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Calling All DL Biblical Scholars--Riddle Me This!

The Ken Mehlman discussions made me wonder about the Apostle Paul. %0D %0D %0D One of the most violent and prominent persecuters of Christians, Paul did a 180 after God bitch-smote him on the road to Damascus. And the rest was history.%0D %0D %0D My question: since Paul dominates the official New Testament, we don't see how Paul's former victims really felt about his conversion to, and takeover of their fledgling sect. Have you found evidence that many Christians told Paul to FOAD, that his persecutions led to oppression and death for many Christians, and they wanted no part of him? %0D %0D %0D Or do you think most people were just glad he was on their side now?%0D %0D %0D %0D Bible thumpers and strict constructionists need not respond, unless you have done the research. I'm a Christian, too, and I know Scripture. That's not the point here.%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11404/05/2013

I wouldn't say Paul did a total 180. He went from persecuting Christians to putting down women and gays. He just changed the focus of his bigotry.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 108/29/2010

No real answer for you, OP, but thanks for posting a great question! I'm looking forward to reading some replies.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 208/29/2010

Mehlgirl is a right wing Repug who is only out to enrich himself from gay causes even further than he already has with anti-gay causes. How does that put him "on our side"????

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 308/29/2010

Do you really believe this superstitious bullshit? I pity you.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 408/29/2010

OP, the bible is simply an arbitrary collection of religious writings based on mythology and unreliable witness accounts. It's a well orchestrated lie!

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 508/29/2010

Loved the "bitch-smote" comment, OP. I, too, was hoping for some thoughtful answers on this subject. I am not a practicing Christian, but was raised with the theology and find the topic of interest.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 608/29/2010

As you know, Barnabus had been one of Saul/Paul's initial supporter since his conversion on the road to Damascus. However, in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabus argue and go their separate ways, and Barnabus is hardly heard from again. In fact, the rest of Acts is pretty much Paul's story. Many scholars have read into that to mean that a lot of the early disciples turned against Paul or at least resented his dominance of the new religious movement. Other scholars surmise there might have been doctrinal differences between Paul and other disciples. If you read Paul's epistles and compare them to those of Peter, for instance, you get an entirely different "feel" for what they were preaching. For instance, Paul's gospel was definitely one of salvation through faith. Peter seemed to stress a salvation through works.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 708/29/2010

Oh, OP. The Paul who wrote most of the New Testament is NOT the same person as the apostle Paul who is IN the bible.

This is one of the many errors idiotic Christians make.

Most people who believe all this superstitious nonsense have no clue about the bible or its context.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 808/29/2010

I don't recall Paul amassing a personal fortune persecuting Christians then using it to maintain a lavish lifestyle after he converted to Christianity.

Oh those pesky details!

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 908/29/2010

For those who rant about "superstition" and "myth", I notice that doesn't stop you from dissecting the finer points of TRUE BLOOD, PROJECT RUNWAY or HARRY POTTER as if they were real. Fiction or reality, OP is asking about a work of LITERATURE as well as a work of faith.

Does it somehow elevate you to put down what others want to discuss? If you have nothing to add to the discussion, say nothing. That's about what your observations are worth.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1008/29/2010

What r8 said

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1108/29/2010

Was it Paul or Peter who decided that God was a blessed trinity? Or was it one of the popes in Rome way back in the year 300 or so? If they even had any popes back then. %0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1208/29/2010

I never could stand Paul, when I was a bible banger but none of the other Christians questioned him. I figured he was a hateful fanatic before and after his conversion. He was always pushing people around.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1308/29/2010

R10, people who use the "faith" reasoning to believe in fiction are simply intellectually lazy or challenged.

Yes, some people love their TV shows or movies based on fiction. But, most normal people know that they're fiction and not fact. It's entertainment.

However, the deeply religious believe that their bible or koran is the word of god!

