Who was Saint Paul?
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18-10-2012, 06:23 PM (This post was last modified: 18-10-2012 09:17 PM by Mark Fulton.)
Who was Saint Paul?
Paul (aka Saul) of Tarsus was probably the founding figure of what became Christianity. He was an enthusiastic evangelist and, by the standards of the time, a prolific author. His theology is more important than that purportedly taught by Jesus. Without his influence it is probable that Christianity, as we know it, would not exist today. Copies of many of Paul’s letters to various communities have survived and now form roughly one quarter of the New Testament.

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

I don't like Paul or his messages. It took me many months of reading to understand who he was and why he wrote what he did. I'd like to share my conclusions with anyone interested, and I am very keen to hear other opinions. My conclusions question the very essence of Christianity, so I think they are relevant to today's world.

I think Paul was
-a Roman government agent employed to promote propaganda and subdue Jewish messianic aspirations
-a liar
-a two faced hypocrite
-a misogynist
-a homophobe
-an over-imaginative scheemer
-someone who never met Yeshua, and who undermined the beliefs of his original followers
-someone who was mildly mentally unwell

Any comments or questions to get the ball rolling will be appreciated.
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18-10-2012, 06:28 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Preacher, meet choir! Wink

No question about it, Paul was more influential to Christianity than Jesus. He was also an asshat Smile

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18-10-2012, 07:21 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
I just like how Paul started as one of the biggest activists AGAINST Christianity. He was so mocking of their religion that God made him temporarily blind as punishment. Then much later, when all the disciples had died and the Jesus fiasco had passed, THEN he becomes Christianities number one fan? And people still listen to him? Not once does God talk to Paul or instruct him or even acknowledge him, yet Paul gives more instruction and rules than even Jesus himself.

I always assumed he had ulterior motives.

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18-10-2012, 07:24 PM (This post was last modified: 18-10-2012 07:59 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Great thread. Wrong verb. Who WERE Paul ? Tongue

When I first came here, I thought this nutty Fulton dude was out of his frickin mind. Big Grin He is not. Now, I see, that if you read Acts with the idea in mind that Saul was sent by Rome to disrupt, and change the Way cult, (which he did *in spades*), he makes perfect sense. I still think, Jeebus was just a common crook, executed by "standing order" in the Pax Romana,, (that is if there ever was a real Jeebus), for trying to disrupt the temple economy, but there are other possibilities, once you let go of the propaganda.

So about one of the Pauls : The Tarsus Paul.
Beyond all the obvious stuff, about him introducing the "salvation paradigm" (which is 100 % absent in Mark, the first gospel, thus we know it was not the message of Jesus), is the more subtle case that can be made about sacrifice, atonement, and purification, and the telling origins of each. In Hebrew culture, a sacrifice was made to "atone" for one's sins. That is to "repair" a ruptured, or injured (cosmic) relationship between the (Yahweh) god, and the human, (and ONLY the *human*). In Saul of Tarsus, this is radically changed to a totally non-Hebrew idea. What sort of idea you ask ? A Zoroastrian idea. And where did THAT come from ? Tarsus...a hotbed of Mithraism. Mithraism took the concept of "personal purification of sin" from Zoroastrianism, and Paul placed that into his new cult. That concept was NOT the same as the Hebrew concept of "atonement". They are totally different. Along with "personal purification" also came other concepts relating to "free will", imperfect, (fallen creation)...not just "original sin", but ALL of nature "fallen" to an imperfect state, (which is non-Hebrew), and cosmically "repaired" by Jeebus' sacrifice, (which are TOTALLY 1000 % non-Hebrew ideas). The cultures are NOT the same. Paul grafted his ideas onto the Way cult, in an attempt to compete for followers, of the Greek mystery cults, as "the apostle to the Gentiles". He thought that was his job. "Someone might argue, 'If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner ?'"(Romans 3:7). He knew he was "changing things"..*cough cough. He admitted it. Christians practice Paulianity/Mithraism/Zoroastrianism. They just don't know it.

