The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
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15-04-2015, 01:59 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(14-04-2015 02:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(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:


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.

Okay. I hear what you are saying. I guess one issue I have is that the word "Jesus" appears nearly 1,000 times in the NT." Paul is credited by evangelicals with nearly 2/3 of the NT so that is a lot of insertions. We have thousands of early Greek fragments, and I'm unaware of textual variations where Jesus's name is missing then appearing in certain verses.

Also, you are saying we have someone writing within two decades of Jesus who had another Christ, but it's not Theudas and so on... Since Paul doesn't give many biographical details about his Christ, I've been wondering since you wrote back who it was that his thousands of followers who began 1st century churches thought it was? The writer of Hebrews, if it is Paul and not Apollos or whomever, makes a case for Jesus being Christ since Jesus dies outside of the temple grounds like the scapegoat in the wilderness...

I also hear what you are saying about Paul being arrogant in opinion. Have you heard the statement made that the letter to Onesimus in Philemon is a masterpiece of understatement? A compelling letter that compels via the strongest possible imaginable diplomacy, grace and tact? "You can charge Philemon with desertion... but I appeal to you via love... I will personally repay any wrongdoing on his account..." and etc.

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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15-04-2015, 03:33 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(13-04-2015 04:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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.

Interesting, Paul could have simply been an opportunist, he saw how the Romans had their fill of all of these Jewish Messiah claimants and they would quash each one as they popped their head up like a deadly game of Whack-A-Mole.

So he would claim someone else was a "Christ" and he was just an evangelist for this guy, and by the way- do what the Romans tell you and pay your taxes!

Perhaps he thought if he played nice with the Romans, his particular cult had the best chance of survival or escaping another Roman purge.Consider

This also might have been why the later ecumenical councils were so favorable to everything Paul wrote, he was the only one to advocate doing what the Romans wanted. Who else were they going to construct their mythology from while under the watchful eye of Constantine?

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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15-04-2015, 08:10 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(15-04-2015 03:33 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(13-04-2015 04:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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.

Interesting, Paul could have simply been an opportunist, he saw how the Romans had their fill of all of these Jewish Messiah claimants and they would quash each one as they popped their head up like a deadly game of Whack-A-Mole.

So he would claim someone else was a "Christ" and he was just an evangelist for this guy, and by the way- do what the Romans tell you and pay your taxes!

Perhaps he thought if he played nice with the Romans, his particular cult had the best chance of survival or escaping another Roman purge.Consider

This also might have been why the later ecumenical councils were so favorable to everything Paul wrote, he was the only one to advocate doing what the Romans wanted. Who else were they going to construct their mythology from while under the watchful eye of Constantine?

Good points.

I do think that Paul was a narcissist, and being the founding member of his own fan club appealed to him. I doubt however that he would've wandered around large parts of the Roman Empire solely because it fed his ego. I strongly suspect he was actually paid by the government to spread his nonsense.
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15-04-2015, 08:38 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(15-04-2015 01:59 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(14-04-2015 02:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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.

Okay. I hear what you are saying. I guess one issue I have is that the word "Jesus" appears nearly 1,000 times in the NT." Paul is credited by evangelicals with nearly 2/3 of the NT so that is a lot of insertions. We have thousands of early Greek fragments, and I'm unaware of textual variations where Jesus's name is missing then appearing in certain verses.

Also, you are saying we have someone writing within two decades of Jesus who had another Christ, but it's not Theudas and so on... Since Paul doesn't give many biographical details about his Christ, I've been wondering since you wrote back who it was that his thousands of followers who began 1st century churches thought it was? The writer of Hebrews, if it is Paul and not Apollos or whomever, makes a case for Jesus being Christ since Jesus dies outside of the temple grounds like the scapegoat in the wilderness...

I also hear what you are saying about Paul being arrogant in opinion. Have you heard the statement made that the letter to Onesimus in Philemon is a masterpiece of understatement? A compelling letter that compels via the strongest possible imaginable diplomacy, grace and tact? "You can charge Philemon with desertion... but I appeal to you via love... I will personally repay any wrongdoing on his account..." and etc.

Hi Q, it's nice to see that you actually are considering these issues.

If you look at the volume of work allegedly written by Paul, it consists of about one third of the new Testament. The vast majority of non-Evangelical scholars consider only about half of the letters attributed to him were actually written by him.

So in reality Paul only wrote about 1/6 of the new Testament.