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1408/29/2010

Evidence, r8? %0D %0D I've never read that Paul's authorship is in question. Though I can't read the original Greek, I've read scholarship that his writing style is consistent throughout the books attributed to him, and also that it's the highest-quality writing in the NT.%0D %0D It's also probably the earliest writing. I think a case could be made that Paul, not Jesus, is the author of Chrisitianity. So many of the basic tenets are from his writing. It's through the Pauline lens that Christians interpret Christianity. Who or what Jesus himself believed himself to be is more obscure, since we look at him through the Gospels, none of which of course were written down within Jesus's lifetime. Their authorship is very much in question.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1508/29/2010

I once did some research when arguing with someone who thought Paul was the coolest thing since anal sex was invented and was amazed by all the quotes I found (sorry I can't give you any right now, they are at my work office) by intelligent (and well known) people who found that Paul changed Christianity from what Jesus stood for to what Paul stood for.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1608/29/2010

%0D "The concept of Trinitarianism came about 300 years after Jesus' passing, when certain non-standard views such as Arianism were coming to prominence (cf. First Council of Nicaea). A central concern among Church leaders was that the holiness of Jesus be regarded and reinforced in teaching, such that Jesus would not be viewed as a mere prophet, but as the Son of God."%0D %0D From Wikipedia: Trinity.%0D %0D Didn't the church leaders also need the concept of a son of God to help with the conversion of the pagans? In Greek and Roman mythology, there are sons of Gods all over the place, so what with the beliefs of the time, it would have made conversion easier to have yet another one.%0D %0D What's this got to do with Paul, though? Is there any connection?%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1708/29/2010

R7 is correct. You also need to look at the HUGE tension between the Petrine and Pauline factions in the early church. Peter and his folks were centered in Jerusalem, and at least until the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, tried very hard to synthesize traditional Jewish worship and expression with this new understanding of Jesus. This was neither the first nor the last messianic movement within Judaism; leaders periodically arose with some new vision, and they were considered anointed (spiritually designated by God) as leaders, and some were greatly venerated.

After 70, the Jerusalem group became much more separate from Jews who didn't recognize Jesus's anointing.

Paul, on the other hand, started targeting gentiles early on. Luke, whose community wrote both Luke's gospel and Acts, was a gentile, a Greek-speaking Syrian physician from Antioch. And because the Greeks and the "pagans" to whom Paul and his group ministered didn't have the Torah and were not subject to its strictures, Paul tried to enjoin them to his moral perspectives. As a conservative former rabbi of the Pharisee party, he himself was very legalistic, had a strict and pessimistic view of marriage, and was your basic moralistic bluenose.

Some of Paul's strongest anti-gay crapola was directed toward the new converts from pagan Rome. Paul, knowing the long traditions of systemic pederasty, wanted that to stop, so his tirades were especially harsh -- though if you examine his terminology, most (though not all) was directed toward homosexual prostitutes, and toward the men who routinely kept boy-lovers in addition to their wives.

But yes, Paul's community and Peter's community frequently argued, and the split between them occurred pretty early on.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1808/29/2010

James and his group remained good Jews - the intended audience for Jesus' teachings. Jews didn't do so well in the first century, so most of their history was written by their victors.

It's rumored that it was Paul in the garden who lost an ear to Peter - helps explain his 'physical deformity' that he refers to in his letters. It also explains why he doesn't dwell on Peter.

A Jew would not be given the terrible powers Paul claims he possessed; Jews were not trusted and had two or three messiahs before Christ that brought down marshal law from Romans who were tired of the shit hole.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 1908/29/2010

[quote]I've never read that Paul's authorship is in question.

Read this.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2008/29/2010

Well, R15, you're right that R8 has no evidence. The authorship of the four gospels is certainly questionable, but not the Pauline epistles, not seriously.%0D %0D Now, some claim that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. However, the tone and vocabulary of that epistle are completely different from the other Pauline epistles. %0D %0D Paul's writing is fairly simple and consistent (except for Hebrews, as noted above) but it's not necessarily the highest quality in the NT. That would probably fall to "Luke" who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2108/29/2010

R8, you need to get a clue. Paul of the epistles is the same Paul that was struck by faith on the road to Damascus.%0D %0D There is some question as to whether Paul wrote everything attributed to him, but it is not a different Paul who wrote the questionable letters.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2208/29/2010

Several of Paul's letters are considered to be forgeries, such as the letter to the Colossians. The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are believed to be written by the same person, with Titus being a sort of Cliff Notes version of Timothy - but none of the three are believed to be Paul letters. The letter to the Hebrews isn't a real letter since ancient letter writers announced their name and their audience, which Hebrews doesn't. Plus, the topic of the letter isn't a topic of Paul's.%0D %0D Also, some believe a traveling companion of Paul's wrote the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke.%0D %0D Also, what R10 said.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2308/29/2010

[quote]Didn't the church leaders also need the concept of a son of God to help with the conversion of the pagans? In Greek and Roman mythology, there are sons of Gods all over the place, so what with the beliefs of the time, it would have made conversion easier to have yet another one.

