fellow apostle or some huckster, but in an open letter to a church--he is further implying that others should follow his lead and be all things to all people! Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! Personally, when I witness to a Jewish person, if they identify as skilled in the Tanakh and wisdom literature, I will use OT exegesis to demonstrate Messiah and Jesus in their scriptures. But when speaking, say, to a visitor from India who has never read the OT, we can simply look at NT statements together. In other words, the approach toward a Jew or Gentile regarding Christianity may be modified to honor that person's to-date understanding.

3. Charlatans, again, are seeking gain, and by the definition you accepted for this debate, are pretenders, deceivers. In the statement you quoted, Paul wrote, "I am MADE all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost. You are claiming Paul put on airs for a nefarious reason, but you chose a quotation that says Paul was MADE a certain way rather than CHOSE to be a certain way.

4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." He was seeking the benefit of others to inherit eternal life, even those who persecuted him, Jew and Gentile, and those who were in the parties who crucified his master, Jesus.

Mark, elsewhere you stated, "Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment."

I should think since you are a noted author of a book who writes on all manner of Jewish and Christian practice, Mark, you would already be aware that Jewish scholars today are opposed to the New Testament, Christianity and the gospel. They seek peace with adherents of other faiths, yes, but any Jewish scholar suggesting that Paul is an authority would be escorted out of the synagogue. However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization.

PS. You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!

You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!


Thanks for turning up. I was getting lonely dancing with myself. You don't like Billy Idol? Poor taste? Get over it, cupcakes, life ain't that serious.

"This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy."

NO. Paul was not being empathetic with the Jews. He was, actually, denigrating their core beliefs, and replacing them with his own. And when I say "his own" that is exactly what I mean. He was not promoting the beliefs of Jesus (Yeshua) the Jew, or those of Jesus' family or original disciples, but rather his own manufactured theology.

Here’s the probable historical reality. Devout Jews (such as the Nazarenes) despised Paul 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 was to herald in a glorious age in which Israel triumphed and pagans recognized the glory of their god, Yahweh. This messiah 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 freedom 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 didn’t recognise 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 that 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 had he been alive, there is little doubt that he 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 supposedly 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 solemnly, 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 the sayings attributed to Jesus contradict each other! So much for biblical infallibility! (http://www.essene.org/Yahowshua_or_Paul.htm).

Many Christians today insist that Jesus came, in part, to do away with the Jewish Law. In believing this, they’re not following words attributed to Jesus, but Paul’s words.

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 century 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.)

Paul 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, it is clear from the book of Acts, that 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. Most Jews liked to think they were part of 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 expanding 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 disrupt 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!

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 Paul from angry Jews. That’s about the same number of soldiers who arrested Jesus. It appears as though Rome was looking after one of their own.

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

His modern-day reputation as an honest and important evangelist, and the implication he taught Yeshua’s message, appear to have no foundation, yet they’ve become part of Christian tradition, largely because of Acts, written some time in the early second century. In order to bolster Paul’s perceived legitimacy, the author of Acts 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 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 in his own writings; impossible omissions if they were true. Paul revealed many personality traits in his letters, but genuine personal modesty wasn’t one of them.
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20-10-2015, 02:32 PM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2015 03:09 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-10-2015 12:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Mark,

Quote:Thank you for clarifying. You wrote:

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.

Let's look closer at Paul's statement, "I'm a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles."

1. This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy. Jews were ordinarily forbidden in the extreme to fraternize with Gentiles. Here Paul is saying he is what is commonly called today, "walking in another's shoes" as empathy.

2. Charlatans are working to deceive others for their own benefit. This statement of Paul's isn't found in a private correspondence to a fellow apostle or some huckster, but in an open letter to a church--he is further implying that others should follow his lead and be all things to all people! Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! Personally, when I witness to a Jewish person, if they identify as skilled in the Tanakh and wisdom literature, I will use OT exegesis to demonstrate Messiah and Jesus in their scriptures. But when speaking, say, to a visitor from India who has never read the OT, we can simply look at NT statements together. In other words, the approach toward a Jew or Gentile regarding Christianity may be modified to honor that person's to-date understanding.

3. Charlatans, again, are seeking gain, and by the definition you accepted for this debate, are pretenders, deceivers. In the statement you quoted, Paul wrote, "I am MADE all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost. You are claiming Paul put on airs for a nefarious reason, but you chose a quotation that says Paul was MADE a certain way rather than CHOSE to be a certain way.

4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." He was seeking the benefit of others to inherit eternal life, even those who persecuted him, Jew and Gentile, and those who were in the parties who crucified his master, Jesus.

Mark, elsewhere you stated, "Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment."

I should think since you are a noted author of a book who writes on all manner of Jewish and Christian practice, Mark, you would already be aware that Jewish scholars today are opposed to the New Testament, Christianity and the gospel. They seek peace with adherents of other faiths, yes, but any Jewish scholar suggesting that Paul is an authority would be escorted out of the synagogue. However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization.

PS. You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!

"Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! "

Paul did! He admitted he was a liar.