I don't think we have full copies of any of Paul's letters that date earlier than the fourth century. There would have been plenty of time, over 200 years in fact, for pious Christians to insert the name "Jesus" into Paul's ramblings.

I don't think there's any evidence that Paul had thousands of followers. Paul in his own time was only a two bit player. Paul got pushed around by angry Jews nearly everywhere he went.

There was no such thing as a Christian church in Paul's day.

What there was were Nazarenes, and many of them thought highly of Jesus, yet they were a Jewish sect and were not Christians. They were led by James, Jesus' brother, in Jerusalem up until 62 CE.
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15-04-2015, 08:49 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(15-04-2015 01:59 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(14-04-2015 02:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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.

Okay. I hear what you are saying. I guess one issue I have is that the word "Jesus" appears nearly 1,000 times in the NT." Paul is credited by evangelicals with nearly 2/3 of the NT so that is a lot of insertions. We have thousands of early Greek fragments, and I'm unaware of textual variations where Jesus's name is missing then appearing in certain verses.

Also, you are saying we have someone writing within two decades of Jesus who had another Christ, but it's not Theudas and so on... Since Paul doesn't give many biographical details about his Christ, I've been wondering since you wrote back who it was that his thousands of followers who began 1st century churches thought it was? The writer of Hebrews, if it is Paul and not Apollos or whomever, makes a case for Jesus being Christ since Jesus dies outside of the temple grounds like the scapegoat in the wilderness...

I also hear what you are saying about Paul being arrogant in opinion. Have you heard the statement made that the letter to Onesimus in Philemon is a masterpiece of understatement? A compelling letter that compels via the strongest possible imaginable diplomacy, grace and tact? "You can charge Philemon with desertion... but I appeal to you via love... I will personally repay any wrongdoing on his account..." and etc.

Re "The writer of Hebrews, if it is Paul and not Apollos or whomever, makes a case for Jesus being Christ since Jesus dies outside of the temple grounds like the scapegoat in the wilderness..."

Hebrews is the one letter that is almost universally accepted by scholars to have not been written by Paul.
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15-04-2015, 09:14 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(15-04-2015 01:59 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(14-04-2015 02:55 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  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.

Okay. I hear what you are saying. I guess one issue I have is that the word "Jesus" appears nearly 1,000 times in the NT." Paul is credited by evangelicals with nearly 2/3 of the NT so that is a lot of insertions. We have thousands of early Greek fragments, and I'm unaware of textual variations where Jesus's name is missing then appearing in certain verses.

Also, you are saying we have someone writing within two decades of Jesus who had another Christ, but it's not Theudas and so on... Since Paul doesn't give many biographical details about his Christ, I've been wondering since you wrote back who it was that his thousands of followers who began 1st century churches thought it was? The writer of Hebrews, if it is Paul and not Apollos or whomever, makes a case for Jesus being Christ since Jesus dies outside of the temple grounds like the scapegoat in the wilderness...

I also hear what you are saying about Paul being arrogant in opinion. Have you heard the statement made that the letter to Onesimus in Philemon is a masterpiece of understatement? A compelling letter that compels via the strongest possible imaginable diplomacy, grace and tact? "You can charge Philemon with desertion... but I appeal to you via love... I will personally repay any wrongdoing on his account..." and etc.


A cult is a small group that has religious beliefs or practices regarded as strange or sinister. One suspects that was how traditional Jews regarded Paul’s communities.

Like all cult leaders, Paul 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. These are strong claims, and he himself 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.
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16-04-2015, 09:17 AM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2015 09:20 AM by The Q Continuum.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
Yes, thank you both for your input. I'm aware that Hebrews is rejected as written by Paul. Evangelicals tend to think Paul wrote or it perhaps Apollos because of its stylistic review of OT doctrines. If Paul was a fringe fellow in terms of doing the things we're talking about here, but wrote, say, 5 epistles, what might be the motivation for others writing 10 or more fringe epistles using his name? I guess it could have been a Roman conspiracy but...

...Here's a partial list of places where Paul [or pseudo-Paul(s)] claims to have addressed synagogues, preached publicly, and witnessed to individuals... are you asking me to trust that this was the correct sequence...?

1. Paul writes regarding some Christ who is not Jesus, perhaps himself, some revolutionary Messiah-pretender or a spiritual metaphor Messiah, circa 55-60 CE. He says that the Christ has come, has preached and had fame in all Jerusalem, did miracles, etc.