Hebrew prophetic tradition had a personage called the Son of Man. In some prophetic writings, the term just means "human being," but in others, it is clearly a messianic figure.

When Jesus came along, some people felt he had a unique relationship with God, though there is no indication he did. He did, however, popularize the use of the term Abba ("father" or "daddy") when addressing God -- but also suggested that this kind of intimacy with God was something anyone could have. But religion (and human beings) being as they are, it was probably inevitable that Jesus calling God "father" would soon lead to people viewing Jesus as "son" in some special sense.

You're right about the pagans, especially Romans, calling their heroes (and rulers) sons of God. I'm not sure Christian language had to be tweaked to particularly appeal to pagan sensibilities so much as it just seemed a natural connection: a ruler/hero is de facto a son of God.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2408/29/2010

Paul did put down women but not gays. In fact, he was constantly telling the brethren to love one another. He didn't realize they intepreted his statements as antigay, because of course he had male companions like Onesimus throughout his life.%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2508/29/2010

What universe is R25 posting from?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2608/29/2010

Sorry for stepping on your toes R20 and R21. I didn't see that until I clicked "save post"

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2708/29/2010

"He did, however, popularize the use of the term Abba ("father" or "daddy") when addressing God -- but also suggested that this kind of intimacy with God was something anyone could have."%0D %0D Makes sense, especially considering the fact that the first line of the Lord's Prayer is "Our father who art in heaven."%0D %0D Guess I called God my father a gazillion times when I was growing up and going to Sunday school.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2808/29/2010

r15 wouldn't be logical to surmise that Jesus considered himself a Jew since that is what his religious practice was at the time. Jesus wasn't trying to create a religion he was just preaching what he believed to be true. Those followers that he left behind then decided to create something from the teachings he left behind.

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school and it was always confusing to me that we were taught the Old Testament and learned some of the same things my Jewish friends learned but that I did not observe all the things my Jewish friends observed. The older I got the more strange it seemed. I always thought we should have a least celebrated Passover as the Last Supper was clearly a Passover meal Jesus shared with his followers.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 2908/29/2010

And since no one has said it:

R8, there was no apostle named Paul.

Paul is sometimes refered to as the "apostle of the gentiles." But that is like refering to someone as "the queen of mean" or the "mayor of Castro Street." it does not mean the person was an actual queen, mayor or one of the twelve.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3008/29/2010

R29

In my Catholic school we did a Passover meal every year.

It was a shock when I went to college and found I knew more about how to do a seder than many of the Jews there.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3108/29/2010

Of course a lot of students were confused when we learned that Jesus considered himself Jewish and went down the list of Jewish and pagan traditions that ended up in Catholicism.

One kid was really upset when he learned that Jesus was probably born in spring but that the early Christians moved the celebration to December because that was when the Roman pagans had a big holiday.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3208/29/2010

OP, Paul wrote the first draft of 'Music for Chamileans' - perfect sentence structure used to shit on his patrons.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3408/29/2010

r32 I was not very popular in school for asking questions about Jesus being Jewish and didn't that mean we are part Jewish too? Nuns hate shit like that.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3608/29/2010

r33 the Tea Party meeting is down the hall to the right.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3708/29/2010

[quote] Where's the thread on why all the Christian hate on Datalounge?

There's no thread because the answer is patently obvious. Most people on DL live in the US, a nation where we are exposed daily to antigay hate from Christians - the Mormons and Catholics who foisted Prop 8 on California, etc. While Islam isn't any better, it doesn't have the continuing effect on us that the Christians do.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3808/29/2010

R33

Maybe its because we think it better to take the plank out of our own eyes before we go for the splinter in our neighbor's.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 3908/29/2010

OK if Jesus was Jewish, then why did he have a Mexican name?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4008/29/2010

While Paul was persecuting Christians, he wasn't secretly a practicing Christian himself.

