Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
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20-11-2015, 04:34 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2015 01:04 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:36 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 06:53 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  No. A good debate has both sides providing some opinion/commentary AND some facts.

Hallelujah! Stop whinging and produce some facts!

There is no need for me to refute your stance with facts beyond what I've presented to date, since only I presented facts.

FFS! You stated some of the gospels were written before some of Paul, yet you are too lazy or too uninformed to back your statement up with facts.

You have only conjecture and (perverted) Bible commentary.

Here you go again, attaching derogatory labels to my writing, but not saying why and not refuting any of my arguments. This is pathetic. You are too frightened to step in to the argument.

Are you really unaware of the prevailing scholarly opinion that held sway for millennia that Mark was written before any NT epistle? Don't most of you atheists believe that Matthew and Luke wrote from Markan prior writings? Are you that ignorant of NT scholarship? Why am I debating someone who doesn't know what I learned in my first week of college?

"Are you really unaware of the prevailing scholarly opinion that held sway for millennia that Mark was written before any NT epistle?"

Well this is interesting. You will find, if you use google, that most commentators place Paul's genuine epistles before the first gospels. I am rather amazed that you do the opposite. Please provide me with a link or two to anyone who backs you up on this.

http://jesuschristians.com/new-articles/...-or-gospel
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamin...-not-much/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcus-bor...=Australia
http://jerichobrisance.com/2013/10/13/in...ent-books/

Don't most of you atheists believe that Matthew and Luke wrote from Markan prior writings?

Atheists only have one belief in common...gods don't exist.
Yes, I and perhaps 99% of biblical scholars, believe that Matthew and Luke plagiarized from Mark. Your point is what, exactly?

"Are you that ignorant of NT scholarship? Why am I debating someone who doesn't know what I learned in my first week of college?"

If you use google or read some books on the authorship of the New Testament you will very quickly realise that you are the ignorant party. If you wish to present a case that Mark was written before the Pauline epistles, as per a small minority of scholars...please...do. It would be nice to hear something concrete from you.
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20-11-2015, 05:03 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2015 03:53 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:31 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 03:40 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Yes, I'm an expert on the writings of Paul and Jesus.

"X" - the great unknown

"spirt" - a drip under pressure Big Grin

Q, even you know that Jesus never wrote anything. You cannot, therefore, be an expert on the writings of Jesus.

You claim to be an expert on the writings in the New Testament. What you mean by this is that you have assumed they are the truth, and have pored over them ad nauseam, privately and with others, and discussed what they may or may not mean.

What you haven't done is investigate whether they may be authentic, whether they contain the truth, and why they were written.

You haven't made any effort to understand ancient Jewish, Roman and Christian history in the very eras in which these ramblings were produced.

That is why when you read the writings of someone like myself, who has investigated the history, you are completely out of your depth. You cannot imagine there is anything truthful in what I write because that would undermine all your presumptions.

All you can do is pretend to be greatly offended, or dismayed, or bored, because you can't retort with any facts of your own, because you don't have any.

You are no expert Q, you are just someone who has rote learned nursery rhymes.

You can't possibly be this dense regarding Christian doctrine 101. Jesus is the Word of God -- He inspired/wrote the entire Bible, both testaments.

And you remain wholly incorrect--although you are again resorting to ad homs and not facts--I HAVE investigated the history, the ancient beliefs, the councils, the languages. I'm the one with the degree in this, remember?

"You can't possibly be this dense regarding Christian doctrine 101. Jesus is the Word of God -- He inspired/wrote the entire Bible, both testaments."

If I told you that Mickey Mouse wrote "Macbeth," "The Merchant of Venice," "Wuthering Heights," "Lord of the Rings " and "Harry Potter" you would quite rightly think I had lost my marbles. If I told you that you were "dense" because the Mickey Mouse fan club believes this to be true, you would be, shall we say, rather bemused.

A cartoon character, such as Jeebus, can't go back in time, and can't write.
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20-11-2015, 05:21 PM (This post was last modified: 20-11-2015 05:28 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:34 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 06:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I only rarely need to consult an online source to find a refutation of your silly "Pauline" doctrines.