In fact, Saul of Tarsus existed in a tradition of "change", (deception). In all honesty, this is really called "Pious Fraud", http://www.ftarchives.net/foote/crimes/c5.htm , and we cannot judge it with 21st century values. It was not seen as immoral. It was a case of "ends justifies the means". However, we cannot, just from the use of pious fraud, automatically assume we know something about motivation. They could have had "good" motives for the deceptions.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...rly-church

John Shelby Spong, and a number of writers, thought Paul was a guilt-ridden homosexual, and that was the "thorn" he kept complaining about, and why he was so judgmental.
http://www.liberalevangelical.org/index....Itemid=123
I'll examine some of the differences between the "Pauls", in a later post.

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18-10-2012, 07:56 PM (This post was last modified: 18-10-2012 08:01 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(18-10-2012 06:28 PM)Seasbury Wrote:  Preacher, meet choir! Wink

No question about it, Paul was more influential to Christianity than Jesus. He was also an asshat Smile

Yes. There are many ways of defining "Christian" or "Christianity." Essentail to the belief is the concept of the divinity of a Christ. I believe Paul invented that idea, 20 plus years after Yeshua died. Yeshua and his original disciples were Jewish, and believed in the one and only god, Yahweh. To imagine Yeshua was a god would have been blasphemy. To them Yeshua was a prophet only. So Paul was the inventor of Christianity.
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18-10-2012, 07:57 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(18-10-2012 06:23 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul (aka Saul) of Tarsus was probably the founding figure of what became Christianity. He was an enthusiastic evangelist and, by the standards of the time, a prolific author. His theology is more important than that purportedly taught by Jesus. Without his influence it is probable that Christianity, as we know it, would not exist today. Copies of many of Paul’s letters to various communities have survived and now form roughly one quarter of the New Testament.

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

I don't like Paul or his messages. I took me many months of reading to understand who he was and why he wrote what he did. I'd like to share my conclusions with anyone interested, and i am very keen to hear other opinions. My conclusions question the very essence of Christianity, so I think they are relevant to today's world.

I think Paul was
-a Roman government agent employed to promote propaganda and subdue Jewish messianic aspirations
-a liar
-a two faced hypocrite
-a misogynist
-a homophobe
-an over-imaginative scheemer
-someone who never met Yeshua, and who undermined the beliefs of his original followers
-someone who was mildly mentally unwell

Any comments or questions to get the ball rolling will be appreciated.

Pretty spot on on but i would say he quite mentally ill!Cool
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18-10-2012, 08:01 PM
Who was Saint Paul?
(18-10-2012 07:57 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  
(18-10-2012 06:23 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul (aka Saul) of Tarsus was probably the founding figure of what became Christianity. He was an enthusiastic evangelist and, by the standards of the time, a prolific author. His theology is more important than that purportedly taught by Jesus. Without his influence it is probable that Christianity, as we know it, would not exist today. Copies of many of Paul’s letters to various communities have survived and now form roughly one quarter of the New Testament.

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

I don't like Paul or his messages. I took me many months of reading to understand who he was and why he wrote what he did. I'd like to share my conclusions with anyone interested, and i am very keen to hear other opinions. My conclusions question the very essence of Christianity, so I think they are relevant to today's world.

I think Paul was
-a Roman government agent employed to promote propaganda and subdue Jewish messianic aspirations
-a liar
-a two faced hypocrite
-a misogynist
-a homophobe
-an over-imaginative scheemer
-someone who never met Yeshua, and who undermined the beliefs of his original followers
-someone who was mildly mentally unwell

Any comments or questions to get the ball rolling will be appreciated.

Pretty spot on on but i would say he quite mentally ill!Cool

Who Mark? Naw. He's a little eccentric, maybe, but hardly mentally ill. Tongue

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18-10-2012, 08:11 PM (This post was last modified: 18-10-2012 09:03 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(18-10-2012 07:56 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(18-10-2012 06:28 PM)Seasbury Wrote:  Preacher, meet choir! Wink

No question about it, Paul was more influential to Christianity than Jesus. He was also an asshat Smile

Yes. There are many ways of defining "Christian" or "Christianity." Essentail to the belief is the concept of the divinity of a Christ. I believe Paul invented that idea, 20 plus years after Yeshua died. Yeshua and his original disciples were Jewish, and believed in the one and only god, Yahweh. To imagine Yeshua was a god would have been blasphemy. To them Yeshua was a prophet only. So Paul was the inventor of Christianity.