Big difference.

He converted.

Mehlman has always been gay. He didn't suddenly convert overnight, like Saul did.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4108/29/2010

R36

Really? This was in the 1970s but they crammed the Jewishness of Jesus down our throats at every opportunity at Sacred Heart Elementary and Notre Dame High.

Catholicism has gotten a lot more conservative since then. We were taught that no person went to hell because Jesus saved everyone--believers and non-believers alike. But I am told now that this is not something Catholics are taught anymore.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4208/29/2010

Paul was not a 'witness' to the life of Jesus so he was not a disciple.

Many in the church now worship Paul (Paulinians) vs the word of Christ. Christ even said, I will not have died longer than a fortnight before my words and deeds will be added to or misrepresented. Paul actually usurped the position of Mary who was Jesus' chosen fist apostle to 'bring the good news to the disciples and the world that I have risen'. Mary actually had a book but her writings and teachings were hindered first by Peter then by Paul and finally by the early catholic church.

The worship of Paul has become the main source of being 'born again' as the ultimate 'experience' of conversion vs an intellectual pursuit deed driven experience toward conversion. Christ did indeed allude to a need for a 'rebirth' that was both visceral (or of the blood) and deed. But Christ spoke of a PERSONAL journey or rebirth that was entrenched in sacrifice, service, humility, and compassion. This contemporary notion of 'born again' stems from Paul's directions to the 'church members' to confront the sinner and expose the hypocrite.

What has resulted from this stunted lazy approach to faith is now we have those whose total Christian testimony is NOT one of Christ defined rebirth of sacrifice doubt and a lonely frightening walk through the 'desert' struggle against personal sins but one of pointing a finger at the sins of others as proof of their own rebuking of sin.

Many who put forth a claim to born again have no claim to rebirth. They are two different things, taught by two different teachers: Christ, God and Savior; and, Paul, a man.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4308/29/2010

"It's a well orchestrated lie!"

Not particularly well orchestrated, but people still hum the tunes.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4408/29/2010

Nicely put r43. Explains quite a bit.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4508/29/2010

[quote]There's no thread because the answer is patently obvious. Most people on DL live in the US, a nation where we are exposed daily to antigay hate from Christians - the Mormons and Catholics who foisted Prop 8 on California, etc. While Islam isn't any better, it doesn't have the continuing effect on us that the Christians do.

Then why isn't it best to nip it in the bud?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4608/29/2010

[quote]We see fictional movies and read books that move us or anger us or uplift us. But we recognize that it doesn't matter that these stories are fiction -- it's the message that's conveyed, the emotional resonance or intellectual understanding behind it that matters to us.

And yet, that is different from worshiping them.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4708/29/2010

R23, the entire Bible is a forgery. I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously.

Sheesh.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 4808/29/2010

"People who are literalists are insecure and foolish. But if you think that everyone who has some religious faith or spiritual life is a literalist or is otherwise anti-intellectual, you're an idiot."%0D %0D Spectacular post, R35. Except for the idiot bit right at the end.%0D %0D And speaking of literalism, as a lapsed Muslim, I still read the Koran. I have two copies, each translated by a different person. Anyway, the translator of one version appears to take everything literally. The other version, however is translated by a person who sees the stories as allegorical and symbolic. I much prefer the latter version--it's the only one that makes sense to me.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5008/29/2010

The bible may be a forgery, R48, but what's the problem with reading and discussing it? There are far worse things out there to waste your time on.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5108/29/2010

"Science will win over religion".

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5208/29/2010

[quote]the entire Bible is a forgery

How can sixty-six different books written over a span of a thousand years be "a forgery"?

Perhaps you're unclear on what "forgery" means. It's making or altering a document in an attempt to defrauding someone.

Biblical writings may not have been written by the people whose names later became associated with them, but that's not forgery by any definition.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5308/29/2010

[quote]Spectacular post, R35. Except for the idiot bit right at the end.

Point taken.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5408/29/2010

[quote]"Science will win over religion".

Who says it has to be a contest?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5508/29/2010

R55, seriously???

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5608/29/2010

"The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness."

( BTW - Christ was a mystic; Paul and the contemporary church, are religious.)