2. Pseudo-Pauls write pseudepigrapha in Paul's name (letters from Paul) to specific people like "Timothy" or whomever, giving their location genealogy, etc. as part of a continuing Roman conspiracy to get the Jews to be obedient - and do so with some verses about obeying authorities but also hundreds of verses about judgment of Gentiles, Armageddon, the second return of Paul's Christ, the facts regarding Judaism as stemming from truth and Christ-ianity as the only true religion, the entire pantheon of Roman and Greek gods as nothing whatsoever--empty idols behind whom is the power of demonic forces as in 1 Corinthians, etc.

3. Some time later, gospels arise about another Christ, a certain Jesus. This Jesus appeared circa 30-33 CE before thousands of worshippers multiple times at multiple festivals including Passover et al where Jews would pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and did miracle works there--but no one still alive circa 65-85 CE denies that this Jesus existed.

4. Soon after, someone(s) redacts all extant copies of Paul's writings, both the ones in the conspirators' hands and the ones in the worshippers' congregations, however many true and false Pauline epistles, and then adds the name of Jesus to hundreds of verses.

5. Christianity spreads throughout some or all of the following locations, without dissent such as "Paul? That crazy guy? Never preached or did miracles in our town! Roman conspiracy..."

Not trying to be a dork here, I just want to understand your proposal... thanks!

Amphipolis
(Acts 17:1)
Caesarea
(Acts 9:30, 18:22,
21:8, 23:23)
Miletus
(Acts 20:15)
Rome
(Acts 28:16,
2Timothy 1:17)
Antioch (Pisidia)
(Acts 13:14)
Cenchrea
(Acts 18:18)
Mitylene
(Acts 20:14)
Salamis (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:5)
Antioch (Syria)
(Acts 11:26, 13:1,
15:22, 18:22 - 23)
Corinth
(Acts 18:1)
Myra
(Acts 27:5)
Seleucia
(Acts 13:4)
Antipatris
(Acts 23:31)
Cyprus
(Acts 13:4)
Neapolis
(Acts 16:11)
Sidon
(Acts 27:3)
Apollonia
(Acts 17:1)
Damascus
(Acts 9:19)
Nicopolis
(Titus 3:12, 15)
Spain
(Romans 15:22 - 25, 28)
Appian Way
(see Acts 28:13 - 15)
Derbe
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Paphos (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:6)
Syracuse (Sicily)
(Acts 28:12)
Appii Forum
(Acts 28:15)
Ephesus
(Acts 18:19)
Patara
(Acts 21:1)
Tarsus
(Acts 9:30)
Arabia
(Galatians 1:17)
Fair Havens (Crete)
(Acts 27:8)
Perga
(Acts 13:13)
Thessalonica
(Acts 17:1)
Assos
(Acts 20:13)
Iconium
(Acts 13:51)
Philippi
(Acts 16:12, 20:6)
Three Taverns
(Acts 28:15)
Athens
(Acts 17:16)
Jerusalem
(Acts 9:26, 18:21,
21:11 - 17, 23:11)
Ptolemais
(Acts 21:7)
Troas
(Acts 16:8, 20:6)
Attalia
(Acts 14:25)
Lystra
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Puteoli
(Acts 28:13)
Trogyllium
(Acts 20:15)
Berea
(Acts 17:10)
Malta
(Acts 28:1)
Rhegium
(Acts 28:13)
Tyre
(Acts 21:3)

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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16-04-2015, 09:36 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(16-04-2015 09:17 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Yes, thank you both for your input. I'm aware that Hebrews is rejected as written by Paul. Evangelicals tend to think Paul wrote or it perhaps Apollos because of its stylistic review of OT doctrines. If Paul was a fringe fellow in terms of doing the things we're talking about here, but wrote, say, 5 epistles, what might be the motivation for others writing 10 or more fringe epistles using his name? I guess it could have been a Roman conspiracy but...

...Here's a partial list of places where Paul [or pseudo-Paul(s)] claims to have addressed synagogues, preached publicly, and witnessed to individuals... are you asking me to trust that this was the correct sequence...?

1. Paul writes regarding some Christ who is not Jesus, perhaps himself, some revolutionary Messiah-pretender or a spiritual metaphor Messiah, circa 55-60 CE. He says that the Christ has come, has preached and had fame in all Jerusalem, did miracles, etc.