Another long subject to examine. But if you look carefully, the "divinity" is different in each gospel. I wrote something about it somewhere here. I'll try to find it.

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18-10-2012, 08:19 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(18-10-2012 07:21 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  I just like how Paul started as one of the biggest activists AGAINST Christianity. He was so mocking of their religion that God made him temporarily blind as punishment. Then much later, when all the disciples had died and the Jesus fiasco had passed, THEN he becomes Christianities number one fan? And people still listen to him? Not once does God talk to Paul or instruct him or even acknowledge him, yet Paul gives more instruction and rules than even Jesus himself.

I always assumed he had ulterior motives.
d ulterior

Hi BC, I agree with your overall premise, yet I'll take the opportunity to put in my 2c worth about some of the points you raise.

Re" I just like how Paul started as one of the biggest activists AGAINST Christianity."
Bear in mind that Yeshua and his original followers were never Christians. They were Nazarene Jews. The myth that they were Christians was a lie propogated by the author of Acts (writing probably mid 2nd century).

The Bible’s first mention of Paul is in Acts, where he is portrayed as a devout Pharisee. He is said to have been a bitter persecutor of the early followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. In my opinion such persecution was unlikely. Pharisees commonly argued with other Jews over the interpretation of scripture, yet they didn’t physically attack those who held different opinions. In the book of Acts the author even relates an incident in which Peter (a disciple of Jesus) was saved by Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees, from being sentenced to death by the Sadducees (Acts 5:37). You don’t save someone from persecution if you are persecuting him. The disciples, family, and other followers of Yeshua lived reasonably harmoniously with Pharisees in Jerusalem for decades after the death of Yeshua. There was no good reason not to, because both parties were firm upholders of the Jewish Law.

The Sadducees, or high priests, occasionally physically persecuted the supporters of Yeshua, by whom they would have felt threatened, as suggested by the above-mentioned scenario (in Acts 5:37). If Paul did, in fact, physically attack Yeshua’s followers, he would have done so under the orders of the Sadducees, who were, like Paul, allied to the Roman establishment.

The followers of Yeshua lived in Jerusalem under James’ leadership and increased their numbers in the decades after his death, so any persecution can’t have been too protracted.

Re "God made him temporarily blind as punishment."
The account in Acts regarding Paul’s abrupt, theatrical conversion to belief in Jesus on the road to Damascus is very familiar to most Christians. It is a fabrication. Acts was written perhaps eighty-plus years after this was supposed to have happened, by someone who didn’t witness it and who never claimed he had met Paul. Paul was a man eager to be believed and desperate to shore up his own credibility. If he had experienced a visit from Yeshua’s ghost on the road to Damascus and been temporarily blinded, he undoubtedly would have mentioned it in his letters, yet he never does. The author of Acts was trying to make his readers believe that Paul had received his commission - and therefore his legitimacy - directly from Jesus, despite the fact that Jesus had died years earlier.

Paul did decide that his Christ was an important character. This was an idea he no doubt arrived at after a deliberation over political issues. It was probably in the early 50s CE, roughly fifteen years after Yeshua’s death, that he decided he was going to use a tale about Christ to sell a new theology to the world.

Re "Not once does God talk to Paul or instruct him or even acknowledge him, yet Paul gives more instruction and rules than even Jesus himself."
Totally agree. Paul just made it all up! I'll probably flesh this out as the thread continues.

Re " I always assumed he had ulterior motives."
Oh yes! And they are very obvious once one has been made aware of them!
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18-10-2012, 08:35 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Oh, you were asking who the authors using the pseudonym "Paul" were. I was describing Paul as the character he played in the fairy tale called The Bible.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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