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5708/29/2010

So we are to believe that churches are basically book clubs, with a very limited reading list?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5808/29/2010

r42 I started first grade in '66 in northern Ohio. What can I tell you the nuns that schooled me weren't having any of that Jesus being Jewish shit in their classroom.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 5908/29/2010

There's no POV of those Christians recorded (unless it's in non-canonical texts I haven't read) there's only Paul and the religion he made up.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6008/29/2010

R58, it's the Terry Eagleton argument. Pulled out whenever we point out the uncomfortable reality of the harm of most of the religious worshipers.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6108/29/2010

R25, you need to read that shit again. Paul calls for the death penalty for gays, he even mentions lesbians unlike Leviticus. He also rants against marriage in general and sex. It's thought his "thorn" was homosexuality.

He was loathsome and the world would be a better place if he never existed. Was the comparison to Mehlman supposed to make us sympathetic?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6208/29/2010

Although it is a work of fiction, Taylor Caldwell's "Great Lion of God" addresses OP's original question, particularly in regard to Paul/Saul's involvement in the stoning of Stephen, the first "Christian" martyr. Some of the lines of the book are taken from the transcript of his actual trial before the Sanhedrin, so she did her homework. If nothing else, it's a fascinating psychological profile of Paul.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6308/29/2010

So... if you insist Jesus actually existed, what do you make of all the coincidences between him and all those prophets that went before him (so many being born on December 25th, so many walking on water, so many dying and resurrecting three days later, over and over again, the same tales)?%0D %0D It's clear to me there was someone at the core of all the myth, but that the myth (i.e. what everyone today "knows" as Jesus) is really an amalgamation of many people, just as the famous "sermon on the mount" is likely a combination of lots of sermons and sayings, and was never actually given in one place at one time like that.%0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6508/29/2010

"Paul . . . also rants against marriage in general and sex."%0D %0D So would this be why Jesus had to have a virgin mother? Sex is bad (according to Paul) ergo Jesus couldn't have been tainted by it. Would this also account for the fact that priests can't have sex?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6608/29/2010

I thought the reason priests were not permitted to have sex is so there would not be children to inherit church property.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6708/29/2010

[quote]R23, the entire Bible is a forgery. I can't believe anyone is taking this seriously. Sheesh.%0D %0D R48, calm down, er, Mary. I was just discussing this as a literary work.%0D %0D BTW if it makes you feel any better, I'm an atheist who likes to read. I mean, what's wrong with discussing this stuff now AND discussing Sam Harris at some other time?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6808/29/2010

Found this at Wiki Answers (I know. Weak source).%0D %0D "The vows of marriage mean abandoning the single life, all other devotions and devoting oneself to spouse and family. Similarly, the vows of the Catholic clergy require abandoning all other devotions and committing singular devotion to Christ, God his Father and the ministry. The Catholic ethic for its clergy is that the Church is their bride. Christ knew the weakness of man in that he knew his disciples could not successfully devote their lives to him and at the same to their wives and families. In Mark's gospel, Jesus proclaimed a renewal of moral values based upon a simple invitation: "Follow me." %C3%A2%C2%80%C2%A6 and this invitation was also: "Learn and become like me". He bade them to leave their wives and families in order to follow Him. Christ never married because he was committed to his ministry and singularly devoted to his Master, God his Father. In asking his disciples to follow Him, he expected the same of them. It is for this reason that Catholic priests do not marry, the intent being to emulate Christ and Christ's life."%0D %0D There's also an answer up over there about church property and inheritance.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 6908/29/2010

They were all jealous of Mary Magadelene. She was the only one who was alllowed to preach when Jesus was around - in fact she was his warm up. She spoke well and she was his favorite.%0D %0D It was the monks several centuries later who labeled her a whore. They were worried that a woman would be given too much credit if they told the truth about her. Couldn't have that now could we?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7008/29/2010

R33, that have been many, many DL threads that are anti-Christian in tone. They generally become highly contentious.

The large majority of DL posters, like myself, are atheist or agnostic according all the unscientific polling done on site, and many of those posters, resentful of the treatment received from right-wing Christians are only too happy to denounce Christianity. The Christians here, most of whom don't seem to be the right-wing nuts, get very defensive.