Well maybe that is why you can't you post something scholarly? Where are your arguments? Where are your facts? You barely mention what Paul said or did...you are too busy telling us how you are feeling, how smart you are and how wrong I am.

doctrine |ˈdɒktrɪn|
noun
a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.

I think it is glaringly obvious who believes in "silly Pauline doctrines," and it's not me.

What arguments? Paul not being a charlatan involves Paul being sincere, humble, ministering, religious, kind--no matter what arguments I use atheists insist Paul and even the Lord Jesus Christ were none of these things. What facts would you like me to present?

"Paul not being a charlatan involves Paul being sincere, humble, ministering, religious, kind"

sincere |sɪnˈsɪə|
adjective (sincerer, sincerest)
free from pretence or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings
• (of a person) saying what they genuinely feel or believe; not dishonest or hypocritical. she'd sounded sincere enough. a painfully sincere young actor.

Was Paul sincere? Consider the following...

“The fact is, brothers, and I want you to realize this, the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learned only through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You must have heard of my career as a practicing Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors. Then God, who had specifically 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 may preach the Good News about him to the pagans” (Gal. 1:11–24, NJB.)

This was a lie!

“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)

He made it all up!

“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 badmouthed his opposition.

“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.)

Paul milked money from his fraternities.
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20-11-2015, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 20-11-2015 06:49 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:34 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 06:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I only rarely need to consult an online source to find a refutation of your silly "Pauline" doctrines.

Well maybe that is why you can't you post something scholarly? Where are your arguments? Where are your facts? You barely mention what Paul said or did...you are too busy telling us how you are feeling, how smart you are and how wrong I am.

doctrine |ˈdɒktrɪn|
noun
a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.

I think it is glaringly obvious who believes in "silly Pauline doctrines," and it's not me.

What arguments? Paul not being a charlatan involves Paul being sincere, humble, ministering, religious, kind--no matter what arguments I use atheists insist Paul and even the Lord Jesus Christ were none of these things. What facts would you like me to present?

Was Paul humble?

NO! He was a narcissist!

“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.)

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

Paul thought he was the next best thing to God; that he was the personal deputy of his deity.

A few years later Paul 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 himself become God.

“Similarly, I direct that women are to wear suitable clothes and to be dressed quietly and modestly, without braided hair or gold and jewelry or expensive clothes; their adornment is to do the sort of good works that are proper for women who profess to be religious. During instruction, a woman should be quiet and respectful. I am not giving permission for a woman to teach or to tell a man what to do. A woman ought not to speak, because Adam was formed first and Eve afterwards, and it was not Adam who was led astray but the woman who was led astray and fell into sin. Nevertheless, she will be saved by childbearing, provided she lives a modest life and is constant in faith and love and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:9–15, NJB.)

“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-5, KJV.)

He ordered women around.

A man who could write this stuff is not humble.
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20-11-2015, 05:48 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:38 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(18-11-2015 02:52 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Which of us has a Bachelor's of Religion with a Paul and the New Testament emphasis? I specifically took courses in Paul and the Acts from a secular college.

Well come on then, present your facts. Reply with something specific to make me think. I'm just a guy with a few medical degrees. You should be whipping my ass.

All we have had from you so far is this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT26AEXwBJ8

How am I to whip you or vice versa when I admitted before the boxing ring was entered that all either of us can present is scholarly opinion aka conjecture? Do you have one 1st century source proving your assertions? Of course you don't. Neither do I. Don't be (more) ridiculous.

Sorry to be so harsh with you, but you invited me to the ring and I came, albeit reluctantly.

How am I to whip you or vice versa when I admitted before the boxing ring was entered that all either of us can present is scholarly opinion aka conjecture? Do you have one 1st century source proving your assertions? Of course you don't. Neither do I. Don't be (more) ridiculous.

Q, allow me to introduce you to a new concept...thinking for yourself. We all have a right to do it.

We don't have to follow or believe anyone.

We should listen to the scholars and other commentators, examine the sources for ourselves, and come to our own conclusions. That is what this debate is about.

I don't need "one 1st century source proving (my) assertions." It would be nice if there was such a good source, but it is not necessary to come to some conclusions. The reason that such a source might not no longer exist is an interesting question in itself.
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20-11-2015, 05:54 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:33 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 06:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  You keep bringing this up, so I keep having to repeat myself. Does anything I write ever sink into your thick skull? Here I go again...