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

"Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost."

Ha ha. It was Paul who was "lost." He was a loose cannon, a two-bit player (in his own time). The Jewish religion was well established in Jerusalem and throughout the diaspora. Paul was an apostate, a maverick, a blasphemer and a legend only in his own lunchbox.

According to Acts, Paul created converts among Gentiles who were associated with synagogues in the Diaspora. He also wrote to groups of Gentiles who would meet in houses. He didn’t do so well with Jews, who took exception to someone preaching heresy. The Jews were convinced that if individuals ignored God’s commandments, the whole community would be punished. He upset them at Antioch, Iconium, Thessalonika, Beroea, Ephesus, Philippi, and Jerusalem.
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20-10-2015, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2015 06:05 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-10-2015 12:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Mark,

Quote:Thank you for clarifying. You wrote:

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.

Let's look closer at Paul's statement, "I'm a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles."

1. This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy. Jews were ordinarily forbidden in the extreme to fraternize with Gentiles. Here Paul is saying he is what is commonly called today, "walking in another's shoes" as empathy.

2. Charlatans are working to deceive others for their own benefit. This statement of Paul's isn't found in a private correspondence to a fellow apostle or some huckster, but in an open letter to a church--he is further implying that others should follow his lead and be all things to all people! Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! Personally, when I witness to a Jewish person, if they identify as skilled in the Tanakh and wisdom literature, I will use OT exegesis to demonstrate Messiah and Jesus in their scriptures. But when speaking, say, to a visitor from India who has never read the OT, we can simply look at NT statements together. In other words, the approach toward a Jew or Gentile regarding Christianity may be modified to honor that person's to-date understanding.

3. Charlatans, again, are seeking gain, and by the definition you accepted for this debate, are pretenders, deceivers. In the statement you quoted, Paul wrote, "I am MADE all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost. You are claiming Paul put on airs for a nefarious reason, but you chose a quotation that says Paul was MADE a certain way rather than CHOSE to be a certain way.

4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." He was seeking the benefit of others to inherit eternal life, even those who persecuted him, Jew and Gentile, and those who were in the parties who crucified his master, Jesus.

Mark, elsewhere you stated, "Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment."

I should think since you are a noted author of a book who writes on all manner of Jewish and Christian practice, Mark, you would already be aware that Jewish scholars today are opposed to the New Testament, Christianity and the gospel. They seek peace with adherents of other faiths, yes, but any Jewish scholar suggesting that Paul is an authority would be escorted out of the synagogue. However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization.

PS. You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!

"However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization."

I can't make head nor tail of this. Please explain.

PS...just looked it up...
"self-actualization
[self-ak-choo-uh-luh-zey-shuh n, self-ak-]
Spell Syllables
Examples Word Origin
noun, Psychology
1.
the achievement of one's full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world."

Paul? Ha ha!

Paul never realised his full potential by anyone's standards. In his own time he was a travelling nobody, a joke, a deluded fanatic. He was unhappy with himself, and moderately anxious. He tried desperately to control everyone who he met, with very limited success.

Paul faded out of the pages of history in the 60s CE, and no one knows for sure what happened to him. I suspect he was put out to pasture somewhere safe, where angry Jews couldn't get hold of him.

It was only long after Paul was dead, in the 140's CE, that a character named Marcion introduced Paul's letters to Rome and promoted them. As best we know, it was only then that anyone took any significant notice of the self styled apostle to the gentiles.

So he hardly, in his own time, lived out his full potential.

Was he "independent?" I guess so.

Was he "spontaneous." Yes...he sure did make up a lot of shit.

He quite clearly did not have a grasp of the real world. He lived in a fantasyland... one that was created by his own delusions (he probably believed his own spiel.)
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20-10-2015, 02:55 PM (This post was last modified: 20-10-2015 03:39 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-10-2015 12:26 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Mark,

Quote:Thank you for clarifying. You wrote:

The topic "was Paul a charlatan?" is complicated.

I will try to not be too wordy, as I would like all readers to develop, or have confirmed, their own impression of why Paul, the main creator of Christian theology, was a fraud and a con artist.

One way to start is with Paul's own writing. Paul wrote...

“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-23, KJV)

In other words, Paul admitted he tailored his innovative theology to suit his audience ie he told different things to different people. This is fraud, and the behaviour of a charlatan.

Paul admitted he lied...and tried to justify the fact by saying he was spreading the "truth of God"...

Romans 3:7 "If the truth of God has been spread by my lie, then why am I judged a sinner."

I will explain why Paul lied, and was a fraud, in posts to come.

Let's look closer at Paul's statement, "I'm a Jew to Jews, a Gentile to Gentiles."

1. This statement and so on is commonly taken as a very high expression of empathy. Jews were ordinarily forbidden in the extreme to fraternize with Gentiles. Here Paul is saying he is what is commonly called today, "walking in another's shoes" as empathy.