So far, I'm impressed with the relatively high degree of intelligence and civility of the discussion in this thread, in spite a few inflammatory contributions like yours.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7108/29/2010

.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7208/29/2010

R33, I don't like islam any more than I like christianity (in fact, I like it a lot LOT less). %0D %0D But in neither case do I think the government has any ride to forbid either to build a house of worship where they want to, on their own private land, within zoning regulations. %0D %0D I thing singling out any one religion is ridiculous, un-American, un-Constitutional, and just hateful bigotry.%0D %0D I speak up for them (the NYC Mosque Builders) because I would hope others would speak up for me, should people try to be bigoted and prejudiced against me because of my minority status or unpopular beliefs.%0D %0D You either believe in freedom and liberty, or you don't. And it's become clear that the right-wing does not, as well as far too many on the left.%0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7308/29/2010

I have always been suspicious of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, because it smacks of a common propaganda tactic.

Think of all those testimonies beginning along the lines of "I was a lifelong liberal until Obama ..." that come from right-wingers. Obama, Clinton, whoever the bogeyman du jour happens to be. It's simply a tactic to lend a false weight to the propagandist's argument.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7408/29/2010

OP here, back from a Darvocet-induced fog-sleep (Baby's got a bad, bad hip, y'all). I've enjoyed all responses, even the semi-cutting ones.%0D %0D %0D I have posted my thoughts on Paul and Pauline Christianity many times over the last few years, but the question I posed (re: the fledgling Christian sects' response to Paul's conversion) is one I've asked since I was a tot. %0D %0D %0D It's too bad victors' versions of events become canon. Too bad that power structures are always terrified of the non-official stories, and usually succeed in squelching them. %0D %0D %0D I've no sympathy for Mehlman or his apologists, though I understand their motivations. I made the post because I've always been fascinated by conversions, position switches, and the motivation behind them; and external responses to those switches.%0D %0D %0D Thanks again, and do carry on talking.%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7508/29/2010

R59

Were you taught that one has to be a Christian to go to heaven? I am curious about how widespread this view is among Catholics.

I learned pretty late that the born agains believe this and was shocked by it. (Why worship such a petty, vindictive god?) Based on what the nuns taught me, I thought that this is one thing that distinguished Catholics from them--that Catholics believe that everyone goes to heaven.

But lately I have found out that a lot of Catholics believe that if you belong to the wrong religion, you are damned.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7608/29/2010

Growing up in a northern United Methodist church as kids we never studied or were taught anything from the New Testament beyond Acts. The emphasis was almost entirely on Christ's life and teachings as given in the first five books.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7708/29/2010

interesting.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 7808/29/2010

[quote]Cracks me up to see the atheists try to talk down and trash religion.%0D %0D Try? I'd say they succesfully do.%0D %0D [quote]They get so worked up about others having beliefs outside their own.%0D %0D No, they get worked up about other people's idiocy and delusion negatively affecting their lives.%0D %0D [quote]Tolerance is a two way street but I guess they don't need to worry about that. They don't believe in it to begin with.%0D %0D Wrong again... athesits are all about tolerance. They hate the intolerance of most religions and religious types, especially when directed against them. So they react. %0D %0D It's really not too difficult to grasp, and yet you utterly fail to. Interesting.%0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8008/29/2010

R79, many of the Christians on this thread have made very cogent, productive posts relevant to the topic. Hint, hint.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8108/29/2010

If you are not baptized(full subversion in water--including head), then you are not going to heaven. Just having a priest sprinkle water on top of your head is not enough.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8308/29/2010

Does that mean you're going to take the hint, R82/79. Or are you going to fling some more poo?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8408/29/2010

R83

I guess I do not understand. Did not Jesus die for the sins of all mankind? If so our sins are redeemed and it is arrogant to think that any human ritual is going to change anything.

But then again, the nuns were big on serving god freely because you love him, not because you are scared of the consequences of if you do not.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8508/29/2010

Paul did NOT exist.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8608/29/2010

The notion that the NT only presents Paul's point of view isn't quite right. The letter of James pretty clearly is a counter-response to Pauline theology. The Petrine letters are also not Pauline and either anti-Paul or trying to make Paul work with Petrine theology.