2. Pseudo-Pauls write pseudepigrapha in Paul's name (letters from Paul) to specific people like "Timothy" or whomever, giving their location genealogy, etc. as part of a continuing Roman conspiracy to get the Jews to be obedient - and do so with some verses about obeying authorities but also hundreds of verses about judgment of Gentiles, Armageddon, the second return of Paul's Christ, the facts regarding Judaism as stemming from truth and Christ-ianity as the only true religion, the entire pantheon of Roman and Greek gods as nothing whatsoever--empty idols behind whom is the power of demonic forces as in 1 Corinthians, etc.

3. Some time later, gospels arise about another Christ, a certain Jesus. This Jesus appeared circa 30-33 CE before thousands of worshippers multiple times at multiple festivals including Passover et al where Jews would pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and did miracle works there--but no one still alive circa 65-85 CE denies that this Jesus existed.

4. Soon after, someone(s) redacts all extant copies of Paul's writings, both the ones in the conspirators' hands and the ones in the worshippers' congregations, however many true and false Pauline epistles, and then adds the name of Jesus to hundreds of verses.

5. Christianity spreads throughout some or all of the following locations, without dissent such as "Paul? That crazy guy? Never preached or did miracles in our town! Roman conspiracy..."

Not trying to be a dork here, I just want to understand your proposal... thanks!

Amphipolis
(Acts 17:1)
Caesarea
(Acts 9:30, 18:22,
21:8, 23:23)
Miletus
(Acts 20:15)
Rome
(Acts 28:16,
2Timothy 1:17)
Antioch (Pisidia)
(Acts 13:14)
Cenchrea
(Acts 18:18)
Mitylene
(Acts 20:14)
Salamis (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:5)
Antioch (Syria)
(Acts 11:26, 13:1,
15:22, 18:22 - 23)
Corinth
(Acts 18:1)
Myra
(Acts 27:5)
Seleucia
(Acts 13:4)
Antipatris
(Acts 23:31)
Cyprus
(Acts 13:4)
Neapolis
(Acts 16:11)
Sidon
(Acts 27:3)
Apollonia
(Acts 17:1)
Damascus
(Acts 9:19)
Nicopolis
(Titus 3:12, 15)
Spain
(Romans 15:22 - 25, 28)
Appian Way
(see Acts 28:13 - 15)
Derbe
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Paphos (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:6)
Syracuse (Sicily)
(Acts 28:12)
Appii Forum
(Acts 28:15)
Ephesus
(Acts 18:19)
Patara
(Acts 21:1)
Tarsus
(Acts 9:30)
Arabia
(Galatians 1:17)
Fair Havens (Crete)
(Acts 27:8)
Perga
(Acts 13:13)
Thessalonica
(Acts 17:1)
Assos
(Acts 20:13)
Iconium
(Acts 13:51)
Philippi
(Acts 16:12, 20:6)
Three Taverns
(Acts 28:15)
Athens
(Acts 17:16)
Jerusalem
(Acts 9:26, 18:21,
21:11 - 17, 23:11)
Ptolemais
(Acts 21:7)
Troas
(Acts 16:8, 20:6)
Attalia
(Acts 14:25)
Lystra
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Puteoli
(Acts 28:13)
Trogyllium
(Acts 20:15)
Berea
(Acts 17:10)
Malta
(Acts 28:1)
Rhegium
(Acts 28:13)
Tyre
(Acts 21:3)

Hi Q. This is going to be long. I'm going to have to answer you bit by bit.

Re "what might be the motivation for others writing 10 or more fringe epistles using his name? "

You need to know about Marcion. He appeared in Rome in the 140s. It is only then that we get the first definitive attestation of Paul's works...they were bought to Rome by Marcion. So sometime between the early 60s and 140 CE the pseudo Pauls were written. Of course they would then have been edited and interpolated by the holy Roman Catholic Church, as it was them that decided which literature survived and what that literature said.

The pseudo Pauls have less of Paul's self-proclaimed superiority, and try to make Jesus appear a little more human (i.e. not a ghost). They make a case for a Church hierarchy (something which the real Paul never wrote about as he thought the end of the world was imminent). We don't know who wrote the pseudo Pauls although the original versions could've been written by Marcion or a member of his church, and then, as I said, they were doctored by the Roman Catholic Church.

This Marcion character was a key player in the birth of Christianity... here is my spiel about him.

Marcion
Marcion (110–160 CE) was a key figure in Christianity’s history. He may have been the son of a bishop, and hailed from Pontus, a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea in modern Turkey. He was a ship owner and financially well off. He travelled to Rome about 142–143 CE, and soon attracted a large following, as his wealth allowed him influence and position. (http://www.gnosis.org/library/meadmarcion.htm, http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/fff/fff38.htm).