2. Charlatans are working to deceive others for their own benefit. This statement of Paul's isn't found in a private correspondence to a fellow apostle or some huckster, but in an open letter to a church--he is further implying that others should follow his lead and be all things to all people! Charlatans typically don't tell people in open source documents that they are charlatans! Personally, when I witness to a Jewish person, if they identify as skilled in the Tanakh and wisdom literature, I will use OT exegesis to demonstrate Messiah and Jesus in their scriptures. But when speaking, say, to a visitor from India who has never read the OT, we can simply look at NT statements together. In other words, the approach toward a Jew or Gentile regarding Christianity may be modified to honor that person's to-date understanding.

3. Charlatans, again, are seeking gain, and by the definition you accepted for this debate, are pretenders, deceivers. In the statement you quoted, Paul wrote, "I am MADE all things to all men, that I might by all means save some..." Paul claims that his situation, his life circumstance, the refining of his life by Jesus Christ, made him empathetic and humble enough to empathize with the lost. You are claiming Paul put on airs for a nefarious reason, but you chose a quotation that says Paul was MADE a certain way rather than CHOSE to be a certain way.

4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." He was seeking the benefit of others to inherit eternal life, even those who persecuted him, Jew and Gentile, and those who were in the parties who crucified his master, Jesus.

Mark, elsewhere you stated, "Although Paul presents himself as an expert in Judaism, he is not accepted as such by Jewish scholars today - and they, of all people, are most qualified to make such an assessment."

I should think since you are a noted author of a book who writes on all manner of Jewish and Christian practice, Mark, you would already be aware that Jewish scholars today are opposed to the New Testament, Christianity and the gospel. They seek peace with adherents of other faiths, yes, but any Jewish scholar suggesting that Paul is an authority would be escorted out of the synagogue. However, we might look at any number of Jewish scholars who find Paul and Jesus highly suggestive, and highly self-actualized, like Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualization.

PS. You posted a link to a Billy Idol video... what are you referencing there? If it is an attempt at humor, I find you in poor taste in the middle of the beginning of our serious debate!

"4. Paul's motivation? It wasn't money, power or sex. Rather, "...that I might by all means save some." "

Ha ha.

Paul was all about POWER.

Like all cult leaders, he did his best to bolster his personal power and prestige. I think his ego was partly responsible for his self-styled theology. Despite his wordy protestations that he was only working for everyone else’s welfare, his letters lay bare his burning need to browbeat the reader into believing that he was the ultimate authority. He often called his teachings

“my gospel,” (Rom 2;16 and 16;25-27)

a very apt description. His gospel elevated himself to the status of the master teacher, as no one else in his immediate circle was an authority on it. He arrogantly insisted this gospel of his was the only path to salvation:

“Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you - believing anything else will not lead to anything” (1 Cor. 15:1–3, NJB.)

Sophisticated men are interested in others’ opinions, but the puerile Paul couldn’t cope with competing convictions. Magnanimous men aren’t overly dogmatic; they give people space to find their own paths, but he’d have none of that. Authentic teachers don’t need to threaten their students; he did.

Paul wrote

“Take me for your model, as I take Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NJB.)

He was effectively claiming he was the next best thing to God; that he was the personal deputy of his deity.

A few years later he wrote,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, KJV.)

By then God’s right hand man had become God himself. His shoddily disguised delusions of grandeur revealed he promoted an inflated perception of himself. I’m surprised today’s Christians aren’t appalled and turned off by what could rightly be described as Paul’s narcissism.

Status and power weren’t all Paul pursued. He needed food and shelter, items that usually needed to be bought. Money was a niggling issue:

“That is why I have thought it necessary to ask these brothers to go on to you ahead of us, and make sure in advance that the gift you promised is all ready, and that it all comes as a gift out of your generosity and not by being extorted from you. Do not forget that thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:5–7, NJB.)

Preachers trying to earn a quid love a cheerful giver too! Most modern people who have ever stepped inside a church have been at the receiving end of pleas like this, as it is part and parcel of the machinery of religion.

Paul tried to justify living off the communities he visited:

“Nobody ever paid money to stay in the army, and nobody ever planted a vineyard and refused to eat the fruit of it. Who has there ever been that kept a flock and did not feed on the milk from his flock?” (1 Cor. 9:7, JB.)

He must have milked money from his fraternities. Anyone he clashed with was compromising not just his ego, but his income too.

He probably didn’t have an easy time selling his ideas given that he was so often attacked, and that he repeatedly needed to write about his own credentials. If he’d impressed more people, he wouldn’t have needed to sell himself.

Paul also tried to prop up the power of the government... he wrote to a Jewish community in Rome and encouraged them to be servile to the Roman government:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-10 NIV.)

Paul, who was a Roman citizen and probably a government agent, claimed that to obey the powers that be was to obey God. The way he worded this passage legitimized any governing authority, which turned it into a false, gross generalization. Throughout the centuries this mindless manifesto has been used to justify the behavior of governments, monarchs, popes, and other dictators. This passage is so ironic, because Yeshua tried to derail the government. Pause for a minute for a reality check. Imagine what Jesus would have thought of this as the authorities inflicted “punishment on the wrongdoer” by nailing him to a cross!
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