The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
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06-04-2015, 07:28 PM (This post was last modified: 06-04-2015 07:32 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(06-04-2015 09:12 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It's hard for me to not take issue with pages that are more polemic than fact, e.g.:

Quote:To put Paul’s Christology in perspective, we should consider his almost complete lack of credentials. His legitimacy rested solely on his claim that God had revealed everything to him, an extremely weak argument.

1. Paul cites his credential in the scriptures as a leading Pharisee, well advanced in zeal and knowledge

2. Paul cites his will to further Christianity, rooted in his zeal that led to him being a former persecutor of the church

3. Paul cites as proof of his authority the salvations, new churches and miracles that followed in his wake

And I appreciate your comments on the 4th century Christian councils--but it's hard to understand how people meeting three centuries after Christ to argue over doctrine proves your points about the NT.

RE "2. Paul cites his will to further Christianity, rooted in his zeal that led to him being a former persecutor of the church"

The guy was a maverick, an over zealous nut job, and probably a paid member of the Roman government propaganda machine. The fact that he was too zealous in his preaching says nothing about the truth of what he preached. People fly planes into buildings because they believe they know the truth; that doesn't mean they do.

RE "3. Paul cites as proof of his authority the salvations, new churches and miracles that followed in his wake"

What "salvations" are you talking about? Are you referring to the never-ending theme park in the sky that Paul promised his patrons would get free tickets to as long as they did what he told them?

What churches? There were no churches in Paul's day. There were only different very disparate groups of people who met in people's houses or in synagogues. I hope you realise that a synagogue is not a church.

Paul never mentioned anything about his miracles. Paul's miracles were made up by the author of Acts who was trying to legitimise Paul and Paul's ramblings. If Paul had really performed miracles he would've waxed lyrical about them in his letters, yet he doesn't mention any such thing even once.
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08-04-2015, 03:18 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(06-04-2015 09:12 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It's hard for me to not take issue with pages that are more polemic than fact, e.g.:

Quote:To put Paul’s Christology in perspective, we should consider his almost complete lack of credentials. His legitimacy rested solely on his claim that God had revealed everything to him, an extremely weak argument.

1. Paul cites his credential in the scriptures as a leading Pharisee, well advanced in zeal and knowledge

2. Paul cites his will to further Christianity, rooted in his zeal that led to him being a former persecutor of the church

3. Paul cites as proof of his authority the salvations, new churches and miracles that followed in his wake

And I appreciate your comments on the 4th century Christian councils--but it's hard to understand how people meeting three centuries after Christ to argue over doctrine proves your points about the NT.

RE
"It's hard for me to not take issue with pages that are more polemic than fact,"

My writing appears polemical to you because it is based on fact and well researched opinions. Your opinions on the way things were, however, appear to be based only on what you've read in the bible and what you've been told in church. Welcome to reality.
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13-04-2015, 01:45 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
Hi Mark,

What you are saying about Paul is absolutely the party line as presented by modern-day Judaism, yes. The worst heresy for a Jew is to convert to Christianity. However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that everything Paul says in doctrine (or nearly so) is rooted in either the Hebrew scriptures or Talmud, and that he is able to match wits with those he encounters--throughout the Empire--always meeting with, living with and debating with, his Jewish people.

Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?

Thanks.

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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13-04-2015, 03:37 PM (This post was last modified: 13-04-2015 03:48 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(13-04-2015 01:45 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Hi Mark,

What you are saying about Paul is absolutely the party line as presented by modern-day Judaism, yes. The worst heresy for a Jew is to convert to Christianity. However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that everything Paul says in doctrine (or nearly so) is rooted in either the Hebrew scriptures or Talmud, and that he is able to match wits with those he encounters--throughout the Empire--always meeting with, living with and debating with, his Jewish people.

Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?

Thanks.

Hi Q, I must admit I am pleasantly surprised by your latest answer. Could it be that you genuinely have an interest in the history?

I'm glad you realise that modern day Jewish scholars give no credence to Paul. Judaism has changed a little but not much. Back in the first century the Jews disliked Paul and treated him as a heretic. When I say "the Jews" that also includes the family and original followers of Jesus. This much can be gathered from the writings of the Church Fathers, the book of Acts, and Paul's own writings. That very fact throws serious doubt over the entire legitimacy of Christianity, which is supposedly based on the existence and teachings of Jesus, yet is so obviously based on the ramblings of Paul.