Some sources claim that Marcion was the first person to promote the Pauline Epistles, as prior to his emergence in Rome, we don’t directly hear of Paul, (other than in Ignatius’ letters, and they’re of doubtful authenticity.) No one knows how Marcion came across Paul’s letters, yet it’s possible that without Marcion, they might never have been published. Some commentators have hypothesized that Paul was, in fact, Marcion himself. I think that highly unlikely, as it would take a literary genius to invent all the traits of Paul’s character; his paranoia, his jealousies, his anxieties and his narcissism.
Marcion’s Pauline Epistles were Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Laodiceans (Ephesians,) Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon.

The hero of Marcion’s canon was named Isu Chrestos - not “Jesus” or Yeshua. This is one of the reasons I suspect when “Paul” mentions “Jesus,” “Lord Jesus,” or “Jesus Christ,” such references are interpolations, although this is impossible to prove or disprove.

Marcion was a Docetist; someone who believed Christ was a spirit, an entity who sprung full-grown from the mind of God. Marcion’s (and Paul’s) Christ rescued people from the unattractive God of the Old Testament and the obligations of the Torah. He wasn’t the Messiah of Israel, the hero of Jewish expectations, but the savior of mankind.

Marcion thought that only Paul had understood the message of salvation facilitated by belief in Christ, which was precisely what the narcissistic Paul claimed too.

Marcion was an anti-Semite, and believed that people had inserted the Judaic elements of Paul’s writings after Paul’s death. He completely ignored the Old Testament and any other references to Judaism. His followers were the first Christians to completely break away from Judaism. He regarded Yahweh as a primitive god: jealous, envious, vindictive, angry, cruel, intrusive, and judgmental. He didn’t deny Yahweh’s existence, and even acknowledged that he was the creator of the universe, but claimed that an entirely different, previously unknown, god had sent Isu Chrestos. This new god was one of love and benevolence, and had sent Isu Chrestos to replace Judaism’s legalism with mercy and tolerance.

Marcion’s Gospel is very similar to the canonical Luke, although about one third shorter. He called it the Euangelion—the “Good News”—and it wasn’t attributed to an author. The first three chapters of today’s Luke weren’t in it, so it lacked any genealogy, family, or birth story for Isu Chrestos. It’s commonly stated that Marcion shortened the original Luke; however, given that Marcion’s version probably appeared long before today’s “Luke,” it’s more likely that Marcion’s version was closer to the original.
He was the first commentator, in 140 CE, to propose the existence of a new canon, and therefore that a totally new religion, separate from Judaism, had come into being. His canon consisted only of the Euangelion and Paul’s ten letters. Marcion was, therefore, in one sense, the founder of New Testament Christianity.

His complete break with the Jewish epic was a direct challenge to emerging Catholic Christian orthodoxy. He was excommunicated from the Catholic Church around 144 CE, and labeled as a heretic. Polycarp, who couldn’t cope with competition, called him
“the first born of Satan,” and other church fathers denounced him. That didn’t stop him. He returned to Asia Minor and continued to spread his ideas. His church expanded throughout much of the known world within his lifetime and remained very influential throughout the second century, when it was more successful than Catholicism. It continued to expand for more than a century, persevering alongside Catholic Christianity, and was its equal well into the fourth century, at which time the Catholics gained political power and forced the rejection and disbanding of most, but not all, Marcionite churches.

One of the oldest Christian churches ever found is Marcionite, dates from 318 CE, and is located in Syria. The inscription on a wall is dedicated to
“The Lord and Savior Isu Chrestos.”

In its opposition to Marcion, the Roman Catholic Church would identify itself as the heir to Jewish tradition, and even claimed itself to be the new “true Israel.” So the fact that Marcion was opposed to Judaism meant he had enormous influence on the evolution of Catholic Christianity.

Tertullian, (160 – 220 CE) an influential theologian and a member of the Catholic Church, was highly critical of Marcion, and wrote five books criticizing him. Considering how things turned out, it’s eye-opening that he denigrated Marcion’s guru Paul as not being Jesus’ true apostle:

“I require to know of Marcion the origin of his apostles…since a man is affirmed to me to be an apostle whom I do not find mentioned in the Gospel in the catalogue of the apostles. Indeed, when I hear that this man was chosen by the Lord after He had attained His rest in heaven, I feel that a kind of improvidence is imputable to Christ, for not knowing before that this man was necessary to Him; and because He thought that he must be added to the apostolic body in the way of a fortuitous encounter rather than a deliberate selection; by necessity (so to speak), and not voluntary choice, although the members of the apostolate had been duly ordained, and were now dismissed to their several missions. Wherefore, O shipmaster of Pontus, if you have never taken on board your small craft any contraband goods or smuggler’s cargo, if you have never thrown overboard or tampered with a freight, you are still more careful and conscientious, I doubt not, in divine things; and so I should be glad if you would inform us under what bill of lading you admitted the Apostle Paul on board, who ticketed him, what owner forwarded him, who handed him to you, that so you may land him without any misgiving, lest he should turn out to belong to him, who can substantiate his claim to him by producing all his apostolic writings. He professes himself to be ‘an apostle,’ to use his own words, ‘not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ.’ Of course, any one may make a profession concerning himself; but his profession is only rendered valid by the authority of a second person. One man signs, another countersigns; one man appends his seal, another registers in the public records. No one is at once a proposer and a seconder to himself. Besides, you have read, no doubt, that ‘many shall come, saying, I am Christ.’ Now if anyone can pretend that he is Christ, how much more might a man profess to be an apostle of Christ! But still, for my own part, I appear in the character of a disciple and an inquirer; that so I may even thus both refute your belief, who have nothing to support it, and confound your shamelessness, who make claims without possessing the means of establishing them.” (Against Marcion, Book V, Chapter 1, translated by the Rev. S. Thelwall.)

How interesting! Tertullian, one of the founding fathers of Catholic Christianity, quite rightly questioned Paul’s legitimacy. His comments are just as pertinent today as they were nearly 2000 years ago. He was stating the obvious; Paul was only a self-appointed apostle and had no valid authority, because he never met Jesus. Paul’s status in Christian Churches has obviously grown since the time Tertullian wrote this.

The Roman Church eventually pinched many of Marcion’s patrons, and Paul’s teachings became the essence of Catholic Christianity. Hence Marcion’s ghost is very much alive in Christian churches today. (http://messianicpublications.com/daniel-...marcion/). His anti-Jewish, anti-Old Testament, pro-Paul heresy lives on, but it was dogma that would have dismayed Jesus.
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16-04-2015, 09:59 PM (This post was last modified: 16-04-2015 11:56 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(16-04-2015 09:17 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Yes, thank you both for your input. I'm aware that Hebrews is rejected as written by Paul. Evangelicals tend to think Paul wrote or it perhaps Apollos because of its stylistic review of OT doctrines. If Paul was a fringe fellow in terms of doing the things we're talking about here, but wrote, say, 5 epistles, what might be the motivation for others writing 10 or more fringe epistles using his name? I guess it could have been a Roman conspiracy but...

...Here's a partial list of places where Paul [or pseudo-Paul(s)] claims to have addressed synagogues, preached publicly, and witnessed to individuals... are you asking me to trust that this was the correct sequence...?

1. Paul writes regarding some Christ who is not Jesus, perhaps himself, some revolutionary Messiah-pretender or a spiritual metaphor Messiah, circa 55-60 CE. He says that the Christ has come, has preached and had fame in all Jerusalem, did miracles, etc.

2. Pseudo-Pauls write pseudepigrapha in Paul's name (letters from Paul) to specific people like "Timothy" or whomever, giving their location genealogy, etc. as part of a continuing Roman conspiracy to get the Jews to be obedient - and do so with some verses about obeying authorities but also hundreds of verses about judgment of Gentiles, Armageddon, the second return of Paul's Christ, the facts regarding Judaism as stemming from truth and Christ-ianity as the only true religion, the entire pantheon of Roman and Greek gods as nothing whatsoever--empty idols behind whom is the power of demonic forces as in 1 Corinthians, etc.

3. Some time later, gospels arise about another Christ, a certain Jesus. This Jesus appeared circa 30-33 CE before thousands of worshippers multiple times at multiple festivals including Passover et al where Jews would pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and did miracle works there--but no one still alive circa 65-85 CE denies that this Jesus existed.

4. Soon after, someone(s) redacts all extant copies of Paul's writings, both the ones in the conspirators' hands and the ones in the worshippers' congregations, however many true and false Pauline epistles, and then adds the name of Jesus to hundreds of verses.

5. Christianity spreads throughout some or all of the following locations, without dissent such as "Paul? That crazy guy? Never preached or did miracles in our town! Roman conspiracy..."

Not trying to be a dork here, I just want to understand your proposal... thanks!