No one is sure whether a character called Paul wrote the letters attributed to him. Most scholars think "he" wrote about half of them. Nearly all scholars admit the Pauline letters have been edited and interpolated. Anyone who comments on these letters is, therefore, guessing, to a degree, about their authenticity. I have a right to do that. I am offering an opinion. It has a similar value to your opinion that all the letters are Pauline and unaltered. If you wish to present a case for that opinion...feel free...if you don't then shut the fuck up about it.

Is this the language you would use in the formal debate in person I'd suggested? Would you use the STFO term in a formal debate? Again, I'd prefer strongly to debate with a gentleman who also knows the rules of gentlemanly debate.

Now, you are correct if you wish to speculate on the authorship of particular Pauline-attributed phrases or verses or even whole epistles--'tis the pastime of many an armchair academic. HOWEVER, as I pointed out you would do BEFORE the debate began, EVERY time you present scripture against Paul you are sure Paul wrote it, and EVERY time I refute your theories with scripture you INSIST that it IS ABSOLUTELY not Pauline. Be consistent.

"EVERY time you present scripture against Paul you are sure Paul wrote it, and EVERY time I refute your theories with scripture you INSIST that it IS ABSOLUTELY not Pauline. Be consistent."

You keep saying this, thereby making yourself look more and more stupid and pig-headed. I'm not going to repeat myself explaining why you are wrong about this again.
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20-11-2015, 06:06 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:34 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(17-11-2015 06:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I only rarely need to consult an online source to find a refutation of your silly "Pauline" doctrines.

Well maybe that is why you can't you post something scholarly? Where are your arguments? Where are your facts? You barely mention what Paul said or did...you are too busy telling us how you are feeling, how smart you are and how wrong I am.

doctrine |ˈdɒktrɪn|
noun
a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.

I think it is glaringly obvious who believes in "silly Pauline doctrines," and it's not me.

What arguments? Paul not being a charlatan involves Paul being sincere, humble, ministering, religious, kind--no matter what arguments I use atheists insist Paul and even the Lord Jesus Christ were none of these things. What facts would you like me to present?

"atheists insist Paul and even the Lord Jesus Christ were none of these things."

Atheists don't insist anything other than that gods don't exist.

What facts would you like me to present?

Anything Q, really ... anything. Please come up with one quote or one link that backs up any of your assertions. If that's too hard, just present one logical, coherent well expressed argument that makes sense. I think at this stage we would all be relieved to see you actually step into the ring.
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20-11-2015, 06:42 PM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2015 12:46 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:39 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(19-11-2015 02:47 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I have found more evidence that Paul was probably a government agent trying to spread propaganda that would undermine and dilute Judaism by adding gentiles to the new faith...

Ephesians 2 King James Version (KJV)

2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are savedWink

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:


13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;


16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


Paul's pathetic modus operandi becomes obvious when one understands his motivation.

He was not trying to save souls, as he claimed, but to make Jews and Gentiles one big happy family, all worshipping his Christ, and all obeying the government.

His pathetic, convoluted, fabricated and inconsistent ramblings about his Christ were nothing more than invented theology designed to get Jews and gentiles to stop fighting each other.

Paul was a charlatan.

Funny--most normal people would say religion motivated a man to bring Jews and non-Jews together in peacemaking. Not a Roman conspiracy dating to AFTER the Romans had subjugated Israel!

If your Bible passage is evidence, I'm Arnold Palmer. Have a tea and lemonade, Dr. Fulton, and chill.

Oh well, at least I got an atheist to quote lots of scripture! Thanks!

Funny--most normal people would say religion motivated a man to bring Jews and non-Jews together in peacemaking.

So...anyone who disagrees with this is "not normal?" What is "not normal" about the idea that religion is invented, then used, to control people?

Q, please tell me which of the following religions was not invented to control people

Catholicism?
Islam?
Mormonism?
The Jehovah Witnesses?
Scientology?
The Branch Davidians?

Now, please explain why Paul's particular version of woo is any different to that in any of the above?