And the Johannine stuff is off on its own.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8708/29/2010

R63, sorry to break the news, but the Bible is a work of fiction as well.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8808/30/2010

r84, just standing up against the tirade of bigotry and intolerance sir.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 8908/30/2010

u

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9008/30/2010

[quote]I guess I do not understand. Did not Jesus die for the sins of all mankind? If so our sins are redeemed and it is arrogant to think that any human ritual is going to change anything.

Interesting question. Certainly for most Christians, baptism (whether by full subMersion or by sprinkling) is an outward and physical sign of an inward and spiritual act, which the definition of a sacrament. It does not save you, but is a mark of an individual joining the community of faith. The big argument is whether the person has to be a believer, that it is a conscious act on his part, or if parents can make that commitment on an infant's behalf.

But the other half of the debate, at least in some quarters, is whether Jesus's sacrifice automatically saves all humankind, or (as most believe) it was a conditional act which depends on the sinner's repentance and belief.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9108/30/2010

The entire notion of "original sin" is just so ridiculous on the face of it, that it makes the whole "Jesus died for our sins" thing just that much more ridiculous. How do people believe this crap? Seriously.%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9208/30/2010

Metaphor, R92, metaphor. Everyone feels like a failure from time to time, and many people feel that tendency to fail is deep in their bones. That's where this belief system came from. It's great that we're changing to an idea that we were not born flawed, but perfect, albeit with work to do; and this notion has strongly influenced much theology outside of the Fundamentalist mindset.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9308/30/2010

Sorry, I meant to say that the "created perfect" idea has influenced much of RECENT theology, in the past few decades at most.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9408/30/2010

I am a Christian. I have reason to believe that Paul's writings are not the inspired word of God but rather very much akin to the Apocryphal gospels. The story of his conversion should be the first thing that we as Christians question.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9508/30/2010

It's true the bible is mostly a book of fiction but there may be a few facts thrown in...who knows? How ever you look at it, Paul was not a nice guy.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9608/30/2010

By the way, the earlier poster who said Paul who wrote was not the Apostle Paul is flat wrong. The Pauline epistles are the only books of the entire New Testament that are given credence as being authored by who they say they were even by critics. Paul/Saul of Tarsus wrote them. There is evidence of their provenance and internal consistency of grammar and style.

Doesn't keep him from being a late comer who took over and created modern Christianity pretty much whole cloth, a woman hater and probably homosexual.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9708/30/2010

R97, this article gives a good overview on the authorship question of the Pauline epistles.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9808/30/2010

[quote]just standing up against the tirade of bigotry and intolerance sir.

Relative to most Christian theme threads here, there was hardly a tirade, and yours was not a position of resistance, it was one of counter-attack. I believe Jesus had something to say about that.

If you feel there was a base level of interference in this thread from some non-Christians, would it not be better to answer those with a higher level of discourse? Simply jumping into the gutter of taunts with them does not allow you to claim a superior position.

Mind you, I have missed taking the high road in some other threads. But as I've said, I have enjoyed general level of intelligence and civility in this thread.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 9908/30/2010

This is a great thread. It's almost as good as the Rosemary's Baby thread.%0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10008/30/2010

The only Paul who matters is McCartney.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10108/30/2010

OP again. I'm not one to constantly patrol threads I've created, but since even tangential discussion of religion tends to foster way too much toxicity, I'm making an exception.%0D %0D Except for one or two posts, the athiests and agnostics on this thread have been exceedingly thoughtful, respectful, and interesting. I do so appreciate your POVs, and I thank you.%0D %0D Some of the pro-Christianity faction (unfortunately I must call out R89) have been decidedly uncivil, and unnecessarily suspicious of others' motives with little evidence. There's NO need for that in this thread; there are plenty of other threads where flinging insults and defending one's entrenched side seem to be the whole point. Find yourself there, please.%0D %0D At the risk of further angering both sides, I'm so tempted to say, "Girls, girls! You're BOTH going to Heaven!"%0D %0D And thanks again for the interesting responses that have taken this thread beyond my original question.%0D %0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10208/30/2010

Karl Rove = "Paul"

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10308/30/2010

Great thread!