Amphipolis
(Acts 17:1)
Caesarea
(Acts 9:30, 18:22,
21:8, 23:23)
Miletus
(Acts 20:15)
Rome
(Acts 28:16,
2Timothy 1:17)
Antioch (Pisidia)
(Acts 13:14)
Cenchrea
(Acts 18:18)
Mitylene
(Acts 20:14)
Salamis (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:5)
Antioch (Syria)
(Acts 11:26, 13:1,
15:22, 18:22 - 23)
Corinth
(Acts 18:1)
Myra
(Acts 27:5)
Seleucia
(Acts 13:4)
Antipatris
(Acts 23:31)
Cyprus
(Acts 13:4)
Neapolis
(Acts 16:11)
Sidon
(Acts 27:3)
Apollonia
(Acts 17:1)
Damascus
(Acts 9:19)
Nicopolis
(Titus 3:12, 15)
Spain
(Romans 15:22 - 25, 28)
Appian Way
(see Acts 28:13 - 15)
Derbe
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Paphos (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:6)
Syracuse (Sicily)
(Acts 28:12)
Appii Forum
(Acts 28:15)
Ephesus
(Acts 18:19)
Patara
(Acts 21:1)
Tarsus
(Acts 9:30)
Arabia
(Galatians 1:17)
Fair Havens (Crete)
(Acts 27:8)
Perga
(Acts 13:13)
Thessalonica
(Acts 17:1)
Assos
(Acts 20:13)
Iconium
(Acts 13:51)
Philippi
(Acts 16:12, 20:6)
Three Taverns
(Acts 28:15)
Athens
(Acts 17:16)
Jerusalem
(Acts 9:26, 18:21,
21:11 - 17, 23:11)
Ptolemais
(Acts 21:7)
Troas
(Acts 16:8, 20:6)
Attalia
(Acts 14:25)
Lystra
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Puteoli
(Acts 28:13)
Trogyllium
(Acts 20:15)
Berea
(Acts 17:10)
Malta
(Acts 28:1)
Rhegium
(Acts 28:13)
Tyre
(Acts 21:3)

"Paul writes regarding some Christ who is not Jesus,"

Correct.

"perhaps himself,"

No. Paul never thought he was the Christ. He thought he was the next best thing to God, but he never actually pretended he was God. He would've liked his patrons to look up to him like a god but would've considered it blasphemous to claim that he was God.


"He says that the Christ has come,"

Yes.

"has preached and had fame in all Jerusalem, did miracles, etc."

No. As I have tried to explain, Paul's Christ was a ghost. Paul's Christ didn't say anything. Paul's Christ was not famous. Paul's Christ did not do miracles. The only significance of Paul's Christ was that that this figure died and then rose again for everyone's sins. Please try and get your head around this. You won't truly understand how Christianity was born if you don't.

"Pseudo-Pauls write pseudepigrapha in Paul's name (letters from Paul) to specific people like "Timothy" or whomever, giving their location genealogy, etc"

Correct.

"as part of a continuing Roman conspiracy to get the Jews to be obedient - and do so with some verses about obeying authorities but also hundreds of verses about judgment of Gentiles, Armageddon, the second return of Paul's Christ,"

We're going into muddy waters here. Don't forget the pseudo Pauls were written after the first Jewish War by we don't know whom. We don't know to what extent they were edited and interpolated. Throughout the second century Christian churches took on a life of their own and particularly after the second Jewish War of 132-5 CE there was no longer a particularly pressing need to suppress the Jews. They had been well and truly defeated for a second time and the Judaean infrastructure had been destroyed. A modern analogy would be Naziism after World War II. So the pseudo Pauls contain a fair bit of pure theological and Church hierarchical nonsense in them.
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17-04-2015, 12:12 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(16-04-2015 09:17 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Yes, thank you both for your input. I'm aware that Hebrews is rejected as written by Paul. Evangelicals tend to think Paul wrote or it perhaps Apollos because of its stylistic review of OT doctrines. If Paul was a fringe fellow in terms of doing the things we're talking about here, but wrote, say, 5 epistles, what might be the motivation for others writing 10 or more fringe epistles using his name? I guess it could have been a Roman conspiracy but...

...Here's a partial list of places where Paul [or pseudo-Paul(s)] claims to have addressed synagogues, preached publicly, and witnessed to individuals... are you asking me to trust that this was the correct sequence...?

1. Paul writes regarding some Christ who is not Jesus, perhaps himself, some revolutionary Messiah-pretender or a spiritual metaphor Messiah, circa 55-60 CE. He says that the Christ has come, has preached and had fame in all Jerusalem, did miracles, etc.