Not a Roman conspiracy dating to AFTER the Romans had subjugated Israel!

So...um...you think Paul wrote "after the Romans had subjugated Israel"? I think you will find, Mr B of Bullshit, that nearly every scholar thinks Paul's genuine letters were written BEFORE the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE.
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20-11-2015, 07:30 PM
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
(20-11-2015 03:39 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(19-11-2015 02:47 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I have found more evidence that Paul was probably a government agent trying to spread propaganda that would undermine and dilute Judaism by adding gentiles to the new faith...

Ephesians 2 King James Version (KJV)

2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are savedWink

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:


13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;


16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


Paul's pathetic modus operandi becomes obvious when one understands his motivation.

He was not trying to save souls, as he claimed, but to make Jews and Gentiles one big happy family, all worshipping his Christ, and all obeying the government.

His pathetic, convoluted, fabricated and inconsistent ramblings about his Christ were nothing more than invented theology designed to get Jews and gentiles to stop fighting each other.

Paul was a charlatan.

Funny--most normal people would say religion motivated a man to bring Jews and non-Jews together in peacemaking. Not a Roman conspiracy dating to AFTER the Romans had subjugated Israel!

If your Bible passage is evidence, I'm Arnold Palmer. Have a tea and lemonade, Dr. Fulton, and chill.

Oh well, at least I got an atheist to quote lots of scripture! Thanks!

Yes, your arguments here have been a raging success! Just read the commentary from the observers! Just look at all the likes you have received! This must be because you have such a strong background of knowledge, and you know how to present your arguments logically and coherently! You have really got that atheist guy trembling in his boots! Jeebus lives!
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21-11-2015, 12:29 AM (This post was last modified: 21-11-2015 12:39 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Mark Fulton vs Q..."Was Paul a Charlatan"
Was Paul Gay?

Bishop John Shelby Spong (from "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism") thinks so...

"Nothing about Paul was moderate. He was tightly drawn, passionately emotional, filled with enormous feelings of self-negativity, seeking to deal with those feelings in the timehonored way of external controls, unflagging religious zeal, and rigid discipline. He could not, however, master the passions that consumed him.

What were these passions? There is no doubt in my mind that they were sexual in nature, but what kind of sexual passions were they? Searching once again through the writings of Paul, some conclusions begin to emerge that startle and surprise the reader. Paul's passions seemed to be incapable of being relieved. Why was that? Paul himself had written that if one "could not exercise self-control" that person should marry. "For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion" (1 Cor. 7:9). But we have no evidence from any source that Paul ever married. Indeed, he exhorts widows and the unmarried to "remain single as I do" (1 Cor. 7:8). A primary purpose of sexual activity in marriage, according to Paul, was to keep Satan from tempting people "through lack of self-control" (1 Cor. 7:5). Why, when Paul seemed to be so consumed with a passion he could not control, would he not take his own advice and alleviate that passion in marriage? He did write that marriage was an acceptable, if not ideal, way of life. Still, however, marriage never seemed to loom for him as a possibility.

Paul has been perceived as basically negative toward women. He did write that "it is well for a man not to touch a woman" (1 Cor. 7:1). The passion that burned so deeply in Paul did not seem to be related to the desire for union with a woman. Why would that desire create such negativity in Paul, anyway? Marriage, married love, and married sexual desire were not thought to be evil or loathsome. Paul's sexual passions do not fit comfortably into this explanatory pattern. But what does?

Obviously there is no way to know for certain the cause of Paul's anxiety prior to that moment of final revelation in the Kingdom of Heaven. But that does not stop speculation. The value of speculation in this case comes when a theory is tested by assuming for a moment that it is correct and then reading Paul in the light of that theory. Sometimes one finds in this way the key that unlocks the hidden messages that are present in the text. Once unlocked, these messages not only cease to be hidden but they become obvious, glaring at the reader, who wonders why such obvious meanings had not been seen before.