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10408/30/2010

I went to 12 years of Catholic school, which means that I never read the Bible, except for the little snippets that were thoughtfully excerpted for us in our missals. Perhaps those of you who are knowledgeable can explain this St. Paul thing to me. As I understand it, Jesus never said a thing about the gays, so St. Paul is the New Testament justification for the claim that homosexuality is wrong. But what is the justification for exalting St. Paul's writing as if it were the word of God? I gather that St. Paul was inspired by God, so therefore his writings are the equivalent of Jesus. Is that the case? If so, it requires an extra-absurd leap of faith.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10508/31/2010

Both Paul and Jesus were gay R105, which you would know if you had ever read the bible.%0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10608/31/2010

R62 you're the one who needs to read the Bible again. Paul does not call for death for homosexuals or lesbians and the mistranslated passages held by fundies to be such do not say any such thing. They are a description of a historical event. Paul is very clear he's positive about men kissing and loving one another, it's something that he mentions over and over and over.%0D %0D And Jesus is making out with his boy toy apostle beloved John in the book of John, an unidentified kid flees from him naked when Judas approaches, and Jesus when he knows the jig is up assigns his mother to live with his male lover.%0D %0D This notion that the Bible is some kind of antigay polemic is a FRAUD.%0D %0D %0D %0D

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10708/31/2010

R18, 19, 64 and a handful of others here are among the few posters writing from any basis in scholarship. Certainly the frictions between the Jerusalem Church and Paul's creation are both evident and clumsily tamped down in various spots in the epistles and Acts.

To the OP's original point, it's rather plain that the Christianity we know is Paul's legacy - the legacy of a mythologist, visionary, apparent liar, and possible madman. He was committed, certainly. His energy was amazing. His thinking was capable of great poetry and clarity as well as a thicket of snares. But what he said, what he declared and the Church he created had nothing to do with Jesus - a man he didn't know, a man whose closest followers he ridiculed and turned from, and a man who as near as we can tell could not have resembled the fabulous concoction Paul created out of his own mind and the various threads of myth and religious movements of the times.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10808/31/2010

[quote]they get worked up about other people's idiocy and delusion negatively affecting their lives.

Now I'm confused. Could you explain how people having a discussion on a gay website is negatively affecting anyone's life. I'm an agnostic, but enjoy these types of conversations on DL, yet there is always someone who comes into the thread and tries to shut down conversation. Why?

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 10908/31/2010

I buried Paul.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11003/01/2011

bump

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11103/01/2011

I'm reading "The Jesus Puzzle" by Earl Doherty.

I'm still pretty early in it, but in the first chapter, he mentions that for the most part, in the Pauline epistles, with all the talk of "Jesus", "Christ", "Son of God", etc, there is nothing that Paul says that identifies this Jesus character as a man who had recently lived, as someone from Nazareth, someone born to a woman named Mary, and someone who had been crucified by Pontius Pliate.

It is possible that Jesus started out as a divine deity that Christians believed in, whose death and resurrection occurred in the supernatural realm, just like the stories of other gods such as Apollo and Dionysus. And later, this deity was given a biography as having incarnated as human on Earth and said to have been an actual historical figure.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11203/01/2011

Jesus is the Messiah! At age 32, I was at Church and the hymn the choir was singing was "I want Jesus to walk with me." I was having so much pressure from the outside world on my shoulders that I whispered out loud, with belief in my heart, "I want Jesus to walk with me." The intensity of the joy that filled my soul at that moment cannot ever be described. It wasn't only for just that moment but it lasted for several minutes, and my ability to deal with my problems was established. I have been able to deal with outside pressures now for fifty years. God is real and Jesus is God's son. The Bible is holy and Paul, not Peter, was chosen by Christ to carry the word to the Gentiles. My prayers are with all of you. I am looking forward to receiving that joy again forever. My prayers are with all of you.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11304/04/2013

Paul was not antigay. Romans 13:10 answers all that.

Anyhoo, I think what OP is getting at is that the real Christian church of the apostles in Jerusalem managed to get wiped out somehow, and the Pauline heresy substituted in its stead.

But that presupposes there was a Christian church of the apostles in Jerusalem. But suppose there never was and that the Christian church was created by Paul, with Jesus glorified and exalted by Alexandrine Christians around 100-150 AD.

by Not a big Paul fan. He was a BRILLIANT writer, though.reply 11404/05/2013
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