Please have a read of my article about how I think the Roman government created Christian theology via Paul.

http://www.markfulton.org/was-christiani...ropaganda/

Then have a read of the following. Try not to read it as "polemical," but rather with an open mind. If you can understand these ideas the penny will drop for you about how fabricated Christian theology really is.

Paul’s Relationship with the Nazarenes

At the so-called “Jerusalem council,” of about 49 CE, James convened a meeting to discuss tactics for promoting the Nazarene’s beliefs. 2 Galatians, written by Paul, describes this meeting. It’s a truly enlightening passage from the bible:

“It was not until fourteen years had passed that I went up to Jerusalem again. I went with Barnabas and took Titus with me. I went there as a result of a revelation, and privately I laid before the leading men the Good News as I proclaim it among the pagans; I did so for fear the course I was adopting or had already adopted would not be allowed. And what happened? Even though Titus who had come with me is a Greek, he was not obliged to be circumcised. The question came up only because some who do not really belong to the brotherhood have furtively crept in to spy on the liberty we enjoy in Jesus Christ, and want to reduce us all to slavery. I was so determined to safeguard for you the true meaning of the Good News, that I refused even out of deference to yield to such people for one moment. As a result, these people who are acknowledged leaders—not that their importance matters much to me, since God has no favorites—these leaders, as I say, had nothing to add to the Good News as I preach it. On the contrary, they recognized I had been commissioned to preach the Good News to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been commissioned to preach it to the circumcised. The same person whose action had made Peter the apostle of the circumcised had given me a similar mission to the pagans. So James, Cephas and John, these leaders, these pillars, shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the pagans and they to the circumcised. The only thing they insisted on was that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do. When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong. His custom had been to eat with the pagans, but after certain friends of James arrived he stopped doing this and kept away from them altogether for fear of the group that insisted on circumcision. The other Jews joined him in this pretence, and even Barnabas felt himself obliged to copy their behavior. When I saw they were not respecting the true meaning of the Good News, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, ‘In spite of being a Jew, you live like the pagans and not like the Jews, so you have no right to make the pagans copy Jewish ways.’” (Gal. 2:1–15 JB.)

Each sentence reveals a facet of a very strained relationship. Paul was clearly intimidated by James,’ John’s and Peter’s authority. He referred to them as “Pillars,” and “leading men,” and he writes he was well aware they mightn’t accept his proclamation of “Good News:

“I laid before the leading men the Good News as I proclaim it among the pagans; I did so for fear the course I was adopting or had already adopted would not be allowed.” What’s more, he barely concealed the fact he begrudged their authority:

“Not that their importance matters much to me.” Can anyone imagine him writing that about someone (James) he thought was the half brother of the son of God? He quite clearly regarded them as competition:

“I was so determined to safeguard for you the true meaning of the Good News, that I refused even out of deference to yield to such people for one moment.” Paul mistrusted them. They didn’t “belong to the brotherhood.” He accused them of spying on “the liberty we enjoy in Christ Jesus.” He said they had “nothing to add to the Good News I preach.” He believed they “want to reduce us all to slavery.” He thought that the “Good News” he, and only he, preached, entitled people to be part of his brotherhood. He thought he was freeing people from the “slavery” of the Judaic Law.

Then, he and Peter, allegedly stalwarts of the fledgling Christian movement, (who the Vatican claim founded a Christian church in Rome together) bickered with each other. Paul claimed (probably quite correctly) that Peter didn’t respect his “Good News.” Paul claimed he publically challenged Peter directly by accusing him of hypocrisy.

What an intriguing snippet of scripture! A churlish, hostile Paul, who was probably the first founder of Christianity, was personally and philosophically at odds with Jesus’ brother and disciples! He was angry and frustrated that they’d been undermining him, and he didn’t hold back his vindictive retort. Paul and them obviously weren’t preaching the same message! (as claimed in Acts.)

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 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.) 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, 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? [i][i]Jesus’ own people were attacking Paul because he was promoting Christian ideas, a fact that should raise eyebrows in today’s churches.[/i][/i]

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 Paul’s 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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13-04-2015, 04:25 PM (This post was last modified: 13-04-2015 04:41 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(13-04-2015 01:45 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Hi Mark,

What you are saying about Paul is absolutely the party line as presented by modern-day Judaism, yes. The worst heresy for a Jew is to convert to Christianity. However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that everything Paul says in doctrine (or nearly so) is rooted in either the Hebrew scriptures or Talmud, and that he is able to match wits with those he encounters--throughout the Empire--always meeting with, living with and debating with, his Jewish people.

Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?

Thanks.

Re "Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?"