Some have suggested that that Paul was plagued by homosexual fears. This is not a new idea, and yet until recent years, when homosexuality began to shed some of its negative connotations, it was an idea so repulsive to Christian people that it could not be breathed in official circles. This is not to say that our cultural homophobia has disappeared. It is still lethal and dwells in high places in the life of the Christian church, and it is a subject about which ecclesiastical figures are deeply dishonest, saying one thing publicly and acting another way privately. The prejudice, however, is fading slowly but surely. With the softening of that homophobic stance we might consider the hypothesis that Paul may have been a gay male. We might test that theory by assuming it for a moment as we read Paul. When I did this for the first time, I was startled to see how much of Paul was unlocked and how deeply I could understand the power of the gospel that literally saved Paul's life.

When I suggest the possibility that Paul was a homosexual person, I do not mean to be salacious or titillating or even to suggest something that many would consider scandalous. I see no evidence to suggest that Paul ever acted out his sexual desires and passions. He lived in an age and among a people that cloaked the way he would have viewed this reality with layer after layer of condemnation. But for a moment assume the possibility that this theory is correct and look with me again at the writings of Paul and, more important, at the meaning of Christ, resurrection, and grace in the life of this foundational Christian.

Paul felt tremendous guilt and shame, which produced in him self-loathing. The presence of homosexuality would have created this response among Jewish people in that period of history. Nothing else, in my opinion, could account for Paul's self-judging rhetoric, his negative feeling toward his own body, and his sense of being controlled by something he had no power to change. The war that went on between what he desired with his mind and what he desired with his body, his drivenness to a legalistic religion of control, his fear when that system was threatened, his attitude toward women, his refusal to seek marriage .as an outlet for his passion-nothing else accounts for this data as well as the possibility that Paul was a gay male.

Paul's religious tradition would clearly regard gay males as aberrant, distorted, evil, and depraved. When discovered, gay males were quite often executed. The Law stated: "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Lev. 18:22). Do not defile yourself by these things, the Torah continued, for God will cast out those who defile themselves. God will punish, promised the Law, and the land will vomit out those who are thus defiled (Lev. 18:24ff). To do these things is to be cut off from the people of Israel (Lev. 18:29). Later in the Torah death is called for as the penalty for homosexuality. "If a man lies with a man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death" (Lev. 20:13).

Paul was a student of the Law. If homosexuality was his condition, he knew well that by that Law he stood condemned. His body was a body in which death reigned. He lived under that death sentence. What Paul knew himself to be, the people to whom he belonged and the Law to which he adhered called abominable, and Paul felt it to be beyond redemption. Is it not possible, even probable, that this was the inner source of his deep self-negativity, his inner turmoil, his self-rejection, his superhuman zeal for a perfection he could never achieve? Could this also be his thorn in the flesh, about which he wrote so plaintively? With this possibility in mind, listen once more to Paul's words: "And to help me keep from being too elated by the abundance of revelation, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I sought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness' " (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

On another and perhaps earlier occasion, Paul had written, "You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first; and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus" (Gal. 4:13). The word angel can also be translated messenger. Paul is the possessor of a condition that he believes to be incurable. It is a condition for which people might scorn or despise him. I have heard and read of commentators who suggested that this physical condition was some kind of chronic eye problem. This is based, I suspect, on Paul's words to the Galatians that they would have "plucked out their eyes and given them" to Paul (Gal. 4:15). But chronic eye problems do not normally bring scorn or the activity of despairing, and through the eye, which Paul called "the window of the body," life and beauty as well as death and pain enter the human experience. Paul, in these words to the Galatians, told them that he had now "become as they are," one in whom "Christ has been formed," and assured them that they "did him no wrong" (Gal. 4:12, 19). That refers to an inner healing not an external healing.

Others have suggested that epilepsy was the condition from which he was not free. Epilepsy was thought of as demon possession, but it was a periodic sense of being possessed by an alien spirit, not a constant malady. Also, in the biblical narrative the epileptic elicited a sense of pity, or at times fear, but seldom did it elicit despising or loathing. Epilepsy does not appear to me to account for the intensity of the feelings that Paul expressed. The realization that he was a homosexual male does. It is a hypothesis that makes sense of the data and accounts for the tone, the fear, the passion, and the behavior."

Reproduced without permission Big Grin

There's nothing wrong with being gay. Yet Paul allowed his own self-loathing to colour what he taught. He was a suppressed, toxic, miserable individual. And a charlatan.
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