2. Pseudo-Pauls write pseudepigrapha in Paul's name (letters from Paul) to specific people like "Timothy" or whomever, giving their location genealogy, etc. as part of a continuing Roman conspiracy to get the Jews to be obedient - and do so with some verses about obeying authorities but also hundreds of verses about judgment of Gentiles, Armageddon, the second return of Paul's Christ, the facts regarding Judaism as stemming from truth and Christ-ianity as the only true religion, the entire pantheon of Roman and Greek gods as nothing whatsoever--empty idols behind whom is the power of demonic forces as in 1 Corinthians, etc.

3. Some time later, gospels arise about another Christ, a certain Jesus. This Jesus appeared circa 30-33 CE before thousands of worshippers multiple times at multiple festivals including Passover et al where Jews would pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and did miracle works there--but no one still alive circa 65-85 CE denies that this Jesus existed.

4. Soon after, someone(s) redacts all extant copies of Paul's writings, both the ones in the conspirators' hands and the ones in the worshippers' congregations, however many true and false Pauline epistles, and then adds the name of Jesus to hundreds of verses.

5. Christianity spreads throughout some or all of the following locations, without dissent such as "Paul? That crazy guy? Never preached or did miracles in our town! Roman conspiracy..."

Not trying to be a dork here, I just want to understand your proposal... thanks!

Amphipolis
(Acts 17:1)
Caesarea
(Acts 9:30, 18:22,
21:8, 23:23)
Miletus
(Acts 20:15)
Rome
(Acts 28:16,
2Timothy 1:17)
Antioch (Pisidia)
(Acts 13:14)
Cenchrea
(Acts 18:18)
Mitylene
(Acts 20:14)
Salamis (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:5)
Antioch (Syria)
(Acts 11:26, 13:1,
15:22, 18:22 - 23)
Corinth
(Acts 18:1)
Myra
(Acts 27:5)
Seleucia
(Acts 13:4)
Antipatris
(Acts 23:31)
Cyprus
(Acts 13:4)
Neapolis
(Acts 16:11)
Sidon
(Acts 27:3)
Apollonia
(Acts 17:1)
Damascus
(Acts 9:19)
Nicopolis
(Titus 3:12, 15)
Spain
(Romans 15:22 - 25, 28)
Appian Way
(see Acts 28:13 - 15)
Derbe
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Paphos (Cyprus)
(Acts 13:6)
Syracuse (Sicily)
(Acts 28:12)
Appii Forum
(Acts 28:15)
Ephesus
(Acts 18:19)
Patara
(Acts 21:1)
Tarsus
(Acts 9:30)
Arabia
(Galatians 1:17)
Fair Havens (Crete)
(Acts 27:8)
Perga
(Acts 13:13)
Thessalonica
(Acts 17:1)
Assos
(Acts 20:13)
Iconium
(Acts 13:51)
Philippi
(Acts 16:12, 20:6)
Three Taverns
(Acts 28:15)
Athens
(Acts 17:16)
Jerusalem
(Acts 9:26, 18:21,
21:11 - 17, 23:11)
Ptolemais
(Acts 21:7)
Troas
(Acts 16:8, 20:6)
Attalia
(Acts 14:25)
Lystra
(Acts 14:6, 16:1)
Puteoli
(Acts 28:13)
Trogyllium
(Acts 20:15)
Berea
(Acts 17:10)
Malta
(Acts 28:1)
Rhegium
(Acts 28:13)
Tyre
(Acts 21:3)

re.."3. Some time later, gospels arise about another Christ, a certain Jesus."

Yes. Paul's propaganda hadn't worked...he had failed to prevent the first Jewish War. The Roman government tried a different tactic. They invented stories about a Jesus.

re..."This Jesus appeared circa 30-33 CE before thousands of worshippers multiple times at multiple festivals including Passover et al where Jews would pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and did miracle works there"

No no no. If there ever was an historical character called Jesus he was a political insurgent who tried to start a war against Rome and got knocked off for his efforts. The tales in the gospels about a miracle working charismatic pacifist are pure propaganda invented by the Romans. They turned this Jesus into a pacifist preacher who bad mouthed his own people (the Jews) and told people to pay their taxes to Rome. It was a masterpiece of propaganda. This Jesus promised people heaven if they were good and threatened them with hell if they were bad. It was the ultimate con... pacify the plebs by promising something that you never have to deliver.
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