Paul created a Christ for everyone. What that meant was that people who were not ethnically Jewish i.e. pagans or Gentiles, could be bought under the wing of a watered down version of Judaism. This downplayed the exclusivity and the patriotic fervour of messianic Jews, people who were trouble causers and often violent and who threatened Roman rule. This was what the government was trying to do by creating Christianity.

There is very little doubt in my mind about this. There were two seriously large wars, the first in 66 to 70 and the second in 132 to 135 between fundamentalist Jews and the Roman government. Judaism was the factor that united the Jewish people, gave them something to belong to, and a sense of purpose and a sense that they were different and special from the rest of the people in the Roman world. Their religion needed to be suppressed so that wars and skirmishes could be avoided and taxes paid.

Things haven't changed much… Consider how Palestinian people are so easily united by warlords using religion.

The Roman government knew this, so tried to undermine Jews by creating a watered down version of Judaism, which is what became Christianity.

The Roman government was very clever. They used three forms of suppression to control people... military might, economics, and propaganda. Christianity was originally Roman government propaganda.

I have much more evidence for this if you or anyone else is interested.
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13-04-2015, 04:33 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
How he did it...Paul the Salesman

It can be argued that Paul was a salesman with an ambitious agenda. He hoped to sell his interpretation of Judaism to the Roman world. He had a plan to undermine those dangerous messianic Nazarene beliefs that roused rebellion against Roman rule.

He wrote to various groups scattered throughout the Empire, and pleaded they believe only his theology. Judging by the content of his letters, he was so obsessed with snaring converts that little else in his life mattered. In Romans 15:16, he wrote that Gentiles were an offering he would bring to God.

“…that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”

Most of the people he wrote to were Gentiles (pagans) associated with Jewish synagogues, (“God-fearing Gentiles”) although he wrote to some Jews in the Diaspora too. From Paul’s perspective, his patrons were in desperate need of direction and an authoritative, charismatic leader to look up to. He considered himself just the man. He thought he knew how to win the hearts, minds, and souls of people, as he probably imagined himself as one of the few God fearers (i.e. Jews) who understood Gentile cultures.

“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)

Paul’s theology probably had a long and carefully thought out gestation. He knew that to appeal to his customers he needed a product very different to traditional Judaism, which required obedience to cumbersome dictates, and was too anti-Roman. The Jews believed men had to be circumcised, a painful and embarrassing procedure, not easy to sell to an adult man. They worshipped Yahweh, who is portrayed in Jewish scripture as a thunderous and violent pro-Jewish anti-Gentile God, and would bow to no one but him. They had to eat kosher food, could marry only Jewish women, and weren’t allowed to work on the Sabbath. Jews regarded Jewish heritage and history as superior to others, and all Jews were expected to take part in the fasts and feasts celebrating the ancient epic of Israel. Many Jews thought they were one day going to be the masters of the world, and they had chips on their shoulders that right now it was Rome, not them, that was in charge. Their messianic dreams were a threat to Roman rule. Paul knew that the vast majority of Gentiles found all this inconvenient, irksome and out of touch with reality, so he labeled these Jewish rules and beliefs as a type of “slavery.” He had to jettison the old rules, so he did, by reinventing Judaism so that it was more to the Gentile world’s liking.

According to Paul, there was now no need for circumcision or to stop work on the Sabbath. The dietary kosher rules were out; bacon was on the breakfast menu, with shellfish salad for lunch. He made the extraordinary claim that to obey the Roman government was to obey God. He downplayed the importance of the Jewish temple, and replaced the Jews’ hope for a political messiah of their own with Christ, the spiritual savior of all mankind. He declared Yahweh was such a decent deity he’d sent his own precious son, the Christ, to earth. The “kingdom of God,” according to Paul, became a place in heaven, not in Israel. He alleged Gentiles were descendants of Abraham too, and that the centuries-old Jewish Law was a “curse,” and a type of “slavery.” All that was now required was faith in his claims about Christ. Voilà! The Christ myth and Christian theology were born.

It can be argued that Paul was one of history’s first examples of an ambitious cult leader who, when the rules of the established religion were no longer convenient, simply invented new ones to suit himself. He advocated the replacement of what he called the “old covenant” of the Jews with his entirely fabricated “new covenant.” It is evident he was trying to reinvent Judaism and dampen down Jewish messianic dreams, bending over backwards to infiltrate the old religion with Gentiles and pro-Roman ideas. He had little idea he was creating an almost entirely new faith, yet that’s precisely what his writings helped do many years later.
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13-04-2015, 05:35 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(13-04-2015 04:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(13-04-2015 01:45 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Hi Mark,

What you are saying about Paul is absolutely the party line as presented by modern-day Judaism, yes. The worst heresy for a Jew is to convert to Christianity. However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament demonstrates that everything Paul says in doctrine (or nearly so) is rooted in either the Hebrew scriptures or Talmud, and that he is able to match wits with those he encounters--throughout the Empire--always meeting with, living with and debating with, his Jewish people.

Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?

Thanks.

Re "Again, I hear your interesting theory regarding Paul being a shill for Roman propaganda, how do you interpret the fact that only four or so of the thousands of Pauline verses refer to obeying the Roman authorities?"

Paul created a Christ for everyone. What that meant was that people who were not ethnically Jewish i.e. pagans or Gentiles, could be bought under the wing of a watered down version of Judaism. This downplayed the exclusivity and the patriotic fervour of messianic Jews, people who were trouble causers and often violent and who threatened Roman rule. This was what the government was trying to do by creating Christianity.

There is very little doubt in my mind about this. There were two seriously large wars, the first in 66 to 70 and the second in 132 to 135 between fundamentalist Jews and the Roman government. Judaism was the factor that united the Jewish people, gave them something to belong to, and a sense of purpose and a sense that they were different and special from the rest of the people in the Roman world. Their religion needed to be suppressed so that wars and skirmishes could be avoided and taxes paid.

Things haven't changed much… Consider how Palestinian people are so easily united by warlords using religion.

The Roman government knew this, so tried to undermine Jews by creating a watered down version of Judaism, which is what became Christianity.

The Roman government was very clever. They used three forms of suppression to control people... military might, economics, and propaganda. Christianity was originally Roman government propaganda.
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13-04-2015, 05:38 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2015 02:43 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
So every time Paul mentioned his Christ he was in fact talking about something that undermined the Jews and Judaism. Paul's Christ replaced the political Messiah that the Jews were dreaming about.

Paul took his job even further than was necessary. He couldn't help but try to control people's personal and social behaviour too. Hence he promoted his own prejudices about sex, about women, about what to eat and when, about homosexuals, about science and learning, and the list goes on. It is an unfortunate fact that today's Christian preachers often promote many of these awful ethics using Paul's scripture as the justification.

I have much more evidence for the government's role in the origin of Christianity if you or anyone else is interested.
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14-04-2015, 01:00 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
Hi Mark,

Here is a quote from your blog article on Paul and the Romans:

Quote:The politically motivated spin may have been very clever, but it did not achieve its original aims. Just as Paul failed to stop the first war of 66-70 CE, the Gospel authors too failed in their original intention, as they did not prevent the second major war with the Jews in 132-6 CE.

You are here placing Paul's writings fairly early in the canon. Did Paul write before or after the gospels were recorded, do you think?

Thank you.

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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14-04-2015, 02:55 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2015 02:59 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(14-04-2015 01:00 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Hi Mark,

Here is a quote from your blog article on Paul and the Romans:

Quote:The politically motivated spin may have been very clever, but it did not achieve its original aims. Just as Paul failed to stop the first war of 66-70 CE, the Gospel authors too failed in their original intention, as they did not prevent the second major war with the Jews in 132-6 CE.

You are here placing Paul's writings fairly early in the canon. Did Paul write before or after the gospels were recorded, do you think?

Thank you.

Paul probably wrote in the 50s and early 60s. The gospels, all of them, were originally written after the first Jewish war of 66 to 70. That is the reason for the following...

Paul Knew Almost Nothing of Jesus

Most Christians incorrectly assume Paul was restating Jesus’ teachings. 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 mystery, 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 mystery 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/crossexamin...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 Jesus’ 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 Jesus’ close associates. Shouldn’t he 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. 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. In all his writings Paul didn’t express any pleasure or awe in associating with Yeshua’s family or followers. This is strong circumstantial evidence that Yeshua never was Paul’s Christ.

The Gospel stories are sadly short of many 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.

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, appears to have been 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 Jesus 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 it’s unlikely he would have liked that, as Paul showed no evidence in any of his writings that he was even the slightest bit interested in anyone else’s opinions.

Just who Paul thought his Christ was is a difficult concept to grasp, and maybe 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, and that original meaning is often lost in translations. Further complications are introduced by realizing that the Jesus stories we know so well only finished being cobbled together in the fourth century, and Paul had never read them. It’s also worth remembering that Paul was not embarrassed by the fact he had a very strong imagination.
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